Friday, June 01, 2012

Remembering Capt. John "Jay" Brainard


Army Capt. Jay Brainard and his wife, Emily. "Jay was my best friend, the love of my life, and my hero," she said in an interview on Thursday

 NEWPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The family of Army Captain John "Jay" Brainard is remembering him as a man who loved his family, the outdoors and the military. Brainard died earlier this week when the apache helicopter he was piloting crashed.

"He was the best brother anyone could ever ask for. He was the closest thing I had to a best friend," said Ben Hawthorne who is Brainard's brother.

Each picture that Ben sees of his brother "Jay" brings back another special memory that the two brothers shared.

"One of my greatest memories of my brother is when he went with me on my first airplane ride ever. It was in a De Havilland Beaver in Greenville. We went up there, my brother got to fly with me on my first airplane ride ever," Ben said.

Captain John "Jay" Brainard flew apache helicopters in the army.

On Memorial Day, Ben, got a call from his mom that he will never forget, telling him that his brother died.

"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I still don't believe it. It's still not real. It's still not real," Ben said.

Ben said John, "Jay" loved his family very much, but he also loved the outdoors and going on adventures. So it came as no surprise that "Jay" joined the military, and it did not take him long to climb up the rankings.

"He was an Apache helicopter pilot and he made the rank of captain shortly after going to his first base in Germany," Ben said.

Ben said he and his brother talked about living in Maine and growing old. Now he will have to do the living for the both of them, and remember the good times they shared while he was alive.

"I would tell my brother that I love him, and give him the biggest hug. I could honestly say I'd of given my life to just get one hug from my brother. Just to be able to tell him one more time I love him more than anything. Always have," Ben said.

Story and video:

Witnesses used water hose to put out pilot on fire

 Witnesses sprang into action to help a Bluetown pilot escaping a fire that destroyed his cropdusting plane. 

Wilfredo Castro-Zamora will never forget a fire that destroyed a cropdusting plane and left it's pilot burned.

It all happened at an airfield off U.S. Highway 281 and Muñoz Avenue just outside Bluetown around 10:45 a.m. Friday.

Castro-Zamora he came from Ccoahuila to buy a used plane from the pilot.

The plane had just landed and was getting ready to take off for another mission when the engine caught fire.
Castro-Zamora said the pilot came out of the cockpit on fire.

That's when Castro-Zamora and others sprang into action.

“I ran with the water hose,” Castro-Zamora said in Spanish. “I put out the fire on him and I tried to put out the fire on the plane but there wasn’t enough water pressure.”

La Feria firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire.

Fire Chief Rick Garcia said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the blaze.

"As per the witnesses, they lifted a panel inside the aircraft when they realized smoke coming from the fuel silage from in there somewhere and then it just caught fire,” Garcia said.

Castro-Zamora said the flames and black smoke stretched more almost 100 feet into the sky.

“Flames and black smoke,” he said in Spanish. “A tire exploded when the oil caught fire. A black smoke was coming out.”

Castro-Zamora said nobody else was injured in the accident.

The Cameron County Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the incident.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said they will also be investigating.


Ultralight force landed near Hagerstown, Maryland (With video)

HAGERSTOWN, MD - There was a small aircraft that crashed on Castle Hill Road.

A witness on the scene tells police the pilot was making a left bank turn and lost altitude.

He was transported to Meritus Medical Center with what appeared to be minor injuries.

It happened around 9 p.m. and Castle Hill Road was closed for some time.
Watch Video:

  Regis#: UNREG        Make/Model: ULTR      Description: UNREGISTERED ULTRALIGHT
  Date: 06/01/2012     Time: 0012

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: HAGERSTOWN   State: MD   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: BALTIMORE, MD  (EA07)                 Entry date: 06/01/2012 

City auctions off airplanes abandoned at Meriden Markham Municipal Airport (KMMK), Connecticut


Officials at the Meriden-Markham Airport auctioned off two airplanes Friday afternoon. The planes, which sold for a combined $6,050, were left abandoned at the airport. 


MERIDEN — One airplane enthusiast traveled all the way from Madison, Wis., to take part in an airplane auction at Meriden-Markham Airport Friday afternoon.

At home in Wisconsin, Dave Godec plans to build a 1949 Piper Clipper from an empty frame. The plane went through a tornado in Illinois years ago and he has been working to restore the aircraft. Last month, he was shocked to read a story online about the exact same plane, in good condition except for lacking a motor, up for auction.

“When I saw the airplane I just about died,” Godec said. “This is the airplane I’d like to build.”

Airport officials found two airplanes that were left abandoned at the airport and the city decided to auction them off. Neither plane had an engine. The Clipper was otherwise in very good shape. The 1978 Piper Tomahawk, on the other hand, was mostly just a shell that could be sold off for scrap metal.

“It’s kind of a strange thing to have abandoned airplanes,” Interim Airport Manager Ron Price said.

More than a dozen people milled around the hangar before the auction, peering through the cockpit and checking the controls of the Clipper. Godec placed the initial bid at $500 and stayed with it as four other pilots went back and forth with bids.

Godec ended up with the winning bid of $5,700 for the Clipper. Now he has five days to pay and transport the aircraft, Price said, though he told Godec he was welcome to lease space at Meriden-Markham Airport.

“That would be a bit of a commute,” Godec joked.

Since he was in the process of building his own plane, Godec already has a working engine and prop that will work with the one he purchased Friday. He plans to continue working on the other plane, but will fly this one in the mean time.

“I’ve liked this plane for years,” Godec said of making the trip out for the auction.

What makes the Clipper attractive, Godec said, is its responsive controls and it being relatively inexpensive to fly, yet still capable of flying at 110 miles per hour.

Without an engine in the plane, Godec was planning to have the aircraft shipped back to Wisconsin on a trailer. He said he should be able to get all the certifications to be ready to fly within two to three months.

Unlike the Clipper, the Tomahawk was in a state of disarray. The engine and all sorts of other internal parts were scavenged from the aircraft already and birds had taken up residence in one of the wings.

New Britain resident Kevin Ross had the winning bid on the Tomahawk at $350.

“We’ll use what parts we can and the rest is just scrap metal,” Ross said. “That’s about it.”

Wayne Barneschi from the Trail of Terror placed a few bids on the Tomahawk but was outbid. Since the plane is destined for scrap, he and Ross talked about possibly incorporating pieces of the old plane into the seasonal Halloween attraction.

“I’ll have to check it out,” Ross said to Barneschi.

As with Godec, Ross was making plans to haul the plane away after going over the paperwork with Price Friday afternoon.


Plane Catches Fire in Bluetown, Texas (With Video)

A single engine crop duster caught fire in Bluetown Friday.

The La Feria Fire Department says the fire started at around 11 this morning. Witnesses say the pilot is from Mexico and just came back from crop dusting.

The pilot shut off the plane and remained in the cockpit while workers checked out the plane before it took off to do more crop dusting.

"They lifted a panel inside the aircraft and saw smoke coming from the fuselage, from there somehow it caught fire."

These two witnesses saw the plane and the pilot catch fire.

"The pilot ran saying his body was on fire."

Wilfredo Zamora tried to put out the flames on the pilot.

"I sprayed him with water and also the plane."

The pilot suffered burn injuries to his arms and face.

Shortly after the La Feria fire department arrived and put out the remaining flames on the plane. The cause of the fire is still unknown. At this time condition of the pilot is also unknown.

Watch Video:

3 killed in helicopter crash near Terrace, British Columbia

An A-Star 350 BA helicopter is seen on the Bailey Helicopters website. It's unclear what model of chopper went down in Friday's crash. June 1, 2012.
 (Bailey Helicopters Ltd.) 

 Three people are dead after a helicopter crashed west of Terrace, B.C. Friday morning in an area called Sleeping Beauty Mountain.

The Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre in Victoria has confirmed there were no survivors in the crash, which occurred just after 9 a.m. during a training flight.

The victims' identities have not been released.

Search crews were dispatched to the area after the helicopter sent off an automated crash beacon, but had trouble accessing the site due to difficult terrain.

Officials say weather conditions were poor at the time of the crash.

The chopper is owned by Bailey Helicopters of Fort St. John. The company has yet to issue a statement.

Cuba Heads for the Skies


Cuba Gooding Jr. and Anthony Hemingway reveal their determination to make sure the real life heroes of their latest film, 'Red Tails,' were proud of their efforts. 

In cinemas June 6 
In cinemas June 6 

 Inspired by the true story of World War II's first African American fighter squadron, Red Tails is a thrilling action-packed film with the most realistic dogfights ever to hit the screen.

Executive Produced by George Lucas, Produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson, Written by John Ridley (Three Kings) and Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) and Directed by Anthony Hemingway (The Wire), Red Tails tells the tale of the heroic 332nd fighter group of the U.S. Army Air Corps who overcame racial discrimination to become one of the most distinguished squadrons in World War II.

In cinemas June 6

Fantastic voyage: Flying boat drops in for Icelandair’s 75th anniversary


A RESTORED flying boat has taken off from Scotland on an international voyage to mark an airline anniversary. 

One of the few airworthy Catalinas in operation flew from Prestwick airport in Ayrshire yesterday destined for Iceland where it will be displayed at the Reykjavik Air Show. 

The Second World War aircraft is similar to those which operated Iceland’s first international air link – to Largs Bay in 1945. 

The former submarine-hunting plane, G-PBYA, was en route from its current base at Duxford near Cambridge to take part in Icelandair’s 75th anniversary celebrations. 

The plane, which has a hull at its base allowing it to land in water, was bought from the Royal Canadian Air Force and restored by Plane Sailing, a team of British pilots and engineers.

Nanaimo air cadet tests his wings

Andrew Gates poses with his father’s Cessna 172, in which he’s logged a few hours since getting his pilot’s license. Gates recently earned a $200,000 scholarship from the Royal Military College Canada in Kingston, Ont. 
RACHEL STERN/The News Bulletin 

By Chris Hamlyn - Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: June 01, 2012

When it comes to pursuing a career as a Canadian Forces pilot, the sky is the limit for Nanaimo's Andrew Gates.

The 18-year-old Cedar Community Secondary School Grade 12 student earned a $200,000 scholarship from the Royal Military College Canada in Kingston, Ont., to become an aeronautical engineer and eventually fulfill his dream of flying fighter jets.

That dream began as a six-year-old with a desire to learn how to fly.

“We’ve always had the plane in the family and around six or seven I started thinking about flying,” Gates said.

Gates joined the 205 Collishaw Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron at 12 and after a year of hanging around planes, was convinced any career move would involve flying.

He earned his glider’s license at 16 and knew flying was something he wanted to do all the time.

“When I got my power pilot’s license last year and was flying longer and faster, I knew right away I wanted to be a pilot in the military,” he said.

Gates always gets a rush when in an aircraft, but being in the pilot's seat is where he likes it most.

“Being in charge of the aircraft, making the decisions, that’s a whole new level,” he said. “It’s exciting and relaxing at the same time. You know exactly what you have to do, go through your procedures and checks and everything works out. Unfortunately in civil aviation, when it gets too exciting, that’s usually when something goes bad.”

Gates hasn’t had any ‘bad’ experiences, learning to fly under the watchful eyes of his father and grandfather.

Having experienced pilots sitting next to him is reassuring and helped develop confidence in his own abilities, should he ever have to deal with an emergency.

He recently went through training on escaping from a submerged aircraft and believes in himself to react properly to any situation.

“You have to try and ignore the panic and realize there are only so many options,” he said. “Then you act to the best of your ability.”

Gates also credits his time in cadets for not only providing the opportunity to earn his wings, but to grow as a person.

From an introduction to aviation and first aid certification, to more than $35,000 in pilot scholarships, he owes a lot to the program.

“I’m a better person because of the lifeskills I’ve learned in cadets,” he said. “The program has also given me the  credibility to go on in the next phase of my life.”

Gates reports to school in August for boot camp and then begins classes in September as an officer cadet.

And even though his education is just starting, he has given his future some thought.

“You can’t be a pilot forever, but having the aeronautical background is key,” Gates said. “You know the engines and airframes inside and out if you want to design jets. And having a PhD and becoming a test pilot is the fast track to becoming an astronaut. I don’t think that would be a bad job.”


Prowler Jaguar (built by Charles R. Westcott) N125CW: Fatal accident occurred June 01, 2012 in Salinas, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA241
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 01, 2012 in Salinas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2014
Aircraft: WESTCOTT PROWLER JAGUAR, registration: N125CW
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.

Witnesses reported that the airplane accelerated down the runway, and immediately after takeoff the nose pitched up, and the airplane stalled, rolled, pitched down, and impacted the ground nose first. A postaccident examination of the flight control surfaces revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The forensic pathologist who performed the postmortem examination of the pilot reported that the pilot experienced a sudden cardiac event as a result of coronary artery atherosclerosis while piloting the airplane. The cardiac event is commonly associated with sudden unexpected death and would have resulted in incapacitation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inability to maintain airplane control during takeoff due to an incapacitating cardiac event.


On June 1, 2012, at 1059 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Westcott Prowler Jaguar, N125CW, impacted terrain immediately after takeoff at the Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the owner/builder under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed and involved in a post-accident fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

According to the Monterey County Sheriff, witnesses reported observing the airplane accelerate down runway 26. Immediately after takeoff the nose pitched up, the airplane stalled, rolled, and pitched down, then impacted the ground nose first. A post-crash fire ensued. Witnesses stated that they could audibly hear the engine operating all the way up to ground impact.


The pilot, age 73, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating and commercial privileges for airplane single engine land. He held a third-class medical certificate issued February 8, 2012, with the limitation that he wear lenses for distant vision, and have glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his medical application that his flight experience included 20,000 flight hours and 75 hours in the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not located and was not examined by investigators.


The experimental category tandem configured, low wing, airplane with retractable landing gear, serial number 0012, was manufactured in 2007. It was powered by a Rodeck V8 350-hp engine. Airplane maintenance records were not located and were not examined by investigators.


The wreckage was located on the south side of runway 26 near taxi way D. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector examined the wreckage and reported that all flight control surfaces were present and that the airplane had been consumed by a post-crash fire.

Airport surveillance cameras captured the airplane's last few seconds prior to the accident.

Camera 7 was located on the south side of the runway near the approach end of runway 26. The imagery depicted the airplane passing through the upper right corner of the camera's field of view at an approximately 30° angle climb at 1058:45, and exiting the frame at 1058:47. The airplane reenters the frame at 1058:49 in an extreme nose down attitude, impacts terrain at 1058:54, and was immediately followed by a fire ball explosion.

Camera 9, located on a building on the north side of runway 26, views the intersection of taxi way D and runway 26/08. The camera imagery depicts the airplane entering the field of view at 1058:52 in an extreme nose low attitude with the left wing pointing towards the ground. The airplane rolls approximately 90° to its left and impacts the terrain inverted nose first 2 seconds later. A fireball explosion immediately follows.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on June 4, 2012, by the Monterey County Forensic Pathologist, at the Monterey County Coroner Facility, Salinas, California. The pathologist's summary stated that the pilot most likely died suddenly as a result of coronary artery atherosclerosis (heart attack due to hardening and narrowing of arteries that supply the heart muscle), commonly associated with sudden unexpected death. No rapidly fatal injuries sustained in the airplane crash were observed at autopsy.

The FAA's Forensic Toxicology Research Team CAMI performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The following results were reported; no carbon monoxide detected in blood, no cyanide detected in blood, no ethanol detected in vitreous, and no listed drugs identified in urine.

 NTSB Identification: WPR12LA241 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 01, 2012 in Salinas, CA
Aircraft: WESTCOTT PROWLER JAGUAR, registration: N125CW
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 1, 2012, at 1059 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Westcott Prowler Jaguar, N125CW, impacted terrain immediately after takeoff at the Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California. The airplane was operated by the owner/builder under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and involved in a post accident fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

A witness reported observing the airplane accelerate down runway 26. Immediately after takeoff the nose pitched up, the airplane rolled, and then impacted the ground nose first. A post crash fire ensued.

The pilot whose experimental plane crashed into a runway and exploded into flames June 1 at Salinas Municipal Airport died of natural causes before the aircraft hit the ground, the Sheriff's Office announced Friday. 

An autopsy of Charles Russell Westcott determined the 73-year-old Carmel resident died of coronary artery disease before the crash. Westcott did not suffer any injuries prior to the crash, and his death was ruled natural.

Westcott was the only occupant of his single-engine Prowler Jaguar, home-built from a kit, when he attempted to take off from the airport shortly before 11 a.m.

Witnesses reported that the plane was in a steep but normal ascent when it lost power, rolled over and plunged to the ground, hitting the runway nose-first.

A Salinas Fire Department crew, which happened to be at the airport for training, was on the scene of the fiery crash within a minute, but Westcott was determined to be dead when he was pulled from the wreckage.


The pilot of a single-engine aircraft was killed Friday when the plane he was flying stalled and crashed just after takeoff from the Salinas Municipal Airport, witnesses and fire officials reported.

The aircraft, a single-engine, homebuilt Prowler Jaguar, crashed immediately after takeoff at about 11 a.m., according to Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.

He also confirmed that the only one aboard was the pilot, who was killed. A Salinas Californian reporter at the scene also confirmed that one body was removed from the single-engine aircraft, covered in a yellow tarp and loaded into a coroner's van.

The airplane was registered to Charles Westcott of Carmel, according to an FAA database.

Witnesses said the pilot had experienced a belly landing in the past – where the aircraft lands without its landing gear fully extended and uses its underside, or belly, as its primary landing device.

Neither Gregor nor the Salinas Fire Department would confirm the name of the pilot, pending notification of his next of kin.

Salinas Fire Battalion Chief Brett Loomis said the aircraft was about midway down the 6,000 foot long runway when the airplane must have hit the pavement.

There is a possibility of a fuel tank rupture causing a fuel leakage over the hot surfaces of the airplane’s engine, Loomis said.

“It was heavily involved in fire,” Loomis said.

The Salinas Fire Department arrived within 60 seconds of the crash as they were training at the Salinas Municipal Airport, Loomis said. Loomis said the heavy smoke coming from the airplane caught the firefighters’ attention. The thick gray smoke could be seen by motorists on Highway 101 at North Main Street, he said. “When we arrived the occupant was beyond any life saving … but we continued to put out the fire,” Loomis said. The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes of the crash, he said. Dave Teeters, owner of Salinas Airport-based Airmotive Specialties for 14 years outside his company’s building when the crash happened.

Teeters, who has been building airplanes since he was 10 years old, said witnessing the crash was very difficult for him. He continued to be shaken up hours after the crash.

“(The male pilot) gave gas to the engine and the airplane started down the runway. The airplane sounded like it was gradually losing power,” said Teeters.
His theory is that the airplane suffered a stall shortly after takeoff.

“There was not enough air going over the wings properly,” said Teeters. “The only thing he could have done is to point the airplane’s nose downward but it was too close to the ground to gather speed.”

Teeters said the pilot was “a very nice guy” and “an aircraft enthusiast.”
He said the pilot had been building the aircraft for a while and that the man had been flying the airplane for about a year.

“I restore and rebuild airplanes and I never want to build an airplane that hurts anyone,” said Teeters. “It hurts me seeing someone get hurt doing what they enjoy.”

A prowler is a two-seater airplane built to replace World War II fighter airplanes. They are high performing, fast airplanes. Teeters said they are not very forgiving. If a mistake is made you get killed, he said.

Throughout his 39 years of experience in restoring and rebuilding aircraft, Teeters said he has seen friends die flying airplanes. Nevertheless, he said, flying airplanes is one of the safest hobbies there is.

“It’s like being an artist or a musician. There is lots of passion involved in building and running airplanes,” said Teeters. “He was doing what he enjoyed most in life. He tried real hard to do everything right.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead investigative agency.

The engine of an experimental aircraft may have faltered Friday just before the plane crashed, killing its only occupant, shortly before 11 a.m. at Salinas Municipal Airport.

An eyewitness to the accident said the single-engine Prowler Jaguar, home-built from a kit, was on a steep ascent after takeoff when he heard the engine sputter.

"The plane was in a normal configuration for takeoff, in a pretty steep climb, which was normal, when I heard the engine starting to quit," said Dave Teeters, owner of Airmotive Specialties, an aircraft maintenance and restoration company based at Salinas Municipal Airport. "At that point it lost power and started to school down, sounding the same way a car might sound when you take your foot off the gas. By then, the plane wasn't going fast enough to fly without full power. It rolled over and went straight in."

Teeters said the plane hit the ground nose-first and burst into flames.

"There was no way the pilot could have saved it," he said. "He probably did everything he could have done."

The identity of the pilot has not been released pending notification of next of kin, but Teeters said the victim had purchased parts from his company on a couple of occasions.
"He was a really nice guy, very enthusiastic about aviation, and, from what I understand, he was a veteran pilot. He may have even been a former airline pilot," Teeters said.

Ian Gregor, public affairs officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the aircraft, a Prowler Jaguar, crashed for reasons that are not yet known. The Prowler Jaguar, an aircraft built from a kit made by Prowler Aviation, is described on the Prowler website as resembling a Spitfire, a P-40 and P-51 Mustang. The Jaguar received the prestigious Experimental Aircraft Association design award in 1986.

The National Transportation and Safety Bureau and the FAA are investigating the incident, Gregor said.

The plane crash is the second in Salinas in 53 days. On April 8, two men were killed when their light plane crashed in a field near Old Stage and Zabala roads, three miles east of Salinas Municipal Airport.

That aircraft, a single-engine monoplane Extra EA-300, was designed and built for aerobatic competition.

The body of a pilot was pulled from the charred wreckage of an aircraft that crashed and burned Friday at the Salinas Municipal Airport. Dave Teeters, owner of Airmotive Specialties located at the airport , said “The pilot was taking off and crashed. I saw the whole thing.” The aircraft, a single-engine, homebuilt Prowler Jaguar, crashed immediately after takeoff at about 11 a.m., according to Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration. He also confirmed that the only one aboard was the pilot, who was killed. A Salinas Californian reporter at the scene also confirmed that one body was removed from the single-engine aircraft, covered in a yellow tarp and loaded into a coroner's van.
Salinas Fire Battalion Chief Brett Loomis said the aircraft was about midway down the 6,000 foot long runway when the airplane must have hit the pavement. There is a possibility of a fuel tank rupture causing a fuel leakage over the hot surfaces of the airplane’s engine, Loomis said.

“It was heavily involved in fire,” Loomis said. The Salinas Fire Department arrived within 60 seconds of the crash as they were training at the Salinas Municipal Airport, Loomis said.   Loomis said the heavy smoke coming from the airplane caught the firefighters’ attention. “When we arrived the occupant was beyond any life saving…but we continued to put out the fire,” Loomis said. The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes of the crash, he said


One body was pulled from the charred wreckage of an aircraft that crashed and burned Friday at the Salinas Municipal Airport

Dave Teeters, owner of Airmotive Specialties located at the airport , said “The pilot was taking off and crashed. I saw the whole thing.”

The aircraft, a single-engine, homebuilt Prowler Jaguar, crashed immediately after takeoff at about 11 a.m., according to Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.

He also confirmed that the only one aboard was the pilot, who was killed. A Salinas Californian reporter at the scene also confirmed that one body was removed from the single-engine aircraft, covered in a yellow tarp and loaded into a coroner's van.

Gregor declined to confirm the tail number of the aircraft until the pilot’s next of kin have been notified.

National Transportation Safety Administration is the lead investigative agency.

SALINAS, Calif. -- A small plane crashed on the runway at Salinas Municipal Airport this morning, killing the pilot, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. The single-engine, home-built Prowler Jaguar crashed immediately after taking off around 11 a.m., FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. The plane was destroyed by the fire and the Salinas Fire Department is reporting that the pilot, the only person on board, was killed, Gregor said. The crash will be investigated by both the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA, with the NTSB taking the lead.

Beech King Air 200, N849BM: Accident occurred March 16, 2011 in Long Beach, California

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA166 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 16, 2011 in Long Beach, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2012
Aircraft: BEECH 200, registration: N849BM
Injuries: 5 Fatal,1 Serious.

Witnesses reported that the airplane’s takeoff ground roll appeared to be normal. Shortly after the airplane lifted off, it stopped climbing and yawed to the left. Several witnesses heard abnormal sounds, which they attributed to propeller blade angle changes. The airplane’s flight path deteriorated to a left skid and its airspeed began to slow. The airplane’s left bank angle increased to between 45 and 90 degrees, and its nose dropped to a nearly vertical attitude. Just before impact, the airplane’s bank angle and pitch began to flatten out. The airplane had turned left about 100 degrees when it impacted the ground about 1,500 feet from the midpoint of the 10,000-foot runway. A fire then erupted, which consumed the fuselage.

Review of a security camera video of the takeoff revealed that the airplane was near the midpoint of the runway, about 140 feet above the ground, and at a groundspeed of about 130 knots when it began to yaw left. The left yaw coincided with the appearance, behind the airplane, of a dark grayish area that appeared to be smoke. A witness, who was an aviation mechanic with extensive experience working on airplanes of the same make and model as the accident airplane, reported hearing two loud “pops” about the time the smoke appeared, which he believed were generated by one of the engines intermittently relighting and extinguishing.

Postaccident examination of the airframe, the engines, and the propellers did not identify any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Both engines and propellers sustained nearly symmetrical damage, indicating that the two engines were operating at similar low- to mid-range power settings at impact. The airplane’s fuel system was comprised of two separate fuel systems (one for each engine) that consisted of multiple wing fuel tanks feeding into a nacelle tank and then to the engine. The left and right nacelle tanks were breached during the impact sequence and no fuel was found in either tank. Samples taken from the fuel truck, which supplied the airplane's fuel, tested negative for contamination. However, a fuels research engineer with the United States Air Force Fuels Engineering Research Laboratory stated that water contamination can result from condensation in the air cavity above a partially full fuel tank. Both diurnal temperature variations and the atmospheric pressure variations experienced with normal flight cycles can contribute to this type of condensation. He stated that the simplest preventive action is to drain the airplane’s fuel tank sumps before every flight.

There were six fuel drains on each wing that the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for the airplane dictated should be drained before every flight. The investigation revealed that the pilot’s previous employer, where he had acquired most of his King Air 200 flight experience, did not have its pilots drain the fuel tank sumps before every flight. Instead, maintenance personnel drained the sumps at some unknown interval. No witnesses were identified who observed the pilot conduct the preflight inspection of the airplane before the accident flight, and it could not be determined whether the pilot had drained the airplane’s fuel tank sumps. He had been the only pilot of the airplane for its previous 40 flights. Because the airplane was not on a Part 135 certificate or a continuous maintenance program, it is unlikely that a mechanic was routinely draining the airplane's fuel sumps.

The witness observations, video evidence, and the postaccident examination indicated that the left engine experienced a momentary power interruption during the takeoff initial climb, which was consistent with a power interruption resulting from water contamination of the left engine's fuel supply. It is likely that, during the takeoff rotation and initial climb, water present in the bottom of the left nacelle tank was drawn into the left engine. When the water flowed through the engine's fuel nozzles into the burner can, it momentarily extinguished the engine’s fire. The engine then stopped producing power, and its propeller changed pitch, resulting in the propeller noises heard by witnesses. Subsequently, a mixture of water and fuel reached the nozzles and the engine intermittently relighted and extinguished, which produced the grayish smoke observed in the video and the “pop” noises heard by the mechanic witness. Finally, uncontaminated fuel flow was reestablished, and the engine resumed normal operation.

About 5 months before the accident, the pilot successfully completed a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 pilot-in-command check flight in a King Air 90. However, no documentation was found indicating that he had ever received training in a full-motion King Air simulator. Although simulator training was not required, if the pilot had received this type of training, it is likely that he would have been better prepared to maintain directional control in response to the left yaw from asymmetrical power. Given that the airplane’s airspeed was more than 40 knots above the minimum control speed of 86 knots when the left yaw began, the pilot should have been able to maintain directional control during the momentary power interruption.

Although the airplane’s estimated weight at the time of the accident was about 650 pounds over the maximum allowable gross takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds, the investigation determined that the additional weight would not have precluded the pilot from maintaining directional control of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control of the airplane during a momentary interruption of power from the left engine during the initial takeoff climb. Contributing to the accident was the power interruption due to water contamination of the fuel, which was likely not drained from the fuel tanks by the pilot during preflight inspection as required in the POH.

A twin-engine plane that crashed shortly after takeoff in Long Beach last year, killing several prominent community members, was 653 pounds overweight and might have had water in its fuel tanks, according to National Transportation Safety Board records.

Prominent Long Beach community and business leaders, including real estate broker and cycling activist Mark Bixby, 44, a descendant of one of the city’s founding families, were among the five killed in the fiery crash of the Beech King 200 as it took off from Long Beach Airport for a Utah ski trip in March 2011.

Also killed were real estate investor Thomas Dean, 50; his business partner Jeffrey Berger, 49; Bruce Krall, 51; and the pilot, Kenneth Cruz, 43. Another passenger, Mike Jensen, then 51, survived.

The NTSB has not cited a cause for the crash and its investigation is continuing.

But an NTSB History of Flight,” first reported on by the Belmont Shore-Naples Patch website, details the nine-second flight and the circumstances surrounding the crash.

According to the chronology and other records in the NTSB’s online investigation file, the plane’s wings wobbled as it started to climb, then banked sharply to the left and nosedived into the ground.

 Several witnesses told investigators that they heard what sounded like engine trouble.

The maintenance director at an aviation company that serviced the plane, which was owned by Dean, told investigators he heard two “pops” shortly after its wheels left the runway.

He said he believed the noises were related to the engines being extinguished by water in fuel tank sumps that should be drained by the pilot before every flight. 

“He didn’t believe that the accident airplane’s fuel tanks had been regularly drained since the owner bought it in the summer of 2009,” according to the NTSB’s interview of the maintenance director.

If not drained, a “slug” of water would flow to the plane’s 14 fuel nozzles, shutting the engines down momentarily, followed by a surge of fuel that could be reignited automatically, the report states.

“The [maintenance director] believes the two pops he heard were attempts by the engine to relight the reintroduced fuel,” the NTSB flight history stated.

The plane appeared to pull up somewhat just before the crash, records show, indicating that the engines might have restarted but too late to keep it flying.

After the crash, investigators calculated the craft's weight from the amount of fuel, number of passengers and pieces of baggage it carried.

“The airplane was estimated to be approximately 653 pounds overweight at takeoff,” the flight history said.

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA166
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 16, 2011 in Long Beach, CA
Aircraft: BEECH 200, registration: N849BM
Injuries: 5 Fatal,1 Serious.

On March 16, 2011, at 1029 Pacific daylight time, a Beech Super King Air 200, N849BM, impacted terrain following a loss of control during takeoff from Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California. The commercial pilot and four passengers were fatally injured; a fifth passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was being operated by Carde Equipment Sales LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for a cross-country flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, and the crash occurred on initial departure. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Full narrative available

Jim is Flying his Cessna 170 B filmed with a GoPro and his Sticky Mount


May 26, 2012 by ifoundjim
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New Toronto-based owner plans to increase Volk airport traffic

A press release issued this morning announced the Volk Aerodrome at 8128 Hwy 9 is under new ownership, Tottenham Airfield Corporation owned by Toronto businessman John Bailey.

The news advisory, issued by Hellingman Communications, suggests the property will undergo "An enhancement of the existing airfield (...), and once a draft master plan has been completed - expected later this year - it will be shared with the local community."

"We believe there is a tremendous potential to provide high quality aviation services at a small local airfield, particularly with the planned closing of the Buttonville Airport in Markham, the increased interest in recreational flying, and the increase in tourism and development in the Simcoe area," according to a quote attributed to Mr. Bailey in the press release.

The Volk Aerodrome has been the subject of intense opposition from its neighbours at Tecumseth Pines, who have pleaded with the Town to stop the fill operation that had been taking place over the past few months. Growing volumes of truck traffic in and out of the site caught the attention of the Ministry of Transportation which suspended entrance permits until several conditions were implemented.

"We appreciate that there have been concerns with this site in the past. We will place a high value on good relations with neighbours, government officials, and community group," according to Mr. Bailey. "That includes communicating regularly through meetings, newsletters, e-blasts, and via a web site, and also engaging the community in decisions about our operations."

It's noted in the release that Aviation consultant Richard Koroscil of Korlon Strategic Services has been retained to provide advice on the construction and operations of the airfield.

"A well respected engineering firm will also be hired to oversee the design and operation plans, traffic and environmental studies," according to the press release.

"To improve the airfield, fill will be brought onto the site through a contractual arrangement with the Green Soils group of companies. Green Soils is highly respected and specializes in the movement and remediation of soil. (...) with this single-source supplier arrangement, a strong level of control can be placed on the amount and quality of soils entering the site, as well as all trucking activity."

The company has set up a telephone hotline for enquiries about the airfield. The number is 905-936-4290 and calls will be responded to within one business day.

A general manager for the company will be hired in the coming weeks, and the Volk family will continue to manage the airfield and flight school operations.

"The Tottenham Airfield Corporation respects the safety and well being of the community and the environment, and will work cooperatively with all levels of government to ensure its operations meet or exceed applicable regulatory guidelines."


Leaving on a jet plane ✈ by Jacquie Hayes - The Australian Financial Review

Private jet travel may be one of the ultimate luxuries, but it may also be the key ingredient for companies with productivity high on the agenda.

People would not normally be able to make regular use of this type of travel unless they had jet money – personal net worth of about $50 million. And that’s just the entry level.

It’s worth it if you can afford it, though. The benefits are many: never having to handle your luggage; limo service from door to door; two pilots and full-service air stewards; and a stored personal profile that ensures all your in-flight needs are met, right down to having the Taittinger Champagne chilled and on ice when you board.

There’s also the convenience of skipping the whole security routine and not having to arrive for your flight until five minutes before you’re due to take off. And the plane will never, ever leave without you.

That’s what it’s like on NetJets at any rate, the company that pioneered fractional jet ownership in the United States and Europe. Fractional ownership gives individuals or businesses the benefits of whole-aircraft ownership at a fraction of the cost and without any of the responsibilities. You’re buying a percentage of time in the sky, if that makes sense, of a plane’s fly-able hours each year. But the upkeep, preparation and maintenance are dealt with by the operator, not you.

The jets I’ve flown with that company – mainly Cessna Citation Xs and Gulfstream GIVs – even have gold-plated seatbelt buckles.

While that’s all very nice, the main benefit of flying privately offers corporations and their time-poor executives the convenience of being able to “hub bust” – get to places commercial airlines may not readily access (if at all ) at a moment’s notice without the need for long layovers and multiple connections. Other incidentals like the need for overnight stays and associated expenses simply go away.

Fractional jet ownership of the NetJets ilk, however, has never taken off in Australia because we don’t have the infrastructure or the market to support it. Runways tend to be too short in rural areas, and most of our main business destinations are well served by commercial airlines.

The offering from a fractional operator, therefore, would need to be particularly good to justify the spend. This is especially so given the uncertainty in financial markets and the negative flow-through effects it is having on companies.

Shareholders, also, increasingly frown on executive behaviour that could be perceived as extravagant.

Regardless, three different companies have chosen this time to launch themselves into the private aviation market. Their view is they will use the next six to 12 months to educate the market about their offerings so they’ll be well positioned to capitalise on better times when they arrive. The good news is you don’t need jet money to fly with any of them. Their offerings all differ and are designed to appeal to different parts of the business market.

But interestingly, they all have a common pitch, and it’s all about productivity gain. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider what a hot topic that is at the moment. The combined impact of the high Australian dollar and greater international competition has made productivity improvement a priority across most industries. Still, it remains a challenge. The Reserve Bank of Australia has suggested worker mobility will be a crucial part in facilitating much-needed improvements in future.

Business aviation offers enormous scope in helping bring that about, says the managing director of The Jet Network, Adam Bond. But Australian attitudes and conservatism towards jets need to change first.

“What we’re up against here is … the long-standing perception in Australia that jets are an unnecessary extravagance,” Bond says. “What they really are is a productivity tool that allows companies to leverage their key employees and increase transaction speeds and their response to the market.”

Of the three new offerings, Avia Aviation is hoping to attract small and medium businesses to its fractional-ownership model. It only offers single-engine or prop planes, which aren’t recognised as the safest way to get around.

I have to say I was somewhat nervous about going up in a Cirrus SR22 the other week when Avia invited me to test-fly its aircraft.

But pilot and Avia founder George Gunter told me to relax because the plane (which friends later described as a “bug smasher” and “crop duster”) had a parachute. If things “went wrong”, a massive rocket would punch through the fuselage and launch a chute – 30 metres in diameter – into the sky. It would destroy the plane, Gunter said, but provide for a softer landing. Oh good! I felt much better climbing on board.

Avia is aiming for a fleet of five to 10 aircraft from its Moorabin fixed-base operation. Ownership will be offered in quarter- to one-eighth shares in the planes, with a quarter share of the Cirrus costing about $200,000 for 75 days a year.

Business Jet Travel pairs private jets with a full-service travel agent out of Melbourne’s Essendon Airport. Founder Vas Nikolovski says its ISO 9001:2008-accredited travel arm enables BJT to build itineraries around international commercial flights, accommodation and private jet needs. A 50-hour block with BJT would cost $3700 an hour.

Adam Bond’s Jet Network pulls together six operators and more than 20 jets to service large corporations on demand around the country. A 50-hour block with The Jet Network costs $3500 an hour and drops marginally for larger blocks of time.

Given organisations can fly up to eight people for each of these private jet hours, the cost is comparable to flying business class but with the benefit of a bespoke service.

Just make sure you’ve got the Champagne on board for when you’ve sealed the deal.


Beechcraft V35B Bonanza, N6658R and Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N23SC: Accident occurred on May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA12RA367A
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, VA
Aircraft: BEECH V35B, registration: N6658R
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.

NTSB Identification: ERA12RA367B
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, VA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N23SC
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious.

On May 28, 2012, about 1604 eastern daylight time, a Beech V35B, N6658R, and a Piper PA-28-140, N23SC, collided in flight in the vicinity of Sumerduck, Virginia. The Beech was destroyed, and the pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured; the Piper was substantially damaged, and the pilot was seriously injured. Neither of the local flights was operating on a flight plan, and both were being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The Beech departed Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, Warrenton, Virginia, on a flight review for the private pilot, and the Piper departed Culpeper Regional Airport, Culpeper, Virginia, on a personal flight.

The pilot/owner of the Beech was an employee of the NTSB, and the pilot/owner of the Piper was an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Under the provisions of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and by mutual agreement, the United States delegated the accident investigation to the government of Canada. The NTSB designated an accredited representative to the investigation on behalf of the United States, and the FAA designated an advisor to the accredited representative.

The investigation is being conducted by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada under its statutes. Further information may be obtained from:

Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Place du Centre
200 Promenade du Portage, 4th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1K8

Tel: 1 (800) 387-3557
Fax: 1 (819) 997-2239

Occurrence Number: A12H0001

This report is for informational purposes only, and only contains information released by or provided to the government of Canada.
Two Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigators examining the wreckage from the Beechcraft BE-35. On May 28, 2012, at approximately 1621, a Piper PA-28 and a Beechcraft BE-35 collided in flight just over 6 miles from Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Sumerduck, VA. After the collision, the Piper PA-28 crash landed in a field and the BE-35 crashed vertically in a lightly wooded area. The sole occupant of the Piper PA-28 survived, but the two occupants of the BE-35 were fatally injured

 The crashed Piper PA-28. On May 28, 2012

 Transportation Safety Board of Canada Inspector in Charge John Lee conducts a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Hampton Inn in Warrenton.

Canadian plane-crash investigators have been called in by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration - the two main U.S. air-safety agencies - after a fatal mid-air collision this week near Washington, D.C., that, bizarrely, involved pilots from the NTSB and the FAA themselves.

In one plane was Thomas Proven, 70, a crash investigator with the FAA, which regulates all air travel in the U.S.

In the other were pilot Mike Duncan, 60, chief medical officer with the NTSB - the lead U.S. air-crash investigation body - and passenger Paul Gardella, 57, a veteran flight instructor with Virginia-based Aviation Adventures.

When the two private aircraft collided and fell from the sky on Monday afternoon near a small regional airport in Virginia, southwest of the U.S. capital, the tragedy left Duncan and Gardella dead in the flaming wreckage of Duncan's Beechcraft BE-35 and Proven injured and taken to hospital after he managed a crash landing that tore a wing from his Piper PA-28.

Reeling from news of a deadly crash that, in a strange twist of fate, touched both of their organizations in a personal way, top officials at the NTSB and the FAA were also facing the prospect of having to probe the piloting actions of two of their own employees.

After discussions between NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman and the FAA's acting administrator Michael Huerta, the agencies turned to Canada for help in carrying out an impartial investigation of the crash.

"This accident hits especially close to home," Hersman said in a Tuesday announcement about the crash, adding she was grateful to Wendy Tadros, chairwoman of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, for promptly agreeing to send an investigation team to the Virginia crash site.

"The NTSB stands ready to support and assist them in any way we can," said Hersman.

The Canadian agency later issued its own statement explaining it was undertaking the probe on U.S. soil because of the "special circumstances" surrounding the crash - namely, the coincidence of the NTSB's top medical official and an FAA investigator accidentally crashing their planes into each other.

"We're going to lead the investigation," said TSB spokesman Chris Krepski, adding that the gathering of evidence, analysis of the wreckage and drawing of conclusions about what happened "will be carried out under Canadian law."

He said it's not unusual for Canadian investigators to be involved in a secondary capacity in a case outside of this country.

Whenever an aircraft that's Canadian-built, Canadian-registered or with Canadians on board is in an accident in the U.S. or elsewhere, the TSB is typically tapped for its expertise.

Canadian investigators also provide services occasionally in countries that don't have fullfledged crash-investigation regimes.

"But in this case," said Krepski, "it is a special circumstance because of the two [U.S.] agencies involved," and the inherent conflict-of-interest they would be facing in any crash probe.

"I can't honestly answer whether there's a precedent for this or not," said John Cottreau, another TSB spokesman who returned to Ottawa on Thursday after spending two days at the crash site in Virginia.

Jon Lee, the head of the fourmember Canadian investigation team, held a news conference Wednesday in Warrenton, Virginia, near the site of Monday's accident.

He said he hoped to be able to speak to Proven in the coming days, once the Maryland resident is released from hospital. "He did sustain some serious injuries," Cottreau said.

Proven "has some healing to do," he told Postmedia News. "So we're going to give that gentleman time to recuperate."2

Synergy Aircraft: Online funding campaign boosts unique aircraft firm


Kalispell resident John McGinnis has a bold vision of what the personal aircraft could and should be.   And he and his team of family, friends, volunteers and partners continue to build a working prototype of his experimental Synergy aircraft.
A crowdfunding campaign on has gotten 664 people to pledge a total of $78,913 for the project as of Thursday morning.  Pledges range from as little as $1 or $5 to help buy gas to more than $10,000.    With an initial goal of raising $65,000 met, a new informal goal is to raise $165,000 by the campaign’s end Monday, June 4.   “If nothing goes wrong, that amount of money would probably get us to flight test,” McGinnis said of the unique airplane taking shape in his dad’s garage in Evergreen.

Synergy promises to be a lightweight composite aircraft with room for five, all of the modern amenities and unprecedented fuel economy.   The goal is fast, fun, quiet, comfortable and affordable air transportation with greater range and an ability to land at safer, slower speeds on local airfields.

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