Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Missing camera sought from fatal plane crash: Tuggerah Lake, NSW Central Coast, Australia

Police are appealing to the public for any witnesses to last week's ultralight plane crash at Long Jetty to come forward.

About 7.45am on Wednesday, March 6, emergency services were called to Tuggerah Lake, off Tuggerah Parade, after an ultralight plane crashed into the water about 200m offshore.

The aircraft sunk and a search of the area was conducted by local police, Polair, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Marine Area Command and Marine Recue to locate the occupants of the plane.

Police divers located the 64-year-old male pilot and a 57-year-old woman deceased inside the aircraft.

Their bodies were recovered and a report is being prepared for the coroner.

Investigators would like to speak with anyone who may have mobile phone vision, or who witnessed the incident, to contact them at Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command.


Police also believe a GoPro camera was being used on the aircraft and has not been recovered. Officers believe there is a chance the camera may wash up on shore and they would be keen to recover it.

A salvage operation was conducted to remove the plane from the water.

The aircraft will be examined by police and aviation investigators to determine the cause of the crash. Investigations into the matter are continuing.


Source:   http://www.lakesmail.com.au

Northern Air Inc. certified to service Swiss-made aircraft at Gerald R. Ford International Airport (KGRR), Grand Rapids, Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Northern Air, Inc., announced Tuesday, March 12, that it has become a factory approved satellite service center for Pilatus Aircraft, Ltd., a Swiss company that makes single engine turbo-prop passenger and cargo planes.

The added business will result in four new technician jobs, said Jeff Anderson, president and chief operating officer for Northern Air, based at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

With more than 50 employees, Northern Air, Inc. also is a certified factory service center for Cessna and Piper Aircraft Inc., Anderson said.

“Northern Air prides itself on offering a comprehensive range of aircraft engine and airframe maintenance services and general aviation support performed by our highly trained maintenance technicians and customer service teams,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Pilatus aircraft have become popular because of their short take-off distances and advanced avionics. “They are a mechanic’s dream to work on and a pilot’s dream to fly,” he said.

With fully pressurized cabins, the Pilatus PC-12 is capable for cruising at 32,000 feet at a speed of 322 mph, Anderson said. The PC-12 has a range of 1,500 nautical miles, he said.

The PC-12 has found global popularity in a number of roles -- executive transport, cargo, air ambulance, airline, and government special mission applications, according to a Pilatus news release.

“Welcoming Northern Air to the Pilatus family is a great honor,” said Pete Wolak, Vice President of Customer Service for Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd. “Northern Air has a superb reputation gained through hard work and dedication.”

Northern Air is the only Michigan-based service center for Pilatus, Anderson said. Pilatus has service centers throughout the U.S.

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

NORAD conducting training exercise in National Capital Region, Washington, D.C., flights scheduled to occur early Wednesday

WASHINGTON — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is conducting a training exercise over the Washington area.

NORAD says area residents can expect the flights to take place from just after midnight to 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The exercise called “Falcon Virgo” is designed to test NORAD’s intercept and identification operations. Civil Air Patrol aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter are participating in the exercise.


Read more:   http://www.norad.mil

Hinton keeps his head high in the sky over Elizabeth City, North Carolina

If you ask Scott Hinton how many planes he’s qualified to fly, he’ll likely offer you a sweeping gesture in his office. His hand will likely make a half circle, indicating all of the models and photographs on his walls and shelves. 

 “A Piper Cub (1947) was my first,” says Hinton, manager of the Elizabeth City Regional Airport.

Hinton lives and breathes aviation. He says he’s fortunate enough to have a vocation and avocation in the same field. Hinton can’t get enough of aviation.

“I love this airport,” he says. “I hang out at this airport.”

And he does hang out there, a lot. You see, when Hinton isn’t running an airport that generates $144 million annually into the local economy both directly and indirectly, he’s playing there. He has his own plane housed there, and he loves hanging around other pilots, talking aviation, keeping his head up in the clouds.

Hinton was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, about one mile from the Wright Brothers’ memorial there. It was a fitting place for someone who just can’t get enough of the skies to grow up.

And so it goes that Elizabeth City and all of its focus on aviation is a fitting place for him to have a career and raise a family.

The Daily Advance: How did you become interested in aviation?

Scott Hinton: I got my first airplane ride when I was 7 years old. My friend’s father was an aircraft broker. He was demonstrating a plane that was for sale and took Tom and I along. From that moment on, that’s all I wanted to be, a pilot.

TDA: How old were you when you obtained your pilot’s license?

SH: Sixteen. I was in the Civil Air Patrol as a kid. If it was aviation, I wanted to be there. … I did it in one week’s time. I went to Civil Air

Patrol Solo Encampment at this weeklong school they would teach cadets to fly power airplanes. At the end of the4 week, if you were competent, your instructor would solo you.

TDA: Talk about your choice to be a professional aviator.

SH: The Army had a program called Warrant Officer Training. I applied for the program between my junior and senior year (of high school). I was sitting in drafting class and there was an announcement for me to go the counselor’s office. He said, “Call your recruiter.” I got selected. I walked out of class, out of school and down to the recruiter’s office. … I graduated high school in 1982. By August 1983, at 19, I was an army pilot. I am blessed to have never made a career decision based on pay.

TDA: What types of aircraft are you qualified to pilot and what did you have to do to qualify for each one?

SH: I hold an airline transport pilot rating for helicopters and multi-engine airplanes. I have a commercial license for single engine planes. I’m also authorized as a flight instructor for airplanes and helicopters.

TDA: Describe the sensation of flying from take off to flying, to landing.

SH: Freedom, and you don’t need a lot more than that. “You could take a mile of runway and it could take you to the world!” The beauty of what you see causes you to leave your troubles behind.

TDA: Aviation has been touted as an economic driver for this region, why is it so important and what opportunities will it bring to the area?

SH: Eleven percent of our workforce is connected to the aerospace industry. In Pasquotank County, $50,000 is the average pay for aerospace workers. We have a developed and talented workforce. We have a workforce, we have a military presence, we have a developed culture in aviation in northeast North Carolina. You have a great location to live. If someone was to consider a career in aviation, what are the opportunities they might have to look forward to?

TDA: If someone was to consider a career in aviation, what are the opportunities in he or she might have to look forward to in this region?
SH: I think in the next 15 years kids are going to have the opportunity to work in manufacturing, design and engineering. Now if they wanted to be a pilot, they can learn that here at Elizabeth City State University.

TDA: What are the greatest challenges facing the future of the Elizabeth City Regional Airport?

SH: From an infrastructure standpoint we are limited. I have 10 acres inside the fence line to be developed. … We want to be able to smartly use the limited resources we have. We want to be able to develop the airport in a neighborly, friendly way.

TDA: You are one of the pilots who flies the plane made famous during the Berlin drops of World War II. How did you get started flying the Candy Bomber?


SH: The first year they were here they were going to take the airplane down to Puerto Rico (to house it) and I was asked by the foundation to be a guest pilot. I joined the foundation and trained as a pilot. I’m one of six pilots.

TDA: Flying seems to occupy a great deal of your life but what else do you enjoy doing with your time when you don’t have your head in the sky?


SH: I’m either up at my church involved with our tech team running the soundboard or doing classes for my master’s degree (in management leadership).

TDA: What would you be doing career-wise if you didn’t work in aviation?


SH: There are two things, had I not been a pilot. One of my favorite things in this job is to go to Washington D.C. and meet with legislators. I think I would have loved to get a degree in political science and been a legislative staffer.

The other is I love running sound.

Story and Photos:  http://www.dailyadvance.com

US Airways flight diverted to Honolulu for maintenance issue

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

US Airways flight 31 from Maui to Phoenix, Arizona diverted to Honolulu Monday night due to a maintenance issue.

The plane departed from Maui at 10:25 p.m. and landed without incident in Honolulu at 2:01 a.m. It was able to taxi to a gate under its own power.

The plane has been inspected and is waiting on repairs. There are no details on what the exact problem was.

153 passengers and six crew members were on board the flight.

Some customers flew out on other flights Monday night, while others were provided hotel rooms for the night while they waited for their flights scheduled to depart Tuesday. 


Source:   http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com

Jacksonville Aviation Authority HR workers arrested in insurance fraud

A Jacksonville Aviation Authority human resources employee and the authority’s former human resources director were arrested last month on a variety of insurance fraud charges.

Cyndi Rooks, 50, was HR director at the authority for several years. She no longer works there, according to a woman who answered the phone at the authority. It is unclear exactly when she left.

Dellafay Chafin, 57, has worked at the authority for about three years, according to her LinkedIn profile. She did not respond to a message left on her work phone Tuesday afternoon.

Rooks was charged with organized fraud and five counts of filing false or fraudulent insurance claims less than $20,000, as well as forging a doctor’s certificate. She was released after posting $2,503 bail.

Chafin was charged with one count of filing a false insurance claim less than $100,000 and one of forging a doctor’s certificate. She was released after posting $10,003 bail.

A message left for authority spokesman Michael Stewart was not returned Tuesday morning.


More info:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/cyndirooks
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dellafay-chafin-mba/6/13a/a92

Story and Comments:   http://jacksonville.com

Leader on hospital’s aviation unit arrested on assault charge

A Huntersville man who works for Carolinas HealthCare System’s aviation unit has been arrested for assault. 

Robert Clint Darby, 44, was arrested Saturday night and charged with simple assault. He was released after posting a $1,500 bond. 

According to a spokesman for Carolinas HealthCare, Darby is a team leader with MedCenter Air, but he’s not a pilot or nurse. 

The spokesman said Darby remains employed at MedCenter Air. 

According to Carolinas HealthCare system’s website, the unit is a fleet of vehicles – fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and ground ambulances – equipped and staffed to serve as airborne or mobile critical care units. 

Darby is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Low flying plane reported across parts of Piedmont on Monday night: Guilford County and Davidson County, North Carolina

We received several calls Monday night about a low flying plane over parts of Guilford County and Davidson County.

FOX8 confirmed through Piedmont Triad International Airport (KGSO) security (who communicated with the control tower) that the plane was a “military aircraft” doing a training exercise. The Army is also conducting the “Robin Sage” exercises through March 20, so it is feasible the aircraft could be a part of that test.

However, because the operation is so secretive, it’s nearly impossible for us to positively identify the specific plane many saw on Monday night.

No other information is available.


Source:   http://myfox8.com

Taiwanese airline wants to train pilots at Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC): Company wants to spend millions to build new facilities, county says (With Video)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors could take the first step Tuesday of leasing space at the Sacramento Executive Airport to EVA Airlines, Taiwan's second largest airline.

"It's very exciting because it would be long-term investment in this facility," said Karen Doron, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County airport system.  "We expect about $13 to $15 million in investment."

The company wants to start training as many as 15 pilots next year.

But over the next few years, Doron said the company would invest in new hangars, classrooms, housing and more for their pilots.

By 2017, the company would be training as many 30 pilots a year at Executive.

Some people who live nearby are concerned about increasing the number of new pilots flying overhead.

"I'd be concerned for inexperienced kids learning how to fly," said Char Stathos, who lives nearby the airport. The airport is located off Freeport Boulevard.

"My main concern would be that there are new pilots learning how to fly over my house," said Aubri Dark, another resident who lives near the airport.

But not everybody is concerned about the plan to add more pilots, planes and noise to Executive Airport.

"I think a boost to the economy would be a bigger deal than any little noise pollution we got," said TJ McClure, who lives just north of the airport.

Story and Video:  http://www.kcra.com

McRae: Users of municipal facilities should pay their own way - Junction City, Kansas

By Tom McRae

Special to the Daily Union


It is interesting to note the outcry from some on the current Junction City Commission about county residents needing to support the municipal golf course and municipal airport has been taken up by some of the candidates for the commission.

Before I express my opinion on this movement to increase the revenue base for these operations, I believe the readers need to know a little bit about me. I have lived in the Junction City area for all but about 10 of my 68 years.

I am a former Junction City Commissioner, so I do have an idea of the operation of the city. For the last 18 years I have lived outside the city limits of Junction City in rural Geary County.

I firmly believe that the function of government is to provide those necessary and desirable services that cannot or will not be reasonably provided by the private sector. I will tie this next bit of information about me into the theme of this letter in a later paragraph.

I do not rejoice in the big news that Starbucks is coming to Junction City. I am a coffee drinker, but I drink my coffee black. With my weight problem, I do not need the 530 calories in a ''vente'' size Peppermint Mocha Frappucino, even though it would probably taste good. I also choose not to pay the price for one.

Starbucks does serve regular coffee; however, I do not care for either the taste or the price of it. Therefore, I will not be a user of the new Starbucks. I do not say that other people shouldn't be. Going on 30 years ago, when I was first elected to the Junction City Commission, both the municipal golf course and the municipal airport funding were subjects of concern. The ''benefits'' of each were always loudly proclaimed by their supporters. It was always stated that we needed to subsidize their operation because of their ''benefits to the community.''

The golf course was to someday become self supporting. Now some on the commission and some commission hopefuls are looking on those of us who reside outside the municipality of Junction City with their revenue greedy eyes. They think that we should support the Municipal golf course and the Municipal airport.

Government does not exist to collect revenue, only to provide those necessary and desirable services. Revenue is necessary only to provide those services. There is no ''profit'' in government or government operations.

Now, my point — I am not a golfer; I am not a pilot. I do not use the Municipal golf course and I do not use the Municipal airport. I question the benefits to me of either. However, I do not say that others do not benefit from them.

The idea that the many should contribute to the cost of operation of facilities for the benefit of the few is akin to asking me to contribute to the cost of their Frappucino. Not only do the tax payers of rural Geary County need to tell both the City and County Commissions ''No,'' but the taxpayers of Junction City need to say ''enough is enough.''

It is time both the golf course and the airport pay their own way. I am not saying do not have them. I am saying it is time to eliminate the subsidies.

People who want, use and enjoy the golf course need to pay its way. People who want and use the airport need to pay its way. People who want a Frappucino from Starbucks need to pay for their own.

Tom McRae lives in Milford.
 

Source:   http://www.thedailyunion.net

Too broke for Angels to fly? Sequester's full effect on Ocean City Air Show unclear; F-22 Raptor demo pulled

OCEAN CITY — Forced Congressional budget cuts won’t affect the appearance of the headlining Blue Angels at the 2013 OC Air Show, at least so far.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the service branch intends to cancel four Blue Angels performances in April at air shows in Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The memo makes no mention of Ocean City.

“We haven’t received any notification from the Blues of any change. Their schedule is still up on the website. As of right now, the Blues are still flying,” said Bryan Lilley, president of the OC Air Show.

However, Lilley expects that one previously scheduled performer will be lost: the F-22 Raptor demonstration. That’s because the Air Force has canceled all military support of air shows and flyovers nationwide until further notice. The Air Force canceled the entire performance season of its F-16 Thunderbirds jet demonstration team, effective April 1.

Cancellation of the Thunderbirds jet demo team affects two other air shows that Lilley runs, in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“It’s not that they won’t be flying over air shows,” Lilley said. “They won’t be flying over anything, anywhere.”

Other Air Force aircraft that would then be eliminated from air shows this budget year include the F-16s Fighting Falcon, F-15s Strike Eagle, A-10s Warthog, C-5 Galaxy and B-2 stealth bomber.

He said he thinks the Navy will take a pragmatic, month-by-month approach to possible cancellations, resulting from across-the-board federal government spending cuts that took effect March 1 — the so-called budget “sequester.”

Lilley predicts the OC Air Show, now in its sixth year in the resort, stands to benefit from the sequester. The reason: He thinks several air shows held at military bases will be totally canceled, meaning air show enthusiasts will make their way to Ocean City for their fighter jet fix.

About 13 million people visited air shows in 2012, he said.

“In the overall scope of what the landscape will look like, with else or no military support, waterfront air shows will have a net positive effect,” he said. “It’s going to drive people to the ones that are left.”

Other performers still slated for the June 8-9 show over the beach and Boardwalk include biplane stunt pilot Mike Wiskus and the return of the GEICO Skytypers skywriting team.

“The more performers, the better,” said Ocean City Council President Lloyd Martin. “Hopefully, the Blue Angels will be here. We’ll cross our fingers for everybody.”

With the Air Force shutdown of flyovers and air show performers, it’s going to create a new baseline for all U.S. air shows, Lilley said.

“I think that it’s one thing if a single show loses an asset. It’s another thing if the whole air show industry loses an asset. Everybody is gong to be operating off a new bench mark, whatever that is, after these cuts go through.”


Story:  http://www.delmarvanow.com

California Pacific Airlines: Will proposed airline get reprieve?

The backers of a proposed commercial airline that would fly out of McClellan-Palomar airport in Carlsbad have refiled papers seeking permission to operate from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

California Pacific Airlines is asking for extensions after both agencies' deadlines for the company ran out. The transportation department's deadline to begin flights expired on Feb. 25. That department's licensing is needed for FAA approval, and the FAA deadline passed on March 10.

The overall federal application process for a new airline generally takes six to 18 months. California Pacific Airlines founder Ted Vallas wrote in a letter to the Department of Transportation that he expects a license from the FAA by summer. That would make it more than three years since Vallas originally filed his initial application with the FAA.

Vallas, who turned 92 on Monday, could not be reached for comment.

California Pacific expects to offer daily commercial flights to five destinations in the West, and eventually Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Its 72-seat Embraer landed to fanfare last summer, but has since been sitting on the tarmac unused -- at $200,000 per month in rent.

Last year, a dispute arose between the airline and the local FAA office, which resulted in California Pacific's application being moved to a preliminary phase. The FAA cited deficiencies in the application, while Vallas said the agency acted with bias against the airline.

In a Feb. 22 letter to the DOT requesting the extension, Vallas said his company is making progress. He said required positions -- such as operations and safety directors -- have been filled and that investors have spent $10 million on the airline so far.

The DOT is considering the request for an extension, agency spokesman Bill Mosley said. The local FAA office, which received the new application Friday, has yet to review the materials to determine whether to move the airline into a formal application phase, spokesman Ian Gregor said.

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

Columbus Metropolitan (KCSG), Georgia: Airport to see major changes

WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather  

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It was two years ago when the first American Airlines flight took off from the Columbus airport… but in June, those flights will be no more.

"They've got aircraft in here they are going to be getting rid of and it's a situation where while the loads were decent we are not what is considered a high yield market for them," said Mark Oropeza, Airport Director. 

It was just one of the hot topics that came up in our conversation with Oropeza, who says that they are still talking with American Airlines with hopes of inking a new deal when they complete a merger with U.S. Airways.

Starting this summer, the airport will have only the Delta Airline connection flights to and from Atlanta. While losing American Airlines could pose problems for the airport, losing the air traffic control tower could be an even bigger worry.

The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA released a list of small service towers that could potentially close. Columbus was on that list but Oropeza told News Leader 9 that it is too early to call it quits.

"We are not a contact tower, we are a FAA staff tower, we are federal employees here. The FAA has to give the union notice at least 12 months in advance before they can close the tower down," Oropeza said. 

The tower at the Columbus airport is already run on partial time. Planes are often guided to land through radar out of Atlanta. Despite these recent setbacks, Oropeza remains optimistic.

"At some point and time congress could get together and all the parties could agree and adopt a new budget then there is money for the FAA then it's all a moot point," he said.

American Airlines is expected to make its last flights out of the Columbus by June 11. Some air traffic control towers across the nation are expected to be shut down starting the first of April.

As of right now the Columbus airport is not one of those but remains on a list for consideration.

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

Airport Area Job Fair on Wednesday, March 13: Many jobs are available in and around the Atlanta Airport, come March 13th and apply

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport along with the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency are holding a special job fair for Atlanta residents on Wednesday, March 13th from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Airport representatives say employers from the airport and surrounding areas will be hiring for positions such as cashiers, cooks, maintenance workers, drivers, sales managers, customer service representatives, security officers, hosts and mechanics.

The fair will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center, as it was last year when nearly 1000 people lined up for an opportunity.  This year companies in attendance include, Atlanta Restaurant Partners, Airport Retail Management, Budget Car Rental, ExpressJet Airlines, New South Construction, Standard Parking.

Interested job-seekers can call (404) 382-2507 for more information.

Source:   http://cascade.patch.com

Super Puma helicopter tests ‘progressing’

Investigators may finally be closing in on the cause of a “potentially catastrophic” mechanical failure in the gearbox of a Super Puma helicopter which was forced to ditch in the North Sea six months ago.

Eurocopter, the French manufacturer of the Super Puma EC225, which was involved in two separate ditchings last year, has been carrying out tests on the faulty gearbox since the helicopter, operated by CHC Helicopters, ditched into the North Sea off Shetland on 22 October.

A crack in the main gear shaft was discovered after the chopper carried out a controlled ditching following indications of a failure of the main gearbox lubrication system and emergency lubrication system.

Eurocopter revealed in November that the warning of a lubrication system failure on the CHC-operated Super Puma was a false alarm - identical to the scenario in the ditching in May involving a Bond-operated Super Puma.

In a new statement, issued today, a spokesman for the helicopter manufacturer announced: “The third round of tests at Eurocopter – which focused on the bevel gear shaft – is complete. The investigation timetable is proceeding according to plan, with each step bringing us closer to the probable causes and solutions.”

He continued: “The investigation results are currently being analyzed and will be reported by Eurocopter in accordance with the confidentiality rules of the official investigation which is led by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch. Additionally, independent experts from Georgia Technology Research Institute will validate the methodology and conclusions of key elements of the investigation. The institute has great depth of experience in crack propagation and metallurgical investigations.”

The spokesman continued: “The test campaign performed on the EC225 main gearbox emergency lubrication system (EMLUB) confirmed that the system was operating correctly throughout both the 2012 events. The tests have identified the root cause of the in-flight false alarms. The false alarms were a result of wrong electrical signalling and the different tests have also shown that the pressure sensor settings of the air and glycol system must be modified.

“Corrective solutions for the EMLUB system have been developed and the final fix will be implemented with the support of Eurocopter by the end of March 2013.”

He added: “Eurocopter will continue to regularly communicate with customers and operators and industry representatives concerning the EC225 main gearbox shaft failures, whilst respecting the confidentiality of the official accident investigation”

All 16 EC225s operating in the North Sea - one-fifth of the entire fleet - have been grounded since last October when the CHC-operated Super Puma EC225 was forced to ditch off Shetland. Another Super Puma ditched 30 miles off the coast of Aberdeen in May last year.

Source:  http://www.scotsman.com

Air India likely to emerge as cash surplus company next fiscal

NEW DELHI: Air India is likely to emerge as a cash surplus company in the next financial year with a net earning of over Rs 1,000 crore on the back of high passenger revenue and sale and lease back of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Air India board, which met here today, finalised the annual budget for 2013-14 weeks after government approved the equity infusion of Rs 5,000 crore.

"The company is expected to be EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) positive in the year 2013-14 by about Rs 1040 crore," an Air India official said.

This is due to the increase in operating revenue by Rs 3,235 crore as a result of increase in capacity by 24 per cent.

"The total revenue next year is budgeted at Rs 19,393 crore - an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year," the official said.

Last week, a senior Air India official had said that the airline would end this financial year (2012-13) with EBITDA positive of Rs 65 crore.

The Board had also approved the sale and lease back proposal for the Boeing 787 and sale of Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft which would bring down the overall cost platform for Air India.

In the financial year 2013-14, the passenger load factor is expected to be around 72.5 per cent on the network, which is better than that envisaged in the Turnaround Plan (TAP).

The airline is expected to carry 16.12 million passengers in 2013-14, a growth of 14.7 per cent vis-a-vis 2012-13, the official said.

Air India also plans to operate new links in 2013-14 on the domestic and international sectors, besides improving connectivity from Delhi to tier II and tier III cities.

The national carrier is planning to expand to Australia, more destinations in Europe as well as to South East Asia in the next fiscal.

Apart from it, Air India would also be benefited with the the new competitive pricing agreement with the fuel companies.

Also, the interest expenses for the company were likely to come down by Rs 200 crore in 2013-14 due to the restructuring of certain working capital and long term loans.

"The government had recently approved infusion of further equity (in the year 2013-14) into Air India to the extent of Rs 5,000 crore, which would result in an improved net worth and debt-equity ratio for the airline," the official said.


Source:   http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Court: Plane crash cleanup is county's expense - Colgan Air, Inc., Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ: Accident occurred February 12, 2009 in Clarence Center, Erie County, New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County has lost its bid to recover the money it spent in the aftermath of the 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo.

A federal appeals court last week upheld a ruling clearing flight operator Colgan Air, its parent company, Pinnacle Airlines, and Continental Airlines of responsibility for the cost of the emergency response and cleanup. The reason: a provision of New York law that says public money spent doing government work is not recoverable.

Flight 3407 crashed into a house in suburban Clarence on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport in February 2009. All 49 people on board and a man in the house were killed.

Erie County argued the airlines should pay its $800,000 tab because pilot error caused the crash.


Source:  http://online.wsj.com


NTSB Identification: DCA09MA027
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of COLGAN AIR INC (D.B.A. Continental Connection)
Accident occurred Thursday, February 12, 2009 in Clarence Center, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2010
Aircraft: BOMBARDIER INC DHC-8-402, registration: N200WQ
Injuries: 50 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board’s full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/A_Acc1.htm. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-10/01.

On February 12, 2009, about 2217 eastern standard time, a Colgan Air, Inc., Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ, operating as Continental Connection flight 3407, was on an instrument approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, Buffalo, New York, when it crashed into a residence in Clarence Center, New York, about 5 nautical miles northeast of the airport. The 2 pilots, 2 flight attendants, and 45 passengers aboard the airplane were killed, one person on the ground was killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The captain’s inappropriate response to the activation of the stick shaker, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover. Contributing to the accident were (1) the flight crew’s failure to monitor airspeed in relation to the rising position of the low-speed cue, (2) the flight crew failure to adhere to sterile cockpit procedures, (3) the captain’s failure to effectively manage the flight, and (4) Colgan Air’s inadequate procedures for airspeed selection and management during approaches in icing conditions.

Key Boeing 787 Customer Confident on Battery Fix: WSJ

March 12, 2013, 11:35 a.m. ET

By JON OSTROWER

The Wall Street Journal

ORLANDO, Fla.—The head of an influential Boeing Co. 787 customer said Tuesday that the aerospace group's proposed battery fix will preserve the jet's value to leasing companies.

Boeing's "permanent" fix addresses the potential causes of twin incidents affecting the jet's lithium-ion batteries that prompted the world-wide grounding of the 787 Dreamliner fleet in January, said Jeff Knittel, president of transportation finance at CIT Group Inc.

Mr. Knittel told reporters at an industry conference that Boeing has "come up with a fix that makes sense," even as investigators have failed to find the underlying cause of the battery incidents on two 787s operated by Japanese airlines.

Boeing has suspended 787 deliveries, while 50 remain grounded pending regulatory approval of the proposed remedies. Leasing companies such as CIT and International Lease Finance Corp.—which was due to hand over its first 787 to a customer next month—account for more than a third of the global jet fleet.

Mr. Knittel confirmed changes to the 787 battery include increased spacing between the eight lithium-ion battery cells, a specially-designed containment box and a venting system to isolate a fire and vent any smoke or fumes.

He said CIT expects to receive the first of 10 Dreamliners on order in late 2014. He expected concerns over the 787 to be quickly left behind when it returns to service, though owners will have to assess the durability of the battery fix and its impact on maintenance costs.

The Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating a proposal from Boeing that the plane maker said will address a host of potential causes unearthed during probes being conducted alongside U.S. and Japanese aviation safety watchdogs.

If approved, Boeing will be able to start formal flight testing and certification of the battery fix, though the FAA will still have to evaluate the company's findings and give the final green light to resume commercial flights.

Mr. Knittel said some 787 customers have sought replacement aircraft ahead of the summer season, though that activity has been limited. "This is not some feeding frenzy out there," he says.

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

5 U.S. troops die in Blackhawk crash in Afghanistan

Updated 3:05 a.m. ET

KABUL, Afghanistan A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five American service members, officials said Tuesday.

Monday night's crash brought the total number of U.S. troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for U.S. forces so far this year. Two U.S. special operations forces were gunned down hours earlier in a possible "insider" attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan.

The NATO military coalition said in a statement that "initial reports" showed no enemy activity in the area at the time. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the statement said.

A local official tells CBS News it was windy when the craft went down, and weather or technical problem could have been to blame.

A U.S. official said all five of the dead were Americans. The official said the helicopter crashed outside Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been formally released.

The five dead included everyone aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk, said Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan.

Their deaths make 12 U.S. troops killed so far this year in Afghanistan. There were 297 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan in 2012, according to an Associated Press tally.

It was the deadliest crash since August, when a U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of Kandahar. Seven Americans and four Afghans died in that crash.

In March 2012, a helicopter crashed near the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and four Afghan civilians on the ground, officials said. And in August 2011, insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 30 American troops, mostly elite Navy SEALs, in Wardak province in central Afghanistan.

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

Investigators Narrow Focus in Dreamliner Probe: WSJ

March 11, 2013, 9:34 p.m. ET

By ANDY PASZTOR

The Wall Street Journal


U.S. aviation safety investigators examining Boeing Co.'s  787 Dreamliner increasingly are focusing on manufacturing or design problems with the batteries as possible causes of overheating rather than on other parts of the jet's electrical system, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

While the safety board still hasn't identified the root cause of a lithium-ion battery fire in January on a parked Japan Airlines Co. 787, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told The Wall Street Journal "we're looking at the [battery] manufacturing process," including searching for potential "internal defects" that could have touched off a short-circuit.

Taken together, Ms. Hersman's comments provide the strongest sign yet of the board's overall direction in the nearly two-month-old 787 probe. Investigators have said they believe a short circuit began a sequence of events that ended with a battery fire and heavy smoke inside the Japan Airlines jet. But they haven't been able to determine what caused the short circuit. In the past, Ms. Hersman and other NTSB officials placed equal emphasis on exploring causes that were internal and external to the battery.

Ms. Hersman indicated that above all, board experts now are interested in unraveling internal battery behavior such as "how each individual cell is charged" and "how those charges are monitored." In addition, she said the probe is building on "some steps that have been taken" recently by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration to reassess production and inspection practices at the GS Yuasa Corp. 6674.TO -3.69% factory in Japan that makes the batteries.

A Boeing spokesman said the company's team "has worked tirelessly in support of the NTSB to help develop an understanding of the event," adding that "until the investigation concludes, we can't speculate on what the results will be."

A spokesman for Yuasa wasn't immediately available for comment.

Last week, the board issued a preliminary report indicating, among other things, that investigators basically determined various electronic components connected to the battery—ranging from a charging unit to a sophisticated surge protector—were intact and didn't exhibit any failures or defects. Tests after the fire showed those components generally worked as expected, according to the report.

In the interview, Ms. Hersman reiterated "we feel very confident" that the short circuit started an uncontrollable overheating problem. But she seemed less positive than before about the outcome of the probe and stopped short of predicting that investigators eventually will find the precise answer to what caused the battery fire. "Nobody has a crystal ball," she said. "I have tremendous confidence in our investigators," she said, but then added "we will do what we can" and "rely on other people" such as government and industry experts to help search for the answer.

For now, though, other developments highlight the emphasis on searching for potential causes within the guts of the Dreamliner's 63-pound battery. Ms. Hersman said the safety board is currently testing a number of new, undamaged batteries in the laboratory and documenting their power fluctuations and other factors over a number of weeks. Such "monitoring over time" allows investigators to understand how the batteries operate at "high levels (and) low levels" of power, she said, providing a "very comprehensive look" at their performance. 

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Israeli army helicopter crashes during training, killing 2 pilots

Lt.-Col. Noam Ron, 49, and Maj. Erez Flekser, 31, killed in helicopter crash near Kibbutz Revadim. Air Force officials believe crash caused by technical fault 


 
Helicopter parts found Tuesday morning
Photo: Yyz


Two Air Force pilots, Lieutenant-Colonel Noam Ron, 49, from Oranit and Major Erez Flekser, 31, from Haifa, were killed in a helicopter crash in the Revadim area south of Gedera on Tuesday. Contact with the Cobra helicopter was lost on Monday night prompting IDF forces to launch a search.

Air Force Commander Major-General Amir Eshel ordered the establishment of a military commission of inquiry. The victims' families have been notified. 

At around 1 am, a citizen driving on Route 3 reported seeing a large object in the air falling into a wheat field near Kibbutz Revadim. Magen David Adom teams, rescue and army forces were called to the scene.

In addition, Air Force jets canvassed the area. At around 5 am, part of the helicopter's propeller was found. Earlier, defense officials estimated that the helicopter had fallen into a water reservoir in the area where other parts may be found.

Forces are still busy collecting the fragments and the search is likely to continue until the evening hours. Air Force sources said that seeing as the two pilots were highly experienced, it is likely the crash was caused by a technical fault.

Air Force Commander Major-General Amir Eshel arrived the scene of the crash and met with the team investigating the circumstances behind the accident. He grounded all Cobra helicopters until the investigation concludes.

The IDF said that the helicopter had left a base in central Israel for a routine training flight together with another helicopter which returned to the Palmachim base base.

The helicopter performed further training at which point contact was lost. It did not report a malfunction and prior to the crash the pilots signaled "Six minutes to landing."  The helicopter did not explode in the air but crashed into the ground as it did not carry a large amount of gas.

Moshe, a yeshiva student who participated in the search, said: "When we saw the mess in the air and the security forces we went to help with the search. We went into the field and several hundred meters into it found part of the helicopter's main rotor. The people with me found another part. It's fortunate the helicopter did not catch fire."

The past year has seen several Air Force accidents and near-accidents which fortunately had no casualties. In January 2012, a pilot and navigator were forced to abandon an F-16 jet in the Ramat David base due to a technical fault discovered during landing. The two pilots were unharmed and a commission of inquiry was established.

A week earlier, an F-16 jet on a routine flight in the north veered off the runway at Ramat David. No injuries were reported but damage was caused to the aircraft. An initial investigation suggests that a technical fault and not a human error had caused the jet to veer off.

Most recently, two senior IAF officers nearly crashed their jets into each other during a drill last September. They had been flying 100 meters apart, against protocol.

Story, video, photos:  http://www.ynetnews.com