Sunday, July 29, 2012

Iron Maiden joins Ice Pilots NWT on historic northbound plane

EDMONTON - “Welcome to the Maiden flight of Ed Force Three,” beams Mikey McBryan, one of the stars of History Television’s reality show, Ice Pilots NWT.

The general manager of Buffalo Airways is standing in front of the cockpit door of a Douglas DC-3 as the vintage aircraft idles on the runway at the Edmonton Municipal Airport.

His cantankerous father, Buffalo Joe, sits in the pilot’s seat, while one of Mikey’s childhood heroes is in the co-pilot’s seat: Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, fresh off a gig at Rexall Place.

The bright-eyed British singer, who started flying in the 1990s, used to work as a commercial pilot for a small British airline and now runs his own aircraft maintenance firm, Cardiff Aviation, in Wales. For the next three hours and 20 minutes on a cloudy Saturday in July, he’ll guide the silver and green aircraft north to Hay River, NWT.

Before slipping into the cockpit, he affixes a sticker designed as a bull’s-eye, with the words Captain Dickinson and Ed Force Three, on the outside of the plane. The 53-year-old vocalist used to fly his band from gig to gig on a Boeing 757 known as Ed Force One, named after Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie. This particular DC-3 was one of the first Royal Air Force planes to drop paratroopers over Normandy on D-Day in 1944.

Jeffko Glasair, N743CA: Accident occurred July 23, 2012 in Tonasket, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR12FAMS1
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 23, 2012 in Tonasket, WA
Aircraft: JEFFKO ED & CLAIRE GLASAIR, registration: N743CA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 July 23, 2012, an experimental amateur-built Jeffko Glasair, N743CA, did not arrive at its planned destination of Sequim Valley Airport, Sequim, Washington. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certified flight instructor was presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. The cross-country flight departed Tonasket Municipal Airport, Tonasket, Washington, about 0830. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport, and no flight plan had been filed.

On July 23, at 1520, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert notice (ALNOT) for the missing airplane after family members reported that it had not arrived at its planed destination. A search and rescue mission was subsequently initiated by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The search and rescue mission was called off at 1700 on July 29, after 100 sorties had been completed in the area of the Cascade Mountains, utilizing fixed wing and rotorcraft assets.

FAA records indicated that the airplane was issued its airworthiness certificate in October 2008.

Ed Jeffko (right) seen with photo of missing plane.

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Rescuers have suspended their search for a plane that failed to arrive on a flight from Tonasket to Sequim (SKWIM')

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced the suspension on Sunday after searching areas in the north Cascades, Winthrop and Stevens Pass.

Pilot Ed Jeffko of Tonasket was the only person aboard the home-built, single-engine kit plane that went missing July 23.

Officials say they had no emergency beacon, radar track or flight plan to aid in the search.

The Wenatchee World has reported that Jeffko is a former Tonasket city councilman who has been active in the civil service board and economic development committee.

Southport, North Carolina: Man to fly to Bahamas in homemade airplane (With Video)

SOUTHPORT, N.C.--A Southport man is planning a trip few would have the courage to make. In a plane weighing less than him, Norman Lewis will attempt to fly from North Carolina to the Bahamas. 

While the trip itself will be short, preparing has already been quite the journey.

Lewis said he has always loved flying. In fact, he grew up around planes. "My dad flew me to the Bahamas in his plane when I was in the fifth grade," Lewis said. " ... used to fly over to Wilmington on Saturdays to eat at Taco Bell. One time we flew somewhere to eat at this really nice Chinese restaurant!"

Now, this aviation enthusiast has big dreams for his own little aircraft. For eight months, Norman's been building his own ultra light, a small plane that you do not need a pilot's license to fly.

"It will fly like a regular aircraft ... Three axis control," Lewis said. But he emphasized his design is different than any other ultra light. "Most ultra light planes are not configured like an airplane. They've got a weed eater engine on them, got kite-like wings ... Looks like you're flying a lawn chair."

In just a few short months, Norman plans on flying his creation all the way to the Bahamas, where he said there are, "... palm trees and water that looks like a swimming pool with fish in it!"

The journey will only take about seven hours and a few gallons of gas, and while he may appear fearless, his wife Jennie said in the beginning, she was not without reservations. "I was just excited to see it finished," she said. "Then when it started finishing, I got a little nervous. But I'm over that.

So with his family's support, Norman said he is ready to soar. "I can't explain to you what it's going to be like turning final into the Bahamas airport."

Lewis hopes to take off for the Bahamas at the end of October. When he gets back, he plans to explore the idea of turning his passion into a business by building and selling his ultra light designs.

Story and video:

Boeing 737 MAX Likely Grounded Until Late This 2019: Latest problem to emerge involves potential failure of flight-control computer chip

The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel
June 27, 2019 9:38 pm ET

Boeing Co.’s troubled 737 MAX fleet is expected to stay grounded until late this year as a result of the latest flight-control problem flagged by U.S. air-safety regulators, according to people briefed on the issue.

The setback, at the very least, is expected to prompt additional disruptions to airline schedules across the U.S. and overseas as some 500 of the planes remain idled for months longer than previously projected. But the fallout, according to industry and government officials tracking the issue, also likely will raise the ultimate financial costs for the Chicago plane maker and may cloud public confidence in the work by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration to vouch for the MAX’s safety.

Outlines of the latest timetable, which replaces earlier ones that anticipated MAX models would resume flying in the U.S. and many foreign countries by the fall, emerged Thursday. It came a day after the latest flight-control issue became public. However, unlike faulty software previously linked to an automated flight-control feature called MCAS, the latest hazard involves potential problems stemming from electronic hardware, according to a Boeing official.

During simulator tests of certain emergency procedures, FAA pilots uncovered a potentially dangerous situation they hadn’t encountered before, according to people briefed on the issue. The crux of the problem, according to the Boeing official and company messages to airlines, is that if a chip inside the plane’s flight-control computer fails, it can cause uncommanded movement of a panel on the aircraft’s tail, pointing the nose downward.

Tests of the emergency procedures to cope with this so-called runaway stabilizer condition, the official said, revealed that it would take average pilots longer than expected to recognize and counteract the problem.

A Boeing official said the Chicago plane maker expects to submit revised software for MCAS and the new, separate problem in September.

“We believe this can be updated through a software fix,” the Boeing official said.

But at this point, according to some of the people briefed on the issue, FAA experts remain unconvinced that a software-only fix is feasible. If electronic components have to be replaced, some industry and government officials said it could amount to a delay of roughly four months.

Out of an abundance of caution and with the aim of ensuring that new safety issues won’t crop up once the planes return to service, the FAA has been conducting simulator tests of situations considered to be extremely rare in actual flight, according to the people briefed on the tests. The issue now in the spotlight was part of a scenario that is considered so remote it may only be possible to test in a simulator, rather than in an actual plane flown by test pilots, these people said.

Boeing’s current timeline includes the company submitting a final version of all required software fixes to the FAA by September or October at the earliest, they also said. After that, industry and government officials envision it probably would take a minimum of two more months to win official FAA approval, reach consensus on the extent of extra pilot training and have airlines perform the necessary maintenance checks and procedures. But even that timeline assumes no more surprises—and that it won’t be necessary to replace the computer chip in the MAX.

Boeing already has experienced a series of schedule slips and unexpected delays that have plagued the plane’s return to service since the spring.

Inside the FAA, the new problem has fueled increased frustration with Boeing, according to one of the people briefed on the details. Partly as a result, the agency has been stressing it has no specific timetable for returning the MAX fleet to service and that it won’t give the green light until all safety issues have been fully vetted and resolved.

Capt. Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union that represents pilots at American Airlines Group Inc., said the newly discovered issue raises questions about whether other problems will be found. “The latest unidentified software problem simply reinforces the need to thoroughly vet the critical flight-safety systems on the aircraft from top to bottom before returning the Max to service,” he said.

But pilots also are taking a financial hit as the grounding drags on. Pared-back schedules and scuttled routes means fewer opportunities for pilots to fly and earn money. The union that represents pilots at Southwest Airlines Co. has said it plans to seek compensation from Boeing for the $9 million a month in lost wages its members are facing along with legal costs the union has incurred complying with government investigations. Icelandair let 24 MAX pilots go and cut off training for 21 new pilots that had been expected to start flying the MAX this summer. The airline has said it hopes to reinstate them when the MAX returns.

Bhoja Air barred from selling business assets

KARACHI, July 29: An attempt by Bhoja Air to shed its aviation assets in the country and take its investment abroad has been foiled by the Civil Aviation Authority by freezing its assets at least till the airline settles its reported Rs778 million liabilities, sources told Dawn on Sunday.

Bhoja Air was trying to give one of its aircraft to Shaheen Air International, but the CAA put its foot down and declined to allow the deal to materialize to protect interests of heirs of the Bhoja Air crash victims and to wrest its own outstanding dues from the airline, the sources added.

They said the CAA had also informed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Shaheen Air International (SAI) and other relevant organizations about its decision of not allowing the airline to liquidate its assets until it cleared its dues.

Following the Bhoja Air flight crash near Islamabad on April 20, which left all the 127 people on board dead, the government had registered a case against Arshad Jalil, whose family is a major shareholder in the airline. Mr Jalil was out of the country at that time. Rather than returning to Pakistan to fight a legal battle, he preferred to reside in a Gulf state where also he had business interests, the sources said, adding that in a attempt to take away his investment in the airline, he tried to sell the Boeing 737-400 aircraft parked at the Karachi airport to SAI.

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300: Plane's wheels crack airport asphalt

A push back operation which "pushed back too far" led to the cracking of tarmac underneath an aircraft at Auckland International Airport last night causing a four and a half hour delay, an airport spokesman has said. 

The problem led to an Air New Zealand plane due to depart for Los Angeles at 9.30pm not clearing the runway until after 2am.

About 250 passengers were affected.

Passengers were in the process of boarding the flight when the cracks were discovered and they were told to exit the NZ6 flight.

Airport spokesman Richard Llewellyn said Air New Zealand are investigating the incident but an error in the ground handling operation was the likely cause.

Reinforced concrete is ordinarily used to support the aircrafts as they are pushed backwards from the airport by external power.

"It looks like during the push back operation the aircraft was pushed back too far and it went beyond the designated reinforced area," said Llewellyn.

He said the flight eventually took off after 2am and Air New Zealand had catered for the passengers during the extended delay.

A passion for flying: Pacific Skies Aviation in Torrance teaches people of all ages to soar

At Pacific Skies Aviation, flight instructor Chris Garland fills out the flight info in 16-year-old Sean O'Brien flight log. 

Reza Birjandi has a passion for flying. 

And so, after piloting cargo planes and giving lessons on the side, he decided to teach others full time.

During the five years he's operated his own flight school out of Torrance Municipal Airport -- Pacific Skies Aviation -- he's shared his love with some surprising people: kids barely old enough to drive.

Though most of his students are 30 and older, Birjandi has taught some as young as 10. Among his young students is 16-year-old Sean O'Brien, who has already flown on his own to destinations such as San Diego and Santa Maria.

"It's not as hard as it seems," Sean said. "Once you learn what everything means, it's fun. You feel free. No one is holding you back."

Even though the minimum age to obtain a pilot's license is 17, Birjandi believes the younger generation has an advantage that others did not -- video games -- which he said help kids develop hand-eye coordination and the ability to multitask.

Read more here:

Air India to induct 3 Boeing 787 aircraft in August

NEW DELHI: In a major retreat from its earlier stance, as India's national airline Air India prepares to induct three of the much-awaited Boeing 787 aircraft this August, the government and the airline management are reconsidering their earlier decision of inducting only half of the 450 pilots who had gone on strike this May. 

 Till early this month, the civil aviation ministry was clear that the airline would need about 450 pilots for its long-haul operations, down from the pre-strike number of 750.

But with a group of ministers headed by home minister P Chidambaram deciding on July 25 the compensation amount that American aircraft manufacturer Boeing needs to pay to Air India for delaying the B-787s, there seems to be confusion over how many commanders would be required to pilot Air India's aircraft fleet.

"Air India management is itself confused over pilot requirements. So civil aviation minister Ajit Singh has asked (the management) to prepare a detailed presentation on how many pilots are needed for each aircraft type," a senior ministry official told ET.

The minister has also asked about the number of erstwhile Indian Airlines or narrow-body aircraft type-rated pilots trained to fly the Dreamliners and how many new short-haul pilots will be additionally recruited.

"All these details are expected next week," he said. Until early July, the ministry and Air India had decided that they would curtail the airline's loss-making international operations, which would require them to downsize their pilot workforce.

This was contemplated in the wake of the two-month-long pilots' strike, which caused 70% of Air India's overseas operations to be grounded.

However, as 27 B-787s are slated to join by 2016 and there is a shortage of commanders, there is a rethink on the requirement of pilots.

For the first few weeks after arrival, these aircraft would be used to fly domestic routes but, thereafter, AI could deploy them on medium-haul routes such as Malaysia and Australia.

AI had sacked 101 pilots affiliated to the striking union Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) after they refused to operate flights and even though all IPG pilots have reported back to work, the airline and the agitators are at war over reinstatement of these pilots.

The civil aviation minister had said in the past that the sacked pilots would be taken back on a case-to-case basis and this line of thought still has not changed.

Besides, many of the IPG pilots anyway stand to lose their licenses if they are unable to clear the medical tests the airline will subject them to before allowing them to operate flights. IPG pilots struck work for 59 days and even now, not a single IPG pilot has been able to begin flying due to medical and other reasons.

Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority policy under fire: Professional service projects are excluded from bidding process


Two local officials are questioning the integrity behind a long-held policy at the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority that excludes professional service projects from the bidding process. 

Shawnee County Commissioner Ted Ensley and Topeka City Councilman Andrew Gray expressed concern over the policy. The policy, which has a broader application of the exemption than other area procurement standards, allows the MTAA board to award thousands of dollars in contracts without bidding them competitively.

“The current system in place opens itself up to nepotism, potential favoritism and corruption,” Gray said. “It’s patently unfair across the board, and I hope the city council will take this under consideration for budgetary purposes."

MTAA board chairman Rich Davis couldn’t be reached, but president Eric Johnson stood by the policy.

“I think the exemption is acceptable,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to be fair and equitable across the board. We also need to work in the best interest in the MTAA and the taxpayer.”

Johnson couldn’t find the resolution that first exempted professional services from the bidding process, but he said the policy was in place before he became president in June 2008. The last time the board took any action on the policy was Feb. 20, 2007, when the board in a 4-1 vote changed other aspects of the MTAA’s bid procedures. 

Read more here:

Rolladen-Schneider LS7-WL, G-CGBY and Glaser-Dirks DG-100G Elan, G-CKMG: Accident occured July 23, 2012 in Newmarket, Suffolk, UK

Gliders collide in mid-air, crashing down on Jockey Club land in Newmarket.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the two pilots escaped without life-threatening injuries. Cambridge Gliding Centre, based in Little Gransden, Bedfordshire, confirmed that the pilots were taking part in a national gliding competition.

A pilot parachuted to safety after a mid-air collision between two gliders over Suffolk.

One pilot sustained head injuries and the other was unhurt in the crash above Newmarket, near the town's racecourse.

Police were called to reports of a parachutist coming down from a glider at about 16:00 BST. Both male pilots were found about 30 minutes later.

A witness said one of the gliders was seen to "nosedive" while the other came down in a more controlled manner.

'Bit mangled'

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: "One sustained no injuries and the other was initially unconscious but regained consciousness and did not suffer any traumatic injuries.

"That patient was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, by land ambulance."

The gliders were taking part in the third day of the 2012 British Club Class Gliding National Championships held by the Cambridge Gliding Centre, spokesman Richard Brickwood said.

He said they started from the club's base at Gransden Lodge Airfield on the border of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire at 13:40 BST.

Mr Brickwood said the two pilots crashed during the race that involved 50 competitors. He added the men were competing, but were not members of the centre and not from the local area.

The witness, from Newmarket, said there had been about 20 gliders flying over the town shortly before the collision.

"We looked away for a second and then we looked back and saw one doing a nose dive," he said.

"It was going down quite fast and the glider pilot managed to parachute out.

"We saw another one come down but that looked more controlled.

"I can see two of the gliders that have landed. One looks a bit mangled."

Nigeria: Why foreign investment in aviation is elusive

Until the Federal Government creates an enabling environment by addressing some major challenges, its efforts to woo investors to the aviation sector, will remain sheer illusion. 

In an interview,the Chairman of Nigeria Aviation Safety Initiative  (NASI), Captain Dung Pam told The Nation that factors such as poor power supply and facilities account for why most investors from Europe, the United States and Asia prefer other destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa to Nigeria.

Pam, however, said the Federal Government, as part of its new drive to revolutionize the aviation sector, has designed the public-private partnership model, which is expected to drive infrastructure provision, given that the government does not have the financial muscle to bridge the gap in the facilities in the country’s over 22 airports.

He explained that until insecurity is addressed in some parts of the country; it would be difficult to attract the needed foreign direct investment, as most business players from the developed world would prefer to put their money where there is relative socio-economic stability.

Pam said the crisis caused by  Boko Haram has become a serious monster starring the nation and has robbed it of many multi-lateral offshore investments, as a report is not favorable to foreigners investing in some parts of the country.

Speaking against the backdrop of moves by a consortium of Chinese investors expressing interest to invest in infrastructure in four airports in the country, Pam explained that the Asian investors are skeptical about the safety of their investments given Nigeria’s penchant for lack of rule of law over concession contractual agreements.

He explained that inconsistencies in government’s policies, which tend not to protect private investments, remain a sore point as new investors are worried over the antecedents of other investors in the aviation sector.

Pam also noted that the high country risk classification of Nigeria in the finance and investment world accounts for the reluctance of many investors, who have to examine issues  before putting their funds into the aviation industry as opposed to situations in other countries.

He added that safety, which had become apparent after the two air crashes involving Dana Air and Allied Air Cargo, has raised insurance premium for investors who are considering investing in aircraft leases or rentals in the airspace.

Pam said: “ The government must act fast in tackling these issues, or else the expected inflow of foreign direct investment will elude us as a nation. Factors that investors take critical look at are political stability, personal security and the environment. If we must get the required investment into the aviation sector, it is high time the government acted fast in resolving a  lot of issues, not limited to the scourge of MEND, Boko Haram, power supply and the justice system.

“No foreigner will bring in his money when he is not sure of being protected by the justice system, if there is any violation of his contract or the terms of operations. The other issues include the high rate of inflation. Whereas in other countries in Europe and America, inflation oscillates between two and three per cent, in Nigeria it is about 12 per cent.

“Even, the interest rate on credit facilities, is relatively lower in some other countries. But it is not the same figure here in Nigeria. These are the reasons there is not much foreign investment in the aviation sector.” 


Protesters urge non-lethal removal of birds at a Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey

Roughly two dozen protesters stood outside the gates of Teterboro Airport on Sunday to oppose its policy of trapping and killing wild birds that are viewed as a threat to the safety of air traffic. 

Waving signs reading "TOLL $ = BLOOD $" and "PORT AUTHORITY INHUMANE," the protesters said they hoped the airport would develop non-lethal solutions to the enduring problem of bird-airplane collisions in busy metropolitan airspace.

"There must be a better alternative, or else it’s an endless fight against nature," said William Roberts, a faculty member at Fairleigh Dickinson University and an animal rights activist. "Where would it stop?"

The Port Authority, which oversees Teterboro and other regional airports, has for years worked to mitigate wildlife threats to airplane traffic. Controls nationwide have increased since the January 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson" — when a plane taking off from La Guardia Airport carrying 150 passengers was disabled by Canada geese and made an emergency landing in the river.

Teterboro is a particularly complicated case: The busy airport sits on 827 acres of the Meadowlands, an ecosystem that is home to many bird species now considered "hazardous" to airplane activity. A third of the airport has been designated as federally regulated wetlands.

Read more here:

Vidarbha youths’ flying dream crashes in Manila

NAGPUR: The dreams of two youngsters from Vidarbha to achieve a high-flying career as commercial pilot crash landed after they walked into the trap of a racket operating from Philippine capital Manila. The victims, who were trapped in Manila for one-and-half months, claimed that the Indian embassy in Manila did not do much when they sought help. 

 Sachin Dhomne, Ritesh Belekar and one of their friends were duped to the tune of around Rs 30 lakh by Mrigendersingh Sengar and his accomplice Bhavesh Chavan on the pretext of providing training as commercial pilots in their Aviation Link Asia training centre in Manila. Dhomne said he was son of a government employee and had arranged Rs 9 lakhs through bank loans that he was now struggling to repay. Belekar's father is a railway employee, it is learnt. Police sources claimed Chavan was a son of a senior Income Tax officer.

While Chavan claimed he was a flight instructor of the Manila-based flight training institute, Sengar was named as chief executive officer of the organization. The culprits allegedly cheated Dhomne and Belekar with the promise to get them trained as pilots despite the fact that their institute had been long barred from operations by Philippines' aircraft training and organization department.

Dhomne and Belekar were colleagues working with a private airline that had its office at Nagpur airport. They were introduced to Chavan through a common friend last year. Chavan, settled in Manila, had come to Nagpur to spend time with his family at Vir Chakra colony in Gittikhadan. Chavan promised placements after successful training at the centre.

Following some initial payments, Chavan sent return tickets and commercial visa to Dhomne and Belekar for coming to Manila. Dhomne and Belekar flew to Manila in September last year. The duo was kept in an apartment but was advised against leaving the room on flimsy grounds. "We were taken aback after seeing a place near domestic airport of Manila that Chavan and Sengar claimed to be their institute. There were no students apart from us. We were told other students had gone elsewhere for training," said Dhomne. "Sengar and Chavan also tried to entice us with commission stating that they would give us monetary benefits if we arranged for more students but the entire setup seemed fake," he said.

Later the local authorities declined to allow Dhomne and Belekar to appear for a mandatory test meant for the pilots on technical grounds. "At this point, we approached the local civil aviation department and realized were duped," said Dhomne.

Fearing repercussions, Dhomne and Belekar approached the local Indian Embassy for help but were disappointed. "We were told they would revert to us within a week," said Dhomne. Having little hope of help, the duo is learnt to have managed to sneak out of the apartment and headed to the airport from where they boarded a flight to India.

In Nagpur, the duo approached the city police. Joint commissioner of police Sanjay Saxena transferred their case to economic offence wing of crime branch which has now begun a probe after registering the offence at Gittikhadan police station against Sengar and Chavan.

Tacoma, Washington: Man could face charges after flight tirade

Information from: The Bellingham Herald, 

 BELLINGHAM — A Tacoma man may face charges after an outburst over a reading light on a flight from Honolulu to Bellingham International Airport early Saturday, July 28. 

 Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary and five sheriff’s deputies responded to deal with the man when the plane touched down.

According to Leary:

The Alaska Airlines plane had lifted off from Honolulu while it was still dark out.

A woman on the plane was using an overhead light to read. A 50-year-old man sitting behind her asked if she could off the light so he could sleep, but the reader declined. That set off an argument.

The man, who was travelling with his grown son and daughter, went to the flight attendants and demanded his neighbor turn out the light. The attendants explained the woman could keep it on.

That sent the man into a tirade. He started shouting expletives at people on the plane. He also threatened to be a nuisance to the woman, by hitting the back of her seat again and again.

He didn’t make any explicit threats to hurt anyone or blow the plane up — but he did drop a few F-bombs.

After deputies spoke with him in Bellingham, he was allowed to go home to Tacoma.

“He’s not a flight risk,” Leary said.

His name was not released.

The FBI and federal attorneys will investigate whether the man will face criminal charges for causing a major disruption on the plane. A total of 86 passengers were on the flight.

Read more here:

AgustaWestland A-109S, XA-UQH: Muere empresario cercano a Peña Nieto al caer helicóptero

A policeman keeps watch as an investigator inspects the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed on Saturday in Jiquipilco, on the outskirts of Toluca, July 29, 2012. The crash killed Juan Armando Garcia Hinojosa, son of a businessman linked to president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, and two others, local media reported. 
 Credit: REUTERS - 
Published date: 07/29/2012 
Photo: Milenio

The accident killed Juan Armando Garcia Hinojosa, son of Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, a businessman linked to Enrique Peña Nieto, Miguel Rodriguez and the pilot and co-pilot Rodolfo Caballero.

Toluca •  Three people died in the crash last night the helicopter they were traveling in the Sierra de Temoaya, State of Mexico, confirmed the Attorney General of the State of Mexico. 

The victims were identified as Miguel Angel Rodriguez Lopez, pilot Rodolfo Caballero, Juan Armando Hinojosa copilot and Garcia, son of John Armando Hinojosa Cantu mexiquense businessman who collaborated with Enrique Peña Nieto during his term as governor of Mexico.  

Emergency personnel from various corporations involved in the rescue helicopter spotted the bodies on Sunday morning.  

"At 23:40 am on Saturday, July 28, the State Government officials, were aware of the loss of a particular brand helicopter-109 AGUSTA XAUQH enrollment, which was flying very private with crew of two pilot and copilot, plus a passenger, "the dependence of justice in a statement.

The control tower lost contact Toluca airport with the aircraft and then launched a search by air and military support of civilian equipment. 

Rescue personnel specialized high mountains of the Red Cross and the Emergency Branch of the State of Mexico (SUEM) began the search for the particular helicopter enrollment in the mountainous area surrounding municipalities and Temoaya Jiquipilco, but was until 7:30 pm today when rescuers made contact with the ship in the area known as Cerro Alpine, near the road-Temoaya Jiquipilco in the municipality of Jiquipilco.

After performing the reduction in the accident area and the first rescue maneuvers, paramedics confirmed the death of the crew, identified as Miguel Rodriguez, pilot Rodolfo Caballero, co-pilot and businessman Juan Armando Garcia Hinojosa.

Around 9:00 pm, the paramedics left the scene and only had the presence of the police authorities, which also participated in the search and location of the accident aircraft.

To date not known what causes the fall of the helicopter, so personnel and experts in civil aviation came here to make the inquiries necessary and then move the unit to your location to the appropriate expert.

"The Attorney General of the State of Mexico has taken cognizance of the facts and initiates the first steps for the investigation of this unfortunate accident," said the reliance on the news.


Personal de urgencia de diversas corporaciones participó en el rescate de un helicóptero que cayó la noche del sábado en la zona serrana de Temoaya, donde fallecieron sus tres tripulantes cuyos cuerpos fueron encontrados la mañana de este domingo.

La aeronave tipo Augusta Westlad A-109 cayó alrededor de las 22:00 horas de la noche del sábado por lo que de inmediato se activó la alerta entre las autoridades del gobierno del estado y las instituciones de emergencia.

Personal de rescate especializado de alta montaña de la Cruz Roja y de la Subdirección de Urgencias del Estado de México (SUEM) iniciaron la búsqueda del helicóptero particular con matricula XA-UQH, en la zona serrana que rodea a los municipios de Jiquipilco y Temoaya; sin embargo, fue hasta las 7:30 horas del domingo aproximadamente cuando los rescatatistas hicieron contacto con la nave en el paraje conocido como Las Palomas.

Los paramédicos confirmaron la muerte de tres personas a bordo quienes fueron identificadas como Miguel Rodríguez, piloto; Rodolfo Caballero, copiloto y Juan Armando Hinojosa García, tripulante.

Alrededor de las 9:00 de la mañana, los paramédicos abandonaron el lugar y únicamente quedó presencia de las autoridades policiacas quienes también participaron en la búsqueda y localización de la aeronave accidentada.

Hasta el momento se desconocen las causas de la caída del helicóptero, por lo que personal especializado y peritos en aviación civil acudieron al lugar para realizar las indagatorias necesarias y posteriormente trasladar el aparato a sus instalaciones para los peritajes correspondientes.

Un helicóptero se desplomó anoche en el municipio de Juquipilco, Estado de México, causando la muerte del empresario Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú hijo. De acuerdo con información oficial, la aeronave “perteneciente a una empresa privada”, sufrió un percance el sábado en las inmediaciones de la sierra de Temoaya, en el que lamentablemente sus tripulantes fallecieron. 

Aunque oficialmente no dieron a conocer el nombre del pasajero, reportes preliminares de las autoridades mexiquenses señalan que se trata de Hinojosa Cantú, dueño del Grupo HIGA y de la empresa de aviones EOLO, firma que rentó el servicio de traslados al candidato priista Enrique Peña Nieto durante su campaña. 

A las 23:40 horas del sábado, las autoridades del Gobierno Estatal tuvieron conocimiento del extravío del helicóptero particular marca AGUSTA-109, matrícula XAUQH, mismo que realizaba un vuelo privado con dos elementos de tripulación, piloto y copiloto, además de un pasajero. Se dispuso que helicópteros de la unidad de búsqueda y rescate del gobierno estatal se dedicaran a la localización del aparato, logrando su ubicación en las primeras horas del domingo, en el paraje conocido como “Cerro Alpino”, a la altura de la carretera Jiquipilco-Temoaya. 

 Después de realizar el descenso en el área del accidente y las primeras maniobras de rescate, los paramédicos confirmaron el deceso de los tripulantes.

Se han trasladado al lugar del siniestro, agentes del ministerio público para dar fe de los hechos, así como personal de servicios periciales, para realizar el levantamiento de los cuerpos.

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de México tomó conocimiento de los hechos e inicia las primeras diligencias para la investigación del accidente.

Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú y sus empresas forman parte de la investigación por un presunto financiamiento ilícito a favor de Enrique Peña Nieto en el proceso electoral que concluyó el 1 de julio.

El dueño de grupo HIGA, empresario tamaulipeco, autorizó que diversas aeronaves de la empresa de aviones Eolo fueran utilizadas por Peña Nieto durante su campaña.

De hecho, HIGA fue una de las más beneficiadas en la administración de Peña Nieto en el Estado de México, pues construyó hospitales, como el de Zumpango, por un monto de 7 mil millones de pesos; carreteras y las instalaciones de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México.

Hinojosa, la transnacional española OHL –que dirige en México José Andrés de Oteyza, secretario de Patrimonio y Fomento Industrial en el sexenio de José López Portillo y director de Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares en el de Carlos Salinas de Gortari– y el Grupo de Abogacía Profesional (GAP) –encabezado hace décadas por Gabino Fraga Mouret, a quien se acusa de mover dinero en Monex a favor del PRI hasta por 91 millones de pesos– se asociaron en la construcción del aeropuerto de Toluca, el segundo en importancia del país y que costó mil cien millones de pesos.

Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, EI-IAN, Irish Parachute Club at Clonbollogue

Tangier Island a step back in time: Tangier Island Airport (KTGI) , Virginia

Written by Nancy Sorrells 

 On a sunny day in May, we decided to visit Tangier. Because the plane is small and we are not, it was decided that we would make two 30-minute trips from the St. Mary’s airport. The first trip dropped my husband Randy off on Tangier. His specific instructions were to walk from the airstrip into the village, rent a golf cart, and bring it back to the runway. An hour later Bill returned with Sarah and me in tow.

At this point, I must say a word about the landing strip at Tangier — well maybe a few words — but generally I would describe it as just a little bigger than a glorified sidewalk. Bill, however, did a great job of touching down on the landing strip as opposed to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay that lapped all around. The “airport” itself is rustic and laid-back. You can park your plane for $10 a day. Right on schedule Randy brought the golf cart out to the plane to pick us up. Obviously there was no airport security. Dulles International this was not. Thank goodness.

Storms flip small plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (KRDU), Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina

RALEIGH -- Strong winds associated with thunderstorms that swept the Triangle on Saturday night turned over a single-engine Cessna plane parked near the United Parcel Service facility at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and fuel on board the plane began leaking on Sunday, an airport spokesman said. 

Five to 10 gallons of aviation fuel found its way out of the plane because it was upside down, the spokesman said. That brought airport firefighters and workers to clean up the spill and drain the remaining fuel. Airport officials had contacted the plane’s owner to have the aircraft righted, he said.

The National Weather Service reported that Saturday’s highest sustained wind speed was 39 mph, and gusts up to 66 mph were recorded at RDU.

The storms were accompanied by lightning, though no fires were reported due to that. Storms in recent weeks were blamed for several fires.

Power outages were reported throughout the area as limbs came down on power lines, but crews were able to repair most of them within hours.

At RDU, the wind also picked up two empty freight containers, the cube-like devices that are loaded into UPS planes, and blew them into a fence, knocking part of it down, the RDU spokesman said.

The plane was upended about 8 p.m. The plane was associated with UPS and was approved to be in that area, but it was not immediately clear what the connection was, the spokesman said.

Small planes parked at airport general aviation areas often are tied down to prevent storm damage, but the ramp at the UPS hangar does not have that capability.


Nova Scotia: Waterville aviators fear having ‘nowhere to go’

Aircraft technician Carl Forsyth

CAMBRIDGE — Aviators who fly out of Waterville Municipal Airport are concerned about its future in light of a study underway to determine if it can be moved to another location to make way for possible expansion of the Michelin tire plant here. 

 “As aviators, the concern is that the airport will close and there’s nowhere to go,” Walter Isenor, chairman of the Waterville Airport Co-operative Ltd., said in an interview Friday.

The biggest concern in moving the airport will be the cost and who will pick up the tab, said Isenor, who has flown out of Waterville for more than 30 years.

The airport, believed to be the busiest in the province next to Stanfield International in Halifax, has a 1,066-by-23 metre paved runway and a 30,000-square-foot asphalt taxi way. It serves mostly small aircraft, including helicopters and fixed-wing planes.

Apart from private users and business people, it’s used by emergency aircraft, Department of Natural Resources and the RCMP. Air cadets also train there in the summer months.

The airport has 11 hangars and houses three businesses, including a flight training school, aircraft maintenance centre and a skydiving school.

It has almost 10,000 landings and takeoffs per year, and houses 32 full-time aircraft operated by about 50 aviators.

“It’s a busy little airport,” said Isenor.

“We need quite a big piece of level land, and most of that land in the Valley is agricultural. It would be highly unlikely that we would be able to get agricultural land,” said Isenor. Farmland in Kings County is protected under municipal zoning bylaws.

The terms of reference for the study say that any possible site cannot result in loss of agricultural land, must not impact municipal drinking water supplies and has to adhere to municipal zoning bylaws. It must also maintain flight path agreements with 14 Wing Greenwood and consider safety and environmental impacts.

“And if we did find the land, I don’t think it’s automatic that we would be moving to it, because there is the question of dollars. Who’s paying for all this? Isenor asked.

He said it would cost $1 million just to build a comparable asphalt runway. Rebuilding the entire facility in another location would cost in the millions of dollars.

The last economic impact study, done a decade ago, showed the airport injects about $1 million into the local economy every year.

The province is funding a study on the relocation of the airport to make way for a possible large expansion at the nearby Michelin Tire plant.

The $100,000 provincial study is being done in co-operation with Michelin, the airport co-op and the Municipality of the County of Kings, which owns it. It’s expected to be completed by this fall before municipal elections on Oct. 20.

“The Waterville airport, as we know it, is leaving,” said Isenor. “It seems to me that Michelin will be getting the property at some time. But we have no idea where it’s going.”

He said the best-case scenario would be building a new, larger airport with a 1,525-metre runway to serve the area and allow for growth. “If we’re moving, this is the only chance we have to build a new airport. It would be good if we could combine it with other things, like a business park.”

In the meantime, the talk about moving it is putting a halt to any development here, said airport manager Art Patton. A couple of business people have since cancelled their plans to build new hangars at the site.

“You can’t really invest a whole lot of money here right now,” Patton said in an earlier interview. He added that the airport is operating as usual, but that all major maintenance and financing plans are on hold until the study is complete.

Isenor said the co-operative has had one meeting with the consultants to date and is supplying information to them.

“We don’t know a heck of a lot at this point,” he said. “We’re feeding information to them as much as we can. The consultant’s are working feverishly right now.”

But he added that closing the airport would be a major loss to the area.

Kings County Warden Diana Brothers said Friday that the consultant’s report will answer many questions people have.

“The municipality has always been very supportive of the airport and recognizes the economic benefit,” she said. She added the study is expected to recommend three possible locations.

“It would be nice to keep our municipal airport and also have the benefits of a Michelin Tire expansion,” she added.

Dana LeBlanc, president of Michelin North America Canada Inc., said in a recent interview that the company asked whether the Waterville airport can be moved for potential expansion and how much it would cost.

Story and photo:

Russian Aerovolga LA-8 amphibious plane runs into rocks

The Islamic Republic of Iran has launched an investigation into the causes of an accident involving a twin-engine aircraft produced in the Russian Federation. 

 The accident occurred on Sunday in the province of Gilan in the north of the country.

There were no deaths however three people on board were injured.

During take-off, for reasons that are not clear, the plane came in contact with rocks which damaged a wing and the landing gear.

A team of rescuers, firefighters and the Coast Guard were all called to scene of the accident.

The aircraft was delivered to Iran from Russia less than a month ago.

Bandar Anzali, July 29, IRNA – A plane crashed near Anzali port in north of Iran on Sunday leaving three people on board injured. 

The accident occurred when the training plane crashed with the sands in Costal park known as 'Qods Boulevard' near Anzali port.

One crew on board suffered a fracture on his leg and two others sustained minor injuries.

Part of the plane wing broke down and one of its wheels was destroyed.

Fire fighters and rescue teams are now carrying the plane to Anzali port.

The Russian made two-engine plane "LIS" was destined to Rasht airport prior to the accident.

The amphibious plane crashed at 12 local time (7:30 GMT) due to technical failure.  

A Russian Aerovolga LA-8 amphibious plane has crashed in Iran's northern province of Gilan, leaving all three people onboard only injured.

The wing of the twin-engine aircraft clipped nearby stones in the coastal park of Bandar Anzali city, located 266 kilometers (165 miles)northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, at around 12 p.m. local time (0730 GMT) on Sunday as the plane was about to take off.

A part of the wing was badly damaged and the wheels also came off. One of the occupants broke his leg, while the two others sustained minor injuries.

Rescuers, fire brigades and coast guard officials have been deployed to the scene, and an investigation into the incident is underway. Local officials are trying to transfer the damaged aircraft to the harbor.

An unnamed official at Bandar Anzali harbor told IRNA that the aircraft had been imported from Russia into Iran less than a month ago.

A Russian Aerovolga LA-8 amphibious plane. (file photo)

Aerial imaging comes to Muskogee: Project expected to provide “invaluable” resource

Low-flying airplanes will buzz the city this winter to snap photographs that will be used to assemble a three-dimensional-like view of Muskogee’s streetscape. 

The aerial imaging project is expected to provide an “invaluable” resource for the city’s law enforcers, emergency responders, planners and developers.

City Planner Gary Garvin said the images assembled from the photographs will enable viewers to observe structures and other objects from multiple angles on a computer screen.

The company that patented the process, known as Pictometry, says its images are “easier to understand than traditional aerial and satellite images” and provide 360-degree views that can be referenced with geographic precision.

“Where this will come in handy is when police prepare to serve a warrant or raid a house,” Garvin said. “They will be able to look (at a structure) from different angles and spot different exits before they get there.”

City councilors authorized the project, which will cost more than $28,000. Garvin said his department budgeted $15,000 for the project. The balance will be paid from the proceeds of assets seized by police and forfeited through the judicial process.

Muskogee Police Chief Rex Eskridge said he was impressed with the capabilities of Pictometry and its applications. He told councilors that the investment could save lives.

“In terms of life-saving, this could prove invaluable to us,” Eskridge said, using as examples a search for a missing child, the service of high-risk warrants and reconnaissance. “I would be very impressed with having a tool like this.”

Trent Evans of Pictometry International Corp. demonstrated the technology during last week’s City Council meeting. He showed how the images can be used to map and measure public utilities and neighborhood plats. Using Joplin, Mo., as an example, Evans showed how before-and-after images can be used during disaster recovery.

Pictometry images are stitched together from up to 12 photographs snapped from a 40-degree angle, which provides an oblique perspective. Pixels in the image are trapezoidal rather than rectangular, providing the means to accurately measure an object’s size and position on a map.

Garvin said the Pictometry project is a huge leap in technology compared with the aerial photographs the city uses now when assessing certain areas. Those photographs are one-dimensional and can be difficult to interpret.

With Pictometry, Garvin said, one can measure area, distance, height, elevation, pitch, bearing and other dimensions. Pictometry, a process patented about 10 years ago, is being used to plan emergency responses, planning and development, site assessment, construction and utilities.

Public Works Director Mike Stewart said that although he could find uses for the technology, much of the data he needs — and from which Pictometry draws to make it more useful — was gathered a few years ago during an aerial photography and digital mapping project completed in 2009.


Cessna 150, LV-LLD: Aborted Landing


Piloto:  Paulo Lopez 
Acompañante:  Martin Castro

Condor Boeing 757-300, D-ABOK, Flight DE-6334: Emergency landing in Austria

A Boeing 757 with 264 passengers flying from Germany to Turkey had to make an emergency landing in Linz in Austria after a build-up of smoke in the cockpit, police said Sunday. 

Shortly after taking off from Frankfurt on Saturday en route for Antalya the pilot reported the problem but because of storms he was unable to land in either Munich or Salzburg and had to put down at Linz's Blue Danube Airport.

None of the passengers was hurt and they continued their onward journey on Saturday evening on a different aircraft. Technicians fixed the faulty weather radar behind the problem and the plane returned to Frankfurt Sunday.


Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport : FAA approves $11M supplemental funding for runway repairs

Construction of the main runway at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport is set to resume soon following the project's approval by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Commonwealth Ports Authority executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero confirmed this in a statement Friday indicating that FAA, through its airport improvement project program, also allocated additional funding of $11 million to do all the necessary repairs.

The ports authority temporarily stopped the construction at the main airport runway pending approval of FAA. This after CPA uncovered problems during the construction period.

“CPA recently received approval from FAA for additional funding to correct the deep cracks in the main runway. The original design for the project addressed cracks that were only 3/4” deep requiring milling of 3/4” and paving 2” overlay. However, during construction, it was found that the cracks had gone further than the originally designed discovery,” explained Deleon Guerrero, adding that CPA, in coordination with the construction manager and contractor, proposed to FAA supplemental crack repairs.

He said the new design was forwarded to the federal agency along with CPA's request of $11 million in additional funds for the needed repairs.

With the funding approval, the executive director said crack repairs will now require 2” milling and 4” paving which will also extend the life expectancy of the airport. CPA anticipates resuming construction work by Aug. 15 with a completion date of May 2013. Guam Pacific Power Corporation Inc. is the project contractor.

Prior to the approval of the new supplemental funding, FAA has been spending approximately $21 million in the rehabilitation of Runway 7/25. Factoring in the $11 million recently approved for the new repairs, total cost of the project is at $32 million-of which $18.8 million was result of several change orders and supplemental agreements for the project.

Based on the agency's records, construction work was temporarily hold off in March 2012 following discovery of some problems during the rehabilitation period that warrants a new design. It was in 2009 when the Saipan runway project was initiated and it include among others, milling of existing runway, taxiway, blast pad and shoulder pavements, asphalt concrete overlay and other works.

From the original target completion of October 2011, the ports authority had revised the schedule to February 2012 until it was pushed back to June 2012 deadline and the new target is now May 2013. 


Boeing 787-8, registration VT-ANJ: Incident occurred July 28, 2012 at Charleston AFB / International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina

NTSB Identification: DCA12IA114
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Saturday, July 28, 2012 in Charleston, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/08/2015
Aircraft: BOEING 787, registration: VT-ANJ
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

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

During a taxi test with no intention for flight, as the airplane was approaching 40 knots speed and prior to the engine N1 accelerating beyond 70%, the right engine N1 began to rollback and an EICAS advisory message was displayed indicating an N2 (high pressure rotor speed) exceedance. The flight crew reduced engine power to idle thrust, concluded the taxi test, and shut down the right engine during taxi back to the ramp. Examination of the right engine revealed extensive damage to the low pressure turbine (LPT).

The fan mid shaft (FMS) retaining nut was still connected to the FMS threads but the forward part of the FMS, from the rear of the forward threads, was separated from the remainder of the FMS. Separation of the rotating LPT section from the fan, allowed the LPT section to translate rearward resulting in extensive secondary engine damage.

Examination confirmed separation of the FMS adjacent to the lock nut face located at the aft most full thread root. The fracture exhibited features indicative of multiple failure modes: one progressive, and one instantaneous. About 85 percent of the fracture surface exhibited features consistent with progressive fracture. The remaining fracture surface showed signs consistent with instantaneous failure by overstress. Further examination revealed features consistent with environmentally assisted cracking (EAC) specific to GE 1014 ultrahigh strength steel.

The FMS threads and the retaining nut were coated with a dry film lubricant, and grease or engine oil was used as an assembly aid. Although a lead based dry film lubricant was previously used on GE engine fan mid shafts, during development of the GEnx engine, the design was changed to incorporate a lead free dry film lubricant, and graphite grease instead of the previously used engine oil as an assembly aid.

Testing of specimens taken from the FMS, and comparison to other dry film lubricants used previously on GE 1014 ultrahigh strength steel indicated that the dry film lubricant used on the incident FMS absorbed moisture at a higher rate. Additionally, the combination of dry film lubricant and graphite assembly grease was shown to increase the corrosion rate of GE 1014.

Following the FMS separation that occurred during this taxi test, GE developed an ultrasonic inspection to scan the forward end of the FMS in the area of the threads where the fracture occurred. While conducting the inspections, a GEnx-1B engine installed on another airplane was found to have an indication of a similar crack on the FMS. This airplane had not yet been operated in flight. Follow up testing indicated the crack exhibited features consistent with progressive environmentally assisted cracking.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
The separation of the fan mid shaft resulted from environmentally assisted cracking under static load.

Contributing to the incident was the combination of dry film lubricant applied to the fan mid-shaft and graphite grease used during assembly which made the fan mid-shaft susceptible to corrosion from trapped moisture, and the failure of the engine manufacturer to identify this vulnerability during design/development.


On July 28, 2012, at 1600 eastern daylight time, a Boeing 787-8, registration VT-ANJ, experienced an engine failure during a taxi test at Charleston AFB / International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina. The airplane was being operated by Boeing under the provisions of Chapter 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 for the purpose of conducting a taxi test with no intention for flight. There were no injuries to the 5 people on board and the airplane sustained minor damage.

The crew taxied on to runway 21 to conduct the first of two taxi tests. The first test was to be conducted at low speed with a planned maximum speed of 60 knots.

At approximately 16:00:32 the flight crew commanded takeoff power of 95.4 % N1 (low pressure rotor speed). As the airplane was approaching 40 knots speed and prior to the engine N1 accelerating beyond 70%, the right engine N1 began to rollback and an EICAS advisory message was displayed indicating an N2 (high pressure rotor speed) exceedance.

At 16:00:40 and about 40 knots, the flight crew reduced engine power to idle thrust and advised air traffic control tower they had completed their test stating "that's going to do it for us today". The crew exited the runway via a left turn on taxiway hotel, and during taxi back to the ramp, shut down the right engine.

The crew of Southwest Airlines flight 2414 was subsequently cleared for takeoff on runway 21 and reported a fire developing in the grass on the right side of the runway. Due to the close proximity of the fire to the runway air traffic control suspended all operations on runway 21 and notified Airlift Wing Operations (AMOPS) at about 1605.

After the fire department extinguished the fire, AMOPS conducted a runway inspection and discovered metal foreign object debris (FOD) on the first 4,000 feet of runway 21 prior to the intersection of taxiway foxtrot.

During post taxi inspection on the ramp, Boeing crew identified damage to the airplane and notified air traffic control.


There were no injuries to the 5 crewmembers on board.


There were numerous impact marks and small holes on the underside of the right wing, the right side of the fuselage aft of the wing, and the right side of the horizontal stabilizer. The on-scene examination of the right engine revealed extensive damage to the low pressure turbine (LPT).

The fan mid shaft (FMS) retaining nut was still connected to the FMS threads but the forward part of the FMS, from the rear of the forward threads, was separated from the remainder of the FMS. Separation of the rotating LPT section from the fan, allowed the LPT section to translate rearward resulting in extensive secondary engine damage.


The flight crew consisted of two pilots and three additional crewmembers.

The captain reported approximately 12,500 hours total time, including about 9,700 hours as pilot-in-command and 174 hours in the B787. The captain held a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with type ratings for B737, B747-4, B757, B767, B777, and B787 and a current FAA first-class medical certificate with no limitations.

The first officer reported approximately 6,700 hours total flight time, including about 4,200 hours as pilot-in-command and about 44 hours in the B787. He held a valid FAA ATP certificate with type ratings for DC-9, B737, and B787, and a current FAA first-class medical certificate with a limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.


VT-ANJ, manufacturer serial number 36281, was a Boeing 787-8 equipped with two General Electric GEnx-1B67 engines. The company reported that the airplane had approximately 0 hours total time on the airframe. Recorded data and company records indicated no relevant maintenance issues with the airplane. At the time of the incident the airplane was operating at an estimated weight of 351,441 pounds with 13,455 gallons of fuel on board.

Engine History

The right engine was a GE GEnx-1B, engine serial number (ESN) 956-121. The engine had only been operated on the ground and at the time of the incident, the engine had operated a total of 18:16 hours; 9:21 hours in a test cell, and 8:55 hours after being installed on the airplane.

The engine's fan mid shaft was a tubular shaped shaft made of ultrahigh duplex strengthened steel. The shaft transmits rotational energy of the LPT to the fan and booster. 

Fan Mid-Shaft History

The FMS was about 8 feet long and was manufactured of GE1014 ultrahigh strength steel. The FMS included threads on the interior and exterior surfaces which allowed coupling to adjacent components. The inside of the FMS was coupled to the center vent tube (CVT) while the exterior joined the FMS with the forward fan shaft using a locking nut and washer. The shaft threads were coated with a cured dry film lubricant, and petrolatum graphite grease was applied to the threads to aid in assembly.

The FMS was originally forged by ATI-Allvac in Monroe, North Carolina in September 2006. In June 2007, the FMS was shipped to IHI Corporation in Japan where it underwent a number of manufacturing steps including rough turning, finish turning, splining, application of paint, balancing, application of dry film lubricant to threads, and various inspections including the final inspection in June 2008. The FMS was shipped to General Electric in Kentucky in November 2008. Almost two years later, in October 2010, the FMS was shipped to GE in North Carolina where it was installed in the LPT module. The LPT module was installed on the engine in November 2010.


The CHS surface observation at 1556 EDT reported wind from 220 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 3,000 feet, scattered clouds at 4,200 feet, temperature 33 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 25 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting 29.95 inches of mercury.


Charleston AFB / International (CHS), a civilian/military joint-use airport, was located about 9 miles northwest of the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Operations were conducted using 4 runways for military, commercial and general aviation. Runway 21 was grooved concrete, 7,000 feet long, 150 feet wide with a touchdown zone elevation of 40 feet. The runway included precision markings and intersected runway 15/33 about 800 feet from the approach end of runway 21.


Two Enhanced Airborne Flight Recorders (EAFR) were installed on the airplane. The forward and aft EAFRs were identical except that the forward was equipped with a recorder independent power supply (RIPS) to provide backup power to the recorder for approximately 10 minutes after the primary source of power was lost. The EAFR-2100 was a multifunction recorder which records flight data, audio data, and communication, navigation, surveillance air traffic management (CNSATM) messages.

The forward EAFR, serial number 16PLHY was removed from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division. The recording contained approximately 35.1 hours of data. The incident recording session was the third session from the end of the recording and was approximately 2 hours and 6 minutes.

The voice recorder included 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds of recording on four audio channels divided into three segments. The event was captured on the first segment which began at 15:35:48 prior to engine start and ended at 16:55:56. The audio quality of the channels was characterized as good to excellent.


The front portion of the FMS with the attached FMS retaining nut and CVT were removed from the engine and sent to GE Cincinnati for metallurgical examination. The remainder of the engine was then removed from the airplane and sent to GE Cincinnati for disassembly and examination.


Engine Examination
The exterior examination of the engine showed no indication of uncontainments, case ruptures, or under cowl fires. The fan disk was intact with all fan blades and fan blade platforms in place. 

The LPT case was intact but there were numerous outward dents and a hole in the case. From the LPT stage 2 rearward, there was evidence of extensive damage such as fractured or missing blades, nozzles, or shroud segments. 

There were no impact marks or holes on the inside of the engine cowls and all impact damage on the airframe, wings, fuselage, and horizontal stabilizer was downstream of the engine's tailpipe.

During examination of the bearings, the number 5 bearing inner retaining nut breakaway torque was found to be 320 foot-pounds compared to the GE assembly procedure requirement of 600 – 720 foot-pounds.

Fan Mid-Shaft Examination

Boroscope inspection confirmed separation of the FMS adjacent to the lock nut face located at the aft most full thread root. The FMS fracture exhibited distinct color differences indicative of multiple failure modes: one progressive, and one instantaneous. About 85 percent of the fracture surface exhibited discoloration consistent with longer exposure time to local environment consistent with progressive fracture. The remaining fracture surface showed signs consistent with instantaneous failure by overstress.The FMS was sectioned in order to examine the fracture using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The SEM examination revealed faceted, quasi-cleavage fracture features consistent with environmentally assisted cracking (EAC) specific to ultrahigh strength steel GE1014.

The thread root region adjacent to the cracking had thin dry film lubrication thicknesses that measured less than the prescribed minimums, particularly on the 45° thread flanks with some regions within the thread root appeared bare. The measured dry film lubrication thickness on the 7° thread flanks generally met the required minimum but tapered down to below minimum thickness near the thread root.

Chemical and Mechanical Testing

Several specimens from the FMS were sent to outside laboratories for further testing. Various test methods were used to determine conformance to specifications and GE standards.

Bulk hydrogen analysis revealed the bulk hydrogen content of the specimens was below the maximum allowed per specification. Chemical analysis was performed to determine if there were any contaminants on the fracture surface. The tests indicated elements consistent with those of dry film lubricant, graphite grease, or synthetic engine oil used in the assembly of the engine. No other foreign contaminants were observed.

A series of tests were performed to determine the absorption tendencies of two dry film lubricants: Everlube 9002, used on the incident FMS, and MolyDag 254, a dry film lubricant used in other GE engine assemblies. The percentage of water absorbed by the Everlube 9002 was proportional to the coating thickness, and was 3.5 times greater than the absorbtion measured for the MolyDag 254 specimen.

Mechanical testing indicated the FMS met or exceeded the requirements for ultimate tensile strength.

Test specimens of GE1014 were fabricated to replicate the stress concentration expected at the aft most thread root on the FMS. Dynamic load cycling was applied to simulate the expected fatigue loads. Eighteen tests were carried out at two different laboratories and no fractures were observed after each specimen had undergone 42,000 cycles over 250 days' exposure. 

Environmental Testing

A series of 168 static two-point bend tests of the FMS material were conducted in a humid bed inside a plastic container. A variety of combinations of dry film lubricant, grease, and synthetic oil were tested to determine if any could lead to environmentally assisted cracking of the FMS material. The specimens were tested in different configurations including at low and high static stress, controlled ambient humidity, and high humidity. During testing, two GE1014 specimens fractured; one at 43 days with Everlube 9002 dry film lubricant and graphite grease, and the second at 149 days with Everlube 9002 dry film lubricant and synthetic engine oil. Both specimens failed at the lower static stress level and higher humidity.

Corrosion testing of the FMS material was performed to measure the relative corrosion performance with various configurations of dry film lubricant, graphite grease, and synthetic engine oil. The testing revealed that bare GE1014 high strength steel exhibited a lower corrosion rate than GE1014 high strength steel coated with Everlube 9002 dry film lubricant.


The Boeing Company corporate headquarters was in Chicago, Illinois and they employed about 169,000 people worldwide. Boeing South Carolina fabricated, assembled and installed aft fuselage sections on the 787 Dreamliner and also included the 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility at CHS.


Following the FMS separation that occurred on ESN 956-121 during the taxi test, GE developed an ultrasonic inspection to scan the forward end of the FMS in the area of the threads where the fracture occurred. The inspections were to be performed on all GEnx engine FMS in service and in storage. While conducting the inspections, a GEnx-1B engine, ESN 956-175, installed on a B787-8 airplane was found to have an indication of a similar crack on the FMS. This airplane had not yet been operated in flight. The engine had only been operated during post-production tests at GE and ground runs after installation on the airplane.

Follow up testing and metallurgical examination indicated the crack found on ESN 956-175 was similar to that of ESN 956-121: features consistent with progressive environmentally assisted cracking emanating from the thread root region. 

After discovery of the second cracked FMS, the National Transportation Safety Board issued two urgent recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration:

• Issue an airworthiness directive to require, before further flight, the ultrasonic inspection of the fan mid shaft in all General Electric GEnx-1B and -2B engines that have not yet undergone inspection. (A-12-52)

• Require operators to accomplish repetitive inspections of the fan mid shaft (FMS) in all (on-wing and spare) General Electric GEnx-1B and -2B engines at a sufficiently short interval that would permit multiple inspections and the detection of a crack before it could reach critical length and the FMS fractures. (A-12-53)

In response to these urgent recommendations, the FAA issued Airworthiness Directive AD-2012-19-08. The AD required initial and repetitive ultrasonic inspection GE GEnx-1B and -2B engine fan mid shafts for cracks.

GE has ceased use of the Everlube 9002 and graphite grease for the GEnx engine assemblies and all engines assembled with the original dry film lubricant and graphite grease combination have been inspected multiple times and are required by Airworthiness Directive to be inspected within every 100 hours of operation.

The Wall Street Journal

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an "engine issue" on a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner, the company said, following an incident at Charleston International Airport in South Carolina during a preflight test.

Boeing said in a statement a General Electric Co. GE GEnx-powered Dreamliner was involved in an incident and reports from a local newspaper indicated the main runway at the airport was closed for more than an hour Saturday while crews responded to a grass fire.

The company said it was "working closely" with the NTSB in "resolving the issue appropriately," and gave no additional details about the circumstances surrounding the incident or any damage to the aircraft or its engine.

The NTSB was not immediately available for comment.

Boeing said it was "unaware of any operational issue that would present concerns about the continued safe operation of in-service 787s powered by GE engines. However, should the investigation determine a need to act, Boeing has the processes in place to take action and will do so appropriately."

Japan Airlines Co. is currently the only operator of GE-powered 787s. The airline has four 787s in its fleet, all operating on international routes.

GE wasn't immediately available for comment.

The jet involved is the second North Charleston, S.C.-built Dreamliner, which is intended for delivery to Air India, and was slated to make its first flight Saturday.

The new factory is connected to Charleston International Airport and serves both commercial and U.S. Air Force flights.

Boeing operates Dreamliner assembly lines in South Carolina and Everett, Wash., its primary twin-aisle jet factory. The Charleston factory rolled out its first Dreamliner in April.

Separately, the incident comes less than a week after several All Nippon Airways Co. Rolls-Royce PLC Trent 1000-powered 787s were temporarily grounded in Japan after corrosion was found in gearbox components. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said Wednesday the last of five affected Dreamliners would return to service early this week.