ST. PETERSBURG— The battle between the city and the former operator of the Albert Whitted Airport is now in court.
City lawyers recently filed a lawsuit against locally-based Bay Air Flying Service for $122,026 in unpaid rent, fuel flowage fees, stormwater charges and late fees and interest, records show.
The city ended its 30-year relationship with Bay Air and its owner, Ron Methot, in November.
Methot could not be reached to comment.
The lawsuit contends Methot didn't pay rent on a hangar between November 2007 and December 2010. The stormwater charges were accrued between September 2009 and June 2011.
The other charges were incurred this year.
The city sought a new operator after Methot racked up late fees, fines and interest on its monthly lease. Methot blamed the bad economy and the city's bad billing practices for much of the debt.
Sheltair Aviation Services of Fort Lauderdale now manages the city-owned airport.
Searcher have found the body of a female pilot who went missing in an ultralight plane 70km north of Brisbane.
The body of the missing female pilot has been found in the wreckage.
An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman said the officer who discovered the scene reported the pilot to be deceased.
"The search has now ended and the Queensland Police take over the investigation," the spokesman said.
The missing Skyfox gazelle was located just north of Beerburrum on Woodford Road at Glasshouse Mountains.
Vegetation in the area was extremely dense, and explains why the aircraft was not found sooner, Caboolture Aero Club president John Dawson said.
He said the thoughts of the Caboolture Aero Club members were with the pilot and her family.
"Didn't know the lady, I know she was a part owner in aircraft which was a Skyfox Gazelle built in Caloundra," he said.
"I spoke to people yesterday who said she was most competent at flying; the lady was in a syndicate ownership and the plane was operated by the flying school."
Mr Dawson said he spoke to a number of people yesterday who knew the pilot but he was not aware of her flying history.
He said concerns were raised about by mid afternoon Sunday.
"When she didn't return by time fuel would run out the alarm was set off", he said.
The aircraft's signal dropped off the radar over the Glass House Mountains about 9.30am Sunday.
Ground and aerial search crews, involving six helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft, swept the area yesterday but found no sign of the pilot or the green-coloured aircraft.
One of the search aircraft was AMSA's high-tech Dornier, a type used in the search for the deHavilland Dragon which crashed near Kandanga last year.
Earlier, Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman Mal Larsen said a team was dispatched at first light.
“After attempts failed last night the search resumed this morning, 12 helicopters, one fix-winged aircraft and police on foot have begun the search,” he said.
“Because of the thick bushland helicopters are the more effective search vehicle."
Four police trail bikes and three police 4WDs are assisting in the land search.
He said the search area for the day had been mapped out in the hopes of finding the accredited pilot and her green ultra-light aircraft.
“It is narrowed to 108 square nautical miles, which is roughly 220 km, in the area north-west of Caboolture,” he said.
“The search area has been narrowed to the likely area according the last known radar sighting."
Careflight Rescue Helicopter crewman Ryan Purchase told the ABC the search area covers some very difficult terrain.
"The radar can pinpoint where she lost contact," he said.
"The terrain we were flying over was dense bushland, pine plantations around the western side of the Sunshine Coast."
A police media spokeswoman said the woman was believed to only be carrying enough fuel for 150 minutes of flying.
No distress signal had been activated yesterday.
Police are investigating a report from a woman in the nearby town of Neurum who said she saw a plane flying low over the ground.
Residents in neighbouring areas offered information to Queensland Police via their Facebook page.
“My daughter was watching a green and white plane flying really low this morning about 10am at Neurum,” Teresa Stanton wrote.
Another user said: “I heard a small plane coughing and spluttering this morning. We are in Woodford and I mentioned it to my daughter as it didn't sound good at all!”
Princess Danni wrote: “I saw a plane this morning at about 9 at the glasshouse mts (sic) I was unsure if it was landing.”
Krystal Drew said she saw a dark blue plane flying low over the rural township of D'Aguilar.
“I watched it for a bit and it seemed to be circling,” she wrote.
“I had polarized sunglasses on so may have been mistaken for blue instead of green but was definately (sic) a skyfox gazelle it nearly ran into the tops of trees on the next property at about 12:30 pm today.”
Caboolture resident Kerry Willson said she heard a light plane over her house “spluttering and misfiring badly” about 9.15am.
“This plane was quite low over our house and continually spluttering and cutting out and could possibly have come down unseen from the highway or from the airport,” she wrote.
- reporting by Jacinda Tutty, Kris Crane, Kristin Shorten and AAP