Sunday, March 03, 2013

Trenton Mercer (KTTN), Trenton, New Jersey: Employment Opportunity - Assistant Airport Manager

Assistant Airport Manager
County of Mercer, New Jersey

NOTE: deadline date for filing March 20, 2013

Trenton- Mercer (NJ) Airport -  This position assists the Airport Manager with the daily operational aspects of aviation facilities operated by the County of Mercer in accordance with County of Mercer policies, rules and regulation, as well as local, state, and federal regulations. Directly supervises airport operations staff in support of 24-hour aviation operations. A significant amount of independent judgment and decision - making on operational matters is to be exercised. The formal nature of the work performed requires establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with a number of airport stakeholder groups including government officials, tenants, customers, and the general public. The principal duties are performed with a significant on-airfield presence and attention to airport operational dynamics.

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Flying a green elephant

By Kamal Siddiqi
Published: March 4, 2013
The writer is Editor of The Express Tribune

On 31 Dec 2012, the Financial Times newspaper posted a list of 2012 by numbers, both positive and negative. Pakistan finds one mention in this list. Our national airline – PIA has the highest employee to aircraft ratio in the world: 485 employees per aircraft.

This figure is based upon the existing total strength of 42 aircraft. The serviceable aircraft on an average for the past three years is only 32. The figure of 485 does not include contract pilots, flight engineers and aircraft engineers who have been rehired after retirement and other contractual staff, although PIA fleet and pilot utilization is almost half of other regional carriers like Emirates, Etihad and Turkish Airlines.

Now some more facts. Almost every pilot and flight engineer who retired after 2009 has been rehired on contract. In addition, PIA has recruited over the past five years another 3,500 employees in violation of merit, which includes 250 pilots who are on payroll, but waiting for over three years to be operational.

In 2008, thousands of PIA employees who were sacked earlier by the Nawaz Sharif government were reinstated and given back their old jobs with back pay and promotions. This cost the airlines hundreds of millions. The airline has also not been purged of those employees who submitted fake degrees.  They are not sacked allegedly because of pressure from unions, political parties and important members of the ruling elite.

During a presentation in 2009, then prime minister Gilani had observed that the problems faced by PIA “could not be resolved through periodic injections of financial dole outs.” At the time, PIA was already in technical insolvency, with debts, liabilities and losses exceeding its assets, and accumulated losses exceeding Rs146 billion. But since then, the government has been doing nothing else.

PIA has been reduced to an organization which, in spite of massive revenue pilferage, losses, reduction in frequency of flights and grounding of its fleet, has become hostage to its employees, who demand higher salaries.

This election year, as if one cue, the government rewarded PIA employees by announcing a Rs5 billion salary package at a time when the airline was making an annual Rs30 billion loss. As reported in the national press, a senior director of the airline expressed his reservations at this decision but was overruled. The government accepted the PIA CBA’s charter of demands and increased the salaries of Group 1 to 4 employees by 45 per cent.

Following this, the PM has also approved a fresh Rs100 billion special bailout for the national flag carrier and instructed the release of $4.5 million on priority for leasing of aircraft on dry lease. Reviewing the four year long spiral of the airline, the government decided to increase the number of aircraft not reduce the number of employees. The PM also said that a Rs8 billion loan by the federal government would be converted into equity and a plan put into place for rescheduling loans of Rs147 billion owed to different banks.

Today a PIA senior pilot flying a B777 earns in excess of Rs1 million per month in salaries and allowances, which is five times more than what a PhD gets in Pakistan. How long will we continue to bailout this green elephant? It is no coincidence that whenever PIA wants new aircraft, services suddenly deteriorate. Flights are delayed or cancelled and a huge hue and cry is made over old aircraft and outdated technology. The media plays its part in this as well.

PIA can be a case study for management students on how an airline should not be run. The national carrier has given away its natural advantage on ethnic traffic to regional carriers like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways who now operate a maximum number of flights to Pakistan.

The unions seem to run the show. Every flight that is operated is understaffed because most of the cabin crew are not on board, citing one reason or another. No action is taken against them. The quality of food is poor and facilities are deteriorating. People remember the golden days of the airline when it was pleasurable experience to fly. Now most of the travelers fly with PIA out of compulsion. One wonders how long we will bail out this operation.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2013.


Mooney M20E Super 21, Verhalen Flyers LLC, N3484X: Accident occurred March 03, 2013 in Angel Fire, New Mexico 

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA183 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 03, 2013 in Angel Fire, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/2014
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N3484X
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Before takeoff, strong, gusting wind from the west was present, so a fixed-base operator (FBO) employee asked the pilot about his intent to fly. He stated that the pilot seemed "confident" about his ability to fly the airplane and that he was not concerned about the wind. As the airplane departed, the reported wind was 33 knots gusting to 47 knots. The FBO employee stated that he saw the airplane "crab" into the wind about 40 degrees right of the runway's heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. When the airplane was between 75 and 150 feet above the ground, the left wing dropped, and the airplane then rolled left, descended inverted, and impacted terrain in a nose-down attitude. A postimpact examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A weather research and forecasting model indicated that, at the time of the accident, the accident site was located within a turbulent mountain-wave environment, with low-level windshear, updrafts and downdrafts, downslope winds, and an environment conducive for rotors (that is, a violent rolling wave of air occurring in lee of a mountain or hill in which air rotates about a horizontal axis). The pilot had no prior experience flying out of the accident airport and it was the highest elevation airport he had ever used. In addition, he had limited experience flying in mountainous areas.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's loss of control while flying in a turbulent mountain-wave environment. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's overconfidence in his ability to safely pilot the airplane in gusting wind conditions and his lack of experience operating in mountainous areas.


On March 3, 2013, about 1320 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20E, N3484X, impacted terrain after departing the Angel Fire Airport (KAXX), Angel Fire, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Verhalen Flyers LLC, Scottsville, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was departing KAXX at the time of the accident and was destined to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

When the pilot arrived at the fixed base operator (FBO), an employee from the FBO questioned the pilot's intent to fly in the windy weather. The pilot indicated that he planned to fly and that the winds would not be a problem. When the pilot radioed on universal communications (UNICOM) that he was taxiing to runway 17, the current wind and altimeter were relayed to the pilot by the FBO employee, which were repeated by the pilot. Due to snow piles on the airfield, the FBO employee could not see the takeoff and next saw the airplane airborne with a significant crab angle into the wind, about 40 degrees right of the runway heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. Then employee saw the airplane's right wing rise rapidly. The airplane rolled left, and descended inverted with the airplane's nose pointed straight down.

An eyewitness riding in a car along Highway 434, west of the airport, saw the airplane take off from the runway. The witness perceived that the airplane was struggling to gain altitude. When the airplane climbed between 75 to 150 feet above the ground, the airplane appeared to momentarily hover before the left wing dipped quickly and the airplane descended nose first to the ground.


The pilot, age 33, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single engine land. On October 13, 2011, he was issued an unrestricted third class medical certificate. On his medical certificate application, the pilot reported having accumulated 380 total hours. The pilot's logbook was not available for review by the investigator. Paperwork filed with the pilot's insurance company reported that as of October 2012, the pilot accrued 459 hours with 384 hour in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The pilot reported to the FBO manager that he had flown the accident airplane for five years. He added that KAXX was the highest airport that he had landed at, although he had flown to some lower elevation airports in Colorado and Wyoming on previous flights. The pilot's experience flying out of airports with high density altitude is not known.

A cousin of the pilot, who lived in the local area, reported that the night before the accident he had discussed airplanes and the airplane accidents in the Angel Fire area. The pilot reported to him that flying in wind did not bother him.


The four seat, low wing, single engine airplane, serial number 1156, was manufactured in 1966. It was powered by a 200-horsepower, fuel-injected, Lycoming IO-360-A1A engine which drove a two-blade, metal, constant speed, Hartzell HC-2YK-1BF propeller. The airplane's log books were almost completely consumed in the post impact fire. Information retrieved from receipts, reported that the airplane's most recent annual inspection occurred on December 7, 2012, at a tachometer and airframe total time of 4,752.65 hours. The engine had accrued 6,859.85 hours, with 1,736.75 hours since major overhaul. At the accident site, the airplane's tachometer read 4,785.84 hours.


At 1315, an automated weather reporting facility located at KAXX, reported wind from 250 degrees at 33 knots gusting to 47 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 47 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 17 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.93 inches of mercury. Utilizing this weather, the density altitude was calculated at 9,549 feet.

KAXX and the accident site were located in a basin nearly encompassed by mountainous terrain. Mountains to the west and northwest of the airport have peaks between 10,470 and 13,160 feet. A weather study was compiled for the accident site. An upper air sound for 1400 mountain standard time (MST) depicted an unstable vertical environment which would allow mixing of the wind on the lee side of the terrain. Winds as high as 55 knots could occasionally reach the surface. Satellite imagery between 1300 and 1400 MST recorded a large amount of standing lenticular cloud near all of the mountainous terrain around the accident site. These clouds indicated the presence of a mountain wave environment. At 0322 and 1134, the National Weather Service issued wind advisories for the accident area that warned of a west of southwest wind between 25 and 35 miles per hour (mph) with gusts to 50 mph.

A Weather Research and Forecasting (MRF) model was created to simulate the accident's weather conditions. The WRF model indicated that the accident site at the accident time was located within a turbulent mountain wave environment, with low-level wind shear, updrafts and downdrafts, downslope winds, and an environment conducive for rotors.

The pilot did not receive a weather briefing and it is not known what weather sources the pilot referenced prior to takeoff.


The Angle Fire Airport is located at an elevation of 8,380 feet. It has one asphalt runway, 17-35, which is 8,900 feet long by 100 feet wide. The airfield is non-towered and utilizes a common traffic advisory frequency. The departure runway was runway 17, which has a 0.6% upgrade. An Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS-3) is located on airport property.

Information contained in KAXX's airport/facility directory contains remarks for "strong gusty crosswinds possible" and "high density altitude probable."

Located in the airport's FBO were posters and literature warning pilots about crosswinds, mountainous terrain, weight and balance, take off performance, density altitude, and runway 17's upgrade.


The airplane came to rest about 0.2 miles south-southwest of the airport. It was located near the intersection of the runway's extended centerline and Highway 434. The initial impact point was a crater on the highway's shoulder. The crater contained acrylic glass and near the crater was the airplane's propeller. Fifteen feet east of the crater was the main wreckage which was inverted. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage and empennage. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage and displayed near symmetric accordion crushing. Both fuel tanks were breached and empty. The left wing's outboard section remained intact, along with its aileron. The inboard portion of the left wing, around the area of the fuel tank, was consumed by fire to include a majority of the left flap. The left main gear was thermally damaged and buckled. The right wing remained mostly intact, with its aileron and flap still attached at their respective locations. The right flap appeared set to 15 degrees. The right main gear was extended. The vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizers were buckled, torn, and thermally damaged. Flight control continuity was established from the ailerons to the cockpit controls. The rudder and elevator rods remained connected to their control surfaces until just forward of the vertical stabilizer where fire had destroyed and melted a majority of the control rods.

The airspeed indicator read 81 mph. The attitude direction indicator depicted a left wing low, inverted attitude. The tachometer read 2000 rpm. The altimeter's Kohlsman window read 29.93.

The propeller fractured at the propeller flange. Both blades displayed leading edge nicks and gouges, deep, chordwise scratches, and leading edge polishing.


An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the Office of the Medical Investigator of the State of New Mexico. The autopsy noted the cause of death as a result of multiple blunt force injuries. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing did not detect ethanol or drugs. Specimens from the pilot were not suitable to test for carbon monoxide; however, specimens from a passenger were tested and did not contain carbon monoxide.


Weight and Balance

An old copy of the airplane's weight and balance, marked "superseded 6/28/02" was located in the wreckage. Utilizing the data contained on the form and information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration, an estimated weight and balance was calculated for the accident airplane. Postmortem weights of the airplane occupants were obtained from the Office of the Medical Investigator. These weights were not corrected for clothing or water loss due to thermal injuries. Occupant seats were assumed in the forward positions for better forward center of gravity (CG). The occupants' baggage was consumed in the postimpact fire and could not be weighed. An estimate of ten pounds per bag was given to the six bags reported to be on the airplane. Twenty-eight gallons of fuel was reported to be in the tanks prior to flight. The airplane's weight was calculated at 2,518.77 pounds with a moment arm of 123.98 inches. This placed in airplane aft of the manufacturer's center of gravity moment envelope.

Excerpts from FAA Aeronautical Information Manual

In Chapter 7, Section 7-5-6, "Safety of Flight, Mountain Flying," the following described hazards to pilots during operation in mountainous terrain.

"High density altitude reduces all aircraft performance parameters. To the pilot, this means that the normal horsepower output is reduced, propeller efficiency is reduced and a higher true airspeed is required to sustain the aircraft throughout its operating parameters."

"Mountain waves occur when air is being blown over a mountain range or even the ridge of a sharp bluff area. As the air hits the upwind side of the range, it starts to climb, thus creating what is generally a smooth updraft which turns into a turbulent downdraft as the air passes the crest of the ridge. From this point, for many miles downwind, there will be a series of downdrafts and updrafts."

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA183 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 03, 2013 in Angel Fire, NM
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N3484X
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 3, 2013, about 1320 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20E, N3484X, impacted terrain after departing the Angel Fire Airport (KAXX), Angel Fire, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Verhalen Flyers LLC, Scottsville, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was departing KAXX at the time of the accident and was destined to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

When the pilot arrived at the fixed base operator (FBO), an employee from the FBO questioned the pilot's intent to fly in the windy weather. The pilot indicated that he planned to fly and that the winds would not be a problem. When the pilot radioed on universal communications (UNICOM) that he was taxiing to runway 17, the current wind and altimeter were relayed to the pilot by the FBO employee, which were repeated by the pilot. Due to snow piles on the airfield, the FBO employee could not see the takeoff and next saw the airplane airborne with a significant crab angle into the wind, about 40 degrees right of the runway heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. Then employee saw the airplane's right wing rise rapidly. The airplane rolled left, and descended inverted with the airplane’s nose pointed straight down.

At 1315, an automated weather reporting facility located at KAXX, reported wind from 250 degrees at 33 knots gusting to 47 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 47 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 17 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.93 inches of mercury.

John and Sarah Verhalen Chloe Jameson 

Chloe Marie Jameson 
Born:  September 4, 1999 - Death:  March 3, 2013  

Sarah Colleen Verhalen
 Born: March 16, 1971 -  Death: March 3, 2013 

John Philip Verhalen III
Born:  June 5, 1979 -  Death:  March 3, 2013

Plane Crash Victims

John Verhalen 
(Source: Facebook)

Chloe & Sarah Colleen Verhalen 
(Source: Facebook)

 Mooney M20E Super 21 


Airport officials: Pilot warned of wind gusts before fatal Angel Fire, New Mexico, crash 

ANGEL FIRE, New Mexico — The pilot of the Mooney M20E Super 21 that crashed during takeoff in 55 mph winds, killing four people, had been warned against leaving the northern New Mexico ski resort because of the gusts, airport officials said Monday.

But airport manager Harvey Wright said the pilot, identified as San Antonio aerospace engineer John Phillip Verhalen III, "felt comfortable with his abilities and the aircraft. And given as we are not policemen, we can't ask him for the keys."

Wright said winds were gusting at 55 mph when the plane crashed at about 1:24 p.m. Sunday, killing Verhalen, 33; his sister, Sara Verhalen, 41; her daughter, Chloe Marie Jameson, 13; and the pilot's girlfriend, Jennifer Warren, 26.

"They were returning after a ski trip, they had stayed there with cousins," said the pilot's father, Phillip Verhalen, of Scottsville, Texas, who said he lost his only children and only grandchild in the crash.

Verhalen said he spoke with his kids Sunday around noon and they said it appeared to be a good day to fly.

But there were strong gusty winds across northern New Mexico Sunday afternoon and "we had all kinds of warnings posted on the front desk, plus we questioned the pilot as to whether he really wanted to go in that weather," Wright said.

No other flights came in or left Sunday afternoon, he said.

Verhalen III was an aerospace engineer and his sister worked in human resources for a large company in the Dallas area, their father said. He declined to name the companies for which they worked. No plans for their return or funeral services have been made so far, he added.

The plane was registered to Verhalen Flyers in Scottsville, which is about 150 miles east of Dallas.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Victims with ETX ties in NM plane crash identified

ANGEL FIRE, NM (KSLA) - New Mexico State Police have identified the four people with ties to East Texas who were killed in a plane crash in New Mexico on Sunday.
33-year-old Pilot John Verhalen III of Scottsville, Texas, his girlfriend 26-year-old Jennifer Woodward, his sister 41-year-old Sarah Verhalen and her 13-year-old daughter Chloe Jameson all died in the crash near Angel Fire, New Mexico on Sunday afternoon. Angel Fire is located 150 miles northeast of Albuquerque.

"It's hard to take when you lose your whole family. Philip (John's father) had two children and a granddaughter and they were all in that plane so its, I don't know how you take that" Charles Reeves, a family member, says.

John  Verhalen had recently moved from Scottsville, Texas to San Antonio for a job at SyberJet. He had only been working there since January.

According to a coworker, Verhalen was returning from a ski trip and was expected back at work on Monday morning.

The plane was en route to the Bulverde Airpark, from where it had originally departed.

The plane went down as it was taking off at 1:24 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday.  The Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Lynn Lunsford, tells KSLA News 12 that winds at the time of the crash were strong and gusty.  He says investigators will determine whether this played a role in the accident.  FAA investigators are on their way.  The National Transportation Safety Board, which will be in charge, has been notified.

The N-Number on the plane that crashed is 3484X. The plane was a Mooney M20E based on a search on the FAA website.  You can view the registry here. It says the plane was registered to Verhalen Flyers LLC in Scottsville, Texas.

St. Joseph's Church in Marshall, Texas is holding a prayer vigil Monday night at 6:00 PM. "I have to pray that they're waiting for Chloe, Sarah and John and his girlfriend in heaven" Reeves says.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Reports of loud noise, shaking Saturday afternoon, possible sonic boom

The seismograph in Pauline, South Carolina,  showed no earthquake activity Saturday afternoon

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Several viewers reported hearing a loud boom and feeling their house shake at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

There has been no reported earthquake activity in the area, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center.

Blakeman couldn't say for sure, but guessed it could a sonic boom. He said that in the past, after investigating activity in this part of the country, they found our later it was a sonic boom.

He said they "very rarely get any verification if military was involved."

Viewers reported hearing and feeling the boom in several areas around the area, including Carolina Forest, Socastee, Forestbrook, Loris, and Myrtle Beach.

Back in December, viewers reported a similar loud, shaking "boom" on a Thursday afternoon. While there was no definitive answer at the time, the US Geologic Survey offered some other possible explanations:

Earthquake "booms" have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most "booms" that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of "booms" that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these "booms" are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.

And another possible explanation:

The term "Seneca guns" is just a name, not an explanation. It does not tell us anything about what causes these noises and shakings. The name originated in a short story that James Fennimore Cooper wrote during the 1800's. The name refers to booms that have been heard on the shores of Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga in New York State. The name has been applied to similar noises along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Similar booms are called Barisol guns in coastal India. These phenomena have also occurred in three widely separated places around the world. That's about all we know about the Seneca guns.

You can read more about "booms" and how often they have been reported in this area on the USGS website.

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Anger as iconic gateway jet is removed

The Lightning F53 at BAE Samlesbury

A decision to remove the iconic Lightning jet that has stood as gate guardian at BAE Samlesbury for more than 20 years has prompted anger. 

Employees at the site, off the A59, say Lancashire’s weather has taken it’s toll on the Lightning F53/ZF580, once the pride of Lancashire, and that it is not in a fit condition to be refurbished.

However its sudden removal has upset aviation enthusiasts.

Nick Wotherspoon, 48, from Ribchester, said: “I think people are upset it was done without prior announcement. The first anyone knew is when a removal firm was taking it down.

“It is a proud piece of our heritage, built in the north west.

“We are disappointed. I find it hard to believe a group of enthusiasts wouldn’t have taken it on to refurbish as a project.”

The aircraft was removed from its plinth on Monday and is currently at the side of its former home as engineers look at the possibility of taking it apart and taking moulds from it to help create the new replica. It is protected by a tent and is surrounded by scaffolding.

BAE is now looking to use parts of the aircraft to make a replica of it to stand in the pride of place at the new entrance to the Samlesbury site, along with a replica of the new Lightning model, the F-35.

Paul Earnshaw, of BAE, said: “ Unfortunately jets aren’t designed to be stuck on a plinth in the Lancashire weather for 20 years.

“It is not in a condition anymore that reflects our proud heritage. The outdoor elements have taken their toll but we are going to utilize it to develop a new gate guardian.

“However this won’t be until at least 2014. We will still have to go through the planning permission process. We are considering having a replica of the Lightning F-35 made to go alongside it, reflecting the old and new side by side. We are still very early in the process.”

Mr Earnshaw added: “ It has not been decided what will happen to the rest of it after the moulds are taken. We will take the safest and most appropriate action.”

Jetting through the sky at twice the speed of sound, the Lightning was the pride of Lancashire and the envy of the world. Developed by English Electric at their bases in Preston, Warton and Samlesbury, the jet could achieve speeds of 1,500mph and was the pinnacle of British defence during the Cold War.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers honored the jet with an Engineering Heritage Award in recognition of the massive technological advancements that were made in producing it.

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Rio de Janeiro-GaleĆ£o International Airport: Police occupy slums near airport, seaport

Brazilian security forces seized control of two crime-ridden slums near Rio de Janeiro's international airport and seaport Sunday in a new bid to drive out drug traffickers ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics.

More than 1,500 police and navy commandos backed by armored vehicles punched their way into the narrow streets of the Caju complex in a dawn operation that lasted about 25 minutes and went off without a hitch.

Some 200 civilian police officers simultaneously occupied the Barreira do Vasco shantytown, the public security secretariat said.

Police said they encountered no resistance and no shots were fired in the two shantytowns which have a combined population of about 20,000.

Twelve people were arrested and quantities of weapons and drugs were seized.

Police also said that prior to Sunday's operation, intelligence work led to the arrests of 284 adults and 36 minors in the area.

Read more here:

Jamestown Regional (KJMS), North Dakota: Wetlands to be removed at airport

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Officials plan to remove wetlands from the southeastern quarter of Jamestown's airport in coming years to reduce the chances of birds colliding with airplanes.

The $900,000 project will eliminate about 24 acres of wetlands, which provide habitat for birds. Officials hope that will stop birds from flying across the runway from wetlands in another part of the airport.

Wetlands near Woodworth will be restored to make up for the lost wetlands at the airport and comply with conservation laws.

The Federal Aviation Administration will pay 90 percent of the project cost. The airport and the state Aeronautics Commission will split the remaining cost. The project is planned for either 2014 or 2015, depending on federal funding.


Nantucket, Massachusetts: Fisherman airlifted after medical issue

The U.S.Coast Guard  reports that rescue crews medically evacuated a 48-year-old male off the fishing vessel Pontus, approximately 30 nautical miles east of Nantucket, Mass., after he was reported to be from suffering from chest pain on March 2, 2013.

The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca was called by VHF radio by the Pontus which is named for the Greek Sea God,at approximately 2 p.m. to assist.

A small-boat was launched from the Seneca with a boarding team and a corpsman on board to evaluate the man. Air Station Cape Cod launched a MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter and safely transferred the man from the fishing vessel. He was flown to Hyannis Airport for additional transport to Cape Cod Hospital for further evaluation.

His condition is unknown.

Winter Texan, 99, has flown airplanes for more than 76 years

Growing up on a farm, Eugene Engledow learned a lot about hard work and becoming a self-made man. It was here too, though, that he discovered his passion: He wanted to fly and work on planes. 

 “(As a child) if I’d see an airplane fly over and it landed, I’d run out to see it,” he said. “I wanted to fly, but I didn’t ever intend to be a pilot. But I had some good jobs and contracts, and I got to do it.”

Engledow has been flying planes of all kinds since he was 23 years old, and he turned 99 last year. More than 76 years after he started, his passion for aircrafts and flying hasn’t waned.

From a young age, Engledow discovered he had a talent as a mechanic, and worked on tractors, Model T’s and Model A’s (two of the earliest automobiles) to contribute to the family farm. His dream was not really supported by his family — after all, in 1932 modern flight technology was less than 30 years old — but he was bound and determined, he said.

“I wanted to be a pilot when I was still at home and my dad said ‘Don’t ever expect any help from me; those things are dangerous.’ The minute I got to California I started flying.”

At 21 years old, armed only with a high school education, Engledow got his first job at a Ford garage in 1934 and made $38 a month — a step up from the average income of $1 per day during the Great Depression. Two years later, Engledow met Grace Slagle, the woman that would become his wife, and with just $100 to their name the two moved to California to pursue a new life together.

After finding a job at Strathearn Ford Motors, the young man fulfilled his oldest dream and took his first flying lesson. He flew a 38HP Aeronca, a two-cylinder plane, for 35 minutes. The lesson cost $6.

Meanwhile, Engledow was promoted from mechanic to foreman at Ford, and in 1940, he was offered a position as an aeronautics mechanic at Cal-Aero, an independent flying school where Army Air Cadets were trained during World War II. He said that he felt compelled to continue helping out his former employer, so for six months, he worked eight-hour shifts at both jobs.

Engledow was working at Cal-Aero when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, and in 1942 he was hired as a foreman of air repair at Gardner Field AFB, and he was able to live his dream of working on all sorts of military planes, and flying in them nearly every day.

“I was not a fighter pilot but I rode in them, and I flew all the primary and basic trainers, but mine was all in maintenance with Doolittle’s airplane,” he explained. “I got to fly with the test pilots to make sure everything was as it should be.”

Engledow is referencing Lt. Col. James A. Doolittle of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. Doolittle, who was a pilot and officer in the Air Force, led the renowned air assault on Tokyo on April 18, 1942. Later, Engledow was delighted when the famous pilot thanked him for his service by autographing his pilot license.

After that, Engledow worked at several different military aircraft companies, and was offered many positions. When he was presented with the opportunity to work on space crafts, he leapt at the opportunity. From 1957 to 1968, he worked on highly classified projects at Rocketdyne, a division of the Boeing Company.

“I helped to build several types of rocket engines like the Atlas, the Thor and the Jupiter, and lots of small drone engines and launchers,” he said.

Engledow has been awarded several times for his more than 70 years of service, receiving the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” and Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” awards, which are only given to pilots and mechanics that have been at it for more than 50 years. He retired in 1975. However, he is still receiving accolades for his role in American aeronautics.

“The boys at home have it planned that on my birthday, I’ll be flying over my hometown in formation with some local pilots in town and my flight instructor. Last year on my birthday, I flew in formation with me leading, and the mayor proclaimed October 7 Gene Engledow Day in Bolivar, Missouri.”

In his lifetime, Engledow has owned more than 70 planes. Today, Engledow spends his time buying, fixing, trading and selling planes and other motor vehicles.

“I try to fly enough to stay current, a couple times a month,” he said. “It’s all I do now. I stay active. I work on something all the time, whether it’s trading, buying and selling planes. … (The mayor is) actually a heart surgeon and he put two stints in me last May. He told me I shouldn’t be flying much, but I just keep on going.”

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Boeing, Lockheed Among 5 Fighter-Jet Makers Queried by Canada

Canada has asked five companies, including Boeing Co.  and Lockheed Martin Corp., to outline the technical capabilities of their products to replace the country’s fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighter jets.

Boeing, Lockheed, France’s Dassault Aviation SA (AM), European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. and Sweden’s Saab AB will have six weeks to provide information, Canada’s Public Works Ministry said in a statement today. The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat will send out a second questionnaire at a later date to obtain information on costs, the statement said.

Canada's federal government announced in July 2010 that it would buy 65 Lockheed F-35s to replace the CF-18s, which McDonnell Douglas Corp. -- now a part of Boeing -- began delivering to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1982. Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

The effort is part of a “rigorous examination of available fighter-aircraft options on the market and how they could accomplish the missions outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy,” the government said.

Canada’s federal government announced in July 2010 that it would buy 65 Lockheed F-35s to replace the CF-18s, which McDonnell Douglas Corp. -- now a part of Boeing -- began delivering to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1982. The CF-18s will reach the end of their lifespan sometime between 2017 and 2020, according to Canada’s Public Works Ministry.

The country’s top auditor later said that defense officials mismanaged the 2010 purchase plan, prompting the government last year to strengthen oversight of the jet-replacement plan.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said in December that Canada would consider purchasing fighter aircraft other than the F-35 after a report prepared by KPMG LLP showed the 65 planes would cost C$45 billion ($43.8 billion) during 42 years.

Canada “is committed to examining all options” to replace the CF-18s, the government said today. “Engaging with industry is consistent with the secretariat’s commitment to transparency and openness, and integral to a comprehensive market analysis.”

Work “will be completed as expeditiously as possible and will culminate in a final report that captures the full analysis of the capabilities, costs and risks of each option,” the government said.


Aviation student accused of killing Dubai jaywalker: Teenager fought with boyfriend, crossed road with eyes closed

Dubai: A lawyer argued that his client was groundlessly charged with killing a jaywalker, whom he blamed with committing suicide when she crossed the road with eyes closed after fighting with her boyfriend.

The 22-year-old Pakistani aviation student pleaded innocent before the Dubai Traffic Misdemeanor Court and denied being responsible for the 15-year-old Indian teenager’s death.

“My client was groundlessly charged with running over the girl and killing her on Zabeel Road. What really happened, and citing a number of witnesses, the girl closed her eyes and crossed the road wanting to be run over by a car and get killed. A witness confirmed that her boyfriend had told him that she [victim] wanted to commit suicide after they quarreled,” contended the suspect’s lawyer, Uday Al Kazwini, of Dar Al Balagh Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The teenager was responsible for her own death when she closed her eyes and crossed the road from an undesignated spot shortly after she quarreled with her boyfriend, according to advocate Al Kazwini.

Prosecution records said the defendant, S.T., failed to pay proper attention to the safety of pedestrians and ran over the teenager on August 26.

Medical reports confirmed that the girl, who sustained a critical head injury, slipped into a 10-day coma before she died on September 5.

Prosecutors charged S.T. with running over and killing the teenager. He was also accused of wrecking the vehicle. The student testified that he was not liable for the girl’s death because another car in front of him blocked his vision. S.T. alleged that he was driving within the speed limit when the car in front suddenly veered to the left and that is when he spotted the jaywalker.

“I only saw her the second I knocked her down… she was dragged under my vehicle for around 10 metres. I was paying attention on the road, but the car in front didn’t allow me a glimpse of the girl jaywalking,” said the Pakistani.

Advocate Al Kazwini said: “The description of how the accident took place was illogical. A driver testified that he avoided running over the girl on one side of the road and made an immediate U-turn wanting to warn the girl and get her off the street. The witness further said the 15-year-old crossed the road with her eyes closed. This is an obvious and crystal-clear suicide case. My client is not responsible for the girl’s demise. She bears full responsibility for her own death.”

The lawyer asked the court to acquit his client considering that witnesses had testified that the girl had told her boyfriend that she wanted to kill herself.

Meanwhile a traffic policeman claimed that S.T. failed to control his car and avoid the accident because he was driving above the speed limit.

Advocate Al Kazwini countered the policeman’s statement arguing: “Had my client been speeding [more than 60km/h] then evidently he would have rammed the car that was in front of his.”

A verdict will be heard soon.


Osprey training flights over Japan to observe aviation rules: U.S. Marine Corps

Residents of Ginowan get a chance to take a close look at tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft during a tour of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday.

NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Training flights for tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft over Japan’s main islands this week will be conducted on existing routes used by U.S. military planes while abiding by domestic aviation regulations, a U.S. Marine Corps officer said Sunday.

The American military will ensure that controversial low-altitude Osprey training flights around the U.S. Iwakuni air station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, scheduled from Wednesday through Friday, will not violate Japan’s flight restrictions, Stephen Pirrotta, executive officer of U.S. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, told reporters.

Pirrotta’s remarks followed complaints by residents in Okinawa Prefecture that the 12 MV-22 Ospreys deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan have not been following regulations agreed by Tokyo and Washington to ensure their safe operation.

Japan was earlier informed by U.S. officials that three of the Ospreys currently deployed at the Futenma base will conduct low-altitude training flights this week.


Cathay Pacific seeks aviation enthusiasts


Cathay Pacific Airways is inviting young students with a passion for aviation who wish to pursue a career in the field to take part in "I Can Fly", an educational program in which participants learn from the airline's staff from various departments, as well enjoy hands-on experience.

 Selected students will get a chance to visit Cathay Pacific's head office in Hong Kong. Interested students can apply from now until March 25.

"I Can Fly" was launched in 2003 in Hong Kong to inspire young local people to maximize their potential and develop new skills. The first program in Thailand was launched in 2012 and attracted many applicants.

Participants gain valuable insights and an overview of the aviation industry through a series of field trips, lectures and discussions with experts including flight attendants, ground airport staff and engineers.

Interested students can download an application form at Entrants should submit the application along with a one page (A-4 size paper) essay in Thai or 500-700 words in English under the subject "My career interest and passion in aviation" by e-mail to no later than March 25. The word "Application" should be included in the subject line.

Finalists will be notified by e-mail by April 5.

Hartsfield-Jackson International (KATL), Atlanta, Georgia: Airport shuttle van stolen at gunpoint

A man who stole an airport shuttle van at gunpoint was arrested after a brief chase Sunday, but not before striking a taxi, starting a brush fire and firing at pursuing police officers.

Atlanta police spokeswoman K.Y. Jones said the man pulled a gun at Hartsfield-Jackson International airport at about 3:15 a.m. after the shuttle driver and several taxi drivers refused to give him a ride.

The suspect, who has not been named, pulled a .22 handgun on the female driver of the shuttle van and instructed her to get out.

He then drove off in the shuttle, ramming a taxi in the process, said Jones.

Police immediately began pursuing the suspect, who struck a transformer on the corner of Phoenix Boulevard and Riverdale Road, causing a brush fire, said Jones.

Atlanta and Clayton County police were shot at during pursuit, said Jones.

The suspect was eventually taken into custody on I-75 northbound at Central Avenue.

No serious injuries were reported.

Jordan's national carrier stops flying over Syrian airspace

(Reuters) - Jordan's national carrier Royal Jordanian has stopped flying over Syrian airspace for security reasons, the airline's head said on Sunday.

Syria is a major air and land transport hub for the Gulf and eastern Europe, and nearly two years of revolt there against President Bashar al-Assad has already severely hit multibillion dollar cargo routes from Turkey to the Gulf and vice versa.

The airline, a leading regional carrier, said the move would primarily affect Beirut, a major destination, with a route via Egyptian airspace and over the Mediterranean making a longer journey of its four daily flights.

"This move reflects the airline's commitment to the safety of passengers and security of operations, even though this procedure involves additional costs to the company," Amer Hadidi, President and CEO of Royal Jordanian told Reuters.

The airline stopped its regular flights to Damascus last year along with some other carriers.


The lifesize Spitfire made from 6,500 EGG BOXES: Architect recreates Battle of Britain fighter using 10,000 staples and five litres of glue

Spit-ting image: The 36ft long Spitfire model took six weeks to make using 6,500 egg boxes

A creative pair spent six weeks creating a lifesize model of a Spitfire made from 6,500 egg boxes.

The replica of the Battle of Britain fighter was built using five litres of glue, 5,000 nails, ten litres of paint and 10,000 staples.

The 36ft-long Supermarine Spitfire was constructed using Eggs for Soldiers cartons and will go on display at Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire.

To mark Help for Heroes event March Fourth, Charlotte Austen, 27, and Jack Munro, 26, used 450 Pritt sticks to glue the cartons together.

In addition to thousands of egg boxes, they used 772ft of wooden batten, 100 square metres of canvas and 82ft of steel.

The model of the iconic World War II plane was also constructed with 25 sheets of plywood and 23ft of foam.

Mr Munro, an architect from Hackney, London, said: ‘It has been hugely enjoyable working on such a unique project for a fantastic charity.

‘The biggest challenge in building the Eggs for Soldiers Spitfire was to recreate the plane's iconic but complex geometry as accurately as possible.

‘Every surface of the Spitfire is double curved.

‘To replicate this we have used a combination of traditional timber construction techniques and advanced digital processes such as laser cutting and CNC routing.

Charlotte, a sculptor, also from Hackney, said: ‘Working on the Spitfire has been quite a challenge and one I have enjoyed immensely.

‘It has been a huge honour to do a project for Eggs for Soldiers in support of Help for Heroes, a charity I believe in enormously.

‘I hope everyone enjoys seeing it as much as we did making it.’

While constructing the model the pair also drank 120 cups of tea and chomped their way through six packets of chocolate hob nobs and 18 cream eggs.

Jack added: ‘The project has been hectic due to the enormous amount of work, which resulted in a number of sleep-deprived nights.

‘There were a few bangs and accidents along the way too - one our helpers even had to go to A&E for stitches after she slipped and sliced a chunk of her thumb off.

‘I suffered a gash to the head after bumping into the model and also got the inevitable cuts and bruises you would expect with building a model like this.

Now in its second year, March Fourth is an annual fundraising event in aid of Help for Heroes.

Supporters are encouraged to 'march forth 'with Eggs for Soldiers in support of servicemen, women and veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses.

Eggs for Soldiers was created in 2011 to aid wounded servicemen and women returning from conflict.

Steve Horton, Marketing Director for Noble Foods, said: ‘We are hugely proud of the Eggs for Soldiers brand and our work supporting this incredibly worthwhile charity.

‘We hope this year's March Fourth campaign will be as successful as last year's.

‘That way we can continue to raise money and awareness for Help for Heroes and the vital support they give our servicemen and women.’

So far Eggs for Soldiers has raised over 650,000 for Help for Heroes, for further information visit

Story and Photos:

Eggs For Soldiers.:

New Airbus A320 flight simulator prepares commercial pilots for safe flights

Through the latest, most up-to-date Airbus A320 Flight Simulator, Ramon Guico III wants commercial pilots to learn the intricacies of flying commercial aircraft.

MANILA, Philippines - Air travel has become an essential form of transportation in modern living, as it is the fastest way to reach long distances that land or maritime transportation could not seamlessly deliver. The proliferation of new players in the airline industry buying new aircrafts for their fleet, made more complicated by cutthroat competition for lower airfares and increasing passenger volumes, call for the hiring of competitive commercial pilots who can guarantee on-time safe arrivals and departures. 

  Also, most of the airlines handling domestic and international flights now purchase the Airbus A320, considered nowadays as the aircraft with the best features that can handle a large volume of passengers, making it the top choice for airlines that acquire additional planes to augment their fleet.   These two realities have brought together a viable venture, which, in the long run, will not only produce qualified commercial pilots but also safe and reliable air service.

 WCC Aviation Company, the brainchild of a visionary pilot and mayor of Binalonan in Pangasinan, Ramon N. Guico III, wants to achieve that through the purchase of an Airbus A320 Flight Simulator, the latest, most up-to-date intelligent machine that will help commercial pilots learn the intricacies of running a formidable commercial aircraft.  “There are a lot of stakes in flying a very expensive and sophisticated machine like the Airbus A320, and we need pilots who are highly attuned to maneuvering it,” Mayor Guico said.

 The flight simulator was developed by Dutch-based SIM Industries, a subsidiary of the company Lockheed-Martin, which uses actual flight controls and instrumentation from manufacturers to achieve the highest fidelity (in this case, the closest resemblance to the actual machine itself) possible.  Built from an actual airplane cockpit, it is richly detailed with an extensive airport library, with 3-D images of different airport runways, cities, terrain and even weather conditions to give students an overall realistic experience. It is the latest of the four existing flight simulators in the country, and the one owned by WCC Aviation Company features the latest and most state-of-the-art equipment.  It is also the only one located nearest to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

 A control deck at the back of the captain’s seat allows the instructor to change the scenario details via WiFi-enabled computer, where he can adjust times of the day, weather conditions, plane conditions, terrain and other visual details, depending on the lesson learned by the pilot.  As it turns out, the Airbus A320 is actually a very intelligent machine, which can fly by itself even in “automatic” mode, capable of landing on its own if only for a few manual manipulations by the captain or his deputy.

“The fee is $33,000 for the two-month training,” revealed Guico.  Since it is not a “toy” but a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-approved equipment, finishing the course entitles the “graduate” license to operate the actual Airbus A320 aircraft.  “It will also target commercial pilots who are required by the CAAP and their own airlines to retrain after they complete six months of flying, just to regularly familiarize them on how to manually operate the actual aircraft,” said WCC Aviation Company ground instructor Romeo Layug.  Each student will have the chance to learn it for two hours in a day, coupled with classroom lectures using the simulator’s thousand-page manual as a textbook.

 “I believe so much in this project,” said Guico, who despite his share of local government work, is also a licensed pilot and instrumental in turning his municipality of Binalonan, Pangasinan, into an education hub in Northern Philippines by establishing the WCC Aeronautical and Technological College and WCC Pilot Academy, and they carry the distinction of being the first flying school to operate its own airfield and to offer Flight Navigator Trainers Procedure II in its curriculum.

 “It will help local pilots to learn how to fly the most sophisticated commercial aircraft today, and if we produce more pilots we can address the many needs of the commercial airline industry,” he explained.  “Pilot-trainees also have the convenience of learning it in Manila, being very near to the domestic and international airport terminals.  The cost-effectiveness of learning it will eventually pay off the moment they start flying.  Pilots flying local destinations earn a monthly average of P200,000 to P500,000 a month, so they would be able to recover the costs in no time.”

 At the same time, he said it will benefit not only the Philippine commercial airline industry but the national economy as well, in many ways.  “We want to be one of the best not only in the country but also in the world, as an aviation services company.  I consider myself a risk-taker and hopefully it will encourage young aspiring pilots-to-be to take not only a lucrative but also an emotionally fulfilling career in the skies,” Guico said, as more and more beginning and retraining pilots expressed their interest in using the new equipment, with the WCC’s training center commencing full operations by February.

 For more information, call WCC at 912-3333 or visit

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Zimbabwe: Chinese Airline Firm Denies Smuggling Zim Diamonds

CHINA -  Sonangal has refuted a report by 100Reporters, a website run by journalists, implicating the company in the smuggling of diamonds from Marange through the use of its VP-BEX plane.

The report alleged that the plane makes frequent trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, Tanzania and Angola, among other destinations.

The report alleged that the airbus was believed to have carried out millions of dollars' worth of undeclared diamonds from Marange.

But the company distanced itself from any diamond transactions in Zimbabwe, which have been the bone of contention between Finance minister Tendai Biti and Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu.

Group Head of Legal services, Wee Jee Kin said China Sonangal has not purchased a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe.

"For the record, it is indeed true that China Sonangol is involved in the diamond business. All of our diamonds however, come from our jointly-held Catoca mines in Angola and none are from Zimbabwe," said Jee Kin, adding that China International Fund did not hold any shares nor in any way control Planair. Planair is an external service provider.

The report alleged that the airbus appears to enjoy a remarkable lack of scrutiny and flight in a perpetual no-oversight zone.

Jee Kin said, "It is not uncommon for private jets to vary from its scheduled flight plan. This flexibility is indeed one of the main attractions of private jets and nothing sinister should be inferred from that."

He said that corporate jets were used by high net-worth individuals and corporations for a number of reasons, such as dealing with high-value and time-sensitive matters, privacy and the flexibility to change schedules and are often used in the oil and gas industry, which happens to be part of the company's business.

Planair and Hong Kong Jet are rivals in the same aviation space and do not have common owners. Both of the companies have nothing to do with China Sonangol, but were successive operators when the company's aircraft operations were transferred from one operator (Planair) to the other (Hong Kong Jet).

The decision, said Jee Kin, to transfer the aircraft was purely due to cost and commercial considerations.

Disappearing Diamonds:


My Cessna 170B -By John W. Otis

Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 6:00 am

By John W. Otis

It is said that we are a nation of materialists who prefer things over fellowship or the love and loyalty of friends and family. Perhaps that’s a stretch, but there’s no denying that we love things.

While things may not respond with compassion, most of us can attest to their loyalty or dependability, especially if we are talking about today’s finely honed cars and airplanes. These will never be guilty of infidelity and “will always be there for you.”

I have friends who love their horses which can, indeed, respond with love or compassion as well as loyalty. But I’ll stick to planes, thank you. Both require a certain amount of TLC, but planes don’t require a daily dose of hay and oats and best of all -- never poop on the floor.

My old 170 B, for instance, required only a little gas now and then and never complained about the considerable abuse that had been heaped upon her over the years. She was born in l952 in Wichita, Kan., and had had a long and faithful career even before we found each other.

I’d been saving up my navy reserve pay for several years and was teaching a six week summer session at Mankato State that summer of l968. My pay for the summer session plus my reserve savings together totaled about $4,500. I’d been searching the Trade-a-Planes and the StarTribune ad sections for some time and finally found what I wanted -- a 170B owned by a couple of brothers who farmed near Hutchinson, Minn. The price: $4,600. I’d owned a two-place Cessna 140 before, one that I’d gotten for $1,500 from Gordy Newstrom when I was home on leave. It was a great little bird in which my wife and I took our honeymoon. But the 170B would be a step up, would hold all of us -- my wife and I up front plus the three kids in back whose combined weight then was less than 150 pounds.

The day finally arrived. I’d just finished classes at 2 p.m. that warm June afternoon and was headed for the airport where the brothers were to deliver the plane around 3 p.m. The airport then was up on a hill close to the campus. I was anxious and excited about taking possession of the plane, believe me. But 3 p.m. came and went. And no plane. It was a bit windy and gusty, but a nice afternoon overall. 4 p.m. came. Still no plane. Finally about 4:30 I got a call from one of the brothers. They had attempted to land in Glenco for fuel and had totaled the plane in a big cross-wind. They were much chagrined, as was I, but their plans were to haul the wreckage back to Hutchinson to have it rebuilt.

Still, I didn’t give up on it. I told them that once the plane was repaired I would still be interested. It took most of the summer to put the old bird back together. During the last stages of the process, I stayed with friends in Hutchinson. There was some last minute haggling over the price, but we finally came to an agreement. I’d pay an extra $200 for the new prop. I then flew the 170B back to Sugar Lake, where I tied down on our old golf course-airport, purchased by Charley Skinner in l964. Our lake cabin was less than a mile away.

The 170B served us well during fishing trips to Canada and duck hunting trips to North Dakota. The only regrets I have is that our daughter Martha got airsick on a rough and bumpy ride back from the lake one weekend and has never liked flying since. Incidentally, the 170B is a most versatile plane, adaptable to both skies and floats in spite of its under powered 145 h.p. engine. But in l953 the Cessna folks decided to build a more muscular version of the 170B and added another another 80 h.p. to the same basic airframe. The result was the iconic Cessna 180 which became the all time favorite bush plane of pilots worldwide.

Today you can still buy a 170B. I just now went on the internet and found in the current issue of Trade-a-plane nine 170Bs for sale. But I could find none for $4,600. Prices ranged from $35,900 to $50,000. Of course, all had up-graded electronics -- probably 8 or 10Gs worth. But is it not remarkable that at age 61 they are still flying?

Not really. Airplanes never die unless you set out purposely to kill them. They can be rebuilt and overhauled many times, and given minimum love and care, they will respond with the kind of fidelity that’s rare in our current culture. One qualifier here is that planes can die from neglect. Mice can kill them, believe it or not, by getting into the insulation through small holes around the landing gear or tail wheel and by pooping on the aluminum inside the wings, causing ruinous corrosion.

That’s why I used to tie a mouse trap to the tail wheel of my l70B. I became aware of what mice could do when I discovered them in the insulation of my 140. I was giving one of the lodge waitresses a ride during a beautiful moonlight evening when we noticed the inverted image of a mouse crawling across the upper edge of the windshield, perfectly silhouetted against the moon. The young gal beside me was pretty cool. She stayed in the plane until we landed.

And planes do have personalities. Like the machines that we become attached to, we consider them part of the family with human qualities both good and bad.

I recall seeing a Cessna 140 tied down next to my 170B one day at the Mankato airport. I kept looking at it, feeling warm vibes. I’ll swear it was trying to speak to me. I copied down it’s NC numbers, went home and looked through my old log books. There it was. The same 140 that my folks had purchased new in l947 -- 25 years earlier.

I then looked up the owners -- two brothers, students at MSU. They were about to graduate. They were both headed for the NavCad program in Pensacola, FL, the same one I’d passed through twenty years earlier. They would fly the 140 down to Pensacola. They swore they’d never part with it.


MILITARY USE OF AIRPORT: Flights a part of Pueblo's history - Pueblo Memorial Airport (KPUB), Colorado

Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 12:00 am 
Opinion - Letter

When people talk of wanting to limit the military use of Pueblo Memorial Airport for helicopter flight training, they lose sight of one important fact. The airport was originally a military airfield and if it wants to use it for training or any wartime use, it could take the airport back from the city of Pueblo. Then Pueblo would be without an airport.

If we lost our airport by the military taking control of it through eminent domain, the city of Pueblo no longer would have a source of income. We may even lose the private aircraft usage rights at the airport — only military air traffic could use the facility — and more of our revenue would go down the drain.

Would the city of Pueblo enjoy that possibility?

Not me.

Also, people living near an airport should expect high levels of noise, especially when stormy weather forces pilots to keep using maximum power for safety during take-offs and climbing to a safe altitude.

When developers start building neighborhoods near an airport runway, the buyers of the properties should be aware that several things may occur to cause noise levels to increase:

  • The airport may be expanded by making the runways longer for the safety of larger aircraft using the airport. 
  • Adverse weather conditions may require pilots to remain at high power during takeoffs for a longer time, thus high noise levels underneath the flight paths. 
  • An airplane attempting to land but needing to abort the landing will increase power to 100 percent during the abort/fly-out to try the landing again. If this noise is unacceptable to homeowners under the flight-path, what about a crash landing into your home?

I have lived in Pueblo for all but five years of my 70-year lifetime, and I have seen a time when the Sunset Park area (Prairie Avenue to Pueblo Boulevard and Northern Avenue to St. Clare Avenue) was the airport in Pueblo.

There was a gap in the wall around the Colorado State Fair along Prairie Avenue so that airplanes taking off would not crash into the wall if they were unable to attain the speed to take off earlier on the runway.

I can remember the old DC-3 aircraft that would use the airport (Sunset Park) here in Pueblo. Imagine the noise of that two-piston engine aircraft flying overhead at an altitude of only about 50 to 100 feet on takeoff.

Some weather conditions could force those pilots to stay at full takeoff power while flying their takeoff patterns until they had crossed the city boundary on an eastbound takeoff from the airport at least until they were over the Bessemer neighborhood.

William F. Ryan



Jet Airways seeks Aviation Ministry nod to buy 6 Kingfisher Airlines slots

With the government withdrawing Kingfisher Airlines' international flying rights and domestic slots, the Jet Airways has approached the Aviation Ministry to acquire six of the vacant slots, according to sources.

"We have applied to the government to acquire six slots from Mumbai. Of these, we are looking at four domestic and two international routes," Jet Airways sources said.

Out of the six slots from Mumbai, Jet has sought three morning slots and remaining three evening ones, they said adding, "the destinations are being worked out."

Last week, the government had withdrawn all domestic and international flying slots of Kingfisher Airlines, which remains grounded since October 1 last, with immediate effect and decided to allot them to other domestic airlines.

The Vijay Mallya-promoted carrier's flying licence also expired last December, which though can be revived.

Besides operating on domestic routes, Kingfisher also used to operate to Britain (seven flights a week), the UAE (21 flights per week), Thailand (21 weekly flights), Nepal (seven), Bangladesh (14 a week), Sri Lanka (35 per week), Hong Kong (14 a week) and Singapore (7).

The withdrawal of these slots has made available approximately 25,000 seats per week for other carriers to these eight countries.

Interestingly, the Naresh-Goyal promoted Jet Airways is seeking these slots after selling its all three slots at the premier London's Heathrow airport to the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad for USD 70 million last week, in a move that may bring its ongoing discussions with the Gulf carrier for stake sale closer to fruition.

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Pratt & Whitney Transforms Middletown, Connecticut, Assembly Area for New Engines

This milestone is part of a larger company initiative to transform Pratt & Whitney's manufacturing sites as they prepare to deliver a record volume of engines.

Pratt & Whitney completed the first phase of an assembly-floor transformation project at its Middletown, Connecticut, facility that prepares the Engine Center to produce its portion of PurePower® PW1100G-JM engines for the Airbus A320neo and increases production capacity for the F135 engine powering the F-35 Lightning II for the U.S. military. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.

Pratt & Whitney leadership and employees gathered in Middletown for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark this milestone, which is part of a larger company initiative to transform Pratt & Whitney's manufacturing sites as they prepare to deliver a record volume of engines.

"This is a time of transformation at Pratt & Whitney," said Joe Sylvestro, vice president, Manufacturing Operations, Pratt & Whitney. "This new addition to the engine facility in Middletown will play a pivotal role in the production ramp-up for our PurePower engines. This achievement was truly a team effort and signifies our ongoing investment to meeting our customer commitments by delivering game-changing engine technology within a lean manufacturing operation."

The PurePower PW1100G-JM engines deliver benefits including double-digit reductions in fuel burn, environmental emissions, engine noise and operating costs compared with today's jet engines. The F135 engine powers the F-35 Lightning II – a stealthy, supersonic, multirole fifth generation fighter designed for U.S. and international partner requirements.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

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Administration risks national security, gives US jobs to Brazil

March 1, 2013

By Michael Dorstewitz 
BizPac Review

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama visited a Newport News naval shipyard to warn that massive job losses would result if the sequester cuts take effect.

The following day, the Obama Administration granted the military Light Air Support contract to Embraer S.A. a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate.

The other firm in the running, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, is based smack dab in the middle of America’s heartland — Wichita Kansas — and enjoys a long and proud history of supplying the U.S. military with aircraft.

Had Hawker Beechcraft been granted the  contract, the company would have added or sustained 1,400 U.S. jobs.  The Embraer is expected to add approximately 50 Jacksonville assembly line jobs.

Read more here:

About Michael Dorstewitz 
Mike is a retired lawyer who has written for BizPac Review almost from the beginning.

Bristol Aero Club flies out to its new home near Cirencester after Filton Airfield closure

A flying club formed almost 20 years ago so employees at Filton Airfield could take to the skies has moved to a new home.

Bristol Aero Club, formed in 1994 and run by volunteers, has moved 30 miles north east to Cotswold Airport in Cirencester since the closure of the Filton Airfield in December.

On December 21, employees and club members witnessed for the last time aircraft taking off from the historic airfield. Among the last to depart were two – G-BBXW and G-BASJ – operated by Bristol Aero Club.

At its peak the club had 130 members and three aircraft which operated seven days a week.

One success story to come out of the club was in 1997 when teenage waiter John Pearce became one of the youngest qualified pilots in Britain.

The 17-year-old from Sea Mills trained in Piper Cherokees and other single-engined planes.

As well as training Filton Airfield employees the club expanded its membership by accepting Associate Members and is affiliated to BAWA (Bristol Aerospace Welfare Association). It also accepts students awarded with flying scholarships by Airbus and those awarded by Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.

The decision to close the airfield at weekends hindered the club's progress before the news of the airfield's closure came as the final body blow.

Membership Secretary John Ferguson, from Henleaze, worked at Filton Airfield for 45 years and was a founding member of the club.

He said: "On that final day there was about 30 of us and it was very sad. We had several planes coming in because people wanted to fly in to Filton on the last day it was operational.

"Quite a few of us were in tears to be honest – it was a big body blow."

Now the club has moved to Cirencester Mr Ferguson said it was inevitable members would be lost but it was hoped new ones would join.

"For some of our members it will be too far and we will definitely lose some who are local to Filton but we hope we will gain some new members from the new area," he said.

"We hope to retain around 60 per cent and will of course be still taking members from Airbus and Rolls Royce. Although it has been a dreadful body blow losing Filton, one of the advantages of Cirencester is that it is open seven days a week."

The club offers members the chance to learn to fly and hire aircraft on a non-profit basis. Visit

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