Friday, March 22, 2013

Caribbean Airlines confirms Jamaican pilots' work permits not renewed

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Friday confirmed that three Jamaican pilots had been refused work permits but said that their contracts had already come to an end.

“The pilots…their contracts had already come to an end at the time so based on that the authorities perhaps communicated with them,” CAL communications manager Clint Williams told reporters.

Earlier the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) said it had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in the matter and questioned the commitment of regional countries to the free movement initiative within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

BITU president Kavan Gayle confirmed he had sought the intervention of the Jamaica government and that despite numerous requests for work permits from six Jamaican pilots based in Trinidad and Tobago, the documents were not forthcoming.

In May 2011, CAL took over the cash-strapped Air Jamaica with the government in Kingston having a 16 per cent share in the airline.

Williams said that all the pilots now come under CAL whether or not they fly the Air Jamaica routes.

“That contract came to an end on March 10 and they were subsequently contacted by the local authorities after that,” Williams said, indicating that the contracts for the pilots were “for a limited time”

“So as it stands right now that contract period …that came to an end and it is not being renewed at this time,” he added.


Source:  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com

Airbus A320: Engine Fire During the Take-off Roll: Baltic Aviation Academy

 
 March 22, 2013


This week Pranas Drulis and Andrejs Apsitis, ATPL Integrated students at Baltic Aviation Academy, demonstrated how to perform a rejected take-off due to an engine fire and the actions associated with this emergency.

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Fargo Air Museum Raffles Mustang for Hangar Addition

Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks 

The area is buzzing about a big raffle involving the Fargo Air Museum, two well-known pilots, and a new addition in their honor. Supporters hope some unique prizes will prompt people to open their wallets in celebration. 

It's not what they would have wanted, says Fargo Air Museum Executive Director Fran Brummund. She adds, it wasn't their intention that their names would be on the building. But their friends and fans say building an aircraft hangar addition at the Fargo Air Museum is one of the best ways to honor Gerry Beck and Bob Odegaard, two pilots with a passion for flying and a vision to share that enthusiasm with others.

"Unfortunately they're not here, but the fact we have a chance to build another building and have it named the Beck-Odegaard wing is so fitting," says Pilot Tim "Toby" McPherson.

 Organizers are well on their way, with $400,000 dollars in the museum coffers, but still shy 450-thousand more. They're hoping some extraordinary prizes at a September 14 raffle will help their dream take flight.

This what everyone is hoping to win. A 2013 Mustang Boss 302. Limited edition, hand-assembled engine, valued at $48,000. This is a nice ride.

The second prize in the raffle is also mustang-related. Fran Brummund says there are those folks who would give their eye teeth to ride in a P51 Mustang. A world war two fighter plane, to be exact. With only 140 registered in the world today, and only half of those actively flying, this is a ride you would never forget. McPherson says without that airplane we wouldn't have won the war. And that's what organizers are aiming for, too.

A new wing dedicated to aviation, the air museum and the two men who were its biggest supporters. Pilot Tim "Toby" McPherson says the legacy of Beck and Odegaard is so important to the museum, and everything the men stood for.


Story and Video:  http://www.valleynewslive.com

Beechcraft B100 King Air, N499SW: Accident occurred December 18, 2012 in Libby, Montana

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA073 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 19, 2012 in Libby, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/04/2015
Aircraft: BEECH B100, registration: N499SW
Injuries: 2 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.

When the flight was about 7 miles from the airport and approaching it from the south in dark night conditions, the noncertificated pilot canceled the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. A police officer who was on patrol in the local area reported that he observed a twin-engine airplane come out of the clouds about 500 ft above ground level and then bank left over the town, which was north of the airport. The airplane then turned left and re-entered the clouds. The officer went to the airport to investigate, but he did not see the airplane. He reported that it was dark, but clear, at the airport and that he could see stars; there was snow on the ground. He also observed that the rotating beacon was illuminated but that the pilot-controlled runway lighting was not. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert notice, and the wreckage was located about 7 hours later 2 miles north of the airport. The airplane had collided with several trees on downsloping terrain; the debris path was about 290 ft long. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The town and airport were located within a sparsely populated area that had limited lighting conditions, which, along with the clouds and 35 percent moon illumination, would have restricted the pilot’s visual references. These conditions likely led to his being geographically disoriented (lost) and his subsequent failure to maintain sufficient altitude to clear terrain. Although the pilot did not possess a valid pilot’s certificate, a review of his logbooks indicated that he had considerable experience flying the airplane, usually while accompanied by another pilot, and that he had flown in both visual and IFR conditions. A previous student pilot medical certificate indicated that the pilot was color blind and listed limitations for flying at night and for using color signals. The pilot had applied for another student pilot certificate 2 months before the accident, but this certificate was deferred pending a medical review.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noncertificated pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering to land in dark night conditions likely due to his geographic disorientation (lost). Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s improper decision to fly at night with a known visual limitation.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 19, 2012, about 0002 mountain standard time (MST), a Beech B100, N499SW, collided with trees near Libby, Montana. Stinger Welding was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The non-certificated pilot and one passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed from impact forces. The cross-country personal flight departed Coolidge, Arizona, about 2025 MST with Libby as the planned destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the nearest official reporting station, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the pilot had been cleared for the GPS-A instrument approach procedure for the Libby Airport (S59), which was located 7 nm south-southeast of Libby. The pilot acknowledged that clearance at 2353. At 2359, the airplane target was about 7 miles south of the airport; the pilot reported the field in sight, and cancelled the IFR flight plan. Recorded radar data indicated that the airplane was at a Mode C altitude of 11,700 feet mean sea level at that time, and the beacon code changed from 6057 to 1200.

A track obtained from the FilghtAware internet site indicated a target at 2320 at 26,000 feet that was heading in the direction of Libby. The target began a descent at 2340:65. At 2359:10, and 11,700 feet mode C altitude, the beacon code changed to 1200. The target continued to descend, and crossed the Libby Airport, elevation 2,601 feet, at 0000:46 at 8,300 feet. The track continued north; the last target was at 0001:58 and a Mode C altitude of 5,000 feet; this was about 3 miles south of Libby and over 4 miles north of the airport.

A police officer reported that he observed a twin-engine airplane come out of the clouds over the city of Libby about 500 feet above ground level. It turned left, and went back into the clouds. The officer thought that it was probably going to the airport; he went to the airport to investigate, but observed no airplane. It was dark, but clear, at the airport with about 3 inches of snow on the ground, and he could see stars. He also observed that the rotating beacon was illuminated, but not the pilot controlled runway lighting. He listened for an airplane, but heard nothing.

When the pilot did not appear at a company function at midday on December 18, they reported him overdue. The Prescott, Arizona, Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) issued an alert notice (ALNOT) at 1102 MST; the wreckage was located at 1835.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of FAA medical records revealed that the 54-year-old pilot first applied for an Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate in August 2004. On that Medical Certification Application, the pilot reported having 500 hours total time with 200 hours in the previous 6 months. No alcohol or medication usage was reported; however, the pilot was determined to be red/green color blind.

On June 9, 2010, the pilot reported on an application for an Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate that he had 925 hours total time with 150 hours in the previous 6 months. He was issued a third-class medical certificate that was deemed not valid for night flying or using color signal control.

On May 16, 2012, the pilot received a driving while intoxicated (DWI) citation in Libby.

The pilot reported on an application for an Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate dated October 16, 2012, that he had a total time of 980 hours with 235 hours logged in the previous 6 months. Item 52 for color vision indicated fail. This application reported a new diagnosis of hypertension, and use of medications to control it. This application reported yes in item 17 (v) for history of arrest of conviction for driving while intoxicated. The FAA deferred the issuance of the Student Pilot and Medical Certificate, indicating that they were investigating a failure to report within 60 days the alcohol-related motor vehicle action that occurred in Montana on May 16, 2012. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) reviewed copies of the pilot's logbooks beginning on March 21, 2010, and ending November 4, 2012. The entries indicated a total time of 978 hours during that time period. Time logged for the 90 days prior to the accident was 34 hours. The logbooks recorded numerous trips to Libby with three entries in the previous 90 days. The last solo flight endorsement, in a Cessna 340, was signed off by a certified flight instructor in August 2011. The logbook contained several entries for flights in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions.

The IIC interviewed the chief pilot for the company, who was hired to fly the Stinger Company's Cessna CJ2 jet, which they purchased about 4 years earlier. The accident pilot owned the company, and would typically have the chief pilot arrange for a contract pilot to fly with him in the accident airplane. The chief pilot was standing by to fly the owner in the CJ2, but the owner never contacted him or requested another pilot for the accident airplane.

The IIC interviewed a contract pilot who flew with the accident pilot on December 16, 2012; this was their only flight together. It was a 6-hour round trip from Coolidge to La Paz, Mexico. The airplane was in perfect condition; everything was working, and they had no squawks. The pilot had paper charts, as well as charts on an iPad. The contract pilot felt that the pilot handled the airplane well, was competent, and understood all of the systems. The pilot coached the contract pilot on the systems installed including the autopilot. They used it on the outbound trip, and it operated properly. They used the approach mode into La Paz including vertical navigation. The pilot had no complaints of physical ailments or lack of sleep, and fuelled the airplane himself.

The passenger was a company employee who was not a pilot.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Beech B100, serial number BE89. The airplane's logbooks were not provided and examined. 

The IIC interviewed Stinger Welding's aviation maintenance chief, whose 4-year employment was terminated about 1 month after the accident. He stated that the airplane typically flew 200-400 hours a year; the company had flown it about 800 hours since its acquisition. The chief was not aware of any unresolved squawks as the owner usually had him take care of maintenance needs immediately. The airplane had been out of service for maintenance for a long time the previous year, having taken almost 7 months to get the propeller out of the shop due to the repair cost. The maintenance chief said that the owner kept the onboard Garmin GPS databases up to date. The airplane was operated under Part 91 CFR, and inspections being delayed were: the 6-year landing gear inspection was past due; the 12-month items were due; and the 3-year wing structure and wing bolt inspection was due.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The closest official weather observation station was Sandpoint, Idaho (KSZT), which was 46 nautical miles (nm) west of the accident site at an elevation of 2,131 feet mean sea level (msl). An aviation routine weather report (METAR) issued at 2355 MST stated: wind from 220 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky 2,800 feet overcast; temperature 0/32 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -3/27 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury. Illumination of the moon was 35 percent.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Airport/ Facility Directory, Northwest Pacific U. S., indicated that Libby Airport had an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS)-A, which broadcast on frequency 118.575.

Libby runway 15/33 was 5,000 feet long and 75 feet wide; the runway surface was asphalt. The airport elevation was 2,601 feet.

The airport was located within the general confines of the Kootenai National Forest, and beyond the town of Libby; the area was lightly inhabited.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The IIC and investigators from the FAA and Honeywell examined the wreckage on site. Detailed examination notes are part of the public docket. The center of the debris field was about 2.5 miles north of the airport at an elevation of 4,180 feet.

A description of the debris field references debris from left and right of the centerline of the debris path; the debris was through trees on a slope that went downhill from left to right. The debris path was about 290 feet long along a magnetic bearing of 125 degrees. 

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was a topped tree with branches on the ground below it and in the direction of the debris field. About 50 feet from the tree were composite shards, and a piece of the composite engine nacelle, which had a hole punched in it.

The next point of contact was a 4-foot-tall tree stump with shiny splinters on the stump. The lower portion of the tree had been displaced about 30 feet in the direction of the debris field with the top folded back toward the stump. Underneath the tree trunk were the nose gear and control surfaces followed by wing pieces.

One engine and propeller with all four blades attached was about 50 feet from the stump, and on the right side of the debris path. This was later determined to be the right engine. Next on the left side of the debris path was the outboard half of one propeller blade; another propeller blade was about 10 feet further into the debris field.

Midway into the debris field were several trees with sheet metal wrapped around them. Near the midpoint of the debris field, a portion of the instrument panel had imbedded into a tree about 15 feet above the ground. The wiring bundle hung down the tree trunk to ground level. To the left of the instrument panel was one of the largest pieces of wreckage. This piece contained the left and right horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizer, and part of one wing with the landing gear strut attached. The rudder separated, but was a few feet left of this piece.

Next in the debris field was a 6- by 8-foot piece of twisted metal, which contained the throttle quadrant.

About 100 feet right of the debris path centerline and downhill from the throttle quadrant was a 10-foot section of the aft cabin. This section was connected by steel cables and wires to a 4- by 7-foot piece of twisted metal.

The furthest large piece of wreckage was the second engine; this was later determined to be the left engine. The left propeller hub with two blades attached had separated from the engine; the other two blades were located earlier within the debris field.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Forensic Science Division, Department of Justice, State of Montana, completed an autopsy, and determined that the cause of death was blunt force injuries.

The FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot.

Analysis of the specimens indicated no carbon monoxide detected in blood (cavity), no test performed for cyanide, no ethanol detected in muscle or kidney, and no findings for tested drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The IIC and investigators from the FAA, Textron Aviation, and Honeywell examined the wreckage at Avtech, Kent, Washington, on February 13, 2013.

Detailed examination notes are part of the public docket. Investigators observed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engines.

The engines had been modified from Honeywell models to National Flight Services, INC., models per a supplemental type certificate (STC SE002292AT), and installed in the airplane per STC SA00856AT.

The left engine was TPE331-6-511B, serial number P-27185C based on a Beechcraft data tag on the engine. The starter/generator input shaft fractured and separated; the fracture surface was angular and twisted.

No metallic debris was adhering to the engine chip detector.

The engine inlet fractured and separated from the engine gearcase housing. Earthen debris was observed on the first stage compressor impeller. Vanes of the first stage impeller were bent opposite the direction of rotation.

Overall, the compressor case and plenum displayed crush damage. Upon removal of the airframe exhaust, investigators observed earthen debris within the engine exhaust. There was a fine layer of dried mud/earthen debris on the forward suction side of the third stage turbine blades. Investigators observed metal spray deposits on the third stage turbine stator vanes.

All four propeller blades exhibited leading edge damage; a section of one blade was not recovered with the aircraft wreckage, but this blade's tip was recovered.

The right engine was a TPE331-6-511B, serial number P27190C. 

Investigators observed rotational scoring in multiple locations on the propeller shaft. The first stage compressor impeller displayed tearing and battering damage; some vanes were bent opposite the direction of rotation. Investigators observed wood debris in the engine inlet area.

Investigators observed metal spray deposits noted on the suction side of the third stage turbine stator vanes.

All four of the right propeller's blades displayed leading edge damage and chordwise scoring. One tip fractured and separated; it was not recovered. All blades bent aft at midspan; they exhibited s-bending and tip curling.
===============


Stinger Welding, Inc., the span and bridge builder that during its heyday employed more than 100 workers in Libby, has filed for Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy code. 

Stinger Welding lost its CEO,  Carl Douglas, when his airplane crashed into Swede Mountain on Dec. 19.

The bankruptcy filing, which will protect Stinger from creditors for at least 30 days, was filed in bankruptcy court in Arizona District Court in Phoenix.

Stinger Welding’s, home office is located in Coolidge, Ariz.

In the petition filed March 8, Douglas’ wife, Stephanie Jordan, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the company started by her late husband, whose business was left with heavy debt.

Chapter 11 allows the debtor to propose a plan for profitability post-bankruptcy, which may include trimming costs and seeking new sources of revenue or income, while temporarily holding creditors at bay.

On the petition, Jordan, through her attorney  Franklin  D.  Dodge of Ryan Raypp & Underwood of Phoenix, Ariz., checked a box that indicated between 50 and 99 creditors. In subsequent legal paperwork, there is a list of 142 creditors. Fourteen of those creditors list Libby as their business address and two more regional creditors were in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and Huron, Mont.

Of the top 20 creditors, the total debt is $5.863 million, and the list beyond them is extensive. Among the top 20 is the Internal Revenue Service for $875,922; General Steel & Supply, Co., of Dickinson, N.D., $849,567.74; Washington Department of Revenue for taxes, $760,866; Mountain States Steel for $734,502.12; Cobb, Strecker, Dunphy & Zimmerman for back insurance payments, $581,000; and Tommy Fisher, CEO of Fisher Sand & Gravel, Co., of Dickenson, N.D., for $536,990. Fisher is among the largest contributors to Stinger. With his holdings in the sand and gravel company and General Steel, he is owed at least $1.386 million.

Phone and e-mail messages left for Fisher were not returned.

After Stinger filed, the courts were inundated with subsequent legal requests seeking to prevent the company from obtaining such protection.

On March 13 in the same Arizona District Court, attorneys for Fisher Sand & Gravel and Steel Girder, LLC, filed a motion to dismiss the Stinger bankruptcy petition as an unauthorized and bad-faith filing  “because there is continuing loss and diminution to the estate with no prospect of rehabilitating the debtor,” the attorneys for Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite wrote in their appeal.

“Apparently, they feel this is a move more to protect Stephanie Jordan’s assets than really rehabilitate Stinger Welding,” said R. Allan Payne, the attorney representing the Lincoln County Port Authority, which has been leasing land to Stinger and who is among the long list of creditors named in the petition.

Upon learning of Jordan’s petition for bankruptcy protection, Payne, on behalf of the Port Authority, also filed a request to stay the motion for bankruptcy protection, which ultimately was granted Tuesday, March 19, by Arizona Bankruptcy Court Judge Brenda Moody Whinery.

Payne said the Chapter 11 filing will only delay the inevitable, which is the likely demise of Stinger Welding. In the end, Payne is confident the Port Authority will win its case against Stinger for ownership of the Stinger building, which Stinger called its Northwest Operations base. The Port Authority allowed Stinger Welding to use the building as collateral to secure a loan.

“I am confident the Port Authority will retain ownership of the building,” Payne said. “This will delay things, but in the end I think things will turn out our way.”

Paul Rumelhart, executive director of the Kootenai River Development Council and who directs the Port Authority, said he learned of the bankruptcy filing Tuesday.

“Right now, everyone’s hands are tied. It will take awhile before we can determine what paths to take,” Rumelhart said. “There are prior liens, unpaid taxes and money owed to creditors. It’s going to take awhile to sort out.”

Rumelhart got defensive when asked about the demise of Stinger and whether the Port Authority was correct in bringing the bridge and span builder to Lincoln County.

“Stinger was a good thing for Lincoln County,” he said. “(To those who criticize) I’d ask them what they’ve done for Lincoln County? At one point there were 104 jobs there. For those who are critical, I’d say it’s not like we funded a line of credit. What we invested in is the building, and it’s still there. I am excited about the potential for the building.”

Lincoln County Presiding Commissioner Tony Berget said as much as he would have liked to see Stinger do well in the county, it’s now time to move on.

“Our No. 1 priority is jobs,” Berget said. “I agree. We need to get another business in that building. Right now, we got families that are split between here and in North Dakota.”

Among the 14 local creditors is Rick Gullingsrud of Rick’s Rental, who is owed about $3,000 by Stinger.

“I had heard they were probably going to go under, so I had been calling for about four months trying to get paid,” Gullingsrud said. “It’s only $3,000, but it was my $3,000. Yeah, I’m pissed.”

Among the other businesses owed by Stinger are the Sandman Hotel, the Evergreen Motel, the City of Libby, Ace Enterprises, Lincoln County Landfill, Lincoln County Treasurer, Northern Energy, Co., St. John’s Lutheran Hospital, T.L. Ward Trucking, Treasure Mountain Restaurant and the Venture Motor Inn.

Stinger Welding has been laying off workers a little at a time, Watkins, the Job Service manager, said. To date, Stinger workers in Coolidge, Ariz., still are working.

Phone messages seeking comment for Stinger Receiver John Boyd, of MCA Financial in Phoenix, were not returned.

Source:   http://www.thewesternnews.com


http://business-bankruptcies.com/cases/stinger-welding-inc

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 18, 2012 in Libby, MT
Aircraft: BEECH B100, registration: N499SW
Injuries: 2 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 December 18, 2012, about 0002 mountain standard time (MST), a Beech B100, N499SW, collided with trees at Libby, Montana. Stinger Welding was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The noncertificated pilot and one passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The cross-country personal flight departed Coolidge, Arizona, about 2025 MST on December 17th, with Libby as the planned destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the nearest official reporting station of Sandpoint, Idaho, 264 degrees at 46 miles, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the pilot had been cleared for the GPS-A instrument approach procedure for the Libby Airport. The clearance had a crossing restriction of 10,700 feet at the PACCE intersection, which was the initial approach fix for the GPS-A approach. The pilot acknowledged that clearance at 2353. At 2359, the airplane target was about 7 miles south of the airport; the pilot reported the field in sight, and cancelled the IFR flight plan.

A police officer reported that he observed an airplane fly over the city of Libby, which was north of the airport; the airplane then turned toward the airport. The officer went to the airport to investigate, but observed no airplane. He noted that it was foggy in town, but the airport was clear. He also observed that the rotating beacon was illuminated, but not the pilot controlled runway lighting.

When the pilot did not appear at a company function at midday on December 18, they reported him overdue. The Prescott, Arizona, Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) issued an alert notice (ALNOT) at 1102 MST; the wreckage was located at 1835.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) and investigators from the FAA and Honeywell examined the wreckage on site. A description of the debris field references debris from left and right of the centerline of the debris path. The debris was through trees on a slope that went downhill from left to right.

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was a topped tree with branches on the ground below it and in the direction of the debris field. About 50 feet from the tree were composite shards, and a piece of the composite engine nacelle, which had a hole punched in it.

The next point of contact was a 4-foot tree stump with shiny splinters on the stump. The lower portion of the tree had been displaced about 30 feet in the direction of the debris field with the top folded back toward the stump. Underneath the tree trunk were the nose gear and a couple of control surfaces followed by wing pieces.

One engine with the propeller attached was about 50 feet from the stump, and on the right side of the debris path. Next on the left side of the debris path was the outboard half of one propeller blade; another propeller blade was about 10 feet further into the debris field.

Midway into the debris field were several trees with sheet metal wrapped around them. Near the midpoint of the debris field, a portion of the instrument panel had imbedded into a tree about 15 feet above the ground. The wiring bundle hung down the tree trunk to ground level. To the left of the instrument panel was one of the largest pieces of wreckage. This piece contained the left and right horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizer, and part of one wing with the landing gear strut attached. The rudder separated, but was a few feet left of this piece.

Next in the debris field was a 6- by 8-foot piece of twisted metal, which contained the throttle quadrant.

About 100 feet right of the debris path centerline and downhill from the throttle quadrant was a 10-foot section of the aft cabin. This section was connected by steel cables and wires to a 4- by 7-foot piece of twisted metal.

The furthest large piece of wreckage was the second engine; the propeller hub with two blades attached had separated.

Almost 100 apply for airports director job: Okaloosa County, Florida

Click here to view the list of applicants 

The search for Okaloosa County’s new airports director has drawn dozens of applicants from across the country. 

“Currently we have 89 applications from 20 different states,” county Human Resources Director Kay Godwin said.

The position is still being advertised on the county’s website.

Among the candidates is Tracy Stage, the county’s current deputy airports director.

The new director will oversee Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Destin Airport and Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview. The job has a salary range of $79,913 to $145,350.

Eligible applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in airport management, aviation administration, business administration, public administration or a related field. They also must have seven years’ experience related to civilian airports.

County commissioners have formed a screening committee to begin reviewing the applications.

Committee members are Godwin; Commissioner Kelly Windes, the board’s liaison to the airports department; Dino Sinopoli, chairman of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce’s airport committee; Destin City Manager Maryann Ustick; and Bill Johnson, executive director of the Florida Airports Council.

The new director will take over for Greg Donovan, who was the airports director from 2008 to March 1. Donovan left Okaloosa to take over the director’s post at Pensacola International Airport, where he previously worked as assistant director.


View the list of applicants

Source:  http://www.nwfdailynews.com

Boeing To Lay Off 800 Commercial Jet Workers: WSJ

March 22, 2013, 5:27 p.m. ET

By JON OSTROWER

The Wall Street Journal

Boeing Co. Bsaid on Friday it would lay off 800 commercial jet workers this year at factories in the Seattle area that modify already-built 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 jumbo jets for customers.

The company will through transfers and attrition reduce its overall workforce in the Puget Sound region by between 2,000 and 2,300 this year, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said.

The layoffs are unrelated to the recent grounding of the 787 Dreamliner, said Mr. Birtel.

Boeing said it employed 86,198 people at Seattle-area factories at the end of February. It still plans to hire between 8,000 and 10,000 companywide in 2013. With planned reductions in its commercial and defense businesses, Boeing's employment will be flat or slightly down at year's end.

The 787 and 747-8 struggled through years of delays during their development, and Boeing brought in extra teams of engineers and machinists to complete the jetliners for delivery, updating each with new parts and incorporating design changes discovered during testing and certification.

The amount of extra work required on 787s has fallen significantly as sections of the jet are arriving at its final assembly lines complete, even with the package of changes to the jet's lithium-ion batteries outlined by Boeing an effort to put the plane back into the air after its grounding by regulators on Jan. 16.

"With 787 and 747 development efforts completing and disruption substantially decreasing, we require fewer resources," said Mr. Birtel. "We will assess employment needs continuously and may need to hire in some areas to ensure we maintain critical skills. We continue to explore all options to lessen the use of layoffs."

Boeing is increasing production of the 787 from five jets a month today and plans to double output by the end of 2013. The Chicago-based plane maker builds two 747 jumbo jets each month at its Everett, Wash., jet factory and splits 787 production between Washington state and North Charleston, S.C.

Mr. Birtel said 500 employees have already been reassigned since the beginning of 2013. Of the 50 787s handed over to operators since September 2011, 33 have required modification. Boeing has said its first 56 production 787s will require some level of post-assembly changes before delivery. In February, Boeing confirmed it was laying-off contractors at its South Carolina factory. A person familiar with the reduction plan says Boeing would reduce some teams by 20% at the nearly 6,800 person facility.


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

FAA to close 149 federal contract towers starting April 7


WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday it would close 149 air-traffic control towers that direct flights at smaller airports across the country.

The airports range from Phoenix Goodyear airport in Arizona to Ithaca Tompkins airport in Ithaca, N.Y. Also to see their towers shut: Sacramento Executive airport in California's state capital, St. Louis (Mo.) Regional and Philip Billard Municipal in Topeka, Kansas' state capital.

The towers will close April 7, as part of $85 billion in federal spending cuts across the government. The closures are part of $627 million that FAA must cut by Sept. 30.

The announcement affects towers operated under contracts with FAA that have fewer than 10,000 commercial arrivals or departures and 150,000 general-aviation operations per year.

"Contract towers have long been an integral part of the FAA's system of managing the nation's complex airspace, and the decision to shutter these critical air-traffic control facilities on such an unprecedented and wide-scale basis raises serious concerns about safety — both at the local level and throughout the aviation system," said Spencer Dickerson, executive director of the U.S. Contract Tower Association.

Despite a lack of controllers, airports could remain open with pilots communicating with each other for landing and taking off. But airport officials and controllers warned the closures would reduce safety and hurt local economies and military operations that depend on the smaller airports.

The FAA has also announced that most of its 47,000 workers will have unpaid furloughs one day for every two-week pay period through the end of September.

The furloughs taking effect in April could cause flight delays at the busiest airports during the busiest times of day, which transportation officials warn may also prompt airlines to cancel flights.

The FAA is also expected to close up to 43 towers with fewer flights where agency controllers work. But the agency hasn't yet announced which ones or where midnight shifts will be eliminated for controllers.

Closing the towers raises some safety concerns, despite the small number of annual flights.

One airport on the list, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Central Florida, warned that the closure would hurt a Sun 'n Fun aviation event involving 5,000 aircraft and 200,000 visitors between Tampa and Orlando.

The event is scheduled to start two days after the closure, from April 9 to 14. But in the past FAA has sent 50 air-traffic controllers and technical-operations staffers to the airport to help manage 15,000 takeoffs and landings during the event.

"The tower at LAL is not a luxury but rather is essential to the operation of this facility," Eugene Conrad III, the airport director, wrote in a letter to the FAA.

Many of the contract towers support military training and emergency medical flights.

Another airport on the list, Lonestar Executive Airport north of Houston, supports training for 24 Apache Longbow helicopters that rotate to Afghanistan. The military flies 10 missions and five maintenance flights each day — half of them at night, according to Lt. Col. Michael Odom, who commands the 1-158th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.

"In summary, the closure of the … tower would result in a less safe airport and a less beneficial training environment," Odom wrote to the FAA.

Lonestar is also home to aviation units for Customs and Border Protection, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Consequently, it is clear that the national interest is being served each and every day at this airport," Alan Sadler, a county judge wrote to FAA in support of the airport.

Source:   http://www.usatoday.com

Click here for the complete list of closures

Bald Mountain Air Services adds King Air to fleet

Bald Mountain Air Service said March 15 that it has added a King Air 350 to its fleet of fixed wing aircraft. “Our new King Air 350 is the largest of the King Air line from Hawker Beechcraft,” said Jeanne Porter, president of Bald Mountain Air Service. “We are using this plane for statewide and Lowe....

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http://www.baldmountainair.com

Is Federal Aviation Administration test site feasible? St. Mary's County Regional Airport (2W6), Leonardtown, Maryland

The following comments are presented regarding the March 13 news article that reported on local efforts to seek FAA selection as one of six test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

The FAA has issued a Screening Information Request, a 70-page document that outlines the application and compliance requirements for a test site. If the proposed local test site is the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, the feasibility of this site is very questionable.

For example, the test site’s airspace must be within domestic airspace and must not include, or abut, any Class B airspace. To the northwest of the county airport the Andrew’s Air Force Base Class B airspace extends to approximately Charlotte Hall, and the Washington, D.C. Special Flight Rules Area/Flight Restricted Zone extends to approximately Mechanicsville. To the east of the county airport, the military restricted area extends to approximately Route 4, about one mile from the airport. Therefore, the presumably available domestic airspace for the proposed UAS test site appears to extend only 10-15 miles in a sector west of the airport.

This area is also used for aircraft approaches and departures at the county airport, and by a north-south, low-altitude, Victor Airways route, which presents a safety risk for manned aircraft in the test site airspace. There is also the concern for the safety and protection of persons and property on the ground underneath this airspace, including the avoidance of UAS flight operations over heavily traveled roads.

The county airport is reported to have 150 based aircraft and 38,000 annual airport operations. It does not have an air traffic control tower. Is a UAS test site compatible with the existing activity and infrastructure at the county airport?

It is my recommendation to the county commissioners that they request and receive a detailed briefing on the UAS test site project and its selection criterion before blindly spending public funds to ultimately be told by the FAA that it is not feasible.

Vernon Gray, Tall Timbers

The writer is former commissioner of aviation at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y.


Source:  http://www.somdnews.com

VIDEO: Lawmakers propose state aircraft fleet to fight wildfires

DENVER – When a Colorado wildfire rages out of control — as with the 16 fires last year that destroyed 647 homes and killed six people — authorities call the U.S. Forest Service for aerial support dropping slurry and water on the blaze.

“It’s not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” said Sen. Cheri Jahn D-Wheat Ridge. “And when we make that phone call to the federal government, that we have a fire and we need assistance, you hope they can show up.”

Jahn and Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, plan to introduce a bill next week creating a state fleet of aircraft to fight fires.

In a perfect world, King said Colorado would have three air tankers, three command and control planes and three or four helicopters.

“We don’t have any of that,” he said. “What we have is 4 million acres of dead trees, dead biomass. We have hopefully the end of a very long drought. We have the 2012 fire season rolling right into the 2013 season.”

The lawmakers plan to introduce a bill detailing the program, which would leave about 40 days of the legislative session to address the issue.

The U.S. Forest Service has a fleet of tanker planes, privately owned and contracted by the agency, dating from the 1950s that respond to wildfires across the nation.

Jahn said that fleet has dwindled from 44 planes a decade ago to nine, leaving officials in fire-prone Western states wondering what happens when resources are tapped.

Calls to the Forest Service on Thursday were not immediately returned.

The authors of the bill are developing a budget for the project and a timeline for implementation. It’s urgent, though, they said, given a 2013 wildfire season that burst into flames before the first day of spring.

“We are one lighting strike, one careless match throw, one terrorist intentional match throw away from a catastrophic wildfire in Colorado,” King said. “God help us if that is in one of our watersheds.”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection owns a fleet of 58 aircraft including 23 air tankers that can hold water or the red fire retardant known as slurry.

King said the California agency estimates the cost of the air program is $1.5 million a plane, per year, including pilots, fuel and slurry.

King wouldn’t estimate how many planes a smaller state like Colorado would need, but given his perfect-world scenario with nine aircraft it could run the state around $9 million a year, not including purchasing the planes.

King said the federal government might provide the aircraft to the state, which is what happened when California launched the program.

Leaders of both the Senate Democrats and Republicans support the bill. Both are from Colorado Springs and talked about watching the Waldo Canyon fire encroach on the city, where it destroyed 346 homes and killed two people.

“If we don’t get to them quickly, every fire has the potential to turn into a Waldo Canyon,” Senate Republican Leader Bill Cadman said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service is attempting to address the issue, awarding a contract in June for seven modern tankers to help fight fires across the country. However, that contract has been mired in a squabble over how it was awarded and planes have yet to be delivered.

Another possible source for help is the C-130 fleet owned by the Department of Defense.

During the Waldo Canyon fire, two of the C-130s sat at the Peterson Air Force Base for 48 hours before jumping into action, joining the Forest Service tankers.

Officials are trying to change a law that allows military aircraft to assist only when all other resources have been expended. The change would mean the eight C-130s across the nation could be called into action sooner and more often.

Story and Video:   http://www.gazette.com

Boeing faces pressure for cash compensation over 787

(Reuters) - Pressure grew on Wednesday for Boeing to compensate airlines in hard cash for disruption caused by the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner as two airlines maneuvered for immediate help instead of future purchase discounts.

Leading 787 customer All Nippon Airways wants cash refunds, rather than discounts on future orders, for losses inflicted by the worldwide grounding in place since mid-January, a person familiar with the airline's intentions told Reuters.

In India, a senior government source said state carrier Air India would take the same stand in favor of direct refunds.

All 50 Dreamliners delivered worldwide since it entered service in late 2011 were idled after separate incidents with the plane's battery at a U.S. airport and on a domestic flight in Japan.

ANA operates 17 of those aircraft and is likely to have been hit hardest by having them out of service. The airline has cancelled more than 3,600 flights to the end of May.

"ANA would prefer to have the cash," said the person, who asked not to be identified, adding that compensation talks with Boeing had not yet begun.

"This is not something we have disclosed," said ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura. "Nothing has been decided regarding future talks with Boeing."

Air India has six of the $200 million jets and has ordered 21 more.

"We will obviously ask for cash. We will negotiate once the planes start flying again," said the senior Indian government source, who has direct knowledge of the situation.

"Air India will surely ask for compensation. There is no question about it."

Boeing has yet to say if it will compensate carriers for lost revenue from the 787's grounding. Nor has it indicated how it would do this or how much it might pay.

Persuading customers to accept discounts on future aircraft purchases would allow Boeing to spread any reimbursement costs over several years. Airlines, though, may see cash compensation as a quicker way to make up for their losses.

Boeing declined to comment on compensation issues.

"There's a singular focus on getting the airplanes returned to service. Our customers want that and we're working hard to achieve that," said spokesman Marc Birtel.

COMPLEX CONTRACTS

Boeing has reportedly faced billions of dollars in fees for three years of delays in getting the advanced 787 into service, mainly because of problems with a global production system.

Just as with consumer objects like cars, airlines receive a warranty which, while guaranteeing repairs, doesn't typically oblige manufacturers to compensate for lost business.

In a proforma warranty attached to a regulatory filing on sales of smaller planes in the United States, Boeing guarantees its products are free from defects in material and design.

Significantly, these include "selection of materials and the process of manufacture, in view of the state of the art at the time of design." Battery experts have said Boeing's choice of lithium-ion batteries was current when the 787 was designed.

When dealing with wing cracks on its A380, Boeing's European rival Airbus initially said it would repair parts under warranty and suggested it would not pay for operational losses, but was forced to bow to demands for compensation.

Tim Clark, head of the A380's largest operator, Emirates Airline, told reporters earlier this month that Airbus "recognize the commercial distress that has put us into."

Since airplane purchases tend to be complex and can involve long-term ties, compromise is common. When Boeing's 747-8 hit snags, instead of cancelling, Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific came away with a good deal on brand-new 777s.

Delays caused by strikes or events outside manufacturers' control, such as earthquakes, are usually deemed "excusable".

LOSING MONEY

After ANA, which has ordered another 66 Dreamliners, the biggest 787 operator is rival Japan Airlines Co (JAL) with seven of the jetliners, and another 38 on order.

ANA has not said how much the 787's grounding has cost it to date. It has a large cash buffer, having raised $1.8 billion in a share sale last year to fund aircraft purchases and possible acquisitions.

JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki said on Tuesday the 787's grounding could knock 1.1 billion yen ($11.6 million) off the airline's operating profit for April-May, taking the total hit since the grounding to 1.8 billion yen. In October-December, the company had an operating profit of 46 billion yen.

Without yet having found what caused the battery incidents in January, Boeing last week unveiled a new battery system and predicted the 787 could be back in the air within weeks - a forecast that ANA chief Osamu Shinobe described as a best-case scenario as it remained unclear how long regulators will take to approve Boeing's battery fix.

ANA estimates it may take a month to fit the new battery systems to its 787 fleet - even after Boeing completes certification testing, gains regulatory approvals and ships all the parts and equipment to planes parked around the world.

 Source:   http://www.reuters.com

National Transportation Safety Board scolds Boeing over 787 comments: Remarks about lithium-ion battery fix inappropriate, agency says in letter

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/2013/boeing_787/NTSB_BoeingCounsel3-21-2013.pdf

U.S. officials rebuked Boeing Co. for comments its executives made at a media briefing on plans to get the grounded 787 Dreamliner flying again.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Boeing didn't inform investigators about what it planned to say in the March 15 briefing in Tokyo, which is "inconsistent with our expectations" from a company involved in an accident probe, agency General Counsel David Tochen wrote in a letter yesterday.

The letter signals tension in an investigation with high stakes for Boeing, which is trying to limit damage to the image of its high-efficiency plane once it's cleared to fly.

"The NTSB's primary concern is that during their March 15 briefing in Tokyo on the modifications to the 787 battery system, Boeing representatives provided their own analysis and conclusions regarding an ongoing NTSB investigation," Kelly Nantel, an safety board spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The agency stopped short of restricting Boeing's access to its investigation into a Jan. 7 fire in Boston involving the lithium-ion battery on a Japan Airlines plane.

A second incident on an All Nippon Airways plane, in which a battery overheated and emitted fumes, prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ground the 787 on Jan. 16.

"We have received the correspondence, and remain fully committed to support the NTSB and other regulatory authorities in their investigations into the cause of the 787 battery incidents, and also continue our around-the-clock efforts to return the 787 fleet to service," said Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman.


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

 http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/2013/boeing_787/NTSB_BoeingCounsel3-21-2013.pdf

Hour Records at Lockheed Didn't Defraud the Government: Courthouse News Service

ATLANTA (CN) - Lockheed Martin will not have to face claims that it overbilled the United States by using a flawed system to track hours on government projects, a federal judge ruled.

Two former employees sued Lockheed Martin alleging that the company retaliated against them after they reported a flaw in its labor-tracking system that they said led to overpayments from the government.
 

Mark Wood, one of the whistle-blowers, became the medical director of Lockheed's Marietta, Ga., site in 2002, after working as a senior occupational staff physician at the company for 12 years. While tracking methods to reduce the effect of lost time on employment costs, Wood and his co-plaintiff Kathy Isley discovered that employees were allowed to submit an unlimited amount of hours under the Family Medical and Leave Act hours, even though regulations cap FMLA leave time at 12 weeks annually, according to the complaint.

Lockheed's finance department next had Wood and Isley review the company's clock-in system used by hourly employees to track hours worked on each project. There the plaintiffs claimed to have discovered a flaw in Lockheed's labor-recording system that did not distinguish between actual worked hours and lost time, such as vacation or leave hours.

They claimed that the system spread the "lost time" across all of Lockheed's government contracts, allowing the company to falsely bill the government based on its reports, and to overstaff government projects. What's more, Wood and Isley claimed that many employees billed for overtime despite having worked fewer than 40 hours in a week, which resulted in millions of dollars in overpayments from the government.

Read more here:  http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/21/55943.htm

Burning de-icing fluid blamed for smoke that forced Sunwing emergency landing

OTTAWA — An excessive amount of de-icing fluid  that burned off during takeoff is the reason why a Cuba-bound flight out of Ottawa with 170 passengers performed an emergency landing early Friday morning.

Sunwing Airlines confirmed there was no fire on Flight 326 that took off at 6:32 a.m. The Boeing 737-800 returned within 20 minutes after passengers saw what they thought was smoke filling the plane.

What they actually saw was vapor, said Daryl McWilliams, Sunwing vice president of media relations. But the fear on the plane was obvious, according to recollections from some passengers.

A flight attendant ran up the aisle with a fire extinguisher hunting for flames, but quickly realized the white cloud was coming from the air vents, said several people, who were just minutes into their flight to Varadero, Cuba.

One woman was hyperventilating and another man thought, just for a moment, that everyone on board would die. But the frightening moment passed as the pilot circled back and returned to the runway just before 7 a.m.

“For a minute, I thought that was it, this is how it’s going to all end,” said Marc St. Jacques, who was heading south for a week vacation.

In freezing conditions, aircraft are de-iced with an alcohol-based fluid that prevents the build of ice on the wings and control surfaces that can affect the handling of the aircraft.

“When aircraft got back to the gate there was quantities of this fluid still on the plane,” McWilliams said. “During takeoff that fluid vaporized.”

Shortly after takeoff, St. Jacques decided he would take a nap and maybe think of the warm weather that awaited him in Cuba.

“I put my head back and then I heard people yelling Fire! Fire! Fire!,” St. Jacques said. “I opened my eyes and I thought everyone was celebrating, like: ‘OK, we’re going to Cuba,’ but the smoke was everywhere.”

He described white smoke that had a sweet smell. Another passenger echoed his comments, saying the odor was similar to engine coolant.

The white cloud filled the plane five minutes after takeoff, said Pascale Senechal, who was heading to a resort in Varadero for a week.

“It wasn’t a smoke that made us cough or hurt our eyes,” she said.

Senechal was not worried during the emergency, largely because she assumed there was no fire. Plus, the oxygen masks were not deployed, giving her further assurance she would be all right. But not all passengers remained as calm.

“I could hear one woman behind me hyperventilating,” Senechal said.

Describing the landing, she said it felt a bit rushed as passengers flung forward quite hard as the plane contacted the runway. It was not a typical touch down, she said.

An airport fire crew greeted the plane, but no flames or smoke was visible from the ground. Ottawa Fire Services were called in to assist, but were quickly called off as no fire had been detected. Airport fire crews escorted the plane back to the terminal, where passengers were able to leave, said Krista Kealey, spokeswoman for Ottawa International Airport.

“We’ll debrief with everyone involved, just to see how everything went,” she explained.

Many passengers were happily standing in line at the Sunwing check-in station around 9 a.m. waiting for a second flight scheduled to take off at 12:30 p.m. The frightening experience will not ruin their vacations, St. Jacques said, looking down at his guitar case and suitcase.


Source:   http://www.leaderpost.com

Robinson R44, VH-HWQ: Helicopter fitted with risky fuel tank: safety expert -Accident occurred March 21, 2013 in Bulli Tops, New South Wales - Australia



The helicopter that crashed south of Sydney, killing four people, had not yet complied with safety advice to replace a fuel tank known to explode in crashes, an investigation revealed yesterday. 

 And the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has revealed it was unsure how many others of the same type of helicopter were still flying.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has said those tanks were "susceptible to post-accident fuel leaks, increasing the risk of a fatal post-impact fire".

Manufacturer Robinson issued a worldwide bulletin to all R44 operators to retrofit fuel tanks with a "bladder-type" by April 30, 2013.

The bulletin was first issued following a fatal crash at Cessnock Airport but Robinson brought forward its compliance date to this year following a second fatal crash at Jaspers Brush last year.

Only last month the Civil Aviation Safety Authority wrote to all 397 registered R44 operators in Australia recommending the tanks be modified.CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said to date only 25 percent of registered R44 operators had informed the safety regulator of the retrofit.


"We did ask them to tell us but only a quarter have ... as for the other three-quarters we just don't know. Many may well have but they're yet to notify us," he said.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators will remain at the crash scene today as they continue to piece together what went wrong.

NSW Police are also working alongside the air safety experts, preparing a brief for the coroner.

Wollongong Acting Superintendent Tim Beattie said the victims of the crash had yet to be formally identified.

He confirmed those killed were not an engaged couple planning to inspect the venue for a wedding - as was reported yesterday.


Story, photo, video:   http://www.theaustralian.com.au

Story and Photo:  http://www.illawarramercury.com.au

Dana Air Committed No Offense

March 21, 2013 

By CAPT. DANIEL OMALE  

Again, this week, Dana Air’s operating certificate was temporary suspended. Professionally, what the crew did was right; instead of grounding the airline, it suspended its license. When the crew noticed a minor fault in the electrical system, they simply briefed the passengers and a replacement aircraft was provided to take the customers to Lagos. The aircraft was still on ground, at the pre-flight stage; and, even, if the airplane was already airborne, the best decision would have been to come back to the airport of departure or divert to the nearest airport for safety.

Grounding an airline for a sound professional decision such as this is another sign of political influence on professionalism, and an infringement on crews’ decision process.  A captain of an aircraft can decide, in the interest of safety, not to fly an airplane, if he or she finds the aircraft not airworthy enough. At the same time, there is no reason to punish or reprimand the airline if the crew points out a defect for rectification.

Aircraft, like all machines and mechanical devices, are susceptible to failures and disorderliness. The only remedy is to have competent mechanics and vigilant crews. That was exactly what happened in Dana’s case.

The danger in publishing every minor discrepancy in airline operation is the threat it poses to the airline in question, and a persistent instigation of fear in the mind of the traveling public. We cannot keep stereotyping an airline or create a situation where an airline is synonymous with accidents. Any airline in the world can experience an accident as long as humans are in charge.

The most important aspect of aircraft accident investigation is to learn from the cause(s) of the crash.

Establishing a culture of safety reporting:

Timely and accurate reporting of safety occurrences is critical to modern aviation safety management programs. ICAO has long recognized that establishment of a proper safety culture is key to effective safety reporting. According to the ICAO Safety Management Manual (ICAO Doc. 9859, 2nd edition), certain attributes and traits are necessary for an organization to perform well in this area. 


The five basic attributes of an effective safety reporting organization are as follows:

A demonstration of willingness to report errors and experiences

Information is received from knowledgeable aviation professionals

Flexibility of reporting is available for information to travel directly to the appropriate decision maker in unusual circumstances

A learning organization with the ability to draw conclusions and implement major reforms

An accountable organization where people are encouraged and rewarded for providing essential safety-related information

Experience indicates that successful incident reporting systems employ most of the following characteristics:

Trust: Persons reporting incidents must be able to trust the recipient organization and be confident that any information they provide will not be used against them. Without such confidence, people are reluctant to report their mistakes, and they may also be reluctant to report other hazards they are aware of. For an incident reporting system to be successful, it needs to be perceived as being non-punitive with regard to unintentional errors or mistakes.

Confidentiality: Non-punitive systems are based on confidential reporting. The person reporting an incident must be sure that his identity and other information that may be used to identify those involved will not be disclosed.

Independence: Ideally, an incident reporting system should be run by an organization divorced from the federal agency that is also responsible for the enforcement of aviation regulations. Accordingly, some countries, including the United States, use a third party for the management of so-called voluntary reporting systems. The third party receives, processes, and analyses the submitted incident reports and feeds the results back to the federal agency and the aviation community. With so-called mandatory reporting systems, it may not be possible to employ a third party. Nevertheless, it is desirable that the federal agency give a clear understanding that any information received will be used for accident prevention purposes only. This principle also supplies to an airline or any other aircraft operator that uses incident reporting as part of its accident prevention program.

Ease of reporting: 


The task of submitting incident reports should be as easy as possible for the reporter. Reporting forms should be readily available so that anyone wishing to file a report can do so easily. They should be simple to compile, with adequate space for a descriptive narrative, and they should also encourage suggestions on how to improve the situation or prevent a recurrence. Classifying information such as type of operation, light conditions, type of flight plan, weather, and so forth can be presented in a “check” format. The forms should ideally be self-addressed and postage-free.

Acknowledgement: The reporting of incidents requires considerable time and effort by the user and should be appropriately acknowledged. Whenever possible, feedback on the actions taken in response to a report should be provided to the reporting person.

Motivation and promotion: The information received from an incident reporting system should be made available to the aviation community as soon as possible, as this may help to motivate people to report further incidents. Such promotional activities may take the form of monthly regular e-mail or internet bulletins, newsletters or periodic summaries. Ideally, all such methods would be used with a view to achieving maximum exposure.

Dana air airline should be commended for displaying professional competence, not retribution.

Source:   http://leadership.ng

Boeing 757 systems need reviewed, say passengers caught up in Glasgow Airport evacuation

A Boeing 757 carrying 231 passengers and eight crew was evacuated on the airport runway last October after the cabin began filling up with smoke after arriving from Turkey.


Passengers removed from an airplane cabin when it started to fill with smoke have called for a review of the aircraft's systems.

The Boeing 757 carrying 231 passengers and eight crew was evacuated on the runway at Glasgow Airport after arriving from Dalaman, Turkey on October 11 last year.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report identified a faulty auxiliary power unit (APU) which is a power system used as large planes are taxied and passengers disembarked.

The APU on the Boeing 757 was removed and returned to the manufacturer for examination.

It has emerged that the same Thomas Cook-operated aircraft was used the following day, without the APU being operated, to take travelers to Tenerife. But it was diverted to Manchester when the pilots detected a strong smell of fuel and began to feel light-headed, forcing them to put on oxygen masks.

The AAIB concluded that the smell may have been caused by residual oil in the air conditioning or cooling systems from the incident the previous day.

The aircraft, this time with 241 passengers and eight crew on board, landed safely and the pilots were checked over by medical staff.

Lawyers representing passengers involved in the incident at Glasgow Airport have called for a review of Boeing's APUs and air conditioning systems, as well as the checks that are carried out after emergencies.

Craig Gourlay, 35, from Lanarkshire, claims he was hurt during the evacuation with his wife and four-year-old son.

"All three of us will never forget how terrifying that experience was and it is important news that the cause of the problems has been identified. While we hope that this will lead to a better understanding of the technical problems on our flight, we're still concerned about how the evacuation was handled," he said.

"Also, it is a major concern to not only see the same plane back in service just a day after our problems but also that the flight to Tenerife was then struck by similar problems.

"There will be a lot of people out there like us who want some clear answers about safety, related to this type of plane, and reassurances that these problems won't be allowed to happen again."

Jim Morris, a partner at Irwin Mitchell law firm which specializes in aviation cases, said: "The seriousness of a smoke and fumes incident on an aircraft at any stage, from passengers boarding to disembarkation, can never be understated.

"Apart from the most obvious risk of fire on a machine carrying thousands of litres of fuel, the toxins contained in combusting aviation oils and other substances can have debilitating effects on exposure and can also have long-term health implications for those exposed, including respiratory and neurological.

"While it is very welcome that the source of the original problems on October 11 has been identified, it is not yet known what was wrong with the APU and why a problem with it resulted in smoke entering the cabin. Furthermore, the fact that this second smoke incident occurred the next day is completely unacceptable and raises very serious flight safety concerns.

"As such, it is vital that the full cause and chain of events for both incidents are understood to improve flight safety."

Source:  http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee Warrior II, EC-DAF: Accident occurred March 19, 2013 in Alicante, Spain



A 14 year old child, together with her father and her uncle, died when their plane crashed on Tuesday lunchtime after taking off from the Muxtamel airfield. The crash took place in an adjacent olive field and all three were killed instantly.

The causes are still unknown although early indications point to either a mechanical failure or fuel problem, which would have forced the aircraft, piloted by the uncle, to attempt an unsuccessful emergency landing. The incident has caused deep dismay in Ibi, since the father and daughter lived in the town, while his uncle resided nearby in Alicante.

The accident occurred at 12.37 hours in a small hamlet, Paraeta Espí, about 500 meters from the town of Ibi and near the road that provides access to Xorret de Cati. Also nearby is the village school, which was closed on Tuesday because of the public holiday.

The plane, which had taken off from the airfield at Mutxamel, crashed into an olive grove adjacent to an unoccupied building currently under construction.

The plane hit a large rock with the impact breaking the cabin in two. It is understood that the violent impact of the crash completely destroyed the aircraft which was blown up into numerous pieces, the wreckage being scattered over a radius of a hundred yards.

The alarm was raised by local residents who immediately called 112. The Guardia Civil, Local Police, fire and ambulance, were on the scene within minutes but they could do nothing for the three occupants of the plane who were all declared to be dead at the scene. Also in attendance were members of the judicial police, who carried out an inspection of the area.

The removal of the bodies occurred shortly before four in the afternoon, when they were transported to the Forensic Anatomical Institute of Alicante, where the three autopsies are expected to be carried out.

Several eyewitnesses, said that the plane was circling the area for some minutes without a fixed course. "I was surprised that it flew so low,” said one bystander, “and I had the feeling he was looking for a place to land.” “When the aircraft eventually hit the ground the impact was brutal."

The three casualties have been identified as Jose Antonio Perez, 49, his daughter Belen, 14, and the girl's uncle, Ricardo, 46, who was also a flight instructor and who was piloting the aircraft.

The father was a native of Onil, but resided in Castlebar for many years with his wife and daughter. Meanwhile, according to information provided, the uncle lived in Alicante.

According to a neighbor the plane ride was a father’s day gift which was to be used to take aerial photographs of their homes and the surrounding villages.

The President of the Mutxamel airfield, Israel Martinez-Campos Barroso, expressed his sadness for the tragic accident. He said the pilot had a great deal of flying experience and routinely flew every week. "We have spoken to witnesses who saw the accident and each one tells us something different. Some say the engine stopped while others say it wasn’t a mechanical problem," he said. “We will have to wait for the findings of the accident investigators.” All the evidence collected so far is from non-experts so a lot of what we have been told is pure speculation".

The stricken plane had a capacity of four seats and was built in 1979. According to the president, the engine was replaced three and a half years ago, so it was said to be in perfect condition.

This is the second death from Muxtamel airfield in less than one year after an Alicante pilot died when crashing his ultralight into the mountains of Alzira on June 13. That aircraft was much lighter causing it to flip over several times after suffering a gust of wind until it finally plunging to the ground.

Story and Photos:  http://www.theleader.info


http://multimedia.diarioinformacion.com/fotos