Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dog Flies Hundreds Of Miles To New Home

 A private plane pulls up at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport, for a flight to Greenville, South Carolina. It's passenger, three year-old Gunner. A rottweiler mix, who's pretty excited to meet his new owners. 

 "He is the first dog that will be flown out of the Mahoning County Dog Pound through this Pilot N Paws Program," said Julie Nochta of Friends of Fido.

The volunteer group Friends of Fido works closely with the Pound to find homes for dogs like Gunner.  Workers found Gunner's new South Carolina home in about a month.

"She saw hime there," said Tish Dillon-Wensel of Friends of Fido.  "We did some corresponding back and forth.  Because of the wonderful people that take video and pictures here, I was able to provide her an almost at-home experience where she got to meet Gunner over the internet."

Friends of Fido later connected with Pilot N Paws, an organization that flies animals, free of charge, to safe havens and new homes all over the country.

"It warms our hearts," said John Greco of Pilots N Paws.  "It makes us both very happy to do it."

John Greco and his partner have been flying man's best friend for more than two years now.

"It was just something different--not that I got tired of flying people," said Greco.  "I still fly people.  But, it's nice to fly dogs also."

Friends of Fido couldn't be happier for Gunner. Their goal is to make more fairy tale endings for area dogs, so they won't have to be put to sleep.

"I told her we'd send her pictures and text messages as soon as he's in the air," said Wensel.  "She's all excited."

"He's beautiful," said Greco.  "And we're anxious to get him home."

Watch Video:  http://www.wkbn.com

‘Doctoring’ Investigation Reports: Between the National Transportation Safety Board report and aviation ministry’s gambit

On June 10, 2012 · 
In Special Report 
12:02 am 

*The complex world of air crash investigations
 

 By Jide Ajani


Against the backdrop of the hue and cry that reports of past investigations into air crashes are never made public, this report digs deep and discovers that the reason for this can be traced to the embarrassing disparity between the reports of the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, of America, and  those of Nigeria’s ministry of aviation.

It was all about reverse psychology. With more than 13,000 safety recommendations to more than 2,500 recipients in the world, the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, established in the United States of America, USA, remains the global, authentic investigation agency regarding air crash matters.

Yet, the findings and recommendations of the NTSB appear not to have been taken seriously by the authorities in Nigeria.

Sunday Vanguard approached three former aviation ministers with a view to understanding why reports of past investigations into air crashes were never really made public.  It was only Femi Fani-Kayode who agreed to go on record.  The two others refused to go on record but agreed to speak on conditions of anonymity.

Interestingly, there appeared to be a convergence of independent views that “the aviation industry had been beset by large scale corruption and complicity”.

Added to this, some senior officials in the aviation ministry were said to have “constituted themselves into tin-gods and were calling the shots such that the sector was held hostage by them”.

Rewind to Saturday, October 22, 2005.

That fateful evening, Bellview Airlines Flight 210, a Boeing 737-200 aircraft, crashed shortly after take off from the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

All of its 117 human cargo perished.  The NTSB was invited to assist local authorities in investigating the “immediate and remote causes” of the crash.

The findings by the NTSB were shocking.

A former aviation minister said the report of the NTSB was markedly different from the one presented by the aviation ministry.

Although the two reports were not readily available for Sunday’s Vanguard’s perusal, the minister swore that the NTSB concluded that the crash of the Bellview aircraft may have been caused by what was described as a “low incendiary device”.

Pressed further, one of the ministers explained that whereas the mention of the exact device was not in the NISB report, “there were strong indications that there was more to the crash”. Fani-Kayode hinted at this in the interview overleaf when he elaborated on the matter.

Asked by Sunday Vanguard to either corroborate or dispel this revelation, Fani-Kayode said “The NTSB report on te Bellview crash said some very interesting and disturbing things about what actually brought that plane down. It had nothing to do with any failing on the part of Bellview airline but there was definitely another factor which I will not go into here”.

Quoting another minister who had spoken anonymously, Fani-Kayode insisted that “all I can simply add is that the American FBI also did a preliminary report in which they even recommended a criminal investigation into the matter because it was clear that there was more to that crash than met the eye”.

Surprisingly, he added, “by way of contrast the reports filed by our own security agencies and the Ministry of Aviation under my predecessor in office omitted some things and contradicted it”.

Officially, the blame for the Bellview crash was put on cross winds and not the alleged “low incendiary device”.

Meanwhile, the report of the NTSB, which was “established in 1967 to conduct independent investigations of all civil aviation accidents in the United States and major accidents in the other modes of transportation, participates in the investigation of aviation accidents and serious incidents outside the United States in accordance with the Chicago Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS)”, never saw the light of day because of the noted disparity.

That was not the only instance.

Sunday Vanguard was also reliably informed by another ministerial source that the “Sosoliso crash of Saturday, December 10, 2005, may have been blamed on weather but the real reason  people died was because there was no water hydrant at the Port Harcourt Airport”.

The source added: “Contracts had been awarded but the hydrants were not in place and, therefore, when the fire began engulfing the plane there was no water to use in stopping the fire”.

In the instance of the Bellview crash report, it was learnt that “once President Obasanjo was made to understand that the preliminary report of the investigation into the crash suggested a “low incendiary device”, he insisted that further thorough investigations should be carried out for fear of creating panic.

In fact, the NTSB report was said to be immediately treated like a security document.
Again, the report by the aviation ministry contradicted the NTSB report.

Therefore, Sunday Vanguard was informed, “it became a bit difficult to release two reports of the same air disaster with different conclusions”.

In the area of complicity, it was gathered that most of the operating airlines in Nigeria today, “have the backing of very influential and powerful people and some of them are in government”.

In fact, prior to the multiple air crashes in the country in 2005, officials of the aviation ministry saddled with the responsibility of investigating air disasters “were not doing a thorough job hence the very poor state of safety standards in the country”.

Interestingly, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a committee to probe the incident.
This may actually be a joke.

Competent sources in the sector told Sunday Vanguard that all over the world, platitudes and engagements that suggest mere posturing are not applied in getting to the root causes of an air disaster.

Rather, it is the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, seeking support of and working in collaboration with the NTSB, that is saddled with the effort.

The committee that has been set up has Group Captain John Obakpolor as chairman.

The committee, fears are already being expressed, would be operating under the shadows of the Aviation Ministry.  The country awaits the report of the committee.

The 12 crashes that took place between 2005 and 2012 and which all resulted in loss of lives were -

1.  2005 Bellview  Airline crash
2.  2006 Sossoliso Airline crash
3.  2006 Light aircraft crash
4.  2006 Crash of plane carrying senior army officers
5.  2008 ADC Airline crash
6.  2008 1st Light  aircraft crash
7.  2008 2nd Light aircraft crash
8.  2009 Light aircraft crash
9.  2009 Helicopter crash
10. 2011 Helicopter crash
11. 2012  Helicopter crash
12. 2012 Dana Air crash

I should also mention the EAS Airline crash which took place in 2002 and which resulted in massive loss of lives. That was a particularly terrible crash and the Minister of Sports of that day, amongst many others, perished in it. If you add that one then you can conclude that we have had 13 major air disasters in the last 10 years in our country and this has resulted in the loss of over 750 precious souls. This is sad and unacceptable.

STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION

The investigating Go Team’s immediate boss is the Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), a senior investigator with years of NTSB and industry experience. Each investigator is a specialist responsible for a clearly defined portion of the accident investigation. In aviation, these specialties and their responsibilities are:

OPERATIONS: The history of the accident flight and crewmembers’ duties for as many days prior to the crash as appears relevant.

STRUCTURES: Documentation of the airframe wreckage and the accident scene, including calculation of impact angles to help determine the plane’s pre-impact course and attitude.

POWERPLANTS: Examination of engines (and propellers) and engine accessories.

SYSTEMS: Study of components of the plane’s hydraulic, electrical, pneumatic and associated systems, together with instruments and elements of the flight control system.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: Reconstruction of the air traffic services given the plane, including acquisition of ATC radar data and transcripts of controller-pilot radio transmissions.

WEATHER: Gathering of all pertinent weather data from the National Weather Service, and sometimes from local TV stations, for a broad area around the accident scene.


HUMAN PERFORMANCE: Study of crew performance and all before-the-accident factors that might be involved in human error, including fatigue, medication, alcohol. Drugs, medical histories, training, workload, equipment design and work environment.


SURVIVAL FACTORS: Documentation of impact forces and injuries, evacuation, community emergency planning and all crash-fire-rescue efforts.

Source:  http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/06/doctoring-investigation-reports-between-the-ntsb-report-and-aviation-ministrys-gambit/

Single-Engine Plane Crashes in Rostov Region, Pilot Killed

A single-engine airplane crashed on Saturday in Russia’s southern Rostov region, killing a pilot, a spokesperson for the regional branch of the Emergencies Ministry said. 

 “A duty traffic controller received an alert message at 8:38 Moscow time that a single-engine airplane had crash-landed near Grachi village in Belokalitvinsk district. 

A pilot, the only person onboard the plane, was killed at the spot," the spokesperson said. 

Authorities launched a probe into the accident.

Airline told to pay couple for defective seats

MUMBAI: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered Air India (AI) to offer business-class return air tickets on the Mumbai-New York-Mumbai sector or pay a compensation of Rs 1.6 lakh to a senior citizen couple who faced physical pain due to defective seats on a New York-Mumbai flight. 

 Gujarat-based Tarun Seth and his wife had purchased two business-class tickets for Rs 2,39,537 for a return journey from New York to Mumbai. When they boarded the flight in 2004, they found their seats to be defective—they did not slide or move forward. They immediately complained to the airline staff and were promised a change in seats or an upgrade in London. But no action was taken.

The Seths had to sit in an upright position throughout their journey, enduring pain and discomfort. The seat upgradation was provided only from Delhi to Mumbai as the flight was full.

On their arrival in Mumbai, the airline, in acknowledgment of its deficiency, offered the Seths business-class tickets on the Mumbai-London-Mumbai sector. The Seths did not accept this and requested tickets from Mumbai to New York with a halt in London. But the airline did not accept their condition of a halt in London.

The Seths then sought a refund of their business-class tickets from New York to Mumbai. As the airline did not accept this, the Seths filed a complaint in a district forum.

AI said while it was willing to compensate the Seths, it couldn't accommodate their request for a halt in London as it was no longer operating that flight with a halt in London.

The forum directed the airline to refund the ticket amount with a cumulative interest of 9% per annum and Rs10, 000 towards mental agony, harassment and litigation cost.

Aggrieved by this order, the national carrier filed an appeal before the state commission in Gujarat, which upheld the forum's order but directed that the airline pay simple interest at the rate of 9% per annum instead of cumulative interest. The airline then moved the national commission.

AI contended that as the Seths had completed their journey, the order of the state commission to refund the entire ticket amount was not justified. The airlines stated that it was ready to pay the Seths Rs 1 lakh as compensation.

The national commission said that as the Seths suffered physical inconvenience and mental agony because of defective seats on a long flight, the airline was bound to compensate them for deficiency in service. However, the commission observed that the compensation ordered by the state commission is on the higher side considering that the Seths had travelled and completed their journey. 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N4456Z: Tow plane crash lands on Harris Hill, Big Flats, but fortunately the two men on board walked away without injury

Some scary moments in Big Flats Friday afternoon as a tow plane crash landed just off the glider path on Harris Hill. 

Thankfully both men on board walked away without injury. 

Witnesses say the plane may have been trying to land when it crashed through a fence and came to a stop on Soaring Hill Road around 2:00pm. 

New York State Police and Big Flats fire arrived on scene quickly. 

The plane was carrying an elderly man and a college student -- both declined to comment. 

 The plane landed on its nose and leaked gas onto the road before being moved. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but President of the Harris Hill Soaring Center Mark Doyle says strong wind gusts may have been a contributing factor. 

Doyle says its unknown if the plane is salvagable.

Dangerous substance leaks at warehouse in Ben Gurion Airport

Four tanks containing 800 liters of acrylamide break open at warehouse in Ben Gurion Airport, seven hours after being unloaded from El Al flight. Man, 65, lightly injured.

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) invoked special protocol on Saturday after four tanks containing 800 liters of a dangerous substance broke open and began to leak, some seven hours after being unloaded from an El Al cargo plane.

A 65-year-old man who experienced a burning sensation in his eyes was taken to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

The tanks had been stored at the Maman group's Cargo Terminal warehouses according to procedure, Ynet learned. An unknown chemical reaction led the containers to break open and the acrylamide substance to leak.

The area has been evacuated and experts on dangerous substances from Petah Tikva's fire station were dispatched to the site. Firefighters are trying to prevent leaks from the other containers, 10 of which were unloaded from the plane.

El Al's spokesman said that the incident occurred seven hours after a  Boeing 747-400 which departed from Belgium landed at the Ben Gurion Airport. "A malfunction occurred while the cargo was being unloaded," the statement said. "No damage was caused to the plane which departed for another cargo flight."

The IAA said that it had invoked the hazardous substances protocol and that the incident is under the responsibility of the Maman Group. "The airport continues regular operations," the statement said.

Prof. Amnon Albeck of the Bar Ilan University said that acrylamide is toxic but has no immediate fatal effect. He said that the substance can cause irritation in the eye or the upper airway and that prolonged and intense exposure to it could prove lethal, but not in small amounts.

Earlier this week, a wide-scale drill simulating a crash landing and plane inflammation was held at the Ben Gurion Airport.

Pilot shanks landing near Concord golf course - Buchanan Field Airport (KCCR), Concord, California

A pilot attempting to land a plane at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord overshot the runaway but touched down safely on a grassy patch. 

CONCORD -- It likely wasn't the only errant shot at the Buchanan Fields Golf Course on Saturday, but it certainly got the most attention. 

The pilot of a small plane lost engine power shortly after taking off from Buchanan Field Airport at 9:25 a.m., but managed to glide back to the Concord airport and land on the golf course's driving range along Concord Avenue near Interstate 680, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman and golfers said.

No injuries were reported.

The pilot, who was the plane's only occupant, landed the aircraft and kept rolling at a speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour until it ran into a fence that separates the course from Buchanan Field, said Bob Barro, the course's golf pro.

The plane caused minor damage to the cyclone fence, bending a couple of its poles, Barro said. "But it's nothing we can't fix easily," he said. Barro said he was giving a golf lesson when he saw the plane flying just 40 or 50 feet above the golfers, with its propeller not spinning.

 "I saw that the plane was awfully low, then I saw it got even lower," he said. "He actually did a great job to make sure he didn't hit anything. I'm just glad nobody got hurt."

The Cessna 172R landed about 700 feet short of the runway, said Allen Kenitzer, FAA spokesman, sustaining "substantial damage." The 1997 fixed-wing single engine aircraft is registered to Mamdouh Awwad of Walnut Creek.

The incident is being investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board. The plane crashed into the fence a few feet from Dennis Foster and his foursome as they prepared to tee off at the 2nd hole during the weekly, relaxed best-ball tournament.

 "Someone yelled, 'Look!'" Foster, 68, of Danville, said, "and we saw a plane fish-tailing across the grass."

"It was a miracle that it didn't hit anyone," he said, referring to the 1985 crash of a twin-engine plane into a Sun Valley Mall crowded with Christmas shoppers.

The pilot and two passengers died, along with four on the ground, and dozens of mall patrons were seriously injured.

Saturday's pilot eventually popped out of the cockpit and asked if Foster's foursome were OK, and they checked on the pilot's health too, Foster said. "He seemed a little embarrassed. I told him, 'You ruined my game!'" he laughed.

The running joke on the course was the plane wanted to "play through."


CONCORD, Calif. -- A pilot attempting to land a plane at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord this morning overshot the runaway but touched down safely on a grassy patch adjacent to the runway, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

At about 9:35 a.m., a citizen reported the plane next to the Buchanan Field Golf Course on a grassy section that is part of airport property, the sheriff's office said.

All landing gear was down when the pilot was descending to the airport, and the sheriff's office said the aircraft glided in and no one was injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation of the incident, according to the sheriff's office.

http://abclocal.go.com

Aircraft on landing, gear up at Yeager Airport (KCRW), Charleston, West Virginia

 
 Courtesy photo 

A small plane skidded to a stop at Yeager Airport Saturday after it's landing gear did not deploy. This photo from Yeager Airport's Facebook Page shows airport crews working to remove the plane. The runway was shut down for about an hour and no one was injured in the crash.



CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A plane skidded to a stop at Yeager Airport Saturday afternoon after landing equipment failed to deploy on the plane.

The pilot, and only passenger, was uninjured, but runway 23 at the airport was closed for a short time.

Brian Belcher, a spokesman for the airport, said officials were notified that the pilot had problems with equipment slightly before noon Saturday. Belcher said the small, twin-engine plane landed even thought its wheels did not descend like they should have.

The official Yeager Airport Twitter account said the small plane landed "gear-up."

Work crews had to close the runway for about an hour, delaying some flights, while they removed the plane. "Our staff did a good job," he said.

Belcher said he had not been able to talk to the pilot yet, so he had no information about the plane's flight. He said federal officials will be talking with the pilot as they investigate the accident and try to determine what caused it.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There were some tense moments for a pilot who had to make an emergency landing without any wheels.

 Yeager Airport Officials in Charleston tell WSAZ.com that the pilot noticed a problem with his landing gear just before 12:30 Saturday afternoon. 

When the pilot realized his wheels would not drop, he radioed air traffic control and managed to land the plane safely on its belly. 

There was no fire and no one was hurt in the incident, however, airport officials say they had additional first responders on standby. 

 Officials say there were some minor delays but the runway has since reopened after being closed for about an hour. 

 The pilot is trying to figure out what caused that malfunction.

http://wvgazette.com

Pilot Wally Gray revisits history as he sails through the Park Rapids skies in his open-cockpit Stearman biplane

 
Pilot Wally Gray invites residents to see the area from above the earth’s surface in his open cockpit plane. 
(Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)


Pilot Wally Gray revisits history as he sails through the Park Rapids skies in his open-cockpit Stearman biplane.

The Texan with Minnesota roots is piloting a plane developed by Lloyd Stearman in the 1930s. Boeing purchased the Stearman Aircraft Company in the mid ’30s and began production of the plane that would be used to train World War II pilots. 

Gray’s dad, Bud, a member of the Army Air Corps, flew the plane in 1935. “As a kid, I thought everyone’s dad flew.”

Over 10,000 of the 220- horsepower, two-seater planes were built during the war years, the last trainer delivered to the government in 1945. 

Gray estimates more than half of the WW II pilots trained in the PT-17 Kaydet, as the Army dubbed it, and the “Yellow Peril,” N2S, Navy version.

After the war, the plane was sold on the surplus market, some for as little as $200, and found a new use – crop dusters. The agricultural industry used the planes for aerial application of fertilizers and pesticides until the 1970s, he said, when more powerful models claimed the market.

“People bought and restored them to their original configuration,” explained Gray, who earned his pilot’s license in the mid-’70s, or as custom sport planes with a variety of engines and modifications.

An estimated 1,000 of the biplanes still navigate the stratosphere.

Cruise speed for the plane with a Continental W-670 engine is roughly 90 miles an hour. “It took me 13 and a half hours to fly up,” the pilot said of his flight from Texas, bucking a headwind. “I can drive up in 19.”

Gray is returning to a family cabin on Schoolcraft Lake that his grandfather – with the help of his sons (Bud and brother) – built in 1939.

Now he’s inviting area residents to join him in the 1941 Boeing “Kaydet” PT-17 open cockpit, to gain a bird’s eye view of the city and surrounding lakes.

The 30-minute ride begins and ends at the Park Rapids Municipal Airport. Passengers’ minimum age is 18; maximum weight 275 pounds. 

Gray holds a commercial pilot and airframe/engine mechanic certification. The ride will include gentle turning and climbing and descending maneuvers only, no aerobatics. He will provide a flying helmet with goggles and a headset to allow passengers (who sit in front of the pilot) to communicate with him. 

Rides may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.

For information, or to schedule a ride, call 255-3018. Rides may be scheduled from June 11-July 7.

Source:  http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com

Jerry Stadtmiller provides expertise on 1941 open cockpit biplane - Western Carolina Regional Airport (KRHP), Andrews, North Carolina

 
Photo by SCOTT wallace/cherokeescout.com 
A 1941 Stearman biplane lands at Western Carolina Regional Airport on April 27, following a two-year, ground-up restoration. The work was completed by local master mechanic and restorer Jerry Stadtmiller who owns BIPE Inc. antique aircraft restorations at the airport, and who is the world’s pre-eminent restorer of Stearmans.
~


Stearman biplane owner Gary Allen of Seattle (in hat) discusses the performance of his newly restored airplane with the man responsible for bringing it back to life, Jerry Stadtmiller of BIPE Inc. antique aircraft restorations at Western Carolina Regional Airport.

By DWIGHT OTWELL, Cherokeescout.com 


    Marble – In a scene reminiscent of the 1940s, a bright, yellow 1941 Navy Stearman biplane lifts easily off the lone runway at Western Carolina Regional Airport climbing into a brilliant, blue sky broken up by only a few white clouds.

    Delta Airlines Capt. Gary Allen was trying out his newly restored open cockpit Stearman for the second consecutive day on April 28. The Seattle resident had sought out one of the most renowned vintage aircraft mechanics and restorers in the United States.

    Jerry Stadtmiller moved his business to Cherokee County from Florida almost four years ago. BIPE, standing for biplane, is written in red on the hangar he built. It took two years, which is average, to restore the 1941 Stearman, the Hayesville resident said. This is the 22nd of this model he has restored.     “When you put together a puzzle so many times, you get to know how to do it,” he said.

    A trail of white smoke emitted from the rear of the aircraft as Allen brought it low over the runway, then gained altitude for one more pass over the mountains that surround the Andrews Valley. The smoke oil is the same oil used on concrete forms to keep them from sticking, Allen said. The pilot injects the smoke whenever he wishes through the exhaust. The purpose is for fun, although Allen uses it in traffic patterns when someone asks the location of his airplane.

    Most of the 60,000 Army and Navy men who learned to fly during World War II did so in a Stearman biplane. Although its basic design dates from 1930, it was the leading American primary trainer of World War II. After the war, the rugged airplanes were used as crop dusters, for aerobatic performances and as a sport plane.

    With a cruising speed of 60-80 mph, the Stearman doesn’t blind with speed but enlightens with pleasure. Its maximum speed is about 124 mph. Because of the open, two-seater cockpit, a pilot can’t fly in cold or soggy weather.

    Stadtmiller started working on planes when he was in high school in Rochester, N.Y. He worked for a flying school that paid him $4.89 a week and an hour and a half of flying time each week. He later moved to Florida, where he earned his mechanic’s license in 1958. He spent 50 years in Florida from Miami to Palm Beach.

    He owned and ran the same restoration business in Palm Beach that he now runs out of Cherokee County’s airport.

    “I owned this business at the airport in Palm Beach,” he said. “The airport got so crazy on fees.”

    He moved his business to the western North Carolina mountains outside Andrews and for the first four months, he wondered if it would be a problem moving from a high population area with a big airport to the small Western Carolina Regional Airport nestled in the mountains. However, business began to come his way, and he now has two employees – Justin Griffin and Adam Sanner. He said word of mouth and a dynamic Web site have brought business his way.

    “People come from all over. It is mainly word of mouth,” he said.

    Stadtmiller works on any aircraft that is fabric covered. The airplanes made from wood are made from sitka spruce, which is abundant in Alaska and the Northwestern United States.

    “It is the same wood they used to build masts on sailing vessels,” he said. “[Stearman] biplanes are physically four times stronger than a jet airplane.”

    The wood and being a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings makes the craft very sturdy. Stearmans were used for training pilots because cadets couldn’t hurt them, he said. A total of 10,343 Stearmans were built.

    One of the five craft Stadtmiller is rebuilding is a 1937 Stearman with serial number 88, meaning it is a very early model. The owner lives in Matthews.

    Stadtmiller said when he got the 1941 Stearman it “looked like it was on the way to the dump.”

    “We go through it so carefully and thoroughly, there are seldom problems,” he said. “Dealing with owners is often the hardest part. I tell them that it will be [restored] in whatever time it takes. That is for quality. If you have a deadline, take it somewhere else.”

    “It loops and rolls just fine,” Allen said after stepping out of the plane.

    The last time the 1941 Stearman flew was in 1960, he said.

    “It is absolutely beautiful – a dream to fly,” he said. “This started with a million pieces on the floor. This is my third Stearman. I have known of Jerry’s work for about 30 years. Everyone [in the aviation industry] knows him.”

    Allen’s Stearman was a U.S. Navy airplane used to train pilots in Corpus Christi, Texas. It is the same as it was in the 1940s.

    “They took people who had never been in a plane and used [the Stearman] to train them. President George Bush Sr. trained in a plane like this,” Allen said.

    Allen added that in 2004, Stadtmiller received the Charles Taylor award, which is awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration to aircraft mechanics of exceptional talent who have been working for 50 years. Charles Taylor built the engine used by the Wright brothers in North Carolina.

    “I am a mechanic myself, but I am not even in the same league with Jerry,” Allen said. “I feel really lucky. He lowered his rates like everyone else [because of the recession].”

    About 10 years ago Stadtmiller restored the engine and fabric covers for a 1938 Grumman Goose for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The Goose was Grumman’s first monoplane to fly, its first twin engine aircraft, and its first aircraft to enter commercial airline service. This remarkably versatile amphibian has served for more than 50 years in a variety of roles that have confirmed the strength and durability of its original design.

    Alex Tibcken has been volunteering with Stadtmiller for two years, since he was a senior at Andrews High School. He helped rebuild the 1941 Stearman and did his senior project on rebuilding the vintage aircraft.

    “I love it. I am here seven days a week,” Stadtmiller said. “I come and play all day, every day. I haven’t worked for years.”

    Allen said he would go home to Seattle and return to fly the 1941 Stearman home. He probably could make the trip in three days if he goes straight home, but he wants to take a couple of weeks and “visit people and drop in on grass strips. It is such an experience to fly these things.”

Source:  http://www.thecherokeescout.com

Plane Crash Kills Two in Austria

A plane crashed in the northeastern Austrian state of Lower Austria on Saturday morning, killing two people on board.

 The German-registered aircraft was flying from a town near Hungary's capital Budapest to Straubing in Bavaria, Germany, the Austrian Press Agency reported.

The pilot made an emergency call from the plane's radio before the plane disappeared from radar, the news agency quoted Markus Pohanka from Austro Control, Austria's air navigation services provider, as saying.

Authorities said on Saturday afternoon that the cause of the crash was still unknown.

Have Elite Fliers Been Downgraded?

By MICHELLE HIGGINS / The New York Times

 A STEADY rain was soaking the windows of La Guardia Airport when Nancy Thode, an elite frequent flier with Delta Air Lines, approached a gate agent with a pressing question: Had her request for an upgrade cleared?

Glancing at her computer, brow furrowed, the agent was not encouraging: "You are No. 13."

But with a nearby video monitor showing that more than half of the 26 first-class seats were already claimed, Ms. Thode knew her chances were slim. "If somebody comes -- diamond, platinum or gold," the gate agent pointed out, "they're going to get it."

Minutes later, Rick Triana, a business traveler, strode up, the word "diamond" emblazoned in capital letters on the tag attached to his Victorinox wheelie-bag. Despite seeing his name at the top of the upgrade list, he confirmed his spot with an agent anyway, lingering around afterward to make sure he wouldn't be bumped. "You never know," he said.

As the boarding time neared for the Atlanta-bound flight, the upgrade list began to shrink. Mr. Triana was upgraded to first class. So was a gold-level flier (though his wife was not). Ms. Thode, a social worker from Stamford, Conn., dispatched a friend she was traveling with to check on her status. Bad news. "I get knocked off for the diamonds," she sighed. "Silver just doesn't make it."

Elite status in an airline loyalty program used to be something of an exclusive club, rewarding those who flew the most -- typically between 25,000 and 125,000 miles a year, depending on the carrier -- with perks and sought-after upgrades into business or first class. These days, though, the advantages of being an elite flier are harder to gauge. The private lounges are more crowded, the priority check-in lines longer. And on some flights there are so many elites that it's become almost a joke: "Never go to check-in at the elite line; it's way too long," said Randy Petersen, the founder of frequent flier Web sites like FlyerTalk.com and MilePoint.com.

What's happened? A few things. As the airline industry has merged and shrunk over the years in order to survive, fewer seats on many routes mean scarcer upgrades for top-tier fliers. Meanwhile, the number of travelers with some sort of elite status has grown. Elite fliers are so concentrated on some flights, like San Francisco to New York or Chicago, Mr. Petersen said, that "when they call early boarding, for 196 people on a plane, only 18 people will stay seated."

But it's not only that there are more elites these days; it's also that non-elites can now buy those once-reserved perks à la carte.

Don't want to wait in line at security? Pay for the express line. How about airline lounge access? That'll be $50 for a day pass, or the right credit card will get you in for free. Even upgrades are for sale, if seats are available.

While all this may be good news for travelers who fly just once or twice a year, elite frequent fliers say that the moves have been eating away at the cachet and precious privileges that come with elite status.

"It's certainly degraded the experience," said Tom Majewski, an investment banker from Darien, Conn., who flies about 100,000 miles a year and is an elite flier with both Delta and American Airlines. For a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in November, he showed up with his family at the Delta Sky Club at La Guardia, which like other Delta lounges is accessible to frequent fliers at a discounted membership rate tied to their status, as well as to anyone with a platinum or Delta Reserve credit card from American Express.

"There was not a seat to be had," he said. "It was jam-packed." So the family loaded up on free snack mix and sat out by the gate, where there were still open seats. His big beef, however, is not how crowded the lounges are, but the difficulty in getting upgrades, especially on international flights and popular business routes like New York to Los Angeles. "Slowly but surely they're scaling back the best frequent-traveler benefits," he said.

Airlines maintain that even though they've begun to offer frequent-flier perks for sale, elites are their priority. While credit-card holders and those who pay for priority boarding can be seated ahead of the masses, that group is called to board after top-tier fliers. As for purchased upgrades, they're generally offered only after they've been made available free to elite members.

"We carefully balance benefits for our credit-card programs so that we match them with popular items like first bag free and priority-boarding availability while not taking value away from our Medallion customers," said Paul Skrbec, a Delta spokesman.

YET it is the airlines that, in ever more profitable deals with credit-card companies, have been diluting elite privileges in the first place.

It was 1981 when American Airlines kicked off the loyalty program craze by introducing the first miles-based frequent-flier program. Other airlines followed. Back then, the programs were designed to reward a small cadre of road warriors. Today they provide airlines with piles of cash from selling miles as part of a multibillion-dollar business that features big banks, retailers and global airline partnerships.

North American airlines generated an estimated $15 billion in ancillary revenue last year, according to Amadeus, the global reservations processor, and the IdeaWorks Company, a consulting firm. "Half of that is from frequent-flier programs," said Jay Sorensen, the president of IdeaWorks.

But up until a few years ago, while consumers could earn miles by, say, using a certain credit card, those miles could not be used to earn elite status. Only qualifying miles -- those traditionally earned by flying -- could make someone elite.

What is different now is that qualifying miles, too, are on the table in this giant global exchange, thus enabling people to buy into elite status without ever boarding a plane. On some airlines, like US Airways, consumers can buy status outright. And qualifying miles, like regular miles, are now being used as credit-card lures as well. The $450-a-year Delta Reserve card from American Express, for example, offers 10,000 qualifying miles with your first purchase. For spending $30,000 in a calendar year, you get 15,000 more qualifying miles, and when you hit $60,000 in annual spending, you get another 15,000. Those bonuses alone are enough to earn you Silver status.

While airlines are generally reluctant to discuss the number of people who have qualified for elite status, Mr. Petersen, who has been tracking loyalty programs since 1986, estimated that about 10 years ago, it used to be 2 or 3 percent of active program members. "Today," he said, "it's more like 6 percent."

All of this affects the value of actually being elite. "The silver guys, the lowest elite level, has become somewhat the throwaway level in the upgrade pool," Mr. Petersen said. "Far less than 50 percent of the lowest tiers are able to get the benefits out of the upgrade part of elite status."

Most frequent fliers, including Mr. Petersen, agree that, despite the erosion of many benefits over the years, elite status still comes with a few perks worth striving for -- including faster security lines; free checked bags, allowing elite passengers to avoid the overhead-bin scrum; rebooking priority when a flight is oversold; and often better access to award seats. And there is no doubt that traveling as an elite is better than the alternative. Though lounges may be more crowded, there are still free snacks and private bathrooms. And lower-ranking elites still have a decent chance of scoring an upgrade on flights that are not so popular with business travelers.

Recognizing that expanding elite programs needed something new to strive for, some airlines have established new top categories, widening the gap between elites at the head of the line and those behind them. Delta added a fourth tier -- diamond -- in 2009 to reward travelers who had long since passed the 75,000-mile benchmark for top-level elite status. Diamond became the new top status bestowed on customers who earn a minimum of 125,000 miles a year. When United merged with Continental, it also moved from three elite tiers to four.

At the same time, some benefits at the lower levels have been scrubbed. In March, Delta reduced the number of free checked bags for the lowest tier of its elite fliers from two to one. And United has discontinued its perk of letting PremierSilver frequent fliers -- the lowest level, at 25,000 miles a year -- reserve Economy Plus seats with extra legroom when buying a ticket. Now, those elites must wait to reserve an Economy Plus seat at check-in -- that is, if a higher-ranking frequent flier or customer who paid extra for Economy Plus hasn't nabbed the last one. (United said the change was made to ensure that higher-level elites, who tend to book closer to departure, have first dibs on Economy Plus seats.)

But the erosion of elite benefits over the years also extends to certain intangibles like longer hold times and indifferent customer service attitudes toward top-tier fliers. "Ten years ago a top-tier loyalty program member would have received consistently excellent service from airline representatives," including certain unwritten favors, like the elimination of change fees, or opening up award inventory on a given flight, said Ryan Lile, a travel consultant based in Portland, Ore., who specializes in award bookings and maximizing frequent-flier benefits. "They would really make an effort to impress the customer and not nickel-and-dime you." Today, he said, a top-tier flier "would be laughed at" for making such requests.

SO who is it that the airlines are rewarding these days? Those who pay up. Airlines are increasingly giving their best rewards not to just passengers who fly the most but also those who pay the highest fares. If an elite customer buys a full-fare coach seat, for example, that person will typically trump another elite in the same tier who has not when it comes to an upgrade.

Some airlines have built this thinking into their award programs. In 2010, Southwest moved from a system that awarded participants credit for flights to one that awards points based on the amount of money spent. And airlines have long offered invitation-only programs like United's Global Services and American's ConciergeKey, which lavish perks on those who spend the most on flights.

"Whether or not you are the best customer is not as important as it used to be," said Rick Seaney, the chief executive of Farecompare.com, a travel Web site. Frequent-flier programs are actually more egalitarian. You get the perks, regardless, "if you have enough money."

Cessna 210: Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed, Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport (KDET), Detroit, Michigan

 


DETROIT (WXYZ) - Emergency crews are on the scene after a small aircraft made a hard landing at Coleman A. Young International City Airport. 

 The plane, a Cessna 210, landed just before 3:00 p.m. According to the FAA the nose wheel collapsed on landing.

The FAA is investigating. They say no one was injured in the crash.

Photographer: WXYZ

Phillips Challenger II, N1279T: Accident occurred June 09, 2012 in Plant City, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA387 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2012 in Plant City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: PHILLIPS WILLIAM L CHALLENGER, registration: N2571T
Injuries: 1 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.

According to the airport manager, the purpose of the flight was for the student pilot/owner to get “one last flight” in the airplane before he sold it. The pilot had experienced health issues and undergone surgery in the years prior to the accident, and had not flown the airplane in about 1 year. The manager watched the entire flight and described the takeoff as “normal.” The first landing approach was “fast and long,” and the pilot performed a go-around and entered the traffic pattern for a second approach. The manager and other witnesses stated that the airplane descended on the base leg of the traffic pattern to about 500 feet, and that the airplane turned and aligned with the runway. During the descent on final approach, the airplane pitched up, leveled off, descended, and pitched up multiple times with corresponding changes in engine power. The airplane “wandered” to the west and was briefly flying parallel to the runway as it headed toward the witnesses on the grass apron and the hangars on the west side of the field. The airplane then pitched up, the nose dropped, and the airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude of about 25-30 degrees. During the descent and at ground contact, the engine was running “at cruise power,” according to the airport manager. The engine continued to run after the accident, and first responders had to pull one of the carburetors from its mount in order to stop the engine. The 79 year-old pilot/owner had never obtained a pilot certificate. Over the 60 years that he documented his flight time, the pilot reported 122 total flight hours. The accident airplane was purchased almost 20 years before the accident but was not registered until 5 years before the accident. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 19 total airframe hours.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The non-certificated pilot’s loss of control during approach and landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of both total and recent flight experience.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 9, 2012, at 1126 eastern daylight time, a Phillips Challenger II, N1279T, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain while maneuvering for landing at Blackwater Airpark (9FD2), Plant City, Florida. The pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed 9FD2 about 1110. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the airport manager, the purpose of the flight was for the pilot/owner to get “one last flight” in the airplane before he sold it. The pilot had experienced health issues and undergone surgery in the years prior to the accident, and had not flown the airplane in approximately one year.

The manager watched the entire flight, and described the takeoff as “normal” with no problems noted. The first landing approach was “fast and long,” and the pilot performed a go-around and entered the traffic pattern for another approach.

The manager and other witnesses stated the airplane descended on the base leg of the traffic pattern to about 500 feet, and then the airplane turned and aligned with the runway. During the descent on final approach, the airplane pitched up, leveled off, descended, and pitched up multiple times with corresponding changes in engine power. They observed as the airplane “wandered” to the west,and was briefly flying parallel to the runway as it headed towards their location on the grass apron and the hangers on the west side of the field.

The airplane pitched up, the nose dropped, and the airplane imapcted the ground in a nose-down attitude of about 25-30 degrees. During the descent and at ground contact, the engine was running “at cruise power.” The engine continued to run after the accident, and first responders had to pull one of the carburetors from its mount in order to stop the engine.

PILOT INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot did not hold a pilot certificate. He most recently held a student pilot certificate, which expired April 30, 2009. A review of his logbooks revealed that he first logged an entry in 1952; he last logged an entry in 2006, and had accrued 122 total hours of flight experience as of that date. His most recent third-class FAA medical certificate was issued in November 2007. The pilot did possess a valid driver’s license.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was purchased in 1993 and certificated in 2007, and was registered to the pilot/owner. It was a two-place, high wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. According to the airplane’s maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on June 5, 2012, at 19 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1115, the weather conditions reported at Plant City Municipal Airport (PCM), about 7 miles north of the accident site, included winds from 160 at 3 knots. There was a broken cloud ceiling at 5,000 feet and 8,500 feet. Visibility was 10 miles; the temperature was 30 degrees C, the dew point 24 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 030 degrees magnetic, and was approximately 180 feet in length.

The initial impact point was on the west side of the north/south runway, and the ground scar crossed the runway on an approximate 30-degree angle. The airplane came to rest upright on the east side of the runway. Fragments associated with the nose landing gear and nose enclosure were scattered along the wreckage path.

The bottom of the fuselage was crushed upwards, and the fore and aft cabin structure was folded in on the cockpit area. The engine support structure was collapsed, and the engine rested on the bottom of the airframe.

Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces.

Examination of the two-bladed wooden propeller revealed that both blades were fractured and splintered near the propeller hub. Splintered fragments of the propeller were scattered along the wreckage path.

The examination did not reveal any defects or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department, Tampa, Florida, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy revealed the pilot died from blunt injuries to the head and neck.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. No carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol, were detected in the specimens tested.

The following Tested-for-Drugs were detected:

Atenolol detected in Blood (Cavity) - Atenolol (Tenormin®) is a prescription synthetic, beta1-selective (cardioselective) adrenoreceptor blocking agent used to treat high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Atenolol detected in Urine

Clonidine detected in Urine – Clonidine (Catapres®) is a prescription centrally-acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent used to treat high blood pressure. This centrally-acting medication has side effects including dizziness and fatigue. According to the FAA, clonidine use was a disqualifying condition for the issuance of a medical certificate.

A review of the autopsy report as well as statements from the pilot’s wife and his acquaintances revealed the pilot’s medical history included:

Coronary artery disease (Blocked / narrowed coronary arteries)
Myocardial infarction (old heart attack) at apex of heart
Implanted pacemaker
Aortic valve replacement
Mitral valve repair
Stage III renal failure (moderate reduction in the filtering capability of the kidneys)
High blood pressure
Stroke

The pilot’s pacemaker logbook did not record any arrhythmias on the day of the accident. It could not be determined to what degree the pilot’s general health, or use of medication, affected his performance during the accident flight.



 

The pilot was found dead after this small aircraft went down Saturday morning at Blackwater Creek Flight Park, a small airport that caters to sport aircraft.


PLANT CITY — A pilot was found dead after a light aircraft crashed at Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said late Saturday morning.
The pilot, William Lee Phillips, of Lakeland, was alone in the aircraft when it crashed, according to sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Phillips, 79, circled the grass runway three times before making a hard landing that slammed the bottom of the aircraft into the ground, McKinnon said. The aircraft, a Challenger ultralight that was based at Blackwater, skidded about 50 feet along the runway and Phillips was found dead inside, according to McKinnon.

Blackwater Creek, an ultralight and light-sport aircraft facility with a 2,300-foot runway, is on a 45-acre farm along Paul Buchman Highway, 7 miles north of Interstate 4, according to its website.




Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon has confirmed that there is one fatality in the plane crash today at the Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City.

The crash occured before noon.

"The single occupant of the airplane has died," McKinnon said, in a telephone interview on the way to the airport, which he said is about 10 miles north of Interstate 4.

The next of kin has to be notified before the victim is identified, he added.
  • An updated Tampa Bay Times report noted that "the pilot circled the grass runway three times before making a hard landing that slammed the bottom of the aircraft into the ground," according to McKinnon, who added that the plane skidded about 50 feet along the runway. He added that the pilot was found dead inside the aircraft, a Challenger ultralight based at Blackwater.
Blackwater Creek is at 9002 State Road 39 North in Plant City. The stretch of road in that area is known as well as the Paul S. Buchman Highway.

"I never in my life heard of [the airport] before," said McKinnon, who graduated from Brandon High School in 1978. "I didn't know there was an aiport out there."

That's not surprising, though, he added, given that there are many such small, and even smaller, "little grass runway airports" throughout the county, including one, he said, that used to be at Providence Road, off Lumsden Road, where Heather Lakes now stands.

According to an online notice, Blackwater Creek is a private, ultraflight facility located eight miles northeast of the nearest business district and covers 7 acres.


 
The plane went down in the 9000 block of Paul Buchman Highway in Plant City, near the Blackwater Creek Airport.


PLANT CITY (FOX 13) -   An unidentified man was killed Saturday morning when the small plane he was piloting went down near Blackwater Creek Flight Park in Plant City. 
 The incident occurred just after 11:30 AM in the 9000 block of Paul Buchman Highway.

According to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report the pilot of a single-seat Challenger plane made two unsuccessful attempts to land on the grass runway of the airport.

On the third approach the aircraft when down hard on the belly of the fuselage and then skidded approximately 50 yards. It came to a stop on the grass runaway and paramedics were quickly dispatched to the scene.

The pilot was found deceased, still strapped to his seat inside the plane.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Authority also responded to the crash site to assist in determining the cause of the fatal incident.

The pilot's official cause of death has not yet been determined. The report states the aircraft was among approximately 12 that were stored at the Blackwater Creek Airport.
The owner has not been determined as the investigation continues.


PLANT CITY – A pilot was found dead after a light plane crashed at Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said late Saturday morning.

The pilot was alone in the aircraft when it crashed, according to sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Blackwater Creek, an ultralight and light-sport aircraft facility with a 2300-foot runway, is located on a 45-acre farm along Paul Buchman Highway seven miles north of Interstate 4, according to the flightpark's website.

Iraq veteran allegedly conspired with others to defraud government of $15M through rigged contracts.

By Brooke Adams 
The Salt Lake Tribune 

 The St. George bank teller had a simple question for Christopher Harris: Why did he consistently withdraw $9,000 at a time, over and over and over?

Harris had an equally simple answer. He told the clerk he didn’t want to go over the $10,000 mark, which would attract government attention — scrutiny he apparently wanted to avoid for good reason.

Harris, a longtime Army reservist who served in Iraq with a Special Forces unit before becoming an independent contractor, allegedly conspired with others to defraud the government of at least $15 million through rigged contracts. Those contracts eventually totaled nearly $53 million for work during the transfer of security operations in Afghanistan, according to documents filed as part of a civil forfeiture complaint initiated by the government in Utah’s federal court.

No criminal charges have been filed against Harris or other alleged co-conspirators in the scheme, although the U.S. Attorney’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. But in the forfeiture action, filed last fall under seal, the government laid claim to money and assets Harris and others held in 13 different bank accounts; retirement and college saving funds; 20 different properties, including homes in Utah, Arizona, Florida and New Hampshire; vehicles and airplanes; silver bars and gold coins; and a half dozen firearms.

"The claim in this case was not against Mr. Harris [or other individuals], but against the proceeds and the assets the complaint alleges were purchased from the proceeds of the alleged conduct," said Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah.

The government alleges Harris used ill-gotten funds to buy and renovate homes in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and in St. George, Utah; he also purchased a lot in St. George, prosecutors say. He bought a Ford Taurus, a 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a Dodge Ram truck, and Cessna — he later sold for $582,625 — and seaplanes.   Harris also loaded up on silver bars, spending about $30,000 on 37 silver bars in varying weights.

Harris, who lived in Utah between April 2008 and March 2010, and his ex-wife are fighting to keep two homes and a lot in St. George. For unknown reasons, Harris opted not to claim an interest in the rest of the items linked to him in the complaint. An attorney representing Harris and his ex-wife declined to comment, saying some pleadings in the case remain sealed.

U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball last month issued a default judgment against Harris, who was in Thailand as of March, court documents show. The judgment entitles the government to everything but the disputed St. George property.

On June 21, Kimball will consider an emergency petition filed by American International Security Corp. (AISC), the Boston-based company Harris worked for in Afghanistan, which is trying to reclaim the $5.3 million in its frozen bank account.

The contracts » The Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Homeland Security Investigations began looking at Harris after being tipped off that he had withdrawn $238,400 from two different bank accounts between April 2009 and October 2010, all in $9,000 increments. That investigation showed Harris made about $24 million in transactions and account transfers over an approximately three-year period.

Eventually, the investigation uncovered an alleged scheme that began in 2007 with a bid on a six-month contract to manage equipment for Afghan National Army Special Forces commando teams and train them on how to do their maintenance work themselves. Key players in the alleged scheme: Harris and his long-time military buddy David Young. The two became acquainted in the 1980s while serving in the U.S. Army and also served in a Special Forces Unit in Iraq between November 2002 and June 2003.

According to prosecutors, Young was a reserve lieutenant colonel in the Army and from 2007 to 2009 oversaw coordination of Army divisions participating in the security transfer in Afghanistan.

Source:   http://www.sltrib.com

Flower JD, N9010T: Accident occurred June 09, 2012 in Spring Valley, Ohio


NTSB Identification: CEN12LA349 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2012 in Spring Valley, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: FLOWER ROGER P J D, registration: N9010T
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.

The owner-designed and built experimental airplane crashed in a grass field in a rural area after the left wing separated in flight. The main wreckage included the fuselage, engine, tail surfaces, and the right wing; the left wing was located about 1/2 mile from the main wreckage. The left wing was mostly intact, but the wing control surfaces had separated. Examination of the inboard end of the left main wing spar revealed that the wood structure of the spar had failed and separated at the spar attachment bolt locations. No witnesses to the accident flight were identified; however, it is likely that the pilot was maneuvering when the wing separation occurred. Because the airplane was a unique design and investigators did not have access to the design parameters, it was not possible to determine precisely why the wing spar failed. Postaccident examination of the airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation other than the separated wing spar previously described. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the left wing spar failed and resulted in an in-flight separation of the wing and the airplane’s subsequent impact with the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The in-flight failure of the left wing spar, which resulted in the in-flight separation of the left wing.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 9, 2012, about 0805 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Flower model JD, N9010T, was destroyed when it impacted the ground following an in-flight separation of the left wing. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to all major structures during the accident sequence. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport, near Dayton, Ohio, at an unconfirmed time.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, instrument airplane, and glider ratings. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot had accumulated over 7,000 hours of flight time as of his most recent medical examination on May 5, 2010. He was issued a third-class airman medical certificate on that date with a restriction to have corrective lenses available for near vision. The pilot’s flight logbook was not available for review during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was an original design amateur-built airplane. It was designed and built by the pilot. The airplane was a single-engine monoplane with a conventional landing gear arrangement. It used a fabric covered, welded steel tube structure in the fuselage and tail surfaces. The wings were made of a mixture of wood and composite material with wood spars as the primary load structure. A General Motors (GM) LS-1, reciprocating V-8 engine powered the airplane.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

Weather conditions at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (FFO), located about 15 miles northwest of the accident site, at 0755, were: calm wind, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet agl, temperature 17 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage came to rest in a grass field in a rural area northeast of Spring Valley, Ohio. Located in the debris field of the main wreckage were the fuselage, engine, tail surfaces, and the right wing.

The fuselage was severely damaged and crushed. The tail surfaces remained attached to the remains of the fuselage with their respective control surfaces still attached. The right wing was heavily damaged and separated from the fuselage. The wing had broken into several pieces and was distributed throughout the main debris field. The right wing control surfaces were also located within the main debris field. The damage to the right wing was consistent with it having remained attached to the fuselage until being separated by ground impact. The left wing of the airplane was located about 1/2 mile east of the main wreckage. The wing was predominately intact. The wing control surfaces were separated. Examination of the inboard end of the left main wing spar revealed that the wood structure of the spar had failed and separated through the spar attachment bolt locations.

The engine had sustained impact damage and could not be rotated. No further examination of the engine was performed.

Postaccident examinations of the airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation other than the separated spar previously described.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was performed by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, Dayton, Ohio, on June 10, 2012. The pilot's death was attributed to injuries received in the accident.

Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Testing results found:

>> Ethanol detected in brain
>> 22 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in muscle



NTSB Identification: CEN12LA349 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2012 in Spring Valley, OH
Aircraft: FLOWER ROGER P J D, registration: N9010T
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 9, 2012, about 0805 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Flower model JD, N9010T, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground following an in-flight separation of the left wing. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to all major structures during the accident sequence. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport, near Dayton, Ohio,
at an unconfirmed time.

Preliminary reports indicated that the pilot was performing aerobatics when the left wing of the airplane separated.


One was killed in a plane crash in Greene County. 







SPRING VALLEY TWP., Ohio —

A 73-year-old Bellbook man killed in a plane crash Saturday morning was an experienced pilot who had built four planes like the “experimental aircraft” he flew that day, according to his wife.

Roger Flower died in the 8 a.m. crash, said Sgt. Anthony Pearcy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Some witnesses in the area did see the plane flying and the witnesses believe they did see something fall off the plane,” he said.

Flying out of the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County, the plane flown by Flower crashed about 100 yards from a house at 1856 Ohio 380. Debris from the crash spread about 300 feet and the plane had extensive damage.

Flower was a naval aviator for 31 years who still loved to fly in his retirement, said Jan Flower, his wife of 50 years.

“It was his life, ” she said. “He was flying a plane that he had built and flew out of Greene County Airport and was there every day and loved it.”

After retiring from the Navy, he became a certified aviation engineer and began building his own aircraft, his wife said.

“He knew what he was doing about building it and just loved it and wasn’t ready to give up airplanes, so he built them,” she said.

Both natives of Ohio, Roger and Jan Flower have four sons and moved to Bellbrook eight years ago, when they were done traveling with the Navy.

She described her husband as “a leader, totally confident. (He) could tackle anything, could build or fix anything, loved his children and his grandchildren, (and) loved serving in his church.”

The OHSP is investigating the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane was a fixed wing, single engine, experimental/homemade aircraft, according to the patrol.

“According to the family members, it’s been flown before,” said Pearcy.

There was no flight plan filed for the plane and the destination of the flight was unknown, Pearcy said.

“As unfortunate as this incident is, it is fortunate that no other people were involved,” Pearcy said.

Story and video:    http://www.whiotv.com

Emergency crews were called to the scene of a plane crash in Greene County.

One person has died in an early morning plane crash in Spring Valley Twp.
Roger Flower, 73, of Bellbrook died in the 8 a.m. crash, said Sgt. Anthony Pearcy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Flower was flying an experimental aircraft he built, Pearcy said.

“Some witnesses in the area did see the plane flying and the witnesses believe they did see something fall off the plane,” he said.

The plane crashed about 100 yards from a house at 1856 State Route 380. The fallen piece of the aircraft was located off Krepps Road, Pearcy said.

Debris from the crash spread about 300 feet and the plane had extensive damage.

“As unfortunate as this incident is, it is fortunate that no other people were involved,” Pearcy said.

OHSP is investigating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
 
GREENE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) - One person is dead following a small plane crash Saturday morning in Greene County’s Spring Valley Township. 

 The crash happened near State Route 380, south of Xenia.

Initial reports by witnesses suggested a wing fell off the plane, causing it to crash. The Federal Aviation Administration told 2 NEWS investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board would be on the scene Saturday morning to investigate.

The victim’s information and the type of plane have not yet been released. Officials will release the name of the victim once the family has been notified. 

One person has died after a small airplane crashed in Greene County Saturday morning. 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has confirmed that a plane crashed in Greene County Saturday morning, and a spokesperson from the Federal Aviation Administration said one person was killed in the crash. 

 The plane wrecked in a field near Krepps Road and State Route 380 south of Xenia before 8 a.m. 

 Numerous witnesses told News Center that a wing fell off the plane, causing it to go down. 

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