Sunday, June 24, 2012

NORTH CAROLINA: State hopes remote-aircraft industry takes flight

North Carolina hopes to launch one of its next big industries out of a tiny airport in Hyde County. 

The Division of Aviation, part of the state transportation department, is drafting plans for a test range where private companies and academic researchers could try out unmanned aircraft and the cameras and other devices they might carry.

If they’re successful at getting an FAA permit for the range, officials will then ask the Federal Aviation Administration to make it one of six sites nationwide the agency will use to help determine how unmanned craft can be incorporated into U.S. airspace.

Having a test range in the state could spur research and development worth billions of dollars, said Kyle Snyder, director of the NextGen Air Transportation Center at N.C. State University, which is working with the state, other universities and private industry to find uses for unmanned aircraft.

In North Carolina, Snyder said, “We could do the building, the testing, the final production, the training and the maintenance on these aircraft. We could do the full life-cycle.”

Unmanned aircraft – also called remotely piloted aircraft – have been in use for years, most notably by the U.S. and Israeli military. Large U.S. military drones have carried out attacks during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Within the United States, the FAA strictly regulates the use of unmanned aircraft. About five dozen universities and law enforcement agencies across the country are certified to operate them.

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PHOTOS: Patriots Jet Team performs for the home crowd

The Patriots Jet Team flew L39 jets in formation over the Byron Airport in Byron, Calif., on Sunday, June 24, 2012. As part of a dedication ceremony for their new hangar, the Patriots Jet Team performed on their way back to their home base in Byron after performing over Sonoma raceway earlier in the day. 

Memorial to honor 2011 Reno air race crash victims

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Organizers of the Reno National Championship Air Races are pursuing plans to build a permanent memorial for victims of last year's mass-casualty crash in Nevada.

Reno Air Racing Association officials are hoping the memorial can be installed at the crash site at Reno Stead Airport by the start of the Sept. 12-16 event.

They're talking to victims' families to determine what they would prefer, but have not yet come up with a specific design for the monument, association spokesman Mike Draper said.

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Lee County-Butters Field (52J), Bishopville, South Carolina: Airport hosts fly-in rain or shine

BISHOPVILLE- A little inclement weather kept a few pilots from flying into Bishopville but it couldn’t keep them away. 

Sunday in Bishopville at the Lee County Airport’s Butters field was supposed to be the site of several dozen aircraft flying in for the second year in a row for the South Carolina Breakfast Club’s bi-weekly meeting.  Mother Nature had other plans and the low clouds prevented any of the planes from actually landing.

It didn’t deter some of the dedicated few members that took alternate means of transportation such as a motorcycle or car. The preferred method is by aircraft but above all, fellowship was most important. The Club has a history that dates all the way back to 1938 and promises a home cooked southern breakfast, great fellowship and flying. This week it was Bishopville’s turn and breakfast was served at the South Carolina Cotton Museum, on West Cedar Lane. Every other Sunday pilots and aviation lovers in and around South Carolina meet at a different airport. As their website,, states “That’s it! No dues, no meeting requirements. Breakfast is around $6 a plate and is ready around 9 a.m. Fly-in or drive. There’s always plenty and all are welcome.”

Just in case there was a brief opening in the clouds and a plane wanted to land, airport manager, airport commission chairman, pilot and instructor George Roberts was ready. He was standing yards from the runway with walkie-talkie in hand to give the all clear to land. Last year Roberts said there were more than 30 aircraft including a helicopter. Although he had hoped the good weather trend from the past week would continue it didn’t. Butters Field is a small country airport to say the least and it only allows pilots to use a visual approach for landing, minimum 1,000 ft. ceiling and three mile visibility.

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Aviation history takes to skies over Marlborough, New Zealand

The Ferrari of aviation in the 1940s soared over Marlborough on Saturday leaving its V12 engine ringing in the ears of spectators.

 A Russian World War II plane, the Yakovlev Yak-3, was the star of the show at the Omaka Wings and Wheels Day.

Parents and their children watched as owner and pilot Graeme Frew rolled the newly restored fighter plane overhead.

The Yak-3 was restored at Omaka Airfield by Blenheim engineers Jem Aviation.

Chris O'Connor installed the avionics and was, quite literally, taken for a spin on Saturday.

The plane bounced through the air like a speedboat, he said.

"Graeme [Frew] said `if you build it, you have to fly in it'. The performance is incredible and it's beautiful to roll.

"You come in low and then before you know it, you're back up to 4000 feet."

The Yak-3 was a great aeroplane to work on, Mr O'Connor added.

"The Russians knew what they were doing."

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre trustee Graham Orphan said the Yak-3 was the Russian equivalent of a Spitfire or Mustang. But the Yak-3 could outperform both, he said.

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JetBlue eyeing Naples Municipal Airport (KAPF), Florida

JetBlue has expressed interest in serving Naples Municipal Airport with nonstop, low-fare service from several New York airports. The airline recognizes the airport’s 75,000-pound weight limit for aircraft, and the City of Naples Airport Authority is investigating the airlines’ request for a waiver of that limit for specified commercial service. Under consideration by the airport authority is the possible impact of heavier aircraft on the airport’s runways and taxiways.

 “Working with our attorneys and our board of commissioners to evaluate the weight-restriction issue is only an initial step,” said Executive Director Ted Soliday. “Our bylaws require meetings with the city council and the public to change the weight limit in any manner. Whether JetBlue begins service or not, attracting the attention of this premier airline is a great achievement for the airport and the Naples area.”

“Although our modern fleet of Airbus 320 and Embraer 190 aircraft exceed APF’s current weigh limits, they have a noise footprint similar to or lower than smaller aircraft currently utilizing the airport,” Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s vice president network planning and partnership, wrote in a June 19 letter. “I am confident JetBlue can be a good neighbor and an active, positive member of the Naples community.

“We are pleased with the market dynamics of the Naples area and are confident that JetBlue’s high-quality, low-fare air service will drive significant increases in travel to Florida’s Southwest coast,” wrote Laurence.

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Cape Air shows map for success in tough times - Kirksville Regional Airport (KIRK), Missouri

By The Daily Express 


There are many who would argue small businesses can’t succeed, can’t expand, can’t get by in our recent and current economic climate.

To those people, we’d point to two words:

Cape Air.

Given the unparalleled success Kirksville’s commercial air service provider has seen, it’s easy to forget the precarious situation our local airport was in just two years ago.

Under previous carriers, ridership was down. Way, way, down. That meant the subsidy per rider, the amount the federal government was chipping in per ticket, was way, way up. Too high, in fact, to be sustained. As Air Choice One’s contract came to a close, the prospects looked dim for Kirksville to receive another Essential Air Service subsidy deal.

Enter Cape Air. Its slogan, “Mocha Hagotdi,” (which stands for “Make Our Customers Happy and Have a Good Time Doing It”), is kind of complicated. The recipe for success, however, couldn’t have been simpler.

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Prior Aviation Service at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF), New York: Keeping local aviation aloft for more than 50 years

By Emma Sapong 

Across the runways from the new terminal at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a long-standing, local aviation business that has played a vital role in airport operations.

Prior Aviation Service has been a profitable business, serving as the private-sector arm of airline operations at the airport for 51 years, while operating its own separate charter flight service, flight school and numerous other services for the local aviation industry.

"Western New York is very much a good market," said David E. Mittlefehldt, the company's president and CEO, said of the charter business. "In fact a lot of companies depend on it exclusively to transport their employees around the country. There's definitely a huge need here."

Prior also handles other general aviation needs as a full-service, fixed-based operator. The company provides services to private and commercial aircraft, such as maintenance, hangaring and de-icing for major carriers.

Prior's hangars house corporate jets and other planes of several area companies; its own fleet transports business executives, celebrities and other private citizens, and its nationally accredited school trains about 50 pilots each year.

Such a broad-based approach to serving the aviation industry is almost a throwback in the evolving airport business.

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Anticipation sky high for Blue Angels - Next weekend's event is final show scheduled at Pease Tradeport

PORTSMOUTH — For the last two years, Seacoast residents have been spoiled with the sights and sounds of some of the most renowned pilots and aviation performers the world has to offer.

Each year, in addition to thousands of local fans who flock to Portsmouth International Airport at Pease International Tradeport, tens of thousands more from the greater region have shown up to catch a glimpse of the high-flying superstars.

When the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform with a host of others as part of the Service Credit Union Boston-Portsmouth Air Show later this week, it may be the last time in the foreseeable future that aviation enthusiasts can see such a vision soaring through the Seacoast skies. The Blue Angels last appeared on the Seacoast at the 2010 air show, which drew 70,000 spectators. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the 2011 air show last August.

Organizers of the popular summer attraction say they are thankful for all the benefits the air show has brought to the community, and beyond, over the years.

"We've had a tremendous time in the past two air shows," said Michael Kaufman, executive director and chief executive officer of the Daniel Webster Council of Boy Scouts of America, an event co-organizer.

The show is being jointly produced by the Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire. The organizations, along with more than 30 other local not-for-profit groups, will benefit from the show.

Kaufman said that each year, the show has not only brought a smile to the many flying fans of New England, but has also meant support for local businesses and nonprofits.

"It's put a lot of financial support in the coffers of Seacoast businesses," he said.

The show has also been a "blessing" for the Boy Scouts, said Kaufman, who added the money raised over the years has gone directly back to Scouts themselves.

"It's been a win-win for us," he said. "It's allowed us to showcase scouting by putting on a fun and unique activity in which the net proceeds come right back to our programs."

Money raised has helped the organization purchase equipment for the Boy Scout summer camp to ensure the youngsters have a quality experience, Kaufman said.

Steve Wade, chief executive officer of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, said the Seacoast has been fortunate to have the Blue Angels visit in 2010, after 20 years, and again this year.

"We've been incredibly lucky," he said.

After some bumps and bruises from logistical problems in the first air show related to scarcity of water and traffic, Wade said the organizations have learned how to put on the perfect type of show to ensure visitors are left with little to no complaints.

"We are in good shape and have a really good plan in place," he said. "We feel like we nailed it last year."

Wade also credited the assistance Service Credit Union has given as the lead sponsor for the event.

Funds raised over the year, according to Wade, have made a huge difference for the brain injury association. He said the last few years, the organization has had the money to help transition people who have brain injuries back into their homes and out of care facilities.

"We've been able to get people back into their communities," he said.

Funds raised from the air show have also helped the organization create a concussion awareness program with 10 high schools across the state, he said.

With more funds expected from the upcoming air show, Wade said the group will try to reach out to families of returning war veterans to see how they can help as well.

Another stakeholder in the air show over the years has been the Pease Development Authority, which opens up the entire tradeport for the show.

Airport Manager Bill Hopper said preparation for the show is a lot of work, but it definitely pays off when the roar of the Blue Angels can be heard booming through the tradeport.

And while this year's show is technically the last one, organizers say they are planning to take a step back to collect themselves and assess any potential for future shows at the tradeport.

"It's up in the air," Kaufman quipped.

At a glance 

Service Credit Union Boston-Portsmouth Air Show

When: June 30 and July 1

Where: Portsmouth International Airport at Pease International Tradeport

Performers: U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Black Diamond Jet Team, U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights," air show legend Sean D. Tucker, aerobatic superstar Michael Goulian, Wingwalker Jane Wicker and the NHANG KC-135 Stratotanker

Featured aircraft

F4U-5 Corsair: A carrier-capable fighter aircraft, primarily during World War II and the Korean War.

P-51 Mustang "Quick Silver": American-made long-range single-seat fighter aircraft primarily engaged in service during World War II. The Quick Silver, also known as "The Resurrected Veteran," celebrates our nation's Armed Forces. B-25 "Panchito": The Disabled American Veterans Flight Team brings its iconic World War II-era aircraft. The B-25, which gained notoriety in the famed Doolittle Raid over Tokyo 70 years ago, shares a modern-day mission with DAV: reminding people of the sacrifices veterans make for freedom.

Static displays: The show will offer various on-ground displays and fund-raising events. Food vendors will be on hand, and an ATM will also be on site. Visitors may also bring in their own food.

Tickets: General admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children. There is a $10 fee for parking. There are several premium seating options and private chalets that include VIP parking passes available for purchase in advance. All tickets can be purchased at