Saturday, January 05, 2013

T-45 Goshawk trainer jets to refuel at Palm Springs airport: Military had cut back flights after residents complained about noise

PALM SPRINGS — It’s been nearly a year since the Department of Defense announced it would cut back on the amount of military jets flying into Palm Springs International Airport following uproar from Palm Springs residents who were sick of the flyovers in their neighborhoods.

Since that March announcement, a few jets have flown through as part of training missions and refueling.

But over the next month, beginning on Wednesday, about 18 T-45 “Goshawk” trainer jets from the Navy Training Air Wing 2 based in Kingsville, Texas, will visit off and on between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the Navy announced Friday. They’ll temporarily operate out of Naval Air Facility El Centro.

Palm Springs International Airport will be used for refueling, so residents can expect to hear and see about three jets a day, the Navy said in its email announcement to The Desert Sun.

This will be a different set of military jets than those that used to fly into the airport. Those were F-18s based at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar near San Diego. The T-45s are considered quieter, which residents will likely appreciate.

Before the military cutback, Coachella Valley residents increasingly expressed concerns about the noise from military jets.

There were 2,202 military flights in and out of Palm Springs in 2011 — nearly double what was reported in 2008 and a nearly 58 percent jump from the 1,397 flights in 2010.

The Marine Corps has used the Palm Springs airport because of its “excellent service” as a contracted fuel provider and because the airport is close to key training areas, Defense officials told then-Rep. Mary Bono Mack after she brought the matter to their attention.

The Marines made use of the airport one of its “best practices” last year, defense officials told Bono Mack at the time.

The latest training activity is expected to run through Feb. 1, the Navy said.

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Video: Floatplane rescued from Bedwell Harbour, Pender Island


Published on December 31, 2012 

 "While out on a kayak tour we encountered this float plane rescue from a crash the previous day.  Pilot and passenger survived..."

Cargo plane with 1.5 tons of gold held in Istanbul

A Turkish cargo plane carrying 1.5 tons of gold from Ghana to Dubai has been held at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport for four days due to missing documents, Doğan news agency has reported.

The plane reportedly arrived in Istanbul on Jan. 1 for refueling and a personnel change.

It has been claimed that the plane was actually coming from Algeria and flying to another country.

The plane has been locked up and sealed as part of security measures.


Claims Nixed Over Jet Blue's 11-Hour Plane Hold

Courthouse News Service

  (CN) - A comedy writer who says Jet Blue kept her stuck on a plane for 11 hours cannot sue the airline for false imprisonment, a New York appeals court ruled.

     Katharine Biscone was planning to fly from New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport to Burbank, Calif., on Feb. 14, 2007. Her plane left the terminal at 6:50 a.m., but it never left the ground, and she was allowed to exit the plane at 5:30 p.m.

     Biscone claimed that she stayed in her seat with her belt fastened for the first five hours while JetBlue personnel told passengers that the weather was "holding us up," and that they needed to be prepared on five minutes' notice.

     The flight crew would not let passengers off the plane and threatened them with 20-year prison terms under the Federal Patriot Act if they tried to force their way off the plane, according to the complaint.

     Biscone said the crew served small amounts of food and snacks at the three- and eight-hour marks, but they directed passengers not to "doa No. 2" after 10 hours because the toilet tanks would overflow.

     Buses finally came after 11 hours and took passengers to the terminal where they waited for their bags for two more hours, according to the complaint.

     Biscone sued JetBlue for breach of contract, fraud and deceit, negligence, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She also complained that she lost business opportunities and missed a friend's movie premiere.

     The trial court dismissed all but Biscone's claims for breach of contract and negligence.

     A four-judge panel with the Appellate Division's Second Department in Brooklyn affirmed.

     The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 pre-empts claims related to the provision of airline services, according to the ruling.

     For example, pre-emption bars Biscone's fraud claim based on the crew's alleged assertion "that the aircraft would take off or return the terminal gate shortly," the court found.

     "The subject statements by airline personnel were directly related to the provision of an airline service," Justice Leonard Austin wrote for the court. "Since the plaintiff's fraud and deceit cause of action does not allege behavior that it outrageous and beyond the scope of normal airline operations, it is pre-empted."

Courthouse News Service:

GE Aviation ramps up engine production

GE Aviation expects to produce more jet engines in 2013 and foresees more of its engines in use as its commercial business grows.

The Evendale-based company and its joint ventures are also developing new engines with better fuel efficiency, and have already sold some of these engines for airplanes still under development, said Rick Kennedy, spokesman for GE Aviation.

Overall engine production by GE and GE’s joint ventures will grow from 3,400 engines in 2012 to 3,600 engines this year, Kennedy said. The number of GE and joint venture engines in service — engines placed in active aircrafts — will grow from 25,000 today to about 40,000 by 2020, he said. It is key to build a large base of engines in service, and then provide spare parts and maintenance for them over a long period, Kennedy said.

“The business is growing because airline aviation continues to expand around the world,” Kennedy said.

GE jet engines power commercial aircraft made by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer of Brazil and Bombardier of Canada, as well as military aircraft. GE Aviation employs about 40,000 worldwide, and about 8,600 people in the Cincinnati-Dayton area.

“Commercial aviation is doing extremely well. It’s across the industry,” said Dan Stohr, spokesman for trade group Aerospace Industries Association. Growing or developing markets include China, the Middle East and across Pacific Asia, he said.

GE Aviation has a joint venture with French company Snecma to make the CFM56 engine, which powers the narrow body jetliners Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The joint venture, CFM International, has a new engine under development that will come to market in 2016.

Called the LEAP engine, the new engine will also power future Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airplanes, as well as new planes under development — the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 from China, according to Kennedy.

The LEAP engine is GE Aviation’s biggest development program right now.

“The company has already sold more than 4,000 engines on three different airplanes under development, and the first engine hasn’t even run yet. So, it’s an extremely important program for GE, and is being designed to deliver both outstanding reliability and better fuel burn,” Kennedy said. “Achieving both is very challenging.”

GE Aviation is also in the early stages of development for an engine called GE9X, which will be the successor to its current GE90 engine that powers the Boeing 777 jumbo jet. Boeing is looking into a new-generation 777 aircraft, for which GE is preparing to provide the engine, Kennedy said.

In October, GE Aviation said it began testing an engine core for the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology (ADVENT) program with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The new core technologies being tested, including lightweight and heat resistant materials, will result in a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, a 30 percent increase in operating range and a 5 to 10 percent improvement in thrust compared to current fixed-cycle engines, the company said.

Meanwhile, GE Aviation is completing a $100 million, multi-year renovation of its suburban Cincinnati headquarters and plans to open a Dayton research facility in the summer. The company also plans to build two new production plants in Mississippi and Alabama this year.

GE Aviation said its local growth enhances the Interstate 75 aviation corridor.

Another recent development was GE Aviation’s acquisition in November of sister companies Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing. Morris Technologies, of Sharonville, and its production arm Rapid Quality, of West Chester Twp., are world leaders in metal additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, is the process of creating solid objects from a digital file by printing thin layers of material one on top of another.

Morris Technologies supplies GE Aviation with prototypes of jet engine components.

Later this decade, GE plans to have Morris Technologies make components using the additive manufacturing process for the full production phase, not just for prototypes, Kennedy said..

“They’re looking at the next generation aircraft engines — the future engines where they have to make them stronger, cheaper and lighter — additive does that,” said Tim Warden, previously vice president of sales and marketing for Morris Technologies. He now works for GE. “We can put features in metal components that you could not have machined prior using traditional manufacturing.”


Why Kingfisher Airlines' problems are affecting both established airlines and start-ups

When the troubles of Kingfisher Airlines first surfaced, it was essentially promoter Vijay Mallya's headache. The seven-year-old airline had not made a profit since inception, but that was the least of the carrier's worries. 

 Losses began to pile. Soon, employees felt the heat because of unpaid salaries for months. In no time, the carrier's problems consumed passengers, thanks to frequent cancellations, forcing the government to ground the airline in October. By then, the Indian air traveller was already feeling the pinch of soaring fares. Rival airlines exploited the absence of Kingfisher to the hilt — India today has low-cost airlines; it would be preposterous to call them low-fare. Kingfisher had inevitably become Indian aviation's headache.

Deploying more planes by existing airlines or the launch of potential startups would ease the pain. But Indian carriers are woefully short of planes. In an earlier interview, Aditya Ghosh, president of low-cost carrier IndiGo, said: "Few realize that the US has 11,000 commercial planes. We have 440 commercial planes — that is international, domestic, turboprop, big planes and all airlines put together. It is nothing."

The Indian airport authorities have charged the aircraft owners for debts owed to them by Kingfisher and have been able to prevent the rightful owners from removing their aircraft out of India.
---- Tony Griffin, managing director, Phoenix Aircraft Leasing Pte Ltd

A few carriers such as GoAir and IndiGo have placed huge orders — 72 and 180 A320 Airbus aircraft each — but planes do not arrive by bucket loads. The acute shortage is evident in the inability of airlines to fill the arrival and departure slots vacated by Kingfisher. Before its licence was suspended on October 20, 2012, Kingfisher held 400 slots. The airline applied and received 120 slots for the winter schedule from October 30, 2012, to March 30, 2013, post suspension. Even those slots are not being used by rival carriers, according to officials of airlines, airports and aviation ministry.

The Kingfisher crisis has also hit investors looking to launch airlines. Shyson Thomas, promoter of Air Pegasus, was looking to start a regional airline in the south last October. He is still hunting for aircraft. "Globally, airlines want to only operate aircraft; seldom do they buy." Thomas says he has been talking to aircraft lessors in Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, the UK and Singapore for months, but to no avail. "They do not want to lease it to Indian companies."

Recovery Barriers

It is not hard to see why. Indian authorities are resisting the efforts of lessors and financiers to repossess the aircraft they had leased to Kingfisher, according to two companies that Thomas has been negotiating with. Tony Griffin, managing director of Singapore-based Phoenix Aircraft Leasing Pte Ltd, says his company was willing to lease two ATR 72-500 aircraft to Pegasus because the airline is headed by "experienced airline executives".

But due to the severe problems being experienced by lessors trying to get their aircraft back, Phoenix would not take the risk of leasing commercial aircraft to India, he says. Recently, ET reported that DVB Bank, the world's largest aircraft financier, has filed a case against the country's aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for delayed deregistration (freeing from a register) of two Kingfisher aircraft. The German company had complained about Indian officials and vowed to suspend all funding to Indian carriers.


Transportation Security Administration scrutinized about grenades in airports: 2 noncombustible grenades found in checked bag at Sunport

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Action 7 News talked to federal authorities to see if they're taking 10 noncombustible grenades found inside airports across the country as more than several mistakes.

Of the 10 grenades, the officials with the Transportation Security Administration said two were found inside a checked bag in the Sunport.

TSA officials also said they take the discoveries very seriously and are always trying to find ways to make sure terrorists aren't trying to prepare for their next attack.

"We test our own employees; we test the system. We're constantly looking for ways to improve and to make sure terrorists don't game the system," TSA representative Luis Casanova said.

Other noncombustible grenades were found in Salt Lake City, Tampa, Miami, Dallas and several other cities last week.

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Charter plane carries Alabama fans from Mobile to Miami

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Crimson Tide football fans boarded a charter plane headed for sunny Miami on Saturday.

The nearly 150 people, mostly Alabama fans, will attend the BCS National Championship game on Monday.

Janson Graham of Mobile says it will be his fourth time attending a BCS Championship game.  His young son, J.R., flew along for his first big game.

It's also Teresa Adams first Championship game.  She's predicting the Tide will win by 7 points.

"I know a lot of people are saying more points but,  I don't want to discount Notre Dame. I  mean every team's tough, and you don't know until it's all over with," Adams said.

There were plenty of Roll Tide' cheers heard as the fans boarded their plane for Miami.  They're hoping to be just as excited after a Bama win when they head home next week.

Of course, there were a couple of Notre Dame fans on the flight with the same thing in mind.

FOX10 News Reporter Renee Dials will have more from the airport tonight at 9 p.m.

Helicopter search and rescue team practicing on Isle of Palms

WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather 

Don’t be alarmed if you hear or see a number of helicopters flying over the East Cooper area today. 

A helicopter aquatic rescue team is holding its quarterly training session at Isle of Palms County Park this weekend.

According to a release from the S.C. Emergency Response Task Force, helicopters should arrive at the park about 10:15 a.m. today and will be conducting exercises in the area until 5 p.m. On Sunday, the helicopters were expected to arrive at 9:30 a.m. and leave the park at 4:30 p.m.

The rescue team is a joint operation that combines helicopters and pilots from the S.C. Army National Guard and rescue swimmers from the State Urban Search and Rescue program.

This weekend’s training is to consist of practicing “lifting” victims from the ocean in front of the park and transporting them to a grassy area of the park. Organizers expect the training to be noisy. 

 Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- Multiple layers of wetsuits and life jackets will protect the volunteer "survivors." 

"You get to see how other agencies like fire department or SC heart, something like that it's just really cool to see how much more efficient we can be through these trainings and bring it back to the beaches," said Tim Mack, an Isle of Palms lifeguard.

Mack usually saves people, but for this drill he will be rescued by members of the South Carolina Army National Guard.

"They are definitely necessary.  It helps things run more smoothly when we have these practice sessions, because even though we can train for every scenario, we train for what we can and then go from there," said Mack.

Mack is one of about 100 volunteers who will spend the weekend practicing helicopter aquatic rescues at the Isle of Palms County Park.

"We have a lot of people visit the island every year.  We have a lot of our own rescue personnel in the summer with our jet skis and boats finding people that get stranded on the water, but sometimes we never know when we will need a major rescue effort," said Dick Cronin, IOP Mayor.

In addition to the National Guard, local and state fire and rescue agencies will also be training.

"We specialize is swift water rescue, flood rescue and mountain rescue," said Daniel McManus, state coordinator for search and rescue. He says every 90 days these hybrid training sessions take place.

"We get to work out all different issues that we may find or may not have. We get to practice here at our own pace and make good money as we call it or good progress on the rescue side," said McManus.

McManus says they will attempt to make 45 hoists from boats, but the end goal is to help the local agencies learn something new.

Vanderhorsts continue with airline action

The Robert Vanderhorst family has filed a creditors claim against American Airlines, but they must wait to do so until the airline is out of federal bankruptcy court.

“American Airlines is still in bankruptcy. You can’t start a legal action against someone who is enjoined in bankruptcy court,” said Robert Vanderhorst, who is an attorney in Porterville. “I hope they come out of bankruptcy so we can sue them in state court.”

In September, the family of three was not allowed to board an American Airlines flight in Newark, N.J., bound for California due to his son’s appearance, Vanderhorst said. Bede, who was 16 at the time, has Down syndrome. The family had paid for seats in first class.

They were later booked on a United Airlines flight. However, the father claims they were relegated to a separate section at the back of the plane. With a team of lawyers, the family decided to pursue legal action.

In the past fourth months, according to Vanderhorst, American Airlines has refunded the entire cost of the family’s trip. The family wants to see a change in airline policies that deal with special-needs passengers.

Vanderhorst said he received a letter the National Down Syndrome Society sent to American Airlines that said they were disappointed with the treatment of the Vanderhorst family. The Down Syndrome Society also invited American Airlines to receiving training from the entity.

“The lesson that they and all airlines need to learn is how to accommodate people with special needs,” said Vanderhorst.

Vanderhorst “filed a formal complaint” with the Department of Transportation. DOT acknowledged Vanderhorst’s complaint and said it was investigating the incident. No timetable on when the DOT probe would be completed.

After the incident, the family received national and international attention and was slated to tape a segment for the “Dr. Oz Show,” however, that did not happen.

The incident so far has not affected Bede much.

“He’s still the same loveable kid,” said Robert.


Virginia Beach jet crash apartment residents claim more problems


Virginia Beach— Residents who live in the apartment complex nearly destroyed by a Navy jet are claiming more problems. 

“Ever since a jet dropped on it, it’s been a disaster. It’s been hell.”

Tracey Shaw says she moved back into the Mayfair Mews apartments this September, after a Navy jet burned down her home. Recently, Shaw says the complex’s on-site-property manager was fired, which is creating confusion.

“If I have a maintenance issue, I don't have anyone to call. If my things are falling apart, if I need appliances, I don't know whom to call.”

Teresa Skinner says she also lives in the Mayfair Mews apartments. She says her garbage disposal is broken, but no one is returning her messages.

Caroline Larimore says she considers the Mayfair Mews her home, and she’s frustrated. “We would like simply to know where we are standing. Are they going to close out on us? Let us know, give us some kind of assurance.”

13NEWS has left messages with the Mayfair Mews office. However, no one has returned our calls for comment.

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Russia: Avgas 100 LL in barrels - Retention rules .... Avgas 100 LL в бочках. Правила хранения

Сюжет в Пилот-ТВ на 27.12

Man threatens to hijack aircraft for 'Kasab's release'

MUMBAI: Security measures were stepped up for Jet Airways flights after an anonymous caller made a hijack threat on Saturday morning. The call was received by the airline call center in Mumbai around 10.55am. The caller, interestingly said he was seeking looking to free Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab. When told that Kasab was hanged to death two months ago, the caller said he sought the release of other "Pakistani prisoners"

The incident happened at 10.55am. According to airport sources, the caller called the call center and said that he would "hijack a the flight or an airline employee". He reportedly also said he was equipped with AK-57, around 50 rounds of shot guns and 15 people to carry out the operation.

"The caller spoke in Hindi and said that he has a lot of things, including 3G handsets," an airport official said. He added that said that the caller also said he was at Karol Baug metro station in Delhi and was planning to "hijack Jet Airways staff."

"The objective, he said, was to free Kasab. When the airline staffer told him about Kasab's death, he said that he is also securing the release of other Pakistani prisoners.

"The call was treated as hoax. It was very vague and did not specify any flight in particular," said an airport source. "However, security was stepped up as a precaution," he added.

Jet Airways had received hoax calls last year as well. Officials suspect that the same caller made the call this time. "However, only a probe can confirm this," said an official. The Jet Airways spokesperson did not respond to calls or messages sent by TOI.


Tire burst on Russian plane

MUMBAI: An emergency was declared at the airport on Saturday after smoke and fire started emanating from a Russian cargo aircraft just after it landed on the main runway.

According to airport officials, at 12.43pm, an MIAL airside team spotted smoke billowing out of the undercarriage of the Russian charter cargo aircraft, AN 74; it also caught a small fire. The team informed the ATC. "It was found that the tire on the starboard had burst," said an MIAL spokesperson. Starboard tires are located on the right side of a plane.

Even as the ATC asked the pilot to switch off the engines, emergency was declared at the airport and fire engines were called to the runway. Officials said the situation came under control once the engines were turned off.

"The friction between the tire and the surface caused smoke and sparks," said an airport official.

Airport officials said the smoke initially created a major panic. "Everyone thought the aircraft had caught fire and it was a massive emergency. Timely detection and coordinated response helped in keeping the scene under control," said a senior airport official.

With its tires damaged, the aircraft was stranded on taxiway N7. The main runway, which was being used at that time, had to be closed. Officials said this led to a delay of 15-20 minutes, while all flights had to be routed towards the secondary runway. There was no disruption in operations, they said. adding that the main runway was closed for three hours.

At 3.43pm, the aircraft was towed to the bay. after its tires were replaced.

"After that, the runway was activated," for all incoming and outgoing flights. The aircraft was towed to stand 40. No airport operations were affected due to this," an MIAL spokesperson added.


Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak making use of state-owned planes

OKLAHOMA CITY — Insurance Commissioner John Doak has crisscrossed the state in state-owned aircraft on his mission to educate the public and reach out to constituents.

Doak is the top statewide elected official using state-owned aircraft, behind Gov. Mary Fallin. The costs billed to his agency are $3,462.

His predecessor, Kim Holland, did not use state-owned aircraft to travel, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Doak said he is the only insurance commissioner to visit each of the state’s 77 counties each year. He said the voices of people in Grove, Antlers and Woodward are just as important as those in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Doak are the only statewide elected officials to use state-owned aircraft.

Lamb used the aircraft on June 5 to travel to western Oklahoma. The cost was $2,264, according to DPS.

“The criteria for usage of state aircraft by the lieutenant governor include the availability of state aircraft, while maximizing his time on behalf of Oklahoma and striking the balance of safety, security and time efficiency,” said Ashley Kehl, a Lamb spokesman.

Doak, who has been in office two years, said his use of state-owned aircraft is infrequent. He said he only uses the plane when it is available and when he travels to multiple counties.

Doak used state-owned aircraft in April to view damage caused by a tornado.

He said he didn’t travel with Fallin because they were not on the same schedule.

Other trips ranged from speaking engagements to meeting with chambers of commerce, local leaders, insurance agents and consumers.

Read more in Sunday's World.

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Delta Airlines flights returned to Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport (KRHI), Rhinelander, Wisconsin

WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports  

HINELANDER (WAOW) -  Delta Airlines flights returned to Rhinelander today. In September 2012 the service, operated by SkyWest, was approved by the Department of Transportation. 

Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport Manager Joseph Brauer says the first flights were close to right on time.  The first SkyWest flight was scheduled to arrive in Rhinelander at 6:46am on Friday, January 4th. It will depart at 7:11am. He said 25 passengers were on the first flight out of Rhinelander. 

In October the Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport manager told Newsline 9 the airline will run two 50 passenger jets a day with domestic and international connections through its hub in Minneapolis.

Frontier Airlines had serviced the airport but filed papers to leave as it scaled back 
operations throughout the midwest.  Frontier wrapped up service in Rhinelander yesterday.

Delta Airlines last served the airport in September 2011.

Denison Municipal (KDNS), Iowa: Airport has a new manager

New airport manager Chris Willenborg, Manning, was welcomed to the Denison Municipal Airport on Wednesday by the Denison Airport Commission. Willenborg, right, is greeted by Dr. Dennis Crabb, chairman of the airport commission. 
Photo by Greg Forbes

The Denison Municipal Airport began the New Year under new management.

Chris Willenborg, originally of Manning, was officially welcomed to Denison as the airport manager on January 2 by the members of the Denison Airport Commission.

Willenborg said the management job was a position he had interest in and jumped at the opportunity when it opened.

As the airport manager, he will overlook the upkeep of the runway, snow removal, lawn care around the grounds and maintenance of the facility. He will also help organize the annual Clarence Chamberlain flight breakfast.

Aside from his managerial duties, Willenborg is also in the process of obtaining his commercial rating to be a flight instructor. He said he hopes to have his rating by the end of 2013 or early 2014 and will then give flight lessons.

Willenborg stated that he is new to the Denison area but as a resident of Manning, is familiar with the community. Therefore, he aims to promote the airport and the flight industry to the people of Denison and Crawford County.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities Denison offers,” Willenborg said. “I hope to arouse interest in aviation around the community and promote the airport throughout the area.”

He added that he will attempt to promote the airport through interaction with the community and eventually plans to create a website for the facility. When he is able to, he also wishes to instruct students at the Denison airport.

“I hope to get students here after getting my flight instructor’s license and ultimately get more pilots in the area.”

Willenborg officially began his role on Wednesday, January 2. While two days leaves little time to know the demands of the job, Willenborg said he has been training and the transition is going smoothly so far.

“I’ve been learning the ropes and how it (the airport) is operated, how to take care of the monthly billing and how the equipment runs,” Willenborg stated. “It’s been going well and everyone has been really nice.”

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Vans RV-10, J2Environmental LLC, N262NJ: Accident occurred January 05, 2013 in Julian, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 05, 2013 in Julian, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2014
Aircraft: Jeremiah Jackson Vans RV-10, registration: N262NJ
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that this was the fourth flight of the airplane’s phase one flight testing. About 2 hours into the flight (with an airplane total time of 6 hours), the pilot observed the oil pressure reduce rapidly to about 5 pounds per square inch. He did not notice any other problems with the airplane or engine, but he declared an emergency and requested a direct approach to a nearby airport. Within 5 minutes, the engine lost all oil pressure and the engine lost power. The airplane was unable to reach any available airstrips; therefore, the pilot turned toward a winding dirt road on top of a ridge. While maneuvering to avoid obstacles at a trailhead, the airplane hit a steep embankment and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. During a postaccident examination, an oil line near the oil filter was found to be disconnected, most likely due to insufficient tightening of the fitting, which led to its loosening during cruise flight. The loosened fitting allowed oil to spray into the cowling and exit out the lower nose area. The pilot stated that there were no indications of oil leakage during the preflight inspection.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A loss of engine power due to oil starvation as a result of a disconnected oil line. Contributing to the accident was an insufficiently tightened oil line fitting.

On January 5, 2013, about 1300 Pacific standard time, an experimental Jeremiah Jackson Vans RV-10, N262NJ, made an off-field forced landing near Julian, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The local personal flight departed Ramona, California, about 1045. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the airplane was in phase one flight testing. The airplane and engine had a total time of 6 hours, and this was the fourth test flight. He was about 2 hours into his flight, and heading toward his home airport with the airplane level at 8,500 feet mean sea level. He observed the oil pressure go down rapidly to about 5 pounds per square inch (psi), but did not notice any other problems with the airplane or engine. He declared an emergency, and requested a direct approach to Ramona airport, runway 27.

Within 5 minutes, the engine lost all oil pressure, and the engine seized. He was unable to make any available airstrips, and observed a steep gorge ahead of him. He turned, and elected to land on a winding dirt road on top of a ridge. He avoided trees and cars parked at a trailhead, but the airplane hit a steep embankment. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the wreckage. He observed that an oil line just to the right of the oil filter was disconnected. Oil sprayed into the cowling, and exited out the lower nose at approximately the 5:30-6 o'clock position. 

The pilot stated that there were no indications of oil leakage during the preflight inspection.

N262NJ first flight:

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA085 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 05, 2013 in Julian, CA
Aircraft: Jeremiah Jackson Vans RV-10, registration: N262NJ
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 5, 2013, about 1240 Pacific standard time, an experimental Jeremiah Jackson Vans RV-10, N262NJ, made an off field forced landing near Julian, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The local personal flight departed Ramona, California, about 1040. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he was in phase one flight testing; the airplane and engine had a total time of 6 hours. He was about 2 hours into his flight when he observed the oil pressure go down rapidly. He headed toward his home airport, but the engine lost all oil pressure. He landed on a dirt road on top of a ridge, but encountered high vegetation. The rough road conditions resulted in the main landing gear separating from the airframe, and both wings sustained substantial damage.

Vans RV-10, N262NJ 

CEDAR CREEK FALLS - January 5, 2013 - A pilot, identified as Jeremiah Jackson of Del Mar California, was able to perform a hard landing in the Julian mountains near Cedar Creek Falls. Jackson, with eight world, and one national-level, aviation records, was unhurt in the crash. San Diego Sheriff's ASTREA helicopter was able to locate the crash scene and guide first responders to the scene. Fire crews were dispatched to the crash at 1:13 PM. The plane is listed as a "VANS PV-10". It is a homebuilt single-engine fixed-wing 4-seater aircraft. It's maiden flight was on December 27, 2012, less than two weeks before todays crash. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash.
  Regis#: 262NJ        Make/Model: EXP       Description: VANS RV-10
  Date: 01/05/2013     Time: 2040

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: RAMONA   State: CA   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: Pleasure      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SAN DIEGO, CA  (WP09)                 Entry date: 01/07/2013 

Oman: Pact to facilitate air travel

AL DUQM — Yahya bin Said al Jabri, Chairman of Al Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) yesterday signed an agreement with the City Travel LLC for the management of reservations for the direct flight between Muscat Airport and Ja'aloni Airport in the Al Wusta Governorate.

As per the agreement, Travel City LLC will provide reservation services for passengers travelling by air to the Al Wusta Governorate. The company will also promote the direct flight line between Muscat and Ja'aloni Airport in the Al Wusta Governorate, on the Southern coast, the Middle of the Sultanate. Commenting on the agreement, Al Jabri said the agreement contributes to facilitating the reservation of seats.

He also said the flight that was recently launched contributed to linking the Al Wusta Governorate, which comprises a number of wilayats in the middle of the Sultanate, to the different parts. Businessmen, investors and citizens can now easily reserve their seats at affordable prices.

Oman Air operates three weekly flights to Ja'aloni Airport. The journey from Muscat International Airport to Ja'aloni Airport takes about one hour and twenty minutes. Travel by land transportation takes more than 6 hours. — ONA


Videos: Maldivian Preflight Safety Briefing

Maldivian Air Taxi Pre Flight Safety Briefing by IBMO 

Maldivian Air Taxi Pre Flight Safety Briefing by ABNI 

Maldivian Air Taxi PreFlight Safety Briefing by MLKH 

Aerospatiale/Westland SA 341G Gazelle, YU-HEW: Court told of doubts over tragic crash pilot training - Accident occurred January 26, 2008 in Rudding Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire - UK

Flight Instructor Ian King 
 Ian King appeared at Leeds Crown Court where he denies falsely obtaining the license for Paul Spencer who was killed in the crash alongside his wife Linda near Harrogate almost 5 years ago.

Published on Saturday 5 January 2013 06:00

A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) expert told a jury that he did not consider weather conditions suitable for flying at some of the times a wealthy businessman recorded in his logbook that he had been on training exercises in a helicopter.

The businessman, Paul Spencer, and his wife Linda, who ran Country Baskets, were killed on January 26, 2008 when a Westland Gazelle helicopter he was piloting crashing in Rudding Park, Harrogate, just over a month after he obtained his private helicopter license.

Flight instructor Ian King is accused of lying to help him obtain his license more quickly.

The prosecution claim that he falsely certified to the CAA that Mr Spencer had completed all the training requirements in respect of flying hours when he had not done so.

King, 53 of Burns Way, Clifford, Wetherby, denies making a false representation with intent to deceive.

Frederick Cross, the senior helicopter flight examiner at the licensing section of the CAA, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday that, although Mr Spencer was a qualified pilot on fixed wing aircraft, flying helicopters was very different.

Mr Spencer had put in his logbook that he completed his training between November 19 and December 12 in the shorter days of winter.

Mr Cross told the jury that he considered it “extremely unusual” for a trainee helicopter pilot to complete his hours in such a short period, particularly at that time of year.

He agreed under cross-examination by Jon Gregg, defending King, that if a “pilot had skill and confidence and was driven hard” he could do it.

He also accepted that Mr Spencer would have acquired considerable navigation skills as a fixed wing aircraft pilot.

But he said that when he examined the logbook he could find no record that some of the exercises required had been done and the flight times recorded did not appear to allow time for them even if not logged.

Nor were the weather conditions suitable for some of the manoeuvres involved when other exercises were recorded as done.

“I do not believe those exercises could have taken place specifically on those dates in that weather,” he said. Overcast weather “severely restricts your ability since you must not go into cloud”, Mr Cross added.

He told the jury that the CAA relied on the instructor signing off the license application to certify that all training was complete.

Stephen Hunt, a CAA investigator, said King had not supplied his own logbook records when requested after the crash and as a result of that had been convicted at Leeds Magistrates Court in 2009 in relation to failure to present his logbook.

The trial continues on Monday.

Gulfstream adding 100 jobs in Greenville: Demand strong for new G650 luxury jet - Outagamie County Regional Airport (KATW), Appleton, Wisconsin

GREENVILLE — Orders for more than 200 of its top-of-the-line luxury G650 business jets means job growth for Gulfstream at Outagamie County Regional Airport.

The Savannah, Ga.-based subsidary of General Dynamics announced Thursday it will add 100 jobs, mostly in areas of purchasing and engineering, at its Greenville operations over the next 90 days. The company employs about 725 people in Greenville today.

“We’re starting to ramp up production of the G650 and that’s part of the reason why we’re doing this hiring,” said Heidi Fedak, a spokeswoman for Gulfstream.

Gulfstream’s G650 was introduced in 2008. It has a base price of about $58 million.

Fedak said orders for the G650 are backlogged into 2017. Gulfstream delivered its first G650 in December and to fill orders it needs workers.

Gulfstream’s Greenville facility performs completions or finishing and service work. This includes design, selection and installation of the cabin configuration and layout, furniture, seats, carpets and sidewall treatments, entertainment and communication systems, and galley and lavatory fixtures.

Fedak said Gulfstream has 11 other facilities where it performs similar work that it does in Greenville.

Planes also are painted in Greenville and Gulfstream jets now in use also are serviced and refurbished at the facility. It occupies about 275,000 square feet of hangar, shop and support space at Outagamie County Regional Airport.

Airport Director Marty Lenss said Gulfstream is the airport’s largest tenant. Gulfstream moved in after Midwest Airlines, which evolved from Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s corporate jet service, relocated to Milwaukee.

Lenss said the additional Gulfstream jobs not only is good for the airport but for the Fox Cities.

“When you look at the overall economic impact this will have, these are primary jobs that will bring new dollars into the community,” he said. “The real benefit is that these jobs are family supporting and good paying.”

Lenss said it likely also will mean more people entering the aviation maintenance program at Fox Valley Technical College, which has had a long training relationship with Gulfstream.

“For Gulfstream, it’s especially important to have a well-trained workforce,” he said. “As long as they have a source to get people trained, it will allow them to keep growing here.”

Lenss said Gulfstream’s decision to expand in Greenville could lead to future growth for the airport.

“If Gulfstream keeps growing, it could mean more things to come,” he said.

— Avila writes for Post-Crescent Media of Appleton.

Nigeria: Dana - Federal Government, N/Assembly On Collision Course

Kaduna — Senators and members of the House of Representatives yesterday warned that the federal government is toying with lives of Nigerians by allowing Dana Air to resume operation even when investigations into the crash of its plane was ongoing.

Dana Air's McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft flying from Abuja crashed few minutes to Lagos killing all 153 passengers and crew as well as six other people on ground on June 3, last year.

The airline resumes operations today having completed a re-certification process. It will fly from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos 2 to the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Reacting to the situation yesterday, a member of the Senate committee on Aviation, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (PDP, Borno south) said it is absurd for the airline to resume operations while reports of investigations into the crash were yet to be made known to Nigerians.

"As of now, Nigerians are yet to know what happened to the Dana aircraft that crashed and killed our people. We know what is happening. We have the responsibility of advising Nigerians not to patronise Dana airlines yet.

"As a committee of the Senate, we have laid the report of our investigations, but the Senate as a whole has neither debated the report nor passed any resolution on the matter. Even the Accident Investigation Bureau under the Federal Ministry of Aviation has not produced the report of its own investigation into the crash. So, on what basis is Dana resuming operations? Ndume asked.

Also, some members of the House of Representatives in telephone interviews with Daily Trust yesterday condemned the lifting of ban on flight operations of Dana Airline.

Chairman House committee on Aviation Rep Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (PDP, Abia) said: "I know that the president will not be insensitive to the lives of Nigerians and he is committed to making sure that everybody will leave up to their bidding. We Know they are not going to implement the report, but I am satisfied that we did our job and nobody caged us to do what is not right and Nigerians will bear us witness."

Chairman House Committee on Information and National Orientation Rep Buba Jubril (CPC, Kogi) said the action is not fair to Nigerians and that it creates the impression that the executive and the legislature are working at cross roads.

"It is not fair on Nigerians and the House of Representatives that the ban on Dana Airline operations has been lifted when there are pending issues to be addressed. It is not proper to take that kind of action at this point in time. We took our action based on the findings of our committee that investigated the Dana crash. The executive should not create the impression that we are working at cross roads when we are supposed to be working together for the well being of Nigerians," Jubril said.

Two other lawmakers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the action of the executive is 'irresponsible and dictatorial' despite the loss of lives and the recent helicopter crash in Bayelsa that claimed the lives of former Kaduna state governor, Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Azazi and four others.

"This shows that the executive want us to start 2013 on a conflict note or how do we explain the airline operation despite the crisis and controversies, it is now back to business. We will definitely look into this when we resume next week," one of the reps said.

But Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria, Captain Mohammed Joji has described the lifting of ban on the Dana Airline as a welcome development.

"It is very good decision because if airline companies are grounded because of accident there will not be airline operator at all. Every major airline had cases of air crashes. So it was wrong in the first place to ground the airline," he said.

Reacting to the return of Dana airline yesterday, Captain Joji who is the Chief Executive Officer of skypower airline faulted the report of the Senate committee on the aviation sector.

He described the report of the Senate committee on aviation on the Nigerian Aviation sector as incorrect and misleading saying.

Following the Lagos Dana plane crash, the Senate on June 5, 2012 mandated its committee on aviation to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incident. The Senate also urged the federal government to ground all Dana aircrafts pending the outcome of the investigation into the crash.

With the resumption of flight operation today, the airline will certainly struggle to survive in business and faces the herculean task of building public confidence to bring back credibility to it services. NCAA spokesperson Sam Adurogboye when contacted on the matter said the airline went through five stages of rigorous recertification process before they had their license restored.

Scores of air passengers who spoke to Daily Trust said they will still fly Dana in as much as the NCAA has assured of airworthiness of the company's aircrafts while some travellers are still sceptical about the airline's credibility to fly.

One Mr. Badejo Adejumo (not real name) said he is still going to fly major airline operators in the developed countries do record accidents and still fly safely after such incidents.

Another passenger, Mrs Sarat Okikiolu said she would never fly any airline that recorded such huge loss of lives. The airline license was restored in September last year, Dana is set to make its initial flight today from Lagos Murtalan MUhammed Airport Two to the local wing of Abuja airport.

The NCAA's spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye when contacted in a telephone conversation said the airline went through five stages of rigorous re-certification process before they had their license restored.

He said Dana also did the required 50hours of flight test with NCAA's flight inspectors on-board saying "I can assure you that Dana is safe to fly."

According to him, the airline has done everything humanly possible to ensure safe operations which NCAA as regulator is aware of. Adurogboye said, "So, I am assuring passengers that as Dana is back to fly, they should rest their mind on seamless services."

Scores of air passengers who spoke to Daily Trust said they will still fly Dana in as much the NCAA has assured of their airworthiness while some travellers are still sceptical about the airline's credibility to fly. One Mr. Badejo Adejumo (not real name) said he is still going to fly with the airline because giants airlines operators in the develop countries do record accidents and iccidents and they still fly safely.

Another passenger, Mrs. Sarat Okikiolu said no that she would never fly with any airline that recorded such huge lost of lives.

Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria, Captain Mohammed Joji, has described the lifting of ban on the DANA airline as a welcome development.

"It is very good decision because if airline companies are grounded because of accident there will not be airline operator at all. Every major airline had cases of air crashes. So it was wrong in the first place to ground the airline," he said.

Reacting to the lifting of DANA airline license to fly in a telephone interview, Captain Joji who is the Chief Executive Officer of skypower airline, faulted the report of the senate committee on the aviation sector.

He described the report of the Senate committee on aviation on the Nigerian Aviation sector as incorrect and misleading.


Obituary: Joyce Marie Shoemaker

Stockton, CA

Joyce Marie Shoemaker

March 13, 1922 - January 1, 2013

Dedicated American, wife, loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Joyce Marie

Shoemaker, age 90, passed away in her Sacramento home on January 1, 2013.

Joyce was born March 13, 1922, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Melissa and Ted Fisher. Earning her pilot's license at 16, Joyce once absconded overnight with a crop duster airplane, much to the ire of her parents. Subsequently, Joyce became a civilian flight instructor. Joyce attended the University of Michigan and married Leo Shoemaker in 1946.

Read more here:

Egypt Air to begin flights to Toronto this month

A source within the holding company Egypt Air stated that the airline would begin direct flights from Cairo to Toronto starting 1 January, 2013, using Boeing 777 jets.

He added in an interview with Al-Boursa that the direct flights from Toronto to Cairo are to encourage tourism between Egypt and North America and open up a new market in Canada.

The source added that prior to the announcement of new direct flights from Cairo, passengers would have to transfer in Frankfurt, Germany, and continue onto Toronto via connecting airlines.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism, the number of travelers reaching Egypt from Canada increased 3.5% from the period between January and October 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, from 41,000 to 42,600.

It should be noted that Egypt Air had planned to open up direct flights from Cairo to Toronto in 2011, but was forced to delay that decision because of the events of the 25 January Revolution.

City Gets Letter Asking for ‘Corrective Action’ At St. Clair Regional Airport (K39), Missouri

The ball has been volleyed back onto the city’s side of the court as the aviation division of the U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that “the agency will not consider closing St. Clair Regional Airport ... until the city corrects deficiencies at the airport.”

However, state Rep. Dave Hinson, who also received a copy of the letter, called The Missourian on Thursday afternoon specifically to say that the USDOT letter does not mean the airport will remain open.

The letter sent to Mayor Ron Blum was dated Dec. 28, 2012. City officials received and reviewed it on Thursday.

In late August, Blum sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration specifically asking that it allow closure of the 80-acre facility on the city’s north side. Closing the airport has been at the top of the mayor’s priority list since he first took office in 2007.

Blum’s letter asked for a decision by Thanksgiving.

The “corrective action” outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation in its Dec. 28 letter lists items that include making adequate repairs at the facility, addressing operational and financial issues and resolving complaints regarding the increase in tenant rental fees.

The conclusion of the USDOT letter stated that future discussions will be limited to issues related to the city completing the steps detailed in the letter.

Both Blum and City Administrator Rick Childers said the issue will be brought before the board of aldermen when it meets on Monday in city hall.

“We will discuss this with the board and proceed as directed,” Childers said.

The officials also said the items have been addressed with documentation already sent to the FAA.

Hinson, who serves the 119th District which includes St. Clair, told The Missourian on Thursday afternoon that the closure decision has not been made.

“There has been nothing from the FAA or MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) either way,” Hinson said. “This (USDOT) letter is in generic speak. It doesn’t give specifics. I have not received specifics. ... The city needs specifics.”

Blum and Childers agreed.

“Everything sent to us asking us to do something is gray and vague,” the mayor told The Missourian on Thursday morning. “It’s never very specific.

“Nothing really has changed,” Blum said in regard to the letter. “This is nothing new.”

Hinson said a decision has not been made about closure because the request still is being reviewed.

“I’ve been in talks and have been reassured by people from (U.S. Rep. Blaine) Luetkemeyer’s office and MoDOT that the formal (closure) process still is being reviewed.”

Hinson said the FAA wants MoDOT to make a recommendation on closure.

“The FAA has punted back to MoDOT,” he said. “MoDOT technically is the FAA in Missouri so everything should be going through them. The FAA has told MoDOT to make a decision, and I know MoDOT is working on it. I’m just not sure where they’re at as I have not received information either way.”

When asked if he supports closure of the facility or not, Hinson said, “I know the overwhelming majority of the community would like to see it (airport) closed and the space used for development. I have told the FAA and MoDOT Aviation that, and I believe that is true.”

The final St. Clair Regional Airport narrative analysis sent by city officials to the FAA in August 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.”

Permission to close the facility between Interstate 44 and Highway 47 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. The city wants to close the airport so the land can be used for much-needed retail development.

If that retail expansion does not happen, Blum said the city may face financial hardships.

“We’ve done very well to date with our finances,” Blum said. “Much of that has been through the attrition of employees. But what’s going to happen if this continues and if we can’t grow our revenue base is that we will have to start thinking about cutting more into our employee base, including police and parks, and have other things like street repairs suffer.”

The situation is leaving Blum extremely frustrated.

“The pilots are saying that the airport is more important than the city itself and our community,” he said. “And it looks like they’re trying to get other people to concur. This is getting to the point where I believe the tenants don’t care about the city or its residents.”

“All they care about is winning,” Childers said.

“You can quote that,” Blum said.

None of the tenants who rent hangar space at the airport live in St. Clair.

“Theoretically, these tenants could keep filing complaints to the FAA to eternity,” Childers said. “What this is coming down to is if you own a property in the city and that property has fallen into disrepair and you filed for permission to demolish it, the city has said it will allow you to demolish it if you fix it up nice and pretty first.

“Here, we have to fix everything to the satisfaction of the tenants who will be evicted with closure.”

“That’s what this letter says,” Blum said.

By Keith E. Domke St. Clair Missourian Editor

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Baltimore City Foxtrot helicopter makes emergency landing: No injuries in incident and helicopter able to fly back to base, police say

A Baltimore Police Department's helicopter made an emergency landing in Reedbird Park Friday night after facing technical difficulties, police said.

No one was injured in the landing, which was made as a precautionary measure, according to police spokesman Det. Vernon Davis. No details were immediately available about what caused the incident.

The helicopter was able to fly back to its helipad shortly after making the landing, Davis said.

The Baltimore police aviation unit, which is known as Foxtrot, got four new helicopters with better surveillance tools last year.

Malawi selling Presidential jet

 Malawi has finally taken a bold step to sell the presidential jet that was bought by the government during the reign of the late president professor Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) four years ago.

Although the former Malawi leader and his party defended the purchase many spoke against the purchase, including the current president Mrs Joyce Banda who that time was not in talking terms with the late Mutharika though she was the vice president.

The Dassault Falcon 900Ex French made jet is currently lying idle at Chileka international airport in Blantyre, Malawi since the current leader said she would not be using it because the jet is expensive to manage at a time the country is going through difficult times.

Mrs Joyce Banda ascended to presidency in April this year after the death of professor Bingu wa Mutharika

The jet was purchased at an estimated US$22 million and it was estimated that the jet would be draining no less than US$400,000 in maintenance costs.


Trade Union Congress of Nigeria Reacts To Federal Government's Plan To Acquire 30 Aircraft For Domestic Operators

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Saturday backed the Federal Government’s plan to acquire 30 aircraft to boost domestic operations in the aviation industry. Mr Musa Lawal, TUC’s General Secretary, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the congress was supportive of any positive policy that would enable the government to achieve its objectives. Lawal was reacting to the disclosure by Mr Yakubu Dati, General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), of the government plan while inspecting the renovated Benin Airport.

Dati had said that the aircraft would be distributed to domestic airline operators, a departure from the old practice, where they were given money from the Aviation Intervention Fund to shore up their businesses. "We are not against the government leasing aircraft to private operators who can manage them very well and return our money because the planes will be bought with public funds,’’ Lawal said.

He said in the past, Nigeria Airways was grounded because some people booked seats without paying under the guise of being on official duty. The TUC scribe said that the government must ensure that the funds to be invested in the planes were recovered.

He urged the government to learn from past mistakes and ensure that the exercise was well executed to achieve its intended results. Lawal said that the government must also be ready to face reality, admit its mistakes and make corrections where necessary.

"The government has good intentions but if the implementation goes wrong, it should have the courage to admit and make amends.’’ Lawal, a former general secretary of the Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA), also spoke on the reported cement glut, noting that it had not reflected in the price.

He said that price of cement was still high in spite of the claim by manufacturers that there was surplus. The union leader spoke against the backdrop of fear expressed in the local cement industry that the inflow of the product from outside the country, could spell doom for the local market.

"There is no change in the price of cement; it is still selling at between N1, 800 to N2, 000,’’ he said, wondering why the price had not dropped.

He said that competition in such a business was good and would help the economy to grow. Lawal also spoke on the influx of expatriates in the construction and civil engineering fields, describing the rate as high, thereby threatening the jobs of senior Nigerian engineers.

"In the construction companies it is five expatriates to one Nigerian,’’ Lawal said. He said that Nigerian engineers found it difficult to secure jobs because expatriates, mostly technicians from the Philippines, China and India had taken over their positions.

"They accept any job at any amount and without immediate payment; the Chinese especially will tell you to pay later,’’ the labor leader said. He advised the government to ensure that laws on expatriate quota are enforced to reverse the trend. (NAN)


Interview: Bob Fafinski, attorney to the airlines

Twin Cities-based attorney Bob Fafinski discusses the business of flight  

How would you describe your work?

Fafinski: I am a business attorney, but I spend half of my time in commercial transactions within the commercial aviation industry. My firm, Fafinski Mark & Johnson, also represents a lot of local companies that buy, sell, or trade aircraft.

We have 30 attorneys here, and about seven lawyers that do nothing but aviation work. It certainly isn’t a majority of what we do, but it is a substantial portion.

Who are some of your clients?

We do work for airlines, leasing companies, hedge funds, private equity funds, investors, and we also do financing work, representing banks that lend in the aviation market. Locally, we probably represent about 15 pretty substantial companies like airlines, investors, and hedge funds. These deals are not always based in the Twin Cities. We may do a transaction where we are representing hedge funds that are buying 10 to 15 airplanes that are leased to a Chinese airline. The work may be based here, but the companies can be in other parts of the world. There isn’t much competition in the [local] market; it’s all over the world in places like New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, and Ireland.

What is the state of the local aviation market and how is it evolving?

Five airlines flew about a million or so passengers through MSP -- Sun Country, United, Southwest, US Airways, and American Airlines -- but Delta still absolutely dominates our market. In 2011, 33 million passengers flew to or through MSP, and 75 percent flew on a Delta flight, or roughly 25 million people.

The single largest impact on our local market over the last few years has been the Northwest-Delta merger. That merger itself was indicative of a larger consolidation in the industry, and it has impacted our Twin Cities community pretty heavily, partially because over 3,000 jobs were lost and moved to other parts of the country.

What we are also seeing presently is a permanent shift to smaller airplanes for shorter flights. Eleven percent more passengers in 2011 flew on regional jets than large carriers, whereas arrivals and departures for small aircraft were up seven percent and for big aircraft were down seven percent [according to the metropolitan airport commission’s operations records]. So as a result, flights are more crowded, and that’s a common complaint you hear from people.

How did you get started in this business?

When I was a young attorney, I was introduced to Sun Country. I did some airplane leasing work. They liked what I did and kept asking me to do more and more. [Fafinski is now a board member of Sun Country.]

Since there are so few lawyers that do this kind of work on a global basis, I’d meet other parties from all over the world. They were impressed and would say, ‘How about you represent us the next time in a similar transaction?’ So it has basically been by word of mouth for over 25 years. It is just brick-and-mortar, doing hard work and trying to build a good reputation.

How has the economy affected your business?

Back in 2008 when the economy was falling apart, there were many companies that sold their airplanes. Think of those congressional hearings where business executives were criticized for owning fancy airplanes. Those companies quickly sold their airplanes, and as a result, the market really fell apart. But now, the market is back.

Some companies are more politically astute and don’t think it is a good idea to have airplanes to tour their executives around. It’s like being in a country club - you may not be able to justify it, but it makes a lot of sense when you are talking about incredibly busy executives that want to fly in and out of incredibly remote areas to their factories in different part of the country.

How does MSP rank now as an international hub?

It is still a Delta hub, so it’s a good place to fly to the Far East. When Northwest dominated this market, they had long-time legacy routes to the Far East, and Delta absorbed those in the merger. It is a very attractive hub to fly out of, especially if you are going west; it is getting better if you are flying east as well. If you are going south -- South America or Central America -- you are still going to have to fly through Atlanta, Houston or Dallas.

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