Thursday, March 28, 2013

Boeing plans to cut pilot training, standards jobs in Seattle, Washington

(Reuters) - Boeing Co said it plans to eliminate a group of pilot training and standards positions as part of a broader effort to relocate flight training to Miami from Seattle that has drawn criticism from the union.

Boeing said the positions of 35 simulator instructors and five standards pilots are being eliminated. It said it informed the union of the change during contract talks on Thursday.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), which represents the pilots, said eliminating the positions could weaken Boeing's oversight of pilot training standards, particularly if the replacement workers are contractors who are not full-time Boeing pilots.

Boeing disagreed, saying Boeing pilots and instructors have the same qualifications as full-time Boeing pilots.

"Any pilots dispatched to train or fly with our customers are of the same high quality, receive the same training and ongoing courses and meet the same standards and qualifications -- regardless of whether they are full time or contractor," Boeing said.

Simulator instructors teach pilots to fly using sophisticated, full-motion flight simulators equipped with full cockpit instruments.

Flight standards pilots oversee the pilot evaluations that are done on the simulators and make sure the training meets uniform standards.

Boeing gave no indication of when the positions would be eliminated, though it said it is moving the 10 flight simulators used by these workers to Miami throughout the year.

"At this time we do not have open positions for those classifications at the flight services training campus in Miami," Boeing spokesman Jim Condelles said in a statement responding to questions from Reuters. "We are committed to do whatever we can to find equivalent positions either in the Puget Sound area or elsewhere at Boeing."


Worcester Regional (KORH), Massachusetts: Airport meeting next week on commercial air service

WORCESTER —  Massport and public officials, who have been working for months to bring a major airline to New England's second-biggest city, will host a meeting next week to discuss commercial air service at Worcester Regional Airport.

Thomas P. Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, and Michael V. O'Brien, city manager, are hosting the Wednesday morning event. Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray also will attend.

Massport, state and city officials have been trying to persuade executives from JetBlue Airways Corp. to add Worcester to their list of destinations. Officials visited JetBlue headquarters in New York earlier this month to continue discussions. At the time, Mr. O'Brien said the airline was in the final stages of making a decision about Worcester.

JetBlue executives have been very public about their consideration of Worcester, talking about the city at press conferences and on social media.

Worcester Regional Airport has been without passenger service since the collapse of Direct Air last year.

The airport is scheduled to lose its air traffic controllers because of federal budget cuts, but planes can land there using other procedures.

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Jet plans to hire 100 more expat pilots despite Directorate General of Civil Aviation, deadline

Mumbai: Jet Airways is planning to hire around 100 foreign pilots for its wide body Boeing fleet and has already approached several hiring firms for this, even as the aviation regulator has set a December 2013 deadline for phasing out expat pilots.

“Jet is planning to hire up to 100 foreign pilots. The airline requires these pilots for the wide-body Boeing 777s,” sources familiar with the development said in Mumbai.

The airline, however, did not respond to the text message on the issue.

Interestingly, Jet’s demand for foreign pilots comes at a time when the regulator DGCA’s deadline for phasing out all expat pilots is nine months away, they said.

Also, the airline during the post Q2 earnings, analysts concall last November, had said it was aiming to reduce the number of expat pilots by almost half by the the end of this fiscal.

“By March 2013, we will reduce (the number of expat pilots) to 59 from 107. As of March end 2012, we had 207 expat pilots,” Jet senior vice-president for commercial finance investor relations, KG Vishwanath had told the analysts.

“The airline has approached foreign pilot firms to supply these pilots. However, as part of the contract obligations, it wants to pay only one-time agency commission and not per pilot per month as per the norms,” they said, adding, some of these agencies have spurned the proposal on this very ground.

According to a CAPA report, over the next 12-18 months, Jet’s wide-body fleet is expected to increase from 18 operational aircraft to at least 30, although this is largely dependent on the new network plan to be developed once the Etihad deal is completed.

Jet, which has leased five of its Boeing 777s to Thai Airways, has already said it will be using two of these planes into its own network.

Of the five, three are coming back in June-July, while the remaining two will come back to Jet in October-November after completing the lease period with Thai Air. 


Robinson R44, VH-HWQ: Could fire suit have saved four lives?

Helicopter manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Company issued a safety notice seven years ago, advising all occupants of Robinson R44 to don a fire-retardant Nomex suit.

Despite the directive, Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) secretary Rob Rich believes the gear is ‘‘unnecessary’’ for civilians.

He said yesterday it was ‘‘uncommon and unusual’’ for passengers on joy rides or private flights to wear the suit.

MORE: Crash hero 'sickened' by Bulli Tops tragedy

The US makers of the R44 helicopter, the model that crashed at Bulli Tops last week, issued a safety notice in 2006, advising all occupants to wear the Nomex suit, gloves and hood to reduce the risk of burns in a post-crash fire.

The recommendation came after the manufacturer learnt of several cases where helicopter passengers had survived an accident, only to be severely burned after the crash.

Despite the notice, Mr Rich told the Mercury the Nomex gear was mainly reserved for helicopter occupants working in a ‘‘high-risk’’ environment, particularly emergency services and rescue and military operations.

While he conceded the suit may have ‘‘enhanced survival’’ for the four men killed in last week’s crash, he said it was highly unusual for it to be worn in civil operations.

He believed the safety notice was merely issued to counter potential lawsuits and was no different to a warning on a new car.

‘‘It’s common sense; the manufacturer is very conscious of prosecution so they have to be very careful,’’ he said.

‘‘They don’t want someone going to court saying, ‘I have burns, I didn’t know I could get burns’, so it’s a form of self-preservation.’’

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation into an R44 crash at Cessnock in 2011, which killed two people, acknowledged the safety notice but said fire-retardant clothing would not have helped, given the intensity of the blaze.

An ATSB spokesman said yesterday it was too early to tell whether the gear would have assisted the victims of last week’s crash.

Bankstown Helicopters, which operated the helicopter, did not respond to the Mercury’s inquiries about whether they had provided passengers with Nomex suits.

Steve’s Speed Revolution Racegear owner Steve Wright, pictured modelling the suit above, said the Albion Park business had never sold a Nomex suit to a helicopter owner.

He said the gear was mainly purchased for motorsports but had been used by fire marshals and people working in hot environments.

The suits, designed by US company DuPont, retail between $700 and $1600, depending on the type.


Robinson R44: Helicopter makes emergency landing near David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH), Houston, Texas

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A helicopter pilot had to make an emergency landing Thursday afternoon in northwest Harris County. 

SkyEye 13 HD was over the scene of the close call off FM 2920 and Kuykendahl near Hooks Airport. The made an emergency landing in a field near the airport.

We're told there was an apparent oil pressure issue with the helicopter and the pilot decided he couldn't make it back.

Fortunately no one was hurt.

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A helicopter made a precautionary landing in the Kuykendahl and  FM 2920 area north of Houston this afternoon, authorities confirmed.

There were no injuries and no emergency declared, according to Lynn Lunsford, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman based in Fort Worth

The pilot took off from Hooks Airport just after 3 p.m. to do some local flying.

"About five minutes after takeoff, the pilot let controllers know he was making a precautionary landing," Lunsford said. "Mechanics are at the site checking out the helicopter now."

The Klein and Spring volunteer fire departments were initially called to the scene, through Spring officials were called off.

Scott Schoonover, public information officer for the Spring Volunteer Fire Department, said that the helicopter was upright. 

Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse, Reg. KG Leasing LLC, N986CT: Accident occurred March 28, 2013 at Provo Municipal Airport (KPVU), Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR13CA170 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Provo, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2013
Aircraft: DIAMOND DA 20-C1, registration: N986CT
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot reported that, while conducting his first solo landing of the day, he flared the airplane, and the main landing gear touched down smoothly then lifted off of the ground again because of excessive speed. About 15 feet above the ground, the student pilot elected to conduct a go-around and added full power. The airplane became unstable and yawed to the right, and the left wing started lowering toward the ground. Despite pilot control inputs, the left wingtip impacted the runway. The airplane landed hard and spun about 180 degrees before coming to rest. During the accident sequence, the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and empennage. The student pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed and airplane control during an attempted go-around.

PROVO -- The Provo Fire Department responded to a call at the Provo Airport Thursday afternoon after it was reported that a small plane had crashed on the runway.

According to fire officials the plane was operated by a student pilot who came in hard for a landing. Officials did not think any mechanical errors were the cause of the dangerous landing situation.

“What probably happened is he was coming in a little too fast or a little too steep,” said Tom Torgersen with the Provo Fire Department. “The damage was mostly to the plane.”

Landing gear and the wing on the plane suffered most of the damage from the crash landing. The propeller also was beat up in the accident.

Torgersen said the runway did not suffer any damage from the event. Originally three stations were set to respond to the call but after the first truck arrived on scene and evaluated the situation the two other crews were told to stand down.

The pilot was checked out by paramedics at the sight of the crash but was said to only have aches and bumps from the accident.

Engine failure grounds plane: Penticton Regional Airport, British Columbia

Penticton firefighters and a crew member from this twin-engine aircraft check the damage to one of the engines which reportedly caught fire and stalled on its approach to Penticton Regional Airport about 8:30 a.m. Thursday. The plane, believed to be operated by a courier service, landed without incident and neither of the two men on board were injured.


Atlantic City International (KACY), New Jersey: Jitneys no longer able to service airport

Jitneys are no longer permitted to provide transportation to and from the Atlantic City International Airport.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the airport, is revoking its permit to the Atlantic City Jitney Association, SJTA spokesman Kevin Rehmann said Thursday afternoon. Shuttles sitting outside of the airport awaiting arriving flights Thursday were asked to leave, he said.

SJTA’s decision, which will be solidified in a forthcoming letter to the association, follows a cease-and-desist order issued by the Federal Transit Administration earlier this week. The FTA has ordered the jitney association to halt all charter services, arguing that because the association received federal funding for part of its fleet it cannot engage in charters.

The jitneys had a one-year permit expiring in August to provide ground transportation at the airport. The shuttles have been at the airport for all arriving flights, offering $10 fares to Atlantic City. Trips back to the airport had to be prearranged and cost $15, according to the association’s website.

That qualifies as charter service, SJTA’s Toms River-based attorneys from Gilmore & Monahan said Thursday. The SJTA was only made aware of the FTA’s ruling when a reporter from The Press of Atlantic City inquired about the order’s impact on the airport. The permit the association had from SJTA requires compliance with all state and federal laws.

“Nobody was aware of it here. Once we’re made aware of it, we have to react,” Rehmann said, adding that the association will be able to reapply for a permit if it successfully appeals the FTA ruling.

Atlantic City Jitney Association President Tom Woodruff told The Press of Atlantic City on Wednesday that the association had no plans of modifying its service based on the ruling, arguing that while FTA regulations might apply to the 100 vehicles purchased with grant money, they should not apply to the 90 vehicles the association purchased on its own. Far fewer than 90 vehicles provide the charter service in question, including transportation to weddings and parties he said.

Reached Thursday, however, Woodruff said the association was contacted by SJTA and had pulled its vehicles from airport operations. The association is in the process of clarifying the extent of the cease-and-desist order with the FTA, in the hope that it was never meant to apply to the airport permit.

“We want to make sure we’re totally compliant,” Woodruff said. “We have a call into the FTA, and we’re looking for clarification.”

FTA representatives did not return calls from The Press. The federal authority’s order followed a complaint by Five Mile Beach Electric Railway Co., a competing public transportation service in Cape May County.

Thursday’s decision will undoubtedly make public transportation to and from the airport more expensive. Rehmann estimated that the 13-mile cab ride between the airport and Atlantic City runs about $27. SJTA has struggled to find companies interested in offering ground transportation shuttle service.

The jitneys temporarily filled a gap at the airport after Tropiano Airport Shuttle Service pulled out of its contract with the authority. SJTA then issued a year-long permit to the jitneys after several requests for proposals garnered no other interested vendors.

It remains unclear if the FTA’s order could affect any other services offered by the jitneys. The order qualifies charter service as “demand response service” to individuals, rather than a regularly scheduled route. SJTA has interpreted the order to include the jitneys’ airport service as charter service.

A new jitney route is expected to begin Memorial Day weekend between Avalon and Stone Harbor. Avalon Chamber of Commerce President John O’Dea said he became aware of the cease-and-desist order Wednesday and isn’t clear what it means for the new route.

“Honestly, I’m not just sure,” he said. “It has to be looked at.”

In addition to several regularly scheduled routes in Atlantic City, the jitneys also operate in Sea Isle City in the summer months. Mayor Len Desiderio could not be reached Thursday to address whether the FTA order will affect that service.


Pilots anticipate danger when air traffic control tower closes

Tim McCarter was in the cockpit of a Korean War-era Hawker Sea Fury, descending toward a runway at Poplar Grove Airport near Belvidere, Ill., when he learned firsthand one of the potential pitfalls of a relatively busy but uncontrolled airfield.

As he made his approach, suddenly, off to his right, McCarter said he spied a small ultralight aircraft flying in his path — about 20 feet from the warbird’s wing.

“You can’t see them,” said McCarter, the manager of Amphib, a Kenosha Regional Airport hangar that supports the Illinois-based owner of a collection of vintage military aircraft. “When you come dead astern, you just can’t see them.”

Such a situation is sure to arise here, McCarter said, should plans move forward to close the air traffic control tower at Kenosha Regional Airport.

In the Poplar Grove example, McCarter said the ultralight was flying perfectly legally, if not irresponsibly. Unlike in a controlled environment, where pilots must establish their position in the pattern, those flying into an uncontrolled airport are urged but not required to announce their presence over a shared radio frequency.

And therein lies a major danger of closing Kenosha’s tower, said Walt Scheunemann, manager of another Kenosha airport hangar, Stick and Rudder.

“It’s a situation where it’s a participatory program, where with the tower that’s a mandatory program, where you have to report entry into the traffic area here,” said Scheunemann, who began using the Kenosha airport as a Gateway Technical College aviation program student in the 1980s, before there was a tower.

Scheunemann said the lack of air traffic control led to a sometimes-chaotic situation that kept him away from Kenosha for several years, until after the tower opened here in December 1994.

With parallel runways and a mixture of take-offs and landings, fly-over traffic and helicopter activity in play all at once, Scheunemann said the tower proved its worth recently, when he was out with a flight student.

“I just believe it’s a safety issue,” Scheunemann said.

The economics of closing the tower are also of concern to airport users.

McCarter said insurers often will not cover operations based out of uncontrolled airports.

“We’re stuck,” McCarter said. “It will probably come down to a matter of whether we can insure the airplanes we operate here, or not.”

With economics in mind, the city’s Airport Commission on Wednesday directed Airport Director Wayde Buck to study the feasibility of having the city take over the funding of air traffic operations, if the Federal Aviation Administration does not reverse course on its national closure plan.

Pilot Eric Woelbing, who rents two hangar spaces at the airport, is an example of the business Kenosha could lose, or gain, depending on what happens with the towers here and elsewhere in the region.

Woelbing said he lives near the uncontrolled John H. Batten Airport in Racine, but he chose to locate his aircraft in Kenosha because it is a controlled airport.

“Absolutely, it’s going to compromise safety,” Batten said, of closing the tower. “Someone’s going to get killed, period. Yes, there are lots of uncontrolled airports that have been operating for years. We generally don’t land jets in those places.”

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Mooney M20A, N6018X: Accident occurred March 28, 2013 in Wikieup, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Wikieup, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/2015
Aircraft: MOONEY M20A, registration: N6018X
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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.

According to air traffic control records, during the cross-country flight, the pilot reported that the engine had lost oil pressure. About 10 minutes later, he reported that the engine was running roughly and that there was smoke in the cockpit. He then stated that he was shutting down the engine. The pilot then made a forced landing in rough terrain. An examination of the wreckage site revealed black viscous fluid on the belly of the fuselage from the engine compartment to the tail skid. The ground underneath the fuselage was also stained with black fluid.

Postaccident examination of the engine determined that several of the connecting rod journals and the No. 2 connecting rod had overheated and that the No. 2 connecting rod had fractured and separated. A nonstandard shim was found installed between the propeller hub and the crankshaft propeller flange. A review of the maintenance logbooks found no documentation or entries indicating when the nonstandard shim was manufactured or installed nor who made it. Further examination revealed that the No. 1 main bearing journal and crankshaft propeller flange were misaligned relative to the Nos. 2 and 3 main bearing journals and that the crankshaft was bent. The orientation of the misalignment in both the flange and the No. 1 journal matched, indicating that they were related. The thickness variation in the shim also matched the orientation and magnitude of the propeller flange misalignment, indicating that it had been machined to compensate for the flange misalignment. The heat tinting observed on the connecting rod journals and on the No. 2 connecting rod was consistent with overheating of the bearings typically associated with either improper clearance or insufficient oil pressure at the bearing surface. The misalignment of the crankshaft likely affected both the clearances and the oil pressures at the connecting rod bearings, which led to the overheating of the bearings during flight. The continued use of a bent crankshaft led to the secondary failure of the No. 2 connecting rod.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The manufacture and installation of a nonstandard part by unknown maintenance personnel to compensate for a bent, misaligned crankshaft propeller flange, which resulted in the improper clearance of the bearings on the crankshaft journal, a loss of oil pressure, overheating of the bearings, and the failure of a connecting rod during cruise flight.


On March 28, 2013, about 1119 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20A, N6018X, made an off airport forced landing near Wikieup, Arizona. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries; one passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The cross-country personal flight departed Sedona, Arizona, with a planned destination of Shafter, California. Visual meteorological (VMC) conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the pilot contacted Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ABQ ARTCC) at 1028:07 requesting visual flight rules flight following. The estimated position was about 15 miles west of Sedona at 8,600 feet msl. At 1106:01, the pilot informed the controller that the engine lost oil pressure, and he needed vectors to the closest airport. The controller provided vectors to Bagdad airport (elevation 4,183 ft), and at 1109:30, the pilot advised that the airplane was losing altitude. The controller contacted another airplane in the area at 1111:16, and requested that airplane provide assistance. At 1113:28, the accident airplane was 5 miles from Bagdad at 6,600 feet. At 1115:56, the pilot stated that the engine was running rough, then within 1 minute that there was smoke in the cockpit, and he was shutting the engine off. The controller advised the pilot to look for an open field, clean the airplane up, and shut the fuel off. The pilot advised that he could see an open area. The last transmission from the pilot was at 1118:07, when he responded to the assist airplane that he had a cell phone; although the number was not recorded, the assist airplane's readback was recorded at 1118:49.

The pilot made a forced landing in rough terrain. The pilot and front seat passenger were pinned in the wreckage. His son in the back seat sustained a serious injury, but was able to egress from the airplane.

A witness was camping about 1 mile from the accident site. He stated that the airplane flew about 300-400 feet over him, and the wings were rocking about 3-4 feet as if the pilot was waving to him. He said that the engine was silent, but he could not recall if the propeller was stopped or turning. He noted that the landing gear was down, and he did not observe any smoke or fluids emanating from the airplane. He did not hear the crash, and had observed airplanes flying low over this area on previous occasions.


A review of FAA airman records revealed that the 48-year-old-pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on February 22, 2013, with the limitation that it was not valid for any class after February 22, 2014.

No personal flight time records were received from the pilot. The IIC obtained the aeronautical experience listed in this report from a review of the FAA airmen medical records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The pilot reported on his medical application that he had a total time of 156 hours with 5 hours logged in the previous 6 months. A logbook excerpt recorded a biennial flight review and FAR 61.31(e) endorsement for operating a complex airplane on October 11, 2011.


The airplane was a Mooney M20A, serial number 1606. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that the airplane had a total airframe time of 3,761.8 hours at the last annual inspection dated October 3, 2012. The tachometer read 1,048.8 hours at the last inspection. The tachometer read 1,053.8 hours at the last recorded maintenance (an oil change) on February 1, 2013; it read 1,064.37 hours at the accident scene.

The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.

The engine was a 180 horsepower Lycoming O-360-A1D, serial number L-9731-36A. Total time on the engine at the last annual inspection was 3,739.6 hours, and time since major overhaul was 1,179.8 hours.


The NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) examined the wreckage at the accident scene.

The airplane came to rest upright in mountainous terrain on the crest of a descending ridge. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was on the upslope of the ridge; it was an ocotillo cactus plant with the top branches broken off about 4-6 feet above the ground. There was a ground scar about 15 feet left and upslope of the cactus. About 12 feet forward and 10 feet to the left of the FIPC was a 1-foot by 1-foot piece of the outboard leading edge of the left wing, which contained the red navigation light.

Twenty feet from the FIPC was the principal impact crater (PIC) ground scar, which was about 5 feet wide and 10 feet long. A damaged bush was about 10 feet right of the PIC.

The main wreckage was about 60 feet from the FIPC on the debris path centerline.

The last major piece of wreckage was the pilot's window at 65 feet 4 left.

There was black viscous fluid on the belly of the fuselage all the way to the tail skid and end of the tail cone. The ground underneath the fuselage had some black liquid stains as well.

The belly of the airplane was crushed up and aft from the spinner to the engine compartment and through the bottom of the cabin area. The nose gear was crushed up and aft into the airframe.

The Johnson bar landing gear operating handle was in the vertical position with the locking arm in place.

The ignitions switch was in the off position.

Both control yokes had the hand grips intact.


The IIC and investigators from the FAA and Lycoming examined the wreckage at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on March 30, 2013.

A full report is contained within the public docket for this accident.


The top spark plugs were removed; all center electrodes were circular, and clean with no mechanical deformation. The spark plug electrodes were gray, which corresponded to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart.

The engine crankshaft would not rotate.

The propeller was removed and a non-Lycoming manufactured shim was located between the face of the propeller hub and the crankshaft propeller flange that varied in thickness. From a review of the airplane's logbooks, it could not be determined who manufactured and installed the shim, or when it was installed.

The magnetos were manually rotated, and both magnetos produced spark at all posts.

A visual inspection of the engine revealed a fracture that emanated from the top of the cam follower area of the crankcase at the number two cylinder.

No oil registered on the dipstick, and a burning smell emanated from the filler tube. The oil filter was removed and cut open; the filter element displayed magnetic and bronze material impregnated in the element. The oil sump was removed, and approximately 1/2 quart of a black fluid was observed in the bottom; the liquid had a burnt smell. There were numerous pieces of debris in the oil pan including parts of the number two connecting rod end cap, beam, and pieces of rod bolts and nuts along with plasticized rod bearing material. The oil suction screen was removed, and it was obscured with magnetic material.

All cylinders were removed from the crankcase. All cylinder skirts were impact damaged, and pry bars were required to remove the cylinders. The cylinder bores did not exhibit scoring or scraping. All pistons displayed normal carbon deposit on their tops.

The crankcase was disassembled. It was noted that the two crankcase halves were coated with a substance consistent with automotive Permatex gasket sealer on the mating surfaces.

The number one connecting rod moved freely on its journal.

The number two piston remained in the cylinder; its connecting rod beam fractured and separated at the crankshaft rod journal. The fracture surface sustained heavy mechanical damage. The connecting rod cap, saddle, nuts and bolts separated at the connecting rod. 

The crankshaft rod journal for the number two connecting rod beam was thermally damaged and scored. The number two connecting rod bearing was not in place.

The number three connecting rod was thermally seized to the crankshaft.

The number four connecting rod was moveable, but thermal and impact damage was evident in the area of the connecting rod bearing.

The crankshaft was dimensionally examined using V blocks and a dial indicator. The flange was ~0.87 out of round. The manufacturer's limits for a run-out (out of round) were 0.002 inch minimum and 0.005 inch maximum.

Materials Laboratory Examinations

The crankshaft, the shim, and rod end nut pieces were sent to the NTSB Office of Research and Engineering Materials Laboratory for examination. A full report is in the public docket.

The main journals were labeled M1, M2, and M3, and the connecting rod journals were labeled C1, C2, C3, and C4 for reference. The crankshaft journals showed varying levels of heat tinting and scoring. Journals C2 and C4 had the highest levels of damage with smeared deposits and scoring.

The edges of the propeller flange showed numbers marked in black ink at several of the attachment bolt holes. Numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 were marked in sequence next to four of the attachment bolts moving counterclockwise. No similar marks were observed adjacent to the other two attachment bolt locations. For reference in this report, the bolt hole corresponding to the number 1 position was referenced as the 12 o'clock position.

The shim was removed from the forward face of the crankshaft. Black ink markings were observed on the forward face of the crankshaft. Asterisks were marked at the 5 o'clock and the 11 o'clock positions. IN was marked at the 1 o'clock position, and OUT was marked at the 7 o'clock position.

The positions of the main journals and their orientation relative to the forward face of the propeller flange were measured. Software was used to analyze the geometry of the position measurements. The positions of the journal faces were determined along the length of each main journal at multiple locations around each circumference. The position of the flange forward face was also determined by probing around the circumference. According to the analysis of the measured data, the axes of main journals M2 and M3 were oriented within 0.0023 degree of each other. However, the axis of journal M1 was angled 0.097 degree relative to the axis of journal M3. The forward end of the journal M1 axis was tilted toward the 10 o'clock position relative to the axis of journal M3.

The normal vector for the forward face of the propeller flange was angled relative to the journal M3 axis. The angle between the journal M3 axis and the flange normal was 0.726 degree. The orientation of the flange normal relative to the journal M3 axis was such that the flange was bent aft at the 4 o'clock position and bent forward at the 10 o'clock position.

The propeller flange had a nominal diameter of 6 inches. With the flange tilted 0.726 degree relative to the plane perpendicular to the journal M3 axis, the outer edge would be displaced forward up to 0.038 inch and aft up to 0.038 inch relative to the center of the flange. 

The shim was flat on the aft face, and had a concentric polygon-shaped step pattern on the forward face. Thickness varied across the shim; the thinnest location was at the 11 o'clock position, where the thickness measured 0.0035 inch. The thickest location was located at the 4 o'clock position, where the thickness measured 0.0884 inch.

Maintenance Logbook Information

A logbook entry on November 21, 2006, indicated that the original Lycoming engine was sent to a repair facility for a propeller strike inspection.

An entry in the logbooks on March 26, 2007, indicated that the airplane had been repaired after a gear-up landing. Total time on the airframe was 3,661.42 hours at a tachometer time of 936.42 hours.

A logbook entry dated December 11, 2008, recorded a 100-hour inspection by an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic. It noted replacement of the original engine with the accident engine. Total time on the accident engine was 3,598.8 hours, and time since major overhaul was 1,039.0 hours. The propeller was replaced with a Hartzell HC-92WF-8D, serial number 8781. The propeller total time was 2,486.0 hours. It had been overhauled on September 18, 2002, and had 21.0 hours since overhaul. This entry noted that one belly skin was replaced, the wheel well doors were adjusted, and one landing gear bolt was replaced.

A mechanic with Inspection Authorization (IA) recorded an annual inspection on December 13, 2008. The entry recorded that the total time on the airframe was 3,680.0 hours, and the tachometer read 958.0 hours.

An entry for April 2, 2010, noted an annual inspection at a tachometer time of 963.0 hours.

A review of FAA registration information indicated that the accident pilot purchased the airplane in January 2011.

An entry dated April 14, 2011, noted a 100-hour inspection by an A&P mechanic. The tachometer time was 965.1 hours.

An entry dated June 1, 2011, recorded an annual inspection by an IA. The tachometer time was 978.7 hours with a total time of 3,700.7 hours.

The logbooks contained an entry for an annual inspection on October 3, 2012. Total time in service was 3,761.8 hours; the tachometer read 1,048.8 hours.

There were no logbook or Form 337 entries to indicate when the nonstandard shim was manufactured, installed, or who made it.

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA169 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Wikieup, AZ
Aircraft: MOONEY M20A, registration: N6018X
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious.

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 28, 2013, about 1115 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20A, N6018X, made an off airport forced landing near Wikieup, Arizona. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries; one passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The cross-country personal flight departed Sedona, Arizona, about 1030, with a planned destination of Shafter, California. Visual meteorological (VMC) conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the pilot was receiving flight following from Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center. The pilot informed the controller that the engine lost oil pressure, and he needed vectors to the closest airport. The controller advised him that the closest airport was Bagdad, Arizona, 20 miles away.

The engine lost complete power, and the pilot made a forced landing in rough terrain. The pilot and front seat passenger were pinned in the wreckage. The back seat passenger sustained a serious injury, but was able to egress from the airplane and call emergency services.


SHAFTER, Calif. - A Bakersfield woman is dead and two others are hospitalized after the small plane they were all in made an emergency landing. 

This all happened in an open area outside of Wikieup, Arizona as the aircraft was making its way to Shafter.

Investigators with the Mohave County Sheriff's office say the 13-year-old boy called dispatch to say his plane crashed with his mom and dad, and himself on board.

This is the single-engine plane that carried Bakersfield business man, Vidson Chan, his wife and son.

Early Thursday, the plane made a forced landing about three miles southeast of Wikieup, Arizona after authorities say it was experiencing engine problems.

Officials with the federal aviation administration say the plane was registered to Chan.

They say the plane landed in an open area.  The woman in the aircraft died while Chan and his son obtained serious injuries.

We spoke to neighbors at Chan's Bakersfield business Cosmo Steelworks who say they really didn't know the man.  Others say he was quiet and kept to himself.

They didn't want to appear on camera, but say they hope Chan and his son are able to recover quickly.

A spokesperson for the FAA says Chan was airlifted to a medical facility in Las Vegas.  While the 13-year-old boy was airlifted to a medical facility in Phoenix.

It's unclear tonight if anyone will be running Chan's business in his absence.

UPDATE: Chan's wife, Josephine and their children are very active members of First Presbyterian Church, especially the Chinese Christian Church of Bakersfield.  We're learning that Vidson served as an elder and Josephine was a deacon. 

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WIKIEUP, Ariz. -- A woman was killed and her husband and son were injured in a plane crashed south of Wikieup Thursday morning. 

 According to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the 13-year-old boy reported the crash. He said the plane crashed with his mom, dad and himself on board.

Search and Rescue Units, deputies and Department of Public Safety ground and aerial crews responded to the crash site east of Burro Creek Crossing, near milepost 32 on Highway 93 and about 11 miles east of Highway 93.

Officials with the sheriff's office said the woman died from her injuries. The man was airlifted to a medical facility in Las Vegas and the boy was airlifted to a medical facility in Phoenix.

According to preliminary information, the single-engine Mooney M20 experienced an engine problem and crashed around 11:15 a.m.

There was substantial damage to the aircraft, according to Ian Gregor with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authorities believe the plane was flying from Sedona, Ariz., to Minter Field in Shafter, Calif.

No names have been released.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Vidson Chan of Bakersfield, Calif. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating. 

WIKIEUP, Ariz. (AP) — A Bakersfield, Calif., woman was killed and her husband and son injured in the crash of their single-engine plane in Arizona. 

 The Mohave County Sheriff's Office identifies the woman as 49-year-old Josephine Simos Chan and says she was a passenger in the plane.

It crashed Thursday about 40 miles southeast of Kingman.

The plane was flown by 48-year-old Vidson Chan.

The couple's son, 13-year-old Cody William Chan, called 911 with his cellphone to get help after the crash.

The sheriff's office says the father and son both suffered broken bones.

U.S. Flies Stealth Bombers Over South Korea: WSJ

Updated March 28, 2013, 11:10 a.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

SEOUL—-The U.S. said it flew two B-2 stealth bombers on a training run over South Korea on Thursday as part of its war games, a move publicized to demonstrate deterrence as North Korea continues to threaten its neighbors and the U.S.

The nuclear-capable B-2 bombers flew from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to a bombing range in South Korea, dropped inert munitions, and returned to the U.S. in a single, continuous mission, the U.S. Forces Command in South Korea said.

The mission was part of annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. that run through April 30, but it was the first time a training run by the advanced bomber over South Korea had been made public.

In Washington, military officials said the flights were meant as a show of resolve, aimed at standing up to what Washington sees as increasingly aggressive behavior from North Korea.

Washington has been beefing up its joint exercises with South Korea and has added flights of its nuclear capable air craft near the Korean Peninsula, first B-52 bombers and now the B-2 stealth planes.

"You will continue to see advanced capability added to the mix," said a defense official in Washington.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also spoke Thursday with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on the phone and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea, according to a U.S. Department of Defense statement.

The use of the B-2s, which are designed to evade radar and penetrate air defenses to drop bombs on heavily protected targets, is the strongest response yet to North Korea's recent bellicosity. The flights, officials said, weren't meant to be seen as a threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike but rather a reminder of the abilities of long-range American bombers. More importantly, officials said, the B-2s were meant to reiterate that North Korea won't be able to detect the most advanced U.S. weaponry near its airspace.

U.S. officials said the goal of the flight wasn't to ratchet up tensions, but over time, to bring them down by showing strength in the face of North Korea's actions.

North Korea responded to confirmation of the B-52 flights by threatening U.S. military bases in Guam and Japan with attack. It had no immediate reaction to the announcement of the B-2 flights.

North Korea has repeatedly said it is prepared to attack South Korea, Japan and the U.S. if necessary in recent weeks as it reacts to international sanctions imposed in response to its Feb. 12 nuclear test and the annual military drills in the South.

Most analysts don't expect North Korea to stage an attack on the U.S. or its allies and it isn't thought to have the missile technology to hit long-range targets. But its heated rhetoric has raised concerns of a sudden escalation of conflict in the event of a small-scale incident such as exchange of fire with South Korea.

Its successful satellite launch in December using long-range rocket technology and nuclear test have also triggered concerns that it is making progress in being able to mount a nuclear device on a long-range missile.

On March 26, the U.S. and South Korea signed a military contingency plan to respond to possible attacks from North Korea and the U.S. has said it would install additional missile inceptors on the West Coast in response to the threat from North Korea.

According to North Korean state media, dictator Kim Jong Eun gave a speech at a meeting of senior military officials and information workers of the North Korean army on Thursday at which he reiterated that Pyongyang considered the Korean War armistice agreement nullified and a "fuse of a war is kindled."

On Wednesday, North Korea severed the last remaining military communications link with the South.

—Julian E. Barnes in Washington contributed to this article.


Stinson, New Braunfels airports to get reprieve?

Stinson Municipal Airport and New Braunfels Municipal Airport are among 13 small Texas airports in line to get state funding to continue service amid sequestration budget cuts.

The Texas Department of Transportation said Thursday it intends to fund air traffic control towers when federal funding goes away. The move is pending Texas Transportation Commission approval, expected in an emergency session next week.

“Safety is the primary reason we felt a need to take immediate action for the air travelers and business aircraft that use these airports,” Commissioner Fred Underwood of the Texas Transportation Commission said in a news release. “I am proud of our leaders for taking this extraordinary measure to ensure that those relying on these municipal airports will be able to depart and arrive safely and efficiently.”

When automatic budget cuts from the federal government went into effect last month, Texas regional airports were scheduled to lose funding for air traffic control service starting April 7.

On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter asking the commission to provide 90 days of emergency assistance to keep the control towers open.

“Flying is an integral part of commerce in Texas,” TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson said in the news release. “Local communities are counting on these airports to remain open for continued economic success.”

Other South and Central Texas municipal airports affected were in Brownsville, Georgetown, San Marcos and Victoria.

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In a reversal, city to keep newly purchased police helicopter: 'Foxtrot' aircraft had been threatened by budget proposal

Eighteen months after she voted to approve the purchase of four brand-new helicopters for the Police Department, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's proposed budget called for grounding one of them in a cost-saving move.

But in a just a few days, the administration has reversed course and said it intends to keep the unit collectively known as "Foxtrot" together in flight. Police will likely have to find the projected $1 million in savings somewhere else in their budget.

It's unclear how exactly the cut became part of the proposed budget, which was unveiled last week. City officials stressed that it was always preliminary, and a spokesman for the mayor said that "closer examination determined that the projected savings may not be realistic."

The spokesman, Ryan O'Doherty, said that along with the funding restoration, police will be asked to review the aviation unit for "future efficiencies and potential cost savings."

According to Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts' chief of staff, Judy Pal, the cut might have grown out of confusion around concerns the new commissioner raised about whether the city had purchased the right kind of helicopters. Pal said Batts had also questioned the wisdom of replacing the entire fleet at the same time.

"Most agencies will spread those purchases out; you replace them on an ad hoc basis as opposed to having to replace all four," Pal said.

The old EC 120 helicopters were purchased all together more than a decade ago, and by 2011 were running dangerously close to their maximum operational life. Police officials claimed one of the helicopters had recorded the highest number of flight hours of any of its kind in the world.

So in September 2011, the city Board of Estimates — of which Rawlings-Blake is a voting member — approved the $9.5 million purchase for the new helicopters from American Eurocopter. They began flying missions a year later with state-of-the-art surveillance tools.

Batts, who was previously a police chief in Long Beach and Oakland, declined to answer questions Thursday about whether the city could have gotten a better deal. City records show that officials did not seek competitive bids for the aircraft.

In the Board of Estimates agenda, purchasing officials wrote that the new EC120B helicopters were the only ones compatible with the parts and maintenance equipment that the city owns, and would eliminate the need to replace the current inventory. The aviation pilots, crew members and maintenance personnel were also qualified to maintain the Eurocopters and would not require retraining.

When it bought the original helicopters in 2001, the city also solicited bids only from the Texas-based American Eurocopter.

The Foxtrot unit has been sidelined before. The entire fleet was grounded in 1998 after a crash in Southwest Baltimore that killed pilot Barry Wood. It did not resume flights until 2001. The city raised money to reconstitute the unit, buy a hangar at Martin State Airport, and have city employees take over maintenance from a contractor.

In 2010, Rawlings-Blake's administration threatened to cut the entire fleet — along with the marine and horseback unit — in a "doomsday" budget that ultimately did not come to pass.

That year, Foxtrot was involved in more than 7,700 calls for service, assisted in 400 arrests, and performed 33,000 "support missions," police said. More recent figures were not available.


Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (KIWA), Phoenix, Arizona: New airport director looks forward to well-timed growth, development

When the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport board launched a national search for a new executive director, it learned the same lesson Dorothy, and perhaps many of the residents who have departed from the airport’s gates, have been preaching: “There’s no place like home.”

The board voted unanimously March 18 to promote Special Projects Director Jane Morris to the airport’s top spot, following the retirement of former Director Lynn Kusy. Kusy had held the position since the airport’s beginning in 1993.

“(It was) her unique combination of relevant experience, vision and qualifications that made her the choice to take Gateway into its next chapter,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, also chairman of the airport’s five-member board.

Smith said the board was not looking for someone to fill Kusy’s shoes and maintain his achievements, but to build on them for the future.

“Gateway is poised to get to the next level but that involves the question of how Gateway will truly interact and be part of growth, both inside the fence and outside the fence — the greater community,” Smith said. “That’s where we think Jane had a vision for how she could make the airport not only a great airport but also a centerpiece and driver of economic development, even beyond the fences.”

Morris rose to the position amongst two other finalists to lead the center Smith referred to as “nothing less than a keystone to the future of not just East Mesa, but the south East Valley.”

Morris retired in June after 28 years with City of Phoenix, including stints as Sky Harbor assistant director of aviation and deputy director of planning and environmental services.

Her employment with Phoenix ended with the deputy city manager position.

But after a few months off she was at it again by fall, this time as the special projects director at Gateway.

“Having worked at (three) airports,” Morris said, referring to Sky Harbor, Goodyear and Deer Valley, all part of the City of Phoenix’s jurisdiction, “I’ve learned a lot about airports, how they operate and all the pieces and parts of an airport, which is a pretty fascinating place.”

Morris said there are two factors that will drive the development of the Gateway airport and expansion of its services — as well as its relevance to the economy: State Route 24, which will greatly ease traffic conditions and increase access to the area, and the 700 acres of land on the airport’s east side that will become more accessible with the highway’s construction.

The Tribune reported Sunday that the first leg of the route, which will eventually extend into Pinal County, will be completed years ahead of schedule this fall.

“It brings a new front door to the area,” she said.

But strong development takes time and money, Morris said.

“Challenges are how to fund the infrastructure,” she said of the airport’s available land.

A step in the right direction: Airport officials are predicting next year that the center will generate enough revenue to cover its full operating expenses.

In addition to Smith, the rest of the airport’s board includes Lt. Governor Stephen Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community, Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney, Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams and Gilbert Mayor John Lewis.

Traditionally, their agencies combined provide about $4 million per year for operating expenses; now, the funds can be applied toward capital upgrades, Morris said.

She said revenues are still tight, though, and it will take a “lot of careful planning” to get new infrastructure and development built and on time.

Planning has been touted as one of Morris’ strengths, detailed by several improvements she oversaw during her times at various Phoenix airports, including Sky Harbor’s new PHX Sky Train, which opens in April and was finalized under Morris’ leadership.

She said another challenge is to attract new carriers and related industries when the airport’s future is still just a concept.

“How do you do that when the region has not yet grown with the rooftops and the jobs?” she said, adding that timing again becomes a crucial factor.

There is a saving factor that creates a door Gateway’s potential, Morris said: the development and positive signs of the economy reemerging around airport, including the nearby Eastmark community development and planned retail in the area.

“We have to position the airport to take advantage of that and be ready for that,” she said.

She said Gateway’s designation as a relief airport to Sky Harbor has it poised to become an international airport and hub if her vision is pursued correctly.

Smith said the board saw her as the person who could bring such expansion.

“Everyone we spoke with who worked with her in Phoenix, sang her praises for her ability to bring people together,” Smith said.

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Yeager Airport (KCRW), Charleston, West Virginia: Main runway reopened after plane's troubled landing

Courtesy photo 
This photo from Yeager Airport's Facebook page shows the aircraft that landed gear-up on runway 23 this morning. Preparations are underway to remove the aircraft from the runway. 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A small twin-engine airplane landed without its wheels down at Yeager Airport this morning, delaying other flights at the Charleston airport. 

A Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatcher said the airplane landed after 11 a.m., but there was no smoke or fire visible when the plane landed.

Airport officials did not call for any outside assistance, but did ask for an ambulance to treat one patient, the dispatcher said.

Yeager officials said there were two people in the plane. They didn't appear to be injured, but one person asked to go to the hospital.

"It came in as a normal landing," said Brian Belcher, Yeager Airport's marketing director. He said as the plane descended at 11:03 a.m., Yeager marketing coordinator Anthony Gilmer said he didn't see the wheels down.

Belcher looked again and said he saw "dust coming off the ground and props [propellers] hitting the pavement."

Airport Director Rick Atkinson said the plane skidded for 500 or 600 feet before it came to a stop.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane is registered to Air Photographics Inc. of Martinsburg.

Don Siler, vice president of the aerial photography company, also serves as flight operations manager. He was in the company's Martinsburg office this morning, and was told about the incident as soon as the plane landed. No one on board was injured, he said.

"It's just one of those things," he said.

The plane was in the area taking photographs, Siler said.

Three commercial flights were being delayed until the small plane could be removed from the runway. Airport officials said another incoming flight might have to be delayed.

The plane was making a normal approach to the airport when someone on the ground noticed that the plane's landing gear wasn't down, according to airport officials.

Moline schools sue Quinn, others over tax exemption for Elliott Aviation

The Moline School District is suing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and eight other defendants over a property tax exemption for Elliott Aviation.

The four-count lawsuit claims a permanent property tax exemption signed into law this year specifically for Elliott Aviation violates the Illinois Constitution and deprives the school district of at least $150,000 annually.

Gov. Quinn signed HB4110 into law on Feb. 1. The act -- sponsored locally by state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, and former state Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova -- provides a permanent property tax exemption to Elliott for space it leases from the Quad City International Airport.

Other defendants in the suit include the Illinois Department of Revenue and its director, Brian Hamer; the Rock Island County Board of Review and its members; the Rock Island County chief assessor; the Blackhawk Township assessor; and the Coal Valley Township assessor.

The lawsuit contends the school district will suffer "irreparable harm as a result of the unlawful and unconstitutional actions set forth.

"The diversion of property taxes from certain leaseholds at the Metropolitan Airport Authority based upon this unconstitutional law at issue here will harm Plaintiff, many other Rock Island County taxing districts, and all Rock Island County taxpayers," the suit states.

The act provides the property tax exemption to any fixed base operator (FBO) lessee providing aeronautical services to the public at the Quad City International Airport.

The suit states that an attempt to include the Lansing Municipal Airport was removed from the bill.

Rep. Verschoore tried to pass the bill specifically for the Quad City International Airport, but the Lansing Airport was added to the Senate version of the bill, according to the suit. It also states Rep. Verschoore said the Lansing addition was removed because of "objection from people higher up than me."

"The debates indicate the unlawful, irrational and, thus, unconstitutional intent was to reduce certain employers real estate taxes in order to create jobs in Rock Island County only," the lawsuit contends."Thus, giving prohibited exemptions from real property taxation to a special group of non-governmental for-profit private employers."

Earlier this month, the Moline School Board voted to challenge the law as unconstitutional.

Last year, Elliott pushed local legislators to pass the exemption, saying other states grant such exemptions to FBOs and that Elliott would consider taking a planned expansion at the Quad City International Airport elsewhere unless Illinois approved the exemption.The company said the planned expansion could bring 300-400 new jobs over the next 10 years.

On March 4, Elliott announced plans to add 50 jobs within the next two years and to invest $1.8 million in improvements at its airport operations.

The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

A copy of the suit also was filed with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan along with a Rule 19 notice, which is a notice of claim of unconstitutionality. The notice gives the state a chance to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the law or regulation challenged.

Richard Baeder, vice president and general manager of Elliott Aviation, said he had not seen a copy of the lawsuit and it would be inappropriate for him to comment at this time.Dan Churchill, the attorney representing Moline schools, also declined comment on Wednesday.


Jet Edge International Enhances Fleet with Addition of Gulfstream GV

LOS ANGELES, Mar 28, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Jet Edge International, one of the fastest-growing large cabin aircraft management and charter companies in the U.S., has announced the addition of a Gulfstream GV aircraft with worldwide WIFI. The new addition will compliment the current Jet Edge GV fleet and be solely dedicated to charter. In addition to the GV, Jet Edge will receive a G650 in early 2014, which will also be dedicated to charter.

"Jet Edge is extremely pleased to add another GV aircraft to our fleet. Our fleet growth is a testament to our seasoned operational team, safety systems and internal sales culture. We're proud to provide our clients with one of the largest fleets of well-appointed Gulfstream aircraft in the world," said Bill Papariella, president of Jet Edge International.

The new GV has 13 seats and a private aft cabin bedroom suite that includes a large aft lavatory, as well as a walk-in closet. The jet also has sleeping accommodations for three in the forward cabin, a comprehensive full-sized forward galley, forward lavatory, and an extensive entertainment system featuring Air Show and worldwide Wi-Fi. The Jet Edge charter fleet consists of GV, G450, GIVSP, GIV, GIII, and G200 large cabin aircraft located within the United States and China. Jet Edge will also be adding a GIV and GIVSP early in the second quarter of 2013, as well as two new Gulfstream 280s in 2013. Jet Edge moved to a wholesale charter model in mid 2012, which allows the company to serve the broader sales distribution network in the United States and return greater ROI to their aircraft owners.

"Our mission since acquiring the company in August 2011 has been to generate a safe, reliable and charter-friendly fleet of large cabin aircraft in strategic locations across the globe. By sticking to the model of 'like aircraft,' it provides our sales distribution network with reliability, mechanical recovery and ease of booking, and our owners get unique charter revenue opportunities unlike those available with a 'home base' sales approach," said Papariella.

About Jet Edge International

Jet Edge International, a Bard Capital Company, has quickly become a leader in private aviation and one of the fastest-growing, full-service integrated large cabin jet management and service companies in the world. Jet Edge International offers individuals and companies 365-day-a-year guaranteed access to one of most diverse and state of the art large cabin and super mid size jet fleets in the world, with unparalleled and award-winning safety programs. Jet Edge International also offers aircraft management, charter management, on-demand charter, aircraft acquisition and sales, and maintenance services. The Jet Edge leadership team's aviation expertise spans flight operations, charter management, aircraft sales, marketing, and maintenance management. For more information on Jet Edge International, please visit

SOURCE: Jet Edge International

Federal Aviation Administration: Hilton Head Airport control tower closing May 5

 The control tower at Hilton Head Island Airport will remain open through May 5 -- nearly a month longer than Beaufort County officials first thought.

The extension eliminates potential problems during the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, which is typically the busiest week of the year at the county-owned airport. This year's PGA Tour event is April 15 to 21.

The FAA announcement Wednesday confirms rumors circulating for days that the tower would remain open until sometime in May.

"It gives us a little sense of relief in knowing that the tower will be able to remain open during Beaufort County's and Hilton Head Island's largest sporting event," acting airport director Rob McFee said in a statement.

The FAA is cutting funding for 149 contractor-run control towers across the U.S., including Hilton Head's, as part of sequestration, the $85 billion in federal budget cuts. Until Tuesday, the county believed the tower would shut down April 7.

The FAA will close 24 towers on that date and another 46 on April 21. The remaining towers are to close May 5.

The agency says airport operators can continue running the towers outside the federal air-traffic control network. The FAA said it will begin collecting equipment from shuttered towers about 90 days after funding ends.

The Hilton Head tower is operated by Robinson Aviation of Oklahoma City, which runs 96 towers around the country. The tower is staffed 14 hours a day and lacks radar.

It will be up to the company to determine what happens to affected employees, the FAA said.
A Robinson Aviation official said this week it won't comment on the closings.

County officials are exploring how much it would cost to keep the tower open for certain periods, such as the July 4 holiday week or next year's Heritage golf tournament.

That assessment continues, and the notification of the official closing date gives the county "an opportunity to explore all possibilities," county administrator Gary Kubic said Wednesday.

"It also allows the county time to converse with the Airports Board and the Town of Hilton Head Island on how to proceed," Kubic added. "The county will do its due diligence with this matter and hopefully have more answers in the next few weeks."

It remains unclear how much it would cost to continue running the tower. The county has sought a quote from Robinson Aviation.

The airport, which serves commercial, private and general aviation, can function safely without a tower, the county says. The facility operated smoothly for years without air-traffic control service, which was added in 2005 when the tower was built.

Prior to 2005, a temporary air-traffic control tower was installed at the airport for many years for the Heritage.

Related content
  1. Heritage, Hilton Head may be asked to help fund airport tower, March 26, 2013
  2. FAA: Hilton Head Airport control tower closing April 7, March 22, 2013

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