Thursday, October 18, 2012

Training center for helicopter pilots opens

SHANGHAI opened its first helicopter pilot training base in the Pudong New Area yesterday.

People can get a private license at the base at Gaodong Airport near Pudong International Airport after taking a month-long course that costs about 250,000 yuan (US$39,975), passing a physical test and an exam from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

It will take further training, around 150 hours in total, to get a business license that allows a holder to work for an airline.

"Shanghai has a huge market for private helicopters with a large number of billionaires and enthusiasts, but there is a shortage of pilots," said Wu Dan, general manager of Heli General Aviation, which received approval from the regulator yesterday to run the training base.

There is also a shortage of helicopter pilots for general aviation uses including agriculture, sightseeing and rescue work, said Zhang Hao, director of the safety inspection and management bureau under the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The number of civilian helicopters in China will grow 25 percent annually over the next five years and reach 2,100 units by 2020, by which time a total of 6,300 pilots will be required.

Air traffic control is no longer a major obstacle for the development of the city's helicopter industry, but the shortage of pilots is holding things back, said Li Qiyong, chairman of Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation, a helicopter operator.

South Carolina: State Employees Certify Their Own Trips on State Plane


Columbia, SC (WLTX) - An On Your Side investigation found state employees who take trips on state owned planes certify their trips are legitimate and for approved state business.

"These are tools for economic development," said Paul Werts, Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.  "The department of commerce uses these planes. These are the catalyst to bring in industry to the state of South Carolina."

TEAM COVERAGE: The Nerve.Org Report on State Plane Flights

Many lawmakers agree that the planes support economic development efforts.

When a state owned plane takes off though, there are no laws requiring the flight manifest have specifics about the trip.

"We're here to provide the service," said Werts.  "We do not regulate or enforce their travel.  We are required by law to provide the service and they're required to make a certification statement on the manifest."

A review by News19 and of hundreds of flight documents dating back to September 2011 shows almost 20% of the trips listed 'official business' or 'economic development' as a reason for taking off.

"Government, here again, is accountable for it's own actions within it's own organization but not the state aeronautics commission," said Werts.

Our investigation also found members of the legislature listing 'official business' as a reason for flying.

Flights from September 2011 though last month cost South Carolina taxpayers $216,000.

Clemson University used the plane most often during that time at a cost of more than $88,000 on 34 different trips.  

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Beech N35, N671VC: Accident occurred October 18, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona 

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA015
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2012 in Phoenix, AZ
Aircraft: BEECH N35, registration: N671VC
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 October 18, 2012, at 1040 mountain standard time, a Hawker Beechcraft N35, N671VC, experienced a loss of engine power while en route to Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona. The pilot conducted a forced landing 20 miles northwest of Deer Valley Airport in desert terrain. The private pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. The pilot was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated at Prescott, Arizona, at 1009.

The pilot reported that he had just made contact with Phoenix Approach Control and was over mountainous terrain when he noticed the engine oil pressure was below 30 psi. He determined that the closest suitable airport was his destination airport, Deer Valley, and continued to that airport. Shortly after that, the engine oil pressure dropped to zero and the engine began to shake violently. He shut down the engine, declared an emergency, and pushed the 'nearest' button on the GPS, which indicated Pleasant Vally Airport as the closest airport. He turned towards Pleasant Valley Airport but he did not have enough altitude to glide all the way to the airport. The pilot executed a forced landing in desert terrain about 8 miles west of Pleasant Valley Airport. During the landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the nose and left wing. Post landing photos show oil and dirt streaks along the left side of the airplane originating from the vicinity of the engine cowling.

  Regis#: 671VC        Make/Model: BE35      Description: 35 Bonanza
  Date: 10/18/2012     Time: 1738

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

  City: PHOENIX   State: AZ   Country: US


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

WEATHER: DVT 2006KT 10SM CLR 26/15 30.05

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Descent      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SCOTTSDALE, AZ  (WP07)                Entry date: 10/19/2012 


CAREFREE, AZ (CBS5) - Luckily no one was hurt when a small plane crashed in the desert north of Phoenix on Thursday morning. 

 The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said the plane made a hard landing at about 10:30 a.m. near Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway.

MCSO said the pilot called it in.

There was significant damage to the nose of the plane and a wing.

Story and photo:

 The pilot of a small aircraft was unhurt after making an emergency landing near a north Phoenix airport. 

 Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the pilot was forced to land Thursday morning about 10 miles northwest of Deer Valley Airport when an engine stalled.

Gregor says the pilot, who was the only person on board, made the landing around 10:40 a.m.

It was not clear if the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was heading to the airport.

Braden Airpark (N43), Easton, Pennsylvania: Forks Township officials want input on airpark's future

Forks Township supervisors want the township to be involved in discussions if the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority decides to sell Braden Airpark.

 The board tonight unanimously voted to have solicitor Karl Kline prepare a resolution stating the township will maintain dialogue with the authority over the potential use of the land. An agreement would compel the authority to consult the township prior to recommending a sale of the property.

The township planning commission and Forks Township Business and Commerce Association would offer insight under the resolution.

The authority hired New Jersey-based master developer Rockefeller Group to help decide whether it should sell the airpark to help pay off a $16 million court-ordered debt. The airpark is just one of an estimated 15 properties totaling 700 to 800 acres near Lehigh Valley International Airport and owned by the authority being considered for sale.

Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss, a pilot himself, said he told the authority at September meeting the township should be consulted on any potential uses for the property.

He said both Northampton County council and the business and commerce association passed resolutions the property remain an airport. Current zoning allows for such uses as a school, park land, golf course or municipal building.

"We are a stakeholder in the airport,” Chuss said. “There are existing businesses there that would be impacted by that. It does have an impact on the residents.”

Supervisor David Billings warned the resolution must be worded carefully to make sure the municipality is being objective in case development plans at the airpark come before the supervisors.

Solicitor Karl Kline said he felt the authority might request a zoning change to get the highest value for the property, and agreed municipal officials should avoid showing any bias before having to decide whether to rezone the land.

“It’s a very valuable piece of land,” Kline said. “They’re going to say, what is the highest and best use for this? What can get the LAA the most money? That is probably what their recommendation is going to be.”

Chuss said the resolution would have to be voted on during the November regular meeting.

“We do need to move on it,” he said. “It’s going to happen very quickly.”

Lehigh Valley International Airport Executive Director Charles R. Everett Jr. said Wednesday he expects the concept plan by Rockefeller to be completed in November or December. The authority’s board of governors will review and consider the concept plan once completed, he said.

If both sides agree, Rockefeller can then submit what properties it is interested in acquiring, leasing or pursuing in a joint venture with the authority. It can also decline to pursue properties, which would return responsibility to the authority. The authority has to pay its $16 million legal debt by 2015.

Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica: Minor accident as plane from El Salvador skids across runway - No injuries were reported, but flights were suspended for two hours.

(Updates with airport reopening)

SAN JOSE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Costa Rica's main international airport reopened on Thursday after shutting down for two hours when the tires of a plane burst upon landing, sending it skidding along the runway.

The capital's Juan Santamaria International Airport, the biggest passenger hub for the popular tourist destination, resumed operations shortly after the plane was removed from the runway at about 6 p.m. local time, said Maria Amalia Revelo, commercial director for the company that manages the airport.

The plane, a Taca Airlines Airbus 321, carried 146 passengers and none were injured, said national fire chief Hector Chaves. The flight originated in El Salvador.

The airport closure was ordered after the plane skidded to a halt and blocked a runway.

Authorities said an investigation into the cause of the incident was under way. Rain fell all afternoon at the airport.

As a result of the closure, 11 Taca flights were rerouted to airports in Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

In 2011, the airport handled 3.2 million passengers, making it Central America's third busiest, said Revelo.

Experts, travelers say fear of flying is treatable

NEW YORK (AP) — Earlier this month, NBA rookie Royce White disclosed that he is afraid to fly and said he expects to travel by bus to play in at least some of the basketball games for his team, the Houston Rockets. 

 But psychologists who treat fear of flying and travelers who've overcome it hope he'll ditch the bus and get help instead.

"The treatments we have for this are so effective for fear of flying that upwards of 80 percent and sometimes even more people who get the treatment can fly," said psychologist Todd Farchione, of Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, echoing statistics offered by other experts.

Farchione says fear of flying treatment consists of a "fairly standard" combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy. That includes identifying the patient's "fear-provoking thoughts" and challenging them, then getting the patient to "gradually confront" the fear, by imagining flying and then doing it. Some programs use flight simulators or virtual reality programs; others put patients on airplanes on the ground and in the air, accompanied by counselors.

Either way, "the core of treatment is exposure" to the sensations of flying, said psychologist John Hart, who treats fear of flying at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, where patients can use a flight simulator that "has noise and shakes your chair."

"It's like the cockpit of a plane, with video screens that look like windows and show the ground and various airports," Hart says. "It vibrates, bounces, takes off and lands and has different kinds of weather."

Rolls-Royce Mulls Setting up Jet Engine Plant in Mexico

The Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY--Rolls-Royce PLC  is looking to manufacture airplane engines in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, the head of a British trade mission to Mexico said Tuesday.

"As Mexican manufacturing develops critical mass, more of these companies will come to get in the supply chain," David Wootton, Lord Mayor of the City of London, told reporters.

Rolls-Royce officials were not immediately available for comment.

Having attracted automotive manufacturers from around the globe, Mexico has since begun courting the aerospace industry.

Justin McKenzie, head of trade and investment at the British Embassy in Mexico City, added that U.K.-based oil and gas firms are also very interested in investing in Mexico, although those prospects hinge largely on the success of the Mexican government's efforts to allow for greater private investment in the energy sector.

Man pointed lasers at jets in frustration, lawyer says


To federal prosecutors, a Virginia Beach man's repeated decisions to shine a laser pointer at passing Navy jets put countless lives at risk. The pilots could have been temporarily blinded by Robert Bruce and crashed, prosecutors said.

To his defense attorney, Bruce's so-called "laser dazzling" in anger over jet noise was not even as serious as road rage: When a driver goes off the handle behind the wheel, he or she is armed with a car or other weapon.

"Mr. Bruce was not close enough to the pilots to cause eye damage, and the pilots training, instinct, and flight profile make Mr. Bruce's dazzling benign and merely a nuisance," Assistant Public Defender Keith Kimball said in court documents.

Hoping to keep his client out of jail, Kimball plans to ask a federal judge today to place his client on probation and order him to attend anger management classes, according to the documents.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. George, on the other hand, says laser harassment is a serious crime and should be treated as such. He plans to ask the court to sentence Bruce to the low end of federal sentencing guidelines - 18 to 24 months in this case.

Kimball and prosecutors declined to comment prior to today's sentencing in U.S. District Court.

Bruce, who moved to Chesapeake after his arrest, pleaded guilty July 31 to one count of interfering with the operation of an aircraft.

According to court documents, at least 10 Navy pilots reported seeing lasers emanating from the area of Bruce's home in Princess Anne Plaza between Dec. 29 and June 5.

In addition to using the laser, Bruce, a Vietnam veteran, repeatedly called Oceana's Flight Operations and Noise Concerns line to complain about the jets. In some of the 21 calls he made, he mentioned violence.

"One day, someone's gonna blow your ass up, start taking potshots at your (expletive) precious jets," Bruce said in one message, court documents said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service caught Bruce red-handed, according to the documents. Arriving to serve a search warrant on his home June 5, they saw him walk outside and train a laser at a passing jet, they said

Laser harassment is a growing problem for military and civilian aviators. A laser beam can light up the inside of a cockpit, making it hard for pilots to read the plane's instruments and potentially injuring their eyes, pilots have said.

Nationwide, there were 3,592 laser reports to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011, up from 2,836 in 2010 and 1,527 in 2009.

In court documents, Kimball blamed his client's actions on the falling value of his former home in Virginia Beach. He said Bruce believed the jet noise was hurting his resale value and snapped. Usually while drinking, the 56-year-old heavy-machinery mechanic would walk outside and shine at passing jets a pen laser he normally used to play with his cats.

"His concerns to the NAS Oceana Air Operations Community Noise Complaint Line went completely unaddressed, as are everyone's calls to the Complaint Line," Kimball said before comparing his client to someone who exhibits road rage.

While saying his client is sorry for what he did, Kimball also argued Bruce should be punished only for what happened, not what could have happened.

The ability for aircrew to eject in a split second makes the F/A-18 Hornet among the most survivable aircraft if a pilot faces an imminent crash, he said.

Prosecutors don't agree.

"Laser harassment of pilots in flight can result in visual impairment, obscure the aircraft's windscreen, and distract the pilot during critical flight phases such as takeoff and landing," said George, who plans to have a Navy pilot testify today. "Any one of these detrimental effects could cause a catastrophic crash."

Fire in vacant hangar: General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (KBOS), Boston, Massachusetts

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Boston) – There was a fire in a vacant hangar at Logan Airport Thursday morning. 

The two-alarm blaze was on the third floor in an office area adjacent to the open hangar space.

Massachusetts Fire and Rescue was the first to respond at 9 a.m. and ended up calling in Boston Fire and Boston EMS.

There were about 18 contractors working at the time of the report of fire.

There were no injuries. The fire was extinguished in 90 minutes. There is now an investigation.

There's no word on what caused the fire but there were welders inside the building.

The fire did not have any impact on airport operations.

South Carolina Air National Guard has night military exercises

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Air National Guard is hosting special operations forces from Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia for some night time military exercises.

Maj. Jim Roth says exercises are taking place this week at McEntire Joint National Guard Base near Eastover. Roth says neighbors should not be alarmed by increased air traffic noise from aircraft or training ammunition.

The Air Guard is hosting members of the 75th Ranger Regiment so they can train its special operations forces conducting forcible entry operations and military raids.

The commander of McEntire's 169th Fighter Wing Col. Mike Hudson says McEntire is trying to reduce noise, but wants the community to understand how important it is for the military to stay well trained for potential combat operations.

Manufacturing Company Breaks Ground on 120,000 sq. ft. Facility in Santa Clarita

Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. (ADI) broke ground on a 120,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Santa Clarita Thursday to support production of parts for the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The new facility is scheduled to open at the end of 2013 and will bring in over 500 jobs to the SCV.

In attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony was U.S Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, L.A. County Board Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Bob Keller and College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook who all gave speeches at the event.

During her speech, Dr. Van Hook spoke of the relationship between College of the Canyons and ADI.

“Places become what they become because of the caliber and the character of the people that are part of them and because how they learn to work together and in 1998 ADI came to us asking for a customized software training program for their engineers,” Van Hook said. “Now we train about 5,000 workers a year in the Santa Clarita Valley in blueprint reading, machining and specialized software.”

ADI has a strong history with Airbus, the company has been manufacturing the wing ribs and spars for Airbus A330, A340 and A380 aircraft for 23 years.

“When I think about a company that’s grown to over 500 employees, and will add another building and more jobs to Santa Clarita… this company is doing something, they’re moving forward,” said Congressman McKeon. “It’s a family business, I love family business.”

ADI’s new facility will be located on Rye Canyon Rd. near Newhall Ranch Rd., the new 120,000 square foot manufacturing facility will manufacture the under wing fitting pylons and equipped gear beam assembly for the A350 XWB, which will enter service in 2014.

Story and photos:

Beijing: New system not for passenger use

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that the satellite communication system that it required Chinese airlines to set up will not be used for passenger services such as in-flight entertainment, Beijing News reported on Wednesday.

CAAC, the country's top civil aviation regulator, said in a draft proposal on Tuesday that airline companies will have satellite communication equipment installed from 2013 to 2016.

The new move has increased wide speculation that the satellite communication system would also provide long-awaited in-flight wireless services for passengers. However, the CAAC said the system would only be used to assist communication between the cockpit and ground control.

Cessna 182P Skylane, N20939: Accident occurred October 18, 2012 in Yucca,, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA017 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2012 in Yucca, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N20939
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 18, 2012, at 1212 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182P, N20939, collided with terrain near Yucca, Arizona. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated private pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces and a post-crash fire. The cross-country personal flight departed Lake Havasu, Arizona, about 1200, with a planned destination of Eagle Airfield, Fort Mohave, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

This was the first flight following an annual inspection. The pilot was returning to his home airport. A witness talked with the pilot about the work just completed, and accompanied the pilot to the airplane. He observed the pilot check the level of the fuel tanks prior to departure, and said the pilot indicated that there were 30 gallons in the left fuel tank and 26 gallons in the right fuel tank. They discussed the beautiful weather, and the differences between this airplane and the pilot’s previous airplane. The pilot then boarded the airplane and taxied for takeoff.

A witness driving on nearby Interstate 40 observed the airplane fly into the mountain, and burst into flames.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Cessna, and CMI examined the wreckage at the accident scene.

The crash site was high on a peak; the terrain slope was about 30 degrees.

The debris path was along a magnetic bearing of 020 degrees.

The First Identified Point of Contact (FIPC) was three parallel ground scars. The outer scars were 9 feet 6 inches apart. A piece of propeller blade tip was several feet in front of the FIPC along with a piece of main wheel pant.

The global positioning satellite (GPS) coordinates for the FIPC were 34° 48.006’ north 114° 09.731’ west.

The GPS coordinates of the main wreckage were 34° 48.016’ north 114° 09.719’ west, and the GPS elevation was 1,845 feet.

The propeller was separated from the engine aft of the propeller flange, and was the last piece of wreckage identified. Its GPS coordinates were 34° 48.032’ north 114° 9.712’ west.

The main wreckage consisted of the engine, fuselage, wings, and tail. The wing struts separated and were in the main debris field. This main wreckage burned and was in the middle of a scorched area of the debris field. Plexiglass shards and debris outside of the scorched area were not sooty or melted.

Control continuity was established. The only disconnect was the flap cable, which was splayed at the right wing root. The Cessna representative noted that the flap actuator was not extended, which indicated that the flaps were up.

The fuel selector valve was not located.

The elevator trim tab actuator separated.

The engine came to rest inverted. The oil pan was crushed upward, and had holes in it. The carburetor separated.

All corners of the airframe and engine were accounted for.

  Regis#: 20939        Make/Model: C182      Description: 182, Skylane
  Date: 10/18/2012     Time: 1910

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

  City: LAKE HAVASU CITY            State: AZ   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SCOTTSDALE, AZ  (WP07)                Entry date: 10/22/2012 

  Regis#: UNKNOWN        Make/Model:           Description: 
  Date: 10/18/2012     Time: 1810

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

  City: LAKE HAVASU CITY            State: AZ   Country: US


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



  FAA FSDO: SCOTTSDALE, AZ  (WP07)                Entry date: 10/19/2012 

Mohave County pilot killed in plane crash in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) — A Mohave Valley man is dead after the small plane he was piloting crashed in a mountainous area in northwestern Arizona.

Mohave County Sheriff's say 73-year-old John Edward Sable was the only person aboard the Cessna when it went down Thursday afternoon about 35 miles southwest of Kingman.

Authorities say a person traveling on Interstate 40 called to report seeing a plane hitting a mountain.

Sheriff's officials say Sable was flying from the Lake Havasu airport to an airfield in Fort Mohave.

They said Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.
Desert Hills Fire Department firefighters responded to reports of an airplane crash about 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the area of Interstate 40 and Santa Fe Ranch Road, or milepost 20, which is about 10 miles east of the State Route 95/I-40 interchange.

Desert Hills Fire Captain Bill Weber reported at least one fatality.

“There was one person in the plane that we know of,” Weber said.

The crash was witnessed and reported by a U.S. Bureau of Land Management official who was stopped at the Santa Fe Ranch Road/I-40 interchange for a telephone call, he said.

The crash scene location was described about 300 yards north of I-40 on the top of a little hill.

“There’s not much left of the wreckage, just fragments of an aircraft and a post-crash fire,” Weber said.

The plane was descried by Weber as a single-engine, small aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the crash in an email Thursday.

“An unknown aircraft crashed into the east side of the Yucca mountains around 12:10 p.m.,” Gregor’s email stated. “The plane was destroyed by fire.”

Weber said DH firefighters assisted in extinguishing the post-crash fire. The fire department’s Rescue 5 crew climbed a bluff to put out fire hot spots.

Mohave County Medical Examiner was reported to have arrived on scene.

Sonic boom may have been military drill: Massachusetts National Guard performed exercise at that time

 CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) -- A sonic boom heard in parts of Rhode Island Wednesday night may have been caused by a scripted military exercise. 

 Residents from around the state reported hearing the noise at about 5:30 p.m., and the Mass. National Guard tells us that two of their F-15s were performing an alert scramble exercise at that time.

The goal of the exercise was to intercept a small Civil Air Patrol aircraft over Martha's Vineyard in order to maintain alert proficiency.

One person told us that one of his home's windows was broken at the time of the sonic boom.

The 104th Fighter Wing is investigating to see if any of their activities could have been the cause of the disturbance.

Cessna 172D: Two injured in plane crash - Mulmur, Dufferin County, Ontario, Canada

A Cessna 172D crashed in a farm field in Mulmur near Princess of Wales Road and 5 Side Road on Thursday (Oct. 18). 
Bill Tremblay

Two people have been taken to hospital following a small plane crash in Mulmur today (Oct. 18).

 According to Dufferin OPP, a Cessna 172D was attempting to land when it crashed and landed on its roof in the area of Princess of Wales Road and 5 Side Road shortly before noon. 

 The 73-year-old pilot and his 70-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries and were driven to Headwaters Health Care Centre by a neighbour. 

 The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Arab prince charged over drunken rant in cockpit

Mubarak Hamad, a wealthy Arab prince, was charged with being drunk on a plane after he was thrown off a passenger flight by police officers back in July.

Hamad, a 29-year-old Bahraini national, caused quite a scene when he boarded a Boeing 777 British Airways flight on July 22. Hamad apparently had a bit too much to drink and started shouting and complaining about the service on flight BA125 from Heathrow airport via Bahrain to Doha, Qatar, according to the Daily Mail.

An Arab prince was marched off a passenger jet at Heathrow by police officers armed with Taser guns after he drunkenly stormed the cockpit to complain about the poor service.

Mubarak Hamad, 29, a Bahraini billionaire prince who lives in London, has been charged with being drunk on an aircraft and is due to appear in court later this month.

Shortly after boarding the British Airways Boeing 777 to Doha in Qatar via Bahrain, it is understood that the prince began shouting and complaining about the service.

Members of the crew were allegedly forced to call the police after he made his way into the cockpit and refused to go back to his seat.

Mr Hamad was then dragged off the plane by officers armed with stun guns and taken to a police station where his DNA, mugshot and fingerprints were taken.

He was bailed, but was told he was being formally charged when he answered his bail on Wednesday. He is due to appear before magistrates in London later this month.

Mr Hamad, who is believed to be a close relation of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, lives in Eaton Square, Belgravia. Past and present residents of the square include Sir Sean Connery, Sir Roger Moore and José Mourinho, the former Chelsea football manager.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Mubarak Hamad, 29, of Eaton Square, Belgravia, was charged on October 17 with being drunk on an aircraft and has been bailed to appear at Uxbridge magistrates’ court.”

Human rights campaigners have in the past criticised King Hamad, whose regime has been accused of violently repressing pro-democracy activists.

This is not the first time that members of the Middle East’s elite have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in Britain.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, a Saudi prince, was jailed for life in 2010 for beating and strangling his servant at a five-star hotel in London.

When arrested, he at first wrongly believed he had diplomatic immunity.

The son of the billionaire Emir of Ajman, part of the United Arab Emirates, had his £200,000 Ferrari FF seized by police and displayed outside Scotland Yard because it was uninsured.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi boasted later that officers handed back the keys as soon as they discovered who he was, writing on Facebook: “Arab money talks.”

Nigeria: Federal government's Incentives and Aviation Sector

Lagos — Last week's announcement by the federal government lifting import duties on aircraft and spare parts is exciting the aviation industry. Stakeholders say it raises hope of new investors into Nigeria's aviation industry.

The announcement is a relief to airlines who currently pay about 14 percent import duties on aircraft and spare parts. Airline operators have consistently prayed for government to remove import duties on spares and aircraft as is obtainable in other societies.

They said that this would enable them invest more in the aviation industry and grow it.

Aviation experts had contended that the amount paid to customs on duties can be reinvested in Nigerian aviation industry and deepen more capacity in the industry.

In announcing the lift on import duties, government explained that it was obvious that airline operators in the country maintain their aircraft overseas at heavy cost and that the relief would go a long way in assisting the airlines to renew their fleet of aircraft.

It could be recalled that the Report of March 2006 of Air Vice Marshal Paul Dike had recommended that government should cancel the 5 percent Value Added Tax being charged on ticket and cargo as part of the palliatives sought for airline operators.

In the final report of the Presidential Task Force on Aviation Industry, the Paul Dike Committee recommended that, "Government should grant custom duty waivers on aircraft spares, engines and test equipment. This would reduce financial burden on the airlines. It would also encourage good maintenance practices since spare parts would be more easily available. It would also remove the extra delay occasioned by cumbersome Custom procedures."

Mr. Akin Oni, the managing director, West African Business Unit, Bristow Helicopters during a chart with our correspondent earlier in the year had remarked that "If you import an aircraft say for $29 million, approximately $30 million. The import duty for that aircraft is about 14 percent that is about $4 million. That is why a lot of Nigerians cannot go into this business. The high import duties are killing the entrepreneurs to come into this business. Nigeria is among the few countries imposing import duties on aircraft."

Like he hoped for, someone has indeed done what they cried for.

Reactions from Aviation stakeholders

The Assistant General Secretary of AON, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur commended the president for his good gesture and hopes that the proposal would scale through the National Assembly screening so as to further enhance safety of aircraft operations within the country's airspace.

He, however noted that nobody should start claiming credit for this proposal except Mr. President who had mustered the political will to forward the Paul Dike Committee recommendation to the legislature for approval in the 2013 Appropriation Bill.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also welcomed the development. "This is a further confirmation of the federal government's commitment towards transforming the aviation sector. We recall with delight that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah made a case for the lifting of the tariff duty as part of an overall effort towards transforming the aviation sector," the managing director of FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi has said.

He believes that this action will turn around the industry and make aviation attractive to the much needed foreign investment. He said the ongoing remodeling exercise has already created a platform for the takeoff of Nigeria as a major hub in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa.

Uriesi noted that the FG's action has indeed inspired enthusiasm in international investors who had indicated strong interest in doing business with the Nigeria's aviation industry during the minister's recent road show.

The chief executive of Mish Aviation, a flying and ground school based in Ghana, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia also said the zero tariff proposed by President Jonathan while presenting the 2013 budget to the National Assembly will help airline investors plough their resources to other important areas.

Captain Mshelia said that government can also be magnanimous in other areas including availability of Jet A1, price regime and cost of handling so as to ensure total growth of the industry.

"If an airline was to buy an aircraft for $50 million for instance and the duty was only 2.5% which I think the ongoing tariff is more, the airline instead of looking for $1,250,000 to pay duty, will now convert that into other issues that will either support expansion or infrastructural development or whatever the airline wants," he said.

"This is something good. Also with spare parts, we can now enroll our aircraft cockpit (Avionics) equipment's and the aircraft itself on certain maintenance programs and enjoy same benefits as airlines in Europe and America do while enrolled on same maintenance support program. We now only have to contain with component shipping charges," he said.

"In the past, you have free component from the program when yours fail, but when a new replacement is shipped to you, you had to pay duty on the original cost which made the program totally senseless to a Nigerian operator and the desired objective in the first place. With this zero duty, we are left with shipping charges. What can be better?"

He further appealed to government to look into other areas that will benefit the industry.

"There are still a few issues that I believe if government can be magnanimous as in this case to also look into, Nigerian aviation will reach its promise land within a very short time. These are: availability of Jet Fuel and the pricing regime, cost of handling and sundry matters which can be discussed amicably as partners between the government and operators to mention a few."

Two notable aviation unions in the country, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ATSSSAN and the National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE have also commended the move by the federal government. Comrade Benjamin Okewu, national president of ATSSSAN said it has provided a golden opportunity for airline operators in the country to bring in aircraft that can stand the test of time.

Comrade Okewu said it was also an opportunity for the operators to re-fleet their aircraft and cut down their fares, pull resources together and source for one digit loan from the international financial organizations to bring in economical machines that will enhance the air transport system in the country.

"Airline operators especially those that are still in operation should capitalize on this noble opportunity to re-fleet their aircraft. In doing that, they must take into consideration the routes that they are flying. The route must determine the type of the aircraft to be brought in," they said.

Okewu noted that tariffs have been the major constraints on the parts of the airline operators especially in the last five years when it became very obvious that local airlines were on the verge of going down as a result of high tariffs on parts which led to calls by the unions to grant waivers to the aviation sector.

Comrade Mohammed Safiyanu, national president of NUATE in his reaction said the union and the Airlines Operators of Nigeria AON have long agitated for this removal.

According to Safiyanu, airline operators have argued that the cost of importation of aircraft and its parts have been responsible for the high cost of fares, adding that the zero tariffs will go a long way in crashing air fares on the domestic routes.

The NUATE president however called on the government to look into the possibility of refining petroleum products in the country especially the JET A1 in order to bring down the airfares in the country.

"We saying that all the refineries must be made to work and refine these products in the country especially JET A1. This will make more people to fly instead of going by road," Comrade Safiyanu said.

Mr. Chris Ndulue, the Executive Vice President/Managing Director of Arik Air described the concession as heart-warming and one that will not only enhance safety but also assuage the high operating cost incurred by Nigerian airlines.

He praised the president for mustering the political will to incorporate the tariff waiver in the 2013 budget presentation thereby giving vent to the long sought relief for domestic airlines which have been reeling under the cumbersome Customs procedures for imported aircraft and spare parts.

"There can be no better time than now for this tariff waiver announced by the president as Nigerian airlines are bleeding from excessive taxes. We have been clamouring for this kind of succour over time and are happy that it has finally come."

"The waiver of import duties on aircraft and spare parts will undoubtedly reduce the financial burden on airlines and encourage good maintenance practices since spare parts will now be available at lower costs," Ndulue stressed.

Innisfail Airport, Alberta, Canada: Pair uninjured after helicopter crash

CALGARY— Two aviators were able to walk away following a helicopter crash at the Innisfail Airport Thursday morning.

RCMP said, shortly after takeoff, the helicopter plummeted to the ground from about six metres in the air.

A man and woman from the Red Deer area were uninjured, according to police.

Authorities are blaming mechanical failure for the crash. RCMP have turned the investigation over to Transport Canada.

The Innisfail Airport is located about 120 kilometres north of the Calgary International Airport.

Georgian President’s Plane Makes Emergency Landing

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s plane had to make an emergency landing at the airport in Bucharest, Romania, due to a mechanical problem, the presidential administration reported on Thursday.

“President Saakashvili was unable to return to Georgia from Romania at the scheduled time because his plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Bucharest 10 minutes after taking off. The cause was a malfunction in the undercarriage,” the administration said.

The Rustavi 2 television network identified Saakashvili’s plane as a “Boeing” and said the plane’s pilot made the decision to return to Otopeni Airport in Bucharest within 20 minutes of taking off from there.

An airport spokesman said an inspection of the plane was being carried out and Saakashvili should be able to depart for Georgia Thursday evening.

After arriving back in Bucharest, Saakashvili returned to the hotel where he stayed while attending the congress of the European People’s Party, reported.

TBILISI, DFWatch — A business jet carrying President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, had to make an emergency landing at Bucharest airport Thursday night, the president’s administration informs.

Saakashvili was returning home after attending a conference, but ten minutes after takeoff his plane landed again in the Romanian capital. His press service says there were problems related to the chassis of the private jet.

The plane is currently undergoing a technical inspection. The president will return to Georgia later tonight.

Saakashvilli had planned to come back to Georgia earlier to meet guest from the EU and NATO, who already have been holding meetings with current and future government officials.
The Georgian leader was in Bucharest to attend the 21th congress of the Europe’s People’s Party (EPP) and addressed the delegates yesterday.

Mr Saakashvili also had meetings with the Romanian president and the prime minister of Hungary.

Airships rising at Lakehurst


LAKEHURST — Operating at altitudes up to 20,000 feet, the Army’s new surveillance airship is designed to keep constant watch for roving gunmen and roadside bomb-planters, far out of range of Taliban guns. 

 “We believe it will be a game-changer for the Army once we get it deployed,” said Kevin Creekmore, chief engineer for the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, a 302-foot hybrid airship designed to provide soldiers with complete battlefield views from cameras, radars and infrared imaging.

It’s another question whether the $517 million project to build the LEMV will come into the sights of domestic military budget cutters. A similar Air Force project for a long-endurance surveillance airship was canceled in June.

Half a century after the last Cold War blimps were grounded, their old base here is a center for what backers hope will be a revival of military airships. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has one of the largest surviving collections of World War II airship hangars, and it’s attracted new airship research focused on giving soldiers more early warning of enemy movements.

“This is one of the few places remaining in the country that has hangars the size we need,” said Bert Race, manager of the military’s only operational airship, the Navy’s MZ-3A. Based on a commercial airship design, the 178-foot blimp was itself nearly grounded last March when the program ran out of military research customers who pay to test equipment in the air.

Race landed a new contract with the Army to test surveillance, communication and other equipment for Army aircraft – including the LEMV, which is running a year behind schedule and just had its first 90-minute test flight Aug. 7.

“We had a close call with running out of funds,” but the Army is committed to testing through March 2013 and the program is pursuing more future customers, Race said.

“If there’s no customers, “ he said. “We’d put the airship into long-term storage.”

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Penticton, British Columbia: Residents get crash course in survival

Without training, the magic number for survival when belted in a confined space underwater is only 15 seconds.

With that in mind and his own brush with death in a float plane crash, Bryan Webster decided to go into the business of saving lives full time.

The accident he was in was on the Fraser River in 1977. Regaining consciousness at the last second, Webster experienced first hand the disorientation and panic of freeing himself (and the pilot) from the darkness of the inverted aircraft just as it slipped beneath the surface.

“That was terrifying,” recalled the Aviation Egress Training Systems founder who was at the Penticton Community Centre pool this week for a regular training session. “My nose was going underwater and I got out of my belt and went around the airplane and undid his (pilot’s) belt, and literally as his body came out, the airplane sunk. I watched the wheel go by me as I pulled him out the door.”

According to Webster, a veteran commercial pilot of more than 11,000 hours on 35 different aircraft, the 15-second rule relates to time the majority of people must free themselves before going into panic mode.

“If they haven’t got their head out the exit by then, that’s when it (panic) hits, it’s immediate, not another 10 seconds, it’s a fraction of a second and then it’s over,” he said.

What his program, which includes practical and theory exercises, does, is teach people to first of all remain calm and follow a series of procedures to manage their own escape and possibly help others.

And it works.

Since starting the Victoria-based company 14 years ago, he estimates the number of lives saved based on the testimonials he’s received to be in the double digits.

The letters of thanks have come from people like Jason Crozier of Gillam, Man. who was involved in potentially fatal mishap only last month.

“I was the pilot of a float-equipped Cessna 182 that was involved in an accident resulting in being submerged and belted in,” he wrote in a letter to Webster. “I have no doubt in my mind that your training saved my life and the life of my passenger.

“He (passenger) was able to open his door and escape. I was still struggling with my door and realized this is what it feels like to drown. I had one last second left in me and somehow made my way out the passenger door. Thank you Bryan.”

Over 5,000 people from across Canada have taken the seminar, the vast majority being passengers who regularly fly over water for work, such as government employees.

Webster has written a book on the subject and in 2007 received a Transport Canada Aviation Safety Award for his work.

Ditching an aircraft in the water, especially in coastal regions and areas with a large number of lakes, is not a rare occurrence.

Ironically, at just about the same time Webster was wrapping up his Penticton course, two Lower Mainland men were in a similar predicament.

An instructor and his student were practising landings and takeoffs on Pitt Lake when their aircraft crashed and turned over, trapping the pair underwater.

The student was able to escape but the 71-year-old instructor did not and died at the scene. As a result of that accident, Webster has already been contacted by someone about taking the program.

The Penticton session also came on the heels of another float plane accident on Okanagan Lake a month ago near Kelowna.

In that incident, the pilot was also reportedly practicing takeoffs and landings when the crash occurred. He managed to escape and was not seriously injured.

According to Webster, at least 15 times a year there are accidents in Canada where aircraft come to rest upside down in water.

What compounds the problem in this country, giving it the highest mortality rate in the world for such incidents, is the cold water, making a quick escape even more critical.

Perhaps the most important thing people learn apart from the emotional aspect is the sequence of steps to take if they find themselves that situation.

“Instinctively most people undo the seat-belt, but they immediately revolve and now they’re totally done,” said the instructor. “They don’t know what’s up or down, they’re lost. And now your heart starts to race and your ability to hold that precious air diminishes rapidly.”

With Webster’s program, students are taught to first open the door and remain in touch with the exit point before unbuckling.

With practical familiarization, he finds people can often extend the time they need to 30 or 45 seconds.

Penticton lifeguard Graeme Naish had an opportunity to try Webster’s specially designed training equipment and even after only a few minutes instruction was able to quickly free himself from the confined enclosure.

“Being flipped upside down disorients you pretty good, especially having the floor above you and trying to find out where you are,” he said afterwards. “But what he teaches sure makes a difference. It’s definitely a life-saving technique.”

Seconds can mean the difference between life and death, and Webster feels if he can give people just a little more time than that magic number, he’s done his job.


Russian Aerobatics Team Boss Fired

The commander of Russia’s famed Strizhi (Swifts) aerobatics team, Lt. Col. Valery Morozov, has been fired from the air force for taking bribes, a source at the Kubinka Air Show Center said on Thursday.

“Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov signed an order discharging Morozov on October 12” for “failure to comply with his contract,” the source said.

Morozov confirmed his discharge and said he will appeal it.

"Yes, indeed, I've been informed that a decree on my discharge was signed. I will appeal that decision together with my lawyers, I'll go to court," he said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Morozov was accused of illegally selling team badges and logos. He is believed to have forced a Moscow region businessman to pay him 5,000 rubles (about $160) a month for the right to use the team logo on t-shirts and other items he sold.

Morozov was nabbed in a police sting operation as he received an envelop containing 35,000 rubles ($1,000) to repay the debt the businessman had run up during a vacation. Police also accused Morozov of extorting another 35,000 rubles from seven of his subordinates looking to skip duty.

Morozov has denied the allegations. The investigation against him is still in progress.

The Swifts, along with another famous aerobatics team, The Russian Knights, are based at Kubinka near Moscow, but were reassigned to another training base in Lipetsk region earlier this year. The center, however, has its own aerobatics team, Russia’s Falcons, and is not interested in helping its rivals, unidentified members of The Swifts claimed in July in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Members of the Swifts and the Russian Knights are being forced by Air Force officials to switch from flying Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets to the smaller Yak-130 advanced jet trainer, the pilots said. 

Moreover, two-thirds of the groups’ Kubinka base is currently controlled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, whose company shares it with the military and is building a business aviation facility there.

The pilots told Moskovsky Komsomolets some of the fighter jets had to be moved out of their hangars and stationed outdoors because the military does not own the premises anymore.

The Russian Knights had to miss the prestigious Farnborough airshow in Britain in July because they did not have the requisite permits from the Russian government, which some military experts described as a shame on the Russian Air Force.

Models on Abercrombie & Fitch Gulfstream G550 had rules for underwear

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Sapna Maheshwari

The actors and models who worked on an Abercrombie & Fitch Gulfstream G550 jet had crystal-clear rules for serving Chief Executive Officer Michael Jeffries.

Clean-shaven males had to wear a uniform of Abercrombie polo shirts, boxer briefs, flip-flops and a "spritz" of the retailer's cologne, according to an "Aircraft Standards" manual, disclosed in an age-discrimination lawsuit brought by a former pilot. Among the 40-plus pages of detailed instructions: black gloves had to be used when handling silverware and white gloves to lay the table, the song Take Me Home had to be played when passengers entered the cabin on return flights and Jeffries' dogs — identified in the document as Ruby, Trouble and Sammy — had different seating arrangements based on which ones were travelling.

The document has come to light at a time when Jeffries' management style is being questioned. Abercrombie's shares have erased half their value in the past year, and activist investor Ralph Whitworth is pressing for changes, according to a person familiar with the matter. While Jeffries' penchant for details helped turn Abercrombie into a global brand, the 68-year-old CEO is struggling to reverse falling same-store sales as shoppers grow weary of the fashions and risque marketing.

Amid takeover speculation, it's hard to see Jeffries relinquishing control over the company he has spent 20 years building, said Rob Wilson, president and founder of independent equity research firm Tiburon Research Group.

"There's many strategic decisions over the last few years that make you scratch your head, and it kind of plays into what people think of as his 'his way or the highway' managerial philosophy," said Wilson, who recommends selling the shares.

At least one private-equity firm considered the idea of a takeover before walking away over concerns about Jeffries' leadership, according to a person familiar with the matter. Private-equity firms may only be willing to invest if they could move Jeffries aside after a leveraged buyout, another person said. Jeffries, who may hold about a 2.8 per cent stake in Abercrombie, stands to get more than $100 million if control of the company changes hands and he's pushed out.

The lawsuit containing the airplane manual was filed in 2010 in federal court in Philadelphia by corporate jet pilot Michael Stephen Bustin, who is now 55, and claims he was fired and replaced by a younger man. Excerpts from depositions and documents filed in court since then highlight the extent of Jeffries' grip on Abercrombie, both personally and through a self-funded family office that's run by his live-in partner, Matthew Smith, who doesn't work for Abercrombie.

Board support

In a company statement, lead independent director Craig Stapleton said the board supports Jeffries' strategy. General Counsel Rocky Robins said the company doesn't comment on rumours and speculation, and that the pilot's lawsuit is without merit.

For years, investors didn't focus much on Jeffries' management style because they were cheering his transformation of a safari-and-camping chain into a retail juggernaut that posted $4.2 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year. Between 1995 and 2008, the apparel chain boosted sales almost 23-fold and net income almost 58-fold. Jeffries made the final merchandising calls across Abercrombie's brands and chose details down to the songs played in stores, according to former executives. It became widely understood throughout the retail industry that he was, in essence, Abercrombie.

Fleeing customers

Since the recession, though, the Ohio-based retailer has stumbled as customers flee to the likes of American Eagle Outfitters and Hennes & Mauritz AB's H&M chain. Abercrombie forecast same-store sales will fall 10 per cent in the second half of the year after an 8 per cent decline in the six months to July, and is closing 180 US locations between now and 2015.

Abercrombie's US revenue slipped 2.5 per cent in its previous two fiscal quarters, and as of yesterday the retailer was trading at an 18 per cent discount to the Standard & Poor's 500 Retailing Index on a price-to-earnings basis, down from more than double the index's valuation in April 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. American Eagle was trading at a 1.7 per cent premium to the index, H&M at an 11 per cent premium.

Abercrombie rose 0.1 per cent to $32.52 yesterday. The company's shares have declined 33 per cent so far this year.

Jeffries' focus on a youthful, physically fit, all-American look helped put Abercrombie on the map. Models and actors aren't limited to advertisements and flagship stores: They surround Jeffries and Smith on the plane and in the home they share in Columbus, Ohio, according to court documents and the former executives.

Flying habits

Abercrombie pays the salary and travel expenses of four cabin attendants provided by Cosmopolitan Management and doesn't directly employ pilots, according to an August 2009 aircraft management agreement with Jet Aviation Business Jets. Jeffries has come under fire for his flying habits in the past. In 2010, the board agreed to pay him $4 million to limit his personal use of the company jet to $200,000 annually.

Cosmopolitan is a New York company that hires out actors and models "with just the right look and personality" for events and as personal assistants, according to its website. Cosmopolitan also provides house staff for Jeffries. The aircraft manual, filed by the ex-pilot together with his opposition to a dismissal motion in April 2011, references the role of "houseman" in the section about boarding the dogs on the plane.

The flight crew uniform included Abercrombie jeans, polo shirts, flip-flops, sweatshirts and a winter coat, with some items applying just to males: a belt, hat, gloves, boxer briefs and a spritz of the retailer's cologne. The coats were only to be worn with the collar flipped, and the thongs were mandatory in flight and when meeting passengers. Men were not allowed to wear jewellery except for watches and wedding rings.

The standards manual was personalised by Smith in conjunction with the Jeffries Family Office, a limited-liability corporation he heads that "advocates for the personal interests of Abercrombie's CEO". Smith negotiates Jeffries' compensation and manages his investments and residences.

Similar rules for staff, including "do not expose the toilet paper and do not fold the end square," also apply to Jeffries' homes, Smith said in the deposition. The uniform worn by the flight crew is similar to that worn by doormen at flagship stores, he said.

Funded by the CEO, the Jeffries Family Office — also known as TJFO — was created about 14 years ago to oversee and determine when to sell Jeffries' stock in the company.

The manual includes directions for serving Smith throughout, such as notes on his tea service: Assam tea in the morning and Darjeeling after 2pm, "served on a small tray with a small tray liner".

It also included a primer on how to address the boss and his entourage in flight: "When Michael, Matthew, or a guest make a request, respond by saying 'No Problem'. This should be used in place of phrases like, 'Sure' or, 'Just a minute.' "

Corporate jet

In the June deposition, Smith said that TJFO may employ 40 to 60 people. TJFO, which sets standards for the maintenance, operation and staffing of the corporate jet, contracts the flight stewards and recommends them for work on the aircraft, where they are then contracted by Abercrombie, Smith said.

Smith has consulted on certain creative and real-estate decisions at Abercrombie, according to the former executives.

Smith also regularly received his own copies of non-public Abercrombie reports on the airplane, including daily sales overall and by brand and direct-to-consumer orders, according to the aircraft standards manual. Attendants were instructed to "bring Michael's lucky wallet to him" after presenting the report binders.

"I do believe the relationship with TJFO and its associates is legal, and in fact, not only legal, but legal and appropriate," General Counsel Robins said.

Discrimination lawsuit

While TJFO was dismissed as a defendant in the discrimination lawsuit in June 2011, the judge presiding over the case has ordered a brief revisiting the company's involvement after being shown new evidence by Bustin's lawyers.

TJFO has no comment on Bustin's complaint, said Edward Ellis, an attorney who worked on behalf of TJFO in the case. Timothy Kolman, an attorney for Bustin, declined to comment on the case.

Abercrombie has fought other discrimination lawsuits and paid almost $50 million to settle three related class-action discrimination lawsuits in 2004.

"We have, and always have had, no tolerance for discrimination," Jeffries said in 2004. "We decided to settle this suit because we felt that a long, drawn-out dispute would have been harmful to the company and distracting to management."

Employment contract

Buying Abercrombie and pushing Jeffries out would be costly, according to his most recent employment contract. The agreement, which expires in February 2014, may award him as much as $105.6 million if control of the company changes hands and he loses his job. That compares with the company's $127.7 million of net income in the year ended January 28. If Jeffries is fired for cause, such as being convicted of a felony, he may still receive $11.6 million.

At the same time, it's uncertain who would succeed Jeffries were he to leave. There are concerns at Abercrombie from "a leadership vacuum perspective", Tiburon's Wilson said.

Potential successors who left in the past decade include Robert Singer, who decamped to pasta-maker Barilla; Tom Mendenhall, now chief operating officer of Tom Ford International; Mark Breitbard, president of Gap's North American division; and Chad Kessler, chief merchandising officer at Urban Outfitters. Kessler's exit in 2010 particularly surprised employees, as he was viewed as the most likely successor.

Lead independent director Stapleton said the company has both short and long-term succession plans, both of which are reviewed regularly.

Abercrombie "has a great number of talented individuals throughout all key operational areas", Stapleton said. "The talent pool for successors, not only of the CEO but also other key executives, is deep."

With Jeffrey McCracken and Andrew Harris.

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Liberty wins regional flight competition


The Liberty University School of Aeronautics flight competition team is the winner of the National Intercollegiate Flight Association (NIFA) Region 10 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) air meet for the eighth consecutive year.

The competition, hosted by Elizabeth City State University, was held Oct. 10-13 on the ECSU campus and at Elizabeth City Regional Airport.

Liberty Flight Instructor Nathan Edwards (’10) earned the Top Pilot award; Melanie Evans (’11), also a flight instructor, was named the Top Scoring Female Contestant.

Liberty’s team placed first overall, first in the overall flying category, first in the overall ground category, and first in five of the nine events: Edwards for aircraft preflight inspection, Evans in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation (SCAN), seniors Matt Sylvester and Corbin Brown in navigation, junior Patrick Spencer for computer accuracy, and junior Zach Floto for ground trainer.

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Joyrides a huge hit with tourists

MYSORE: Mysoreans and others are enjoying joyrides over Heritage City. With a rise in the inflow of tourists following the suspension of the Cauvery agitation, the popularity of rides has gone up. The two aircraft -- Cessna 152 and Cessna 172 - took off on Tuesday. Many tourists went back home disappointed due to the limited number of rides.

"It feels great to fly the city at 1,000 ft and because there's no air traffic, it's easy to land and take off," said assistant flight instructor Madhurima Mukherjee who flies the Cessna-152.

She added: "The four-seater Cessna-172 obviously can take more people at a time. Those who've come on the ride enjoy every moment of his journey and families prefer the Cessna-172. The rush was overwhelming from Day 1." Till Thursday evening, 120 persons had gone on the joyride. But seven had to return disappointed on Thursday.

Satish M Gowda, who waited for two hours at Mandkalli airport here with his family, said, "It was wonderful to fly around the city with my mother and wife." His 52-year-old mother Sumithramma said, "I've seen planes fly overhead but this ride made my day."

Queries about Cessna flights also stole the show at the official Dasara website ( and 203 persons (till October 17) booked tickets online. Tourists can buy tickets at the airport too and they need identity proof like a driving license, voter ID card or PAN card which must be carried during the flight.

Sun Air to start Lancaster (KLNS) flights November 1

Florida-based Sun Air will begin serving Lancaster Airport on Nov. 1, airport Executive Director David Eberly said this morning.

Sun Air plans a “soft start,” with two daily round-trip flights between Lancaster and Dulles International Airport, which serves Washington, D.C., Eberly said.

That will increase to four daily flights Nov. 15, and to five flights at some point after that, he said. Tickets will cost between $40 and $50, he said.

Marketing plans are still in development, he said.

Sun Air is replacing Massachusetts-based Cape Air, which will end its Lancaster flights Oct. 31.

Lancaster service is provided through the federal Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes carriers in small markets.

Sun Air President Thomas Cooper said in August he hoped to start Lancaster service Oct. 15, but he emphasized that was a tentative date.

The small, private company flies scheduled and chartered flights between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas. Lancaster is part of its first expansion beyond that market, along with Hagerstown, Md.