Friday, September 28, 2012

South St Paul Municipal-Richard E Fleming Field (KSGS), Minnesota: Turbulent times for airport - City is working on a master plan to eliminate debt and improve management

Pilot Jim Hancock has an airplane for every occasion.

He has a lightweight Breezy, the equivalent of a motorcycle with a wing, when he wants to feel the wind in his hair. He has a twin-engine for cross-country hauls, a Cessna with floats for "playing on the water," and an aerobatic plane for loops and rolls.

The retired Northwest pilot keeps them at South St. Paul's Fleming Field, where he's been a tenant since 1968. He is one of dozens of recreational pilots, business owners and city officials now looking at the small airport's future as they embark on writing a new master plan.

"It's just nice around here," says Hancock, who meets other pilots for coffee at the terminal seven days a week. "This is probably the most active little airport around."

Fleming Field is the only city-owned airport in the Twin Cities. Home to 16 businesses and the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol, Fleming Field generates 465 jobs and created $47.8 million in economic impact last year, according to one study.

"A lot of people come to work here every day and a lot of people don't realize that," said airport manager Glenn Burke.

But Fleming Field has also weathered its share of turbulence, as the city has struggled to balance the demands of airport-based businesses, recreational pilots, neighbors and lean financial years. The airport borrowed from the city about 2007 for construction to accommodate a waiting list of 80 pilots seeking to build hangars, only to watch demand dry up in the recession. The airport also still owes the city money for the construction of a new terminal in the 1990s.

Some pilots and airport business owners say relations reached an all-time low in 2010 when the city toyed with eliminating the airport manager to cut costs. The city decided to keep its full-time manager after fierce lobbying by the tenants and some businesses.

The city also faced FAA scrutiny for accounting practices, including spending airport revenue elsewhere against federal regulations. The city agreed to return more than $200,000 to the airport's budget.

Pilots, business owners and city officials hope the new master plan will chart a clear course ensuring the airport's survival and prosperity. The city also formed an airport advisory commission to improve communication.

"What is clear to everyone is this airport is a gem, an economic engine the likes of which doesn't exist elsewhere in South St. Paul," said Jeff Sheridan, pilot and president of the Fleming Field Aviation Association. "The city would be very wise to treat it as such."

A master plan will review safety and create a timeline for capital improvements and possible redevelopment of aging structures. It will also include a comprehensive business plan that ideally pays off debt and staunches the red ink.

Mayor Beth Baumann said she'd like to see the airport pay off its $1.69 million debt to the city and become completely self-sufficient. If the city does need to contribute to projects, it will be mapped out in advance.

"We haven't always planned well," Baumann concedes. "This would give us a more definite plan on where we'd like to go."

The airport logs around 63,000 take-offs and landings each year. It's home to the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Force, which operates a museum and holds hangar dances.

"It's brought a lot of history to South St. Paul," said City Council Member Lori Hansen.

The airport generated $1.2 million in revenue in 2011 from fuel sales and rent. Revenue has covered expenses five of the last 10 years and the airport has even paid off some debt, said airport manager Burke. In the years the ledger runs red, the airport has borrowed from the city.

But the city was so strapped for cash in recent years that it laid off its code enforcement officer and other staff.

"We have been slow to see that change in the debt posture," said City Administrator Steve King. "We need to take a structured, more disciplined approach to that."

But some business owners say city officials fail to see the bigger picture: The airport brings high-paying jobs and tax dollars.

Wipaire Inc., which manufactures aircraft floats for water landings, is the largest business on Fleming Field with more than 100 employees. It joined pilots in lobbying to save Burke's job two years ago. Wipaire's owners bristle at recent lease increases at the airport.

"The attitude of the leadership in the city is that the airport, in their view, may not carry its weight and is a financial burden on the city," said Charles Wiplinger, president of Wipaire. "They have a pretty good gig ... The economic impact on the local community is in the millions and millions of dollars. It's no insignificant amount. I don't know if they comprehend that."

"I would respectfully disagree," said King, the city administrator. "Top to bottom, the City Council has great respect for the airport and has moved forward to put in place structures and relationships."

Read more here:

Aérospatiale AS 350B3 Ecureuil, TG-FHD: Guatemala City - Zone 15 - Guatemala

El empresario Joe Habie falleció este viernes luego que el helicóptero donde viajaba se desplomara en la 15 avenida y 0 calle, colonia El Maestro, zona 15; una persona más resultó herida. (Video Prensa Libre: Erlie Castillo, Luis Velásquez y Omar Archila)

GRAPHIC CONTENT:  The corpse of businessman Joe Habie Mishann is rescued by firefighters on the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in Guatemala City on September 28, 2012. Mishann who piloted, died in the accident, which presumably fell due to a technical failure. AFP PHOTO/Johan ORDONEZ

GUATEMALA Imagen del helicóptero que se desplomó esta mañana en la zona 15, en el que viajaba Joe Habie. Foto /s21 

 Habie, de 56 años, falleció la mañana de este viernes, cuando el helicóptero en el que se conducía se precipitara en un terreno ubicado a un costado del Colegio de Abogados y Notarios de Guatemala, en la 0 calle 15-46, colonia El Maestro, zona 15.

El helicóptero color blanco, con matrícula TGFHD, proveniente de carretera a El Salvador, se desplomó alrededor de las 10:05 horas debido a una falla en el rotor de cola, según información preliminar.

Asimismo 2 personas más, un hombre que presuntamente viajaba en la aeronave y una mujer que se encontraba cerca del sector del incidente, resultaron heridas.

Familiares y amigos cercanos de Joe Habie ya se encuentran en el lugar del accidente.

Miembros de la Cámara Guatemalteca de la Industria, dirigentes empresariales y empleados del empresario han expresado su pesar por el deceso.

El empresario guatemalteco Joe Habie Mishann, de ascendencia judía, fue promotor inmobiliario, importador y distribuidor de combustibles, hotelero y constructor; así como figura de la industria textil, confeccionista, comerciante y generador de energía.

Entre las inversiones más conocidas de Habie, resalta la construcción del centro comercial Tikal Futura en la zona 11 de la capital guatemalteca.

 Guatemalan officials say one of the country’s richest men, textile mogul and hotel owner Joe Habie, has died in a helicopter crash.
They say he was the only person on board a helicopter that crashed into a park Friday afternoon. A student in the park was injured, apparently when the helicopter exploded after crashing.

The country’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences confirms Habie’s death. It says his body had been identified by relatives.

The 55-year-old Habie owned one of Guatemala’s most important textile companies and also the five-star Tikkal Futura hotel.

Open House Windsor Ontario Airport (Detroit area) tomorrow 11AM - 4PM

Windsor Airport Holding Open House And Mini Air Show tomorrow

With no Windsor International Air Show planned for this September, the Windsor Airport has decided to hold an open house this weekend.

The Windsor International Airport will be hosting its first-ever free Public Open House this Saturday from 11am to 4pm.

The public is invited to come and enjoy static displays, airplane rides, tours and fly-bys including the Harvard, Yellow Birds and Hamilton Lancaster Bomber throughout the day.

The event will showcase Windsor’s aviation assets and rich aviation history and will be held in conjunction with the City of Windsor’s Culture Days, a collaborative coast-to-coast-to-coast volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

The event schedule for the day is:

11am to 4pm – Gates Open to the Public (Airport Road Entrance)

Static Displays
Local Aircraft displays : Lancaster Bomber Reunion
Vintage Cars / Military Equipment
Airport Maintenance Hangar : Canadian Historical Aircraft Association Museum (aircraft restorations)
Windsor Flying Club
Journey Air
Airplane Rides
Marching Band
Kids Play Area

1pm to 4pm Mini Air Show Flight Events

Harvard Fly-by
Yellow Bird Fly-by
Great Windsor Aircraft Rally
Hamilton Lancaster Bomber Fly-by
Aerial Message Drop Competition
Local Aircraft Aeros (T-51, Chipmunks, RV-7)
Parking in available in designated lots will be complimentary and may be accessed from Airport Road or County Road 42 and Hayes Road.

Solved after 70 years: The mystery of the missing Lancaster bomber crew

    - A lost Lancaster bomber crew have finally been found after a German team located the remains of their downed aircraft near Frankfurt

    - Five missing British airmen were found inside the wreckage of their World War Two bomber

    - They were guided to the site in Laumersheim, Germany, by an eye-witness who saw the plane crash 69 years ago

The mighty drone of 600 bombers filled the night air as they flew the length of eastern England. As planes thundered overhead, people peeped through their blackout curtains to see if they could glimpse what was then one of the largest bombing forces ever assembled.

On board the Lancasters, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Wellingtons were more than 4,000 airmen — and all knew they stood a very good chance of not returning to base the following morning.

Among that awesome mass of metal pounding through the dark sky was a Lancaster bomber with the marking ED427.

Read more:

Bloomington, Illinois - Image Air service manager retires after more than 40 years

Image Air service manager Pat Beaty works on an annual inspection of a 1982 Piper Saratoga, on his last day on the job Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. Beaty, of LeRoy, is retiring after working in the industry for 41 years. (The Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY)

 BLOOMINGTON — Behind thousands of successful private aircraft landings near and far has been one man at Bloomington’s Image Air.

Pat Beaty, service manager for the fixed-base operator located at Central Illinois Regional Airport, oversees nearly a dozen aircraft inspectors who make sure single-engine planes and jets are in perfect condition for departure.

But his last flights were Friday. After more than 40 years at the Bloomington hangar, Beaty is retiring. 

Customers routinely fly into Bloomington for maintenance work from every state in the nation and from abroad.

“I have one customer who flies in from England,” Beaty said Friday, taking a break from checking the engine of a 1982 Piper Saratoga.

During his tenure, Beaty has serviced planes for musician Jimmy Buffett and the late actor Patrick Swayze, said Ken Rittenhouse, owner of Image Air.

“All of my customers have been memorable,” said Beaty, whose career in aircraft maintenance began in 1963 while he was serving in the United State Air Force. Among the first planes he worked on was the C-124, a cargo plane developed during World War II and nicknamed “Old Shaky” for the roaring sound and shaky ride it delivered.  

Around the hangar, Beaty has been both a mentor and a leader, helping younger mechanics learn the trade that continually changes due to government regulations regarding inspections of privately-owned aircraft and shifting manufacturer recommendations. 

“He really does know a lot,” said Doug Mays, an aircraft supervisor who has worked with Beaty since the late 1990s. “I’m going to have to struggle to get along without his knowledge.”

Beaty said he plans to spend more time with his seven grandchildren and, yes, travel with his wife, Helen. The couple will make their way to Galena this fall then head abroad to Ireland, Scotland,  Wales and London in the spring. 

Dan Feeney, an aircraft inspector who has worked at Image Air since the late 1990s, will take over as service manager at Image Air.

“Pat has showed me a lot. I’ve stepped in his shoes when he goes on vacation,” said Feeney. “The last few weeks, he’s been downloading a lot of information for me. I’m as ready as I can be.”

Story and photos:

Adirondack Regional (KSLK), Saranac Lake, New York: Airport hosts open house

The town of Harrietstown is inviting the public to an open house Saturday at the town-owned Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the airport's east ramp, at the end of Helms-Mueller Road. It's being held in conjunction with North Country Life Flight's annual PumpkinFest, which was formerly held at Mount Pisgah Ski Center in Saranac Lake.

Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said the open house will feature static displays of aircraft owned by tenants at the facility as well as airport equipment, including the fire, plow and de-icing trucks. The Civil Air Patrol, remote control aircraft enthusiasts and Cape Air, the airport's commercial passenger carrier, will have booths set up.

PumpkinFest, an annual fundraiser for the Life Flight medical helicopter rescue team, will be going on at the same time. It features games, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a clown, music, a hay maze, a bake sale, a silent auction and a cake walk. The state police Life Flight helicopter will be on display, and Smokey's BBQ 911 will sell barbecued pork.

Hurwitch said the idea of holding an open house came up earlier this year when the town held a series of meetings on the future of the airport. The meetings came amid public scrutiny of the airport stemming from an embarrassing audit of the facility by the state Comptroller's Office and large increases in the townwide tax levy in 2010 and 2012, due to poor airport fuel sales. The town's operation of the airport is also a big issue in the ongoing campaign for Harrietstown supervisor between Republican Bob Bevilacqua and Democrat Tom Catillaz.

"We're trying to get people out to the airport to see what's going on out here," Hurwitch said. "We hope people see us as part of the community and a benefit rather than a hindrance."

Saturday's events will be held rain or shine. There is no charge for the open house, but Life Flight will accept donations.

1974 Bellanca Viking for Sale.. 400hr Milled overhaul

Reported plane crash Thursday night really stunt plane practicing for Wings Over North Georgia Air Show - Plane landed safely at the Polk County Airport- Cornelius Moore Field (4A4) Cedartown, Georgia

A reported plane crash in the Collard Valley Road area Thursday night was simply a stunt plane practicing for an upcoming air show, officials said.

Several called 911 around 9 p.m. September 27 stating they saw what they believed to be a plane crash in the area. One caller said he saw smoke coming up from the Collard Valley Road area.

Police and emergency units were called out, but officials said the pilot was preparing for the 2012 Wings Over North Georgia Air Show in Rome this weekend.

As a part of the practice, the pilot would kill the plane’s engine, dive, restart, and pull up, officials said. The smoke was the plane’s tail plume.

The plane landed safely at the Polk County Airport – Cornelius Moore Field before 10 p.m.

The air show will be September 28-30 at the Richard B. Russell Airport in Rome.

Gates open to the public at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, and at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

General admission parking for the air show is available at State Mutual Stadium in Rome on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Parking gates open at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Shuttle buses will run continuously from the stadium to the airport with services starting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds headline show which also includes the Black Diamond Jet Demonstration Team, the U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Demonstration Team, Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car, John Klatt, and Mike Goulian with his Extra 330 sponsored by Goodyear Aviation.

Read more: The Fish Wrap - Reported plane crash Thursday night really stunt plane practicing for air show

Soaring Success: From private jets to upgrades at Palm Springs International Airport, the desert’s travel-by-air industry grows

In 2008, when the CEOs of GM, Ford, and Chrysler flew by private jet to request a bailout from Congress, the backlash became a boon for a Coachella Valley jet charter service.

“Almost overnight, owners of Fortune 500 companies put their planes on the market, and the value of private jets plummeted. But people still needed to travel privately. They can charter [flights] so no one knows,” explains Desert Jets founder Denise Wilson of La Quinta. That event fell on the heels of a stock market crash that caused a lot of people to sell their planes.

“We picked up a lot of clients who left ownership,” Wilson says. She attributes the 2008 economic conditions with setting her year-old company on a trajectory toward soaring profits. The climb has continued. Revenues have grown from $128,677 in 2008 to $787,000 in 2009, $2.1 million in 2010, and $5 million in 2011. In August 2011, Inc. magazine ranked Desert Jet No. 296 on its list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies; this August, the company moved up to 69th place with a 3,750 percent growth rate over three years. And early this year, Desert Jet expanded its offices at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal from 800 to 2,400 square feet.

This summer, Desert Jet added a fifth plane to its fleet, with eight pilots to fly them. And Wilson expects to expand further to meet growing demand.

 Desert Jet’s core group of charter clients own second or third homes in the Coachella Valley and have businesses elsewhere in the United States. “We have a lot of Canadians who bought second homes here, and we fly a lot of people with pets,” Wilson says. “They need to travel, but don’t want to put their pets in a cargo hold.”

Read more:

This article appears in the October 2012 issue of Palm Springs Life

Allied Pilots Association: Pilots Continue to Report Serious Maintenance Issues

— The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, issued the following response regarding recent management allegations that pilots continue to disrupt flight schedules with insignificant maintenance requests.

“Federal aviation regulations and American Airlines’ policies and procedures require that all known mechanical discrepancies be entered into the aircraft’s maintenance logbook for corrective action,” said APA President Keith Wilson. “Failure to place a mechanical discrepancy in the maintenance logbook can result in a revocation of a pilot’s license by the Federal Aviation Administration, not to mention the fact that it could result in a serious safety risk.”

American Airlines pilots continue to encounter a large number of serious maintenance-related issues that must be documented, as required by law. Below is a small sampling of issues that were documented pre-flight in the past several days:
  • Pilot oxygen mask broken
  • Main landing gear hydraulic leak
  • Aircraft avionics overheat warning
  • Fuel tank seepage on the ramp
  • Premature fuel burn indications
When proper preventative maintenance on the ground is not performed, it can lead to in-flight incidents such as the following, which were recently reported by our pilots:
  • A B-737 had a wheel well fire indication in flight and was forced to declare an emergency and returned to the departure airport.
  • A B-737 declared an emergency and was diverted to Amarillo due to a smoke and electrical smell in the cockpit while en route from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Denver.
  • There were bearing failures in the main landing gear on a B-767 requiring replacement of two wheels.
  • A B-767 experienced multiple landing gear indication malfunctions after takeoff and was forced to declare an emergency and land overweight at the departure airport.
  • There was a premature fuel burn from the left main wing tank causing a serious weight and balance issue.
Due to recent FAA fines and American’s ongoing financial struggles, the FAA has stepped up its scrutiny of the carrier’s maintenance procedures.

“American currently operates the oldest fleet of aircraft in the industry, requiring much more frequent maintenance than other carriers that operate newer fleets,” Wilson said.

This week, the FAA Certificate Management Office that monitors American Airlines sent a message to APA regarding its “specialized Operational Risk surveillance” on the airline. The message included the following statement directed to pilots: “If you feel you have been coerced to refrain from reporting maintenance discrepancies, we advise you to report any instance of such to the AMR CMO for investigation. We also encourage you to use the Aviation Safety Action Program to report such instances.”

Wilson said pilots are no doubt taking a prudent and cautious approach in their operational decision-making process ― especially in light of the fact that management canceled the AA-APA collective bargaining agreement and the protections it provided.

“Our pilots should never be pressured or bullied into not reporting any maintenance issues that could endanger the traveling public,” Wilson said.

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association—the largest independent pilot union in the United States—is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, including 649 pilots not yet offered recall from furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s Web site address is American Airlines is the nation’s largest international passenger carrier and fifth-largest cargo carrier.

Wings over North Georgia takes over the sky

Hat tip to "Augusta Jim" ... thank you for the info!

 Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5 

ROME, Ga. -  That roar you hear from the skies this weekend will be coming from Rome and a spectacular new air show featuring some of the world's best show pilots.

Wings over North Georgia takes to the skies over Floyd County starting Friday at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.

The Air National Guard, a World War II era B-17 bomber, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will all be out for the weekend festivities.

Click on the video above to see FOX 5's Paul Milliken try to fly one of the plane.

The air show runs Friday through Sunday. Tickets vary in price.

The Richard B. Russell Airport is located at 304 Russell Field Road in Rome. Parking is available at State Mutual Stadium. Shuttle buses will run continuously to the airport.

For more information visit the Wings over North Georgia website at


Ultralight plane crash - Occurred September 28, 2012 in New Germany, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia

The pilot was seriously injured after this ultralight plane crashed in New Germany, Lunenburg County. The man, 46, was airlifted to hospital in Halifax. (Submitted) 

A New Germany man who’s plane can regularly be seen flying over the community was airlifted to Halifax on Friday afternoon after his plane crashed.

Residents said the pilot was 46-year-old Trevor Myra.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae said the crash happened just after 2 p.m. “Shortly after he took off, he crashed in the woods near an ATV trail in the location,” MacRae said.

There are unconfirmed reports the plane hit a tree.

Myra took his pilot training at East Coast Ultralight in Lawrencetown in the Annapolis Valley. According to the school’s website, Myra took his first solo flight on Oct. 1, 2009. “Trevor will be completing his training in the next week or so and be off soaring the skies!” the site said.

It says Myra became fully licensed just over a month later, on Nov. 12, and was welcomed home by his sister and friends when his Chinook landed on his private airfield.

Chief Blair Lantz of the New Germany Volunteer Fire Department said Myra was the only occupant of the two-seater plane that crashed Friday.

“He was able to get out on his own,” he said, and was suffering what appeared to be head injuries.

No one in the community seems to have seen the crash, but Myra’s friend was on the airstrip when it happened and ran to his aid.

“He took him to the ambulance station (in New Germany),” Lantz said, where paramedics assessed him and called for the helicopter.

That’s when the fire department was called in, because it had to ensure the landing zone in the soccer field behind New Germany High School was clear of debris.

Students had no school Friday because of an in-service, and teachers were asked to stay inside the building. A fire truck turned its lights on and parked under electrical wires to worn the helicopter to steer clear of the wires.

The fire department was then called to the actual crash site because gasoline was leaking from the plane. “We put down some absorbent material and foam,” Lantz said.

A total of 17 firefighters were involved in the effort. “Everything went according to plan,” Lantz said.

The RCMP then had a local contractor with a back hoe pick up the broken plane and put it on a flat bed trailer.

The environment department went to the scene to ensure no gasoline leaked into any local waterways.

Mooney M20, C-GRPD: Accident occurred September 28, 2012 at Rockcliffe Airport - Canada

The lone pilot of this small plane escaped injuries after her plane crashed into a fence at the Rockcliffe Airport during take-off on Friday morning. Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services. 

Emergency crews at the scene of a plane crash at Rockcliffe Airport Friday morning. The pilot was uninjured. 

OTTAWA — The Transportation Safety Board has been called in to investigate after a single-engine plane crashed while taking off from Rockcliffe Airport Friday morning. 

 The female pilot walked away uninjured from the crash, which occurred at about 10:30 a.m. The plane, a Mooney M20, struck a chain-link fence at the east end of the runway.

There was no fire, but the plane suffered serious damage to its wings, with the left wingtip sheared off in the impact.

Ottawa firefighters worked to contain a small fuel spill at the scene.

Registration details for the aircraft show that it was built in 1964 and was registered to Susan Begg of Nepean.

The flight tracking program Flightaware shows the last flight plan filed for the aircraft was a 700 kilometre trip from Pelee Island to Rockcliffe Airport on Sept. 16.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys a team of investigators to an air accident near the Ottawa Rockcliffe Airport, Ontario 

Gatineau, Quebec, 28 September 2012 - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to the site of an accident involving a Mooney M20 near the Ottawa Rockcliffe Airport, Ontario. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence. 

 A pilot was lucky to escape uninjured after her small plane crashed into a fence at the Rockcliffe Aiport on Friday.

The plane hit the fence, ripping off posts and damaging the aircraft wing, during take-off shortly after 10:15 a.m. 

There was a small fuel spill but no fire, according to fire crews.

The lone pilot was able to get out of the plane on her own.

Sky’s the limit for new Learjet

This is how the other half — or more accurately, the 1 percent — flies. 

No “cattle car” coach class with howling infants, coughing kids and the overwhelming smell of body odor and public bathrooms as you try to cram your knees into the space in front of you. Not even the rarefied air of first class.

With the Learjet 85 — manufactured by Bombardier, offered by Flexjet and ready to fly next year just in time for Learjet’s 50th anniversary — you fly in style whenever you want, but for a very hefty price.

The state-of-the-art private jet, or another from the Flexjet fleet, will be available at almost any U.S. airport on 12 hours’ notice to fly you and up to seven pals anywhere in the country.

But just 50 hours of flight time annually will cost you $1.1 million upfront plus an $11,255 monthly maintenance fee — and a $4,305 hourly fuel fee whenever you’re in the air.

After five years, Flexjet offers to buy back your fractional share at market price.

Are the little bags of peanuts free?

“We do offer peanuts, but much more than that,” Flexjet’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bruce Peddle told the Herald. “We like to provide a solution for every requirement out there.”

Actually, the peanuts come warmed in a glass bowl. Or you can build your own omelet, try the cheese and crudite sampler, devour the cold garlic oregano grilled shrimp or the grilled beef tenderloin, top it off with chocolate-covered strawberries and wash it down with Cristal or Dom Perignon — for a little extra.

The Learjet 85, which tops 500 mph, is made of carbon-fiber composite and boasts the latest in avionics technology. Instead of a flight manual, the pilot can dial up any needed data on an iPad and a “synthetic vision” system digitizes the surroundings on liquid crystal displays so he or she can “see” outside in any weather condition.

The large passenger cabin offers the lucky “fractional” owner and friends HDTV monitors, XM satellite radio, Internet access and a single-channel iridium phone for that important call.

Peddle said the Learjet 85 can seat up to eight people comfortably and some planes in the Flexjet fleet can be outfitted with couches or other seating configurations.

“Our clients come in three main groups: high net-worth individuals, corporations that use them for executive transport and owners of Bombardier planes that use Flexjet for supplemental travel service,” Peddle said.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is a spokesman for Learjet, but when it came to dropping the names of celebrity Flexjet customers, Peddle was mum.

“Our clients value their privacy, and Flexjet is about a relationship and a service,” he said.

Ambulance New Brunswick under fire again over Grand Manan delay: Vik Hornjak waited 2 hours for an air transfer after suffering a heart attack

Atlantic Charters has been transporting people from Grand Manan to Saint John for 30 years. (CBC)

The province’s air ambulance service is being criticized again after a Grand Manan man, who had suffered a heart attack, was forced to wait for more than two hours to be transported to Saint John.

Vic Hornjak suffered a heart attack on Wednesday evening and was rushed to the small, island hospital.

Doctors decided Hornjak needed to be sent to the Saint John Regional Hospital, so Ambulance New Brunswick’s plane was called to the island.

That is when Sheila Hornjack, his wife, says the problems started.

She says they waited two hours at the hospital on the island, but the provincial air ambulance plane was unable to land.

"Whoever this pilot was ...— he might have been the best kind of pilot ... but obviously he was quite timid of cloud cover,” she said.

After the air ambulance plane turned back, Atlantic Charter, a local company, flew Hornjak to the Saint John Airport.

"My husband could have died. How many do we have to lose before someone in the powers that be finally admit they may have made a mistake?" she said.

“Twice, the Air Ambulance pilots approached the airport on Grand Manan but could not safely land the aircraft because of weather,” the statement said.

“During this time, the patient's condition improved and the medical control physician made the determination that the patient could now be transported by Atlantic Charters with a registered nurse from the sending hospital.”

Hornjak said she doesn't understand why Atlantic Charter wasn't called in the first place so they could have avoided the lengthy delay.

Atlantic Charter has a new contract with Ambulance New Brunswick to fly patients to the mainland, after a controversy this summer.

On July 1, its old contract expired and was not renewed.

Then on July 8, Marjorie Stanley, 86, died of a second heart attack while waiting four hours for air transport from Grand Manan to Saint John.

That prompted many in the small island community to call for the contract to be restored.
In August, a new, three-year deal was reached.

The latest controversy has created more confusion, according to Klaus Sonnenberg, who has been flying patients off the island for 30 years.

“I understood that we would be the transfer of choice and if we were not available then other methods could be employed,” he said.

Ambulance N.B. statement to CBC News 

 The system worked exactly as it should have in Grand Manan in this case.

The province's medical control physician decided that Ambulance New Brunswick's Air Ambulance crew should be assigned the mission because the patient was critically ill and required an advanced level of care.

Twice, the Air Ambulance pilots approached the airport on Grand Manan but could not safely land the aircraft because of weather.

During this time the patient's condition improved and the medical control physician made the determination that the patient could now be transported by Atlantic Charters with a registered nurse from the sending hospital.

Atlantic Charters was able to fly the patient to Saint John. The pilot then advised that he was unable to make the return trip to the island because of the weather.

Story and comments:

Piper Aztec: Aircraft gear collapsed on landing - Southend Airport in Essex - UK

The twin engine Piper Aztec plane, believed to be based at the airport but privately owned, came down at lunchtime.

It had a collapsed nose wheel on landing causing it to crash.

The ambulance service was called at about 1.05pm today.

Two adults and three children were on board but no one was injured.

Two ambulances, an area manager and a hazardous area response team (HART) were dispatched to the incident.

Ambulance spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “The initial 999 call we received stated a plane had crashed on the runway.

"Two adults and three children were assessed by ambulance staff and all five were uninjured and did not require hospital treatment.”

The runway was closed while it was recovered and a flight to Dublin and one to Jersey have been delayed.

Two private jets due to land were diverted to an alternative airfield.

The East of England Ambulance Service was called to Southend Airport in Essex at 1.05pm today.

Two ambulances, an area manager and the trust's hazardous area response team were dispatched.

Ambulance spokesman Gary Sanderson said: "The initial 999 call we received stated a plane had crashed on the runway.

"Two adults and three children were assessed by ambulance staff and all five were uninjured and did not require hospital treatment."

A light aircraft with five people on board has crashed when landing at Southend Airport as its undercarriage failed to come down. 

Eight fire appliances were sent to the scene but when they arrived the passengers had got out of the aircraft which was in the middle of the runway.

Airport fire crews laid down a foam protection blanket as a precaution.

Two adults and three children on board were shaken but not hurt and ambulance teams checked them over.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Hodde said: "It looks like the aircraft undercarriage collapsed on landing.

"The airport fire crews did an excellent job and laid out a foam blanket on the runway.

"Essex fire service were called in as a precaution to support them if it was needed."

The Air Accident Investigation Branch will be called in later.

Jet Expo 2012: high flight of Russia’s business aviation

The Moscow-based Vnukovo 3 aviation terminal is hosting the Jet Expo 2012 business jet show which is attended by the world’s major plane makers, like Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream, AugustaWestland and Bell Aviation.

The show features some 100 companies from 27 countries which brought 40 business jets and helicopters to the show.

Though business jets are pricey, Russia is seeing a rapidly growing demand in them and an increasing number of business jet flights. Last year, Russia saw 150,000 such flights and this year the number is expected to reach 160,000. International plane makers brought their cutting edge super comfortable and posh jets to the show. Today’s trend in the market is high-pace development, especially taking into account that most jets are now used not to fly their owners on holidays but to business meetings, deal signings or large corporation inspections.

The Jet Expo showcases aircraft with great versatility and design. Thus, Bombardier brought four of its new business jets. The company has been operating in Russia for a long time, considering the country a vital and key market, says the company’s representative Philip Nasskau.

Italy’s Piaggio Aero is showcasing its new Piaggio P180Avanti twin-engine turboprop aircraft with a Ferrai logo which is often called Aero Ferrari.

The jet is comfortable, original and reliable.

Now some 158 business jets are registered in Russia and experts predict 525 jets to be imported up to 2020, while in 2021-2030 the number of jets is forecast to reach 1,700 machines.


1st Flight Global 5000 serial number 9513 September 26, 2012 - CYZD Toronto Downsveiw Airport (Canada)

Thank you very much Rob "Biz Jets",  Toronto, Canada!

Interesting to watch, they do about an hours worth of engine run-ups, then taxi and turn tests, followed by two rejected take off runs - fire trucks line the runway and they're off - so far 513 Globals - no problems!!

Bad Lee County medical flights bills keep coming

The federal rule violations and improper billing practices of Lee County extend beyond those officials admitted to earlier this month.

County officials, in response to requests from The News-Press, said Thursday another $357,000 was billed for medical flights without meeting the legally required federal safety mandates.

“It adds even more to this pathetic saga,” Commissioner Frank Mann said. “The answers we get just beg more questions and none of the answers we’ve received so far have been satisfactory.”

EMS Chief Kim Dickerson claimed the county broke federal rules by billing for $3 million in medical flights between Feb. 8 and May 25 in a statement she released earlier this month.

But the erroneous bills actually date back to Oct. 27 and continued after May 25, the entire time the county was flying its primary helicopter without the necessary certifications, according to a statement from Public Safety Finance Manager David Kainrad.

During that period, 29 flights were billed without legal authority. About $54,000 the county collected has been returned and the remaining $303,000 in charges will be canceled, according to Kainrad.

A county-contracted billing company, Intermedix, took credit for the faulty charges. In a Sept. 25 letter from Vice President of Client Services Darryl Hartung, the company writes it “mistakenly” billed for 29 flights. He did not return calls for comment Thursday.

But before Intermedix could even know to charge patients, EMS Lt. Mark Hammel had to review patient care reports and send them to the company, former flight paramedic Jason Ausman said.

“We fill the whole thing out on the computer and when we submit it, our supervisor reviews it and sends it to the billing company, “Ausman said.

Hammel did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Kainrad said the county was sending patient care reports to the billing company not to bill patients, but rather to track the county’s revenue losses.

“We decided it was going to be too difficult to pick and choose which flights would be sent over,” Kainrad said. “If nothing else (we sent Intermedix the reports) just to keep track of any revenue loss that occurred from operating the aircraft.”

Both the county and Intermedix knew they were prohibited from charging for flights in the county’s primary helicopter, until the county met federal safety mandates, including pilot training.

In an effort to collect fees without meeting federal safety mandates, Kainrad said he asked Intermedix late last year to bill for medical flights at ground ambulance rates.

“The billing vendor, Intermedix , said they were not comfortable doing that,” Kainrad said.

The company, however, followed up with several calls and a Jan. 23 letter to FAA attorney’s claiming federal rules didn’t apply to the publicly owned aircraft.

That contention was shot down by an FAA attorney who wrote the county needs the federal certification, because “whatever the amount, the company would be receiving compensation for transporting patients,” according to the May 4 letter the FAA sent to Intermedix.

Intermedix discovered in March that it had erroneously billed patients for $187,000 in flights that occurred between Oct. 27, 2011, and Feb. 9, Kainrad said. It refunded $43,000.

The company didn’t realize that it improperly billed another $170,000 after May 25 until just recently, Kainrad said.

The county suspended its medical flight program, Medstar, in August. Officials at that time claimed the move was part of an effort to seek a voluntary accreditation.

Three pilots and the program’s manager were terminated, because they weren’t the “right mix” of people, Dickerson claimed at the time.

County Manager Karen Hawes later admitted the failure to meet federal safety standards played a role in her decision to suspend the program. She now wants commissioners to consider hiring a company for the emergency service.

The FAA has since launched an investigation into the county’s Medstar program and billing practices. Federal inspectors met with county officials Tuesday.

Story and comments:

Chico Air Show 2012 starts today: Chico Municipal Airport (KCIC), California

CHICO -- Starting at 4 p.m. today, the Chico Air Show 2012 will officially begin, with aerobatics in the sky starting about an hour later at the Chico Municipal Airport. 

The Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18 Hornet demo team, which arrived Thursday, will be performing along with several other aerial displays.

The Canadian team will take to the skies on Saturday and Sunday too, along with Rockstar FMX Team with freestyle motocross, Rex and Melissa Pemberton aerobatics, Gregory "Wired" Colyer with an AceMaker T-33, Team Rocket, and demonstration by a P-51.

There also will be a Yak 55, the Jelly Belly Stearman, a Search and Rescue demo, radio-controlled aircraft demo, and ground displays of military aircraft, including a Coast Guard C-130 and HH65 helicopter, and a C-17, C-5 and U-2. There will be tethered hot air balloon rides, displays of warbirds and classic cars, as well as activities for children. There will be chances to ride in a small airplane.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, six-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team and the first woman to win the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship Patty Wagstaff will be greeting the public.

On Saturday and Sunday, the gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. The air entertainment starts at 11 a.m. both days, and the Royal Canadian Air Force team performs at about 2 p.m.

Tonight admission is $15, with children 6-12 $5, under 6 free. Admission Saturday and Sunday is $12 in advance, $15 at the gate, with children 6-12 $5, under 6 free. College students are $10 at the gate with student ID.

Flightline Club admission, which includes shaded flightline seating and lunch, is $60 adults, and $20 children 6-12.

Advance tickets can be purchased at the Chico Chamber of Commerce, 441 Main St.; Raley's stores in Chico and Oroville; and Northern California National Bank, 1717 Mangrove Ave.