Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal (KFNL), Colorado: Airport officials meet with business leaders

LOVELAND — Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport officials have turned to the business community for help as the airport charts a new course following the departure of Allegiant Air.

Airport and Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. officials met with a group of area business people Tuesday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland to discuss airport growth. The meeting was part of an effort to develop a "comprehensive air service development and marketing strategic plan," according to an NCEDC statement.

That plan will address general and corporate aviation along with commercial air service and airport aviation business development, Airport Director Jason Licon said. The airport has contracted with Washington, D.C.-based airport management company AvPORTS to develop the plan.

Representatives from the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland as well as Larimer County and "numerous private businesses" attended the meeting, according to NCEDC.

Allegiant Air stopped its flights from the airport to Las Vegas and Phoenix in October. Allegiant CEO Maury Gallagher blamed the lack of an air-traffic control tower and too many general aviation aircraft in Fort Collins skies.

The withdrawal came after the airline had flown planes at the airport for nearly a decade and despite a 26-percent increase in the number of passengers boarding planes from the airport.

The airport is home to a number of business jets, including ones owned by Woodward Inc., Crop Production Services, billionaire Pat Stryker's Bohemian Foundation and mobile-technology case maker OtterBox.

Business leaders have called for airport improvements.

OtterBox CEO Brian Thomas told the Business Report in November that simple upgrades could make the airport a "real economic driver for our community." Those upgrades, he said, could include a repaved parking lot, landscaping and improved signage; terminal improvements such as food services, ticketing counters and a basic baggage system; and safety considerations such as an air traffic control tower and crosswind runway.

The airport, however, has slashed its $6.5 million project wish list in half as a result of Allegiant Air's defection, as the Business Report wrote in November. 


Learjet 25, Starwood Management LLC, N345MC: Accident occurred December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico

NTSB Identification: DCA13RA025
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico
Aircraft: LEARJET INC 25, registration: N345MC
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 9, 2012, at 0333 Central Standard Time, a Learjet 25, N345MC, crashed in mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 5,600 feet above mean sea level approximately 70 miles south of Monterrey, Mexico. The flight departed General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MMMY), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico at 0319 and was enroute to Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateo International Airport (MMTO), Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. The two crew members and five passengers on board were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil of Mexico (DGAC) is investigating the accident. The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative under the provisions of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Registry of the aircraft.

Inquiries regarding this incident should be directed to:

Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes
Providencia No. 807 — 6° piso
Colonia del Valle
Codigo Postal 03100
México, D.F.

CORPUS CHRISTI -- More than a month after a plane carrying Latin pop star Jenni Rivera plummeted to the ground in Northern Mexico killing everyone on board, the family of the plane's co-pilot have hired a Corpus Christi attorney to investigate what caused the plane to crash.

 Alejandro Torres, 20, of Mexico, was co-piloting the Learjet 45 when it crashed Dec. 9 near Nuevo Leon. A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week seeking monetary damages against River's company, Rivera Enterprises, claims Torres was not qualified to fly a Learjet.

Torres' mother, Lizette Alvarez, said she hopes the investigation will clear her son's name. "What I ask for is that the name of my son comes out clean and vindicated. That's what I ask for as a mother - for his name to be respected, and to give him the place that he deserves."

Their attorney, Craig Sico, said he is confident that their investigation will reveal that Torres was not responsible for the crash. "We think this is completely an aircraft issue and we believe that the aircraft issue is one that will bear out to be either maintenance or design of some nature."

Sico pointed out that jets similar to the one that crashed have been involved in other fatal accidents in recent years.

Torres' family hired Sico because he specializes in aviation law.

At this point, Torres' parents have not filed a lawsuit against Learjet, but Sico said that may happen eventually.

  Regis#: 345MC        Make/Model: LJ25      Description: LEARJET 25
  Date: 12/09/2012     Time: 0630

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



INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   7
                 # Crew:   7     Fat:   7     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: DALLAS, TX  (SW05)                    Entry date: 12/10/2012

Cargo plane en route to Los Angeles makes emergency landing at Kansas City International Airport (KMCI), Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A UPS cargo plane en route from Philadelphia to Ontario, Calif. made an emergency landing at Kansas City International Airport Wednesday.

Kansas City Firefighters were dispatched out to KCI at about 4:54 p.m. on reports of an inbound cargo airplane with one of its three engines not working.

The plane, UPS Flight 2930, landed without incident just after 5 p.m. on runway 19R at KCI, according to an airport spokesman.

There were no injuries to the two people on board the aircraft at the time of the incident, which a UPS spokesman described as a “remote occurrence.”

Businesses want more regional airlines

NORTH BAY - The business community wants to see additional regional carriers at Jack Garland Airport, although it might be a more direct route to make their pitch directly to the airlines.

The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce held a news conference Wednesday to give input during municipal budget talks and bring attention to long-term issues involving economic development.

One of the areas of opportunity is at Jack Garland Airport with additional carriers and transportation alternatives for the North Bay area, said chamber president Derek Shogren.

He said negotiating landing fees are among the issues to attract these carriers.

“We may need to be more flexible in the future,” he said.

Air Canada Jazz currently offers regional flights from North Bay.

Discussions with other regional airlines have already been happening.

“I fully support additional carriers in our community and have been actively trying to attract them,” said Mayor Al McDonald, adding he has had conversations with the airlines.

Jack Garland Airport has also been working with North Bay's economic development department to attract additional regional carriers, and presentations have been made to both Porter Airlines -- which already flies out of other Northern Ontario cities -- and WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Calgary-based WestJet created its new regional airline Encore due to start services in June. The company is expected to announce Jan. 21 whether its expansion will start in Western or Eastern Canada.

North Bay could be in the running, said Jack Garland Airport manager Jack Santerre.

He wouldn't comment on those discussions, saying the airport would work with any new carrier to ensure their success.

Businesses interested in additional regional services should contact the airlines directly, he said.

“We've made sure that WestJet knows we're interested,” said Coun. Daryl Vaillancourt, a pilot who sits on the Jack Garland Airport board of directors.

“We're also hopeful that we will be one of the communities they feel they can do business in.”

WestJet has purchased Q400 Bombardier turboprop planes for its regional service.


Federal Aviation Administration Grounds United States Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flights

Updated January 16, 2013, 6:43 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the immediate temporary halt of U.S. Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner flights on Wednesday, saying it requires a "corrective action plan" before flights can resume—and hasn't released a timetable for when that might happen.

The agency said it would work with Boeing and airlines to develop a plan to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible. United Continental Holdings Inc.'s  United Airlines said it would immediately ground its six 787s under the FAA order.

Japan's two main airlines earlier Wednesday suspended the jetliner from service after a new incident that prompted an emergency landing. The move raised prospects that problems related to the batteries and electrical troubles might be broader than previously experienced after a succession of incidents, though other airlines continued to fly a jetliner that U.S. regulators last week deemed "safe."

Both All Nippon Airways Co. —which cut short a domestic flight Wednesday after alarms indicated smoke and a possible emergency—and Japan Airlines Co. said they would voluntarily keep all their Dreamliners on the ground at least through Thursday, pending investigations into the nature of the plane's problems.

U.S. air-safety regulators, who launched a comprehensive review of the 787 program last week, said they were dispatching an investigator to Japan.

Boeing shares fell 3.4% at $74.34 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. A spokesman for Boeing said the company was in touch with ANA over the incident. "We're aware of the event and working with our customer," he said.

The two Japanese carriers between them operate 24 of the 50 Dreamliners in service, and ANA was the first airline to fly the plane when it entered service in 2011 after more than three years of delays caused by production and design problems.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it is assisting local air-safety regulators in Japan who are leading a probe of the latest incident. The FAA said it "will include the incident as part of the comprehensive review" launched last Friday.

The NTSB said initial reports indicate the ANA crew "received multiple messages in the cockpit concerning the battery and other systems that were affected, and also reported smoke in the cockpit and an odor in the cabin."

The trouble emerged about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Japan, when an alarm on ANA Flight 692 bound for Tokyo indicated a problem with the jet's main battery about 15 minutes into a 90-minute flight. Soon after, a "burning-like smell" began to waft through the cabin and cockpit, the airline said. "It came from the front. It smelled like burning plastic," Kenichi Kawamura, one of the passengers on board, later recounted in a phone interview.

About 40 minutes after takeoff from Yamaguchi-Ube Airport in southern Japan, the plane made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport on the southern island of Shikoku, 400 miles from the plane's destination. After the plane landed safely, seven of the emergency-evacuation slides shot out of the exits.

The head of the cabin crew yelled: "Evacuate! Leave your belongings and escape," said Mr. Kawamura, a 36-year-old aide to a Japanese politician. All 129 passengers, six cabin attendants and the two pilots slid down the open chutes onto the isolated runway. Three passengers reported minor injuries that occurred during the evacuation.

Wednesday's incident has expanded the world-wide probe of the 787's electrical troubles. After previous reported problems, officials had said they were examining the electrical system on the 787 broadly, but all the recent incidents involved components in the aft electrical-equipment bay located behind the wings. The latest problem emerged in a forward bay that until now had been free from scrutiny. This bay sits underneath the flight deck and behind the nose landing gear.

Japan's transport ministry designated Wednesday's incident as "serious," meaning officials concluded the problem could cause a future incident, setting off an immediate investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board, which dispatched a team to the scene.

All Nippon said the exact cause of Wednesday's incident was still undetermined. Company officials did say that when they opened the forward electronic-equipment bay where the battery was installed, they discovered that the battery's blue cover had turned black "as though it had been burnt" and electrolysis solution had leaked.

ANA said the Dreamliner involved in Wednesday's emergency landing had battery problems in the past. One of the aircraft's two batteries was replaced in October after it failed to start the jet's engines, the battery's primary function. It was the replacement battery that had the problems Wednesday.

The Japanese carrier has grounded all of its 17 Dreamliners for Wednesday and Thursday to allow for inspections, leading to the cancellation of some domestic flights. It said alternate aircraft would be used for international flights on Thursday.

Japan Airlines said it, too, would withdraw its Dreamliners from service for Wednesday and Thursday, affecting 1,450 and 650 passengers respectively. JAL has seven 787s. Two were removed from service last week after the Boston fire and a separate fuel leak. The other five were grounded Wednesday.

LOT Polish Airlines SA said its inaugural 787 flight from Warsaw to Chicago took off as planned. State-run Air India said its six Dreamliners were operating normally.

Qantas Airways Ltd. of Australia said it is "confident" the 787 problems will be resolved before it takes its first deliveries in the second half of this year.

—Hiroyuki Kachi and Kosaku Narioka contributed to this article.


NEW JERSEY: Tewksbury Land Use Board member resigns so she can fight proposed helistop

TEWKSBURY TWP. — Nancy Held, who was recently appointed as an alternate to the Land Use Board has resigned so she can fight a lawsuit regarding a proposed helistop. 

On Friday, Jan. 11, a judge approved a request by a group of residents to intervene in a lawsuit regarding the helistop at a farm on Homestead Road.

James Johnson filed the lawsuit in Superior Court in Flemington in October seeking to overturn the Land Use Board's denial of the helistop on the family's dairy and horse farm.

A motion to intervene was filed by attorney James Rhatican on behalf of the group, Friends of the Cold Brook Historic District, of which Held is a member.

The Johnsons argued that the should not be allowed to intervene because Held belonged to the board and the group.

When ruling on the motion to intervene, Judge Peter Buchsbaum said if Held wanted to stay on the Land Use Board she could not participate in any discussions regarding the helistop. Or, to avoid potential conflicts, she could resign from one group or the other.

Held did not vote on the application when it was decided before the board.

The group is comprised of homeowners in the farmland preservation district. They argue that the proposed helistop would negatively affect their income, agricultural and personal use of their properties. 

During the planning board hearings the Johnsons argued the helistop would allow them to fly in prospective buyers of frozen cow embryos. However, in May, the Land Use Board denied the application by the Johnson family to build a “restricted use helistop” at the farm.

The Johnsons have also applied for a license from the state Department of Transportation.


Kingfisher fails to impress aviation cop

New Delhi, Jan. 16: Kingfisher Airlines today secured no-objection certificates (NoCs) from oil companies and some aircraft leasing firms to resume operations.

However, the airline failed to convince the civil aviation regulator about the efficacy of its revival plan, which lacked any funding details.

Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal today met director-general of civil aviation Arun Mishra to apprise him of the NoCs, but sources said he was unable to give information about any long-term funding commitment by the airline’s parent UB Group.

Kingfisher also did not receive any NoC from airports to which it owes parking and bay charges.

Sources said Aggarwal told the regulator that Kingfisher would be ready to resume operations from April even though he admitted that the airline had not received NoCs from the airport operators, including the Airports Authority of India.

Today’s development comes days ahead of a meeting of the 17-bank consortium, which has lent over Rs 7,500 crore to the grounded airline. According to sources, the lenders are weighing legal action to retrieve the money.

The consortium has refused to infuse money into Kingfisher till the promoters bring in more funds. The airline was forced to suspend operations on October 11 and its license expired on December 31.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had expressed his dissatisfaction with the airline’s plan to invest Rs 650 crore as it might not guarantee efficient and reliable services.

“The revival plan had lots of issues regarding lenders and staff payment, which we felt may not lead to reliable services. With the kind of finances Kingfisher claims it has, it will be able to run the airline for not more than a few months,” Singh said.

The airline has not paid salaries and allowances to its staff for over eight months. Besides, it owes money to airport operators, oil firms and other vendors.

Kingfisher, which is estimated to owe $2.5 billion in debt to banks, staff and vendors, has submitted a $119-million revival plan to the regulator.

Civil Air Patrol faces challenges

The Miami County youth program at the Grissom Air Reserve Base is facing building challenges. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Grissom Cadet Squadron has been shifted around Grissom Air Reserve Base (GARB) six times in the last ten years.

The first three assigned buildings kept the CAP meetings on the decommissioned side of the base, allowing for easy access for visitors and teens interested in learning more about the program. But recently Grissom Air Reserve Base decided to move the program onto the active part of the base and past the gates.

Michael O'Leary defiende la seguridad en Ryanair


Published on January 15, 2013

 El presidente de Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, ha afirmado que su compañía aérea está "a la par" en materia de seguridad con el resto de aerolíneas que operan en Europa.

Island Air notifies Hawaii labor department of possible layoffs: Island Air employees receive letter regarding possible layoffs

Island Air has notified the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations that layoffs could be coming when the interisland airline is sold.

The sale to an unnamed buyer was announced last week and state labor officials received a notice late last week that the layoffs could be coming. Island Air officials indicated that they do not have enough information now to say whether there will be layoffs and, if so, how many people would lose their jobs.

Island Air estimated that any layoffs would occur after March 11, which is 60 days after the filing of the notice, and that up to 245 employees could lose their jobs. That number represents the entire work force on the company’s payroll, Michael Rodyniuk, executive vice chairman of the board of Gavarnie Holding LLC, Island Air’s parent company, told PBN in an email.

“The potential acquirer has indicated it expects Island Air will engage in right sizing of the Island Air workforce as it transitions to new ownership,” Island Air President Les Murashige wrote in the letter to the company’s employees. “At this time we do not have enough information to be able to tell you the impact a possible transaction may have on you, other than to provide you with this notice.

“We will continue to update you regularly on relevant developments and you will receive further information on benefits and eligible services as the transaction advances,” Murashige wrote.

The company will know more about any changes in the workforce in the coming weeks, Rodyniuk said.

Employees at Island Air have been notified that layoffs are possible when the company is sold to an undisclosed buyer. 

The 245 employees received a letter alerting them that the sale could be complete by Mar. 11.

The letter from Island Air says the new buyer will "engage in a right sizing of the workforce" but it does not know what that will mean for employees

The notice to employees complies with state law that requires 60 days notice before any possible mass layoff.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics lays off another 150 workers at Fort Worth plant

FORT WORTH - An additional 150 workers at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in west Fort Worth received pink slips today, more than doubling the number of layoffs since the first of the year.

Employees at the plant have been told that their last day of work is expected to be Jan. 25, Lockheed spokesman Ken Ross confirmed in an email to the Star-Telegram.

"This is part of our normal process to continually adjust our workforce based on program and business requirements," he wrote in the email.

Ross said the latest layoffs are not related to sequestration, the looming budget cuts that are possible if Congress cannot work out a budget deal in the next month-and-a-half.

On Jan. 4, 110 workers, mostly aircraft assemblers, were laid off. At the time, Ross said the defense industry was "going through a changing environment." He then told the Star-Telegram that the company was responding to "what is happening in the industry ... we want to make sure we remain competitive."

Those affected by the first round of layoffs worked on different production lines at the factory, Ross said. The decision about which employees to lay off was dictated by union contracts.

Speculation about defense industry cuts has been widespread, and all eyes are on the nation's biggest defense program, the F-35, which is seen as a target for budget cutting in coming years.

For now, executives have said that the program should not have to cut back on production and jobs, thanks to two recent contracts.

Last month, Lockheed received a Pentagon contract guaranteeing a final installment of about $127.7 million for the fifth production lot of F-35 fighters. And then just before year's end, Lockheed and the Pentagon agreed to contracts for a sixth lot of 31 additional F-35 jets.

About 6,000 of Lockheed's 14,200 workers at the west-side complex are directly involved in F-35 development, engineering and production, and many other jobs at the plant are tied to the program.

Plans call for Lockheed to build more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marines at a cost now estimated at $395.7 billion. But some wonder if that will be reduced if defense spending falls.

Read more here:

Frontier Airlines Announces `Trenton Takes Off’ Sweepstakes: Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

Frontier Airlines today announced a sweepstakes for people who live in the Princeton and Trenton area and travel through Trenton-Mercer Airport. The sweepstakes, which runs through May 31, will award weekly and monthly prizes, as well as a grand prize in May. Participants can enter the sweepstakes by registering at the Frontier Airlines website. No purchase is necessary to enter.

One winner will be chosen per week to receive a roundtrip ticket anywhere Frontier flies from Ternton-Mercer Airport.  If the winner is a part of the airline’s Early Return frequent flyer program at the time of entry, they will receive two round-trip tickets.

One winner also will be chosen on the first day of each month to receive a vacation package for two people to a featured Frontier destination from Trenton-Mercer Airport.  Packages include flights, hotel and transportation. Monthly prizes are:

  • February 1st Prize – Four nights in New Orleans, celebrating Mardi Gras from a balcony on Bourbon Street.
  • March 1st Prize –  Two-night visit to Orlando. Includes two tickets to a theme park.
  • April 1st Prize – Spring break on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. Package includes a Catamaran Reef Sail and Snorkel cruise.
  • May 1st Prize – Two nights in Atlanta, VIP tour tickets of the World of Coca Cola and $100 gift card for dining.
  • June 1st Prize – Two night stay in Chicago. Package includes a $150 Visa gift card.
One grand prize winner will be selected on June 1 to receive a dozen round-trip flights out of Trenton-Mercer Airport for a year. Sweepstakes participants must be 18 years or older. Resident of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are eligible to enter.

Frontier, the Denver-based budget airline, has made Trenton-Mercer Airport a Northeastern hub and will be shifting all of its Philadelphia flights to the Ewing airport. The airline currently has scheduled non-stop service to 10 destinations – Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, New Orleans, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, and Tampa. All Frontier flights from Trenton-Mercer Airport will operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman: Budget Includes $2.2M For Airplane

Gov. Dave Heineman is recommending that Nebraska buy a 12-year-old airplane for $2.2 million to replace another aircraft in its fleet.

Heineman's budget proposal to lawmakers includes a request from the state Department of Aeronautics for a new back-up plane, which serves as transportation for the governor, agency heads and other officials in state government.

The department says the new plane would replace a 1982 Piper Cheyenne aircraft that is no longer manufactured. Agency officials say parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find, keeping the plane grounded for longer stretches of time.

The department estimates that the old plane's engines would have to be replaced every 5 to 7 years, at a projected cost of $500,000. The old plane at that time would be worth an estimated $180,000.


Another restaurant fails at Tacoma Narrows Airport (KTIW), Tacoma, Washington

Airplanes taking off and landing are entertaining for the whole family
 Credit Michelle Smith 

Credit Michelle Smith

The black hole that is Tacoma Narrows Airport has swallowed yet another restaurant. 

 Reflections at the Airport ended its 15-month tenure at the airport near Gig Harbor this week.

Reflections was at least the eighth restaurant to try and fail to make a go at the airport in its nearly 50-year history.  Many of those years, the airport, which handles private and corporate flights, was without a restaurant.

Tim Bruhn, Reflections acting general manager, said there was nothing wrong with the airport that a consistently busier, less remote location wouldn’t fix.

On bright, sunny days, the restaurant did well. When the skies were gray and the rain was falling, which it is much of the winter months, traffic at the airport and at Reflections was disappointing, he said.

The restaurant’s location on a one-way road not visible from any major arterial was also a handicap, he said.

“We were a destination restaurant.  You had to want to come here. We didn’t have much drop-in business,” Bruhn said.

While the location was not optimal, the restaurant’s landlord was superb, he said.

“Pierce County couldn’t have been more supportive,” he said. “Whenever something was broken, they were right on it.”

The county, which bought the airport from the City of Tacoma in 2008, was likewise complimentary of Reflections.

“They were good tenants,” said Warren Hendrickson, the country’s aviation planner.  Hendrickson said the county will advertise for another restaurant tenant.

The track record for restaurants at the airport is not good.  In recent years, Rotors Bar & Grill, Taste of Eden, Blue Sky and FreshAire all left the airport. Those restaurants served a variety of cuisines from Mediterranean to American comfort food without developing a consist clientele.

Story and Reaction/Comments:

What kind of restaurant do you think would be successful enough to stick around at the Tacoma Narrows Airport?  Story, photos, reaction/comments:

Barrow County (KWDR) Winder, Georgia: Airport approves plans for Zaxby's hangar

The Barrow County Airport Authority voted unanimously to allow W. K. Dickson, the airport’s consulting firm, to get the ball rolling for Zaxby’s to build a hangar at the airport.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Phil Eberly, the engineer with W.K. Dickson, showed a visual of the agreement the company had worked out with Zaxby’s

"I believe they intend to build a 120 x 120 size hangar," said Eberly, "which is a big hangar, and they wanted access off Pickle Simon Road. They also wanted close access to the amenities (the fuel station and terminal). In the future, the road built to their hangar will tee off to an area where future hangars could be built."

How much airplane traffic does Ballard, Washington, get?

By Zachariah Bryan
January 16, 2013 

Well, we don't have the answer to the question in the headline quite yet, but because of increased interest in our stories on airplane noise, we thought we might point you to a handy tool.

Port of Seattle Spokesman Perry Cooper, who has been involved with the rolling out of the Greener Skies program (which involves a smoother, slightly less noisy landing process but resultes in more clustered air traffic) showed us Aircraft Webtrak. It's an online tool that you can use to track current and past flight traffic. Besides being informative, it's pretty cool to play around with.

We haven't played around with it too much yet, but it appears flight traffic really isn't that heavy in Ballard, except for the occasional plane from Anchorage, AK which cuts across Sunset Hill at 65th St NW.

As we reported before, Loyal Heights resident David Ortman has filed a lawsuit against the Port of Seattle and the FAA because of airplane noise. He states that the airport's third runway, which was built 1,7000 feet west of the center runway, has caused planes to fly right over his home in the middle of the night. He claims that the increased airplane noise reduces his property value.

The Ballard News-Tribune did receive a few calls and emails from other residents in the area disregarding his claims. If you have an opinion, don't be afraid to write a letter to the editor to

Webtrak does give some credibility to the complaints from Beacon Hill residents who stormed the Greener Skies public meeting at the Ballard Branch Library (at the time, they didn't have their own meeting), as many airplanes funnel in right over their rooftops.

A recent Crosscut article points out that though FAA and Port of Seattle officials largely dismiss any noise decibel increase as negligible, the 1.5 decibel increase is still 30 percent more noise. 

Though airplanes are supposed to be quieter with the new landing procedure, the increased efficiency causes the flight paths to be tighter, meaning more noise for a narrow strip and less noise on the outside margins of the flight paths.

Ballard has no noise monitoring stations like other neighborhoods, but the situation appears much less dramatic.

We'll try and get more specific numbers of how many flights pass over Ballard in the near future. Until then, check out the Aircraft Webtrak tool for yourself at


Bellanca 8KCAB Super Decathlon, YS-175-PE: Accident occurred January 15, 2013 near Aerodromo Captain Eduardo Toledo, Cozumel - Mexico

Key West stunt pilot Fred Cabanas, who has entertained hundreds of thousands of people around the world with his dare-devil aerobatics at air shows, died Tuesday in an aviation accident near Cozumel, Mexico, according to a report from a Spanish website El 

 He was 60.

Passenger Jorge Lopez Vives, host of an extreme sports program, also died in the crash that occurred at a private airfield on the southern island of Cozumel in the state of Quintana Roo, a major international tourist destination.

“They were filming a documentary to promote an air show but unfortunately had an accident,” Erosa Rudy, director of Civil Protection of Cozumel, told El “Emergency crews rescued the bodies.

Cabanas, a fourth-generation Key West native, fell in love with flying as a boy and by 16 he as a “hangar bum” at Key West International Airport, where he traded washing planes for flying lessons.

An instructor showed him how to do a snap roll and Cabanas said that he was instantly hooked on aerobatics. Cabanas recalled that first snap roll in 2010 before the Southernmost Air Spectacular at Naval Air Station Key West. “You pull back on the stick and kick the rudder in the direction you want to go. Then you go around real, real fast … 360 degrees in one second.”

Cabanas was a Key West aviation legend who also was known around the world, flying in vintage biplanes. In 2010, he cut the ribbon to open the Navy’s air show in pure Cabanas style — with the propeller of his bright yellow Pitts Special S-2C.

He accelerated to 150 mph, flipped the plane 180 degrees with the left wing just missing the ground by five feet and then slicing the ribbon between two poles while flying upside down.

“Why fly straight when you can do the fun stuff like this,” Cabanas said before the crowd-thrilling stunt. “It is the most dangerous part of the show, but I love to make people smile.”

Cabanas had been making people smile with his aerobatics for nearly three decades. At air shows he was called the “Marlboro Man” for leaving trails of smoke, shaped like hearts and figure eights, in his wake. In 2010, he said he had spent almost 25,000 hours in the pilot’s seat.

He has won numerous awards at air shows and was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, featured in several movies, TV programs and commercials.

In 1991, he was teaching a student to fly when he spotted a MiG 23 ground attack plane flying over the island city with a defecting Cuban military general at the controls.

Cabanas said he alerted authorities. The Key West mayor proclaimed him general of the fictitious Conch Republic Air Force.

He owned Cabanas Aeronautics Unlimited, which offers aerial tours of the Keys and for those who dare, thrill rides.

Air show aerobatics pilot Gary Ward has called Cabanas “a good stick,” which means a pilot who can fly almost any kind of plane well.

In the deadly accident, Cabanas was not flying one of his own planes.

Cabanas said in 2010 he respected the risks of flying, and just months earlier had a close call during an air show in Mexico when it took him three turns to recover from a maneuver called the knife’s edge spin at 1,200 feet. “Normally, I can get out of a spin in one turn, maximum 2 ½. … The ground was coming at you fast.”

Cabanas has passed on his love of flying to both his children: daughter Lt. Kelly Gander, a Navy pilot, and son Raymond Cabanas, who helped his dad fly two planes to Haiti to deliver supplies for orphans after the earthquake.

Cabanas also is survived by his longtime wife, Susan.

Story and reaction/comments:


Fred R. Cabanas, 60, of Key West, Fla., began his final journey on Jan. 15 when the airplane he was flying crashed in Cozumel, Mexico. 

Fred was born in Key West, Fla., to the late Gaudioso and Dorothy Cabanas on Sept. 19, 1952.

His first airplane ride was in South Carolina at the age of 12. He wrangled $5 from his mother, disappeared and without permission convinced the pilot to barnstorm over the family's vacation home. Since then, his mischievous spirit was inexorably linked to aviation. He started washing airplanes at the Key West airport; learned to fly at 16; started aerobatics at 20; earned his Air Frame and Power Plant License from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach at 21; and worked as a mechanic for Air Sunshine in Key West after graduation. Predictably, he married his wife Susan in a DC-3 aircraft at 6,500 feet over Key West in 1977.

Fred started his family biplane ride business at the Key West International Airport in 1987. In 1991, the mayor of Key West declared Fred the "General of the Conch Republic Air Force" when he intercepted a defecting Cuban MiG aircraft.

Having accumulated more than 25,000 hours of flight time, Fred's accomplishments in aviation are staggering. He performed in countless air shows across the globe and was qualified to fly an extensive array of aircrafts. Known for pushing boundaries, on the day before his 53rd birthday, Fred made aviation history becoming the first rookie ever to qualify for the Gold Cup at the 2005 Reno Air Races. Flying a vintage Sea Fury, aptly named, "Conch Fury," he was named Rookie of the Year. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he appeared in numerous movies and TV shows.

His accomplishments were equaled by his ability to give back. He dedicated his air show performances to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Fred shared his passion and introduced countless people to the joy of flight through biplane and aerobatic rides, teaching many how to fly, and mentoring a number of aerobatic pilots. Fellow pilots paint a picture of a man who had an incredible talent, yet would graciously share all of his experience.

Although he only stood at only 5 feet 4 ¬½ inches, Fred was larger-than-life. His personality defied description and his enthusiasm knew no limits. His zest for life was only rivaled by the spice in his "legally" obtained conch salad. His incredible sense of humor and his infectious laugh made him unforgettable. In language often peppered with expletives, he mesmerized new-found and lifelong friends alike with colorful tales of his amazing life experiences that rivaled any story Ernest Hemingway could write.

His mischievous attitude would result in many memorable endeavors that are now Conch Republic legend, including pioneering the bombing of Coast Guard cutters with toilet paper during the Conch Republic Independence Day battle. Now, every April, thousands of streamers parade through the skies draping the Coast Guard in infamy.

Fred was not only a legend to the citizens of Key West and airshow fans worldwide, he was a hero as a husband, father and friend. His spirit will continue to fly through all of those he inspired and through the continuation of the family business, Key West Biplanes at the Key West airport.

The only love Fred had greater than aviation was the love of his family. Fred is survived by his wife Susan; daughter, Kelly (Mark); son, Fred "Raymond" Cabanas Jr.; grandson, Riley; brother George (Sheri) and numerous cousins,nephews and nieces.

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, Fred will be buried at sea aboard the Topsail Schooner Wolf. A celebration of life will be at the Conch Republic Air Force Hangar at the Key West airport starting at 5 p.m. with a pig roast to follow. Services will be streamed live at for those that cannot attend. In lieu of flowers, please send booze or donations to the Fred R. Cabanas Memorial Scholarship Fund to help Key West High School students in the advancement of a career in the world of aviation. (Fred wasn't fond of flowers.) Please make the check payable to Fred R. Cabanas, Jr and in the memo section write for Fred R. Cabanas Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund and send it to Sheri Cabanas, 2510 Harris Ave., Key West, Fla., 33040

El Cajon, San Diego County, California: Vintage plane a labor of love

By Nathan Max
January  15, 2013

EL CAJON — Local businessman Jim Slattery loves naval aviation, and it seems he will spare no expense to preserve it wherever possible.

Two years ago, Slattery, 62, of Poway purchased a broken-down, World War II-era PBY Catalina that was being worked on at an airport in South Africa. Tuesday afternoon, the plane arrived at its final destination, Gillespie Field in El Cajon, following a 16-leg, 12,000-mile journey that lasted three weeks.

The aircraft is the 46th in Slattery’s collection and will eventually be on display in a “Greatest Generation Naval Museum,” that he intends to open in the coming months.

“It’s a labor of love,” Slattery said. “It’s about saving the airplane. It’s all about trying to preserve history.”

PBYs were patrol planes that spotted enemy submarines, ships and planes, escorted convoys, served as patrol bombers and occasionally made air-and-sea rescues. Many were manufactured in San Diego, however, Slattery’s plane was built in Canada.

More than five years ago, two Americans purchased the Catalina with the hope of restoring it. They spent $1.3 million on the aircraft before a disagreement led to the dissolution of their project.

Slattery purchased the plane in 2010 — he declined to say for how much — and finished the job. Just getting the plane qualified to return to the United States was a substantial undertaking, because Slattery had to fly a Federal Aviation Administration official to South Africa for an inspection.

The plane couldn’t return to the United States until it met FAA regulations, he said.

Once all the repairs were made, in all a six-year project, and it met federal guidelines, the next step was flying the plane halfway across the planet. That’s no small task for a 70-year-old aircraft that travels at a top speed of 120 miles per hour.

So Slattery sent three of his full-time employees — pilots Bob Franicola and Mike Castillo and chief mechanic Matt Voigt. The trio flew from South Africa to Namibia to Angola to Cameroon to Liberia to Brazil to French Guiana to Trinidad to Panama to Costa Rica to Mexico. The first 14 legs of the trip ranged from five hours to 13 hours apiece.

The final two legs, from Tijuana to Brown Field and then on to Gillespie Field, were significantly shorter.

On Thursday, Slattery met his crew at Brown Field and made the short final leg of the trip. As the craft, with its 104-foot-wide wings, lumbered toward the airport, it made a couple fly-bys for the handful of onlookers before finally landing.

“I’ve done a lot of fun things, a lot of unique things in aviation, and this one takes the cake,” Castillo said. “It was a dream trip.”

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AgustaWestland AW109E, G-CRST: Shuttling film stars and politicians across London, Pete Barnes was one of Britain’s most experienced helicopter aviators

From capturing airborne footage of the 2012 Olympics to shuttling film stars and politicians across London, traversing the capital’s skies had become second nature to Pete Barnes. 

 Precisely what caused his AgustaWestland 109 to fall burning onto its streets today remains unclear but the 50-year-old pilot was one of Britain’s most experienced helicopter aviators, respected by his peers for both his competence and bravery.

The father-of-two had clocked up more than 12,500 hours of flying time since qualifying as a commercial pilot in 1989, including 3,000 hours in the type of aircraft in which he died.

Lately, much of that flying had been done for RotorMotion, a Surrey-based helicopter operator that describes itself as “Britain’s favourite boutique helicopter charter business”.

Indeed, the company boasts an impressive client list, including the Dalai Llama, Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Charles and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, pictured above with Mr Barnes.

Underlining its reputation for safety and luxury, which includes a complimentary champagne bar on each of its aircraft, RotorMotion states on its website: “Our helicopters have twin turbine engines and are certified to fly at night, over water and in cloud. Relax in the knowledge that both pilot and machine are fully instrument qualified to fly in poor weather conditions.”

Such was the reputation of Mr Barnes, from Goddards Green, Berkshire, as a safe pair of hands, he was also employed by AgustaWestland to deliver more than 50 of their aircraft.

His colleagues today described him as the archetype of the dashing pilot, mixing jobs as a pilot for multiple Hollywood flims – including the James Bond movie Die Another Day, Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II – with service as an air ambulance pilot across England.

Kevin Hodgson, a paramedic who flew with him on Great North Air Ambulance, said: “Pete was as good a guy as you can imagine and one of the best pilots I’ve had the pleasure of flying with. Over the years he will have flown on dozens of missions, no doubt saving lives along the way.”

In 2004, Mr Barnes hit the headlines for a dramatic airborne rescue in County Durham when he hovered his helicopter less than a foot above a car which had been swept into flood waters, allowing the motorist to climb aboard before his vehicle was dragged away.

The pilot, who qualified in America after initially working as a ski instructor, was also one of the first to bring helicopter-based “eye-in-the-sky” traffic reports to Britain, working for a Newcastle radio station.

Alan Robson, his presenter on board the helicopter, said Mr Barnes was not afraid of making his flying look dramatic while keeping safe. “In a weird kind of way, the kind of person he was, maybe he was never going to go quietly,” he said.

Tonight, a representative at the home of Mr Barnes asked for his family to be allowed to grieve in privacy.

Piece of the crane on the ground in above photo ...

Two crew fatal - 7 persons treated at scene, 6 transported to hospital - 5 of those with minor injuries, 1 with broken leg.  this photo by Mark Stevens was taken Jan 13 2013 at Exeter UK - shows titles of  Owned by Castle and operated by RotorMotion.  

Indiana State University: Start-up costs for new ISU flight academy would not affect student tuition, university officials say

Costs for new flight academy would not affect student’s tuition.  The academy is an important step for student development, university officials said.

Diann McKee, vice president of business affairs and university treasurer, said the start-up costs, which are estimated at $ 2 million, will not increase general student fees. She said the university will be making a loan from reserves to cover the funds and that will be paid back with interest over a 10-year period.

In the past, aviation students would pay course fees to a “third party provider,” said McKee. Now, students will be paying those fees up front to the flight academy and they will be calculated into the students’ financial aid packages.

“You could say at one level it’s put a bind on the students,” said Jack Maynard, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “On another level, it helps them to help them think very clearly about what it’s going to take to get through that course. When we were separating the flying from the courses, we didn’t think it was in the student’s advantage to do that.”

The birth of the flight academy is the latest in a slew of projects underway on campus, such as the construction of the North Residential and Erikson Halls renovation. But while the creation of the academy means extra expenses for ISU, Maynard said the move was crucial for student development.

“The bottom line was, as we evaluate this project, really came out to be what’s the best for our students in terms of putting quality graduates out there,” said Maynard. “There’s no doubt that you could use the reserves for other things, also—there’s a lot of needs on campus. And not to take away from those projects, but this is a needed step.”

Although Indiana State has a 47 year relationship with the Brown Flight School and has relied solely on it for the last two years, Maynard said the university was discussing a venue switch “for a while.”  

Last month, ISU’s Board of Trustees approved the collaboration between the university and the Terre Haute International Airport, allowing the two to enter into a four-year lease. In exchange for the lease, the airport will allot a facility for classrooms and offices as well as hangar space, according to President Daniel J. Bradley’s December news release.

In addition to the loaned airspace and facility, ISU will recruit adjunct or temporary instructors for the academy and purchase a used fleet of airplanes that will be kept on the airport’s premises.

 “It has nothing directly to do with Brown,” said Maynard. “When you look around the country at quality flying schools, we were in the minority of minorities. Look at North Dakota and Eastern Kentucky, for example; all of them have their own airplanes and run their own flying schools. We wanted to move to increase the quality and reputation of our program.”

The university wanted students to train on the most up to date aircrafts, Maynard said.  The airplanes available at Brown’s Flight School are dated.  For example, today’s airplanes, such as the commercial prototypes, have glass cockpits and incorporate the use of computers. 

Earlier planes have cockpits often seen in “old movies” using only knobs and dials.  Despite those differences, students should be familiar with all types, said Maynard.

“Our students need to have experience on both. They need to see the traditional cockpit and the glass cockpit. We weren’t sure if Brown was able to make the investment, to move up to that,” said Maynard.

Negotiations with the airport about the facility’s location keep renovations to that facility and overall costs, which should be finalized this month. He anticipates the academy will be ready in fall 2013.


Teen pilot enjoys freedom he finds alone in the air: Monmouth Executive Airport (KBLM), Belmar/Farmingdale, New Jersey

Josh Eichel

MARLBORO — When Josh Eichel woke up on Nov. 23, 2012, he had yet to finish the six hours of driving school required to earn a learner’s permit. By the time he settled into bed that night, Eichel, 16, had completed the driving course, along with his first series of solo airplane flights at the Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall Township. 

The Marlboro resident’s dream took off when he was in eighth grade, after Eichel accompanied his rabbi and mentor, Don Weber, on a trip through the clouds.

In less than a year, Eichel enrolled in flight school and began flying a two-seat plane under the direction of instructor John Hannon.

Now, Eichel said, he knows the sense of liberation that comes with piloting an aircraft on one’s own.

“It was freedom,” Eichel said. “It’s all on you. You can’t just look to the right seat for the instructor. If you get in trouble, it’s up to you to get out.”

But the Marlboro High School junior did not encounter any problems in the air. Eichel successfully carried out four takeoffs and landings in roughly an hour as his parents, Rich Eichel and Gabby Eichel, along with Hannon and Weber, watched from the ground.

High in the crisp, clear sky, Eichel piloted the plane with skills he learned through free online classes and Hannon’s tutelage. More than a year of hard work — what Eichel called “the waiting game” — had paid off.

“I didn’t really have time to think I was flying alone,” the young man added. “I had confidence. I’ve been looking forward to this day for over a year now. It was just me and the airplane.”

Hannon said Eichel’s determination and supportive family aided in his knack for aviation at such a young age.

“Josh is always well prepared for each flight, and from day one he had what we call good ‘stick and rudder’ skills,” Hannon noted. “He is very bright and almost always needs only a single explanation of a task or concept.”

Though Eichel could not fly far from the airport during the flight, he managed to catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. He said the beauty of that sight reminded him of the peace he found on his first flight with Weber.

When he finally arrived at the airport for his solo flight, armed with faith in his abilities, Eichel said he still harbored some anxiety.

“I was a little bit nervous,” he said. “Coming up to the runway, I was very shaky, but I did what I normally do. My attention focused right to flying.”

Eichel’s smooth handling of the airplane, a Cessna 152 which is so light it can be pushed along the runway, dispelled any feeling of unease, he said.

When he triumphantly stepped off the plane that day, Eichel said, he could not wait for his next opportunity to soar across the sky. He compared the reaction to that of a child who is hesitant to jump into a swimming pool, but is unwilling to exit once in the water.

Eichel came back for seconds on Dec. 15 in Trenton, Mercer County, where he performed three solo takeoffs and landings. After that, Hannon gave Eichel the green light to fly solo within 25 miles of Monmouth Executive Airport, without an instructor on the ground.

Eichel said he is permitted to land at airports in Trenton and Toms River.

First-time unsupervised flights are not often made by 16-year-olds, but those who tackle the undertaking at a young age often find success in the field. Hannon said.

“What I often note is that whenever I read about a pilot who has made some great achievement in aviation, many of them soloed on or close to their 16th birthday,” Hannon said.

Eichel said he is unsure whether his love for flight will remain a hobby or blossom into a part-time job, but he does not wish to fly for a commercial airline.

For now, the teen said he finds humor in the parallels between learning to drive and fly. While his peers plot to find car rides from their friends, Eichel’s pals ask for flights to faraway lands, he said.

And Eichel’s mother, Gabby, who will always be nervous when he flies, said she worries more when Eichel is behind the wheel of an automobile.

“She thinks flying is less dangerous than driving,” Eichel added. “There’s no road to veer off, nobody to crash into and nobody nearby is texting.” 

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