Sunday, October 14, 2012

Easterwood Field (KCLL), College Station, Texas: Airport lands more business

Halfway through Texas A&M's slate of home Southeastern Conference football games, traffic at the Easterwood Airport is starting to take off.

Airport Director John Happ said there's still not enough hard data to celebrate yet, but all signs point to more visitors, and tax dollars, to Brazos County as a result of the Aggies' move from the Big 12 to the SEC.

The airport is owned, but receives no funding from, Texas A&M University, Happ said. Two airlines, American and United, operate out of the airport.

Increased passenger volume would make the airport eligible for more federal grants to be reinvested in airport infrastructure, he said.

Happ had projected the volume of passengers would increase with the Aggies' move to the nation's premier football conference, but those hopes materialized in early September.

"Our busiest game in the Big 12, I think, was either OU or Texas. The Florida game [at A&M last month] increased [flights] by 20 percent compared to that game," Happ said.

Happ said the airport gets 75 to 100 flights during an average game and upwards of 125 or 150 during a busy game. The Florida game brought in about 170 flights, he said.

Happ said previously that airport directors near other SEC schools get as many as 250 flights per game.

And for the airport, which pulls in about 50 percent of its $6 million revenue from fuel sales, drawing visitors from farther away is, quite literally, paying off.

"We had a surprising amount of small planes from Florida," Happ said. "The farther they fly from the more fuel they burn."

Happ didn't have a dollar amount to attach to the increase in fueling, but estimated total revenue would increase about the same as the number of flights -- 20 percent.

The amount of parking and the number of rental cars, both smaller sources of revenue for the airport, are also up, Happ said.

Depending on what time of day the game is, Happ said, the visitors might stay overnight.

Shannon Overby, executive director of the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, similarly said it's too early to tell for sure, but sales seem to be up thanks to the SEC move.

"For the Florida game, we saw a huge influx of visitors coming in not just Thursday or Friday, but Sunday night or Monday and they stayed the entire week," Overby said.

She said restaurants, liquor stores, hotels and retail stores all benefit from the out-of-town fans.

The Aggies are halfway done with their SEC home games this football season, with only home dates with LSU and Missouri remaining. Rain drenched the area for the Sept. 29 Arkansas game, and Happ said the turnout was down because of the weather.

The next SEC home game is Oct. 20 against LSU. Happ expects flight volume to continue to soar.

"The No. 1 issue is the weather," Happ said. "As long as the weather holds, I think we're going to see better than the home games we had with the Big 12."

Story and comments:

Vulcan bomber XH558 to be grounded

The last airworthy Vulcan bomber will fly for the final time next year, the trust which funds the aircraft has confirmed.

The XH558 has been based at South Yorkshire's Robin Hood Airport since March 2011 after the RAF Lyneham base closure was announced.

It has been decided that "challenging modifications" to both wings would not be sustainable to the old aircraft.

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust said it decided not to fund the repairs.

Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming told supporters: "At the end of next year, she will need a £200,000 modification to her wings to increase her flying life.

"We know that you would do your utmost to fund this work, but for a number of reasons we have decided not to ask you to take this risk."

Read more here:

Solace in the sky: Flying helps combat veterans free themselves - XSports4Vets

Pilot Todd Ware and Rick Ramirez, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, lift off from the Polson Airport last weekend on a flight sponsored by XSports4Vets, a Missoula-based organization that offers adrenaline-pumping adventures to help heal veterans suffering from the effects of war.

POLSON – Brandon Bryant has done most of his flying from the inside of trailers. 

 The U.S. Air Force veteran piloted drones over Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya during his seven years on active duty. He steered the unmanned combat air vehicles with his feet firmly planted on a floor and his eyes not on the skies so much as on banks of computer screens.

So this was a little different, last weekend, when Bryant slipped on a helmet and took off from the Polson Airport on the back of what amounts to an open-air two-seat tricycle with a wing attached, and a motor capable of propelling it all through the sky at speeds up to 90 mph.

Pilot Todd Ware of Bigfork took the special light-sport aircraft soaring more than 1,000 feet above Flathead Lake, then turned the controls over to Bryant, who rode above and behind him.

Latching onto two bars underneath the wing and within reach of the backseat passenger, Bryant could push to his left and send the trike banking to the right, or force the bars to the right and bank to the left.

Bryant flew himself over the lake, over islands, over the river, over town, over fields, with Ware – a certified trainer – ever ready to grab hold of the single bar in front of him to correct any mistake.

“I didn’t have to take the wing from him once,” Ware announced when the two landed after more than a half hour in the skies. “We were getting kicked around quite a bit up there, but he had amazing control for a first-time flier.”

“I’ll be telling my grandkids about this,” Bryant said. “It’s a different experience. When you’re flying drones, you can see the horizon and you’re in control, but you don’t feel the turbulence. This was awesome – this was freedom.”


It was also the perfect choice of words. Many military veterans who fought for your freedom now fight for their own – a freedom from symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder that threatens to take over their lives and relationships.

Indeed, this perfect October afternoon – when half a dozen veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan flew with Ware – was born of suicide.

The exhilarating flights are part of the activities offered by XSports4Vets, the Missoula-based organization of current-conflict vets whose goal is to help all combat veterans succeed in civilian life.

Co-founder Janna Kuntz created it to honor her stepbrother, Chris Dana of Helena, who survived Iraq, only to come home and, in the throes of PTSD, kill himself at the age of 23.

Ware – owner of Air Therapy Aviation of Bigfork – got involved with XSports4Vets in part because the veteran-brother of a good friend also committed suicide.

Sadly, suicide is not an uncommon escape for those with PTSD. Jesse Roods, director and chairman of XSports4Vets – as well as a wildland firefighter who served as a Marine in Iraq – says an average of 17 veterans commit suicide every day in America.

His group seeks ways to help veterans “take the edge out of civilian life.”

The “X” in the title stands for “extreme,” and while not everything they do falls into that category – there’s yoga, for instance – most of it does.

They challenge whitewater rapids in rafts and on river boards. Climb rocks. Skydive.

And soar a thousand feet above Flathead Lake on the back of a trike.

Read more:


To learn more, visit XSports4Vets is always ready to welcome more veterans into its circle. It’s a nonprofit and operates on donations. And it’s always on the lookout for new activities to incorporate into its program. You can make contact through the website for any of those purposes.

Fliers in small planes at risk of oxygen shortage

MUMBAI: It is a small detail but it could mean the difference between life and death. If you are in a turbo prop aircraft like a Bombardier Q400 or an ATR aircraft, oxygen masks in these flying machines are not deployed automatically during an emergency in case oxygen levels in the passenger cabin dip, making it hard to breathe.

In such situations, passengers in such aircraft are expected to make do with poor oxygen supply for a maximum of four minutes, which is something a healthy person can endure. But if you have an asthma condition or a pulmonary or cardiac problem or are severely anaemic or if you are a heavy smoker, you could be in trouble. The same would apply if you are a senior citizen or if you are flying with a baby.

Bombardier Q400 aircraft have no oxygen masks for passengers. One has to call for help and the flight attendant is expected to rush with an oxygen cylinder which has masks attached. In case of an ATR aircraft, the flight attendant will have to come to your row and manually deploy the oxygen mask, which though is available only for 25 percent of the passengers. Turbo props are the comparatively small aircraft, with 40-70 passenger carrying capacity, with propellers attached to wings that fly on short domestic routes like Mumbai-Surat, Mumbai-Mangalore, Chennai-Calicut, Hyderabad-Calicut etc. There are about 38 such turbo prop aircraft with three airlines in India and on an average these operate about 120 domestic flights a day.

All aircraft that fly above 13,000 feet need to be, what is called in aviation parlance, "pressurized". That is because atmospheric pressure and temperature falls with increase in height (as experienced when travelling to a high-altitude region) and consequently oxygen levels in atmosphere go down. An aircraft cabin is pressurized to keep atmospheric pressure and oxygen at levels comfortable to human beings, so the cabin altitude is maintained to that of about 7000 to 10,000 feet, though the actual altitude of the aircraft would be much higher. When a pressurization problem occurs, the aircraft is brought down to 13,000 feet or lower as at these lower altitudes passengers can breathe normally even if the pressurization system in an aircraft is not functioning properly.

Since jet aircraft like A320s, B737s can fly up to an altitude of about 40,000 feet, these are equipped with oxygen masks that deploy automatically when a pressurisation problem occurs and the cabin altitude climbs to above 14,000 feet. But turbo prob aircraft like ATR and Q400s can fly only up to 25,000 feet. Aircraft manufacturers reason that these aircraft can be put in a rapid descent and brought down to 13,000 feet in about four minutes if a pressurization problem occurs. Consequently, they have not paid much attention to the need for oxygen masks for passengers. Aviation regulators in Canada and Europe (where these two aircraft are manufactured) and in India too do not consider it much of a problem.

"The most significant issue here is that the health status of the passenger decides how well he/she can handle such a situation," said Dr Anil Mehra, CEO of India Aeromedical services, an air ambulance company. "Even an altitude of 13,000 feet is not comfortable for patients with compensatory cardiovascular system or severe anaemia or similar conditions," he added. Capt Mohan Ranganathan, member Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, who brought the matter to the notice of the director general of civil aviation last week said: "The aviation regulator should have taken the passengers health and safety into consideration rather than blindly clearing the aircraft for flight without the protection. It is surprising that airlines do not inform the passengers about this in the safety card." He cited a NASA report on an incident that occurred in November 2011 in the US when a Q400 aircraft climbing to 14,000 feet experienced pressurization problem. "All on board including the crew experienced severe discomfort, so this is not an important issue," he added. TOI wrote to the three airlines that operate these aircraft, but all the three have asked for a day to respond.

While ATR aircraft have oxygen masks for 25 percent of passengers, these are not automatically deployed when the cabin pressure falls and the oxygen levels decrease. "Cabin crew members are expected to go to each passenger row and manually deploy the oxygen masks," said a source. The problem here is that the passenger safety card illustrates that oxygen masks will be deployed automatically, which is not the case. "When there is a decompression problem, the commander puts the aircraft into a rapid descent and flight attendants are supposed to go to their seats and stay buckled. Only after the aircraft has levelled off at 13,000 feet, which could take anywhere between a few seconds to four minutes depending on how high the aircraft was, does the cabin crew get up to help, which could be too late for an asthma patient," he added.

In case of Bombardier Q400 aircraft, there are no oxygen masks for passengers at all. The aircraft has portable oxygen cylinders with masks attached and cabin crew is expected to go to the passengers facing difficulty with breathing. "It is surprising that the aviation regulators have allowed passenger aircraft to operate without oxygen masks," said a commander. TOI spoke to about 14 pilots and co-pilots, three of whom had flown ATRs early in their career, and all were surprised to learn that oxygen masks are not deployed automatically in these aircraft types. "I'm sure not a single passenger knows that in turbo prop aircraft they should be prepared to face breathing difficulties in case of depressurization emergency," said a commander.

Said Dr Mehra: "There are no straight answers here, how well can a passenger cope with this depends on the amount of acclimatisation he/she has gone through. But I definitely feel there should be individual oxygen masks for everyone on board these aircraft. "Otherwise, it is about keeping fingers crossed," he said.

Story and comments:

Australian Federal Police scores big on stolen loot raids

LUXURY cars, sprawling mansions, yachts and high-speed motorcycles were just a few of the items the Australian Federal Police seized from criminals in the past 12 months. 

Last year's $97 million haul of criminals' high-end assets was a record for the AFP and more than double the $41 million seized during the previous year. 

The pricey selection of assets included an Aston Martin, BMW, multiple Rolls Royce's, a Lamborghini, Gold Coast and Sydney prime real estate and even a Beechcraft A36.

Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare said taking away money from organised criminals reduced the incentive to commit offences. 

"Big time criminals are more afraid of losing their money than they are of going to jail," he said.

"In the same way the Untouchables followed the money to catch Al Capone, the money trail leads Australian Federal Police to modern day crooks." 

Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce is led by the AFP but also includes the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Crime Commission. 

Criminal assets seized

  • Real estate in Sydney and on the Gold Coast
  • Multiple Rolls Royce's
  • A Lamborghini
  • An Aston Martin
  • A BMW Multiple motorcycles Numerous yachts
  • A Beechcraft A36
  • Jewellery Cash and
  • Other financial products

Boeing 737-800, TC-TJK, Corendon Airlines, flight 7H-773: Accident occurred October 14, 2012 in Antalya, Turkey

NTSB Identification: DCA13RA001 
 Scheduled 14 CFR Part 129: Foreign operation of Corendon Airlines
Accident occurred Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Antalya, Turkey
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration: TC-TJK
Injuries: 4 Serious,29 Minor,163 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

At approximately 0400 local time on 14 October 2012, a Boeing 737-800, registration TC-TJK, operated by Corendon Airlines as flight 7H-773 departing Antalya, Turkey for Trondheim Norway, experienced smoke/fire in cockpit during push-back from the gate. The captain ordered an emergency evacuation, and the aircraft was evacuated via the emergency slides. There was substantial fire damage to the cockpit of the airplane. There were 189 passengers and 7 crew on board; 27 passengers were hospitalized, with 2 serious injuries reported.

The investigation is being conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of the Republic of Turkey. The NTSB has appointed an Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Design of the airplane.

All requests for information should be directed to:

Directorate of Civil Aviation
Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bulvari
06570 Maltepe

Phone (Central) : (+90312) 203 60 00

Fax : (+90312) 212 46 84 

TC-TJK Corendon Airlines of Turkey B737-800 while passengers were on board - during start up - cockpit fire occurred,  27 passengers taken to hospital - many injuries from jumping off wing.  

Siste: Ingen av nordmennene er alvorlig skadet. Fire nordmenn har nektet først å gå ombord i et nytt fly på vei til Nor, men også disse er nå på vei hjem.

- De siste fire passasjerene bestemte seg heldigvis for å reise hjem i dag, de også. De fløy med Norwegian klokken 11.45, norsk tid, sier driftssjef i Detur, Fatih Fadir, til VG Nett.

Flyet som begynte å brenne skulle til Ålesund og Trondheim og flere ble skadet under evakueringen, bekrefter reiseselskapet Detur overfor VG Nett.

En av de som var om bord i flyet var Idar Green fra Verdal. Han så røykutvikling fra et skap foran i flyet og forteller til Adresseavisen om tilløp til panikk blant passasjerene.

2200@VG.NO || SMS/MMS til 2200 || 22000000 

- Det begynte å ryke og folk fikk panikk. Røykutviklingen gikk raskt og jeg bestemte meg for å åpne nødutgangen, forteller Green til VG Nett på telefon i bilen på vei hjem.

På raden foran satt en annen mann i reisefølget som hadde vært i Belek for å se på en golfturnering der Tiger Woods deltok.

- Vi tok tak i døra sammen og fikk åpnet den. Da jeg kom ut på vingen så jeg at det eksploderte og det var store flammer. Det gikk veldig fort, forteller Green.

Green forteller at alle nødutgangene etter hvert ble åpnet og at de kom seg ut på vingene.

- Skliene ut fra de vanlige døråpningene virket, men ikke de fra vingene. Jeg hoppet derfor fra vingen, og fikk en skikkeligtrøkk i ryggen da jeg landet, forteller Green.

- Panikken spredde seg

En av de reisende forteller til VG Nett hun kjente røyklukt i det flyet begynte å takse bort fra terminalen.

- Noen fremst ved cockpiten roper at vi må ut. Panikken spredde seg og oksygenmasker kom ut, men flyvertinnene bad alle om å sette seg ned. Så sto plutselig flammene ut fra cockpiten, sier hun tydelig sjokkert.

Se bildene av dramaet.

Nødutgangene ble åpnet av passasjerene selv. Flere hoppet fra vingene.

Seks er skrevet ut av sykehuset

Reiseselskapet Detur sier imidlertid til VG Nett at skliene fungerte, men at det var panikk blant passasjerene som gjorde at de valgte å hoppe ned fra vingen.

Selskapet opplyser at to av passasjerene knakk bena da de hoppet ned.

- Det er heldigvis ingen med alvorlige skader. To personer har beinbrudd, mens resten blir sjekket for sikkerhetsskyld. Seks personer har nå blirr skrevet ut, forteller driftssjef i Detur, Fatih Fadir, til VG Nett.

Flyselskapet Corendon Airlines sier kun er snakk om mindre skader.

- Direktøren vår er på sykehuset nå. Status er at det er tre personer med mindre skader på armer eller bein, resten blir kontrollert på grunn av røyken, skriver kommunikasjonssjef i Corendon Airlines, Can Daglioglu, i en epost til VG Nett.

Flere av de andre reisende melder også om forvirring og panikk til VG Nett.

- Klærne våre lukter røyk, og det er mye forvirring. Noen gråter, og det er mange barn her, sier et vitne.

Flyet var av typen Boeing 737-800, fra 2009.

Da hendelsen inntraff var det 189 passasjerer og syv mannskapsmedlemmer om bord. 157 av passasjerene er nå overført til et annet av flyene våre, skriver kommunikasjonssjef i Corendon Airlines, Can Daglioglu, i en epost til VG Nett.

Corendon Airlines opplyser at det var en mindre brann i cockpiten, som ble slukket av personalet.

- Brannen ble slukket av personalet i cockpit. Det var ingen farlig brann. Flyet ble deretter evakuert på rundt 90 sekunder, skriver Daglioglu til VG Nett.

Ikke fått offisiell informasjon

De evakuerte nordmennene har fått tilbud om assistanse fra den norske utenrikstjenesten.

- Gjennom vår ambassade i Ankara har vi vært i kontakt med konsulen i Antalya for å undersøke om noen har behov fra bistand fra oss, sier pressekontakt Kjetil Elsebutangen til VG Nett.

SAS Ground Service på Værnes, som har bakkeansvar for flyvende med Corendon Airlines, opplyser at de ikke har fått offisiell informasjon fra flyselskapet om hva som skjedde i Antalya.

- Vi har lest litt på nett selvfølgelig, men flyselskapet har ikke sagt fra direkte til oss, opplyser Trond Stenersen fra SAS Værnes til VG Nett.

- Vi vet at flyselskapet har byttet fly, åpenbart, og at det nå er på vei til Norge. Det er færre på flyet enn det som var booket, men jeg vet ikke hva årsaken til det er.

Fikk tilbud om nytt fly

Selve evakueringen tok, ifølge NTB, bare noen få minutter, og redningstjenestene var på plass kun minutter etter at flyet tok fyr.

Like før klokken 5 søndag morgen fikk de reisende tilbud om hjemreise med et nederlandsk fly. De som ikke ønsket dette, fikk tilbud om et norsk charterfly senere.

Another aircraft damaged by CamBay’s gravel runway

CAMBRIDGE BAY — Airlines that serve Cambridge Bay and their passengers are eager to see the Cambridge Bay airport runway paved after yet another aircraft suffered damages this past week during landing.

On Oct. 10, a First Air ATR was damaged during landing when gravel, thrown up in a mix of snow from the runway, hit a propeller.

The Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System says that, as it landed, the aircraft veered sharply to the left,  departed the runway surface and damaged a runway light before the crew regained directional control and returned to the runway.

Read more here:

Boeing-767 Makes Emergency Landing in Russia’s Far East

A passenger aircraft Boeing-767 en route from Moscow to Russia’s Far Eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk made an emergency landing on Sunday at the destination airport, a spokesman for he airport said.

Read more here: