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In response to the route change, Tassoni has withdrawn a bill he introduced in the current legislative session that would have banned such deliveries on the residential street.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

http://valleybreeze.com

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.

http://www.ktvn.com

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.

Watch Video:  http://www.wjactv.com

Cirrus SR22-G2: Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has rough landing with plane at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (KFLG), Arizona

 
 Scott Smith/City of Mesa 
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith 

It was a routine in-state flight for Mesa Mayor Scott Smith on Tuesday, until the moment his single-engine plane touched the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport runway.

"I went in for a landing, and next thing I know, the plane was shaking," he said. "I didn't know what was going on."

Smith quickly realized one of the tires on his 2004 Cirrus SR22-G2 had blown out. Knowing a plane stuck on the runway can halt airport operations, he said he used the momentum of his 80 to 90 mph landing speed to "drag (the plane) across the yellow line" and off the main runway.

By the time the aircraft came to a stop, the tire was "almost shredded down to the rim," but Smith and his sole passenger were fine. Emergency and repair personnel met them on the tarmac, towed the plane in and replaced the tire.

Smith on Tuesday morning tweeted a picture of the plane with an airport rescue truck behind it, "thank heavens for wide runways and good brakes" in the caption. He was back in Mesa that afternoon.

Smith has about 6-1/2 years of flight experience. He does two to three volunteer "Flights for Life" for United Blood Services a month and had traveled to Winslow and Flagstaff during his trip to drop off platelets.

Though he said "things could've turned out differently," the mayor said he and his friend "never felt like we were in danger."

He also felt lucky the problems started where they did.

"Winslow didn't have a tire mechanic," he said. "Who knows how long I would've been stuck there."

http://www.azcentral.com

Pilot suffers serious injuries in plane crash near Royston - UK

A man has been airlifted to hospital after his plane crash-landed near Royston.

The pilot, believed to be in his 50s, was taken to Addenbrooke's after the single-seater light aircraft came down in a field near Newnham Way, in Ashwell.

His injuries have been described as "serious".

Hertfordshire police were called to the crash at 6.20pm.

Two fire crews from Baldock, one from Royston and a rescue support unit from Hatfield attended the scene by 7pm.

On arrival they found a single-seater light aircraft had crashed in a field near the residential street.

The pilot was said to be injured but not trapped in the plane. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

The plane’s fuel tank had detached, but there was no fire at the site.

The man's flight plan and the reason for the crash is unknown at this time.

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk

Aero-Vodochody L-39 Albatros, Mach 1 Aviation & Incredible Adventures, N39WT: Accident occurred May 18, 2012 in Boulder City, Nevada

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA216
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2012 in Boulder City, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2014
Aircraft: AERO VODOCHODY L-39, registration: N39WT
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Upon arrival at the airport, the pilots of the accident airplane and of another airplane flying at the same time briefed the passengers on what to expect during their adventure flight, and they subsequently began the first of four planned flights. The first two flights were uneventful. The accident occurred during the third flight of the day. A review of the UNICOM radio communications revealed that, shortly after the airplanes took off, the accident pilot announced, “canopy, canopy.” The lead airplane pilot asked the accident pilot if he was heading back; the accident pilot’s response could not be understood. The accident airplane subsequently made a right descending turn and impacted a berm in desert terrain at a high descent rate and then bounced about 200 feet before coming to rest about a 1/2 mile from the airport. The airplane came to rest between two sets of power lines next to an access road. First responders to the accident site reported that both of the airplane’s canopies were closed and that the engine remained running for about 20 minutes before it shut down on its own. A postaccident examination of the airplane, engine, and forward and aft canopies revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. If one of the canopies had somehow become displaced, the canopy illumination warning light would have activated, and the pilot should have followed the emergency procedures, which state, in part, to land as soon as practical, and likely would have been able to control the airplane and land. The reason for the pilot’s radio transmission about the canopy and his initiation of a right descending turn could be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

An in-flight emergency followed by a collision with terrain for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and forward and aft canopies revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 18, 2012, about 1215 Pacific daylight time, an experimental exhibition Aero Vodochody L-39, N39WT, impacted desert terrain about a 1/2 mile northwest of the Boulder City Municipal Airport (BVU), Boulder City, Nevada. Mach 1 Aviation and Incredible Adventures operated the flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wing assembly. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the adventure flight, and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight.


The accident airplane, along with another L-39 (N139CK), departed Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California, about 0730 on the morning of the accident.

The purpose of the day's flights was to celebrate a birthday for one of the eight passengers, which included a Hollywood Top Gun Adventure flight, in two L-39 Albatross jet airplanes. Each flight was scheduled to be 45 minutes in length, and each passenger would be provided with a film of their flight. Two flights were scheduled for the morning, with the last two flights to take place in the afternoon following lunch. The mornings' flights were uneventful. 

The pilot in the lead airplane for the accident flight stated that the takeoff and climb out were normal until he heard the other pilot radio "canopy." He could not elaborate further as to why the accident pilot made that statement.

The passenger in the lead airplane for the accident flight stated that he and the other passenger got into their respective airplanes, but that he did not watch the other passenger get ready for their flight. He stated that he figured out how to put his own seatbelt/safety harness on, and was then instructed about the canopy usage. After the canopies were closed, he was able to hear the pilot of his airplane and the pilot of the other airplane over the radio. The passenger stated that his pilot received a clearance for takeoff and the pilots taxied the airplanes to the runway and came to a stop. The lead airplane was on the left side of the runway and the accident airplane was on the right side of the runway. There was a discussion about the crosswind and if there were any issues on takeoff. The lead airplane would make a left turn, and the number two accident airplane would make a "harder left [turn]." The passenger reported that the takeoff appeared normal. He recalled that they were about 400 feet above the ground, when his pilot instructed the other pilot to stay in formation. The passenger stated that his airplane was in a climbing left turn and he overheard who he thought was the accident pilot over the radio making a mayday call, followed by a canopy call. He looked out of his window and saw the accident airplane in a right turn, then saw it level off followed by a puff of dirt, which he believed was the airplane impacting the terrain. He also recalled seeing the accident airplane fly below one set of power lines. The passenger stated that there were no further communications from the pilot of the accident airplane. 

Prior to the two airplanes departing from BVU, a pilot from a flight of 6 military helicopters reported that they were inbound for landing at the airport. After the mayday call was issued by the pilot in the lead airplane, one of the crews of the inbound helicopters reported that they would locate the accident site and land, and render assistance to the pilot and passenger until rescue personnel arrived on-scene. The military pilot reported that he observed the accident airplane on its belly and the engine was still running at full thrust. The pilot in the circling jet was giving instructions on how to get the canopy off and to shut down the engine. The military crew was able to take off the front canopy; however, they were unable to shut the engine down. The engine stopped after about 20 minutes. 

Responding rescue personnel reported that upon their arrival they noted two military personnel and an individual from the airport, as well as, two people slumped over inside the airplane. They observed the three individuals attempting to shut down the engine, which they were not able to do. Eventually the engine began to misfire and discharged flames from the rear of the airplane prior to the engine shutting itself down. The front canopy was open rendering the front seat pilot accessible to rescue crews. The rear canopy appeared to be latched on the left side, with the right side of the canopy slightly raised from the fuselage. The canopy had to be forced up and to the left by first responder/emergency personnel in order to gain access to the rear seat passenger. 

According to the individual responding from the airport, he noted that when he attempted to idle the engine to shut it down, the throttle appeared to be broken as it had no tension to the control, but the engine sounded as if it was still running at 100 percent power.

According to Boulder City Police Department, they dispatched an officer at 1218. The officer arrived at 1245. The detective reported that the engine was still running upon his arrival at the accident site, and shortly thereafter started to sputter.

Witness Statement

Four of the eight birthday party members were interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors; they stated that they were driven by bus from their hotel to the Boulder City Municipal Airport. Once they arrived at BVU, they made their way to a Fixed Based Operator (FBO) and were told by FBO personnel that the two airplanes were en route from Van Nuys. While they waited for the airplanes to arrive, the group discussed the order in which they would fly since only one passenger could fly in each airplane at a time. After the airplanes arrived, the group reported seeing two people exit each airplane; pilots and film technicians. The group talked to the pilots and took pictures of themselves with the airplanes. They met inside the FBO in a conference room where they received a briefing of what to expect. Members of the group indicated that there would be four flights; two flights would occur before lunch, the airplanes would be refueled, and then they would have the final two flights.

The passengers did not report any mechanical problems or anomalies during the first two flights. The accident flight occurred on the third flight of the day after the lunch break. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 65, held an airline transport pilot certificate (ATP) that was issued February 28, 2011. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine and multiengine, and instrument airplane that was issued on June 8, 2011. The pilot held a second-class medical certificate issued on December 01, 2011. It held the restriction that the pilot must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's logbook was not available for review. On the pilot's most recent FAA medical application dated December 01, 2011, he reported a total time of 5,900 hours with 80 hours accrued in the past 6 months. 

According to FAA records, the pilot's ATP certificate was subject to an emergency revocation in September 2009, and the ruling was upheld on November 25, 2009. The revocation was for a period of 1 year, and the pilot was eligible to reapply for his pilot certificate after September 28, 2010. The certificate was reissued on February 28, 2011. He received his initial airline transport pilot certificate on August 31, 1973.

The pilot in the lead airplane, as well as the birthday party group that were flying that day, reported that the pilot appeared to be in good health and was in good spirits.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION 

The two-seat (tandem) low-wing, retractable-gear airplane was an experimental Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross, serial number 132127. It was a high-performance jet trainer manufactured by Czechoslovakia in 1981. It was powered by an all metal turbofan Ivchenko AI-25-TL engine. 

The fuel log and final fuel receipt were obtained from BFE Aviation at Boulder City Airport. The fuel log revealed that the accident airplane had received Jet A fuel two times the day of the accident; once at 0900 for a total of 92 gallons, and again at 1120 for a total of 180 gallons. 

Airplane Maintenance

A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that a 50-hour/6-month inspection had been signed off on January 12, 2012, at an airframe total time of 2,459.8 hours. The last entry in the airplane's logbook was dated January 17, 2012, at an airframe total time of 2,459.8 hours, where the airplane had been signed off for a 100-hour condition inspection. Maintenance records showed that a 50-hour engine inspection was completed on January 12, 2012, at a recorded engine time of 570.3 hours.

The airplane was purchased on December 10, 2009, at an engine total time of 550 hours and an airframe time of 2,440 hours. The owner of the airplane had an arrangement with the owner of Mach 1 Aviation, which allowed the owner of Mach 1 Aviation to use the accident airplane for these flights.

COMMUNICATIONS

Boulder City Municipal Airport was a non-towered airport; however, it did have an active UNICOM radio frequency, which pilots could announce their intent. The UNICOM radio communications were recorded and a review of the recordings indicated the lead pilot in airplane N139CK, announced over UNICOM that N139CK was a flight of two Albatross fighters and they would be taking the active runway 27L, with a southbound departure followed by a left turn to proceed southeast. The lead pilot then radioed that "139CK flight of two Albatross fighters taking the active 27L making a left turn out." About 2 minutes later on the audio track, the lead pilot radioed "dash two come around," then "dash two you ok?" The accident pilot radioed "canopy canopy," and the lead pilot replied "roger, what are you heading back?" The next radio call overheard on UNICOM was "Mayday Mayday Mayday, we got an airplane down, Mayday Mayday." The entire UNICOM audio track is located in the public docket for this case. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was approximately 1/2 mile northwest of the airport in flat desert terrain. The airplane came to rest intact between two sets of power lines next to an access road. The first identified point of impact (FIPC) was a flat area adjacent to a berm alongside the road; an impression of the airplane fuselage and wings were observed in the dirt at the FIPC. The debris field from the FIPC to the main wreckage was about 480 feet long. Undercarriage and a gear door were found about 100 feet from the main wreckage. A 25-pound ballast weight was found on the other side of the access road, a 4-foot-deep by 20-feet-wide crater was noted just behind the engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL

The medical records for the pilot and passenger were reviewed by the NTSB's Chief medical officer. The medical officer reported no evidence of a medical event having occurred by either occupant at the time of the accident.

Pilot

The pilot was recovered from the front seat of the airplane. He was secured by his safety harness.

The Clark County Coroner completed an autopsy on May 18, 2012. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force trauma due to an aircraft collision with ground. 

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. Analysis of the specimens contained no findings for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs.

Passenger

The passenger was recovered from the rear seat of the airplane. He was secured by his safety harness.

The Clark County Coroner completed an autopsy on the passenger on May 19, 2012. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force trauma due to aircraft collision with ground. 

The Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory CAMI, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. Analysis of the specimens contained no findings for carbon monoxide or cyanide; an analysis of the specimens for volatiles, and tested drugs were not performed.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was inspected on December 11, 2012, at Air Transport in Phoenix, Arizona. The inspection revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane or engine. Flight control continuity was established.

Airframe

The accident airplane was originally manufactured with ejection seats. In a letter dated February 8, 2010, to the FAA from the airplane owner, the owner reported that both of the ejection seats had been rendered nonfunctional; deactivated. 

There were two canopies; one for the front seated pilot, and one for the rear seated passenger. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the pilot's canopy handle lever was selected to the OPEN position. The Plexiglas canopy for the pilot remained intact. The canopy seal tube remained mostly continuous with about 6 inches of the aft portion of the seal missing. The four retaining bolts for the canopy were in place and not deformed. On the left side of the canopy there were two vertical hinge points that were also intact and not deformed. When the release for the canopy was manipulated, the pilot's canopy functioned normally. 

The passenger canopy (rear seat), the seal was fully intact for the entire canopy. The forward left portion of the canopy was broken with both pieces found at the accident site. The aft left side of the canopy was deformed. All four retaining bolts and the two hinge pin attachment points were undamaged. The rear canopy release handle was in the locked position and was not movable due to damage to the fuselage. It was noted that the canopy tube inflation system for both canopies had been disconnected, and it was determined that this system was disabled by recovery personnel to facilitate the removal of the canopy.

The airplanes' original pressurization systems had been modified to accommodate United States (U.S.) Nitrogen and oxygen bottles. The nitrogen valve was in the OPEN position, and all of the fittings were in place and secured. The oxygen system was also intact with all fittings in place and secured. 

The wings and flap system on the accident airplane was examined. The hydraulic flap actuator was extended indicating flaps at 25 degrees, which was set to the takeoff position. The yellow manual flap indicator pin located about midspan of the top of the wing and visible to the pilot, was extended verifying that the gear was down. The flap sensor is connected to the pitot tube and once a specific airspeed has been achieved, will automatically raise the flaps; the landing gear was found in the up (retracted) position.

Engine

Examination of the engine revealed extensive damage throughout the entire engine as a result of the accident sequence and postcrash engine fire. Rock and debris were located in the engine inlet. Approximately 4 compressor blades (12 o'clock to 1 o'clock position) were noticeably damaged, with minimal damage to the remainder of the blades. Tip damage was noted to the turbine blades. The engine was manually rotated from the turbine section with no binding evident and the compressor blades were observed to move in proper rotating order. The gearbox magnetic plug was removed and did not have any debris on the tip. The throttle position indicator on the fuel control was at 86 percent. An inspection of the airplane and engine identified no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. A detailed examination report is attached to the public docket for this accident.

Instrument panel

The following items were retained and shipped to the NTSB materials and vehicle recorder laboratories for further examination in Washington, D.C.:
Forward and Rear annunciator panels (4)
Dynon Avionics EFIS-65
G-meter
JPI 450
TS EFIS AP III-DC
Aspen Avionics EFD1000
GARMIN GPS Map 96C

The four annunciator panels and G-meter gauge were examined at the NTSB's materials laboratory. The examination of the four annunciator panels was to determine if hot coil stretching of the light bulb filaments had occurred. Each panel had a bank of 12 positions; fire, 150kg fuel, don't start, canopy unlocked, dangerous altitude, HYD. Sys fail, engine vibration, cabin pressure, M Max, generator, emergency generator, INV. 115V fail. Each light bulb from all four annunciator panels was examined; the light bulb filaments were found intact and not stretched.

The G-meter instrument gauge was submitted to determine if witness marks from the needle were present on the gauge face. There was no witness mark identified on the gauge face. The full report is attached to the public docket for this accident.

The Garmin 96C, TRUTrak System EFIS AP 111-DC, and the Dynon EFIS-D6 were examined at the NTSB's vehicle recorders laboratory. The technician was able to download the Garmin unit; however, there were no recorded tracks. The TruTrak System does not record data; however, when power was applied to the unit it was functional. The Dynon EFIS-D6 was an early software version and hardware design, as such; it did not record any data. However, when power was placed to the unit, it was functional.

Video

According to the pilot of the lead airplane there were two video cameras onboard the accident airplane. One video camera was recovered from the accident airplane; however, the second video camera was not recovered. The video camera that was recovered had been positioned so that it was facing the rear seat passenger. The one video camera was shipped to the Vehicle Recorders laboratory in Washington, D.C. The specialist downloaded the video; however, the accident was not recorded on the video.

The onboard video obtained from the pilot of the lead airplane was also reviewed by the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder laboratory. Due to background noise (lead airplane's engine), the specialist was not able to isolate the air-to-air communication between the lead pilot and accident pilot. However, the specialist was able to reduce the background noise significantly and while faint, a conversation between the lead pilot and accident pilot can be heard. The lead pilot queried the accident pilot if everything was ok, and if the accident pilot was going to return to the airport. The accident pilot's response cannot be understood. This was followed immediately by a mayday call from the lead pilot that the accident airplane had gone down. 

Boulder City Municipal Airport provided the NTSB IIC with recorded video of the runway. It showed the airplanes taxiing to the active runway, the takeoff roll, and initial lift off from the runway.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the flight manual, a red canopy unlocked light will illuminate in each cockpit when one of the canopies is not locked. According to the emergency procedures for the L39, section 3-27 titled Cockpit Pressurization/Ventilation System Malfunction, stated in part, that if the canopy was open/lost/broken during flight, the pilot was to reduce airspeed to 145 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), descend below 10,000 feet, and land as soon as practical. It also stated that the landing airspeed should be the takeoff airspeed plus 20 KIAS maximum.

The reservation form provided by Incredible Adventures, Inc., Sarasota, Florida, to the passengers, was the cancellation policies. One section titled, "Additional filming rules & regulations," that the passengers agreed to abide by all the regulations set forth by the FAA and the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) governing motion picture and television operations. It indicated that a briefing would take place and include informing the participants of the risks involved, emergency procedures, and safeguards to be followed during the filming production event. The brief would also include any additional provision issued by the FSDO that has "geographical responsibility for the operational area, including the location of boundaries or time limits." 

A review of the operating limitations for the airplane dated March 24, 2011, indicated that the operating limitations did not expire. Of note were items number 10, 30, 38, and 43.

Item 10 states in part… 
No person MAY be carried in this aircraft during the exhibition of the aircraft's flight capabilities, performance, or unusual characteristics at air shows, or for motion picture, television, or similar productions, unless essential for the purpose of the flight. 

Item 30 states…
No person may operate this aircraft other than the purpose(s) of exhibition to exhibit the aircraft, or participate in events outlined in Walt Woltosz's Program Letter or (any amendments) describing compliance with 21.293(d). In addition, this aircraft must be operated in accordance with applicable air traffic and general operating rules of part 91, and all additional limitations herein prescribed under the provisions of 91.319)e). These operating limitations are part of Form 8130-7, and are to be carried in the aircraft at all times and be available to the pilot in command of the aircraft.

Item 38 states…
This aircraft is authorized for flights or static display at air shows, air races, and in motion pictures conducted under a waiver issued in accordance with 91.903.

Item 43 in part states…
The special airworthiness certificate and attached operating limitations for the aircraft have no expiration date.

http://registry.faa.gov/N39WT

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2012 in Boulder City, NV
Aircraft: AERO VODOCHODY L-39, registration: N39WT
Injuries: 2 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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 18, 2012, about 1300 Pacific daylight time, an experimental exhibition Aero Vodochody L-39, N39WT, impacted desert terrain about 1/2 mile from the Boulder City Municipal Airport (BVU), Boulder City, Nevada. Mach 1 Aviation and Incredible Adventures operated the flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wing assembly. The accident airplane, along with another L-39 (N139CK), departed Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California, about 0730 on the morning of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was destined for Boulder City.

A group of eight people had paid for a flight package. The flight was to be 45 minutes long, and at the end of the flight each passenger would be provided a film of their flight. The majority of the group was interviewed, and they stated that they were driven by bus from their hotel to BVU. Once they arrived at BVU, they made their way into BFE FBO (fixed based operator) and were told by someone at BFE that the two airplanes were en route from VNY. While they waited for the airplanes to arrive, the group discussed the order in which they would fly since only one passenger could occupy one seat in each airplane. After the airplanes arrived, the group reported seeing two people exit each airplane. The group talked to the pilots and took pictures of themselves with the airplanes. They moved inside BFE to a conference room where they received a briefing of what to expect. Members of the group indicated that there would be four flights; two flights would occur before lunch, the airplanes would be refueled, and then they would have the final two flights. The passengers did not observe any mechanical problems during the first two flights. The accident flight occurred on the third flight of the day after the lunch break.

The passenger in the lead airplane for the accident flight stated that that he and the other passenger got into their respective airplanes, he did not watch the other passenger get ready for their flight. He stated that he figured out how to put his own seatbelt/safety harness on, and was instructed about the canopy usage. After the canopies were closed, he was able to hear the pilot of his airplane and the pilot of the other airplane. The passenger stated that his pilot received a clearance for takeoff and was notified that a flight of Apache helicopters were inbound for landing. The pilots taxied the airplanes to the runway and came to a stop. The lead airplane was on the left side of the runway and the accident airplane was on the right side of the runway. There was a discussion about the crosswind and if there were any issues on takeoff, his airplane would make a left turn, and the accident airplane would make a "harder left [turn]." To the passenger the takeoff was normal. He recalled looking at the altimeter and noting that about 400 feet above the ground, his pilot instructed the other pilot to stay in formation. The passenger stated that his airplane was in a climbing left turn and he heard the other pilot say mayday three times and "canopy." He looked out of his window and saw the accident airplane in a right turn, then saw it flatten out followed by a puff of dirt. He recalled seeing the accident airplane go underneath one set of power lines. The passenger stated that there were no further communications from the pilot of the accident airplane. One of the helicopters approaching BVU during the airplanes takeoff saw the crash and landed near the accident site to render assistance. The pilot of the lead airplane circled over the accident site and gave the helicopter's crew instructions on how to open the canopies and turn off the engine.

The pilot in the lead airplane stated that the takeoff was normal. The climb out was normal until he heard a "canopy" call coming from the pilot of the other airplane.

The accident site was approximately 1/2 mile northwest of the airport in flat desert terrain. The airplane came to rest intact between two sets of power lines next to an access road. The first identified point of impact (FIPC) was a flat area adjacent to a berm alongside the road; an impression of the airplane fuselage and wings were observed in the dirt at the FIPC. The debris field from the FIPC to the main wreckage was about 480 feet long. Undercarriage and a gear door were found about 100 feet from the main wreckage. The airplane rotated slightly to the west next to the access road. A 25-pound ballast was found on the other side of the access road. Investigators noted a 4-foot-deep by 20-feet-wide crater just behind the engine.


Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The pilot of the Aero Vodochody L39 that crashed near the Boulder City Airport has been identified as Douglass E. Gilliss, 65 of Solano Beach, Calif., according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The passenger on board, as reported by the LVRJ, was Richard A. Winslow, 65, of Palmdale, Calif. According to Red Steel Jet Team spokesperson, Gilliss was flying out of Boulder City for California where he was schedule to take a commercial flight to Kansas City, Mo. for an air show.


The pilot of a jet fighter plane that crashed near Boulder City Friday has been identified as Douglas Gilliss by members of the Red Steel Jet Team, of which Gilliss was a member.

A note posted on Red Steel’s Facebook page Saturday morning stated “Yesterday just outside of Boulder City, NV we lost Doug in an air plane crash on his way to Van Nuys, California…Doug's aviation resume is and will remain one of the most respected in the industry.”

The accident occurred Friday around 12:30 p.m. about a half-mile west of the Boulder City Airport.

According to Federal Aviation Administration, a Czech-made Aero Vodochody L39 jet crashed for unknown reasons in a mostly barren desert area near a string of power lines.

Local authorities have confirmed that two people aboard the plane were killed, but have not officially identified either victim.

According to his profile on Red Steel’s website, Gilliss was a former United States Air Force Pilot who flew more than 5,800 hours during his 30-year career. He was a certified FAA safety counselor and had developed and taught curriculum for the L-39.

A second L39 jet that took off alongside Gillis’s jet Friday circled the airport and landed safely, witnesses said.

Charles Nevel, a custodian at the airport, said he saw the planes take off in tandem. The jet that crashed peeled off and slowly descended before it went out of sight behind a building, he said. The same plane had safely taken off and landed earlier in the day, he said.

According to employees at various businesses at the airport, some of whom monitor aircraft radio chatter, the jet experienced some sort of difficulty when taking off. Moments after a puff of smoke appeared, the pilot radioed “mayday!” before the aircraft crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead investigator in the accident, and will release a report of its findings in the coming weeks.
The L-39 Albatross is a jet trainer aircraft developed in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. It has a single turbofan jet engine and a top speed of 485 mph, according to Hopper Flight, an L-39 jet enthusiast group.
One website, L-39 Enthusiasts, lists 19 crashes of the aircraft since July 3, 1998; there was most recently a crash Jan. 20 in Rainbow City, Ala.

Pilot loses license after fatal jet crash in Tehachapi 

 The former Air Force captain received a revocation order after a Fourth of July aerial display ended with two deaths.

October 07, 2009|Dan Weikel

Federal authorities have revoked the pilot's license of a veteran aviator who flew in a July 4 aerial display in Tehachapi, Calif., that ended with the fatal crash of a vintage Soviet military jet with two people aboard.

The Federal Aviation Administration canceled the airline transport pilot and ground instruction certificates of Douglas E. Gilliss of Solana Beach, a former U.S. Air Force captain and Vietnam War veteran with decades of aviation experience.

The FAA sent Gilliss a revocation order Sept. 28, a copy of which was obtained by The Times on Tuesday under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Gilliss was one of several pilots who participated in a formation flyover of three Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfins, once the standard jet trainer of the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations during the Cold War. Gilliss flies with the Thunder Delfins, a group of L-29 enthusiasts.

During the flyover, one Delfin fell out of formation and slammed into Old Town Road, killing David Zweigle, 42, the city's airport director, and Robert Chamberlain, 63, of Morrison, Colo., a retired airline pilot and former Air Force test pilot. The aircraft, which was owned and flown by Zweigle, passed over a park and missed several houses before impact.

FAA officials say that Gilliss violated federal regulations by flying over densely populated areas at less than 1,000 feet. They also assert that Gilliss improperly carried a passenger and falsely claimed in a pilot's log that he had checked out Zweigle in the L-29 before the crash.

Zweigle was required to demonstrate his ability to fly the L-29 to an FAA-designated flight examiner before he could act as the pilot in command of the aircraft. FAA officials say Gilliss was a flight examiner at the time.

"You have demonstrated that you lack the required care, judgment and responsibility to hold any airman certificate," the FAA stated in the revocation order.

Gilliss declined to comment, except to say that he would appeal the decision.

In an earlier statement, he said the L-29s avoided populated areas and flew between 1,200 and 1,500 feet, well above the minimum required altitude.


He said the planes did not present a hazard to the public because they proceeded along the area's railroad tracks and not directly over the city of about 35,000.


 An Aero Vodochody L39 jet taxis for takeoff at the Boulder City Airport just before crashing into the desert about a half mile west of the airstrip. 





 





 
Witnesses told FOX5 the plane went down near the intersection of U.S. 93 and Veteran's Memorial Highway. 
Les Krifaton/FOX5


Two people were killed Friday afternoon when a small, single-engine jet crashed just west of Boulder City Airport, authorities said.

According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, a Czech-made Aero Vodochody L39 jet crashed for unknown reasons about a half mile west of the Boulder City Airport. The plane, built as a high-performance military trainer, went down in a desert area near a string of power lines.

Local authorities are reporting that both people aboard the plane were killed. Boulder City Police Chief Thomas Finn said he could not confirm the deaths, but he said the occupants were still in the plane some two hours after the crash.

The plane crashed about 12:30 p.m. as it was taking off from the airport, Finn said. “It landed flat; it pancaked into the desert,” he said.

After the plane crashed, the engine was still running and caught fire, burning the rear end of the aircraft, Finn said.

According to employees at various businesses at the airport, some of whom monitor aircraft radio chatter, the jet experienced some sort of difficulty when taking off from the airstrip.

Moments after a puff of smoke appeared, the pilot radioed “mayday!” before the aircraft crashed. People nearby said there didn’t appear to be a fireball.

Another aircraft was flying overhead at the time and, after circling, landed at the airport.
The L-39 Albatross is a popular model of jet trainer aircraft developed in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. It has a single turbofan jet engine and a top speed of 485 mph, according to Hopper Flight, an L-39 jet enthusiast group.

The Boulder City airport is not controlled, meaning there is no air traffic control tower and pilots announce their intentions on their radios, using a shared frequency.

Emergency responders, including Metro Police and Boulder City police and firefighters, were at the scene.

http://www.lasvegassun.com
 
BOULDER CITY, NV (FOX5) -  A Czech-made jet aircraft crashed in the desert near Boulder City on Friday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a single-engine Aero Vodochody L 39, a combat plane that is also popular for recreational flying.

Photographs taken by FOX5's Les Krifaton showed the aircraft was largely intact and resting on its belly in a desert area south of U.S. 93

Texas airline exec describes enemies at porn trial

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The founder of a South Texas cargo airline testified in his own defense on Friday, the fifth day of his federal trial on child pornography charges, and described several people motivated to set him up.

Robert Hedrick told jurors about disagreements with two business partners, his ex-wife, a city commissioner and officials at the Brownsville airport where his airline was based.

Hedrick was president of three companies: a global pool supply company, a logistics company and Pan American Airways, an air cargo company connecting the U.S. and Latin America.

Hedrick is charged with five counts related to child pornography and sexual exploitation of children. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on just one count of distributing child pornography. His lawyers have said he is the victim of a conspiracy. The prosecution rested Thursday.

Hedrick's testimony Friday bounced from secret government contracts during the Cold War to business disputes in the months preceding his arrest. Each venture, including the marriage to his now ex-wife, seemed to produce another enemy.

Hedrick's attorney Ed Stapleton said in opening remarks Monday that the defense would not be able to offer proof of who was behind a conspiracy. Authorities found 2,400 pornographic images on three hard drives in Hedrick's home and traced Internet identities that had graphic conversations with undercover detectives posing as teen girls back to Hedrick. Three hours of Hedrick's testimony sketched a list of enemies.

There was a business partner who ran a South Texas pool company that Hedrick alleged hired ex-convicts with sex offenses. Hedrick said he forced that partner to resign from the company after he failed to live up to their business agreement.

"He was furious," Hedrick said.

Another man was a vice president at Pan American Airways who Hedrick said encouraged him to form partnerships with shady business entities in Colombia that Hedrick suspected were involved in drug trafficking. That man had his own company that sold spy and security equipment.

"It was a good relationship until it came down to greed," Hedrick said.

When Hedrick objected to Brownsville's consideration of a company that proposed offering passenger service to Monterrey, he said he antagonized and received threats from a local city commissioner. Hedrick said the city had turned him down when he made a similar proposal but was then considering offering the same kind of subsidies to another outfit.

Hedrick said he also made enemies of airport officials by complaining to federal authorities about security violations at the airfield.

And after 14 years of marriage, Hedrick said he caught his wife having sex with another man in their apartment. He initiated a divorce that he said was finalized while he was in jail awaiting trial. He said his ex-wife has a couple hundred thousand shares in his company "and I don't know what else she's been offered." He said her adult son also beat him up once.

Hedrick was scheduled to continue testifying later Friday.

http://www.cbsnews.com

Hawker Hunter F.Mk.58, Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., N329AX: Accident occurred May 18, 2012 in Point Mugu, California

http://registry.faa.gov

NTSB Identification: DCA12PA076  
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2012 in Point Mugu, CA
Aircraft: HAWKER AIRCRAFT LTD HAWKER HUNTER MK.58A, registration: N329AX
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. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and obtained data from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

On May 18, 2012 at 1212 pacific standard time, a Hawker Hunter Mk 58, single-seat turbojet fighter type aircraft, registration N329AX, operated by Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) under contract to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) crashed while on approach to Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California (NTD). The sole occupant pilot aboard was killed, and the airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and fire. The pilot reported a fuel transfer problem prior to the accident. The flight was conducted under the provisions of a contract between ATAC and the U.S. Navy to provide ATAC owned and operated aircraft to support adversary and electronic warfare training with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101). The airplane was operating as a non-military public aircraft under the provisions of Title 49 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 40102 and 40125.




 
Photo by Anthony Plascencia 
Emergency response personnel surround the wreckage of a Hawker Hunter, a single-seat fighter/ground attack monoplane. It crashed about 12:15 p.m. in a field off Broome Ranch Road between CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo and Point Mugu.








A Camarillo man was identified by coroner officials as the pilot who died in Friday's plane crash near Point Mugu, authorities said.

Thomas Bennett, 57, died on impact about 12:15 p.m. Friday afternoon after the plane went down about 1.5 miles away from the base, officials said.

An autopsy revealed Bennett died of blunt force injuries, said Craig Stevens, a senior deputy Ventura County medical examiner. The manner was ruled an accident.

Bennett was piloting a Hawker Hunter jet that belonged to Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., a contractor for Naval Base Ventura County, officials said. The Virginia-based company helps conduct tactical exercises at Point Mugu, officials said.

Matt Bannon, spokesman for Airborne Tactical said Bennett was "more than likely" returning from an exercise.

Patrol units from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office remain on scene this afternoon as the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the crash. 

-----------
 
Officials have confirmed that one person died in a crash today of a former British military plane in an agricultural field near Point Mugu.

The downed plane was a Hawker Hunter, a single-seat fighter/ground attack monoplane. It crashed about 12:15 p.m. in a field off Broome Ranch Road between CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo and Point Mugu.

The Hawker Hunter jet belonged to Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., a contractor for Naval Base Ventura County, said Navy spokesman Vance Vasquez. The company's website says it operates the Mk-58 Hawker Hunter.

The company helps conduct tactical exercises at Point Mugu, officials said.

"These are ex-military planes that are used as adversary support ... they play the 'bad guys' during exercises," Vasquez said.

The plane was returning to Point Mugu when it crashed, officials said.

The cause of the crash was not yet known.

Witnesses said the plane appeared "obliterated," and its parts were scattered in the agricultural field over an area the size of a football field.

Various emergency and military personnel are on the scene. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the scene.

Authorities have closed Potrero Road east into Thousand Oaks. The plane reportedly had 2,000 pounds of fuel, and environmental officials have been called in for a cleanup.

 A civilian training jet on contract to the military crashed in Southern California on Friday, killing the pilot, authorities said. The Hawker Hunter jet trainer had taken off from Naval Base Ventura County and crashed at about 12:15 p.m. near the base, just outside Camarillo, Ventura County fire department spokesman Steve Swindle said. The pilot was the only person aboard. Swindle did not know if the pilot was a civilian or a member of the military. Camarillo is about 50 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. 
 ========
A jet plane crashed about three miles southeast of Camarillo Airport Friday as it was returning to Point Mugu during a training exercise.

Officials with Naval Base Ventura County confirmed the plane is a Hawker Hunter contracted by the Navy from Airborne Tactical Advantage Company. The crash occurred in a field near Potrero Road and Old Hueneme Road, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The crash was reported at about 12:15 p.m.

Military trainer jet crashes near Camarillo Airport 

CAMARILLO, Calif. (KABC) -- A military-contracted civilian trainer jet crashed in a large field near Camarillo Airport in Ventura County on Friday afternoon.

According to the Ventura County Fire Department, the plane involved was a Hawker Hunter jet trainer.

The jet had taken off from Naval Base Ventura County and crashed at about 12:15 p.m. near the base.

The pilot was declared dead at the scene. Authorities say there was no one else aboard. It was unclear if the pilot was a civilian or a member of the military.

Win 1 of 3 copies of Sea Viper on DVD - Closing date: June 18, 2012




SEA VIPER

September, 1944. Fresh from liberty on the island of Hawaii, Horatio Culpepper, Captain of the U.S.S. SEAVIPER - one of the Navy's wolf pack submarines, receives an order from Vice Admiral Stallerman, along with top-secret information from President Roosevelt, to rescue a downed-American airplane near Sumatra.

The downed pilot, an American Navy airman, is rescued with two escaped prisoners-of-war (POW) from a nearby island. But the Japanese and Germans are also discovered to be on this island together, and the submarine's landing party needs to separate. They discover that the Germans have converted a mine laying U-234 into a long-range submarine. And that the Germans have transported a deadly cargo across the Pacific to deliver to the Japanese.

Why then is U-235 so important? Forced to return to the boat while the Captain stays behind, the Chief Petty Officer, Keenan, realizes that he must deal with unexpected changes in command; the Executive Officer, Roitman, suffers a head injury during a depth charge attack and is relieved of duty, and his rival, Officer Cutter, rises to power. A stuck torpedo, a flooded compartment, and structural damage to the boat from a Japanese destroyer all become life-threatening, and the boat's survival is questioned. With only enough high-compressed air to get the boat to 100 feet, low oxygen, and a Japanese destroyer in-waiting, will SEAVIPER be able to return to the surface?

Can SEAVIPER abort the enemy's plan before it's too late?


To enter:
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Closing date: 18 Jun 2012

''Miss Piggy,'' a Hurricane Hunter aircraft, is prepared for the 2012 Hurricane Season

 

Meteorologist Mark Collins and photojournalist Adam Vance had the opportunity to ride "Miss Piggy," a P3 Hurricane Hunter plane, and preview upgraded radar technology that will collect data during hurricane season.

 The tools on board are designed to cut through the cloudy eye wall of storms and provide a clean look at the rain and wind inside, which makes for more accurate forecasts during hurricane seasons.

On the test flight, the most accurate radar was retrieved at 10,000 feet, between storms and ground radar.

Collins says the goal on the flight was to compare radar readings from the ground, to radar in the sky, to make sure the plane's instrument was calibrated.

After doing so, the plane traveled throughout the moving storm, and allowed for scientists on board to see the middle of the storm.

The team then analyzed information on their display screen to ensure the tools were functioning properly, and picking up accurate measurements of wind and rain.

When working properly, the data retrieved can help calculate the potential growth of a hurricane.

A routine fire drill took place during the flight as well, again, to ensure the Hurricane Hunter and crews are fully prepared.

The flight was a success, and 10 News Weather Team will utilize the life-saving data that will be collected from "Miss Piggy" throughout the 2012 hurricane season.

Helicopters Practice Formation For 78 Aircraft Jubilee Flypast



Britain's Royal Air Force on Friday (May 18) took to the skies to practice flying in perfect formation for Saturday's extravaganza celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle. 

 78 aircraft are taking part in the royal flypast. Some will fly in diamond shapes in celebration.

The flypast will include helicopters, Lancasters and Spitfires, Hercules and Tornados. Some will form the shape of '60' for a special tribute.

The elite Red Arrows will finish off the huge flypast for the Queen, Prince Philip, and other visiting foreign royals who will be watching from an arena in Windsor.

There will be 3,800 royals, veterans and family members inside the arena.

Wing Commander Jason Appleton will be in the first aircraft of the flypast.

"This is just the biggest honour, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity personally speaking to be in the very first aircraft to fly over, out of 78 aircraft, is indeed a big honour," he said.

Saturday's Jubilee Parade and Muster will also see the marching of 2,500 troops. It has been 18 months in the planning.

Windsor Castle was chosen to provide an intimate setting, bringing the troops very close to the Queen.

http://tv.ibtimes.com

How safe are private aircraft?




In the U.S., there are about four or five fatal crashes by private aircraft every week, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.  On May 7, a Grumman AA5 single-engine plane en route from St-Mathieu De Beloeil, Que., to Markham, Ont., crashed 40 kilometres south of Peterborough, killing the pilot.

Five days later, on Saturday morning, a mid-air collision near St. Brieux, Sask., between a Piper PA-28 Cherokee and a Lake Buccaneer amphibious plane killed all five people on board the two aircraft.

On Sunday evening, a de Havilland Beaver float plane crashed southwest of Kelowna, B.C., killing three people.

It is the mid-air collision in particular that has friends and family of the pilots killed, as well as other pilots, speculating about what could have happened.

The two planes were on near right-angle flight paths, but investigators are not clear yet whether they were still at 90 degrees to each other before the crash.

Peter Hildebrandt, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), told CBC Radio's Sheila Coles that the wreckage indicates that the planes definitely collided.

The TSB has just begun what will be a relatively involved investigation to try to figure out how the crash could have happened and it may be "months down the road" before it has any kind of answer to that question, Hildebrandt said.
 
Other mid-air collisions in Canada


On Feb. 9, 2011, four Cessna planes were flying in formation near Mission, B.C., when the plane in the rear crashed into the one in front. The two locked together and started spinning to the ground from a height of less than 1,000 metres.

The rear Cessna broke free and was able to land safely but the other plane crashed into a slough, killing the pilot and a passenger.

In 1999, the TSB investigated another mid-air collision, which happened near Penticton, B.C.

Over the past 10 years, the TSB identified 17 mid-air collisions in Canada. Eight involved some form of formation flying, three were in practice training areas and six were in uncontrolled air space.

How planes avoid each other

In Canada and the U.S., planes that carry at least 15 and 10 passengers respectively must have collision avoidance systems.

Such systems indicate the position of all aircraft within a selected range. The better ones even tell pilots how to manoeuvre to avoid the other aircraft.

Some small planes have systems on board to alert pilots, but in the CBC interview Hildebrandt said the TSB had yet to determine whether that was the case for either plane in the Saskatchewan collision.

Even without a system, he said there are still three ways pilots keep their planes apart:

    By radio calls when arriving or departing an area to alert others to their presence.

    By travelling at different altitudes, depending on the direction of the flight.

    By being on the lookout for other aircraft.

As for tracking the radio communications, Hildebrandt said some of the frequencies the pilots may have used "may not have been recorded anywhere."

Tom Ray, the general manager of the Regina Flying Club, where one of the pilots killed in the crash was a member, told CBC Radio's David Gray that, "a split second would have made all the difference" in avoiding the collision near St. Brieux.

Ray added that the protocol for pilots to follow was that if you see an aircraft, "the aircraft on the right has the right-of-way."

Private planes at higher risk

In Canada the accident rate for private (including corporate) planes was 28.4 per 100,000 flying hours in 2002. That rate is much higher than the rate for commuter planes and airliners but the rate has been dropping over the years.

According to a 2002 TSB report, "the generally accepted factors that contribute to these higher accident rates include less stringent aircraft certification standards, reduced pilot training requirements, lower pilot experience, higher instances of single-pilot operations, greater proportions of time spent in low-altitude VFR operations, and more frequent use of small airports and landing strips that are not equipped with navigation and landing aids."

In 2011, there were 224 accidents involving single engine aircraft in Canada, 29 of them fatal.

In the U.S. in 2010, general aviation aircraft were involved in 1,435 accidents, 267 of them fatal. General aviation excludes passenger planes, cargo planes, air taxis, air medical and air tours.

A USA Today analysis in 2006 of NTSB data found that one-third of fatal recreational plane crashes were triggered by a loss of control and one-quarter occurred during aggressive manoeuvring.

Pilot inexperience is also a key factor. The newspaper found that 45 per cent of fatal crashes involved pilots with 100 hours or less flight experience in the specific model.

Overall, "as many as nine out of 10 private plane accidents are attributed to human error, Alan Levin and Brad Heath wrote in USA Today.

Mid-air collisions and airliners

Mid-air collisions involving at least one airliner have been quite rare in the last few decades.

On April 8, 1954, near Moose Jaw, Sask., a Trans-Canada Airlines flight collided with a military aircraft, resulting in 37 deaths.

Two years later, in what was then the worst civil air accident in the U.S., two planes collided over the Grand Canyon in June 1956, killing 128 people.

Two years after that, in 1958, two mid-air collisions involving an airliner and a military aircraft led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Authority.

One of those 1958 crashes occurred on May 20, the same day a fatal mid-air collision involving an airliner and a military aircraft happened in Italy as well.

Since the 1956 crash, the U.S. has experienced two mid-air collisions with more fatalities: 134 people were killed near New York City in 1960 and 144 were killed near San Diego in 1978.

The world's worst mid-air collision involved two airliners on international flights, flying above India in 1996. All 349 people aboard the two planes died.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca