Monday, January 28, 2013

Clouds of bacteria found at airline-cruising altitudes: Study

Airplane passengers have a host of invisible company in that thin, frigid atmosphere outside their airplane windows.

High above the wispy, cumulous canyons below, commercial jetliners fly through clouds of bacterial microbes — including some forms of E. coli — at typical cruising altitudes, a U.S. study has revealed.

“I think that’s a good way to put it actually,” said Kostas Konstantinidis, an environmental microbiologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and one of the paper’s co-authors.

“You have company up there.”

Indeed, the paper shows that microbes — some of which could be disease-spreading pathogens — exist in greater concentrations than the dust and sea salt particles that also populate the troposphere between 6.4 and 9.6 kilometers above sea level.

But these microbial fellow flyers are unlikely to pose a danger to airline passengers, Konstantinidis said.

First, he says, airliners are closed circuit crafts that don’t typically allow outside air in. And second — even at 10,000 cells per square metre — the microbes exist in concentrations too low to pose real disease dangers.

“But after this study I expect that some of them are pathogens,” Konstantinidis said of the high flying microbes.

“In my mind it’s very possible,” he said, adding new research will now attempt to better identify the bugs.

While posing no danger to passengers, the wafting microbes could explain how some pathogens may have crossed between continents in the days prior to rapid, long distance air travel, Konstantinidis says.

Lofted into the heavens by sea spray and hurricane winds, the organisms may form the nucleus of the ice particles that fall as rain and snow — bringing their micro-organic loads to Earth with them.

“This study is really interesting for microbial bio-geography, how microbes are transported between continents and so on,” Konstantinidis said.

The paper was published Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And while airborne microbes have been found at the summits of the world’s tallest mountains, the paper marks the first time they’ve been located in the jet paths that millions of passenger flights ply every year.

To locate the organisms, Konstantinidis’ team flew a NASA DC-8 craft above two major tropical hurricanes – Earl and Carl – in 2010.

The plane was equipped with filtered sampling probes that trapped passing particles as the craft flew by.

These particles were then run through genomic scanners, which found more than 100 different brands of bacteria and other micro-organisms in each sampling.

This DNA testing, however, was not refined enough to specifically identify the bacteria — though at least one form of E. coli could be inferred from its genetic snippets.

With frigid temperatures, high ultraviolet blasts and minimal oxygen, the mid to upper troposphere seems an unlikely place for life to survive.

“It’s very harsh conditions from our perspective, but from their perspective it might be different,” Konstantinidis said.

“For example, the way we preserve microbes in the lab and keep them for years is by freezing them at minus 80 C.”

Some 60 percent of the microbes his team tested were alive when they were captured, he said. 


Faulty manufacturing seen behind F-35B grounding

(Reuters) - Pentagon and industry officials said on Monday a manufacturing problem was the most likely cause of an engine failure that led to the grounding of all 25 Marine Corps versions of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet 10 days ago.

The investigation found that a fuel line built by a unit of Parker Hannifin Corp had been improperly crimped, which resulted in it detaching and failing just before a training flight took off at a Florida Air Force base, said Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 program office.

He said engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, and Britain's Rolls Royce,  which build the engine for the F-35B model were taking steps "to improve their quality control process and ensure part integrity."

The F-35B should be able to resume flights as soon as the parts supplied by a unit of Parker Hannifin are replaced, said Matthew Bates, a spokesman for Pratt & Whitney.

"The team continues to work diligently toward ... implementing corrective actions with the supplier. We anticipate a return to flight for the (short takeoff, vertical landing) variant soon," Bates said.

The Pentagon's F-35 program office said it was working with the Navy to resume flights of the F-35B model, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter, but gave no timetable for when training and test flights would resume.

The grounding did not affect the Air Force or Navy versions of the new fighter since they do not use the same part.

The speedy conclusion of the investigation is good news for the F-35 program, which is racing to complete an aggressive schedule of flight tests this year. The program has completed about 34 percent of its planned test flight program, but Lockheed is already building production models of the new plane.

DellaVedova said the investigation ruled out any design or maintenance problems, but revealed that the faulty fuel line had been improperly crimped during the manufacturing process.

Similar problems were found with six additional fuel lines used on the F-35B, and all the faulty parts had been removed from the planes and shipped to Pratt for replacement.

A spokeswoman for Parker Hannifin said the company, which makes many components for the aircraft, was working around the clock to support the investigation.

The Pentagon grounded all 25 F-35B jets on January 18 after the "fueldraulic" line, associated with directing the B-model's exhaust, failed just before takeoff during a training flight at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Instead of traditional hydraulic fluid, the line uses fuel as the operating fluid to reduce weight.

An initial inspection after the incident discovered a detached propulsion line in the rear part of the engine compartment, and subsequent tests showed the line was not built to specifications by Stratoflex, a unit of Parker Hannifin.

Lockheed is building three different models of the F-35 fighter jet for the U.S. military and eight countries that helped pay for its development: Britain, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia and Norway.

The Pentagon plans to buy 2,443 of the warplanes in coming decades, although many analysts believe U.S. budget constraints and deficits will eventually reduce that overall number.


Want to be a pilot? University of Maine at Augusta is training: Boeing projects a need for 460,000 new pilots by 2031, including 69,000 in North America

BANGOR — Pending final accreditation, the University of Maine at Augusta will begin offering a bachelor’s degree in aviation this fall.

The program, approved by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees on Monday, is a partnership with Maine Instrument Flight, the flight school at the Augusta State Airport. Graduates will earn a bachelor of science degree and four Federal Aviation Administration certifications.

Although UMA’s pitch to the board focused largely on the looming demand for pilots, Maine Instrument Flight owner Bill Perry said the new program will also open doors to careers in air traffic control and aviation management.

“It’s not just to be a pilot; it’s a degree in aviation,” Perry said. “That could spin off to all kinds of career paths. You have a college degree, too, so no matter what you want to do in life, you have that degree behind you.”

The application period begins in March for the 12 seats available this fall. The program will cost $222 per credit hour, with 120 hours required, for a total cost of about $26,600. For people who already have a pilot’s license, UMA will also offer a bachelor of applied science degree.

Because the program includes a bachelor’s degree, it will be easier for students to apply G.I. Bill benefits and other financial aid than if they attended just flight school, UMA Provost Joseph Szakas said.

UMA will create four new aviation courses: history, law, security and an aviation capstone course. Students also will take general education courses, physics, meteorology and business and management courses. Maine Instrument Flight will provide pilot ground classes and flight instruction.

Creating an aviation program from scratch would be prohibitively expensive for a university, making the partnership with Maine Instrument Flight especially valuable, UMA President Allyson Handley said.

UMA in March will present the program to the regional accreditation agency, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Handley said.

“We see this as a real employment and educational opportunity for Maine citizens,” she said Monday.

UMA and Maine Instrument Flight began discussions more than two years ago. Perry said he approached the university because he knew demand for pilots was soon to rise.

Last year, Boeing projected a need for 460,000 new pilots by 2031, including 69,000 in North America.

The demand is expected to be driven by the growth of airline and corporate fleets and the graying of today’s workforce.

“I think the opportunity for a student coming out of this is pretty great,” Perry said. “The demand is on their side. The curve is definitely favoring the employee in this case.”

American commercial pilots have a mandatory retirement age of 65, and the FAA pegged the average age of commercial and private pilots in the mid- to late-40s in 2011.

The military has traditionally been a significant source of commercial pilots, but many of the pilots who received training and accumulated hours of flight experience in the military during the Vietnam War era are at or near retirement age.

The military has shrunk in recent decades and turned more of its attention to unmanned aircraft, Perry noted.

Coming out of flight school, new pilots need to build experience to meet the requirements of regional and national airlines. They frequently get hours by working as flight instructors or flying night cargo runs, Perry said.

Jobs with airlines tend to be clustered around population centers — something Maine is short on — but Perry said there are opportunities in places like Portland and Boston.

According to the Air Line Pilots Association, International, most airline pilots begin their careers earning about $20,000 a year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median annual wage for commercial pilots was $67,500 in 2010.

About the aviation program

• Slated to be offered this fall at the University of Maine at Augusta
• Will involve a partnership with Maine Instrument Flight at the Augusta State Airport
• Cost: $222 per credit hour; 120 hours required
• Four new aviation courses created: history, law, security and an aviation capstone course


Monroe County (KMNV), Madisonville, Tennessee: Hamilton out as airport operator

MADISONVILLE-The contract of Larry Hamilton, fixed-base operator for the Monroe County Airport, will not be renewed when it expires April 1.

The County Commission approved County Mayor Tim Yates' request not to renew Hamilton's contract by a 5-3 vote during Tuesday's January Commission meeting.

Commissioners Marty Allen, Bill Bivins, Richard Kirkland, Wanda Alexander and Judy Lee voted for the mayor's request not to renew the contract while Harold Hawkins, Bill Shadden and Roger Thomas voted against Yates' request on Hamilton.

Hamilton was charged with aggravated assault in 2012 for allegedly shooting at his nephew and his case has been bound over to a grand jury. However, no mention of his case was made Tuesday and commissioners quickly moved on to other topics after the vote on his contract.


Hiller-Tri-Plex Industries Inc. UH-12B, N9041U: Accident occurred January 26, 2013 in Okeechobee, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA118 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 26, 2013 in Okeechobee, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2013
Aircraft: HILLER-TRI-PLEX IND.INC. UH-12B, registration: N9041U
Injuries: 3 Minor.

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

While airborne hunting, the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter at low altitude when the engine experienced a partial loss of power. During the subsequent forced landing, the helicopter struck trees and was substantially damaged. Postaccident examinations of the engine and airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to serious carburetor icing at cruise power. During a postaccident interview, the pilot reported that he did not monitor the carburetor temperature or use the engine carburetor heat during the flight or subsequent to the engine power degradation. Therefore, it is likely that the carburetor accumulated ice, which subsequently resulted in a partial loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to monitor carburetor temperature and use carburetor heat in conditions conducive to serious carburetor icing, which resulted in partial loss of engine power.


On January 26, 2013, about 0758 eastern standard time, a Hiller-Tri-Plex Industries Inc. UH-12B, N9041U, operated by Florida Helicopter Adventures LLC., was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and then terrain, following a partial loss of engine power while maneuvering, near Okeechobee, Florida. The airline transport pilot and his two passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local revenue aerial observation flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, on the morning of the accident, he started and warmed up the helicopter and then checked the controls prior to loading the passengers. After loading his passengers, He lifted off and then flew to the north side of the property he was operating from to shoot Feral Hogs. After arriving at the north side, he began a parallel grid search tracking east to west and from north to the south, just above a wooded area. On the second or third east to west pass, the passenger seated on his left observed some hogs inside the edge of the wooded area. The pilot then maneuvered the helicopter toward the area that the passenger had indicated the hogs were. The engine and rotor speed which was indicted in revolutions per minute (rpm) then "faded a bit" and the pilot lowered collective and added throttle to recover rpm. He then heard a couple of "pops" and the engine rpm started "slightly decaying". At this point he was able to fly the helicopter with partial power away from some very tall trees and toward a clearer area in a shallow decent.

The rotor rpm remained within the "green / yellow area" on the tachometer and "all gauges were in the green". As he was barely above the trees (approximately 10 feet), he elected to keep the aircraft under control and settle into the trees with as low descent rate as possible.

Upon contact with the trees the main rotor blades broke apart and separated from the helicopter, and the helicopter fell nose first 20-30 feet and impacted the ground. The passenger seated to his left then egressed through the windshield area which had shattered on impact and the passenger seated to his right egressed through the right cabin door. Both passengers then assisted the pilot to egress through the right cabin door.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple ratings including commercial privileges for rotorcraft-helicopter. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on June 26, 2012. He reported 5,000 total hours of flight experience with 1,600 total hours in rotorcraft and 50 total hours in the accident helicopter make and model.


The accident aircraft was a three place helicopter of conventional construction. It was powered by a carburetor equipped Franklin 6V-350-B, 235 horsepower, air cooled, horizontally opposed engine.

According to FAA and maintenance records the helicopter was manufactured in 1951. The helicopter's most recent annual inspection was completed on March 9, 2012. At the time of the inspection, the helicopter had accrued 2531.6 total hours of operation.


The recorded weather at Okeechobee County Airport (OBE), located approximately 7 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, at 0755, included: wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 10 degrees C, dew point 8 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.26 inches of mercury.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter had come to rest inverted in a stand of trees with the nose pointed down towards the ground and the tail leaning against a 20 foot high tree.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure of the helicopter, the engine, transmission, main rotor, or tail rotor.

The main rotor blades were shattered, one blade was broken off of the tail rotor, and the tail boom was broken off approximately 3 and 1/2 feet inboard of the tail rotor.


Carburetor Icing

A review of FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-09-35 revealed however, that the recorded temperature and dew point conditions about the time of the accident were favorable for serious carburetor icing at cruise power.

Carburetor Heat Control

Review of systems information revealed that the helicopter was equipped with a free air temperature gauge, a carburetor air temperature gauge, and a carburetor heat control to maintain desired carburetor air temperature.

Review of the Hiller Model UH-12B Helicopter Flight Manual (HFM) revealed that the carburetor heat control was mounted on the quadrant, located on the tunnel, forward of the center seat, adjacent to the mixture control. Pulling the handle fully aft would introduce the maximum amount of heated air into the carburetion system, and the handle could be placed in any intermediate position between full forward for cold air, and full aft for heated air.

Further review of the HFM also revealed that in order to prevent the development of carburetor ice the pilot should "apply sufficient carburetor heat to maintain a carburetor air temperature of 25 degrees C to 50 degrees C". The HFM also contained a "NOTE" that stated that "Carburetor icing will be indicated by a loss of manifold pressure followed by a drop in engine rpm" and also advised to "Use carburetor heat as prescribed for local conditions".

Post accident interviews revealed however, that the pilot did not activate the carburetor air heat control.

 NTSB Identification: ERA13LA118 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 26, 2013 in Okeechobee, FL
Aircraft: HILLER-TRI-PLEX IND.INC. UH-12B, registration: N9041U
Injuries: 3 Minor.

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

On January 26, 2013, about 0758 eastern standard time, a Hiller-Tri-Plex Industries Inc. UH-12B, N9041U, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and then terrain, following a loss of engine power while maneuvering, near Okeechobee, Florida. The airline transport pilot and his two passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local sightseeing flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, on the morning of the accident, he started and warmed up the helicopter and then checked the controls prior to loading the passengers. After loading his passengers, He lifted off and then flew to the north side of the property he was operating from to shoot Feral Hogs. After arriving at the north side, he began a parallel grid search tracking east to west and from north to the south, just above a wooded area. On the second or third east to west pass, the passenger seated on his left observed some hogs inside the edge of the wooded area. The pilot then maneuvered the helicopter toward the area that the passenger had indicated the hogs were. The engine and rotor speed which was indicted in revolutions per minute (rpm) then "faded a bit" and the pilot lowered collective and added throttle to recover rpm. He then heard a couple of "pops" and the engine rpm started "slightly decaying". At this point he was able to fly the helicopter with partial power away from some very tall trees and toward a clearer area in a shallow decent.

The rotor rpm remained within the "green / yellow area" on the tachometer and "all gauges were in the green". As he was barely above the trees (approximately 10 feet), he elected to keep the aircraft under control and settle into the trees with as low descent rate as possible.

Upon contact with the trees the main rotor blades broke apart and separated from the helicopter, and the helicopter fell nose first 20-30 feet and impacted the ground. The passenger seated to his left then egressed through the windshield area which had shattered on impact and the passenger seated to his right egressed through the right cabin door. Both passengers then assisted the pilot to egress through the right cabin door.

According to FAA records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1951. The helicopter was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

Massad Ayoob
Sunday, January 27th, 2013 
by Mas   

Yesterday, my friend John Strayer and I went aloft to try our hand shooting feral hogs from a helicopter with .44 Magnum revolvers. Our mutual friend Norm Ambrozy, who had arranged the hunt, was on the ground awaiting his turn in the little Hiller, a UH12B I believe. This increasingly popular – and by all accounts, exhilarating – method of pest eradication has come about from overpopulations of the wild hogs absolutely destroying farmland in several parts of the country. We thought it would be even more challenging with six-shooters. It’s normally done with AR15 sporting rifles and, yes, those evil “large capacity magazines” which so upset the White House. 
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ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Massad Ayoob said he didn't have time to think of dying, as the small helicopter he was in plunged. 

 Seconds before, the internationally known firearms expert and his hunting companion Jonathan Strayer were 100 feet up in the air, intent on following a wild hog they spotted below.

The "oinker had run under the canopy of some tall pines," Ayoob recalled Monday, when, suddenly, the helicopter engine lost power near the Okeechobee County landfill about 8 a.m.

The trip started as an adventure and as a test of marksmanship for the two Live Oak pals: a .44-caliber Magnum revolver in a moving aircraft versus a quick-moving hog, an animal ranchers consider to be a nuisance because they dig up the ground, destroying farmland.

They arranged the hunting trip, taking off from private land, and hunting on private property at the Okeechobee-St. Lucie county line. There are no restrictions on hog-hunting on private land, said Carli Segelson, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Read more:  'We ended up nose down...grateful to be alive,' firearms expert recalls about harrowing Saturday helicopter crash

Roanoke Regional Airport (KROA), Virginia: Possible theory for "fireball" seen in night sky Sunday

Here's a new theory that may explain the "fireball" people saw in the sky last night.

Meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner says "space junk may have burned up in the Earth's atmosphere and that light would have been visible to people along the East Coast."

The timing fits just right. A piece of the Cosmos 1484 entered the earth's atmosphere around 9 p.m. Sunday and burned up between 9:15 and 9:27.

The Cosmos was a Soviet remote sensing satellite launched from the Baikonus Cosmodrome aboard a Vostok rocket. The satellite was launched in July 24, 1983.

The fireball was first seen in Canada and hugged the east coast as it continued to burn.

This is the report on that possible falling space junk:

It wasn't just seen in southwest Virginia. In fact, the fireball was reported to the site, from witnesses across the northeast.

Visit this link to see all fireballs reported to


Several people have called into the WDBJ7 newsroom with reports that they saw a huge fireball in the sky in Bedford, Franklin and Roanoke Counties.

It happened around 9:30 Sunday night.

We called authorities in those areas along with the Roanoke Regional Airport.

They all say they've received calls about this, as well.

Roanoke Regional Airport has confirmed this was not a plane crash.

WDBJ7 Meteorologist Jay Webb says it could have been a meteor.

Air Bagan Fokker 100 XY-AGC: Crash probe in the spotlight; Accident occurred December 25, 2012 in Myanmar

A Department of Civil Aviation investigation into the cause of the tragic Christmas Day Air Bagan crash, which left two people dead, represents a fresh test of Myanmar’s reforms, as potential investors wait to see just how thorough regulators will be.

“The crash is a tragedy...but this could be a good opportunity for the DCA and the MOT (Ministry of Transport) to show the world that they are concerned about transparency and safety,” said Mr Dominique Savariau, an aviation expert at Myanmar Carlton Consulting in Yangon.

The government responded to the crash, which also left 11 people injured, by forming a four-member investigation team on December 26. The team is led by U Win Swe Tun, a deputy director general at the DCA.

Although Myanmar has undertaken a number of important political and economic reforms over the past two years, these have done little to change perceptions about the extent of corruption.

In its 2012 corruption index released in late 2012, Transparency International placed Myanmar 172nd out of 176 countries surveyed. While the index is not without its critics – there are questions over the timing and extent of research for Myanmar’s ranking – many foreign investors are still wary of the risks of doing business in Myanmar.

“Most of the industries in Myanmar belong to ex-military workers or close friends of the military,” said Mr Rahul Ghosh, the Singapore-based head of Asia Research for Business Monitor International (BMI) and editor of the firm’s report, Myanmar Awakens. “There’s a lack of competition” that turns off potential investors, he said.

Air Bagan is one of several companies owned by tycoon U Tay Za, an entrepreneur infamous for his close ties to the former military regime. Despite many Western countries lifting sanctions over the past year, U Tay Za, a number of his companies and most immediate family members and associates remain blacklisted from doing business with firms from the United States. European Union sanctions that were suspended for one year in April 2012 also remain in place.

The investigation is seen by some as a test of the government’s commitment to transparency. One concern expressed by sources familiar with the industry is that the upper echelons of both Air Bagan and the Department of Civil Aviation are largely drawn from Myanmar’s Air Force. Observers remain skeptical about how much information the investigation team will reveal – particularly if those results are bad for Air Bagan.

“It is hard to say whether Air Bagan would be duly punished if it is found to have made egregious errors regarding the Christmas Day accident in Heho. Tay Za undoubtedly continues to enjoy a close connection with powerful government officials,” said Mr Andrew Wood, an Asia analyst for BMI and co-author of Myanmar Awakens. “On the surface, the incident appears to be a confluence of factors, ranging from a lack of technology at the Heho airport to a potential lack of training and, lastly, an aged jet – all issues that are likely to be relatively widespread in the Myanmar aviation industry. It is unlikely then that the government will mete out any sort of crippling punishment.”

Mr Savariau, however, expressed optimism that the investigation will yield honest, open results, if only to attract investors to the industry. “The government wants foreign airlines and foreign insurance companies to do business [with them],” he said. An honest investigation “will create confidence, even if it’s painful”, he said.

Mr Leithen Francis, who has been covering aviation in Southeast Asia since 2003 as an editor for Aviation Week magazine, said there could be divisions in the government over how to handle the investigation and its findings. “The Myanmar government does have a vested interest in protecting Myanmar airlines, especially the ones that are partly owned by the government. That said, the government doesn’t want to just support Myanmar airlines,” he said.

He said the government appeared eager for more foreign business, adding that it also has “a good record of investigating crashes”.

A joint delegation from the DCA and Air Bagan is in Canberra, Australia, using facilities at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to sift through data from the flight’s black box data recorder. Neither the airline or DCA could be reached for comment on the progress or nature of their collaboration but Mr Julian Walsh, general manager for strategic capability at the bureau, said it was not uncommon for airlines and government officials to work together to investigate accidents.


Robinson R44: Helicopter crashes near Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada

FOX CREEK, AB. - Around 10 pm Sunday, RCMP received a call about a downed helicopter near Fox Creek. RCMP, Fox Creek Fire Department and the department of National Defence conducted a ground and air search.

About seven hours later, officials discovered the wreckage in a very large wooded area north of the Berland River and south of the Alberta News Print Company (ANC) haul road.

The lone pilot had not survived the crash.

His name and the company he was working for is not being released at this time, as next of kin is being notified.

Monday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSBC) deployed a team of investigators to the site of crash.

According to the TSBC, the crash involved a Robinson R44 helicopter.

The team is gathering information about the circumstances leading up to the crash.

Global News has been in contact with the Charter company that owned the aircraft.

The company is preparing a statement to be released later Monday afternoon.

The Transportation Safety board has been contacted and is attended the scene of the crash.

RAW VIDEO: Pantsless Dallas Man Was Caught Shining a Laser Pointer at a Police Helicopter Today

 Kenneth Santodomingo

You probably noticed that it's been unseasonably pleasant the past few days. Short-sleeve picnic weather. Leave-the-screen-door-open weather. Or, if you prefer, pantsless-laser-pointing weather.

Count 22-year-old Kenneth Santodomingo as the leader of that last group. He was arrested just after 4 a.m. today after confessing to shining a green laser pointer at a circling police helicopter.

Story and Reaction/Comments:
Video Footage from Dallas police helicopter.
Published on Jan 28, 2013 

By Dallas Police Dept  

On January 28, 2013 at about 3:55 A.M. Dallas police officers responded to Burglary of a Motor vehicle (BMV) in progress call at 8002 Umphress Road. Officers arrived and requested Dallas police helicopter Air One's assistance. Air One arrived to assist patrol officers on the ground in an attempt to locate the BMV suspect. As Air One worked the area looking for the BMV suspect the helicopter was beamed with a green laser by an unknown person. Air One continued to work the area and was again beamed multiple times with a green laser. The pilots were able to locate the laser beam source and directed patrol officers to the suspect. Arrested person Kenneth Santodomingo, L/M/9-18-1990 was taken into custody and transported to Lew Sterrett. A report of Aircraft Laser Strike notification was made to the FAA. This offense was documented on case number 22223-A. 

Corsair pilot earned Navy Cross for battleship hit during WWII

U.S. Naval aviator Neil Swarthout — who flew F4U Corsair fighter bombers off the aircraft carrier USS Hancock during World War II — was awarded the Navy Cross, “for extraordinary heroism in combat,” during the battle at Japan’s Kure Naval Arsenal in July, 1945.

The Navy Cross is the second highest military decoration for valor — only the Medal of Honor is higher — that can be awarded to a member of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.

Swarthout was just 19 and attending Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The draft age was 20, and Swarthout, in an effort to stay out of the “walking Army,” enlisted in the Volunteer Naval Reserve class V-5 Naval Aviation Cadet program. The program enlisted candidates to train as aviation cadets.

He began flight training in October, 1942 in Miles City, Mont., where he learned to pilot a Piper Cub.

After a short leave spent at home in Portland, in January, 1943, he boarded a train for a trip east.

From Portland, the men were sent to Iowa City, Iowa on a coal-burning train. Coal dust blew into the train, coating the men — who did not have a change of clothes — in soot.

“It took five days to get there,” he said. “When we arrived, it was six degrees below zero.”

His training days in Iowa City were split between academics and athletics.

“They were trying to build up our minds and our bodies,” he said.

After three months, he was sent to Hutchinson Naval Air Station in Kansas for primary training in a Stearman bi-plane. Three months later, he was off to Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, where he received his pilot wings and was commissioned as an ensign on Nov. 6, 1943.

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Don’t mind the F-16 fighter jets: 180th Fighter Wing initiates night training

SWANTON -- If you see or hear fighter jets flying late at night, don't panic--The 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard will begin conducting training flights for the next two weeks.

F-16 fighter jets will be taking off and landing near Swanton until about 9 p.m. from Monday, Jan. 28 until Thursday, Feb. 7.

Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but the 180th Fighter Wing says that F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct night operations as part of their overall readiness. 

Story and Reaction/Comments:

Tweed-New Haven (KHVN), New Haven, Connecticut: Safety issues hound airport; gaps in fence raise concerns

A fence around Tweed-New Haven airport that stops by a stream near Dean Street and Morris Causeway in New Haven January 25, 2013. Peter Hvizdak / New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Try to fly from any commercial airport in the United States — including little Tweed New Haven Regional Airport — and you’d better be ready to take off your shoes and be scanned, have your bags searched and sometimes searched again, and occasionally even be frisked. 

But while the Transportation Safety Administration is putting you through those paces, virtually anyone or anything — at least anything that can wade or swim — can walk in the back gate at Tweed and onto the runway.

Large swaths of Tweed have no fences.

This was demonstrated in dramatic fashion Sept. 20 when three deer that wandered in from East Haven through a gap on the far southeast end of the airport ended up grazing near the main runway.

One deer collided with a small, private Learjet air ambulance that was taking off.

It didn’t end well for the deer or the plane, which, according to its Canadian owner, has lost much of its value and has yet to fly again after having both wings and its landing gear replaced.

In the wake of the accident, which he said has cost him millions of dollars in repair bills and lost business, David Fox, owner of Fox Flight in Toronto, has hired a local lawyer, Jonathan J. Einhorn.

Einhorn said he is planning to sue the city, most likely in federal court.

“It’s not a game preserve. It’s an airport,” Einhorn said, “and if the city’s going to hold it open as an airport, they ought to make it reasonably safe for use as an airport.”

Tweed is now working with the Federal Aviation Administration to enclose the remaining unfenced sections of the airport perimeter.

It also is actively working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to control wildlife at the airport, including birds and deer.

“The (FAA) is working with Tweed New Haven Regional Airport to complete perimeter fencing around the airport,” the FAA said in a written statement.

“The airport has drafted an Environmental Assessment (EA) on the project to identify and mitigate potential impacts to inland and tidal wetlands and wildlife. The EA is under review by appropriate state and federal agencies.

“The FAA conducts annual airport certification inspections, and has determined that the airport is in compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations,” the FAA said. “The airport also has a Wildlife Management Program to address deer and other animals that may access the airfield.”

The USDA and Tweed operations staff have used “bird bangers” and other pyrotechnics to scare wildlife away, and the USDA even has employed sharpshooters in some cases to remove deer from the property.

The most difficult challenge with regard to fencing, officials say, is an approximately 1,000-foot-long stretch off the south end of the main runway that runs along Ora Avenue, an abandoned, never-built “paper street” in East Haven, and through sensitive wetlands that would require special state approval.

Gaps also exist along Dean Street in New Haven, officials have said.

But as Tweed works to close those gaps, Fox has some questions he thinks ought to be answered.

“You’ve got gates and security at both ends,” Fox said, referring to the commercial passenger terminal and Robinson Aviation, the fixed-base operator that runs the general aviation side of Tweed, “yet you can walk right out on the property?”

He asked, rhetorically, “Is New Haven the only airport in the United States” that remains unfenced?

It’s a question worth answering, but one the TSA declined to answer for security reasons. A spokeswoman said that information is part of individual airport security plans that are confidential.

A spokesman for the FAA, which is working with Tweed on the permits and funding process for additional fencing, referred questions about airport security to the TSA.

In the wake of the accident, which Fox witnessed and which occurred with a Saudi patient on board who was fully ventilated and ready to be flown home after being stricken while traveling here, “we were shocked,” he said.

“We travel all over the world,” but haven’t seen that sort of situation previously, he said.

“I witnessed the accident. I was standing, watching it take off,” Fox said. “The thing literally blew up. I didn’t realize it was a deer. I thought we blew up an engine. Then I heard the guys from the towers yelling and screaming.”

But horrible as the accident was, “we were lucky,” Fox said.

The plane now is in Lincoln, Neb., where about $1 million in damage is being repaired, Fox said.

“So now I have a Frankenstein airplane, they call it,” he said. “It’s not made up of one airplane. It’s made up of two airplanes.”

“In June, it was valued at $3 million” in an annual appraisal, he said. “Now it’s worth about $500,000-$700,000.”

Fox also criticized Tweed for not putting out a “notice to airmen,” or NOTAM, warning of the possibility of deer on the runway, saying, “had we known there was a wildlfe problem, we wouldn’t have gone there.

“I think they’re reckless (for) not telling people. I think people should … be informed,” Fox said.

“They also should put up a bloody fence. ... What happens when the next airplane hits and people die? Is it then taken seriously? Is it necessary for people to die in order for people to take it seriously?”

Tweed Airport Manager Lori Hoffman-Soares said Tweed did issue a NOTAM long before the Sept. 20 collision, warning of general wildlife issues.

And Tweed New Haven Airport Authority Executive Director Tim Larson said that the only gaps that exist in the Tweed fence are over water.

“It’s always been explained to me that we effectively have had a moat around the airport with the watercourses, so up until we created this runway safety area, we had what was presumed to have an appropriate buffer with the watercourse,” he said.

“You could jump the bridge on South End Road, go into the water and swim onto the airport property” but you can’t walk in “without getting wet,” Larson said.

But at least one of those areas is shallow enough to wade through.

Hoffman-Soares said that even an unbroken fence is no guarantee that deer won’t get in because, “I know that a deer can jump an 8-foot fence. ... I mean, JFK’s fenced in and they’ve got a wildlife problem.”

The portion of Tweed that’s not fenced “was never fenced, and my guess is ... it wasn’t fenced because the portion that’s not fenced is in the wetlands — and it is considered a natural barrier,” she said. “It’s very far from the terminal. It’s the southeast corner of the airport.”

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said that the agency “maintains regulatory authority over the nation’s 450 airports to ensure compliance with minimum security requirements, including perimeter security.”

Through a security plan developed by each airport, “TSA annually assesses every airport individually to ensure the appropriate level of security is maintained.”

 The resources used for security “are both seen and unseen and may include physical barriers as well as routine patrols and other perimeter monitoring activities designed to prevent intrusion,” Davis said.

Hoffman-Soares and the FAA said Tweed is meeting all the requirements for airports of its size.

That said, additional fencing “is in my security plan” and “it’s always been on our capital plan,” she said. “It’s been on our capital plan for years to put a fence ... but we’ve had to prioritize our capital budget.”

In addition, “there are permitting issues” with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, as well as the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hoffman-Soares said.

With regard to the proposed additional fencing, she said, “This is a wildlife fence. We’re not calling it a security fence.”

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Eastern Iowa (KCID), Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Airport Will Be Debt Free in Fiscal Year 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A focus on sound conservative fiscal policy and pay-as-you-go funding of capital improvement projects will enable The Eastern Iowa Airport to be debt free in fiscal year 2015.

Don Swanson, airport director of finance and administration, told the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday that the last debt payment of $23,390 will be made in fiscal 2015, which begins on July 1, 2014, and ends on June 30, 2015.

"It's something that the airport commission has been working on for many years," Swanson said. "In the mid-1980s, bonds were issued by the City of Cedar Rapids to construct a new terminal building. Those bonds were refunded after 10 years and paid off in 2003.

"In the 1990s, we had a lot of growth. We used bonds to fund cargo facilities for FedEx, DHL and UPS, and those bonds have been paid off.

"The last bond issue was for a fixed-base operator facility for Landmark Aviation in 2003. That was paid off early last year."

Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said the airport has adherred to a guideline of investing less than its annual depreciation each year.

"This is really a tribute to the sound fiscal policy that has guided the commission and our staff over the decades," Bradshaw said. "We will be able to 'burn the mortgage' when we make our last bond payment."

The commission on Monday approved the airport's annual budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1. It calls for gross revenue of $36.3 million, which is $1.5 million, or 4 percent greater, than gross revenue in the fiscal year 2013.

"We're looking for a 10 percent increase in operating revenue primarily due to an increase in enplanements, which we are expecting to increase 2.5 percent in fiscal year 2015," Swanson said. "As enplanements increase, so does operating revenue from concessions, public parking, car rental customer facility charges and passenger facility charges."

Airports generate revenue in two ways — through fees paid by airlines and general aviation operators and through income from parking, car rentals, concessions, advertising space sales and rental of buildings. The Eastern Iowa Airport does not receive any city or county property tax revenue.

The airport is budgeting gross expenses of $33.7 million, which is $287,366 or 0.85 percent less than fiscal year 2013. Gross expenditures involve operating expenses of $7.4 million, capital expenditures of $13.7 million, capital outlay of $234,200, depreciation of $7.3 million, debt service of $23,390 and operating transfer of $5.1 million.

Swanson said major capital projects planned for fiscal year 2014 include the $6.1 million renovation of the public lobby of the airport terminal and $5.1 million for construction of Taxiway E, which will parallel the airport's secondary runway.

"The FAA will pay for 90 percent of the construction of Taxiway E," Swanson said. "The terminal lobby renovation is a multiyear project consisting of new flooring, lighting, windows, removal of unused offices, and construction of building canopy.

"We expect $3.3 million of federal entitlement funds for that project in fiscal year 2014. We also expect to use our entitlement funds in fiscal year 2015 to reimburse the airport for the cost of that project."

Bradshaw said the airport will begin replacing or retrofitting the airport's boarding bridges, which are nearing their life expectancy.

"The new boarding bridges will have conditioned air, which will flow into the airplanes," Bradshaw said. "The airlines will not have to let their engines run to provide heat or air conditioning in the cabin. It will help reduce the airport's carbon footprint."

Bradshaw said the airport will primarily focus on capital projects involving the passenger terminal and other buildings over the next few years.

"With the work we have done to completely reconstruct the airport's primary runway, the southern half of the secondary runway and other projects, the 'air' side of this airport is like new," Bradshaw said. "We need to focus on improvements to the 'land' side of the airport." 


California International Airshow names board president, director

The California International Airshow has announced Steve Naslund as incoming Board President and Ken Smith as Director of Ground Operations.

Naslund has been a volunteer at the Airshow since 1985 and was named Director of Ground Operations in 2007.

Smith was a member of the Ground Operations committee for several years.

The Airshow has raised more than $7 million for local charities since 1981.


Aviation’s Iron Lady: NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman

Juggling Boeing’s meltdown and bureaucratic tension with the much larger FAA, top federal transportation investigator Deborah Hersman is the steely new face of sky patrol. 

January 28, 2013 12:10 PM EST

By Clive Irving

There’s a new, tough energy in the nation’s leading accident investigation agency, and its face is Deborah Hersman.

Aviation industry insiders have been surprised by the bluntness of public statements made by Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, about the investigation into battery fires on board the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

“I’m glad to see her taking the lead,” says John Goglia, a former NTSB investigator with more than 40 years experience in the industry. “These are not state secrets, this is an issue of public safety and they should be giving regular updates.”

From the moment when NTSB inspectors arrived in Boston in the wake of a battery fire on a Japan Airlines 787 two weeks ago, the agency has stressed the seriousness of the problem and made very explicit the hazard it represents.

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Sedona (KSEZ), Arizona: New Airport Manager Hired

Rod Propst
Sedona, AZ:  The Sedona Oak Creek Airport Authority, the non-profit organization that operates Sedona Airport, has announced the hiring of Rod Propst, A.A.E. as the airport’s general manager. Mr Propst started his position on January 3rd. Bill Kerwin, president of the airport’s board of directors said Propst was hired because of his extensive background and experience in aviation and community relations, especially his 16 year tenure as the airport manager for Fullerton Airport. Fullerton Airport is owned by the city of Fullerton and is located in Orange County in Southern California.

Mr. Propst and his wife Pamela look forward to becoming part of the Sedona community. “We lived in a small town in Oregon some years ago and will enjoy coming back to a town where everyone knows each other and looks after each other. We have family who has lived in the Verde Valley.  We have visited and enjoyed the climate and environment of the area on numerous visits,” he said.

Propst holds a Bachelor’s  degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  The American Association of Airport Executives has designated him as an Accredited Airport Executive. He has also served on numerous boards and task forces involving aviation issues in Southern California.

 Propst is a retired Marine Corps aviator,  has logged over 3,000 hours of flight time in turbo-jet aircraft and helicopters, and holds a FAA Airline Transport Pilot certificate with type ratings in both airplanes and helicopters.  He has landed at the Sedona airport on numerous occasions and is familiar with the airport’s unique setting on top of a high mesa overlooking Sedona. “Since I am a pilot and have managed a city-owned airport which is busier than Sedona’s airport, I hope to be able to advance the airport’s community, pilot, tour operator and tenant relations. I look forward to meeting everyone here.”

Propst is also an adjunct faculty member of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teaching aviation management courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The airport manager is responsible for the day to day operations of the airport including maintaining an interactive relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration, Yavapai County (which owns the airport), the City of Sedona, as well as the dozens of companies and tour operators at the airport along with  the 90+ aircraft owners who base their aircraft at the airport.

Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority is a non-profit corporation created in the early 1970s and operates the airport on a long-term lease from Yavapai County. The airport property was given to Yavapai County by the federal government in the mid 1950’s to operate in perpetuity as a general-use airport. The airport is located on 230 acres on top of Tabletop Mountain about 500 feet above the city of Sedona.

The airport is self-supported and does not require public funding from taxes. The airport operates with self-generated revenues from fuel sales, rental of buildings and hangars, and business agreements with airport vendors.

Fullerton Airport, which was managed by Propst, is on 86 acres, has three times the aircraft based there and over three times the aircraft traffic than Sedona’s airport. Fullerton has a control tower and is in controlled air space but Sedona’s airport is in uncontrolled airspace and does not have a control tower.

Propst said that there are over 19,000 airports in America with about 3,400 part of the National Plan of Integrated Airports System, but only about 375 have a control tower and controlled airspace. “Sedona’s airport is not busy enough to qualify for a tower and operates quite safely as an uncontrolled airport since all pilots know to communicate with each other as they land and depart the airport,” he said.

Rod Propst’ office is in the airport terminal building at the airport. His office number is 928-282-4487. His email is


Back to back plane crashes; Are small planes too dangerous?

Investigators are trying to figure out why two planes crashed less than 24 hours a part. 50-year-old Christopher McKenna died Saturday after his ultralight aircraft went down just North of Niles.

Then Sunday, a Mooney M20J/201 (N5763H) crashed at the Warsaw Municipal Airport after crosswinds tipped the plane as it tried to land.

Luckily the pilot and his son walked away without a scratch but things could have been worse.

The aircraft hit one of the gas tanks but completely missed the airport’s fuel farm and there were no gas leaks. The Flight Line Technician said it was one of those miracle moments where god somehow put him between those tanks, he said he has no idea how he did it.

The United States hasn't seen a commercial airliner go down for more than three years, so does that mean smaller private planes are more dangerous to fly?

After seeing back to back crashes many people are probably thinking they are, but in reality with the proper precautions they may be safer than you think.

In these two accidents the pilots most likely did nothing wrong. One Flight Line Technician said back to back crashes are simply a fluke. In fact, he says it is safer to fly than it is to drive.

“We had all of those multi-car accidents; you have a lot of them. They are in the news all the time. It’s very rare that you see somebody in an aircraft” says Jim Rautenkranz

“In my career this is the first aircraft crash even though it was a single ultralight plane involved that I've investigated” says Sgt. Steve Barker

But what can make one crash fatal while another is left without even a scratch. Jim said part of it is the grade of the planes.

“An ultralight is like a powered hang glider there’s really not a lot to it. It has a little body on it, tricycle landing gear wheels and a motor in the back and a huge wing. They are very light; hence forth the term ultralight and they are basically at the mercy of the winds” says Rautenkranz

“Now this one, you are talking about a couple tons here. A Mooney is a high performance plane with landing gear over 200 knots. They are heavy, they are thick, they are very well controlled, and they have all the gadgets…” Rautenkranz continues.

But no matter the aircraft you fly, Jim said its weather conditions that play a role in safety. He said in addition to checking weather conditions, know where you are going, and know who's in the area and who else is flying. He said all of those things will help keep you safe.

  Regis#: NA        Make/Model: EXP       Description: EXP- ULTRALIGHT
  Date: 01/27/2013     Time: 0139

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

  City: NILES   State: MI   Country: US


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

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Cruise      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SOUTH BEND, IN  (GL17)                Entry date: 01/28/2013 

Med-View Boeing 737-400, 5N-BPA: Abuja-Bound Plane Develops Fault

Med-View Airlines which was recently issued an Air Operator's Certificates (AOC), yesterday made an air return on its Abuja bound flight from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) with 74 passengers on board.

Information gathered by our correspondent revealed that 15 minutes after take-off from the airport, there was a bang in one of the two engines of the Boeing 737-400, which prompted the pilot to quickly return to base.

The incident led to panic among the passengers on board the aircraft.

As at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the aircraft engineers together with the safety officers of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority were working on the aircraft to ascertain the cause of the bang.

Besides, when the aircraft finally made an air return to Lagos, some of the passengers who were previously on board refused to travel with it while others agreed to be put on another aircraft of the airline already on ground at the tarmac.

Speaking on the issue, the General Manager, Med-View Airlines, Mr. David Babatunde confirmed the incident, but explained that air return was normal in global aviation industry, saying that the pilot took the precautionary safety measures by returning to base.

Babatunde stated that the engineers were still looking at the cause of the incident and would submit their findings to the management and regulatory authority.

He said, "On take-off, about 15 minutes in-flight, we had a bang on one of the two engines, an upsurge. So, the captain took a safety precautionary measure and decided to shut down the engine and return to base. The aircraft was heading to Abuja with 74 passengers.

"The engineers are looking at the cause of the upsurge and the passengers were immediately disembarked and put into another aircraft, which eventually took them to Abuja. As I am talking to you right now, the passengers are already in Abuja."


Concord Regional (KJQF), North Carolina: New charter flight could bring millions to airport

CONCORD, N.C. -- Adding a charter flight service from Concord Regional Airport to various leisure destinations has the potential to generate a local economic impact of $9.98 million to $18.26 million annually, the airport’s director told city leaders Friday.

“We have to be totally honest with ourselves,” Concord Aviation Director Rick Cloutier said. “The general aviation will never go back to pre-recession levels. We’re talking about larger commercial operators. They’re public charters. Any one of us could book a ticket on that charter and be able to use it.”

Commercial air service offers a significant economic impact, Coultier said Friday during the Concord City Council’s annual retreat.

Concord City Council gave Cloutier permission to look into offering a charter flight service from Concord Regional Airport, but actually seeing it happen is likely a ways off, Mayor Scott Padgett said.

Cloutier told council members and the mayor that nine commercial service airports in north Carolina generate a total economic impact of about $23.9 billion.

Direct impact from air service at those airports is $7 billion annually for 20.9 million passengers, Cloutier said. The average economic impact per airline per flight is $355.

Cloutier presented examples of some of the commercial charter services available.

“The first one would be point to point service,” he said.

It uses a 166-seat MD80 aircraft and flies mostly to leisure destinations. The Orlando-based service would be a strong target for a new service, Cloutier said.

“It would continue to solidify our place with the FAA as a major player,” Cloutier said.

Another potential service discussed is a service that uses a 138-seat Airbus and serves smaller east coast cities to leisure destinations.

Another service uses a 149-seat airbus based in Fort Lauderdale with higher frequency flights.

“We need to position ourselves to be able to serve the region,” Cloutier said.


Buccananka Seaplane Anchor

Video by Buccaneer Ben  
Published on Jan 23, 2013
Buccananka Seaplane Anchor.
Frustration with heavy, useless anchors drove me to design a more effective one for seaplanes -- specifically my Lake Buccaneer. Uplifting an ineffective weight is both hazardous and expensive so I set about making a practical anchor that is:

- Lightweight & small. (Fits into the Buccaneer nose well).
- Quick setting.
- Not reliant on a catenary chain (more weight)
- Easily thrown a long distance (to enable kedging from shore).
- Be instantly ready & quickly stowed.
- Corrosion resistant
- Retrievable if caught or snagged.
- And of course, have high holding power.

The new "Buccananka" (well, it needed a name and it sounds similar to the expletive I called my previous, useless ones), ticks all the boxes. Its small size and needless of chain enables the Buccananka to be thrown a considerable distance (over 25m or 75ft). This feature, coupled with its fast setting characteristic, allows kedging out before departure as well as generally securing the plane offshore.

A seaplane anchor is constrained by size and weight so its holding power must rely mainly on shape. The Buccananka is a new generation claw anchor designed with optimised geometry and weight distribution so that when under water, it presents itself for fast burial and burrows deeper with additional load. In fact, the Buccananka can bury so deep, it has a breakaway release for retrieval if caught.

The Buccananka's performance in heavy weed or rocky bottoms is unreliable and probably not a whole lot better than other small anchors. Of course, you can get lucky and jag a rock. Failing this, the only recourse is to revert to calling it by the similar generic name - but as I prefer not to beach on rocky areas (new paint job), my need is for sand and mud - and this is where the Buccananka works a treat!

The Buccananka specs are:
Anchor Weight -- 540gms (18oz)
Length 30cm (12") Height 15cm (7") Width 16cm (6.25")
Construction -- Stainless Steel
Recommended Rode -- 8mm (5/16") dia. nylon.

Note: Chain should not be attached directly to this anchor as it hinders rapid setting.

Martha's Vineyard (KMVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts: Firefighters called to building fire in Airport Business Park

Volunteer firefighters at the scene. 
Photo Credit:  Mark Lovewell 

Photo by Rob Gatchell 
 Firefighters poured water through a window to knock down the flames. A 500 gallon propane tank added to the hazards. 

Firefighters from several Island towns battled a blaze in a building in the Martha's Vineyard Airport Business Park Saturday night.

The call came at 6:40 pm, and Deb Potter, assistant airport manager, said the building was in flames when firefighters arrived. The steel frame building is on East Line Road.

Joseph Cazeault and Sons Roofers leases the building. Contractor Thornton Chandler subleases part of it.

Firefighters from Martha's Vineyard Airport, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury and Chilmark responded to the business park, off Barnes Road, also known as Airport Road.

Firefighters used an aerial ladder to pour water on the roof. Flames were visible shooting through the roof.

Single digit temperatures and gusting winds made the job of extinguishing the blaze very difficult for firefighters.

As of 9 pm, the fire appeared to be under control.

Story and Photos:

Lehigh Valley International (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania: New restaurants coming to airport

Cash-poor and in need of some good news, Lehigh Valley International Airport operators are turning to a new strategy to appeal to passengers: their stomachs. 

OK, a really good hoagie or a perfectly mixed latte isn't going to make anyone buy a plane ticket, but airport officials are hoping to attract at least some people who aren't scheduled for a flight.

LVIA has hired a San Diego company to take over three restaurants and a newsstand in hopes of upgrading the offerings and increasing the airport's take. First Class Concessions has a deal to renovate and run the airport's retail space for the next decade.

"This will enhance the concessions and we think that will drive up usage," said airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. "We believe the quality will be such that it will attract people who are not using the airport for travel that day."
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First Class will take over when the leases for the existing shops — Subway, the Hudson News and two Lehigh Valley Cafés — run out June 30.

The deal guarantees the airport $168,000 in rent payments a year, compared with the $93,000 it gets now, or a percentage of the gross sales, whichever is higher. Perhaps the bigger benefit will be an upgrade in food at the restaurants, Everett said.

Behind the security in the departures area will be Java Joint, Chew Street Hoagies and the PA Pub.

Java Joint will be an upscale coffee shop offering a Starbucks-type menu with everything from regular coffee to chai tea to raspberry mocha. Chew Street Hoagies will have breakfast burritos, Philly cheesesteaks and salads. The PA Pub is to have soups, salads, $7-$10 dollar burger meals and favorites such as chicken wings, Cuban and bratwurst sandwiches, along with wines and beers from local wineries and breweries, First Class President Tasneem Vakharia said.

Vakharia said the company will take over the retail operations by July 1, spend about $500,000 to renovate them and have the new places fully open by Thanksgiving. The shops will remain open during construction and Vakharia said First Class will attempt to hire any current employees who want to keep their job at the airport.

Ellie Unangst, a 12-year airport worker at the Lehigh Valley Café, is wishing Vakharia luck because she's afraid she'll need it.

"Traffic is so slow most days that I don't have enough sales to pay my salary," said Unangst of North Whitehall Township. "If it wasn't for the employees I'd have almost no sales."

The Spirit of the Lehigh Valley newsstand and gift shop will be in the departure area, offering items such as Just Born Candies and sweatshirts from local colleges.

"We've done a lot of research to include Lehigh Valley favorite items so that these shops have an appeal to local people," Vakharia said. "We think there's a lot of potential there. We believe we can bring people in who aren't flying. We're excited."

Before the security post, and open to the general public, will be an overhauled Lehigh Valley Café on the second level, which will offer many of the food items offered at the three other restaurants. That space is currently vacant.

First Class was chosen over six other bidders, in part because of its experience operating the same concept in six other airports including Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City; Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; and Fort Wayne International Airport. It will be the first time that LVIA will have a single operator running all of its retail space.

"They've found a real niche serving airports of our size," said Sherri McTavish, the airport's director of administration and finance. "If we had a larger passenger base we might have broken it up between several vendors, but this seems to make sense for us."

The PA Pub is even envisioned as a restaurant that could cater private functions at the airport.

No one is suggesting a change in restaurants is going to solve all the airport's recent problems, but officials say it's part of a larger plan to chip away at its financial woes. A difficult travel economy, high fuel prices and the losses of four airlines in the past two years pushed 2012 passenger traffic at the airport to its lowest level since 1987.

Earlier this month, Everett cut services such as the airport shuttle and eliminated a dozen jobs to balance the 2013 budget.

In the meantime, the airport is struggling to pay off the remaining $14 million of a $26 million court judgment against it for seizing a developer's property in the early 1990s.

So any new revenue or airport operation upgrade is welcome news.

"We're hoping we can grow sales," McTavish said. "Even in this declining environment."