Saturday, March 2, 2013

Resort Aviation Jet Center - Coeur d'Alene Airport (KCOE), Idaho: Kootenai County Sheriff's Office: Fleeing Driver Crashes Into Airport

 
Jared Salamina, 22, of Athol. 
Photo courtesy of Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

 
 UPDATED PRESS RELEASE: This is an update to the earlier press release regarding the fleeing driver that crashed into the Coeur d'Alene Airport early Friday morning. 

Initial reports regarding the aviation fuel spillage were incorrect. According to airport officials, actual aviation fuel spillage was limited to about one gallon, not the 200 gallons that was reported.

Additionally, most of the damage involved property owned by Resort Aviation. As of 12:30 PM, Jared Salamina has been charged with one count of Probation Violation –which has no bond, in addition to the three other misdemeanor crimes.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM THE KOOTENAI COUNTY SHEIRIFF'S OFFICE: On March 1, 2013 at about 1:00 AM, a Kootenai County Sheriff's deputy attempted to stop a black Honda Civic for a stop sign violation at Lacey Ave and Government Way in the City of Hayden. The car initially failed to stop for the deputy, but then yielded several blocks later. As the deputy was walking up to the car, the driver sped away.

The deputy pursued the car a short distance, but discontinued the pursuit quickly due to the fleeing car's excessive speeds and weather conditions. Based on the driver's actions, and research of the license plate, the driver of the fleeing vehicle was believed to be Jared L. Salamina, 22 of Athol, ID.

At about 4:30 AM, the Sheriff's Office received an anonymous call from a citizen that said he had picked up Jared and drove him to his (Jared's) house in the Athol area and his parents were going to take him to the hospital because he had crashed his car near the Cd'A Airport.

While deputies were responding to the Athol area to attempt contact with Jared, other deputies were searching for the crashed car. Eventually, the crashed car was located. It had driven through an airport fence and crashed into a fuel pump depot, causing about $40k damage and spilling and/or contaminating about 200 gallons of aviation fuel.

Fire and airport personnel were called to the scene to deal with the fuel and damage.Meanwhile, deputies were able to locate Jared and his mother driving south on Highway 95 near the Garwood area. They stopped the vehicle and detained Jared. He was transported to Kootenai Medical Center, where he was later released and then taken to the Kootenai County Jail.

He was booked into the jail for Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Failure to Report the crash and Reckless Driving; all charges at this time are misdemeanors and his bond is currently $900.00. Charges for Felony Eluding are pending as well as probation violation charges, as Jared is currently on Felony probation for previous drug charges.


Story and Photo:  http://www.khq.com

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (KCLT), Charlotte, North Carolina: Snow flurries packing a punch

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Saturday’s weather is packing a punch to travelers and planes in and out of Charlotte Douglas. 

At one point during the rapid snow fall a “ground stop” was in place for four hours due to the snow.

Officials with U.S. Airways said the ground stop meant no planes in or out of the airport.

U.S. Airways tells NBC Charlotte the ground stop put them in recovery mode once the weather-induced ground stop ended.

Officials said they were scrambling to get passengers in and out as soon as possible.

A site that tracks flights live, flightaware.com, displayed 45 flights out of Charlotte were canceled.  Those cancellations were among the top in the country.

Delays and cancellations were moderate around 4 p.m. with departure delays averaging 37 minutes and arrival delays averaging 29 minutes.

Michelle Devine Giese got a double whammy from Charlotte’s snow flurries.

According to Giese, there was a mechanical problem leaving Milwaukee to Charlotte which required a different plane followed by sitting in Milwaukee for an hour and a half because of the winter conditions there.

"They said that the airport down here was not taking any more flights, so we had to wait on the plane for about an hour, hour and a half, until we could take off,” explained Giese.

“When we landed here, we missed all of our connections and our secondary connections and our alternative connections and we had to wait in line here an hour and a half to talk to customer service to get re-booked on a flight for tomorrow," she said.

Other passengers who didn’t have it so bad summed it up by saying “that's just what happens, and better safe than sorry when it comes to winter weather.”


http://www.wcnc.com

Aviation Safety Workshop Held In Bridgeport, West Virginia

WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather 

BRIDGEPORT - An Inspection Authorization Renewal Safety Workshop was held Saturday in Bridgeport by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

More than 90 people came to the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center to learn about different safety techniques and practices when it comes to aviation.

Aircraft mechanics must get their inspection authorization renewed every year.

Aviation students from Pierpont Community and Technical College and mechanics from all over the state took advantage of the free training.

"We've had presentations from Michelin Aircraft Tires, we've had safety presentations from the FAA, we've had the inspection records authorization renewal forms," said Tom Stose, Aerospace Education Center. "We've reviewed those. We will have composite repairs and we are also going to talk about composite repairs and aviation safety."

The National Aerospace Education Center holds the aviation seminar every year.


Story and Video:  http://www.wboy.com

Floyd Bennett Memorial (KGFL), Glens Falls, New York: Airport talk gets heated at Warren County committee meeting

The debate over escalating costs to operate Warren County airport took an ugly turn Thursday when one county supervisor tore into a colleague as he discussed efforts to cut airport costs.

The confrontation occurred as Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott discussed his thoughts on bringing pilots who use the airport into the discussion on how to rein in costs at the facility.

Westcott has continually questioned increased spending at the airport, which is significantly higher than many other municipal airports in upstate New York, as well as a proposal to lengthen the airport’s main runway at an estimated $8 million.

Glens Falls 1st Ward Supervisor Dan Girard, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors Facilities Committee that oversees the airport, cut off Westcott and would not allow him to continue the debate.

Girard said county leaders are reviewing the airport budget and cuts are being considered.

“Unbelievably, Mark, there are other people working on this other than yourself,” Girard told Westcott.

He went on to accuse Westcott of starting a “filibuster” on the issue and accused him of “wasting a lot of people’s time.” He said Westcott was “wanting data to support your (proposed) $400,000 cut.”

“You don’t want me to comment more?” Westcott asked.

“I want to move on so we can comment on other things,” Girard responded.

Most supervisors seemed stunned by the exchange and there was little comment afterward, though Glens Falls Ward Supervisor Bud Taylor seemed to take a shot at Westcott, saying “we’re eating ourselves here” and adding “Election time is coming, I don’t know if that’s a reason” for the strife.

Westcott said his efforts had nothing to do with re-election, pointing out he began asking questions about the airport last year.

The committee also heard from Airport Manager Ross Dubarry about a response he prepared to a Post-Star article and editorial in the fall that questioned airport spending.

Dubarry tried to compare detailed spending breakdowns between airports in the region that have lower costs than Warren County, and distributed a spreadsheet with pie charts and dozens of figures

Dubarry couldn’t get actual figures for many of the airports, so he substituted Warren County’s costs in certain categories for those at other airports for which he couldn’t get numbers, even though staffing numbers apparently differ significantly.

So for instance, he concluded Fulton County airport, which spent $12,000 in employee salaries in the unspecified year he surveyed, had the same overtime costs as Warren County ($47,000) despite the fact Warren County had $233,019 in salaries. He also included the same retirement and hospitalization costs as Warren County, despite the fact Fulton County and the other airports he included had much lower salary expenses.

Warren County Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson said the survey showed it is very difficult to compare airport operation costs because of the way budgets are structured.

Westcott, though, said the county survey reinforced to him Warren County’s airport spending was higher than other counties, even with estimates for costs that weren’t included.

“The real issue at this point is why are we spending over $1 million a year on this facility?” Westcott asked after the meeting. “Since the airport budget was brought up in the meeting today by Ross and Jeff Tennyson, I felt it was fair to ask this question. I was surprised at how vehement and negative the response was after doing so.”

Source:   http://poststar.com

Turkish Air's Plan to Buy Airbus Jetliners Called Off -Report

A major purchase of Airbus jetliners by Turkish Airlines  has been called off, at least for the moment, according to German magazine Focus on Saturday.

Turkish Airlines wanted to buy up to 120 Airbus A320 jetliners, the magazine says, adding that the list price would be 10 billion euros ($13.04 billion).

Airbus Chief Operating Officer Guenter Butschek traveled to Ankara but the signing of the deal was called off at the last moment, the magazine says, writing that Turkish Airlines wanted to focus more on Turkish suppliers.

An Airbus spokesman declined to comment to Dow Jones, saying that "talks with all our clients are, in principle, confidential."


Source:  http://www.foxbusiness.com

Tucson-based Universal Avionics plans to grow

Aircraft can fly for decades if they’re properly maintained and upgraded to meet industry standards and regulations.

But owners of small and mid-sized jets have limited options to upgrade their avionics, since makers of such aircraft offer few cockpit upgrades for older planes.

That’s where Tucson-based Universal Avionics Systems Corp. flies onto the radar.

The 32-year-old company has carved a valuable niche supplying state-of-the-art avionics, such as navigation systems and data recorders, for aircraft ranging from small business jets to regional airliners.

And with a string of successful new product launches in recent years and new products on the way, the company plans to grow in the Old Pueblo.

Read more on this story Sunday in the print edition of the Arizona Daily Star.


http://www.uasc.com

Woman Restrained on JetBlue Flight From Long Beach to Sacramento

LONG BEACH, CA - A female passenger was restrained and deplaned after a scuffle with a male flight attendant on JetBlue flight 263 from Long Beach to Sacramento on Saturday morning.

According to airport officials, the unstable woman made inappropriate comments to the flight attendant, and then grabbed his tie. During the incident, the attendant’s watch broke, cutting his wrist.

JetBlue staff restrained the passenger, deplaned her from the back of the aircraft, and released her to sheriff’s deputies on the ground.  The flight attendant denied medical treatment for his injuries.

Soon, University of Pune to offer engineering degree with pilot training

University of Pune (UoP) is set to become the first university in the country to provide an engineering degree along with pilot training if it inks a deal with FFL Institute, Germany. The degrees include bachelor of engineering degree and Masters in Technology in Air and Ground.

"For students who opt for BE (Air), two years of the course will be completed in the university and the next two in Germany where the students will get hands-on-experience in flying training. One year of airport management will be extra for those students who opt for MTech degree," said Naresh Khemani, Director, Operations Asia, FFL institute. "The MoU will be signed between UoP and FFL by mid-May. The courses will start in the next academic year," said Khemani.

Both Bachelors and Masters programme will be open for students above 18 years of age and who have completed their 10 plus 2 level of education with Maths and Physics as compulsory subjects. "There will be an entrance exam. The students who clear it will have to face a screening process where a delegation from Germany will interview the students. A batch of 40 students will be selected out of them," said Khemani. "The students will also have to have a Class 1 physical fitness level which will be approved by a doctor certified by FFL," added Khembavi.

After completing the flying hours, the student will have to appear for flying licence test, which if passed will give the student a 80 pl licence. "The students will get 200 hours of flying experience. Once they qualify the flying exam, they will be qualified to become flying commander. After getting the flying license, the student will have to change convert it into Indian licence which will be done by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)," said Khemani.

Last week, a delegation from Germany including Ulrich Langenecker, CEO, FFL institute and Stephen Volkland, Chief Instructor, German Airforce met UoP vice-chancellor WN Gade and Aditya Abhyankar Professor and Head, Department of Technology, UoP. The course will be launched under Department of Technology in UoP.

"The course fee will be around 45-55 lakh and will be hopefully introduced from the next academic year. The practicals will be held in Germany and any student who has completed 18 years of age and completed class 12 in science stream will be eligible for the course. The course will be introduced under Department of Technology currently, but will also be extended to affiliated colleges," said Dr Aditya Abhyankar Professor and Head, Department of Technology, UoP.

- See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com

"Even Christ was crucified for something he did not do" -Captain Ravendra Pal Singh

Sacked instructor has a checkered history

  
Ravendra Pal Singh compares himself to Jesus Christ. 
Photo / Mark Mitchell 



Captain Ravendra Pal Singh, convicted of assaulting two student pilots in a cockpit 1500ft above the ground, compares himself to Jesus Christ. 

"I have had a very glorious past in various countries," he says. "Even Christ was crucified for something he did not do."

He claims to have fought wars, counts among his personal friends the president of Botswana, and constantly refers to himself as "one of the best pilots in the world".

However, the Herald on Sunday can reveal:

• He was blamed for pilot error over an emergency landing in 2006 with three students on board.

• Was fired from Massey University's School of Aviation, though he claims he later received a payout.

• A Civil Aviation Authority investigation found the former Indian Air Force wing commander was so domineering of the young students at his Palmerston North-based Wings Flight Training school that they lived in fear of him.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show that the CAA had been aware of problems at the flight school since February 2008.

They describe a culture of hierarchy in which students were put down and Singh was the chief flying instructor, seen as a god by them.

In December 2009, the two students and two instructors went to the CAA to complain about assaults by Singh.

The CAA interviewed a student, who did not want to make a statement to police.

Then a year later, another whistleblower at the training school alleged to the CAA that Singh was altering flying records.

Two versions of the daily flight records were found by investigators.

More students came forward to report further assaults. This information was passed to the Qualifications Authority, which continued to grant Singh marks of "excellence" until mid-2011.

In the forced landing of December 2006 with three students on board, his Partenevia P68 aircraft lost power in one engine through fuel starvation.

A report into the crash stated that Singh's mishandling of the power loss caused a partial power loss in the second engine, forcing it to land in a paddock near Waipukurau.

The following year Singh was pictured asleep during a training flight, a picture which was circulated on Facebook by students.

Singh said the picture was taken during a flight by a senior student who was supposed to be flying solo.

The CAA investigators were unimpressed with Singh's responses to their many concerns, and cancelled his pilot licence in November 2011. They wrote: "Even when presented with evidence to the contrary, Mr Singh was reluctant to accept that there were any problems in relation to flight time recording, training provided to students or the culture at Wings Flight Training."

Singh, who will be sentenced for the two assaults this month, was this week still defiant.

"There are a lot of people out there that are wanting to destroy me.

"I have fought in wars and I know, a man cannot die two times, he can die only once."

- Herald on Sunday

Tragic death of skydiver after mid-air collision

New safety measures are in place at Sibson Aerodrome after a skydiver died following a mid-air collision last year, an inquest has been told.

Leading wine merchant Patrick Sandeman, 53, from Putney, in London, suffered fatal injuries after colliding with another skydiver on the approach to the landing zone on September 22.

At an inquest into his death, held in Huntingdon, chief instructor at Sibson Aerodrome Chris McCann gave evidence saying that no previous incidents of this kind had happened at the 
airfield. He said new measures, including set landing patterns, were now in place with a 
view to avoiding further tragedies.

The other skydiver involved in the collision, Matt Le Berre gave evidence at the inquest and described the moments leading to the accident.

Mr Le Berre, 28, who was seriously injured in the collision, said he was slowing after performing an advanced “swooping” manoeuvre and could not stop in time before hitting Mr Sandeman about 50ft above the ground, tangling their parachute lines, before they fell to the ground.

The inquest heard expert analysis that Mr Sandeman performed a high speed “spiralling” manoeuvre which could have caught out Mr Le Berre.

Both spiralling and swooping turns make it difficult for skydivers to predict one another’s movements.

Witnesses gave conflicting accounts as to which man collided with the other, but Tony Butler, technical officer for the British Parachute Association, who conducted an investigation, said he was now convinced that Mr Sandeman collided with Mr Le Berre.

Deputy coroner Belinda Cheney recorded a verdict of accidental death and added that it was “more likely than not” that it was Mr Sandeman who collided with Mr Le Berre.

She said: “I don’t think anybody’s ever going to know what direction Mr Sandeman was coming from and whether he did anything wrong.”

Speaking after the inquest, an aerodrome spokesman said the set landing patterns had been introduced as a result of national guidance by the British Parachute Association, not as a direct consequence of Mr Sandeman’s death.

Describing the death as a “tragic accident” and Mr Sandeman as a “good friend”, the spokesman added: “We pass on our condolences, as we have done privately, to the family.”

Source:  http://www.stamfordmercury.co.uk

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE), Latrobe, Pennsylvania: Westmoreland County Air Show canceled

The Westmoreland County Air Show at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport has been canceled after the Air Force on Saturday ended public aviation performances by the Thunderbirds because of the potential federal sequester, according to the executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority.

“The air show has been canceled until further notice,” Gabe Monzo said. “As of right now, with the Thunderbirds' cancellation, the show is canceled.”

The Thunderbirds had been scheduled to highlight the air show April 27-28 at the airport in Unity.

Effective Saturday, the Air Force canceled the Thunderbirds' 2013 season, beginning April 1. 


Source:   http://triblive.com

IMP Group lands Toronto firm with 20 aircraft

IMP Group Ltd. has scooped up a Toronto competitor that manages a fleet of 20 aircraft.

The Halifax company wouldn’t say what it paid for Image Air Charter Ltd., a 60-person outfit that specializes in executive travel via its air charter and aircraft management services.

“It’s a great acquisition,” Michael Fedele, vice-president and general manager of IMP’s Execaire division, said Friday.

The deal was in the works for several months and closed Thursday. “It was a good deal for both parties involved.”

Similar to Execaire, he said Image Air manages “all kinds of airplanes —
everything from the Pilatus PC-12 (single-engine turboprop) right up to the Challenger 605,” Bombardier’s $27-million, long-range business jet.

“They don’t have aircraft maintenance within their company,” Fedele said.

Execaire has managed, maintained, and operated aircraft for more than 48 years. With the new acquisition it will have over 290 employees and a managed fleet of 53 aircraft.

“The aircraft are owned by third-party individuals for the most part and each aircraft fits the requirements and needs of specific owners and are used by specific owners,” Fedele said. “In addition to that, we’ll charter them out to maximize the use of that asset for the owner and help reduce their operating expenses.”

IMP employs more than 4,600 people in industries including aerospace, health care, information technology, hospitality, and property development.

“We’re always looking at good opportunities,” Fedele said. “Growth through acquisition remains part of our strategy.”

The company inked a deal in November to acquire Cascade Aerospace Inc., a British Columbia outfit with more than 650 employees. The Abbotsford company mines a similar vein as IMP Aerospace & Defence, refurbishing military aircraft from around the world.


Story:  http://thechronicleherald.ca

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport (KDIK), Dickinson, North Dakota: Customers will soon pay to park

Customers flying in and out of Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport will soon have to pay for parking at the facility.

In a unanimous vote during a special meeting Friday morning, the Municipal Airport Authority approved a bid to construct a paid parking system at the Dickinson airport.

Airport manager Matthew Remynse said a bid for construction and instillation — which will include two ticket dispensers, two credit card machines and a pay-on-foot station in the airport’s terminal — of $410,000 was awarded to Edling Electric out of Bismarck.

“Construction will start sometime in April or May and should finish up by June,” Remynse said. “Right now we’re anticipating parking will cost $7 per day.”

James Ruud of Edling Electric said the company will also perform concrete work at the entrance of the airport, construct new fencing and an entrance gate, although the parking lot itself will not be paved or expanded.

TRRA recently reached an agreement with Delta Airlines to offer twice-daily nonstop flights to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which will begin June 10. The airport also is teaming with United Airlines to offer daily flights to Denver beginning June 6.

- See more at: http://www.thedickinsonpress.com

Clearwater Civil Air Patrol gets new headquarters



 Civil Air Patrol Clearwater Composite took delivery of five classroom trailers donated to them by St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus.   Scores of businesses helped with the effort, including yours truly who helped find a big loads contractor who did the move on very favorable terms.  One of the trailers will be used by the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance to help veterans prepare for and search for good jobs.

Lives still at risk, pilot's grieving mother claims: Cessna C152 ZK - JGB and Cessna C152 ZK - TOD, mid-air collision, near Feilding, Manawatu, New Zealand, July 26, 2010

 
Flight instructor Jess Neeson and a student pilot were killed when two planes collided in Manawatu in July 2010


 
PATRICIA SMALLMAN: Died on July 26, 2010.  The 64-year-old student pilot died with her flight instructor when their Cessna 152 collided with another plane over Feilding.



The flight training industry stands on the threshold, says Lyn Neeson: either tighten regulations now or lose more of the country's finest young pilots.

Neeson's daughter, Jessica, a flight instructor, was killed with her student, Patricia Smallman, in July 2010 in a mid-air collision with another plane, piloted by Indian student Manoj Kadam.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission launched an inquiry into the industry in the wake of the accident and is preparing to release the final report this month.

Neeson has seen a draft report and, though bound by strict confidentiality agreements, believes it falls well short of fixing safety problems.

Neeson says that visual flight rules, where pilots are free to fly wherever they like, are not sufficient in busy areas such as the skies above Manawatu, where military, commercial and flight trainers vie for airspace.

The alternative, instrument flight rules, require more pilot training and better-equipped planes.

"I guess all families of victims think that this is inadequate, but the Civil Aviation Authority's refusal to consider alternatives is very frustrating."

Jessica, 27, had taught students at Flight Training Manawatu for about five years.

Lyn said her daughter also had concerns about how many times international students were allowed to resit exams - as long as they had the money to keep training, they could fail as many times as they liked.

"With the increase and encouragement of international flying students, it is imperative that New Zealand's aviation industry learn from mistakes and improves safety or more of our shining young people are at risk."

CAA figures show an exponential rise in the number of collisions and near-misses involving flight schools in recent years.

In the 1990s there were three near-misses involving training flights. The following decade, that number increased to 60, and seven fatalities investigated by the CAA involved training school flights.

In 2008 alone there were 18 near-misses and three fatalities from training school flights.

CAA data showed that pilot training hours had doubled in the past 15 years to nearly 300,000 hours per year at the 21 flight training schools around the country. It is not clear how quickly the number of schools has grown though.

In all but one of the fatal accidents, the planes were operating under visual flight rules, which rely on the pilots looking and listening out for other aircraft.

Neither the accident commission nor the CAA would comment ahead of the report's release.

However, flight trainers believe that existing safety measures are working.

Eagle Flight Training chief executive Alex Zapisetskiy said his school was continually monitoring and improving its safety measures.

All students were assessed to make sure they were physically and emotionally fit, and the importance of situational awareness was constantly driven home.

Trainees were taught to keep their eyes outside the cockpit and look for traffic.

"The collisions are more to do with the personality of the pilot," he said. "Ninety-five per cent of accidents are human error."

- Herald on Sunday


Interim Factual Report:  http://www.taic.org.nz

Unusual 727 landing at Anchorage's Merrill Field draws a crowd

 
Hat tip to Frank!
 ~

 

On any given day, standing in the parking lot of Northway Mall near downtown Anchorage, passersby can stop and see small planes -- Cessnas, Supercubs, Navajos and others -- flying east to west, coming in for a landing on Merrill Field right across the street. Often, they're flying low enough to rattle nerves (and trees) just outside the fence of the municipal airfield. So when a hulking Boeing 727 cargo jet, decommissioned by FedEx and donated to the University of Alaska Anchorage's aviation maintenance program, landed at the airfield on Tuesday, folks in the Airport Heights and Mountain View neighborhoods uninformed to the landing were in for a spectacle. 

Read more here: http://www.alaskadispatch.com

Northampton police sell seized drug gang aircraft on eBay (UK)

 
The aircraft has a reserve price of £12,000
~


A light aircraft used by a gang convicted of drugs trafficking is to go on eBay with a reserve price of £12,000.

Northamptonshire Police said the plane was used to transport cocaine with a street value of £1.7m into the county.

Six men were jailed in November 2012 and the plane was seized under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Any money raised from the sale can be used for policing activities and community projects, a spokesman said.

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said: "I believe this may be the first time a force in the country has seized an airplane and is in a position to sell it, so this is a great result for us."

The plane was confiscated by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit which said drugs were taken by road from Amsterdam to France, where they were loaded onto the aircraft and flown into Northamptonshire.

Five men from Corby pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Class A drugs. Christopher Andrew McGlone, 27, was jailed for five years; James Martin McGlone, 30, six years; Wayne Burgess, 36, four years; Adel Chouhaib, 33, 10 years; and Richard Sweeney Murray, 48, four years. Abdelilah Hilali, 34, of Marsham Street, London, was sentenced to eight years.


Story and Photo:  http://www.bbc.co.uk

Labrador: Aircraft seized in suspected caribou hunt

  Submitted photo 
 A caribou is hauled away by snowmobile


The provincial government has grounded a small plane in Labrador that may have been involved in illegal caribou hunting in the area.

In a statement released Friday, Justice Minister Darin King confirmed that "a plane has been temporarily seized as part of an investigation into alleged illegal hunting activity in Labrador."

"While no charges have been laid at this point, the investigation is continuing."

Just before sundown on Thursday the plane set down on the ice near Sheshatshiu.

Innu elder Caroline Andrew, who lives across the street from where the plane landed, said a large crowd was on hand.

"I saw people parking on the road ... there were a lot," Andrew told CBC News.

"I heard someone say there were nine [caribou off-loaded]," said Andrew.

Andrew said she also saw the RCMP on the scene, as well as a helicopter.


Hunt banned in January

 
In January, the provincial government announced a ban on hunting caribou with the George River herd in Labrador for five years.

But the Innu Nation told CBC that hunters would still take 150 male caribou for each community between now and April.

Innu Nation Grand Chief Prote Poker said the nine animals that were brought to Sheshatshui were among 30 caribou that were killed. He also confirmed they were from the George River herd.

And Poker said they will continue to hunt them.

"We told the government that we won't comply with the ban of caribou [hunting]," he said. "We've been very cautious about the way we hunt caribou. We've been very conservative on how many caribou we kill."

Poker said the Innu usually take about 1,000 caribou each year, but they have cut that number to 150 this year.

Andrew agrees with the hunt.

"If someone brings me some, I'm going to take it because I need it," she said.

Sources said the animals came from Shipiskan Lake, about 100 kilometres north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.


Plane owner seeks legal advice

 
The plane that landed on Sheshatshiu beach is part of Big Land Aviation Services, which is owned by Clarence Froude and New Brunswick RCMP officer Albert Michelin.

Michelin said the business is based out of 5 Wing Goose Bay in Labrador.

He said he's confused as to why his plane was seized.

"After all this turmoil that's going on, not once has the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, not once have the RCMP that's located in the district of Labrador. not once has anyone taken the time to even try to contact me, to involve me into what's going on here," he said.

Michelin also said he doesn't understand why his competitor's helicopters, which the Innu hired to locate the caribou, weren't also seized.

"I've been in the RCMP for 23 years plus, and what's going on here is completely wrong. It's completely wrong in the way it's being approached."

Michelin said he will be seeking legal advice in the matter.

"We will be going after the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada to recover our money for the losses that we're accruing right now."

Story and Reaction/Comments:  http://www.cbc.ca


http://www.blaviation.ca

http://www.thetelegram.com

http://www.thelabradorian.ca

Boeing 737 CL: Dual engine failure on short final

March 01, 2013 


Baltic Aviation Academy (Vilnius, Lithuania) has made a video based on the request of viewers. 

This time Pranas Drulis, ATPL Integrated student at Baltic Aviation Academy, conducts dual engine failure on short finals. 

Enjoy!

'Manners of the profession' -- Coast Guard crew memorial dedicated at Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, Memorial: AĆ©rospatiale MH-65C Dolphin SA 365N

CG-6535 Memorial Dedication Ceremony: March 1, 2013
Video of Lt. j.g. Andrew Bacon performs "Amazing Grace" during the CG-6535 memorial dedication ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile on March 1, 2013. 
~

 



 
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Parker designed this graphic to memorialize the crew of the Coast Guard helicopter CG-6535, which crashed in Mobile Bay on Feb. 28, 2012.
 (U.S. Coast Guard)
~


MOBILE, Alabama – A major part of remembering those lost in tragedy is ensuring the honor of their memory in the future. 

Such was the message on Friday, March 1, at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Mobile Aviation Center as the memorial to the crew of CG-6535 was dedicated. Hundreds turned out for the private ceremony, which honored pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, co-pilot Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, rescue swimmer Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, and flight mechanic Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew "Drew" Knight.

The four were killed when their MH-65C helicopter crashed into Mobile Bay on Feb. 28, 2012, after a training exercise. 

Standing several yards in front of the memorial – an impressive granite monolith etched with images and biographies of the men and topped with a silver replica of the MH-65C – speakers from ATC Mobile commanding officer Capt. Tom Maine to Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., commandant of the Coast Guard, spoke about the monument’s place on the training center campus. 

The CG-6535 monument is situated only a few feet from the newly rededicated memorial to the crew of CG-1427, an HH-52A helicopter, who were killed 31 years ago on Oct. 22, 1981 during a nighttime training mission. 

“(This monument) is our promise, our covenant, that those men will never be forgotten by the men and women of ATC Mobile,” Maine said. “We will remember (the CG-65-35 crew) 31 years from now, and 31 years after that.”


Ramrod straight in his dress blues, and yet speaking with the delicate compassion of experience, Maine described his lost men thusly: 

Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor: “(He) was a wonderful father and husband. A great aviator who loved to fly and loved to teach others to fly; who did both very well. A dedicated man of God who loved his friends and family deeply; who would literally give the shirt off his back to someone in need.” 
 
Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron: “A gifted athlete and natural leader. A talented pilot full of promise; a young man who pursued excellence and adventure in everything he did. And, most importantly . . . the best friend anyone could ever have. A friend who was always looking out for others and looking for someone to help.” 

Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge: “A man who absolutely loved life, who embraced it for all it was worth. A man with a huge and ever-growing circle of friends who loved his job as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer immensely; who loved teaching and mentoring those who were junior to him even more. A great brother, mentor, teacher, uncle and friend.” 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew "Drew" Knight: “A mature and gifted young man that absolutely found his place in the Coast Guard. But at the same time remained firmly rooted in the small-town values he learned from his family. A hard working and talented performer as both a maintenance technician and a flight mechanic. We will remember him as the one everyone wanted to be like, and everyone wanted as a friend.” 

Maine’s comments were followed by messages of thanks by friends and family of the crewmembers, as those seated under a massive white tent, and the crowd standing silent outside it, looked beyond the small stage and onto the eastern knoll bearing the two memorials. 

What once was perhaps the ugliest part of the ATC Mobile campus, Maine said, had been transformed into a beautiful and hallowed ground, forever linked to the best of those remembered. 

Such memorials are part of the “manners of our profession,” said Adm. Papp, who began his remarks by thanking Maine and his wife for helping lead the unit through such a tragedy. 

 “How can any memorial compete with ones we’ve built within our minds and within our hearts?” Papp asked rhetorically. “One (reason) is to give substance to those memories; something physical we can reach out and touch and see, to bring together the thoughts and feelings of those brave men and cement it together with the respect and admiration that we all feel.”

That respect and admiration was displayed with utmost symbolism at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Standing in the empty space between the crowd and the memorial knoll, Lt. j.g. Andrew Bacon – a friend of CG-6535 co-pilot Cameron – performed a stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes. Halfway through the piece, the roar of rotors reached the training center as 4 MH-65 helicopters executed a formation flyover a few hundred feet above.

They moved from east to west, then north to south, completing a cross before a perfect runway landing nearby – four sentinels achieving rest, linked forever to those honored both in polished stone and human spirit.

Story, photos, video:   http://blog.al.com

Will Dreamliner drama affect industry self-inspection?

By Peter Henderson and Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher

Saturday,  March 2, 2013 8:18am EST


(Reuters) - Eight years ago, U.S. regulators substantially increased their dependence on the aircraft industry to help keep flying safe.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would no longer directly manage routine inspection of design and manufacturing. Instead, it would focus on overseeing a self-policing program executed by the manufacturers themselves through more than 3,000 of their employees assigned to review safety on behalf of the FAA.

These so-called designees had existed for decades, but the FAA had vetted and controlled them. Under the new system, companies chose and managed them, to the point where the FAA even had trouble rejecting those they felt were unsuitable for the job, according to one government watchdog.

As the drama of the overheating lithium-ion batteries on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner unfolds, that relationship is coming under intense scrutiny.

No evidence has surfaced that the designee system is responsible for the battery problem that has prompted regulators to temporarily ban the plane from the skies. The story has raised the question, however, whether the regulator hands over too much power to the industry.

"This is an occupation with a built-in conflict of interest," said Gordon Mandell, a retired FAA certification engineer.

With Boeing doing about 95 percent of its own inspections, adds Mary Schiavo, former Department of Transportation inspector general, "it's kind of do-it-yourself." The situation was not unique to Boeing, she said. "There are places around the world that saw an FAA inspector once, maybe five years ago, and that's it."

HOW WERE TESTS VERIFIED?


Boeing's new ultra-modern carbon-composite jet has been grounded around the world for six weeks as the National Transportation Safety Board leads an investigation into two battery incidents, joined by the FAA. Both agencies are also looking into the 787 certification process.

"We need to understand what tests were done and who was certifying those tests, and again how they were verified - not just by Boeing, but by the regulator as well," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said on February 8, referring to the battery and other key parts made in a long, global supply chain.

At the broadest level, even some supporters of the designee process are asking whether the FAA is up to the task of effectively overseeing the system.

Among them is Ken Mead, another former DOT inspector general and a veteran of investigating the FAA. "The questions I'd want answers to are: Does the FAA have the right people with the right expertise to make sure the FAA is in a position to critically second-guess? And have they critically reviewed the approval process so this does not happen again?" he said.

The FAA's defense of its abilities and approach is unwavering. "Some have asked the question whether the FAA has the expertise needed to oversee the Dreamliner's cutting edge technology. The answer is yes, we have the ability to establish rigorous safety standards and to make sure that aircraft meet them," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in an industry speech on January 23. "The way to enhance safety is to keep the lines of communication open between business and government."

The FAA and Boeing both say the FAA is better off managing the system and picking out high-risk areas on which to concentrate. It lacks the resources to manage every individual and inspect every part, they say, and industry has a strong incentive to cooperate - unsafe products jeopardize business. They point out that FAA staff invested more than 200,000 hours over eight years certifying the 787 on top of work done by designees.

Perhaps their biggest defense is that there have been no fatal crashes of scheduled commercial flights in the United States for four years.

BIG JOB, NOT-SO-BIG BUDGET

The FAA's inability to expand its budget in line with an increasingly large, complex and global aviation industry played a major role in the 2005 decision to expand the delegation system. Certification work increased fivefold between the 1940s and 1990s and has only become more complex since.

"By shifting our inspection focus from reviewing test results to overseeing the designation program, we will be able to more efficiently use our resources while extending our oversight coverage, thereby increasing safety," the FAA said in the official announcement of the program, printed in the Federal Register on October 13, 2005.

It added, however, that "More than one commenter states that the FAA should be hiring more inspectors, not spending its limited resources creating an organizational designee system." Public comments from opponents of the new system outnumbered supporters 14 to 11, it noted.

While the agency still signs off on a new plane and key steps along the way, the bulk of the interim work - often 90 percent or more - is done by the designees at the manufacturers. As of 2010 there were about 1,000 FAA engineers and inspectors devoted to design review and inspection, compared with 3,655 designees working for companies on the FAA's behalf, according to government data.

Boeing has set up a separate group within the company to do the FAA work. Those employees approve the design of the planes except for the key steps and the final "type certificate" for new aircraft, which needs a stamp from FAA officials.

The jobs command respect and draw veterans who are more likely to stand up to pressure from their employers and won't risk losing their "ticket" - the FAA designee status - by cutting corners, people in the industry say. Candidates choose specializations and typically must pass written and oral exams meant to check their understanding of what a designee, also known as a "designated engineering representative" (DER), does and the limits of their powers.

"I've never seen it where a company's pressure on the DER was strong enough for them to bend from their loyalty to the FAA," said Richard Lukso, the former president of Securaplane, the company that made the chargers for the 787 batteries. They have unique insight into how companies work, he added, since they come from the inside.

A WATCHDOG BARKS

In 2011, the DOT's Office of Inspector General criticized the FAA for losing control of its oversight and risking safety. It cited one company designee, acting on behalf of the FAA, who took his employer's view in a dispute over whether an aircraft fuel system met agency standards. The manufacturer took a year to suspend the employee from FAA duty. The company was not identified in the report.

The FAA and the inspector general do not agree on how to weed out unwanted designees. The FAA says it is creating a new database of employees removed from consideration because of "misconduct"; the inspector general's office wants a broader set of employees to be included.

The FAA has been criticized beginning early in the Dreamliner program for skimping on supplier visits, as well.

In the first four years of the Dreamliner program, between 2003-2007, FAA officials visited only 1 percent of suppliers at Boeing and other major engine and planemakers, and left unchecked thousands of factories that would go on to make parts for the 787, according to another report by the same Office of Inspector General, this one from 2008. All parts for U.S. planes must be FAA certified at some point, but that can happen as part of the final assembly of a plane rather than at the factories where they are made.

The same report described how a worker at one factory - it is unclear if it was a supplier to Boeing or another planemaker - used a piece of paper, instead of a ruler, to measure parts. Another used a tool marked "uncalibrated." One supplier made a part fit by grinding away an edge, without permission from the manufacturer, and training overall was deemed inadequate.

The FAA made a number of changes in response to the report, but it only raised the minimum number of supplier visits at major manufacturers to nine a year from four, a spokesman for the inspector general told Reuters.

All FAA inspectors are based in the United States, even though much of the 787 airframe and many key components like the battery are made outside the country, raising the question of whether distance might make them less likely to visit. Inspectors travel when necessary, the FAA said. In its own statement, Boeing said that "in addition to requiring frequent and detailed progress reporting, during the development and design phase we regularly had people on site with our suppliers and they had people on site with Boeing."

FLAMMABILITY TESTS APPROVED

No full description of the process by which Boeing engineered and tested its lithium-ion battery has been disclosed, but emerging details show how regulators relied heavily on Boeing to do most of the work on what the FAA acknowledged from the start would be a potentially dangerous technology.

The FAA approved "special conditions" for the 787 battery in 2007, acknowledging risks including "Flammability of Cell Components."

"Safe cell temperatures and pressures must be maintained during any foreseeable charging or discharging condition and during any failure of the charging or battery monitoring system not shown to be extremely remote," the first condition reads. "Extremely remote" is FAA code for once in 10 million flight hours.

Special conditions do not include specific tests, so Boeing itself proposed them to the FAA. Designees could approve the design of tests and monitor the tests themselves, though the FAA told Reuters its staff also had approved the testing program and observed testing.

A Boeing presentation in February described "baking the battery to induce overheating, crush testing and puncturing a cell with nail to induce short circuit."

At the same time the FAA approved the special conditions in 2007, FAA staff and the aircraft manufacturing industry, including Boeing, were devising lithium-ion battery tests that included all the details the special conditions lacked.

Published in 2008 and adopted by the FAA three years later, the standard known as RTCA DO-311 gave precise instructions for tests. The worst-case-scenario test required turning off all failsafe electronics, short-circuiting the battery and watching for flames for three hours.

Boeing did not run those tests. "The RTCA standards were not designed for the 787," and Boeing provided extensive testing to show the 787 met the special conditions, spokesman Marc Birtel said.

The FAA acknowledged the batteries were potentially flammable in the special conditions approved. Said former Inspector General Schiavo, "They knew they had problems. They just said 'OK.'"

(Additional reporting by Mari Saito, James Topham and Tim Kelly in Tokyo, Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington, Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit, Bill Rigby in Seattle and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by Martin Howell and Prudence Crowther)


Source:  http://www.reuters.com

Crestview, Florida: Outgoing airports director - Rival airports can be diplomatic

 CRESTVIEW — Outgoing Airports Director Greg Donovan wrapped up his Okaloosa County career the way it began: with an address to the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce Airport Committee.

After five years with the county, Donovan's last day was Friday. Monday, he returns to his previous position as director of Pensacola International Airport. County public safety Director Dino Villani will serve as interim airport manager during a search for Donovan's replacement.

Donovan looked forward during this week's remarks, predicting a bright future for Crestview Bob Sikes Airport, saying, "One of the best tools that this community has is that airport."

He praised local and county leadership, including members of the business community, over the past decades for paving the way for current growth at the facility.

"The leadership that has been prevalent in our community going back to Bob Sikes, Foy Shaw and the people (whose photos are) on the walls here, and the decisions we are making now are going to equate to the future of our community," Donovan said.

He credited a combination of county efforts and the commitment of local entrepreneurs such as longtime airport tenant Bob Keller of Sunshine Aero Flight Testing and Jonathan Dunn of Emerald Coast Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator, for attracting new businesses to Crestview's airport.

"The opportunity to build upon that infrastructure, widen the taxiways, resurface the runways, storm water runoff system, the pre-permitting process, are all opportunities that were not there a few years ago," Donovan said. "It is not all the county's efforts. The entrepreneurial risks your companies have taken have played an integral part."

One major impediment is airport access, Donovan said. Airport staffers are submitting applications for federal and state grants to build Foy Shaw Industrial Parkway, a planned access road from U.S. Highway 90 to the airport, he said.

"The next step is that road," Donovan said. "The efforts of L3, BAE, and all the other companies out there need to be improved upon, and they need that road to open up more opportunities."

Donovan said he believes more cooperation between regional commercial and general aviation airports will benefit the economic growth of all communities in the region.

"Collectively, I think, there is opportunity for us to have some diplomacy between our communities," he said. "Pensacola is a foreign trade zone because of its port. Crestview is not going to have that opportunity. How can we work together? In times past, we have let competition stifle that cooperation."

Donovan thanked attendees for the opportunity to work toward the betterment of Bob Sikes Airport.

"Somewhere down the road, people are going to look back on this town and say, 'There were people who had the leadership to prepare the future of this airport.' If it brings the jobs, it brings prosperity to our families.

"I don't want to necessarily say goodbye. Just consider me to be the first member of the western chapter of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce."

Story and Photo:  http://www.crestviewbulletin.com

Davis-Monthan offers sonic boom claims assistance

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -   Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is offering to provide legal assistance for those who may have suffered property damage because of Wednesday's sonic boom.

The D-M legal office will answer questions related to filing claims, getting damage estimates and the claim process in general.

The sonic boom, which was heard and felt through Tucson and surrounding areas at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, was caused by an aircraft from Luke Air Force Base's 425th Fighter Squadron. The base near Phoenix confirmed that one of its F-16 jets went supersonic just northwest of Kitt Peak during a training mission in the Sells area.

The altitude the aircraft broke the sound barrier was legal for supersonic flight in the area.

The D-M legal office can be reached at (520) 954-0146.

Those asking for assistance should be prepared to provide name, address, telephone number and email address to facilitate delivery of claim paperwork.


http://www.dm.af.mil
 
 

Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International (KATL), Atlanta, Georgia: Ecco restaurant opens at airport

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plan to celebrate the opening of showcase restaurant Ecco, marking the completion of restaurants for the international terminal and its Concourse F some nine months after the terminal opened.

Ecco opened its doors Feb. 11, while the $1.4 billion international terminal began operations last May. The European-themed restaurant is an airport outpost of the Midtown Atlanta restaurant. The airport and concessionaire HMSHost plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony next Thursday for the restaurant.

The concessions for the international terminal were delayed amid legal challenges to the airport concessions contracts last year.
http://www.ajc.com

Japan Still Cautious About Boeing 787

March 2, 2013, 2:03 a.m. ET

By PHRED DVORAK And YOSHIO TAKAHASHI

The Wall Street Journal


TOKYO—Japanese airlines and regulators said Friday they remain cautious about the prospect for imminent resumption of Boeing Co. Dreamliner flights—even after hearing how the Chicago-based aircraft maker proposes to fix the problems that are grounding the jets.

The wary statements come after days of presentations in Japan by Boeing's head of commercial aircraft on the company's proposed solution to battery problems that are bedeviling the cutting-edge planes. They suggest the Chicago-based aircraft maker, whose flagship 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since mid-January while regulators look for the cause of two overheating batteries, may still have some work to do to convince customers and aviation officials its proposals are foolproof.

A Japan Airlines aircraft takes off as a Boeing 787 plane owned by All Nippon Airways parks on the tarmac at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

It is particularly vital for Boeing to win confidence for its proposals in Japan, since the country's two big airlines—All Nippon Airways Co.  and Japan Airlines Co. —are also the largest customers for the Dreamliner, holding nearly half of the 787s in global operation.

On Friday, Japan's transport minister said Boeing's proposed solution to the battery problems is a significant step forward but still just a "starting point" toward getting the planes back in the air.

It will likely "take some time" to examine the proposal and see whether it's satisfactory, Akihiro Ohta said at a news conference.

Meanwhile, the top executive of Boeing's biggest Dreamliner customer, ANA, who also saw the proposed fixes, said the jet maker seems to have made a good deal of progress. But Chief Executive Shinichiro Ito stopped short of predicting how soon his company's 787 planes could be back in service, saying only that the decision on lifting the grounding order is up to regulators in the U.S. and Japan.

"My impression was that these plans were quite advanced," Mr. Ito said at a separate news conference in which he made his first public comments on the 787s since the planes were grounded. However, "I am not a technical expert myself," he added.

A JAL spokesperson said the company had also met Boeing on the proposed fixes, but couldn't comment on them.

ANA is arguably the airline most invested in the fate of the cutting-edge Dreamliner: It was the first company to fly the 787s when they went into operation over a year ago, and it has 17 of them in its fleet, more than any other airline. The company has canceled thousands of flights after battery problems on two 787s spurred global regulators to ground the planes.

Airline watchers have been following ANA closely to see how big the financial impact of the Dreamliner grounding will be, and whether the flight suspension would force ANA to change its plans to buy up to 66 787s over the next several years.

Boeing, meanwhile, has been rushing to come up with a way to ensure the safety of the Dreamliner batteries, which use powerful but famously flammable lithium-ion technology—even though the company doesn't yet know what the root cause of the overheating was. Boeing proposed a solution to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration last week, and Boeing's head of commercial airlines came to Japan this week to explain those measures to regulators and customers, including the minister and Mr. Ito.

The cautious outlook by the minister and the CEO overshadows the confidence expressed Thursday by Raymond Conner, head of Boeing's commercial airplane unit, that the 787 "will get back in the air soon."

Mr. Ito said that thus far the grounding of ANA's Dreamliners has hit ANA's revenue and delayed the completion of the company's midterm plan, but hasn't yet had a significant impact on profit. He also said ANA had no plans at the moment to change its purchasing plans for 787 jets. Nor has ANA asked Boeing for compensation for losses incurred from the grounding.

ANA would work hard to ensure customers felt safe to fly on the Dreamliner again by explaining the aircraft's features and how Boeing has worked to remedy the battery problems, as well as flying test flights before putting its jets back into operation, the CEO said. He declined to comment further on specific measures the company is considering. 


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Miracle Strip Aviation owes county nearly $500,000: Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (KDTS), Destin, Florida


Miracle Strip Aviation, one of two fixed-base operators at Destin Airport, owes Okaloosa County almost $500,000 in back rent and other fees. 

 The company apparently amassed the $485,382 debt in part because of an error in the county’s billing system. From 2006 to 2011, Miracle Strip Aviation received incorrect invoices from the county.

“They were not paying the amount they should have been paying,” County Administrator Jim Curry said Friday.

The invoices, which billed for an amount less than the actual lease payment, were discovered in February 2011 by the county’s internal auditor.

Curry said the discrepancy between what Miracle Strip Aviation was paying and what it should have been paying might have gone unnoticed because the lease revenue wasn’t earmarked for a specific budget item. The lease revenue was placed in the general airport fund.

Mike Stenson, the county’s deputy airports director, said Miracle Strip Aviation also had seen its business decline because of competition from Destin Jet, the other fixed-based operator at the airport, and from “the economy in general.”

Telephone calls to Miracle Strip Aviation were not returned Friday.

In late February, county commissioners were willing to work with the company to keep it operating. They directed the airports staff to negotiate a payment plan with the company, which is now owned by the Gulfport, Miss.-based Regal Capital.

Regal Capital CEO Jack Simmons said Friday that legal counsel has advised him not to comment while negotiations are under way.

Curry said Friday they are close to an agreement.

“I think we’ve got a verbal commitment to accept it,” he said.

Under the plan, Regal Capital would pay the county $150,000 up front, make $100,000 in major renovations to the county-owned terminal at Destin Airport and repay the remaining $235,382 at 4 percent interest over six years.

Curry said he expects the agreement to go before county commissioners for approval later this month.

“What you’ve got is a company that wants to repay that debt and take that facility and get it back up and operational,” he said.

Regal Capital initially offered to pay $100,000 up front, make $207,500 in renovations to the terminal and repay the remaining $177,882 at 4 percent interest over the next five years. However, county commissioners said they wanted Regal to put up more cash.


The county declared Miracle Strip Aviation in default of its lease Jan. 4 after giving it 30 days to settle the debt or submit a viable plan to pay it off.

After its owners — who included Mary Brigman of Baker, Michael Van Atta of Destin and Don Van Atta of Mobile, Ala. — sold their interest to Regal Capital, Regal Capital assumed the debt and the lease, which expires in December 2033.

Miracle Strip Aviation’s lease dates back to 1978.

Commission Chairman Don Amunds said it’s important for the county to help keep Miracle Strip Aviation operating.

“Competition is healthy, and with two FBOs out there it’s important to keep both of them healthy, if we can, and be willing to keep them alive in this environment,” he said.

Curry said a successful fixed-base operator is vital to an airport.

“When they’re successful, if it’s running and so forth, then the airport is making money on fuel sales and the different services they provide,” he said. “You’ve got to have someone providing fuel to the planes coming in. You’ve got to have somebody who provides maintenance. … Without one, you really just have a landing strip.”

Story and Reaction/Comments:  http://www.nwfdailynews.com


http://www.miraclestripaviation.com

Frequent fliers can save time at security by enrolling in PreCheck, Global Entry programs

If you hate long lines at airport security checkpoints watch out, the impact of budget sequestration in Washington may make them longer.

Even if Congress finds its way out of this budget battle, the reviving economy means more travelers -- and longer security lines.

But there is a better way.

To get through security and customs a lot quicker, consider signing up for two programs offered by U.S. Customs Border Protection.

The first is called Global Entry. While designed primarily for international travel, the program will also give you access to faster security lines in the second program worth looking at: TSA's PreCheck program for domestic flights.

Both programs have exceeded enrollment expectations in the few years they have been running, according to officials.

The Global Entry program, which started in 2009 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, now has 34,000 members in North Texas, says Kirk Gomes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisory officer of the program in Dallas.

"It's grown beyond our expectation," he said. "I started with four officers doing 24 interviews each day. Now I have two teams and we do over 100 a day."

At DFW, between 260 and 300 members use the program daily, Gomes said. Nationally, more than 1.2 million have signed up since it began in 2008.

To handle the increased work in Texas, CBP opened a Global Entry program in San Antonio last month and is opening one in Austin in the next few months, Gomes said. The program is already running in Houston.

The program starts with an online application, which requires a $100 processing fee and a valid passport. After review, CBP will schedule a face-to-face interview with a customs official at its center in DFW's Terminal D two to three weeks later. At that interview, officials check original documents and photograph enrollees. If they pass all the requirements, new members are then taught how to use one of 16 kiosks at the customs area of Terminal D.

Once a member, you can use your fingerprint to bypass the passport lines when entering the country at DFW and 43 other airports in the U.S., as well as at airports in Mexico, Canada, South Korea and the Netherlands.

Minor children -- even babies -- are also allowed in the program, Gomes said. (Previously, Global Entry was only for people age 14 and older.)

If you bring back food or other items, the program allows you to declare them at the kiosk electronically. If the item needs to be reviewed by customs or a duty paid, Global Entry members get to go to the front of the customs line, Gomes said. Members also get to go to the front of the line for baggage check by customs.

After recently waiting in both lines after an international flight from London for more than an hour at DFW, the $100 membership fee, good for five years, may be worth it.

"On average the wait time with Global Travel is about two minutes from the Global Entry to your bags," Gomes said. "You also get to use a private exit for Global Entry members, crew members and diplomats."

Even more attractive, you are automatically enrolled in the TSA's PreCheck program, said Luis Casanova, TSA spokesman in Texas.

The PreCheck program gets you into a faster line at DFW security. Started in a pilot program at the airport in 2011 with only frequent flier members invited by their airlines, the program is now open to anyone enrolled in Global Travel.

Nationally, 6.5 million are enrolled in the PreCheck program and it is also growing steadily, Casanova said.

"We expect to have 41 airports in the program by April," he said.

In addition to a shorter line, PreCheck members don't have to remove shoes, belts or jackets going through security, nor remove laptops from bags. And they can skip the rules about putting liquids in little bottles in a see-through bag.

Members must fly on one of five airlines using the program: American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, United Airlines and Alaskan Air. When booking a ticket online, members enter their Global Entry account number in the "Known Traveler Number" field or in their frequent flier profile that will be passed onto TSA for review. When flying, the PreCheck member's boarding pass is encoded to allow them to enter the PreCheck lines at security. For both programs, passengers could still be subject to random screening measures.

While the programs are passenger-friendly, background checks are run every 24 hours on members to ensure the program is secure, Gomes said.

If a misdemeanor or felony charge like a DWI occurs, the system will pick it up. If found guilty, membership will be revoked, Gomes said.

International travel at DFW was up almost 10 percent in 2012, to 6.1 million passengers, said David MagaƱa, spokesman for the airport. "The more people we can get signed up for these programs, the better our lines will be," he said.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com


Global Entry -- Cost is $100, membership good for five years. Enter country and declare customs electronically at kiosk at DFW International and 43 other U.S. airports, as well as airports in Mexico, Canada, South Korea and the Netherlands. Apply online at www.globalentry.gov. In-person interviews are at Terminal D at DFW, although CBP will also do interviews at a company upon request.

TSA PreCheck -- Automatic with Global Entry membership. Enter Global Entry account number when booking flight reservations with American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, United and Alaskan Air. Boarding pass encoded to allow PreCheck security line at gates A35, C20, D30 and E15 at DFW. Forty other airports will have PreCheck by April. To learn more, go to www.tsa.gov and click on TSA PreCheck tab.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/01/4654844/frequent-fliers-can-save-time.html#storylink=cpy