Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OHIO: Auditor Finds State Owns Too Many Airplanes

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The state of Ohio has too many planes, fragmented accounting for their costs and nonexistent standards governing their use, according to the Auditor of State of Thursday.

The report released Thursday by State Auditor David Yost recommends Ohio develop a single cost center for all expenses related to executive branch travel on state aircraft.
The report also recommends the state either find another purpose for its underused five-person helicopter or sell it.

“It’s time to have some clear accounting and have clear policies and procedures and set-out, put everybody on notice that this is what the planes are for and how they’re used,” Yost said.

Gov. John Kasich’s office sent Watchdog 10 a statement on Thursday regarding the audit.

"We welcome this kind of constructive feedback,” Kasich’s office said. “We're glad to have a partner in state government who is as committed to efficiency and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars as we are, and we'll give his recommendations close consideration.".
The audit says Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor took three flights last year that included routes meant to divert to the Canton Airport near her home for her “convenience,” and Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder used a state plan to go from a private event to the Statehouse in Columbus.
The report says both reimbursed the state.

Batchelder’s spokesperson did not say under what circumstances he reimbursed the state.
Taylor also reimbursed the state for the three trips in question. Her office told Watchdog 10 that there was nothing improper about the travel.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said it planned to use the recommendations going forward.

Story and video:

Cessna 208B: State Auditor Identifies $3 Million In Ohio Department Of Transportation Savings

 COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost said Wednesday that getting a state mapping plane off the ground could lead to $3 million in potential savings for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Watchdog 10 reported on the Cessna Caravan that was supposed to be used to take the high-tech pictures and speed along road projects.

It cost taxpayers $1.7 million and then another $1.3 million for the camera.

It had taken no pictures in a more than two year period.

The project hit a snag when the Federal Aviation Administration took issue with the camera's installation. ODOT had to then pay outside contractors more than $200,000 for the work.

In his latest report, Yost said that $335,000 could be saved annually by using the aerial mapping equipment instead of hiring from the outside.

Yost said better management of the total fleet could lead to taxpayer savings of more than $19.4 million in 10 years.

The recommendations followed a report that Yost released earlier this month which stated that the state owned too many planes.

The auditor is required to conduct performance audits of at least four state agencies each biennium. ODOT is one of the four agencies currently under review.
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Plane in emergency landing on dam wall - Plover Cove Reservoir, Hong Kong

The Civil Aviation Department has ordered the Hong Kong Aviation Club to submit a report on an emergency landing by a light aircraft on the wall of Plover Cove Reservoir's main dam yesterday.

With two people aboard, the Cessna C152 aircraft landed on the 2km wall at 9.39am. The plane was reportedly undamaged and no one was injured.

Police said the emergency arose so quickly that they were only notified after the landing, so were unable to evacuate the few people visiting the dam at the time.

The reservoir is a popular site for cycling and picnics.

The plane was said to have approached the dam from the southeast and it was not known how far it travelled along the wall before coming to a stop.

Legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said it was a blessing that no one on the dam was hurt.

The 10-year-old single-engine aircraft had flown fewer than 2,000 hours and had just passed its annual inspection.

An engine problem is believed to have been the cause of the forced landing.

As a precautionary measure, the Hong Kong Aviation Club suspended flights by another aircraft of the same model pending further investigation into the cause of the incident.

The plane took off from the club's base in Shek Kong and flew to Tolo Harbour for a flying lesson, said club vice-president Cren Kwok.

On board were the club's chief flying coach, S.K. Gupta, who was in control of the aircraft at the time, and a student.

The pilot said the engine seemed to become unstable at a height of about 2,000 feet (610 metres).

The pilot carried out the necessary checks and decided not to risk flying back to Shek Kong. He then made a precautionary landing at the dam,' Mr Kwok said.

He added that Mr Gupta had flown more than 13,000 hours and had previously served as a fighter pilot.

Mr Kwok said all pilots had been trained to handle engine problems and were given guidelines to minimise the chances of endangering people on the ground during emergency landings.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said that after receiving the request for an emergency landing, it immediately cleared nearby air traffic from the area and notified fire services to be on standby.

'The pilot is responsible for picking an appropriate place for an emergency landing as he knows best the condition of the plane,' the spokesman said.

He added that the department had no information on whether the dam had been cleared for landing, but believed the pilot would not choose a place that might jeopardise the safety of others.

Civil Aviation Department director-general Norman Lo Shung-man said the department would investigate the plane's mechanical problems and interview the pilot.

After the incident, police cordoned off the scene for investigation.

An engineering team from the club arrived and towed the aircraft to the dam's helipad, where it was partially disassembled and taken to Shek Kong.

In 1996 another plane made an emergency landing at Plover Cove Reservoir's main dam, while a year earlier a plane landed at Tseung Kwan O landfill.


Chicago, Illinois: Emergency call about plane in lake turns up nothing

Emergency crews responded to the lakefront downtown this afternoon after someone called 911 about a plane in the lake, but crews found nothing and local airports reported no missing planes, officials said.

The Fire Department was called to 300 north along the lakefront about 3:30 p.m. but fire officials called off the search less than 10 minutes later after finding nothing, according to department spokeswoman Meg Ahlheim.

More than 60 Fire Department personnel, including a special water operations chief and a dive coordinator, responded to the area near Randolph Street and the lakefront, Ahlheim said.

There was "nothing to substantiate" the report, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala.

Neither Midway nor O'Hare airport reported any missing planes, according to the Fire Department.

The U.S. Coast Guard was not called to assist, a Coast Guard officer at Lake Calumet said.


Fighter pilots shut down CF-18 engines more than 200 times since 1988

By Lee Berthiaume

OTTAWA — Government records show Canadian CF-18 pilots shut down one of their aircraft’s two engines in midflight more than 200 times since 1988 because of safety concerns.

The revelation highlights a key aspect of the debate over whether the single-engine F-35 stealth jet is not only the right aircraft for Canada, but also the safest — or whether the air force would be better off with another dual-engine jet.

Critics of the Harper government’s plan to purchase the F-35 stealth fighter have long maintained that a dual-engine fighter is better suited and safer for Canada’s air force pilots — particularly so they will have a backup while patrolling the country’s vast north.

That was one of the main reasons given by the federal government and military for choosing the twin-engine CF-18s as Canada’s main fighter jet in the 1980s.

In a report filed in Parliament this week, National Defence says it does not officially known how many times CF-18 engines have failed since 1988.

“With two engines, pilots are trained so that when an engine malfunction occurs or is suspected,” the report reads, “they complete an early precautionary shut-down of the affected engine and return to base using a single engine.”

Between 1988 and March 31, 2012, there were 228 precautionary engine shutdowns, the report reads, though it emphasizes that “a precautionary engine shut-down is not an engine failure.”

“Since this is a precautionary measure, there is no way to know if the engine would actually have failed or not, had it continued to be used.”

That caveat did little to calm opposition critics and experts, who were alarmed by the average of about 10 engine shutdowns per year for more than two decades — and what it could mean for the F-35.

“They’re not shutting down the engine because they think it’s a great idea,” said NDP defence critic Jack Harris, who requested the information from National Defence. “They’re shutting it down because they have to.

“This means 228 times they had an opportunity of getting a plane back to base when it could have resulted in an engine failure of significant proportions.”

Liberal defence critic John McKay said the figures are concerning not only from the perspective of pilot safety, but also the potential cost of losing a multi-million-dollar F-35 due to engine failure.

“Say there’s one failure a year, not only is the life of a pilot at risk, but you lose one of your fleet,” he said.

“I think they’d better start teaching our F-35 pilots some gliding and some ejection skills.”

The Harper government, Defence Department officials and F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin have previously downplayed the significance of moving from a twin-engine fighter to one.

They say there is no statistical evidence to indicate single-engine fighters are any less safe than those with two engines.

They also say today’s jet engines are much more reliable than previous generations, while maintenance costs are cut in half.

Alan Williams, who was responsible for military procurement until 2005, said National Defence had little doubt the Defence Department has studied whether one engine is as good as two.
The problem is that it continues refusing to come clean with what it knows.

“Whether we should buy the F-35 because it has only one engine is a legitimate question to ask,” he said. “And this is one more issue that we should have the information for.”

Avolon issues analysis of economic life of commercial jet aircraft


Analysis validates continued use of 25 year aircraft depreciation policies practiced by global aviation industry Conference call & webcast to discuss findings scheduled for 2 October

DUBLIN, Sep 19, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, today publishes a comprehensive review and analysis of commercial aircraft economic lives and retirement patterns. The purpose of this analysis is to test whether the current assumptions made by airlines, aviation investors and aircraft financiers, on the economic life of commercial jets – that aircraft should be depreciated over a useful life of approximately 25 years – remains valid.

The analysis, the first in a series that will deal with a range of aviation industry issues, considers how trends in aircraft retirement have changed over time and identifies key differences between the behaviour of specific aircraft types. The paper also considers the likely impact on retirement trends and aircraft economic values of the retirement of newer fleets, including current Airbus A320 and Boeing 737NG aircraft. Avolon will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the analysis and its findings at 3pm BST (4pm CET/10am ET) on 2 October, 2012.

Aircraft Retirement

The average retirement age for all commercial jet aircraft retired, since commercial jet aircraft began flying in the 1950s, is close to 26 years. Avolon expects 8,000 aircraft to be retired over the next ten years, more than all of the retirements that have taken place since the 1950s. Despite the increasing number of aircraft retirements, Avolon’s analysis confirms that in-service life and average retirement ages continue to support the global aviation industry’s widely used 25 year depreciation assumption. Avolon’s study supports the thesis that the in-service lives of core single and twin-aisle fleets are not experiencing material diminution and that the industry’s economic life assumptions and depreciation policies will remain valid over the next decade and beyond.

Dick Forsberg, author of the paper and Avolon’s Head of Strategy commented:

“The economic life of commercial jet aircraft is an issue of great debate in the aviation industry today. In times of economic uncertainty or around the introduction of new technology, questions are raised around aircraft economic life assumptions made by investors and financiers and whether a permanent shift is taking place in the long-term values ascribed to commercial jets. We are experiencing both of those factors today and we have completed a detailed review of the retirement outlook for the global aviation industry to assess whether a change in valuation and depreciation time horizons is required.”

“Whilst a small number of individual aircraft may suffer value impairment through early retirement, there is strong evidence that the broader patterns of fleet operation and ownership will continue to support current industry value retention assumptions and that that in-service life and average retirement ages continue to support the global aviation industry’s widely used 25 year depreciation assumption.”

A copy of the report is available on the Avolon website at: For details of the conference call and webcast, please contact FTI Consulting on the details set out below.

About Avolon

Headquartered in Ireland, with offices in Stamford CT, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Dubai, Avolon provides aircraft leasing and lease management services. Avolon’s investors include three of the world’s leading private equity firms Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners and one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth funds, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

For more information, see

SOURCE: Avolon

Lessor defends aircraft industry in accounting spat

PARIS, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The aircraft leasing industry has hit back at criticism from its lenders over the way it values hundreds of billions of dollars of passenger jets in an obscure dispute that could hit the pockets of air travellers and the world's leading planemakers.

Irish leasing firm Avolon defended the industry's accounting practices in a detailed study issued on Wednesday as a major industry gathering got under way in Rome, hoping to put to rest a debate that has been troubling the industry for some months.

For years the aircraft leasing industry, which rents jetliners to airlines and owns about two airliners in five in the global fleet, operated on a rule of thumb that passenger jets fly on average for 25 years. It wrote down the value of its assets and built up its business models accordingly.

But the practice came under fire after a few jets became unprofitable and were broken up for their parts with just a few years on the clock, due in part to soaring fuel costs.

Critics including some of the industry's top bankers say the industry should make its accounting system more conservative by shortening the depreciation period and thus driving up annual charges, a move that could directly threaten lessors' profits.

But Dublin-based Avolon, after analysing data on every passenger jet ever placed in service, said that there was no reason to alter the widely used accounting practice.

"We are not seeing seismic shifts in the way the industry is behaving or the way fleets are being retired compared to 10 or 20 years ago," said Dick Forsberg, author of the report which is likely to be discussed at the ISTAT finance conference in Rome.

On average jets have been retired after about 26 years and 60 percent of all jets ever built have still been flying at 25 years, he said. Of all the passenger jets ever built in a half-century of mass air travel, two out of three are still flying.

Analysts say a change in accounting methods could have far-reaching consequences on the economics of airlines and suppliers, starting with higher aircraft lease rates for airlines that would most likely be passed on to passengers.

The leasing industry occupies a powerful position in a food chain stretching from assembly plants to airlines and the giant-clawed machines that eventually tear up old jets for scrap.

Many airlines find it more efficient to lease aircraft than own them, spawning a specialist rental industry that now controls about 40 percent of the global fleet.

Experts say when lease rates for new planes go up, airlines tend to hold older aircraft for longer, depressing demand for newer aircraft built by Airbus and Boeing.

"The increase in costs that would have to be passed on to the airline would be significant enough that it could affect ownership patterns," Forsberg said in an interview.

But some lenders to the leasing business remain convinced of a problem. Bertrand Grabowski, managing director of aviation finance at DVB Bank, said book values had fallen out of step with real markets, potentially distorting industry finances.

"If depreciation rates do not reflect the reality of values, clearly some P+L are overstated and in the long run this is not good for the industry," he said of the risk that profit and loss accounts reflected lower depreciation costs than they should.

Under current practice, accountants write down the purchase cost of aircraft over 25 years, down to a residual value of 15 percent. This equals an annual depreciation rate of 3.4 percent.

Grabowski said a depreciation policy of 20 years down to zero would better reflect real aircraft values, a suggestion which implies annual depreciation closer to 5 percent.

The debate simmers just as the aircraft industry is recovering from fears over the availability of finance after European banks pulled back due to the region's debt crisis.

Large sums ride on the discussions, but it is still relatively unexplored territory - a reminder that the jet age began in earnest barely 50 years ago with the Boeing 707.

As with the baby-boom generation whose love affair with the jet shaped the industry, aircraft retirements are likely to soar in the next decade when Avolon estimates 8,000 will stop flying - about as many as went off to scrap since the jet age began.

When jetliners stop making money they can be sold, stored in deserts, where dry air prevents corrosion, or get converted to freighters. Eventually they retire and get broken up for parts.

Some say one of the reasons some airlines have been willing to scrap small and less sought-after jetliners after just a few years in use is to cash in on prices for second-hand engines.

These have been rising sharply as manufacturers like General Electric divert most of their resources to supporting record production for new Airbus and Boeing jets, Forsberg said, rather than keeping a supply of engines available as spares.


Suzanzi does the Matterhorn - Cessna flight


Published on September 8, 2012 by Suzan Zibar

Hello and thank you for watching :)   This video was shot in August 2011 when I was on holidays in Switzerland.  We took off from Bern Airport mid afternoon with a completely clear sky for kilometres. Lucky, because the day clouded over not long after we got back.   It was my first flight in a little plane and I was worried about it.   But got over that really fast. :-)    I was contemplating not going, but ... really?  Pass up something as amazing as that because I was scared of something I'd never experienced?   The Matterhorn is an amazing mountain, one that I have seen in photos and such, but never in real life. What an opportunity that befell me, huh?  Have fun as you can see, I did."

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N172HA: Accident occurred September 19, 2012 in Quitman, Mississippi

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA568 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 19, 2012 in Quitman, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N172HA
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After flying for about 3 hours on a routine pipeline patrol flight at 1,500 feet above ground level, the engine “sputtered,” then ceased producing power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful and prepared for an emergency landing in a farm field below. The pilot was unable to recall the events that subsequently transpired, but a postaccident examination of the airplane showed that the left main landing gear collapsed during the landing, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and engine firewall. Additionally, the fuel system remained intact and both fuel tanks were absent of fuel. About 1/2 pint of fuel was recovered from the fuel strainer, carburetor supply fuel line, and the carburetor float bowl. Following the accident, the pilot stated that he did not check the fuel level prior to departing on the accident flight and that the accident could have been prevented by performing a proper preflight inspection of the airplane using the published procedure in the pilot’s operating handbook.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper preflight inspection, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

The pilot was performing a routine pipeline patrol flight at 1,500 feet agl, and after flying for about 3 hours, the engine “sputtered,” then ceased producing power. The pilot then attempted to restart the engine, but was unsuccessful, and prepared for an emergency landing in a farm field below. The pilot was unable to recall the events that subsequently transpired, but a post-accident examination of the airplane showed that the left main landing gear collapsed during the landing, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and engine firewall. Additionally, the fuel system remained intact and both fuel tanks were absent of fuel. About 1/2-pint of fuel was recovered from the fuel strainer, carburetor supply fuel line, and the carburetor float bowl. Following the accident, the pilot stated that he did not check the fuel level prior to departing on the accident flight, and that the accident could have been prevented by performing a proper preflight inspection of the airplane using the publish procedure in the pilot’s operating handbook and not “repetitive memory.”

  Regis#: 172HA        Make/Model: C172      Description: Skyhawk
  Date: 09/19/2012     Time: 1630

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

  City: QUITMAN   State: MS   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: JACKSON, MS  (SW31)                   Entry date: 09/20/2012 

Pictured: A Flomaton man was seriously injured in this crash Wednesday in Mississippi. 
Photo by Cindy Baxley, North Escambia

 Photo by Cindy Baxley, North Escambia

 Photo by Cindy Baxley, North Escambia

Freddie Wayne “Bo” McCall III of Flomaton was the only person aboard the single engine Cessna 172M when it crash landed in a hayfield near Quitman, Miss., just before noon. McCall was transported by ambulance to Wayne General Hospital in Waynesboro, Miss., and later airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., hospital where was listed in stable condition Wednesday night.

McCall suffered facial fractures and major bruising in the crash, his father, Freddie Wayne McCall, Jr., said Wednesday night from the hospital in Waynesboro. He will need reconstructive surgery on his eye socket but suffered no damage to his eye, family members said.

McCall was inspecting pipeline routes from the air at the time of a crash. A local farmer told reporters that he witnessed the crash on his property. He took McCall, who was conscious and alert, to his home about three miles away and called 911.

“He did everything right. It could have been much, much worse,” McCall, Jr. said. “He was not counting on the field being wet; it only took about 20 feet for the plane to stop.”

“It was just divine intervention that the farmer was cutting hay and was able to get him some help,” McCall, Jr. added.

“I want to pass a huge, huge thank you to the man who God had working in the field Bo crashed in. God and that man saved my husband’s life. I hope to meet the man in the field and give him a hug one day,” Bo McCall’s wife Ashley told a Mississippi newspaper late Wednesday night.

The Federal Aviation Administration was expected on the scene by Thursday morning, with a full investigation into the cause of the crash to be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board. The results of that investigation are not expected for several weeks.

Bo McCall is the grandson of Century Mayor Freddie Wayne McCall. The family operates Brewton Aviation out of the Brewton Airport.

 A plane crashed in rural Clarke County late Wednesday morning, causing serious injuries to the pilot. 

The crash happened around 11 a.m. near County Road 624, about two miles north of the Wayne County line.

Investigators say the plane was flying over northern Wayne County and southern Clarke County when it encountered some kind of trouble.

A farmer working in a field saw the plane flying low and then saw it crash on his property. He rushed to the plane, and helped get the pilot, Freddie Wayne McCall, III, of Brewton, Ala., out. He took the injured man to his house and called 911.

"He kept saying he wanted to call his daddy," said the farmer, L.B. Odom. "And he had lost his glasses, too, so he wanted to find his glasses. So we finally did."

McCall was first taken to Wayne General Hospital in Waynesboro and then by helicopter to University Medical Center in Jackson.

Local authorities were on the scene, just minutes after the accident took place. They say they believe the man was flying his plane over local pipelines, inspecting them, when the crash happened.

"All indications are the man was flying pipeline patrol," said Sheriff Todd Kemp. "There are several in this area. We're not sure which one he was flying over."

The Federal Aviation Administration was expected on the scene Wednesday night. The investigation into the cause of the crash will be headed up by the National Transportation Safety Board.

WAYNE COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -  The pilot of a single-engine plane was forced to landed in a field in Clarke County before noon on Wednesday.

The pilot of the plane, a 30-year-old man, was airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson after being treated at a hospital in Waynesboro.

The plane was flying from Brought on, Ala., en route to Waynesboro when the pilot reported engine problems. He looked for a safe place to land and brought down the craft in a hay field near the Wayne and Clarke County lines at 11:30 a.m. After the hard landing, a farmer plowing nearby ran to the craft and found the pilot suffering from a head injury. The farmer called for medical assistance.

The FAA has been called in to recover the aircraft. The Clarke County Sheriff’s department and Emergency Management both are the scene waiting for FAA officials.

Hiller UH-12B, N94735: Accident occurred September 19, 2012 in Rio Vista, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA650
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 19, 2012 in Rio Vista, TX
Aircraft: HILLER UH-12B, registration: N94735
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 19, 2012, about 1045 central standard time, a Hiller UH-12B helicopter, N94735, experienced a loss of engine power while maneuvering at low altitude near Rio Vista, Texas. The student pilot, sole occupant, was not injured during forced landing and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan.

The pilot was on survey flight, looking at cattle and fences from the helicopter. The pilot reported that the helicopter engine suddenly stopped, so he elected to autorotate to the field. The helicopter made a hard landing and the skids were caught by the high vegetation. An initial examination of the helicopter revealed that the tailrotor had separated from the helicopter and the main rotor had contacted the tailboom.

The helicopter was retained for further examination.

  Regis#: 94735        Make/Model: UH12      Description: UH-12E, E4, L3, L4, SL3, SL4 (OH-23 Rave
  Date: 09/19/2012     Time: 1550

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: WALNUT SPRINGS   State: TX   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: Aerial Observation      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: FORT WORTH, TX  (SW19)                Entry date: 09/20/2012

Read more here

KOPPERL (September 19, 2012)—A small private helicopter crashed early Wednesday morning in a field off County Road 1185 outside of Kopperl, but there were no reports of injuries.

The two-seat Hiller UH-12B was being used to survey cattle and fences in the rural area when its engine failed and it made what one source described as a hard landing.

The tail rotor snapped off and the main rotor was damaged.

Officials in neighboring Johnson County received a 911 call shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday about the crash.

Deputies responded and spotted the helicopter aircraft across the Brazos River in Bosque County.

Video shot by WFAA-TV in Dallas show the two-seat helicopter in a field surrounded by law enforcement personnel.

The Federal Aviation Administration had no immediate details on the accident.

BOSQUE COUNTY -- A helicopter crashed Wednesday morning while surveying cattle and fencing in Bosque County near Hamm Creek Park off of FM Road 916.

The aircraft experienced engine failure and crashed in a field.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, at 10:08 a.m. fishermen called 911 and said they saw the chopper go down. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office personnel responded and saw the aircraft across the river in Bosque County.

There were no reports of injuries.

 Read more here

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage , Papa Romeo Sierra LLC, N188SR: Accident occurred September 18, 2012 in Kiowa, Colorado

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

National Transportation Safety Board  - Docket And Docket Items:

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:
NTSB Identification: CEN12FA653  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 18, 2012 in Kiowa, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-46-350P, registration: N188SR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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.

The pilot reported that as the airplane climbed to about 10,000 feet mean sea level after takeoff, the engine began a “moderate violent shaking.” The oil pressure then decreased rapidly, oil sprayed on the windshield, and the engine seized. The pilot made a forced landing in a hay field, during which the airplane’s nose gear collapsed and the left wing rear spar was bent. Examination of the engine revealed corrosion and pitting on the cylinder walls, camshaft, and lifters, which likely contributed to accelerated wear of engine components and the subsequent failure of the front crankshaft seal. The airplane had annual inspections in May 2011 and August 2012, but no records of maintenance could be located for about a 4 year period before the May 2011 inspection. The airplane had accumulated only about 38 hours in the previous 5 years, including less than 2 hours in the 1 year preceding the accident. The observed engine wear and damage was consistent with engine operations after an extended period of inactivity; however, the wear and damage could have been detected during at least the August 2012 inspection. The circumstances of the engine failure were consistent with a mechanical failure due to unrecognized or unrepaired corrosion in the engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A catastrophic engine failure due to unrecognized and unrepaired corrosion within the engine, which was consistent with engine operations after an extended period of inactivity.


On September 18, 2012, about 1532 mountain daylight time, the pilot of a Piper PA-46-350P, N188SR, made a forced landing in a field near Kiowa, Colorado, after the engine lost power. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a ferry flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado, approximately 1515, and was destined for Pascagoula (KPQL), Mississippi.

According to a statement submitted by the pilot, he was conducting a ferry flight for a friend who had just purchased the airplane. Although the airplane had a current annual inspection, dated August 6, 2012, the bi-annual pitot static system test, transponder test, and the GPS databases had all expired, so the flight would be conducted under visual flight rules only. The pilot said all maintenance records, from 2006 to 2012, were missing. He became suspicious when the annual inspection noted that all AD’s (airworthiness directives) had been complied with and were current.

The pilot said that as he conducted his preflight inspection, he noted the oil on the dipstick was at an acceptable level but appeared dirty. The engine would not start due to a low battery. A ground power unit was attached and the engine started. The pilot performed a pre-taxi check, followed by a pre-takeoff check. Both magnetos and alternators were checked. The propeller was cycled five times to verify a rise in manifold pressure, a decrease in oil pressure, and a drop in RPM. All engine instruments checked satisfactory.

The pilot said he had planned to depart KAPA to conduct a systems status check of the airplane. If all systems operated satisfactory he would proceed on a direct route to KPQL at a planned altitude of 17,500 feet. The pilot said that after takeoff and upon reaching 700 feet AGL, turbine inlet temperature never exceeded 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit, manifold pressure remained at 35 inches, and the fuel flow was greater than 32 gallons per hour. The pilot said that as he reached approached 10,000 feet, the engine began a “moderate violent shaking.” He confirmed the mixture was full rich, the propeller was set to climb rpm, and power was set for climb. He then noticed the oil pressure falling rapidly and was in the yellow arc. He then saw oil on the windshield. He declared an emergency and turned back towards KAPA, approximately 26 miles away. The engine then seized. With oil covering the windshield, the pilot side-slipped the airplane and made a forced landing in a hay field. During the landing roll, the nose gear struck a rut and collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop. The left wing rear spar was later found to be damaged.


The pilot, age 35, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single/multiengine, and instrument ratings, dated June 19, 2008. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single/multiengine, and instrument ratings, dated June 24, 2011. His second class airman medical certificate, dated March 4, 2011, contained no restrictions or limitations. According to the pilot, he had logged a total of 1,470 flight hours, of which 86 hours had been logged in a Piper PA-46. His last flight review was on December 9, 2011.


N188SR (serial number 4622052), a model PA-46-350P, was manufactured by the Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1989. It was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A engine (serial number L-9008-61A), rated at 350 horsepower, driving a composite, 4-blade, MT propeller. Examination of the maintenance records made available revealed the most recent airframe annual inspection was performed on August 8, 2012, at a tachometer time of 1,931.6 hours. The previous annual inspection was made on May 22, 2011, at a Hobbs meter time of 1,929.89 hours. The previous annual inspection was dated December 14, 2006, at a Hobbs meter time of 1,893.4 hours.

A representative of Forced Aeromotive Technologies stated the airplane had been parked on the ramp at KAPA “for some time.” He said that in 2011, the airplane owner had contracted with an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspector authorization to perform annual and 100-hour inspections on the airframe and engine. Maintenance records indicated these inspections were performed on May 22, 2011, at a Hobbs meter time of 1,929.89 hours. At that time, the engine had accrued 760.89 hours, and the propeller had accrued 442.49 since major overhaul. He further stated that in 2012, the airplane owner contracted with the same mechanic to perform the same inspections but the mechanic never completed the work. The owner brought the airplane to Forced Aeromotive Technologies, who contracted with a local A&P-IA to perform the work. Maintenance records indicate the work was accomplished on August 8, 2012, at a tachometer time of 1,931.6 hours. Engine and propeller times were not given.

The last documented engine overhaul was done by Teledyne Mattituck Engines, Mattituck, New York, and installed on the airplane on July 8, 1997. Engine time-in-service was noted as 1,168.7 hours. Approved Turbo Components, Visalia, California, overhauled the wastegate controller and repaired the fuel pump on November 18, 1998, at a Hobbs meter time of 1,399.0 hours and 107.2 hours. The wastegate controller was exchanged for an overhauled controller, and the turbocharger was overhauled by Approved Turbo Components and installed on the airplane on November 9, 2005., at a Hobbs meter time of 1,916.6 hours.

No maintenance records were located from December 14, 2006, to May 22, 2011, although the purchaser provided logbook records to indicate the seller had been flying the airplane during that time.


Weather observations recorded at APA before and after the accident are as follows:

1453 MDT: Wind, 010 degrees at 8 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, few clouds at 8,000 feet; temperature 25 degrees C. (Celsius); dew point, 2 degrees C.; altimeter, 30.18 inches of mercury.

1553 MDT: Wind, 030 degrees at 7 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, few clouds at 9,000 feet; temperature, 24 degrees C.; dew point, 2 degrees C.; altimeter, 30.20 inches of mercury.


According to the pilot and confirmed by FAA inspectors, the airplane touched down in an open field and struck two pivotal sprinkler tire trenches, measuring 18 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep. The ground roll measured 800 feet. Oil covered the windshield, engine cowling, and the bottom fuselage skin.


The engine was disassembled and examined at Beegles Aircraft Service, Greeley, Colorado. The examination revealed that the front crankshaft seal, immediately behind the propeller flange, had blown out, allowing oil to escape. The engine was then completely disassembled and examined. When the oil pan was removed, metallic filings, similar to bearing journal material, were noted in the sludge. Removal of the rear accessory case revealed the oil pump was seized due to oil starvation. The no. 6 cylinder head was removed, and the piston connecting rod cap was broken in several pieces. Upon removal of the no. 5 cylinder head, all of the piston rings were found broken. There was a hole in the piston head and the piston head was eroded, consistent with detonation. After the other cylinder heads were removed, rust was noted in the cylinder domes and along the piston edges. The no. 3 connecting rod cap was missing. The engine case was split apart. Metal filings were noted throughout the case. The no. 6 crankshaft journal showed evidence of high heat distress and scoring. There was also scoring of the crankshaft front bearing. Examination of the camshaft revealed worn lobes, the no. 1 exhaust valve lobe measuring .25-inch worn.

Because the fuel pump had been leaking and was replaced during the last annual inspection, it was bench checked at the facilities of Firewall Forward, Loveland, Colorado. It tested to manufacturer’s specifications at both idle and full power.


The mechanic who had performed the last annual and 100-hour inspections stated the engine teardown photographs indicated to him that the engine was running lean and blowing gases out the No. 5 piston. Exhaust gases and air were being pushed into the crankcase, causing the oil to burn and to heat up the No. 5 connecting rod. Increased internal pressure blew out the crankcase seal, causing oil to evacuate and the engine to quit.

He said the airplane was kept in a heated hanger and was not exposed to moisture. The airplane had two test flights and two ground runs after he changed the oil. The test pilot told him both flights were good and no leaks were noted. The mechanic said he was unaware of any oil pressure problems, as alleged by the purchaser, and since all cylinders had good compression, he saw no reason to borescope the cylinders. He said he did not clean the injectors because he thought the previous mechanic may have cleaned them. The leaking fuel pump was replaced, and fuel flow was good after it was installed. He did adjust the elevator trim tab.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA653 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 18, 2012 in Kiowa, CO
Aircraft: Piper PA-46-350P, registration: N188SR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 18, 2012, about 1545 mountain daylight time, the pilot of a Piper PA-46-350P, N188SR, made a forced landing in a field near Kiowa, Colorado, after the engine lost power. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a ferry flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado, approximately 1530, and was destined for Pascagoula (KPQL), Mississippi.

The pilot said he took off and was climbing to 17,500 feet. As he passed 12,000 feet, the engine began vibrating. The pilot noticed the oil pressure was dropping rapidly, and oil covered the windshield. Shortly thereafter, the engine seized. He declared and emergency and made a forced landing in an open field. During the landing roll, the nose gear struck a rut and collapsed. The left wing rear spar was also damaged.

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. — The pilot of a small plane made an emergency landing in a field in Elbert County - northeast of Kiowa.

Aviation officials say the plane lost oil pressure so the pilot was forced to put it down in the field.

No one was hurt in the bumpy landing.

Cessna 550 Citation II, N2531K: United States Customs and Border Protection - Oakland County International Airport (KPTK), Pontiac, Michigan

Published on September 7, 2012 by tigersfanatic98 

 "A cool look inside the US Customs and Immigration Enforcement Cessna Citation.  Built in 1989."

Ninoy Aquino International Airport: Anti-bird strike measures no longer working

Airport  authorities insisted that they have been implementing measures to prevent bird strikes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport since 1993, but these schemes no longer work because the bird sanctuary at Manila Bay is too far from the airport.

“We have recorded minimal bird strikes on the ground due to presence of gadgets and equipment which are good in dispersing birds within 300 meters and below an altitude of 500 feet,” said Joseph Agustin, head of the Airport Ground Operations Safety  Division, at the Balitaan sa Aloha Hotel forum on Wednesday.

Agustin said the airport has an avian alarm that scares away shore birds, like terns and wild ducks, within a 200-meter bird circle. It has three frequency selectors of different distress calls that scare birds and irritate their ears.

They also used starting pistols and propane cannons which drive away domestic pigeons, egrets, pratincoles and munias within a range of 300m bird circle.

Airport authorities have also converted their habitat at the airport into apron areas and runway/taxiway extensions. “Just like in 1996 when we converted fish ponds into remote parking areas and RWY 24 extension,” he added.

But these equipment, Agustin admitted, is not effective for birds at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area because it is 2.5km from the runway and bird strikes usually occur at an altitude of 500ft, especially during the migration period.

Agustin said the Manila International Airport Authority is now in the process of purchasing a remote-controlled, extended-range audio bird dispersal equipment that can be integrated into a radar system.

“This state-of-the-art equipment has an effective audio dispersing range of 2km to 3km,” Agustin said, adding that the implementation of this project will be done in phases.

He said the MIAA is also helping to resolve the conflict between ordinances passed by the cities of Las Piñas and Parañaque and the Presidential Proclamation making the bird sanctuary at Manila Bay a wildlife reserve.


Double Vision: Making Sense of China’s Second ‘Stealth’ Fighter Prototype

In June, Internet photographs and video clips of a heavily-wrapped aircraft being transported by truck appeared. Coupled with previous reports of a J-31 program, this suggests that direct competition has been introduced between CAC and SAC, obviating earlier geographic division of labor that insulated military aviation manufacturers.  

By Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins 

 In the span of a week, Chinese government vessels have been dispatched to waters near the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, anti-Japanese riots have erupted in major Chinese cities — and a new highly-prestigious piece of military hardware has been unveiled.

As if U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta didn’t have enough to contend with on his current China visit, photos leaked online on Sunday suggest Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) is making substantial progress on a stealth aircraft prototype, which Chinese netizens and foreign analysts have variously dubbed the “J-21,” “J-31,” and “F60”—a possible future export variant. SAC itself seems to have painted a “31001” designation on the aircraft. (For purposes of consistency, we will henceforth refer to the aircraft as the “J-31.”) The timing of the photo release echoes the events surrounding former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ January 2011 visit to China, when the PLA conducted a surprise test flight of Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC)’s J-20 late-generation strike fighter prototype.

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Mountain Express: SkyWest Closer to Flying Jets Into Friedman Memorial Airport (KSUN), Hailey, Idaho

Hurdle cleared for SkyWest jets

Spokeswoman says service could begin next spring

By KATHERINE WUTZ,  Mountain Express

A report released earlier this month by the Federal Aviation Administration said a switch by SkyWest from turboprop planes to a certain type of regional jet at Friedman Memorial Airport would have “no significant impacts” on the surrounding area.

The report was an environmental assessment conducted by aviation consulting firm Mead and Hunt for the FAA. The assessment is required by FAA rules before the administration can approve SkyWest’s application for a set of operational specifications that would allow the airline to fly the CRJ 700, a small regional jet, into and out of the airport in Hailey.

The process began earlier this year when SkyWest airlines expressed interest in replacing its turboprop Embraer 120 with CRJ 700 regional jets, which would result in fewer total flights coming into the valley without a loss in available seats.

The report states that if SkyWest were to begin flying CRJ 700 aircraft into Friedman, flight frequency would drop from six daily flights in high season to three, but would add 220 seats annually.

The Embraer 120 holds 30 passengers, while the CRJ 700 carries 65. The report also states that currently, 24,000 SkyWest seats on flights into the airport every year are vacant, and that the difference in the number of available seats is not expected to have an impact on the community.

The report also states that jet service is likely to be more reliable than service with turboprop planes. Though the report does not specify, Baird said in an interview that the regional jets perform better and faster than the current aircraft.

“The CRJ 700 is a super-performing aircraft,” he said. “The anticipation is that it will be able to descend lower in the future [below cloud cover, if needed] and still meet all FAA requirements for climb-out.”

Baird said the jet is also capable of flying faster, and therefore might have more time to wait on the ground for a break in the weather before a flight might be cancelled or diverted.

Brad Rolfe, spokesman for Mead and Hunt, said air quality is not expected to be impacted significantly by the jets, as the valley’s air quality is so good and the number of flights is so low that there is likely to be no significant change.

Rolfe also said the overall impact of noise was likely to be less, due to the fact that the number of daily flights would be cut in half.

“There will be a slight reduction in total noise,” he said, but added that he did not know if the CRJ 700, as an aircraft, was quieter than the Embraer 120.

The report is available for public review and comment through October 12, when Baird will collect comments and send them to the FAA. Comments can be sent to or in writing to Rick Baird, Friedman Memorial Airport, Box 929, Hailey, ID 83333.

After all comments are submitted, the FAA will come out with a final environmental assessment. If approved, the report would be added to SkyWest’s application for an approval of operational specifications, which also must be approved before the CRJ 700 can begin flying into the valley. The operational specifications, if approved, would not give the green light to other airlines to fly the CRJ 700 into Sun Valley, nor would it allow other types of regional jets to begin using Friedman Memorial Airport.

Pate and Baird said that it’s up to the airline when the jet, if approved, would begin flying into the airport. Pate said it could be as early as next spring, but Baird was more hesitant to comment.

“It’s completely up to the company business plan when they start,” he said. “[The report] is another step in the process.”


South Jersey Transportation Authority will cut subsidy to Atlantic City International Airport (KACY) by $1.3 million

Atlantic City International Airport can no longer afford to rely on a steady stream of revenue from the Atlantic City Expressway to subsidize its operations, officials said Tuesday.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the airport and the expressway, took steps Tuesday toward reducing this year’s $6.2 million airport subsidy by $1.3 million, with long-term plans to continue lowering the subsidy.

Officials originally planned for nearly 39 percent of this year’s $15.9 million airport operating budget to be supplemented by expressway revenue. Instead, the SJTA voted Tuesday to make the changes to the agency’s operating budget after acting Executive Director Sam Donelson presented a revised forecast of the airport’s finances.

Savings will be realized from a $350,000 increase in parking revenue at the airport’s garage and from cuts in expenses as the agency opts not to fill vacated positions. AvPORTS, the contracted company that runs the daily operations at the airport, has also agreed to an indefinite 10 percent cutback in its annual administrative fees. The cutbacks together total $919,000.

“This is not an exercise in paperwork. We’re talking about structural changes to the way the airport subsidy will be used in the future,” Donelson said.

The authority has relied on toll revenue to keep the airport afloat since the SJTA was created through a merger of agencies in 1991. The authority was meant to bring cohesiveness to what officials then called a disjointed regional transportation system.

In an effort to rescue the struggling airport, revenue generated by the expressway would be used to offset costs, states the legislation that created the authority.

But that subsidy should be smaller, SJTA officials said. In 2011, the subsidy accounted for nearly 25 percent of the agency’s $14.9 million operating budget. The year before that, the subsidy accounted for 21 percent of a $15.2 million budget.

Donelson’s plan to reduce the subsidy this year relies, in part, on not filling some of the agency’s vacant positions, including two firefighters. Freezing those positions will not compromise safety, as SJTA meets the Federal Aviation Administration’s staffing requirements, Donelson said..

Other savings will come from cuts to snow-removal costs realized last winter. Donelson said all of the adjustments are “very conservative.”

Meanwhile, Spirit Airlines — the airport’s only carrier — has gradually shifted toward larger planes, meaning more passengers and more parking revenue. While some destinations have been eliminated, the flights in place are full and are bringing in more passengers, as evidenced by the increase in parking revenue the agency is on track for, Donelson said.

About 148,000 passengers traveled through the airport in August, an increase of 9 percent over the same month last year. That boost led to a 7.3 percent increase in airport parking for the month, data show.

“We expect passenger counts to continue to increase, and that along with the other savings should mean we can eventually reduce the subsidy even more significantly, but that will take years, not months,” Donelson said. “We’re fortunate that SJTA has been able to use that subsidy, but we want to keep it as low as possible as the airport continues to grow.”

The SJTA has long hoped to increase flights at the airport. Perhaps the most promising opportunity could come through the addition of international flights, which the airport will be equipped to handle with the opening of an expansion project in October. An airline, which SJTA officials declined to name, has requested to meet with officials about providing international service, Donelson said.

“You look at that airport right now and it’s the only option for revitalization that Atlantic City has,” Commissioner Joseph Devine said. “The only way Atlantic City will be successful is with the airport.

If (state leaders) want to give it to someone else in the future that’s fine, but right now, it’s ours.”

Last year, discussion of a possible sale of the airport to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey emerged as a means to bring in larger carriers. Language in the legislation that created the Atlantic City Tourism District establishes a format for distributing the proceeds of a sale of the airport among six South Jersey counties served by the SJTA.


Robinson R44 II, N957R: Accident occurred September 18, 2012 in Slaton, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12CA643 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 18, 2012 in Slaton, TX
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N957R
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After a local flight, the pilot positioned the helicopter onto its platform trailer. The helicopter’s left skid touched down on the metal surface and the pilot then lowered the right skid to the platform. The helicopter started to slip off the platform, so the pilot raised the collective to correct the problem. However, the helicopter fell to the left, the main rotor impacted the ground, and the tail boom was severed. The helicopter came to rest on the skids: the fuel tank was compromised and a post-crash fire consumed a majority of the helicopter.

  Regis#: 957R        Make/Model: R44       Description: R-44 Astro
  Date: 09/18/2012     Time: 2100

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

  City: SLATON   State: TX   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: LUBBOCK, TX  (SW13)                   Entry date: 09/19/2012
Stephen Spillman/Avalanche-Journal 
Helicopter crashed on Tuesday at the Slaton Airport.

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A Slaton pilot got out of a helicopter crash Tuesday afternoon with no injuries, officials said.

The crash occurred about 3:45 p.m. at Slaton Municipal Airport, according to Senior Cpl. John Gonzalez of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Glen “David” Guetersloh, 59, was attempting to land the rotorcraft when he lost control and the helicopter wound up on its side.

The propellers burst into flames after impact, burning most of the 2004 Robinson R44, according to Gonzalez.

Guetersloh was the only person on board and did not seek medical treatment.

He told the Avalanche-Journal he has been flying since he was 18 years old. He has logged close to 7,000 hours piloting helicopters and fixed-wing planes, he said.

He owns the helicopter and had just returned from Plains, where he was checking on his farm.

Guetersloh, an aerial firefighter, declined comment on the crash because of the ongoing Federal Aviation Administration investigation. FAA officers were on site Tuesday afternoon.

“It is what it is,” Guetersloh said. “You never think this will happen.”

Mike DeLano, assistant administrator with the airport, said the helicopter crash was the second one in the facility’s history. DeLano has worked at the airport for 12 years.

In 2004, a Highway Patrol helicopter doing emergency landing practice crashed at the airport, DeLano said. The pilot and co-pilot walked away.

A third crash at the airport involved an airplane and resulted in one fatality, he added.

Weather was clear with no obstruction and very little wind at the time of the crash Tuesday, DeLano said.

He witnessed the crash from inside the airport office. Although he is accustomed to hearing the sounds of planes and helicopters, the noise Tuesday was not normal.

“About the time it started tipping, it made a certain noise,” he said. “ ... You don’t pay much attention until it’s something different.”

DeLano estimated the whole helicopter was on fire about 10 seconds after the crash.

“The door may have been popped open on impact,” he said. “He had to get his seat belt off and jump out. David’s an experienced ag pilot, and that’s a very fast reaction time for anybody.”

The first step after the crash was to make sure Guetersloh and the construction workers were out of the way of any danger, DeLano said. The area of the airport is undergoing construction to redo the ramp.

Airport officials called for emergency responders and temporarily shut down the airport. It reopened about 5:10 p.m. after the FAA approved it, DeLano said.

Air pumps were secured to avoid fire damage, and the area was kept clear.

After the crash, the FAA interviewed Guetersloh. DeLano said the officers also would interview witnesses and then file a procedure report and haul off the remains of the helicopter.

“Normally, no, (a pilot who is involved in a crash is not fined), unless they’re doing something blatantly dangerous,” DeLano said, “which he wasn’t.”

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Video: Beech 76 Duchess - Key West!

Deer Lake Regional not the only airport doing well

DEER LAKE — The Deer Lake Regional Airport is not alone in its recent success. Facilities in Gander and St. John’s are also experiencing increased passenger numbers which airport representatives say is a sign the provincial economy is doing well.

Last week Deer Lake airport reported a total of almost 106,500 passengers in the months of July and August. The facility set a record for the month of August for passenger traffic and its year-to-date total was up a reported 7.6 per cent over the same time period last year.

The good news in aviation seems equally distributed across the province, in spite of a strike by airport workers in St. John’s. That city’s airport has seen a growth in passenger numbers by approximately seven per cent since January. Although the numbers are not available for August because of the strike, airport marketing manager Marie Manning said the summer numbers were looking very good, with that increase heading right into July.

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