Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bell 206 JetRanger, N828AC: Accident occurred January 02, 2013 in Delano, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA080
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 02, 2013 in Delano, CA
Aircraft: BELL 206, registration: N828AC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On January 2, 2013, about 0615 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206 helicopter, N828AC, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering southeast of the Delano Municipal Airport (DLO), Delano, California. The helicopter was registered to Maricopa Helicopter, LLC, Fresno, California, and operated by San Joaquin Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of the helicopter was fatally injured. Dark night conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from DLO about 0420 to perform frost protection on a field southeast of DLO.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed a pilot of a second helicopter, that was following the accident helicopter on a return flight to DLO. The pilot stated that they were returning to DLO due to accumulating fog over the field where they were working. The pilot stated that during that return flight, he saw the accident helicopter ahead of his position make a right turn and he asked the pilot if she was lost. The accident pilot responded that she thought she was, and the second pilot gave her directions to turn left in the direction of DLO. The pilot diverted his attention to reestablish visual contact with distant lights to his left and subsequently observed an orange glow within the fog layer ahead of his position.

Examination of the accident site by the NTSB IIC revealed that the helicopter impacted terrain about 4 miles southeast of DLO. The wreckage debris path was about 90-feet in length and oriented on a heading of about 040 degrees magnetic. A post-impact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage. All major structural components of the helicopter were located throughout the wreckage debris path. The wreckage was relocated to a secure facility for further examination.

 Lori Parker remembers her friend Karen Johnson as the total package. Johnson was smart, beautiful, gracious and passionate about aviation, Parker said.

Johnson, a 62-year-old Camarillo resident, died Jan. 2 in Kern County after her helicopter crashed in a Central California vineyard about 30 miles from Bakersfield. She was the only person in the aircraft.

Parker is preparing for Johnson’s celebration of life on Sunday at the place she believes her friend would be honored to have it—the Camarillo Airport.

It’s the place where they met and where Johnson often flew from. The two friends worked together toward their multi-engine rating and flew to Arizona side by side to get their licenses.

“It’s one of my favorite memories,” Parker said. “Those flights will absolutely stay with me because I was so honored to share the cockpit with her.”

Johnson took off during the early morning hours of Jan. 2 and flew a helicopter owned by Delano-based San Joaquin Helicopters over an orange grove to keep the crops from freezing.

The chopper crashed on its way back to the Delano Municipal Airport.

Read more here:

Bell 206 JetRanger, N828AC 

  Regis#: 828AC        Make/Model: B206      Description: BELL 206B HELICOPTER
  Date: 01/02/2013     Time: 1415

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

  City: DELANO   State: CA   Country: US


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

  Activity: Aerial Application      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: FRESNO, CA  (WP17)                    Entry date: 01/03/2013 

Video: Caribbean Airlines emergency descent and landing at Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica


Published on January 6, 2013 

 "There was a very ill passenger on board who needed medical attention quickly, so the pilots made a very fast but smooth descent to land at the NMIA in Kingston Jamaica (actual destination). Very smooth landing as well! Enjoy!"

Fog-beater on second runway too

KOLKATA: Thursday turned out to be a lucky day for the city airport. While the integrated terminal finally got a date on Thursday for its inauguration, the category I instrument landing system (ILS) too became operational on the same day, 19 months after it was installed in June 2011. It means planes can now land on the secondary runway when the fog isn't too thick.

The primary runway at the airport does have a more advanced CAT-II ILS version, which allows flight operations till visibility drops to 300 metre, at both ends. But airport management had a tough time shutting down the runway for maintenance during winter as absence of ILS on the secondary runway would paralyze operations if visibility dropped.

The ILS on the secondary runway can be used by aircraft approaching from the Madhyamgram-end to the north of the airport. While flights are allowed to operate without ILS till there is clear visibility up to 2,000 metre, the visibility requirement is reduced to 800 metre if the landing strip has CAT-I ILS.

Sources said the delay had been caused by the mismatch between the report from the calibration aircraft and that of the ATC landing chart that led to a perceived error in the glide path of aircraft approaching the airport. The calibration was done three times, the latest on August 30, 2012.

The ILS comprises a localizer that provides information on horizontal deviation from the runway and glide-path that gives data on vertical deviation of the aircraft from the glide angle for landing.

It electronically guides planes to enable a perfect touchdown. This reduces human error as the pilot does not have to depend on visual landing alone.

The project, conceived over six years ago and scheduled to be completed by 2008, encountered a spate of delays following extension of the runway from 2,800 to 3,200 metre. On a couple of occasions, landings and takeoffs had to be suspended at night because the primary runway was under maintenance and the secondary runway was not equipped to handle night operations.

"Both runways now have ILS facility that will make operations at the airport more reliable and less prone to disruption due to emergency repair work on primary runway or bad weather. Also, if evening and night traffic increases manifold, the two runways can be pressed into operation," an airport official said.

However, the presence of a 120-year-old mosque 100 feet north of the runway continues to be an obstacle. Another design flaw which Kolkata airport suffers is the proximity between the two parallel runways. The distance between the two is less than what is required for parallel operations. If that were possible, it would have doubled the aircraft movements and reduced congestion during peak hours.


Investigators tentatively identify remains found near Logan's runways

WINTHROP (FOX 25 / – Investigators have tentatively identified the human remains that reportedly washed ashore near Logan Airport's runway on Thursday evening. 

Crews were called to 1 Orlando Avenue across from runways at Logan Airport after dog walkers spotted the human remains and called police from the nearby Cottage Park Yacht Club.

Based on information gathered by Massachusetts State Police and Winthrop police, and based on the circumstances of the body's recovery, the death does not appear to be criminal in nature.

Winthrop police chief said the body appeared to be male.

An autopsy is scheduled for the coming days, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Washington Dulles Airport Under Consideration as FBI Headquarters

Local, state and congressional leaders met Thursday in Arlington to discuss six potential sites for a new FBI headquarters, including Washington Dulles Airport and to present a unified front in their commitment to landing the new federal complex somewhere in Northern Virginia.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who called the meeting, said leaders from Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties had a "singular focus" in bringing the FBI headquarters to the Old Dominion.

"We're all committed to finding a home for the FBI in the commonwealth of Virginia," Moran said during a news conference following the meeting. "We are all going to promote Virginia as the best place for this relocation."

Arlington's role was simply as host. It has not put forth any potential sites for the new 55-acre facility.

Elected officials were briefed on six potential sites — in Herndon, at Dulles Airport, at Fort Belvoir, in Dumfries, at Quantico and at Fairfax County's preferred location, a federal warehouse near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.

The new facility would need to be 2.1 million square feet and hold about 11,000 employees.

Read more here:

Tampa International Airport loses two of its five weekly flights to Cuba

TAMPA — More than 40,000 people have traveled back and forth from Cuba using Tampa International Airport since nonstop commercial flights resumed in September 2011. The route was so successful that last summer it went from four to five times a week.

That success made Thursday's news all the more disappointing to TIA, which has been trying to bolster its international flights: The airport announced that it will lose two of those five weekly flights to Cuba starting next month.

Xael Charters told the airport it will cease flights out of Tampa on Feb. 14 so that it can relocate to Fort Lauderdale. There, company officials told the airport, they'll have less competition and grab a bigger market share of the Cuba flights.

ABC Charters, which flies twice a week to Cuba, will end its weekly service to the Cuban city of Holguin on Feb. 28 because of lack of interest, the company told the airport.

But ABC Charters will still fly to Havana on Saturdays. Island Travel & Tours of Tampa will also keep flying to Cuba on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tampa International spokeswoman Janet Zink said other airports are starting their own routes to Cuba. So it makes sense that market forces may be forcing changes to Tampa's service to Cuba.

"It's been more than 50 years since there's been any service between Tampa and Cuba," Zink said. "Gateways are opening all over the country.

"It's natural to expect that there would be some adjustment as the market evolves."

Neither company could be reached for comment on Thursday.

The Tampa Bay area has the third-largest U.S. population of Cuban-Americans — more than 80,000 people. South Florida is No. 1 and New York is No. 2

The most recent number of people using the Cuba route through Tampa International also looked impressive: In October-November, 5,804 people traveled to Cuba from Tampa. In October-November of 2011, it was 3,764.

That was a rise of 54 percent.


Supreme Court of Florida: Diamond Aircraft Industries, Inc., Appellant, vs. Alan Horowitch, Appellee

No. SC11-1371 

Horowitch v. Diamond Aircraft Indus., Inc., 


This case is before the Court for review of four questions of Florida law certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that are determinative of a cause pending in that court and for which there appears to be no controlling precedent. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(6), Fla. Const. 

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Firm hired to fortify case with Federal Aviation Administration

In an ongoing effort to qualify for federal dollars to fund airport improvements, Wilmington Air Park officials have hired nationally known airport planners to help make a case for eligibility.

The air park must be named a National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airport to get federal funds to pay for upgrades. But the county airport on North Curry Road already is NPIAS-eligible and a year or more ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the Clinton County Port Authority the two airports are too close to both be NPIAS-eligible.

Since then, the FAA has indicated it has not excluded the possibility of NPIAS for the air park, and the federal agency has said it will continue to consider it — but without making assurances one way or the other, Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Kevin Carver reported Thursday to the Port Authority board.

“What we are doing is attempting to work through and work around the FAA’s restrictions without jeopardizing anybody else’s status who’s currently in the NPIAS,” said Carver, in a clear reference to Clinton Field on Curry Road in Clinton County.

The FAA’s circumstances concerning the air park’s wish to be named a NPIAS airport can be compared, Carver said, to the adoption of a young child. The FAA’s approval would involve “a very, very long agreement” between the federal government and the air park, with the federal government essentially agreeing to financially help the air park maintain a certain standard.

According to Carver, the question now is how much of the air park is the FAA willing to adopt?

The FAA has indicated to air park officials that it hasn’t seen a clear and compelling argument that all of the airport ought to be included within the NPIAS “because we aren’t currently using most of the airport,” Carver said.

“So, they’ve asked us to very specifically define which parts and pieces of the airport that we want them to consider to be eligible for the NPIAS,” he added.

Carver said that’s why he and others recommended to the Port board that it engage a professional airport planning firm to assist in the process “so we don’t wake up a year or two — if we are fortunate enough to get approval to enter NPIAS — and wish we had included something else, too.”

The Clinton County Port Authority executive director continued, “The delicacy here is, I believe, the less we ask for the FAA to approve into the NPIAS, the higher our probability becomes of being accepted into the NPIAS.”

Returning to the adoption analogy, Carver said that, for the FAA, approving at least part of the airport in the air park is like “putting one more mouth at the table, but no more food [funding].”

Consequently, the FAA is being “very careful and very cautious,” and the Port Authority should be careful and cautious, as well, said Carver.

RW Armstrong is the firm retained at $20,000 for airport planning services.


Tanty over sandwich forces plane to land

A plane has been forced to land when an unruly passenger threw a tantrum on board - over a sandwich.

Virgin flight DJ1432 left Darwin - bound for Perth - about 7am today.

But one hour into the journey the pilot turned back to Darwin International Airport when the man became verbally aggressive.

The drama was reportedly sparked by a dispute over a $10 sandwich.

Cabin crew blocked the aisle on both sides of the man's seat and apparently took him "down the back" of the plane.

One passenger said: "He was rambling, his behavior was erratic and he was shouting.

"It wasn't mayhem but he disturbed a few of the kids on board."

Australian Federal Police reportedly arrested the man but it is unknown if he will be charged.

Virgin spokeswoman Melissa Thompson said the plane had to be absorbed back into the flight schedule.

She said passengers affected by the disruption would be in Perth by 10pm.

Story and Reaction/Comments:

Asia's Millionaires Buying Private Planes Boost Demand

Millionaires in search of new toys are set to fuel a fourfold jump in Asia’s share of private jets in the next five years.

Asians may own as much as 20 percent of the global luxury jets fleet by 2017 as economic growth spawns new millionaires, said Singapore-based K.K. Yong, vice president of Jetsolution International Services Ltd. Southeast Asia will create the next wave of demand for private aircraft, benefiting General Dynamics Corp. (GD)’s Gulfstream, Embraer SA  and Textron Inc.’s Cessna, the aviation consultant said.

Rising affluence in Southeast Asia, China and India amid a boom in mining and property projects is boosting demand for private jets to increase business flexibility and cut travel times, according to Jetsolution. The number of people in the Asia-Pacific region with at least $1 million in investable assets rose 1.6 percent to 3.37 million in 2011, RBC Wealth Management and Capgemini SA said in September.

“When people get wealthy they tend to buy what they wish to have eventually,” Yong said in an interview in Singapore on Jan. 7. “Demand for business jets is highly correlated to wealth creation, which is largely driven by economic growth in the region.”

As many as 15,200 business jets were flying worldwide at the end of 2011, with about 5 percent in Asia, Yong said, citing figures from Montreal-based planemaker Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) The U.S. and Europe combined accounted for 58 percent of the total.

Bedrooms, Bathrooms

Business jets cost from about $17.2 million for Bombardier’s Learjet to about $50 million for Dassault Aviation (AM) SA’s Falcon 7X and more than $100 million for larger Airbus SAS or Boeing Co. planes outfitted as business jets.

The list price of an Airbus corporate jet, based on its A319 passenger aircraft, can be about $87 million with a typical cabin. Those planes, which typically seat as many as 19 people and can fly non-stop intercontinentally, have features such as lounges, offices, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Jetsolution, headquartered in Hong Kong, provides consulting services to private-jet owners in Asia and advises on aircraft acquisitions and sales. The company, established in 2009, gets three to five enquiries a day from potential clients, said Jackie Wu, president of Jetsolution.

The wealth in India, China and Southeast Asia may exceed the total in the U.S. and Europe by 2030, the Asian Development Bank said in May. Among the world’s top 100 wealthy individuals, 11 are Asians, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Asian Wealth

“Wealth is moving to Asia, and there are lots of potentials especially in Indonesia,” Wu said. “We are still in the infant stage compared to the U.S. and Europe” in the private-plane market, she said.

Singapore posted a 14 percent increase in millionaire households to 188,000 in 2011, when the Asia-Pacific region countered a decline in wealth in Western Europe and the U.S., according to a Boston Consulting Group report published May 31.

The proportion of millionaire homes in the city-state was 17 percent, the highest in the world, according to the report.

China’s high net-worth households, defined as those with at least $1 million, probably expanded 17 percent to 1.74 million in 2012 after increasing 30 percent a year earlier, according to a Dec. 20 report by Boston Consulting Group and China Construction Bank Corp.

Infrastructure Need

Increased trade as well as development of resources and real-estate projects in Asia are driving demand for private jets as they require traveling to remote areas and flexible time arrangements, Wu said.

Customers in China prefer to buy newer and faster planes and are interested in aircraft made by companies such as Gulfstream and Bombardier, Yong said.

Southeast Asian clients are also interested in used aircraft as long as they deliver on performance and are cost- effective, Yong said. Popular models include those made by Cessna, Embraer and Hawker Beechcraft Inc., he said.

While demand is growing, private-jet owners face challenges in flying in the region because of a lack of infrastructure, Wu said. Private planes have to compete for airport space against airlines carrying more passengers, and may be restricted in their landing or takeoff hours, as governments prioritize tourism as a source of revenue, she said.

China, Asia’s largest private-jet market with more than 200 of over 700 planes in the region, has four airports catering to such aircraft, according to Jetsolution. This compares with more than 5,000 facilities in the U.S., reflecting a need for Asia to build more secondary airports to cater to expanding business-jet operations, Yong said.

“A lot of the aviation authorities may not be so well- versed in the needs and demands of private-jet ownership,” Wu said.

Cessna opened a regional service center in Singapore in July last year. Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. (STE) is building a hangar that will also service business jets, scheduled to begin operating as early as the end of March.

“Southeast Asia plays a very important role in supporting these aircraft in the region, especially in Singapore,” Wu said. “Maintenance in Singapore will sort of fuel growth in business aviation in the local region.”


Penticton not part of British Columbia aviation strategy

B.C.’s just-announced aviation strategy is likely to have little direct effect on the Penticton Airport.

That’s according to airport manager David Allen, who said that nonetheless there will be indirect effects if the strategy is success in bringing more international tourists in and funnelling them through to markets in the Interior, rather than staying in the traditional markets of Vancouver and Victoria.
That’s even more true, he continued, with the extra Vancouver flight Air Canada has added to the Penticton schedule for 2013.

“But as far as the airport expecting to receive any money from the province, for any kind of upgrades to do this, no,” said Allen. “I don’t know what we would upgrade to. We need more flights and we have taken the initiative with Air Canada and come the spring, they will be providing a fourth flight here and I am also still pursuing Air Canada for a flight to Calgary.”

Opening and expanding international markets for B.C.’s goods and services is one of the pillars of the B.C. Jobs Plan.

The Connecting with the World Aviation Strategy for British Columbia aims to make the province more competitive in the global aviation market and attract a growing share of Asia-Pacific passenger and cargo business.

The B.C. government has invested $65.5 million to improve 36 airports throughout the province in the past decade, including significant projects in Prince George, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Campbell River, Comox, Castlegar, Kelowna, Abbotsford, including nearly $1 million in recently completed upgrades at Langley airport. However, Allen notes that these airports, unlike Penticton, have been released from the federal government and are now owned by communities or other groups.

Penticton airport is still owned and operated by the federal government.

“While much of our aviation growth will occur through YVR and the Lower Mainland, every community in B.C. will benefit from new job opportunities, expanded air services and increased access to international markets as we build our capacity as a global aviation hub,” said Mary Polak, minister of transportation in a press release.

Allen sees the strategy as an initiative from B.C. to try to get some increased aviation activity into the province.

“People who get off the plane in Vancouver to come to Penticton, by all means, we should take part in that,” said Allen. “We can only benefit from it. Just because they aren’t throwing money at the Penticton airport, doesn’t mean we can’t handle tourists coming here and with an extra flight at noon time all through the summer, there is more that ample opportunity for tourists to come through to Penticton and spend dollars here. We know we have the draw here.”

The additional new daily Vancouver to Penticton is scheduled to start May 1, 2013.

“Air Canada has responded to the opportunity to address Penticton’s challenges with respect to the lack of adequate seat capacity and flight frequency to Vancouver.” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “There is a definite need for this service as well as the need for direct service to Alberta, the top two destinations of local passengers.”

Penticton remains in the running as a possible expansion site for WestJet as it prepares to launch a new regional carrier, called Encore. The announcement on what cities have landed that is expected to come on Jan. 21. Allen is still hoping that Air Canada, through its regional carrier Jazz, might consider adding a Calgary flight to the schedule, starting with a smaller plane to prove the concept.

“They have made tremendous improvements in Air Canada with their networking out of Calgary. Part of their structure in the west is to realign some of their carriers to provide a feed to that network,” said Allen, noting that Air Canada has a flight in and out of Cranbrook that is serviced with a 19-seat aircraft.


FedEx donates Boeing 727 to California Baptist University Aviation Science program

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- FedEx Express has donated a Boeing 727-200F to California Baptist University for use by its new aviation science program. The cargo jet made its final taxi today after landing at the Riverside Municipal Airport. The aircraft will be on permanent display at the airport and will provide a working laboratory for aviation science students.

"Although this aircraft has reached the end of its useful life in commercial service after 33 years, it is beginning a new life here at the Riverside Municipal Airport as a working lab for CBU aviation science students," said Dr. Daniel Prather, founding chair of the CBU aviation science department. "CBU could not be more pleased with this generous donation from FedEx and appreciates the role of Women in Aviation International in making it possible."

Before its final flight, the aircraft with registration number N266FE provided FedEx with 20 years of service, transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States. The plane is the 60th donation of a Boeing 727 aircraft to various organizations for educational purposes. Prior to its service with FedEx, the aircraft served as a passenger plane for Air Canada.

"FedEx is always proud to give back to the communities where we live and work, and this donation of a 727 from our fleet is a good example of the company's community spirit," said David Sutton, managing director of Aircraft Acquisition and Sales for FedEx. "This marks the 60th aircraft we have donated coast to coast, reflecting the community pride shared by all FedEx employees in support of educational endeavors."

Prather expressed his gratitude to FedEx, and to Women in Aviation International, who opened up this opportunity to its members. "Starting a program with a B727 already on hand is more than I could have ever expected," Prather said. "Thank you, FedEx, for making this a reality!"

About FedEx ExpressFedEx Express is the world's largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.

About FedEx Corp.FedEx Corp. provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services.

With annual revenues of $43 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit

About California Baptist UniversityFounded in 1950, California Baptist University is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention and is fully accredited through the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. More than 6,000 students attend CBU from 37 states and 30 countries, enrolled in 145 undergraduate majors and 36 graduate programs.

SOURCE California Baptist University

Refueling in mid-air with the Alabama Air National Guard (gallery, video)

OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO -- Len Naugher's office is 24,000 feet in the sky.

The career Alabama Air National Guard chief master sergeant is a boom operator on a KC-135R "Stratotanker" aerial refueling aircraft. His job is to operate the controls of the equipment that passes fuel to other aircraft. 

See a big picture photo essay.

Naugher is a member of the 117th Air Refueling Wing (117 ARW) of the Alabama Air National Guard based at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

He lies on his stomach looking out a small window at the rear of the aircraft waiting for a pair of F-15C "Eagle" fighter aircraft from the Florida Air National Guard to arrive.

Pilots Col. Doug Preston and copilot 1St Lt. Roberta Parker fly the tanker at 360 mph in a racetrack pattern over the Gulf of Mexico off Florida. 

The fighter jets approach from the left. One breaks off and slowly approaches the rear of the tanker. Naugher talks to the pilot on the radio guiding him in. He extends the 60-foot refueling boom into a receptacle no bigger than a dinner plate on the fighter.

It only takes about a minute to pass the fuel to an F-15. A larger aircraft like a bomber or cargo plane may take 30 minutes.

The pilot breaks away from the tanker to allow his wingman to refuel. They repeat the process several times so they can get some experience.
Naugher flies about two times a week. 

"This is my nine to five job," he said. "I couldn't imagine going to work in an office everyday."

Originally he was a mechanic when the unit flew RF-4C "Phantom II" reconnaissance jets. He stayed on the ground when the jets flew. When the unit changed missions to aerial refueling in 1994, he trained to be a boom operator. Now he flies on the aircraft.

"I've been to every continent except Antarctica,' he said. "We fly all over the world."

Naugher is passing along his 31 years of experience by training new crew members like Airman First Class Evan Harwood who is learning to be a boom operator. 

There are about 1,000 people assigned to the 117 ARW including about 200 full-time employees. Also, active duty Air Force members also work with the unit to train with the experienced guard members.

The Alabama Air National Guard was formed in 1922, nine years before the Birmingham Airport was built. It was originally based at Roberts Field on the west side of Birmingham.

The KC-135 first flew in 1956 with the last one delivered to the Air Force in 1965. It has been upgraded and modernized several times.

There are more than 400 KC-135s still flying with about 180 of them operated by Air National Guard units.

Story, photo gallery, video:

Boeing to Consolidate El Paso Facilities, Reduce Workforce to Ensure Competitiveness: Realignment to be completed by end of 2014

EL PASO, Texas, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Boeing will consolidate its El Paso facilities and reduce the workforce there by the end of 2014. The move is part of the company's strategy to increase affordability for government customers and become more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.

The 370 workers at the site manufacture electronics for a variety of Boeing products. Anticipated U.S. defense budget cuts likely will mean less demand for these items. Therefore, Boeing will reduce occupied square footage 50 percent by moving from three buildings into one, and will reduce employment by up to 160 positions.

"This difficult decision was based on a thorough study of the current and future business environment and the need to remain competitive," said Derek McLuckey, director of Boeing Network Operations. "We recognize this will affect the lives of many of the highly skilled men and women who work here, so we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community through this difficult time."

Affected employees will receive assistance with finding employment elsewhere in Boeing or outside, as well as financial counseling and retirement seminars.

Despite this consolidation, "Texas remains critical to Boeing with more than 6,000 employees working at Boeing locations and subsidiaries throughout the state," McLuckey said. "We also have valued relationships with suppliers in Texas. In 2011, Boeing spent $2 billion with our supply base here."

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 60,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

SOURCE Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Boeing Buyers Still Can't Sleep Easy

Updated January 10, 2013, 3:18 p.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal

The latest batch of Dreamliner troubles inflicted a rough two days on Boeing's stock this week. By Wednesday, though, at least some investors decided the panic was overdone: The shares were back into positive territory for the year so far.

But in their zeal to buy on the dip, are they ignoring other risks hanging over the company?

With a National Transportation Safety Board investigation under way, Boeing isn't commenting directly on the battery fire that occurred Monday on a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston's Logan Airport. But it defended its use of lithium-ion batteries on the jet, which it says are safe, and played down separate electrical problems that emerged in December. Notably, neither the NTSB nor the Japanese authorities have grounded the 787s, and the airlines that have them are keeping them in service.

Boeing can ill-afford any more trouble with the 787. After production and design woes that delayed its rollout by more than three years, costing Boeing billions, the day when the aircraft might finally start contributing to its bottom line has only just come into view.

The company delivered 46 Dreamliners in 2012—above forecasts made at the start of the year—and should deliver somewhere north of 80 in 2013. But if the NTSB determines there is a safety issue, production could be slowed.

More problematic, airlines might defer delivery, says aviation consultant Bob Mann of R.W. Mann & Co.

"Assuming the next couple of weeks don't bring us further headlines, this issue will probably go away," says Mr. Mann. "I think everybody is collectively crossing their fingers."

But the Dreamliner's problems aren't Boeing's only headwind.

Another is the as-yet unresolved issue of what manner of cuts might come out of Washington later this year. Investors tend to focus on Boeing's commercial-airplane operations, usually the main driver of growth at the company. But its defense business accounts for over 40% of sales and risks getting hurt.

The "fiscal cliff" deal put off mandatory government-spending cuts until March 1, but didn't banish them altogether. They would cut deeply into military spending. While it is extremely unlikely that Congress would let the entirety of the scheduled cuts go through, it is likely that any deal will include some defense cuts.

Commercial-airplane sales may also be due for a breather. Cheap financing and a desire for more fuel-efficient planes have boosted demand for aircraft beyond that required by air-traffic growth and normal scrappage rates, says UBS analyst David Strauss.

The implication is that demand has been pulled forward, suggesting orders may slow in the years ahead. At worst, it could mean the big backlog of orders Boeing and rival Airbus are sitting on is less solid than it seems—a risk that Dreamliner snafus hardly help with.

Investors taking Boeing's 787 problems as an opportunity to take a flier on the stock could face a long wait on the tarmac.


Cameras to check logbook fudging by flying schools

MUMBAI: In a first-of-its-kind development, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to keep a virtual eye on all flying training institutes in the country to check malpractices. The DGCA has ordered flying schools to install cameras, at specified locations on their campuses, that send real-time data on the training activities to the regulator's Delhi headquarters. It means there will be cameras near the runways used for training aspiring pilots, in the aircraft parking hangars, the classrooms, etc. for the Big Brother to monitor.

In a first-of-its-kind development, the aviation regulator has decided to keep a virtual eye on the country's flying training institutes to check malpractices. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered flying schools to install cameras, at specified locations within its campuses, that send real time data on the training activities to the regulator's headquarters in Delhi. It means there will be cameras near the runways used for training pilot aspirants, in the aircraft parking hangars, the classrooms etc for the Big Brother to monitor.

Currently, India has 43 functional flying training institutes with a combined fleet of about 250 training aircraft and about 300 pilot aspirants on their rolls. The move comes more than a year after the fake pilot license scam broke out following which police cases were filed against at least 15 pilots and instructors. Among the issues investigated was the fraudulent logging of flying hours. It was found that instructors of some schools inflated the actual hours of flying training imparted to students by entering fake records of flights into their log books. So these students had undergone less than the mandatory 200 hours of flying training needed to apply for a Commercial Pilot License (the basic license needed for an airline job), though their records said otherwise.

Currently, India has a total of 43 functional flying training institutes with a combined fleet of about 250 training aircraft and about 300 pilot aspirants on their rolls. The revolutionary move comes more than a year after the fake pilot license scam broke out following which police cases were filed against at least 15 pilots and instructors. Among the issues investigated was the fraudulent logging of flying hours. It was found that instructors of some schools inflated the actual hours of flying training imparted to students by entering fake records of flights into their log books. So these students had undergone less than the mandatory 200 hours of flying training needed to apply for a Commercial Pilot License (the basic license needed for an airline job), though their records said otherwise.

The decision was announced at a meeting in Delhi on Thursday attended by DGCA Arun Mishra, DGCA director (flying training) Capt Yashraj Tongia and chief flying instructors. "The proposal received a positive response. Instructors too agreed that the move will increase transparency, keep them in the clear and transform the flying training industry," said an instructor who attended the meeting. Mishra was not available for comment.

"The policy will be implemented after the DGCA issues a circular to the effect. Schools that fail to adhere to this norm will stand to lose their operating license," a source said. Schools will save the camera recording data for a month.

The decision on cameras was announced in a meeting held in Delhi on Thursday attended by Director general of civil aviation, Arun Mishra, DGCA director, flying training, Capt Yashraj Tongia and chief flying instructors. The proposal received a positive response. Instructors too agreed that the move will increase transparency, keep them in the clear and transform the flying training industry,'' said an instructor who attended the meeting. The director-general was not available for comment. The policy will be implemented only after the regulator issues a circular to the effect. The schools that fail to adhere to this norm will stand to lose their operating license,'' the source added. The data from camera recordings will be saved by each school for the duration of a month.

Aviation sources said the virtual eye will act as a deterrent and discourage the practice of fake logging considerably.

Under the current system, the DGCA conducts an annual inspection of schools when they apply for license renewal. During the inspection, students' logbooks, aircraft logbooks, institute's flying records, etc are randomly

checked and often fake logging does not come to fore. "Now, the schools have been told to email their flying training done daily to DGCA. Moreover, with cameras too scanning the touch-down zone of the runway, faking flying records will not be easy,'' said another instructor. Classroom cameras will also be used for virtual learning as the DGCA plans to get experts from the airline industry to speak to students about various aspects of the industry.

Aviation sources said that the virtual eye will act as a deterrent and discourage the practice of fake logging considerably. Under the current system, the DGCA carries out an annual inspection of schools when they apply for renewal of their training license. During this inspection, students log books, aircraft log books, institute's flying records etc are randomly checked and often the cases of fake logging do not come to fore. Now the flying schools have been asked to email their flying training done daily to the DGCA. Moreover with cameras too scanning the touch-down zone of the runway, faking flying records will not be easy,'' said another instructor. The classroom cameras will also be used for virtual learning as the DGCA also has plans to get experts from the airline industry to speak to students about various aspects of the industry.

Apart from this, the director general spoke about the flying training checks carried out by chief flying instructors at the end of the course "All students pass the test, no one has ever failed."


Plan to lure locals to Keswick Island

 Island Air managing director Glenn Leigh-Smith shows off his beautiful plane.

A $350,000 seaplane, new scuba diving tours and a yet-to-be approved temporary jetty are just some of the tools Keswick Island stakeholders plan on using to attract Mackay residents to their patch of paradise. 

 Traditionally an island escape heavily marketed to overseas visitors and tourists from southern states, Keswick has been largely overlooked by those who live closest to it.

But Keswick Island owner Edward Dawson-Damer said recent closures of resorts on Brampton and Lindeman islands meant the time was right to market Keswick to Mackay.

"Keswick is perfectly placed to be an island escape for Mackay locals - being only 32km off the Mackay coast," Mr Dawson-Damer said.

"In 2013, (we are) working to make the island more accessible and enjoyable as an off-shore destination for Mackay locals.

"To drive this forward, a number of businesses associated with Keswick Island have joined forces and have partnered with Mackay Tourism."

Keswick Island business owners will hold their first meeting with Mackay Tourism officials on January 23.

Plans for a marina on the island are yet to be determined.

For the past year and a half, the managing director of Island Air, Glenn Leigh-Smith, has operated a seven-seater Airvan to and from Keswick Island.

From April 1, the Queensland Department of National Parks has granted his company a permit to also fly a $350,000 seaplane between Mackay, Keswick Island and Bushy Island - 70km off the coast.

"The whole airplane lands on the water," he said. "It's a very unique experience.''

At the moment, the seaplane is only permitted to visit Bushy Island twice a week; something Mr Leigh-Smith said was financially unviable.

But he said he was hopeful an agreement would be reached with the department to increase the frequency of the visits.

"We're hoping to work with National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority this year to improve that and... to show them we're not destroying what we came to enjoy," he said.

Accommodation on the island currently consists of a bed and breakfast as well as a collection of houses, which are able to be rented out. Keswick Island is 80% national park.

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Flight instructor lied on documents

 Ian King

A flight instructor may face jail after he was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining a pilot’s license for a businessman from Bailiff Bridge.

Ian King displayed a “gross breach of trust” by signing off Paul Spencer’s training records just weeks before the accident that killed both him and his wife Linda.

The couple died when the helicopter he was piloting came down in Rudding Park resort, Harrogate, in January 2008.

Mr Spencer, 43, and his wife, 59, ran Country Baskets, a business which sold dried flowers in Harrogate, and were regular visitors to the hotel.

King, of Wetherby, had pleaded not guilty to making a false representation with intent to deceive the Civil Aviation Authority.

But yesterday a jury of six men and six women, found King guilty.

The jury at Leeds Crown Court had been told that Mr Spencer obtained his license after King falsely certified to the authority that his student had complied with all the training requirements and flown the required amount of hours.

Judge Tom Bayliss told King: “I do take the view that this is a gross breach of trust.

“This is, in my judgement, a serious matter.

“It involves a breach of trust that was placed in you by the Civil Aviation Authority and shows a disregard on your part for the safety requirements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority.”

Adjourning the case until next month for sentencing, he added: “You are to be under no illusion in adjourning this case today for pre-sentence reports that this case is to be dealt with in any other way than custody.

“But I would be assisted by knowing more about you and your personal circumstances when I come to sentence.”

The court was also told yesterday that King has two previous Civil Aviation Authority convictions and has been banned from being an instructor since 2009.

King was granted bail until his sentencing on Monday, February 4.


Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum: Grant Supports Restoration Efforts at Historic Hangar #1

CAPE MAY AIRPORT – Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum, located at the Cape May Airport, is proud to announce the museum recently received funding from the 1772 Foundation Grant Program administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust. The grant in the amount of $15,000 requires a 100% match on behalf of the museum. The total project cost of $30,000 will enable the museum to repair and restore damaged areas of the roof on the hangar’s northwest side. Restoration work should be complete by March 1, 2013.

The 1772 Foundation provides financial support for targeted restoration projects throughout the United States and is committed to preserving American historical treasures. Hangar #1 is listed on the National and State of New Jersey’s registers of historic places. The Navy all-wood double wide hangar was one of only six dive-bomb training facilities in the United States during WWII. The museum also houses a General Motors built TBM Avenger which was the same type of aircraft piloted by President George H.W. Bush in the Pacific Theatre.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport, New Jersey. Cape May Airport was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 airmen who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum:


Donations, new equipment bolster aeronautics program


As Liberty University School of Aeronautics soars to national prominence, the program continues to add new equipment and planes to keep pace with its rapid growth.

Generous donations of aircraft have helped bolster  the school’s flight training and aviation maintenance technician programs. The newest planes include a recently donated Cessna 172 Skyhawk and a King Air 90 turbine powered aircraft, which was donated by Dynamic Aviation. Liberty has recently acquired three new flight simulators, as well.

The Skyhawk is one of Liberty’s most used aircraft for flight training and will provide more openings for students to take to the skies and log flight hours.

“We have experienced a lot of growth in recent years and that has increased our demand for flight instructors and airplanes,” said Aaron Wilson, director of flight operations. “Having this airplane donated to us has tremendously enabled us to meet the training demands of students.”

The King Air is no longer fit for flight but will be an excellent training tool in Liberty’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program.

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New jobs on the horizon at Humberside Airport

New jobs are set to be created at Humberside Airport after a significant contract was awarded to one of the UK's leading providers of energy support service.

Bond Offshore Helicopters Ltd has been awarded a new contract with Perenco Oil And Gas and has begun operating from Humberside Airport this week.

The new deal, worth in the region of £37 million, is for the provision of crew change flights to Perenco's newly-acquired assets in the North Sea and it is expected up to 15 new posts will be created at the airport.

Paul Litten, Humberside Airport's head of business development, said the launch of the new service now means the airport has three different operators servicing the requirements of the offshore industry in the southern North Sea.

Mr Litten said: "We are delighted Bond has come to Humberside Airport.

"It is a significant investment and it means the airport continues to grow in importance for the offshore gas industry, which is a major employer locally.

"We will now have three of the biggest UK helicopter operators based at the airport."

Bond Offshore Helicopters, which specializes in providing offshore helicopter transportation services, will invest in a new office facility at the airport, which acts as a key piece of infrastructure for the gas industry.

Mr Litten said this focus on offshore workers has been key to the airport's growth.

He said: "Humberside Airport is ideally located and we now have three large helicopter operators, which gives the offshore industry a great level of activity.

"The airport's heliport sees about 1,000 helicopter flights carrying workers to and from the North Sea offshore gas platforms every single month.

"We are seeing a growth in almost 1,000 helicopter movements a month, so it is a really important part of the business."

Luke Farajallah, managing director of Bond Offshore Helicopters, said: "This will be our first aircraft operating out of Humberside Airport and we very much look forward to further growth. This is an exciting new win for us."


Plane diverted from Norwich airport to Humberside because of fog

The KL1505 flight from Amsterdam was held in the air for around 30 minutes before being diverted to Humberside Airport, near Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, instead of landing at the scheduled time of 9:45am.

All the passengers on the plane then had to travel over 100 miles by coach to Norwich, arriving at their original destination at around 3pm.

AirTran to fly Chicago to Jamaica, Dominican Republic

DALLAS (AP) — AirTran Airways is selling tickets for new flights between Chicago and both Jamaica and the Dominican Republic that it expects to operate beginning this spring.

The airline still needs government approval for the international flights.

AirTran parent Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday that flights between Chicago's Midway Airport and Montego Bay, Jamaica, will start April 14 and fly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

The airline said flights from Midway to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will start May 19 and run on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Ukraine’s Aerosvit Cancels Flights, Government Helps Passengers

Aerosvit, Ukraine’s biggest private airline, which is in a bankruptcy procedure, canceled 15 flights and delayed two long-distance flights as the government pledged to find money to take passengers to their destinations.

Six arrivals and nine departures were canceled by the carrier today, Kiev Boryspil Airport said in a statement on its website. Flights from Goa and Bangkok were delayed for more than ten hours, the airport said. Aerosvit is controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky. It operates 80 international routes to 34 countries, according to its website.

The Kiev regional economic court started a bankruptcy procedure against Aerosvit on Dec. 29. over outstanding debts of 4.27 billion hryvnia ($520 million) as of Dec. 27 and assets of 1.47 billion hryvnia as of Nov. 30, according to court documents.

The government pledged to find finances and to lease or rent aircraft to ensure passengers get to their destinations “for this acute period,” Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said in a statement on the government’s website today. 

Federal Aviation Administration warns of exploding coffee filters in planes

A new warning was issued about pre-packaged coffee filters used on many airlines.

The Federal Aviation Administration reports several cases of crew members and passengers suffering burns from exploding coffee filters.

The reported explosions happened when filters were not placed in the coffee pot just right. Officials say that pressure can build in the coffee pot, causing an explosion.

Several cases of bursting java filters have caused flight crew and passengers to suffer first- and second-degree burns, according to a CNN report .

"The coffee filter containing the hot coffee grounds can burst causing burns to the face, neck, hands, arms and torso in varying degrees of severity," a FAA safety alert said. The FAA issued the alert and sent it to airlines and aircraft operators on Jan. 3.

The FAA recommends that flight crews make sure the filter packages aren't folded and that they are installed correctly before starting the brew.

Federal officials are asking air carriers to add new warnings to training manuals about the potential hazard.

To read the full CNN report, go to .

Huge snake reportedly hitches ride on Qantas flight

A 9-foot python hitched a ride on the wing of a Qantas plane bound for Papua New Guinea, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Passengers on board noticed the snake tucked into the wing of the plane. As the plane soared higher into windier and colder weather, the snake struggled against the elements.

"I felt quite sad for it, really," said one passenger. "For the remainder of the flight, he was trying to pull himself back into the plane, even though he was fighting against 400km/h winds. The cabin crew told us that at cruising altitude, it was minus 12 degrees outside -- but not even that was able to finish him."

University of Sydney snake expert Rick Shine reportedly identified the reptile as a scrub python, the longest snake in Australia.

"It appears as though the snake has initially crawled up inside the landing bay, maybe housed himself in there, and then crawled into the trailing ledge flap assembly," said Paul Cousins, president of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.

It's unclear if the snake survived the harrowing journey, though one passenger noted, "Until we landed, I looked out the window and the thing was still moving." 

Click for more from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hillsborough aviation board approves $400,000 war chest to take Hernando County to court

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board sent a message on Thursday to the Hernando County Commission: It's on.

The board that governs Tampa International Airport voted unanimously to spend $400,000 to fight Hernando in federal court over the old Hernando County Airport's new name: Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport.

Hillsborough's problem is with Hernando using the words "Tampa airport" — even though both airports are 40 miles apart and could not be more different. Brooksville's is a small commuter airport. Tampa's is a major domestic hub.

But to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, the name "Tampa airport" is an attack on Tampa International's brand, and a violation of the "Tampa airport" federal trademark owned by the Hillsborough aviation authority.

"We have no choice but to protect our name," said Tampa International CEO Joe Lopano. "I would imagine Old Navy would be upset if someone came in and named a company Old Regional Navy.

Despite Hillsborough's trademark and a letter from its attorney, the Hernando County Commission voted in October to rename the airport. Their attorney told the board that Tampa could not trademark a "place name."

In November, the Hillsborough board voted to sue to protect its federal trademark. Now the board is signaling that its willing to go to trial by authorizing a legal war chest. The $400,000 is the estimated cost of a federal trial.

"I support regionalism," Lopano said. "But not to our detriment."

Hernando officials seemed undaunted by the news.

Hernando County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said the Hillsborough authority had already "gotten off to a bad foot with the judge'' by trying to get around a rule that requires governmental agencies to try mediation before going to court. Lawyers from both sides will meet next week to talk.

Hernando officials seemed just as confident of victory as their Hillsborough counterparts.

"Our attorney and our staff are just a resolute that their case is without merit," Russell said. "There is significant precedent about using the name.''

But Gigi Rechel, the attorney for Hillsborough's board, told them they had no choice but to fight.

"If you don't protect your trademark," she said, "it's a use-it or lose-it scenario."

Rechel also said not fighting would also be a waste of the $60,000 investment the board made to obtain the trademark. The Tampa firm GrayRobinson, which obtained the trademark, will get the $400,000 to pay for litigation.

The Hillsborough board members all shook their heads at the notion of going to court over a name — but voted to do so anyway.

"Obviously none of us want to have go down this path," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "It's just ridiculous. I think it's unfortunate we have to do this. But I would agree that we have to protect our brand."

Dr. Joseph Diaco, a member of Hillsborough's board, suggested this compromise: "How about Brooksville-Near-Tampa'' airport?


Homeschool students to explore aviation

A student with the Inland Christian Academic Program participates in an aviation workshop called "Young Eagles flight" in April 2012 in Chino.

Inland Christian Academic Program is offering aviation workshops in Riverside and Corona this spring. 

The aviation workshops will encourage students of all ages to capture the vision of aviators past and present.

The field of aviation provides students with opportunities for practical application of physical science and basic chemistry principles, math and geography concepts, and measurement and problem-solving skills.

The ICAP aviation workshops will use the recently developed Aerospace Connections in Education curriculum from the Civil Air Patrol. CAP National Headquarters envisioned this program to “expose students to the world of aerospace in hopes of inspiring the next generation of the aerospace workforce.”

Through financial assistance from the Air Force Association, NASA, and others, CAP has provided teachers with an engaging theme and even free T-shirts that will build excitement, identity and camaraderie in ICAP aviation students.

ICAP’s aviation workshops will meet one hour per week for 16 weeks, beginning Jan. 29. The Riverside campus will host workshops on Tuesdays, and the Corona campus will host workshops on Thursdays. Cost and times vary by age group. Registration is in process and will continue until the workshops are filled.

ICAP is a program of the nonprofit Quest Educational Solutions. There is a cost for each workshop series, but it varies by age. It ranges from $65 plus $10 supply fee for K-second-graders to $120 plus $15 supply fee for seventh- through 12th-graders.

For more information, please visit or call 951-273-0153.

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Vijay Mallya's private jet ‘grounded’ over pending dues

The service tax department took "temporary custody" of Vijay Mallya's personal jet, an Airbus Corporate Jet costing approximately Rs. 443.85 crore at the Mumbai airport on Tuesday against the pending dues worth Rs. 70 crore. This is the third aircraft belonging to the cash-strapped airline that was detained by the department over pending dues. "We have taken temporary custody of the aircraft which means the airline cannot use it until they clear the pending dues," said Sushil Solanki, service tax commissioner, Mumbai.

The Kingfisher Airlines, however, denied the claim. "The Airbus Corporate jet VT-VJM, has not been impounded and is not capable of being impounded as the aircraft is not owned by Kingfisher Airlines which is merely the operator under the non-scheduled operators permit," said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that CJ Leasing Limited a company based in Cayman Islands owns the aircraft and it is currently mortgaged with the Deutsche Bank in London.

Interestingly the airline had given the same argument to deny the detention of one of its turboprop aircraft VT-KAR in December. "No other aircraft other than Airbus A320 passenger jet (VT-DNZ) and an ATR-72-500 (VT-KAR) have been impounded," said the spokesperson on Thursday.

These two aircraft were impounded in December against pending dues worth approximately Rs. 200 crore.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher employees who had threatened to move court and approach the government to order an inquiry against the company on Wednesday received an email from Mallya assuring them that the management was trying hard to restart the airline.


Skydive Palatka hosting 'In Memory of Kurt' on Saturday

Kurt Ruppert Jr.

Skydive Palatka is hosting an informal get together late afternoon on Saturday in memory of Kurt Ruppert. A sunset dive is planned, a potluck dinner and ending the night with a bonfire. Please bring your favorite dish, drink and stories of Kurt to share with his family and friends." 

They will do a "Missing Man" jump to pay tribute to Kurt Jr.

The plane is already full, so they can't take any additional skydivers, but friends are welcome to watch from the ground.

Here are the details:

Saturday, January 12, 2013
3:00 p.m. until ???
Skydive Palatka
4015 Reid St., Palatka, Florida

To join the event, go to!/skydivepalatka

Skydive Palatka can probably provide any additional details or if you want to offer to help with the event.


The plane that trained Gravesend pilots in WWII

Visit Ian’s website at to find out more.

An ex-RAF engineer is restoring a fighter plane that was stationed at Gravesend prior to the Second World War breaking out.

In a garage in Seattle sits a yellow and bottle-green biplane whose life journey extends back via the US, to France, then Scotland and finally to Gravesend where its story began.

It is a Tiger Moth, made in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, in the mid-1930s in response to increasing threats from Europe. It made its greatest contribution by readying pilots for war.

We needed to rapidly increase our air force and that meant training up civilians at flying training schools.

These were set up all over the UK – by 1939 there were 44 elementary and reserve flying training schools in operation in England – and one was at the former Gravesend airport.

It was here that the Tiger Moth N-5490 first fulfilled its purpose.

Ex-RAF engineer Ian Grace, an expat from Peterborough living in Seattle, has the plane in his garage and, while beginning a five-year restoration, he has also been uncovering its history.

It was no easy feat to get this machine into the air, he has discovered, given the number of crash reports.

“The Tiger is a challenge to fly properly, which is what makes it such a good trainer. If you can fly the Tiger Moth well, then you are able to progress to faster and heavier types,” he says.

While never used in battle, he doesn’t underestimate the significance of the Tiger Moth in the war effort.

“Thousands of Tiger Moths were built and used to train RAF and Fleet Air Arm pilots in the UK and across the empire.

“Without them, we would not have been able to train the thousands of pilots we so desperately needed.”

About 200 pilots would have been taught on Ian’s plane, which he bought in 2011. He has been tracing them.

One was Hoppy Hodgkinson, who lost both his legs in a two-plane collision over Gravesend but later became a Spitfire pilot during the war.

Another, Mike Lithgow, was part of a torpedo attack on the German battleship Bismarck in 1941 and later became a famous test pilot who broke the world air speed record, reaching 735.7mph.

Ian said: “Little did I realise that I would be able to uncover so much history, not only of N-5490, but of the pilots who learned to fly in her – many of whom went on to heroic flying careers in the Battle of Britain and beyond, and many of them paying the ultimate sacrifice to defend the free world.”

When war broke out, Gravesend became a satellite base for Biggin Hill and the N-5490 was sent to Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands. It then spent the rest of the war training pilots in Scotland.

It continued flying until 1953, when it was sold to the French government and passed to French flying clubs.

In the 1970s an airline pilot in the USA who imported Tiger Moths took it over there, and two years ago it came into Ian’s possession.

When fully restored, the Tiger Moth N-5490 will take to the skies once more.

Ian plans to offer flights in it as a “flying memorial” to the pilots who learned in her.

Visit Ian’s website at to find out more.

He also wants pictures of the Tiger Moths that operated at the old Gravesend airport from 1937 to 1939.


Rolls-Royce appoints Lord Gold to review anti-corruption procedures: Lawyer who investigated cash-for-access scandal set to review Rolls-Royce procedures following bribery allegations

Rolls-Royce has appointed the senior City lawyer investigating the Conservative party's cash-for-access scandal to review its anti-corruption procedures following bribery allegations involving the aircraft engine manufacturer in Indonesia and China.

Lord Gold, a conservative peer and former head of litigation at City law firm Herbert Smith is to lead a review of the industrial group's compliance procedures after claims about its conduct in emerging markets. Lord Gold has a track record in scrutinizing allegations of illicit practices at organizations, having been appointed by David Cameron last year to investigate the Conservative party's fundraising methods after the then party co-treasurer, Peter Cruddas, was filmed boasting that senior donors could dine with the prime minister.

Rolls-Royce's guidelines are in the spotlight after the group admitted last month that it was investigating allegations of malpractice in China, Indonesia and other unspecified overseas markets. The allegations were first brought to the attention of the Derby-based group by the Serious Fraud Office.

At the time of the announcement Rolls-Royce emphasized its co-operation with the SFO, pointedly condemning any "improper business conduct of any sort". However, a former Rolls-Royce employee who blew the whistle on the Indonesian allegations, Dick Taylor, said the claims were "just one example" of corruption at his former employer, adding that some cases of malpractice took place as late as 2010.

Announcing the appointment of Lord Gold, Rolls-Royce said: "He is one of the UK's most senior litigators and has extensive experience working at the highest levels with corporations, governments and regulators around the world." Having left Herbert Smith after 37 years, including a spell as its senior partner between 2005 and 2010, Lord Gold set up David Gold & Associates, which is advertised on its website as a provider of "high-level strategic litigation advice, particularly in relation to settlement".

According to the website, Gold's pedigree includes working with the US Department of Justice as "corporate monitor" of BAE Systems, the UK defence contractor that has also faced corruption allegations in emerging markets.

Rolls-Royce said last month that it had appointed an external law firm, Debevoise &  Plimpton, to conduct its own investigation into the concerns raised by the SFO. The group said the inquiry had found "matters of concern" in Indonesia, China and other unspecified markets. The SFO has yet to declare whether it will launch a formal investigation.

However, in the meantime, allegations related to Rolls-Royce's conduct in China and Indonesia have emerged on the internet, comprised of postings by Taylor and an anonymous blogger operating under the pseudonym "Soaringdragon". Taylor had alleged that that Tommy Suharto, the son of the former Indonesian president, was paid $20m (£12m) by Rolls-Royce and given a Rolls-Royce car to persuade the Garuda airline to procure Trent 700 engines in 1990. Soaringdragon claimed that it paid that it paid bribes to an executive involved with two Chinese airlines, related to deals worth a total of $2bn (£1.25bn) with Air China in 2005 and China Eastern in 2010.

Speaking last month, the Rolls-Royce chief executive, John Rishton, said: "I want to make it crystal clear that neither I nor the board will tolerate improper business conduct of any sort and will take all necessary action to ensure compliance. This is a company with exceptional prospects and I will not accept any behaviour that undermines its future success."


Lansing-to-Vegas nonstop flights begin

DEWITT TWP. — New flights from Lansing to Las Vegas are taking off from Capital Region International Airport.

Sun Country Airlines, a discount carrier based in Mendota Heights, Minn., brought back the direct flight to “Sin City” on Dec. 22. Flights now are scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays, the airline said. Las Vegas flights are scheduled through April 28.

Sun Country will begin flying seasonally from Lansing to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Feb. 1. There will be nonstop weekly service on Fridays through April 5.

Sun Country also operates seasonal nonstop flights to Orlando, Fla.; Cancun, Mexico; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It has daily flights from Lansing to Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

In addition, Las Vegas-based discount service Allegiant Air has marked its return to the DeWitt Township airport after a nearly four-year absence with seasonal nonstop flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. Those flights began Nov. 1 and fly twice a week.

Visit the airlines’ websites or for current flight schedules.

JetBlue's new Fort Lauderdale-Medellin flights now on sale: Fares starts as low as $79 one-way

JetBlue Airways' new daily nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (MDE) in Medellin is now on sale in the U.S., the carrier announced Thursday.

Sale fares for flights originating the U.S. start as low as $79 one-way from Fort Lauderdale to Medellin for travel between June 13 and July 31, 2013.

Fares and flights can be booked online here. 

JetBlue's schedule between Fort Lauderdale and Medellin is as follows:

Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Medellin (MDE):   
DEPART: 4:45 p.m. - 7:04 p.m. ARRIVAL   
Medellin (MDE) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL):
DEPART: 7:05 a.m. - 11:29 a.m. ARRIVAL
For more information, click here.

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