Saturday, June 16, 2012

Midland International (KMAF), Texas: Airport, first-responders simulate airline crash


First-responders were put to the test Saturday morning during a disaster preparedness drill at Midland International Airport. 

 The Federal Aviation Administration requires an elaborate simulated crash of a Boeing 737 aircraft every three years to test the response time and performance of area law enforcement, firefighting personnel, emergency medical services and other community organizations that would be involved in an actual emergency.

"Everything worked really smooth," said Justin Millican, Airport Operations Control Center manager, about the teamwork of the inter-agency task force.

The task force, which involved 16 local and state agencies, simulated a crash of a fictitious airline's Boeing 737 carrying 135 passengers and five crew members. As the aircraft takes off on Runway 10, the right engine fails because of a structural malfunction. While the pilot attempts to return to the airport, a large piece of engine debris strikes the left main landing gear. The damaged gear collapses upon landing and the 737 slides across the airfield, coming to a rest at the intersection of Runway 16L/34R and Runway 4/22, according to briefing materials.

Millican explained the procedure on the tarmac. First-responders were only one phase in the process; hospital staff and airport administration also would play an integral role in the disaster response. The main goal of the exercise -- in addition to maintaining the Class 1 Airport Operating Certificate -- was to work on communications and test a standardized strategy to handle situations such as an Alert 3 crash, he said.

"In real life, if this were to happen it would be too much for any one department to handle," Millican said as he watched paramedics cart off the last of the volunteers who portrayed dead and wounded passengers and crew. "The more people we have trained to respond to a disaster, the faster the response will be if there was ever a major plane crash."

The drill also was an opportunity for the community to observe how an emergency situation would unfold.

Volunteers such as Chris and Tonny Carns, of Odessa, wanted to be a part of DisEx 2012 -- as the training was dubbed by airport and first-responders -- because they thought it would be fun. Others, such as Kelsey Parsley and Kelsie Armistead, were there to earn community service hours for school. But Lea Keesee wanted to witness the event for another reason. She participates in similar simulation exercises for Midland College's medical program.

"I've done medical sims all the time," Keesee said before the exercise began. "But it will be fun to see how this works on such a large scale."

Everyone expected it to be entertaining, and volunteers could be heard making jokes while lying on the tarmac before the emergency tones sounded. But as soon as the airport firefighting units arrived on the scene, the chatter was replaced by the sounds of injured passengers.

The victims were acting a part, but some of the participants didn't anticipate how real the event was going to be. When three of the airport's massive fire engines, designed specifically to inject foam and water into the fuselage of a burning airplane, raced across the runway and the grassy areas with extendable "snozzles" coming in hot, it felt real.

After the drill was completed, many volunteers discussed how impressed they were with the response.

Keesee said emergency responders told her it was about two minutes after the tones rang through the airport until the firefighting rigs appeared on-scene.

"It felt like it was taking forever," she said. "My confidence in the response isn't shaken, but I definitely appreciate how long two minutes really are in situations like this."

Story, photo and video:

Why Dana passengers were burnt alive – Pilot, Instructor; Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83, 5N-RAM, Flight 9J-992, Lagos, Nigeria


By Jide Ajani

He is an FAA Advance Ground Instructor with experience of over 40years. That license qualifies him to instruct anybody to go to the moon. He also has 35 years flying experience. He is an authority in this business. Therefore, when Captain Tito Omaghomi spoke to Vanguard editors on Nigeria’s aviation sector, everyone listened with rapt attention.

“In the first place, our heart goes to everybody who has lost a loved one.This accident was unnecessary. I had alerted Nigerians a few weeks ago about how people have started cutting corners; how people have become complacent”. These were the most pleasant words he uttered throughout the session because he made some startling revelation. Excerpts:

Dana Air appears to be involved in the distribution of relief materials?

We should appeal to Dana Air that this is not a time to give relief materials. It is not their duty – the Federal Government and Lagos State government are capable of doing that. They say this is the beginning of the distribution but I want to say that they have no business doing that.

Dana Air has come out to say the airplane lost two engines.  How could that happen?

That is what they have said in their own defence but the question to ask is who would defend the dead people? This morning, I heard a lawyer saying the plane left Abuja with one engine and that, on the way; the other engine failed. The Bible says my people perish for lack of knowledge. The plane did not leave Abuja with one engine.
Is it possible for a plane to embark on a flight with one engine?

Let me explain. Procedurally, they say when a plane loses an engine, it should turn back and land. These planes are made to fly with one engine off. That is the truth.

So, in this instance, did the plane take off with one engine?

That airplane that crashed took off with two engines. If one fails, you take maximum power on the second engine and you go to where you’re going to because, at that stage, you can not just make a 180 degrees and come and land because you are limited with your landing weight – you have maximum take off weight, after you burn off the fuel (trip fuel), you then have what is called maximum landing weight. But, without you going anywhere with your fuel full and passengers full, you have maximum take off weight which will be detrimental to the structure of the plane if it just turns back like that to come and land. It will cause structural damage to the landing gear.

So what is the standard procedure when an engine fails upon take off?

You dump fuel first and then come back and land. So the issue of saying the plane took off with one engine is not true. We know that this flight, 30miles away from Lagos, the crew contacted radar control and requested for a radar veto – that is the radar should tell them how to come in and land and requested for the longest runway – runway 18Right, which is the longest runway.

If a pilot requests for the longest runway, what does that tell an observer?

If a pilot is requesting for the longest runway, he either has an engine problem, hydraulic problem, or engine fire. We are reliably informed that radar gave him the service that he requested for until he got on the localizer – that is radial which directs him to the 18Right.

They were brought in and, at the last minute, they handed them over to the tower.

I’m happy Dana admitted that they did not contact the tower. After radar had vetoed them, they all agreed that the crew never contacted the tower and so the plane found itself on people’s houses. It was not a choice they made. But it was as a result of uncontrollable asymmetry. One engine had gone, they could not handle that one-engine situation and that was why that engine veered off and landed on people’s houses.

Now, how come when it landed on the houses, it did not explode but when the fire sparked, there was no effort at disembarking?

When the plane dropped on people’s houses, the impact was so much that there was no time to brace up for emergency and that was why they were strapped to their seats and they all burnt to death. That is the truth. We are still waiting for the transcript of the black box. These people had no time to talk to the control tower. They were busy trying to control that plane and that was how they found themselves on peoples roof..

What is the significance of the black box because accidents have happened before in this country and the findings were never made public?

The black box will tell us everything that happened on that flight before the crash.

Let’s look at the way the President responded, was he right to say people will be punished?

I can understand the president’s pain at that time – that he commiserates with families of the victims and that the government will get to the root of the matter and those found culpable would be punished.  That is what people wanted to hear from the president but it was a wrong signal. Air crashes are not investigated because you want to punish somebody but they are investigated so that we can learn and avoid future occurrences. The engineer who may have done a shoddy inspection job would go and doctor the books and cover up his tracks; the dispatcher who dispatched the plane would cover his track and the same goes for the person who fueled the plane.

What is the Snr. Special Adviser to the President on Aviation doing? The man has been there since the time of Olusegun Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and now Jonathan and he has only made three pronouncements since assuming that office. What is he doing there?

If we want to be sincere to ourselves in this country, we should begin to look for quality.

The aviation sector is not the place where you give job to the boys – that is not only bad but also dangerous.

Look at the Aviation Minister, when she was appointed, some people raised hell but everybody agrees that she is doing a damn good job. Look at some of the reforms she has engendered; they are for best practices; but this crash was just unfortunate.

What Nigerians should be looking at are the people in the boards of the parastatals in the aviation sector. It is the board members who formulate policies for their MDs and DGs but when you go and give jobs to the boys, when they get to the board meeting, all they would ask for is how much contracts are worth.

That’s a weighty allegation?

Let me tell you from experience. I was a board member of FAA along with some politicians and we wanted to formulate a policy which I introduced. I wanted us to build mortuaries in Lagos and Kano airports to take a minimum of 350 people. Everybody jumped up saying ‘God forbid; it will never happen’. But it is the truth, it will happen. Look at what families are being put through now to recover the bodies of their departed ones. That is part of the problems of giving the boys job in the aviation industry.

Why do we keep having these accidents?

Accidents started happening in this country from 1969, DC 10, Nigeria Airways. From 1969 to 2003 when Nigeria Airways was liquidated, they had 20 accidents. Of these, only three were Nigeria Airways planes. After 2003, another 21 accidents, Nigeria Airways was no longer existing but the rate of accidents went up so you can safely say if Nigeria Airways was operating, 75% of passengers that have died today could have flown Nigeria Airways and the possibility of accidents on Nigeria Airways was almost zero.

But why don’t presidential aircrafts have accidents?  At least they are manned by Nigerians too?

So let’s also add that why not transfer the training of those crew to general aviation so that we can be safe in this country? Let us ask that too. Have you seen how they maintain those planes in the presidential fleet? Nigerians are in charge and everybody there knows their jobs are on the line but for general aviation, people are looking for money. Most of them instruct their pilots not to write snags noticed in their planes on the log book but on ordinary pieces of paper. That is why most times the airlines fear nothing because there are no records of some things. The Dana Air staff that spoke on conditions of anonymity said the truth.

How would you describe the Senate’s order that Demuren, the DG, NCAA, should step aside?

They forget that the only body mandated by law to investigate accidents in this country is AIB. Any other investigating body would make you run foul of international law and even our own law; so we should allow AIB to do its job.

What is the significance of the black box?

It gives detailed analysis of what happens on a plane – the speed, the altitude, the bank angle of the plane, conversations in the cockpit and every other thing that transpired. We should let AIB do its job before we go into coroner’s inquest or panel of inquiry because this is mass murder. We must stop it. You ask Demuren to step aside, but the people appointed to investigate the crash, an example, Group Captain Obakpolor, was employed by Demuren and he works for NCAA and you’re making him head of the panel that would investigate the accident. He has now become the judge, the accused and the jury. The other two captains in the panel were executive directors of ADC airline; ADC that crashed under the same type of conditions; compensation has not been paid, they went underground and now you’ve gone to bring them to come and be in a panel? What type of a country are we running? I called one of them on that panel and told him that if I were him I will disqualify myself. I sent a text to them to ask if they told the minister that these people appointed into this panel are the staff of ADC and NCAA. It’s unfair. We should be straight forward. They know after a few weeks this matter will die down and when it happens again we will start shouting.

Could you please enlighten us about this issue of the age of an aircraft?

I have always told people that the age of an aircraft is not an issue. DC 3 still flies. Bring a new factory mint air plane to an incompetent pilot, he will crash the plane. Take the oldest well maintained plane and give a competent pilot, he will fly it and fly it well. The power plant, the engine, once that is well maintained, it minimizes risk of accident. A 20-year-old car with a brand new engine will serve you well. The best safety device in the aviation industry is a well maintained aircraft and a well trained crew.

Have you had any airplane incidents?

I have had three and, if they were not well handled, I wouldn’t be alive today: The Airbus A310, on the 14th of April, 1991, that crashed at MMA on a Sunday morning. That day, it was raining cats and dogs. We asked them for the condition of the runway, they said runway ‘wet’. In aviation, that means it is not up to two milimetres of water – nobody has any business with a runway that holds water anyway.

There is something called aqua-planing, which means that when there is water on that runway, you will be surprised that the whole weight of that air plane will just be suspended afloat on that water and, if the wheels are not spinning, the breaks are useless; it is only when the wheels are spinning that the breaks can hold. Therefore, you make a positive landing. If not, the speed will just be suspended there until the tyres touch ground. That was what happened to us that day, so after the wet runway, we touched the ground and that was at the end of entire length; I just turned the nose of the aircraft and we entered a ditch. We evacuated 259 people safely.

That was a flight from Abuja bringing back aviation experts who were coming from a seminar. One Mr. Anene came on board and retrieved the log book and, within 14 hours, AeroFormation, the maintenance investigators, landed in Lagos, took the black box and one month after the AIB investigation and AeroFormation sent in their report with a letter of citation for a job well done. Thank God nobody was incapacitated. The same aqua-planning in Calabar in 1986. Our runways hold water. You must be able to handle emergencies well.

I’ve heard people say Dana took off from Abuja with one engine; that is not true. If you’re flying and you lose one engine, you shut down the engine.

In a two-engine plane, on your route, when you lose engine, the nearest airport should not be more than one hour; in a three-engine plane, if you lose one, the nearest airport should not be more than two hours; in a four-engine plane, it should not be more than three hours and that is why you are not legally allowed to fly over the Atlantic with a two-engine plane so that’s why the planes fly nearer to land than directly over the Atlantic.

We know there is a difference between an incident and an accident but, in Nigeria, reports of the latter are never made public, why?

The report of my incident was made known to me – an incident does not involve fatalities, even if the plane breaks into pieces, it is not an accident but an accident, even if the crash involved just a death, is so described. I saw the transcript of my own.

To be honest, government should think well and do the right thing.

At a time when there was no presidential fleet, our leaders flew in Nigeria Airways planes. They would simply call Director of Flight Operations that the head of state would be flying out and all the Nigeria Airways was required to do was to withdraw a plane, reconfigure, remove the seats, less passengers, create an office setting and that was how they were using the Nigeria Airways planes before they had the presidential fleet in 1986/87. They just sold the place off. The greatest scam is coming very soon. They will soon say we must set up another airline.

Some people say after the Cat 1 Certification, Demuren and the NCAA went to bed?

Will you say because a policeman is caught collecting bribe, MD Abubakar, Police IG, must be sacked? He has inspectors who go to inspect the planes from time to time and some of them (airlines) prepare, clean up the house once they know the inspectors are coming and that is the situation in the aviation industry. Demuren has employed all the best hands in our aviation industry and put them in NCAA except you say he should now go and bring expatriates.

What recommendations have you made to those in authority before now?

Let me give you a true life story. During the turbanning of Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, I met Abacha at Graham Douglas’ house in Ikoyi and, two days after, we again met at the airport and he said I should join a few other senior officers in his official plane while he went with Graham Douglas in Julius Berger’s plane. We took off after they had left some 15, 20 minutes later.

When we got to Sokoto, our plane could not land after six attempts. A fellow board member in the FAA, the late Prof. Don Pedro, said I should check what the pilots were doing in the cockpit. By this time the people on ground had become so apprehensive. I went there, knocked on the door, entered and saw the young men. They were scared stiff, with goose pimples. When they saw me, one of them said, ‘Skipper, the weather is so bad, we’ve made six attempts but could not land’. I asked about visibility, they said 300metres which meant it was so bad. But that was not the problem, they had miscalculated the altimetre setting which made them add 1500 feet on top of the airport elevation of 1500 which means you are 3000 feet so you could not see the runway. I brought this to their attention. I gave them the necessary instruction and we landed safely.

The late General Abdulkareem Adisa was on that flight. By the time we landed safely, the door opened and Adisa came out, he said, “Awon AirForce, won ko mo nkan kan-o” (Air Force personnel do not know anything). But the time we finished this rigmarole, they had finished the turbanning. By the time we wanted to go back, none of the Army Generals we took to Sokoto agreed to return on that plane.

We had to return with Gidado Idris, then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who had a plane to himself. But that was not all.

May the soul of that pilot rest in peace! The day after, it was this same crew that took Abacha’s son to Kano. The people who could not land a plane at Sokoto during the day now went to Kano at night and killed the poor man.

Abacha instructed Douglas to mandate me to prepare a memo on air accidents and that particular one, but, by the time the memo was ready, government had instituted a probe panel to investigate and from that time I washed my hands from government business. People are dishonest.

These crashes almost always happen at weekends, why is that so?

People are relaxed at weekends. My own experience on that Sunday, rather than the controller to say the runway was heavy with water, he said it was just wet.

And we should stop these criticisms of Demuren, except somebody can come out to say he has collected bribe. The man has done so much for us in this country. Category 1 places Nigeria at par with civil aviation in the US, Britain and the developed world. Some countries are still grappling with category 3 (A, B, C) but we have Category 1. Nobody has done that before.

  Regis#: DANA992        Make/Model: MD80      Description: MD-81/82/83/87/88
  Date: 06/03/2012     Time: 1530

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed



INJURY DATA      Total Fatal: 153
                 # Crew:   6     Fat:   6     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass: 147     Fat: 147     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   U

  Activity: Business      Phase: Unknown      Operation: Air Carrier

  FAA FSDO: WASHINGTON, DC  (WA45)                Entry date: 06/04/2012 #

Plane turns back as pilot falls ill

 An Auckland-bound flight has been forced to return to Los Angeles after a pilot became unwell early into the trip.

A doctor who was a passenger on board the Air New Zealand flight treated the pilot as the plane turned back to LA last night.

"The flight was being operated by three pilots so the flight deck remained fully staffed at all times," an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said.

The Boeing 777-300 aircraft had 316 passengers on board.

Due to crew rest requirements, Air New Zealand provided the passengers with hotel accommodation in Los Angeles overnight.

The flight is due to depart for Auckland again this afternoon.


Lock Haven pays tribute to humble Pennsylvania-made Piper Cub plane

 The hangar at the Piper Aviation Museum includes nine planes produced by the company incuding William Piper Jr.'s J2 which is suspended from ceiling.

The normally quiet skies above Lock Haven soon will hum when hundreds of light planes begin their final approaches to William T. Piper Memorial Airport.

The grassy area next to the runway will be yellow with Piper Cubs and dotted with dozens of other planes produced by Piper during its years in Lock Haven, Clinton County.

The event is the 27th Annual Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In,from June 20-23. It's for pilots who love the Cubs as well as anyone who loves airplanes and aviation.

Visitors will get to see pilots test their skills during "bomb drops" and a spot-landing contest. They can also watch Greg Koontz and the Alabama Boys land a Piper Cub on top of the world's smallest airport — a moving pickup truck.

Each day of the fly-in, visitors can schedule an introductory flight lesson ($60 for a 30-minute "Discovery Flight.")

It's the one time of the year when memories preserved in the neighboring William T. Piper Aviation Museum come to life. Combining a trip to the fly-in with a short visit to the museum is an ideal way to learn more about Piper and the company's impact on Pennsylvania.

The classic yellow Piper Cub, with a teddy bear on its tail, could become Pennsylvania's official state aircraft, just as the U.S. Brig Niagara is the state's official flagship.

The humble plane still is admired by pilots, long after Piper stopped making it. "It has the reputation for being easy to fly, slow and safe, and was affordable, too," says Ira Masemore, museum curator.

Carmen Banfill, coordinator of the fly-in, says, "Hearing the hum of the planes' engines and seeing the airport filled with planes again brings back memories for many of us who had relatives and friends working for Piper." The company closed in Lock Haven in 1984.

"Depending on the weather during the fly-in, we expect 250 to 300 planes to be parked on the field at one time, including 36 different Piper models," Banfill says. "There'll also be classic planes made by other companies."

The event celebrates the 75th birthday of Piper and the Piper J-3 Cub. The featured aircraft besides the Cub will be the L-4 and the PA16 Clipper.

With your admission fee, ($8 for adults, $4 for youths 13-17, free for children 12 and under), you'll also get a tractor-pulled, guided tour of the flight line, access to vendors selling everything from plane parts to commemorative Piper Cub 75th anniversary T-shirts.

Plus there's free evening entertainment. You can watch aviation-themed classic movies in Hangar 1 ("Wings," "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club,""Red Tails,""Pushing Tin" and"2012"). Or you can listen to live music (swing and World War ll-era).

Piper produced 74,188 planes in Lock Haven, from 1937 to 1984, Masemore says.

"William T. Piper, has been called the 'Henry Ford of aviation' because he worked hard to make his planes affordable and available to put more people in the air," the museum curator says. "He set up a production line, just like Ford's, with each employee performing one task."

Piper was always thinking of new uses for his planes, which were predominantly for pleasure. "He put pontoons on them for river-landings and skis for snowy-surface touch downs," Masemore says. "He even added sprayers and turned them into crop dusters."

When World War ll began, Piper developed new uses for his J-3 Piper Cubs. They became the prime training planes for new military pilots. They also were converted to L-4s for use in aerial surveillance and ferrying generals (including Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley) to and from battles.

"He even cut out part of a plane's fuselage and showed how it could be used as an air ambulance to fly a wounded soldier to a hospital," Masemore says.

These and many more stories are told in the museum.

It offers a brief movie covering the company's time in Bradford before moving to Lock Haven. The museum has exhibits on the company's history and the Piper family, plus a hangar of nine planes.

You'll find a one-of-a-kind PT 1941 primary trainer, a J-3 Piper Cub, the University of Mississippi's Aztec, which contained one of Piper's earliest pressurized cabins, and The City of Angels, which was the first cloth-covered plane to fly around the world. "It took two and a half months — but that wasn't all time air time," Masemore says. 

"Because of its cloth covering, it had to be grounded each time bad weather was encountered."

Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In

What: Event celebrates the 75th birthday of Piper and the Piper J-3 Cub with airplanes, pilots and events for anyone who loves airplanes and flying.

When: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday June 20-23

Where: William T. Piper Memorial Airport, One Piper Way, Lock Haven

Cost: $8; $4 for children 13 to 17; free for under 12

Highlights: Aerial comics Greg Koontz and the Alabama Boys, who will try to land their Piper Cub on the back of a moving pick-up truck; competitions for pilots including an aerial "bomb drop" and spot landing contest; free nightly entertainment including live music (swing and WW ll-era) and aviation-themed movies.

Tip 1: Visit the William T. Piper Aviation Museum, also at the airport.

Tip 2: You can take a 30-minute Discovery Flight (intro to flying), offered noon-2 p.m. daily during the fly-in, for $60.

New course at Reno air races debuts to praise


RENO, Nev. (AP) - Pilots offered praise this week for a new course designed to keep them farther away from spectators at the Reno National Championship Air Races after last year's accident that killed 11 people. 

 Pilots who flew the course for the first time during a training seminar this week ahead of the Sept. 12-16 races reacted positively to it, said Reno Air Racing Association President Mike Houghton. The repositioning of several pylons moves the course about 150 feet farther away from spectators and helps to ease the gravitational pull on pilots competing in the fastest of six aircraft classes by smoothing out some turns, he said.

A modified World War II P-51 Mustang crashed in front of VIP boxes last September at the Reno National Championship Air Races, killing 11 people and injuring about 70 others.

"I don't think it'll have an impact on speeds. (It'll affect) just the G-force pilots feel," Houghton said. "Every change we've made has taken safety to the next level, and this is one of those steps."

Pilot Steven Hinton, who races in the Unlimited class, praised the changes in a Facebook post Thursday.

"Had a great time at (the seminar) and the new course felt good! 89 more days till the races," he wrote.

The competition at Reno Stead Airport is the only event of its kind in the world, with planes flying wing-tip-to-wing tip around an oval pylon track, sometimes just 50 feet off the ground and at speeds of over 500 mph. This week's seminar, which drew nearly 50 rookies and veterans, for the first time offered special training to provide a feel for the gravitational pull pilots will experience when racing.

Pilot Jimmy Leeward, 74, was traveling at 530 mph when his P-51 Mustang experienced a significant event that caused the plane to pitch skyward while making a turn, then roll and slam into the ground nose first near box seats. Investigators said instruments from the aircraft showed the plane exceeded 9 Gs, and that appears to have incapacitated the pilot as blood rushed from his brain.

Houghton said the new course is expected to reduce the G-force on pilots in the fastest classes from roughly 3 to 2. It's difficult for people to maintain awareness at 5 Gs. Average roller coasters expose riders to about 2 to 3 Gs, but only for brief moments.

The changes are in line with safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board after last year's crash.

Pilot Eric Zine of Los Angeles, who competes in the biplane class, thinks the changes will make the event safer.

"Last year's crash was a one-in-a-million thing that happened," said Zine, a SkyWest Airlines pilot. "I think we took a safe event and made it safer (with the changes)."

Rod Hightower, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, said he enjoyed flying the new course.

"It's a dangerous sport and the risk is there," he said. "But the whole industry worked well with regulatory agencies in coming up with positive changes. We try to move the safety bar up and up."

The cause of last year's crash is still under investigation, and the NTSB is expected to release a final report on it later this year.

This week's training seminar offered pilots a chance to hone their skills before the September event, which attracts the world's top racing pilots.

Houghton said his association is trying to raise money to cover a $1.7 million increase in insurance costs after last year's crash. The organization previously paid $300,000 for insurance.

"We're a $5 million-a-year organization, and that's a significant bump for us," he said, adding a committee has been formed to solicit donations from sponsors and local businesses.

NTSB Identification: WPR11MA454 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 16, 2011 in Reno, NV
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN/AERO CLASSICS P-51D, registration: N79111
Injuries: 11 Fatal,66 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On September 16, 2011, about 1626 Pacific daylight time, an experimental North America P-51D, N79111, impacted terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering at Reno Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to Aero-Trans Corp, Ocala, Florida, and operated by the pilot as Race 177 under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Casualties on the ground included 10 fatalities and 74 injured. As of the time of this preliminary report, eight of the injured remain hospitalized, some in critical condition. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the local air race flight, which departed from Reno Stead Airport about 10 minutes before the accident.

The airplane was participating in the Reno National Championship Air Races in the last event of the day. The airplane had completed several laps and was in a steep left turn towards the home pylon when, according to photographic evidence, the airplane suddenly banked momentarily to the left before banking to the right, turning away from the race course, and pitching to a steep nose-high attitude. Witnesses reported and photographic evidence indicates that a piece of the airframe separated during these maneuvers. After roll and pitch variations, the airplane descended in an extremely nose-low attitude and collided with the ground in the box seat area near the center of the grandstand seating area.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage on site. They documented the debris field and identified various components of the airplane’s control system and control surfaces. The wreckage was removed to a secure storage facility for detailed examination at a later date.

The airplane’s ground crew noted that the airplane had a telemetry system that broadcast data to a ground station as well as recorded it to a box on board the airplane. The crew provided the ground station telemetry data, which includes engine parameters and global positioning satellite system data to the NTSB for analysis. The onboard data box, which sustained crush damage, was sent to the NTSB’s Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination. Investigators recovered pieces of a camera housing and multiple detached memory cards from the airplane’s onboard camera that were in the debris field. The memory cards and numerous still and video image recordings were also sent to the Vehicle Recorders laboratory for evaluation.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Reno Air Race Association are parties to the investigation.

Barney Oldfield Baby Lakes, N10XB: Accident occurred June 16, 2012 in Anderson, South Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA400
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 16, 2012 in Anderson, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and noted no anomalies. He stated that he observed 4 quarts of oil in the engine. He hand prop started the engine, allowed the engine to warm up, and then performed an engine run-up check of the magnetos and the carburetor heat function, with no abnormalities noted. He stated that he did not recall the oil pressure of the engine during the engine run-up. As soon as the main landing gear came off the runway, the pilot noted the engine rpm was less than 2,400 rpm, instead of its usual 2,600 rpm. He ensured that the throttle was full forward and leveled the airplane at 100 feet above the ground, but the engine rpm did not increase. The pilot elected to turn the airplane for a precautionary landing on the intersecting runway. As he maneuvered the airplane in the turn, he noticed the engine rpm slowly decreasing until the engine experienced a total loss of engine power and the propeller stopped turning. The pilot searched for a place to land and maneuvered the airplane to clear trees that were in the flight path, and the airplane impacted the ground, nosed over, and came to rest inverted.

During postaccident examination, about 1/4 cup of oil was drained from the oil tank, which was not compromised during the accident sequence. According to the engine operations and maintenance manual, a minimum of 2 quarts of oil are required for engine operation. Because there was no evidence of preexisting engine oil leakage, and based on the amount of oil that was drained from the oil tank and the lack of leaked oil at the accident site, it is likely that the engine did not contain the appropriate amount of oil for operation when it departed. No other anomalies were noted with the engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power as a result of an inadequate amount of lubricating oil in the engine. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper preflight inspection.

On June 16, 2012, about 1250 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur built, Lane Barney Oldfield Aircraft Company, Baby Lakes, airplane, N10XB, registered to and operated by an individual, sustained substantial damage after a total loss of engine power and impact with the ground near Anderson Regional Airport (AND), Anderson, South Carolina. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, personal flight. The flight was originating at that time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and noted four quarts of oil in the engine, 10 gallons of fuel, and no anomalies noted. The pilot hand propped the engine, allowed it to warm up, and performed an engine run-up check of the magnetos and carburetor heat function with no abnormalities noted. He stated that he did not recall the oil pressure of the engine during the engine run-up. The pilot taxied to runway 05, announced his departure on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), lined up on the runway centerline, and then applied full power. When the airspeed reached 40 mph, the tail came up off the ground, and at 60 mph, the main landing gear came off the runway. At that point he noted the engine rpm was less than 2,400, and he ensured that the throttle was full forward. He leveled the airplane at 100 feet above the ground, but the engine rpm remained at 2,400; when normally it was about 2,600 rpm. The pilot continued straight and level, and once the airplane was near the departure end of the runway, he turned for a precautionary landing on the intersecting runway. The pilot maneuvered the airplane in a 45-degree bank, and the engine rpm decreased to 2,200 rpm. He continued the turn, announced on the CTAF his intention to land, and noted the engine’s tachometer was at 2,100 rpm. Shortly after, the engine experienced a total loss of engine power and the propeller stopped turning. The pilot announced a “deadstick landing” on the CTAF and searched for a place to land. The airplane cleared trees that were in the flight path, impacted the ground, and nosed over before coming rest inverted. He secured the fuel, turned off the magnetos, and waited for assistance to exit the airplane.

A wreckage examination by the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found fuel present in the carburetor. In addition, there was no engine oil observed in the oil sump, there was no evidence of an engine oil leak, and no oil was observed at the accident site.

A postaccident engine examination with FAA oversight revealed that engine continuity was confirmed from the front of the engine to the accessory section by rotating the propeller by hand with some resistance noted. Compression was confirmed on all cylinders and both magnetos generated spark. All spark plugs were removed and all were light gray in color and exhibited normal wear. Oil came out of the No. 4 cylinder when the bottom spark plug was removed. The engine was removed from the engine mounts and the crankcase was opened. The crankshaft was unable to be rotated by hand until the main bearings were removed. The rear and center bearings of the crankshaft were grooved and black stains were noted. The camshaft rotated freely with no resistance. The oil tank was removed and about a quarter cup of oil was drained from the tank. The oil screen was removed and few contaminants were noted. A magnet was placed across the oil screen and no ferrous metal particles were noted. The oil pump was intact, rotated freely, and the gears were examined with no anomalies noted.

According to the pilot, construction on the airplane began in the early 1990s and was completed in 2008. The airplane was equipped with a Continental A-80, 80 horsepower engine that was last overhauled in 1980. At the time of the overhaul, the engine had accumulated 570 hours of total time. At the time of the accident, the most recent conditional inspection was performed on June 27, 2011, and at that time the airplane had accumulated 50 hours of total time. The most recent oil change was performed on November 22, 2011.

According to the engine operations and maintenance manual, the maximum oil capacity is four quarts of oil. In addition, there must be at least two quarts of oil in the engine for operation.

 NTSB Identification: ERA12LA400 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 16, 2012 in Anderson, SC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On June 16, 2012, about 1350 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur built, Lane Barney Oldfield Aircraft Company, Baby Lakes, airplane, N10XB, registered to and operated by an individual, sustained substantial damage from a ground impact at the Anderson Regional Airport (KAND), Anderson, South Carolina. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, personal flight. The flight was originating at that time.

The pilot stated that he hand propped the engine, allowed it to warm up, and performed an engine run-up check of the magnetos and carburetor heat function with no abnormalities noted. He taxied to runway 05, announced his departure on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), lined up on the runway centerline, and then applied full power. When the airspeed reached 40 mph, the tail came up off the ground, and at 60 mph, the main landing gear came off the runway. At that point he noted the engine rpm was less than 2,400, he then ensured that he had utilized full throttle. He leveled the airplane at 100 feet above the ground, but the engine rpm remained at 2,400; the norm is about 2,600. The pilot continued straight and level, and once the airplane was near the departure end of the runway, he turned for a precautionary landing on runway 17. He maneuvered the airplane in a 45-degree bank, and the engine rpm decreased to 2,200 rpm. He continued the turn, and announced on the CTAF his intention and noted the engine’s tachometer was at 2,100. Shortly after, the engine had a total loss of power and the propeller stopped turning. The pilot announced “deadstick landing” on the CTAF and looked outside for a clear area. He cleared trees that were in the airplane’s flight path, impacted the ground, and nosed over before coming to a stop. He secured the fuel, turned off the magnetos, and waited for assistance. Bystanders came and assisted him to exit the airplane.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Photo by Ken Ruinard, Anderson Independent Mail 
A man looks at the wreckage of an experimental biplane.

— Pilot John Hornbeck was unhurt after his single-engine biplane crashed moments after taking off Saturday afternoon from Anderson Regional Airport.

The 38-year-old Anderson County man was the only person in the small plane when it went down around 1:30 p.m.

Hornbeck said his Baby Lakes aircraft lost power as it took off for what was supposed to be a short afternoon flight. The plane’s engine died as he tried to circle back to the airport.

“It happened so fast,” Hornbeck said Saturday afternoon.

He said he needed to act quickly because his aircraft was losing altitude fast.

“This plane is a rock,” he said.

Hornbeck managed to guide the plane over a stand of trees near the airport before it came down in a grassy area short of the runway.

He said the plane slid for about 50 feet, and then its landing gear collapsed. The plane flipped over, briefly trapping Hornbeck inside.

With the help of some bystanders, Hornbeck managed to free himself from the wreckage as emergency crews arrived at the scene.

Hornbeck said he has been flying for about three years and has owned the biplane for about a year. He said his plane suffered significant damage in the crash, but he believes it can be repaired.

Anderson County officials notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board about the incident Saturday, which was the second crash since April at Anderson Regional Airport.

William Hayden, a 58-year-old pilot from Ohio, died April 27 when the single-engine Cirrus SR22 he was flying caught fire after crashing at the airport. Hayden was practicing touch-and-go exercises at the time of the crash.

Four Bay County roads closed as SportCruiser that had emergency fuel-related landing is transported to MBS International Airport (KMBS), Saginaw, Michigan

 BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -  A 77-year-old pilot made an emergency landing in a farm field. She walked out of the plane after putting it down in some bean plants.

The woman was flying from Gaylord to Pontiac when she ran into trouble. Police believe one of the plane's fuel tanks ran out and the pilot couldn't switch to a second tank in time.

The pilot put out a distress call shortly before noon on Saturday. Emergency responders in Bay and Saginaw County stood by for a possible plane crash.

The 77-year-old was able to land the plane without incident. She was the only passenger in the  SportCruiser plane. The pilot was not injured and the plane was fine too.

"Well having talked with her she has been flying for 17 years, she did an outstanding job," said Sgt. Brad Woolman.

Emergency responders pushed the plane out of the bean field and loaded in on to a tow truck. Police escorted the plane to MBS Airport.

Michigan State Police have not released the pilot's name. She declined an interview with TV5.

Reporter Liz Gelardi snapped several pictures of the emergency landing. Click on her facebook page to view a slideshow.

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FRANKENLUST TOWNSHIP, MI — Authorities here have closed four roads as a small plane that was forced to land because of a lack of fuel is transported to MBS International Airport. 

 Authorities initially reported the sudden landing about noon north of Freeland Road and west of Westside Saginaw Road, or M-84, as a crash.

Bay County sheriff's officials said the plane did not crash and instead was low on fuel, forcing the pilot to land the plane. The pilot was not injured in the landing, officials said.

Authorities decided to transport the plane on a flatbed truck to the airport in Tittabawassee Township and closed Mackinaw, Fraser, 7 Mile, and 8 Mile roads as the plane was transported.

Authorities estimated the roads would be closed for about 30 minutes.

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Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics takes off at Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A Henson Field (KHGR), Maryland

( By Ric Dugan - June 16, 2012 ) 
 Bill Rippeon, left, an engine instructor at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, talks with student, Josh House, of Cumberland during class Thursday.  A longtime employee of a Hagerstown land surveying firm, Richard Rice was thinking of a career change back in 2001 when he happened on the website for Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. 

The training and job possibilities sounded exciting, but Rice realized he couldn’t work and still drive from his home near Greencastle, Pa., to Pittsburgh for classes every day, nor could he afford to move to Pittsburgh.

“So I put the thought on a back burner,” Rice said.

Then late last year, having been laid off after “20-some” years with the surveying company, Rice heard that PIA had opened a campus at Hagerstown Regional Airport, teaching aviation maintenance technology.

“I saw it as the perfect opportunity,” said Rice, 53, who has been taking classes there since January.

The new Hagerstown school, which opened in April 2011, has become the perfect opportunity for many.

“It gives people in the community another opportunity to be successful,” said Hal Lucas, chairman of the Washington County Economic Development Commission. “And it provides businesses in the community with a ready pool of qualified talent.”

And now, the school has proven itself a magnet in helping the county attract a new employer.

Economic development officials, including Lucas, won’t identify the company yet or say how many jobs it will create, but they say PIA is a key to its decision recently to open a facility here.

“It shows that certainly, it’s a positive influence,” Lucas said. “It’s one of the positive influences that affect businesses which may want to come to the airport.”

“The school is a real asset for the airport and the community on many levels,” said Greg Larsen, airport business development manager for the county.

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Chubby Class: Wider airline seat for fat flyers who will get an extra two inches...but slimmer travellers lose space

  • Airbus gives obese passengers an extra two inches as complaints soar from fellow travellers
  • Aisle seat will increase to 20in wide, but economy class seats will reduce by one inch
  • Airlines could charge for premium seat, with an estimated £2m generated over 15 years for each aircraft

Squeezing into a 'cattle class' airline seat is about to get a  lot easier for the overweight traveller – but at the expense of more slimline passengers.

The growing girth of flyers has prompted aircraft manufacturer Airbus to design extra-wide seats for its popular A320 jets. 

But it will shrink the size of ordinary economy-class seats so that each flight can still carry the same number of people.

Rather than have rows of three seats, each 18in wide, Airbus proposes making the aisle seat 20in wide and reducing the width of the two others by an inch each.

The new configuration would also allow airlines to impose an extra charge for the premium seats, with Airbus estimating that a £6.50 fee could generate an extra £2 million for each  aircraft over 15 years.

That could help offset the extra fuel cost required to carry overweight passengers.

Airbus came up with the new design in response to requests from airlines who say travellers' expanding size has become a major headache.

Carriers say the most frequent complaint is from passengers forced to sit next to an overweight person who is encroaching into their space.

A recent survey found half of British flyers said overweight travellers should pay more for their ticket. 

Budget airline Ryanair even mooted such a "fat tax", to cover the extra cost of transporting obese people.

Nicolas Tschechne, who conducts research at Airbus, said the rising weight of flyers was "quite dramatic".

Cessna 310 Pre-Flight (American Flyers)

Volunteers needed for August's Atlantic City Airshow

The Greater Atlantic City Chamber is seeking volunteers for the Atlantic City Airshow "Thunder over the Boardwalk" Friday, Aug. 17. 

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights perform during this year's show 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the Atlantic City beach and Boardwalk for a crowd that reached about 80,000 spectators in 2011.

Although the Chamber has not yet released the full lineup, the event has featured in the past the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Marine Corps and Air National Guard, as well as civilian acts. Most performers take off and land via the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township.

This year is the first time in a decade the show won't be held mid-week. Organizers made the change to accommodate the Thunderbirds' schedule. They will appear in Atlantic City between the 50th annual Abbotsford International Airshow - Canada's largest airshow that draws about 125,000 people to Abbottsford, British Columbia - Aug. 10-12, and New York City's Air Force Week, Aug. 19-21. Marketing nonprofit the Atlantic City Alliance and others are working to fill the rest of the week with related events to maximize benefits to the resort and surrounding area.

Those events include the second annual "Atlantic City Salutes America's Armed Forces Boardwalk Parade" Wednesday, Aug. 15. The parade kicks off at 6 :30 p.m. at New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk. The 90-minute procession ends at Albany Avenue. Last year, 119 units consisting of 850 people marched, including 19 rolling chairs, 14 beauty queens and three trolleys.

Other organizers and sponsors also include the 177th Fighter Wing of the N.J. Air National Guard; South Jersey Transportation Authority; FAA William J. Hughes Tech Center; The Atlantic City International Airport; Caesars Entertainment, David Schultz Airshows; the City of Atlantic City; and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.

For more info
Atlantic City Airshow "Thunder Over The Boardwalk:
Volunteering: or Greater Atlantic City Chamber Director of Member Events Elisa Monroe at, or 609-345-4524, ext. 12.

Maine Warden Service’s chief pilot put on leave after domestic assault charge

SHIRLEY, Maine — The chief pilot with the Maine Warden Service has been placed on administrative leave in connection with his arrest earlier this month on domestic violence assault and other charges, officials confirmed Friday.

In addition to domestic violence assault, Charles Later, 54, of Shirley is charged with obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief, Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said.

Later was charged on June 3, according to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

Almy said that the charges stem from an investigation into an alleged assault on a woman at Later’s residence in Shirley. He said that Later, who had been drinking, got into an altercation with the victim and while she was trying to call 911 for help, damaged the telephone and shoved her.

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Warden pilot charged

The chief pilot for the Maine Warden Service is on administrative leave following his arrest on domestic violence charges.

Charles F. Later, 54, of Shirley, was arrested at his home June 1 on an initial charge of domestic violence assault, Piscataquis County District Attorney Chris Almy said this week. Almy said additional charges of obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief were added once the case had been reviewed.

"His wife called 911 and reported her husband, the defendant, was intoxicated and started smashing items in the house, throwing food," Almy said. "Defendant ripped the phone from the wall and shoved her, that's what she reported."

Deputy James Cain of the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department made the arrest, according to Almy. Later was released on bail.

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