Monday, September 10, 2012

Police log: Man says stolen plane at Tracy Municipal Airport (KTCY), California

A man told police at 11:54 a.m. on Friday, September 7, he was calling from South Africa as the representative of a man whose stolen airplane might be at Tracy Municipal Airport, 5749 S. Tracy Blvd. He said the plane was stolen from Australia, and he had received word that the plane was at the airport. Police reported they were waiting for confirmation from Australian police to verify the theft.

Student work published in Aeronautics journal

DE PERE - An area college student's research is getting national attention. 

 A senior at St. Norbert College says he has discovered a way to improve the performance of an aircraft, ultimately through the engineering of a golf ball.

Senior Erik Miller may be getting a degree in Math and Finance, but his love for aviation isn't far behind.

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Quincy City Council renews contract with consultant for airport: Money will be paid to Hanson Professional Services based off each project completed

The Quincy City Council renewed a five-year contract with Hanson Professional Services Inc., from Springfield, Il, as Consultant Engineer for the Quincy Regional Airport.

Hanson Professional Services will work on major engineering projects that range from airport planning to drainage issues to runway safety areas the City and airport would like to develop.

Interim Airport Director Jeff Steinkamp says, "The committee looked for the consultant engineer that was best qualified, responsible and has had the work experience for our types of projects."

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It's just a drill: Emergency personnel train on new 800 Mhz radio in mock jet crash

It was a mock scene not anyone — paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement or average citizen — would want to see in real life.

The mock scene is a Delta CFJ 200 full of passengers with 4,000 pounds of fuel coming in for an emergency landing at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. Due to smoke, the pilot makes a hard landing. The right main gear tires blow out and the aircraft leaves the runway. The other landing gear also collapses and the aircraft comes to a stop alongside the runway with smoke and fire coming from the craft.

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Jury could decide sticky issues of September 11 airlines lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most of the lawsuits arising from the hijacked plane attacks on the World Trade Center 11 years ago have been settled, but one demanding that United Airlines and American Airlines be held liable for loss of property and business could go to trial.

Two recent rulings by a federal judge in New York denying the airlines' bid to dismiss the lawsuit over a narrow insurance dispute have opened the door to the entire case ending up in the hands of a jury.

At issue is whether the two airlines and other defendants should pay additional damages to Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center property, beyond what he has already received from his own insurer.

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Piper PA-22-108, N4798Z: Accident occurred September 04, 2012 in Lewiston, Idaho

NTSB Identification: WPR12CA401
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 04, 2012 in Lewiston, ID
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-108, registration: N4798Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

After departure from an uncontrolled airport, the pilot was advised by personnel at the airport that they saw the left main wheel and tire fall off the airplane. The pilot decided to continue to the accident airport. After flying around to decrease the amount of fuel on the airplane, he landed using runway 30. The airplane pulled to the right until it departed the right side of the runway and tipped onto its nose. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing spar. The pilot reported that he examined the main wheel bearings 2 days prior to the accident for the correct spindle nut tension. He believes that the left wheel spindle nut cotter pin was inadvertently omitted or not installed correctly during the wheel reinstallation on the airplane. He said that a more thorough inspection of the wheel bearing service work should have been performed, and that a more thorough pre-flight inspection could have caught the problem.

LEWISTON, ID (KLEW/FOX) – A plane that touched down in Idaho Tuesday was missing a pretty important part – a tire. The pilot of the single-engine aircraft said he was forced to complete a rather rough landing after the tire was reportedly lost during takeoff. 

Duane Reetz, 57, of Clintonville, Wisconsin, successfully navigated his plane to the ground at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport.  Reetz was the only person inside the plane at the time of the incident, and he was not injured.

“You keep flying the airplane. The airplane flies just fine without a wheel on it,” Reetz said. “I just did the best I could to land it as slow as I could and keep that landing gear off the ground as long as possible.”  Despite his attempts to balance the plane on the right front wheel and other parts, he wound up doing a nose dive onto the runway.   Reetz said air traffic control informed him that a tire had fallen off moments after takeoff.

  Regis#: 4798Z        Make/Model: PA22      Description: Tri-Pacer, Caribbean, Colt
  Date: 09/04/2012     Time: 2112

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: LEWISTON   State: ID   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SPOKANE, WA  (NM13)                   Entry date: 09/05/2012

Mumbai airport to get satellite-based navigation system

MUMBAI: Aircraft coming into Mumbai will soon be able to use a satellite-based navigation aid for landing. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to introduce a satellite-based landing procedure across the country in a phased manner. Currently, aircraft land with the help of ground-based navigation systems.

The satellite-based navigation system is likely to be introduced at Mumbai aiport in three months. According to airport officials, the new satellite-based landing procedure, Required Navigation Performance (RNP), will give a new lease of life to secondary runway end 32, which is mostly out of use. The 32 end of the runway is located towards Trombay hill, which doesn’t allow the use of instrument landing system (ILS), a ground-based navigation system most aircraft use on the main runway to land.

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Wiggins Air Boss gyroplane, N717EW: Accident occurred September 10, 2012 in Lansing, Illinois

 NTSB Identification: CEN12FA619
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 10, 2012 in Lansing, IL
Aircraft: Wiggins Air Boss, registration: N717EW
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. 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.


On September 10, 2012, about 1100 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Wiggins Air Boss gyroplane, N717EW, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain at Lansing Municipal Airport (KIGQ), Lansing, Illinois. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local test flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

A witness reported that he was watching the pilot test fly his recently completed gyroplane. The test flight consisted of the gyroplane temporarily becoming airborne and then landing on the remaining runway. He stated that the pilot completed three full-stop landings on runway 18 before he taxied back to the hangar. After the flight, the pilot remarked that the gyroplane’s flight controls felt “mushy” during the test flights. The witness, a gyroplane pilot, reported that the main landing gear had remained parallel to the runway after each of the takeoffs and that he believed the gyroplane had been flying on the “backside of the power curve” (also known as the region of reversed command; a low-speed flight condition where a decrease in airspeed must be accompanied by an increased power setting in order to maintain steady flight). The witness also remarked that on at least one takeoff the gyroplane had yawed nose left (tail right) shortly after liftoff, but it had realigned with the runway heading before each landing.

The witness reported that he agreed to continue to watch the pilot perform additional takeoff-and-landings. He stated that on the next takeoff the accident gyroplane again yawed nose left (tail right) and rolled right shortly after liftoff. The gyroplane descended briefly from an altitude of 20 feet before it rolled level and entered a climb. The witness reported the gyroplane climbed to about 100 feet above ground level while continuing on the runway heading. He transmitted to the pilot that because of his altitude he should continue around the traffic pattern instead of attempting to land on the remaining runway. The witness reported that the gyroplane continued to fly on the runway heading before it yawed nose left (tail right), entered a right roll, and descended rapidly into a cornfield south of the runway. Another individual, who was working outside his residence located adjacent to the airport property, reported that he heard the gyroplane’s engine running until he heard a sound similar to a ground impact.

The experimental amateur-built gyroplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on September 5, 2012, by a designated airworthiness representative. Several individuals reported that the pilot had built the gyroplane over a period of several years and that he had recently begun ground and flight testing. Although the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land airplanes, he did not possess a category classification for rotorcraft (including gyroplanes). Federal aviation regulations allow certificated pilots to operate non-type certificated (experimental) aircraft without an applicable category or class rating. The pilot reportedly had not flown in over 20 years before receiving 1.8 hours of familiarization training in a two-seat gyroplane in May 2012. There was no record that the pilot had received any additional flight training in gyroplanes subsequent to the two familiarization flights.

A postaccident investigation confirmed that all airframe structural components were located at the accident site. The main wreckage was located on the extended runway centerline, about 0.2 miles south of the departure threshold. The initial point-of-impact was a ground depression consistent with a main rotor blade impact. The main wreckage was located 59 feet south of this initial point-of-impact. The main wreckage consisted of the tubular fuselage and fiberglass enclosure, landing gear, cockpit, flight controls, engine, and main rotor assembly. The empennage had separated from the fuselage and was located 21 feet to the southeast of the main wreckage. Both main rotor blades remained attached to the mast head and exhibited impact damage. Cyclic control continuity could not be established aft of the main cabin due to impact damage; however, all observed cyclic control tube separations exhibited fracture features consistent with overstress failure. One of the two push-pull tubes that connected to the mast head was not located during the on-scene investigation. Rudder control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit pedals to the empennage control horn assembly. The vertical stabilizer torque tube had separated from the control horn assembly; however, the observed fracture features were consistent with an overstress separation. The pilot seat also functioned as the fuel tank. The plastic fuel tank seat had several ruptures and was void of fuel. There was the smell of automobile gasoline at the accident site. The fuel filter assembly contained fuel. The fuel shut-off valve was found open by first responders, but was subsequently closed by fire department personnel. The airframe battery leads were also disconnected by first responders. The two fuel pumps functioned when electric power was applied during postaccident testing. A multifunction avionic device was retained for possible non-volatile data download.

A postaccident engine examination confirmed internal engine and valve train continuity as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. There were no obstructions between the air filter housing and the carburetor inlet. The carburetor bowl contained fuel. Mechanical continuity was confirmed from the cockpit engine controls to their respective engine components. All three composite propeller blades had separated from the metal hub assembly, consistent with propeller rotation at impact. The postaccident examination revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation.

At 1115, the airport's automatic weather observing station reported the following weather conditions: wind from 190 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 21 degrees Celsius, dew point 08 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.24 inches of mercury.

 Wiggins, Edward Edward Wiggins was the second born of seven sons to the union of Willie and Emma Wiggins, December 5, 1945 in East Chicago, IN. He was a graduate of Edison High School, Class of 1964, veteran of the U.S. Army and employee of Innophos Chemical Company. He was a member of New Kingdom Harvest Ministries, where he served on the Deacon Board, Sunday school teacher and sang in the choir. Edward Wiggins exchanged time for eternity on September 10, 2012 at Community Hospital, Munster, IN. He leaves to cherish his memory and celebrate his life, his loving wife of 37 years, Eileen; daughters, Kinishia (Michael) Clark, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Terrilynn Wiggins, Gary, IN; brother, Jerry (Zelda Marjoyce) Wiggins, Gary, IN, Gregory (Debra) Wiggins, Granger, IN, Carl Wiggins, Gary, IN, Cory (Carol) Wiggins, Indianapolis, IN; sister, Helen Wiggins-Johnson, South Holland, IL; sisters-in-law, Katie Kendrick, Denise Kendrick, Diane Kendrick, Gary, IN; brother-in-law, Lloyd (Arlene) Brown, League City, TX; grandchildren, Edward Cannon, Darreann Wilson, Rejena Woods, Sherrod Williams, Xavier, Mack, Jarrell and Emanuel Giles; great-grandchildren, Edward Jr. and Gavin Cannon; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Visitation Friday, September 14, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Family hour from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at the Guy & Allen Chapel, 2959 W. 11th Ave. Funeral services Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity United Church of Christ, 1276 W. 20th Ave. Gary, IN. Pastor John E. Jackson, Sr. Interment Oak Hill Cemetery.

Authorities have identified the Indiana pilot who died when his gyrocopter crashed after takeoff at a south suburban airport. 

The Lake County coroner's office in Indiana says 66-year-old Edward Wiggins of Gary, Ind., died after suffering blunt force trauma in Monday's crash.

Lansing Fire Lt. Pete Chmura says the homemade aircraft took off from a runway at Lansing Municipal Airport before crashing hard. Another gyrocopter pilot reported the crash.

Chmura says both were members of a gyrocopter club that operates at the Lansing airport.

Tom Milton of the Greater Midwest Rotorcraft Club says Wiggins had been part of the group for a year and had just started flying gyrocopters.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

  Regis#: 717EW        Make/Model: EXP       Description: EXP- AIRBOSS
  Date: 09/10/2012     Time: 1100

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

  City: LANSING   State: MI   Country: US


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

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: GRAND RAPIDS, MI  (GL09)              Entry date: 09/11/2012

September 10, 2012 (LANSING, Ill.) (WLS) -- A pilot has died after crashing his gyrocopter shortly after taking off from Lansing Municipal Airport.

The gyrocopter went down in a corn field just off the runway.

A police vehicle transported the injured pilot from the field into an ambulance. He later died at a hospital in Munster, Indiana.

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Chinook helicopter broken into at Ukiah Municipal Airport (KUKI), California

A Chinook helicopter helping to battle local fires for more than two weeks was broken into Sunday night while parked at the Ukiah Municipal Airport, according to the U.S. Army National Guard.

“This is very frustrating,” said Col. Lou Carmona, explaining that the CH-47 helicopter was parked at what he believed was a “secure helibase” when someone broke into it, causing damage and stealing several thousand dollars worth of equipment.

“I am really disappointed,” Carmona continued, adding that he “wrote so many memos” to keep the helicopter in California “strictly for firefighting.” He said there are 12 such helicopters in California and the rest are being used for operations in Afghanistan.

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Former North Carolina airline pilot sentenced for tax fraud after paying almost nothing to IRS for years

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former airline pilot from North Carolina has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after paying almost nothing in income taxes for more than a decade.

Prosecutors said Charles A. Davis of Mooresville failed to file timely tax returns from 1996 to 2007, despite earning up to $190,510 in annual salary. The former US Airways pilot was sentenced Monday in federal court.

Evidence introduced at trial earlier this year showed Davis also filed years of false returns requesting tax refunds of up to $1.5 million. While not paying his taxes, Davis drove a Ferrari and lived in a waterfront home on Lake Norman.

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Lackland trainer admits to tryst

An Air Force basic training instructor pleaded guilty today to charges that he was involved in a tryst that two women said took place in a supply room two nights after they graduated from boot camp.

But he pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge, sexually assaulting one of the women, and asked for a jury trial.

Staff Sgt. Kwinton Estacio admitted that he had sex with the woman, identified as Airman 1, and not only violated rules that prohibit such relationships but also conspired to impede an investigation.

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Piper travels the world to market planes: From Africa to Zhuhai, Piper Aircraft Inc. is traveling the globe marketing its planes this year

Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, Nov. 13-18, will mark the finish line of a three-month journey of marketing activities and aircraft exhibitions for the general aviation manufacturer. Just before that date, it will hold its 75th Anniversary Celebration/Fly-in in Vero Beach.

About 50 percent of the company’s planes are sold to customers outside the U.S. Piper showed off its products in Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, China, and Canada in August. In the coming months, it also will have products on display in India, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland and various locales in the U.S.

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Mid-Way Regional Airport (KJWY), Midlothian/Waxahachie, Texas: Mid-Way to Brazil

Early Friday morning when the sun was just shedding light on the runway of Mid-Way Regional Airport, a bright yellow single engine airplane took off turning to an easterly direction. The plane, known as an Air Tractor Model 502, was headed for Macapa, Brazil.

Parked in the airport’s hangar next to the flight operations center, the aircraft was rolled out onto the flight line Thursday evening for final preparations for the trip. The pilot, 26-year-old Hugo Vergnano, topped off the fuel tanks and checked over the new aircraft before leaving for dinner and a night’s rest.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a very long day,” Vergnano said, who will take off on the first leg of the trip heading for Miami, Fla.

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Transport Safety Bureau investigates Jetstar landing

A JETSTAR flight into Cairns last week is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau after an unstable approach to the runway.

The bureau was alerted to the incident when the early morning Airbus A321 flight from Melbourne to Cairns on September 3 had to cancel its landing and reposition for another approach.

The airliner, which seats about 215 passengers, was 800ft above the ground when the instability occurred.

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United States probing election comments by Federal Aviation Administration officials: source

(Reuters) - Officials have launched an investigation into remarks by senior Federal Aviation Administration managers who allegedly told subordinates that Republican victories in November's election could lead to budget cuts and furloughs for FAA employees, a source with knowledge of the probe said on Monday.

A watchdog group known as Cause of Action called last week for an investigation of the remarks, saying they could violate the federal Hatch Act, which prevents executive branch civil servants from engaging in partisan political activity.

The source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said a federal investigation is being led by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which monitors potential Hatch Act violations. 

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Captain Harrison Bothwell: Over 40 years flying for Cayman Airways ends

For over 40 years Captain Harrison Bothwell has been flying for Cayman Airways. The Chief Pilot for Cayman Airways Express has now reached the age where his flying career must end. 

On Sunday he completed his last flight. Cayman 27’s Kevin Watler went along for the journey and put together this feature. 

Watch Video:

Cessna 402C, N68752: "The bad news is your vacation is over and you're leaving the island of Martha's Vineyard. The good news is you're leaving on Cape Air!"

 Pilot Sabina
Cape Air 
Cessna 402C,  N68752

 September 4, 2012 by Chuck Taylor 

The bad news is your vacation is over and you're leaving the island of Martha's Vineyard. The good news is you're leaving on Cape Air, a surprisingly large little airline that flies more than 60 Cessna 402s, not just in New England but in New York, the Midwest, Florida and the Caribbean. (Cape Air also flies ATR-42s in Micronesia as United Express.) There is one pilot, and by virtue of your adult size you get to sit in the right seat. You might be a rusty pilot nerd, but please keep your feet off the rudder pedals and leave the yoke alone.

This is my most recent trip on Cape Air, aboard flight 3161 from Martha's Vineyard to Boston on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. Here you will see a visual approach to KBOS runway 4L. The pilot is Sabina C., who that day flew four round trips in N68752 between Martha's Vineyard and Logan International, where Cape Air's ramp is always busy.

MedFlight records show malfunctions: Seven mechanical incidents in choppers in past two years

Medical helicopters tasked with flying the Bay State’s gravest patients to Hub hospitals have faced multiple mechanical incidents in the past two years, including engine failures, reports of smoke and fire in cabins and, just last month, a door falling from a chopper in mid-flight, the Herald has learned.

Boston MedFlight, the Bedford-based nonprofit funded by six of Boston’s top hospitals, transports more than 3,000 people a year to hospitals, including 1,700 by air via four helicopters and a jet, said CEO and medical director Suzanne K. Wedel.

In its 27 years, MedFlight boasts a “stellar safety record and no catastrophic events,” she said.

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Amazing . . . .  CL-215T Scoopers and CL415 Super Scoopers

Spanish Air Force Groupo 43 Torrejón Air Base (Base Aérea de Torrejón de Ardoz) Madrid

Spain has a fleet of 20 CL-215's (14 assigned to Groupo 43) and 3 CL-415's (all 3 Groupo 43)

Registration 43-31, 43-32, 43-33 are CL-415's, all other's are CL-215T's.

Dornier 228-212 Agni Air, 9N-AIG: Pilot error blamed for May 14 plane crash in Nepal

Pilot error has been blamed for the May 14 plane crash in northern Nepal that killed 15 people, including 13 Indian pilgrims.

The Dornier 9N AIG aircraft belonging to the private carrier Agni Air with 21 people on board crashed on the Jomsom-Pokhara route after hitting a hill top while attempting to land at the high-altitude Jomsom airport. Six others, including three Indians and two Danish nationals, miraculously survived the crash.

A probe committee led by Medini Prasad Sharma, former director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, has blamed the "disaster on judgmental error on the part of the pilot-in-command due to stress".

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Garuda Indonesia Named 'Best International Airline' by Australian Firm

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia was rated the Best International Airline from the period of Aug. 2011 through July 2012, according to a survey conducted by Australian market research company Roy Morgan.

Garuda Indonesia Vice President for Corporate Communications Pujobroto said on Monday that the survey involved 4,530 respondents who were asked to give their opinions on the products and services provided by various global airlines.

“In the survey, Garuda Indonesia scored the highest, with 90 percent, along with Singapore Airlines. Our score was higher than those of other airline companies such as Air New Zealand, Emirates and Thai Airways,” he said.

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Air Nigeria stops operations today, new buyer may take over

As Air Nigeria formally stops flight operations today, there are indications that the airline is being proposed for sale to fresh investors for close to $200m.

But financial analysts believe that the proposed sell off may be above the margin, given that airlines often have few or limited assets.

Meanwhile, a new entrant, Med-View Airlines is set to begin operations in the country.

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Stowaway plunges to death from plane in residential street under Heathrow flight path

A man found dead in a street could have been a stowaway who plunged thousands of feet to his death from a passing airplane, police revealed today.

The body of the man, thought to be in his 30s and from North Africa, was found on a car parked in a residential road near London Heathrow Airport by shocked residents at 7:55am yesterday morning.

Locals in Mortlake, south west London, said the man had suffered multiple injuries and parts of his body had flown up to 20ft away ‘like a melon being whacked’ - but nobody else was injured.

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Spaceport's wildlife impact examined

A rocket launch site proposed for a South Texas Gulf Coast beach is drawing grumbles from environmental activists as federal officials prepare an environmental impact statement on the proposal.

The Federal Aviation Administration can grant or refuse SpaceX its license for a Cameron County launch site space center on Boca Chica Beach, between Padre Island and the mouth of the Rio Grande.

“The study is being conducted as we speak right now, so I really can't talk about it in terms of what the FAA will do in the study because we don't want to skew any of the results,” FAA spokesman Hank Price told The Brownsville Herald for an article in Sunday's edition.

Teen's first solo flights a 'rare achievement'

Sam Godfrey has notched up a rare and possibly unique feat in the history of New Zealand aviation.

Not content with celebrating his 16th birthday on Saturday by flying solo in the Tauranga Aero Club's student workhorse, the Cessna 152, he also went solo in the club's four-seaters - the Cessna 172 and Piper Warrior.

Chief flying instructor Aidan Campbell said flying three different types of aircraft on the first day he was allowed to fly solo was a rare, if not unique, achievement.

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Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey: Stolen ATV tracked down on Redneck Avenue

A cop using skills that would make Daniel Boone proud tracked down a Port Authority all-terrain vehicle that allegedly had been ripped off by three teens. 

Port Authority Officer Frank Cicero got the call when the agency’s $15,000 John Deere “Gator’’ mysteriously vanished from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport. 

He soon spotted the marks left by its distinctive tread, put boots to the ground and followed the tracks through a mile of muddy swampland.

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Boeing retiree dreams of flying his 'bathtub' plane

Ed Kusmirek has built something special. Starting in his family room, then continuing in a garage near his house in Renton, he's fashioned what looks like an elaborate go-cart with wings.

It's a precise replica of a vintage airplane, a 1924 super-light "Dormoy Bathtub." Almost six decades ago, Boeing retiree Kusmirek, 84, hatched the dream of recreating this particular piece of aviation history — and flying it.

Now with his airplane built, Kusmirek needs only approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a quick refresher of his flying skills to take it up.

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Border Patrol halts program that provided flights home to Mexico for illegal immigrants

TThe U.S. government has halted flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally in the deadly summer heat of Arizona's deserts, a money-saving move that ends a seven-year experiment that cost taxpayers nearly $100 million.

More than 125,000 passengers were flown deep into Mexico for free since 2004 in an effort that initially met with skepticism from Mexican government officials and migrants, but was gradually embraced as a way to help people back on their feet and save lives.

The Border Patrol hailed it as a way to discourage people from trying their luck again, and it appears to have kept many away -- at least for a short time.

China's jet set grounded by lack of pilots, paperwork

HONG KONG: Bombardier Inc, the world's No. 3 aircraft maker, thinks Chinese executive jet buyers will take delivery of 2,400 new planes in the next 20 years. All China needs now is pilots to fly them, mechanics to fix them, and airports to land them.

With fewer than 200 private jets for a population of 1.3 billion people, China's growth potential is huge. But reams of red tape, snarled-up air space and a shortage of trained pilots suggest it won't live up to the promise any time soon.

The private jet potential has caught the attention of some big-name investors. Warren Buffett's NetJets made the world's largest order of executive jets in June in a deal worth $9.6 billion, months after it announced a China venture with private equity firm Hony Capital.

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Piper Turbo Arrow: Dramatic scene of moving repair on St. Augustine runway in 1985 still draws an audience

In a feat that resembled some of their practiced air show stunts, Scott Gordon and Jim Moser found their biggest audience by creatively solving a potentially tragic problem.

It was in 1985 that Gordon made a spectacular landing with the aid of Moser and two mechanics who helped free part of a stuck landing gear from a speeding car while the plane was flying 10 feet off the ground.

St. Augustine photojournalist Phil Whitley captured the event on film, and because of it, people all over the world saw the images in their newspapers and on their television sets.

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