Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friends hold benefit for injured Mercy Flight pilot

Friends of Joe Knox, the Mercy Flight pilot injured in a tractor accident two months ago, came together Saturday to raise money for Knox by holding a yard sale.

Besides the physical and emotional pain Knox faces, he is also burdened by medical expenses. Friends hoped by holding the yard sale they could help lift some of that burden off his shoulders.

“It’s a long process,” former Mercy Flight nurse Amanda Check said. “He has braces on, and all that costs, and just being out in Seattle, food for his family, lodging, and follow up doctor appointments, it all adds up.”

For a man who has helped save so many lives for more than 15 years, they say a yard sale was the least they could do for him.

“He’s one of the most positive guys I’ve ever met, just very hardworking, just fun to be around, overall just a great, great person,” Mercy Flight nurse Brian Schruth said.

More than 40 friends, co-workers, and others who had known Knox through Mercy Flight and his volunteering in the community, donated hundreds of items to be sold. They hoped to raise at least $1000.

With dozens streaming onto the lawn and the thought of Knox in mind, his friends said they had no doubt they could do it.

“If anybody else was in that situation, he’d be right there for them also,” Check said.

Friends will also hold another benefit Saturday, June 30, at the Sting Sports bar from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.   There will be a raffle, silent and live auctions, and entertainment.

Virgin Galactic gearing up for first space flight


LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Virgin Galactic is gearing up to give people a travel experience that is literally out of this world. 

The company, which is a part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is preparing to be the first business to provide commercial flights to outer space.

Virgin Galactic just recently opened their new headquarters in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they continue to work on launching their first flight.

“It certainly is a dream, and I dream all the time, and I love to try to make dreams come true,” said Branson.

So far, more than 500 people have put down a deposit to be a part of Branson’s dream.  Most of those individuals have paid the full ticket price of $200,000.

“You can compare them to the first commercial airline passengers, and the first people that bought those huge car phones back in the 80s. You know it was those people that made those businesses possible, and enabled the technology to develop,” said one Virgin Galactic employee.

If all goes well, it won’t be too long before Virgin Galactic launches their first flight. They’re hoping to embark on their inaugural voyage at the end of next year.

IndiGo plane becomes first to land using fuel-saving technology

No-frill carrier IndiGo on Saturday became the first Indian airline to carry out a landing at the Kochi airport using a system that allows an aircraft to be guided by a sophisticated on-board navigation system instead of ground-based radars. 

In carrying out this precision landing, an Airbus A-320 aircraft used the Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach, which provides accurate and shorter flight paths and secure trajectories.

RNP, by allowing the use of on board systems and satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS), frees the plane from dependence on conventional ground-based navigation installations.

An airline spokesperson said Saturday’s first regular RNP flight was 6E-345 from Bangalore to Kochi. RNP approach would continue to be applied by IndiGo whenever its aircraft land at Kochi, with its entire fleet being equipped with the system.

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LIVE: World Aerobatic Yak-52 Championship

LIVE: World Aerobatic Yak-52 Championship
15:40 23/06/2012
MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti)

RIA Novosti will broadcast live the opening ceremony of the third World Aerobatic Yak-52 Championship on June 23 at 3.40 p.m. Moscow time (11.40 a.m. GMT). Participants from 10 different countries will be performing stunts.

All of the aerobatics are judged by a panel, which scores the participants on the difficulty of the stunts performed, synchronicity, and staying within a precise area or otherwise be docked points. The championship will run until June 30

The Yak-52 is a two-bladed counterclockwise nose prop plane used as an aerobatic trainer for students and is able to fly upside down for as long as two minutes and its maximum speed is 177 miles per hour.

Russia celebrates 75 years of legendary Moscow-Vancouver flight

Russia celebrates the 75th anniversary of a 63-hour flight from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington, US, via the North Pole.

The main celebrations, including an air show, are being held near the native town of the legendary Soviet pilot Valery Chkalov in the Nizhni Novgorod region.

In June 1937, Soviet pilot Valery, Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov and Alexander Belyakob made the legendary flight on an Tupolev ANT-25 plane. It was a non-stop distance flight, which covered 8,811 kilometers.

The flight pioneered the polar air route from Europe to the American Pacific Coast.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Piper Seneca : "This Is How I Roll," Paola Pivi, Freedman Plaza, Central Park

Courtesy of New York City Parks.

There's an airplane in Central Park.

How it got there this week isn't totally clear, but it did not fly to its current position, in Doris C. Freedman Plaza. This airplane is "art," a piece by artist Paola Pivi entitled "How I Roll."

So why's this plane so special? Well for one, this baby is a six-seat 1977 Piper Seneca that is "airborne but flightless," continually rotating 360-degrees, held aloft by its wingtips. Second, we can't remember a time when there's been an entire airplane in Central Park, of any size. Thirdly, it's supposed to evoke a "child's dream come to life."

Mt. Vernon, Illinois: Airport hosts convention - The Ercoupe Owners of America National Convention will last through the weekend

MT. VERNON — — Thursday was the first day of the Ercoupe Owners of America National Convention, which will last through the the weekend, hosted by the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. 

David Winters of Clarksville, Tenn., has owned his plane since 2004. He said he used to fly a Citation jet, which is much bigger than the Ercoupe, which seats two.

The planes were designed pre World War II and about 6,000 of them were produced. Winters said the planes were once quite popular and were even sold at Macy’s during the first years of production in the mid 1940’s.

The plane was designed for non-professional pilots, with cutting-edge safety features that don’t allow is to stall out. One unique feature of the Ercoupe is the lack of rudder pedals — the plane is flown entirely using a control wheel instead and like driving a car.

Winters stripped his plane, which is named Frolic, of paint and removed the upholstery to make it lighter and said it only weighs about 860 pounds. His plane gets about 17 miles to the gallon and is relatively easy to learn to fly, he added.

Frolic is a work in progress — Winters has been working on her and replacing parts since he purchased the plane.

“When I first started flying, every time I took off, something fell off,” Winters said. “I don’t think I will ever be finished [restoring the plane].”

Read more here:

Portsmouth, New Hampshire: First Blue Angel set to roar into city on Tuesday

PORTSMOUTH — Aviation enthusiasts should expect some activity in the skies overhead Tuesday, June 26, as the early arrival of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels is sure to make some noise over the Seacoast. 

According to airport manager Bill Hopper, Blue Angel 7 will arrive at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The visit comes only days before the Service Credit Union Boston-Portsmouth Air Show, scheduled for June 30-July 1.

The exact arrival time of the first Angel is not set in stone, said Hopper, calling it a "moving target."

Blue Angel 7 Lt. Mark Tedrow of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, serves as the narrator for the team during flight demonstrations. Tedrow arrived in Portsmouth in late November aboard an F/A-18 Hornet to build interest in the upcoming air show.

The entire team is expected to arrive Wednesday, June 27.

Read more here:

Coast Guard aviators in Belle Chasse get a new skipper today

Rusty Costanza/The Times-Picayune
Command of Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, home to five MH-65C Dolphin helicopters such as this one, changes hands this morning.

Almost two years after he assumed command of about 120 Coast Guard personnel and their five of MH-65C Dolphin search and rescue helicopters, Cmdr. Frederick Riedlin hands the reigns of Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans to Cmdr. Michael Brandhuber. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be at the agency’s air station in Belle Chasse, which became a hub for Coast Guard helicopters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Brandhuber becomes the latest in the line of Coast Guard officers to oversee the aviation operation since the agency first established an air station at Lake Pontchartrain in 1955. Since then, the Coast Guard estimates its New Orleans-area flight crews have saved more than 5,500 people, making it one of its busiest air stations.

The Coast Guard’s aviation compound has been located inside the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse since 1957.

The air crews respond to search-and-rescue calls in a region from the Florida panhandle to Memphis, Tenn., to the Louisiana-Texas border to deep within the Gulf of Mexico, home to thousands of offshore platforms.

They also fly an array of other missions, including law enforcement – and regularly provide aerial security over New Orleans parade routes during Carnival season.

Read more here:

Flight Inspections ENAV provided by Piaggio P180 Avanti II

June 22, 2012 by ENAV

Captain Enzo Maria Feliziani


ENAV is the Italian company that provides Air Traffic Control service, as well as other services for air navigation, in Italy skies and in national civilian airports.

ENAV personnel guarantees the air traffic management from 39 Control Towers 24 hours a day.

Westmoreland County Air Show taking off this weekend - Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE) - Pennsylvania

The Navy’s Blue Angels’ squadron of F-18 fighter jets will pierce the skies above the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport at 650 mph this weekend, buzzing the airport at a mere 50 feet above the ground.

“You won’t hear me coming until I’m gone,” said Lt. C.J. Simonsen of Coon Rapids, Minn, one of six Blue Angels pilots who will perform Saturday and Sunday at the Westmoreland County Air Show.

Spectators will see the Navy jets fly so close together in a diamond formation that just 18 inches will separate the planes speeding at 460 mph, said Simonsen, the lead solo pilot in the No. 5 F-18.

“It’s very, very challenging flying, The amount of teamwork and trust we have between the six pilots is unlike any other I’ve been a part of. It’s a trust that we build in training ... from January to mid-March,” said Simonsen, who is in his third and final year with the Blue Angels. The team will perform in 35 cities and conduct 70 shows.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flying High in Clinton County, Pennsylvania

LOCK HAVEN — Piper Cub planes from across the country landed in Lock Haven to take a trip down memory lane. 

 It was the annual Sentimental Journey.

A few winds of the propeller and the Piper Cub planes were ready for take-off.

Hundreds of Piper Cub pilots were filling the skies in Lock Haven, for the 27th annual Sentimental Journey.

Pilots said they live for cruising in their Cubs on hot days.

“It’s a low and slow cub plane and you fly with the windows open. They don’t go very fast anywhere, it’s like driving an old car,” said Leo Janssens of Florida.

Every year, the fly-in brings aviators back to Clinton County to travel back in time, and remember the days when these vintage aircrafts were made in Lock Haven.

“It`s really grass roots aviation at its best. There`s no computers in these airplanes, they`re just tube and fabric and it`s what they call flying by the seat of your pants. It`s really how you feel,” said Dana Holladay of Maryland.

“It`s just great to be with the other Cub pilots and with the people that are really down to earth, yet their pilots,” said Janssens.

Many pilots said they return to the Sentimental Journey each year because they`re allowed to wind up the propellers, climb in the cockpit and take off. And it`s one of the only fly-ins in the nation that allow them to do so.

“Flight line isn’t shut down all day doing air show after air show to get to fly their planes, and they really enjoy doing that,” said Kim Garlick, Sentimental Journey Secretary.

Planes constantly take off for sightseeing trips, as pilots share their love for flying with others.

“These pilots are awesome, they have so much fun, so friendly, they make this fly in work,” said Garlick.

“It`s just a pleasant airplane to fly around the airport, on a sunny day like this is. It`s fun. It`s a step back in time again and it`s lovely,” said Janssens.

People can check out the Piper Cubs and take a sentimental journey of their own through Saturday.

Story and video:

Greenwood, South Carolina, hosts first, free aviation expo

GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) - Get ready to get a firsthand look at legendary aircraft this weekend at the first Aviation Expo held during Greenwood's The Festival of Flowers. 

The Greenwood County Airport will have vintage and classic full-sized planes for families to check out in person, and a full fleet of RC-model planes fly crazy patterns that will make your head spin.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday. There will be food and aviation-related vendors as well.

The expo is part of Greenwood's annual mega-event, The Festival of Flowers. Both are free and open to the public.


A summer camp with airplanes

GRAND FORKS — Sixteen-year-old Matt Adamson spent his Wednesday morning with his head in the clouds — literally. 

 The Plymouth, Minn., native was flying a Cessna 172S aircraft with assistance from University of North Dakota flight instructor Jakee Stoltz, as part of the 29th annual UND International Aerospace Camp.

Taking place all this week, the camp invited high school juniors and seniors from all over the country who are interested in aerospace sciences to UND. The participants were treated just like UND students and given a chance to fly planes in the university’s fleet.

“I really wasn’t expecting it to be like this,” Adamson said. “I thought I would just be riding in a plane.”

Instead, Adamson and 26 other camp participants were allowed to control the airplanes they were riding in — with guidance from their instructors of course. It’s UND’s way of giving high school students a taste of what it would be like to study aviation.

Before the young pilots could take to the skies, they spent time in lectures and flight simulators to gain a better understanding of the science of flying.

“There’s quite a big difference between having goggles on in a simulator and actually flying,” Stoltz said.

The Wednesday morning flight was the second one of the week for the camp participants. In addition to completing an introductory flight and an instrumental flight, they also got a chance to try their hand at a night flight and a cross-country flight.

Before takeoff, each camper and their flight instructor completed an aircraft inspection. Then it was up to the camper to radio to the control tower and request permission to take off.

“It was a lot of fun,” Adamson said after he landed. “I was actually flying the plane for most of the flight.”

Also included in the camp schedule were sessions on air traffic control, aviation management and unmanned aircraft systems, allowing students to hear about more than the piloting aspect of aerospace sciences.

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Poplar Grove, Illinois: Museum hosts World’s Fair exhibit

The Vintage Wings and Wheels Museum, 5151 Orth Road, Poplar Grove, will host a 1893 World’s Fair exhibit opening at 7 p.m. Thursday. 

Doors open at 6 p.m. Performance by RJ Lindsey as Daniel Burnham starts at 7 p.m.

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Akron’s inflatable airplane is oddity of sky in 1950s

The concept had sky-high potential. Unfortunately, it went over like a lead balloon. 

 In the mid-1950s, Goodyear Aircraft Corp. of Akron designed, developed and produced an experimental airplane that could fold up into a bundle and fit in the trunk of an automobile.

The Inflatoplane was an aeronautical oddity made of rubberized nylon fabric that pumped up like a tire. Within 10 minutes of unloading, the lightweight aircraft was filled with air and ready to fly.

Goodyear engineers heralded the contraption, which maintained its shape by internal air pressure, as the first of its kind in the United States.

“Named the Inflatoplane, the new Goodyear aircraft plane, developed under joint Army-Navy auspices, can be flown from a small field and attain speeds that will satisfy anyone wishing to avoid the bumper-to-bumper Sunday afternoon traffic,” the company boasted.

The prototype was a one-person craft 19.7 feet long with a wingspan of 22 feet and an empty weight of 205 pounds (or 329 pounds with its 20-gallon gas tank full).

With the pilot seated in the front, the Inflatoplane resembled a glider — albeit one composed of mattress stuffing. The fuselage, tail and cockpit were made with two walls of rubberized fabric connected by nylon threads.

Read more and photos:

Flight School Hosts Open House

American Flyers at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport hosting open house and free barbecue lunch on July 7

ATLANTA, Ga., (June 20, 2012) – American Flyers Flight School at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport will be hosting an open house and barbeque on Saturday, July 7. American Flyers is welcoming everyone with an interest in aviation to come to the airport for a fun-filled and informative afternoon. This free event begins at noon with a BBQ lunch, and continues with a facility tour and a presentation by a certificated flight instructor.

Guests are invited to ask any questions they may have, check out the training aircraft displayed on the flight line, and experience a flight for yourself in one of the state-of-the-art flight simulators.

Additionally, every guest that attends will receive a certificate for two free hours of instruction in one of the flight simulators. All attending pilots are invited to stay after lunch for a free FAA Wings seminar on summertime flying considerations, presented by an American Flyers senior instructor.

Lunch is served promptly at noon, so guests are encouraged to arrive 10 – 15 minutes early. There is no need to make reservations and guests are encouraged to bring friends and family. American Flyers is located on the west side of the DeKalb Peachtree Airport at 1950Airport Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 30341. For more information, call678-281-0631 or visit

American Flyers has been training pilots since 1939, and operates seven FAA-accredited schools in six states and one in Mexico City, Mexico.

Florida man flies, rescues, his 1,000th animal

GREENVILLE, Ala. — On a recent June day, Jeff Bennett flew his four-seat plane from the mangrove-dotted Florida Keys, past some angry thunder clouds to the fertile hills of Greenville, Ala. His mission: to save 23 dogs destined for death row. 

Bennett, a 53-year-old retired businessman, donates his time, fuel and plane to Pilots N Paws, a South Carolina-based charity that enlists small plane pilots to transport animals from overcrowded shelters that have high euthanasia rates to foster homes, rescue groups and less-crowded shelters that don't kill the animals.

Bennett's been airlifting animals for more than 3 years. Bennett is a dog lover; he has four of his own, including one that he adopted after a flight.

He's carried mostly dogs, some cats, the occasional snake and once, a potbellied pig — earning his small Cirrus aircraft the nickname "All Species Airways" around the Pilots N Paws community.

But this month was special. On the Greenville trip, Bennett picked up his 1,000th animal.

"This is a mile marker," said Bennett, who had a pointy party hat decorated with pirates picked out for the special canine.

It's a number few of Pilots N Paws' 2,800 volunteer pilots reach, said Deborah Boies, the group's president and co-founder.

"We have only one other pilot who has accomplished that goal," said Boies. "It's extremely unique. He is truly one of the most dedicated people to Pilots N Paws."

Read more and photos:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First solo flight for Mr. Crowe - Moree, New South Wales, Australia

Mr Crowe said that getting his license has been a challenging experience. 

“I’m just lucky that I have a good instructor. Fred (Nolan) is very patient and concentrates on the main things like safety,” he said.

Mr Crowe has been in training to get his license through the Moree Aero Club and recently built up enough hours to fly solo in an Cessna 162 Skycatcher.

The two-seater Skycatcher is a newly designed aircraft from the famous Cessna manufacturer and is aimed at the rapidly expanding light sport aircraft market.

The Continental 0-200 engine has 100hp and delivers fuel economy of about 16-18 lt/hr, which at 200km/hr cruise speed, gives a very economical 8lt/100 in car talk. This is about 17 cents per kilometre aviation fuel cost.

The Cessna is based at the Moree Aero Club, of which Mr Crowe is a member.

He believes that in time he will use his license for a number of things.

“I will use my license around the farm to check up on the crops and eventually I’ll use it to go and visit relatives,” Mr Crowe said.

He has always been interested in planes and used aviation around the farm.

“I still have a lot to learn to complete the course - there is handling skills, air law, physics - so I’m an embarked student,” he said.

The Skycatcher is a new Cessna airplane and only a few of them are in Australia at present.

It is a first for Moree that it is to be based here, together with a second example owned by Malcolm Harris from Mungindi. 


SALT LAKE CITY: New Life Flight helicopters among best in the world

Mike Tillack, center, the first trauma patient transported on a new Agusta Grand, talks with nurse Andrea Clement, left. Mike's daughter Stevie Tillack is below. 
(Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — William Duehlmeir, with Intermountain Medical Center's trauma program, knows the importance of getting an injured patient to the hospital as fast as possible. 

"Speed matters. Seconds count," he said. "The first 60 minutes is critical."

Typically, the fastest way to get a patient to a hospital in Utah is by medical helicopter. Now, Utah has three of the most sophisticated medical helicopters in the world.

Wednesday, Intermountain Medical Center officially unveiled two of its organization's three new medical helicopters recently added to its signature Life Flight service. All of them are Agusta Grand 109s.

"They're fantastic," said Life Flight pilot Rob Anderson. "There's really not an option that's available that's not on this aircraft. If you were to draw (a helicopter), you couldn't add anything these don't already have."

The new aircraft are specifically designed for high altitude flying. The helicopters were originally made for rescues in the Swiss Alps.

In 1978, Intermountain Healthcare debuted its Life Flight program. In 1993, two K2 helicopters were added to its fleet. In 2004, they added two Bell 407 helicopters.

The new Agusta Grand helicopters are 50 mph faster than the Bells, Anderson said, can carry 2,000 more pounds of people and equipment, and the twin-engine aircraft can fly on just one engine if the other goes out.

The new helicopters include the latest safety technology, including a "collision avoidance system" to avoid mountain and midair collisions, auto-pilot and the latest navigational tools including "Highway in the Sky" and other instruments that help a pilot in low or no visibility conditions.

"The technology in this aircraft is just off the scale," said Life Flight director of operations Bill Butts.

In 2003, Life Flight suffered the only two fatal crashes in its history, both within a five-month period. The helicopters involved in those incidents were K2s. One of the fatal crashes involved a mechanical failure, the other was due to foggy conditions.

"This is much improved technology that will help us in flying in inclement weather," Intermountain spokesman Jess Gomez said of the new helicopters. He said the decision to fly is ultimately left up to the team of pilots.

Read more:

Yakima, Washington: CubCrafters finds upward flight path

This editorial appears in the June 21, 2012, Yakima Herald-Republic. 

 Yakima is developing a niche aircraft industry on planes big and small. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the landing gear designed and manufactured by Yakima's GE Aviation Systems, began carrying passengers late last year. On a smaller scale, or at least on smaller planes, Yakima's CubCrafters is taking off with its production of light sport aircraft.

The Dreamliner is a twin-engine commercial jetliner with room for 210 to 290 passengers. CubCrafters seeks a different market entirely; nearly 90 percent of its production is in the light sport category, the Sport Cub and Carbon Cub. Both of those Cubs are single-engine, propeller-driven craft that seat two.

A common theme that applies as they ply the skies: Whether large commercial craft or small sport craft, the highest potential for growth lies overseas.

CubCrafters especially is in an expansion spurt and is on pace to build 60 new planes this year, up by almost a third over last year. The company now has 125 to 130 employees, higher than its peak employment levels before the economic recession ravaged the industry in 2008, and up from 70-80 workers four years ago. Base prices run from $134,950 for the Sport Cub to $163,280 for the Carbon Cub.

The company just entered the European Union market with shipments to the United Kingdom. The EU, Australia and Brazil have eased sales of the light sport category by adopting the industry's design standard.

The domestic market is more mature, with many pilots weighing the benefits of rebuilding an old plane versus buying a new one. CubCrafters gets about 20 percent of its business in rebuilds, but the company profits most from selling new planes. Down the road, the highest profit potential, the company believes, is overseas.

Like the export-dependent agricultural commodities this area produces, the aircraft industry needs to know its overseas market and adjust its strategies accordingly. It also needs elected officials who understand the importance of trade and can serve as advocates for its industries.

Whether a 200-seater or a two-seater, it's a global market -- one in which the Yakima Valley increasingly finds ways to play a role.
* Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Sharon J. Prill, Bob Crider, Frank Purdy and Karen Troianello.


Virginia Beach man charged with pointing laser pointer at Oceana aircraft

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - 56-year-old Robert Bruce of Virginia Beach was indicted on six counts alleging that he aimed a laser at Naval aircraft. 

According to Peter Carr with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bruce aimed shined a laser pointer at Naval Aircraft flying from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach on or about April 11, 2012 and June 2, 2012.

A law was passed in February 2012 making it illegal to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft.

Carr said Bruce was charged on two counts of interference with flight crew, two counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft and two counts of assaulting, resisting or impending certain officers or employees.

According to Carr, Bruce could have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the interference charges, a maximum of five years in prison for aiming a lase pointer at aircraft, and a maximum of 25 years in prison on each charge of assault. 


Airplane part crashes through man’s roof - Bangor, Maine

Courtesy of the Bangor Fire Department 
The 3 inch airplane engine piston that crashed through a Bangor man's roof Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

The hole in the ceiling caused by the airplane engine piston that fell through the roof of a Bangor man's house Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

Dylan Martin, Bangor Daily News 

The hole in the ceiling caused by the airplane engine piston that fell through the roof of a Bangor man's house Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

“We got to around 1,500 feet and we heard a loud bang and the plane started shaking,” said Rick Eason, faculty adviser for the University Flying Club in Orono, who took off with the pilot at around 7:25 p.m.

After the two made a safe emergency landing at Bangor International Airport, Eason said he was soon contacted by the airport’s control tower, “and they asked if I lost something from my plane.”

As Eason soon figured out by comparing data from his GPS device with the time of the incident, as well as a reported call to Bangor Fire Department’s Station 6, a small piece of the Cessna 172 did break off. It crashed through the roof and into the front room of a Bangor man’s house on Peruvian Way in the Judson Heights neighborhood, according to the Bangor Fire Department.

“He said it was still hot,” Interim Fire Chief Rick Cheverie said.

The unidentified falling object turned out to be a piston connecting rod, a part 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches long that connects the arm and head of a piston inside a plane engine’s cylinder, Cheverie said. It fell through the attic and sheetrock ceiling of the house, leaving a noticeable mark on the hardwood floor of the foyer.

The fire chief said no one in the house was hurt, but he estimated the house had more than $5,000 in damage.

“It could have been a much different outcome,” Cheverie said, referring to a child who was cycling near the house at the time of impact.

Eason said the homeowner, who asked not to be identified, was 15-20 feet away when the small destructive object came crashing through his roof.

“We’ve never had anything like this. We haven’t had any in-flight problems like this,” the flight instructor said.

Eason said he reported the incident to the Flight Standards District Office in Portland, a regional division of the Federal Aviation Administration, in accordance with FAA regulations.

“We don’t know why it happened,” said Soren Hansen, the flying club’s mechanical officer.

Apparently, Hansen said, one of the engine’s six cylinders split in half and the piston rod shot out and crashed through the Bangor man’s roof. The Cessna 172 is one of the flying club’s two available aircraft.

The maintenance officer said this plane in particular was “probably” getting close to its overhaul period, a recurring time when mechanics take the engine apart for maintenance. Hansen said he estimated it was around hour 1,500 out of the 1,800-hour limit for time between maintenance checks.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said a federal inspector has confirmed the details of the incident, and the FAA is now waiting for Eason to send a report after the aircraft is repaired. Peters said the FAA is also awaiting contact with the Bangor homeowner to record the details of the accident.

It’s important for FAA to record all details of an incident like this, because if similar occurrences have been reported, it could point to a larger manufacturing problem with the plane’s model, Peters said. However, this does not appear to be the case in this instance, he added.


GREAT STORY: Business is soaring for CubCrafters

SARA GETTYS / Yakima Herald-Repu 
Zeus Wilson welds intake tubes at the newly expanded parts and welding shop at CubCrafters on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The shop makes parts for both the planes CubCrafters builds and also parts for rebuilds and kits.

Story and photos:


YAKIMA, Wash. — In the lobby at CubCrafters headquarters on South 16th Avenue, the company has posted maps of the United States and the world.

Various places on each map have little pins with flags showing sales of CubCrafters. Most of those pins are currently on the U.S. map. But more and more, they’ll be showing up on the world map.

Growing worldwide interest in light sport aircraft, a category of less-expensive planes, has contributed to recent growth for the Yakima manufacturer.

So far this year, the company has increased production by 25 percent and has outgrown its welding and machine shop, which prompted it to lease 15,000 square feet at the former Western Recreational Vehicles facility on West Washington Avenue. Employment has increased from 70 to 80 workers during the economic downtown four years ago to 125 to 130 now, surpassing peak employment levels from early 2008.

CubCrafters, founded in 1980, is on pace to build 60 new planes this year, which would be a 28 percent increase from last year and the most ever in one year, said owner Jim Richmond.

"There’s more optimism" about the market, he said.

Outlook brightens

Nearly all those planes — 90 percent — will be light sport aircraft. The company currently manufacturers two light sport models: the Sport Cub and the Carbon Cub.

The Carbon Cub is the more powerful younger brother of the Sport Cub, the initial light sport model introduced in 2005, shortly after the category was adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Light sport aircraft has become appealing because it’s less pricey: The base price of the Sport Cub, for example, is $163,280, about 32 percent less than the Top Cub, the standard category aircraft that CubCrafters also builds. The Sport Cub is even less expensive, with a $134,950 base price.

Over the last few years, several countries, including those in the European Union, Australia and Brazil, have adopted the light sport aircraft design standard set by the industry, enabling manufacturers like CubCrafters to sell their aircraft without having to make big changes.

Unlike the United States, other countries do not have a large inventory of used planes, so the price point of light sport aircraft is appealing for those looking to buy a new plane, said Dick Knapinski, a spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association, a recreational aviation organization based in Oshkosh, Wis.

"CubCrafters, to their credit, are taking advantage of it," he said.

Recently, CubCrafters shipped two Carbon Cubs to the United Kingdom, marking its entrance into the European market.

Dan Johnson, who runs, a website about the light sport and recreational aircraft industry, believes there’s great potential in the world market. He speculates that in 20 years, most light craft will be sold outside the United States.

"(Manufacturers) could end up selling substantially more aircraft outside the U.S.," he said.

Busy with rebuilds

That’s not to say that CubCrafters’ business in the United States has matured, although the company has seen a year-over-year increase in domestic sales of its aircraft, Richmond said.

He said it’s taken a few years for a significant number of U.S. general aviation pilots to experience a light sport aircraft first hand.

And those pilots don’t hesitate to document and share their experiences on social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube. Such posts often prompt more interest from potential buyers.

"The fleet is selling airplanes for us," he said.

Still, CubCrafters faces tough competition — not from other plane manufacturers, but from the thousands of older planes still in operation.

Many pilots are often faced with the decision of either rebuilding an existing plane or buying a new one, and many choose to rebuild. CubCrafters still benefits from this market, as about 20 percent of its business comes from rebuilding old planes, repairs and assembly kits, which provide parts.

This side of the business has kept the company’s parts and welding shop busy. While the company finishes a new plane every four days — about 5.4 planes a month — the shop can generate up to 10 planes’ worth of parts in the same period.

But rebuilds are hard to schedule because they are all different. That is, some planes may have more damage than others, so it’s better to sell a new plane, Richmond said.

That has driven the company to keep innovating on new models. With the parts and welding shop relocated to a new facility, the company now uses space at its main plant for research and development, experimenting with modifications and new features.

"The challenge is to come up with something compelling enough to make the choice of buying a new plane rather than to rebuild," Richmond said.

Story and photos:

Volunteers needed for Great Reno Balloon Race

Volunteers are needed for the Great Reno Balloon Race on Sept. 7-9 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is the world’s largest free hot air ballooning event.

Those who register will be a part of the Aeronauts, the official volunteer group of the event.

Volunteers are trained in crewing hot air balloons and have the opportunity to serve on chase crews during the event. In addition, Aeronauts help with security and setting up and breaking down the field.

Shifts are available to fit varying schedules, ranging from four to six hours.

Anyone interested is encouraged to attend the upcoming Aeronaut meetings to learn more:

• Wednesday
• July 18
• Aug. 15

All meetings are at 5:30 p.m. at the SANGA Club, 1776 National Guard Way, in Reno.

Details: or Kitty Harris at 775-233-5578.

Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV VQ-BMT Take Off at Airport Bern-Belp

Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV VQ-BMT take off at Airport Bern-Belp in Switzerland.

Cessna 172S, N767CL ✈ HD Video

Meteorite report grounds firefighting aircraft in Colorado

BELLVUE, Colo. (AP) - Authorities say reports of a possible meteorite or meteor shower briefly grounded firefighting aircraft battling a central Colorado wildfire.

Meteorologist Scott Entrekin of the National Weather Service says emergency officials in Chafee County reported a possible meteor in the skies near the Springer Fire. They briefly grounded four single-engine aircraft fighting the 1,100-acre blaze west of Colorado Springs.

Entrekin said Wednesday that the crews of 2 commercial aircraft flying over Liberal, Kan., reported what appeared to be a meteorite at 1:47 p.m. Central Daylight Time, or 12:47 p.m. Mountain time. He said the Colorado sighting occurred at about the same time.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has no confirmed reports of a meteorite. It says there were no reported disruptions to commercial airline.


Outdated Weather Radar Tied to Fatal Small-Plane Crashes

By Alan Levin - June 20, 2012

Weather radar images sent to small- plane cockpits with new technology can be as much as 20 minutes out of date and have been linked to two fatal crashes, a U.S. safety agency warned. 

The National Transportation Safety Board told pilots yesterday that the so-called Nexrad radar display can mislead pilots into thinking they are viewing current weather information.

“Remember that the in-cockpit Nexrad display depicts where the weather WAS, not where it IS,” the safety board wrote.

The government is broadcasting weather and other data to properly equipped small planes as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s broader overhaul of the U.S. air-traffic system known as NextGen.

Nexrad is a long-range weather radar system jointly owned and operated by the FAA, the U.S. National Weather Service and the Defense Department, according to a fact sheet posted on the FAA’s website.

While airliners carry weather radars on board that allow pilots to see storms, small planes typically have not had access to that technology.

The gap in weather information has arisen in two accidents that killed a total of eight people, the NTSB said.

On March 25, 2010, a pilot and two flight nurses were killed near Brownsville, Tennessee, when an air ambulance helicopter encountered severe weather.

On Dec. 19, 2011, a single-engine Piper Cherokee broke up in flight and crashed near Bryan, Texas, killing all five aboard.

Miles Away
In both cases, storms depicted on radar in the planes’ cockpits were between 5 and 8 minutes old and miles away from their actual location, the alert said.

Compounding the issue is that the Nexrad displays the age of the radar image. That time-stamp indicates when the image was created, not how old the data is, according to the NTSB.

“Weather conditions depicted on the mosaic image will always be older than the age indicated on the display,” the alert said.

The FAA has been alerting pilots to the time delay for several years, the agency said in an e-mailed statement. The information is contained in an online training guide, a manual for flying in different weather conditions and in the FAA Safety Briefing magazine.  


IN PICTURES: Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Healthcare unveils new high-tech copters ... Life Flight » New models are faster and safer in responding to medical emergencies

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) 
Mike Tillack, the first trauma patient transported on the new Augusta Grand helicopter, speaks at the Intermountain Medical Center on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The helicopters have a top speed of 193 mph.

By dana ferguson
The Salt Lake Tribune

After a bullet ricocheted off a steel target and lodged itself into his skull, Mike Tillack rushed to Sanpete Valley Hospital in Mount Pleasant. Doctors there determined Tillack needed to be transported to a bigger hospital. The ambulance ride would take nearly two hours in traffic; Tillack arrived via Life Flight helicopter in 27 minutes.

Fortunately for Tillack, IMC acquired three new Augusta Grand helicopters this spring, one of which raced him to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo before the bullet fragments pushing against his brain created any irreparable damage.

The Augusta Grands can reach speeds of up to 190 mph in the Intermountain region. They can travel even faster at lower altitudes.

"The [emergency medical responders] were surprised at how quickly we showed up to the scene because [the helicopter crew] responded so quickly," said Jerry Morrison, Life Flight executive director.

The helicopters feature additional safety technology, including a complete digital cockpit display, twin-engine power, retractable landing gear, a collision avoidance system and "Highway in the Sky" technology that aids pilot navigation.

Tillack, the first patient to ride one of Intermountain Healthcare’s newest copters, carries the bullet fragment the crew extracted from his skull to remember just how close he came to death two weeks ago.

At a media event Wednesday, IMC nurse practitioner Bill Duehlmeier explained what physicians call the "golden hour." The first 60 minutes spent dealing with a trauma are key in saving a patient’s life.

"Speed matters. Seconds count," Duehlmeier said. "That first 60 minutes are critical."

About a dozen patients have been transported in two of the new helicopters since Tillack’s journey June 4, Life Flight spokesman K.D. Simpson said.

The third helicopter has been in use for nearly a year in St. George and already has racked up 300 medical runs.

Story and photo gallery:

Airports Authority of India: Now pilots to get pre-departure information on screen inside cockpit

NEW DELHI: In a move that would enhance safety and efficiency of air operations, pilots from now on will receive take-off instruction on their screens right inside the aircraft's cockpit. 

For the first time in the country, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has introduced the Data Link Communication system for pre-departure clearance of aircraft at the Mumbai airport on trial basis.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, along with Secretary, Civil Aviation Nasim Zaidi and AAI Chairman, V P Agrawal, had recently launched the trial operations at the Mumbai airport.

In addition to Mumbai, the Data Link Departure clearance (DLC) systems were being deployed at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad International Airports.

"The new system would eliminate possibility of human error and enhance safety and efficiency of operations," a statement from the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

Pre-departure clearance is an authorisation issued by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to the pilot regarding the runway to be used, route to be flown from departure to destination and the cruising height that the aircraft is expected to maintain.

At present, an air traffic controller on request from the pilot issues pre-departure clearance through voice communication using VHF radio from ATC tower. The pilots are expected to read back the entire clearance to confirm correct receipt of the same, again through voice communication.

Such procedures, sometimes led to potential misunderstanding between the pilot and the controller.

Apart from this, the procedure also led to loss of valuable time for the pilot waiting for his turn to get the clearance as it is not possible for more than one pilot to talk to the controller at a time.

The Data Link Communication technology would eventually replace the present system of voice communication. Under this new system, a pilot's request for pre-departure clearance from the ATC using Flight Management Computer in the cockpit.

The controller gets the information about the aircraft requesting the clearance on his work-station and he selects the appropriate clearance from the data base and sends the requisite information to the cockpit via Data Link.

Thus, getting the information both on screen and print via Data Link confirms issue and receipt of correct clearance, saves time for the pilot and eliminates human errors thereby enhancing safety and operational efficiency, the statement said. 


Fort Missoula: Decorated pilot revisits helicopter for 1st time since Vietnam

Ricky Geronis hadn’t seen Army helicopter gunship 19-A for 43 years, but it only took a few minutes for the emotions to come surging back.

Geronis earned a Distinguished Flying Cross in Vietnam flying the Bell UH-1H “Huey” that now rests outside the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History at Fort Missoula. Although he hasn’t been at the controls of an aircraft since his Army service, Geronis was pleased to find the seat still fit fine. He learned the helicopter was in Missoula while doing some Internet research and decided to come get reacquainted.

“It might come back to me pretty quick,” the Burien, Wash., resident said Tuesday as he gripped the collective control bar. “I’d be pretty rusty though.”

The memories were plentiful of the months of 1969 when he was based in Ban Me Thuot, in the central highlands of Vietnam during one of the toughest years of the war. Geronis was steered into helicopter training soon after he was drafted, and found himself promoted to aircraft commander a few months after reaching the battle zone.

“It had a carcass like an old jalopy, but it had pretty good power,” Geronis said of 19-A. “You could do some things with this one that others couldn’t.”

Like one time when he was picking up soldiers in a mountainous crater with little room to maneuver. The soldiers had just broken off a fight with North Vietnamese combat troops and were desperate to leave. Geronis hovered backward to the edge of the jungle, and then powered the helicopter forward toward a V-shaped gap in the trees.

“The body of the helicopter just got through the slot and the rotors were going over the treetops,” he said. “The lights were blinking and there was the warning tone in my ear that we were losing RPM. We just fit.”

Read more and photo:

Yuma International Airport: New hangar project

Local contractors met Tuesday to learn about a new hangar that will be built at the Yuma International Airport. 

The hangar will be part of the Aviation Industrial Center.

Contractors met with architects during today's pre-bid meeting to see diagrams and walk the site before placing a bid to build the facility.

Once the hangar is completed, defense contractors will be able to rent mechanical equipment and office space.

The bid opening will be in July to reveal which local contractor gets the bid to build the new facility.

Aspen, Colorado: Airport plan not nailed down yet

Janet Urquhart 
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN — Pitkin County commissioners aren't yet ready to give up on a plan for the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport that would keep future development on the east side, along Highway 82, where it is currently centered.

Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the financial feasibility of proposed facilities outlined in an updated airport master plan, but the location of at least one facility remains a matter of debate. The majority of the board asked for further analysis of putting a second fixed-base operator on the east side of the airport rather than the west side, off Owl Creek Road.

That means submission of the proposed master plan for Planning and Zoning Commission review next month, and potential formal review by commissioners in August, will be delayed, said Jim Elwood, the airport's aviation director.

Commissioner Jack Hatfield asked why a second east-side fixed-base operator wasn't presented as an option in the latest iteration of the master plan after asking that it get another look; consultant Mark McFarland said he gave up on that option.

“It didn't work well enough that I was not embarrassed to show it,” McFarland said.

“The bottom line is that … if you have two east-side fixed-base operators, you run into several congestion issues,” he said.

Commissioners, however, said the issue remains a sticking point for some in the community.

“I want you to prove me wrong — that it can't happen,” Hatfield said.

“We need to be able to look at it … and say, ‘Yes, this just doesn't work,'” Commissioner Rachel Richards agreed.

Commissioner Rob Ittner also called for further exploration of fitting everything on the east side, though consultants predict it will affect what can be done with parking and planning for a new commercial terminal.

Commissioner George Newman said he was satisfied with the planning done to date, which puts a second fixed-base operator on the west side of the airport, and he warned his colleagues that two east-side, fixed-base operators would not preclude an operator from proposing a west-side operation. The Federal Aviation Administration has said the county can't close off the west side from development. Only the airport's operations center exists there now.

“That's one of the consequences — just so everyone understands that's one of the consequences,” Newman said.

The airport currently has one fixed-base operator, operated by Atlantic Aviation, which services general aviation and sells fuel to private and commercial aircraft.

During Tuesday's review, Ittner also urged commissioners to consider how quickly they want to see airport improvements move forward once the master plan is adopted. It's a 20-year plan, but the financial analysis puts projects, including a new terminal and parking facilities, and the addition of a second fixed-base operator, into a timeline that starts next year and concludes in 2018.

The FAA requires specific years, but 2013 simply represents Year 1. Year 1 isn't necessarily 2013, commissioners were told. Still, the financial analysis is based on fund balances and interest-rate projections that are tied to actual years, starting with 2013, said County Manager Jon Peacock. The master plan, once it's adopted, is likely to drive actual development proposals, he confirmed.

“We'll probably be back to you, if not next year, then probably soon,” Peacock said.

“I think the board needs to make a decision on its tolerance level of actually starting this project next year,” Ittner said. “This is a budget for specific aspects of development.”

The process of developing a new facility, not actual construction, could begin next year, Richards clarified.

The financial analysis pegs future improvements outlined in the master plan at $171.3 million, including $120.8 million allocated to construction of a new terminal and associated roads and parking, including a parking garage. The plan envisions borrowing $50 million, to be repaid through airport revenues. Of the total sum, $69.5 million is not eligible for federal funding or revenues from the passenger facility charge collected for each passenger that boards a commercial aircraft in Aspen, according to financial consultant Steve Horton. A big part of the $69.5 million is parking facilities, he said.

The financial plan doesn't call for any local taxpayer support for future development, but fee increases at the airport will go toward the projects, Horton said, and Richards asked for specifics on the fees to be charged for parking.

Ittner questioned why government dollars would go toward building a taxiway parallel to the runway on the west side to serve a second fixed-base operator if one is built there. Such a project is eligible for grant funds, Horton said. Repayment by the fixed-base operator would be a matter to be negotiated, he said.

The financial plan anticipates private dollars to develop other facilities associated with a second fixed-base operator.

The airport, which operates without a local tax subsidy, remains financially healthy under the development scenario that's proposed, Peacock noted, citing the financial analysis.


Malawi's head of state: 'Why I'm selling presidential jet'

  • Joyce Banda was sworn in as president of Malawi in April
  • Malawi, one of world's poorest countries, has devalued its currency by 40%
  • Banda explains why repairing relations with the IMF was so imperative for the country's future
  • She also speaks about why the African Union Summit will no longer be held in Malawi

Missing Plane Likely Crashed in Reservoir

20 June 2012 
 The Moscow Times

Rescuers on Wednesday found the likely crash site of a hijacked An-2 biplane that went missing more than a week ago with 13 revelers on board.

An emergency services source told Interfax that a large patch of oil was discovered on the surface of a reservoir to the north of Serov, the Urals city from which the light aircraft disappeared on June 11. The source said this oil spot was presumably a trace of the missing plane.

The source also said search teams had been redirected to the reservoir and that rescuers specializing in working in the taiga had been deployed.

The latest rescue efforts come after more than 1,000 emergency situations staff, police, hunters, fisherman and tourists were reported scouring the surrounding area Monday.

Sverdlovsk region investigators believe that the head of the local traffic police and at least one of his subordinates were traveling on the missing plane, which they reportedly hijacked while drunk.


Plane attempting to pick up an OBX banner at Dare County Regional Airport (KMQI), Manteo, North Carolina


 June 18, 2012 by searaybobpoq 

"Plane attempting to pick up an OBX banner at the Manteo NC Airport. Notice the hook on the tail of the plane. The hook picks up the banner on the runway, but in this case it didn't snag it."

Plane Crash Blamed on Faulty GPS: CASA C-212-CB Aviocar 100, Aero-Service SARL, TN-AFA, Republic of Congo

Plane Crash Blamed on Faulty GPS

     CHICAGO (CN) - A plane crash that killed 11 people in the Republic of Congo, including six Australian mining executives, was caused by the plane's defective Garmin GPS unit, 25 relatives of the victims claim in Federal Court.

     Hong Cassley and 24 co-plaintiffs sued Garmin International, Sundance Resources, Cam Iron, Aero Service SARL, and Raymond Griesbaum, for the June 19, 2010 crash.

     The plaintiffs, citizens of China, the United Kingdom and Australia, sued individually and as representatives of their late relatives' estate.

     "On June 19, 2010, plaintiffs' decedents were passengers onboard a Casa 212 aircraft performing a charter flight from Yaoundé, Cameroon to Yangadou, Republic of Congo," the complaint states.

     "On a date prior to June 19, 2010, defendant Garmin designed, manufactured, assembled, and sold the Map 496 Global Positioning System unit installed onboard the accident aircraft.

     "At the time the GPS unit left the custody and control of defendant Garmin, it was defective and unreasonably dangerous in one or more of the following respects, among other defects:

     "a. The GPS unit installed on the accident aircraft failed to provide relevant and/or accurate information regarding the aircraft's position,

     "b. The terrain avoidance functionality of the GPS unit failed to provide timely alerts of approaching and hazardous terrain, and

     "c. The GPS unit did not contain any warning of these or other defects.

     "As the direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid defective and unreasonably dangerous conditions, the accident aircraft failed to avoid mountainous terrain while in flight and violently crashed into the ground near Avima, Republic of Congo.

     "As the direct and proximate result of the aforesaid crash, plaintiffs' decedents were killed."

     The English newspaper The Telegraph reported that 11 people were onboard the plane, including the director of Sundance Resources, Ken Talbot, one of Australia's richest men. Talbot's relatives are not a party to this case.

     The plane was chartered by Sundance to take members of its board of directors on a tour of the Mbalam iron ore fields owned by Cam Iron in northwest Congo-Brazzaville, which are worth billions of dollars, according to The Telegraph.

     Cassley says his relative, James Cassley, worked for GMP Securities Europe and "was required to travel to specific locations at specific times, and in the manner determined by defendants Sundance and Cam Iron."

     "At all times relevant hereto, Defendants Sundance and Cam Iron owed plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedents a duty to use reasonable care in selecting a charter flight operator so as to not cause injury to, or the deaths of, plaintiffs' decedents," Cassley says.

     "Plaintiffs and the other heirs and next of kin of their respective decedents have suffered a loss of support, loss of net accumulations, loss of household and other services, loss of care, comfort, companionship, guidance and society and mental anguish, sorrow and grief as the result of the deaths of plaintiffs' decedents," the complaint states.

     The plaintiffs demand damages for negligence and seven other counts which are not precisely explicated in the complaint.

     They are represented by Floyd Wisner.