Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (KLAL) Looking at Commercial Airline Options

MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER 
  John Amundsen, general manager of Tailwheels Etc., stands in front of a 2012 Cessna 162 Skycatcher light sport airplane used by the flight school at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Amundsen said airport officials have been accommodating.


By John Chambliss 
THE LEDGER 
Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. 
Last Modified: Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 3:12 a.m. 

LAKELAND | Lakeland Linder Regional Airport turned a profit in 2012 for the first time in eight years.

 The $153,000 profit comes at a time when Lakeland Linder lost its only commercial carrier and faces questions about the future of commercial air there.

"Obviously, the sky isn't falling," Lakeland Linder Director Gene Conrad said of the profit. "There is a positive feel and push for people to be here."

The airport made money by increasing its occupancy rate for the number of tenants who lease space there. In less than three years, the rate has gone from 70 percent to 90 percent, he said.

Conrad, who started in January 2010, said the airport has become more business friendly by reducing minimum standard restrictions for incoming businesses that rent space. For example, the city no longer dictates hours a business must be open or how many square feet of space must be rented.

There are two ways the airport can make money. This year, 90 percent of its money came from leasing space to businesses. If commercial air were to begin, the airport could charge an airline landing fees and rent space inside the terminal. In addition, the airport would make a percentage of gross receipts from rental car companies if an airline was flying into Lakeland Linder.

But questions persist about whether commercial air service will resume after Direct Air left in March. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., airline abruptly canceled all its flights, including service to Lakeland, on March 12. The discount airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few days afterward. Direct Air officials blamed "rising fuel costs and other operating expenses."

Early next year, a consultant and Conrad plan to meet with officials from both US Airways and Delta Airlines. Their goal will be to convince the airline officials that Lakeland can sustain a big airline despite previous failures and its proximity to Tampa and Orlando.

Conrad said he plans to stress the convenience of a small airport and that Lakeland is the biggest city in Florida without commercial service. Initially, parking at the airport will be free.

He also will come equipped with lots of data.

NUMBERS GOOD, LOCATION A PROBLEM


At a recent meeting, City Commissioner Phillip Walker asked Conrad if progress was being made to resume commercial air service.

Conrad said yes.

Data from the Airline Reporting Co. compiled by a consultant shows that from July 2011 to June 2012, there were an estimated 31,968 bookings in a 20-mile radius from Lakeland Linder on Internet-based travel web sites, such as Expedia or Orbitz.

The consultant will cost the city about $20,000 to $25,000.

The numbers, which don't include bookings made through airline websites, were good, Conrad said.

Lakeland ranks third among Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Melbourne, Gainesville, Tallahassee and Daytona Beach. Both U.S. Air and Delta fly out of the other cities.

Pensacola, with 39,721 bookings, and Fort Walton Beach, with 33,602, were ahead of Lakeland.

"They have Eglin Air Force Base," Conrad said of the No. 1 and No. 2 cities. "We're competitive with those guys, and we don't have a large military base."

Read more and reaction/comments:     http://www.theledger.com

 http://www.lakelandairport.com

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KLAL

Pilot ditches plane in Arizona canal after engine trouble

TONOPAH, AZ (CBS5) -   A pilot made an emergency landing Sunday in an Arizona canal after engine trouble developed, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

There were no injuries, according to MCSO spokesman Chris Hegstrom.

It's not known if the pilot was the only one on board the aircraft when it went down near Courthouse Road and Harquahala Valley Road in Tonopah.

No other information was available.

China: Helicopter market propelled upward

Rising demand as airspace opens up for private use across the nation

Foreign helicopter manufacturers are confident of benefiting from the continuous growth of China's aviation market and their Chinese counterparts' development of production lines.

"China has around 300 civil helicopters now and it is estimated that by 2015 it will have 500," said Bruno Boulnois, chief executive officer of Eurocopter China, which has almost 50 percent of the market share in China.

That figure should rise to 1,000 in 2020, he added.

Eurocopter received orders valued at 300 million euros ($385 million) in China in 2011, which was more than double the number in 2010. Its revenues were 200 million euros in China last year.

"China's helicopter market is expected to see double-digit growth over the next several years," said Ed Beyer, vice-president of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, one of the main helicopter manufacturers in the United States.

Sikorsky sold four helicopters to Chinese companies during the Ninth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in South China's Zhuhai last month.

Beyer said the offshore oil industry is a catalyst for China's helicopter market now.

In addition, helicopters have many other functions, such as rescuing, touring and firefighting, but they have been very rarely used in China. Chinese operators searching for multiple uses for their helicopters will need more helicopters, he said.

"The helicopter market has big potential, especially for rescues, charter flights and so on," said Jian Zhuodong, deputy general manager of the Zhuhai Helicopter Branch of China Southern Airlines Co.

Eyeing the huge market potential, Chinese helicopter manufacturers are increasing their production capacity.

The first Chinese-made large civil helicopter will be put into the market this year, according to Aviation Industry Corp of China, which is the producer.

The AC313, a 13-ton helicopter which took its first flight in March 2010, received its production certificate in November, which means the Chinese manufacturer already has the capability to produce the large helicopter, AVIC announced during November's air show in Zhuhai.

The helicopter has three engines and can fly for 900 kilometers and perform multiple tasks, such as passenger transporting, rescuing, offshore oil exploring and touring.

The two-ton AC311 also received a production certificate on the same day.

Helicopter market propelled upward

This kind of helicopter with a single engine now makes up about 50 percent of the entire helicopter fleet worldwide. The Chinese-made AC311 will also be targeted at users globally.

AVIC, producers of the AC313 and AC311, manufactures a series of civil helicopters, ranging from one-ton and two-ton light models to middle-sized helicopters weighing four and seven tons and the large-sized 13 tons.

The company, a leading Chinese aircraft manufacturer, also cooperates with foreign manufacturers on helicopter research and development.

The EC175, a six-ton helicopter co-developed by AVIC and Eurocopter, has already received an airworthiness certificate in China.

It is a 50-50 percent venture between AVIC and Eurocopter.

AVIC first partnered with Sikorsky in the 1990s, helping to develop the US company's S-92 helicopter.

Foreign helicopter manufacturers also showed their approval of China's helicopter industry by bringing the latter's manufacturers into their supply chain.

In 2006, Sikorsky signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AVIC on selecting Changhe Aircraft Industry Corp, a subsidiary of AVIC, to supply Schweizer helicopter airframe components and S-76 helicopter airframes to Sikorsky.

By 2011, a total of 163 S-92 Tail Rotor Pylon, 60 Schweizer S-300 airframes and five S-76 airframes had been delivered to Sikorsky.

In 2013, Sikorsky is expected to sign a contract with AVIC for the supply of S-76D parts, a new Sikorsky product expected to go on sale in 2014.

At the same time, Chinese manufacturers are expected to increase their production as a result of an expected market boom because the Chinese government plans to open up low-altitude airspace for individuals in China.

"The domestic manufacturers still do not have enough production capacity to meet our demand," said Rong Weiguo, deputy general manager of the Zhuhai Helicopter Branch of China Southern Airlines Co. 

Source:    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

Aviation Fuel Is Cheap But Heavy Taxes Are Killing Us- Shittima

In this interview, Alhaji Kashim Shittima, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Skyjet Aviation, which was recently issued an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) speaks with NKEM OSUAGWU on some of the challenges in the nation’s aviation industry.
 
Sir,  tell us about your company?

 
I am Alhaji Kashim Shettima. I am the chairman, chief executive officer of Skyjet Aviation. Skyjet aviation was formed about five years ago. I was operating my own private flights, but at some stage, I realised that keeping the plane for myself alone was not economical. So what I decided to do was to go into processing my charter licence so that I could give my aircraft out for commercial charters.

I talked to the Director General of NCAA, and told him I wanted the licence as quickly as possible but he told me I had to go through the due process. I took the challenge and decided to do it. I am happy today that I have done it. The success is attributed to the team of the people I have working for me.

Why did you decide to invest in the aviation industry, despite its challenges?

You know aviation industry is not an easy industry where you can easily make money. It is an industry with a lot of challenges. There are aircraft issues and a lot of other challenges, including some government policies.

However, I think the minister of aviation is on the right track and she will take us to the place where we need to be. But there is a serious challenge in this industry. Every time the government talks about attracting foreign investors, but there are lots of people in-house who are willing to invest in the country, all they need is the support and enabling environment to do it and I believe that before  foreign investors can come and invest here, you need to show them that your own people are doing it, then they would come and would want to partner with the indigenous investors.

We have in-flight, who are with us here today, they are one of Embraer’s service facilities in London, and they are one of the biggest in Europe. They flew in with me a few days ago and they are here to see our facility because we want to partner with them on maintenance.

 Where is your company based and how many aircraft do you have in your fleet?


Right now we have five aircraft. We have a Legacy C650. We have a Legacy C600, we have a Hawker 900SP, a Hawker 800SP, and a Legend 45 SR. We are based in Kaduna.

I have had this business probably going on for the past five to six years and I think if I have gone through all the rigours involved till now, I am very sure I am capable of sustaining it. We have both Nigerian and foreign pilots and our crew members are Nigerians.

 Do you think charter operations are sustainable in Nigeria?

I am not only doing charter services. I am also doing maintenance and management and we are also going to sell aircraft.  Right now we are doing line maintenance. We are a South African-approved line maintenance organisation. As we go now with our AOC, we’ll go to the next stage and by next year we will bring in more aircraft.

Right now we have three products we deal in, in our maintenance line. We have Embrear, Fokker and Lear jet. We still do their maintenance right here. At the moment, we do about three but eventually we will go into the maintenance of quite a good number of products (aircraft types), but you have to understand that this is not something you can do overnight.

How would you assess the aviation industry in Nigeria?

The aviation industry in Nigeria still has a lot of challenges because I have seen it. However, I believe that at some point, the airline operators and the authorities need to sit down to look at issues critically.  But so far, the minister of aviation has done her best in securing import duty waiver for us on aircraft and spare part importations. Until it was waived, it was only Nigeria that was paying that kind of duty on aircraft which is a lot of cost for the airlines to bear. For now I think we are on the right track.

 What about aviation fuel?


Aviation fuel is key to our operations and for now it is government regulated. I don’t think there is much airline operators can do about that now. However, I think it is relatively cheaper in Nigeria compared to global price.

 Can you list some of the challenges facing the aviation industry in Nigeria?


Right now, one of the critical aspects is maintenance of our aircraft which is cost intensive. Another burden is the issue of taxes. We pay a lot of taxes especially some of us who are operating foreign registered aircraft. But then I don’t understand why I should be considered foreign when I am investing money locally here in Nigeria. We have invested over $5 million in our facility here in Nigeria. I don’t understand why we keep paying high on landing charges and these are the things that can kill an airline. About 90 per cent of our employees are Nigerians and we create jobs.

The government or the agencies in the industry would have to consider all these. These are some of the challenges.

And also, sometimes in terms of inspections done by the NCAA, these have to be timely, because the moment you keep an aircraft on the ground it is cost for you, whether you fly it or not, it is just a cost for you.

 So we need to act fast. For instance, if I have a maintenance work to do on an aircraft, and I order the spare part from Europe, when it comes, it will be sitting at the ports with the Customs for over 20 days, and the aircraft will be on ground. In Europe, these things are taken care of within 48 hours maximum. However, things are getting better. I believe in the industry now and I think there is hope, but there are still grey areas that need to be sorted out.


Source:  http://leadership.ng

Shenandoah County, Virginia: Special-use permit for private airstrip

Shenandoah County:  Public meeting scheduled this week

 The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the government center at 600 N. Main St., Woodstock.   The board plans to consider and possibly take action on: 

A special-use permit for a private airstrip for a small-engine plane on personal property owned by William and Maxine Pence that is located off Bethel Church Road . The Planning Commission recommended approval of the request with conditions by a 4-2 vote.

Source:  http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2012/12/public-meetings-dec-10-14.php

Merritt Kelly D, KDB LLC, N5172S: Accident occurred December 09, 2012 in Brandon, Mississippi

http://registry.faa.gov/N5172S

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA084
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2012 in Brandon, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2013
Aircraft: MERRITT LESLIE R KELLY D, registration: N5172S
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor and student pilot were preparing to take off to the west. Following a normal magneto and carburetor heat check, the student took the controls for the takeoff. Shortly after liftoff, the engine suddenly lost all power. The flight instructor took the controls and maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing. The airplane struck trees and sustained substantial airframe damage. A wreckage examination found no evidence of a pre-existing mechanical malfunction or failure, and there was adequate fuel on board for the flight. Although there were some small flakes of sealant in the fuel tanks, no obstructions were found. A review of meteorological data revealed that the airplane was being operated in conditions conducive to serious carburetor icing at glide power but not at takeoff power. Thus, the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

On December 9, 2012, about 1615 central standard time, a Merritt Kelly D, N5172S, was substantially damaged following a forced landing near Brandon, Mississippi. The flight instructor sustained minor injuries and one student pilot was not injured. The experimental, amateur-built airplane was operated by a corporation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The commercial-rated flight instructor reported that, prior to taking off to the west, a magneto and carburetor heat check was performed with normal results. The student pilot, who held a private pilot certificate, was at the controls for the takeoff. Shortly after liftoff, the engine suddenly lost all power. The flight instructor took over the controls and maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing. The airplane collided with trees in a marshy area.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The inspector confirmed substantial damage to the airframe. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the controls to the cockpit. The fuel tank was breached, and contained a residual amount of light blue-colored fuel. Some small flakes were observed inside the tank, consistent in appearance with tank sealant. The fuel selector valve was in the open position and no restrictions were observed. The gascolator was opened and was full of fuel. A small amount of debris was found in the bottom of the gascolator bowl. The carburetor inlet screen was free of contaminants.

Further examination of the engine revealed that internal continuity was confirmed and compression was observed on all cylinders. The engine was full of oil. Left magneto drive continuity was confirmed. The top spark plugs were removed and the electrodes were clean with a light gray color. Fuel was observed on the ground around the aircraft.

The temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were about 73 and 64 degrees F, respectively. According to the carburetor icing chart published in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, dated June 30, 2009, the weather conditions at the time were conducive to serious icing at glide power.

===============
 NTSB Identification: ERA13LA084 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2012 in Brandon, MS
Aircraft: MERRITT LESLIE R KELLY D, registration: N5172S
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 December 9, 2012, about 1615 central standard time, a Merritt Kelly D, N5172S, was substantially damaged following a forced landing near Brandon, Mississippi. The commercial pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The experimental, amateur-built airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that, shortly after liftoff, the engine lost power. He maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing. The airplane collided with trees in a marshy area. First responders noted a smell of fuel at the accident site.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The inspector confirmed substantial damage to the airframe. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the controls to the cockpit. The fuel tank was breached, and contained a residual amount of light blue-colored fuel. Some small flakes were observed inside the tank, consistent in appearance with tank sealant. The fuel selector valve was in the open position and no restrictions were observed. The gascolator was opened and was full of fuel. A small amount of debris was found in the bottom of the gascolator bowl. The carburetor inlet screen was free of contaminants.

Further examination of the engine revealed that internal continuity was confirmed and compression was observed on all cylinders. The engine oil quantity was "full." Left magneto drive continuity was confirmed. The top spark plugs were removed and the electrodes were clean with a light gray color. Fuel was observed on the ground around the aircraft.





 
Deputies found the pilot lying underneath the wing of the plane. He appeared to have injuries to his face and ankle. The injuries reported do not appear to be life threatening. 





RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. — A plane crashed into a neighborhood in Rankin County on Sunday. 

 Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said an experimental biplane went down just before 5 p.m. in the Woodbridge subdivision off Three Prong Road.

Deputies said the plane started to go down near one of the houses, but it ended up crashing near a line of trees.

"One witness said it appeared the plane was beginning to lose power, and then it went down. I'm not a reconstruction (expert), but apparently, it struck a tree top, and the spiraled down and landed on its nose, then on its belly," Bailey said.

Bailey said the pilot was able to walk away from the crash and call 911.

"The caller stated that they saw the plane go down. A short time later, the passenger of the plane called 911," Bailey said.

"Investigators said the pilot was sent to a hospital with broken bones and cuts, while the passenger is uninjured. Bailey said it could have been much worse.

"It's so thick and wooded back there. It looks like, from my understanding, he's an experienced pilot and landed in a fairly clear logging road area. It looks like he knew what he was doing to get that plane down at that location," Bailey said.

WAPT 16 News has not received any reports of injuries to residents in the area.

A Federal Aviation Administration registry lists the owner of the plane as KDB LLC out of Brandon, with a certificate issued 10 days ago.



http://www.wapt.com

We just interviewed Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey. The crash happened around 4:00 Sunday afternoon. The Sheriff says the pilot is very experienced, and that may have saved his life. He's been transported to the hospital with a few injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. The passenger in the plane walked away unharmed and was one of the first to call 911. 

 The FAA is investigating and will talk with the news media Monday.

----------


A plane crashed into a neighborhood in Rankin County on Sunday. 


Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said an experimental biplane went down just before 5 p.m. in the Woodbridge subdivision off Three Prong Road. 

Bailey said the pilot was able to walk away from the crash and call 911, as well as his wife. 

WAPT 16 News has not received any reports of injuries to residents in the area. 

Deputies said multiple agencies have been called to the scene. 

No other details have been provided.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com

A small plane has crashed in a Rankin County neighborhood, moderately injuring the pilot, but a passenger escaped unharmed.

Sheriff Bryan Bailey said the pilot sustained bruises, cuts, and broken bones when the red and yellow experimental biplane crashed just before 5 p.m. in the woods just off the Woodbridge subdivision off Three Prong Road.

No residents on the ground were injured, Bailey said.

“It was back in the woods on a logging road,” he said.

It took between 30 and 45 minutes to get to the plane and get the passengers out of the woods, Bailey said, but residents of the subdivision helped with SUVs and all-terrain vehicles.

The plane had taken off from the private airstrip at the subdivision, officials said.

Initially, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, Rankin EOC, and the Reservoir Fire Department were called to the scene, Bailey said, but officials were also expecting the FAA shortly.

So far the names of the two in the plane have not been released. Bailey said authorities were trying to “make sure everyone’s notified they’re OK and everything.”


http://www.clarionledger.com

Egyptian airspace closed for two hours Sunday for aerial maneuvers

Skies over Cairo are briefly closed to commercial traffic on Sunday while Egyptian air force, air-defence forces conduct two-hour joint exercise

Authorities at Cairo International Airport closed Egyptian airspace for two hours midday on Sunday at the request of the Egyptian Air Force, which conducted military exercises in coordination with the country's air-defence forces.

Airport authorities informed airline companies in advance about the scheduled airspace closure, which lasted from 12pm to 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

Following the exercises, Egyptian airspace was reopened again to commercial and civilian flights, after which air traffic to and from Cairo airport returned to normal.

Egyptian citizens on Sunday reported low-flying jets in several different areas across greater Cairo, which in several cases broke the sound barrier.

According to Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman Ahmed Ali, Sunday's military exercises were attended by Defence Minister Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi. 


http://english.ahram.org.eg

KUWAIT: Officer held for firing shots at police chopper

KUWAIT: A non-commissioned officer was held for investigations after he was suspected of firing shots towards a helicopter that was monitoring a night demonstration in Sabahiya recently, a local newspaper reported yesterday quoting a security source. “The suspect was followed after he was seen aiming an AK47 out of his car’s window and firing multiple shots at a Ministry of Interior helicopter hovering above,” explained the security insider who spoke to Al-Rai on the condition of anonymity. Police reportedly followed the man until his house, where the weapon was found “while the suspect still emanated gunpowder smell,” the source said.

The man, identified as a Lance Corporal in the Interior Ministry, has categorically denied the accusations despite the evidence against him.

Read more:  http://news.kuwaittimes.net

Pilots came close to joining United States exercise: While fears of Beijing’s reaction scuttled the plan, insiders believe that Taiwanese pilots will be able to eventually participate in the large-scale military exercise

Taiwanese air force pilots came very close this year to participating for the first time in a highly realistic and high-intensity combat training exercise in the US, but a last-minute decision by Washington prevented them from doing so over fears of Beijing’s reaction, a defense magazine reports in its current issue.

According to the Chinese-language Asia-Pacific Defense Magazine, Taiwanese F-16 pilots were invited to participate in the RED FLAG 12-4 combat exercise held in July, but after a “careful assessment” by senior White House officials, the US side canceled the invitation over fears of China’s reaction and a potential impact on bilateral ties.

Held at the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas, the RED FLAG combat training exercise, which has been held since 1975, involves air forces from the US and its allies.

The drills are orchestrated by the US 414th Combat Training Squadron and include as many as 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing “enemy force” that “cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world,” Nellis Air Force Base says on its Web site.

The exercise involves command, control, intelligence and electronic warfare, as well as night missions, and all four branches of the US military take part.

A typical RED FLAG exercise includes fighter, bomber, air superiority, reconnaissance, electronic warfare as well as airlift aircraft.

Over the years, a number of US allies, including South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, Colombia and Saudi Arabia, have taken part, but Taiwan has yet to join.

Taiwanese officials based in the US have been seeking to increase the level of cooperation between their countries’ armed forces and their efforts were reportedly behind the decision to invite Taiwan to participate in this year’s exercise.

The air force has long hopes its F-16 pilots, who have been receiving training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona since the 1990s, when Taiwan purchased 146 F-16A/Bs from the US, could participate in RED FLAG to test their skills, learn joint concepts and gain precious operational experience.

Despite longstanding defense ties between Taiwan and the US, Beijing strongly opposes joint training between the Taiwanese military and the US or its regional allies. Nevertheless, US military officers often participate as observers during military exercises held in Taiwan.

Citing unnamed insiders, the report said that despite the setback, both sides would continue to work together to secure Taiwan’s participation, adding that the agencies involved were confident that Taiwanese pilots would eventually be able to take part.

To compensate for the absence of Taiwanese pilots, the first Tien Lung exercise was held in Hualien and Taidong from Nov. 10 through Nov. 16, which mirrored the routines performed during RED FLAG, including a “training acceptance test” carried out by all the major fighter wings.

The test required all participating wings to draw lots to decide their simulated enemies before conducting various air combat drills, including day or night target intercepts, joint air-defense operations, air-to-ground and air-sea skills against possible tactics employed by the People’s Liberation Army.

These wings worked in coordination with combat control teams, including ground radar stations and E2K Hawkeye 2000, and air defense units.

In related news, the US Department of Defense announced on Friday that US-based defense contractor Raytheon Corp on Friday had been awarded a US$289,458,942 contract for Taiwan’s Surveillance Radar Program (SRP), in a contract that is expected to be completed by Nov. 8, 2017.

Key to Taiwan’s SRP is the US$1 billion-plus long-range early-warning radar that is being built at Leshan (樂山) in Hsinchu County and which is expected to become operational before the end of this year.

The program drew criticism by some legislators earlier this year after Raytheon requested an additional NT$4 billion (US$137.6 million) for further research-and-development and other associated costs.

Once it becomes operational, the radar — deemed the most powerful on the face of the planet — will give Taiwan an extra 6-minute warning against incoming Chinese missiles.

Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu

Hinman Henry J/Rasch Tony Sr AIRCAM, N5371: Aircraft struck powerlines and force landed on a road, near Sarasota, Florida

http://www.aircam.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N5371


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 5371        Make/Model: EXP       Description: EXP- 
  Date: 12/09/2012     Time: 1700

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

LOCATION
  City: SARASOTA   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT STRUCK POWERLINES AND FORCE LANDED ON A ROAD, NEAR SARASOTA, FL

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:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: TAMPA, FL  (SO35)                     Entry date: 12/10/2012 
 
 
PHOTO / SNN LOCAL NEWS 
Pilot Henry Hinman of Sarasota made forced landing Sunday on Verna Road east of Interstate 75.


SARASOTA COUNTY - The pilot of an ultra-light plane had a rough landing in East Sarasota County on Sunday morning, in the process knocking down some power lines and leaving some people temporarily without electricity. No one was injured in the landing.  

 According to a Sarasota County Sheriff's Office report:Henry Hinman 69, of Sarasota, was forced to make an emergency landing at about noon Sunday on Verna Road east of Interstate 75 in undeveloped lands of the Hunter's Creek Subdivision.

It is unclear what forced Hinman to land his 2010 Air-Cam plane.

Some power lines were knocked down and a very limited outage was reported in the surrounding area, with damage estimated at $1500. A crew from Florida Power & Light restored power.

The plane suffered minor damage. The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and will investigate.

========
SARASOTA -- The 69-year-old pilot of a small aircraft made a hard landing in eastern Sarasota County, knocking down power lines about 12:05 p.m. today, but walking away from the crash, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office reports.

 The plane came down in the 2600 block of Verna Road, in undeveloped lands of the Hunter’s Creek Subdivision, the sheriff's office reports.

The pilot was identified as Henry Hinman of Sarasota. He was uninjured.

It has not been determined what caused the emergency landing.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, along with units from the Sarasota County Fire Department responded to to investigate the crash.

The plane was identified as a 2010
Air-Cam.

A very limited power outage was reported in the surrounding area. Damage was estimated at $1,500.

An FP&L response team removed the wires and restored the power. There was minor damage to the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and will investigate further. 


Anyone with information about this incident can contact the FAA at 1-407-812-7700.

Anyone with information about this incident or any crime/investigation in Sarasota County is encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at www.crimestoppers.com or by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).


==========
A 69-year-old pilot and his plane made a hard landing this afternoon in Sarasota County, according to the sheriff's office.

Just after noon today, Henry Hinman of Sarasota was flying a 2010 Air-Cam, twin-engine kit airplane and was forced to make an emergency landing in the 2600 block of Verna Road, the undeveloped area of the Hunter's Creek subdivision, the sheriff's office said.

There was no injuries. The sheriff's office and Sarasota County Fire Department responded to the scene, west of Myakka City.

The accident knocked down some power lines and Florida Power & Light removed the wires and restored power to the area, the sheriff's office said. The damage was estimated at $1,500.

The Federal Aviation Administration is handling the investigation. 


Anyone with information should call the FAA at (407) 812-7700.

Learjet 25, Starwood Management LLC, N345MC: Accident occurred December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico

NTSB Identification: DCA13RA025
 Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico
Aircraft: LEARJET INC 25, registration: N345MC
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

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

On December 9, 2012, at 0333 Central Standard Time, a Learjet 25, N345MC, crashed in mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 5,600 feet above mean sea level approximately 70 miles south of Monterrey, Mexico. The flight departed General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MMMY), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico at 0319 and was enroute to Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateo International Airport (MMTO), Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. The two crew members and five passengers on board were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil of Mexico (DGAC) is investigating the accident. The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative under the provisions of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Registry of the aircraft.

Inquiries regarding this incident should be directed to:

Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes
Providencia No. 807 — 6° piso
Colonia del Valle
Codigo Postal 03100
México, D.F.
Mexico


 Starwood Management LLC v. United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration

 The charter company and owner of the plane that crashed Sunday morning, killing Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera and six others, had one if its planes seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in September and is the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in Nevada, alleges the owner has a long criminal history that includes cocaine possession.

Authorities have begun looking into the history of the plane's owner, Starwood Management of Las Vegas, which had one of its planes seized by the DEA in McAllen, Texas in September, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help investigate the crash of the Learjet 25, which disintegrated on impact Sunday with seven people aboard in rugged terrain in Nuevo Leon state in northern Mexico.

The Learjet 25, number N345MC, was en route from Monterrey to Toluco, outside Mexico City, when it was reported missing about 10 minutes after takeoff.

The cause of the accident has not been determined.

The plane was registered to Starwood Management of Las Vegas, according to FAA records, and was built in 1969.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the twin-turbojet was substantially damaged in a 2005 landing mishap at Amarillo International Airport in Texas. It hit a runway distance marker after losing directional control. There were four people aboard but no injuries. It was registered to a company in Houston, Texas, at the time.

The company is also subject of a federal lawsuit in Nevada.

QBE Insurance Corp. alleges that a Starwood aircraft was ordered seized by the DEA when it landed in McAllen, Texas, from Mexico on Sept. 12. The New York-based insurer sued in October to rescind coverage for the Hawker 700 jet.

Starwood, in a court filing, acknowledged that the DEA was involved in the seizure of the aircraft.

QBE, based in New York, said the DEA also seized a Starwood-owned Gulfstream G-1159A — insured by another company — when it landed in Tucson from Mexico in February. Starwood said in its court filing that it didn't have enough information to address the allegation.

Nevada secretary of state records list only one Starwood officer — Norma González — but QBE alleges that the company is owned and managed by Ed Nuñez, who, according to the lawsuit, is also known as Christian Esquino and has a long criminal history.

Starwood rejected the insurer's description of Nuñez's role at the company.

According to QBE's lawsuit, Esquino pleaded guilty in federal court in Orlando, Florida, in 1993 to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

QBE said Esquino also served two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud involving an aircraft in Southern California in 2004. QBE said Esquino's attorney stated in court back then that his client had been under investigation by the DEA for more than a year.

Starwood said in its court filing that it didn't have enough information to address either the Florida or Southern California case against Esquino.

George Crow, an attorney for Starwood, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages left after business hours Monday by the Associated Press.



Company in jet crash that killed Mexican-American superstar Jenni Rivera has ties to alleged Gaddafi escape plot

A jet that crashed in Mexico, killing singing superstar Jenni Rivera, is owned by a company under scrutiny over its alleged links to a businessman convicted of falsifying aircraft maintenance records and an alleged plot to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi out of Libya. 

 The Learjet 25 that went down shortly after taking off from Monterrey on Sunday afternoon was registered to Starwood Management, a Las Vegas company that has been battling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in court over the seizure of one of its planes.

Starwood was also the company that flew Canadian Cynthia Vanier and her security entourage to Libya during last year’s conflict. Ms. Vanier was later arrested for allegedly conspiring to bring dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi to Mexico. She has denied the allegation.


 The death of Ms. Rivera, a Mexican-American performer who sold 15 million albums and was recently named Female Artist of the Year by the Billboard Mexican Music Awards, has already brought renewed attention to Starwood and its ties to businessman Christian Esquino.

Starwood is operated by Mr. Esquino’s sister-in-law Norma Gonzalez, who lives in San Diego. But an aviation insurance company is currently arguing in court that Starwood is actually run by Mr. Esquino, who has a history of fraud involving aircraft.

While living in San Diego, Mr. Esquino served two years in a California prison for selling planes with doctored maintenance logs. Court records show the DEA suspected he was tied to the Tijuana drug cartel but he denied that and was never charged with smuggling.

 After serving his sentence, he was deported to Mexico and formed a new aviation company. In 2011, he supplied the jet that flew Ms. Vanier on a fact-finding mission to Libya that was financed by Montreal engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin.

Mr. Esquino later became a key Mexican prosecution witness against Ms. Vanier and her co-accused, Gabby Cueto, a San Diego realtor. But Ms. Cueto said in a telephone interview Monday his testimony should not be taken seriously. “We have to prove to the judge that this guy is a pathological liar,” Ms. Cueto said from the Mexican prison where she and Ms. Vanier are being held.

http://news.nationalpost.com

NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs

NTSB Assists Government of Mexico in Aviation Accident

 December 10


Washington - The NTSB is dispatching investigators to assist the government of Mexico in its investigation of the crash of a Learjet LJ25.

On December 9, 2012 at about 3:30 a.m. local time, the airplane crashed about 70 miles south of Monterrey, Mexico, due to unknown circumstances while en route to Mexico City, Mexico. All 7 persons on board were fatally injured including Latin singer Jenni Rivera.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman has designated David Helson as the traveling U.S. Accredited Representative. Mr. Helson will be assisted from NTSB headquarters by investigative staff specializing in airplane airworthiness and flight crew operations as well as advisors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Learjet.

The investigation is being conducted by the Mexican Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) which will release all information. Contact information can be found at www.sct.gob.mx.

NTSB Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
(202) 314-6100
Terry Williams
terry.williams@ntsb.gov


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.

 
 Jenni Rivera, Mexican music star, confirmed dead A California driver's license bearing the name of Jenni Rivera sits on the ground at the site where a plane allegedly carrying Rivera crashed near Iturbide, Mexico Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. The wreckage of a the small plane believed to be carrying Jenni Rivera, the U.S-born singer whose soulful voice and unfettered discussion of a series of personal travails made her a Mexican-American superstar, was found in northern Mexico on Sunday. Authorities said there were no survivors. 



IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 345MC        Make/Model: LJ25      Description: LEARJET 25
  Date: 12/09/2012     Time: 0630

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

LOCATION

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO A MOUNTAINOUS AREA, THE 7 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE 
  FATALLY INJURED, 61 MILES FROM MONTEREY, MEXICO

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   7
                 # Crew:   7     Fat:   7     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: DALLAS, TX  (SW05)                    Entry date: 12/10/2012 

 http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/N345MC


Associated Press  

 Jenni Rivera, the California-born singer who rose through personal adversity to become a superstar adored by millions in a male-dominated genre of Mexican-American music, was confirmed dead in a plane crash in northern Mexico, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Monday.

Rivera, 43, began her career working in the office of her father's small Mexican music label in Long Beach, California. Gifted with a powerful, soulful voice, she recorded her first album, "Chacalosa," in 1995. It was a hit, and she followed it with two other independent albums, one a tribute to slain Mexican-American singer Selena that helped expand her following.

By the end of the 90s, she won a major-label contract, and built a loyal following on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

A mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the "Diva de la Banda" was known for frank talk about her struggles to give a good life to her children despite a series of setbacks.

She was recently divorced from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and she publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.

Her openness about her personal troubles endeared her to millions in the U.S. and Mexico.

"I am the same as the public, as my fans," she told The Associated Press in an interview last March.

Rivera had been widely presumed dead since the wreckage of her plane, also carrying six friends and colleagues, was found Sunday.

The NTSB is sending a team to assist Mexican authorities with the investigation. NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway says Mexican aviation authorities had confirmed Rivera's death to the NTSB.

Her parents were Mexicans who had migrated to the United States. Two of her five brothers, Lupillo and Juan Rivera, are also well-known singers of grupero music.

She studied business administration and formally debuted on the music scene in 1995 with the release of her album "Chacalosa". Due to its success, she recorded two more independent albums, "We Are Rivera" and "Farewell to Selena.

At the end of the 1990s, Rivera was signed by Sony Music and released two more albums. Widespread success came when she joined Fonovisa and released her 2005 album titled "Partier, Rebellious and Daring."

She was also an actress, appearing in the indie film Filly Brown, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, as the incarcerated mother of Filly Brown.

She was filming the third season of "I love Jenni," which followed her as she shared special moments with her children and as she toured through Mexico and the United States. She also has the reality shows: "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis `n Control."

In 2009, she was detained at the Mexico City airport when she declared $20,000 in cash but was really carrying $52,167. She was taken into custody. She said it was an innocent mistake and authorities gave her the benefit of the doubt and released her.

In 2011, her brother Juan assaulted a drunken fan at a popular fair in Guanajuato. In the face of heavy criticism among her fans and on social networks, Rivera publicly apologized for the incident during a concert in Mexico City, telling her fans: "Thank you for accepting me as I am, with my virtues and defects."

On Saturday night, Rivera had given a concert before thousands of fans in Monterrey. After the concert she gave a press conference during which she spoke of her emotional state following her recent divorce from former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for teams including the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I can't get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other and ugly things happen to me like any other woman," she said Saturday night. "The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."

Rivera had announced in October that she was divorcing Loaiza after two years of marriage.


MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — The wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying Mexican-American singing superstar Jenni Rivera was found in northern Mexico on Sunday and there are no apparent survivors, authorities said.

Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said that "everything points toward" it being the U.S.-registered Learjet 25 carrying Rivera and six other people from Monterrey en route to Toluca, Mexico. The plane had gone missing after takeoff early Sunday.

"There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human" in the wreckage," Ruiz Esparza told the Televisa network.

Authorities had not confirmed that Rivera was among the dead.

Jorge Domene, spokesman for Nuevo Leon's government, said the plane left Monterrey about 3:30 a.m. after Rivera gave a concert there and aviation authorities lost contact with the craft about 10 minutes later. It had been scheduled to arrive in Toluca, outside Mexico City, about an hour later.

Also on board the plane were her publicist, lawyer, makeup artist and the flight crew.

The 43-year-old who was born and raised in Long Beach, California, is one of the biggest stars of the Mexican regional style known as grupero music, which is influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchera styles.

The so-called "Diva de la Banda" was beloved by fans on both sides of the border for such songs as "De Contrabando" and "La Gran Senora."

She recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda."

The singer, businesswoman and actress appeared in the indie film Filly Brown, as the incarcerated mother of Filly Brown, and has her own reality shows including "I Love Jenni" and "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis 'n Control."

Rivera had given a concert before thousands of fans in Monterrey on Saturday night. After the concert she gave a press conference during which she spoke of her emotional state following her recent divorce from former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for teams including the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I can't get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other and ugly things happen to me like any other woman," she said Saturday night. "The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."

The mother of five children and grandmother of two had announced in October that she was divorcing Loaiza after two years of marriage. It was her third marriage.

Rivera is the sister of Mexican singer Lupillo Rivera. Patricia Chavez of Lupillo Rivera's office in the United States told The AP that "for now we don't have any information that would be useful."

Associated Press Writer Galia Garcia-Palafox contributed to this report from Mexico City.
 


Jenni Rivera’s record label, Universal Music has confirmed what Mexican authorities had earlier confirmed – the Learjet carrying Jenni Rivera went missing shortly after take off. 

 Jenni Rivera was in Monterrey, Mexico performing at The Arena and was due to be on Mexico’s ‘The Voice’ this evening.  This is the reason some believe she insisted on taking off to Toluca enroute to Mexico City immediately after her concert.  The Monterrey concert promoters had urged her to stay overnight, she reportedly refused.

Reports coming out of Mexico say the weather was ideal for flying at 3:15 a.m. when Rivera’s plane took off.  The Starwood Charter Learjet 25 lost contact with air control some 15 minutes later.  The area where the plane is believed to have lost contact is difficult to access and contains some of the highest peaks of the Sierra Madre in the state of Nuevo Leon.

Some fear that “La Diva de la Banda” is dead along with the other six passengers now identified from the flight manifest as:  Arturo Rivera, Mario Macias, Jacob Llenares Gerard and Gerard N.  The pilots have been identified as Miguel Perez and Alejandro Torres   Four helicopters continue to search for the plane.

Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N64182: Accident occurred July 26, 2012 in Plainville, Connecticut

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA483 
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Plainville, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N64182
Injuries: 1 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.

During daylight in good weather conditions, the pilot was flying an approach to his home airport. After one go-around, the airplane approached the same runway a second time. During the second final approach, the airplane flew lower than normal and the nose dropped. The airplane subsequently impacted a berm 20 feet below and immediately before the runway. A postcrash fire consumed the cockpit and cabin area. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

The toxicological report noted that Zolpidem (a sleep aid known by the brand name Ambien among others) was detected in the blood and liver. Toxicological reports note “detected,” rather than an actual value, when the level of a substance is below the therapeutic range and, thus, is not intended to imply impairment.

According to law enforcement personnel, during the 2 years preceding the accident, the pilot had gone through a divorce, the closure of his business, and most recently was anticipating arrest on a felony charge. Additionally, about 1 month before the accident, a detective received a telephone call from a family member of the pilot, who expressed concern that the pilot was going to commit suicide based on remarks that the pilot had made; however, the family member later stated that the pilot recanted. Further investigation by law enforcement personnel did not recover a suicide note.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain the proper glidepath during final approach in visual meteorological conditions, resulting in collision with a berm.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 26, 2012, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N64182, operated by Interstate Aviation Inc., was substantially damaged during final approach, when it impacted a berm just prior to and below runway 20 at Robertson Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Columbia County Airport (1B1), Hudson, New York, at 1739.

The airplane was based at 4B8. Several witnesses at North Canaan Aviation Facilities Inc. Airport (CT24), North Canaan, Connecticut, stated that earlier during the day, the accident airplane arrived there uneventfully about 1430 and departed about 1630. They added that it was common for the accident pilot to visit the airport and fly around the local area. They did not report anything abnormal with the pilot or the airplane.

Review of radar data, provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), revealed primary targets that originated approximately .1 mile south of 1B1 at 1739:17. The targets proceeded to 4B8 and terminated on a left downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern to runway 20, at 1901:24. The targets then reappeared on another left downwind leg for runway 20 at 1903:47, and terminated at 1905:15. There was no record of radio contact with air traffic control. Additionally, there was no record of any contact with flight service or direct user access terminal service.

A flight instructor, who was walking to his car at the airport about 1900, saw the accident airplane approach. He reported that the pilot made one radio transmission on the local common traffic advisory frequency, regarding landing advisories. The airplane proceeded to fly a mid-field crosswind leg of the airport traffic pattern, followed by a left downwind, base, and final leg of the airport traffic pattern. The witness noted that when the airplane was on final approach, its flaps were extended and it was "a bit" high. The nose then moved right, as if the airplane entered a controlled slip. The witness then left the airport in his car and did not see the impact.

Three people, who were driving their respective cars near 4B8 about 1910, witnessed the accident. The first witness stated that she observed the airplane "lower than usual" and it looked low as it crossed a street and impacted the berm below the runway. The second witness stated that the airplane looked level at first, but then the front end dropped down and she lost sight of the airplane. She subsequently saw smoke and the airplane engulfed in flames. The third witness stated that were no visible signs of engine distress prior to impact. Specifically, the airplane was not flying erratically or emitting smoke.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 51, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and airplane single-engine sea. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on July 30, 2011. The pilot's logbook was not recovered. He reported a total flight experience of 1,000 hours on a "Renter Pilot Information" form he completed on June 23, 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane, serial number 17275530, was manufactured in 1982. It was powered by a Lycoming, O-320, 160-horsepower engine, equipped with a two-blade fixed pitch McCauley propeller. Review of the aircraft logbooks revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on July 13, 2012. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 8,690 total hours of operation. The engine had accumulated 3,784 total hours of operation, and 1,655 hours of operation since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 9 hours since the annual inspection, until the accident flight.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD), Hartford, Connecticut, was located about 10 miles northeast of the accident site. The reported weather at HFD, at 1853, was: wind from 200 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles; overcast ceiling at 9,000 feet; temperature 29 degrees C; dew point 21 degrees C; altimeter 29.62 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage came to rest upright, with the empennage resting on top of the airport perimeter fence. An approximate 4-foot diameter by 1-foot deep impact crater was observed in the berm, about 20 feet below runway 20. The cockpit and cabin area were consumed by a postcrash fire. Both wings were observed separated from the airframe and exhibited impact damage along the leading edge. The ailerons were approximately neutral and measurement of the flap jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 30-degree full flap extended position. The horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevator remained intact and undamaged. Measurement of the elevator trim jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 5-degree tab up (nose down) trim position.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedal torque tubes to the rudder and from the control yoke base to the elevator. Continuity of the elevator trim was confirmed from trim wheel sprocket to the elevator trim tab. Aileron continuity was confirmed from the aileron control sprocket to their respective separation near the wing roots. The aileron balance cable remained attached to the left and right aileron bellcranks.

The engine remained partially attached to the airframe and was canted right. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade exhibited s-bending and melting, while the other blade was bent aft and exhibited leading edge gouges. The engine was separated from the airplane and the propeller was removed from the propeller flange to facilitate further examination of the engine. The valve covers were removed and oil was noted throughout the engine. The top spark plugs were also removed for inspection; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. When the crankshaft was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valvetrain continuity were confirmed and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. Both magnetos sustained fire damage and could not be tested. Inspection of the carburetor revealed that the floats, needle valve, and venturi were consumed by fire.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 28, 2012, by the State of Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Farmington, Connecticut. Review of the autopsy report revealed that the cause of death was "multiple blunt traumatic injuries" and the manner of death was "accident."

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

Review of the toxicology report revealed:

"Zolpidem detected in Liver
Zolpidem detected in Blood"

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to law enforcement personnel, during the 2 years preceding the accident, the pilot had gone through a divorce, a closure of his business, and most recently was anticipating arrest based on a warrant being processed, which included the charge of sexual assault in the first degree. Additionally, on June 22, 2012, a detective received a telephone call from a family member of the pilot, who expressed concern that the pilot was going to commit suicide based on remarks that the pilot had made. The family member later stated that the pilot recanted; however, on the day after the telephone call (June 23), the pilot went to Interstate Aviation and completed a "checkout" flight in order to rent their airplanes. Further investigation by law enforcement personnel did not recover a suicide note.



Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N64182

 

 A police investigation into the death of a local pilot killed in a July 26 plane crash in Plainville found that he once told his son he wished he were dead, but also that he had a history of mishaps and pilot errors while landing planes. 

 The son told police he did not believe James Seaver was suicidal, and witnesses who saw him the day of the crash said he was in good spirits.

The nine-page Plainville police investigation report, obtained by The Sunday Republican, includes interviews with family members and friends of Seaver, 51, of Torrington, as well as witnesses who saw the plane crash as it was landing and people who saw Seaver the day of the crash.

Read more of this story - subscribe or login:  http://www.rep-am.com
 

PLAINVILLE, Conn. (AP) — A police report says a pilot who died in a plane crash in Plainville last summer had previous flying mishaps.

A Plainville police investigation report obtained by the Republican-American of Waterbury ( ) says James Seaver of Torrington struck a tree 16 years ago while landing a plane near Nantucket. The report also says Seaver landed a plane hard at Canaan airport five years ago, and once damaged a pontoon on a water plane.

The report says Seaver's ex-wife told police that he flew frequently but was "accident prone."

Seaver was facing a police investigation for alleged child sexual assault when his plane crashed while approaching Robertson Airport last July. He was 51.

The crash remains under investigation. Authorities say tests showed no illicit drugs or alcohol in Seaver's system.


http://www.necn.com

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA483
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Plainville, CT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N64182
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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


On July 26, 2012, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N64182, operated by Interstate Aviation Inc., was substantially damaged during final approach, when it impacted a berm just prior to and below runway 20 at Robertson Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed North Canaan Aviation Facilities Inc. Airport (CT24), North Canaan, Connecticut, about 1820.

Review of preliminary radar data, provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, revealed primary targets that originated approximately 3 miles southeast of CT24 at 1825:57. The targets proceeded to 4B8 and terminated on a left downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern to runway 20, at 1901:24. There was no record of radio contact with air traffic control. Additionally, there was no record of any contact with flight service or direct user access terminal.

A flight instructor, who was walking to his car at the airport, saw the accident airplane approach. He reported that the pilot made one radio transmission on the local common traffic advisory frequency, regarding landing advisories. The airplane proceeded to fly a mid-field crosswind leg of the airport traffic pattern, followed by a left downwind, base, and final leg of the airport traffic pattern. The witness noted that when the airplane was on final approach, its flaps were extended and it was "a bit" high. The nose then moved right, as if the airplane entered a controlled slip. The witness then left the airport in his car and did not see the impact.

The wreckage came to rest upright, with the empennage resting on top of the airport perimeter fence. An approximate 4-foot diameter by 1-foot deep impact crater was observed in the berm, about 20 feet below runway 20. The cockpit and cabin area were consumed by a postcrash fire.

Air traffic controllers lose hair for Child Cancer campaign

Having their heads shaved next to planes arriving and departing is an experience Queenstown air traffic controllers Ben Macmillan and Andrew Turner can now tick off. 

The two represented the Queenstown air traffic control tower's contribution to Child Cancer and in supporting Dunedin controller Kate Lindsey, who has alopecia totalis, which results in total hair loss. 
 
Mr. Lindsey also had her long hair shaved off on Saturday, in Dunedin, along with six Dunedin colleagues, who either had their heads shaved or legs waxed. 

Six colleagues also shaved in Christchurch and two in Gisborne. 

Airport staff watched as Mr Macmillan and Mr Turner were shaved by Whitney Findlay, of Milford Sound Scenic Flights. 

Come early January, 23 Airways staff, Mr. Lindsey's husband and a friend in Christchurch will have either shaved their heads or waxed their legs as part of the campaign. 

So far, $4000 has been raised and money from donation buckets is yet to be counted. 

Donations can be made up until January 13 via http://fundraiseonline.co.nz/kateandfriends/

Story and photos:   http://www.odt.co.nz

World's largest passenger plane landing in Honolulu

The world's largest passenger aircraft is landing in Honolulu.

Airbus is scheduled to make a stopover at about 2:30 this afternoon with its A380 on a trip from the Airbus factory in France to Hong Kong.

According to a news release, the double-deck aircraft can seat up to 853 passengers and has a range of 8,300 nautical miles. It is 239 feet long, with a wingspan of 262 feet.

Source:   http://www.staradvertiser.com

Frankfurt Airport Cancels Quarter of Flights Amid German Snow

 
Members of the Federal Agency of Technical Relief (THW) retrieve a wreckage of Piper PA-32-301 Saratoga, D-EUEU and Robin DR.400/180 Regent, D-EHJP in Woelfersheim in the German province of Hessen December 9, 2012. 
Photo Credit: REUTERS

More than a quarter of the flights scheduled at Fraport AG’s Frankfurt airport were canceled today as snowfall caused travel disruption across Germany. 

Of Frankfurt airport’s 1,210 scheduled flights, 377 were canceled as of 5:45 p.m., operations manager Waltraud Riehemann said by telephone. Deutsche Bahn AG, the German rail operator, said trains nationwide were also delayed as it limited their speed to prevent accidents, a spokeswoman said.

“It is mostly flights within Germany that are affected,” Riehemann said, adding that 172 of the cancellations at Europe’s third-biggest airport were arrivals and 205 departures. Flights to New York, Newark and Washington also were canceled.

Temperatures fell to as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of Germany, according to the website of the Deutscher Wetterdienst, which predicted new snowfall of as much as 20 centimeters. The temperature in Frankfurt was a little over 1 degree celsius at 5 p.m.

Deutsche Bahn limited from noon the speed of its inter-city trains to 200 km/h (125 mph) as a precautionary safety measure, said a spokeswoman who declined to be named, citing company policy. The trains can usually travel up to 260 km/h, she said. Some trains were delayed by as much as half an hour, she said. She was unable to say how many services had been canceled.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), which is Europe’s second-biggest airline and uses Frankfurt as its main hub, canceled at least 258 flights today in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin and Dusseldorf to international destinations including San Francisco, Chicago and Seoul, according to the company’s website. A spokeswoman was unable to comment on the cancellations.

Fraport said last month it planned to deploy 700 employees in Frankfurt for snow clearance to ensure that at least one of its four runways is always operational. The airport has 31 tractors available to clear snow as well as storing 130 tons of grit and 3.6 million liters of deicing liquid. 


Source:  http://www.businessweek.com