Wednesday, December 26, 2012

North Texas Regional /Perrin Field (KGYI), Sherman/Denison, Texas: Flights diverted from airport due to frozen runways - No One Gets You Closer 

DENISON -- On what's typically a busy travel time, aircrafts at the North Texas Regional Airport were parked. 

According to the tower, runways were unsafe for pilots to take off or land Wednesday, due to a stubborn half-inch thick layer of ice that despite many attempts to break, didn't want to budge.

Peter Kotsokalis is an air traffic controller at the airport and says up to 20 passenger flights were canceled or diverted.

"Conditions are dangerous, this isn't their best option," Kotsokalis said.

That means less travelers, and revenue, for businesses like the Lake Texoma Jet Center, which rents space in its hangar, performs maintenance on jets and sells fuel to pilots for $4.29 a gallon. At that rate, the business says it stands to lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

"We sell a lot of fuel here," Kotsokalis said. "We've got local businesses that do rentals, food sales, retail, things that people would normally spend money on when they come into the area via aircraft. It's just not existent right now."

It wasn't until late Wednesday afternoon that flights resumed. The airport tells KTEN the ice on the runways finally melted allowing pilots to safely take off and land.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Will Take Over Hawker Pensions

Updated December 26, 2012, 8:51 p.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal


Hawker Beechcraft Inc., which plans to exit bankruptcy protection under the control of a group of hedge funds that includes Bain Capital's Sankaty Advisors, is jettisoning two underfunded pension plans covering thousands of nonunion workers and retirees.

The Kansas-based aircraft manufacturer, which hopes to exit bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of next year, also said it struck a deal with the government's pension insurer to retain a third "hourly" plan covering more than 8,200 current and former union workers.

In bankruptcy court papers filed minutes before midnight late Friday evening, Hawker said it was terminating its so-called salaried and base pension plans covering nearly 9,500 employees and retirees as part of a comprehensive deal with the government's pension insurer, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers, the union representing its hourly workers.

The settlement calls for the PBGC to take over the two scrapped plans, which are underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars, and in return the agency will get a $419.5 million unsecured claim against the company. Under Hawker's proposed Chapter 11 plan, that means the PBGC will recover less than seven cents on the dollar.

"Bankruptcy forces tough choices, but termination of pension plans doesn't have to be an automatic option," said J. Jioni Palmer, PBGC communications chief, in a Wednesday statement. To that end, the aircraft maker will continue to maintain the union pension plan, and the union has agreed to amend its collective bargaining pact so that the plan can be frozen.

While the hedge funds are requiring that Hawker dump the two plans as part of the debt-for-equity swap that will allow the company to exit bankruptcy, they had originally demanded that Hawker terminate all three.

However, "in a spirit of compromise," according to Hawker's lawyers, and in bid to avoid costly, protracted litigation, they moved away from their original position.

"After our talks with Hawker, the company decided to keep its hourly plan," said Mr. Palmer. "While PBGC is the nation's pension safety net, we only want to step in as a last resort."

The PBGC, created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, takes over a private-sector pension plan after determining an employer is unable to keep paying benefits. The PBGC will pay guaranteed benefits of up to $56,000 a year for a 65-year-old retiree.

Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein will consider approval of the deal at a hearing slated for Jan. 17, 2013.

For Hawker, the deal clears the way for the company's exit from bankruptcy early next year following the collapse of an earlier deal to sell its business to a Chinese aircraft manufacturer.

Instead, the hedge funds—which also include the distressed-debt-focused Angelo Gordon & Co., Capital Research & Management Co. and Centerbridge Partners—will swap $921.6 million in secured debt for an 81.1% stake in the reorganized company. All four funds specialize in buying debt at discount to profit from a troubled company's upside when it restructures under bankruptcy protection.

Senior bondholders, unsecured creditors and the government's pension insurer will divvy up the remaining 18.9% in the restructured Hawker. In all, the restructuring plan slashes some $2.5 billion in debt off Hawker's books.

Representatives for the Wichita-based company, which plans to change its name to Beechcraft Corp. upon emergence from Chapter 11, couldn't be reached for comment.

Hawker was created in 1994 as Raytheon Aircraft Co., after Raytheon Co. combined its Beech Aircraft and Raytheon Corporate Jets units. But many of its difficulties can be traced to an ill-timed 2007 buyout by Goldman Sachs's private-equity unit and Onex Partners, which purchased the company for $3.3 billion.

Superior Aviation Beijing Co. had agreed to buy Hawker's corporate jet and propeller plane operations out of bankruptcy for $1.79 billion, but the deal collapsed when the companies couldn't overcome U.S. government concerns that some sensitive technology tied to Hawker's defense business could wind up overseas.

The company, one of the world's largest makers of business jets, has also suffered from a prolonged slump in the corporate jet market. Hawker lost $630 million in 2011, and aircraft deliveries have fallen by a third over the past two years.


If you can drive ... you can fly: Learning to fly in one lesson

Reporter Lucy Townend flies a Tecnam Sierra plane to Foxton with the help of chief instructor Neil Jepsen.


It was described to me as three-dimensional driving.

There's your usual left and right movements, some backward and forward ones, but in a plane there's also up and down thrown into the mix.

Recreational pilot David Cameron told me if you can drive a car then you can fly a plane.

And I can drive a car.

I do so most days, and if we're getting technical, it's in my brown beat-up Nissan Sentra called Ned.

David was the one who convinced me to give flying lessons a go.

He said it would be a piece of cake and I'd be hooked after my first airborne adventure.

And, because he's the flying director of the Manawatu Districts Aero Club and I'm a bit of an adrenalin junkie, I said to him, "You know what, you're on".

The man given the task of teaching me how to fly was the club's chief flying instructor Neil Jepsen.

We started with an on-ground lesson where he ran me through the basics like safety features, the aircraft's axes and the plane's movements.

We talked about pitch, moving the aircraft's nose up or down, yaw, moving it left and right, and roll, rotating side to side.

We talked about guidance systems, navigation tools and using visual observations to help with direction and keeping the aircraft level by using the horizon as a cue.

We talked about the cockpit's controls, the engine, how far above sea level we would be and how fast we would go.

Once all these fundamentals were ticked off all that was left was to fly the thing.

He took me up in the club's only aircraft, an all-aluminium 2006 Tecnam Sierra nicknamed PAJ, short for Papa Alpha Juliet.

Somewhere soaring above Feilding, Neil gave me the joystick to fly PAJ solo.

It's an extraordinary feeling knowing that one small stick can control an aircraft.

A slight bump of it left or right and we'd be turning.

Pull back and PAJ would head up towards the heavens, push forward and we'd be nose-diving back down.

The power that joystick held was almost inconceivable to me.

I quickly discovered the key for a smooth flight was to be gentle, controlled and calm, and, as Neil had said, aim to balance the nose on the horizon.

We landed in Foxton for a quick breath of fresh air and a glass of water before heading back up into the air again to make our way back to Feilding.

I was more adventurous on the return flight and even had a go at banking the plane, by dipping a wing and turning 360 degrees.

Put simply, and cliche pilots probably say all the time, you feel free in the air.

There's a sense of comfort being thousands of feet above everyone else soaring through the clouds with the Manawatu district sprawled for miles underneath me.

The landscape was dotted with familiar townships and framed by the Foxton shoreline on one side, the Tararua Ranges on the other.

Thousands of feet above it all and it still looked like home. As we hurtled down the runway and PAJ slowed down to a stop, the endorphins from flying ebbed away and all of sudden, I felt in touch with my stomach.

My first-time flying experience came down to the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good, I survived and so did Neil.

The bad, David's right, flying is addictive.

And the ugly, I hurled my guts as soon as we landed.

The giddy feeling of flying PAJ by myself mixed with the boundary-free movements of a microlight meant within minutes of landing my morning coffee was seen again on the grass. Regardless of a burning throat, shaky knees and queasy tummy, would I do it again?



If you're interested in giving flying lessons a go, prices range from $50 to $100.

Any pilot license requires practical experience and an examination process.

More than 50 hours of flying time is desirable, including 25 hours under dual instruction with a qualified flying instructor, 25 hours solo flying and five hours of instrument flying, where you go "under the hood" and wear a face mask which allows you to see the dashboard but not the outside. 

Story and Photo:

Now that's what you call REAL plane spotting! Enthusiasts come within inches of death after military aircraft misses the runway

  • Crowd of 1,000 watching final landing of military plane on Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany
  • But pilot of 31-ton Transall C-160 aircraft suddenly reported he couldn't see start of runway from his cockpit
  •   Brought aircraft down on a side road where spotters were standing and they almost ended up being crushed

For an intrepid band of plane spotters it was the most dramatic experience of their lives – and almost the last thing they saw.

A crowd of about 1,000 had gathered to watch the final landing of a military plane which was about to be decommissioned after many years of service.

All appeared to be going smoothly as the Transall C-160 approached the Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany.

As some fled screaming in terror, the braver or more foolhardy stood their ground, keeping their cameras trained on the 31-ton aircraft to catch every second of the action. And two of them standing beside a fence post came within inches of being crushed under its wheels.

 The plane then bounced up in the air, the pilot regained control and landed it safely on the runway. It is unlikely that there will be an investigation into the incident because it was the twin turbo-prop plane’s last flight. It will now go on public display at an air transport museum.

Read more:

Kitfox 4-1200, N777ZX: Aircraft landed on ice and flipped over

HURON COUNTY (WJRT) - (12/26/12) -  A pilot has been rescued after an accident with his experimental plane in Huron County. 

Sheriff Kelly Hanson tells us Rodney Brocke, a 49-year-old pilot from Bay City, was on Maisou Island in Saginaw Bay Tuesday for target shooting.

Once there, he was doing some practice landings with his experimental Kitfox. 

That's when the landing gear broke through the ice, ripping off a wheel. 

The plane flipped over, but Brocke was able to free himself and call his wife for help.

Story and reaction/comments:

  Regis#: 777ZX        Make/Model: EXP       Description: KITFOX 4
  Date: 12/24/2012     Time: 2200

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

  City: SEBEWAING   State: MI   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: DETROIT, MI  (GL23)                   Entry date: 12/26/2012 

Aviation Foundation gets $50,000 grant

The Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Harold Bate Foundation.

Diane Miller, grants manager for Havelock, said the money is to be used to help develop a marketing, outreach and education project and to enlarge the subject and scope of the foundation’s exhibits at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

The foundation is expected to receive the money sometime after Jan. 15.

The money will finance the next phase of a project that the organization has been working on to assess what the real audience is for the exhibits.

Earlier this year, Havelock funded a $35,000 study by Impact Communications to identify the foundation’s target audience, determine the feasibility of a multimillion dollar expansion of the exhibit spaces and gauge interest. Another $3,000 was spent to hire East Carolina University to draw up a business plan for the organization.

"The Bate Foundation grant was the next step from that research and moving forward to see if the expansion was justified," Miller said. "Will it be supported? Will the capital campaign be effective? Should they put resources into a capital campaign and would it be successful? And should they go through with the capital campaign and is the expansion going to be an adequate return on the investment?"

The grant would also be used to hire an individual or firm to work full time on marketing the exhibits at the tourist center.

The individual or firm would survey and make presentations to audiences, potential visitors, and potential donating organizations that would benefit from the exhibits and the expansion.

The target audiences would be in Craven, Carteret and Pamlico counties, including schools, community colleges and community organizations.

In addition, presentations to tourist and development authorities, defense contractors, military personnel and other tourist attraction facilities would help build mutually beneficial relationships, Miller said.

"While some local schools visit the facility, the intent is to connect the exhibits to the standard course of study objectives, most especially for fourth- and eighth-graders who concentrate on North Carolina as a standard course of study and emphasize the (science, technology, engineering and math) skills for careers in aviation," she said.

Miller said she expects visitor counts to double as the outreach project is completed.

Part of the grant request was to give a more interactive feel to the exhibits.

"Hands on exhibits would necessarily increase the traffic tremendously," Miller said. "Anything that gives them a tactile connection to the exhibits would benefit us."

Miller said that expansion and promotion of the exhibits goes hand in hand with the city’s ongoing efforts to develop a recreational area at the adjacent Slocum Creek site.

Miller said that the effort is to create a reason for people to make Havelock a destination instead of just a place to pass through.  

Story and photo:

Vans RV-9A, N281MC: Accident occurred December 26, 2012 in Brunswick, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA13CA098 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 26, 2012 in Brunswick, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/03/2013
Aircraft: MCKAY GENE RV-9A, registration: N281MC
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

As the pilot and airplane owner approached the destination airport, the pilot received a radio call from another pilot who reported leaving the traffic pattern at the destination airport because of wind conditions. The pilot continued his approach to land on runway 34 but later aborted the landing due to strong crosswind conditions. After obtaining current wind information from the airport’s universal communications frequency, he decided to attempt a landing on runway 22. After the airplane crossed the airport perimeter fence, the airplane’s nose impacted the ground and the airplane subsequently skidded down the left side of the runway before coming to rest. A postcrash fire consumed much of the wreckage with the exception of the empennage and outboard sections of both wings. At the time of the accident, airport ground personnel reported wind from 260 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 26 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control while landing in gusting wind conditions.

According to the pilot, the airplane owner and he were returning from a cross country flight. As they approached their destination airport, the pilot received a radio call from an airplane that reported leaving the pattern at the destination airport due to the winds. The pilot continued his approach to land on runway 34; however, he later aborted his landing due to strong crosswinds. After obtaining current winds from the airport’s universal communications frequency, he elected to attempt a landing on runway 22. After the airplane crossed the airport perimeter fence it was struck by a gust of wind. The airplane’s nose impacted the ground and the airplane subsequently skidded down the left side of the runway before coming to rest. A post-crash fire consumed much of the wreckage with the exception of the empennage and outboard sections of both wings. According to a local weather observation facility, the recorded winds at the time of the accident were from 260 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 26 knots.

KSSI 270053Z AUTO 28010G23KT 10SM FEW030 07/01 A2988 RMK AO2 PK WND 27028/0026 SLP117 T00720011
KSSI 262353Z AUTO 29013G23KT 10SM CLR 08/01 A2985 RMK AO2 SLP106 T00780011 10211 20078 53055
KSSI 262253Z AUTO 27013G23KT 10SM CLR 10/02 A2979 RMK AO2 PK WND 28032/2226 SLP087 T01000022
KSSI 262153Z AUTO 27011G31KT 10SM CLR 14/05 A2973 RMK AO2 PK WND 27031/2145 SLP067 T01440050
KSSI 262053Z AUTO 26014G25KT 10SM CLR 18/08 A2968 RMK AO2 SLP051 T01780078 53008

  Regis#: 281MC        Make/Model: EXP       Description: RV9A
  Date: 12/26/2012     Time: 2300

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

  City: BRUNSWICK   State: GA   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: COLLEGE PARK, GA  (SO11)              Entry date: 12/27/2012 




ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- A plane crashed while trying to land on Wednesday afternoon at Malcolm McKinnon Airport. 

 A experimental aircraft known as an RV-9 was carrying two people and tried to land while the wind was gusting, according to a representative from the airport.

After crashing, the plane then burst into flames, but the fire has been extinguished. The two people on board have non-life-threatening injuries.

Two runways are currently closed at the airport.

Procurement agents and software engineer needed at Boeing South Carolina

Boeing South Carolina is hiring two procurement agents and a software engineer.

Procurement agent acts as an authorized agent of the company with the responsibility to commit company resources through contracts and agreements for the procurement of products and services. Bachelor's and typically 6 or more years' related work experience, a Master's degree and typically 4 or more years' related work experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. 

A software engineer leads activities to develop, document and maintain architectures, requirements, algorithms, interfaces and designs for software systems. Bachelor's and 5 or more years' experience, Master's degree with 3 or more years' experience or PhD degree with experience. Bachelor, Master or Doctorate of Science degree from an accredited course of study, in engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics or chemistry. ABET is the preferred, although not required, accreditation standard. 

Click here to see more jobs at Boeing South Carolina.

Pilots body alleges violation of rest norms by Air India

Mumbai:  Alleging violation of weekly rest norms for the pilots by the airline, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICAP) on Wednesday asked Air India CMD Rohit Nandan to take "stringent" action against those responsible for it.

"We request you to take stringent action against the persons responsible for manipulating the weekly rest, which amounts to violation of both civil aviation requirement and flight duty time limitations," ICPA, the apex body of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, said in a letter to Nandan.

The association has also advised its members to adhere to the Flight and Duty Time Limitations (FDTL) norms in the "interest of passenger safety."

The association has also advised its members to adhere to the Flight and Duty Time Limitations norms in the 'interest of passenger safety'.

"In the interest of flight safety, we are advising our members to strictly follow the weekly rest of 36 hours in 168 hours," the letter said.

The association has already apprised the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the issue in its meeting with the aviation regulator last week, it said.

"Thirty six hours period including two local nights must be mandatorily provided on weekly basis, that is 168 hours," ICPA stated in the letter, quoting the Nasim Zaidi Committee report on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for flight crew members.

"In spite of several communications in the past on different platforms, it has come to our notice that the management continues in threatening pilots to fly for a consecutive period of seven days and sometimes even eight days violating the regulatory norms," the letter alleged.

Air India international flights grounded as Directorate General of Civil Aviation finds 50 pilots unfit to fly

Over 50 Air India (AI) pilots, including several commanders deployed on international routes, have been declared temporarily unfit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) or have fallen sick throwing many international flights out of gear during the year-end, when the demand for air travel is at its peak.

A senior pilot with AI (International) said that some pilots have reported sick as they have not taken leave for quite some time.

AI has around 430 pilots flying wide-bodied planes on international routes. They include 120 commanders, 150 executive pilots and 160 co-pilots. Thirteen of these commanders still remain suspended since May for spearheading the month-long agitation.

Official sources said that more than 40 pilots deployed on international routes have been grounded temporarily and advised rest for, at least, four to eight weeks as they are medically unfit. "They will only fly when they report to be normal," said an official requesting anonymity.

"Our salaries are cut if we report sick or take off. We are asked to work non-stop. This compromises air safety," the pilot said.

These pilots allege that the management has increased the number of flights but the crew strength has not been increased proportionally.

"If a pilot or any other crew member is not available at the last moment, there is no back-up arrangement. This results in delaying flights. It is not that there is a shortage of air crew. It is just that the management is not deploying the manpower in an efficient and more productive manner," the pilot added.

An AI flight from Mumbai to Riyadh on Sunday morning was delayed by over 18 hours as the aircrew did not report on time.

The 300 passengers had a harrowing time. The flight, which was rescheduled just an hour before the departure time, took off only around midnight.

Cancellations of AI flights is not new. A petition challenging the frequent cancellation of flights and demanding provision for alternative arrangements has been filed in the Kerala High Court(HC) against the carrier.

Responding to the petition in October, the airline submitted that flight delays were due to reasons "beyond the control of the management". It also did not state the exact reason for the cancellations.

Handsome pay packages lure Air India pilots to Gulf

Lured by fatty pay packages and "better" work conditions, flag carrier Air India's pilots are taking a flight to the Gulf airlines leading to a severe shortage of commanders, sources said.

The Gulf carriers were offering over "40 per cent more money" than Air India, leading the pilots to make a beeline to serve them, sources claimed.

"Many commanders on Boeing 777s have already quit Air India and moved to airlines like Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates in the last few months. As many as 35 more commanders are all set to take up assignments with these airlines in the next 2-3 months," sources told PTI.

Such a drain could lead to "a substantial shortfall of commanders," they said. Air India currently has around 115 commanders to operate the Boeing 777 fleet, comprising 15 B777-300 (Extended Range) and eight B777-200 (Long Range).

At the same time, of the 13 sacked pilots who are yet to be reinstated, five are B777 commanders. Last Sunday, Air India Mumbai-Riyadh flight was delayed by 20 hours, leading to chaos at the city airport.

The airline had attributed this inordinate delay to flight crew shortage. "B777 operations require a set of 7-8 pilots per aircraft and for ultra-long haul it goes up to 10 per aircraft. Then the carrier also need to keep around 10 per cent of its total pilots strength in the reserve pool to make do for the pilots on medical or other leaves," the sources said.|

Carriers like Qatar and Etihad were offering around Rs 7.50-8.30 lakh per month to these pilots as compared to Rs 4-6 lakh per month being paid by Air India to its commanders, they said.

Moreover, free education of three children up to 21 years, free medical and housing are the added attraction for these pilots to join Gulf carriers, sources claimed.

'Give pilots 36 instead of 24-hour rest period' - Indian Commercial Pilots' Association

MUMBAI: The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) filed a complaint with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) against the flight duty time limit.

The pilots demanded that a weekly rest of 36 hours be provided for every 168 hours. Currently, pilots get a rest period of 24 hours.

The pilots put forth a report prepared by a special committee which said that the airline should adhere to the best available international practice of 36 hours rest in seven days. The association of pilots

met director general (DG) Arun Mishra last Friday and elaborated on the "unfair" flight duty time limit (FDTL) practice followed by Air India (AI).

"In the absence of direct scientific evidence, it is not possible to provide clear guidance on the relationship between cumulative fatigue and the frequency of days off. Therefore, the committee agreed to adhere to the best available

international practice of 36 hours in seven days," said the report. The pilots used excerpts from the report to present their case to the DGCA. Currently, pilots get a rest period of 24 hours.

Audit casts shadow on India's air safety

India fares worse than countries such as Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan when it comes to following air safety regulations, an audit has revealed.

According to documents accessed by HT, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - the global policy maker for air safety - which conducted the audit, was not satisfied with most parameters set for effective implementation of safety norms.

The parameters where India performed badly include flight operations, air regulation and accident investigation.

The audit has a universal methodology wherein the ICAO asks the aviation safety regulator, in India's case the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to respond to a list of protocol questions. Of the 12 parameters, the DGCA was unable to satisfy even one completely.

The performance was particularly bad in areas such as implementation of training programs wherein the auditors were satisfied with just eight of the 42 responses.  Similarly, the DGCA gave satisfactory responses to only 16% of the questions on air accident investigation.

"The ICAO audit portrays the true picture. If the ministry and DGCA want to be transparent, they should permit the ICAO to place their audit findings on the open page," said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, an independent air safety panel set up after the Air India Express crash at Mangalore.

Also, none of the responses to the 40 questions asked on air navigation system satisfied the ICAO. Barring personnel licensing and training, close to 70% responses on other technical parameters were also not satisfactory.

DGCA chief Arun Mishra did not respond to calls.

Aviation Won’t Face Immediate Threat in Budget Stalemate

The United States aviation industry won’t face immediate disruptions if political leaders can’t reach a deal to avert automatic budget cuts due to start January 2, a senior Transportation Department official told employees.

The Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies under the department would have the remainder of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 to adjust to budget decreases, John Porcari, DOT’s deputy secretary, said in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg.

“This means that we will not be executing any immediate personnel actions, such as furloughs,” Porcari said.

The FAA would have to reduce its budget of $15.9 billion by $1.04 billion, or 6.5 percent, if lawmakers don’t come to terms on a tax and spending package, according to an Office of Management and Budget report.

The effect of the automatic budget cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff -- a phrase used by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in testimony to Congress in February -- is a different situation from the partial FAA shutdown in 2011 after Congress failed to reauthorize funding for the agency, Porcari said. That action forced the FAA to halt payments for airport construction and furlough about 4,000 employees for 16 days.

Aviation groups have predicted that automatic budget cuts may force thousands of furloughs that could lead to flight delays and billions of dollars in economic losses.

Dire Forecasts

“Cuts of this magnitude cannot be implemented without a significant impact in operations and capacity,” the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union representing about 15,000 controllers, said in a report earlier this month.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a speech Sept. 24 that the cuts, known as sequestration, would cause a “drastic” reduction in agency services.

The agency would be forced to reduce air-traffic staffing, slow technology upgrades and disrupt certification of new aircraft, Huerta said in a transcript of the speech.

“They would result in significantly less efficient and less convenient air travel service for the American traveling public,” he said.

Porcari didn’t rule out job cuts in his e-mail. “Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future,” he said.

The agency hasn’t taken any of the steps required before beginning job cuts, Kori Blalock Keller, spokeswoman for the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, said in an e- mail. The union, representing FAA technicians, must be notified before furloughs, Keller said.

Cuts Possible

A study funded by the Aerospace Industries Association, an Arlington, Virginia-based, trade association, predicted airline and cargo flight reductions of as much as 10 percent or cuts to air-traffic technology projects that could trigger flight delays for decades.

As many as 132,000 jobs could be lost across the U.S. and economic losses could reach $40 billion a year by 2021, according to the study.

Even a short period in which the FAA reduced air-traffic service would cause difficulties for airlines and cargo haulers and trigger ripple effects, Stephen Mullin, senior vice president at Econsult Corp., a Philadelphia economic research firm, said in an interview.

No Guidance

“You could have some potentially tough disruptions for some segments,” he said of such a scenario. Mullin was the lead author of the aerospace industry group’s report.

Even without the most dire outcomes, the threat of cuts will take a toll, Louis Dupart, executive director of the FAA Managers Association, which represents 1,600 employees, said in an interview.

“We will manage with the resources given to us, but the current significant uncertainty will manifest itself in delayed personnel actions and contracting,” Dupart said.

So far, the FAA hasn’t given the industry a clear idea of where it would cut and what effect that would have, Debbie McElroy, an executive vice president with the Airports Council International-North America, a Washington-based trade group, said.

“It’s hard to make any assessment,” McElroy said in an interview.

“We understand that day-to-day operations won’t change dramatically on Jan. 2, but we remain concerned about the potential impact on airports and passengers,” she said. 


City Still Is Waiting For Word From Federal Aviation Administration

City officials continue to wait for word from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding closure of the St. Clair Regional Airport.

Mayor Ron Blum told The Missourian shortly before Christmas that he has not received any new information from the FAA regarding the city’s request, which has been in the works for years.

In late August, Blum signed and the city sent a final narrative analysis to FAA officials and asked that a final decision about the closure request be made by Thanksgiving.

“We requested an answer within 90 days,” Blum said. “We do realize this is a huge decision both for the FAA and the city that will have a monumental impact. We know it’s worth considering all options and also realize this takes time.”

The last part of the narrative analysis stated that “the city of St. Clair once again requests release from all past grant obligations, subject to a requirement to repay the unamortized portion of such grants, and requests closure of St. Clair Regional Airport and authorization to sell the land by sealed bid, subject to a requirement that all proceeds from said sale be provided for disbursement at the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration,” the last part of the document’s conclusion reads.

The final paragraph then requests a decision to be made by the FAA by Nov. 24. Blum said he remains hopeful he will hear something from the FAA early in 2013.

“I think (City Administrator) Rick (Childers) has put together a very good narrative analysis of what the FAA has requested,” Blum said at the time the document was sent.

St. Clair officials have been trying to close the airport on the north side of the city between Interstate 44 and Highway 47 for years. Permission must be granted by the FAA because the city obtained and used grants, the latest in 2006, to make improvements on the 80-acre facility.

“Once again the city has fully complied with every item requested by the FAA to determine closure,” Childers told The Missourian when the document was sent. “We really hope they (FAA) will reach a determination.”

In March, Blum met with FAA officials in Washington, D.C., to discuss the closure request. During that meeting, the mayor was told by Kate Lang, FAA deputy associate administrator, that the city must do four things in regard to the closure process.

•Prepare a third appraisal of the airport property in accordance with uniform standards of professional appraisal practice and FAA requirements;

•Present a narrative analysis about why the airport has not been as successful as nearby airports in Washington and Sullivan;

•Present a narrative analysis about how the closure of the airport produces a net benefit to aviation;

•Meet with Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association representatives for requested feedback on closure.

All four of those items have been completed, Blum and Childers said, and the document sent in August to the FAA includes documentation that supports the local officials’ statements.

“We’ve always wanted to make sure that what we’re doing with this is beneficial both to aviation in general and to the city of St. Clair,” Blum said last week. “Because of that, we want to make sure we’re doing this correctly.”

The conclusion of the analysis starts by saying that “the city of St. Clair does not recognize any benefit from the continued existence of St. Clair Regional Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has not provided a single document which indicates that the continued existence of St. Clair Regional Airport provides any level of significant benefit to general aviation.

“The city of St. Clair has provided logical and irrefutable indication that funds generated by the closure of St. Clair Regional Airport will provide greater benefit to general aviation than any reasonably anticipated local improvements can ever provide.

“The city of St. Clair has completed all tasks which directly relate to closure with more complete AOPA input regarding how best to apply funds much more probable upon closure approval.”

The conclusion goes on to state that “attempts to cast the existing situation as the result of a lack of proactive measures by the city are unwarranted.”


Low-flying aircraft will track potential mineral and water resources in Iowa and Minnesota

Area residents will likely witness both a low-flying airplane and a helicopter in the skids above Northeast Iowa for the rest of this month and into January.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists plan to conduct the first comprehensive, high-resolution airborne survey to study the rock layers under a region of Northeastern Iowa and Southeastern Minnesota. When the data analysis is complete, resulting state-of-the-art, 3-D subsurface maps will help USGS researchers improve an assessment of mineral and water resources of the region.

Residents and visitors should not be alarmed to witness low-flying aircraft near the Decorah and Spring Grove, Minn., region.

"Modern society is critically dependent on clean water and a vast array of minerals to maintain and enhance our quality of life," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.

"The USGS uses the latest technology to find new sources of these valuable commodities, even when buried deep beneath the Earth's surface, and places that information in the public domain to benefit all Americans."

The airplane is under contract to the USGS through Bell Geospace; the helicopter through Geotech. The aircrafts will be operated by experienced pilots who are specially trained and approved for low-level flying. All flights are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with U.S. law.

The survey area is thought to be part of the 1.1 billion year old Midcontinent Rift, a major structure that stretches across much of the central United States. Rocks of the Midcontinent Rift include large volumes of mafic rocks. In the Lake Superior region, these rocks contain significant resources of nickel, copper and platinum group elements.

USGS scientists plan to use the new geophysical data to help determine if there is potential for similar resources to exist in the survey area. A secondary goal is to evaluate the geologic structure as it relates to water resources. This research is meant to study deep rocks, beneath limestone and sandstone layers.

The helicopter will carry large electromagnetic and magnetic instruments from a cable underneath. A DC-3, retrofitted with modern avionics and gas turbine engines, will carry gravity gradient instruments. Because different rock types differ in their content of water, magnetic minerals, and density, the resulting geophysical maps allow visualization of the geologic structure below the surface. None of the instruments carried on the aircraft pose a health risk to people or animals.

This survey will be flown in a grid pattern, by both aircraft at different times. East-west lines will be flown ¼ mile apart at elevations from 100-500 feet above the ground, and 2 ½ miles apart in a north-south direction. All survey flights will occur during daylight hours.

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, N387ES: Aircraft on taxi, went off the runway into a ditch and flipped over

  Regis#: 387ES        Make/Model: C172      Description: 172, P172, R172, Skyhawk, Hawk XP, Cutla
  Date: 12/26/2012     Time: 1434

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: TULSA   State: OK   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   2     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Taxi      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  (SW15)             Entry date: 12/27/2012 


Russell Mills 
Jones Riverside Airport in Jenks

Tulsa police responded to a small plane crash Wednesday resulting in minor injuries at Jones Riverside Airport.     Officers were called around 8:40 a.m. after a Cessna Skyhawk 172R flipped in front of a control tower, Officer Jillian Roberson said.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause, but the plane was apparently being taxied at the airport by a man who was not a pilot, she said.  Medics treated and transported the man, who suffered minor hand injuries, Roberson said.  She said the National Transportation Safety Board was contacted but will not respond since it was not a scheduled flight.

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 Police and fire crews were called to Jones Riverside Airport in Jenks this morning before 9:00 on an overturned plane.

Stan May, a spokesman for the Tulsa Fire Department, tells KRMG the small plane was still on the taxiway when the pilot lost control.

Strong winds helped flip the plane over before takeoff.

May says one person was injured, but wasn’t sure the extent of the injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be called in to investigate the cause.

The last time a plane had a problem at the Jones Riverside Airport was in January of 2012.  No one was injured in that crash.

JENKS, Oklahoma - A small airplane flipped over at Jones Riverside Airport Wednesday morning sending a 33-year-old man on board to the hospital. 

 Tulsa Police says the airplane was parked in a hangar when a mechanic climbed in and started up the engine. Officers say the mechanic didn't realize the throttle was open and the plane shot out of the hangar, rolled across the tarmac and into a grassy area in front of the tower.

Police say when the plane hit the grass, it flipped over.

The unidentified man was taken by EMSA to a Tulsa hospital to be checked out for some minor injuries.

The incident closed the airport's west runway while crews removed the plane, returning it to the hanger.

The NTSB will investigate the crash.


Hesston College Aviation receives full-motion simulator

HESSTON — Hesston College Aviation and Air Traffic Control students will fly high while planted firmly on the ground when they return from Christmas break in January.

As part of the college’s Delivering the Promise capital campaign, Hesston College received a generous anonymous gift which helped to fund a Redbird MCX C182 G1000 GFC700 flight simulator. The full-motion simulator was delivered Dec. 18 and replaces a flight training device that had been part of the program for 12 years.

“We are grateful for the generous gift that helped us purchase such a technologically advanced piece of equipment that will help the Aviation program, students, faculty and staff in such an important way,” said Yvonne Sieber, vice president of Advancement.

The Redbird simulator is a full-motion device geared toward Crew Resource Management and two-pilot cockpit training with single and multi-engine configurations. It provides real-world situational experiences as students learn to operate in the pilot/copilot environment most common in the aviation industry.

“The new simulator will make Hesston College Aviation a stronger program,” said program director Dan Miller. “With equipment as sophisticated as this, students can be presented with a variety of scenarios, including emergency situations, as represented by a technically advanced aircraft.”

The anonymous gift used to help purchase the simulator was given to the college in honor of Wilbur Bontrager, Middlebury, Ind., an alumnus who studied aviation during his time at Hesston in 1973 and a dedicated supporter of the college. Bontrager, who serves as member of the Hesston College Board of Overseers, is CEO and chairman of the board of Jayco Inc., a recreational vehicle manufacturer.

As compared to the flight training device it is replacing, the simulator is the program’s first full-motion device, as it can pitch up and down and roll left and right, simulating the movement of an airplane. The instrumentation is all behind a glass panel, consistent with modern aircraft, and the instructor copilot seat is equipped with enhanced computer capabilities to offer a wider range of flight scenarios.

“We will be able to elevate our lesson plans to match the variety of learning options the simulator provides,” said Miller. “Students will become stronger aviators and gain a higher level of professional maturity during their time at Hesston College.”

The Redbird simulator joins a fleet of two no-motion flight training devices that will remain with the program, giving students procedural and technique training before stepping into the larger device.

Hesston College’s Aviation program has more than 50 students enrolled for the 2012 to 2013 year and has trained more than 700 pilots since the program was started in 1970. Air Traffic Control was added as a plan of study in 2010 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative and is the only program in Kansas and one of 36 nationwide with FAA approval.

In addition to the simulator, the Delivering the Promise campaign, which was launched in 2012, also is raising funds for a new airplane, avionics upgrades on existing planes and a facility remodel at the college’s hangar and office at the Newton City/County Airport, upgrades to campus pianos, the remodel of the performing arts building, Northlawn, two new tennis courts and a new campus entrance.

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Diverse Career Leads Morris to Husch Blackwell’s Aviation Group

Native Memphian and Germantown High School alum, William Morris, has joined the Memphis office of Husch Blackwell LLP, a St. Louis-based litigation and business law firm with 600 attorneys across the country and in London.

Morris will work with the firm’s aviation group, which serves a clientele base made up of airlines, maintenance and overhaul companies, airports, aviation insurance companies and the like.

His days are spent with contracts and the details of complex transactions and laws from around the world for which he uses skills and knowledge gleaned over more than a decade in work ranging from general corporate and real estate law to tromping through the marshes of Louisiana as an environmental lawyer with the Army Corps of Engineers.

It all began as a law student at the University of North Carolina School of Law, which he attended after receiving his undergraduate at the University of Alabama. He planned to attend school for an MBA but instead set his sights on a top-tier law school.

“I started thinking about other things to do and ways I could maybe differentiate myself a little bit, and instead of putting a business degree on top of an undergraduate business degree, I decided to look into law school instead,” he said.

And he hasn’t looked back. A job with Burr & Forman LLP in Birmingham, Ala., introduced him to general corporate and real estate law.

“Generally, lawyers get classified as either corporate lawyers or litigators, which are pretty broad distinctions,” Morris said, “but I did not see myself going into a courtroom every day.”

Instead of a hushed and paneled courtroom, his next job found him in New Orleans working with the Corps of Engineers, “an interesting career choice” as he puts it, where he focused on environmental and conservation projects in Southwestern Louisiana.

“Instead of driving a desk for 10 hours a day, I was able to spend a lot of my time out in the field and touring marshlands and other wetlands for particular projects, meeting with landowners and negotiating rights to do projects on their land. It was pretty fascinating.”

Home and love brought him back, and he married fellow Memphian Renee Schauer, the two eventually having two sons, and he went to work with the firm of Bass Berry & Sims PLC.

As with anyone making his home in this city, the pull of the purple and orange of the city’s largest employer is great.

“I really backed my way into FedEx,” said Morris, who at 41 years old is the same age as the shipping company and grew up with it in his periphery of knowledge. “I feel like I kind of grew up with the company … but it never occurred to me to go to work for FedEx, it never even entered my mind.”

A friend in the legal department notified him about a job opening and he applied more out of a willingness to network and professional courtesy, and ended up taking the job.

As an in-house attorney, he found, there was a completely different dynamic than private practice, but he enjoyed his time there, and the travel and immersion into foreign cultures and law in places such as Malaysia, China, Singapore and Japan.

“Working for FedEx as a lawyer was really fascinating and it was a tremendous experience,” Morris said. “I was definitely able to advance my transactional experience in ways that I never imagined doing so while practicing law in Memphis.”

After six years with FedEx, Morris had become lead aircraft counsel and was looking to advance his professional career and stay in Memphis. “If you’re not going to be an aircraft lawyer for FedEx, and you want to stay in Memphis, your opportunities are fairly limited.”

He began work with Husch Blackwell’s aviation group Dec. 1. The group is relatively small, Morris said, “but they have great attorneys, they have great experience and do very sophisticated work. The firm is looking to expand that practice, so they were looking for someone with my qualifications.”

The avid outdoorsman and fly fisher feels as though his career has been a series of moves brought on by luck and chance, like a stone skipping across a mountain stream. They’ve all added up to the experience needed to become a leader in his field.

“I can’t say that it was any well thought-out plan,” Morris said. “A lot of these opportunities have just fallen into my lap or I’ve backed my way into them, but they certainly have been fun and exciting and I’ve enjoyed the fact that I’ve had those experiences, been able to move around and see a lot of different things; and I do think it adds value to my legal skills and being able to serve my clients too.”

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Help wanted: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources looking for helicopter pilots

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Needed: A few good helicopters and pilots for Minnesota fire control.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hunting for helicopter services for its fire control bases in Cloquet, Princeton and Roseau. The agency hopes to hear from potential vendors by early January.

The DNR solicitation posted last week says the helicopters need to be operated by fully qualified personnel. They would be used to transport other fire personnel, equipment and supplies. They would also be deployed for reconnaissance flights, photography work and bucket-and-fire missions.

Minnesota has nearly 17 million acres of forest land supervised by the DNR's Division of Forestry.

Greece Odyssey grad joins elite group of pilots

It could be said that David Rodriguez has always had his feet on the ground, but his head in the clouds.

The 2006 Greece Odyssey graduate earned his private pilot’s license when he was 16.

Today, the U.S. Air Force lieutenant is about to join a very exclusive group as a pilot of the F-22 Raptor, of which there are fewer than 200 in the world.

“Early on, when he showed an interest in flying and joining the armed forces, I did my best to make him understand that his oath to defend our country could potentially require the ultimate sacrifice,” said David’s father, Tom, a Rochester police officer who lives with his wife, Deena, and David’s siblings, Phil and Shannon, in Greece.

Phil, 22, is a software engineering senior at Rochester Institute of Technology and Shannon, 18, is at the University of Arizona, on scholarship in the dance program there.

Tom Rodriguez, a U.S. Navy veteran along with his father, Chief Quartermaster Thomas J. Rodriguez, said the proudest moment of his son’s career was when “we rendered our first hand salute to Dave after he was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force on graduation day at the Air Force Academy.”

“While being an Air Force pilot is certainly exciting, it’s a serious business. With that in mind, Dave had no reservations about serving,” his father said.

In high school, David was captain of his lacrosse team and was named first team all-county as a senior. From high school, he was appointed to both the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He chose to attend the Air Force Academy, and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Afterward, he reported to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, where he completed Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. He received his “wings” in May, his father said.

David, now 24, was the only member of his SUPT class selected to pilot the F-22 Raptor and was the first student pilot in many months to be selected for that aircraft.

“When I found out I was (selected to pilot the F-22), I couldn’t believe it, it was unreal,” said David. “I’d dreamt of it from the time I was a kid, and it was a dream come true.”

Many, including David, consider the F-22 the top fighter jet, particularly for its “low observability and maneuverability.” In the history of the aircraft, there have been fewer than 300 F-22 Raptor pilots.

David has recently been at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix for a short course of flying and tactics in the F-16 Falcon. He soon will report back to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Fla., to begin his F-22 training.

David was married Oct. 12 in San Antonio to Brooke Taylor, a graduate of Texas A&M University whom he met on a blind date set up by a friend.

“That worked out pretty well,” David Rodriguez said with a laugh.

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Slump effect: Expat pilots go out of fashion

With the aviation industry in the grip of a slump,it appears that high flying expatriate pilots have fallen out of favor with Indian carriers.

The number of foreign pilots employed by Indian airlines has fallen sharply from 526 last year to 340 in 2012.

Foreign pilots have been a cause of much heartburn for their Indian counterparts as they command higher salaries.

The government had allowed domestic carriers to hire foreign crew to deal with the shortage of trained commanders and had asked airlines to phase them out by December 31, 2013.

Cash-strapped Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines provided Indian carriers an opportunity to reduce the number of high-costing expatriates. More than 300 Kingfisher pilots have quit the airline in the last one year and have been absorbed by Indian and foreign carriers. Jet Airways recently terminated contracts of 72 expat pilots — a move aimed at pruning costs.

Indian carriers are also speeding up the process of training co-pilots to captains, a move that some believe compromises the safety aspect. “Indian carriers are giving command to pilots with 2,500 hours of flying while carriers like Emirates and Singapore Airlines give command to those having a minimum 5,500 flying hours,” said aviation safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan.

Analysts believe that better paying Gulf carriers could be weaning away pilots from India. “Foreign pilots are getting a lot better contracts from Gulf airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad. Indian carriers are strangled with red tape and poor operating performance as well as limited growth in salaries,” said Saj Ahmad, a London-based aviation expert. “None of that is prevalent in West Asia — especially when the carriers named are growing so fast and are always on the lookout for new flight crew to pilot their new fleets.”

Airlines Fear Pilot Shortage Amidst New Federal Safety Rules

by Wendy Kaufman
December 26, 2012 2:40 PM  

Some airlines — especially the smaller ones — worry they wont have enough pilots. They're a number of factors in play, but they point to new federal safety rules as a big part of the problem.

In February of 2009, a Colgan Air commuter jet crashed, killing 50 people. Investigators cited inadequate pilot training and Congress responded with new legislation. Beginning next summer, those who want to pilot commercial jets will need dramatically more hours of flight training before they can be hired.

"The issue here is this arbitrary 1,500 hours," says Roger Cohen, head of the Regional Airline Association.

He notes the new regulation is roughly triple the number of hours many commuter airlines require today, and he says it will mean lots of otherwise qualified pilots won't be able to get jobs.

"These people have already invested incredible amounts of time and an incredible amount of money investing in their aviation education. They have just been told you have to go back out and fly around in circles at your own expense just to get hourly experience," Cohen says.

Cohen says most people now in training programs can't get enough hours in before the deadline, so the pipeline for new pilots will be smaller. Any impact would be felt largely at the regional or commuter airlines, because that's where pilots often begin their commercial career.

Cohen can't say when the regional airlines might face an acute shortage of pilots, but warns that when they do, flights will be cancelled and service to some communities will be cut. But others says Cohen is overstating his case. Still, there's no question the industry is facing headwinds with respect to pilots.

"The retirements start tomorrow," says Kit Darby, an aviation industry consultant.

Darby says thousands of pilots are closing in on the mandatory retirement age of 65. And military pilots who used to flock to the nation's airlines are staying in the military longer or not leaving at all in part because of their pay.

"It's quite a bit better than it used to be, and it's competitive. It's a good base pay. You're going to be up in the $75,000 range. But then there's all kinds of bonuses that could raise that well up over a hundred," Darby says.

And that's a lot more than new commercial pilots make.

Another source for commercial pilots is also shrinking: The number of people getting private pilot licenses has fallen sharply. Education and training is expensive and getting more so.

What's more, Kent Lovelace, who chairs the well regarded aviation program at the University of North Dakota, says the allure of being a pilot isn't what it used to be. He says in the past, 75 percent or more of his students aspired to be commercial pilots. Now, its only about half.

"They value friends, family. Those kind of lifestyle issues in many ways are more important than money. So they look at the challenge of being away from home roughly half the month, and they don't look at it as a positive," Lovelace says.

And Captain Lee Moak, head of the Air Line Pilots Association, says those who do want to fly commercial jets are increasingly being wooed by foreign airlines.

"We have a lot of our newly trained, nearly certificated pilots coming out of school and going oversees because the pay is better there. We haven't seen that before," Moak says.

Some industry officials are now pushing the federal government to put more money into pilot education. And airlines are beginning to consider subsidizing flight training in exchange for a commitment by the students to go to work for them.