Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sonoma County-San Diego flights boost Alaska Air ridership

Alaska Airline’s Santa Rosa ridership rose 2.4 percent in June as the carrier began new service to San Diego from the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

Ridership reached 19,060 last month, up from 18,620 a year earlier, airport manager Jon Stout said Tuesday.

Alaska last month dropped its Santa Rosa-to-Las Vegas service and began daily flights to San Diego. It added a third flight to Los Angeles four days a week through Aug. 25, in addition to daily flights to Portland and Seattle.

Read more here:  http://www.pressdemocrat.com

EZjet begins Toronto flights

EZjet Inc. has started plying the Georgetown to Toronto route with its inaugural flight on Tuesday, joining Caribbean Airlines Limited on a route with a high volume of Guyanese traffic.

Speaking briefly at a ceremony to mark the launch at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, CEO Sonny Ramdeo said he was excited about the new venture but was cagy with details about future plans.

“We’ve got additional plans really to make Guyana a destination where a lot of tourism can come into the country, people that have been overseas for many years can afford to come back here. EZjet has set a very high standard in the quality of service we deliver and we certainly are looking forward to continue that,” he said. 

The Guyana government last month approved the request from EZjet GT Inc. to operate the non-scheduled, two flights weekly service from June 15, 2012 to June 14, 2013. The intention was to bring an element of competition to the route.

Read more here:  http://www.demerarawaves.com

Navy Week: Female Pilots Talk About Flying, Ship Living

Aboard the USS John C. Stennis—

The days of the military being men only are done, women are a pretty dominant force including on the USS John C. Stennis.

One of the vital assets is Rosanna Bolin, who has probably one of the more unique jobs on the ship; she’s a jet pilot.

“Not that many of us choose to go jets,” she said about other female pilots, “It’s not that we can’t make the grades or anything, just many people don’t choose this route. So there are very few of us.”

Bolin added there’s no difference between male and female pilots. “I was really comfortable coming in,” she said, “All three years I’ve always been treated just like the guys are. No exceptions for being female.”

The only challenges of being a pilot come from the job, not the gender. “Working long hours,” she named as the toughest part of the job, “But the minute you get in the jet and you take off and you go flying it’s just a really good day and you realize why you love doing this so much.”

Bolin plans to take her training as far as possible, “I want to work in the space program. I don’t know if it’ll happen but that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Isabella native receives diploma and wings

Chilton County native Keith Conway is now among an elite group of pilots after graduating from an advanced program on June 29. 

Conway completed the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he received his diploma and wings alongside five pilots from Germany, five from Italy and 13 from the United States.

ENJJPT trains undergraduate pilots for six countries, including Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Canada and the United States. In addition to these countries, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey provide pilot instructors for the program. As many as 250 pilots complete the 55-week program each year.

“Once you graduate you are a pilot for the U.S. Air Force, typically going on to fly fighters or bombers,” Conway explained. “It also gives you the opportunity to network and interact with other NATO countries.”

Pat Conway is extremely proud of her son. “This is a big deal for a country boy from Isabella,” she said.

Read more:  http://www.clantonadvertiser.com

Caribbean Airlines 737 (with no hummingbird) at Terminal 4 JFK

Ghana Life Pays Cargo Plane Crash Claims

Ghana Life Insurance Company Limited, the longest existing indigenous life insurance company in Ghana, has presented a cheque for GHC1,400 to the beneficiary of a fallen hero and policyholder, L/Cpl. Castro Abuchow, who met his untimely death during the recent Allied Airline Cargo plane crash. 

 The short ceremony, held at the premises of the 48 Engineers Regiment, Teshie, was attended by the high hierarchy of the unit and management of Ghana Life Insurance, led by the Managing Director, Mr. Ivan Avereyireh.

Presenting the cheque to Bismark Abuchow, the junior brother of the victim, Mr. Ivan Avereyireh said, “We, at Ghana Life took the news of L/Cpl. Castro Abuchow’s demise on the 2nd June, 2012 in the national disaster of the Allied Airlines Cargo plane crash with a heavy heart.

“The country has lost a budding and courageous solder in this tragic accident. But this young and forward looking man knew that his life was not entirely under his control. Therefore, while under training he took out a Ghana Life six-year Master Plan Policy on 1st June, 2011, and made his junior brother, Bismark Abuchow, the beneficiary,” Mr. Avereyireh added.

Mr. Avereyireh however stated that the payment does not prevent the family of the late Castro from pursuing claims against the owners of the Allied Airlines Cargo plane.

The uncle of the deceased, Lt. Col. Buntuguh, who spoke on behalf of the family, expressed their profound gratitude to Ghana Life for their prompt payment of the claims and assured the gathering that the purpose of the policy by the policyholder will be put to good use. In fact, the late Abuchow was the one who was caring for the education of his brother, so it came to them as no surprise that he undertook such a brilliant policy to support his brother’s education.

The Commanding Officer of the 48 Engineers Regiment, Lt/Col. M. Mustapha also commended Ghana Life Insurance for their quick response to the payment of claims and urged all officers to also take up a policy that will provide similar support to their beneficiaries.

Ghana Life has paid a total of GHC1,395,270 claims for the first half of 2012.

Similarly, in 2011, total claims paid amounted to GHC3,710,000. By the end of 2012, Ghana Life will be able to give SMS alerts to their policyholders when payments are received in their various accounts.

Source:   http://www.ghanaweb.com

Plane will buzz Mighty Mac - on purpose



Plane to fly near Mackinac Bridge Wednesday afternoon to focus on safety inspection

(July 17, 2012) - The Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) today announced that a small plane will fly near the Mackinac Bridge on Wednesday afternoon as part of a routine safety inspection.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires the MBA to perform an underwater bridge inspection once every five years and the consultant wants to capture images of its workers.

The aerial filming is tentatively planned for 1 to 2 p.m.

"Aerial photos of the safety inspection will provide the diving consultants with unique images for future use," said MBA executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. "They are required to follow all flight rules and should be finished within an hour."

The MBA is contracting with Great Lakes Engineering Group, LLC from Lansing, who will work with the Underwater Construction Corp. to perform the underwater inspections.

Comair shutting down?


By:   Brendan Keefe, wcpo.com 
        Hagit Limor, wcpo.com

          9 News I-Team

HEBRON, Ky. - Multiple sources inside and outside Comair told the 9 News I-Team that pilots and other employees fear the airline may be shutting down.

Pilots with Comair said they believe the target date to close is Oct. 1.

Cincinnati-based Comair is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines. A Delta spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny reports of Comair's closure, but the parent company did release a statement to the I-Team.

"In view of significant changes in the economic and competitive conditions in the regional airline industry in recent years, Delta continues to explore strategic alternatives for Comair, as previously announced. Until a final decision has been made, we cannot comment further." -- Kristin Baur, Delta Corporate Communications.

The Delta statement mirrors an internal memo sent to all employees by Comair's president, Ryan Gumm. That memo also used the words "final decision" and said that decision should be coming from Delta by the end of July.

Comair was founded in 1977 and quickly became an innovator as a regional airline. Comair pioneered the use of the CRJ regional jet to replace outdated turboprop aircraft.

Delta came to rely on regional jets from Comair and other affiliates as it added flights to and from its major hubs, CVG included. Comair was the only carrier to operate out of Concourse C at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Concourse C was shuttered by Delta several years ago.

There was talk of Delta phasing out Comair following an 89-day strike by more than 1,300 pilots in 2001, shortly after Delta bought the airline. They fought for decent pay and decent work conditions, saying they were often on call for 16 hours a day.

Talks popped up again in 2006 when Delta began cutting the number of Comair's aircraft and flights.

In 2010, Delta announced it would be slashing Comair's fleet in half by the end of 2012, and reducing staff to levels needed to operate a much smaller airline.

Recent announcements from Delta show an additional reduction in 50-seat regional jets this year, further limiting Comair's role if the airline is to survive.

Sources told the I-Team that certain orders for supplies and schedules for training do not exist beyond October 1, 2012.

A search for flights on Delta.com shows a different regional carrier handling the CVG to LaGuardia route after October 1. Comair is still listed as the carrier for that city as late as the last week of September, but then disappears from the schedule in early October.

But Comair has not been completely removed from Delta's schedule in October. Comair is still the carrier on some October flights we checked between CVG and Nashville, and CVG and Detroit.

Comair remains Delta's only wholly-owned regional airline, with others serving as affiliates under carriage agreements.

Losing Comair would be a loss for Cincinnati, but it has been more like a slow motion tragedy.

There have been a slew of changes since Comair started in 1977. That's when a father and son duo, Raymond and Dave Mueller, Dave just in his 20s, decided to start an airline.

But in less than 20 years it was setting trends for what a regional airline could be. By the end of 1999, it was a multi-billion dollar business, had expanded concourse C at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and had more than 750 daily flights.

Then Delta bought it.

More than a year later, there was the 89-day strike. The 9/11 attacks hampered the industry, and there were talks of another strike in 2006.

By 2011, Comair was a shell of itself.

There are drastically fewer planes, fewer people and a shrinking number of flights.

Delta has previously sold two other regional airlines it once owned, and there's still a possibility Comair could be sold if Delta can find a buyer.

Read more: http://www.kypost.com

South Bend (KSBN), Indiana: Airport sued over hangar lease

SOUTH BEND — A company that was supposed to start at South Bend Regional Airport may have trouble finding a home, thanks to a lawsuit filed this month by a possible competitor.

Atlantic Aviation, a national company that provides fuel and other fixed-base operations at the airport, has filed a lawsuit against the St. Joseph County Airport Authority, claiming the airport ignored the company’s long-standing lease for a hangar on the airport’s property.

Last month, airport executive director Mike Daigle announced that a new company, Pro-Air Flight, was coming to the airport with the plan to create up to 30 jobs by starting a fixed-base operation, providing services like fuel to the airport’s customers.

“(Pro-Air) will provide — along with our current fixed-base operator, Atlantic Aviation — competition and services that will be desired by corporate and general aviation,” Daigle said in June.

But to locate at the airport, Pro-Air Flight planned on signing a lease for the airport’s east hangar — which Atlantic Aviation previously had rented, along with an agreement to match offers from another company seeking to use the space.

According to the lawsuit, Atlantic Aviation has leased the airport’s east hangar on a monthly basis since at least 2006, and had the “right of first refusal” if another company wanted to lease the space. But Atlantic claims it was never notified that another company was interested in using the hangar; instead it received a one-month notice in February that the lease was going to be terminated — even though the airport apparently knew about the existing “right of first refusal” agreement.

In an e-mail written in January, then-airport director John Schalliol mentioned the agreement in a letter that Atlantic obtained by using the Freedom of Information Act.

“As you may or may not be aware, Atlantic has a month-to-month lease on that building and they also have a right of first refusal in the event that we get a better offer,” Schalliol’s email reads.

Schalliol’s e-mail also warned that “I don’t want to move forward with you, and then have Atlantic offer to match your offer, just to keep a competitor out.”

Although Atlantic tried to make a new lease agreement with the airport in January, no resolution was met.

In June, the airport authority again asked the company to vacate the hangar — leading to the filing of the lawsuit in June.

Despite the claims, and the e-mails from the airport, Daigle said today there was little he could say about the situation since litigation had been filed — except that no resolution has been reached in the situation.

He also said that there is a “difference of opinion” about the issue.

Source:    http://www.southbendtribune.com

Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200ER, Skywest Airlines, N865AS

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Transportation Security Administration approves security plans for each of the nation's airports, but the federal agency leaves the safety of an airport's perimeter up to the airport itself. 

A six-mile-long chain-link fence surrounds the St. George Municipal Airport and it contains an added precaution of razor wire at the top, but is not electric, said Marc Mortensen, assistant city manager for St. George. He said there is always at least one security officer patrolling the perimeter and checking facilities, even after hours.

Such an officer located the motorcycle of wanted Colorado fugitive Brian Joseph Hedglin, 40, on the outskirts of the fence early Tuesday. It wasn't until the officer called for backup that he noticed an aircraft had crashed in the parking lot, police said.

"I guess it is possible that somebody could jump the fence or cut the fence in a specific area and there may be some time before they are detected," Mortensen said Tuesday, adding that there is also a possibility that individuals could use an electronic access badge, which are issued only to carefully screened applicants, inappropriately.

Officials believe Hedglin, a pilot, did just that. He allegedly jumped the fence and then accessed a 50-passenger Bombardier CRJ200 owned by SkyWest Airlines that was parked overnight at the airport. Hedglin was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

St. George Police Capt. James Van Fleet said security concerns exist, but added, "I don't think we're any more vulnerable than any other airport."

Local homeland security consultant Tom Panuzio said Tuesday's incident is "a classic example of a domestic dispute that could've turned into domestic terrorism." The jet accessed by Hedglin can carry up to 44,000 pounds of fuel, making it a potential "flying bomb."

"We have to assume he wasn't going to take it for a joyride," Panuzio said. "He was going to make a statement."

Brian Hedglin, 40, went on the rampage in a 50-seat passenger jet at St George airport in Utah days after murdering his girlfriend.

Police say he drove his motorbike to the St George Municipal Airport in Utah and scaled a razor wire fence while the airport was closed, using a rug for protection

He then boarded the 50-passenger SkyWest jet and drove it past a terminal building, clipping the wing, before crashing into cars in a parking lot.

The captain - who worked for Skywest - then shot himself in the cockpit.

 SkyWest Airline officials confirm that the employee, who was on administrative leave at the time of the incident, is now deceased.

Brian Hedglin, 40, died inside a stolen SkyWest jet after shooting himself.

Incidentally, police in Colorado have been searching for a SkyWest employee and a member of the Colorado National Guard since Friday.

SkyWest officials confirmed that an incident occurred overnight while the airport was closed and the aircraft in question was not in service. They said they are cooperating with the FBI’s investigation of the incident, but would not reveal further details.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertram said they are conducting a joint investigation with St. George police and the Transportation Security Administration.

"We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note that there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under control of law enforcement," Bertram said Tuesday.

St. George City spokesman Marc Mortensen said the south wall of the terminal sustained minor damage in the incident, and several private vehicles on the east side of the airport were also damaged. He also said a security fence was damaged as well.

Mortensen did not offer more details of the incident, or confirm if there were any injuries. He said the plane was not in the air at the time of the incident, and no passengers were on board.

Officials say that passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being flown from Cedar City while the airport is closed.

ST. GEORGE —   The St. George Airport was closed Tuesday following an incident involving a SkyWest plane.
Details about the incident remain sketchy.

"While the airport was closed overnight, a SkyWest aircraft at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah was involved in a ground incident while the aircraft was not in service," SkyWest said in a brief prepared statement. "Until the airport is reopened, passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being re-accommodated on other flights as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City."

The terminal at the St. George Airport sustained minor damage and vehicles in the parking lot were also damaged as well as a SkyWest plane, according to St. George spokesman Mark Mortensen.

The FBI and St. George police are investigating the incident.

"The FBI is on scene at the St. George Airport, along with St. George police and the TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement," FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram said.

Mortensen said all commercial flights were cancelled until further notice. He said the private portion of the airport was still open. The St. George Airport handles seven flights a day.

The incident reportedly started about 3 a.m.

COLORADO SPRINGS - Brian Hedglin, 40 - a SkyWest Airlines employee - is wanted for murder in Colorado Springs, 9Wants to Know has learned. 

 According to SkyWest, he is listed as a "current/active" employee.

Hedglin has been a licensed pilot since 2000. It is unknown at this time whether he flies SkyWest planes.

Colorado Springs Police say they were sent to the 1000 block of Cheyenne Villas Point on Friday to conduct a welfare check on a woman. When they arrived, police found a woman dead at that location. She is not being identified at this time.

Police say they want to question Hedglin in connection with the Colorado Springs murder.

They consider Hedglin "armed and dangerous." He is a white man, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds with green eyes. He is bald. If you see Hedglin, please contact the Colorado Springs Police Department immediately at 719-444-7000.

According to the Colorado Army National Guard, Hedglin was a part-time soldier with their organization. The Guard told 9NEWS he is a food service specialist with no other specialized military training and has never been deployed.

Slingsby T.49 Capstan B, Shane Neitzey, N7475: Accident occurred July 15, 2011 in Hollywood, Maryland

 NTSB Identification: ERA11FA401
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 15, 2011 in Hollywood, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: SLINGSBY CAPSTAN TYPE 49B, registration: N7475
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 glider pilot/owner, he purchased the glider 1 week before the accident and flew it with the previous owner for about 1 hour at the time of purchase. He assembled the glider with the assistance of the tow plane pilot and completed all post-assembly checks before they were joined by his copilot. The pilot and copilot then performed the before-takeoff checks outside the aircraft, confirmed operation of the tow release mechanism, and verified that the spoilers were closed. During the initial climb, the glider pilot noticed that the glider was not climbing, and he and his copilot, a more experienced glider pilot, discussed relative position to the tow plane in order to avoid wake turbulence and improve climb performance. About 200 feet above ground level and over the trees beyond the departure end of the runway, the glider pilot observed the tow plane's rudder "waggle" back and forth, and his copilot shouted, "Release! Release! Release!" The glider pilot released the glider from the tow plane and entered a left turn to the north for a forced landing on the divided highway east of the airport. The copilot joined him on the flight controls before the glider overshot the highway and collided with trees on the east side of the roadway.

The tow plane pilot provided a similar recounting of the events. He explained that, before the flight, the proper signals for “too fast” or “too slow” were discussed but no others. He added that he had discussed signaling with the glider’s copilot many times previously but that they had not recently discussed the rudder-wag signal, which means “check spoilers.” After takeoff, he noted that the tow plane’s performance was as expected, but the climb rate was not. He checked the glider in his rearview mirror and noted that the spoilers were deployed. The tow plane pilot provided the internationally recognized (in the glider community) rudder-wag signal, and, instead of stowing the spoilers, the glider released from the tow.

Postaccident examination of the glider revealed no mechanical deficiencies. The pilot/owner stated that he knew the meaning of the rudder-wag signal, but responded to the callout from his copilot. He further stated that he believed the spoilers were stowed during preflight and before-takeoff checks, but he did not confirm that the control was locked in its detent prior to takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The glider pilot’s improper response to the “check spoilers” signal from the tow pilot. Contributing to the accident was the glider pilot’s failure to confirm that the spoilers were closed and locked before takeoff, and the glider copilot’s improper crew coordination response to the “check spoilers” signal from the tow pilot.


On July 15, 2011, about 1535 eastern daylight time, a Slingsby T-49B glider, N7475, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees while maneuvering for landing in Hollywood, Maryland. The glider had released from tow immediately after takeoff from St. Mary's County Regional Airport (2W6), Leonardtown, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot was seriously injured, and the certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The glider pilot provided a comprehensive written statement, and a brief interview following the accident. According to the glider pilot/owner, the glider was purchased a week prior to the accident, and he had accrued about 1 hour of flight time in the glider with the previous owner at the time of purchase. He assembled the glider with the assistance of the tow plane pilot, and all post-assembly checks were completed prior to being joined by the copilot. The pilot and copilot then performed the before-takeoff checks "outside the aircraft," confirmed the TOST tow release operation, and "confirmed trim and spoilers closed."

The glider was positioned on the grass between runway 11 and the parallel taxiway for takeoff. The glider and the tow pilot exchanged ready-for-takeoff signals and the takeoff was performed by both aircraft without incident. During the initial climb, the glider pilot noticed the glider "wasn't climbing" and he and his copilot, a more experienced glider pilot, discussed relative position to the tow plane in order to avoid wake turbulence and improve climb performance. About 100 feet above ground level (agl), and over the trees beyond the departure end of the runway, the glider pilot observed the tow plane's rudder "waggle" back and forth, and his copilot shouted, "Release! Release! Release!" The glider pilot pulled the TOST release handle, released the glider from the tow, and entered a left turn to the north, for a forced landing on the north/south divided highway east of the airport. The copilot joined him on the flight controls before the glider overshot the highway, and collided with trees on the east side of the roadway.

In an interview, the tow plane pilot provided a similar recounting of the events. He had accompanied the glider pilot/owner to the purchase of the glider, and had agreed to perform the tow "between friends," with no compensation. He stated that the plan for the day was to take turns towing and gliding, as the copilot in the glider was also an experienced tow pilot.
The tow plane pilot stated that he and the glider pilot/owner assembled the glider in 45 minutes, and that he observed the pilot as he completed his preflight checks, and assisted him as he confirmed control continuity and proper response of the control surfaces to the control inputs. The tow plane pilot remembered the deployment of the spoilers during the preflight, but he did not recall if they were deployed during the before-takeoff routine. They discussed the proper signals for “too fast” (glider yaw), or “too slow” (glider wing rock), but no other signals were discussed. According to the tow plane pilot, he did not discuss the “wing rock or rudder wag” signals from the tow plane to the glider. He added that the copilot of the glider was also an experienced tow plane pilot, and that they had discussed signaling many times previously, but that they had not recently “discussed the rudder wag” signal.

According to the tow plane pilot, the accident flight was the first flight for the glider at 2W6. They set up in the grass between the taxiway and the runway for an easterly departure. They did not employ a “wing runner” to assist, but the initial takeoff was performed with no anomalies, with the glider successfully leveling its wings very shortly after departure, as verified in the tow plane rearview mirror. The tow plane was producing power as expected and the takeoff was smooth, but the tow plane pilot noted a slow rate of climb after the initial takeoff, and thought that maybe it was due to towing a glider to which he was not accustomed and to the slightly-high tow position.

The tow pilot reported that the airplane's climb rate after takeoff was 100 to 200 feet-per-minute with full engine power, and not improving. While passing the north/south highway, the tow plane pilot checked his rearview mirror to inspect the glider behind him, and observed the spoilers were at least partially deployed above and below each wing. The spoilers were prominent, because they were flat, vertical “boards” painted red against a white wing background to make their position easily identifiable.

The tow plane pilot rapidly “wagged the rudder” while keeping the tow plane wings level to signal the glider pilot to “check his spoilers.” The rudder wag is a published signal, widely used in the glider community, to communicate the "check-spoilers" message. He estimated that both aircraft were approximately 200 feet agl, and 1/2 mile beyond the departure end of the runway, when he gave the signal.

At that moment, the glider released from the tow, banked to the North, and struck trees adjacent to the highway while appearing to try to get to the divided highway median. The tow plane pilot returned to the airport, landed and responded to the scene by car.


The glider pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sport pilot (glider). He also held a mechanic certificate. The pilot reported 1,471 total hours of flight experience, of which 21 hours were in gliders. He had one hour of experience in the accident glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on March 28, 2011.

The copilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, instrument airplane, and glider. The copilot's logbook was not recovered. However, the tow plane pilot said a recent review of the copilot's logbook revealed over 800 total hours of flight experience, of which 165 hours were in gliders. The copilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued September 30, 2011, and he reported 910 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The tow plane pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and glider. The tow plane pilot reported 2,250 total hours of flight experience, of which 590 hours were in gliders. He had 242 hours of experience in the tow plane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 5, 2010.
According to FAA records, the glider was manufactured in 1968. A review of the glider's maintenance logs revealed that its most recent annual inspection was completed June 14, 2011, at 642 aircraft hours. The glider was not equipped with a communication radio, and neither was there a hand-held radio in use during the accident flight.

According to FAA records and the tow plane pilot/owner, the tow plane was manufactured in 1960. Its most recent annual inspection was completed November 11, 2010 at 4,933 hours.


At 1537, the weather conditions reported at 2W6, at 142 feet elevation, included clear skies, visibility 10 miles, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury. The wind was from 140 degrees at 7 knots.


A Safety Board aircraft systems investigator examined the glider at the accident site on July 15 and 16, 2011.
The glider was located approximately one-half mile from the departure end of runway 11 and was lodged in a tree approximately 80 feet above the ground. The cockpit canopy was found on the ground. The right wing was still intact with some twisting present close to the root end. The left wing was broken off approximately 4 feet from the root. The remainder of the left wing was suspended in the tree and was attached to the glider by flight control cables. The tail section of the glider was essentially intact.

The spoilers on the right wing extended to a position consistent with full extension. Once the glider was removed from the tree, the spoiler extension was found to be approximately 5 inches, but the lower spoiler was compressed into the wing, and the upper spoiler retracted slightly, as the glider was placed on the ground. Full extension of the spoilers (as measured when they were extended by hand on the ground) was approximately 8.5 inches.

Flight Controls

The cockpit was configured with side-by-side seating and contained dual controls. Both the left and right control columns were present. The left column was still attached, while the right column was found unattached in the cockpit. The control column to the elevator turnbuckle joint was found fractured in a manner consistent with overstress. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the elevators. The aileron interconnect rod was broken at the turnbuckle joint between the interconnect rod and the left control column. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the right side aileron. Continuity to the left side aileron could not be determined due to damage to the left wing. The control cables and rudder pedal connections were all present and connected, however the rudder pedals themselves were no longer in the proper positions due to impact damage.
The tow cable release knob was checked and found to move freely, and was spring-loaded to the retracted (hook closed) position. The corresponding movement of the hook when the cable release knob was pulled could not be checked.

The before-takeoff checklist was placarded in the cockpit. The third item on the checklist was to verify that the spoilers were in the closed position.

The elevator trim lever was found in the full forward (nose down) position. The corresponding trim tab position on the elevator could not be determined.

The left spoiler handle was attached to the spoiler interconnect rod, and the pin on the left side of the spoiler interconnect rod was still engaged in its socket. The right hand spoiler interconnect rod socket was not present, and the pin was free floating. When the pin was restrained in a position approximating that of the socket (by comparison with the left side), there was no interference between the spoiler control mechanisms and the wood frames in the cockpit. The spoiler interconnect rod was still attached to a push-pull rod leading to a set of bell cranks aft of the cockpit. The right spoiler push-pull rod in the wing was still connected, and the entire right spoiler system moved in the proper sense when the cockpit controls were moved. The spoiler linkage to brake interconnect was connected and appeared to be functional – the brake paddle appeared to move against the tire when the spoiler control handle was moved aft. Spoiler system control continuity on the left side was present up to the pinned joint between the fuselage and wing. The pin was present in that joint.

When the spoiler control handle was moved aft in the cockpit, the right hand spoiler extended to the full extended position, and when the control was moved forward, the spoilers moved towards the retracted position. The spoilers would not fully retract; they would only retract to a position where 7/8 inch of spoiler was still extended. The source of the interference preventing full retraction could not be determined.

The left spoiler interconnect linkages, which connected the upper and lower spoiler panels, exhibited signs consistent with overtravel. The foam cores of the spoiler panels showed compression (between ¼ and 5/8 inch) consistent with the linkages moving past the 90-degree (right angle) position. Also, when the linkages were placed in their maximum extended position, there was approximately 1/8 inch of unpainted metal showing, a position also consistent with overtravel.

The readings noted on the cockpit instruments were:

Electronic turn and slip indicator – full left slip and turn needle centered.
Bank indicator – full left ball
Mechanical uncompensated variometer – 0 ft/min
Electric TE variometer with audio – 0 ft/min (number 2 selected) and 5, 10, 20-switch was set to off
Altimeter - -160 ft
Airspeed indicator – 68 kts
All electrical switches were off

The right seat pan was broken. The right outboard seat belt attachment point was slightly pulled out, and the left attachment point appeared undamaged.

The left seat was not present in the glider. The seatbelt was found buckled with its webbing intact, but the attachment points for the seat belt were separated from the cockpit structure. None of the left hand seat belt attachment points showed any signs of damage, the failures were all in the cockpit backing structure.

The right hand seat back rod was noted to be in the full aft position. The left hand seat back rod was noted to be in the position second from the front.

Both static ports were noted to have their respective tubes present but not attached.

The Office the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, Maryland performed the autopsy on the copilot. The cause of death was listed as “multiple injuries.”

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the copilot. The toxicology report stated no ethanol was detected in the liver or the muscle, and Pioglitazone was detected in the blood and urine.

According to the U.S. National Health Library, Pioglitazone was used with a diet and exercise program and sometimes with other medications, to treat type 2 diabetes.

A review of the copilot’s FAA medical records, as well as the autopsy report, revealed that the pilot’s health should not have posed a significant hazard to flight safety.


According to the Soaring Safety Foundation, the Recommended Standard Soaring Signals include: WARNING – SPOILERS OUT – "waggle rudder."
According to both the glider pilot and the tow plane pilot, the "increase speed" and "decrease speed" signals were discussed prior to takeoff, but none of the others. According to the towplane pilot, “We should placard those signals in each aircraft so we don’t forget them.”

As a result of this investigation, the tow plane pilot published standard operating procedures (SOP) for glider operations at St. Mary's County Airport. The SOP included a detailed diagram on the internationally recognized in-flight signals. As the director of operations for a Soaring 100 event, he wrote the SOP and distributed hand-outs that included a review of the in-flight signals.

By Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Riley 

 July 15, 2011

At 1540 hours St. Mary's Communications alerted Station 7, 9, and 3, NDW Patuxent River Crash 13, EMS Station 79, 38, 39, 83, 19, and St Mary's ALS, for a reported plane crash at the intersection of Three Notch Road and Airport Road in Hollywood. Engine 74, Rescue Squad 7, and Utility 7 responded with 9 volunteers on the call. Engine 74 arrived a short time later finding a glider that had struck a tree with 1 person still in the aircraft approximately 50 feet in the air. Lt. Tenaglia established "The Hollywood Command" and advised they had one patient trapped in the aircraft and one priority 4 patient on the ground holding all units. The crews on the scene utilized Tower 9 to remove the patient from the aircraft within 20 minutes and transferred care over to EMS on the scene. The patient was flown by Trooper 7 to Prince George's Trauma Center as a Category B Priority 2. Once the patient was transported, Command returned the bulk of the assignment holding it with units from Station 7 only. Engine 74 and Rescue Squad 7 remained on the scene for just under 2 hours before turning the scene over to MSP.

Later that evening Station 7 was alerted to assist MSP and NTSB with Lighting on the scene and removal of the aircraft. Truck 7 and Rescue Squad 7 responded and assisted units operating on the scene.

Photos courtesy of Jim Lloyd

Units:     Engine 74, Engine 93, Engine 33, Engine 132, Rescue Squad 7, Rescue Squad 3, Tower 9, Truck 1, Crash 13, Ambulance 388, Ambulance 397, Ambulance 199, Ambulance 838, Medic 291, and Trooper 7

Sunday, July 15 marked the one-year anniversary of a glider crash in St. Mary’s County. The accident, which occurred at approximately 3:35 p.m. near St. Mary’s County Regional Airport in Hollywood, claimed the life of the craft’s co-pilot, James Michael Dayton, 55 of Mechanicsville. 

 The aircraft, a Slingsby T-49B glider, sustained heavy damage when it collided with trees while maneuvering for a landing. A preliminary report issued last year by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), indicated Dayton, and the glider’s pilot, Nicholas John Mirales, 53 of Prince Frederick, were attempting to make an emergency landing in the median of Route 235 but missed the mark. The glider had just been released from the plane that was towing it prior to the ill-fated flight.

On June 28, the NTSB adopted a “brief of accident” regarding the incident. It concluded, “The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: the glider pilot’s improper response to the “check spoilers” signal from the tow pilot. Contributing to the accident was the glider pilot’s failure to confirm that the spoilers were closed and locked before takeoff, and the glider pilot’s improper crew coordination response to the ‘check spoilers’ signal from the tow pilot.”

According to the brief, NTSB investigators spoke with the tow plane pilot. “He explained that, before the flight, the proper signals for ‘too fast’ or ‘too slow’ were discussed but no others,” the brief stated. “He added that he had discussed signaling with the glider’s copilot many times previously but that he had not recently discussed the rudder-wag signal, which means ‘check spoilers.’ After takeoff, he noted that the tow plane’s performance was as expected, but the climb rate was not. He checked the glider in his rearview mirror and noted that the spoilers were deployed. The tow plane pilot provided the internationally recognized (in the glider community) rudder-wag signal, and, instead of stowing the spoilers, the glider released from the tow.”