Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beechcraft 100 King Air, C-GXRX: Accident occurred October 27, 2011 near Vancouver International Airport (CYVR), BC - Canada

A year ago Saturday, Carolyn Cross and Simon Pearce met in the cruelest of situations.

Pearce, a heroic passerby. Cross, trapped in a burning plane with six other passengers and two pilots on Russ Baker Way in Richmond, close to death.

“I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t move. I would not have survived without rescuers pulling me out,” Cross, the CEO of a biomedical company, told The Province.

“We were all threatened with smoke inhalation. I looked up and the whole side of the plane was engulfed [in flame].”

After Cross was pulled out, she saw the rescuers try to help again.

“They were going inside of a burning plane and I was just in awe and wanted to cry. I was elated and numb and in shock,” said Cross, who still suffers post-concussion symptoms.

All seven passengers were pulled out of the blazing wreck by the citizen rescuers. The two pilots — Luc Fortin and Mark Robic — were afterwards rescued by firefighters, but later succumbed to their burns.

Now Cross and Pearce are together again. This time, finding a way to help citizen first-responders deal with the emotional aftermath of accidents and tragedy.

Cross said that when the victims and rescuers were well enough to get together this past February, she noticed that some of them were suffering from living through a horrific incident.

“They could have used some help,” said Cross. “We were quite concerned.”

So she and Pearce put together a pamphlet for citizen first-responders on how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, which results in depression and isolation. The pamphlet is being released Saturday, to coincide with the anniversary of the accident.

Cross hopes the pamphlets will get into the hands of traditional first-responders, like police and fire fighters, so they can be given to people like those that jumped in to help that afternoon a year ago.

Traditional first-responders are trained to deal with trauma and getting counselling is readily available. The same isn’t true for the bystanders, who responded to Flight 204 before the Richmond fire department could.

Rescuer Shawn Nagurny admits to thinking about the accident “a lot.” He is reminded about it daily because he drives across the accident scene to get to his office, which is about 100 metres away.

“To this day, all four lanes you can see the burn marks,” said Nagurny, a director of marketing and business development for Shearwater Resort and Marina.

“I heard it first,” he said. “I turned around and saw the plane sliding in a big wall of flame and then it hit the centre island and that’s when it more or less exploded.”

Read more:

Deceased stowaway on Arik Air lacks identity

There was confusion in the aviation industry, on Saturday, following the discovery of  a stowaway  found dead on an Arik Air flight from New York, United States of America.

The deceased could not be identified as he lacked any proper form of identification as at the time he was found at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMAI), Lagos on Friday.

Sources close to the airline said that the stowaway might have  got in from the undercarriage of the aircraft from the MMIA with the assistance of some security personnel and ground handling companies at the airport.

An officer of the airline, who confirmed the incident, said that the airline was still unable to identify the deceased.

He stated that proper identification of the deceased would be almost impossible as he had nothing that could be used to identify him, adding that his age could equally not be ascertained by the airline.

His words:
“How can we identify somebody who was found dead at the undercarriage compartment of our aircraft? We can’t identify him because he had no any form of identity. Also, we can’t determine his age because we don’t know anything about it.”

He, however, said that appropriate authorities had been contacted.

It will be recalled that a young Nigerian was, on Friday, at MMIA, found dead in the wheel well of Arik Air’s A340-500 after it arrived from New York and was preparing for another flight out of the country.

Sources close to the airline said the deceased might have been in the undercarriage of the airline for days and was crushed to death while the flight was airborne to the JF Kennedy Airport, New York.

The airline’s sources said the dead body was found during a check on the aircraft panel.

The undercarriage compartment is  where the aircraft tires are stored and it is big enough to accommodate a grown up human being.

However, aviation stakeholders say the persistent  cases of stowing away persons at the nation’s airports, most especially at the MMIA indicate serious security breaches at the nation’s airports.

They declared that the airports, especially the airsides were supposed to be restricted areas, but declared that miscreants at the airports were sometimes found at the restricted areas.

They, however, said that this could only be possible with the connivance of security agents and ground handling personnel attached to the airport.

Only recently  in the U.S, a Nigerian-American man pleaded guilty to stowing away on a commercial airline flight from New York to Los Angeles in an incident that revealed an apparent lapse in airport security.

Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, 24, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to one-count of stowing away on an aircraft. He currently faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Applicants need to meet a minimum standard

BOTH Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia run cadet pilot training programs with MAS recruiting more than 100 cadets annually.

However, according to MAS director of operations, Capt Izham Ismail, the program has been stopped recently though he gave no reason for this.

“Yes, a large number of applicants used to apply for this training program and on completion of training, they were absorbed by MAS. The duration of the program is between 18 and 24 months. We bore the costs initially but the cadet had to pay back through salary deductions once employed,” he says.

Currently, contrary to public perception, there are no foreigners employed as pilots in MAS. The contracts of expatriate pilots were apparently terminated in September 2012. No pilots have been retrenched either.

Capt Izham says, “Recruitment of pilots is very much dependent on MAS’ network and fleet size.

“In 2011, MAS recruited B737-rated expatriate pilots (both captains and co-pilots) to fill the shortage as the result of a change in the company’s business plan. Rated pilots can be deployed immediately to continue our operations as compared to the normal process of promotion which will take about six months.”

While MAS has stopped its program, AirAsia continues to take in cadets to ensure there is a constant supply of pilots.

Approximately 2,000 applications are received every year but only 20 to 50 suitable candidates are hired, subject to demand.

“This number varies depending on what is forecast within the market supply. Remember that this program is to fill up positions two years away. We cannot wait and hope that there is market supply as the effect is significant in ensuring our growth can continue,” says an AirAsia spokesman.

Unpredictable future

He points out that the present glut was not caused by the cadet program.

“No one knows the future. The demand may increase or reduce, subject to industry fluctuations but we need to ensure we have the supply to support our future growth. The issue of manpower supply is critical worldwide. We need experienced workforce, too, besides grassroots supply.”

AirAsia has 700 pilots at the moment, excluding AirAsia X. A small percentage is made up of foreigners.

The spokesman explains, “The foreigners we have are needed to support the growth while we continuously promote from within. We cannot just promote pilots without sufficient experience to captains.

“Junior pilots or first officers need time to gain exposure and experience before they can be promoted. There is a minimum experience and standards that they need to meet. We use foreign, experienced pilots only to bridge the gap to support the growth as one of the fastest growing companies in the aviation industry.” 


SpaceX Satellite Launch Marks U.S. Military Embrace of Reusable Rockets: Pentagon space leaders had for years expressed skepticism about reusing portions of rockets that flew outside the atmosphere

Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully blasted a U.S. Space Force satellite into orbit and then recovered the main portion of the Falcon 9 rocket, in the first military mission incorporating the reusable feature which has become a hallmark of the company’s commercial and civilian government launches.

The launch of the Global Positioning System satellite, into partly cloudy skies at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday afternoon, marks the Pentagon’s formal embrace of Mr. Musk’s concept of recovering and reusing the booster’s lower stage and primary engines to make rocket launches more efficient and cost-effective. The same part of the rocket has been recovered in dozens of previous Falcon 9 launches, but none of those were for the military. Some lower stages have flown several times.

Pentagon space leaders had for years expressed outright skepticism—and then persistent ambivalence—about vertically landing and reusing portions of rockets that flew outside the atmosphere. Many of their doubts focused on reduced fuel reserves for the primary mission if fuel had to be set aside to slow down the returning booster before its landing on a specially outfitted recovery vessel.

But after extensive discussions between Mr. Musk’s team and military launch officials, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. agreed to slightly reduce the cost of the latest launch in return for Pentagon authorization to try to return the most expensive and biggest part of the booster.

Tuesday’s liftoff and ascent played out without a hitch, as the lower stage separated about 2 1/2 minutes into the flight, while the upper stage and its payload continued toward a designated orbit around the earth. Roughly six minutes later, the returning booster gently touched down on retractable legs in the middle of a converted barge called “Just Read the Instructions.”

The Space Force issued a press release Monday touting the benefits of “unique cost saving opportunities like recovering a booster.”

Mr. Musk and his senior managers have said refurbishing and reusing parts of the Falcon 9 also provides essential data about the performance and durability of the rocket—information that can’t be gathered any other way. Senior Pentagon officials, though, at this point haven’t followed the lead of commercial and civilian government counterparts in giving the green light to put high-priority payloads on top of previously flown boosters.

The Global Positioning System satellite launched Tuesday, designed to last longer and transmit more powerful signals than earlier versions, will join 31 other operational spacecraft that make up the GPS constellation. The latest-generation satellite, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., also provides the military with more accurate and harder-to-jam signals.

Recently, the military signed a contract with SpaceX enabling government engineers to more closely monitor rocket-refurbishment efforts. But it isn’t clear when Pentagon brass will agree to launch satellites atop previously flown boosters.

In the coming weeks, the Pentagon is expected to select two providers for the next phase of national security launches. Two of the bidders, SpaceX and Blue Origin Federation LLC, run by Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, feature reusable boosters.

Frustrated Residents Fire Back at Federal Aviation Administration Officials -- Argue efficiency is taking priority over safety and noise abatement at October meeting

Is the Federal Aviation Administration compromising safety and ignoring an agreement to reduce noise pollution in order to maximize efficiency at JFK airport?

Those were the charges residents made at the Oct. 23 meeting of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee, held this time in East Williston. Unlike February’s meeting in Garden City, FAA officials showed up this time but what they had to say brought little comfort to residents rattled by the high volume of noisy planes flying over their homes.

The focus once again was on Runway 22L, which TVASNAC says is getting more than its fair share of traffic. It got 44 percent of all arrivals in August for instance, according to Ray Gaudio, East Williston’s TVASNAC rep.

Mary-Grace Tomecki, Floral Park's representative, said the Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach for Runway 22L was used for 47 hours straight between Aug. 10 and Aug. 11, 42 hours between Aug. 3 and Aug. 5, and with the exception of a 30-minute break, for 52 hours straight between Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. Arrivals using this approach fly over homes in Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Elmont and East Hills.

"When we speak about equitable distribution of air traffic, we are not just talking about runway usage but also varying the routes as well to give communities some reprieve," Tomecki told FAA officials.

Claude Viera, FAA operations manager of JFK Tower, said fog may have required them to use the ILS approach. However, without specific information about the weather conditions, runway availability and configurations of surrounding airports on those dates, officials could not comment.

"They are cramming them in for profits! Let's speak the truth!" one unidentified man shouted.

He was not alone in alleging that “operational efficiency” was being put before safety and noise abatement. One resident played a recording of a recent conversation between a pilot and an air traffic controller at JFK. In the clip, the pilot asks to land on Runway 31R, where the wind conditions were more favorable, but was told he had to land on 22L, where there was a cross-wind he would have preferred to avoid.

FAA officials emphatically denied that safety was being compromised, but Robert Jaffe, FAA aviation safety inspector for the eastern region, did concede that Runway 22L was favored by air traffic controllers.

“Yes, the use of 22L is high,” he admitted. “It's one of the go-to runways for us … for efficiency."

When asked what could be done to bring relief to residents living under approaches that are getting bombarded, Jeffrey Clarke, senior manager of the FAA’s eastern region, stated, "I don't know."

"If we move it from here, we will impact someone else," he said. “I really, really wish I had a magic answer for you … I'd like to sit in my backyard and not hear the planes ... If I had a plan I'd have put it in place already."

Clarke said the problem is the air space in New York is complex and limited since it is shared by three major airports.

“We have not thrown our arms up in defeat though,” Clarke assured residents. “We keep looking for ways to tweak.” For instance, he’s asked TRACON’s new manager to look at bringing some relief to residents on weekends similar to how they have been distributing the noise on the overnight shift.

But when asked by New Hyde Park TVASNAC rep Kurt Langjahr if the JFK “Tower Letter,” a signed agreement that states runways be rotated every eight hours to distribute noise, was still in effect, Clarke said, “No.”

“That letter is outdated,” he stated. “We've taken steps to move [it] out.” 


Copter service for Sabarimala pilgrims

 Pilgrims visiting Sabarimala from different parts of the country will be able to use the helicopter taxi service from Kochi during the forthcoming annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku season. Thanks, to the regular ‘helitaxi’ service planned by the Delhi-based Chipsan Aviation Ltd. (CAL) for Sabarimala pilgrims.

Talking to The Hindu, Sunil Narayanan, CAL director, said the company was planning to airlift pilgrims using helicopters from the Nedumbasserry airport to Perinad, about 50 km away from Sabarimala, covering 55 nautical miles. The company will take the pilgrims in a luxury taxi cab from Perinad to Pampa. CAL will also make arrangements for the ‘kettumurukku’ of the pilgrims at Pampa.

According to Mr. Narayanan, CAL will charge Rs.12,000 a passenger for a one-way trip and Rs.22,000 for a round trip.

However, during the five-day monthly puja period, the company has on offer another package which includes, apart from the helicopter travel, food, accommodation, and transport facility in a dolly (a palanquin like carriage) from Pampa the holy hillock at Rs.30,000 a person, he added.

Mr. Narayanan said CAL would use the latest French-made AS 350 B-III helicopters. The necessary clearance from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had been obtained, he said.

He said a modern helipad with all safety measures had been set up at Perinad, as per the guidelines issued by the DGCA. CAL had conducted two experimental flights to Perinad and the regular operations during the forthcoming pilgrim season would begin by mid-November, he said. “Our aim is to provide a swift and safe mode of transport for Sabarimala pilgrims,” he said.

CAL would also explore the possibility of operating an air-taxi package for Sabarimala pilgrims from Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad in chartered flights. The company was also planning to spread its wings to promote ‘helitourism’ across the State by conducting helicopter joyrides in different districts, he added.

Pittsburgh International (KPIT), Pennsylvania: Airport could shelter 'frankenstorm' diverted planes

Pittsburgh International Airport is ramping up for possible delays and cancellations on the East Coast and could take airliners and corporate jets fleeing the path of Hurricane Sandy and the "frankenstorm" as it heads up the East Coast.

"We're watching the weather and we're prepared to accept diversions if they occur," Pittsburgh International Airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said Friday afternoon.

And if there's snow next week in the Pittsburgh region -- as some forecasts have indicated -- well, Pittsburgh International Airport is ready for that, too.

"We have a program in place if we need to call in extra personnel for snow removal," Jenny said.

Read more here:

Pittsburgh International (KPIT), Pennsylvania: Airport Braces for 'Frankenstorm'

Pittsburgh International Airport is prepared for an East Coast "frankenstorm" predicted to barrel through the Pittsburgh region next week, an airport official said.

Airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said Pittsburgh International finalized its 2012-2013 snow removal plan at the beginning of October, and is prepared to put the plan into action if an early bout of winter weather strikes the airport.

The now Category II Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall Thursday in the Bahamas, is expected to arrive in the Pittsburgh region at the beginning of next week, converging with a cold front to bring strong winds and snowfall.

"We do have a snow removal plan that we are ready to put into place," Jenny said.

No Pittsburgh-area flights have been cancelled as a result of the predicted storms.

Jenny said the airport is also prepared to accept aircraft diverted from airports along the East Coast.

"During Irene we accepted a number of diverted aircraft," Jenny said. "Right now we're just monitoring the weather service and we'll see if something happens."

Albany International Airport (KALB), New York: Plane owners seek storm shelter

COLONIE – As Hurricane Sandy heads for the East Coast, aircraft owners from outside the Capital Region are prepping by seeking shelter elsewhere for their private planes, including Albany International Airport.

Doug Myers, director of public affairs for the airport, said that on Saturday the airport started to receive calls from small aircraft owners looking for a safer place to stash their planes. Many of the calls came from coastal areas south of the Capital Region, such as New Jersey, which is expected to be in the wake of the storm.

"Everybody is wondering where this storm is going," said Myers. "They want to move their aircrafts inland for safe storage."

The hurricane is expected to make landfall on the East Coast by Tuesday.

The airport is at present preparing several hangars to store private planes. Myers said that frequently during large storms the airport is requested to house private aircrafts.

Legendary WWII pilot defeated German and Japanese foes: Ace played role when San Diego became naval aviation "center of universe"

Dean “Diz” Laird is a legend, the only known U.S. Navy ace to shoot down both German and Japanese planes during World War II. Despite close calls — once, his shot-up plane skidded across an aircraft carrier’s flight deck — Diz possessed a fighter pilot’s essential attribute: Supreme self-confidence.

“It never entered my mind that I would ever get shot down,” he said. “I thought I was too good.”

Now a Coronado resident, this Northern California native was a bit player in global drama. He saw the transformation of the Navy and its tactics, a transformation that also changed the service’s key West Coast port.

“In World War II, the aircraft carrier rapidly emerged as the dominant ship type,” noted Karl Zingheim, staff historian at the Midway Museum. “And San Diego was the center of the universe for U.S. naval aviation.”

San Diego retains that role. While World War II ended nearly 70 years ago and its veterans now account for only three out of every 1,000 San Diego County residents, we live in a region Laird helped shape. The pilot witnessed the expansion of North Island and Miramar. He saw the founding of two local groups honoring military fliers, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society and the Tailhook Association. And this ace is among the thousands who initially viewed San Diego as a duty station and eventually saw it as home.

Laird, 91, remembers it all: Air-to-air combat, storms at sea, the sudden deaths of comrades. What he doesn’t remember is being frightened.

“I had complete faith in my ability,” he said.

Story and photo:

Southwest Airlines climbs to top in Milwaukee

Gary Kelly is in the process of meshing two airlines and making decisions that affect regional economies across the U.S. - including Milwaukee's - in an era of contradictory market trends rooted in the global wackiness that surrounds crude oil prices.

If one of the 46,000 people he leads as CEO of Southwest Airlines shows up for work in a chicken suit, so much the better.

Amid industrywide upheaval, the likes of which hasn't been seen in more than a generation, Southwest has emerged as the dominant carrier at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport. It intends to stay that way, Kelly said, but whether it expands its presence here is a question he can't answer at this point.

"Right now, Southwest and AirTran combined have 40 to 50 daily departures" from Milwaukee, Kelly said in an interview last week. "My hope is that we can sustain that in the near term and grow that in the longer term."

Kelly was in town meeting with customers, employees and media as Southwest continues the process of merging AirTran Airways into its operations after buying AirTran in 2011.

If history is any indication, Southwest is likely to expand its presence in Milwaukee. In cities where it has become the dominant carrier - St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Baltimore, Nashville, Tenn., San Diego to name a few - the airline has started small and grown almost exponentially.

It is the nation's largest domestic airline, having carried 104 million passengers last year. But the airline business has changed so much in recent years, it's hard to use history as a guide, Kelly said.

"The airline business is tough," he said. "We are doing combat with an inconsistent economy and also high fuel prices.

"That's the only thing that tempers my enthusiasm here in the near term."

Right now, Southwest has its plate full with bringing AirTran under its umbrella.

In buying AirTran last year, Southwest gained an established presence in Atlanta, which ranks with Chicago O'Hare as the nation's two busiest airports.

Southwest also picked up AirTran's significant presence in Milwaukee.

"Right now, we're not optimized between Southwest and AirTran" in Milwaukee, Kelly said. "You take the total daily departures, we're in that 40 to 50 range. Once we get better optimized my goal would be to sustain that level of flight activity.

"Then, once we gather our feet under us, so to speak, then I would love to grow it from there."

Kelly says the business community in Milwaukee has not been shy about letting the company know what it wants.

"For the most part, they speak to us with one voice," he said. "They want more flights, they want more nonstops."

Unless there is enough business to justify it, Southwest - or any other airline for that matter - isn't going to add nonstop service, said Barry Bateman, airport director at Mitchell International.

The industry's business model is to fly planes at capacity. "It's all about spreading fixed costs," Bateman said.

Kelly said Southwest will look at eventually adding new nonstop service from Milwaukee.

"We have a number of significant destinations that we serve across the country which will all be logical nonstop considerations for us," he said. "We'll be looking at that very carefully over the next couple of years.

"We know what you want in the market."

Southwest has been profitable for 39 straight years.

"We have a history of being a very stable force in a market," Kelly said. "You should expect from us that we are going to be here, we're going to be consistent."

But exactly what the airline may eventually look like here is an open question.

"I've always felt like Milwaukee had the prospect of being a 50-flight a day market," Kelly said. "Whether it ends up at 35 or 75, who knows?"

Don't look for Southwest to go crazy raising prices in Milwaukee on routes where it is dominant, Kelly and an industry analyst say.

"They have historically been viewed as a carrier that disciplines other carriers' pricing," said Robert Mann, an airline consultant based in New York. "They were the 800-pound gorilla and they still are.

"You don't see them charging $1,100 round trip between Boston and Philadelphia for a walk-up customer, which some carriers do - which is insane, by the way."

Some dominant carriers in the past have acted as monopolists, Mann said.

"They will rake you over the coals if they think they can," he said. "I really don't see that behavior from Southwest, even in a market that they dominate."

Kelly was emphatic that his airline prices remain stable across markets.

"We very much have a different approach. Our competitors have a great disparity in their pricing between markets. You don't find that disparity in the way we price our markets."

Besides, he said, Milwaukee is still considered a very competitive airline market.

"There's going to be a lot of competition in Milwaukee," Kelly said. "It's not like we are going to be a monopoly, nothing remotely close to that."

As far as business travel, Southwest will be working to build its customer base in Milwaukee, Kelly said.

"We want to have full airplanes and certainly would hope that 35% to 40% or 50% are flying us for business," Kelly said. "We are the largest airline in America. On average around the country, about 35% of our customers fly on us for business. By extension, that makes us America's largest business airline.

"I think we have a great product for business travelers," he added. "We'll need that support from Milwaukee.

"We're going to work hard to earn it. That I'll guarantee."

That might include occasionally donning a chicken suit.

"Our employees are celebrated when they do things that are a little off-script," Kelly said. "That's not to suggest that anybody does anything unsafe or does anything that would be considered rude or discourteous.

"But when you go out of your way to show care and concern for somebody, we celebrate that."

Kelly sounds like someone whose airline is in Milwaukee for the long haul.

"I do think there is a very good opportunity here. But in the end, we're going to have to make it happen," he said. "We're going to have to serve the market. We're going to have to have the flights. We're going to have to win the business. And then, business is going to have to support us.

"I have very high hopes for our success here."

Story and photo:

NEW JERSEY - Coast Guard Training Center In Cape May To Be Evacuated Sunday

CAPE MAY, NJ (CBS) – Coast Guard officials are preparing to evacuate the basic training center in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, starting Sunday at 2 p.m.

More than 270 recruits will be taken from Training Center Cape May to a designated safe haven at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, where the recruits will continue with their training schedule. Training Center Cape May will also be closed to all non-essential personnel beginning Sunday at 6 p.m.

“Our primary concerns are to ensure the safety of our recruits, Coast Guardsmen and their families and to minimize the impact this storm will have on the training process,” said Capt. Bill Kelly, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May.

More than 1,000 Coast Guardsmen and their families will also be complying with a county evacuation order in preparation for Sandy. Local Coast Guard leaders met with Coast Guardsmen and their families during a town hall meeting Saturday at 10 a.m.

The 14 tenant commands located aboard Training Center Cape May will also be evacuating. Those operational units like Station Cape May or Aids to Navigation Team Cape May will be prepositioning outside the storm’s path for post-storm rescue and recovery operations.

Trooper who fired from helicopter, killing 2, tried to disable truck

LA JOYA, Texas - A Texas state trooper who fired on a pickup truck from a helicopter and killed two illegal immigrants during a chase through the desert was trying to disable the vehicle and suspected it was being used to smuggle drugs, authorities said Friday.

The disclosure came a day after the incident that left two Guatemalan nationals dead on an isolated gravel road near the town of La Joya, just north of the Mexico border.

State game wardens were the first to encounter the truck Thursday. After the driver refused to stop, they radioed for help and state police responded, according to Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Mike Cox.

When the helicopter with a sharpshooter arrived, officers concluded that the truck appeared to be carrying a "typical covered drug load" on its bed and was travelling at reckless speeds, police said.

After the shots were fired and the truck's tires blown out, the driver lost control and crashed into a ditch. State police said a preliminary investigation revealed that the shots struck the vehicle's occupants.

Eight people in the truck were arrested. No drugs were found.

An expert on police chases said the decision to fire on the truck was "a reckless act" that served "no legitimate law enforcement purpose."

"In 25 years following police pursuits, I hadn't seen a situation where an officer shot a speeding vehicle from a helicopter," said Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina. Such action would be reasonable only if "you know for sure the person driving the car deserves to die and that there are no other occupants."

The Texas Department of Public Safety's general manual says troopers are allowed to use such force when defending themselves or someone else from serious harm or death. Shooting at vehicles is justified to disable a vehicle or when deadly force is deemed necessary.

Story and comments:

Man arrested after punching WestJet flight attendant

Halifax RCMP were called to the tarmac at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport Friday night after a passenger on board a plane became violent and punched a flight attendant.

Police said the 24-year-old man traveling on a WestJet flight from Toronto became agitated during the plane's descent.

"Several passengers stepped in and subdued the man and held him until police attended and arrested him," said RCMP Sgt. Mike Lidstone. "They ended up taking him to the QE II hospital for psychiatric assessment."

The man is originally from Dartmouth, N.S., but now lives in Los Angeles.

Lidstone said the airplane landed without incident.

Aviation support staff works hard to keep aircraft safe

 For Cpl. Lauren Hall, becoming an avionics technician in the Marine Corps was an easy choice.

“I’ve wanted to be a Marine since I was little,” she said with grease-stained hands and permanent dirt under her fingernails. “I knew I wanted to do something in aviation and I like electronics so it fits perfect.”

Hall is one of thousands of aviation support crew members who spend 12-hour days working on Marine Corps aircraft like the CH-53E Super Stallion, ensuring the copter is ready for the pilots when they take it out.

But Hall doesn’t complain about her long days and seemingly never-ending list of tasks requiring wiring and electronics to be reworked on the aircraft.

“The 12 hours and the hard work that you put in — it always pays off when the bird does go up and comes back safely,” Hall said. “I take pride in what I do and it does take a lot of man hours but I mean that’s why we’re the few and the proud.”

Like Hall, Cpl. George Braneff takes great pride in his work as a crew chief with Heavy Marine Helicopter Unit 464. Crew chiefs spend their days changing oil filters, replacing rotor blades and working on gear boxes if the aircraft isn’t flying; but when they’re in the air, the crew chief is considered the pilot and co-pilot’s right-wing man, taking responsibility for everything in the aircraft from the back of the cockpit to the tip of the tail.

“The aircraft can’t move without a crew chief,” Braneff said. “The pilot studies the control systems, but the crew chief studies the mechanical systems, the tactics systems and the weapons systems.”

Whether it be cargo, people or weapons, crew chiefs are responsible for all of it, ensuring everything gets where it needs to go.

In addition to their own responsibilities, crew chiefs have to be ready at the drop of a dime to help the pilots with whatever they need in the cockpit — often navigation and communication support. They’re expected to know every inch of the aircraft’s mechanics and what makes it fly. Crew chiefs are so well-versed on the aircraft they’re assigned to, that should the need ever arise, they could probably fly the plane themselves, Braneff said.

“It would be a piece of cake to walk out there and turn that (aircraft) up,” Braneff said with a grin. “It’s our responsibility to know absolutely everything — as much as we can about the aircraft.”

Hall and Braneff both recently returned from a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan, which they said gave them the opportunity to put all the training they’ve done at New River to use.

“Being deployed is the only place we get to truly do our job,” Braneff said. “(At New River) we do training, so you don’t get to see the effect — you don’t get see the faces on other Marines when you bring them food and they haven’t eaten in two days. It’s just nice to be out there and actually see the impact that you’re making.”

Hall agreed with Braneff, comparing her time in Afghanistan to her high school basketball days.

“I played basketball in high school and for me practice was important, but it showed on game day,” she said. “So here, it’s practice and then the whole seven months you’re in Afghanistan is seven months of game day.”

Story and photo:

Porter James Grant SUPERIOR CUB, N97RP: Accident occurred October 27, 2012 in Beechgrove, Indiana

NTSB Identification: CEN13CA033
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 27, 2012 in Beechgrove, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2013
Aircraft: PORTER JAMES GRANT SUPERIOR CUB, registration: N97RP
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The pilot reported that he planned to depart from a short grass field. To obtain more clearance from the trees at the end of the 700-foot strip, the pilot planned to turn just after takeoff. The pilot added that there was about a 10- to 20-degree right crosswind. During the takeoff, the airplane turned into the wind and the pilot was unable to correct that turn. The pilot attempted to climb through a small gap in the tree line; however, the airplane’s right wing collided with a tree and the airplane subsequently impacted the ground. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from trees during takeoff from a short field.

The pilot reported that he planned to depart from a small grass field. In order to give him more clearance from the trees at the end of the 700 foot strip, the pilot expected to perform a turn just after takeoff. The pilot added that he had about a 10 to 20 degree crosswind. During takeoff the airplane turned into the wind and the pilot was unable to correct the turn. In order to avoid the trees he attempted to climb through a small gap in the tree line. However, the airplane’s right wing collided with a tree and the airplane subsequently impacted the ground. An Examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage.

 NTSB Identification: CEN13CA033 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 27, 2012 in Beechgrove, IN
Aircraft: PORTER JAMES GRANT SUPERIOR CUB, registration: N97RP
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The pilot reported that he planned to depart from a small grass field. In order to give him more clearance from the trees at the end of the 700 foot strip, the pilot expected to perform a turn just after takeoff. The pilot added that he had about a 10 to 20 degree crosswind. During takeoff the airplane turned into the wind and the pilot was unable to correct the turn. In order to avoid the trees he attempted to climb through a small gap in the tree line. However, the airplane’s right wing collided with a tree and the airplane subsequently impacted the ground. An Examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage.

 Prior Accident:
NTSB Identification: WPR10CA378  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 30, 2010 in Caldwell, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2010
Aircraft: PORTER JAMES GRANT SUPERIOR CUB, registration: N97RP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that as the tailwheel-equipped airplane touched down it began to veer to the left. The pilot added full right rudder and tapped the right brake; however, the airplane ground-looped and exited the runway into the dirt. The right wing struck the ground and was substantially damaged. The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine prior to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented by receiving additional instruction with a certificated flight instructor in the airplane make and model.

  Regis#: 97RP        Make/Model: EXP       Description: SUPERIOR CUB EXP
  Date: 10/27/2012     Time: 1655

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

  City: INDIANAPOLIS   State: IN   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:    

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Take-off      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: INDIANAPOLIS, IN  (GL11)              Entry date: 10/31/2012 


INDIANAPOLIS - (AP) -- An engineer who works for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing was piloting a small airplane when it clipped some trees during takeoff and crashed in a field on the south side of Indianapolis.

A team spokeswoman says Jeremy Milless was leaving a gathering at the home of John O'Gara, Fisher's father-in-law and team manager, when the crash occurred Saturday.

Authorities say the 35-year-old pilot was walking around when rescue crews arrived and was taken to a hospital with a shoulder injury.

Federal aviation officials are investigating the crash.

Some Super Cub Fun from Jeremy Milless on Vimeo.
Some Super Cub Fun from Jeremy Milless 
1 year ago 
 "My first Video shot with a Go-Pro camera 720 res." 
 White River Indiana 

Photo Credit:  WISH-TV / Gary Gallinger

A small plane crashed into a backyard after trying to take off from a small field adjacent to an outside house party in the Southside today.

 Authorities responded to the 100 block of West Sumner Avenue about 12:40 p.m. and found the plane wrecked in the field. The pilot, Jeremy Milless, 35, Monrovia, was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital with a shoulder injury, but it was not life-threatening.

A video taken by a neighbor shows the plane taking off in a field, in the direction of house where an outside party was occurring. The plane barely made into the air before flying through trees and nosediving into a backyard, neighbors said.

"It was just like a big thud," said Kathy Schlueter, 49, who lives across the street and took video of the crash.

"Anything a little bit more -- he could have been into any of the houses."

The house party was taking place at a property owned by John O'Gara, team manager for Sarah Fisher Racing. O'Gara is also the father-in-law of Fisher, the racing team owner and former IndyCar driver.

The pilot removed himself from the wreckage before authorities arrived. Neighbors said he was trying to put on a show for the adjacent house party. But residents and party-goers there refused to talk to any media. Authorities would also not comment on the scene.

Other neighbors said the pilot appeared to be flying around the neighborhood before landing in a field and then taking off toward the house.

"He made like four or five loops around," said Mark Dutton, 49. "And you could hear the engine almost like it was stalling."

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash and will determine if any charges should be filed.

Rich Myers, an Indiana State Police spokesman, said it's common for small planes to take off from grass strips, though he had not seen the video of this crash.

"That happens all over Indiana, that small planes take off in those," he said.

Nigerian man dies under New York bound plane

LAGOS (AFP) - A dead body has been found in the wheel well of a plane operated by Nigerian airline Arik for its London and New York routes, a spokesman said today, in a case similar to past instances of stowaways.

The man's body was found yesterday in an undercarriage wheel compartment after the Airbus A340-500 plane returned to Lagos from London, said Arik spokesman Adebanji Ola, but it was unclear when or how he gained access to it.

"They just found the body in the aircraft yesterday. There's no identity on it," he told AFP, adding an investigation would be carried out.

Previous such cases have seen stowaways hide inside planes' wheel wells in Nigeria or other countries in hopes of making it abroad. They have previously frozen to death or been crushed by the wheel.

Lynn, Massachusetts: Swampscott man soars to new heights

LYNN — Swampscott resident Ron Beckett was in his 40s before he learned to fly, and when he hit 70 he decided it was time to add a few aerobatics to the mix. 

"I asked (Executive Flyers pilot Marc Nathanson) if he had anyone as old as I am pass or even take the course," Beckett said. "He said, 'nope!'"

Beckett was in the midst of becoming certified to fly a Robinson R22, a two-bladed, single-engine helicopter, what he called "a beautiful machine," when another student crashed the bird.

"I had to find something else to do," he said.

So he walked across the field to Executive Flyers, where Nathanson, who took him on as a student, had no qualms about Beckett.

"He started flying with us in '07," he said. "We'd meet, tell a few jokes, then get down to the business of aerobatics."

Beckett said he had always wanted to fly, and when his family was grown he finally indulged his fantasy. At the urging of a friend, Gerhard Neumann, General Electric aviation innovator, he started with gliders.

"I flew at Salem Gliders for a couple of years," he said. "Then I moved over to the Beverly Airport and New England Flyers."

Beckett said he flew there for a couple of years and became licensed for several different planes but eventually got tired of having to hop from runway to runway.

About the same time he saw an article about John Wholley, who at the time was 78 and flying seaplanes out Merrimack Valley Seaplane Base in Methuen. Before long Beckett was certified to fly and land seaplanes.

"I flew up there for 10 years," he said. "I have almost 500 water landings. Then he decided he was too old to keep the base open."

After a brief dalliance with "complex airplanes," defined in part by having retractable wheels, Beckett moved on to helicopters, but after the only other student in the program crashed the only helicopter, he took up aerobatics.

"My family knew by then it was hopeless to try and talk me out of it," he said.

Beckett said the program started with ground school, and airtime started with rolls.

"You fly along and get your speed up to 160 miles per hour then pull up to a 45 degree angle and take the stick, if you want to go left, left as far as it can go and roll," he said. "It's so wonderful."

He also learned to do the more complicated slow rolls and loops, Immelmans, an old combat maneuver, and hammerheads, which includes flying vertical at 165 mph. Flying upside down and handling a spin when things went sideways were also in the course work.

The first thing he had to do, however, was build up a tolerance to G-force.

"We'd do a loop and come back down and (Nathanson) would ask 'how do you feel?" he said. "At first you can do two or three and then you start to get sweaty; it's what they call 'your barf tolerance.'"

Beckett said he rigged up his own tolerance builder at home by suspending a creeper, essentially a padded board on wheels used by mechanics to roll under cars, from the ceiling.

"I made a basket of sorts, and I'd strap myself onto it like a backpack and wind it up about 15 times or so and let it go, and spin and spin and spin," he said.

Recently Beckett said he asked Nathanson when he would consider him certified.

"He said, 'You've completed the course work, you're done,'" Beckett said.

"He's pretty good," Nathanson said. "He can do the loops and rolls and many other aerobatic maneuvers. He's a better pilot because he took this training. He'd be able to recover the plane better if something happened."

Beckett said his next venture is to finish the helicopter training.

"I was almost halfway through the training," he said. "I could control it about 70 to 80 percent of the time. I have to finish."

Story and photo:

First NetJets Global 6000 out and about

NetJets has ordered 150 Challenger/Globals, with 240 further options...

Challenger 300 75 orders, 125 options,
Challenger 605 25 orders, 50 options,
Global 5000 15 orders, 15 options,
Global 6000 15 orders, 15 options,
Global 7000 10 orders, 20 options,
Global 8000 10 orders, 20 options.

Bombardier Press Release
First aircraft of these, was spotted on a test flight at CYUL Montreal yesterday

C-GLUP Global 6000 9475 in NetJets Colors
Photo J.P. Gosselin (Montreal)

Future NetJets registration N160QS

Qantas pilot Captain Steve Anderson fears of drugs on planes

The black market in cost-price prescription drugs in Asia has triggered fears from pilots that pill-popping passengers are endangering lives.

Cases of passengers leaping from their seats, "sleep walking" and, in one case, even trying to open an airline door while in flight are among random acts of behavior that have horrified flight crews.

Qantas pilot Captain Steve Anderson said the purchasing of prescription medicine over the counter in Asia without doctor's advice was rampant.

"The problem is that the things they are taking are horrendous when mixed with alcohol. The accessing of prescription-type drugs in Thailand and to a lesser extent in Bali is rampant," he said.

The purchasing of such drugs as antibiotics without prescription overseas is an enormous problem, Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said.

"People can't be certain they're getting what they think they're getting," he said.

"Like you can buy your fake Rolexes and your Tag watches in Asia, in the same way you can buy these sorts of drugs."

Capt Anderson has been on flights when passengers have tried to open doors. "I have been on a flight where someone's decided they have wanted to open the door and jump out," he said. "One gentleman and a young woman decided they wanted to go for a walk in the clouds."

Many cases of bad reactions to drugs were genuine mistakes by people who bought antibiotics or sleeping tablets without prescription and then drunk alcohol, he said.Secretary of the Flight Attendants Association of Australian Jo-Ann Davidson said the issue was of serious concern.

"It's a real issue when people are in a confined space for a period of time. When combined with alcohol and sleep deprivation and changing time zones it's an accident waiting to happen," Ms Davidson said.

A meeting between the federal Department of Transport and Infrastructure this month and Australian representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization canvassed ways of discouraging passengers from unruly behavior. A uniform international penalty system is being investigated.

Dallas/Fort Worth International (KDFW): Travelers at airport increasingly found packing firearms


 D/FW AIRPORT - Security screeners at TSA checkpoints have detected an increasing number of firearms at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the last three weeks, according to a review of police reports by News 8. 

"It's very significant," said Dr. Cedric Alexander, TSA Federal Security Director at D/FW Airport. "[Even] one weapon found is significant, because we have to make sure we're protecting the flying public."

In the last 10 days, TSA screeners have discovered five guns at D/FW Airport. So far this month, seven have turned up during X-rays of carry-on luggage.

Alexander credits two elements for all the discoveries.

"We really are recovering a lot of weapons," he said. "The technology we are seeing today that has been employed is playing a very, very important part. But I think one of the more significant pieces of the detections [that] are being made is really in our personnel."

The TSA said it has found several .38-calibers and some Glock 9mms this month.

Many of them belong to travelers with a concealed handgun licenses, Alexander said. Almost everyone tells police the same story -- that they forget their pistol in their carry-on luggage.

Screeners discovered more firearms at Terminal E than anywhere else, and most of those happen first thing in the morning. The reason why is a little harder to pinpoint.

Weapons like knives, batons, and pepper spray often result in a citation, according to official reports. But anyone caught with a gun at a checkpoint goes to jail.

The most recent record for firearm discoveries at D/FW Airport happened in 2010, when 66 guns were found. Last year, screeners detected 57.

But in the first ten months of this year, 56 firearms have already been found.

If the current trend continues over the next eight weeks, screeners will likely exceed last year's number of finds and get close to the 2010 figure.

Downed pilot was ‘a gentleman and a classy guy’: Cessna 172N Skyhawk II, C-GBLG; Accident occurred October 25, 2012 near Puslinch Lake in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Facebook photo 
 Russell Hawkins died in a plane crash on Thursday afternoon in Puslinch.

GUELPH — Always with a smile on his face, Russell Hawkins loved life and lived passionately, says Carlo Mann. 

 “He was the type of guy that I could call him any time of the day or night and he would talk to me,” he said.

Having developed a close friendship with Hawkins over the past few years, Mann said he had nothing but good things to say about the 47-year-old Guelph man who died on Thursday afternoon when his plane crashed into the woods in Puslinch.

“He was a gentleman and a classy guy,” Mann said. “You would go to his home and he would always want to get you the best wine ever: Amarone,” his favourite.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, rescue crews scrambled to reach the Cessna 172 single-engine plane that crashed at the southeast corner of Puslinch Lake. Hawkins died at the scene and another man who was also on board the aircraft was taken to Cambridge Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The other man remains in hospital. Transportation Safety Board investigators wish to interview him but were not able to Friday.

Mann describes his friend as a self-starter, an entrepreneur who let his passions drive him forward in everything he did. In his 20s, he said, Hawkins went to Las Vegas to study the craps and poker tables at casinos. Using his experience south of the border, Hawkins founded in 2000, which has become a popular hub for talk about sports and gambling online.

One of the forums on the website announces the news of Hawkins’ death and several people have left their condolences. A member with the online name The Actuary, said “RIP Russ. We may not have seen eye to eye, but your business here certainly changed my life for the better.”

Mann said Hawkins had a passion for flying and only recently attained his pilot’s licence. According to Transport Canada’s Aviation Database, Hawkins became registered as an owner of the small aircraft in February, earlier this year.

Linda Craig, the senior development officer for The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, said the thing she will remember most about Russell Hawkins is his smile and his embrace of people.

Although she just met him for the first time earlier this year, she said he made an impact. In a phone interview on Friday, Craig was noticeably choked-up over Hawkins’ death, and said everyone at the foundation was feeling the same way.

She said earlier that year, Hawkins approached the hospital looking to hold a fundraiser to raise money for the foundation. Through multiple meetings and planning sessions, the Burgers, Bands and Balls fundraising event was put together and then held at his home on Victoria Road in June. The event included a catered meal of gourmet burgers and sushi, live music and a closest-to-the-pin competition on one of the holes on Victoria Park Valley Golf Course.

Karen Cerniuk, Hawkins’ next-door neighbour, said she became a good friend of his over the five years he’s lived beside her.

“He’s acquired a lot, he’s accomplished a lot,” she said. “He’s a multi-millionaire and he does not brag about it at all.”

Cerniuk said whenever Hawkins was plowing his driveway, he would also plow hers – just because, “that’s the kind of man he was.

“Now matter what, he helps everybody. He’s just an extremely generous, kind person,” she said.

Read more and photos:

Alliance Municipal Airport (KAIA), Nebraska: Accused drug mule catches break, avoids federal prison

Carrying 175 pounds of marijuana, Justin Woodcock landed his single-engine plane March 9 at the Alliance Municipal Airport.

Alliance Police Detective Dusty Bryner was waiting, armed with a tip and a police dog specially trained to find drugs.

Bryner found the pot and arrested Woodcock. Prosecutors charged him with felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

His lawyer, San Francisco-based Zenia Gilg, said she’s seen clients convicted in similar cases land 2- to 2 1/2-year prison sentences.

Six months later, the charges against Woodcock have vanished and the videographer is back home in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., a free man.

“It’s definitely changed my life,” said Woodcock, who said he learned a valuable lesson.

His life didn't change as much as it could have.

Chief U.S. District Judge Laurie Camp tossed out the case earlier this month, with the blessing of federal prosecutor Nancy Svoboda.

Svoboda said settlements happen “all the time for a plethora of reasons,” but declined to comment further on the case.

Two weeks before the case was dismissed, Gilg said key facts in Bryner’s search warrant were wrong and pushed Camp to void it.

In the application for the warrant, Bryner said Special Agent Gil Johnson from Immigration and Customs Enforcement told him Woodcock was headed his way, and he might be carrying drugs.

In his report, Johnson said he was tipped off by a Reno airport employee who suspected Woodcock was a drug mule, according to Gilg's motion.

But an independent investigator hired by Woodcock learned that federal investigators reached out to the airport employee, not the other way around. Once contacted, the employee said he saw that the plane was full of luggage, but did not say he thought Woodcock was a drug mule, according to Gilg's motion.

Bryner did not return phone calls from the Journal Star.

Gilg also urged Camp to suppress the marijuana itself as evidence because of problems with the drug dog.

The dog, Capone, didn’t have enough hours of training, and the training he did have was crammed into too few days, according to an expert hired by the defense. Without proper training, the dog’s signal that drugs were aboard the plane was meaningless.

“What stood out to us was the complete lack of training the dog,” Gilg said.

Ultimately, prosecutors agreed to drop the case before Camp ruled.

Gilg complimented Svoboda for agreeing to dismiss the case. Most prosecutors would have pushed on, hoping to score a sympathetic judge, she said, but Svoboda relayed information from the Alliance Police Department that bolstered Woodcock’s case, even though she didn't have to.

“I’d say the U.S. Attorney’s office evaluated the search and agreed there were some problems with the Fourth Amendment violations,” Gilg said.

“I can’t say enough nice things about the prosecutor. She had a lot of integrity. She made sure things we’re done right.”

Woodcock, 29, agreed to forfeit his plane as part of an agreement to dismiss the case, Gilg said.

“My client is a really nice kid,” she said, adding that the charge was his first offense. “He’s certainly learned a valuable lesson.”

Said Woodcock: “I’m just glad it’s over and done with. I’m just so thankful.”

Fort Morgan Municipal (KFMM), Colorado: Tecnam Bravo for rent at airport soon

NorthEast Planes Aviation will be offering a light sports aircraft for rent and training beginning in November.

The aircraft is a Tecnam Bravo, a high-wing, tricycle gear, two-seater with late model avionics.

This will allow NorthEast to train pilots for light sport licenses, which has some advantages over regular pilot training, since only half the training time is mandatory and no medical is required -- only a valid driver's license, said owner Elliott Arthur.

Light sports pilots cannot fly at night or bad weather, but there are no distance limitations.

The new airplane can be flown by private pilots and student pilots.

Arthur said he had four students achieve solo flight status this past season, including Heath Kuntz and Cleat Young of Fort Morgan.

For more information on how to become a pilot, contact NorthEast at 970-847-3227 or toll free at 888-981-8808.


Erie International/Tom Ridge Field (KERI), Erie, Pennsylvania: Airport Runway Extension to Open this Fall

The Erie International Airport runway extension project is nearing completion.

The new and improved, longer runway will officially open this fall.

According to the executive director of the airport authority, the runway is ahead of schedule and under budget.

A specific date when the extended runway will be operational has not been announced yet.

Crews are working behind the scenes to make sure everything is operating correctly, including all of the new electrical cabling.

The commercial aircrafts will now be able to run more efficiently, full of passengers and fuel.

The line of sight visibility to the end of the runway and taxi way has been cleared.

However there are still a few items that are in the line of sight of the taxi way which local FAA officials are looking into.

This extension is part one, next summer part two will be complete.

"That's where we mill down the old surface that's 19 years old and put new pavement down," said Chris Rodgers, Airport Authority executive director. "And that means from a pilot perspective we'll have a new runway from one way all the way to another."

Rodgers says that the $83 million project is under budget.

He also added that the extension will be complete two seasons before it was planned to be done.

Story and video:

Air Force veterans get another chance to take to the skies

Two Air Force veterans who flew together almost 30 years ago took to the skies over Pittsburgh on Friday.

But Col. Daryl J. Hartman, 911th Operations Group commander, didn’t get a chance to show his teacher, Col. Leslie R. Anzjon, anything new.

“When you’ve been around the block as much as we have, it’s kind of hard to find something new,” said Hartman, who touched down at Pittsburgh International Airport for the last time, marking the end of a 34-year Air Force career.

After landing, Hartman, 55, of Kilbuck brought the C-130 between two fire trucks that gave it the traditional dousing signifying a final flight. Hartman’s wife Peggy then gave him the same treatment with the fire hose, while others sprinkled him with champagne. The revelry was markedly different than the ceremonial flight, which started and finished at the airport

“It was a quiet flight,” he said. “No one wanted to talk, and I didn’t know what to say.”

Hartman served most of his career with the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon and the 910th Airlift Wing in Youngstown. A command pilot with more than 7,500 flight hours, he saw combat in southwest Asia and the Balkans.

Things won’t be the same without the guitar player, blogger and home remodeler, said his colleagues.

“A lot of people are going to miss him,” said Tech Sgt. Jamie Perry, who worked with Hartman for eight years.

As commander, Hartman was the senior officer responsible for a unit of eight C-130s, an aeromedical evacuation squadron and a support flight. He married his high school sweetheart 33 years ago but said he “found heaven in a C-130.”

Anzjon, the 911th Operations Group commander from 1998 to 2004 and Hartman’s instructor on his first C-130B flight, was his co-pilot Friday.

Anzjon is director of safety at Robins Air Force Base in
Warner Robins, Ga., where he is responsible for developing and implementing programs for flight, ground and weapons safety.

He slipped away without speaking when the plane landed.

The 911th includes approximately 1,220 Air Force Reserve members and employs about 320 civilians. More than 180 air reserve technicians hold dual civilian and military positions.

Hartman’s immediate plans are to do more “family stuff,” play guitar with his Celtic band, “Carnival of Souls,” and remodel a half-dozen kitchens for friends and his mom, who is first on the list.

“I told them I’d do the work if they bought the materials,” he said.

Read more: