Monday, January 21, 2013

Oroville, California: Aircraft force landed on Highway 70

Gary Watts of Paradise collects parts of a plane scattered along Highway 70 after the aircraft made an emergency landing near Pentz Road on Sunday. 
(Photo Credit:  Christina Rafael)

OROVILLE -- A Paradise pilot and his young passenger made a safe emergency landing in the middle of Highway 70 late Sunday afternoon, after a possible propeller malfunction. 

 "So glad they could land on the highway and not someplace it could cause trouble," said the pilot's father- in-law, Gary Watts of Paradise.

California Highway Patrol received a 9-1-1 call from a passing motorist at 3:43 p.m. and officers were able to safely push the yellow plane to the side of the road.

The pilot — Ron Wilson of Paradise — was on a joyride with his son when they detected a malfunction and pulled up on the wings to safely land on Highway 70, near Pentz Road, said Watts.

Shortly before being escorted home by the CHP, Wilson stated that he had "no idea" what went wrong with the propeller.

This was the second emergency landing on Highway 70 this week.

On Thursday, pilot John Schneider, 67, of Jamestown safely landed his Cherokee Piper 180 airplane on the highway, near Cherokee Road, after a rod blew through the left side of the engine.


Nigeria: Federal Government suspends importation of private jets

Nigerian billionaires planning to buy private jets have been stopped from doing so as the Federal Government has suspended the importation of private airplanes, helicopters and other lighter aircraft into the country.

Sources in the Ministry of Aviation said the suspension, which took effect a few months ago, would continue until the formulation of a new policy on importation of private jets and helicopters.

The sources revealed that the new policy, currently being drafted by the ministry, would take into cognisance several issues regarding the importation of private jets into the country.

Top government officials, however, said the Aviation ministry had yet to determine when work on the policy would be completed and, as such, there was no definite date for the removal of the suspension.

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, confirmed the development.

Obi, however, stressed that the suspension did not affect the importation of commercial and passenger jets being used by domestic airlines.

He said, “The domestic airlines are free to bring in their normal passenger planes. But the suspension only affects private jets. The government is trying to work on a new policy for the private jet.

“You will agree with me that the current policy on private jets is old, and there is a need to renew it.  Pending that renewal, all applications for importation for now will have to hold on.”

Asked if there was a timeframe for the lifting of the suspension, Obi said, “There is no definite time for now. It depends on when the new policy is completed. Government is working on the policy. When it is completed, every body will be informed.”

It is unclear the new areas in the private jet business that the proposed policy will tackle as Obi declined further comments.

However, it was learnt that several applications for the importation of private jets, helicopters and other lighter aircraft had been piling up at the Aviation ministry for over four months now.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the development was already affecting not only some wealthy Nigerians, who had ordered for private jets, but also their appointed agents helping them to handle the purchase from foreign manufacturers.

“We have submitted applications to bring in some jets on behalf of some people for over four months now, but no approval yet. It is strange. Some of the aircraft are awaiting approval so that we can bring them in from the United States, France and South Africa,” an aviation expert and agent, who usually assists some wealthy Nigerians to acquire private jets, told our correspondent under condition of anonymity.

Some players in the private jet sub-sector said some of the prospective buyers of the private jets might lose the non-refundable deposits they had paid to the manufacturers.

Speaking to our correspondent also under condition of anonymity, a major private jet owner said, “Normally, before you apply for importation of an aircraft, you will have made your choice of what you want from the manufacturer. And to keep the order for yourself, you have to pay a non-refundable deposit.

“At times, the non-refundable deposit may be for 60 days, after which you are expected to pay the balance; if you delay too much, the aircraft may be sold to someone else and you end up losing that non-refundable deposit. With this suspension, some of these people that have ordered for private jets may lose the deposits.”

The Nigerian private jet market has been one of the fastest growing in the world lately. The sector has been witnessing tremendous growth since 2007.

However, it was learnt that the recent crash involving the Governor of Taraba State, Mr. Danbaba Suntai, had forced the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, to begin plans to tighten the noose on private jet and helicopter operators.

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Aerostar YAK-52TW, ZK-YTW: Accident occurred January 23, 2012 in Timona Park, Feilding, New Zealand

A loose screwdriver that became jammed in the side of a plane as it was doing aerobatics over Feilding caused a crash that killed a Palmerston North doctor and his friend.

A Civil Aviation Authority report into the crash - which claimed the lives of plane owner and pilot Ralph Saxe, 51, and his friend Brett Ireland, 50 - was released today, almost a year to the day after the 2012 crash at 10.45am on January 23.

Hours after crash 'a blur' - widow

The report, written by safety investigator Alan Moselen, found the crash was the result of design flaws in the plane that led to a screwdriver getting stuck in the elevator controls of the plane during a "slow roll" manoeuvre.

As Saxe, a member of Warbirds, entered a steep dive immediately following the slow roll he was unable to get the elevation needed to prevent the plane from slamming into the ground in Timona Park, Feilding.

The forces were so strong that the aircraft nose, engine and wings "created deep ground scars then virtually disintegrated".

The crash was not survivable.

Three witnesses to the crash were flying model aircraft at the park when the aircraft passed within 50 metres of them, moments before ground impact.

The plane rolled to the right in the moments before impact, and the report states this was probably a result of Saxe trying to "avoid a line of houses situated on the western side of the park".

In investigating the crash the CAA found a "stubby" type screwdriver 15 metres from the main impact site, which the report says could have been sitting in the fuselage of the plane for a long period of time.

It is not the first time rogue objects have become jammed in Yak 52 aircraft elevator controls.

In Essex in 2004 a UK pilot managed to recover from a aerobatic manoevre after a cellphone left in the aircraft two months earlier had penetrated a safety barrier and lodged itself in the elevator.

Saxe's Yak 52 did not have a safety barrier installed.

In March 2012, as a result of the crash, the CAA issued a mandate for Yak 52 owners to fit a barrier.

They also called on all Yak 52 operators worldwide to check for loose objects in the fuselage before flying. 


Accident Report:


"Losing Ralph nearly broke me but I try to take the time to really appreciate what's good in every day," Joanne Saxe says. 

Witnesses to the crash believe the pilot, who may have been Ralph Saxe, inset, was trying to steer the ailing aircraft towards Feilding's Timona Park and away from nearby houses.

A re-enactment of the screwdriver's positioning before the crash.

Latham Island dock project takes step back: City formalizes plans to consult public before moving forward

Latham Island Neighbourhood Association member Louise Dundas-Matthews was one of the residents who addressed council on Monday about plans for the city's 2013 Harbour Plan implementation initiative. One of the three projects includes getting the float plane dock and small boat marina completed, which could end up at the base of Latham Island. She says council needs to narrow the scope of what it intends to get area residents to agree to. 
- Miranda Scotland/NNSL photo

Simon Whitehouse 
Northern News Services

Published Monday, January 21, 2013


Plans to move ahead with locating, designing and operating a float plane dock and small boat launch at Latham Island this year will take one step longer as council decided Monday to further review the city's plans to consult with neighbors.

Director of planning and development Jeff Humble presented a detailed engagement process that, beginning in February, will help the city deal with communicating and involving the broader public before implementing three planned Harbour Plan recommendations this summer.

The 2013 budget has $600,000 planned for making the Pilot's Monument area more tourist friendly, improving area parks and locating a float plane and small boating dock, proposed most likely to be at the base of Latham Island on Back Bay.

"The city will be undertaking a large number of projects in 2013 and one of the key considerations is the level of public engagement that we will be undertaking," explained Humble, on Monday.

"Basically we are looking for council's support and verification on this direction so that we can commence this engagement strategy going forward."

Most of council was receptive to a more formalized communications process that would allow staff to involve the public prior to project implementation. Much of the committee discussion, however, diverted to the scope of the city's Latham Island docking proposal, which after years of discussion remains a controversial topic between the NWT Float Plane Association, the city and the Latham Island Neighborhood Association. The city has already purchased docking units to go into the Lessard location, however the neighborhood association and float plane association remain unclear whether the project proposed is a small float plane dock at Lessard or a float plane and boat marina stretching from Lessard to Otto Drive .

By a 4-3 vote, council approved a motion moved by Coun. Adrian Bell to review administration's plans for discussing the dock designs before moving ahead with consulting.

"What I thought was being missed in the whole process was our commitment to consult with the effective neighbors prior to going to a broad consultation," Bell said, adding he agreed with resident Louise Dundas-Matthews that the scope of the project needs to be narrowed so the city can negotiate a solid plan with neighbors.

"I proposed we at least have the design ideas come to council so that we can then go to the neighborhood association and say, 'Here is what is being talked about and what are your thoughts?'"

Some councilors said this effort was redundant, however, and that public input should happen before council makes any further decisions on the dock.

"I am extremely uncomfortable with this suggestion for many reasons," said Coun. Dan Wong in the meeting. "First of all, we have had direction from council and second of all, we have had direction from the public. We have a Harbour front Plan that has had extensive input from the public. This isn't just something that council or administration came up with on a whim."

While the last council agreed the base of the docking should be at the base of the island instead of at other proposed locations, such as the Wiley Road node park or Kam Lake, Mayor Mark Heyck said this week the current council is not held to that decision and could still reverse it if it feels it necessary.

Coun. Cory Vanthuyne added he sees no time frame associated with the dock, either, and said the project may not even go ahead if consensus on a final location, design and operation, is not found.

Float plane association president Hal Logdson, neighborhood association members Louise Dundas-Matthews and Penny Johnson and Dr. Courtney Howard all addressed council briefly.

"I think this council had a better understanding of where the neighborhood association and the float plane association were coming from," Johnson said. "I think we heard a lot of support from the councilors as to the role of engagement and protocol when engaging with groups in town."

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Beechcraft 100 King Air, C-GXRX: Passengers injured in plane crash sue airline for damages: Accident occurred October 27, 2011 near Vancouver International Airport (CYVR), BC - Canada

Six passengers who survived a fatal plane crash at Vancouver Airport are suing the commercial airline for damages.

All seven passengers aboard the King Air 100 aircraft were pulled to safety after it struck Russ Baker Way, slid across the road and burst into flames in October 2011.

The two pilots, Luc Fortin and Mark Robic, were rescued by firefighters but later succumbed to their burns.

The aircraft, owned and operated by Northern Thunderbird Air Inc., was on a charter flight from Vancouver to Kelowna at the time of the crash.

Six of the passsengers — Ruben Cohen, Kelly Jablonski, Jeffery McCord, Cameron and Lorelie Sobolik and Troy Zanatta — have now filed a lawsuit against the airline in B.C. Supreme Court.
The suit says that as the passengers boarded the flight, a number of them noticed the presence of oil under the aircraft wing.

The presence of the oil was reported to the flight crew but the boarding process continued and the aircraft took off for Kelowna, it says.

Shortly after takeoff, the captain announced that the aircraft would be returning to YVR due to an oil issue, says the suit.

Passengers could see oil streaming from the left engine and on to the wing, it says.

The flight crew reduced power on the left engine, elected not to declare an emergency and proceeded to attempt to land at YVR, says the suit.

“The flight crew failed to properly manage the speed of the King Air 100. The speed decreased to the point where it became uncontrollable. As a result, the King Air 100 rolled hard to the left, plummeted towards the ground,” is how the claim describes it.

According to the lawsuit, the passengers sustained the following injuries:

Cohen, a Vancouver businessman, suffered a number of injuries, including fractures and soft tissue injuries to his spine and a mild traumatic brain injury.

The injuries for Jablonski, a Richmond businessman, included an injury to his head causing pain and loss of function of his jaw, fractures to the sternum and a shattered sternum and fractures to his spine.
Injuries for McCord, a West Vancouver businessman, included lacerations to his head and face, post-concussion syndrome, and a fracture to his spine.

Cameron Sobolik, a Surrey businessman, suffered injuries including fractures to his spine, soft tissue injuries, a fracture to his sternum and paralysis.

Lorelie Sobolik, a Surrey businesswoman, had injuries that included fractures to her spine, injuries to her spinal cord and spinal canal and multiple rib fractures.

Troy Zanatta, a Surrey businessman, suffered injuries that included fracture and compression injuries to his spine and soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.

The injuries and losses were caused by the negligence of the airline and the flight crew, says the lawsuit.

General and special damages are being sought, in addition to damages in trust for family members or partners who provided care.

In the wake of the crash, the Transportation Safety Board said a string of events led to the crash but that ultimately it was the post-crash fire that led to the two deaths.

A TSB report said such fires could be prevented by something as simple as a switch to turn off a battery so it can’t be the source of a spark.
No response to the notice of civil claim has been filed. The allegations have not been proven in court. The company was not immediately available.

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Primary runway back open at Roanoke Regional Airport/Woodrum Field (KROA), Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke Regional Airport and Lynchburg Regional Airport have crews on standby for snow storm 

ROANOKE, Va.— The primary runway at Roanoke Regional Airport is back open. A second runway is still closed.  

Click here for more flight information.


All flights at Roanoke Regional Airport (ROA) and Lynchburg Regional Airport (LYH) are scheduled on time.

Both airports tell WDBJ7 that could change at anytime, depending on the severity of the snow.
Canceled flights is up to the airlines.

Managers with ROA and LYH say their crews will work to keep the runways clear but if the snow falls fast and thick that will cause visibility issues for pilots.

For more information on flights at ROA, click here.

For more information on flights at LYH, click here.

Dreamliner Probes Intensify: Twin Investigations of Jet's Batteries Show Signs of Diverging

Updated January 21, 2013, 7:29 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

International investigations into the battery malfunctions that grounded Boeing Co.'s 787 jet are accelerating, with U.S. and Japanese experts pursuing some new and possibly differing leads.

One facet of the effort led by experts from Tokyo appears to concentrate heavily on potential problems with the batteries themselves, while their counterparts in the U.S. seem more centered on possible hazards stemming from the manner in which the batteries interact with the plane's novel electric grid.

With the separate and loosely coordinated probes continuing to expand, further questions are cropping up about the extent of sharing of preliminary data, according to people familiar with the matter. U.S. investigators, for instance, are pushing for more access to some of the raw data retrieved by Japanese officials, according to people familiar with the details. Meanwhile, pressure from Boeing and its airline customers is building on both sides of the Pacific to find answers quickly.

Japanese regulators intensified their focus on manufacturing and quality-control issues at the GS Yuasa Corp. plant that builds lithium-ion batteries that are a major feature of Boeing's cutting-edge plane. Officials from Japan's transport ministry and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Monday visited the headquarters of GS Yuasa, and a transport-ministry official said the investigators are also scheduled this week to inspect the GS Yuasa factory where the Dreamliner batteries are made.

Leading up to that step, Japanese investigators suggested they were concentrating on potential overcharging as the likely cause of the battery problem that led to the Jan. 16 emergency landing and evacuation of an All Nippon Airways Co. 787 after pilots noticed a burning smell.

Meanwhile, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday added a twist to the high-profile probes. It disclosed that in a previous incident—when a rechargeable lithium-ion battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines Co. 787 jet parked in Boston a week earlier—the battery "did not exceed its designed voltage." Instead of discussing potential overcharging, the safety board emphasized its efforts to delve into wiring, circuit boards and other battery-related external components.

The safety board's update suggests that some of its experts, along with others from the FAA, apparently suspect different circumstances than those highlighted so far by Japanese officials might have preceded the two incidents. The NTSB's latest release also provides the strongest hint yet that at least to some extent, the U.S. and Japanese investigations might be pursuing different theories.

If that is the case—and particularly if the two incidents turn out to have different root causes—the result could potentially delay Boeing's effort to persuade regulators to allow the planes back into service.

Japanese officials are participating in the team headed up by the U.S. safety board, just as FAA and safety-board experts are part of the Japanese-led investigative team. But the twin probes are at different stages, and U.S. officials, for their part, privately have talked about the importance of broader data-sharing.

Outside safety experts agree that it is too early to draw definitive conclusions, and they add that additional data could swiftly eliminate differences in emphasis between the two probes. FAA and safety-board spokeswomen have declined to elaborate on the status of the investigations. Japanese officials said the probe of GS Yuasa would take "a few days."

"We will inspect whether appropriate operations have been conducted—from design to manufacturing," Shigeru Takano, director of the ministry's air-transport-safety unit, said at a news conference after Monday's visit to the company's Kyoto headquarters.

GS Yuasa is a century-old Japanese company with a strong presence in the automotive industry, but until now it was relatively unknown in the aviation world. The company traces its roots back to the maker of Japan's first lead-acid storage battery in 1895. That company, Japan Storage Battery, merged with domestic rival Yuasa Corp. in 2004, forming what is now the third-biggest maker of lead batteries for cars, with about an 8% share globally.

In the 1990s, the company started developing lithium-ion batteries, the high-capacity but flammable type of storage cell used in the Dreamliner. It has plowed the bulk of its recent capital investments into the lithium part of its business. According to the company, GS Yuasa plans to spend ¥50 billion ($556 million) in the lithium-ion business during the three years ending in March. The company makes lithium-ion batteries for satellites and deep-sea vessels, and in November landed a subcontract with the Rocketdyne rocket-engine manufacturing unit of United Technologies Corp. to supply the batteries for the International Space Station. It has joint ventures with Honda Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. of Japan to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, andGS Yausa said it had no previous record of fires caused by its lithium-ion batteries. It declined to comment on the current investigation.

Shortly after U.S. and Japanese investigators left the Yuasa's corporate compound Monday, workers in blue and green overalls streamed out of the company's front gate, located on a residential street outside central Kyoto.

Boeing has said it is working closely with investigators to identify a corrective plan that would allow Dreamliner flights to resume.

In sketching out future moves, the NTSB underscored the nature of its inquiry. The safety board said a team of investigators, including industry experts, are conducting examinations of the internal structure of the battery in the JAL incident in Boston, which occurred Jan. 7. Scans of the battery, and disassembly of a number of cells, appear intended to help investigators determine whether some type of internal fault or manufacturing defect prompted the battery to overheat and start the fire.

Safety-board engineers and scientists also are looking at external factors. The NTSB's statement said that a group of safety experts will meet Tuesday in Arizona "to test and examine the battery charger," which is manufactured there by Securaplane Technologies Inc., a unit of Meggitt MGGT. PLC of Britain.

The safety board took the unusual step of releasing its Sunday update just after midnight on the East Coast, during a three-day weekend in the U.S., including a federal holiday. The world-wide grounding of Boeing 787s is now stretching into its seventh day.

When the FAA last Wednesday ordered the 787 fleet in the U.S. grounded, the emergency directive effectively put a halt to all deliveries of new Dreamliners because Boeing is prohibited from conducting test flights of yet-to-be-delivered 787s.

Boeing formally announced a moratorium on Dreamliner deliveries Friday.

—Jon Ostrower
and Daniel Michaels
contributed to this article.

Corrections & Amplifications

The maker of the Dreamliner's batteries is GS Yuasa. An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the company in several instances.

The update said that certain parts removed from the JAL 787 have been sent to Boeing for analysis and download of data at the company's facilities, a step that could assist the Chicago-based plane maker in developing potential interim safeguards needed to return the fleet to service. Previously, Boeing officials expressed frustration that some data gathered by government investigators hadn't yet been provided to the company, according to people familiar with the situation.


Dan Stover, aviation director at Marion Municipal Airport (KMNN), dies

Dan Stover

MARION — Dan Stover, aviation services director at Marion Municipal Airport, died this morning, airport officials said. 

Stover joined the airport in November 1990, succeeding Robert Ault, who had retired.

Brian Clark, chairman for the airport commission, praised Stover’s work as aviation services director at the airport.

“Dan led the airport through a number of beneficial expansions and really made the airport an asset to the city for attracting businesses, and I think we’re all proud of the work that he did out there,” Clark said.

The airport commission has scheduled an executive committee meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday “to figure out how we need to proceed,” he said.

Story and Photo:

Marion Municipal Airport:

Quicksilver Sport IIS N1712: Accident occurred January 20, 2013 in Camarillo, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA096
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Camarillo, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2014
Aircraft: QUICKSILVER SPORT IIS, registration: N1712
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that he was preparing his airplane for departure in a designated “run-up” area. The passenger’s girlfriend wanted to document the flight with photographs and video. As she approached the airplane from the rear to check an airframe-mounted camera before the airplane departed, she was struck in the head by the propeller of the rear mounted engine. The pilot heard the noise and immediately shut the engine down. Several other people, who were standing nearby, had warned her to stay clear of the engine/propeller area. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The person on the ground’s failure to stay clear of a spinning propeller. 

On January 20, 2013, about 1430 Pacific standard time a person walked into the propeller of a Quicksilver Sport IIS, N1712, that was standing with its engine operating at Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California. The sport pilot and his passenger were not injured; however, the person struck by the propeller was seriously injured. The pilot/owner was operating the aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal local flight, which was preparing for departure from Camarillo at the time of the accident. A flight plan had not been filed. 

The pilot stated that he was preparing the airplane for departure in a designated "run-up" area. The airplane's engine was aft mounted on the airframe. The passenger's girlfriend wanted to document the flight with photographs and video. The video camera was mounted on the rear airframe structure, very near the engine. Several other people warned her to stay clear of the engine/propeller area. At the last moment, she stepped forward to check the video camera, and was struck in the head by the airplane's propeller. The pilot heard a noise and immediately shut the engine down.

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA096 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Camarillo, CA
Aircraft: QUICKSILVER SPORT IIS, registration: N1712
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Uninjured.

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

On January 20, 2013, about 1435 Pacific standard time, the pilot of a Quicksilver Sport IIS, N1712, was performing a preflight checklist when an observer on the ground walked into the propeller at Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California. The Sport Pilot and his passenger were not injured; however, an observer on the ground was seriously injured. The pilot/owner was operating the aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal local flight, which was preparing for departure from Camarillo at the time of the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

The pilot stated that he was preparing the aircraft for departure in a designated “run-up” area. His aircraft’s engine is aft mounted on the airframe and the propeller design is a pusher type. He did not see the ground observer approach the aircraft to adjust a GoPro camera, but did hear a noise. He shut down the engine and discovered the observer on the ground.

  Regis#: 1712        Make/Model: EXP       Description: QUICKSILVER SPORT IIS ULTRALIGHT
  Date: 01/20/2013     Time: 2230

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

  City: CAMARILLO   State: CA   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Standing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: VAN NUYS, CA  (WP01)                  Entry date: 01/22/2013

 CAMARILLO, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman was hospitalized Sunday after being injured by a spinning propeller on an ultralight airplane at Camarillo Airport.

Officials said the 50-year-old woman was taking pictures of a family member who was going to take a ride on the plane when she somehow came in contact with the propeller.

The plane was on the ground with the propeller spinning when the accident happened.

There was no word on the woman's condition.


RAW VIDEO: Helicóptero cai em residência e deixa um morto na zona norte de São Paulo: Sao Paulo helicopter crash kills 1, injures 3: Bell 206B JetRanger III, PR-JBN

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian authorities say a helicopter has crashed into a house in Sao Paulo, killing the pilot and injuring the three passengers, but not hurting anyone on the ground.

It's not clear what caused the Monday crash.

A light rain was falling over most of Sao Paulo during the crash, but there were no reports of heavy downpours typical during the South American summer.

A spokesman for Brazil's air force says the aircraft that crashed was a Bell 206 helicopter that can carry up to seven passengers and a pilot.

It was being operated by as an air taxi. Sao Paulo has one of the world's largest private fleets of helicopters, used as a means of bypassing extremely congested roads

Two ways to tie down an airplane

Published on January 15, 2013 

These are two different examples of how to tie down your aircraft. Check with your Certified Flight Instructor, Flight School, or flying club to ensure the knots you use are appropriate for your aircraft. For more information on flight training in the Pittsburgh area visit

Erie plans to light airport's taxiway

ERIE - Erie officials plan to spend $601,852 to light the town's airport taxiway in a project slated to start in August or September, according to Fred Diehl, assistant to the Erie town administrator.

The light project is expected to receive final approval from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics at a meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, Diehl said in an email. Some $400,000 for the lights would come from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics, or FAA, another $150,000 would come from the Federal Aviation Administration and the final $51,851.85 would come from the town of Erie, Diehl said.

Lights are considered an airport safety improvement, Diehl said. Erie's municipal airport currently is open around the clock; the taxiway is lined with reflectors. The project is expected to be put out to bid after the Colorado Division of Aeronautics approves it, said Russell Pennington, Erie's deputy public works director.

At the same time, the town expects to spend about $250,000 on an airport master-plan update project, which is scheduled to wrap up in August. Funds for the update are coming from the FAA, and from state and local governments, Jason Hurd, owner of Vector Air Management LLC, the private company in charge of running the airport, has said.

The master-plan update is expected to govern proposed development at the airport for the next 20 years - including a possible runway expansion. A crowd of more than 100 attended a meeting in November to hear more about the update.

The airport reported a $90,000 profit in a year after Vector Air Management took over operations, Joe Wilson, Erie's mayor, has said.


Zenith Aircraft draws business from flying enthusiasts around the world with its assembly-kit airplanes

By Jacob Barker

Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 2:00 am 

Updated: 9:09 am, Monday January 21, 2013.
Bob Hannah works on airplanes for a living, but the mechanic from Rising Sun, Ind., has always wanted to build his own. At Mexico, Mo., Memorial Airport last week, in the only hangar with any signs of life, Hannah and his son, Tyler, finally began the project they had long dreamed of.

"I've been wanting to do this for a long time," Bob Hannah said. "I thought if I didn't do it soon, it's going to be too late."

For the small but committed national community of airplane enthusiasts, Zenith Aircraft Co. is one of the few places they can get a kit to assemble their own plane. Based out of Mexico Memorial Airport, it has been making light sport airplane kits for 20 years. People from around the globe buy the company's kit airplanes, and last week, during one of the monthly training workshops Zenith offers to its customers, enthusiasts from across the United States stopped in Mid-Missouri to pick up their kits and get a feel for the assembly process.

"It's kind of one of those hobbies that's off the radar for most people," Zenith President Sebastien Heintz said.

Heintz walked from table to table offering insight to his customers while, in the back of the hangar, some of Zenith's 16 employees put finishing touches on the parts future customers will assemble themselves. Heintz pointed to a huge crate nearly filled with crafted metal — the wings, tail, everything but the engine and instrument board, which customers buy separately. "You got a big Erector Set, is what you're looking at," he said.

That might be a bit of an oversimplification. It takes 400 to 500 hours, about a year's commitment if you aren't working all day, to put together one of Zenith's four plane models, Heintz reckons. But for someone who grew up around planes, it doesn't seem that complicated.

"At the end of the day, airplanes are pretty simple machines," Heintz said.

Heintz started Zenith in 1992. It's actually an offshoot of the family business, Zenair Ltd., based out of Ontario, Canada. Heintz, a Canada native, wasn't sure growing up whether he wanted to be part of the family business, but after graduating from business school, he decided to launch the separate company to sell kits for the airplane models designed by his father, Chris Heintz, in the U.S. market.

Scoping out a place to launch Zenith, Heintz had a lot of options. The United States has thousands of small airports, many of them underused, he said. Mexico offered a good spot in the middle of the country and an airport with plenty of space for tests and a manufacturing facility. He doesn't have to worry about coordinating with commercial airlines or many private planes, yet the airport has been pretty well-maintained. That's probably thanks to former Missouri Sen. Kit Bond.

"With his hometown being Mexico, he always made sure the airport was taken care of, I guess," Heintz said.

Heintz's brother, Matt Heintz, now runs Zenair, which licenses its designs to Zenith and also does some manufacturing and assembly. Zenith, on the other hand, focuses solely on putting the kits together, and although it started as a company dedicated to the North American market, it has since seen demand for the kits pick up in emerging economies.

Heintz estimates about 30 percent of his sales are now exports, mainly to markets with growing middle and upper classes, such as Brazil and China. "We're a little Mid-Missouri company that exports quite a bit," he said.

Although getting into the foreign markets has its challenges — he doesn't speak Portuguese, for instance — the increase in foreign demand for kit airplanes has kept business steady through the recession. And going forward, Heintz, like most good businessmen, knows it would be foolish to ignore the potential of countries such as China.

"Doing business with the Chinese is tough sometimes, but at the same time, we can't ignore that's where the growth is," he said.

Getting into the foreign markets wasn't something Heintz set out to do. For an industry as niche as kit airplanes, Heintz said sales initiatives aren't really necessary. Only a few people want to build an airplane themselves, and those who do will seek Zenith out themselves, he said.

"We're kind of unique," Heintz said. "We don't have any salespeople, for instance. ... An airplane is not sold. An airplane is bought."

The expected increase in foreign customers couldn't come at a better time because, domestically, Heintz has watched the pool of aviation enthusiasts shrink for years. In 2011, there were 195,650 private pilots registered in the United States, the lowest number since 1964, according to statistics from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. When Heintz started in 1992, there were 288,078 private pilots, but that number has fallen almost every year.

Heintz points to the high cost and time commitment of learning to fly an airplane as well as the heavy regulatory hand of the Federal Aviation Administration. Although he understands the need for safety, he likens a recreational pilot flying a small sport plane such as those Zenith's kits produce to a motorcycle enthusiast: Both vehicles can be dangerous, but planes and pilots are much more regulated.

"It ends up being quite burdensome for the average recreational pilot," he said.

In the recession, it would seem that an expensive hobby such as building a kit airplane would take a major hit as people cut discretionary spending. For Zenith, Heintz said he was pleasantly surprised that sales stayed pretty much flat. But even with flat sales, he gained market share as the industry as a whole contracted.

Despite the downturn in the number of pilots, there are some bright spots. In 2005, the FAA approved a new, easier-to-obtain license for sport pilots, and those numbers have risen every year and stood at 4,350 in 2011, according to the pilots association. And the types of planes Zenith produces — technically referred to as "experimental" — have been on the rise, too. The number licensed stood at 24,685 in 2011, a 20 percent increase from 10 years earlier.

Even though Heintz does worry a little about a declining aviation community, he points to the increase in recreational flying. "The die-hard aviation guys, they're always going to be around," he said.

Last week, during the workshop, Julius Salinas was learning how to assemble one of Zenith's airplanes so he could try to pass on his love of flying to a younger generation. Salinas, an industrial education teacher in Cloquet, Minn., persuaded the school district he works for to buy a kit for a class project. Not only will his students build the plane — which has to be certified by the FAA before it is deemed flight-worthy — but also Salinas, a certified pilot, plans to take each of them up in it.

"I've always thought building an airplane with kids would be the ideal project," Salinas said. "It's just a way to teach kids hands-on instead of everything being theoretical or conceptual."

The hobbyists are here to stay, Heintz said, and many of them try to pass on the enthusiasm for flight. "For Zenith and the pure hobbyists, I'm not worried," he said. "We're going to be around 10 years from now, unless we come up with a better flying carpet."

These days, Zenith sells about 250 airplane kits a year, a sizable increase from the 75 or so it sold annually when it first went into business.

"We're quite a bit bigger than when we started out, but we're still a small shop," Heintz said.

One of the barriers to growth Heintz has always had to deal with is the risk of litigation and stricter aviation policy. He doesn't have to deal too often with new and burdensome regulations, and he said he doesn't worry too much about policy changes. But the rarity of airplane crashes makes them sensational, and "all it takes is one or two spectacular ones and a few politicians to get involved."

Although selling kits to amateurs sounds like an extreme liability, Heintz said he has been sued only three or four times. People building their own airplanes have an incentive to be careful and thorough, he said, more so "than an hourly employee on a Monday morning with a hangover."

"You're going to take the time to do it well," Heintz said. "It's your ass up there."

But with a country full of settlement-happy lawyers, he worries about getting too big as a company and putting a bull's-eye on his back. He's happy with the sales and market share Zenith has, and although he thinks he could grow more, the litigation risk makes him hesitate. Still, he just looks at it as a cost of doing business. "If you're successful, you're going to get sued," Heintz said.

All in all, Heintz loves the job. He's passionate about flying, and all of his customers are, too.

"Every day, I look forward to going to work because our customers are good people, and flying, it's a really fun thing," he said.

Back at the workshop last week, at least one member of the younger generation already had gained an appreciation for the hobby. While he helped his father, Bob Hannah, assemble the kit airplane, Tyler Hannah talked about his plans to go to college to become a pilot.

"I'm not much of a mechanic," he said. "But I can't wait to fly."

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AirAsia Scraps Plans for Singapore Unit

SINGAPORE—AirAsia Bhd. has dropped plans to set up an airline in Singapore, citing high costs and weak market potential.

"We are concentrating on markets which have big domestic markets and big populations and markets that are more liberal and market orientated," Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said by email. It is "very clear that we are in the right markets and capital should go into those countries to maximize return."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore didn't comment on Mr. Fernandes's statement about Singapore's costs.

AirAsia, based in Sepang, Malaysia, has expanded rapidly since Mr. Fernandes and partners bought the carrier in 2001. It is the region's largest budget carrier by market share. The carrier has ventures in the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia as it seeks to tap growing demand for aviation in the thriving region.

AirAsia operates more than 100 jets and is Airbus's biggest customer world-wide for single-aisle aircraft. In December the airline ordered 100 Airbus A320 jets. That added to a 2011 order for 200 jets with a total value of $18 billion at list prices, though big customers typically are offered significant discounts.

AirAsia was keen to establish a unit in Singapore to better compete with its main rivals, including the Jetstar unit of Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd., and Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. in which Singapore Airlines Ltd. has a 32.7% stake. AirAsia is the biggest low-cost carrier by number of flights to Singapore but having a unit based in the country would have allowed the carrier to fly to more destinations from the city-state.

More than 50 million passengers traveled through Singapore's Changi Airport last year, according to Changi Airport Group, which operates the airport.


Four operators register for seaplane project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Four companies have expressed interest to start seaplane operations from Kerala and have registered with the government to avail the early bird incentive. However, the operators may not be able to meet the January 31 deadline for conducting test flights as many are awaiting director general of civil aviation (DGCA)'s import license to bring their aircraft from abroad.

According to tourism department sources, two Mumbai-based aviation companies, Bhart Aviation Pvt Ltd and Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd, Delhi-based Pinnacle Air Pvt Ltd and Hyderabad-based Turbo Aviation Pvt Ltd have registered for the early bird incentives, which is a waiver on infrastructure fees. But the condition laid down by the cabinet is that the operators must send in their expression of interest to the Kerala government and also conduct a test flight before January 31.

"No test flight, no early bird incentive," said tourism secretary, Suman Billa, who recently held a meeting with Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh for discussing DGCA mandatory clearances.

"The cabinet had decided that the seaplane operators must conduct a test flight before January 31 if they want the incentive. If any changes need to be made then it has to come from the Cabinet. Everything is on track as far as the government is concerned. The design for the floating jetty has been submitted to the ports director for stability test. The department of hydrography under the ports department has certified the water body at the four locations where the seaplane will land and take-off. I have a letter that says environmental clearance is not needed for the project. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) is offering training to the security personnel who will be ready to take charge soon. So we are basically ready," he said.

Turbo Aviation MD V Umesh said he has ordered the aircraft but waiting for a series of clearances from DGCA. "I should be ready with my Cessna-208A latest by March," he said.

Mehair is the only operator in India who has experience in seaplane operation. But their aircraft is currently at Andaman and Nicobar. Though the company's contract with the A&N administration had ended the authorities are not ready to release the aircraft as they depend on it during emergencies. Mehair is also awaiting a new aircraft to bring to Kerala.


Probe into why helicopter wasn’t given cover

The Chhattisgarh police have launched an internal probe after it was found that the helipad adjacent to the Temlewada police camp was not sanitized for helicopter landing.

The Maoists had opened fire on the IAF Mi-17 helicopter when it attempted to land there on Friday. After being fired upon at least 14 times, the pilot landed the chopper three km away in the nearby dense jungle. A police constable in the chopper was injured in the attack.

The six IAF personnel on board the chopper walked back to the nearby Chinta Gufa camp of the CRPF. Officials said that the Maoists used SLRs and .12 bore rifles to attack the chopper.

“We have started an internal inquiry to ascertain why the helipad was not sanitized. The helicopter came under attack when it was hovering above the helipad adjacent to the police camp. The Maoists had taken refuge in the nearby villages,” said R K Vij, ADGP.

A joint team of senior police officials and CRPF had visited the site on Sunday evening. After the attack, the IAF personnel had told the CRPF that they were not given adequate security cover.

“Earlier too there have been attempts to attack the chopper. This time it was on a way to airlift injured policemen who had been attacked in an encounter earlier in the day. There was not enough security on the ground even though hundred policemen were present in the adjacent camp,” said a senior officer in Chhattisgarh.

Officials said the technical team of the IAF, which was repairing the helicopter, would take at least two more days to make it flight ready.

“We have deployed enough security personnel to guard the helicopter. The police and the CRPF commandos are being put on rotational duty,” said the officer.


Crews clear old dirt airstrip at Fort Stewart

Posted: Jan 21, 2013 2:09 PM EST 
Updated: Jan 21, 2013 2:09 PM EST
Savannah Morning News

FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) - Strong gusts of wind whipped across the small, largely grass-covered clearing surrounded on all sides by towering pine trees, as uniformed soldiers and airmen worked tirelessly to transform it.

An olive green Air Force steamroller rolled across cleared land, packing down dirt as two brown bulldozers pushed hundreds of pounds of earth 40 yards ahead of it Friday morning.

By the end of the week, that dirt strip will be fully compacted, stretching about 4,700 feet long and 90 feet wide. In March, massive military aircraft will land on it, halting as instantaneously as 98-foot, 155,000-pound planes are capable of - a crucial skill known to C-130 pilots as the combat landing.

Since opening construction earlier this week, about 25 civil engineering soldiers and airmen from the New Mexico Army and Air National Guard have cleared the long overrun airstrip on northwestern Fort Stewart near Camp Oliver.

Exactly how long it's been since the Army has used the Remagen Drop Zone wasn't known by the people who headed its revitalization program, but everyone agreed it's been well over a decade.

While Coastal Georgia is home to a vast array of military training grounds for all of the Armed Forces branches, it lacked a dirt airstrip where C-130 pilots could practice short-field - or combat - landings, said Air Force Col. Todd Freesemann, the commander of the Georgia Air National Guard's Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center.

"We were really looking for an area where we could do a dirt landing with the C-130s and have a combination drop zone/landing zone for our exercises," Freesemann said. "Pilots haven't been able to practice that skill in an ideal location like this in many years here."

With the CRTCs largest training operation - Global Guardian, which will include about 40 National Guard units from 26 states - coming up in March, Freesemann and his staff decided to try to find such an airstrip. Already familiar with Remagen from his days as an Army officer at Fort Stewart, Freesemann secured the proper clearance and was assured the airstrip could be revitalized even after years of neglect.

"What this gives us is a close-by landing zone so we can do a combination drop zone/landing zone here. When the 165th Airlift Wing picks up some jumpers, they're going to be able to actually drop those jumpers on this drop zone and then they're going to be able to land, pick them up and take them back."

It also allows pilots to perfect a skill often used in combat, said veteran C-130 pilot Air Force Lt. Col. D.J. Spisso, of the Georgia Air National Guard's Savannah-based 165th Airlift Wing.

"It makes a huge difference when you're doing this on dirt - when you deploy, these airstrips are going to be dirt or gravel, something like that - instead of on concrete," Spisso said. "The first time a pilot does this kind of landing, it's scary, so it can really get to you. So, this asset is going to be really big, important for us around here."

For the New Mexico Army and Air National Guard units, constructing the airway was an opportunity for them to train on their specialty, said Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Benton, the commander of the 210th Red Horse Squadron that teamed with the 92nd Engineer Company to complete the airstrip.

Engineering units like his build similar landing zones in combat theatres such as Afghanistan. Practicing in the U.S. without the threat of attack, Benton said, is a rare opportunity.

"We're here for two weeks, and these guys are working very hard," he said. "For us, this is training. This is an opportunity for us to come out here to Georgia and practice what it is we do, and give these folks something they really needed."

Freesemann said not only will the airstrip be useful for the CRTC and the 165th Airlift Wing, Army troops at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will get valuable training because of its availability, too.

"At the end of the day, we're going to have a great landing zone that this entire area is going to be able to use from Fort Stewart, the Combat Readiness Training Center, Townsend Bombing Range," Freesemann said. "It's just one more great air and, really, land asset we have here in (the Coastal Georgia) area for our military to use to train."

Information from: Savannah Morning News,

Beechcraft Heritage Museum: Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce “Chili”


Annual Chamber chili is Tuesday at Beechcraft Museum 

To kick off 2013, The Beechcraft Heritage Museum, The Exchange and the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center will host the annual Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce “chili” set for 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The chili will be provided by conference center chefs Bart O’Dare and Michael Osborne.

O’Dare has won two silver medals in competitions hosted by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Osborne is a certified executive chef and was recently inducted into the American Academy of Chefs. Osborne has won numerous medals and awards from the ACF and has served as Middle Tennessee chapter president for the past four years.

For next week’s chili, networking, door prizes and fun will be provided, according to Diane Bryant, Chamber executive director.

The Beechcraft Heritage Museum offers a rich history in Beechcraft aviation to the local community, according to executive assistant Tammy Cowan.

“The museum began as the Staggerwing Museum Foundation in 1973,” she said. “And then in April 2007 it became the Beechcraft Heritage Museum. It’s our commitment to promoting aviation education and preserving the heritage nurtured by generations of enthusiasts of all Beechcraft models from 1932 through the present.”

The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday from March through November, and by appointment only December through February at 570 Old Shelbyville Hwy.

According to Cowan, the 2013 annual Beech Party is scheduled for Oct. 16-20.


Grand old airplane marks 70th anniversary at 1940 Air Terminal Museum

The 1942 Lockheed Lodestar on display.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport held a 70th birthday party Saturday (Jan. 19) for a classic airplane, the 1942 Lockheed Lodestar, complete with birthday cake, balloons, a fascinating historic presentation and self-guided tours of the rare aircraft. 

 The Lodestar has a long and endearing history of both serving our country during World War II and also serving as a unique and capable means of quickly traversing great distances between oil fields and the centers of commerce and industry throughout its tenor as a prized business aircraft for Houston oil and gas executives.

According to museum records, the Lodestar on display at Hobby Lodestar was built as a C-60A and delivered to the USAAF on December 22, 1942. It flew for the advanced glider school in Long Beach, California.

The US Reconstruction Finance Corp. sold the Lodestar to the Defense Plant Corporation which leased it to TACA Airlines. TACA operated the Lodestar under lease to several of its subsidiaries, where it saw service in Costa Rica and Columbia. TACA also leased the Lodestar to Linea Aero de Columbia S.A. Beginning in 1947 it flew for Grubb Oil, Delhi-Taylor Oil Corporation and as personal transport for Columbia Gas Transmission's president.

The vintage planes are only part of the attraction of the museum. Inside the old terminal there are exhibits of air travel artifacts from a bygone area and displays featuring photos, information and historical items from the early days of the terminal.

The Museum showcases the rich heritage of civil aviation, including the airlines, general aviation and business aviation. Exhibits include Houston's fascinating aviation history.

The building itself is an attraction. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is housed in the original art-deco Houston Municipal Airport building with details and design from that style in evidence throughout the structure.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is a non-profit. Funds are raised through daily tours of the museum, which is open Tuesday-Saturday fro 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For more information visit

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Avon Lake Mayor Meets With Clinic Officials Over Helicopter Disturbances: Mayor discounts "regular 4:30 p.m. flight" over the city

The new Cleveland Clinic helicopter
 Credit Lori Switaj

Responding to concerns that Cleveland Clinic helicopters were causing disturbances to residents in Avon Lake, Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka met with Clinic administrators this month to discuss the issue.

The Cleveland Clinic's Richard E. Jacobs Health Center, located in Avon, opened an emergency room on Sept. 5 that included a helipad for transporting patients.

Zilka said he met with staff members at the Clinic on Jan. 8 to discuss flight times and paths.

“The (designated) flight path is along I-90 as patients are transferred to Cleveland,” Zilka said.

Zilka said he had heard complaints from residents of a regular 4:30 p.m. flight over Avon Lake.

“Records do not show a regular or even intermittent flights at that time,” Zilka said.

The helicopter on occasion makes a stop at Burke Lakefront Airport and intermittently then returns to the Avon Cleveland Clinic location, but it is usually earlier and does not have a set time.

The mayor said the Clinic advised they were sensitive to residents in the area.

“On occasion a helicopter may stray north of the railroad tracks due to weather,” Zilka said, but added he was told that was a rare occurrence.

The mayor said he had fielded numerous complaints since the Clinic’s ER, located near the new Nagel Interchange opened, but noted that the Clinic was  not the only ones who used a helicopter that flew over Avon Lake.

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VIDEO: Airport Manager's monthly report


Published on January 16, 2013 

Airport Manager's monthly report

VIDEO: Runway Bid

 Published on January 16, 2013 

 New East-West Runway

Poland May Reallocate Airline Assets

January 21, 2013, 8:29 a.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal

WARSAW—The Polish government is considering stripping its troubled LOT Polish Airlines of all assets and moving them to a smaller airline that it controls, a person familiar with the matter said Monday, a transition intended to salvage LOT's historic name.

The loss-making LOT in December requested state aid as passenger numbers fell drastically in the second half of 2012. It received $127 million in an emergency loan for six months from the state. The European Commission could rule that this form of public aid distorts competition, which would force LOT to return the funds and likely result in its uncontrolled bankruptcy.

The government, which holds 93% of LOT and 62% of smaller peer Eurolot, said in January that LOT would have to restructure and shrink by nearly a half, with Eurolot taking over domestic and European flights and LOT left to operate routes to the U.S. and Asia. A more radical solution, with Eurolot filling in for LOT on all destinations, could offer a permanent fix. This would allow the LOT brand to continue under the operations of Eurolot without the heavy baggage of debts and staff redundancy negotiations with trade unions.

"The possibility of Eurolot taking over all of LOT's assets in one step is one of the options considered—some at the treasury ministry are pushing very strongly for it," said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Details are being fine-tuned now."

"Another option would be for Eurolot to very gradually take over that part of LOT's business that makes sense, which would lead to Eurolot operating domestic and European flights and LOT servicing long-haul flights. Eurolot would be technically prepared for either of these options," the person added.

Whichever of the two options the government chooses, the transition will be delicate and take many months, the person said. "If any leasing company loses its patience and decides to take an airplane back from LOT, it could mean an uncontrolled bankruptcy."

The government is set to discuss the issue Tuesday, even though LOT isn't officially on the cabinet's agenda for the day, the person added. A government agency is in the process of negotiating the purchase of the remaining 38% of Eurolot from Poland's national carrier, which has been shedding its assets for years to keep operating.

The treasury ministry said it was working to determine LOT's future, but "it's too early to talk about any single scenario" for the carrier.

Swissair and Austrian Airlines, both now owned by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, underwent a similar transformation that resulted in their units taking over the businesses of their troubled parents.

LOT was founded in 1929 and is one of the world's oldest airlines. Although Poland's prime minister said in January the country wouldn't save LOT at any price, the airline's woes are generating negative publicity for the government that has played a more active role in managing state-run businesses than some previous administrations.

LOT has sought to increase its international prominence using the recently expanded airport in Warsaw as its hub and Boeing Co.'s new long-haul 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which it received in November—the first carrier in Europe to do so. However, fuel leaks and battery problems prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency to ground all 787s last week, for which LOT said it would seek compensation from Boeing.

—Marynia Kruk contributed to this article.


Plane blows tires, veers off runway at Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR), New Jersey


NEWARK (WABC) -- A United Express plane from western New York blew four tires as it landed at Newark Liberty International Airport and veered off a runway Sunday night. 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Ron Marsico says Flight 4480 from Rochester was landing Sunday night in New Jersey when several rear tires blew. The plane veered onto a taxiway, but didn't strike anything.

The plane was carrying eight passengers and five crew members. No one was hurt.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that the plane came very close to hitting the FAA Navigation Building.

All of the passengers on board were safely de-planed and were sent to the terminal.

The incident did not interfere with airport operations.

It wasn't the only mishap at the Newark airport on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, a United Airlines employee became pinned between a luggage cart and a food service truck. The worker was seriously hurt. It's unclear how the accident happened.

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WWII and Vintage Aviation Auction Scheduled

Sat, March 2, 9 am - Noon, Vintage Flying Museum Hangar, Fort Worth, TX

Published: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 - 4:11 am
/PRNewswire-iReach/ --

Greatest Generation Aircraft will host a charity auction on Sat, March 2, from 9 am - noon at the Vintage Flying Museum hangar, 505 NW 38th St, 76106.  Auction will include many unique items. A collection of WWII aircraft-inspired art, artifacts and collectibles; vintage aircraft parts, and more!!!


Auction Items Will Include:

Cyclone Radial Engine-1942 factory overhaul, was prepared for installation in PanAm's China Clipper

B17 Cowling

Vintage Motorcycles...and so much more!!!

Bidder pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. To pre-register email with buyer name, address and cell phone number.  You will be emailed back with your bidder number and you can pick up your bid card at the check in table upon arrival.

Auction Items Preview: Fri, March 1, 3-6 pm Sat, March 2, 7-9 am

Auction proceeds will benefit Greatest Generation Aircraft's restoration and maintenance efforts of several vintage military aircraft, to include the B25 Bomber "Pacific Prowler," C47 "Southern Cross," and A26K "Special Kay."  Greatest Generation Aircraft is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Foundation that restores vintage military aircraft to their original flying condition.  These aircraft are then used to educate the general public to the roles they played in our country's history, as well as pay tribute to the veterans that crewed these aircraft.

SOURCE Greatest Generation Aircraft

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Southland Field Airport (KUXL) hires new airfield manager

Ohio native Michael McDougall officially accepted the position of airport manager January 17.


Southland Field airport will be soon be under new leadership. Ohio native Michael McDougall officially accepted the position of airport manager Jan. 17. McDougall will be replacing longtime manager Sam Larsh, who tendered his resignation back in September 2012.

The airport's board met in a specially-called meeting Jan. 16 to finalize details concerning the position and to officially offer the job to McDougall. He signed off on his paperwork the next day.

Board member R. K. Levens briefly spoke on the choice of McDougall over other candidates.

"[The board] didn't discuss in depth why we voted the way we did. In my personal opinion, he answered the questions well and he had good input as to how he would manage the airport," he said.

McDougall talked to Southwest Daily News about some possible changes he has in mind for Southland Field.

"I was pretty impressed by the airport but I thought many things could be improved. I feel that it has been heading in the wrong direction, and I want to put the brakes on that," he said.

"I would like to expand the flight school. I want to give more people the opportunity to learn to fly and to make it affordable to do so. I will also make sure there is more emphasis on customer service and values. As well, I want to reach out to more CEO's, especially those in the gas and oil business, and make the airport more attractive," he continued.

Although the Southland Field position will be his first managerial position in the aviation industry, McDougall has worked in the field since 2008. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Administration from Lewis University in Illinois and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Aviation Science and Transportation, also through Lewis University.

"I expect to complete my Master's degree in 2014. I am working on it online," said McDougall.

Currently, he is in the process of relocating from Ohio to this area in time to begin his new position Jan. 28. Southland Field's former manager is expected to be there to help McDougall settle into the job. Larsh, whose resignation was effective Sept. 30, had agreed to stay on until a suitable replacement was hired. Almost four months later, Larsh has maintained a hand in airport operations, albeit a diminished one.

McDougall is eager to begin this new chapter of his life.

"When I came down for my interview, my thought was that this would be a good place to relocate. I was very impressed by the area," said McDougall, "And I'm excited to see where I can take the airport."

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Lake Union’s boom sets high bar for planes

Seaplane pilots are less concerned with the prospect of new 24-story towers near their South Lake Union flight path than with other challenges, such as increased boat traffic, that may come with new residents in the booming neighborhood.

The Seattle Times 
A seaplane navigates over an area where new buildings have grown taller and taller in recent years.

Originally published Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:00 PM

By Bob Young
Seattle Times staff reporter

Seaplane pilots have climbed above, steered away from, and dropped down over it all in South Lake Union, from the chaotic Duck Dodge sailing race to the construction cranes that have come to define the neighborhood’s skyline.

Mayor Mike McGinn wants to add a new challenge: three 24-story condo or apartment towers near the lake’s south shore and the seaplanes’ flight path.

Pilots are less worried, though, about the height of the towers than other concerns they expect to come with the city’s plan to draw thousands of new residents to the area.

After agreeing to move the flight path to accommodate the proposed towers, and getting assurances from city planners that new buildings will not creep into their airspace, Kenmore Air — Lake Union’s chief seaplane operator — is convinced taller buildings will not be obstructions.

“Kenmore can operate safely under the proposed South Lake Union build-out as long as we have a protected air corridor,” said John Gowey, Kenmore Air’s operations director.

Added boat traffic and potential noise complaints from new residents are a bigger worry. Lake Union already is congested, at times, with boats. And in nearby Victoria, B.C., noise complaints have called for serious restrictions on seaplane business.

Kenmore executives have recommended remedies they say would keep seaplanes on Lake Union as the area transforms into a more vertical community.

“Tall buildings next to airports are not something you get excited about,” said Todd Banks, Kenmore’s president. “But you recognize growth is going to happen and you have to deal with it.”

Kenmore has used Lake Union as an airport since 1946. It now operates 18 planes that take off as many as 40 times a day on Lake Union, making it the largest seaplane operator in the U.S., according to Gowey. In the winter, many of those flights take off on a path that cuts over the South Lake Union neighborhood.

The much smaller Seattle Seaplane company also uses the Lake Union airport, as do private planes and charter flights from Canada.

Kenmore’s primary concern is increased boat traffic. “We couldn’t land there during the Duck Dodge,” said City Council member Sally Bagshaw, of a Kenmore flight she was on in August. Kenmore has scrapped Lake Union flights during the Duck Dodge on summer Tuesday evenings.

Kenmore has a solution: lights mounted on three buoys that pilots could activate before takeoffs or landings. The lights would warn boaters to stay clear of a central strip, or runway, in the lake. The whole system would cost an estimated $250,000. Gowey said Kenmore hopes to fund the project through a state aviation grant.

When it comes to noise, Kenmore executives are nervous about what they’ve observed in British Columbia.

In Victoria, the James Bay Neighbourhood Association has raised a ruckus about seaplane and helicopter noise and emissions.

“The issue is no longer one of residential buildings being compatible with an airport, but rather, whether an airport is compatible with residential communities…,” said a 2011 report by the neighborhood group.

The report also called for the city to study aircraft pollution, lobby to end charter tourist flights and install permanent noise monitors.

With this backdrop in mind, Kenmore has asked Vulcan, which wants to build the three 24-story towers, to notify new residents that they couldn’t initiate nuisance complaints against seaplanes for legal and normal flights. Kenmore, which only flies between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, contends such a guarantee must come from property owners, not local officials.

A spokeswoman for Vulcan, Paul Allen’s real-estate firm, said the company is looking into the possibility of such an easement at Kenmore’s request.

Scooting the flight path

While taller buildings are not Kenmore’s chief worry, that doesn’t mean they’re not an issue.

Most flights take off to the north, toward Gas Works Park, where buildings would not be in the way. But when the wind blows from the south — mostly from October to April — planes take off in that direction because the wind gives them lift.

Southern takeoffs occur rarely in summer and about eight times per day in winter, on average, Gowey said. Takeoffs require greater performance from planes than landings, because of climbing and banking.

In the existing flight path, seaplanes taking off to the south fly over the corner of Lake Union Park into a corridor that takes them north of the 605-foot Space Needle and south of Queen Anne Hill.

The existing flight path clips one of the blocks between Mercer and Valley streets, where a Vulcan tower would stand.

Kenmore and state transportation officials raised concerns about proposed towers obstructing airspace. (The Federal Aviation Administration does not regulate local land-use policies.) The city’s draft environmental study warned that planes might be at an elevation of 150 feet as they pass near the Vulcan towers. Planes might be as low as 225 feet as they fly near Aurora Avenue, where proposed zoning also would allow some buildings up to 240 feet, according to the study.

Vulcan then hired a nationally recognized aviation firm, Barnard Dunkelberg, to evaluate the lake’s aircraft and obstacles.

The firm concluded that seaplanes actually were flying higher near the shoreline — at 250 to 500 feet — than initially estimated.

Kenmore’s Gowey agrees with the revision, stressing that elevation depends on a variety of factors, such as aircraft performance, load, weather and point of takeoff.

He said he recently flew a fully-loaded piston-engine plane that was at 350 feet over the lake’s south end. Kenmore’s turbine-engine planes usually reach 500 feet or higher at the same point, he said.

The best solution, according to city planners, would be to move the flight path slightly to the north. That way planes would steer well clear of the proposed towers.

Planners propose two other fixes.

They would keep building heights from penetrating the sloping flight path.

And, every proposed development over 85 feet, north of Mercer Street and west of Fairview Avenue, would need an analysis to show it wouldn’t cause potentially dangerous shifts in wind patterns.

Bagshaw, a licensed pilot, said she’s satisfied by the proposed safeguards. “I really don’t think there’s a problem. The buildings are still far enough from the lake, planes will be at 500 to 700 feet of altitude easily by the time they get to the edge of the lake,” she said.

Landings that approach from the south aren’t as demanding on planes, Gowey said. “They come down easily,” he said.

Even 400-foot towers proposed on Denny Way wouldn’t be a problem. “In some sense, we’ve already faced that with numerous construction cranes in the area,” he said.

Seaplanes can always land farther north on the lake, he added, as there’s a mile between Gas Works and Lake Union parks. But a steep approach underscores the need for lighted buoys warning boaters to stay clear.

“Our city has had a unique ability for people being able to get along and compromise,” said Banks, “and this is another example of that.”

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