Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learjet to Park on Rodeo Drive: Concours D'Elegance gets a new entry this year: a plane

Space Shuttle Endeavour? You've started a trend.

We weren't a city where things with wings took to our streets. But then that all changed in the autumn of 2012, when a certain mammoth space vehicle made its final mission. Perhaps you saw a photograph or two? Yes.

Next up? Learjet will park one of its iconic planes in the middle of Beverly Hills on Fathers Day 2013. It's set to be the star attraction of the Rodeo Drive Concours D'Elegance.

A few things of note:
This is the first plane to ever appear at the annual upscale car show (and it is described as being a "full-scale mock-up," it should be noted). Second? It's Learjet's 50th anniversary, which will also inspired the 2013 theme of the Concours D'Elegance: "The Jet Age."

The Beverly Hills-bound plane is a Learjet 85. The craft was designed by Bombadier Aerospace.

The jet-speed theme will also extend to the cars set to appear at the fender-laden spectacular; look for mid-century designs that reflected American's upwards aspirations. Translation? Big, bold fins and grills and lights and such. And, yep, even though a plane will get the larger share of attention, the Concours is still all about cars (and cycles, too).

Fathers Day is on Sunday, June 16. The Rodeo Drive Concours D'Elegance is, as always, free and open to the public.


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

Japanese airlines hail Dreamliner battery fix approval

TOKYO —  Japanese airlines on Wednesday welcomed U.S. approval of test flights of the grounded Boeing 787 with prototype versions of the battery fix, holding out hopes for a resumption of its operations.

The worldwide grounding of Dreamliners has thrown airline schedules into disarray, especially in Japan where All Nippon Airways (ANA), the biggest operator of the plane, has been forced to cancel more than 3,600 flights through to the end of May.

“ANA, as the launch customer of the 787, hopes its flights will be resumed as early as possible on condition that safety is guaranteed,” said the airline spokesman, which hailed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.

“We think the approval… is major progress towards resuming operations of the 787,” he said.

A spokesman at Japan Airlines said the company believed the issue had “entered a new stage”, adding the firm would continue to work in cooperation with parties concerned.

Battery maker GS Yuasa declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

U.S. regulators Tuesday approved Boeing’s plan for the 787 batteries and said the company could carry out test flights with the fix.

“The Federal Aviation Administration today approved the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company’s certification plan for the redesigned 787 battery system… and the company’s plan to demonstrate that the system will meet FAA requirements,” the agency said in a statement.

The FAA said it had given the go-ahead after “thoroughly reviewing” Boeing’s February 22 plan to address risks after lithium-ion batteries short-circuited on two 787 Dreamliner aircraft in mid-January.

A short circuit started a fire on a parked 787 at Boston’s Logan Airport and smoke from a battery forced an emergency landing in Japan.

The incidents led to the grounding of all 50 787s in service worldwide on Jan 16.

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

Police ID pilot in plane crash: Beech A36 Bonanza, N6038R - Accident occured March 23, 2013 in Cordova, Rock Island County, Illinois

The pilot who crashed a plane in a Cordova, Ill., farm field Saturday has been identified.

Dr. Richard M. Kishiue, 67, of Bettendorf, a Genesis Health Group OB/GYN, was the pilot who survived the crash, Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd said.

“The fact he was able to land safely is quite impressive,” Boyd said.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board began its investigation Monday morning and was expected to be on the scene near Cordova, Ill., Tuesday, agency spokesman Aaron Sauer said.

The plane crashed shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday in the field at 171st Avenue North, about a half-mile east of Illinois 84. Sauer said the pilot received a minor injury and was treated at the scene.

The single-engine Beechcraft airplane lost power and clipped a utility pole and lines during its descent into the field. The pilot was able to land the plane upright in the field. One of the wings was partially torn off in the crash.

“He was attempting to do what we classify as a force landing in the cornfield,” Sauer said.

Kishiue flew out of the Davenport Municipal Airport in Mount Joy and was the only person on board.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website and the plane’s tail number, the aircraft is a 1979 Beech Bonanza A36. The plane is registered to Romeo Aviation LLC of Middle Road in Bettendorf and is based at the Davenport Municipal Airport.

Efforts to reach Romeo Aviation were unsuccessful.

Story and Photos:   http://qctimes.com

Skydiving instructor tried to save student, Pasco detective says: Skydive City - Zephyrhills Municipal Airport (KZPH), Florida

ZEPHYRHILLS — The camera mounted atop the instructor's helmet captured the last 60 seconds or so of the skydivers' lives. And it gives investigators their best clues as two why two Icelandic skydivers fell to their deaths Saturday from Skydive City.

The video indicates that the student, Andrimar Pordarson, 25, was unable to yank the pull cord on his parachute, said Pasco sheriff's Detective William Lindsey. It's unclear whether Pordarson was unconscious, or why he was unable to activate his parachute, Lindsey said.

But the instructor, Orvar Arnarson, 40, tried to save him. He tried to pull the cord, Lindsey said, but he couldn't open the chute in time.

There was no dialogue in the short video, taken from a camera mounted to Arnarson's helmet. It was meant to be an instructional video.

"They were falling at 120 mph," Lindsey said. "All you can hear is wind."

The men were visiting Florida on a skydiving trip from Iceland and jumped about 10 a.m. Saturday morning from Skydive City in Zephyrhills. After Pasco deputies and Zephyrhills police spent several hours searching, deputies in a helicopter spotted the bodies at 7:30 p.m. Saturday off Yonkers Road, south of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has received numerous requests from local media for the videotape from the jump. They also heard from the skydivers' family members, who begged for the video not to be released, Lindsey said.

At a press conference Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office described the clues gleaned from the videotape, but said they would not release it. The agency cited an exemption under Florida's public records law for recordings depicting the killing of a person.

"It's a very sad ending to two people's lives who were going out there for enjoyment," said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.

While the main parachutes were never activated, both packs had backup chutes that should have deployed. The Federal Aviation Administration will send investigators later this week to look at the equipment, the Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators may never have a full picture of what went wrong, but the video shows the instructor, Arnarson, did everything he could to try to save the student and himself.

"He was a hero. He died a hero," Lindsey said.


Source:  http://www.tampabay.com

Judge decries airline attitudes

The judge who sentenced a Pacific Blue pilot for his careless Queenstown take-off has concerns about industry pressure to keep aircraft ''off the ground''.

Auckland-based captain Roderick Gunn was yesterday fined $5100 for carelessly operating a Sydney-bound aircraft on June 22, 2010, in dark conditions and outside the airline's and Civil Aviation Authority flight rules.

The 55-year-old married father-of-two is still allowed to fly but must undertake extensive training before he renews his license, which expired during his two-and-a-half-year stand-down following the incident.

Gunn must not operate as pilot-in-command on flights in and out of Queenstown - regarded as a ''category X'' aerodrome with the highest degree of difficulty - for 12 months. During sentencing in the Queenstown District Court, Judge Kevin Phillips said he held concerns about pilots feeling the urgency to keep aircraft moving.

''In my view, there appears to be some degree of either peer pressure or operator pressure to personnel, and I find that alarming that a person as experienced as you has come to need to get this aircraft off the ground, out of Queenstown, in these circumstances,'' he said.

''If there is the prevalent view among senior pilots that `the job has got to be done' then that has to be, in my view, denounced.''

Gunn's good character from his exemplary 30-year commercial flying career ''is now gone forever'' after a willful disregard for the strict aviation rules, Judge Phillips said. Gunn took off from Queenstown with 64 passengers and six crew at 5.25pm, 11 minutes after the rules stipulated it was safe to do so at that time of year.

That, compounded by low cloud and high crosswinds, meant that a prudent and reasonable pilot would have left the plane grounded. During Gunn's lengthy trial last year, the prosecution case centered on the idea that if there was an engine failure during or immediately after take-off, the plane would not have been able to make it safely out of the mountainous basin and to another airport.

A transcript of an interview with Gunn following the incident showed he regarded flying on that day as ''just another day in the office''. Judge Phillips found that to be an aggravating comment.

''It was denouncing of your duties and denouncing of yourself.

''You seemed to ignore the fact that you had to maintain visibility - not only with the lake and the ground below - but also the mountainous terrain that you had to fly around.

''Somehow, you as pilot-in-command could make your own rules.''

Outside court, Gunn declined to comment, being contractually bound to not say anything. Defence counsel Matthew Muir said: ''I think that Mr Gunn will be delighted that the judge has given him another chance in his career.''

CAA director of civil aviation Graeme Harris welcomed the sentencing.

''Airlines in New Zealand are among the safest in the world and the vast majority of airline pilots are highly professional and focused on the safety of their passengers.

''While we prefer to work with airlines and pilots that share a common interest in safety, there is a threshold beyond which those involved in aviation must be held accountable for their actions.''

Source:   http://www.odt.co.nz

Party-prone aviator loses bid to overturn sacking

A pilot accused of booze-fueled antics at a Sydney hotel and supplying a colleague with a class-C drug during a spa pool party that finished just hours before his shift was rightly sacked, a court has ruled.

The pilot, whose name is suppressed, worked for Pacific Blue, now known as Virgin Australia, for 16 months before his dismissal.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled his dismissal was justified, but the pilot appealed against the decision in the Employment Court.

The man was employed as a first officer pilot in August, 2008.

In January 2009, he and 15 colleagues visited a hotel bar in Sydney's Potts Point, where staff became concerned at their rowdy behavior, the court said in its decision, released yesterday.

However, Pacific Blue had concerns about whether he had been honest with them during their investigation into the incident.

Six months later the man and four other crew went to his home and partied in a spa pool, drank alcohol, and some took a natural herbal pill called Red Alert, supplied by the pilot.

One of the crew members slept at the man's place overnight. She said that next morning she found the pilot slumped on a chair looking "munted".

However, others at the party disputed her evidence, saying he was in bed.

When the woman went to leave the property, she collapsed on the street, was hospitalised and the class C-controlled drug benzylpiperazine (BZP) was found in her system.

At the time BZP was legal in New Zealand, but is now illegal.

The pilot was on standby to fly the afternoon following the party and he told his employer he had stopped drinking eight hours before his shift was due to start.

He said he had "no doubt" that he would have been within the acceptable (blood alcohol) range, although he did accept that he had pushed the limits, the Employment Court said.

Judge Christina Inglis said Pacific Blue operated in a safety-conscious industry.

"Public safety is a core concern. It is self evident that the defendant must have the utmost trust and confidence in its pilots."


Source:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz

North Carolina Department of Transportation: State to replace aircraft used for job recruiting

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is getting ready to sell two planes and a helicopter that legislative investigators say are not used enough to justify their expense.

Selling the aircraft and replacing them with newer, more cost-effective planes will save the state $500,000 per year, according to a DOT news release.

“Consistent with the governor’s focus on efficiency, we are always looking for better ways to use resources and collaborate to improve our operations,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in the release. “Selling our aircraft to build a more efficient fleet will ensure we continue the important work of the NCDOT in a more cost-effective way.”

The first phase of the plan will be to sell a Cessna Citation Bravo Jet and a Sikorsky helicopter. These aircraft are used by the Commerce Department in recruiting companies to the state and by the governor and other high-ranking state officials when they travel. They are also used to survey for new road construction and to transport officials during disasters.

The state plans to buy a new turbo-prop aircraft and a Bell helicopter with the proceeds from the sale. A third plane will also be sold and replaced by a smaller turbo-prop plane.

A 2011 WRAL Investigates story found that some state aircraft, including the helicopter slated to be sold, were rarely flown. In 2012, the General Assembly's Program Evaluation Division advised that the state should sell the helicopter because it was not used frequently.

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

Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania: Air show planned in August

Lehigh Valley International Airport will host a two-day civilian-aircraft show open to the public in August, the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority announced today.

The authority says the air show is the first of its kind at the Hanover Township, Lehigh County, facility since its inaugural show in 1997.

The ticketed event Aug. 24-25 is expected to draw about 15,000 people and could see a bump in attendance because of limits on military air shows due to federal spending cuts, authority officials said. 


Source:   http://www.lehighvalleylive.com

August airshow planned at Allentown airport: LVIA board hopes to raise money and awareness.


The Lehigh Valley International Airport will host an airshow in late August to raise money and awareness about the Allentown facility, where passenger traffic has slipped.

The Iron Eagle Aerobatic Team, an all-female sky diving team and ground exhibits are planned Aug. 24-25. It will be the Lehigh Valley's first airshow since 1997, the sponsors say.

The board overseeing LVIA on Tuesday approved $283,000 for upfront costs, but said they expect to make money on sponsorships and other revenues. At least 15,000 people are expected to attend. 


Source:   http://www.mcall.com

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Casino Reinvestment Development Authority grants helping entertainment projects take flight

Without the $25,000 grant it received from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the popular Atlantic City Air Show might have been canceled this year.

“In 2013, that grant is going to be critical,” said Joe Kelly, executive director of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. “It’s probably the difference between doing a show and not doing a show.”

Applications are now available for the CRDA’s community capital development and entertainment grants. Entertainment grants have helped underwrite the costs associated with events in the tourism district such as the Bay Atlantic Symphony, Atlantic City Ballet and the Atlantic City Air Show. Applications are reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Community Capital Development grants are offered nonprofit organizations that support open space development, seniors or recreation. Past grants were awarded for community gardens, recreational equipment for seniors and a computer lab for at-risk youth. Applications are due, July 19 and winners will be announced in October.

“These grants allow us to enhance some of the programs that are directly beneficial to the community,” said Ali Reynolds, director of community development partnerships at CRDA. “The entertainment grants allow more and more activities into the community. People come from far and wide for a lot of these events.”

Last year, the Atlantic City Air Show drew 908,000 people, including 429,000 from out of the area. Kelly said the air show will be more expensive to host this year: Because of the government sequester, the U.S. military demonstrations, which usually charge just a small stipend, will not be part of the show. Organizers now have to hire more commercial performers at a higher rate.

“The grant by and large goes to offset the performers and their fees,” Kelly said. “It is critical to have that cash component.”

Kelly said it costs about $1 million to put on the air show, though 80 percent is recouped through sponsorships and trade. The economic impact of the one-day air show, measured by the dollar amounts taken in through food, beverage, lodging, entertainment, shopping, gambling and transportation, was more than $42 million last year, he said, “a pretty good return for the investment.”

Applications are available at www.njcrda.com.


Source:   http://www.njbiz.com

EasyJet to create more pilot jobs

The company says that for successful applicants the new roles will provide the first step towards a long term career with easyJet and will also enable the airline to continue its profitable expansion which recently included launching new routes to Russia and - from yesterday - its first ever services from London Gatwick to Bergen Norway.

EasyJet expects to fill the new positions from several sources including - pilots starting their career, pilots currently flying for the military who wish to join the civilian aviation sector and those who currently fly for other airlines who wish to build a career at easyJet.

The new positions will be offered across all 11 of easyJet's UK bases – Gatwick, Southend, Luton, Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast – and across easyJet's European network of bases.

Those interested can apply through careers.easyJet.com and if successful will start flying with easyJet from summer 2014.

EasyJet's head of flight operations, Captain Brian Tyrrell, said today: "I'm really pleased to be launching this recruitment drive for 200 new pilots. We are actively seeking pilots from the military services and we know from the ex-forces pilots who already fly with us that their skills and experience will be an asset to the airline.

"No other British airline is recruiting on this scale. It is a great time to join easyJet – our pilots fly one of the youngest fleets in the aviation world, receive high quality training and fast career progression at an airline which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

"Pilots joining easyJet can look forward to a long term career with the airline, becoming Captains in less than 10 years - much more quickly than at other airlines. As a demonstration of this we plan to promote 100 Senior First Officers to Captain in 2014.

"Our pilots' skills and professionalism is very important to easyJet's success and so I look forward to welcoming the successful applicants onboard next year."

EasyJet is the UK's largest airline operating 214 aircraft, the average age of which is just over four years, carrying nearly 60 million passengers to 130 destinations. There are currently over 2300 pilots flying for easyJet.

Today's announcement follows last month's announcement by easyJet that it is creating 330 new permanent positions for pilots in 2013.

EasyJet is advertising in industry publications such as Flight International , with an ad campaign aimed at pilots with range of experience including military.

Of the 200 new pilots some will join easyJet directly while others will join via easyJet's training partners CTC Aviation and CAE Parc Aviation. They then gain further experience and flying hours with easyJet which is followed by a permanent contract with the airline.

Beyond that the airline says there are further opportunities for pilots to develop their career whether that is into a training or management role.
The easyJet pilot career structure and expected total reward package range is:


Rank Career phase & Experience Total Reward Package Range*
Cadet Scheme# The pilots will gain experience of the airline's operations and build up their flying hours. £40k - £50k
First Officer Pilots will become eligible for permanent employment as First Officer once they have 1251 flying hours and two years' service with easyJet. £54k - £58k
Senior First Officer Once they have completed a further two years and have reached 2500 hours they will then become a Senior First Officer. £66k - £75K
Captain Pilots then gain further experience and after a few years will be able to achieve their Command. £114k - £146k

*The total reward package includes flexible rosters, basic pay, on target bonus and sector pay and other allowances plus employment benefits such as pension. All these ranges are based on pilots working full time. There will also be part time (at 75%) and fixed rosters (paid at 90%) contracts available.
 
#Cadet scheme – those with higher flying hours will earn more.
 
Applicants can apply via careers.easyJet.com

Source:   http://www.adsadvance.co.uk

Colorado Springs: Mayor wants airport marketing consultant

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach is putting out a call for an airport marketing expert.

The expert ought to be familiar with strategies on marketing a regional airport in the shadow of an international airport, like Denver.

City officials announced Friday that Colorado Springs airport aviation director Mark Earle was stepping down. Earle, city officials said,  would stay on as an adviser while the city searches for a new director. Meanwhile, Bach wants a marketing consultant.

“The City has issued an RFP (request for proposal) for a marketing consultant expert in mid-sized, regional airports in proximity to major hubs, such as DIA,” he said. “Separately, I’ll be convening a promotions brainstorming session with local airport stakeholders, including airline station managers, CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau), the Pikes Peak Lodging Association and others to talk about ideas we could quickly implement.”

Earle could not be reached Friday for comment. His base annual salary as the aviation director was $165,899. He will continue at this base salary rate as the senior adviser – airport and aviation affairs, city officials said.

Assistant Aviation Director Dan Gallagher will assume the role of interim director while the City conducts a national search for a new director.  Gallagher’s base annual salary as the assistant aviation director was $110,819. His base salary rate as the interim aviation director will be $132,719, which is the minimum pay rate for the aviation director position, city officials said.

Gallagher has been with the Colorado Springs Airport since September 2010.

Colorado Springs Airport enplanements have been on a downward trend since 2007, according to the most recent report by the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. In 2011, enplanements in December were 820,573. In December 2012, enplanements dropped to 809,097. In December 2007, enplanements crested 90,000 but have been declining since then.

Then, the airport took a loss when in February, Frontier Airlines announced that was ending its five-year presence in the Springs. The airline, which had cut its service from the Springs to Denver effective March 2, also  ended its remaining nonstop flights, including those to Phoenix and Los Angeles. Frontier flights represented about 19 percent of the airport’s traffic.

Frontier has a hub in Denver and since 2008 had been maintaining a healthy schedule of flights from Colorado Springs to Denver and back to get passengers to connecting flights. Earlier this year, Frontier was told by its holding company, Republic Airways, that it no longer could fly the smaller Embraer aircraft between Colorado Springs and Denver.

Story and Photo:  http://csbj.com

Not all air traffic control towers are created equal

Mar. 25, 2013 4:00 PM  
Written by  Mike Nichols
Commentary



Jim Retzlaff has a pretty basic observation about pilots that a lot of people seem to have forgotten:

“We don’t want to die.”

I know where you think I’m going with this. You think I am going to start carping about the Federal Aviation Administration’s intention to cut funding for air traffic control towers at smaller airports all around the country due to so-called federal budget sequestration.

The feds initially named a bunch of Wisconsin airports that could lose out, including those in Mosinee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, La Crosse, Milwaukee’s Timmerman Field, Oshkosh and Waukesha, although by the time this is published some of those places may have been taken off the list.

Timmerman Field alone reportedly has approximately 31,000 take-offs and landings per year, after all. Waukesha reportedly has 57,000. Those seems like enormous numbers of planes flying haphazardly up and down and in and out and potentially right into one another.

Except that the West Bend Municipal Airport in Washington County – which Retzlaff runs – appears to have at least as much traffic as Timmerman does, and the folks there don’t have a control tower. Nor do they need one, according to Retzlaff, who is a pilot himself. He and his fellow fliers would very much like to stay alive. But they don’t think they need a federally funded control tower to do it.

Neither, he thinks, do at least some other places that already have one.

“There are some control towers at some places that I don’t think are probably needed that much,” said Retzlaff, who declined to name other specific airports.

It’s not like pilots flying in to “uncontrolled” airports are just winging it. They are able to communicate with each other on specific radio frequencies and have standard procedures they use to land and take-off safely. In fact, there are all sorts of uncontrolled airports all over the place already, though most are tiny.

Retzlaff left me convinced that if West Bend can operate without a tower, at least some other places its size or smaller can as well – although you hope the FAA is considering local differences among them.

Dan Gerard, the chief flight instructor for Gran-Aire, the private business that operates the publicly owned Timmerman Field, made me wonder if that’s happening; and he also made he laugh.

He had some decent arguments about everything from safety to the impact on other airports to the impact on the nearby, densely populated, urban area. But his most succinct rebuttal of the FAA was in an email in which he pointed out that the FAA published a list of places that might lose funding.

Among the unfortunate airports on the list: Timmerman Field in “Milwaukie.”

If they can’t even spell it, you have to wonder if they know anything about it.

That said, you have to put a little faith in guys like Retzlaff, who don’t want to die and don’t necessarily think the FAA wants the rest of us to either.

There are airports considerably smaller than West Bend that still have towers. James Olson, director of operations and maintenance at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, said CWA has only about 15,000 take-offs and landings, for instance. A lot of them involve airline flights and he made an argument that the small airport should retain FAA funding for its tower. Losing it would increase the work of air traffic controllers in the Twin Cities, he said.

At the same time, he conceded that there is “not really” a safety concern about losing the tower.

“I can’t say it will be less safe than it is now,” he said.

That’s an honest and admirable admission, and one that other folks in all sorts of upcoming budget battles beyond the FAA might want to remember: Budget cuts won’t kill us.

Source:  http://www.htrnews.com

Expert: Costs prohibit airline growth at Stewart International Airport (KSWF), Newburgh, New York

NEW WINDSOR – Getting more air service into Stewart International Airport faces an uphill challenge, but there are hopes that remain alive.

That’s what an expert told the Stewart Airport Commission today.

Eric Billowitz is airport manager for AvPorts, which manages Stewart for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

He said, “The carriers are shrinking their way to profitability.”

Airlines report that their costs have more than doubled since 2000 and are reducing flights to try to push theirs up as well as charging more for baggage and other services, he said.

They are generally not seeking alternatives to big airports, Billowitz said.

But he still sees some possibilities.

“We get meetings with carriers,” and several are considering options that could benefit Stewart passengers.

The Port Authority reported that passenger use at Stewart was down in January and February versus that same period a year ago. The drop was about 20 percent.

Source:   http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com

Fulton County (NY0), Johnstown, New York: Airport manager may land agreement

JOHNSTOWN - A Fulton County Board of Supervisors committee on Monday recommended The 195 Factory, LLC be granted an additional five-year term as manager of the county airport.

The Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee's action at the County Office Building followed a closed-door executive session with county Planning Director James Mraz, who has been negotiating the amended agreement for the county. The panel also went into two similar sessions over the airport issue in January and February.

The committee authorized an additional five-year term, with modifications, to the county's fixed-based operator lease agreement with The 195 Factory. The current FBO agreement expires May 11.

The Finance Committee will consider the extension Thursday, with final approval by the full board anticipated April 8.

William Milton, owner of The 195 Factory, in a Nov. 5 letter to the county, indicated he wanted to renew his lease agreement with certain modifications. The 195 Factory - an aircraft replacement parts manufacturer - manages the Route 67 airport for the county on a daily basis.

A summary of proposed changes to the 2008 lease agreement between the county and the private company shows The 195 Factory may temporarily suspend the sale of jet fuel at the facility due to a lack of sales. The jet fueling facility can be reopened upon mutual consent of The 195 Factory and the county.

The company continues to sell Avgas, which is used by most small aircraft frequenting the airport, Mraz said.

Another change to the agreement would mean instead of fuel being available at certain times on certain days, the system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 195 Factory also will add a fuel flowage fee of 3 cents per gallon to all Avgas and jet fuel sold, payable to the county in quarterly payments. The company also must provide the county a record of all Avgas and fuel sales on a quarterly basis.

Source:  http://www.leaderherald.com

5th Anniversary of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Speech) March 25, 2013

 
 Published on March 25, 2013 
Old MIA Road, Pasay City 

Aérospatiale AS 350BA Ecureuil, C-GIYR: Helicopter Accident North of Sept-Îles in August 2010 Demonstrates That Precisely Calculating Take-off Weight is Critical for Safety

Canada NewsWire
GATINEAU, QC, March 26, 2013



GATINEAU, QC, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A10Q0132) on the loss of visual reference, loss of control, and collision with terrain of Héli-Excel Inc. Eurocopter AS350-BA (helicopter) C-GIYR north of Sept-Îles, Quebec, on 17 August 2010. The pilot and the three passengers did not survive the force of the impact.

The TSB concluded in its report that loss of visual reference with the terrain and then loss of control of the aircraft were factors that contributed to the accident.

The TSB also highlights in this report that the risk of an accident increases when a pilot experiences operational pressures. For example, pressure from passengers to bring excess baggage could lead the carrier and the pilot to allow an overloaded flight. When a helicopter is carrying a large amount of baggage that has not been weighed, it is impossible to calculate take-off weight precisely, and the helicopter risks taking off with more than the authorized weight, as was the case in this accident. The pilot had also reduced the fuel load to accommodate the large amount of baggage, which meant he had less fuel at his disposal to deal with unforeseen circumstances. This decreased fuel endurance could have prompted the pilot to try to take a shortcut through the mountains even as the aircraft was flying in marginal weather conditions. The pilot finally lost visual contact with the terrain and lost control of the aircraft, resulting in the impact with the ground.

Transport Canada exercises little regulatory oversight of helicopter operations on the ground, and since load details are not recorded in logbooks, there is no way of knowing whether a flight is overweight on take-off or not.

Since the accident, Héli-Excel has built an outdoor scale on the tarmac at Sept-Îles to better control the weight of goods being loaded. It has also introduced training on the ground and in flight to reduce the risks of flying in bad weather. In addition, when accepting a charter request, Héli-Excel endeavours to identify the client's real needs so it can recommend the appropriate helicopter.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

SOURCE: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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

http://registry.faa.gov//N3484X 

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

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

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

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


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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

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

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

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

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

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

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

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

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

METEROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

AIRPORT INFORMATION

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

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

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

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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

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

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

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Weight and Balance

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

Excerpts from FAA Aeronautical Information Manual

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


John and Sarah Verhalen Chloe Jameson 
Obituaries:    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries


Chloe Marie Jameson 
Born:  September 4, 1999 - Death:  March 3, 2013  
Obituary:  http://www.downsfuneralhome.com


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


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


 
Plane Crash Victims


 
John Verhalen 
(Source: Facebook)


 
Chloe & Sarah Colleen Verhalen 
(Source: Facebook)

 
 Mooney M20E Super 21 
(N3484X)


 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Victims with ETX ties in NM plane crash identified



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

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


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

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


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

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

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

St. Joseph's Church in Marshall, Texas is holding a prayer vigil Monday night at 6:00 PM. "I have to pray that they're waiting for Chloe, Sarah and John and his girlfriend in heaven" Reeves says.
NTSB Identification: CEN13FA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 03, 2013 in Angel Fire, NM
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N3484X
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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


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

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

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

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

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

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

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

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

METEROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

AIRPORT INFORMATION

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

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

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

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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

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

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

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Weight and Balance

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

Excerpts from FAA Aeronautical Information Manual

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

===========


Of all 25 aircraft accidents that have occurred in the Angel Fire area, the one that killed four Texans on March 3 was the most deadly.

According to statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board, all 25 accidents in the Angel Fire area occurred between 1982 and 2013. Six of the accidents involved fatalities, and a crash that killed two people in the year 2000 was the most deadly until March 3, 2013.

Of all public mountain airports with paved runways, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association named the one in Angel Fire as the fifth most challenging in 2009.

All but one of the fatal accidents in the area occurred shortly after takeoff from the Angel Fire airport, which is located at 8,380 feet in elevation. Only four other airports in the United States are situated at a higher altitude, according to the Colfax County website.

The NTSB determined that high density altitude was a contributing factor in four of the fatal accidents in the Angel Fire area. The Federal Aviation Administration defines density altitude as “pressure altitude corrected for nonstandard temperature variations.”

“The important thing to understand is that density altitude is an indicator of aircraft performance,” an FAA report on density altitude states. “The term comes from the fact that the density of the air decreases with altitude. A high density altitude means that air density is reduced, which has an adverse impact on aircraft performance.”

Density altitude is highest during the warm summer months, according to Colfax County Angel Fire Airport Manager Harvey Wright. All six fatal accidents in the Angel Fire area occurred from February to July.

“The warmer it gets, the thinner the air is, and the more difficult it is for the airplane to get lift,” Wright said. “Most of our accidents have happened in the summertime when it has been warm, and people who are not familiar with mountain flying overload planes or come up here with planes that really have no business being up here that time of year.”

And because the Angel Fire airport is surrounded by mountains, planes departing from Angel Fire must gain altitude quickly or circle around. The mountains to the south are closer to the airport than those to the north.

“Taking off to the south can be a bit of an experience for underpowered or overloaded airplanes,” said Angel Fire pilot Dave Pangrac, who lives near the Angel Fire Country Club on the south side of the village. “...The departure from the airport tends to be pretty close to our house. And during the summer, we have a lot of planes that get out of here just barely. They can’t be a couple hundred feet above the trees.”

Pangrac said many pilots from lower altitudes struggle with the high density altitude in Angel Fire because they have not flown in it before.

“If you’re flying out of 800 feet in elevation like San Antonio or Oklahoma City or something like that, you’re not used to the fact that the airplane is not going up,” he said. “You just expect it to happen.”

A report from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association notes that high winds also make the Angel Fire airport more challenging for pilots. The report states that the runway in Angel Fire stretches north and south, while the prevailing winds come from the west.

“The prevalent crosswind is from the west, straight across the runway. And that’s always a challenge, especially for the smaller aircraft,” Wright said. “In the wintertime, the crosswinds are more prevalent than they are in the summer.”

Pangrac said the shape of the Moreno Valley creates “mountain waves,” which are severe updrafts and downdrafts that occur when wind flows over a mountain.

“I’ve had situations where I’ve been at 16,000 feet, got caught in a mountain wave, and you’re dropping at a rate of better than 1,000 feet a minute with full power on in the climb configuration,” he said. “...Mountain waves are an experience that tends to rattle people that have never been in them.”

Wright also said incoming pilots often have difficulties seeing the Angel Fire airport during their approach.

“You’re in a bowl here. You’ve got mountains all around,” Wright said. “You’re in a bowl, so you don’t see this thing until you get right on top of it.”

Fatal Crashes in Angel Fire

March 3, 2013


On March 3, the pilot of a Mooney M20E and all three passengers onboard died when the single-engine airplane crashed about 500 yards from the end of the runway at the Angel Fire airport shortly after takeoff. A witness said he saw the airplane trying to gain altitude before it caught the wind wrong, took a nosedive into the ground and burst into flames.

The New Mexico State Police and NTSB are still investigating the cause of the crash, but officials at the airport suspect that wind gusts of about 55 mph might be partly responsible.

May 28, 2002

On May 28, 2002, the pilot of a Cirrus Design Corporation SR-20 died when the single-engine airplane crashed into the mountains about four miles east of the Angel Fire airport shortly after departure. The pilot was the only person in the plane.

According to crash reports, a witness reported that the plane sputtered as it struggled to gain altitude and then began to fall in elevation. Another witness heard an explosion and saw a billowing cloud of smoke coming from the trees, the reports state.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot’s decision to continue flying into the rising mountainous terrain and subsequent failure to maintain clearance with the trees, and other contributing factors included the rising mountainous terrain and high density altitude.

June 25, 2000

On June 25, 2000, the pilot of a Cessna 172H and one passenger died when the single-engine airplane crashed into a forested area about four miles south of the Angel Fire airport. An airport official told investigators that three college-aged adults entered the plane, which was having trouble gaining altitude shortly after takeoff. He radioed the pilot, who said “I think we’re OK. We’re just trying to climb so we can fly south down the valley.”

The one surviving passenger told investigators that before the crash, the pilot said “Hold on. I’m going to try to land.” According to crash reports, the survivor looked up just before the airplane hit some trees and crashed into the ground. She then saw the front passengers slumped over in their seats, the reports state, and she was able to exit the plane before it caught on fire.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot’s improper in-flight decision to prematurely attempt a climb toward rising terrain before sufficient altitude had been attained that would assure adequate obstacle clearance. Other factors included high density altitude and trees, according to the NTSB.

Feb. 5, 1998

On Feb. 5, 1998, the pilot of a Mooney M20E and one of the two dogs he had onboard died when the single-engine aircraft crashed into mountainous terrain about 10 miles southeast of Taos while in cruise flight en route to Angel Fire. According to crash reports, the pilot was traveling to Angel Fire with the two dogs to pick up his son, and a witness saw the low-wing airplane “flying in and out of the cloud bottoms” shortly before the crash.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot attempting visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his lack of an instrument rating. Other factors were conditions that included mountain wave activity conducive to turbulence and clouds obscuring the mountainous terrain, the NTSB reported.

July 2, 1989

On July 2, 1989, a passenger in a Beech E33 single-engine airplane died while trying to evacuate the burning aircraft after it crashed about five miles from the Angel Fire airport shortly after takeoff. According to crash reports, three other people in the airplane were seriously injured. The aircraft rotated three times before it lifted off the runway, the reports state, and witnesses reported that it was on the verge of stalling as it flew at a low altitude toward gradually rising terrain.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was improper planning of the pilot, his premature rotation for takeoff and subsequent failure to obtain or maintain sufficient speed to climb, and his failure to abort the takeoff while there was sufficient runway remaining. Other contributing factors included the pilot allowing the weight of the aircraft to exceed the maximum limit, high density altitude, uphill runway gradient, downdraft, turbulence and trees, according to the NTSB.

March 19, 1988

On March 19, 1988, the pilot of a Piper PA-22 died when the single-engine airplane crashed because it could not climb higher than the rapidly rising terrain after departing from the Angel Fire airport. According to crash reports, two passengers onboard were seriously injured.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot’s inadequate prefight planning and an improper fuel mixture. Other factors included high density altitude, rising terrain and several mechanical issues, according to the NTSB.