Thursday, December 27, 2012

St Maarten Airport Sees Increase in Private Jet Traffic

St Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport is seeing an increase in private jet traffic and demand, according to Michel Hyman, operations manager at SXM airport. 

“Every year, there is an increase in requests to park private jets at Princess Juliana International Airport, and this year has seen even more than last year,” he said in a release. ‘Unfortunately, due to limited space, we can only accommodate so much and no more.”

Planes are also getting bigger and bigger — although none is as large as the private Boeing 767-300 owned by Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

“His is the biggest,” Hyman said.

SXM currently sees the second-most general aviation of any airport in the Caribbean, behind the Bahamas, with plans to increase its market share and eventually expand its current facilities.

Car Smashes into Planes After Driver Falls Asleep - Valdosta Regional Airport (KVLD), Georgia

Story, photos and reaction/comments:

VALDOSTA — Three small planes were grounded indefinitely late Monday night at the Valdosta Regional Airport, after a drowsy driver reportedly flew through a fence, sped through two hangars and clipped the wings of parked aircraft.

 A 2010 Honda Accord driven by 24-year old Brandon Cowart slammed into a ditch along Madison Highway at around 11:46 p.m. Monday, according to Airport Manager Jim Galloway, and the impact may have resulted in the bump on the driver's head and his missing tooth. The driver told airport authorities that he remembered nothing after the initial impact, which may help to explain why there is a lack of skid marks over the car's 1,100 foot trip into the airport, Galloway said.

The car bounded over the ditch, ripped through a fence and shrubbery, steam-rolled a parking block, threaded at least two oak trees and skirted around a power junction and light post before reaching the first hangar, said Galloway. The runaway car then plowed through the side wall of a hangar, according to reports.

The car inflicted significant damage on three aircraft inside of the hangar, though it only struck two planes directly, reports from the Valdosta Police Department stated. The car continued through the wall of a neighboring hangar, coming to rest in an office full of paint cans inside the second building.

“He's lucky to be alive, considering how bad the accident was,” said Galloway. “Pieces of his car could be found all along the path from the roadway into the hangars. There are so many things that he could have hit. And at the  speed he had to be traveling, any impact could have been fatal.”

Affected aircraft are reportedly owned by Valdosta Flying Services, Antofia Flying Services and Ferrell Scruggs, Co. The airport leases the hangars to aviation companies, according to Galloway, and the space inside the buildings are rented to customers of the contractors.

“It's a hassle for us to repair all of the damage,” said Galloway. “And I know it has to be a hassle for the owners. They have to work with their insurers to assess the total damages and the feasibility of their repair. But again, this incident could have been a lot worse. ”

 Cowart told VPD officers that he had dowsed off while traveling south on Madison Highway, reports stated. He has been charged with failure to maintain lane, according to police.

 Valdosta, Ga. -- December 27, 2012 --  We all need sleep. But not behind the wheel. Brandon Cowart learned the hard way when he dozed off and drove his Honda Civic through this fence and straight into three airplanes at the Valdosta Regional Airport. It happened around midnight on Sunday. 

Cowart was able to walk away from the accident with a bump on the head and a missing tooth. 

Valdosta Regional Airport Manager Jim Galloway said "I think he was extremely lucky. There were so many obstacles or things in his way that if he had moved a few feet one way or the other I think it would have been a very high likelihood that he would have perished in the accident." 

One of the obstacles that he was just feet away from hitting was a 250 gallon propane tank. The Valdosta Police Department did cite him for Failure to Maintain Lane. It's safe to say it was a big failure.

Lieutenant Aaron Kirk of the Valdosta Police Department said "that's one of the typical charges that are used. And no we do not have any indication that drugs or alcohol were involved in this accident."

There's no tally yet as to the value of the damage done but the planes together cost more than $300,000 dollars. According to the Valdosta Police Department, the driver drove roughly 1,100 feet before making a complete stop.

Situation looking up for Olive Branch Airport (KOLV), Mississippi

December 27, 2012 — Metro Aviation Services manager David Taylor checks on the readiness of a plane before its departure. The Olive Branch facility has an average of 230 takeoffs and landings occurring each day, down from the pre-recession average of 315. The recession hit air traffic at the airport but business is looking up. 
(Stan Carroll/The Commercial Appeal)

December 27, 2012 — Derrick Hill moves a Piper Malibu Mirage closer to the Metro Aviation Services terminal for refueling before its departure. The Olive Branch airport has seen an increase in air traffic during 2012. Construction of a control tower in 2005 was aimed partly at driving up corporate traffic, which now accounts for about 30 percent of the air traffic at Olive Branch.
 (Stan Carroll/The Commercial Appeal)

Olive Branch airport has seen its ups and downs. 

 The recession hit air traffic at the 6,000-foot runway, and the number of takeoffs and landings still haven't reached peak, but business is looking up.

Private air traffic is still lagging — "the little guys can't afford it," said airport manager David Taylor — but corporate traffic has increased.

An average of 230 takeoffs and landings occur each day. Before the recession, the regional airport recorded an average of 315 takeoffs and landings a day.

Flight training traffic is what is driving the numbers, said airport manager David Taylor. Training traffic accounts for 50 percent of the activity.

Grant Bales, chief instructor at Air Venture, said the flight school is busy because it's working with a foreign government to train pilots to acquire that country's multi-engine rating for employment there. Twenty more students are expected within a month after passing a rigorous U.S. State Department background check.

"We have a steady flow of student pilots," Bales said. "We're busy here."

The runway is considered of national importance. The Federal Aviation Administration identifies the Olive Branch airport on the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

The designation means the airport is considered significant to national air transportation. It is within 30 miles of a major metropolitan airport (Memphis) and, with a long enough airstrip, could be used as an alternative landing site.

The airport's status has apparently increased in the corporate world, too, since there's been an increase of use by that segment. About 30 percent of the air traffic at Olive Branch is driven by corporate jets.

"Olive Branch is very strategically located," said Bales, who has "been around this airport since it was built."

Construction of a control tower in 2005 was aimed partly at driving up corporate traffic. About the same time, however, a flight school closed and fuel costs rose.

The airport saw more difficulties as the economy later soured, taking average takeoffs and landing on a dive, to 170 a day.

The airport manager, the longest serving in the state with 28 years, said he's seen the airport ride the high and low waves. He predicts good days ahead.

"It's poised and ready to grow again," Taylor said.

Story and Photos:

Olive Branch (KOLV), Mississippi:

Winter break activities held at air museum

Children often spend winter break frolicking in the snow, setting up their new toys and games and enjoying their time away from school, but many took time out of their winter break to learn more about aviation and flight at the New England Air Museum’s holiday vacation events on Dec. 26-28.

“We want to have the families and kids get away from the video games and just hanging out at home and make it not only fun, but educational, so that is why we try to incorporate so many activities,” said Gina Maria Alimberti, New England Air Museum’s director of visitor services. “You’re not just walking around the museum on your own, it’s coming alive. We want everyone’s experience to be very personal.”

The museum provided a variety of hands-on activities and events to pique children’s interests and to educate them without making them actually think about learning. The week kicked off with children diving into massive piles of LEGO and DUPLO blocks to create “fantastic flying machines,” which would later be judged. The event captured the kids' interests, and boys and girls created helicopters, airplanes and even rocket ships.

Children got a taste of what it’s like in a flying craft’s cockpit as part of the museum’s open cockpit program on Dec. 27. Guests had an opportunity to go inside 10 different aircrafts including helicopters, an airliner, a jet fighter and a WWII airplane. Alongside the cockpit program, visitors built and flew model gliders as they learned about the basic design and aeronautics from experts at the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

The final day of the event featured special guests who taught the children how to draw their favorite aircraft, as well as a visit from Ronald McDonald. Hands-on demonstrations helped the guests learn about basic principles of aviation, including physics and aerodynamics.

Throughout the week, visitors had a chance to learn how to fly an airplane, from a Cessna to an airliner, at the museum’s “Flight Sim Spot.” The state-of-the-art simulators allow you to virtually fly any aircraft using real cockpit controls while learning the essential functions of parts like the throttle, joystick, pedals and rudders.

“We want to spread the news that we are family-oriented and you’re going to get a lot out of coming to the museum,” Alimberto said. “We want to come across and get the families and children to know the basic principles of flight through hands-on activities.”

Los Angeles aviation mechanic school considers shutdown

By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times

December 27, 2012

A popular vocational center at Van Nuys Airport that has trained thousands of aviation mechanics during its 40-year history faces closure or relocation next year if the Los Angeles Unified School District can no longer afford to keep the facility open.

Educators, students, national organizations and business owners at the airport say the loss of the program would be a blow to those seeking technical careers in the aviation industry, which is already suffering a shortage of qualified entry-level mechanics.

"Many businesses hire our graduates, from small engine shops to major aerospace firms," said Michael Phillips, a senior instructor at the school. "It would be devastating to our program if we had to close or move."

The North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center is housed off Hayvenhurst Avenue in a hangar with adjoining workshops and classrooms. The facility is filled with more than a dozen aircraft, including helicopters and a U.S. Air Force T-33 jet trainer from the 1950s.

Jet and piston engines are cut away, exposing their internal workings. Students work on small Cessna 150s and sit at tables filled with technical manuals and aircraft parts.

The setting is ideal. Van Nuys is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the world and home to hundreds of aircraft. Scores of aviation businesses surround the runways. There are engine shops, airframe shops, flight schools and fixed-base operators that offer an array of services including charter aircraft.

"It's an inspiration," said Matthew Dods, a 24-year-old student from Thousand Oaks who left a retail job to pursue an aviation career. "Closing the school just doesn't make sense when so many people are looking to hire fresh air-frame and power plant mechanics."

The center, which opened in 1971, offers a two-year program that prepares students for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. About 100 students attend per semester and the total cost of tuition is $2,400, far cheaper than at private technical colleges.

Carlynn Huddleston, the school's principal, said the district's budget problems are continuing to threaten the program, which has already cut its staff and canceled evening classes.

The school might be relocated to another North Valley Occupational facility in Mission Hills, but there would be less space and students would have to share workshops with other trades.

"We would be squeezed into some rooms. There is no hangar," Huddleston said. "The program would become second rate."

If closed or relocated, the center would join other aviation programs that have been shut down or scaled back at school districts and community colleges across the region.

The situation has attracted the attention of the Van Nuys Airport Assn. and major organizations, such as the National Business Aviation Assn., the National Air Transportation Assn. and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn. All have urged LAUSD Supt. John Deasy to keep the school at the airport.

"This is a huge asset for the city," said Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys association. "A couple hundred students from the school have been hired at the airport. These are good-paying jobs, and they have provided economic value locally and to the industry."

Bill Dunn, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn.'s vice president of airport advocacy, reminded Deasy in a letter that the mechanics school has gained national recognition. Closing it, he wrote, would only aggravate a growing shortage of aviation mechanics.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the need for aircraft mechanics and service technicians will increase 11% annually at least until 2016. Industry analysts say the number of graduates will not keep pace with retirements and those leaving the trade, let alone the projected need.

Huddleston is looking into whether Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of Van Nuys Airport, would be willing to lower or virtually eliminate the school's rent, which, she says, is about $12,000 a month. She added that she is also working with the district to see if the lease can be extended for a year to buy some time.

Though the FAA requires airports to charge tenants a fair rent, agency policy allows reduced or nominal rents for nonprofit, accredited education programs that benefit aviation.

Diana Sanchez, a spokeswoman for Van Nuys Airport, said that Los Angeles World Airports has long supported the mechanics program but that the school district faces financial challenges beyond rental expenses.

Though there have been tentative discussions, she said, district officials have not formally approached the airport department about a new rental agreement. She added that Los Angeles World Airports is willing to work with the aviation center and the FAA if a proposal is made.

F-16 lands safely after reported engine trouble: Des Moines International Airport (KDSM), Iowa

Emergency vehicles surround a plane after its landing Thursday at the Des Moines airport.
Timothy Meinch/The Register

An F-16 fighter jet that experienced engine trouble landed safely in Des Moines this afternoon. 

Des Moines-based jet was flying a training exercise over eastern Iowa when an engine sensor detected a malfunction shortly after 2 p.m. The pilot headed toward the Des Moines area, where he flew around for a short time to burn off excess fuel before landing at the Des Moines International Airport at about 3 p.m.

“When the pilot sees that sensor come on it means the pilot needs to land the aircraft as soon as possible,” said Col. Greg Hapgood, with the 132nd Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard.

No one was injured in the incident.

Mechanics are just beginning to diagnose the jet’s engine problem, but it appears it is not significant, Hapgood said. The threshold for triggering an engine sensor is very low, he said.

“These things happen occasionally when you’re flying high performance aircraft,” he said. “It’s like when you’re check engine light comes on in your car.”

Police and firefighters were on scene when the jet landed in case of a crash, said Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax.

Federal Aviation Administration moving some operations to Flagler County Airport (KXFL), Palm Coast, Florida

PALM COAST — The Federal Aviation Administration will move some of its operations to leased space at the Flagler County Airport after stopping its training sessions at its management center in Palm Coast.

The FAA has agreed to lease a portion of the old Ginn hangar at the airport for a little more than $8,000 per month for one year with an option for a second year, said Sally Sherman, deputy county administrator, said in a phone interview Thursday. The FAA is leasing space for up to 16 staff members at the old Ginn hangar, she said.

That means the FAA will maintain some presence in the county even though it stopped training on Dec. 21 at its Palm Coast facility, which it leased from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The closure of the FAA facility in Palm Coast eliminated 80 to 100 jobs in the city as well as the economic boost from the approximately 150 people who train there on an average week. The FAA has leased the facility for its Center for Management and Executive Leadership from Embry-Riddle since 1987.

"No more training will occur at CMEL and staff working in Palm Coast ... " an FAA spokeswoman wrote in an email this week.

Embry-Riddle president John Johnson said this week that the FAA will remain at the Palm Coast facility winding down operations until Feb. 4 and then turn the center over to the university. The center's campus at 4500 Palm Coast Parkway SE resembles a hotel with 198 rooms and eight classrooms, as well as a swimming pool.

Johnson said the university does not have any plans to sell the facility and is exploring options. Embry-Riddle has discussed using the facility as part of a joint degree program with Daytona State College, which has a campus nearby, Johnson said.

The FAA said last month that the training that was taking place in Palm Coast would be moved on an interim basis to the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City until it begins a new training program in fall 2013.

But the FAA will move a portion of its local operations for at least a year to the former Ginn hangar at the Flagler County Airport. The county built the $2-million hangar and office at the airport for Ginn, the original developer of the Hammock Beach Resort, which signed a 20-year lease in 2006. But Ginn stopped paying its $18,385 monthly rent in May 2009 for the 10,000-square-foot hangar. The county still owed approximately $1.8 million on the construction loan for the building.

In April 2010, the county and Ginn settled a lawsuit that called for Ginn to pay the county $13,000 to cover 2010 property taxes on the hangar and offices. Ginn Development also agreed to pay $7,575 for the county's legal costs. Ginn also lost its security deposit of $16,664.

Palm Coast seemed destined to lose the FAA facility earlier this ear. When the FAA put out its initial request for a new training center it drew up a requirement that excluded Palm Coast from even competing to keep the training center. That's because the FAA's original request wanted its new facility to be within 25 miles of one of the following airports: Kansas City International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport; Denver International Airport; Los Angeles International Airport; General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wis.; and Orlando International Airport.

Kansas City appeared to be a leading site to land the training center. But then Mica intervened and the FAA stopped its search in March. Mica and local officials argued that closing down the center in Palm Coast would do further damage to a community already struggling with one of the highest unemployment rates in Florida.

Russian Government Officials to Commute by Helicopter in 2013

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are likely to swap their armored limousines for helicopters next year, as the city center will be equipped with several landing pads, head of the presidential affairs office Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday.

The pads might appear on the territory of the Kremlin and near the White House in the first quarter of next year as part of the effort to create a system of transportation routes above Moscow, he told Interfax. Kozhin said the plan had received approval from the authorities.

"The options for developing the air corridors are being investigated, and others will get a chance to move by helicopters in the future — not only the president and the prime minister," Kozhin said, without specifying who else would be able to use the system.

Federal law bans flights over Moscow, with the existing 13 landing pads in the city used only by the police, hospitals and the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Developing a system of air transportation corridors involves a set of actions which includes amending current legislation, said Viktor Khrekov, a spokesman for the Office for Presidential Affairs. The move is aimed at reducing the city's heavy traffic jams, he added.

Roads closed to facilitate movement of Putin's and Medvedev's motorcades between the city center and their residences on Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Shosse create headaches for city motorists.

Developing air corridors above Moscow will be beneficial for city residents, as it will facilitate the use of helicopters by emergency services, said Oleg Panteleyev, editor-in-chief of the industry portal.

He added that the move might also advance the commercial use of choppers, which can be used for air excursions above Moscow.

"Moscow should become a helicopter-friendly capital, like New York, London or Paris," Panteleyev said. "It's obvious that business is ready to provide such services: there are companies that have a good fleet and personnel."

Business will be ready to build land infrastructure, like landing pads on the Moscow river embankment, as soon as the necessary conditions for the flights are created, Panteleyev said, adding that building a helicopter pad isn't expensive.

Kozhin said putting the country's leaders into helicopters wouldn't require additional purchases of choppers, as the aviation fleet of the special air group Rossia, which carries the president and senior officials, is constantly updated.

The state-owned firm, which reports directly to presidential affairs office, recently received a few new Mi-choppers made by Russian Helicopters. Kozhin said his office had also purchased two new choppers made by Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland, which will begin local production soon.

Kozhin promised that building a helicopter-landing pad near the Kremlin wouldn't damage the country's historic landmarks.

"We chose the location with maximum caution. The pad won't affect any of the historical and cultural parts of the Kremlin," Kozhin said.

He didn't specify the possible location for the helicopter deck, saying only that it won't be built on Cathedral Square.

Story and reaction/comments:

Caribbean Airlines craziness: “How would you like it if I took this plane up and got tired and crashed it into the Atlantic?!”

Published:  Thursday, December 27, 2012
On December 19 my journey to Trinidad started at 5.19 am on the New Jersey transit line towards New York. In the cold winter winds, I cheerfully dragged my suitcases along because by 4.30 that afternoon I would be in my precious homeland running into the arms of my loved ones. I could already almost taste the three doubles with slight pepper on my tongue. However, fate (and Caribbean Airlines) had other plans.

After two train rides and a line through security, I was posted at my gate at 7.16 am, a safe three hours before my 10.30 am flight, Caribbean Airlines 501. At the gate, the atmosphere was ripe with Christmas vibes. As I greeted fellow passengers, we spoke of all the pastelles and black cake we were going to obliterate and all the family members whose homes we’d be paranging.

A customer service representative’s voice cut through all the ole talk and said that our flight was slightly delayed. No-one reacted because truthfully, I don’t think anyone cared. As long as we got to Piarco within a reasonable time frame, we’d be fine.

Boarding did eventually start at around 11 am and by noon we were buckled in and ready to go. Having not been home for Christmas in the past three years, I was overwhelmed by anticipation and sheer glee. We never took off.  After 30 minutes of sitting still, we heard the pilot’s voice explaining the there was a problem with the hydraulics system on the plane, that he had alerted a maintenance crew and that it should be a quick fix and we’d be in the air soon. I thought to myself, “No worries; life happens.”

Little did I know that this pilot would make me eat my words. Fast forward to three hours later and we’re still sitting in the aircraft, waiting, just waiting with no word from anyone about what was going on. Hungry and thirsty, we asked for an update from the flight attendants. The pilot returned his attention to us and informed that he would let us off the aircraft into the terminal and that the airline would provide us with meal vouchers so that we could eat and relax a bit while the plane was being serviced.

As a Trini, you would expect a bit of grumbling from the passengers, but other than a few people sucking their teeth and complaining of being tired, we calmly filed off of the plane, ate, and awaited an update. The Caribbean Airlines representative said that we’d have more information in an hour. Three thirty came and went and then she said we’d know what was happening at 6 pm; and so the story goes until 8 pm when we were told that we’d be able to re-board the plane.

I’ve lived in the US for almost eight years and I have never seen a fleet of Caribbean people load an aircraft so quickly and so efficiently. I allowed myself to fantasise about still being able to find a late night doubles vendor when we landed. I texted my older brother who had been primed to pick me up at Piarco and told him that I’d be home around 2 am.

Again, I didn’t care that it was nine hours later than planned. I buckled up, leaned into my seat and waited for take-off. Two eerily quiet hours went by and the plane didn’t move. A passenger, who became our freedom fighter through all the ensuing madness, politely asked a flight attendant if everything was ok and if the pilot had arrived.

The flight attendant said that some passengers were missing and so we were waiting. I looked ahead suspiciously because unless we were expecting President Richards or Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, I couldn’t imagine waiting two hours for a passenger. That’s when all hell broke loose.

To a calm crowd, the pilot came on the speakers and said that there was a legality issue arising from the amount of time they had spent at the gate and that he wasn’t sure whether or not we’d be able to take off that night. Silence. And then upheaval. “Didn’t you know this before you corralled us back into the aircraft like cattle?” “Don’t you think we had a right to know earlier?”

In response, the pilot again came on the speakers, yelled at us and basically said that we were being petty and over-reacting. He went on a miniature tirade about also being up at 5 am, leaving his wife and children at home and then he yelled: “How would you like it if I took this plane up and got tired and crashed it into the Atlantic?!”

I was appalled! And so were the parents who had to try without success to rid their children’s minds of the image of their flight crashing into the deep, dark ocean.

Off the plane and into the terminal we went to wait for a Caribbean Airlines representative to grace us with his presence. After 45 minutes went by, I had had enough and with my lack of sleep and lack of food, I blew my gasket. I ranted about the absolute lack of respect by Caribbean Airlines for its passengers, the callousness they showed towards the children who had probably suffered the most, and the disgraceful attitude of the airline to make me stand there and wait at 10 pm for a representative to answer simple questions about the next steps, like what the possibilities were for getting home anytime soon or where I would sleep or what was happening with my luggage.

Finally, at around 12:30-1:00am (20 hours after I had taken my first train), the airline carted us off to a hotel and ensured that we’d be able to leave on a 10:30 am flight on December 20, which we did.

Our new flight crew was amazing and both my luggage and I arrived safely at Piarco International.  I am a ridiculously proud Trinbagonian and anyone who knows me even remotely will vouch for that but I refuse to be proud of incompetence and a lack of accountability by my airline. Caribbean Airlines showed absolutely no respect for my business and my time.

As a student, it’s no small sacrifice to buy a ticket to Trinidad for the holidays but I do it because my heart and my navel string are planted deep in Trinbago’s soil. My dearest Caribbean Airlines, you must appreciate that our loyalty, much like your tickets prices, does not come cheap.

Story and reaction/comments:

Dassault Aviation chief steps back from controls

At Istres on France’s south coast last week Dassault Aviation carried out the first public flight of its prototype unmanned fighter jet, the Neuron.

As a crowd of company workers and military officials watched the 10-minute display, a first for a European combat drone, a team of engineers piloted the aircraft from a remote location.

The question for some of those present was whether Charles Edelstenne, Dassault’s departing chief executive, intends to take a similar remote-control approach to keeping his hands on the company he has headed since 2000.

Mr Edelstenne, the long-serving right hand man of family patriarch Serge Dassault, has been forced to stand down because of a company rule that forbids anyone continuing as chief executive once they reach 75.

The 87-year-old Mr Dassault handed the reins to Mr Edelstenne 12 years ago to comply with the same rule.

But just as Mr Dassault has continued to pull the strings in his role as head of Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, the family holding company, many expect Mr Edelstenne to do the same. When he steps down from the aerospace group in January, he will retain a board seat and will join Mr Dassault at the helm of the holding company, located on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.

A profile of Mr Edelstenne in Le Figaro newspaper, owned by the Dassault family, said: “Nobody imagines he will be inactive nor far from Dassault Aviation.”

The outgoing chief executive himself insists that 52-year-old Éric Trappier, his incoming successor and another Dassault lifer, will be left in charge entirely.

It was revealing, nonetheless, that when asked at the Neuron event about the prospects for a grand consolidation of the French aerospace and defence industry, Mr Trappier quickly passed the question on to Mr Edelstenne.

“I know this idea has come from somewhere,” Mr Edelstenne said in response to the question. “I have a piece of advice for you: forget it.”

As well as showing Mr Edelstenne with his hand still firmly on the tiller, the response was revealing for those wondering whether the change at the top of Dassault could break the logjam in French industry consolidation.

First and foremost, his answer was the rebuttal of an idea expounded by Laurent Dassault, one of Serge’s sons, who had spoken in October about the possible creation of a “France Aerospace” through a tie-up between Dassault, Thales, Safran and maybe Zodiac Aerospace.

But it was equally a rejection of the speculation about possible interest from Safran in merging with Thales, the defence electronics company controlled by Dassault.

Thales, which is 26 per cent owned by Dassault and 27 percent by the French state, embarked on its own change of leadership last week by ousting Luc Vigneron as CEO and replacing him with Jean-Bernard Lévy, who was forced to step down from the same role at media group Vivendi in June.

While some industry executives and defence officials hope the change at Thales could make it more open to tie-ups, people closer to the situation think larger deals will be difficult while Mr Edelstenne and Mr Dassault remain in the background.

The collapse in October of the proposed merger of EADS, the Franco-German group, with Britain’s BAE Systems, has prompted talk about other areas of possible defence consolidation in Europe. For many, France looks most ripe for deals as it still has a patchwork of defence interests shared by Dassault, Thales, Safran and EADS.

In the meantime, both Mr Trappier and Mr Lévy have a tricky few months ahead. Mr Trappier needs to secure the final sale of 126 Rafale fighter jets to India, on which Dassault’s future success depends, while trying to keep a leading role in the development of Europe’s future unmanned combat jet.

For Mr Lévy, he will need to prove that he is more than just a compromise candidate, hired because the French state and Dassault could not agree on an internal successor.

“He has good international experience from Vivendi, so this will help Thales be more aggressive commercially,” said a senior French defence official. “But we also have to end the blockage at the company from its internal battles.”

Cape Air offers New Hampshire deal to help airport reach goal

LEBANON, N.H. — A small airline is offering huge discounts over the next few days to help the Lebanon, N.H., airport qualify for more federal funding.

Cape Air is offering $12 tickets to passengers flying from Lebanon to either Boston or White Plains, N.Y., through Monday. The tickets include all fees, and the New York tickets include ground transportation from White Plains to Manhattan.

Airport manager Richard Dyment says the goal is to reach 10,000 departing passengers by the end of the year, which would boost the airport's federal funding for safety projects and other projects from about $150,000 to $1 million.

Cape Air added additional flights for the promotion, many of which are already sold out.

No autopsy called for baby killed in Sanikiluaq crash: Isaac Appaqaq was being held in his mother's lap when the plane hit the ground

 Isaac Appaqaq
Six-month-old Isaac Appaqaq died in the Dec. 22 crash in Sanikiluaq.

Nunavut's chief coroner says no autopsy is needed for the victim of a deadly plane crash in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. 

 A Perimeter Aviation turbo-prop plane carrying seven passengers and two crew members crashed Dec. 22 about half a kilometre from the end of the runway.

Eight people survived with non-life threatening injuries. Six-month-old Isaac Appaqaq died in the crash.

Chief Coroner Padma Suramala says the baby was being held in his mother's lap when the plane hit the ground.

"Due to the impact of the plane, he was thrown from his mother’s lap and sustained closed head injuries and multiple other injuries."

Normally airlines instruct parents to hold their babies in a brace position for take offs and landings, but Suramala doesn't think that would have made a difference in this crash.

The Transportation Safety Board and the RCMP are investigating.

Coroner: dead Sanikiluaq infant not strapped into plane seat

Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III, C-GFWX

Beechcraft 35 Bonanza, Sale Reported (Alchemation LLC), N3871N: Accident occurred Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Glencoe, Minnesota

Bob Collins  did an analysis of the crash at the time, which you can find here

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA196 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Glencoe, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2012
Aircraft: BEECH 35, registration: N3871N
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The non-instrument-rated private pilot was conducting the accident flight under visual flight rules without a flight plan. Witnesses in the area reported hearing the airplane flying from east to west but could not see the airplane due to the low clouds and reduced visibility. Subsequently, the witnesses heard a loud crack and then the impact of the airplane with the ground. Based upon witness statements and reported weather conditions near the accident site, the flight encountered instrument meteorological conditions. The distribution of the wreckage was consistent with an in-flight breakup starting with the separation of the left wing followed by the separation of the empennage. All fracture surfaces were consistent with overload failure. An examination of the remaining systems revealed no anomalies. There was no record of the pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing from a recorded source.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The non-instrument-rated pilot’s continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the design limits of the airplane being exceeded and an in-flight breakup.


On March 21, 2012, at 1112 central daylight time, a Beech 35, N3871N, was substantially damaged when it impacted an open field under unknown circumstances five miles north of Glencoe, Minnesota. A post impact fire ensued. The non-instrument rated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from Crystal Airport (KMIC), Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was en route to Craig, Colorado.

Several witnesses in the area reported hearing an airplane flying low and hearing a loud snap or pop. One witness heard a second explosion as the airplane struck the ground. These witnesses described the weather as low overcast skies with limited visibility due to light fog and mist. There was no radar data available from the Federal Aviation Administration for the accident flight.


The pilot, age 52, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate on October 28, 2011. The certificate contained the limitation “must wear corrective lenses.” At the time of application for his airman medical certificate, the pilot reported a total time of 250 hours, and no flight time within the preceding six months.

The pilot’s family provided the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge two logbooks for review. A third logbook, the pilot’s training logbook was not requested and was retained by the family; 57.5 hours of flight instruction and 41.1 hours of solo flight time were recorded in this logbook. The first logbook covered the time between June 23, 2005, and June 13, 2009. During this time, the pilot logged 117 hours in an Alon A-2A. There were no endorsements recorded in this logbook and no instrument flight hours logged.

The second logbook covered the time between November 10, 2011, and March 11, 2012. During this time, the pilot logged 32.6 hours of flight time, 24.2 of which were logged in the accident airplane. On November 12, 2011, the pilot completed the requirements of a flight review and received a pilot-in-command endorsement for the operations of complex aircraft. The two logbooks did not reflect any instrument training or instrument experience. The pilot did not have an endorsement for operating high performance aircraft.


The accident airplane, a Beech 35 (serial number D1113), was manufactured in 1947. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. A Continental Motors E-185-11 engine rated at 205 horsepower at 2,600 rpm powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a two-blade, propeller. According to the previous owner, the airplane was not certified, nor was it maintained for flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

The airplane was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on March 22, 2011, at an airframe total time of 4,744.0 hours, and a tachometer time of 595.7.


Surface observations from Glencoe Municipal Airport (KGYL) in Glencoe, Minnesota, which was located approximately 5 miles south-southeast of the accident site, indicated instrument flight rule (IFR) conditions prevailed at KGYL at the time of the accident. At 1116, a KGYL automated observation reported: wind from 200 degrees at 7 knots, visibility of 5 miles, mist, ceiling overcast at 900 feet above ground level, temperature 14 degrees Celsius (C) and dew point temperature 13 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.98 inches of mercury, Remarks: station with a precipitation discriminator, hourly temperature 14.1 degrees C and hourly dew point temperature 12.7 degrees C.

METAR KGYL 211515Z AUTO 20007KT 5SM BR OVC009 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01400127
METAR KGYL 211536Z AUTO 20008KT 5SM BR BKN007 OVC019 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01400127
METAR KGYL 211556Z AUTO 19007KT 4SM BR BKN007 OVC016 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01420130
METAR KGYL 211616Z AUTO 20007KT 5SM BR OVC009 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01410127
METAR KGYL 211636Z AUTO 22006KT 5SM BR OVC007 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01420126

Imagery retrieved from the WSR-88d weather radar near Minneapolis, Minnesota (KMPX), indicated the area of the accident site would not have been affected by phenomena associated with convective weather.

Wind data below 3,000 feet retrieved from commercial aircraft arriving and departing Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain Airport (KMSP) near the accident time identified relatively light wind magnitudes (< 10 knots). Data from these aircraft identified the freezing level to be between 9,500 and 10,000 feet.

There were no publically disseminated pilot reports made within two hours of the accident time in Minnesota. An Airman’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory for IFR conditions was active for the accident location at the accident time. An AIRMET advisory for moderate icing between the freezing level and flight level 180 was active for the accident location at the accident time. No AIRMETs for turbulence were active below flight level 180 for the accident location at the accident time. No SIGMETs were active for the accident location at the accident time.

The Area Forecast active for the accident time forecasted: for southwest Minnesota – ceiling overcast at 2,500 feet mean sea level (msl) with occasional visibility of 3 to 5 miles, light rain and mist; for southeast Minnesota – scattered clouds at 3,000 feet msl, broken ceiling at 5,000 feet msl, widely scattered light rain showers, with ceiling lowering to between 3,000 and 3,500 feet msl after 0700.

The pilot contacted the Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) on March 21, 2012, at 0536 universal time coordinate and requested temporary flight restriction information for the continuous United States. The pilot did not request weather information for his route of flight, nor did he file a flight plan. Investigators were unable to locate any evidence that the pilot obtained a weather briefing through recorded services.


The wreckage was scattered over 900 feet between two plowed fields divided by a field service road. The northern field was a dormant cornfield and the southern field was a dormant soybean field. Small red paint chips were scattered throughout the entire debris field and along the flight path described by the ground witness. The debris field was oriented from west to east, with the energy vector on a measured heading of 108 degrees.

The western most portion of the debris field initiated with a portion of the leading edge skin from the left wing. The sheet metal was 70 inches long and was torn and wrinkled. Several additional pieces of torn sheet metal and ribs from the left wing were located 15 feet to the east of this portion of the left wing.

A second piece of sheet metal from the left wing was located to the east of the start of the debris field. The pitot tube remained attached on the bottom portion of the skin and was impacted with mud. Plexiglas, the landing light lens, navigation antennae, paint chips, the lower spar cap, and small pieces of torn sheet metal were all located within the initial portion of the debris field.

The left aileron and a portion of left wing skin were found next in the debris field. The piece was 80 inches long, and was torn and buckled. The bell crank separated from this portion of the left wing assembly. A small portion of the aft wing spar remained attached.

The left flap and a portion of left wing skin were next in the debris field. The piece was 87 inches long and included a portion of the rear left wing spar cap. The left flap actuator was attached to the separated left wing aft spar and the left flap attachment. The left flap actuator extension was measured and found to be approximately 2 and 1/16 inches, which corresponds to a 2 degree flap position.

An inboard leading edge portion of the left wing root, to include the fuel tank bladder was 47 inches long. The fuel bladder was torn and no residual fuel was present in the tank.
The empennage was located on the service road between the north and south fields. The empennage included the ruddervator, the stabilator, and the aft portion of the fuselage. The right leading edge was unremarkable. The left leading edge was crushed and dented. The skin on the fuselage, adjacent to the left leading edge attach-point, contained black marks. The ruddervator remained attached to the stabilator. The elevator trim actuator extension was measured and found to be 13/16 inch, which corresponds to a 10 degrees trim tab trailing edge down. The bottom portion of the empennage skin was crushed up and broken.

Both ruddervator counter weights were located in the north field, east of the empennage.
The left main landing gear assembly included the wheel, tire, brake assembly, and gear door cover. The assembly was impact damaged and embedded with mud but was otherwise unremarkable.

The first extensive ground scar initiated in the southern field, just south of the service road. The scar was 8 feet long and 8 inches at its widest point. The scar was shallow in depth and the ruts of the field prevented an accurate measurement of depth.

The second ground scar started 17 feet southeast of the end of the first ground scar. The second ground scar had two larger craters with dirt displaced towards the southeast. The scar was 18 feet in length, 10 feet 6 inches at its widest point, and approximately 12 inches at the deepest point. There was a strong smell of aviation fuel within the dirt of the crater. The second scar contained structure from the wing, fragmented fuselage skin, and wood from the cabin flooring.

The differential mechanism assembly for the elevator and rudder control was located within the debris field and remained entangled with a piece of fuselage skin. The left and right rudder cables were intact. Both cables were attached to their respective bellcrank mechanism and both were separated from the forward bellcrank. The rudder balance cables were intact. One end of the cable was attached to the left rudder differential mechanism while the other end was separated from the right rudder differential mechanism. The UP elevator cable was attached to the differential mechanism. The UP elevator cable was separated with signatures consistent with tension overload. The DOWN elevator cable (small cable), between the differential mechanism and the reduction bellcrank, was attached to the differential mechanism, but was separated from the reduction bellcrank. The DOWN elevator cable (long cable) was attached to the separated reduction bellcrank and the other end of the cable was separated with signatures consistent with tension overload. The elevator trim cables were intact and attached to the trim tab bellcrank and to each trim control surface.

The main wreckage was located 80 feet southeast from the end of the last ground scar. The main wreckage included the right wing assembly and forward fuselage.

The right wing included the right flap, right aileron, the right main landing gear assembly, and part of the main carry through structure. The right wing came to rest inverted and was separated from the fuselage. The bottom portion of the right wing exhibited thermal damage. The fuel tank was compromised and exhibited exposure to heat and fire. There was no residual fuel. The inboard leading edge was crushed at the landing light. The landing gear actuator was in a position consistent with the landing gear being retracted or up. The rear main carry through spar separated at midspan and remained attached to the right wing. Aileron continuity was confirmed from the aileron quadrant located at the center section of the fuselage to the right aileron and to the left aileron outboard bellcrank assembly. The left aileron push/pull tube was separated. Each of the separated ends was attached to the left aileron bellcrank and the left aileron. The aileron quadrant located at the center section of the fuselage was separated. Continuity from the quadrant to the cockpit was confirmed with cable separations consistent with tension overload. The right flap actuator was attached to the right wing aft spar and the flap attachment. The flap actuator extension was measured and found to be 1 and 3/4 inches, which corresponds to 0 degrees - a flap up position.

The engine separated from the airframe and came to rest 20 feet to the south of the main wreckage. The engine contained the propeller, propeller flange, and engine accessories. Blade A was bent aft and twisted. Blade B was relatively straight and exhibited slight twisting, leading edge polishing, and chord wise scratches. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine. The leads were mangled during the impact. Both magnetos were removed from the engine and rotated by hand; both produced a spark at each lead. Valve covers were removed on both sides. The cylinder 2/4/6 side of the engine sustained impact damage and the rocker arms and valve train area was embedded with mud. The top bank of spark plugs was removed revealing normal operating signatures as compared to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug chart. A boroscope of the engine cylinders revealed no anomalies. The engine was rotated through by hand and power train continuity was confirmed. Thumb compression was noted on all cylinders except the number four cylinder. The intake valve on the number four cylinder would not close fully due to impact damage. The vacuum pump rotated, by hand, without hesitation or binding. Air movement was noted during the rotation.

A portion of the forward fuselage was adjacent and east of the right wing. The forward portion of the fuselage included the forward cabin structure, and the instrument panel. The instrument panel and cabin structure was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.
The cabin door and fragmented pieces of the fuselage were scattered to the east of the main wreckage. The fuselage structure exhibited exposure to heat and fire. Only the frame of the cabin seats remained and the skin and seats where charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

The top forward fuselage skin, antenna assembly, and battery were the farthest east components in the debris field and were located 15 feet east of the cargo door.


The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office performed the autopsy on the pilot on March 22, 2012. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201200056002). Tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed. Results were negative for volatiles and drugs.


The wreckage was recovered and relocated to a hangar in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The left wing was laid out on the hangar floor in the correct anatomical position to understand damage, fragmentation, and impact angles. When laid out, the left wing exhibited bending in an upward direction. The left wing was fragmented into several smaller pieces. The leading edge of the left wing separated into two main sections. The first section extended from the wing root out board to the landing light. The tops skin on this section near the wing root exhibited an upward compression bend. The outboard section was crushed and wrinkled. The forward upper and lower spar caps separated from the wing spar. Both spar caps were twisted and bent. The lower spar cap was partially separated at midspan.

The flap assembly remained attached to the separated wing section. The flap actuator remained attached to the flap and the wing structure. The outboard separation point was at the junction of the wing flap and aileron. The flap exhibited aft diagonal buckling, at midspan, in an upward direction.

The aileron remained attached to the separated wing section. The wing skin and aileron were bent approximately 45 degrees at the outward hinge point. The aileron push pull rod was separated; one end remained attached to the aileron and the other end was attached to the separated bell crank. The aileron and wing skin exhibited extensive red paint transfer and scratching. The aileron exhibited paint transfer scratches consistent in spacing with rivets.
The forward carry through spar had been modified by supplemental type certificate SA 222 – CE. The carry through spar separated partially approximately midspan. The second point of separation was outboard towards the left wing root. The second point of separation exhibited upward bending and forward to aft twisting. The corresponding mating surface was impact damaged and fragmented. The rear carry through spar was broken into several smaller pieces.

The forward upper and lower carry-through spar were secured and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC, for further examination. The fracture surfaces on the components were cleaned and visually examined. All fracture surfaces exhibited slant fractures consistent with overstress failure.


The National Transportation Safety Board has completed an investigation into a March plane crash in Glencoe that killed three people.

The plane broke apart in the air, the NTSB said, after the pilot wandered into bad weather for which he was not rated to fly. It said the plane exceeded its "design limits" at the time, indicating the pilot lost situational awareness in the clouds and lost control of the plane.

Bob Collins  did an analysis of the crash at the time, which you can find here.  

The three were flying from Minneapolis to Colorado. The NTSB says the pilot apparently did not get a weather briefing before departing 

METAR KGYL 211515Z AUTO 20007KT 5SM BR OVC009 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01400127
METAR KGYL 211536Z AUTO 20008KT 5SM BR BKN007 OVC019 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01400127
METAR KGYL 211556Z AUTO 19007KT 4SM BR BKN007 OVC016 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01420130
METAR KGYL 211616Z AUTO 20007KT 5SM BR OVC009 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01410127
METAR KGYL 211636Z AUTO 22006KT 5SM BR OVC007 14/13 A2998 RMK AO2 T01420126

 In Memoriam video for Mae Dahlberg, Stuart Dahlberg and Ivelisse Dahlberg, all who passed away on March 21, 2012.

A plane crash that killed three family members near Glencoe, Minn., earlier this year resulted from the 52-year-old pilot flying into conditions for which he wasn't equipped or trained, causing him to lose control and the plane to break apart in midair, federal investigators have determined.   

Pilot Stuart Dahlberg of Brooklyn Center, who was not IFR rated, flew into low clouds not long before his single-engine plane crashed into a muddy farm field about 11:12 a.m. on March 21, about 4 miles north of Glencoe, according to a report on the crash issued this month by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The fiery crash, about 54 miles west of Minneapolis, killed Dahlberg, his wife, Ivelisse Morillo Dahlberg, 36, his 76-year-old mother, Mae Dahlberg of St. Cloud, and three pet dogs. They were flying from Crystal Airport to Craig, Colo., to watch a high school play directed by Stuart Dahlberg's sister.

Dahlberg's brother David, who immediately after the crash had praised Stuart Dahlberg's care and caution as a pilot, couldn't be reached Wednesday.

The crash of the 1947 single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, which Stuart Dahlberg owned, left a 900-foot-long swath of torn and burned debris across two plowed fields, the NTSB report said.

The debris included pieces of wing, fuselage and control cables, all torn and broken in ways consistent with "overstress failure" and "tension overload," the report said.

Many crashes have resulted from pilots getting "spatial disorientation" in bad weather and putting too great a strain on the aircraft while trying to control it, according to the Air Safety Institute, a division of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Pilots stuck in such situations "often fall prey to the so-called 'graveyard spiral,' -- a descending turn that only gets tighter and steeper as the pilot pulls back on the yoke in a misguided attempt to stop the descent," according to a bulletin for pilots published by the institute.

"Unusual attitudes can put tremendous strain on an airframe, and a panicked pilot lost in the soup can push an aircraft literally to the breaking point," the bulletin said, adding that low clouds should be studiously avoided by pilots who aren't equipped and rated to fly by instruments.

"Thunderstorms, icing, high winds, turbulence -- none of these more dramatic, high-profile threats comes close to killing as many pilots as simple, condensed water vapor," the institute's bulletin concludes.

Neither Dahlberg's pilot's license nor the logbooks provided by his family members reflected that he'd had any training to fly by instruments, the NTSB report said. In addition, the plane, while certified air worthy for normal operations, did not have the instruments necessary to fly without normal visibility, the report said.

However, weather observations at the Glencoe Municipal Airport, about 5 miles south of the crash site, indicated that it was overcast and misting, with a cloud ceiling of 900 feet, around the time of the crash, the NTSB report said.

The report also included indications that Dahlberg was less than fully prepared for the flight:

"The pilot did not request weather information for his route of flight, nor did he file a flight plan."

Pittsburgh International Airport tower hours may be reduced

Pittsburgh International Airport is among the airports with Federal Aviation Administration control towers that will be studied early next year for potential cost savings.

Bloomberg reported that the FAA has determined Pittsburgh, along with St. Louis and Cincinnati, have more controllers than required since they are no longer hubs. Air traffic at each airport is down at least 50 percent since 2000, the report said.

If air traffic control operations are modified there and elsewhere, there could be savings of $10 million a year, according to Bloomberg.

Plane stuck in snow for 2 hours at Pittsburgh International Airport

Passengers flying an American Airlines flight into Pittsburgh Wednesday night had to remain on board for about two hours more than they expected when the plane ran over a snow patch and got stuck.

JoAnn Jenny, a spokeswoman for Pittsburgh International Airport, said the plane landed safely between 8 and 9 p.m. and was on a ramp taxiing to the gate when it ran over a snow patch and some snow got stuck in a gear, stranding the plane on the ramp.

Ms. Jenny said airport workers tried for nearly two hours to tow the plane to the gate and then decided to bring a bus to transport people from the plane to the terminal.

No one was injured.

Emirates flights to US unaffected even as powerful winter storm upsets Americans’ holiday plans

Weather conditions are monitored closely; customers advised to check their flights' status on, says airline spokesperson

A powerful winter storm that has so far forced the cancellation of about 200 US flights on Thursday has had no impact so far on the Dubai-based Emirates’ US flights

America’s National Weather Service has forecasted 12 to 18 inches of snow for northern New England as the storm moved northeast out of the lower Great Lakes, where it dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of Michigan.

However, Emirates, which flies daily flights to seven American cities has reported no cancellations so far.

“Emirates flights to the United States are operating as scheduled. Weather conditions are being monitored closely and customers are advised to check the status of their flight on for possible changes or delays. Flight information will be updated on the website every 5 minutes,” an airline spokesperson said in an emailed response to an Emirates 24/7 query.

The storm has resulted in snarling holiday travel as heavy snow and high winds pummeled the northeastern United States.

The storm front was accompanied by freezing rain and sleet. The Ohio River Valley and the Northeast were under blizzard and winter storm warnings.

Snow will fall in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire at up to 2 inches an hour, with winds gusting to 30 mph (48 km per hour), the weather agency said.

About 200 US airline flights scheduled for Thursday were cancelled a day ahead of time, according to, a website that tracks flights.

American Airlines had the most canceled at about 30. A total of about 1,500 U.S. flights were canceled on Wednesday.

New York state activated its Emergency Operations Center late on Wednesday to deal with the first major storm of the season.

Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the heads of seven utilities they would be held accountable for their performances. Utilities near New York City were criticized for lingering outages after Superstorm Sandy devastated the region in October.

The storm comes as New York state has seen little snow during autumn and winter. Buffalo, New York, was 23 inches below normal for the season before the storm, said Bill Hibbert, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“We’re short and even this big snow isn’t going to make it up for us,” he said.

The storm dumped record snow in north Texas and Arkansas before it swept through the U.S. South on Christmas Day and then veered north. The system spawned tornadoes and left almost 200,000 people in Arkansas and Alabama without power on Wednesday.

At least five people were killed in road accidents related to the bad weather, police said.


University Park (KUNV), State College, Pennsylvania: Airport closed due to storm; will reopen today, December 27th

 Wednesday, December 26, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The University Park Airport has been closed this evening (Dec. 26) as a result of the current winter storm. Crews will begin clearing snow at the airport beginning at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27, and the airport will reopen when conditions permit. The first major winter storm of the season has lead to flight cancellations across the Northeast. As of 9:45 p.m., much of central Pennsylvania remains under a Winter Storm Warning. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), total snow accumulation in State College is expected to be between 6 and 9 inches. Snowfall will continue well into the overnight hours and will end with a period of light snow or freezing drizzle early Thursday morning.

For an up-to-date flight schedule for the University Park Airport, visit and click on the "Flight Info" tab. For the latest weather information from the NWS, visit

Helicopter helps locate lost children - Massachusetts


NORTHBORO — A state police helicopter found three children who became separated from adults they were hiking with and became lost in a wooded area near Ward Hill. 

 Northboro Police Lt. William Lyver said the children, two brothers, ages 8 and 11, were hiking with a cousin, 8, who was visiting for the holidays from Chicago. The three were hiking with the brothers’ parents, but ran ahead on the marked trail, became lost and went off the trail.

The visiting cousin then became separated from the brothers and was found by Northboro police on West Street.

The brothers were later found by a Massachusetts state police helicopter in the wooded area near the Northboro-Shrewsbury line.

The children were lost from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lonesome Pine's Spera earns flight instructor top honor: Liberty Flying Service at Lonesome Pine Airport (KLNP), Wise, Virginia

WISE — Robert J. “Bob” Spera, the face and personality of general aviation at Wise County’s Lonesome Pine Airport for nearly 21 years, has been granted Master Instructor Emeritus status in recognition of his many years of commitment to excellence, professional growth, service to the aviation community and quality aviation education.

 Spera has served as the fixed base operator (FBO) at LPA since 1992 as well as the owner of Lonesome Pine’s Liberty Flying Service (  He has also served as a FAASTeam (FAA Safety Team) representative in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Charleston, W.Va., FSDO (Flight Safety District Office) area that covers all of West Virginia and eight counties of Virginia.

This week Master Instructors LLC announced the top ranking for Spera. Master Instructors LLC is the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FAA-approved master instructor program.

Spera first earned master instructor status in 2002, held it continuously ever since, and is one of only 31 aviation instructors worldwide to earn the credential six times. Master instructor status is achieved by few, let alone the emeritus designation.

There are approximately 96,000 certified flight instructors in the United States. Fewer than 700 have achieved master status to date. The last 17 national Flight Instructors of the Year were master certified flight instructors. Spera is one of only 17 Virginia aviation educators to earn the prestigious master title and is one of only 19 worldwide to be granted emeritus status.

On Thursday, the always affable Spera said for a master flight instructor to be considered for emeritus status, a candidate must attain master’s status for 10 consecutive years — no easy feat — among other requirements.

“Isn’t that something? But one thing about it, I feel like it means I must be getting old with that emeritus thing,” he said. “It’s been tough. To be a master you’ve got to put in a lot of hours. It surprised me that only 19 have achieved it. But hey, I’m not retiring. As long as my health holds up I’m going to continue to fly.”

At 65 “and a half,” he said he still flies for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary as well. As an aviation elder, Spera said while flight education is expensive, young people desiring a career in aviation should seriously consider going for it.

“This era is opening up a great opportunity for young people in aviation,” he said. “There is going to be a serious shortage of airline pilots in the years ahead. The real kicker is that aviation education is so expensive, but the opportunities are going to be there.”

While honorary, emeritus status may be conferred upon an individual master flight instructor, a designation that requires passing a rigorous evaluation by a peer review board. The process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge while increasing their professionalism.

Master instructor designees are recognized as outstanding aviation educators not only for their excellence in teaching, but their engagement in continuing education — both their own and their students. The designation must be renewed biennially and significantly surpasses the FAA’s stringent requirements for renewal of a candidate’s flight instructor certificate.

Former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has said the master instructor certification “singles out the best that the right seat has to offer.