Wednesday, October 24, 2012

US Airways fined $354,500 over jet fuel pump

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed a $354,500 civil penalty against US Airways Inc. for operating a jet on hundreds of flights without completing required testing on a new fuel pump.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine. The FAA and the airline can reach an agreement over the alleged violation or settle the issue in civil court.

The federal agency said the airline operated a Boeing 757 jet on 916 flights after replacing a leaking engine fuel pump on Aug. 3, 2010. But the FAA said the airline failed to carry out federally required tests and inspections before the airline began to carry passengers.

The plane flew between Aug. 3 and Dec. 3, 2010, with the new fuel pump without performing the tests and inspection, the FAA said.

A spokeswoman for the airline said it operated the airline in compliance with FAA rules and plans to respond to the proposed fine soon.


http://www.latimes.com

Wyndham Airport Hotel to close in late December

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Business Journal reported Wednesday, October 24th the Wyndham Milwaukee Airport Hotel – the third-largest hotel in southeastern Wisconsin will close in late December. 133 employees are expected to lose their jobs.

The 508-room hotel near General Mitchell International Airport was bought by its lender, Wachovia Bank Commercial Mortgage Trust in July at a sheriff’s auction.

The 54-year-old hotel had gone through several ownership and identity changes, and the most recent owners were accused of letting the property fall into disrepair. 


CLICK HERE for more on this story from the Milwaukee Business Journal.

High-Flying Technology to Be Recognized at Clark School Innovation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The innovator behind the rotor blade technology used on the fastest helicopter produced will be inducted into the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Innovation Hall of Fame at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Thursday, November 8, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.

Ashish Bagai, a Clark School aerospace engineering alumnus, is an aerodynamicist. He was principal engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in 2010 when a team of Sikorsky engineers built the Sikorsky X2 Technology DemonstratorTM (X2), a helicopter that can fly 100 mph faster than current production models, with increased maneuverability, endurance and high-altitude performance. 

The Sikorsky team earned the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy--one of aviation's highest honors--for its innovation. The X2 will, according to the company, change the way helicopters operate, delivering higher speeds and radically improved performance in medical, search and rescue and military applications, while maintaining the efficient hovering and low-speed attributes of conventional rotorary-wing aircraft. Bagai was responsible for the aerodynamic design of the aircraft's main rotor blades, a key element in its success.

Today, Bagai is a program manager at the Tactical Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He obtained his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees ('90, '92, '95) at the Clark School's Department of Aerospace Engineering (AE) and worked in the department's Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center. He cites as a primary mentor his advisor, internationally recognized rotorcraft aerodynamics expert and Minta Martin Professor of Engineering J. Gordon Leishman, plus professors Alfred Gessow, James Baeder, Roberto Celi and Inderjit Chopra.

"I had the privilege of attending one of the finest schools for rotary-wing education and research," Bagai said. "It brought very significant advantages: use of some of the best research facilities, unlimited access to information, and exposure to and interaction with world-class experts. Faculty members were constantly pushing new areas of research and then rolling their findings into the curriculum. Ultimately, it was the capability of calculated independent thinking fostered by the Clark School that helped lead to the X2 rotor design."

Meeting the Design Challenge

In September 2010, the X2 flew at a speed of 290 mph (250 knots) in level flight, an unofficial helicopter speed record. Achieving high speed, while maintaining or improving capabilities such as high-altitude flight and maneuverability in confined spaces, was the key objective for the co-axial, pusher-propeller-assisted X2.

"The design problem differs from what is required for a single rotor helicopter or for conventional, articulated coaxial or intermeshing rotors" because the X2 does not require the retreating blades to produce lift at high speeds, Bagai said. "One must design a fundamentally new rotor blade that will achieve speed but also provide hover performance capabilities."

Characteristics of Bagai's novel design include non-uniform planaform, positive and negative twist gradients and a complex distribution of modern airfoils and thicknesses. Bagai's design benefitted from the knowledge gained from many years of related work, as well as many contributions by Sikorsky colleagues.

"I drew on the guidance of exceptional people at Sikorsky, gentlemen who provided years of experience and in-depth understanding and were only too happy to encourage and support the effort," Bagai said.

The Clark School's Innovation Hall of Fame recognizes innovation at the concept, design or working level of engineering, and the benefits innovation brings to society. Clark School alumni, students, and faculty, as well as other individuals with a strong connection to the Clark School, are eligible for selection.

This year's Innovation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be followed by the 2012 Charles and Helen White Symposium on Engineering Innovation titled "The Impact of Helicopters in Society Today: Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, and National Defense, with a Special Appearance by the Gamera Human-Powered Helicopter Team." The symposium will take place at 5 p.m. in the rotunda of the Kim Engineering Building on the College Park campus. Both events are open to the public.

More Information

Innovation Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony Information: http://www.eng.umd.edu/html/ihof/evite12.html
 
2012 White Symposium on Engineering Innovation: http://www.eng.umd.edu/html/news/news_story.php?id=6828

Ashish Bagai, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Stratford, Conn., "Aerodynamic Design of the X2 Technology DemonstratorTM Main Rotor Blade," Proceedings of the 64th Annual Forum of the American Helicopter Society, 2008.

Rotor Blade for a High-Speed Rotary-Wing Aircraft (Patent: US 7,252,479 B2)

SOURCE A. James Clark School of Engineering

Pelton: Experimental Aircraft Association won't rush to find new CEO

Experimental Aircraft Association Board Chairman Jack Pelton said the organization will take its time finding a successor to CEO Rod Hightower, who resigned Monday.
 

Hightower, in announcing his resignation, said he had decided not to relocate his family to Oshkosh from St. Louis, which had been a condition of his employment. Almost simultaneously, EAA’s Board of Directors elected Pelton chairman and assigned him responsibility to oversee the search and transition.

“There’s never an appropriate time for something like this. We as a board were comfortable with the timing, though,” Pelton said. “We had someone who could take the reins and lead the organization in the interim … it just lined up that way.”

That “someone” is Pelton, who retired in 2011 as CEO of Cessna.

“I’m on the ground and trying to lead the organization through this transition,” Pelton said. “I will work with the board on the appropriate timeline to find a new leader who will be resident in the Fox Valley.”

Pelton said the search for Hightower’s successor will focus on finding a leader who will be responsive to members, employees, volunteers and vendors.

The search for a new CEO comes at a time when EAA had begun to fracture under Hightower's direction. Some elements of the organization's membership complained EAA was moving away from its roots as a chapter-based association of homebuilders toward a general aviation organization.

Volunteers, homebuilders and kit manufacturers also had concerns about Hightower’s decision to restructure the organization and dismiss close to 30 employees in January.

Pelton, the retired CEO of Cessna, said EAA’s overall direction did not change under Hightower’s leadership.

“Rod was doing the best he could at representing all of aviation which is what EAA is all about,” Pelton said. “The groups you hear from are one of many segments of aviation we try to represent.”

Pelton called the struggle to keep EAA’s diverse membership happy “the leadership challenge” and said he expects all membership segments would appreciate more focus.

“I’d wager the Warbird guys and vintage guys and vendors want just as much attention as the homebuilders want,” he said. “That’s the leadership challenge: How do you effectively communicate with and bring along all of those groups?”

No timeline has been set yet for naming the organization’s fourth CEO, but Pelton said he will spend a lot of time in Oshkosh shepherding the process to its end.

“I plan to spend a great deal of time here until we can get through that selection process,” he said. “Leadeship changes are always hard and tough, but there’s a nucleus here at headquarters that are committed to the organization. We owe it to them to find a leader who’s committed to their values and then get the heck out of the way.”


Source:    http://www.thenorthwestern.com

New plane takes flight in Albany, Georgia

ALBANY, GA --  Thrush Aircraft held a celebration lunch Wednesday in honor of their new plane, the Thrust 510G.

The design features the new GE H80 turboprop engine, which is a first for general aviation.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified the aircraft yesterday after final flight tests were performed at the company plant in Albany.

It marks the culmination of more than two year's work by both Thrust and GE aviation.

Stay connected to MySouthWestGA.com as the story develops and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM.

Fate delayed: Interstate transportation of stolen plane in April 2009

 

THUNDER BAY -- Adam Leon’s lawyer says his client has already been punished for his crime. 

A Confederation College aviation student in 2009, Leon stole a plane from the school’s facility at the Thunder Bay airport and flew it into US airspace before coming down in Missouri.

He was convicted there and sentenced to two years in prison for illegally entering the United States and interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft.

Leon was in a Thunder Bay courtroom Wednesday facing a charge for theft over $5,000.

During submissions, his lawyer Neil McCartney argued autrefois convict, which is similar to double jeopardy.

The Missouri court started with the foundation that Leon had stolen the airplane in its decision to convict him.

While it could have named the United States itself as the victim for the cost and time it took for fighter jets and Missouri police to get involved in Leon’s case, it instead stated that Confederation College was the victim McCartney said.

The incident made international headlines on April 6, 2009 and was covered live on major news networks including CNN.
 

Two F-16 jet fighter jets followed Leon's plane as he continued his seven-hour trek through the states.

The FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol said Leon told them he was trying to commit suicide, hoping the U.S. fighter jets would shoot him down.

“He was the thief. That was the essential part of the case they presented,” McCartney told the court.

With the exception of some circumstances, common law generally assumes that a person possessing stolen goods has also stolen it if it’s the same continuous act. “

But the Crown’s Trevor Jukes argued that one of the reasons the US court didn’t charge Leon with theft is because they didn’t have jurisdiction and were more concerned with transportation across borders and state lines.

“It was about dealing with the sovereignty of their borders,” he told the court.

Jukes said they became separate acts once the border was crossed. The case was adjourned to Dec. 5.

 http://www.tbnewswatch.com/news/243112/Fate-delayed

Massachusetts - Logan workers file discrimination case

Two airport workers filed complaints last week with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) alleging that one was fired and another suspended for speaking Creole while on the job. 

The two were employed by Flight Services & Systems (FSS), a contractor that provides cabin cleaning, wheelchair assistance and security services at Logan Airport.

Community groups said they worry that incidents like these may represent a larger climate of discrimination and injustice at the airport.

Bonny Saintelot, a member of the Haitian American Forum, expressed condemnation of FSS’s actions: “What happened at the airport struck me a great deal — discrimination is supposed to have ended a long time ago, but these incidents show that it is still alive at Logan Airport.”

Nesly Metayer, coordinator of the Haitian American Task Force, echoed a similar sentiment, declaring “it is unacceptable to treat workers unfairly like this in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Massport must act swiftly to stop discriminatory practices at the airport.”

Charles Pierre is one of the two FSS employees that filed a complaint with MCAD. He was allegedly suspended for speaking Creole while working.

“While FSS has been quick to use me as a translator if there is a passenger in need, they’ve turned the tables by suspending me for speaking Haitian to my co-workers,” Pierre explains. “By filing a complaint and speaking out, I’m standing up for all workers who speak languages beyond English, showing that discrimination at work is not to be tolerated.”

These occurrences are especially disturbing in light of recent allegations of discrimination and racial profiling by Transportation Security Administration agents at Logan Airport.  In August, the New York Times reported that 32 TSA agents have come forward alleging that “the operation has become a magnet for racial profiling, targeting not only Middle Easterners but also blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.”

Djovanna Dorce said that she was fired on Sept. 27 after being overheard speaking Creole outside of her manager’s office.

Pierre claims that on the very same day he received a three-day suspension for “insubordination” after his manager saw him talking to a co-worker in Creole.

Both Djovanna and Charles say that they were unaware of the company’s “English only” policy at the airport, because it was common for other employees to speak to each other in their native languages without facing discipline.

Material from SEIU Local 615 contributed to the report. 


Source:  http://www.baystatebanner.com/local14-2012-10-25

Lockheed Joins Northrop Seeing Computer Services Decline

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) reported weak sales at their information technology units and predicted the operations will drag down revenue next year, especially if automatic U.S. budget cuts take effect.

Sales of computer services to U.S. agencies, including the Pentagon, “would probably be impacted sooner” than traditional, longer-term military contracts, especially if across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, aren’t averted, Wes Bush, chairman and chief executive officer of Northrop, said today on a conference call with analysts.

Lockheed said in a statement that the company’s revenue next year would decline “at a low single-digit rate from 2012 levels” because of weak sales anticipated in its Information Systems & Global Solutions unit, which provides computer- services to clients including agencies such as NASA.

Defense contractors renewed their warnings about budget cuts as they announced third-quarter results today. Lockheed and Northrop beat analysts’ profit estimates, while General Dynamics Corp. (GD) fell short.

Lockheed rose 2.2 percent to $94 in New York trading at 2:56 p.m.,the biggest gain in intraday trading since July 24. General Dynamics climbed 3.2 percent to $68.34, the most since June 29. Northrop rose less than 1 percent to $69.56.

The U.S. government faces sequestration, automatic budget cuts of about $1 trillion over a decade starting in January, unless Congress and the president can agree on alternative deficit reduction measures. About $500 billion will come from the defense budget in addition to the $487 billion the Pentagon already plans to cut from its previously planned budgets over 10 years.

Civilian Agencies


Defense contractors expanded in information services to government agencies to diversify their revenue sources beyond the Pentagon. Now, civilian agencies with smaller budgets than the Pentagon’s may be especially hard-hit by the budget cuts, Bush said.

The information technology business is “one sector where everybody feels the competitive pressure, whatever the budget scenario,” Byron Callan, a defense industry analyst in Washington with Capital Alpha Partners LLC, said in a phone interview today. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that sector goes through more restructuring in 2013 and 2014,” such as mergers and acquisitions, he said.

Lockheed’s Profit

Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, said third-quarter profit rose 9.3 percent and raised its full-year profit forecast.

Net income from continuing operations for the quarter rose to $727 million, or $2.21 a share, from $665 million, or $1.99 a share, a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of $1.85 a share. Sales declined 2.1 percent to $11.9 billion.

Full-year profit will be $8.20 to $8.40 a share compared with the forecast of $7.90 to $8.10 a share made in July, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast profit of $8.18 a share.

Sales at Lockheed’s Information Systems & Global Solutions unit fell 1.3 percent to $2.3 billion. Profit at the unit fell 1.9 percent to $209 million.

Earlier this month Lockheed dropped plans to issue layoff notices to its employees after warning that it may have to fire as many as 10,000 workers if the automatic budget cuts go into effect in January.

WARN Act


The company changed its intention to issue notices after the White House Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 29 said the government will cover legal and compensation costs if defense and domestic cuts take effect in January and contractors are held liable in court for not giving enough notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Lockheed decided not to issue layoff notices after the Pentagon reassured the company that no contract disruptions would occur on January 2 or for several months after as a result of sequestration, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens told reporters today on a conference call.

“We will comply with the law and issue WARN Act notices at the appropriate time” if sequestration-related actions are likely to affect the company’s contracts, Stevens said.

Lockheed is under pressure as it negotiates a contract with the Pentagon for the next lot of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s single biggest weapons program. Officials including Air Force Major General Christopher Bogdan, the deputy program executive officer, have criticized the company for poor relations, delays in software development and problems with helmets worn by the plane’s pilots.

F-35 Talks

The company has received 75 percent of the funds toward that fifth lot of F-35 trial production orders, pending completion of contract talks, Bruce Tanner, Lockheed’s chief financial officer, told reporters today.

Lockheed has 94 F-35 jets on its production line from various lots, and the lack of a completed contract for the fifth lot won’t affect this year’s profit, Tanner said.

General Dynamics, the maker of Abrams tanks and Gulfstream business jets, said third-quarter profit fell 9.7 percent on weaker sales and profit at its information technology unit.

Net income from continuing operations was $600 million, or $1.70 a share, compared with $665 million, or $1.83 a share, a year earlier, the Falls Church, Virginia-based company said today in a statement. It missed analysts’ forecast of $1.78 a share, the average of 20 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 1 percent to $7.93 billion.

Gulfstream Jets
 
While the company has said the prospect of cuts in defense spending already is slowing contract awards at some of the company’s units, sales in its aerospace operation, the maker of Gulfstream business jets, rose 30 percent and profit increased 20.3 percent during the quarter.

“We remain encouraged by Gulfstream’s sizable large-cabin backlog and healthy order pipeline,” Jay Johnson, chairman and chief executive, said on a conference call. “We continue to believe that we will realize several multi-aircraft international orders in the coming months.”

Northrop today boosted its full-year profit forecast to $7.35 to $7.40 a share from a previous estimate of $7.05 to $7.25 a share. The average of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is for $7.25.

Northrop Profit


Northrop’s income from continuing operations for the third quarter was $459 million, or $1.82 a share, compared with $520 million, or $1.86, in the same period last year, the company said in a statement. The average of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of $1.69 a share. Sales fell 5.1 percent to $6.27 billion.

Sales at the company’s Information Systems unit fell 9.2 percent to $1.78 billion, and profit at the unit declined 9.1 percent to $170 million.

Bush, the Northrop CEO, said the uncertainty about defense cuts is compounded because Congress has failed to pass a spending measure for fiscal 2013, which began on Oct. 1. Interim funding restricts how money can be used, limiting new contracts in areas such as information technology, he said. 

Source:  http://www.bloomberg.com

Glasair III, DSB Inc., N655DB: Fatal accident occurred October 23, 2012 in Byron, California

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:     http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N655DB

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA022
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in Byron, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: BEHNE GLASAIR III, registration: N655DB
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The two pilots, one of whom owned the airplane, departed for a personal flight. The airplane was equipped with dual flight controls; however, it could not be determined which pilot was manipulating the controls at the time of the accident. Witnesses located adjacent to the accident site reported that they heard a loud noise and then saw the airplane slow down and begin to spin left in a slight nose-low attitude. The witnesses further reported that the airplane continued to spin until it impacted terrain. Postaccident examination of the engine and airframe revealed no evidence of any preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Wreckage and impact signatures were consistent with a flat-spin, slightly nose-low impact with terrain. Postmortem toxicology tests for the left seat pilot/owner were positive for doxylamine (an antihistamine used in over-the-counter sleep aids and cough medicines) and methamphetamine (a central nervous system stimulant). Because the amount of doxylamine in his system at the time of the crash was below the therapeutic limit, its direct effects on the left-seat pilot’s performance at the time of the crash could not be determined. Although methamphetamine was present in the left-seat pilot’s blood, the amount was below the calibration limit of the toxicology tests. However, both methamphetamine and its metabolite (amphetamine) were present in his urine. Regardless, no direct correlation exists between the concentration of drug in the blood and the user’s symptoms. Although it is unlikely that the left-seat pilot was actively euphoric at the time of the flight, he was likely in the late phase of symptoms or in the withdrawal phase(during which concentrations of the drug may be undetectable), which would have been impairing. However, as noted, it could not be determined which pilot was manipulating the controls at the time of the accident; therefore, the impact of the left-seat pilot’s drug impairment on the flight could also not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering, which resulted in a stall and subsequent spin.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 23, 2012, about 1403 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur- built Behne Glasair III, N655DB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Byron, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot who occupied the left seat, and the private pilot who occupied the right seat were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Funny Farm Airport (4CA2), Brentwood, California, about 1357.

Witnesses located adjacent to the accident reported that they observed the accident airplane flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level when it suddenly nosed over and began to spin to the left in a slight nose low attitude. The witnesses further reported that the airplane continued to spin until it impacted terrain where post-crash fire ensued.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

It was not determined which one of the two pilots, a private pilot and owner of the airplane seated in the left seat or the private pilot seated in the right seat, was manipulating the flight controls when the accident occurred.

Pilot #1 (left seat pilot/airplane owner)

The pilot/owner, age 57, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane rating. A third-class airman medical certificate was issued to the pilot on April 10, 2012, with no limitations stated. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application he had accumulated 3,457 total flight hours. The pilot's personal logbook was not obtained during the investigation.

Pilot #2 (right seat pilot)

The pilot, age 56, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane rating. A third-class airman medical certificate was issued to the pilot on September 9, 2010, with the limitation that stated "…must have glasses available for near vision." The pilot-rated passenger reported on his most recent medical certificate application he had accumulated 900 total flight hours. The pilot's personal logbook was not obtained during the investigation.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear experimental amateur-built airplane, serial number (S/N) 3051, was completed in 2008. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1B5 engine, serial number L-20707-48A, rated at 300 horse power. The airplane was also equipped with a Hartzell model HC-C2YR-1BF adjustable pitch propeller. The airplane maintenance records were not obtained during the investigation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A review of recorded data from the Livermore Municipal Airport automated weather observation station, located about 15 miles southwest of the accident site, revealed at 1353 conditions were wind from 220 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered cloud layer at 7,000 feet, temperature 16 degrees Celsius, dew point 6 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest within an open field about 3 miles south of 4CA2. All major structural components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The inboard portion of both wings and center section of the fuselage were mostly consumed by a postimpact fire. Wreckage debris remained within about 40 feet of the main wreckage. The inspector reported that there was no debris path.

The inspector reported that the left aileron was partially separated from its mounts and the left flap remained attached via its mounts and exhibited fire damage. The right aileron and flap remained attached via their respective mounts and exhibited fire damage. The rudder was partially separated from the vertical stabilizer, and the left and right elevators remained attached via their respective mounts and exhibited fire damage. The empennage of the airplane from slightly forward of the dorsal fin was displaced to the left when looking aft to forward. The engine was partially embedded within soft dirt.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot #1 (left seat pilot/airplane owner)

The Contra Costa County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on October 25, 2012. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "…Multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot/owner. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and had positive results for 0.073 (ug/ml, ug/g) amphetamine in urine, amphetamine not detected in Blood (Cavity), 0.033 (ug/ml, ug/g) doxylamine detected in blood (Cavity), doxylamine detected in Urine, 0.172 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine detected in Urine, and methamphetamine detected in Blood (Cavity)

The FAA blue ribbon medical file, autopsy results, toxicology report, and the investigator's report were reviewed by the Chief Medical Officer for the National Transportation Safety Board. No personal medical records were discovered; according to the investigator, the family did not believe that the pilot was taking any medications.

The pilot's FAA blue ribbon medical file indicated that he was first certified in 1972. In 1997, his medical certification was surrendered when the FAA became aware that his driver's license had been suspended twice; once in 1994 and again in 1997. Both times the incidents were alcohol related but later reduced to convictions for reckless driving.

The pilot argued that he had not misled the FAA in 1996 when he responded in the negative to question v. "yes or no? History of (1) any convictions(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or (2) history of any convictions(s) or administrative action(s) involving an offense(s) which resulted in the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an educational or a rehabilitation program." The pilot argued that neither episode resulted in a conviction and pointed out that while his California license had been suspended, he retained his Nevada license to drive. In 1998 he underwent an addiction evaluation and was issued a second-class medical certificate.

In 2007, the pilot reported another alcohol related suspension, and his medical certificate was revoked. On this occasion, he was convicted of driving under the influence and underwent the FAA's required psychological testing and psychiatric evaluation. In 2010 he was granted a regular third-class medical certificate.

The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. The toxicology testing identified methamphetamine in blood (amount below the calibration level of the machine) and 0.172ug/ of methamphetamine in urine; 0.073ug/ml of amphetamine was found in urine but none in the blood. In addition, 0.033ug/ml of doxylamine was detected in blood; doxylamine was also detected in urine.

Methamphetamine and amphetamine are central nervous system stimulants and schedule II controlled substances used in prescription medications that treat narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and for weight control. Methamphetamine has high abuse potential due to its early euphoric effects; amphetamine is one of its metabolites. Following methamphetamine use, a greater proportion of the drug is excreted unchanged in urine than is excreted as amphetamine.

Symptoms following use occur in phases:

"Early phase –

Psychological: Euphoria, excitation, exhilaration, rapid flight of ideas, increased libido, rapid speech, motor restlessness, hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, insomnia, reduced fatigue or drowsiness, increased alertness, heightened sense of well-being, stereotypes behavior, feelings of increased physical strength, and poor impulse control.

Physiological: Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased respiration rate, elevated temperature, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, abdominal cramps, appetite suppressed, twitching, pallor, dilated pupils, horizontal gaze nystagmus at high doses, faster reaction time, increased strength, and more efficient glucose utilization.

Late phase –

Psychological: Dysphoria, residual stimulation, restlessness, agitation, nervousness, paranoia, violence, aggression, lack of coordination, pseudo-hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, and drug craving.

Physiological: Fatigue, sleepiness with sudden starts, itching/picking/scratching, normal heart rate, and normal to small pupils which are reactive to light."

The time to onset of symptoms and to their end depends on the method of use; oral ingestion is slower and has lower peak blood levels but longer period of action than snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. Withdrawal in chronic users or after a binge is associated with depression, fatigue, and strong cravings. Long term use can result in insomnia that may persist through at least month(s) long periods without the drug.

Doxylamine is a first generation antihistamine used in over-the-counter sleep aids and cough medicines. It carries a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning: "Warnings - may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery)." The therapeutic dose range is 0.0500 to 0.1500ug/ml.

Family of the pilot reported that they were unaware if the pilot was taking any current prescription medication.

Pilot #2 (right seat pilot)

The Contra Costa County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on October 25, 2012. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "…Multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and had negative results.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed that the airframe, wings, and empennage were mostly consumed by fire. Flight control continuity was established throughout the airframe from the cockpit controls to all primary flight control surface attach points. Numerous separations observed throughout the torque tubes were consistent with post impact fire damage.

The recovered Lycoming IO-540-K1B5 engine was separated from the airframe and intact. The accessory case was mostly consumed by fire, exposing the aft accessory gears. Molten metal was observed throughout the aft accessory gear area. The top spark plugs and rocker box covers were removed. The crankshaft was partially rotated by hand using the propeller assembly. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train.

The exhaust system was compressed upwards into the engine and flattened. The induction system was impact and fire damaged. The magnetos were mostly consumed by fire; however, the magneto drive gears were intact. The top spark plugs exhibited normal operational signatures.

The throttle body/fuel control was partially separated from the engine. All linkages and control arms were intact, however, would not move freely by hand. The fuel screen was full of molten metal debris. The throttle body fuel control diaphragm was consumed by fire. The fuel flow divider was intact and exhibited fire damage. All six fuel lines from the divider to the cylinders were intact and fire damaged. The propeller governor was partially separated from its mount and was mostly intact. The propeller governor oil screen was free of debris.

The propeller hub remained attached to the crankshaft propeller flange. One of the two propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub and exhibited aft bending about mid span with trailing edge gouging near the blade tip. The remaining propeller blade was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited "S" bending and leading edge polishing.


Postaccident examination of the recovered airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

An Advanced Flight Instrument panel was located within the recovered wreckage and subsequently sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data recovery. The recovered data for the accident flight included various parameters such as airspeed, cylinder head temperature, exhaust gas temperature, heading, manifold pressure, pitch, roll, and engine rpm. No GPS location data was recorded.

The data depicted that following takeoff, the airplane ascended to an altitude of about 1,410 feet mean sea level (msl) over the timeframe of about 3 minutes, 30 seconds before descending to an altitude of 210 feet msl throughout the following 60 seconds of recorded data. The last 50 seconds of recorded data depicted an increase of altitude from 210 feet msl to 2,290 feet msl, and a decrease in airspeed from 228 knots to 154 knots. The last two recorded data points showed heading change from 168 degrees to 187 degrees. The vertical acceleration varied from 1.4 g's to 4g's at the last recorded data point over the last 50 seconds of recorded data.

Throughout the entire accident flight, the engine parameters exhibited normal operational indications. For further information, see the recovered data files and data plots in the public docket for this accident.


NTSB Identification: WPR13FA022
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in Byron, CA
Aircraft: BEHNE GLASAIR III, registration: N655DB
Injuries: 2 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 23, 2012, about 1403 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Behne Glasair III, N655DB, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Byron, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his private pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Funny Farm Airport (4CA2), Brentwood, California, about 1400.

Witnesses reported that they observed the accident airplane flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level when it suddenly nosed over and began to spin to the left in a slight nose low attitude. The witnesses further reported that the airplane continued to spin until it impacted terrain where a post-crash fire ensued.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that all major structural components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The inboard portion of both wings and center section of the fuselage were mostly consumed by fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.



Sheriff’s deputies inspect the wreckage of Glasair III (N655DB) plane that crashed in Byron Tuesday, killing two people on board. 



Michael John "Mike" Ritschard 

Obituary 

March 14, 1954 - Oct. 23, 2012 MISHAWAKA - Michael John "Mike" Ritschard succumbed to injuries sustained in an aircraft accident. He was the eldest son of John and (the late) Martha Ritschard. Mike was a graduate of Penn High School (1972), and received an Aircraft Mechanic degree from Vincennes University. He worked for Bendix in South Bend, testing aircraft fuel controls, then took a company transfer to San Antonio, TX. Mike and his wife Vicki enjoyed a life of travel as they worked in Holland, Germany, Nassau, Japan, Singapore and finally returning to Kelly Air Force base in San Antonio. Surviving family includes his wife, Vicki Ritschard; father, John Ritschard; stepmother, Lila (Kellems) Ritschard; sister, Carol (Wyn) Laidig; brother, Dave (Roberta) Ritschard; stepchildren, David Abdulky, Sulema (Abdulky) Bracaloni; and 4 step-grandchildren. Mike will be remembered for his great love of flying and sharing that love with others. A memorial service will be held at Osceola United Methodist Church (432 North Beech Road, Osceola) on Saturday, November 3rd, at 11:00 am. 
Guest Book:  http://www.legacy.com

A Space Systems/Loral engineer was one of two men who died when their experimental aircraft crashed near Byron on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

David Behne, 57, was identified on Friday, Oct. 26, by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office following a review of dental records by the sheriff's coroner's division, said Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

Behne and longtime friend Larry Strobel, 56, both of Brentwood, were flying the two-seat, custom-made, single-engine, Glasair III plane, owned by Behne when the crash occurred.

The plane was heard whirring overhead by a witness before it fell in a corkscrew dive and crashed into a farm field shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday near Marsh Creek Road and Byron Highway.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Behne worked at Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto on commercial satellites used by television companies, his son, Eric Behne, said. His father flew almost every day, including daily commutes from his airstrip in Brentwood to the Palo Alto Airport on his way to work, Eric Behne said.

Earl Hibler, a pilot and longtime friend of Behne, said today that he spent much of Thursday at the crash site with two others picking up pieces of the plane to return what is left to the Funny Farm airstrip, the private airport that Behne owned in Brentwood.

"It was a long and grueling day," Hibler said. "When your best friend dies and you have to pick up the wreckage, it's tough."

Hibler added that he himself was among those who helped Behne build the plane in 2008, and Hibler said he had flown it himself many times.

Behne and Strobel were longtime friends and avid pilots, according to Eric Behne. They also were accomplished engineers.

Strobel was the owner and namesake of L.D. Strobel Co. Inc., of Concord, a wireless and utility construction company that has completed 5,000 projects, including communications towers in Hawaii and San Francisco, since its founding by Strobel in 1987, according the firm's website.

Strobel's most recent projects included cell towers built on Treasure Island and atop the parking garage of the South San Francisco BART station.

Strobel owned two single-engine, two-seat aircrafts, a Vans RV-4, which he constructed himself, and Kenneth M. Browne Christen Eagle II, according to FAA registration records.

A person who answered the phone at Strobel's company declined to comment on the founder's passing.

Hibler said he did not know Strobel well, but that Strobel was part of a group of airplane race fans that included Behne who drove to Nevada to watch Hibler compete in the Reno Air Races.

Behne owned about a dozen aircraft at the Funny Farm airstrip, Hibler said.

Eric Behne said that his father, who started out as a pilot at age 16, piloted the plane the day of the crash. His father took off from the private Funny Farm airstrip, at 2600 Penny Lane in Brentwood, with Strobel for a short flight for fun, he said.

David Behne had a long career as an aerospace and communications engineer, having worked on engines for the Space Shuttle program at the aerospace firm Rocketdyne and on airborne lasers for Lockheed Martin.


 http://www.paloaltoonline.com

 BYRON -- Two Brentwood men have been identified as the victims in a fatal plane crash Tuesday afternoon near Byron. 
 
Using dental records, the Contra Costa County Coroner's office confirmed their identities as David S. Behne, 57, and Larry Strobel, 56. Behne was piloting the plane when it crashed, said Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee.

FAA records show the home built plane was registered to a company called DSB Inc. out of Fernley, Nev.

Behne is the registrant of a private landing strip, known as "Funny Farm Airport," in Brentwood, about four miles north of the crash site. The plane went down about 2 p.m. in a field near Marsh Creek Road and Byron Highway.

No one else was injured.

On Friday, Behne's ex-wife, Shelley Rose, said he will be missed by scores of friends and family, including their 23-year-old son, Eric Behne.

The airport had been in the Behne family since the '60s, Rose said.

Her ex-husband, who flew daily, was a mechanical engineer who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Most recently she said, he worked as a contractor for Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto.

"He was energetic, always had to be working. He had a lot of planes he worked on and he traveled a lot," she said. She called Behne an adventurer whose hobbies included flying and scuba diving.

Behne and Strobel had been friends for sometime, Rose said. She said Strobel got into flying when he moved to Brentwood a few years ago.

Behne is also survived by his father Joe Behne, of Las Vegas, his sister Julie Korhummell, of Livermore; his brother Daniel Behne, of Livermore, and a niece and a nephew.

A funeral, she said, had not been set as of Friday.

"We'll have a celebration for life out here (the airport)," Rose said. "That's what he would have wanted."

When the single-engine Glasair III crashed, it burned so badly that it took officials about five hours to discover that there were actually two bodies on board, not one as previously announced.

The National Transportation Safety Board is handling the investigation, with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration. A basic preliminary report may be released within a week, possible two, but it may take months for the NTSB to determine the likely cause for the crash.

Weather conditions in the area around the time of the crash were fair, with partly cloudy skies and light winds, according to the National Weather Service.

The Glasair III is a 21-foot two-seater, with a top speed of 327 mph and a 23-foot standard wingspan. It is sold in four "kits" that users assemble at home; the total price of the kits ranges from $60,711 to $65,735, according to the Glasair website. Users can also purchase a prebuilt wing or fuselage.

http://www.mercurynews.com


BYRON -- Authorities on Friday released the names of two men who died in the crash of a small plane north of the Byron Airport. 

 David Behne, 57, and Larry Strobel, 56, both of Brentwood died when the experimental Glasair III they were flying in crashed in a field 4 miles northeast of the airport about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Authorities did not say who was piloting the single-engine, home-built plane, which is owned by Behne. Both Behne and Strobel are licensed pilots. 


http://www.nbcbayarea.com

The two people who died in a small plane accident in Contra Costa County on Tuesday afternoon have not yet been identified, authorities said Wednesday.

Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said the coroner went out about 8:30 a.m. to the field at Marsh Creek Road and Byron Highway, about four miles from the county airport, to collect the bodies. He did not know when they would be identified.

The people in the plane died Tuesday when the small amateur-built Glassair III crashed about 2 p.m. Originally, authorities thought that only one person had died.


Joshua McLean, 19, told Bay City News that he witnessed the plane fall from the sky after hearing the engine whirring overhead.


"It was about 1,500 feet off the ground and corkscrewing toward the ground," McLean said. "It seemed as though he had just lost control of the plane." 


 According to the the Federal Aviation Administration website, the registered owner of the plane is a company, named DSB Inc, located in Fernley, in Lyon County in Nevada.


The plane burned after crashing and billowing smoke could be seen by an NBC Bay Area helicopter shortly after the crash.  Lee said federal authorities have been notified and will investigate the cause of the crash.

http://www.nbcbayarea.com

Philadelphia International (KPHL), Pennsylvania: Airport Gate Crasher Sentenced to Prison

A man who drove an SUV on a runway at Philadelphia International Airport and forced a passenger jet to abort its landing, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison and has been ordered to pay $91,000 in restitution within 90 days.

Kenneth Mazik, 25, says he's undergone treatment for prescription drug addiction that contributed to the incident.

Mazik, of Chadds Ford, crashed through a gate on March 1 and led police on a runway chase at speeds topping 100 mph.

He pleaded guilty in July to federal charges of disrupting airport operations and endangering passengers. Mazik told a judge he was addicted to the ADHD drug Adderall and was under stress because he recently became a father.
 
In his guilty plea, Mazik admitted he intentionally drove through Gate 25 and down a runway towards a plane on final approach. He also admitted to driving along other runways while causing a dangerous disturbance at the airport.

Controversial audits on Alaska air taxis drives company to the brink

As Alaska Dispatch first reported back in July, some air taxi services in the Last Frontier have been having difficulty with a confusing IRS rule that was occasionally turning up hundreds of thousands of dollars owed in back taxes when the companies were audited. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that at least one Alaska charter plane company has filed for bankruptcy protection due at least in part to those back taxes.

The root of the problem lies in per-passenger excise taxes, charged every time an air taxi service flies a passenger to their destination. It's a pass-through tax; the customer pays the fee and the company makes no money on it, instead delivering it to the government come tax time. The taxes are charged on most flights, excepts some sightseeing flights, seaplane excursions, and the problematic one, flights on what the IRS calls "non-established lines."

But some Alaskan air taxi services, which often fly routes off the beaten path or to locations they've never even traveled before, haven't been collecting those fees because they don't consider those flights to be along established lines. 

So, come tax time, some air taxi services have reported owing unexpected taxes to the tune of hundreds of thousands, or even more than a million dollars. 

Alaska's lawmakers in Washington have already stepped in with proposed legislation in the hopes of clarifying the vague language in the IRS tax code that determines which passengers should be taxed. That legislation would ease the rules on which flights need to collect the per-passenger fees.

That legislation is currently pending in Congress.

Unfortunately, for at least one Alaska company, the change hasn't come soon enough. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alaska Air Taxi, which boasts a fleet of seven planes, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it fights the IRS over a reported $1 million in back taxes. Alaska Air Taxi owner and pilot Jack Barber said that the taxes could be damaging to Alaska's important aviation industry.

Read more:  http://www.alaskadispatch.com

Lawmakers Say IRS Could Sink Alaska’s Small Airlines

The Wall Street Journal


A scene in National Geographic’s “Alaska Wing Men” television series shows pilot Jack Barber weaving his small charter airplane in and out of white plumes that hide the Merrill Pass’s jagged cliff line. A narrator explains that ice forming at such a high altitude threatened to pull Barber’s plane, loaded with bear-hunting passengers, to the ground.

The 13-episode show has filmed slippery glacier landings and merciless weather, but Barber and federal lawmakers say the state’s charter airplane industry of roughly 230 operators is also facing serious headwinds from a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service.

A fight over $1 million in unpaid taxes has already caused Barber to put his Anchorage-based company, Alaska Air Taxi LLC, and its fleet of seven small airplanes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is accusing the IRS of trying to collect years’ worth of back payments from charter operators for a tax that he says is vaguely defined and shouldn’t be charged at all on certain flights. His office said that tax bills of up to $1 million have been sent to the state’s charter airline operators, which carry tourists to remote spots, support the oil-and-gas industry and deliver cargo to hard-to-reach villages in a state where 82% of communities are not accessible by road, according to the Alaska Air Carriers Association.

“This thing is going to affect all the tourism in Alaska, if not the United States,” Barber said of the IRS’s interpretation of the rules.

An IRS spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on pending legislation or individual disputes.

The federal government charges flight operators a $3-per-passenger tax for trips that are flown at regular, scheduled intervals. Specifically, that tax is due on routes that are flown “with some degree of regularity,” according to the federal rulebooks.

The segment tax, as it’s called, is also chargeable every time the airplane touches down and takes off again during the same trip.

But the rulebooks don’t define “some degree of regularity,” and the IRS has been stricter about designating routes that some charter operators take as “regular,” according to the Alaska Air Carriers Association.

“This is a perfect example of the kind of confusing, nonsensical behavior from the federal government that drives ordinary people crazy,” Begich’s office said in a statement. “It doesn’t make sense, and it needs to be fixed.”

Begich proposed a bill in July that would straighten out the rules. The bill would change the wording so non-scheduled charter flights to areas that aren’t reachable by paved roads won’t have to charge the tax.

The bill would also get rid of the rule that makes operators charge the tax multiple times on sightseeing flights. Those flights often make “intermittent stops to view an attraction, as is common practice for many Alaska flightseeing trips,” according to the office.

The bill hasn’t had a hearing yet. (Alaska Rep. Don Young, a Republican, is in charge of rallying support for the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.)

The Alaska Air Carriers Association points out that the charter airline industry makes up a large chunk of the state’s commerce. The aviation business contributes $3.5 billion to the state’s economy—8% of the state’s gross product—and employs 10% of the state’s total workforce, according to the association.

Eighty-five percent of the state’s fleet of 10,947 aircraft are single-engine planes that charter operators often use.

Barber’s 15-person company flies passengers and cargo for big oil and mining companies. He recently flew supplies to the under-construction Fire Island wind turbine outside Anchorage.

Barber’s fight with tax auditors began about six years ago when they determined that he should have paid $240,000 in segment taxes over the years. His tab has grown to about $1 million because of interest and penalties, he said.

Barber’s trips appeared on the “Alaska Wing Men” series, which first aired on the National Geographic Channel in January 2011. One of the clips was scary enough to make us sweat a little, but Barber said the situation was safer than it looked.

If the plane iced suddenly, he said that he could have dropped altitude to “get out of the ice.”

“It was kind of like scuba-diving where you could stand up and get a breath of fresh air,” Barber said.


http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2012/10/23/lawmakers-say-irs-could-sink-alaskas-small-airlines/

Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) calls on Federal Aviation Administration to speed up use of unleaded fuel for general aviation

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) this week asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reduce lead emissions from general aviation planes more quickly by stepping up requirements for using unleaded fuels.

Waxman said these planes, which make up a significant portion of U.S. flights and include everything from small planes to corporate jets, have been exempt from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules on leaded fuel. This exemption means that about half of all lead air emissions in the U.S. come from general aviation planes.


"The devastating health effects of lead are well documented," Waxman wrote to FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta on Tuesday. "Lead is a potent neurotoxin that has especially debilitating effects on children, damaging the brain and nervous system and impairing development."

Read more:   http://thehill.com

Thanksgiving airfares up 9%, travel website says

The cost to visit Grandma this Thanksgiving is up 9% over last year.

But if you are flexible on your travel days, you could save up to $288 on airline tickets, according to the Travelocity website, which calculated the average airfares for the period of Nov. 17 to Nov. 27.

The average round-trip domestic airline fare for that period is $386, including tax, a 9% increase over the same period in 2011, according to Travelocity.

But that fare is $5 below the average domestic fare around the Fourth of July holiday, the website said.

Travelers who fly out of Los Angeles airports will pay an average of $415 for a round-trip domestic ticket, a 7% increase over last year, Travelocity said.

To save up to $288, Travelocity senior editor Courtney Scott said travelers should depart on Thanksgiving Day and return either Friday, Nov. 23 or wait until Tuesday, Nov. 27, off-peak days when tickets are cheaper because demand is lower.

Also, most major airlines impose a surcharge of between $20 and $40 each way on peak travel days, including Nov. 21, Nov. 25, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2., Scott said.


http://www.latimes.com

Budget carrier easyJet wins London to Moscow route

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Budget carrier easyJet Plc will fly between London and Moscow from next year, favoured over British Airways and Virgin Atlantic by Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

easyJet, Europe's second-largest low-cost carrier after Ryanair, was awarded the right to fly the Gatwick to Moscow route after a decision by Britain's air regulator which said rival carriers BA and Virgin Atlantic, founded by Richard Branson, also made applications to fly the route.

British Airways, part of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), will continue to operate the London Heathrow to Moscow route, said the CAA on Wednesday.

"easyJet's proposal...has the potential to deliver the greatest dynamic fare benefits for consumers," the CAA's director of regulatory policy Iain Osborne said.

The Gatwick to Moscow route came up for grabs after IAG was forced to sell 12 landing slots after it acquired BMI, the previous operator of the route.

"We believe that our flights will be popular with both business and leisure travellers alike," easyJet Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said.

The company, which will start flying two services a day on the route from Spring 2013, said it planned to sell tickets from 125 pounds ($200) for a return flight.


http://www.reuters.com

Houston Airport System Launches Aviation Club to Boost the Next Generation of Aviation and Aerospace Leaders

HOUSTON, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mayor Annise Parker announced a new collaborative effort to broaden the number of young people who reach for the stars in careers in aviation and aerospace with the launch of the Houston Airport System Aviation Club.

"Houston's legacy as a world leader in aerospace jobs will continue with the development of this exciting and innovative community outreach to the next generation," said Mayor Annise Parker. "By creating the spark in the minds of young people, we ensure that 'Space City' will continue to change the world as an economic driver in the aviation and aerospace industries."

Founded in fall 2012, the Houston Airport System will sponsor the new Aviation Club at two high school chapters, Sterling High School and Carnegie Vanguard High School.

Houston Airport System Director of Aviation Mario C. Diaz had a vision to launch the Aviation Club during the school year of 2012 in Houston as a means to plant seeds for future generations to enter aviation and aerospace as a career. Diaz dreamed of aviation when he was growing up in New York and found early exposure to the industry to become critical for his career path.

"As a teenager, I became fascinated with aviation and I enjoy the journey I experienced as first a pilot and later as an executive for airports in three major U.S. cities," said Diaz. "My dream is to create a Houston-based initiative geared to launching the passion for flying in the next generation of aviators and space pioneers."

During the two-hour sessions with the Aviation Club, students are meeting on a monthly basis to participate in learning, enrichment and mentoring activities.

"Mario Diaz and the Houston Airport System are serving as catalysts to engage our young men and women in aviation and generate excitement toward math and science," said Dr. Mark A. Friend, Dean of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University central region-worldwide campus.

"This is exactly what our youth need as they mature and pursue their dreams through higher education," added Dr. Friend. "It is what our nation needs as we strive to remain on the forefront of aviation and aerospace."

Numerous community groups accepted the invitation from the Houston Airport System to participate and support the new Aviation Club. The list of sponsors includes the following:

 
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Texas Southern University

San Jacinto College

Lone Star College

Houston Independent School District (College and Career Readiness)

Sterling High School

Carnegie Vanguard High School

Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

NASA

Johnson Space Center

City of Houston

"Texas Southern University is very excited to be part of the initiative to create the Aviation Club, a workforce pipeline not only for the aviation field, but also for the STEM fields in general, which are so critical to our national economy and security," said Dr. Lei Yu, Dean and Professor of the College of Science and Technology for Texas Southern University.

One of the ultimate goals of the new program is to build a new workforce to accept the challenges for tomorrow's aviation and aerospace jobs. Houston continues to lead the nation in the creation of new jobs during a difficult economy. The effort to groom students for a bright future is essential to a strong Houston.

"Today's students have many career choices but also face many distractions," said Bob Mitchell, President of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. "The newly-created Aviation Club will assist students in focusing on some of the most exciting career opportunities available now and in the future - the fields of aerospace and aviation. The Aviation Club will serve to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math, which is critical if America is to maintain its leadership in space exploration."

The Aviation Club is expected to be expanded to additional schools in the 2013 school year.

SOURCE Houston Airport System

Cayman Airways cancels flights in face of Hurricane Sandy

(CNS): Cayman Airways has made further changes to its flight operations as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The airline has cancelled flights Wednesday’s schedule flights KX 620 from Grand Cayman to Kingston-Montego Bay, KX 621 from Montego Bay/ Kingston to Grand Cayman and Cayman Airways Express flight KX 4516 from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac. All other flights are presently expected to operate according to the published schedule. However, there are further cancelations on Thursday including KX 600 from Grand Cayman to Kingston and KX 601 from Kingston to Grand Cayman as well as Cayman Airways Express flight KX 4510 from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman.

The national flag carrier said it will then add flights KX 620 from Grand Cayman departing at 5:00pm arriving Kingston at 6:00pm, KX 621 departing Kingston at 7:00pm and arriving Montego Bay at 7:30pm, KX 621 departing Montego Bay at 8:30pm arriving Grand Cayman at 9:30pm.

“Should weather conditions further alter Thursday’s flight schedule to and from Jamaica, extra flights will be scheduled on Friday,” the airline stated Wednesday lunchtime.  “Cayman Airways and Cayman Airways Express flights to the Sister Islands (except for KX4516/4510) for 24th and 25th October are currently on schedule as we continue to monitor changing weather conditions.”

Change fees and penalties are being waived for those passengers travelling on Cayman Airways to or from Jamaica and to or from Cayman Brac from 24 to 26 October and passengers are able to re-book their flights from 24 until 31 October.

Passengers are advised to contact their travel agent or Cayman Airways Reservations and Ticket Office for alternate travel arrangements. The Cayman Airways Grand Cayman City Ticket Office is open daily from 8:30am to 6:00pm. The Reservations Department is open from 7:00am to 9:30pm.

The Cayman Airways Reservations and Ticket Office in Jamaica can be reached on 876-926-1762 or 876-929-7778. Scheduled opening hours are from 8:30am to 4:30pm but their operating hours will vary dependent on Tropical Storm Sandy. The Kingston Norman Manley International Airport can be reached on 876-924-8092.

Due to the uncertainty of the weather situation surrounding Tropical Storm Sandy, for the latest  flight information, passengers are advised to monitor the Cayman Airways website at www.caymanairways.com or call the Cayman Airways Reservations Department on 345-949-2311 (within the Caribbean) or 1-800-4-Cayman (1-800-422-9626) within the United States.


http://www.caymannewsservice.com

Air Mobility Command Museum to honor veterans November 12 - Dover AFB, Delaware

 
Interview with Bill Voigt - WWII Ferry and Berlin Airlift Pilot

Bill Voigt was a pilot during World War II. He ferried cargo in C-46 Commandos and flew C-54 Skymasters in the Berlin Airlift (Operation Vittles). He talks about his pilot training, the types of missions he flew during and after WWII, and about his time at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.  

The Air Mobility Command Museum will hold a special ceremony Monday, Nov. 12, honoring all veterans. This event, in recognition of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is open to the public and free to all.

The Air Mobility Command Museum will open its gates at 9 a.m., with seating inside beginning at 9:50. The program will begin promptly at 11 a.m., rain or shine, with the Posting of the Colors. 

Seating for this event is limited, and audience members are asked to be in place by 11 a.m.
 
The event includes retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ron Gough as the special guest speaker, and the Milford Community Band, which will present a medley of music honoring all military personnel, past and present.

The museum’s display of static aircraft will be open until 2:45 p.m. for the public’s enjoyment. The museum and aircraft exteriors are fully handicap-accessible.

Veterans Day is a time to remember that the freedoms Americans enjoy have come with a price, and have been earned and perpetuated by the brave men and women who have answered the call to duty for their country. Without their dedication and sacrifice, America would be a very different place today.

The AMC Museum is on Delaware Route 9, south of Dover Air Force Base. To access the museum from Delaware Route 1, take Exit 91 from either the north- or southbound lanes. Direction signs for the museum are clearly marked.

Go to www.amcmuseum.org for more details, or access Facebook or Twitter. More information also is available by calling the museum at 302-677-5938.

The Air Mobility Command Museum Foundation supports the Air Mobility Command Museum in its mission as an aviation and aerospace, education, scientific, cultural, historical and inspirational facility for the general public and the Air Force community. The foundation is a private, nonprofit organization under Air Force Instruction 34-223 and IRS Regulation Section 501(c)3. The museum is part of the Air Force Heritage System and is an official Air Force entity.

http://capegazette.villagesoup.com

Record month for air travel at New York-area airports

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York area's three major airports are experiencing record passenger traffic.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says traffic at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty airports increased by slightly more than 10 percent in August compared to a year ago.

About 10.8 million passengers used the three airports to break a five-year-old record for the busiest month ever.

LaGuardia and JFK each beat all-time highs for overall traffic, and international passenger traffic at the three airports grew by more than 11 percent over August 2011.

International traffic at Newark grew by more than 3 percent after monthly declines earlier in the year.

Port Authority deputy executive Bill Baroni says the increases show that the Port Authority's investments in improvements at the airports are paying off. 


http://www.silive.com

Cape Air - Mike Rupple Testimonial

Delta, US Airways post profits, see better revenue trends

Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines and US Airways Group turned in higher quarterly profits on Wednesday and indicated revenue trends looked to be improving following a weaker September.
 

Delta's profit was a penny shy of analysts' average estimates, excluding special items, while US Airways topped estimates. Revenue at both carriers was softer in the quarter than analysts expected.

But Delta said unit revenue - a measure of pricing power and how full planes are - would likely rise 4 percent to 5 percent in October after a 3 percent increase in the third quarter. US Airways said the "revenue environment looks strong."

Performance in unit revenue weakened at many U.S. airlines toward the end of the third quarter, which is a traditionally strong period that usually benefits from some summer travel.

Given the September softness, the reports are "very much in line" with expected results, said Bill Swelbar, a research engineer at MIT's international center for air transportation. "I continue to be impressed by how the companies manage costs in a period of slow growth, which is a difficult thing to do."

Delta said it would undertake cost-cutting moves over the coming year to hold down non-fuel unit expenses.

"We are now implementing a $1 billion program of initiatives which will generate significant savings in the second half of 2013 and produce structural changes to the way we do business at Delta," Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said in a memo to staff.

U.S. carriers have merged, stopped flying unprofitable routes and raised ticket prices to recover from the 2008-09 downturn. Carriers have also cut back flying to match demand and created new revenue streams with baggage and food fees, moves that have helped keep profits coming in the face of volatile fuel prices.

Delta had net income of $1.05 billion, or $1.23 a share, for the third quarter, compared with $549 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier.

Results included special items, such as a $440 million gain tied to fuel hedges that together added up to a $279 million gain. Excluding items, Delta's profit was 90 cents a share, compared with 91 cents expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue at Delta rose 1 percent to $9.92 billion, just missing the consensus analyst view of $9.96 billion.

At US Airways, which is in talks with AMR Corp's American Airlines evaluating a potential merger, third-period net income was $245 million, or $1.24 a share, compared with $76 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, its profit was 98 cents a share, compared with 92 cents expected by analysts on average. US Air said revenue rose 2.8 percent to $3.53 billion, compared with $3.55 billion expected by analysts.

Last week, Southwest Airlines said it planned to control hiring over the next year in an aggressive move to cut overhead costs by $100 million. Excluding items, Southwest's third- quarter profit beat analysts' average forecast but was down from a year earlier on flat revenue.

Delta's shares were down 1.2 percent, or 14 cents, at $10.01 in morning trading, while US Airways' shares rose about 4 percent, or 49 cents, to $12.58 in morning trading.


http://www.reuters.com

Kuwait clears Gulf War Iraqi airline settlement

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Kuwait's government has given final approval to settlement with Iraq to end a standoff over Gulf-War-era debts and lift restrictions on Iraqi Airways flying to destinations in the West, Iraq's government said on Tuesday.

The airline row was part of a broader dispute over billions of dollars in reparations dating back to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1991 when his forces seized aircraft and parts.

Iraq and Kuwait in March reached an agreement under which Iraq will pay Kuwait $300 million in cash and invest $200 million in a joint airline venture in return for Kuwait lifting legal actions against Iraqi Airways.

"According to the decision all restrictions and difficulties rebuilding Iraqi airlines and on its freedom to buy new planes and establish its fleet will be lifted," the Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement said.

Iraqi Airways has regular flights to Middle Eastern destinations such as Beirut, Dubai, Tehran and Amman, but legal cases made it difficult to start flights to European destinations where it risked its planes being confiscated.


Source:  http://www.reuters.com