Friday, July 13, 2012

Ex-airport manager convicted

A FORMER duty terminal manager was jailed for two weeks and fined a total of S$41,000 (RM102,500) for corruption and computer misuse. 

Abdul Rahim Jumaat, 46, had earlier pleaded guilty to six counts each of corruption and computer misuse. He faced 37 charges.

Twelve were for corruption for accepting a total of S$5,080 (RM12,700) from freelance travel agent Abdul Falik Abdul Latiff, 50, between November 2007 and April 2008 in return for giving the latter information of passengers checking into a Singapore Airlines flight without any check-in baggage.

A court heard that the two men agreed to a plan in late 2007 whereby Abdul Rahim would get information on the names of passengers on certain flights, specified by Falik, who did not have any check-in baggage with them.

This was to enable Falik to approach the check-in staff at Changi Airport to group those passengers with his “clients”.

Falik’s passengers would then not have to pay heavy charges on their excess baggage. Instead, they would pay Falik about S$10 (RM25) per extra 1kg of baggage.

Abdul Rahim had also, on six occasions, logged into the Kris Check System database on his workstation to display information of departing SQ flights without the consent of the Singapore Airport Terminal Services.

The corrupt arrangement was uncovered when an Indian passenger was detained in Bombay airport on April 25, 2008 with nine pieces of baggage containing 2,000 live exotic ornamental fish.

Investigations carried out by the Singapore Airport Terminal Services revealed that Abdul Rahim was the staff who had helped one of Falik’s regular clients to check in baggage in excess in return for money.

Abdul Rahim, now unemployed, was ordered to pay S$5,000 (RM12,500) prosecution costs. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

British Royal Air Force prepared to use lethal force during Games

The British Royal Air Force says it is prepared to use lethal force against any threat to the Olympic Games. 

 New airspace restrictions are coming into force in London, with a prohibited zone declared around a 50-kilometre radius of the capital as of this weekend.

Commercial aircraft will still be able to use defined corridors, but any planes flying close to the Olympic Park are at risk of being shot down.

Surface-to-air missiles are already in place, while Typhoon jets and Puma helicopters with snipers will be patrolling the restricted zone and intercepting any aircraft which should not be inside it.

Fighter jets have also been deployed in the capital for the first time since World War II.

"As a last resort, we will have lethal force as an option," Olympics air security commander Stuart Atha said.

He said any such decision would be made at "the highest level of government" and would be the "worst-case scenario".

Read more and video:

Mikoyan Gurevich Mig 21MF, N9307: Accident occurred July 12, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA452 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 12, 2012 in Minneapolis, MN
Aircraft: MIKOYAN GUREVICH MIG 21MF, registration: N9307
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 12, 2012, at 0958, a Mikoyan Gurevich Mig 21MF, was substantially damaged when it ran off the runway while attempting to land on Runway 10R at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), Minneapolis, Minnesota. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed from Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB), Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 0630. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot was flying to Flying Cloud Airport so the Mig 21 could be part of an exhibition that was being held there that weekend. He said the en route portion of the flight was uneventful. Prior to landing, he made several low passes over the runway to burn off fuel. As the pilot turned onto final approach, he established an approach speed of 165 knots and landed approximately 300 feet down the 5,000-foot-long runway. Approximately 3-4 seconds after touching down, the pilot deployed the drag chute. As the chute deployed, it snapped off the back of the airplane. The pilot then used the anti-skid braking system to slow the airplane, but it did not decelerate as he expected. When he realized that he was going to go off the runway, the pilot maneuvered the airplane onto the grassy area adjacent to the runway to avoid crossing a state highway. The airplane struck a berm and a chain link fence before coming to a stop upright.

Several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors were at the airport and witnessed the accident. According to one inspector, the airplane landed on runway 10R. When it was approximately halfway down the runway, the drag chute deployed. Before the chute fully opened, it departed the airplane and landed on the runway. The airplane continued down the runway at a high rate of speed before it veered left near the east end of the runway. The inspector said it looked like the airplane went up on its nose and then landed back down on its belly before it came to a rest near the edge of Highway 212.

The pilot said he tested the drag chute approximately three weeks before the accident in preparation for this particular flight and there were no malfunctions of the system. He also said that he had successfully deployed the drag chute about 6 or 7 times prior to this accident.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot rating for airplane single-engine land and sea, and multi-engine. He is also type-rated in an A-320, B-737, and DC-B26. The pilot's last FAA First Class medical was issued on March 26, 2012. At that time, he reported a total of 21,000 total flight hours.


  Regis#: 9307        Make/Model: EXP       Description: MIG 21MF 
  Date: 07/12/2012     Time: 1458

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: EDEN PRAIRIE   State: MN   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: MINNEAPOLIS, MN  (GL15)               Entry date: 07/13/2012 

Ministry of Defence objects to plans for wind farm near Tornado crash site

THE Ministry of Defence has lodged objections to plans to build an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth – near the site where three RAF crewmen lost their lives in a mid-air collision.

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (Bowl), a consortium led by SSE Renewables, submitted an application to Scottish ministers in April to install up to 277 wind turbines off the Caithness coast in the area of the Beatrice oil field.

Last week, two trainee pilots and an instructor died after two Tornado GR4 jets from the 15 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth plunged into the Moray Firth in the area. The operation to recover the wreckage of the aircraft is continuing.

Twelve organizations have already responded to the development proposal as part of the consultation process. They include the Moray Firth Sea Trout Project, the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, which have objected to the development because of wildlife concerns.

The Ministry of Defence has now added its voice to the list of objectors, claiming that the £3 billion wind farm would cause “unacceptable interference” to radar systems at RAF Lossiemouth, which is home to three Tornado squadrons.

Defence chiefs drew up their objections to the Moray Firth green energy scheme before the Moray Firth collision tragedy.

They claim that the “desensitization” of radar could result 
in aircraft not being detected 
by the radar and therefore 
not presented to air traffic 

An MoD spokesman said: “The Ministry of Defence fully supports the government’s renewable energy policies and targets.

“However, wind turbines can have detrimental effects on MoD operations and assets. The MoD wrote to the Scottish Government on 19 June confirming an objection to the Beatrice Offshore wind farm development on the grounds it will be in line of sight to the Air Traffic Control radar at RAF Lossiemouth.”

He added: “The MoD ensures that any developments, both on and beyond the defence estate, do not adversely affect military operations and assets and continues to discuss the proposed development with the ­developer.”

A spokeswoman for Bowl said: “This is clearly an important subject and we are working with the Ministry of Defence to try to overcome any concerns they have in terms of the radar.”

Earlier this week, Rob Gibson the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, accused the MoD of “sabotaging” the Scottish Government’s renewables targets by objecting to ­“everything”.


Air force jet taken out by turkey vulture

A turkey vulture has sidelined one of the Canadian Forces’ VIP Challenger jets after a mid-air collision between the two severely damaged the plane.

The Ottawa-based aircraft was on its initial approach for landing at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on May 24 when it collided with the turkey vulture, according to defence sources.

The multi-million dollar aircraft landed safely but was damaged so badly that it was grounded in Florida for a month and a half. It returned to Canada on Tuesday, July 10.

The Royal Canadian Air Force has confirmed the incident. But air force spokeswoman Capt. Jill Strelieff noted that the type of bird the plane hit is not known at this point although she added that it “was very large.”

Turkey vultures can have a wingspan of nearly two metres and a weight of a little more than two kilograms.

A defence source said the aircraft was severely damaged and may not be returned to service.

Strelieff stated in an email that the bird strike damaged both the radome and a forward bulkhead on the plane. “Due to the extent of the damage to the aircraft, a course of action for its repair has not yet been determined,” she noted. “We do not have a timeline yet for this decision.”

There are no estimates yet on what it will cost to repair the aircraft.

A Transport Canada team flew down to Florida to conduct a temporary fix that allowed the plane to be flown back to Canada.

The aircraft was travelling to Florida to pick up Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, head of Canadian special forces, as well as allied special forces officers and return them to Canada for a high-level meeting.

Strelieff stated that Thompson and his staff had flown down to a special forces conference in Florida on a commercial flight but that no such flights were available that would have allowed them to return to Ottawa in time for what she called “a critical meeting.”

“As well, being flown on the Challenger enabled sensitive and classified conversations to take place between BGen Thompson and the senior Allied SOF personnel during a tight schedule,” she added.

A second Challenger was sent to pick up Thompson, senior special forces officers from the other undisclosed nations as well as the aircrew from the damaged Challenger.

According to the University of Washington’s Conservation magazine, the turkey vulture is one of the leading causes for plane collision-related costs for the U.S. air force. As an example, it said that since 2006, three planes have hit vultures at the Marine Corps air station in South Carolina.

The University of Georgia notes that more than 450 incidences of aircraft collisions with turkey vultures have been recorded over the decades.

Citing U.S. air force statistics it notes that between 1985 and 2002 there have been more than 52,000 collisions between birds and military aircraft, costing more than $30 million a year.

Read more:

FAA Seeks Boeing Penalty Over Late Tank Instructions

The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a $13.57 million civil penalty against Boeing Co. BA +2.51% stemming from a missed deadline for instructions to help airlines install devices to reduce fuel-tank explosion risks on hundreds of the company's older jets.

The agency said the Chicago-based plane-maker failed to meet the deadline for issuing so-called service bulletins affecting more than 380 planes.

In a statement, Boeing didn't specifically address the deadline issue, saying it planned to "thoroughly review the FAA's letter" and then respond to it. The company said it is committed to continue what it called "pioneering efforts in the complex process of developing and certifying" the fuel-tank devices. Boeing also said it has provided service instructions to the FAA for retrofitting the parts on planes, reiterating that about 1,800 Boeing aircraft world-wide currently have the safety devices onboard.

The proposed penalty is the second-largest financial demand ever levied by the FAA against an airline or manufacturer for safety-related matters. It is unusually large for the kind of lapses the agency says Boeing committed.

The FAA's move comes after months of discussions to try to reach a compromise between agency officials, Boeing and the main trade association representing U.S. carriers. Airlines have been asking the FAA to extend certain deadlines for modifying fuel tanks—to reduce the risk of explosions—on Boeing jetliners. The industry's push is part of a broader industry campaign to target federal safety rules that the carriers consider excessive.

But in this case, the FAA decided that the crux of the problem was Boeing's failure to issue timely final instructions, after a number of preliminary installation bulletins turned out to need revisions.

In a March 28 letter, Airlines for America, the industry's biggest trade group, said two deadlines beginning at the end of 2014 could lead to the temporary grounding of some older planes because of a lack of parts and detailed repair instructions. The fix—one of the most expensive FAA safety initiatives—involves installing gear that pumps nitrogen inside fuel tanks to prevent fumes from exploding. Newly manufactured planes already have nitrogen systems installed at the factory.

The FAA said it also plans to take some action to give airlines more leeway in compliance schedules. The agency plans to maintain its previously announced 2017 deadline for having all the work completed, according to these officials. But airlines can request extensions of the interim 2014 deadline to have retrofits finished on at least 50% of their affected planes, according to the agency and industry officials.

"We take this matter very seriously," acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. "We have issued hundreds of directives to eliminate fuel ignition sources over the past 16 years, and this step will add another layer of safety."

The fix was prompted by the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet that broke apart shortly after taking off from New York en route to Paris, killing all 230 people aboard. In the wake of the disaster, the FAA ordered some 200 separate, electrical-wiring-related fixes to reduce the chances of sparks or short circuits inside fuel tanks. Ultimately, it mandated the installation of nitrogen-generating equipment in the event those simpler, less-expensive safeguards failed.

Arguments trying to pin blame for the delays has pitted the industry against the FAA and Boeing. In the past, Boeing has said it was working expeditiously to complete installation instructions. The FAA adopted the final rule mandating the fuel-tank fixes in July 2008, following years of heated debate with industry about the need and the projected costs of the modifications.

Honeywell International Inc., HON +1.83% which manufactures many of the fuel-tank safety devices, previously indicated it was ready and able to provide the necessary parts but had received relatively few orders, according to industry officials.

According to the FAA, Boeing was nearly a year late in issuing service instructions covering 747 jumbo jets, finally providing them to the agency on Oct. 24, 2011. The company was 406 days late in submitting service instructions for Boeing 757 jets, the FAA said.

Some pilots groups and outside safety experts had criticized the airline industry for allegedly dragging its feet to complete installation of the devices. The proposed penalty, however, supports claims by the industry association that necessary parts and instructions weren't available on a timely basis in order to meet the compliance deadlines.

The FAA said European plane maker Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., submitted its instructions in time to meet the FAA's Dec. 27, 2010, deadline.

Boeing can appeal the proposed penalty inside the FAA, and has the right to ultimately ask a federal court to review it.

A spokesman for Airlines for America said carriers "follow the rigorous standards set by the FAA, including only installing FAA-certified modifications on our aircraft." He said the industry group is "working with the FAA to complete the approved modifications."

Four years ago, the FAA proposed a civil penalty in excess of $10 million against Southwest Airlines Co., LUV +1.40% after determining the airline knowingly operated 46 Boeing 737 aircraft on some 60,000 flights without performing mandatory structural-safety inspections. The enforcement case sparked a public outcry as well as major congressional and FAA investigations, with the airline ultimately agreeing to pay $7.5 million to settle the high-profile case.

In 2010, the FAA proposed a $24.2 million civil penalty against AMR Corp.'s American Airlines unit, alleging intentional maintenance violations on more than 250 of its aircraft. The widespread flight cancellations and federal investigations that led to that proposed penalty sparked another high-profile test of the FAA's enforcement authority.

Two years ago, American maintained the maintenance discrepancies were minor, didn't pose any safety risks and didn't warrant the FAA's proposed penalty. The penalty remains unpaid and in limbo, despite extensive discussions between the company and the FAA. 


Plane’s landing gear fails during severe storm, leads to hard-landing at Richard Lloyd Jones Jr Airport (KRVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma

A twin-engine Cessna suffered a hard-landing Friday night

Tulsa, Okla. —  A twin-engine Cessna 310/320 suffered a crash/hard-landing at Jones Riverside Airport in south Tulsa Friday evening.

We’re told the plane was coming in for a landing at the same time a severe storm was snapping power poles near the same airport. Though, there is no evidence that the two incidents are connected at this time.

The pilot and two passengers were said to be unhurt during the incident.

Another pilot interviewed by KRMG News at the scene (but unrelated to the crash) said the crash evidence would be forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration for a full investigation.


Dana Air Dismisses Accident Report

Dana Air today said a report alleging that its ill-fated plane was faulty is baseless.

“Our attention has been drawn to an inference made by a newspaper on the recently released preliminary report of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on the cause of the Dana Air accident. The newspaper report suggests that the ‘Dana plane was faulty’.

“To this we would like to refer readers to paragraph 13 of the AIB report. It states “A review of the aircraft technical logs of the previous 30 days did not indicate a condition. The airplane had last undergone maintenance on 1st June 2012, and after a return to service flight on 2nd June 2012, it was operated on four revenue flights (two round trips between LOS and ABV) and another four flights on 3rd June 2012.

“Also please refer to the submissions made by the Commissioner/CEO of AIB, Capt. M.S. Usman: ‘The content of this report is based on preliminary information. The Bureau will continue to conduct the investigation in a meticulous and methodical manner and release facts as they become validated’.

 “The management and the over 540 staff of Dana Air are grateful to the President, the Honourable Minister of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the AIB over the progress made so far in finding out the cause of the accident. We pledge our continued cooperation and assistance as the investigations continue,” Dana said in a statement this evening.

The airline also said it had not received any summon from the coroner as reported in the media.

 “Dana Air would also like to respond to media coverage on its absence at the Coroner’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding the June 3 accident. The company appreciates the importance of the inquest. We have honoured every invitation by the AIB in the on-going investigations and were fully represented at the recently concluded joint Senate & House of Representatives Public Hearing. We are duty bound to honour summon by the Court. So far, the company has not received any summons from Coroner. The Company will ensure that a proper representation is made on the next adjourned date,” the airline said.

Helicopter that ditched in North Sea had 1ft crack in gearbox

The helicopter ditched 25 miles east of Aberdeen in May. Picture: PA

THE SUPER Puma helicopter that was at the centre of a dramatic controlled ditching in the North Sea in May had been placed on a “close monitoring” alert before the crash, a new report by the government’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has revealed.

The Bond-operated aircraft, with two crew and 12 passengers on board, ditched 25 miles east of Aberdeen on 10 May after the pilots noticed a low oil pressure warning in the cockpit.

An initial bulletin by the AAIB has already revealed that its gearbox shaft was cracked.

But a special bulletin by the branch, issued yesterday, has now disclosed that the shaft failed after only 167 flying hours.

It also said the helicopter had been placed on a system of ten-hourly close-monitoring checks after two previous “amber” alerts – one the day before the ditching and the second on the day of the crash.

The initial bulletin disclosed that AAIB investigators found a 360-degree crack in the “bevel gear vertical shaft” in the main gearbox, near the manufacturing weld.

But the new bulletin reveals that investigators have now found a total of three cracks – one more than a foot long.

The report states: “The main gearbox (MGB) was fitted on 18 March, 2012, following overhaul at the helicopter manufacturer’s facility where a new bevel gear vertical shaft was fitted. A strip examination of the MGB established that the bevel gear vertical drive shaft had failed across the 4.2 mm diameter hole in the area where the two parts of the shaft are welded together.” The report continues: “Examination of the fracture surface on both parts of the bevel gear vertical shaft revealed the presence of three cracks. Two started from the 4.2 mm diameter hole in the weld.”

One of the cracks was 336mm long. The second was 106mm long and the third, 42 mm long.

But, a review of the Super Puma’s health and usage monitoring system showed there had been no indication of any significant rising vibration trends until some six hours before the aircraft’s final flight.

Bond’s engineers followed the fault diagnosis chart in the aircraft maintenance manual but found that magnetic chip detectors were free of telltale debris.

The report continues: “Thirty-six other indicators were checked and no significant trends were detected.

“In accordance with the guidance in the aircraft maintenance manual, the aircraft was placed on ten-hourly close monitoring and released for flight.”

The AAIB investigators said: “The investigation will continue to review the results from the fatigue tests, with other data and evidence, to establish the mechanism that caused the initiation and propagation of the fatigue cracks in the bevel gear vertical shaft.”

Grob G103A Twin II, N5448G, registered owner and operated by Philadelphia Glider Council Inc: Accident occurred July 13, 2012 near Philadelphia Gliderport (0PA0), Perkasie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania;

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA455 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 13, 2012 in Hilltown, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: BURKHART GROB G 103 TWIN II, registration: N5448G
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

The flight instructor-in-command was in the rear seat, and the flight instructor receiving instruction was in the front seat for flight instructor winch-launch glider training. The two pilots had flown multiple launches earlier that day, with each flight preceded by a briefing. After practicing recoveries from simulated rope breaks at 400 feet and 10 feet above ground level (agl), the intent for the accident flight was to simulate a rope break at 200 feet agl, which the flight instructor-in-command expected would result in a straight-ahead landing. The ground roll, takeoff, and transition to climb were “normal,” and the flight instructor in command pulled the release lever about 150 feet agl. The flight instructor receiving instruction nosed the glider over, and established a wings-level airspeed of about 54 knots. However, instead of landing straight ahead, the flight instructor receiving instruction turned the glider to the right, then to the left, and attempted to land opposite the direction of takeoff. There was insufficient altitude to complete the maneuver, and the glider impacted trees. The flight instructor-in-command could not remember the latter part of the flight due to head trauma, but the flight instructor receiving instruction stated that the flight instructor in command did not take control of the glider at any time before impact. Neither pilot reported any preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded the glider’s normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The improper decision of the flight instructor receiving instruction to attempt a course reversal rather than land straight ahead following a simulated low-level rope break, and the inadequate remedial action of the flight instructor-in-command for allowing him to do so.

On July 13, 2012, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, N5448G, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a simulated low altitude launch failure after a launch from Philadelphia Gliderport (0PA0), Hilltown, Pennsylvania. The two flight instructors onboard were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the flight instructor in command (FIIC), the Philadelphia Glider Council was conducting winch launch training for its glider-rated flight instructors who did not have a ground launch endorsement, and for recently-endorsed instructors to gain additional ground winch teaching experience. Prior to beginning flight operations, a group briefing was conducted for participating personnel, including the launch crew and the flight instructors providing, as well as receiving instruction.

The gliderport had multiple turf runways, including runway 7/25, which was 2,450 feet long and 300 feet wide. According to the FIIC, the glider was set up on east end of runway 25, and the winch was set up about 4,000 feet away, on the north side of the runway overrun.

The FIIC and the flight instructor under instruction (FIUI) had flown multiple launches previously that day, with the FIUI noting that there were simulated rope breaks on his previous two launches at 400 feet above ground level (agl) and 10 feet agl. Both pilots concurred that the accident flight was briefed as a simulated rope break at 200 feet.

According to the FIIC, the simulated rope break was expected to result in a landing straight ahead on the runway. The ground roll, takeoff and transition to full climb were “normal,” and about 150 feet, the FIIC pulled the release to simulate a launch failure. The FIUI executed a “normal” recovery from a full climb to straight and level flight at 100 feet and 52 knots. The glider subsequently turned to the left, which was all the FIIC could recall due to head trauma.

According to the FIUI, after the FIIC pulled the release, he executed an “assertive round over” and established an airspeed of 54 knots. At that point, he felt that the glider was “considerably” lower than 200 feet agl. He initiated a right turn for a few seconds, then rolled wings level. He recalled that the FIIC said something to him “about having a plan,” and then, a few seconds later, he made the decision to make a 180-degree left turn to land on runway 7. The glider had insufficient altitude and impacted trees. The FIUI also recalled that the FIIC did not take control of the glider and that the FIUI was operating the flight controls when the glider hit the trees and the ground.

Witnesses differed on specifics as to what occurred after the release, with one stating that after the glider achieved a 5-degree nose-down attitude, the dive brakes partially deployed, then retracted. The glider then made a slight right turn, followed by a turn to the left, “which appeared to be a low-level return to the field.” The witness was concerned that the glider was going to stall/spin at 100 feet, but it continued in a left turn, then rolled wings level before impacting trees.

Another witness saw that after the glider was released, it continued in level flight for about 10 seconds, during which, it started a “gentle” right turn. It then rolled into a “medium bank turn” to the left, “attempting a 180-degree turn to return to the departure runway, this all occurring approx. 100 feet agl.” From the witness’s position, it was clear to him that the glider was not going to clear trees. During the last seconds, the dive brakes, which had been closed during the earlier part of the flight, opened and closed, and the glider disappeared behind the tree line.

One of the witnesses also stated that when the simulated rope break occurred, the glider was low enough to open the dive brakes and land straight ahead.

Neither flight instructor reported any preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded the glider’s normal operation.

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA455 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 13, 2012 in Hilltown, PA
Aircraft: BURKHART GROB G 103 TWIN II, registration: N5448G
Injuries: 2 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. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 13, 2012, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, N5448G, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a turnback after launch from Philadelphia Gliderport (0PA0), Hilltown, Pennsylvania. The certificated flight instructor and the certificated airline transport pilot were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary information provided by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel, the pilots were practicing a simulated tow rope break during a winch launch, and collided with trees during the turn back to the gliderport.


A glider crashed into the trees near a small airport in Hilltown Township on Friday afternoon, injuring the two experienced pilots on board, police said. 

The crash was reported 3:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Glider Airport on 934 Route 152, about three miles southeast of Perkasie.

Edward Ingram, 65, of Barto, Berks County, who was the pilot in command, suffered injuries to his back and legs, Hilltown police said. He was taken by helicopter to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Haven Goulding Jr., 68, of Howard, Centre County, suffered injuries to his face, chest and head, police said. He was flown to Abington Memorial Hospital.

Police said both men were experienced pilots and training instructors.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate the crash.

Police were assisted at the scene by Hilltown Fire Department, Grand View Hospital ambulances, the Hilltown quick response unit and Chal-Brit Ambulance. 

Boeing-Stearman B75N1 Stearman, Quetzal Limited Partnership, N4473N: Accident occurred July 03, 2011 in Wetmore, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA444 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 2011 in Wetmore, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2012
Aircraft: BOEING B75N1, registration: N4473N
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the passenger, the pilot was maneuvering the airplane at low altitude in mountainous terrain. The passenger reported that the pilot was flying the airplane “low and slow,” the airplane’s bank angle began to increase, and the airplane descended and collided with trees. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the wreckage. An examination did not find any anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at low altitude.


On July 3, 2011, approximately 1550 mountain daylight time, a Boeing B75N1, impacted terrain near Wetmore, Colorado. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged and a postimpact fire ensued. The airplane was registered to and operated by Quetzal Limited Partnership, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Fremont County Airport (1V6), Canon City, Colorado about 1515.

The pilot-rated passenger reported that after departing 1V6, the airplane was flown at low altitude around several locations before circling the passenger’s home. While flying west from the passenger’s home there was no communication between him and the pilot. The passenger said that the airplane got low and slow, and the airplane’s bank increased. He further reported that the airplane descended and collided with trees. The passenger found the pilot unresponsive and attempted to get the pilot out of the airplane. A fire began and the passenger retreated from the spreading fire. The passenger remarked that there were no changes in engine noise.


The pilot, age 50, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single engine land, single engine sea, and instrument airplane. He held a private pilot certificate for airplane multi-engine land. A third class medical certificate, without restrictions, was issued on October 14, 2009, at which time the pilot reported having accumulated 1,500 hours of total time, with 90 hours in the previous six months. The pilot’s logbook was not obtained during the investigation and it is unknown how many hours in make and model the pilot had logged. The pilot had acquired the accident airplane on October 13, 2009.


The tandem two-seat, tube and fabric, bi-wing airplane, serial number 75-1183, was manufactured in 1947. A 450 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine drove a Hamilton Standard 2B20 constant speed propeller. The airplane was issued a standard aerobatic airworthiness certificate on August 19, 1992. The airplane was configured with dual pilot controls.


At 1331, an automated weather reporting facility at Pueblo, Colorado, located 28 nautical miles to the east of the accident, reported wind from 080 degrees at 23 knots gusting to 28 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 97 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 26 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.01 inches of Mercury.


The first impact signatures were damaged trees located 40 to 60 feet east southeast of the accident site. Several downed branches displayed clean angular cuts. The wreckage was located on the northern face of a ravine. The airplane came to rest in an upright position on a 240 degrees magnetic heading. The main wreckage consisted of the propeller, engine, and fuselage frame. Both bi-wings were almost completely consumed. Flight control continuity was confirmed to the rudder and elevators surfaces, and cable continuity was established to the aileron attachments. The cockpit instruments were unreadable due to thermal damage. The pilot’s restraint belt buckle was found in the secured position. One blade of the two-bladed metal propeller was partially buried in the ground. The other blade displayed gouges, chord wise scratches, and was bent forward near mid-span. The throttle quadrant was thermally damaged with the throttle, mixture, and propeller pitch lever set about 1/3 open. The engine was impact and thermally damaged. There were no anomalies detected with the airframe or engine which would have precluded normal operation.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 6, 2011, by the El Paso County Coroner as authorized by the Custer County Coroner. The manner of death was ruled an accident. The medical examiner noted the presence of smoke inhalation and a postmortem carboxyhemoglobin of 7 percent. The autopsy found no anatomic reason for the pilot’s incapacitation.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology report marked putrefaction “yes.” The specimens received were deemed unsuitable for carbon monoxide analysis. Tests for cyanide, ethanol, and drugs were negative.

WETMORE, Colo. (AP) — Investigators say a vintage biplane that crashed and killed the pilot in south-central Colorado last year began to slow down and bank before striking some trees and crashing. 

A National Transportation Safety Board report dated Thursday quotes a passenger who survived the crash as saying he and the pilot had not spoken in the minutes before the crash.

The report summarizes the investigator’s factual findings but does not establish the cause of the crash.

The 1947 Boeing two-seater crashed on July 3, 2011, near Wetmore in the San Isabel National Forest about 110 miles south of Denver.

The crash killed 50-year-old Sidney Emmert of Oklahoma City. His passenger, Robert Hamilton of Wetmore, was treated at a Colorado Springs hospital and released.



Gulfstream G-IV, Universal Jet Aviation, N823GA: Fatal accident occurred July 13, 2012 at Le Castellet Airport (CTT), France

NTSB Identification: DCA12RA110 
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Friday, July 13, 2012 in Le Castellet, France
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM GIV, registration: N823GA
Injuries: 3 Fatal. 

On July 13, 2012, at 3:18 pm local time, a Gulfstream GIV, N823GA, operated by Universal Jet Aviation, exited the left side of runway 13 at Le Castellet Airport (LFMQ), France. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and fire. The 3 crew members were fatally injured. The airplane was on a repositioning flight from Nice, France, with no passengers.

The accident is being investigated by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation civile (BEA). As the state of design and manufacture of the airplane, the NTSB has designated a U.S. accredited representative to the BEA investigation.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la
Sécurité de l’Aviation civile
Bâtiment 153
Aéroport du Bourget
93350 Le Bourget

Gwendolyn Moore was killed July 13 in France when the private plane she was working on as a flight attendant crashed during an emergency landing.

Glynn Moore is still trying to come to terms that will never see or hear from his daughter, Gwendolyn Moore, again

Gwendolyn, or Gwen as Moore calls her, was killed July 13 in France when a private plane owned by Universal Jet Aviation crashed during an emergency landing. She was a flight attendant on the plane.

“This is something I never expected to happen,” said Glynn Moore, who lives in Shalimar. “I expect my grandparents and my parents to go before me, but not my 30-year-old daughter. When I first heard the news I was floored. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet.”

Initial reports indicated the pilot was trying to land the Gulfstream G-IV jet at a small airport in Le Castellet in southern France when it veered off the runway and crashed in a wooded area.

Gwen and the two pilots, 60-year-old David Popik and 24-year-old Robert Helton, were killed. They were the only people onboard.

French authorities in cooperation with the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Universal Jet Aviation provides charter flights and other aircraft services to businesses and individuals. It is based in Boca Raton and has offices in California, New Jersey and England.

Gwen had worked for Universal Jet Aviation for two years.

“She was a super positive person and really loved what she was doing,” said Michael McCauley, the company’s president. “We don’t know anything yet, but we’re trying to figure it out and get some plausible explanation as to what and where and why this happened.”

Gwen attended Fort Walton Beach High School for a year. She was living most recently in New Jersey.

Glynn Moore described her as someone who was up for any challenge, from riding on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to snowboarding.

“At first when I heard the news, it was like sudden impact,” said Moore, who works at The Cedars condominiums in Mary Esther. “Now I’m trying to stay occupied and not think about it, but I can’t get my mind off it. It’s like a rollercoaster.

“I wonder what went through their minds as it was happening. I couldn’t fathom,” he added. “I don’t think I want to know.”

Services for Gwen have not been scheduled. Moore said he and his family are still trying to bring her remains back to the United States. He said DNA sampling and other proof of identification is needed before they can bring her home.

“It could be another week or two,” he said. “I’m trying to get this process rolling so we can have the memorial and start dealing with this.”

Video:  Robert Helton is in the left seat, aircraft is N823GA.

South Florida pilots killed in France were trying to land at overflow airport 

 Two South Florida pilots who died last week when a jet veered off a runway and crashed in southern France were attempting to land at the small Le Castellet airport because there was no room to park the plane in Nice, the plane's owner said Thursday.

However, Boca Raton-based Universal Jet Aviation president Michael McCauley dismissed as "not a factor" the possibility that veteran pilot Dale Popik was unfamiliar with the airport or its runway. "He had landed there before," said McCauley.

Killed in the July 13 crash were Popik, 60, of Delray Beach, a pilot with American Airlines for more than 30 years when he retired in 2008, and co-pilot Robert Helton, 24, of Pembroke Pines.

Cabin aide Gwen Moore, 29, based in New Jersey, also died.
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Shortly before leaving for Le Castellet over the Bastile Day weekend, Popik and Helton landed the Gulfstream G-IV jet in Nice, where all the passengers got off, said McCauley.

It was routine to use Le Castellet airport for overflow parking on busy holiday weekends in the south of France, McCauley said.

"It's been a sad and shocking and tragic event," said McCauley. "We want to learn from this. Whether human or mechanical factors were involved, we don't know yet."

The crash is being investigated by French authorities in cooperation with the National Transportation Safety Board.

"The investigation will take many months," said McCauley. "Whatever comes out we will address with full force and with transparency."

A memorial mass for Popik is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Ascension Catholic Church, 7250 North Federal Hwy, Boca Raton. A celebration of his life will follow.

A celebration of Helton's life is scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 28 at the Littman Theater, 17011 NE 19th Ave., North Miami Beach.

Embry-Riddle grads killed in airplane crash in Southern France 

DAYTONA BEACH -- A recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University died "pursuing his passion" for flying when his plane crashed at an airport in France, his father said.

Robert Helton, 24, of Pembroke Pines, whose career was just getting off the ground, and Dale Popik, a 60-year-old seasoned pilot from Delray Beach, died when the twin-engine Gulfstream G-IV crashed Friday afternoon while attempting a landing at Le Castellet airport, near Toulon, southern France.

Both were Embry-Riddle graduates.

Helton was a 2010 graduate from Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus with a bachelor of science in aeronautical science, school officials and family members said.

Popik graduated in 1975 from one of Embry-Riddle's former worldwide campuses in the Miami-Homestead area with a bachelor of science in aviation management.

Helton's father, Michael Helton, said on Monday that flying "was his (son's) passion."

"Embry-Riddle was a great experience for him. It gave him a great opportunity and a great future," Helton said. "His entire experience there in Daytona was great."

Helton's mother, Lori, said her son flew while at Embry-Riddle and "landed his job as soon as he graduated."

Michael Helton said his son was a first officer, but that they could not comment further about the crash because of an ongoing investigation. "Our thoughts are with the families of Dale Popik and Robert Helton during this sad time," said ERAU spokeswoman Melanie Hanns.

The Associated Press reported a third American crew member on the plane, a 30-year-old woman, was killed, too, but her identity was not released.

The plane and crew, which was from Universal Jet Aviation, an executive jet service based in Boca Raton, reported no passengers on board. A company spokesman, Christopher Smith, said the company didn't have clearance to release the woman's name Monday.

Universal Jet Aviation President Michael McCauley told The News-Journal on Monday that both Popik and Shelton were pilots though he could not confirm who was flying the plane. Other south Florida news publications and television stations report a relative of Popik stating he was the pilot.

McCauley said the company is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board "to figure out what happened."

"It's very sad and we're shocked. Our primary focus now is to assist the families," McCauley said.

Company spokesman Smith said the manufacturer of the plane, Gulfstream Aerospace, is also working with investigators.

Another south Florida television station reported that Popik flew with a commercial airline for several decades and decided after retirement to go back to flying.

A French newspaper, Var-Matin, reported the plane veered off the runway and crashed at the end of the airfield in a patch of trees. The plane had taken off from Nice International Airport to retrieve passengers from Le Castellet airport, the paper reported.

The Sun Sentinel in South Florida also reported the French newspaper said the plane touched down at a high rate of speed and the airport director reported seeing "lots of smoke at the moment the plane went off the runway."

Downed Jet Regularly Stopped Off In Shannon 
The 25-year-old seater Gulfstream IV jet was one of three owned and operated by US based Universal Jet Aviation which also has an office in London.

The long range business jet is understood to have been repositioning from Nice to Le Castellet Airport between the cities of Marseille and Toulon in southern France when it careered off the end of the runway.

It arrived in Nice from Turkey and Greece in recent days according to records and last visited Shannon several times this year.

The jet crashed into a wooded area at the end of the runway while landing before bursting into flames.

Three Americans two men, aged 61 and 24, and a 30-year-old woman died in the crash. It's understood that all three were crew members and believed to be the pilot, co-pilot and cabin aide.

The airport, located in the heart of the French Riviera and the largest private airfield in the region, is frequently used by celebrities with homes in the area, as well as business people.

It's understood the jet had flown from Nice to Le Castellet to collect clients for an onward journey.

The same jet visited Shannon as recently as June 23rd having arrived from Opa-Locka Executive Airport in Miami Florida. The aircraft refuelled and continued east to an unknown destination in the early hours of the morning.

Records also show that the same plane visited Shannon on April 5th last on it's way back to Florida from Rotterdam.

Universal Jet Aviation confirmed it was one of their Gulfstream IV aircraft that crashed at Le Castellet.

"There were no passengers on board the aircraft although the flight crew was lost. We are cooperating with all investigative agencies. Our focus at this time is supporting the needs of the crew and their families," the company said.

Over 4,500 business jets stopped in Shannon last year while last month was the busiest in the the airport's history for executive jet traffic.

The aircraft stop at Shannon to avail of US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance facilities as well as to refuel and take on catering.

The investigation continued Sunday into the plane crash in southern France that claimed the lives of three crew members, including two men from South Florida. 

Killed in the Friday crash of the Gulfstream G-IV jet were Dale Popik, 60, of Delray Beach and Robert Helton, 24, of Pembroke Pines.

Also killed when the plane went down while attempting to land in Le Castellet, France, was a third crew member, a 30-year-old woman. She remains unidentified.

"We really don't know what happened, other than they were on a charter flight, on their way to an airport to pick up some passengers," Lori Helton, the mother of Robert Helton, said Sunday.

She described her son as a very experienced pilot. "We are still very distraught over this," said Lori Helton. "He was our only son."

In Delray Beach, Popik's wife Danessa confirmed his identity while declining further comment.

Universal Jet Aviation, a Boca Raton-based aviation company, confirmed that the private jet was part of its fleet. Chris Smith, a company spokesman, said Sunday there were no passengers on board.

According to the online French newspaper Var-Matin, the plane touched down on the runway at a high rate of speed, raced by the control tower and veered left off the runway.

Pictures from the scene show charred remains of the wreck amid a small stand of trees well off the end of the runway. The tail section of the plane remains in tact, but the cockpit appears to have been destroyed.

In a videotaped interview posted by Var-Matin, airport director Francois Andre said he saw "lots of smoke at the moment the plane went off the runway."

  Andre said he rushed outside. "I saw the plane had already broken apart and burst into flames immediately," he said.

"[It was] a very violent fire. I went to the scene at the same time as firemen and specialists and I witnessed very violent explosions."

The bodies of the crew were recovered and taken to Marseilles for autopsies. The national police were to take custody of the plane's flight recorder, the paper said.

"We are cooperating with all investigative agencies," Universal said in a statement.  "Our focus at this time is supporting the needs of the crew and their families."

La Provence, a local newspaper, reported that a special air police unit of the National Gendarmerie based in Nice and a government bureau in Paris would be in charge of the investigation. 

Pembroke Pines, Florida,  man among three Americans killed in a plane crash in France 

A 24-year-old man from Pembroke Pines, Florida,  died in a plane crash in southern France, his family confirmed Saturday.

Michael Helton, father of Robert Helton, said that his son was part of three-person flight crew on board a Gulfstream G-IV that crashed while landing in Le Castellet France on Friday. Helton said the family had little information and declined further comment.

The Associated Press reported the crash on Friday evening, releasing photos of the plane crash. The three member crew also included a 60-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman. Their identities have not been released.

In a statement released Saturday, Universal Jet Aviation, a Boca Raton-based aviation company, confirmed that the private jet was part of its fleet. The company said there were no passengers on board.

“Our focus at this time is on supporting the families of our crew,” a spokesperson for the company said by phone.  The crash is under investigation. 

A private jet landing overran the runway at  Le-Castellet LFMQ and took fire immediately at 15:20 local (1320Z)
3 people on board, all American citizens. All dead.
2 pilots (age 60 and 24) and a stewardess (30).
The plane departed Nice airport LFMN and landed at Le-Castellet to pick up passengers.

LE CASTELLET, France (AP) — A French official says a private plane has caught fire and crashed on landing at Le Castellet airport in southern France, killing the three Americans on board.

Paul Mourier, prefect of the Var region where Le Castellet is located, said two men, aged 60 and 24, and a 30-year-old woman died in the Friday afternoon crash of the Gulfstream  from Nice. The victims, all burned, weren't identified.

Some 60 firefighters doused the flaming aircraft, which lost a wing on its landing approach. Five divers searched a nearby swamp to ensure there were no other victims.  An investigation into the cause of the crash on a windless day has been opened.

Piper PA-34-200, VH-LCK: Accident occurred July 11, 2012 in Broome, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR12WA334 
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Broome, Australia

Aircraft: PIPER PA34, registration: VH-LCK
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

On July 11, 2012, at 2020 universal coordinated time, a Piper PA-34-200, VH-LCK, collided with terrain near Broome, Australia. The airplane was a charter flight operating under the pertinent civil regulations of Australia. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
P.O. Box 967, Civic Square
Canberra A.C.T. 2608

Tel: +612 6274 6054
Fax: +612 6274 6434

Young Broome pilot Adam Gaffney had been engaged for just three weeks when he died as his plane crashed into Cable Beach sand dunes on Wednesday night.

Mr Gaffney, who flew for Kimberley-based Golden Eagle Airlines, was engaged to fiancee Janice Mae Andoy-Posadas. He was on a regular night freight run when his plane went down shortly after take-off.

Originally from Hobart, Mr Gaffney had worked for the company for 18 months and clocked up more than 400 flying hours on that route.

Mr Gaffney and his fiancee made the Facebook announcement about their engagement on June 19 - their seventh anniversary.

Ms Andoy-Posadas is today being comforted by family and friends, as tributes pour in for Mr Gaffney, a popular, well-liked local.

"Such a loss, one of the nicest guys I ever had the pleasure of knowing. Heart goes out to his fiancee and family back in Tas and all his friends.'' - Ash of Exmouth 

 According to her Facebook profile, Ms Andoy-Posadas, who graduated from the Kimberley Training Institute in 2008 with a Diploma in Business Administration, works as a tourism officer at the Derby Visitor's Information Centre.

Police say the freight plane was not flying overloaded and Mr Gaffney was a highly experienced pilot.

The twin-engine Piper Seneca freight plane took off in good weather conditions about 8pm (WST) on Wednesday and moments later crashed in sand dunes about 2km south of Cable Beach. Mr Gaffney was the only person on board.

 Read more here:

Pilot Mark Chevallier dies in aerobatic training exercise near Rocky Mountain House

A 36-year-old man is dead after a plane he was piloting crashed late Thursday afternoon near Rocky Mountain House. 

Mounties in Rocky Mountain House say local pilot Mark Chevallier was “engaging in an aerobatic training exercise” when his Pitts S1S plane crashed into a wooded area near the Rocky Mountain House airport sometime around 4:30 p.m.

He was the only person in the plane, say Rocky Mountain House RCMP.

John Cottreau, a spokesman with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, says investigators will launch a probe at the crash site early Friday.

The weather, said Cottreau, will be an aspect of the investigation as Rocky Mountain House was under an Environment Canada severe thunderstorm watch throughout most of the afternoon.

“Mark Chevallier crashed his plane today and passed away,” said Brenda Jill Fodness in a public Facebook status update.

“(He was) an amazing man and friend — heart-breaking.”

Chevallier went to high school at Will Sinclair High in Rocky Mountain House, according to his Facebook page.

The Pitts planes dominated aerobatic competitions in the 1960s and 1970s.

The planes — according to Wyoming-based Aviat Aircraft Inc. — are designed for airshows.

Rocky Mountain House is about 225 km southwest of Edmonton. 

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