Monday, December 10, 2012

PenAir flight requires plane change: Plattsburgh International Airport (KPBG), New York

PLATTSBURGH — No one was injured when a PenAir flight had to return to Plattsburgh International Airport after a drop in cabin pressure Monday morning.

PenAir Vice President of Sales and Marketing Melissa Anderson said the aircraft experienced a cabin-pressure malfunction upon leveling off shortly after takeoff.

"Following proper procedures, the flight crew did return to Plattsburgh," she said.

The 13 passengers on board were accommodated on another airplane and arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston at 8:40 a.m.

The 6 a.m. flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m.

Anderson said that to the best of her knowledge, this is the first such incident of that nature that involved a Plattsburgh flight. She said she had yet to be in contact with maintenance officials as to the cause of the problem.

PenAir started flying out of Plattsburgh International Airport in June.

The Alaska-based airline offers two flights each weekday between Plattsburgh and Boston, as well as one round-trip flight on Saturdays and another on Sundays. 


Helicopter tours now available from Lizard Island

Guests staying on Queensland's Lizard Island will now have the option see the Island and its surrounds in style following the decision to base two helicopters, operated by Skysafari Australia, on the island.

The helicopters, a four-seater Robinson 44 helicopter and the five-seater Robinson 66 helicopter - nicknamed the sports cars of helicopters - will operate a range of transfers and scenic tours each day taking advantage of Lizard Island's enviable location on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef.

 From 500ft it is possible to see a large number and variety of marine and mainland wildlife - everything from sharks, manta rays and turtles to dugong, whales and crocodiles, wallabies, sea eagles and wild boar on the coast. All flights will require a minimum of two passengers to travel.

Three flights have been specially created to make the most of Lizard's surroundings.

The 20-minute Lizard Island 'Photographer Flight' will soar over the Blue Lagoon, taking in Palfrey and South Island, then head beyond Cooks Look to reveal Lizard's 24 white sand beaches - all with the option of having the doors off. The Great Barrier Reef trip allows guests to venture above the world's largest living organism to see its wild marine creatures on this true sky safari. 

They will enjoy a rare view of the cobalt blue waters contrasting the spectacular Ribbon Reefs along the continental shelf. The 60-minute Reef and Coast trip is the ultimate Far North Queensland experience and offers views of wildly abundant coastline, unique freshwater lagoons and endless white dunes as they contrast the pristine islands of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Five Lizard Island day tours also have been created offering the scenic flight experience with additional landings at other, sometimes remote, destinations including a fishing excursion to exclusive remote tropical north Queensland barramundi locations. Additional tours include golfing, aboriginal expereince tours and much more.

"It is such a privilege to be located right on the Great Barrier Reef here at Lizard Island, so we are thrilled that we can now not only offer our guests a truly remarkable underwater experience but also offer them stunning aerial views as well,"  said Lizard Island general manager Robyn Pontynen.

Sky Safari:

India, Boeing haggle over aircraft deal

New Delhi, Dec 10, 2012, DHNS

Negotiations on with US for six more carriers

India has offered one-fourth of the price reportedly quoted by US aviation major Boeing to purchase 15 heavy-lift Chinook helicopters and 22 Apache attack helicopters for the air force.

India’s combined offer for the two deals was around Rs 5,500 crore while Boeing demanded close to Rs 20,000 crore.

“The acceptance of necessity cost for 15 heavy-lift helicopters and 22 attack helicopters is Rs 2,468.41 crore and Rs 3,094.98 crore respectively. Boeing’s Chinook-CH-47F (I) and Apache AH-64D has emerged as the L1 vendor (lowest bidder) respectively,” Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Boeing had reportedly quoted $ 1.4 billion (Rs 7,600 crore approximately) for the Apaches and $ 2.4 billion (about Rs 13,000 core) for the Chinooks.

The final price will depend on the outcome of the contract negotiation with the L1 vendor, the minister said, stressing that all capital procurements were carried out according to norms laid out in the defence procurement procedure.

Meanwhile, the government is keeping an eye on possible usage of Chinese counterfeit electronic parts in military platforms, which was red-flagged by a committee in the US Senate earlier this year. The committee had warned about the presence of Chinese counterfeit components in critical US military platforms, including the P8I and C-130J transport carriers, which IAF had acquired.

Thereafter, the Defence Ministry had asked Boeing about Chinese components in the P8I naval reconnaissance aircraft. Both Boeing and US government had assured the Defence Ministry that they were genuine. A list of suppliers to the US firms was also handed over to India.

On the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, used for special operations, Antony said: “In the last four years of operation of US defence equipment, including the C-130J transport aircraft, the IAF has not encountered any faulty spare parts.”

After the first C-130J landed in India in January 2011, the IAF used six of these planes for about a year. Negotiations are on between India and the US over an order for six more carriers.

Antony also said India lost 54 military aircraft in the last three financial years.

Boeing Preferred Vendor for India Helicopter Deal

The Wall Street Journal

NEW DELHI--India has named Boeing Co. its preferred vendor to supply 37 heavy-lift and attack helicopters to the country's air force, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said Monday.

The air force--in separate deals--plans to acquire 15 Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters and 22 AH-64D Block-III Apache helicopters from the U.S. company, the minister told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament.

Mr. Antony said the "acceptance of necessity cost" for the Chinook helicopters is about 24.68 billion rupees ($457 million) and that of Apache helicopters is about 30.95 billion rupees ($573 million).

He didn't explain what forms the necessity cost.

The final terms of the contracts would depend on the outcome of the government's negotiations with Boeing, Mr. Antony said.

Taitung seeks to recruit two hot-air balloon pilots

Want to fly? The Taitung County Government is recruiting two candidates for hot-air balloon pilot training.

The recruits will embark on training and exams in the U.S. early next year. Once they obtain international piloting licenses, their related costs and fees will be fully subsidized by the Taitung County Government.

Taitung County operates Taiwan's only two legal hot-air balloons. Officials yesterday announced plans to order more balloons in order to expand Taitung's Taiwan Balloon Festival for 2013.

The new balloons will need pilots, said officials. Registration for pilot hopefuls opens on Dec. 17. Candidates should be at least 20 years old and pass a medical examination.


Flights return to Land's End after water-hit runway dries

A Cornish airport that was closed after the grass runway became saturated following a week of heavy rainfall is set to re-open.

Flights from Land's End Airport to the Isles of Scilly will resume this morning after being diverted to Newquay for more than a week.

The airport, which closed last Saturday, had been due to re-open on Thursday but it was deemed the runway had not dried out sufficiently.

Skybus became the sole airline to serve Scilly when British International withdrew a helicopter service at the end of October.

A spokesman said: "Skybus apologises for any inconvenience and all passengers are being notified"

Stuart Brint, the airport's operations manager, said: "Of everyone who was booked from Land's End, 95% of people have flown."

Islanders renewed calls for the installation of a hard runway to avoid further disruption and asked for government assistance to improve transport links.

Services have been heavily disrupted in recent weeks due to unprecedented rainfall levels.


Commander: Iran to Use Home-Made Jets for Training Pilots

TEHRAN (FNA)- A deputy commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force announced that the IRIAF is manufacturing 2 new jets for pilot training, adding that the new jets will come into operation soon.
Speaking to FNA on Sunday, Iranian Air Force Deputy Commander for Training General Manouchehr Yazdani said Iran is in good supply of pilot training jets.

"Right now projects are underway in collaboration with the defense industry and defense ministry to supply more pilot training jets," Yazdani underscored.

"Kowsar 88 and Azarakhsh training jets are among the projects that are underway in this regard. The conceptual studies have been done and the blueprints have been fully prepared and we are witnessing very good progress in this field," he stated.

"Similar to 'Saeqeh' (Thunderbolt), these jets will come into operation soon," Yazdani stated.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in the defense sector and gained self-sufficiency in essential military hardware and defense systems.

The country has repeatedly made it clear that its military might is merely based on the state's defense doctrine of deterrence and that it poses no threat to other countries. 


Hardy is flying high

Hardy Aviation is back flying again, ending a day of confusion over the airline's apparent grounding.

Owner John Hardy grounded all planes on Saturday, believing he was required to after receiving a letter from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

But the planes were back in the sky yesterday after CASA confirmed no grounding order had been issued.

The move came a week after CASA had suspended the airline's regular scheduled services, which are run through Fly Tiwi.

Mr Hardy said yesterday there had been confusion about a letter sent to Hardy on Friday, which they interpreted as an order to stop flying. 

When the NT News contacted CASA on Saturday, spokesman Peter Gibson said the letter was not a stop-flight notice.

He said CASA had identified a number of problems and had sent a list of proposals about what could be done to fix them. 

Mr Gibson said what happened next depended on how Hardy responded. Hardy have until 2.30pm today to respond. In the meantime the company has permission to fly 26 planes.

"We've been told that we can do our charter flying," Mr Hardy said.

"This is the situation at the moment, but it may change tomorrow, we don't know yet." 

He said many people in his organization, including lawyers, had read CASA's letter and interpreted it as meaning the airline could not fly.

"On Saturday we had to notify out staff we couldn't fly. It wasn't the best news to receive a few weeks before Christmas." 

Mr Hardy said he held a press conference on Saturday because he was concerned customers would not know what was going on.

He said he had been contacted by CASA senior executives who said they were "trying to help" the airline.

The initial problem started more than a week ago when Hardy's chief pilot failed an "instrument rating" test. Mr Hardy said he had since re-sat the test and passed. 

There has since been an issue with maintenance records.


Hardy Aviation:

Avionics company plans Oro Valley expansion

Locally-based Securaplane Technologies, which was acquired last year by Meggitt PLC, plans to expand to a proposed 55,000 square-foot facility in Oro Valley.

The move is meant to take advantage of the town’s streamlined Economic Expansion Zone review process, which the Oro Valley Town Council implemented in October. Town administrators will review and approve the site plans, negating the need for layers of red tape that historically stifled business expansion in the area.

As part of the review process, the company will hold an open house at 6 p.m. tonight at the Oro Valley Town Council Chambers.

Meggitt representatives declined comment.

Town Manager Greg Caton said Securaplane’s move is a sign the EEZ is effective.

“We are very excited about this. This is exactly what the Town Council envisioned when they authorized the Economic Expansion Zone,” Caton said. “I think this is very reflective of the council and staff’s attitude toward business — trying to streamline the process and encourage economic development.”

Caton said the town has had conversations with several other businesses looking to expand into the EEZ.

Securaplane is a supplier of avionics products such as security systems, wireless control systems, ship batteries and chargers, inverters.

The company supplies wireless emergency lighting systems for 787s and is supplying Boeing with a power inverter — dubbed the “start power unit” — used to start auxiliary power units on the 787.

The company is also supplying a charging system for the Dreamliner’s main lithium battery.

Caton said Securaplane aims to have the new facility —  located north of East Tangerine Road between East Innovation park Drive and North Oracle Road — up and running by the end of 2013, and that he expects the company to hire more staff.


Securaplane Technologies Inc.:

Airbus makes inroads with China sales

Updated: 2012-12-11 05:51
By Lu Haoting ( China Daily)

Company gains ground on rival Boeing in race to dominate market

When Peter Tiarks made his first trip to China nearly 30 years ago onboard the first ever Airbus aircraft demonstration tour to the country, Boeing aircraft dominated the Chinese skies.

Airbus SAS sold its first aircraft, an A310, to China two years later in 1985. Boeing Co had a 13-year head start.

But now Airbus is delivering two aircraft to China on average each week, and it controls 49 percent of the Chinese market for planes with more than 100 seats.

The question of how to serve the ever-increasing Airbus fleet in China - now with around 850 jets - tops the agenda for Tiarks, Airbus China vice-president for customer services.

Tiarks' answer to that challenge is to go beyond ensuring the quality and efficiency of basic support, and offer value-added services to help airlines improve their operations.

As oil prices surge to record-high levels, the European aircraft manufacturer believes it can help airlines save costs not only by building more fuel-efficient planes, but also through customer services, which meet the airlines' need for cost-effective outsourcing options, and help save costs in areas such as logistics, flight operations and engineering processes.

"The idea is that we take certain parts of the airlines' responsibilities, such as maintenance or engineering. We call it `tailored support packages'," Tiarks said.

"We are well on track with the deployment of such services in China due to the open and innovative attitude of the Chinese airlines. Our intent is to deploy more and more enhanced services in China," he said.

The strategy is an essential part of an objective set by the EADS Group, Airbus' parent company, to generate 25 percent of its business revenue through services by 2020.

Airbus makes inroads with China sales

The European aerospace and defense conglomerate plans to have about 80 billion euros ($103.40 billion) in revenue by 2020, with 25 percent of the revenue expected to come from the high-value services.

Currently, services represent about 10 percent of the company's total revenues, which stood at 49 billion euros in 2011.

"We are well on track and, in fact, it's even possible to achieve the target ahead of schedule in China," Tiarks said.

Tiarks' confidence mainly comes from the fast-growing Airbus fleet in China. More than 100 Airbus planes are now delivered to China every year, which means that about 20 percent of the company's global production goes to China.

And that is thought to be just the beginning. As the world's fastest-growing commercial aviation market, China will need 5,260 new commercial aircraft, valued at $670 billion, over the next 20 years, Boeing said in its annual market outlook in September.

China is the world's second-largest market for domestic air traffic and the seventh largest for international passenger air traffic, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Flight hour services and spare parts logistics services are two packages well accepted by Chinese airlines, Tiarks said.

Flight hour services range from the supply of material and repairs to full maintenance. China Southern Airlines Co Ltd signed a contract with Airbus for customized flight hour services for its fleet of five A380s in April 2011. Airbus later signed similar agreements with Sichuan Airlines Co Ltd for its A330 fleet, and with Yangtze River Express Airlines Co Ltd for its A330 freighter fleet.

Airbus also started a door-to-door customized spare parts logistics service in China in 2008.

Using DHL as a forwarder for shipments, Airbus provides spare-parts deliveries and takes full control of the supply chain for customers.

The service is designed to reduce logistical complexity and administration workload for customers, enabling them to concentrate on their core business.

Seven Chinese aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, or MRO, companies signed up for the service.

The companies include Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co Ltd, the MRO arm of China Southern Airlines, and Shanghai Technologies Aerospace Co Ltd, the maintenance provider for China Eastern Airlines.

Airbus' US archrival Boeing also offers value-added services to Chinese airlines.

For instance, Air China has signed a contract with Boeing for an aircraft health management service for a total of 117 Boeing 737 planes. The service allows Air China to gather and evaluate real-time in-flight flying-conditions data. The data allow the airline to better plan and perform repairs.

Pilot training

Airbus recently added a new A320 full-flight simulator to its training joint venture Hua-Ou Aviation Training Center in Beijing.

The 12,300-square-meter training center is now equipped with four full-flight simulators, three for the A320 family and one for the A330/A340 family.

Boeing's training center in Shanghai has three simulators.

The new simulator can also be upgraded to support flight training for the new A320neo plane.

ICBC Financial Leasing Co Ltd - the leasing arm of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd - has ordered 20 A320neo aircraft. The new plane, a revamped A320 with new engines, is scheduled to enter service in 2015.

Compared with China's huge demand for pilots, the training capacity at the Hua-Ou center is still limited.

Boeing forecast that China will need about 72,700 pilots to operate the 5,000 new planes entering service in the next two decades.

The country now has more than 20,000 pilots, operating a fleet of about 1,800 aircraft.

China's pilot training capacity can hardly catch up with the fast-growing aviation market, said Zhu Qingyu, director of the marketing department of the China Air Transport Association.

"Our mission in China is to secure the entering-into-service of new operators and to teach the Airbus way to Chinese customers," said Thierry Marty, senior director at Hua-Ou.

Like the Airbus' training centers in other countries, the Hua-Ou center is receiving more and more young and inexperienced pilots, Marty said.

"They lack experience and just graduated from schools like the Civil Aviation Flight University of China. We have to adapt to that," Marty said.

Hua-Ou is now offering more entry-level training services.

"We have to get them ready at the right moment with the right skills," Marty said.


Plane Lands Safely after “Electrical Smell” Reported in Cabin

A plane flying from Seattle to Las Vegas had to make an emergency landing Monday afternoon after an “electrical smell” was reported in the cabin.

No injuries were immediately reported on Alaska Airlines Flight 606, and the cause of the smell is unknown.

There were 156 people on board the Boeing 737 twin jet plane. An Alaska Airlines representative told FOX40 that the passengers will either wait in Sacramento until their plane is deemed safe, or they will board a different flight to Las Vegas.

FOX40 has a crew heading to the scene now and will bring more information as the story develops.

Alaska Airlines:

Airline fees sap the joy out of flying

Bill Knauer used to enjoy jetting around on business. But he got no pleasure when US Airways dinged him $150 to change a flight because of a relative's illness.

Remember when you liked to fly? Bill Knauer does.

Knauer, 76, of Laguna Niguel, spent his career in the food industry. He hopscotched all over the country peddling his wares.

Fun fact: Knauer says he was the young Swanson executive who introduced TV dinners to Los Angeles in 1959.

"I had to fly all the time back then," he told me. "It was very enjoyable."

Not anymore.

What follows won't be a news flash to today's air travelers. But Knauer's recent experience with US Airways struck me as a fairly typical example of how a struggling industry has gone out of its way to treat its customers like litter-box leavings.

And passengers take the abuse because, well, what choice do we have?

Airlines are expected to pocket more than $36 billion in revenue from fees this year, according to the Amadeus Worldwide Estimate of Ancillary Revenue, an annual industry report. This is 11.3% more than last year.

For the last decade, Knauer and his four brothers, ranging in age from 73 to 87, have convened each year in Minnesota for a family get-together. As Knauer observes, none of them are getting any younger.

For this year's September reunion, he bought a nonrefundable, round-trip coach ticket for $443 with US Airways in March. Knauer knew such an early booking was risky, but he figured, as someone living on a fixed income, this would be the best way to hedge against rising fuel prices.

It looked like a prudent bet. The International Air Transport Assn. estimates that fuel now accounts for about a third of carriers' costs worldwide. This percentage is only expected to grow as increasing demand pushes oil prices higher amid a gradual economic recovery.

When I priced a ticket with US Airways the other day for the same trip Knauer booked, the cost was $562.

Unfortunately, Knauer bet wrong. The wife of his brother in Minnesota contracted Lyme's disease in August, and the annual reunion had to be called off. So Knauer got in touch with the airline to see about rescheduling.

Sure, it was possible, but US Airways said he'd have to pay a $150 "change fee."

"That seemed pretty excessive," Knauer said, noting that discount carrier Frontier Airlines had dinged one of his other brothers with a fee of just $75 to reschedule his flight.

Tough, US Airways replied. You want to change with us? That'll be $150.

And he could consider himself lucky. If he'd been booked on an international flight, the airline's change fee would have been a whopping $250.

Don't you love how airlines reserve the right to bump you from the plane if they overbook a flight, which they routinely do, yet insist that if you have to make a change, it's this major hassle requiring a hefty penalty?

Anyway, Knauer agreed to the change fee but then had another curveball thrown his way. For his $150, he'd purchased the right to book another flight at any time during the next year.

Read more:

'He's a lost soul': mystery of man who fell to earth from plane

Angolan man falls from a plane in the sky in London

The suburban stillness of the comfortable, two-storey homes in west London's Mortlake neighbourhood is broken only by the roar of jets thundering overhead on the final approach to Heathrow Airport. 

It's a pleasant place, with easy connections into central London, generally free of crime and congestion.

That changed early on a sunny Sunday morning in September when a man from Africa literally fell from the sky and landed with a loud thud onto the sidewalk of Portman Avenue, half a block from a convenience store, an upscale lingerie boutique, and a shop selling Chinese herbal remedies.

In the hours after the crumpled body was found, as early risers were getting up to walk their dogs, get the papers, or go to church, police thought the man was a murder victim.

But it was soon determined that he had been a stowaway who fell from a passenger plane when it lowered its landing gear directly above Portman Avenue.

"It was scary, there was a body on the street, and nobody knew at first that he had fallen from a plane," neighbour Stephanie Prudhomme said. "There were police everywhere."

The identity of the man remains a mystery three months later. He carried no identification, but police believe he may have been from Angola. They are asking the public to help identify the man, whose death has traumatised the neighbourhood.

Some heard the noise on impact; others were alarmed when they opened their doors and saw a crumpled badly disfigured body lying on the street.

Some didn't know anything was amiss until the police and an ambulance arrived, followed by homicide detectives.

Police came to believe the man stowed away on a passenger jet bound from the African nation of Angola to London, only to die en route and then fall when the landing gear opened — an occurrence that is rare but not unheard of.

"There is great sadness," said Catherine Lambert, who lives a few doors down from the spot where the man landed. "To think that the end of the line for him is a suburban street, miles away from his world."

The event shattered the neighbourhood's sense of being immune from the world's troubles, she said, a feeling compounded by the inability of police to identify the man.

"I felt, what was he running away from? What made him think he could survive? And how will his family ever know? He's a lost soul now; his father and mother are probably waiting for him to make contact," said Lambert, 41.

Frustrated police have released a composite electronic image of what they believe the man's face looked like before his fall, as well as a photo of a tattoo on his left arm, in hopes that he may be identified.

Based on circumstantial evidence, including some currency found in his jeans pocket, they believe he may have been from Angola, but discussions with Angolan authorities have not provided useful clues.

In the days after the macabre discovery, some residents moved by the man's death placed flowers at the spot where his body landed.

Unofficial representatives of London's Angolan community trekked to Mortlake to pay their respects to the man, even though no one knew who he was.

They prayed and also left flowers — but the bouquet was quickly removed by residents after the delegation departed, for fears that it would become an unwanted, permanent shrine to the unknown passenger.

Some are still unwilling to discuss the falling man.

"Is this about the man from the sky?" asked one woman when approached by a reporter as she parked her car on Portman Avenue. "I don't want to talk about it. That was my house."

Aviation safety specialist Chris Yates said poor perimeter security at a number of airports in Africa — including the main Angola airport at Luanda — and in other parts of the world has made it easier for people to stow away on planes.

But it's dangerous, and often fatal, not least because areas such as the cargo hold or the wheel base, where stowaways often climb into, aren't necessarily pressurized. Yates said the man who crashed to the pavement in Mortlake had probably lost consciousness and died within the first hour of his flight.

"When you start moving beyond 10,000 feet, oxygen starvation becomes a reality," he said. "As you climb up to altitude, the issue becomes cold as well, the temperature drops to minus 40 or minus 50 degrees centigrade, so survival rates drop."

The footpath has been cleaned and the flowers are long gone, but residents and local workers are still talking about the man, said Jay Sivapalan, 29, an employee at the Variety Box convenience store near where the body landed.

"It was just a strange thing," he said.

Read more:

All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-800, JA57AN, Flight NH-899, Accident occurred December 08, 2012 in Yamagata, Japan

An aerial photo over Shonai Airport in Yamagata Prefecture shows where an ANA flight landed after after overshooting the runway Saturday evening.

YAMAGATA — An All Nippon Airways Co. pilot and crew members were being investigated by accident inspectors Sunday, a day after their flight from Tokyo overran the runway at Shonai Airport in northern Japan.

While no one was injured among the 161 passengers and six crew members, and the plane from Tokyo's Haneda airport was not damaged after the overrun around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the transport ministry said it should be designated as a serious incident that could have caused a disaster.

Three inspectors, who were sent to the scene from the Japan Transport Safety Board, will begin comprehensive investigations from Monday.

Despite the pilot's application of the brakes on landing at Shonai Airport in Yamagata Prefecture, the plane overran the runway for about 80 meters and came to a stop in a grassy area, according to ANA.

It was snowing at the time of the incident. The plane was in a holding pattern over the airport for more than an hour before the removal of snow on the runway was completed.

ANA apologized for "causing trouble to our passengers" and said it will "fully cooperate" with the safety board's investigations.

The 35-year-old pilot, who has flight records of 4,494 hours and 40 minutes, had not caused any accident until the incident, according to the airline.

A total of five flights between Haneda and Shonai airports were cancelled Sunday. Flights at the airport resumed in the evening after the plane was moved to the tarmac.

Article and photo:

Picture:  An All Nippon Airway's overran airplane is seen at Shonai Airport in Sakata

All Nippon Airways:

Southern State Community College Offers Aviation Degree

A new associate's degree in Engineering: Aviation Maintenance will be offered through a partnership between Southern State Community College and Great Oaks Career Campuses. Classes begin Jan. 7.

Does a career in aviation sound like the perfect path for you? Through a new partnership agreement, Southern State Community College and Great Oaks Career Campuses will collaboratively offer an FAA-certified associate’s degree in Engineering: Aviation Maintenance. Classes will begin Jan. 7. 

 The new associate’s degree in Engineering: Aviation Maintenance is designed as a six-semester track to be completed in two years. Successful completion of the program could lead to employment at an FAA-certified repair station or airline/airfreight company, in aircraft or aerospace manufacturing, and as an aviation maintenance technician, sales and service technician, and general, corporate and fixed-base aircraft operator.

Job Outlook for Aviation Maintenance Technicians, according to the Department of Labor, is “employment is expected to increase by 10% during the 2006-2016 period, about as fast as average for all occupations.  Most job openings for aircraft mechanics through the year 2016 will stem from the need to replace the many mechanics expected to retire in the next decade.  In addition, some mechanics will work in related fields, such as automotive repair, as their skills are largely transferable to other maintenance and repair occupations.”

Wages for Aviation Maintenance Technicians, according to the Department of Labor, is “median hourly earnings” is about $22.95 in May 2006. The middle 50% earned between $18.96 and $28.12.

For more information, contact Jane Bledsoe, Career Counselor at (513) 612-5790 or

Article and photo:

Looking for pilots with planes

Angel Flight pilot Jack Schulte and founder Lance Weller look forward to setting up the charity service in Tauranga - flying sick children to medical appointments out of town free. 
Photo / John Borren

Pilots who transport sick children to vital medical appointments are proof angels do exist, and the search is on to find some in Tauranga.

Angel Flight is a volunteer service that began in the United States before expanding to Australia and arriving in New Zealand last year.

Pilots use their own planes and money to transport patients with low incomes - and long distances to travel - to hospitals.

Volunteers known as "earth angels" co-ordinate with the pilots to help transport patients, who are usually children.

"But we don't have any pilots in Tauranga," Angel Flight chair and founder Lance Weller said.

"We have 80 people now on our team. This time last year it was just me, so the support we've had is just wonderful."

Mr Weller brought Angel Flight to New Zealand in November last year after flying 10 missions in Australia.

Angel Flight has since transported 18 adults and 10 children, flying 40,838km while Earth Angels drove 886km.

It has become a significant part of the community in places like Northland, where transport to Auckland's larger hospitals can take up to two days using a public shuttle.

Mr Weller said Tauranga would be a key location to help transfer people to Auckland and back.

"If there's a child here with cancer who's pretty crook, rather than sitting in a car for a couple of hours and mum dealing with Auckland traffic on the motorway, we deliver them to Ardmore or Whenuapai (airports) and the Earth Angels will be waiting to take them to hospital," Mr Weller said.

"It's free because the pilots are donating their aircraft and Earth Angels are donating their resources."

Whakatane-based pilot Jack Schulte has flown for Angel Flight for seven years and said he never tires of it.

"There's a real sense of compassion here with the air ambulance service. If you need to go somewhere in an emergency, you can. But that said, it doesn't provide for non-urgent cases, so Lance and I are looking forward to getting Angel Flight set up all over the country."

The American said he was happy to fund the flights out of his own pocket.

"When you see the hardship some people have to face, especially parents of sick kids, it breaks your heart.

"To have some role in assisting is very gratifying."

One of the patients included a 40-day-old Northland baby with a cleft palate, unable to suckle. The mother faced a two-day trip on a public shuttle until Angel Flight became involved.

People requiring an Angel Flight must weigh less than 95kg and have medical clearance from their GP.

Air New Zealand supports Angel Flight by providing back-up flights should the weather cancel aviation of smaller craft. Airports around the country have also waived their landing fees for Angel Flight.

More information can be found at

Story and photo:

Angel Flight NZ:

Jetstar pilot loses meal break complaint

A Jetstar pilot with 23 years' experience has lost a case in which he claimed he was not getting meal and rest breaks between flying domestic and international routes.

Richard Greenslade went to the Employment Relations Authority saying Jetstar was breaching a clause of his individual employment agreement by not letting him leave the plane during turnaround periods.

But Jetstar said it was providing rest and meal breaks in accordance with his contract and the Employment Act.

Greenslade started working for Jetstar in January 2008.

He claimed he was unable to take a break from the plane when the aircraft he was piloting was on the ground during the turnaround period.

But Mark Rindfleish, Jetstar chief pilot, told the authority that during the cruise part of the flight there was opportunity for rest or meal breaks.

Greenslade agreed this was possible, but maintained that during the turnaround period he was prevented from leaving the aircraft and this breached part of his contract.

Jetstar said meal breaks could happen when one pilot controlled the aeroplane and the other had a break.

Authority member Eleanor Robinson said Jetstar was required to comply with mandatory rest breaks and Greenslade was provided with adequate food at appropriate times of duty.

Robinson ruled that Jetstar did not act in breach of the duty of good faith towards Greenslade.

She said Greenslade was an experienced pilot with full knowledge not only of the industry legislation, but also of how Jetstar operated in respect of rest breaks.

"Having considered this issue, I determine that Jetstar did not act in breach of the duty of good faith towards Mr Greenslade."

However, she recommended that Jetstar revisit the wording of its employment agreements.



Mordialloc man injured in Flowerdale glider crash

A Mordialloc man, 50, man has broken his shoulder after crashing his ultralight glider plane in Flowerdale, north of Kinglake, at the weekend.

Kinglake police Leading Senior Constable Ron Brown said the man regularly flew in the area and was believed to have miscalculated his height while flying and hit some powerlines.

No one else was injured.


Lewis-McChord pilot faces charges in death of paratrooper

The Air Force is prosecuting a Joint Base Lewis-McChord pilot for a 2011 training accident that led to the death of a Special Forces paratrooper.

Capt. Jared Foley faces six months in prison for each of three counts of dereliction of duty and up to one year of confinement for another charge of reckless endangerment, according to an 18th Air Force spokesman.

His court-martial is scheduled to begin Tuesday at Lewis-McChord.

Foley was the pilot of a C-17 Globemaster III during a daytime training exercise in Montana that went awry when parachutist Sgt. Francis Campion from the West Virginia National Guard landed outside a planned drop zone.

The Air Force accuses Foley of recklessly endangering Campion’s life on that July 10, 2011, mission by clearing an additional airdrop without gaining approval from his operations command.

Campion reportedly was the last one out of the plane during windy conditions. He was supposed to land at Fort Harrison’s Marshall Field, but wound up on a roof and fell to his death.

At the time, the Lewis and Clark County coroner speculated that a gust of wind caught the chute and dragged Campion off the building.

“He wasn’t injured upon the impact with the roof, but when he was knocked over and fell off. He had no buoyancy from the chute,” Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson told the Helena Independent Record.

Nelson further said the parachute was sound.

“In my opinion, the chute didn’t fail and there wasn’t any operator error,” Nelson told the newspaper. “He was very experienced. He was doing everything right.”

Campion, of Holidaysburg, Pa., served with the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group of the National Guard. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and received multiple awards and ribbons for his service.

Campion was an outdoorsman who earned a degree in environmental studies from Pennsylvania State University Altoona, according to his obituary in the Altoona Mirror. He also was an experienced Army paratrooper in Special Forces airborne units.

Foley serves with McChord’s 62nd Operations Support Squadron of the 62nd Airlift Wing. The Air Force declined to release information about his service record. Air Force Times reported that Foley has been selected for promotion to major.

Air Force prosecutors and Foley’s military defense attorney declined to comment through an Air Force spokesman.

The Air Force accuses Foley of reckless conduct for his alleged approval of the late jump. His three counts of dereliction of duty are:

 • Failing to refrain from executing an additional airdrop after passing a drop zone.

 • Failing to obtain approval to carry out that jump.

 • Failing to enter accurate data into his mission computer.

The 62nd Airlift Wing continually deploys C-17 crews to missions in the Middle East, where pilots deliver troops and supplies to forward bases in a region stretching from East Africa to Afghanistan.

McChord Air Field is one of the Air Force’s largest hubs for C-17 transport jets, with 51 of the $250 million machines stationed here. The airmen in the 62nd can be tapped to train on joint-service exercises around the country.

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Weather hampers search for possible downed aircraft south of Dubois, Wyomin

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Fremont County Sheriff’s Department Captain Ryan Lee reported Tuesday morning that there is no update concerning a possible downed aircraft south of Dubois. Eyewitness reports Monday indicated a small aircraft trailing smoke appeared to have crashed south of Dubois, followed by a plume of smoke. The smoke was reported by several others.

“Severe weather in the area has hampered any type of search effort both by air and ground,” Lee said. “Search crews attempted to get to high ground in the immediate area yesterday to glass the area, but were unsuccessful due to blizzard conditions.”

Lee also said the Civil air Patrol has been unable to launch a mission to the area due to the weather. Search crews have not reported hearing any emergency locator beacon signals.  Given the nature of the report, Lee said the Sheriff’s Office will continue their attempts to reach the area and search for a downed aircraft.

‘The report is concerning enough that we have to take a look regardless if there are no reported missing aircraft, we have been down that road before,” Lee said.

 (Dubois, Wyo.) – Fremont County Sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Lee issued the following statement Monday morning about a possible crashed aircraft.

“The Fremont County Sheriff is investigating the possibility that an aircraft may have crashed south of Dubois late Sunday evening. A caller observed what appeared to be a small plane having difficulty; she further indicated it appeared the aircraft was leaving a ‘smoke trail.’ The caller reported the aircraft disappeared behind terrain and a short time later black smoke could be seen rising near that area. Several other witnesses reported also seeing ‘two distinct plumes of black smoke’ several miles south of Dubois.

“At this time we have no reports of any overdue or missing aircraft in Fremont County; we have alerted the FAA and the Civil Air Patrol regarding the observation, they are conducting their own investigation. As of this morning they have not been informed of any overdue or missing aircraft around the State.

“We have found crashed aircraft in this county in the past that were never listed as missing or overdue. In December of 2010 a crashed plane was located atop of Atlantic Peak near Christina Lake after overflying aircraft had heard an Emergency Locator Signal in that general area. Fremont County Search and Rescue found the aircraft on December 24th, three days after it had departed Texas; all three persons aboard the aircraft were killed. That particular aircraft was never listed as overdue or missing.

“We will be working with the Civil Air Patrol in an attempt to search for any type of wreckage in the next couple of days. As soon as the weather gives us an opportunity CAP will be overflying the area and attempting to listen for an Emergency Locator Signal. We will also be mobilizing the Dubois Search and Rescue Division, a hasty team was dispatched to high ground this morning in an attempt glass the area for downed aircraft.

“The weather at this time is hampering further search options for any type of wreckage. Ground crews will be utilizing snow machines due to the snow depths. High winds are also a factor on the ground and in the air.”

Tea lawsuit against Southwest Airlines echoes renowned hot coffee case

Just after Christmas last year, Angelica Keller was on a Southwest flight bound for Houston when she ordered a cup of tea from the attendant.

Since she was seated in the front row, Keller, 43, did not have a drop-down table available. Before she could place the tea bag into the lidless paper cup, she spilled the hot water onto her lap.

Keller, a construction worker from Smyrna, suffered skin blisters and second-degree burns, according to her attorney Rob Anderson, who filed an $800,000 negligence lawsuit against Southwest on her behalf.

If the circumstances have a familiar ring, there's a reason. Although the beverage has changed, the case echoes one involving a New Mexico woman who won a settlement after spilling a piping hot cup of McDonald's coffee on herself in 1992.

That case took on a life of its own after defense lawyers and business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, began citing it as an outlandish example of greed and abuse in the legal system. But the facts and outcome of the case were distorted — blurred, many legal experts say, by the forces of time and misleading propaganda.

Since then, states across the country, including Tennessee in 2011, have passed tort reform measures intended to weed out trivial lawsuits and stem the tide of runaway jury awards, which businesses say cost states millions of dollars a year.

Tennessee's version of the legislation passed swiftly. Now, however, it faces a legal challenge.

Hundreds of plaintiffs file lawsuits claiming a civil wrong of some kind every year. While the facts in each case vary widely, and some are discarded by judges and juries as frivolous, advocates of lawsuit reform frequently cite the McDonald's suit to demonstrate the need for change.

Few come as close as Keller's, however, to the case that became legendary in corporate America.

"It's natural for people who think they know the facts of one case to hear another and draw a correlation," said local attorney John Day. "But the hot coffee case is often invoked to make people have doubts about the civil justice system."

A 'manufactured' crisis

Attorneys representing Southwest recently filed a response to Keller's lawsuit, claiming that she selected her own seat, knew there was no drop-down table and ordered the hot tea herself. Keller, therefore, was "negligent" when she spilled the hot beverage on herself, according to the response.

The lawsuit does not specify the temperature of the tea, only characterizes it as "extremely hot," and "too hot for use in an aircraft."

Neither side would comment on the case.

About $300,000 of the $800,000 Keller is seeking includes pain and suffering damages, a type of injury that is subjective and hard to quantify.

Whether there should be limits on pain and suffering damages, and if so, how much, has long been politically charged.

Since at least the early 1990s, Republican strategists have used lawsuit reform as a rallying cry. Or as then-President George H.W. Bush, guided largely by political consultant Karl Rove, put it in 1992: "We must sue each other less and care for each other more."

On the opposite side of the argument, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has voiced loud opposition to tort reform, breaking from GOP ranks on the issue.

Thompson, a lawyer and former presidential candidate, contends that it runs counter to long-standing conservative values about state and individual rights.

Conservatism is "about government closest to the people and equal justice with no special rules for anybody," he wrote last year in The Tennessean. "Our system ain't broke."

Yet Thompson has been unable to sway his fellow Republicans.

Reform about political posturing

Tort reform advocates often point to eye-popping verdicts to make their case, and not all of them involve spilled coffee. They cite plenty of other examples — including a $22 million award to a Chattanooga couple after a woman became paralyzed following a medical error after surgery — as evidence that Tennessee juries have run wild.

They say frivolous lawsuits drive up medical costs, make liability insurance both necessary and prohibitively expensive, and that lawyers file claims in jurisdictions that tend to sock it to businesses.

It is also depicted as an economic development issue. As states compete like never before to lure new business and jobs, they say, legal costs figure prominently.

"One important factor in whether businesses expand and invest is whether states have a stable and predictable legal environment," said attorney Lee Barfield, who lobbies for business interests. "Caps make awards more predictable."

Physician recruitment is also affected, as doctors who work in critical care favor states with liability caps, said Douglas Buttrey, the former executive director of Tennesseans for Economic Growth.

A 2001 study published in the American Law and Economics Review by Albert Yoon looked at whether damage awards dropped in Alabama while the state had caps.

Compared with other Southern states that did not have damage caps, Alabama plaintiffs' awards, on average, decreased by $20,000. The average awards, Yoon found, nearly doubled after the state's high court found the caps to be unconstitutional.

Yet reform discussions are more about political posturing than saving companies money, according to Phillip Miller, personal injury lawyer and former president of the Tennessee Association for Justice, a group opposed to the caps.

"The bare-knuckle facts show that runaway juries were never a problem in Tennessee," Miller said. "If you're a Republican in Tennessee and you want to get elected, you can't say you're against tort reform."

In Tennessee, plaintiffs cannot recover more than $750,000 in pain and suffering damages unless the case is considered "catastrophic," in which case the award cannot exceed $1 million. The caps went into effect last July after Gov. Bill Haslam pushed a tort reform bill through the legislature, widely cheered by the state's business community.

The law does not restrict the amount patients can recover in medical bills and lost wages. That provision, Miller says, ensures that hospitals and insurance companies still get paid but it "doesn't mean a nickel goes to the person who's injured."

About half of the states cap pain and suffering awards. Legal standoffs have flared up across the country in recent years attempting to undo the limits, and the Tennessee law is far from immune to challenge.

Trial lawyer David Randolph Smith filed a lawsuit five months ago questioning the legality of Haslam's tort reform. Central to his argument is that juries, not the legislature, should decide how much an injury is worth.

A decision on the Tennessee cap is expected sometime next year, likely from the state Supreme Court.

Coffee case still resonates

The 2011 documentary film "Hot Coffee" attempted to debunk the myths surrounding the famous McDonald's lawsuit .

For instance, many believe Stella Liebeck, the plaintiff, was behind the wheel of a car when she spilled the coffee. In fact, her grandson had been driving and the car was parked at the time.

The spilled coffee had been served at around 180 degrees, 40 degrees hotter than most home-brewed coffee. The spill led to skin grafts across her body.

Liebeck originally asked for just $20,000, enough to cover her medical expenses. McDonald's offered $800.

In spite of the headline-grabbing $2.7 million award that was granted, a judge later reduced it to $640,000 — and that amount was reduced even further in an undisclosed settlement

Daniel Clayton, a local medical malpractice attorney, said the propaganda about the case has helped marshal public opinion in favor of lawsuit reform. Many, he said, do not fully grasp its implications for people claiming injury.

Those implications easily could come into play with Keller's case. It's not hard to imagine jurors being reminded of the McDonald's case, even as they confront a different set of facts.

Whether they ultimately conclude that the fault lies with her or Southwest Airlines, trial lawyers say the wave of lawsuit reform buttressed by the McDonald's spill damages the civil justice system.

Said Clayton: "It ends up hurting those who are hurt the most."

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High fuel cost, maintenance, manpower drive airfare cost up

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Chairman of the financially strapped regional airline, LIAT, has defended the high cost of airfares charged by the Antigua based airline.

“There are those who argue that all the problems of air transportation in the region will be solved by competition which will lead to lower fares. They point out that when Caribbean Star, Caribbean Sun and REDjet, were operating and offering cheap fares, a great deal more people were travelling,” said LIAT’s chairman Jean Holder.

He told regional journalists that “if indeed, such airlines had decided, instead of offering cheap fares , to offer no fares at all, the number of people travelling would be so great that it could not be contained by the regions’ airports.

“The people, who argue in this manner, seem to take away no lessons from the fact that all the airlines mentioned above, went bankrupt and ceased to operate and the investors lost their money.”

He said currently, the operations of all Caribbean carriers offering fares not covered by their commercial costs, are subsidized on an annual basis by their governments. He said the situation is also the same in the United States.

“The fact is, that any airline operating on these intra-Caribbean routes, which charges fares that reflect its real costs, cannot offer cheap fares, and any airline, not in receipt of subsidies, offering fares that do not reflect its true costs, will not survive.”

Holder said there seems to be a general belief abroad in the Caribbean that somehow LIAT has been exempt from the pain and suffering caused to all businesses by the poor state of the global economy, especially the economic difficulties in our tourism source markets, including the Caribbean market.

He said LIAT is not exempted from the extremely high cost of fuel, maintenance and manpower.

“Perhaps the reason for this, is that through all these difficult times, LIAT has continued to deliver its extensive services, many of which are not commercially profitable and amount to nothing more than a public service. This situation cannot continue, especially when only three of the 21 destinations served by LIAT come to its aid when it is in financial difficulties.

“Unlike all the other Caribbean airlines in the region, LIAT does not enjoy the luxury of an annual subsidy in its annual budget up front to cushion annual financial losses. It also does not frequently enjoy the marketing support and flight guarantees that several foreign operators receive.

“As far as its daily operations are concerned, LIAT stays alive by negotiations with its bankers, the skills of it management, and being forced to charge the customer a level of fares that meet its costs. LIAT has no control over the level of taxes charged. It simply collects them.”

Holder told regional journalists that the real barrier to private sector airline competition is not LIAT, which is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.

He said it is the realistic fear of failure, urging the private sector to invest in the regional airline “which has stood the test of time.

“I am confident that this would lead to us having an airline which will perform successfully both in and outside the region,” he said, as the airline Friday unveiled a new business plan that it said would reverse years of economic problems.

Holder said that for the last six years, LIAT has not gone to its shareholder governments for any financial support for its daily operations.

But it now has no option but to approach its shareholders for some capital investment in a new fleet, he said, adding that the capital investment now needed would be a lot less onerous if it is shared among those for whom LIAT provides services every day.

“It is time, as was suggested by the President of the Caribbean Development Bank, to feed the cow, rather than drinking its milk, using a straw through the fence,’ Holder said, adding that he was “very encouraged by the promises of financial support” made by the Dominica government.

“I hope that others will follow this excellent example,” he said, reminding journalists that the airline faces daily challenges providing network services to 21 countries in the English, Dutch, French, Spanish Caribbean.


Air rage: Chinese screaming mad over delays

(Reuters) - Airline crews and ground staff are assaulted, passengers storm a runway, and a person yanks open an emergency exit door on a plane.

In China, angry passengers are resorting to extreme measures to protest delays as the country's restricted air corridors are becoming clogged with millions of new fliers each year -- a fact attributed to the fast rise of the middle class and cheap flights.

There have been dozens of incidents involving irate travelers on both domestic and international flights this year, as airlines struggle to stick to their schedules.

"When flights get delayed, passengers make a lot of trouble. Sometimes they even beat our staff," Wang Zhenghua, founder and chairman of Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines, told Reuters in an interview earlier this year.

"Airlines are actually the weaker party. With the government calling for a 'harmonious society', the only thing we can do is to give them compensation to calm them down."

With manufacturers predicting a new plane will take to China's skies every other day for the next two decades, industry officials say congestion is only going to get worse. And that means more delays.

Some 30 years ago, flying was a travel option only available to top government and company officials who needed to submit a special document from their employer to buy a plane ticket.

While most Chinese people still use trains for long-distance travel because of the lower cost, rising income and cheaper flights as a result of increased competition means more are now using planes.

Over 270 million passengers flew on domestic routes in China last year, up nearly 10 percent from 2010 and over 70 percent from 2003, according to government data. The International Air Transport Association projects 379 million will be flying domestically by 2014.

Airlines have been adding planes to keep pace with the increased demand. Boeing predicts China will need to add 5,260 new airliners worth $670 billion over the next 20 years.


Airlines are increasing the number of flights but with China's air force controlling much of the airspace, flight delays are likely to become increasingly common.

The results can be over the top.

Earlier this year around 20 angry passengers dashed toward the runway at Shanghai's main international airport, coming within 200 meters of an oncoming plane from the United Arab Emirates. Their action was sparked by a 16-hour flight delay.

It was not clear why they charged on to the tarmac, unless they were seeking to create a scene in order to boost their chances of getting compensation.

In August, two passengers furious after being refused compensation for a delay yanked open an emergency exit door on their plane -- resulting in a further delay.

An Australian pilot and crew were surrounded and threatened by an angry mob in October after a Jetstar flight, which originated in Melbourne, was diverted from Beijing to Shanghai because of bad weather, Australian media reported.

That incident echoed another involving a United Airlines flight that was delayed for three days in Shanghai. Media reported frustrated passengers started shouting and rushed at the pilots.

Last week, angry passengers came to blows with ground staff after their flight was delayed from Guiyang in southwestern China, according to a witness.

"The staff's attitude was bad, so I can understand their anger but I strongly disagree with police not arresting the passengers," said the 28-year-old office worker, who only gave her last name as Tong.

There have been other equally bizarre, yet peaceful acts. A group of passengers sang songs over the public announcement system after airline staff deserted the terminal in Shanghai when all flights were grounded due to a thunderstorm this year.

The cause of these protests partly lies with the Chinese carriers themselves. It is not uncommon for passengers to have to wait for hours inside a plane or at the boarding gate without any information about how long the delay might last.

"In the past, only 'first class' people had the privilege to travel by plane so the average Chinese has very high expectations for services," said Li Yuliang, an independent civil aviation commentator who is also the chief trainer for China Eastern Airline's Shandong office.

"But when they actually fly, they find the services are not as good, especially when there is a delay, and these disappointed passengers make a lot of trouble."

In the case of the runway protest in Shanghai in April, all passengers, including those who ran out to the tarmac, were given 1,000 yuan ($160) each in compensation from the carrier, Shenzhen Airlines. None of the protesters were reprimanded.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, about a quarter of the 2.4 million domestic flights were delayed in 2011. The ratio is roughly comparable with delays seen in Britain but this data does not reflect delays that occur after all the passengers have boarded the plane.


China's skies are hardly crowded, but its restricted routes are. Experts and pilots say airspace allocated for commercial use is only around 20 percent.

"The airspace is too small. It's like an eight-lane highway with just two lanes open," said Jeff Zhang, a pilot at one of the top three Chinese carries.

In addition, the lack of up-to-date equipment at airports, such as those used to navigate pilots in bad weather, relatively stricter safety standards and the scarcity of trained air controllers are also adding to flight delays, they say.

With the military unlikely to make more space available for commercial use, it is up to the airlines and aviation authorities to make the best use of the resources they have, for example, by using bigger planes or upgrading equipment.

"As a pilot, I want to fly as soon as possible too because I don't get paid when I'm on the ground. The airlines don't like delays either since they want to use their aircraft as many times as possible," said Zhang.

"No one likes delays. But this is all because of the narrow airspace." ($1 = 6.2253 Chinese yuan)


7 Kingfisher jets impounded

The grounded Kingfisher Airlines faced another blow when at least seven of its aircraft parked at Mumbai airport were impounded by the service tax department for its failure to pay around Rs200 crore as dues.

According to sources, the order was passed by MRR Reddy, the additional commissioner of service tax (Mumbai) on Friday.The order stated that Kingfisher Airlines has not paid an estimated Rs63 crore apart from the interest payable on it thereon. In addition, the airline also needs to pay around Rs128 crore in other dues. The airline, on its part, had approached the higher authorities to order a stay on the impounding of its aircrafts, but failed to get it.

56 Year old Former Military Pilot Murdered by Burglars


3 murders in the past 8 days. That's what the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is working on. Saturday's murder marks the 30th of the year...surpassing the amount of people killed last year. Investigators say this latest murder is particularly concerning. 

 One...two...three. Three heinous crimes, three lives taken in just about a week's time. The latest victim, Hester Jackson. His neighbor and co-worker of 28 years describes the former Air Force Pilot as gentle and meek, "If you needed anything, he would be there for you," said Dedric Stowers.

Making the 56 year old's murder even more tragic...he just got married. His wife was in the process of moving make this home that is now blocked off with crime tape, her own, "He was just getting read to start his life over and embark on a new adventure, so to speak, so it's just a real shock."

Neighbors aren't the only ones shocked, "For him to be killed in cold blood rather than just have them run away like they could have, that's something that's obviously shocking." Captain Scott Peebles is talking about who is responsible for murdering Jackson.

Peebles says Jackson happened to come home at the wrong time, when he walked in the door he was met with armed burglars, "That's why these people are particularly dangerous, because they had no vested interest in killing him, other than to keep him from being a witness in the case. They're somebody we have to get, we have to arrest these guys."

Neighbors hope they do. Stowers said this hits close to home...not only because he worked with Jackson out at SRS, but because his home couldn't be any closer....just a few feet away. Knowing that investigators believe the murder was random, is leaving everyone in this Hephzibah neighborhood on edge.

There is a reward for information leading to an arrest. Call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office if you can help solve this case.

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Historic DC-3 will be on hand at Vero Beach Aviation Day

VERO BEACH — If you have looked up in the sky recently you may have seen a very rare vintage airplane or heard the distinctive sound of its two-cyclone radial engines.  After a very successful 2012 Air Show season throughout the USA culminating in appearances at the Wings Over Homestead Air Show and the Stuart Road to Victory Air Show, the oldest flying DC-3 in the world, the American Airlines Flagship Detroit, has once again taken up winter residence on the Treasure Coast and will be making several appearances in Vero Beach.

In addition to stops at Vero Beach during upcoming membership rides given to new members who join the Flagship Detroit Foundation, this grand old lady is scheduled to appear at the Vero Beach Aviation Day on March 2, 2013. Local area membership rides will be available at the event and the day before the event. Those who purchase a tax-deductible annual membership for $150 in the Flagship Detroit Foundation will be able to fly with on March 1 or 2, or on another local scenic flight and will also be invited to ride on the aircraft during positioning flights for a period of a year.

The airplane flew for American Airlines from 1937 to 1947. In time, ownership of the Flagship Detroit passed to corporate hands and the airplane became a light freighter and agricultural sprayer. It was located in Virginia, and purchased by the Flagship Detroit Foundation in August 2004. The plane has been restored to exactly how it looked in 1937.

Six years ago, when the restoration was completed making it the oldest DC-3 still flying, the Flagship Detroit was featured in an article in the August 2006 edition of "Flying," the world's most widely read aviation magazine. Then again, in the August 2010 edition of the same magazine, the Flagship Detroit was featured on the front cover as part of an article celebrating the 75th anniversary of the DC-3.

The DC-3 was the brainchild of C.R. Smith, then-president of American Airlines, and developed by Douglas Aircraft, which would later become McDonnell Douglas. Smith wanted a plane that could fly more passengers more comfortably, and from New York to Chicago without stopping. Smith got what he wanted, and the airline industry changed forever.

The first DC-3 flight was December 17, 1935. American Airlines’ first scheduled passenger service DC-3 flight was June 25, 1936 with the Flagship Illinois, with nonstop service between Chicago and New York.

The first eight DC-3s delivered to American were “sleepers” (DST, Douglas Sleeper Transport) with 14 berths for overnight, five-stop, transcontinental service. The remaining DC-3s delivered to American were 21-passenger “day plane” versions like the Flagship Detroit. American adopted a nautical theme for its DC-3s, calling them “Flagships” and naming them after the city or state served. Flagship Detroit was the 21st off the assembly line and officially joined the American Airlines fleet in March of 1937 and is now the oldest flying DC-3 in the world out of almost 14,000 DC-3’s and C-47’s (the military version) built.

A unique aspect of Flagship Detroit is the fact that it is an original American Airlines DC-3 which was never modified externally. It was delivered with Curtiss Wright GR-1820 1000hp radial engines driving Hamilton Standard constant speed full-feathering metal propellers. The aircraft paint colors were bonnet blue and international orange. The DC-3 had a range of 1,300 nautical miles and a 143-knot cruise speed. It carried 21 passengers, a captain, copilot and a stewardess (registered nurse).

The Flagship Detroit Foundation is a non-profit group of dedicated men and women who have committed to make the personal and financial commitment to promote awareness of American’s remarkable history and preserve its legacy. The Foundation’s goal is to continue operating and maintaining this aircraft as a flying tribute to all American Airlines employees, past and present.

She will take to the skies once again on Sunday, January 6, 2013 and has invited any local resident interested in becoming a member of the Flagship Detroit Foundation to come along for an historic “heritage” flight. The flight will be from Stuart to Vero Beach and back including a stop for breakfast at CJ Cannon’s at Vero Beach Airport.

The Flagship Detroit is available for air shows, appearances, special events, fund raisers and unique travel opportunities. For information on the January 6 membership flight to Vero Beach airport, other scheduled flights, and general membership information, please contact Capt. Tony DeSantis (AA, Ret) at 772-486-2831. Visit us at

This story is contributed by a member of the Treasure Coast community and is neither endorsed nor affiliated with


Foreign Firms May Enter Light Aviation Market - Putin

18:11 10/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - The rejuvenation of general (light utility) aircraft production in Russia should include foreign companies, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, but must include widespread localization.

"We need to revive light aviation, but on our own base with modern technological solutions, using the experience of foreign countries - perhaps it would even be good to bring in their experience, capital and technology - but production should be in Russia," Putin said.

Several foreign companies have made proposals for assembly of their aircraft in Russia, Putin said. "This would not seem to be so bad, but if we go down that route, we will never develop our own skills, which we need as much as the air we breathe," he said.

Putin cited the model of the Russian car industry as an example. "We can and must invite foreign participants in this process along with capital and technology, but with one absolute condition - with growth of local production, and expansion of domestic production on Russian territory."

Several foreign light aircraft manufacturers have held talks with the Russian government in the past few years over possible assembly or license production of their aircraft in Russia, including Czech aircraft builder Evektor (EV-55 twin-turboprop), Canada's Viking Air (Twin Otter 400), Canada's Bombardier (Q400) and US light aircraft maker Maule. So far however, no final deals have been concluded for local production.

Czech company Aircraft Industries plans to produce a modified version of its Let-410 for the Russian market,* the company said in October.

* A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the modified Let-410 would be built in Russia.