Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor: Pilot ejects safely before jet crashes near Tyndall Air Force Base

A pilot ejected safely just before his Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet crashed during a training mission at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City.

A release from the Air Force says the F-22 Raptor went down this afternoon on U.S. 98 near Tyndall Air Force Base, just south of Panama City. The pilot ejected safely before the crash and was receiving medical treatment at the base.

A section of the highway was closed as a safety precaution as rescuers responded to the scene.

There were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground.

Story and reaction/comments:

Robinson Helicopter R22 BETA, N2356T: Rotorcraft made a precautionary landing in a school yard - Portland, Oregon

  Regis#: 2356T        Make/Model: R22       Description: R-22
  Date: 11/15/2012     Time: 1750

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: PORTLAND   State: OR   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   2     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: PORTLAND, OR  (NM09)                  Entry date: 11/16/2012 

Helicopter towed from field after emergency landing behind Southwest Portland middle school

The sun was out and the sixth graders in Steve Sandvold's physical education class at Robert Gray Middle School were pleading with the teacher to let them run outside Thursday morning. But call it luck, providence or just reluctance to go out in the chilly air, Sandvold said no.

Not long after, he was especially glad he made that call. Two men in a helicopter out of Hillsboro were forced to make an emergency landing onto the Southwest Portland sports field where the students would have been running their laps.

"I can just see the pilot trying to make a landing" with students running around, he said, fearing that the emergency might have turned out to be far worse.

Portland Police said the helicopter, whose occupants have not been identified, made the emergency landing in the field a little after 10 a.m. after a warning light came on. Neither man was injured, said Portland Police Sgt. Greg Pashley. No one is believed to have been in the field at the time.

Workers from Hillsboro Aviation dismantled the helicopter's rotor blades and carted the helicopter away early Thursday afternoon. Hillsboro Aviation's president did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The landing marks the second time in two years that an aircraft has used the school's field for a landing, earning the field the moniker "Robert Gray Regional Airport," police officers at the scene quipped. On Oct. 10, 2010, a small, single engine airplane that was experiencing mechanical problems also landed at the school. No one was injured in that landing.

"This is a winding road, hilly section of Portland, lots of homes, a school, obviously and they were alert enough to find a nice big field when they felt like they needed to put the helicopter down," said Pashley.

The students did not see the landing, the school said, and people did not hear it, said the school's head custodian, who would only give his first name, Ray. A call came into the school's office, notifying them that a helicopter had landed in the field and the custodian went to check it out. The blades were still spinning, he said, adding that at first he thought it was a helicopter from Friday Night Flights, in which helicopters for local news stations cover select high school football games.

"I was going to ask for a ride," he joked.

But he soon realized what had happened. Two men -- one appeared to be an instructor and one appeared to be a student pilot -- emerged from the helicopter, saying that an indicator light had come on and that it appeared the helicopter was losing power.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately return a message for comment.

Pilatus PC-12: Beautiful Video ♡


 Published on November 14, 2012 by Eric Griswold

Sheriff's Aviation Unable to Find Reported Plane Down on Mt Baldy

By Guy McCarthy 

November 14, 2012

 The report of a small plane down near the top of Mt. Baldy came before 5 p.m., a sergeant at Sheriff's Aviation in Rialto said in a phone interview.

 Update 6:59 p.m. A sheriff's helicopter crew in 40 King did a flyover-area check on the south slope of Mount Baldy, east of the resort for a possible aircraft down, a department spokeswoman said. 

The crew was unable to locate any aircraft and at 6:15 p.m. they closed the call, Cynthia Bachman of the Sheriff's Department said Wednesday evening. 

Posted 6:19 p.m. The Sheriff's Aviation Unit was investigating a report of a possible small civilian plane crash Wednesday near the summit of Mount Baldy on the San Bernardino-Los Angeles county line. 

The report of a small plane down near the top of Mount Baldy came before 5 p.m., a sergeant at Sheriff's Aviation in Rialto said in a phone interview around sundown November 14. 

"We just received the report, from a single reporting party, and we're sending an airship up to take a look," Sgt. Dan Futscher of Sheriff's Aviation in Rialto said. "That's all the information we have at this time." 

Mount Baldy, formally known as Mount San Antonio, is 10,069 feet above sea level, according to mapmakers.   It is the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains and it sits astride the San Bernardino-Los Angeles county line north of Upland and Claremont. 

Claremont-La Verne Patch

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking 300A, N93577: Fatal accident occurred May 18, 2011 in Rock Springs, Wyoming

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA228 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 18, 2011 in Rock Springs, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N93577
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 pilot’s initial plan was to make the cross-country flight on the day before the flight actually took place. But, since the weather briefing he received forecast clouds, precipitation, and icing conditions along much of the route, the pilot elected not to attempt the flight but instead decided to wait until the next day. Although the weather briefer advised the pilot that the conditions he had described would still be present along the route of flight the next day, including areas of clouds, low ceilings, precipitation, icing conditions, snow, and thunderstorms, the pilot did not call back for an update briefing on the day of the flight, and he did not receive a weather briefing from either of the Direct User Access Terminal Service providers. It is possible that he may have accessed some raw weather data from a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration website before departing for his planned destination. Overlaying the airplane’s radar track on weather radar imagery indicated that, about 30 minutes after departure, the pilot encountered the edge of the forecast weather conditions, entering an area of precipitation where supercooled liquid droplets had been forecast. This most likely resulted in a very rapid accumulation of ice on the airplane’s structure, including its wings and horizontal stabilizer. Soon thereafter, the airplane entered a steep uncontrolled descent, during which the outboard section of the right wing separated as it was stressed beyond the design limitations of the airplane. The airplane continued in a near vertical uncontrolled descent and impacted the terrain with a high amount of energy. Postaccident examination of the airframe, flight controls, and the engine did not find any evidence of a preexisting anomaly.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s decision to continue flight into an area of known adverse weather, which resulted in an accumulation of structural ice that led to a loss of control and in-flight breakup. Also causal was the pilot’s inadequate preflight weather planning.


On May 18, 2011, about 1115 mountain daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A Viking, N93577, impacted the terrain about 40 miles northeast of Rock Springs, Wyoming. The private pilot and his passenger were killed in the accident, and the airplane, which was owned and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight, which departed Pinedale, Wyoming, about 37 minutes prior to the accident, was en route to Fort Collins, Colorado. At the time of the accident, the pilot was flying through an area of multiple layered overcast and broken cloud formations and light rain. No flight plan had been filed, and there was no report of an Emergency Locator Transmitter activation.

On May 17, the day prior to the accident, at 1217, the pilot contacted the Lockheed Martin Flight Service Station, and advised the briefer that he was at Pinedale, Wyoming, and that he was looking to fly via visual flight rules (VFR) to Fort Collins, Colorado. The pilot told the briefer that he was looking at departing sometime in the following four hours, and then stated that he (the pilot) did not think it was looking "particularly good." The pilot then referred to some raw data weather information that he was looking at while he was on the call, and commented that it appeared to him that there was marginal VFR weather around Lander, Wyoming, and that Rock Springs appeared to be having instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions. The briefer then asked the pilot if he wanted a standard briefing, or just an abbreviated briefing, to which the pilot responded that he would take an abbreviated briefing. The pilot then further commented that to him it looked like the route had mountain obscuration and VFR not recommended type of weather along the way.

The briefer then informed the pilot that Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) Sierra for instrument flight rules (IFR) was in effect for his proposed route. He also advised him that AIRMET Zulu, for moderate icing from the freezing level up to 22,000 feet, and AIRMET Tango, for moderate turbulence below 18,000 feet were also valid along his route. He also told the pilot that there was a Convective Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) for possible thunderstorms that might affect part of his proposed route. The briefer and the pilot then began discussing the current weather and the forecast for specific locations along the route. Then, about five minutes into the briefing, the pilot asked the briefer what the weather for the next day (May 18) was going to look like.

The briefer then told the pilot that the "bad news" was that the trough that was causing the weather activity along the route on the day of the briefing was forecast to stay in the area for another 24 to 36 hours. He then explained that the prognostic charts indicated that the next morning there would be low pressure all along the route, with showers in the morning along the northern part of the route, and snow near the foothills along the southern part of the route. He then informed the pilot that the trend indicated that later in the afternoon there would be thunderstorms along the whole route from Pinedale to Fort Collins. He also advised him that there was a forecast for snow that night (May 17) in Pinedale, and that the expected ceilings in the morning around both Pinedale and Laramie would be around 4,000 feet with a visibility around 5 miles. The pilot then remarked that he could "live with" a 4,000 foot ceiling, and then “dodge the showers."

About 7 minutes into the briefing, the pilot made the statement that he could get out of Pinedale right then, and that it looked like there was about a 3,000 foot ceiling. The briefer responded to that comment by trying to clarify if the pilot wanted him to continue to provide more weather information for that day (May 17), or for the next day. The pilot's response to that query was to tell the briefer to just give him the terminal forecast for the Denver area (for May 17). The briefer gave the pilot part of the terminal area forecast (TAF) for Denver, but was then interrupted by the pilot stating that he had a copy of the TAF in front of him, and that he needed to learn to read it. Then, for about a minute and a half, the pilot asked the briefer questions about what specific numbers, letters, and abbreviations on the TAF meant.

The pilot then told the briefer that they would be making their decision (on whether to go then, or the next day), and then thanked the briefer for his help. The briefer then advised the pilot that there were no temporary flight restrictions or adverse NOTAM's (Notice to Airman) along the route, and then commented that there were some showers already starting north of Walden and South of Laramie. The pilot then asked the briefer if he knew what tops of the showers were at that time, and the briefer advised him that they were between 25,000 and 30,000 feet. A few seconds later the pilot advised the briefer that he was looking out the window, and that it was starting to snow in Pinedale at that time. A few seconds after the pilot’s comment about the snow, the pilot terminated the briefing session.

The next morning the pilot did not contact Flight Service for an update briefing, nor did he make use of the services of either Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) providers (although, according to his wife, he often used the data provided on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site). The pilot did not file a flight plan for a flight on the morning of May 18, but according to recorded radar data, he did depart Pinedale about 1038, and climbed out on a track of about 148 degrees, leveling off around 9,300 feet mean sea level (MSL) at a point about 17 miles southeast of the airport. The pilot then turned right about 50 degrees, and proceeded on a track of about 188 degrees for about 12 miles. The radar data shows that he then executed a 2-mile diameter right turn of about 270 degrees duration, and continued on a track of about 118 degrees for about 28 miles. He then turned left about 55 degrees, and continued on a track of about 63 degrees for about another 20 miles. Up to that point in time, the pilot had maintained an altitude within about 300 feet plus or minus of 9,000 feet MSL.

About 1110, the pilot turned right to a track of about 128 degrees, and climbed to about 11,000 feet. He continued on that track for about 5 miles, where, according to recorded radar imagery, the airplane encountered the western edge of a series of rain shower bands in an area where icing conditions within precipitation were favorable. About 1114, the airplane entered a descending right turn, during which it descended about 2,800 feet in about 30 seconds (an average rate of about 5,800 feet per minute). The airplane was then lost from radar while passing through 8,000 feet, at a location of 42 degrees, 10 minutes, 41 seconds North by 108 degrees, 47 minutes, 44 seconds West. The airplane impacted the terrain at 42 degrees, 10 minutes, 40.95 seconds North by 108 degrees, 47 minutes, 50.12 seconds West, which was about one-tenth of a mile west of the last radar hit.

While en route, the pilot was not in contact with an Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), and therefore no one knew that the airplane was missing until the pilot did not arrive at his intended destination, and family members became concerned. Based upon the information provided by the family members, an alert notice (ALNOT) for a missing aircraft was issued.


The pilot was a 55 year old male who possessed a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He did not hold an instrument rating. His last airman’s medical, a third class, was completed on April 4, 2010. His last flight review was conducted on March 23, 2010. As of the end of December 2010, which was the date of the last completed log book entry found, he had accumulated about 3,040 total flying hours, of which about 1,330 hours was in a Bellanca 17-30A.


The airplane was a 1973 Bellanca 17-30A Viking, serial number 73-30591, with a Teledyne Continental Motors IO-520-K (1) engine, and a three-bladed Hartzell HC-C3YF-1RF propeller. Its last annual inspection was completed on May 18, 2010. At the time of the annual, the airplane had accumulated 4,632.2 hours, and the engine had accumulated 1,423.2 hours since new.


The 1054 aviation weather surface observation (METAR) for Rock Springs, Wyoming, which is located about 40 miles southwest of the accident site, indicated winds from 100 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 19 knots, a visibility of 10 statute miles, light rain showers, a broken ceiling at 1,700 feet, a broken layer at 2,400 feet, an overcast layer at 5,000 feet, a temperature of 06 degrees C (43 F), a dew point of 02 degrees C (36 F), and an altimeter setting of 29.62 inches of mercury.

A review by a National Transportation Safety Board staff meteorologist of the weather conditions in the 8,000 to 15,000 foot range in the area of the accident at the time of the occurrence, indicated that a band of rain showers was moving northward through the area. The freezing level in the area was 8,000 feet, and the recorded radar returns of the precipitation reflected in the area were likely super-cooled liquid water droplets, making icing conditions favorable. An enhanced weather chart indicated that around 1100 moderate icing was likely at 11,000 feet and 13,000 feet. Satellite imagery indicates that cloud tops in the area about 1100 were just below 17,000 feet, and winds from the surface to about 20,000 feet were between 15 and 25 knots. In addition, the 1100 icing severity charts for both 11,000 feet and 13,000 feet show bands of Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) conditions in the area of the accident. Encounters with SLD conditions typically form larger ice shapes on aircraft structure than normal icing conditions, and do so at a much accelerated rate.


The majority of the airplane’s structure impacted the sandy desert terrain with sufficient energy to create a rounded crater approximately 10 feet in diameter and over 2 feet deep at its center. There was a dirt berm about 6 to 8 inches high along the northern edge of crater, consistent with a generally northern impact track. The majority of the airplane’s structure was accounted for at a location immediately adjacent to the crater, having traveled no more than about 5 to 10 feet after impact. Small portions of the airframe, such as the fuel tanks, had been thrown as much as 200 feet further down the impact tack. Portions of the right wing outboard structure were located on the terrain south of the primary impact site. This structure included the right wing flap, right aileron, right wing tip, the outboard half of the aft right wing spar, and portions of the outboard half of the right forward wing spar. The right flap was located about one-half mile south of the main wreckage, with the aileron, wing spar sections, and wing tip coming to rest anywhere from one-quarter to one-tenth of a mile south of the main wreckage.

Almost all of the structure at the main wreckage site suffered very severe impact damage, with most of the airframe being torn, crushed, and splintered into small pieces. Only the landing gear structure, the left flap, and the left aileron retained anything consistent with their original form. The empennage was identifiable as one unit, but its entire tubular steel structure was bent, twisted, and folded into a form only slight reminiscent of its original design. In contrast, the portions of the structure that contacted the terrain away from the primary wreckage displayed failures of their primary structure or attachment fittings, but showed very little in the way of terrain impact damage. The right flap, which had separated from the wing attach structure, maintained its preimpact form, with only minor terrain impact distortion damage to its most inboard rib. Some sheets of surface paint on both the bottom and top of its structure had torn away, along with one inboard rib-stitch covering tape. Its center pivot bracket remained attached to its structure, and the opposite end of the bracket was still attached to a 6 inch by 10 inch section of wooden wing structure that had torn away from the wing. The wood around the inboard and outboard pivot attach fittings had torn loose from the fittings, and the fittings themselves had remained with the wing structure. The right aileron was still attached to the right aft wing spar by all three of its pivot brackets and its actuator rod. It had maintained its basic shape, but about a one foot section of its trailing edge near its center span had be buckled downward about 3 inches. Also, several large sections of paint had separated from its top surface along much of its span. The portion of the wing spar directly in front of the aileron had two transverse partial fractures running from the bottom to the top of the spar. About five feet inboard of the aileron, the wing spar had fractured abruptly across its entire chord. The right wing tip, which was still attached to a section of the forward wing spar that had fractured between the third and fourth ribs inboard of the tip, revealed no terrain impact damage. It's plywood exterior structure had retained it preimpact form inboard to the most outboard wing rib, and its only sign of distress was the separation of a 1-foot by 3-foot section of its cloth covering on its bottom surface. Also attached to this spar section was the forward half of the second rib inboard form the tip, the forward half of the plywood top skin between the two most outboard ribs, along with the top half of the plywood wing leading edge between the same two ribs. No portion of the spar or the structure attached to it, or any of the other spar sections found in that immediate area displayed any of the extreme terrain impact damage associated with the structure found at the primary wreckage site.

After being recovered from the scene, the wreckage was taken to the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Service in Greeley, Colorado, where further examination of the airplane’s structure and engine were performed. The examination found that the structure recovered from the area immediately adjacent to the impact crater included all eight of the wing spar attached fitting fingers. Of those eight, only the two top fingers on the left wing front spar had failed. An examination of the two failure surfaces did not reveal any evidence of pre-existing fatigue fracture propagation, and both contained 45 degree shear-lips consistent with overload failures. Although the location of most of the fragmented wooden wing spar and wing structure material found at the primary impact point could not be determined, all identifiable fracture surfaces associate with the wing spars were examined for evidence of dry rot or any other form of preexisting deterioration, with none being found. All spar fractures associated with the right wing sections that were located away from the main impact site were inspected for the same anomalies using a ten-power lens, with no anomalies being found.

Due to the level of energy dissipated during the impact with the terrain, flight control continuity and engine/propeller control positions were unable to be determined. The force of the impact also severely damaged the engine and its accessories, and rendered the crankshaft unable to be rotated. Due to the extent of the damage, engine components and accessories could not be tested, and instead were, where possible, disassembled for interior examination. The magnetos, fuel pump, fuel manifold valve, fuel metering assembly, fuel injection nozzles, oil pump, oil pick-up tube/screen, oil filter, oil cooler, spark plugs, cylinder/rocker assembly’s, camshaft, cam followers, crankshaft, alternator, vacuum pump, propeller governor, and propeller were examined for evidence of preimpact anomalies or malfunction. The examination did not reveal any evidence of a preimpact condition that would have prevented the engine from producing rated horsepower.

In addition, an examination of the propeller blades revealed that all three blades exhibited leading edge damage and chordwise scratching along most of the span of their cambered faces. Two of the blades exhibited chordwise polishing/burnishing removal of the paint on their cambered face, and the third displayed paint removal up to about three inches back from its leading edge. All three blades exhibited an arching bend away from their cambered face. All three blades remained attached to the propeller hub.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the office of the State of Oregon Deputy State Medical Examiner. The cause of death was determined to be massive blunt trauma, and the manner of death was determined to be accidental.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed a forensic toxicology examination on samples taken from the pilot. The normal tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not able to be performed. The test for ethanol was negative for both muscle tissue and kidney tissue. The wide-spectrum drug test revealed an undefined concentration of Diphenhydramine in the kidney.


The airplane’s wreckage was released at Greeley, Colorado, on April 19, 2012, to Rick Grossmann of Aviation Consultants.

Bellanca 17-30A, N93577 crash site 
Deputy Sweetwater County Coroner Travis Sanders, left, and Sweetwater County Fire District #1 firefighters at the scene of the May 18, 2011 crash which killed two people, including Gilmer Mickey, co-owner of Pinedale Natural Gas. 

  Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office

 CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Federal investigators say ice most likely caused the crash of a small plane near Rock Springs last May, killing both people on board.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking 300A descended rapidly after flying into an area where forecasts expected precipitation with supercooled droplets.

Investigators say that likely resulted in rapid ice accumulation on the plane. They found no indications of problems with the airframe, flight controls and engine before the crash.

The plane went down about 30 minutes after taking off from Pinedale en route to Fort Collins on May 18.

Pilot Gilmer Mickey of Englewood, Colo., and passenger Bob Albert of Fort Collins, Colo., both 55, were killed.

Letter to the Editor:
On May 18, a light aircraft crashed in Sweetwater County near the Fremont County line, taking the lives of pilot Gilmer Mickey and his passenger, Bob Albert, both of Colorado.

Extreme weather and ground conditions made the initial operation to pinpoint the crash site, reach it and begin recovery operations an ordeal. Conditions were so bad that once the downed plane was located, most of those involved in the search, which included deputies, personnel from Sweetwater County Emergency Management, the coroner’s office and volunteers from County Search and Rescue became badly stuck and were compelled to spend the night in their vehicles at or near the scene.

It was due only to County Road and Bridge personnel and equipment that they were ultimately able to get out at all.

On May 20, in what was an outstanding example of effective inter-agency cooperation, a recovery team of deputies, coroner’s investigators and Sweetwater Count Fire District 1 firefighters with special extrication gear flew into the scene and recovered the bodies of the victims.

I am writing to commend the dedicated volunteers of search and rescue and the Eden-Farson Fire Control District who were involved in the search effort and, as always, were there when duty and the needs of our community called.

It is difficult to imagine getting along without these dedicated people who devote so much of their time in service to all of us. The people of Sweetwater County owe them a great deal. I would also like to recognize the District 1 firefighters and County Road and Bridge personnel whose services and hard work were critical in the successful resolution of this tragic situation.
They include, from Sweetwater County Search and Rescue,Captain Ron Orr, Captain Joyce Fett, Mitch Bullock, Chris Schutz, Jackie Nix, Jeff Rasanen and John Barry.

From Eden-Farson Fire Control District Chief Ed Sabourin, Steve Harris, Steve Winn, Jim Barker, Rick Skorczand Jon Walker. From Sweetwater County Fire District 1, Jake Ribordy, Chad Frericks and Vince Lopez. From Sweetwater County Road and Bridge, Aaron Draycott, Jay Williams, Dean Scott, Kenny West, Josh Robert, Chris Wes and Bob VanValkenburg.

Sheriff Rich Haskell

Whooping cranes continue their migration through Alabama

PARRISH, Alabama -- About a dozen people gathered just after sunrise on a small hill off of Mt Pisgah Road in Walker County to view a flock of five juvenile whooping cranes as they followed behind two ultralight aircraft.

They spent the last couple of days in Walker County after they landed Tuesday as part of their journey from Wisconsin to Florida.

Operation Migration leads a group of the once nearly extinct whooping cranes on a migratory journey each year. They raise the birds in captivity and begin training them - before they hatch - to follow ultralight aircraft. This year's route will take the group approximately 1285 miles and finish in Wakulla, Fla.

"Pilots determine how far the group flies each day," said Liz Condie, part of the ground crew with Opera Migration.

She said it can change depending on how the birds are doing and what kind of push they are getting with the wind.

Thieves reportedly steal $1.5M in iPads from John F Kennedy International Airport (KJFK), New York

A pair of brazen crooks punched another hole in the lax JFK security when they stole a trove of new Apple iPad minis — worth $1.5 million — from the same cargo building that was the site of the 1978 Lufthansa heist featured in "GoodFellas," The Post has learned.

The crooks struck shortly before midnight on Monday and used one of the airport’s own forklifts to load two pallets of the tablet computers into a truck, according to law-enforcement sources.

They might have gotten more, but the thieves drove off leaving three more pallets of the Apple tablets behind after they were challenged by an airport worker returning from dinner.

"So, as a caper goes, it was probably unsuccessful," a source said.

The thieves were still at large last night. Investigators, suspecting an inside job, have been questioning airport workers and given three of them polygraph tests, the sources said.

The crooks arrived at Building 261 around 11 p.m. in a white tractor trailer marked with the name CEVA on the side, according to the sources. They pulled up to the side of the airport building that faces onto a street and has less security than the other side, which is accessible from the airport tarmac.

Sources believe someone let them into the area and then let them out after they grabbed the iPads.

They grabbed about 3,600 of the minis that were being shipped by a company called Cargo Airport Services, which said the iPads had just arrived from China and were destined for locations around the US.

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United Flights Resuming After Nationwide Computer Glitch

United Airlines  grounded certain flights across the U.S. Thursday morning due to a glitch in the computer system that controls the airline's ground operations.

Just before 11 a.m. ET, a United spokesperson told FOX Business that the internal system was “up and running,” adding that the airline is “getting back to normal.”

The glitch caused “some but not all mainline flights” to be delayed, though United Express was not impacted, the spokesman said.

The problem seems to have affected passengers across the country, from New York's LaGuardia to San Francisco. The airline had been telling passengers to rebook on other airlines.

The system outage was related to United’s Unimatic, the software used by United ground operations. United said some computer activity had resumed as of around 10:30 a.m. ET, though it was not clear how long it would take to completely resolve all of the issues.

The Chicago-based company began boarding passengers at LaGuardia for all United flights around 10:30 but gave no timeline on when those flights would take off. In San Francisco, Simon Marks, president of Feature Story News, said his flight to Washington D.C. had boarded after a 20 minute delay.

"Pilot says computers [are] back up," Simon said in an email to FOX Business. "Ground staff now playing catch-up."

The No. 1 U.S. carrier has been plagued by a number of computer outages since its merger with Continental. Since combining their computer systems in March, outages have been reported in March, May and August of this year alone.

“United has been bedeviled with these computer glitches,” said Mary Schiavo, former inspector general at the U.S. Department of Transportation. “They’ve already had four this year and it’s only gotten worse since their merger with Continental.”

Shares of United dipped 1.25% Thursday morning.

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Hughes 369D, Haverfield International, Inc., N369AW: Accident occurred November 15, 2012 in Corning, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA057
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Corning, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/23/2014
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N369AW
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was flying west down a hill over power lines that the pilot was inspecting when it struck the top of the power lines that were perpendicular to its flightpath. The tail rotor assembly separated, and the helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest inverted. Postaccident examination of the helicopter did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation; however, most of the wreckage sustained extensive thermal- and impact-related damage.

The pilot was hired about 3 weeks before the accident. He had no prior power line patrol experience, but he had completed a wire strike avoidance training module about 2 weeks before the accident. The accident occurred during the pilot’s second work day of flying power line observation flights. After the accident, the operator instituted a policy requiring that all newly hired pilots obtain 100 flight hours of power line patrol-related flight experience with company crewmembers before being assigned an operation that would require flying with noncompany observers.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate altitude while conducting a power line aerial observation flight, which resulted in an in-flight collision with wires. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of total experience in the type of operation.


On November 15, 2012, at 1211 eastern standard time, a Hughes 369D, N369AW, operated by Haverfield Aviation Inc., was substantially damaged following a collision with power lines and terrain in Corning, New York. The commercial pilot and the observer were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport (ELM), Horseheads, New York, about 1145. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The observer was a utility company employee.

According to the operator, the helicopter was temporarily based at the Tri-Cities Airport (CZG) in Endicott, New York, and was being utilized to inspect the power lines after a recent storm. The helicopter conducted an uneventful flight earlier in the day and was subsequently refueled at ELM, before continuing survey operations.

Witnesses observed the helicopter flying west, down a hill over power lines which extended east to west. One witness stated that the helicopter appeared below the highest tower, shortly before it struck the top of power lines that extended to the south, perpendicular to the helicopter's flight path. The witness further stated that he did not hear any changes in the rhythm of the rotor blades prior to the impact.

The tail rotor assembly separated, the helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest inverted. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. On site examination of the helicopter was performed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who noted power lines wrapped around the main rotor assembly. In addition, the power company reported two power lines "tripped out" at 1211.

A handheld Garmin GPSMAP 496 global positioning system receiver was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC for data download.


The pilot, age 24, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for rotorcraft and instrument helicopter. He also held a rotorcraft flight instructor certificate. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 27, 2012. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,350 hours, which included 30 hours during the previous 6 months. His most recent flight review was conducted on November 8, 2012, in the same make and model as the accident helicopter.

According to company records, the pilot was hired by Haverfield Aviation on October 22, 2012. He had no prior power line patrol experience and completed a "Helicopter Accident Reduction – Wire Strike Avoidance" training module on October 28, 2012. At the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated about 1,635 hours of total flight experience, which included about 10 hours in the same make and model as the accident helicopter, of which 5.2 hours were accumulated during the 24 hours that preceded the accident.

The accident occurred during the pilot's second work day of flying power line aerial observation flights.

According to a company representative, after the accident, Haverfield Aviation instituted a policy requiring that all new hire pilots obtain 100 flight hours of power line patrol related flight experience with company crewmembers prior to being assigned an operation that would require flying with non-company observers.


The four-place helicopter, serial number 470117D, was manufactured in 1977, and was primarily constructed of aluminum alloy. The main rotor was a fully articulated five-bladed system, with anti-torque provided by a two-bladed semi-rigid type tail rotor. It was powered by an Allison M250-C20B, serial number CAE-836392, turboshaft engine, with a takeoff power rating of 420-shaft horsepower.

The helicopter was equipped in a standard left side single pilot configuration. It was also equipped with a wire strike cutting system on the top and bottom portions of the fuselage. The operator reported that the helicopter's most recent 100-hour inspection was performed on October 19, 2012. At that time, the helicopter had been operated for 21,918 total hours. The helicopter had been operated for about 75 hours since the inspection. The engine was manufactured on May 5, 1989, and had been operated for about 12,500 hours since new.


The reported weather at ELM, which was located about 8 miles east of the accident site, at an elevation 955 feet mean sea level, at 1153, was: clear skies; visibility 10 statute miles; wind calm; temperature 3 degrees Celsius (C); dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 30.37 inches of mercury.


Examination of the helicopter after recovery did not reveal any preimpact malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation; however, the wreckage, with the exception of the tail boom and tail rotor assembly sustained extensive thermal and impact related damage.

Evidence of wire contact marks were observed on the main rotor blades, tail rotor blades, tail empennage, and the landing gear skid assembly. The helicopter's wire strike system showed no evidence of wire contact.

All observed main rotor blades contained bent and/or broken spars, wrinkled and punctured skin, and varying degrees of trailing edge separation. The white, blue, and yellow blades were separated from the hub at their respective pitch change housings. The green blade was fractured outboard of Blade Station 105 and the outboard section was not recovered. The red blade was fractured just outboard of the root fitting doubler. A majority of the blue blade was not recovered; although a 12 inch section of trailing edge was located from the vicinity of Blades Station 45.

Continuity of the drivetrain system could not be established due to impact and fire damage. The main transmission was intact. The output drive gear, transmission input pinion assembly and the tail rotor output pinion assembly rotated freely when manipulated by hand. The upper transmission magnetic chip detector plug was absent of metallic debris. The lower transmission magnetic chip detector plug was not located.

The tail rotor driveshaft separated into four main sections, which corresponded with the position and length of fractures observed on the tail boom. The tail boom damage was consistent with main rotor blade contact. The tail rotor gearbox, rotor blades, and pitch control assemblies sustained minor damage and could be manipulated normally.

The engine was entangled in airframe structure and wiring. Extraction of the engine revealed extensive postcrash fire damage. Neither the N1 nor the N2 drive trains could be manually rotated. The accessory gearbox, including both chip detectors was consumed by fire. The compressor remained in its normal position. The first stage axial blades exhibited nicking of multiple leading edge surfaces with deflection of several leading edge surfaces bent opposite the direction of blade rotation. The No. 1 turbine wheel was ashen coated, but otherwise normal in appearance. The fuel pump displayed evidence of thermal exposure with melting of the body and fuel pump bowl, which exposed the fuel filter. Both the power turbine governor and fuel control units were destroyed by fire damage.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Monroe County, New York. The autopsy report revealed the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries."

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was negative for tested substances.


GPS Data

The Garmin GPSMAP 496 was successfully downloaded by the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory.

According to the recorded data, the helicopter departed ELM to the northwest at 1147:56, and then proceeded on a southwesterly heading for about 4 miles. The helicopter flew south over interstate 86, then turned back north and proceeded northeasterly, before proceeding about 1.5 nautical miles northwesterly, and then returning southeasterly along the same route. By about 12:07:10, the helicopter was proceeding westerly, north of interstate 86. From 1210:11 until about 1210:44, the helicopter flew northeasterly along the top of a ridgeline. About 1210:44, the helicopter proceeded southwesterly, crossing interstate 86 about 1211:12 at a GPS recorded altitude of 1,237 feet, and a ground speed of 36 knots. At 1211:27, the helicopter was in the vicinity of the wires that were struck at the accident site, and was flying at GPS recorded altitude of 1,014 feet, a ground speed of 43 knots, and a heading of 240 degrees. The last two recorded points were both at a GPS recorded altitude of 1,010 feet, at 1211:34 and 1211:57. The point recorded at 1211:34, was at a heading of 245 degrees and a ground speed of 11 knots. The last point was recorded on a heading of 33 degrees and a ground speed of 1 knot.

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA057
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Corning, NY
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N369AW
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 15, 2012, at 1211 eastern standard time, a Hughes 369D (MD 500D), N369AW, operated by Haverfield Aviation Inc., was substantially damaged following a collision with power lines and terrain in Corning, New York. The commercial pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport (ELM), Horseheads, NY, about 1145. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the operator, the helicopter was temporarily based at the Tri-Cities Airport (CZG) in Endicott, New York, and was being utilized to inspect the power lines after a recent storm. The helicopter conducted an uneventful flight earlier in the day and was subsequently refueled at ELM, before continuing survey operations.

Witnesses observed the helicopter flying west down a hill over power lines which extended east to west. One witness stated that the helicopter appeared below the highest tower, shortly before it struck the top of power lines that extended to the south, perpendicular to the helicopter’s flight path. The witness further stated that he did not hear any changes in the rhythm of the rotor blades prior to the impact.

The tail rotor assembly separated, the helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest inverted. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. Initial examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector noted a power line wrapped around the main rotor assembly. The helicopter was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination at a later date.

  Regis#: 369AW        Make/Model: H369      Description: HUGHES 369D
  Date: 11/15/2012     Time: 1730

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

  City: ELMIRA   State: NY   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   2
                 # Crew:   2     Fat:   2     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: ROCHESTER, NY  (EA23)                 Entry date: 11/16/2012 




Mackenzie Bleth
 Sheridan High School photo

SHERIDAN — School District Superintendent A.J. Grauer confirmed this morning that Mackenzie (Mack) Bleth, a 2006 Sheridan High graduate, was piloting a helicopter that crashed about noon Thursday on the banks of the Chemung River in downtown Corning, N.Y. 

 The location in upstate New York is about 4 1/2 miles west of Elmira/Corning Regional Airport.

Bleth, 24, who died in the crash, was flying for Haverfield Aviation of Gettysburg, Pa. A passenger, 41-year-old Dale Crout of Watkins Glen, N.Y., was also killed.  He was employed by New York State Electric and Gas.

Bleth was not married and had no children. Crout was married and the father of three children, the Corning Leader newspaper reported.

An employee of World Kitchen on the south side of the river told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin that the helicopter clipped a power line near its building first, knocking out electricity temporarily, and then crashed along a dike on the river.

The helicopter actually clipped a cable on top of a set of powerlines, went into a spin, impacted the ground and exploded, according to the Leader.

It was being used to inspect transmission lines, according to Clayton Ellis, a spokesman for New York State Electric and Gas who spoke to the Associated Press. The utility was contracting with Haverfield.

Bleth, whose mother, Michelle, works for the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan and is a former Sheridan School Board member, went to work for Haverfield this year, according to his Facebook page. He previously worked for Coastal Helicopters in Juneau, Alaska, from 2010 to this year, and was a pilot during the final year of his employment. He worked at Oregon's Hillsboro Aviation from 2008-2010.

Grauer said she received a text message from Faulconer Chapman School Principal Marti Hofenbredl this morning informing her of Bleth's death.

Grauer taught at the high school before becoming the superintendent, and she remembers Bleth as a student in her social studies class. She said he would sit in the back of the classroom and do "silly things" in an effort to make her laugh.

"He was a fun-loving kid, and could be a practical joker," Grauer said. "Everyone just loved to be around him. He would do anything for anyone."

She added, "He loved his friends, his family, the outdoors. I remember a green Samurai the boys would take up in the hills. We wondered if they would come back."

Grauer said Bleth was adventurous, which she said undoubtedly played into his love for flying.

While it's not likely that any of Sheridan High's current students knew Bleth, many present staff members remember him, according to Grauer. She said they were scheduled to meet this morning.

"It's going to hit them hard," Grauer said. "He was well-known and liked. We'll set up what we call a safe room for anyone who wants to come in and talk about this or write a card or letter of condolence, and then send those on to the family."

Teacher Lori Bogen wrote, "I started to write this letter and I can't seem to finish. There are many young people who have come into my life, but none who had your unique combination of self-confidence and humor. Your smile was one to definitely light up any room. And I will truly miss you."

Karen Martin, a secretary, wrote, "Mack has the most contagous smile."

Teacher Beth Statts wrote, "Mack Bleth enjoyed life."

Kathy Byers, the Night Court coordinator, wrote, "When I think of Mackenzie — he was so full of life and love. A positive, great, great person.

Librarian Dolly Bagwell wrote, "When I think of Mack, I remember him as always having a big smile on his face. He was a happy go lucky, test the waters young man. His dream was to fly helicopters. He pursued and achieved that dream. We lost a terrific young man, doing what he loved to do."

Principal Dean Rech said he got to know Bleth through physical education and conditioning classes he taught.

"It is a tremendous loss for the community of Sheridan to have a young man like him pass away," he said.

Rech said Bleth was well liked by his classmates. He was funny, had a good sense of humor and was a hard worker.

It didn't matter where you were at — in class, out of class, at a football game, a basketball game — Bleth always had a smile on his face. "Mac loved life," Rech said.

He started to pursue his love of flying following graduation, and Rech said he still remembers Bleth once flying over the high school. "He talked about how much he loved being in the air."

Grauer said, "There are a lot of kids who were in his graduating class that are still in town. I'm contacting some teachers he had who have left. I got a text from one who is pretty sad about this."

That didn't surprise Grauer. "He was a great kid," she said.

Haverfield Aviation, Inc. is the leading provider of aerial power line inspection and construction support services both in the United States and abroad, according to its website. It claims to be the most efficient provider of energized line services in the U.S.

Haverfield has participated in many extensive inspection and maintenance projects across the country and in Canada, Panama, Australia and Africa. To date, Haverfield has performed services for virtually every major utility in the United States.

See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.

UPDATE: Corning, N.Y. (WETM 18 NEWS) - We have more information on the victims of yesterday's deadly helocpter crash in Corning.

Chief John Tighe of the Corning Fire Department says Mackenzie Bleth, 24,  was the pilot of the helicopter. He is from Oregon.

And the passenger is identified as Dale Crout, 42, from Watkins Glen. He was an employee of NYSEG out of Horseheads.

The helicopter crash landed at the end of Corning Blvd- just over the river's bank.

FAA officials are still investigating a cause of the crash.

 Corning, N.Y. — A helicopter crashed shortly before noon today next to the Chemung River in downtown Corning, killing both people aboard. 

 The victims have not been identified and authorities aren’t releasing any other details yet.

The crash scene is on the north bank of the river, near the East High expansion project at the end of Corning Boulevard.

The helicopter clipped power lines on its way down, briefly knocking out power to large portions of the city.

Several wires were dangling at the scene, which was cordoned off by yellow police tape.

Corning city police and firefighters, New York State Police, Steuben County sheriff’s deputies, and Rural/Metro Ambulance were at the scene, along with Steuben County Coroner Al Lewis. Crews from NYSEG and Corning Natural Gas also responded.

FAA officials had been called to the scene.

The helicopter was reportedly a contractor for NYSEG, inspecting power lines in the area, although that had not been confirmed.

Zach Sullivan, who lives on Corning Boulevard near the crash site, said he was home sick from school, and was taking a nap when he was awakened by a loud boom.

“First I looked out in the backyard, but then I heard a knock on the door, and it was a jogger, and he told me to call 911, that a helicopter had crashed.”

After calling 911, Sullivan - a junior at Corning East - went outside and saw flames and black smoke rising high into the air.

“It was a big, big explosion. It shook my house. Pretty crazy,” he said.

He later saw a covered body on a stretcher loaded into an ambulance and taken away, he said.

The crash appeared to have taken down a power line cable that stretched across the river to the levee outside the World Kitchen plant, and firefighters and NYSEG crews were working there, too.

Workers at World Kitchen and Corning City Hall said they ran outside after hearing the crash and saw flames. Onlookers stood all over the city, on both sides of the river. A portion of Corning Boulevard is closed down.

More details will be posted as they become available.

STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. -- Two people have been confirmed dead after a helicopter crash.

NYSEG says they were using the helicopter to inspect transmission lines in the area.

The chopper went down in the area behind Corning East High School, but not on their property. NYSEG does not own the helicopter; it was a contracted service.

There is still no word on what caused the helicopter to go down, and the names of the victims have not been released.
The Corning-Painted Post School District says students and staff were safe at all times, and while the crash was not on their property, they did close East High's open campus.

Stay with YNN for new developments.

A helicopter has crashed near the Chemung River in the City of Corning, police confirm.

City police said they received a call about the crash at 12:09 p.m.

No casualties have been reported, however eyewitnesses report there is little left of the chopper except smoldering debris.

An employee of World Kitchen on the south side of the river said the helicopter clipped a power line near their building first, knocking out electricity temporarily. The chopper then crashed along the dike on the opposite side of the Chemung River, the World Kitchen employee said.

Brad Turner, assistant director of the Southeast Steuben Area Library, said he didn’t hear anything when the helicopter crashed, but he reported that power went off temporarily in the library as well.

Corning, N.Y. —  A helicopter crashed shortly after noon Thursday next to the Chemung River in downtown Corning, killing both men on board.

The victims have not been identified, pending positive identification and notification of family.

The crash site was on the north bank of the river, near the East High expansion project at the end of Corning Boulevard.

The crew was inspecting power lines in the Corning area for NYSEG when the chopper became entangled in some power lines near the end of Corning Boulevard, causing the crash, said Corning Fire Chief John Tighe.

The small black helicopter exploded when it hit the ground, and both men were killed instantly, Tighe said.

The National Safety Transportation Board is investigating.

Chief Tighe said the helicopter, a McDonnell Douglas 369D, belonged to Haverfield Aviation Inc., based in Gettysburg, Pa.

The company describes itself on its website as a leading provider of power line inspection and maintenance services in the U.S. and abroad.

The pilot worked for Haverfield Aviation and was from outside the area, and the passenger was a NYSEG employee who lived in the Watkins Glen area, authorities said.

“NYSEG is deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and co-workers of the two men who were killed in today’s crash,” said Clayton Ellis, NYSEG spokesman, in a statement.

“We are cooperating with the authorities that are investigating the crash,” Ellis said.

When the helicopter clipped the power lines, it briefly knocked out power to large portions of the city.

Several wires were dangling at the scene, which was cordoned off by yellow police tape. Crews later removed the dangling lines.

Corning city police and firefighters, New York State Police, Steuben County sheriff’s deputies,  and Rural/Metro Ambulance were at the scene, along with Steuben County Coroner Al Lewis. Crews from NYSEG also responded. The Painted Post Fire Department and Steuben County Emergency Services also assisted.

Another helicopter, believed to be from Haverfield Aviation and apparently the same model, landed near the scene later Thursday afternoon with two men aboard, who both headed to the crash site.

 Zach Sullivan, who lives on Corning Boulevard near the crash site, said he was home sick from school, and was taking a nap when he was awakened by a loud boom.

 “First I looked out in the backyard, but then I heard a knock on the front door, and it was a jogger, and he told me to call 911, that a helicopter had hit power lines and crashed.”

After calling 911, Sullivan - a junior at Corning East - went outside and saw flames and black smoke rising high into the air.

Kingfisher Airlines seeks more time to submit revival plan to Directorate General of Civil Aviation: sources

New Delhi: Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, which is yet to pay part of salaries to its employees, has sought more time to submit a comprehensive revival plan to the aviation regulator DGCA.

The beleaguered carrier has written a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava seeking more time to submit its plan to get the suspension of its flying permit revoked, sources said.

In the letter, the liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned airline is understood to have said it was holding discussions with all stakeholders, including the Airports Authority of India, and its lenders as it had earlier promised to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

The letter came a day after its employees threatened to chalk out an action plan next week if they did not receive their May salaries by November 17. Employees' sources said they had not received the dues even today.

The communication also came in the backdrop of airport operators asking the DGCA to keep on hold the renewal of Kingfisher's license until their dues are cleared.

While no timeframe has been set for the debt-ridden airline to submit a comprehensive financial and operational revival plan, its flying license or scheduled operator's permit (SOP), which is suspended now, is slated to expire in any case on December 31 this year.

DGCA had suspended Kingfisher's SOP on October 19 till further orders after a lockout and its failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival. It had charged the airline with failing to run "safe, efficient and reliable operations."

The SOP suspension came after a lockout on October 1 following a strike by the employees from September 30 demanding payment of overdue salaries. Kingfisher's operations have been grounded since then.

The lockout was lifted on October 25 after the employees called off the strike following an assurance by Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal that three months’ dues would be cleared in a staggered manner before Diwali.

The management had brokered peace with the striking employees on the eve of the Indian Grand Prix late last month in Greater Noida, in which Mallya was involved. The employees had threatened to disrupt the premier motor racing event.

The bankers of Kingfisher have also warned the airline to arrange for more capital by November 30, though Mallya has denied any deadline issued by the lenders to his company.

Kingfisher Airlines has accumulated losses of about Rs 9,000 crore as on September 30 due to huge restructuring costs, prior-period tax payments, costs related to its heavy debt burden of about Rs 8,000 crore and disrupted operations.

Cape Air Holds Toy Drive: Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (KBHB), Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor - A Bar Harbor business would like your help making Christmas special for kids in need. 

Cape Air is holding a toy drive for Hancock county charities through December 17th. 

 They're asking for a donation of $5, or an unwrapped gift for a child valued at $5. 

You can drop either off at the Cape Air terminal at the Bar Harbor airport. 

The airline is offering a little extra incentive. 

If you donate, you might win round-trip tickets from Bar Harbor to Boston.

Zhuhai Hanxing buys US' Glasair Aviation

November 15, 2012
By Wang Wen,  China Daily

Zhuhai Hanxing General Aviation Co Ltd has become the first privately-owned Chinese company to buy a US aircraft builder, after completing the 100 percent takeover of Washington-based Glasair Aviation LLC.

The two sides refused to reveal the transaction amount, but Yan Jun, marketing director at Zhuhai Hanxing, confirmed the deal had been completed, at the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.

According to Yan, Hanxing plans to introduce some of Glasair's technology to its aircraft manufacturing operations in China.

Glasair produces five types of aircraft and is expected to launch another soon, which will be powered with ordinary gasoline rather than jet fuel, which it claims will be more efficient and cheaper to run than competitor aircraft.

Zhuhai Hanxing, which operates China's only 4S shop for general purpose aircraft, is a subsidiary of Jilin Hanxing Group Ltd based in Jilin province.

The group plans to build 40 Fixed Base Operators around China in the next five to 10 years, said Fang Tieji, president of the group.

CHINA: Aviation industry flies into future

China's national aviation manufacturer has launched a long-term plan spanning until 2030 to develop advanced aviation engines.

Senior executives of Aviation Industry Corp of China claim they have set aside 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) for the first phase of the three-part plan, which will fund the research and development of engines until 2015.

"Our aviation engine operation consists of four parts, which means when we are manufacturing the current engines, we also actively develop next-generation engines and explore the technologies of more-advanced ones," said Zhang Jian, deputy general manager of AVIC Engine Holdings.

"The United States has been striving to make sure it leads by at least 20 years in the aviation engine industry. For us, the company has made a comprehensive plan through 2030, including the technological targets we shall have achieved by that year and the amount of money we will possibly invest," Zhang told China Daily on the sidelines of the Ninth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Zhuhai Airshow, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday in Guangdong province.

"Now most of the engines used by the People's Liberation Army air force are manufactured in China," he said, adding that in order to catch up with the latest and most advanced aviation engines, the AVIC has a plan that can be broken down into three phases.

"During the first phase, which will conclude by the end of 2015 if everything goes well, we will strive to ensure our air force's aircraft be equipped with proper engines and to lift our development capability to that of the developed countries' level in the 1980s. The second phase will witness us substantially narrowing the technological gap between developed countries and us. And by the end of the last phase, our engines will be as advanced as theirs."

"Aviation engine development combines a high concentration of various advanced technologies; therefore, only the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have the ability to develop aviation engines," said Li Fangyong, executive vice-president of Aviation Industry Corp of China.

"Developing aviation engines requests a nation to possess solid scientific and technological capabilities and a strong industrial manufacturing establishment. Unfortunately, China is comparatively weak in these regards."

Li said China failed to pay enough attention to the theoretical research of aviation engines in the past and it was not uncommon that only after a new aircraft had begun to be developed that the engine's development was hastily launched.

"We have also realized that although our investment is tremendous, it is far from sufficient, so we hope private businesses will engage in aviation engines' development," he said.

The development of a reliable engine needs a great number of experiments and tests that China was not able to conduct, according to Li. He attributed the problem to technological obstacles as well as the lack of adequate funding.

Zhang also mentioned some problems are still haunting the industry.

"Our engines' stability still needs improvement and the quality of production materials are not so satisfactory. We will spare no efforts in enhancing the quality of our products.

"In the near future, we will make sure that all of the PLA air force's third-generation aircraft use domestically developed engines," he said, confirming the AVIC is developing engines for China's stealth jet fighters.

The Jiuzhai engine, which was first made public by AVIC in Zhuhai on Tuesday and is designed to be used on business jets, can operate for as long as 20,000 hours, according to Li Xiaoming, chief designer of Jiuzhai at AVIC Gas Turbine Establishment.

The new engine is very reliable and as technologically advanced as its competitors in developed countries, he said.

"Our ultimate goal is to guarantee that China can develop its own aviation industry without being disrupted or contained by anyone else," Zhang said.


China's rich yearn to fly for a hobby

By Alison Leung 
 ZHUHAI, China | Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:36am EST  

(Reuters) - Wealthy Chinese are itching to take up flying as a hobby, drawing crowds to an air show in the southern city of Zhuhai this week, but high taxes and military controls on airspace are grounding the aviation industry's hopes of a sales boom.
Mongolian coal mine boss John Zhang, aged 39, is aware of restrictions on using private planes in China for now, but said he still wanted to buy one to take his family up for pleasure.

"Flying is my childhood dream and this is a gift to myself," said Zhang, pointing to a white Cirrus SR20, worth about $320,000 before tax.

"I probably will get a pilot license in three months as I plan to put aside everything and be fully devoted to training," he told Reuters at the air show on Thursday.

Zhang's personal dream, and the desire felt by many others to take up a hobby which has long been popular in the United States, ought to provide a boost to the aerospace industry.

The country's aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, estimates that about 1,000 general aircraft will be delivered to China from 2011 to 2015.

That is a fraction of the potential demand if the world's second largest economy opens up its skies to ordinary citizens.

With 310 million people, the United States had about 230,000 business-to-general aviation aircraft at the end of last year, while China with a population of 1.3 billion had about 1,100.

China pledged in its latest five-year plan for 2011-2015 to promote the general aviation industry and reform the airspace management system to open up more airspace - badly needed not just by hobbyists but also by congested commercial air lanes.

But observers say China's military, which technically governs all the country's airspace while carving out narrow corridors for use by airlines, is reluctant to give up control.

"The airspace here has not opened up as was forecast," said Briand Greer, Asia-Pacific president for Honeywell International's aerospace division, one of 650 exhibitors at the air show held every other year in Zhuhai.

"The military still owns the airspace and today with a fifth more aircraft in the sky you have got to have more airspace."


As the country emerges from a period of leadership transition, many in the industry hope authorities will relax the controls and promote the production of small aircraft.

The restrictions also apply to civil helicopters, a relatively rare sight in China compared to many Western countries but also seen as a huge potential market for foreign manufacturers who are investing in Chinese facilities.

Under test projects, private planes now can fly below 1,000 metres in the country's northeastern and central-southern regions, as well as seven second-tier provincial cities.

China will further open up low-altitude airspace to private planes next year, said Ma Xin, an official with the state air traffic control commission, at the show, without elaboration.

Despite slow moves to free up airspace, Western companies are positioning themselves for growth in China as they suffer a slowdown in their biggest market, the United States.

Textron subsidiary Cessna, the world's largest general aviation aircraft maker, signed a joint venture agreement with Aviation Industry Corp of China's general aviation unit, one of many suppliers at the Zhuhai air show.

The two companies will jointly assemble Citation XLS+ business jets in Zhuhai for Chinese customers.

Anticipating a flying craze and seizing a chance to acquire help for the development of its domestic aerospace industry, state-owned AVIC bought privately held Cirrus of Minnesota last year in a deal that briefly stirred U.S. political concerns over the transfer of aerospace technology to China.

Chinese private entrepreneurs like Fang Tieji, have also jumped on the bandwagon. His Jilin Hanxing Group in north China bought U.S. private plane maker Glasair Aviation last year.

Fang plans to set up 40 dedicated service facilities and 10 airports for general aviation alongside aircraft manufacturing and real estate all over China by the end of the decade.

At the country's first general aviation fixed-base operation, Fang presented a team of 12 female pilot trainees in Zhuhai, dubbed the city of dreams.

Private plane owners share the hurdles that have also slowed the growth of business jets - not only restricted airspace but also a lengthy import process and taxes of up to 21 percent.

Other problems include a shortage of infrastructure such as suitable airports, pilots and service facilities.

That may not put off enthusiasts with disposable incomes like Zhang, the coal mine boss, but piloting a plane or even taking one remains a distant hope for many ordinary Chinese.

"I go to this show every time it is on," said Li Qiang, an employee with a Zhuhai-based sportswear manufacturing firm. "I would love to have a private plane if only I could afford it." (Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Jon Hemming)


Frontier Airlines gear up to announce expansion plans at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), Trenton, New Jersey

EWING — While Frontier Airlines won’t make its inaugural flight from the Trenton-Mercer Airport to Orlando, Fla., until Friday, officials are already gearing up to announce plans to further expand the airline’s operations out of the county-owned airport.

Frontier executives and Mercer County officials are expected to announce expansion plans for the airline this morning, according to a media advisory. County spokeswoman Julie Willmot declined to provide further details on today’s announcement.

Frontier, a Denver-based discount carrier, revealed in August it would begin running twice-weekly nonstop flights out of Trenton-Mercer to Orlando in a bid to tap into the local vacation market. A 138-seat Airbus 319 aircraft would fly in and out of the airport on Mondays and Fridays.

Local officials are banking on the success of Frontier after 14 other commercial airlines have come and gone from the county airport since 1983. Shortly after Frontier announced its Florida service, executives at Massachusetts-based Streamline Airways said they were ending the carrier’s weekdays flights to the Boston area because the route was not profitable despite fairly brisk sales.

At a presentation before county freeholders last month, Robert Ashcroft, Frontier’s senior vice president for finance said he believed the airline would succeed at Trenton-Mercer where so many others had failed.

“We are here at the right time, with the right plane and the right strategy,” he said, noting ticket sales were already strong.

Freeholders approved entering into a two-year contract with Frontier at the meeting. Under the agreement, Frontier will pay $18,558 in fixed rent for terminal space, and pay fees for use of the airport’s runways and other infrastructure. The county could see as much as $270,000 in annual revenue if Frontier operates its estimated 104 flights per year. 


Captain Rihanna's Flying High: Pre-Flight Message to Her 777 Tour - "Buckle Up and Let's Get Drunk!"

Gulfstream begins delivering G280 jets to customers

First Gulfstream G280 delivered . . .  

Handed over at Gulfstream Aerospace facilities at Portland-Hillsboro Airport, Oregon Nov 12 2012

N280CC Gulfstream G280 to Cummins Engine Company, Columbus Ohio

Photos by Russel Hill, taken Nov 13 2012 Portland-Hillsboro Airport

By Savannah Morning News:
Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced today that it has delivered its first super mid-sized G280 aircraft. The fully outfitted business jet went to a U.S.-based manufacturer with a worldwide presence spanning 190 countries.

The G280 aircraft earned type certificates from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel on Aug. 30.

"Gulfstream is excited to deliver this aircraft to a dedicated customer who has worked so closely with us on the G280 program," said Scott Neal, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Gulfstream. "In preparation for our first deliveries of this aircraft, we took a G280 to several fixed base operators around the United States, so their employees could familiarize themselves with the handling requirements for the G280. That was just one of several efforts intended to ensure a smooth entry-into-service for this aircraft.

"This is an illustrious occasion that signifies the beginning of full-scale G280 manufacturing.  We congratulate the G280 design and build teams, our suppliers and our customers for their tremendous contributions to the G280 program. It won't be long before we're seeing the G280 landing and taking off at airports around the world." 

The G280, a joint effort between Gulfstream and Israel Aerospace Industries, offers the most comfortable cabin and the longest range at the fastest speed in its class.  With its fuel-efficient Honeywell HTF250G engines, the aircraft has a range of 3,600 nautical miles (6,667 km) at Mach 0.80. This makes it the only super mid-sized aircraft that can reliably fly nonstop between London and New York.

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