Saturday, March 30, 2013

La Push, Washington: Pilot cited for landing near tsunami dock on beach

LAPUSH — An ultralight pilot's curiosity over the 185-ton concrete dock that had washed up from Japan on a remote stretch of Olympic National Park beach south of LaPush resulted in a citation and fine.

Raymond Helvey of Forks was cited by a park ranger March 4 at the Forks Municipal Airport after he illegally landed his ultralight aircraft on a beach that had been closed to the public to allow work on dock removal, according to Rainey McKenna, a park spokeswoman.

McKenna said she did not know the amount of the fine associated with the citation.

Helvey was spotted by park employees when he landed his engine-powered ultralight not far from the dock that had crossed the Pacific Ocean after the March 2011 tsunami and washed ashore near the mouth of Mosquito Creek between the Hoh River and LaPush in December.

“[Helvey] was able to land it and lift off again,” McKenna said.

Helvey told park officials he was curious about the dock and wanted to get a closer look.

Helvey also was given a written warning by an officer with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary because he flew below the sanctuary's 2,000-foot flight limit, a limit put in place to protect marine mammals and nesting birds, ­McKenna said.

“The man had already been cited by the [National Park Service], so [the marine sanctuary officer] did not cite him a second time,” she said.

McKenna said citations such as this do not happen that often, adding that Helvey's was the only citation given in connection with the dock.

Crews from the Port Townsend-based Undersea Co. finished removing the 65-foot-long, 7½-foot-high dock last week.

The removal work, which started March 17, entailed chopping up the dock into smaller sections, which were then taken by helicopter to nearby Rayonier Inc. property and trucked to a Forks recycling station.

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Smyrna Airport (KMQY), Tennessee: Business park touts room for growth

SMYRNA — The 400-plus acres available for economic development at Smyrna Airport holds major appeal for anyone wanting to bring aviation jobs here, officials say.

“We are on the short list for a major aviation company looking for another location in the eastern United States,” Smyrna Airport Executive Director John Black said while recently pointing out the available land for lease. “That’s something a lot of airports don’t have is the ability to expand. We not only have a large economic engine here, we have a lot of potential for future growth.”

The Tennessee Economic and Community Development sees the airport’s potential, as well, and that’s why Black serves on an aerospace committee along with Allen Howell, the president of Corporate Flight Management, the largest tenant at the airport.

The committee also includes Murfreesboro City Manager Rob Lyons.

The airport is part of an aviation corridor stretching as far north to the Clarksville area, where the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division is located at Fort Campbell, Ky., Lyons said.

The committee also includes Chad Gehrke, the manager of the smaller Murfreesboro Airport. His airport provides the runway space for Middle Tennessee State University to train aviation majors.

The corridor includes the University of Tennessee Space Institute and Arnold Engineering Development Center at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma. The corridor extends south to the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Lyons added.

“That is a unique alignment of expertise, workforce and investment,” said Lyons, adding that government and business leaders need to figure out how to attract investment for more jobs centered around aviation. “We are in the early stages of identifying what that collaboration and partnership might look like, but we see the ingredients there.”

Black also sees his airport as being in the middle of an east to west corridor that includes FedEx in Memphis and the research going on at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in East Tennessee.

“All those companion industries and support industries play into the decision of a new company locating in Tennessee,” Black said. “A lot of times when people are looking at potential sites, the airport is the first thing they see when they come to a community.”

Development potential

The Smyrna Airport has 90 acres on its east side of the runways, and this includes a six-acre solar farm and aircraft maintenance facilities.

The west side of the airport offers a 400-acre office park, of which only about 50 acres havebeen developed so far. This includes a 15,000-square-foot space for the Airport Terminal and Business Center. Another 140,000 square feet is for Corporate Flight Management, and Smyrna Air Center has 50,000 square feet.

The airport sits on grounds that started as an airfield in 1942 Army Air Force Combat Crew School to train aviators for World War II. By 1950, it became Sewart Air Force Base and operated until closing in 1970. The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority assumed control until May 15, 1991, when the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority took over.

The county controls 60 percent, and the town 40 percent. Black started his career with the authority as the assistant director in 1991 and accepted promotion to executive director in 1998.

“Since 1991, we’ve invested over $26 million in the airport,” Black said.

The airport can only lease property, and it must be at a fair market value to be eligible for federal aviation grants.

“We can do long-term leases, which are almost equal to ownership,” Black said. ““We operate like a business. All the money that is made by this airport stays on this airport. It’s put back into the airport to maintain and grow the facility.”

The airport, which has two run ways that are 8,037 feet and 5,546 feet, owns 1,700 acres and 22 buildings that are either hangars or commercial structures. The property includes the 27-hole Smyrna Golf Course and Lee Victory Recreation Park that the airport leases to the town of Smyrna, according to an economic impact study completed by Charlie Baum, an MTSU economics professor who also serves on the County Commission.

“The airport and its related business entities directly account for $44 million in output and $34.6 million in payroll expenditures and employs 3,275 workers (full-time, part-time, or in a contracted capacity,” the study states. “The Smyrna Airport also generates over $1.1 million, in economic activity from hosting the Great Tennessee Air Show, and it facilitates flight training for the MTSU Aerospace program, which has 800 majors and a host of faculty members who teach those students.

“In sum, if the Smyrna Airport and its related economic activities were not present, the value of output (sales) in Rutherford County would decrease by 0.4 percent.”

More jobs

Airport officials are working on plans to develop another 30 acres at the office park.

The plans include 20,000 square feet for a hangar with connecting taxiways, as well as office space that would be around 10,000 to 12,000 square feet.

Another part of this $10 million project is to have an adjacent 60 acres prepared for future development.

Airport officials are working to obtain the financing. It includes a $330,000 grant spread over two years from the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board.

Black, white or blue collar jobs are welcome to the airport, Black said.

“Aviation mechanics are very highly skilled and highly paid,” said Black, who oversees a staff of 15, as well as workers added in the summer. “We have leases with 35 different businesses in our airport overall.”

Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Latture agreed that Smyrna Airport definitely has an opportunity to create even more aviation-related jobs.

“I think the investment the Airport Authority has made has allowed us to market yet another opportunity for our county,” Latture said.

Having the Smyrna Airport, Murfreesboro and MTSU being a part of a larger aviation corridor “allows us to be more competitive in the region,” Latture added.

Smyrna is known for the workforce at the Nissan auto factory, which Black sees as an advantage to attracting more companies to leases at his airport.

“The automotive industry has crossover skill sets for the aviation industry,” Black said. “The most important factor for recruitment is an available skilled workforce.

“You have to be infrastructure-ready with an available workforce and with the right incentives in a very competitive world.”

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Light Sport America: Mobile Classrooms Give New Aircraft Maker, Employees a Leg Up

BARTOW | Arthur Burns is an Air Force veteran who worked on helicopter gunships. Nicole Mutton is a young and eager graduate of an aviation academy. Larry O'Dell has an extensive background in manufacturing.

In the very near future, all three will be producing aircraft for a new Bartow firm, Light Sport America.

Getting there has been an interesting process. For the last two weeks, Burns, Mutton, O'Dell and 14 other new hires have been training for their jobs in a high-tech mobile classroom parked outside Light Sport's headquarters at the Bartow Municipal Airport industrial park.

The innovative training program, facilitated by the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), will help Light Sport quickly establish its workforce and begin making planes.

"It's really been a godsend for us," said Harrell Ward, Light Sport's chief operating officer. "It's helped us find high-quality people and train them all at a base knowledge so we can bring them in and hit the ground, really running."

Light Sport has big plans. The new company settled here in January after buying the assets of Italian manufacturer Storm­Aircraft, and Ward said he expects to produce its first planes by mid-June.

The propeller planes, classified as light sport aircraft, are small and simple to operate, ideal for aviation enthusiasts and government use, Ward said.

Prices will range from about $89,000 to $136,000. If all goes well — Light Sport has advance orders for about 60 planes — the company will have hired 45 employees or so by the end of the year, with plans to grow to roughly 100 by the end of 2014, Ward said.

Finding qualified candidates for aircraft manufacturing is no easy matter, Ward says, but his company has received a lot of help.

The Polk Works employment services agency helped with recruiting and screening applicants, and the Celebration-based Florida MEP is providing training services at no cost through a U.S. Department of Labor grant. The government funding is intended to help manufacturing firms train new hires in the 23-county region known as Florida's High Tech Corridor, addressing a shortage of skilled workers.

"It's advanced technical training, very hands-on," said Ted Astolfi, deputy director of the Florida MEP. "We don't have to teach the theory of manufacturing — why Henry Ford started the assembly line, all of those things. We come in and teach the skills the students need to do the job."

Light Sport is the first Polk County business to participate in the training, Astolfi said. The interior of the mobile classroom supplied by MEP is lined with computer stations running advanced virtual-reality software that simulates functions done on the shop floor.

Training wrapped up Friday for Light Sport's first group of employees, who will earn starting pay of $13.50 to $15.50 per hour.

It will be the first aviation-related job for Arthur Burns since he left the military in 2009. Burns, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said his jobs in recent years included cutting grass for the city of Lakeland and working at an Amscot office.

"A lot of people don't realize the aviation field is quite competitive, and jobs are few and far between," said the 33-year-old Winter Haven resident. "For us to be able to produce a quality aircraft like this here in Polk County, that's going to be sold potentially all over the world, it's pretty amazing."

Lakeland's Nicole Mutton, 24, said she struggled to find work since graduating from the National Aviation Academy in Clearwater last year. Landing the opportunity with Light Sport "doesn't even seem real," she said. "I'm so excited."

Larry O'Dell of Lake Wales is a former plant manager with experience in machining and design work. Despite his seasoned background, O'Dell, 68, said he spent several months looking for a job that wouldn't require a long commute.

"This is a great opportunity for me and everyone here," he said. "It gives me a fresh start. It gives me a chance to feel productive and useful."

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Light Sport America:

Beechcraft Premier 1A, VT-UPN: Aircraft for sale - Accident occurred September 22, 2012 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India

LUCKNOW: The aircraft which crash landed while carrying senior UP Cabinet minister ShivpalYadav and other senior officials on board last year is all set to be put for sale by the UP government. Purchased during the tenure of former chief minister Mayawati in 2008 at an estimate cost of over Rs 40 crore the six-seat aircraft, Premier-1A (VT-UPN) is not being used anymore ever since the incident, which happened in September 2012 and left the top brass of the civil aviation department red faced. And if sources are to be believed, then the aircraft will be sold off along with three other aircraft and one Chetak chopper soon.

Civil aviation department has decided to invite bids from private consultants to evaluate these state-owned aircraft. According to sources, the department is seeking 'valuers' who are registered as surveyors with Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for providing 'market realizable value' for four aircraft and a chopper along with their spare parts, rotables etc. The 'valuers' have been asked to approach the state government by April 2 and complete the evaluation process in a month's time.

The other aircraft which are up for sale also include Super King Air 300LW (VT-UPA), King Air C90A (VT-UPZ), Beech Bonanza A-36 (VT-UPY) and Chetak helicopter.

Apart the Premier-1A, Super King is also in the working state, while others have been not flying for quite sometime. A senior official in the department said that the 'valuer' shall collect and analyse the relevant information to find out the market realizable value for these aircraft.

It is however the sale of Premier 1A that has raised many eyebrows. It was bought by Mayawati in June 2008. In September 2012, however, Uttar Pradesh PWD minister Shivpal Singh Yadav and Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary had a close shave after the aircraft skidded off the runway at the IGI airport in Delhi.

The duo was accompanied by four others, including two pilots and cabin crew. The plane's nose-wheel broke as it skidded off Runway 27 in high speed after landing. Yadav, was on his way to Masuri in Ghaziabad, where six persons were killed in riots.

Sources said preliminary findings had revealed that the pilots had not called for an emergency landing and a problem with the nose wheel was only detected during landing. The civil aviation department had then ordered a probe into the incident. Sources said that the aircraft had a history of skidding.


Kolb Firefly: Accident occurred March 30, 2013 at Smoketown Airport (S37), Pennsylvania


One man was killed when his ultralight plane crashed just after takeoff Saturday at Smoketown Airport in East Lampeter Township. 

Michael Blank, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene by deputy coroners Eric Bieber and Michelle Darlington, Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said.

The coroner said the cause of death was due to multiple traumatic injuries and had been ruled accidental. He said an autopsy was not planned.

Blank lived in the county, but Diamantoni said he did not know exactly where.

A witness said Blank took off in his one-seat Kolb Firefly ultralight around 5:45 p.m.

"He looked like he climbed out steep," said the witness — a pilot who was at the airfield Saturday and who asked not to be identified.

Climbing at too steep an incline can cause the wing to stall, the pilot added.

"I heard him throttle back, like he was going to make a left turn and leave the airspace. I turned my back to watch another plane come in … and I heard the crash. I saw the black smoke and ran inside and told them to call 911."

The witness, who said he'd been in the air earlier in the day, said the crash was sobering. "You always know anything can happen but … it's bad," he said. "(It's) obviously something you never want to see."

Officials said Blank's plane crashed into an abandoned mobile home at the end of the runway on the east side of Mount Sidney Road.

Marlin Horst, owner of the airport, said Blank was an experienced pilot who had logged more than 300 hours of certified flying time.

Horst said too it appeared the crash was the result of a stall/spin, where the plane stops and corkscrews down.

"He was a skilled pilot who made a mistake," said Horst, who was visibly upset as he watched emergency crews work among the wreckage.

Witnesses said the Kolb Firefly is a home-built aircraft sold as a kit. It wasn't known if Blank constructed the plane himself or bought it already put together.

East Lampeter Township police said late Saturday that an official from the Federal Aviation Administration was at the scene and did not require the plane to be secured for further investigation.

Authorities said the aircraft was released to Smoketown Airport.

Ultralight planes are not required to be registered with the FAA.

As the evening wore on Saturday, dozens of onlookers arrived in vehicles and on foot at the airfield just off Route 340.

Many stood and watched as crews picked at the still-smoldering wreckage.

Blank's relatives, members of the Amish community, came to the crash site and watched somberly as officials recovered his body around 7:40 p.m.

According to newspaper records, the last fatal plane crash in Lancaster County happened in August 2002 when a Mount Joy Township family was killed shortly after their single-engine plane took off from Donegal Springs Airport.

The plane's pilot, Gerald Shenk, 40, his wife Julia, 39, and their two children — Ethan, 5, and Ryan, 3 — died when the plane crashed into a cornfield about a half-mile from the runway.

The family was going for short trip around the airport when the aircraft went down. Officials said it appeared the plane's engine shut off. Shenk had 20 years of experience as a pilot.

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(Credit: Vinny Tennis/ Lancaster Sunday News)

SMOKETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) - The Lancaster County Coroner is on the scene of a small plane crash at Smoketown Airport in East Lampeter Township.  

Emergency dispatchers said the incident occurred at around 5:45 p.m. Saturday. According to a press release from Lancaster County-Wide Communications, one person has been killed.

So far, there is no word on other injuries.

The airport has had two previous non-fatal crashes over the last two years, most recently in May of 2012.

UPDATE:  Officials on scene have confirmed that one person is dead following an ultralight airplane crash in East Lampeter Township. The cause of the crash is unknown at this point. 

Emergency crews are at the scene of a plane crash at Smoketown Airport in East Lampeter Township near Old Philadelphia Pike and Airport Drive. It happened around 5:45pm, the Lancaster County Coroner has been called to the scene, but is unable to confirm any fatalities at this time.

Opinion/Editorial: Time for Federal Aviation Administration to act on glider safety

Seven years ago, a private jet was flying 16,000 feet above Reno, Nevada, when it crashed in midair with a glider plane. Both pilots said they saw each other only one second before the collision. One of the jet's engines was destroyed, and it was forced to land "wheels up" -- that is without its landing gear. The glider was too damaged to keep flying, and the pilot was forced to bail out and make an unscheduled sky dive.

It was a miracle no one died in this incident, and it's a miracle that more people don't die in similar ones. There have been at least 28 collisions or near misses and seven fatalities in crashes involving gliders and planes since 1998, according to federal data. The reason is that gliders are exempt from federal rules requiring planes to carry transponders -- devices that alert pilots to other aircraft in the vicinity.

The original reason for the loophole was that the transponder devices were too heavy for gliders to carry. But new, lighter technology is now available, so this should no longer be an issue. So why hasn't the government closed this loophole?

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended in 2008 that the Federal Aviation Administration require gliders to carry anti-midair-collision devices. The main private association of glider enthusiasts, the Soaring Society of America, has endorsed this, as well.

But the FAA has inexplicably resisted making this change. In an April 2011 letter obtained by The Washington Examiner through the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Aviation Administration flatly rejected the NTSB's recommendation. This was after three years of back and forth between the agencies over the issue.

Former FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt said they had made information on how to install the devices in gliders publicly available. "We believe this information ... adequately addresses this recommendation."

The NTSB objected: "We continue to believe a policy statement about the installation of transponders in glider(s) would be beneficial." But the agency essentially gave up, noting that the "FAA considers its actions complete."

The FAA may finally be reconsidering this. A year ago, it held a public meeting on requiring devices in gliders and other aircraft without electrical systems, an FAA official told The Examiner. The agency subsequently solicited public comments on a proposed rule for this, a process that continues. Sometime, maybe this summer, the FAA may actually get around to crafting a regulation. Chances of this happening will rise if the administration, as rumored, picks Deborah Hersman to head up the Transportation Department. Now chairwoman of the NTSB, Hersman spoke in favor of requiring the devices at a recent Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

If all this seems like a minor issue, that is the point -- and the problem. The glider exemption was a simple oversight in the first place. Why it should take so many years and so much lobbying for the gears of government to turn, especially after seven people have died? It is a disturbing reminder that when it comes to safety, the government often isn't capable of acting quickly, even when the benefits are obvious and the solution easy to deliver.

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 NTSB Identification: LAX06FA277A 
Accident occurred Monday, August 28, 2006 in Smith, NV 
 Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/20/2008
Aircraft: Raytheon Hawker 800XP, registration: N879QS
Injuries: 3 Minor,3 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: LAX06FA277B
Accident occurred Monday, August 28, 2006 in Smith, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/20/2008
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW27-18, regi
stration: N7729
Injuries: 3 Minor,3 Uninjured.

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.

The Hawker and the glider collided in flight at an altitude of about 16,000 feet above mean sea level about 42 nautical miles south-southeast of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno, Nevada, which was the Hawker's destination. The collision occurred in visual meteorological conditions in an area that is frequently traversed by air carrier and other turbojet airplanes inbound to RNO and that is also popular for glider operations because of the thermal and mountain wave gliding opportunities there.

Before the collision, the Hawker had been descending toward RNO on a stable northwest heading for several miles, and the glider was in a 30-degree, left-banked, spiraling climb. According to statements from the Hawker's captain and the glider pilot, they each saw the other aircraft only about 1 second or less before the collision and were unable to maneuver to avoid the collision in time. Damage sustained by the Hawker disabled one engine and other systems; however, the flight crew was able to land the airplane. The damaged glider was uncontrollable, and the glider pilot bailed out and parachuted to the ground.

Because of the lack of radar data for the glider's flight, it was not possible to determine at which points each aircraft may have been within the other's available field of view. Although Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) require all pilots to maintain vigilance to see and avoid other aircraft (this includes pilots of flights operated under instrument flight rules, when visibility permits), a number of factors that can diminish the effectiveness of the see-and-avoid principle were evident in this accident. For example, the high closure rate of the Hawker as it approached the glider would have given the glider pilot only limited time to see and avoid the jet. Likewise, the closure rate would have limited the time that the Hawker crew had to detect the glider, and the slim design of the glider would have made it difficult for the Hawker crew to see it. Although the demands of cockpit tasks, such as preparing for an approach, have been shown to adversely affect scan vigilance, both the Hawker captain, who was the flying pilot, and the first officer reported that they were looking out the window before the collision. However, the captain saw the glider only a moment before it filled the windshield, and the first officer never saw it at all.

Although the Hawker was equipped with a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS)-II capable of generating vertical resolution (collision avoidance) advisories (RA), the glider's Mode C transponder was turned off (and, therefore, not detectable by the Hawker's equipment) because the glider pilot wanted to reserve battery power for radio use. Although transponder installation is not required on gliders, FARs require that any person operating a transponder-equipped aircraft must use the transponder. Had the glider pilot turned on his transponder, the Hawker's TCAS-II likely would have depicted the glider on the flight crew's monitor and would have generated an RA to alert the crewmembers and prompt them to deviate their course in time to prevent the accident. According to Reno Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) personnel, it is not uncommon for arriving and departing air traffic to receive TCAS RAs because of transponder-equipped gliders operating in the area. In a 30-day interval before the accident, the facility recorded four such TCAS RA events reported by pilots. Each event involved a conflict with transport-category airplane operated under 14 CFR Part 121 and a glider.

In addition to the TCAS benefits, the accident glider's Mode C transponder, if turned on, would have provided position and altitude information to air traffic control (ATC) personnel who could have used that information to provide separation services and traffic advisories to the Hawker crew. Reno TRACON personnel reported that, although they can sometimes see primary radar returns for what they suspect are nontransponder-equipped gliders, they did not see any primary returns from the accident glider before this collision. Further, even when ATC personnel detect primary returns, they cannot ascertain the type or altitude of the aircraft. Review of the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database revealed that, since 1988, there have been more reports of near midair collisions (NMACs) involving air carrier/corporate jet traffic and gliders in the vicinity of RNO than any other airport area. Because ASRS reports are voluntary, it is possible that other NMAC events occurred but were unreported.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has long been aware of the potential for a collision involving a glider and air carrier traffic in the vicinity of RNO. More than 10 years before this accident, Reno Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) personnel concluded that, on the basis of many NMAC reports, FAA inspectors' observations of traffic conflicts, and other information, the increasing glider operations in the departure and arrival areas around RNO represented an "extremely dangerous situation," especially because many gliders were not equipped with transponders, were difficult for air carrier flight crews to see, and were flown by pilots who were not communicating with ATC. On April 11, 1997, the Reno FSDO manager submitted a memorandum to the FAA's Office of Accident Investigation, Recommendation and Analysis Division that detailed these concerns and suggested a number of solutions, including mandatory transponder installation in gliders. In response to the concerns, the FAA published a notice to airmen cautioning pilots about glider soaring operations 30 to 50 miles south of RNO and took action that resulted in revisions to the San Francisco Sectional Aeronautical Chart and five of the RNO-published instrument procedures to include caution boxes to warn pilots of extensive glider activity. However, the FAA elected not to implement the transponder recommendation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the glider pilot to utilize his transponder and the high closure rate of the two aircraft, which limited each pilot's opportunity to see and avoid the other aircraft.

California Pacific Airlines' John Selvaggio on starting an airline (Video)

March, 28, 2013 -- George Chamberlin sits down with John Selvaggio, president and CEO of California Pacific Airlines, to discuss what it takes to launch and operate an airline. 

Watch Video:

Delivery - Cirrus SR22 GTS (N828EX)

Published on March 28, 2013

New Richmond Regional (KRNH), Wisconsin: Airport lawsuit circles back around

After more than five years in the courts, a lawsuit filed by landowners living near the New Richmond Regional Airport landed back in Judge Howard Cameron’s courtroom on Friday.

Only the first half of the case was heard during more than three hours of testimony. The second half of the case, presented by the city in its defense, will be heard Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

After that Cameron will consider the facts of the lawsuit and determine if property owners will be compensated for a perceived loss in value of their homes due to increased airport activity over the past five or six years.

The conflict began in 2007, after the local airport completed a 1,500-foot extension of this main runway. Because their home and property was directly under the flight path of aircraft landing and taking off from the airport, Steven and Christy Wickenhauser were paid $24,700 for an “avigation easement” to compensate them for the inconvenience of planes and helicopters flying overhead.

Other neighbors, however, were not provided such compensation.

In the months following the runway extension, the Wickenhausers claimed that airport traffic negatively impacted a larger portion of their property than originally included in the avigation easement.

Also, nearby homeowners Robert Brenner and Allan and Susan Seidling said they noticed an increase in the number of airplanes and other craft that were flying at low altitudes directly above their homes. They also noted that an increase in odors, dust, vibration, noise and runway strobe lights occurred after the runway was finished.

The families claimed that the nuisance caused by the airport limited their enjoyment of their property and asked for compensation to be awarded.

When Cameron heard the case in the summer of 2009, he eventually dismissed the lawsuit. He claimed that a complete “taking” of the neighboring properties had not occurred and the plaintiffs were not entitled to payments.

The three families appealed and Cameron’s decision was reversed in 2011. Wisconsin’s District III Court of Appeals sent the case back to county court for further findings of fact and to determine if there was a partial taking of the landowners’ property.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed in a 2012 ruling, sending it back to Cameron.

Supreme Court Justice David Prosser noted that property owners could be compensated for a “partial taking” by a governmental entity. He noted that the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits private land from being taken for public use if no compensation is provided.

Prosser noted that the question of a “taking” is especially complicated when dealing with the airspace above a home or property.

The standard for how low aircraft need to fly over a property before homeowners are eligible for compensation is a bit unclear, Prosser noted. In some cases it could be 1,000 feet (urban areas), but in other cases it could be 500 feet (rural areas) or less, he wrote.

Another factor in determining whether compensation is warranted is how often flights fly overhead.

When the parties gathered for the first time in several years on Friday, Cameron said he wanted to gather as much new testimony as possible so that the case would be solved once and for all.

“This was a tough case for a new judge to be stuck with,” said Cameron, who had only been on the job for a short while in 2009 when the lawsuit came to trial. “We’re going to do it right this time. We want this done with.”

As the plaintiffs presented their case, much of the testimony was similar to that presented in 2009. The Seidlings, Brenner and Wickenhausers said the expanded runway took away their ability to fully enjoy their homes and their properties.

Robert Strachota, an appraiser with Shenehon Co., was called to provide his estimate on the loss of value suffered by the Wickenhausers on the 77 acres of land not included in the previous avigation easement.

He said a previous appraisal in 2007 set the land’s value at $1.7 million. Because the land would not likely be a good place to construct a commercial building any more due to safety concerns, Strachota said the land is now valued at $975,000. Thus, he estimated, the Wickenhausers have suffered a loss in value of about $780,000 due to the airport expansion.

Using 2009 valuation numbers, Strachota said the Wickenhausers suffered a $636,000 loss.

Local farmer Roger Neumann, along with his sons Bjorn and Brett, farm the Wickenhauser property involved in the dispute. They each testified that airport traffic and low-flying aircraft numbers increased after the runway extension.

Roger Neumann said the noise generated from airplanes is more of an issue when they take off rather than land. Even when sitting inside the cab of a tractor, Roger Neumann said, the airplane noise is significant.

In cross examination, the Neumanns testified that they usually witnessed zero to five airplanes a day that would approach or leave the airport outside the established flight pattern.

They also said they are only working the Wickenhauser and Seidling fields less than 10 days a year.

Brenner testified that the traffic over his property is “constant” since the runway expansion was completed. Weekends are busier than weekdays, he added.

He said pilots seem to be leaving the established flight pattern in an effort to catch the updraft of prevailing winds.

Because of the flyover issue, Brenner said there are times when family members have to stop their conversations as an airplane passes. People inside the home also report strong vibrations and noise issues from airplanes flying directly above, he noted.

“It shouldn’t be part of our daily lives,” he said.

Steven Wickenhauser said he’s noticed a “big difference” between the noise levels prior to the runway extension and the noise afterwards.

He noted that his diary barn, which is currently being used for a storage business, his shop and a granary are underneath the path of many airplanes that stray from the established flight pattern.

Allan Seidling agreed that the frequency of airplanes flying overhead and the noise from it has disturbed his life. He said when airplanes fly by, he often can’t hear his television.

He said he’s concerned for his and his neighbors’ safety because many airplanes are just 100 feet above the ground when they pass.

“I’m just waiting for one of them to hit his (Brenner’s) house,” he said. “They come so close sometimes it’s amazing.”

As the plaintiff’s attorney, Phillip Krass, rested his case, the city’s attorney, Ben Southwick, outlined his intention to bring four witnesses to the June 3 trial.

He said one expert conducted three separate three-day observations of air traffic over the properties in question. Southwick said he would like to present those findings.

But Cameron has previously said testimony in the case should be limited to the timeframe between 2007 and July of 2009, when the first trial was conducted.

It remained unclear if Cameron will allow the observations to be presented.

“The defendant has a right to put its case on,” Southwick urged.

Cameron questioned whether more recent numbers would give a clear picture of how airplane traffic has changed over the homes. He said if pilots are now avoiding the practice of deviating from the established flight pattern due to the lawsuit, the study’s findings might be compromised.


Flight school fears higher landing fees at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), California

CITY HALL — Pilots and flight school owners will keep a eye on the Airport Commission Monday night as it discusses for the first time a major change in landing fees at the airport that could cost them and their customers.

The commission will discuss a proposal to increase landing fees from $2.07 per 1,000 pounds of aircraft to $5.48 per 1,000 pounds. Unlike the existing landing fee program, the larger charge will apply to local aircraft as well as those that fly in from other places.

The fee would be assessed each time a plane takes off from the airport, and documented by a camera system that shoots photos of the planes’ tail numbers.

The money would cover costs associated with the operation of the airport areas open for public use, which include the taxi lanes and places planes park that are not subject to leases, said Martin Pastucha, director of the Public Works Department.

The Airport Fund ran a deficit between fiscal year 2006-07 and 2010-11, according to city documents.

Joe Justice, owner of Justice Aviation, opposes the new fee because he believes it will be bad for businesses like his that are struggling in the bad economy as people cut back on expensive hobbies like flight.

“It can certainly add to money going out the door,” Justice said.

Justice’s fleet is mainly composed of Cessna 172 aircraft, each of which weigh roughly 2,000 pounds. That means for every take off and subsequent landing, his company will pay between $10 and $11 more than the goose egg they’re paying now.

“It means we have to pass that on to our customers, and most of us are barely hanging on,” Justice said.

Students could choose to go to a variety of other airports in the area, almost none of which have landing fees.

Of the 24 general aviation airports in or around Los Angeles County, both with and without control towers, only three other than Santa Monica Airport have landing fees, according to records held by the Federal Aviation Administration, although others have different fees like Chino Airport’s 6.5-cent tax on gas.

Camarillo Airport’s landing fee wouldn’t apply to aircraft like Justice’s — it only covers planes 12,500 pounds and over, and is still substantially lower at $1.30 per 1,000 pounds.

David Goddard, chair of the Airport Commission, doesn’t believe the fee is unreasonable, and might have the added impact of diverting flights elsewhere.

“It may inspire some of the pattern-flying planes to go elsewhere and fly patterns because they don’t want to pay every time they want to do a flight,” Goddard said.

Previous attempts to pay pilots to fly to other airports to do repetitive maneuvers that anger residents have been greeted with anger from those who disliked the idea of City Hall subsidizing the private businesses.

Everyone’s got a vision

The commission will take a look at the final round of results from a lengthy study of SMO’s future Monday night.

Phase III of the three-part study focused on initiatives and studies designed to reduce the impacts of aircraft operations on the surrounding community.

Officials plan to talk about concepts for non-aviation land, particularly kinds of uses that the community has called for like recreation, arts or an innovation site for sustainable transportation, Pastucha said.

Parking and access will also be up for discussion.

Officials will also address ways to make SMO a “better neighbor” by cutting down on emissions and noise that bother residents, some of whom live less than 300 feet from the end of the runway.

Goddard doesn’t hold out much hope that officials or the consultant will have looked at more substantial solutions to the ongoing problems at the airport rather than just mitigations.

Ideas he and others, including the Mar Vista Community Council, have put forward are dramatic changes that they believe can go into effect as soon as July 1, 2015, when one of the agreements with the Federal Aviation Administration is said to expire.

Those include shortening the runway by 2,000 feet, refusing to sell aviation gasoline at the airport and stop renting to “industrial tenants.”

“Our position is that our rights have not been reviewed,” Goddard said. “That’s all been put behind closed doors and taken out of the sunshine of public scrutiny, and there’s no reason for it.”

Vocal members of the public have often stated that they believe all phases of the process, which began in 2010, to be flawed.

Previous rounds looked at opinions about the airport and the economic impacts of the 287-acre campus. Both reports were considered “tone deaf” by airport opponents, who early on hoped to see an examination of the “nuclear option” — shutting the airport down for good, or at least severely curtailing its operations.

The City Council will look at both the landing fees and the visioning process on April 30.


Opinion/Letter: Control tower closure will cripple Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

By Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor
on March 29, 2013 at 6:51 AM, updated March 29, 2013 at 6:53 AM

It is astonishing to me that the traffic control tower at Trenton-Mercer Airport will be closed next month. Spending cutbacks are long overdue and will always affect some more than others, depending on what has to be cut, but removing air traffic control from any airport of any size that has enough traffic to warrant a tower is ludicrous.

Despite assurances that the airport will operate safely without a tower, this is sure to have a negative effect on Frontier Airlines at this critical time, when it is building its presence and reputation in our area. This letter is an urgent plea to our legislators to keep this from happening.

-- Rita Cleary,


Beechcraft Is Hiring

Reporter: Chris Frank, KAKE 

Friday, March 29, 2013 

The help wanted sign is out at Beechcraft. The Wichita planemaker is ready to start new hiring after emerging from chapter 11 bankruptcy just last month.

Beechcraft spokeswoman, Nicole Alexander says there are more than 80 positions needing to be filled immediately. They include administrative, professional and engineering. Alexander says this is Beechcraft's first push on hiring and says there will likely be more job openings throughout the year.

So after nearly a year of dealing with bankruptcy issues the company is moving forward knowing what products it will focus on and hiring to build and market those.

Story and Video:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville (KVVS), Connellsville, Pennsylvania: Airport projects move forward

DUNBAR TWP. — The Fayette County Airport Authority has agreed to reverse an earlier decision regarding the installation of runway lighting at the airport.

At its recent meeting, authority Chairman Fred Davis said that after reviewing plans with representatives of Michael Baker Corp., the airport’s consulting firm, the authority will seek bids to install medium intensity LED runway edge lights, rather than incandescent lights, to reduce the authority’s financial responsibility for the project.

“We have to live within our means financially,” said Davis. “I concur with (Michael Baker); it is the best choice for the airport.”

Previously, the project entailed re-marking runway 14 for non-precision approach and installing new lenses on existing lights, in addition to installing new lighting on a runway identified as 5-23.

According to a report from the consulting firm, the changes were made to “focus on bringing runway 5-23 into compliance.”

Alternate bids will also be sought to determine costs of the incandescent lights.

The state Bureau of Aviation has agreed to fund the bulk of the project, with the authority having to contribute a small percentage of the cost.

In a unanimous vote, the board directed the firm to seek bids for the project.

The bureau is also funding another project to seal runway surface cracks to extend the life of the airport runways.

Michael Kolesar, bureau representative, said that the Joseph A. Hardy/Connellsville Airport is one of three area airports to take part in the pilot paving project.

The program is geared to reduce costs for each airport by joining with other similar facilities seeking to have the same repairs completed.

“Instead of having three different processes for the engineering, design and construction management, this pilot project combines the three into one process,” Kolesar told the board. “The goal is to get more bang for our buck.”

Davis said that the aging runways are in need of repair and that the project would extend the life of the surfaces.

“I think it will be very helpful to the airport,” he said.

Bids are to be opened April 4.

In other action, Davis said that Michael Baker continues to prepare a master plan development for the airport. A draft submission of the inventory and aviation forecast chapters is planned for the end of April.


Sky-High Aspirations: Anne Basten helps MetJet Customer Service Soar

In her role as customer operations manager for MetJet, Anne Basten has had an amazing opportunity to watch her dreams – and those of others – literally take flight. 

A graduate of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee with degrees in business and fashion merchandising, 56-year-old Basten was no stranger to travel prior to taking her current position. As a clothing buyer and divisional merchandise manager from 1985 to 1996, her destinations included Paris, London, Rome, Florence and Hong Kong.

“I have traveled millions of miles over the years and have seen firsthand how our options became more limited, the connections got longer, and the prices got higher,” remembers Basten, a De Pere resident. “You learn which cities to avoid if connecting and what airlines actually worked with you, not against you.”

MetJet, started in 2003 by Michael Heisman, was incorporated with the intention of providing northeast Wisconsin with less expensive nonstop charter flights to key tourism and business destinations, like Orlando and Ft. Myers, Fla., she explains.

“Fast forward to 2011 when I had a chance meeting with Mike,” she reflects. “I overheard a conversation about operating a charter service out of Green Bay going to Orlando: nonstop, competitively priced, great customer service, etc. At the time, he was looking for investors, and I was hooked. I loved his thought process and business plan and felt this was just what Green Bay could use.”

The word spread quickly as Heisman gave hundreds of presentations in search of investors.

“MetJet is the company it is today because of the ambition of Mike and over 300 local investors,” she says.

For Basten, whose father was an avid supporter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), each day means she’s helping to ensure Heisman’s vision – and the good intentions of the investors – remain a reality. Given her travel industry experience, and with two daughters away at college, Basten’s heart is committed to improving the travel experience for families and business clients alike.  

  “Many people have given up on traveling because of the inconvenience. MetJet has opened up those doors to bring families together again.” she adds. “It can be very humbling at times and heartwarming just the same.”

In congruence with MetJet’s mission, Basten helps bring integrity back to the airline industry by serving clientele with respect and understanding their needs.

“MetJet fills a niche for vacation travelers and snowbirds. We pride ourselves on the little things that can add up to be big things in the end, like live customer service, two free checked bags per person, free advance seating, nonstop flights and even a free Great Harvest Bread meal on outbound Green Bay flights,” she says.

MetJet offers promotions for travelers, including gift cards for Florida attractions and free roundtrip tickets offered at various times of the year. Perhaps more impressive is the company’s enduring commitment to the community, with organizations like Freedom House; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and Ribbon of Hope benefitting from MetJet’s dedication.

The company not only strives to change the perceptions of air travel through impressive customer service standards, but Heisman is on the cutting-edge of industry innovation as well.

“Mike has developed a complete Web-based reservations and operating system,” explains Basten. “The web-based reservations system will allow passengers to view available flights and seats, as well as purchase and manage their reservations. The system has also been equipped with a travel agency functionality, which allows travel agents to earn commissions for every MetJet flight booked.

“MetJet’s operating system also provides portals for the air carrier, airports and even the investors,” she adds. “The system is also what gate agents and airport staff utilize to both check passengers in at the airport and board aircraft. In fact, the web-based application will allow MetJet to utilize any gate within an airport, as gate agents will be equipped with Apple iPads.”

While paradise is just three hours away for vacationers and business travelers flying with MetJet, Basten believes each workday is a slice of heaven.

“We deliver travel the way it should be.” she says. “We deserve better travel options. We shouldn’t have to settle.”

Story and Photo:

Pilot, aerial photographer offers free public seminar

The Niagara County History Center is pleased to offer a free, instructional seminar offered by area pilot and aerial photographer Richard Gallagher from 10 a.m. to noon April 13.

Gallagher has entitled his program, “Aerial Photography: How It’s Done,” and is inviting anyone with an interest in flying or photography, that might like to see how these two activities can be joined to create an interesting hobby or career.

Gallagher started flying in April 1950, while a senior at DeSales High School, at the old Ray Lee Airport on Lincoln Avenue in Lockport.

He credits most of his flying knowledge to George L. Graf, owner of Graf Field, located at the current site of Willowbrook Golf Course in Wrights Corners. Gallagher holds a commercial pilot’s license with flight instructor rating.

He has performed aerial photography both locally and in the Warren, Pennsylvania for approximately 23 years, before retiring in 2008. Much of his work was for the Town of Lockport where he worked for Floyd Snyder for 20 years. He got started developing and printing photography while stationed with the US Army in Germany. His current airplane of choice is a 1946 Piper J3, which is kept at Smith Field in Cambria.

In his free seminar, Gallagher will include information on the types of cameras and aircraft that are usually used, as well as other variables such as camera settings, time of day, locating “assignments” and more. He is also bringing many large format aerial prints of local scenes that he has collected over the years from his own photography business.

Students are welcome to bring their own cameras to take shots of some of Gallagher’s materials. He explained that even novice pilots could use aerial photography to help “build time” and experience towards earning a higher license or rating.

Space for this seminar is limited so prospective students are asked to call early for a reservation in this free class. The class will be held at the History Center, 215 Niagara St., Lockport.

Cessna 152, Twin Ports Aviation, N5367B: Accident occurred March 29, 2013 in Hawley, Minnesota

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA214
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 29, 2013 in Hawley, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/24/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N5367B
Injuries: 1 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.

The noninstrument-rated private pilot departed on a personal flight without a flight plan. According to a designated pilot examiner, the pilot obtained weather information on a computer before the flight. Weather reports indicated that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed before and during the flight at the destination airport. According to the pilot’s mother, she talked to him during the flight, told him that fog existed in the area, and asked him to land in another area; the pilot continued the flight without diverting. Search and rescue operations were conducted about 4 hours later when the pilot’s mother contacted local authorities due to concern that he had not arrived. The airplane wreckage was located about 15 miles east of the destination airport and exhibited a high-speed, right-wing-low impact with terrain, indicative of a loss of control. Examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noninstrument-rated pilot’s improper decision to conduct a flight into known instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of control.


On March 29, 2013, about 1530 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, N5367B, was located near Hawley, Minnesota, about 15.5 nautical miles east of Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota, after it was reported missing. The non-instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Superior Flying Services LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight and was not operating on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions were forecast before the flight originated and were present throughout the day for the destination airport. The flight originated from Richard I Bong Airport (SUW), Superior, Wisconsin, about 0900, and was destined for JKJ.

According to the owner of Superior Flying Services LLC, the pilot arrived at the airport about 0800. About 0900, the owner moved the airplane outside from the hangar where it was kept and topped it off with fuel. He did not know where the pilot was going and said that the pilot wanted to use the airplane for the weekend, and that the pilot was going to keep the airplane in a hangar in Moorhead, Minnesota.

There was no record of a weather briefing through a flight service station or a direct user access terminal service. According to a Federal Aviation Admiration (FAA) inspector, a designated pilot examiner (DPE) said he saw the pilot obtaining weather on a computer at SUW prior to his departure on the day of the accident. The DPE said that he told the pilot if the weather looks as good at his destination as it does at SUW, then he will have a good flight. The pilot said that the weather did not look good at JKJ.

There were no air traffic control services provided to N5367B for the flight.

According to the Clay County Sheriff Incident Report, the pilot was planning on flying to the Moorhead, Minnesota, to visit his family. About 0952, a family member received a text message from the pilot stating the he was flying over Park Rapids, Minnesota. About 1015, there was a further conversation between the family member and the pilot discussing fog in Moorhead, Minnesota. The family member asked the pilot to return to the Duluth, Minnesota, area or land at the Park Rapids airport due to fog issues, but the pilot continued the trip as planned to JKJ.

A husband of a witness near the accident site stated that his wife said there was "heavy fog" in the area about 1030.

An alert notice (ALNOT) for a missing aircraft was issued at 1400 due to a family concern. The airplane wreckage was located at 1530 by the Clay County Sheriff's Office during an aerial search with the aid of two local pilots. The wreckage was located about 5 nautical miles and 140 degrees from Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Hawley, Minnesota, and about 15.5 nautical miles and 095 degrees from JKJ. There were no reports of a signal from the airplane's emergency locator transmitter (ELT).


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating issued November 8, 2012. He passed his Airman Knowledge Test with a score of 88 on his first attempt. The subject area knowledge codes for questions he answered incorrectly were:

PLT012: Calculate aircraft performance – time/speed/distance/course/fuel/wind

PLT019: Calculate pressure altitude

PLT099: Recall aeromedical factors – scanning procedures

PLT147: Recall airport operations – visual glideslope indicators

PLT163: Recall airspace requirements – visibility/cloud clearance

PLT165: Recall altimeter – effect of temperature changes

PLT301: Recall inversion layer – characteristics

On November 12, 2012, the pilot passed the test for his pilot certificate and rating on his first attempt. The test was administered by the DPE, who talked to the pilot on the day of the accident. The test duration was reported on the application for the certificate and rating as 1.8 hours of ground and 1.2 hours of flight. The pilot reported on the application a total time of 57.5 hours, 46.7 hours if instruction received, 10.8 hours of pilot-in-command (PIC), 7.8 hours of cross county instruction received, and 5.7 hours of cross country PIC.

Pilot logbook entries indicate that there were only two flights, dated December 23, 2012, and February 24, 2012, after the pilot was issued his pilot certificate. The December 23, 2012, flight was in a Cessna 152, N24242, from SUW to XVG to JKJ to SUW and was 4.4 hours in duration. The February 24, 2012, flight was in a Cessna 172, no registration number was entered, from SUW to SUW and was 1.2 hours in duration. As of February 24, 2012, the pilot accumulated a total flight time of about 63.6 hours.

The owner of Superior Aviation LLC, stated that the pilot received his training from the previous owner of Superior Aviation LLC. The owner stated that the pilot received a private pilot certificate during the previous summer and estimated that the pilot had a total flight time of about 70-80 hours.

There was no FAA record of previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement actions involving the pilot.


The Chicago Area Forecast issued March 29, 2013 at 0445 with clouds and weather valid until 1700 and outlook valid from 1700-2300 reported:

North Dakota

Northwestern: overcast – 2,500 feet; tops – 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist. At 1200, broken – 3,500 feet; broken – 6,000 feet; tops – 16,000 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist. At 1500, broken – 4,500 feet; isolated light rain showers. Outlook – visual flight rules (VFR).

Southwestern: scattered – 3,500 feet; broken 12,000; tops – 15,000 feet. Until 0900; visibility - occasional 3 statute miles; mist. At 1500, broken – 12,000; tops – 16,000; isolated light rain showers; outlook – VFR.

Northeastern: overcast – 2,500 feet; tops - 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. Becoming at 1821, broken 10,000 feet; tops – 16,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Southeastern: overcast – 2,500; tops – 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1500, broken – 3,500 feet; overcast – 10,000; tops – 16,000. Outlook – marginal VFR; moderate rain showers and mist.

South Dakota

Northwestern: scattered – 12,000 feet; visibility – occasionally 5 statute miles, mist. At 0900, sky clear. At 1600, broken – 12,000 feet, tops – 16,000 feet. Outlook – VFR.

Southwestern: scattered – 14,000, scattered cirrus. At 1500, scattered – 10,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Northeastern: broken – 6,000 feet; tops – 11,000; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, sky clear. Outlook – VFR. At 1900, marginal VFR, mist.

Southeastern: scattered – 10,000 feet. Until 1000, visibility – occasional 3 statute miles, mist. At 1200, scattered cirrus. Outlook - VFR.



Extreme West: broken 2000 feet; tops – 2,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, scattered – 2,500 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Remainder: broken – 3,500 feet; tops – 7,000 feet. At 1000, scattered – 5,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Northeastern: scattered – 6,000 feet. At 1000, scattered – 4,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.


Extreme west: broken – 2,000 feet, tops – 4,000 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, broken – 9,000 feet; tops – 12,000. Outlook – VFR. At 2000, marginal VFR, mist.

Remainder: broken 6,500 feet; tops 12,000; visibility occasional 3 statute miles, mist. At 0900, broken 9,000. Outlook – VFR.

Southeastern: broken – 9,000 feet; tops 12,000. At 1200: broken 6,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

The Hector International Airport (FAR), Fargo, North Dakota, terminal forecast (FT) reports from 0600 indicted instrument flight rules conditions beyond the time of the accident.

The FAR report issued at 1142 reported in part:

From March 29, 2013, at 0700 to March 30, 2012, at 1100: wind 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility ¼ mile; fog; vertical visibility 100 feet. Temporarily from 1200 to 1600: visibility 1 statute mile; mist; overcast – 400 feet above ground level. From 1600: wind variable at 3 knots; mist; overcast – 300 feet…

The FAR FT issued at 1009 reported in part:

From March 29, 2013 at 1000 to March 30, 2012 at 0700: wind from 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist; overcast 400 feet above ground level. From 1200: wind variable at 3 knots; visibility – 4 statute miles; mist; overcast 800 feet above ground level…

The JKJ automated surface observing system (ASOS) recorded instrument flight rules conditions from the departure time of the flight and beyond the time that the airplane was located. The JKJ ASOS reported:

At 0834: wind – 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility – ¾ statute miles; mist; broken – 100 feet above ground level; temperature – -10 degrees Celsius; dew point - -10 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.21 inches of mercury; remarks – visibility ¼ statute mile

At 0915: wind – calm; visibility – ¼ statute mile; freezing fog; overcast – 200 feet above ground level; temperature - -7 degrees Celsius; dew point - -7 degrees Celsius


The 1979 Cessna 152, serial number 15283850, was registered to Superior Flying Services LLC on May 29, 2012. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-235-L2C, serial number L-1729915, engine. Logbook entries dated November 29, 2012, stated that the airplane and engine underwent an annual inspection at tachometer time of 8,460.2.

Logbook entries dated March 28, 2013, stated that the airplane and engine received a 100-hour inspection at a tachometer time of 8,559.1.


The airplane wreckage path was approximately oriented on a 050 degree heading and was 267 feet in length. The GPS coordinates of the fuselage was 046 degrees 48.761 minutes North and 096 degrees 17. 113 minutes West, and the GPS elevation was 1,227 feet. The fuselage was in an upright position near the northeastern edge of the wreckage path and oriented on a tail to nose magnetic heading of about 030 degrees. The southwestern edge of the wreckage path contained the airplane's right wing tip.

The engine cowling and airplane surfaces did not exhibit evidence of fire, soot, or oil.

Examination of the flight control system confirmed flight control continuity from the control surfaces to cockpit controls. The flaps were in the retracted position.

The wing fuel caps were in place and secured on each wing. The fuel selector was in the "both" position. The right and left wing fuel tanks contained a liquid consistent with 100 low lead (100LL) aviation fuel that was in excess of the unusable fuel for the airplane. Actuation of the engine primer drew and expelled a liquid consistent with 100LL. The gascolator and carburetor screen were unobstructed. The carburetor float was consistent with white plastic and did not contain fuel with the float and was able to move freely. The carburetor bowl did not contain debris and did not contain liquid consistent with fuel. During wreckage recovery, the area had a smell consistent with 100LL fuel.

The instrument panel sustained impact damage. The magneto key switch with the key in place was in the "both" position. The master switch was in the "on" position. The transponder indicated a code of 1200. The engine primer was in locked into the in position. The flap control handle was in the zero degree position. The turn coordinator was indicated a right bank indication to the limit of the gauge. Examination of the attitude indicator gimbal and gyro revealed that they were able to move freely. The gyro surface exhibited rotation scoring over approximately a ¼ of its surface.

The pitot tube and line to the pitot tube were unobstructed and did not contain liquid. The stall warning activated when suction was placed on the wing leading edge of the stall warning sensor.

The propeller was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited twisting and leading edge damage consistent with power.

The ELT switch was in the "armed" position and the antenna was disconnected. The antenna did not exhibit damage or deformation consistent with it being pulled from the ELT.

The Hobbs meter indicated 8,064.1, and the tachometer indicated 8,561.3.


An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, St. Paul, Minnesota. The cause of death was reported as: Multiple traumatic injuries due to light aircraft crash.

The FAA Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was negative for all substances tested.

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA214 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 29, 2013 in Hawley, MN
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N5367B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 29, 2013, about 1530 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, N5367B, was found near Hawley, Minnesota, after it was reported missing. The airplane was located in a field about 15.5 nautical miles east Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. The non instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Superior Flying Services LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight and was not operating on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions were forecast before the flight originated and were present throughout the day for the destination airport. The flight originated from Richard I Bong Airport (SUW), Superior, Wisconsin, about 0900 and was destined for JKJ.

The airplane wreckage path was approximately oriented on a 050 degree heading and was 267 feet in length. The fuselage was in an upright position near the northeastern edge of the wreckage path. The flaps were in the retracted position. The propeller was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited twisting and leading edge damage consistent with power.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot was issued a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating in November 2012. He accumulated a total flight time of about 63.6 hours as of his last logged flight, which was dated February 24, 2013.

The girlfriend of the man who died in a plane crash near Hawley, says Kevin Ferris always wanted to be a pilot.

Kevin Ferris, a Duluth, Minn., pilot who died in a crash near Hawley, Minn., is shown with his son, Simon.
HAWLEY, Minn. – Roz Randorf didn’t worry about her long-term boyfriend Kevin Ferris piloting small planes from their Duluth, Minn., home to their hometown of Moorhead.  

But Friday afternoon, she got the call she least expected.

Friends at Twin Ports Aviation in Superior, Wis., told her Ferris’ plane was missing. He had taken to the skies from Superior around 9 a.m. en route to Moorhead to see his parents on Easter weekend.

The 48-year-old Ferris, best known in the Duluth area as “The Rose Man,” never arrived. He was found dead by Clay County authorities Friday after his airplane crashed about four miles south of Hawley.

“You kiss him goodbye and you don’t think you won’t see him again,” Randorf said Friday night as she drove to Moorhead, where both her and Ferris lived until moving to Duluth seven years ago.

His family last heard from him when he was flying over Park Rapids, about 60 miles east of Hawley and 150 miles west of Superior, Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said.

The last contact of any sort with Ferris was made around 10:15 a.m. near Detroit Lakes, Randorf said.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department began helping with a search for the missing plane when the first call came in around 12:30 p.m., Bergquist said.

Bergquist said a search plane spotted the wreckage from the air about 4:15 p.m.

Randorf said she had taken the day off work to man The Rose Man, a Duluth flower shop the couple bought in April 2011.

After she learned wreckage was located, Randorf began the long drive to Moorhead with her two sons, staying in constant contact with Ferris’ mother, Margaret, and hoping rescuers would find Ferris alive in the meantime.

She received a call from the sheriff’s office after searchers located the single-engine, two-seat Cessna on the ground.

Bergquist speculated that Ferris may have tried to land the plane because of the fog. Fog also complicated search efforts, he said, as the aerial search didn’t start until mid-afternoon. The crash site was difficult to see from nearby roads.

Ferris and Randorf are graduates of Moorhead High School and Minnesota State University Moorhead. The couple has a 10-year-old son, Simon Randorf, together. Ferris is also the father of Michael Ferris, 23, and Brandon Ferris, 20. He is also a stepfather to Roz’s 21-year-old son, Spencer Pitzel.

After working 25 years at KXJB-TV in Fargo, Randorf and Ferris moved to Duluth in 2006. Randorf is the advertising director at the Duluth News Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co., as is The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Randorf said Ferris had always wanted to be a pilot and began flying two years ago after learning to fly at Twin Ports Aviation, the same company he rented the plane from on Friday.

“He wishes he would have started flying earlier in life,” Randorf said.

She said the couple usually made the drive together back to Moorhead but the short plane trip between Duluth and Moorhead was an appealing reason for Ferris to learn to fly.

Randorf said she had never worried about Ferris in the air.

“He was a good pilot. He took it seriously, he understood how to route a flight plan. He was very conscientious. He wasn’t foolish when it came to the mechanics,” she said.

Friday morning, nothing struck Randorf as out of the ordinary. The couple had joked together about Randorf working at the shop for Ferris. She said Ferris kissed her goodbye as he usually does and she expected to see him on Sunday. The family had Easter buffet reservations at the Superior airport.

“It’s a traditional freak accident. It changes your whole life,” she said.

Randorf said Ferris will be remembered for his kindness and gentle touch that reached far past his corner rose shop.

“He was a great businessman. We were increasing sales at the shop,” Randorf said. “(He was) a real gentleman, very giving.”

Bergquist said investigators will likely be on the scene of the crash site again today. Authorities did not officially identify Ferris on Friday as the victim of the crash.

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

NTSB: Duluth pilot killed in Moorhead crash wasn't instrument rated 

 Duluth pilot Kevin Ferris lacked the instrument rating recommended for the weather conditions that were forecasted for and existing at his destination of Moorhead, Minn., when he was killed in a plane crash March 29.

"Instrument meteorological conditions were forecast before the flight originated and were present throughout the day for the destination airport," the preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board said.

According to the report, Ferris was not instrument rated. It was foggy when the Cessna 152 Ferris was flying from Superior to Moorhead crashed in a farm field approximately 18 miles east of Moorhead. An examination of the wreckage found no sign of mechanical problems that would explain the crash.

It could be a year before the NTSB releases its final report on the crash.

The 48-year-old Ferris received his private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating in November 2012. He had logged about 63.6 hours of flight time as of his last logged flight on Feb. 24.

Ferris departed Superior's Richard I. Bong airport for Moorhead Municipal Airport around 9 a.m. to visit family for Easter. Searchers began looking for him after he was reported overdue around 12:30 p.m. Fog hindered the search, and it was several hours before searchers in a plane spotted the wreckage.

According to the NTSB, "The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage (tail assembly)."

The plane's fuselage was found upright near the end of 267-foot-long path of wreckage. The plane's flaps were in the retracted position. The propeller was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited twisting and leading edge damage consistent with what would happen if it was turning under power when it hit the ground.

The path of the wreckage indicates the plane was heading roughly northeast when it crashed.

Fly The Whale: Westchester pair's charter flights to Cape, Hamptons, thriving

Andrew Clark was walking along the East River one summer day several years ago when a seaplane touched down on the water in front of him.

“There was something about watching this huge powerful machine that was incredible,” recalled Clark, a Scarsdale resident.

Clark, now 35, was working as a real estate developer, but hoping to switch careers and start his own business. After seeing the plane, he thought about the hassle of driving to Nantucket on Friday afternoons during the summer and making the long trek back on Sunday. He knew other New Yorkers also dreaded the traffic-clogged journey.

“A light bulb went off in my head — if we could get people there from the city and Westchester in 45 or 55 minutes (by plane) — I felt it was a really good business idea,” said Clark, who grew up in Scarsdale and has always been fascinated with flying.

That idea would turn into Fly The Whale, an aviation company he launched in 2011 with his business partner, Melissa Tomkiel, a Bronxville resident.

The company — which operates flights from Westchester County Airport in White Plains as well as Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and Manhattan’s East River — specializes in trips to upscale vacation destinations, such as Nantucket and East Hampton. People can also reserve chartered flights to locations within about 700 miles of the area and between Caribbean islands.

To meet growing demand, the company will offer shared charter service this summer from Westchester’s airport to Nantucket and East Hampton. Rather than one group booking an entire plane, under the new option travelers can buy individual seats — a less expensive way to fly privately with all of the same perks, Tomkiel said. The service starts Memorial Day weekend.

“This is a much more affordable way to do it and get there conveniently,” said Tomkiel. “We did it because our clients asked for it.”

They expect to provide 120 to 150 shared private flights this summer. Each plane typically carries eight passengers and two pilots. Tradewind Aviation also operates chartered flights from Westchester’s airport to the Nantucket area.

Fly The Whale currently manages five planes, a mix of traditional aircraft and amphibious planes, and oversees a full-time staff of 14 employees.

“We’re not committed to any certain routes, and as soon as our clients express demand for a new service, we are able to be flexible, and I think that’s how we got popular quickly,” said Tomkiel, 32.

The company’s quirky name is a nod to Nantucket’s whaling history, though it didn’t catch on right away, Clark said.

“At first we were laughed at in the business,” he said. “We struggled with it at first, but if someone sees Fly the Whale on the tail of the plane, you remember it.”

The pair’s Westchester connections have contributed to their success, they said.

“A lot of people we know — our family and friends — are our clients and help us tremendously to get the word out,” said Tomkiel, who previously worked full-time as a corporate attorney.

People who charter flights want to make the most of their relaxation time, Clark said.

“They don’t have time to sit in a car on a Friday afternoon for four to 6 hours to try and get to East Hampton. A flight from Westchester County Airport to East Hampton airport takes 18 minutes,” he said.

For a shared private flight, passengers will pay roughly $800 to $850 for a round-trip weekend ticket from Westchester to East Hampton. The same type of ticket to Nantucket goes for about $900, though travelers going to either destination get discounts for buying multiple trips, she said. People can also book early Monday morning flights from those places to extend the weekend.

By comparison, a roundtrip commerical ticket to Nantucket for a weekend in June costs about $530 on Cape Air, for example, not including taxes.

Tomkiel acknowledged that starting an aviation business was a big risk, but she said she enjoys the challenge. In addition to handling legal aspects, she is in charge of development and marketing.

“This was an opportunity to build my own company and exercise my own creative abilities and not be in the confines of other people’s ideas,” she said.

Clark said he believes Fly The Whale has brought fresh energy to the business of chartering planes.

“I never thought it would grow this quickly,” he said. “It helped me being that young and fearless, because now having kids, I probably never would have done this.”