Friday, March 29, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bids are to be opened April 4.

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


Source:  http://www.heraldstandard.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Pilot, aerial photographer offers free public seminar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information or to make a reservation please call The History Center at 434-7433. Technical questions can be answered by the speaker at 550-2118.


Source:   http://www.metrowny.com

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N5367B

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

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

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

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

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

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

PLT019: Calculate pressure altitude

PLT099: Recall aeromedical factors – scanning procedures

PLT147: Recall airport operations – visual glideslope indicators

PLT163: Recall airspace requirements – visibility/cloud clearance

PLT165: Recall altimeter – effect of temperature changes

PLT301: Recall inversion layer – characteristics



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

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

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

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

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

North Dakota

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

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

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

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

South Dakota

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

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

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

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

Minnesota

Northwestern

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

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

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

Southwestern

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

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

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

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

The FAR report issued at 1142 reported in part:

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

The FAR FT issued at 1009 reported in part:

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

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

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

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

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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

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

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funeral arrangements are pending. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nelson Airport, New Zealand: Man faces charges after night of destruction

Last updated 13:00 March 11, 2013 

A 24-year-old man arrested after a crime spree across Nelson city allegedly tried to start a light plane at Nelson Airport using a screwdriver.

Earlier, the man allegedly set fire to towing business the Tender Centre in Vanguard St, destroying 31 vehicles, early on Saturday.

The Tender Centre owner believed he had towed the man's vehicle last week.

The spree began when police were alerted to a suspicious fire at storage units off Nayland Rd in Stoke shortly before 1am on Saturday. The building suffered minor damage.

At 1.30am, police were called to the larger fire at the Vanguard St building.

Four hours later, a car was reversed through the front doors of the Public Trust building in Buxton Square.

Then at 5.45am, police were called to suspicious activity at Nelson Airport, where a man was arrested. He was due to appear in the Nelson District Court today.

Sounds Air pilot Mike Marchant said the man allegedly got into a Sounds Air plane and tried to start it.

"He did the old screwdriver into the ignition trick. But there is a bit more to starting it."

Mr Marchant said the plane was damaged, and the ignition had to be replaced. The plane was unable to be flown on Saturday. The man also allegedly wrecked a lifejacket in the plane.

Mr Marchant said he was at the airport when police alerted him to the drama. "[The suspect] got picked up at or near the airport."

The Sounds Air plane was outside the hangar when it was broken into.

Mr Marchant said it was fortunate that the man did not manage to start the plane.

"There are a few other switches and things you have to do.

"He wasn't too far away from getting it going. He obviously didn't know what he was doing. If he had got it going, it would've been a bit of a serious situation."

Nelson Airport general manager Kaye McNabb said airport management was very concerned about any illegal entry on to the airport grounds.

The affected plane was a scheduled passenger plane, meaning any break-in put lives at risk and disrupted an airline's schedule, she said.

"We will be looking to Civil Aviation to see what they are going to do about it."

Nelson Bays police area commander Inspector Steve Greally said it was good that nobody was killed or seriously injured.

The offending was at the higher end of the spectrum, with the actions at the airport "particular disturbing".

"That sort of offending is extremely serious."

The man's mental status was being assessed, he said.

He has been charged with two counts of arson, relating to the Stoke and Vanguard St fires, two counts of burglary, two counts of intentional damage, and unlawfully interfering with an aircraft.

Tender Centre owner Neville Frost said his workshop, which housed 31 vehicles, was completely destroyed in the blaze.

Mr Frost said he was out with police on another job when he was told of the blaze.

He arrived back in a state of shock to see his business on fire.

He said he believed he towed the man's car last week, and that it was possibly stored in the Stoke building which was also damaged by fire.

Mr Frost said it was too early to know whether the Vanguard St building could be salvaged. He was now working out of a shed.

The Tender Centre, also known as Frosty's Towing, does work for the police and insurance firms. It is at the rear of the Vehicle Testing NZ building, but a firewall between the two businesses meant that building suffered only minor damage in the blaze.

VTNZ station manager Keith Barker said the vehicle testing station reopened at 10am on Saturday, after police and fire investigators allowed staff back.

Story and Reaction/Comments:  http://www.stuff.co.nz

Anticipating move, Heritage Flight Museum buys hangar in Skagit

After announcing last December that it planned to leave its home as the Bellingham International Airport, the Heritage Flight Museum says it has now purchased a large hangar at Skagit Regional Airport, several miles west of Burlington.

“We had been looking at Skagit Regional as an option for relocation” the museum’s Executive Director Greg Anders said, in a press release. “This facility came on the market and was seeing a lot of interest. In order to preserve the option to get into a ready-made building that meets all of our space and operational needs, the board of directors decided to take action and not lose the opportunity.”

Museum directors have cited unfavorable lease terms with the Port of Bellingham for a new aviation museum that was planned to be built just north of the runway at the Bellingham International Airport. For the past decade, the Heritage museum has operated out of a hangar owned by Apogree LLC, a firm owned by the nonprofit museum’s founder, William Anders, who is Greg Anders’ father.

According to a statement from the museum, it is continuing its relocation search, but anticipates holding Warbird Weekend in June at the museum’s current facilities in Bellingham.

Heritage Flight Museum is online at www.heritageflight.org.

Story and Photo:   http://bbjtoday.com

One year later: Reluctant hero remembers Navy jet crash in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Va. – On Good Friday 2012, a Navy jet fell from the sky and into the Mayfair Mews Apartment complex. Now one year later, one of the men who helped to save the day shared his memories of that Good Friday with NewsChannel 3.

“Nobody died, nobody really got hurt. How can you explain that? It was a miracle,” says Pat Kavanaugh. 

Kavanaugh is a life member of the Beach Rescue Squad. On that day, he took action after being jarred from his afternoon nap by the sound of the crash.

“As soon as I hit the door, I saw the pilot down,” explained Kavanaugh.

One of the pilots landed right outside of his sliding glass doors. He called on a neighbor to help.

“A lot of us picked up the pilot and moved him to the front parking lot away from the fire, says Kavanaugh.  “He just looked at me for what seemed like a long time, but it was two, three seconds wide-eyed and says,  ‘I’m sorry I crashed into your apartment complex.”

The idea of it makes Pat smile. In the midst of the chaos, the pilot didn’t forget his manners!

But in those first moments after the crash, he never dreamed that everyone would walk away alive.
 
His years working with the Beach Rescue Squad prepared him for the worst.

“I looked back and pointed and said, ‘Well they’re dead, and I know she’s gone ’cause they don’t go anywhere,” says Kavanaugh.

Pat was never happier to be so wrong, especially with memories of neighbors doing everything so right.

Pat says the events of that day help him take stock of his past and his future.

After a year that brought him both praise and congestive heart failure, he lives by a simple mantra.

“Count your blessings, move on one day at a time. You’re alive, make new memories,” advises Kavanaugh.

Click here to see NewsChannel 3′s full coverage of the Oceana Jet Crash .

Story and Video:   http://wtkr.com

Virginia Beach Mayor Sessoms marks anniversary of Va. Beach jet crash

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms is marking the anniversary of when a Navy jet crashed into an apartment complex.

No one was killed when the F/A-18D Hornet crashed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex, although the impact destroyed 27 apartments, displaced dozens and injured seven.

A Navy investigation found that a rare dual-engine failure caused the jet to crash shortly after taking off from a nearby base.

Navy officials say the jet's two-man crew ejected at the last second possible to survive, 50 feet above ground.

Sessoms said in a statement Friday the fact that nobody died was the result of the community working together. He's calling for the city to celebrate the spirit of community that turned a tragic event into what he's calling a Good Friday miracle.

The crash happened on April 6, 2012.

Coming next week: The Virginian-Pilot looks back at the jet crash.

Story and Photo:   http://hamptonroads.com

Travis Air Force Base introduces new runway, landing zone

Sitting on the edge of their seats, some 200 Travis Air Force Base leaders and airmen, as well as government officials and the public, watched in awe Thursday as a C-17 jet performed a touch-and-go, leaving only skid marks behind on a new runway at the military base.

"It's been many years in the making to get to this point," said Pat Baldi with Baldi Brothers Construction Co., which completed the runway project. "It's a dream come true. We lived this project. This is the finest runway the armed forces has. I'm very proud of this."

A ceremony marked the opening of the reconstructed runway and new assault landing zone at the base.

The three-year construction project recycled 99,000 tons of material from an old runway. It allows  for triple-runway operations on base, as opposed to single operations.

The new landing zone also will enable aircrews to train locally rather than fly to Washington, saving an estimated $7.3 million per year in fuel costs. In just 2 1/2 years, the $68 million project will have paid for itself. Other military installations also will use the landing zone for training. The new runway is 10,995 feet long and the new landing zone is 4,100 feet long.

Standing just feet from the runway and looking at the base, Col. Dwight Sones, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, said the project has truly been a "labor of love."

"A lot of effort has been put into this runway," he said. "It's like a new toy. It's time to start doing some training on it."

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, said the crews working on the project now know the "satisfaction of a job well done and completed."

"This community is heavily dependent on Travis and they, too, can have a sense of pride of what's been accomplished," he said. "This is a special part of America's defense system. For me, I take pride in what you have accomplished."

In the overcast sky, a flight crew gracefully lined up a C-17 Globemaster III with the new runway. Upon approach, the audience left their seats to see the aircraft ever so slightly touch down with its landing gear before lifting back up into the sky.

"I've never seen anything like it. I had to videotape the whole thing," said Vacaville City Councilwoman Dilenna Harris. "As a community, I'm very proud to be a partner with Travis. We do everything we can to support their mission and support the men and women at the base.

"It's a great day. This (runway) will help the base's capabilities."

Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert has seen the maneuver from inside a jet. She was able to travel with a group from Travis to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where they did a touch-and-go before returning to Travis, where they did a second touch-and-go with the back of the plane open.

"It was really quite an experience," she said. "I know it firsthand from inside the plane."

She said the new runway is another way Travis is better equipped.

"The better equipped Travis is, the better we are able to demonstrate the importance of the base and its military force," she said. "That establishes that the base can sustain its military presence in light of (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) cuts."

The significance of the day was not lost on Mike Kedis, project superintendent for Baldi Brothers.

"I was a little nervous," Kedis admitted. "I wasn't nervous about the integrity of the runway, but I've never seen something like that before. It's the first time we've built an entire runway. It was cool to see."

Kedis said the group laid the four placements of concrete in four days.

Airfield Engineer 1st Lt. Ryan Hall also was eager to see the runway used.

"I typically oversee the pavement of $50,000 sidewalks and not a $68 million runway," he said. "I had chills down my spine. It's historic. Airfields are an important part of what we do. This is the way I could contribute to what happens here at Travis."

Hall said the runway is used for normal aircraft traffic, from training missions to operational missions and the landing zone will be used by C-17 and C-130 aircraft to practice landing on short runways. "It's a proficiency that must be maintained for our aircrews to ensure they are prepared to land on the smallest of airstrips in combat zones," he said.

The project design was started in 2004. Construction began in February 2010 and was completed last month.

"I had butterflies," Baldi said. "But it's a somber feeling. We've worked on this for three years. It's like sending off a child to start a job after they finish college. I'm very proud."

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

MontrĂ©al–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport: Two cars fall into sinkhole in parking lot


MONTREAL—Two cars were damaged on Friday afternoon after a large hole opened up in the middle of an exterior employee parking lot near Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

While no one was injured, police and fire were at the scene as the back end of a car pointed skyward. The front of the car fell into a five metre by three meter sinkhole just after 1 p.m.

The lot is located on Cote-de-Liesse Rd. near the airport’s multilevel Skypark.

Francois Asselin, a spokesman for Montreal’s airport authority, said the incident will not impact air travel and security officials have the situation under control.

Story and Photo:   http://montreal.ctvnews.ca

Cirrus SR22T GTS, MWBS Holdings LLC, N1967N: Accident occurred March 29, 2013 in Alexandria, Minnesota

http://registry.faa.gov/N1967N

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA212 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 29, 2013 in Alexandria, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22T, registration: N1967N
Injuries: 2 Minor, 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, while on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern, he heard a loud noise during flap extension. The pilot initiated a climb and struggled to maintain roll control. He stated that he attempted to reduce the airplane’s rolling tendency by adjusting flap position. According to data from an onboard flight recording device, he briefly adjusted the flaps to the up position and then back to half. He then adjusted the flaps from half to full, and the airplane began to roll right due to flap asymmetry, eventually reaching 86 degrees of right bank. The airplane began to stall, and the pilot activated the airplane’s ballistic parachute recovery system. Subsequently, the airplane descended to the ground with the aid of the parachute and came to rest upright on a frozen lake. About 18 months before the accident flight, the airplane underwent maintenance to remove and replace both the left and right flaps. According to maintenance manual procedures, the mounting bolt and washer hardware were to be safety wired to the flap actuation fitting. However, during postaccident examinations, the right flap rod end was found disconnected from the right flap actuation fitting, and the connection hardware was missing. The mounting bolt and washer were found lying under the airplane; however, no safety wire was found. Therefore, the safety wire was most likely not installed when the right flap was reinstalled during maintenance. Although the mounting bolt and washer were likely tightened during the installation, they likely gradually became loose over time because of the missing safety wire, which led the right flap rod end to separate from the right flap actuation fitting during the flap extension on the accident flight. Since the time of the maintenance (211 hours of operation), annual, prebuy, and preflight inspections occurred, during which the lack of a safety wire went unnoticed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of maintenance personnel to install a safety wire during reinstallation of the right flap, which led to the separation of the right flap rod from the right flap actuation fitting during flap extension. Contributing to the accident were inadequate inspections of the right flap during subsequent annual, prebuy, and preflight inspections.
  
**This report was modified on 9/20/2013. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.**

On March 29, 2013, about 1045 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T airplane, N1967N, was substantially damaged after impact with terrain (frozen lake) near the Chandler Field Airport (AXN), Alexandria, Minnesota. The private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to MWBS Holdings LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which originated from the Marv Skie-Lincoln County Airport (Y14), Tea, South Dakota about 0904.

While on pattern downwind to AXN, the pilot reported a loud noise during flap extension. The pilot initiated a climb as he struggled to maintain roll control. He attempted to reduce the airplane’s rolling tendency by adjusting flap position. As his control of the airplane worsened, the pilot pulled the ballistic recovery system handle. The parachute deployed and the airplane descended onto a frozen lake.

The flight recording device was recovered from the accident airplane and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board’s Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for evaluation. While on pattern downwind, the recorder indicated that the flaps were adjusted from up to half and the airplane made several left bank turns, with a maximum of 30 degrees of left bank. About 18 seconds after initial flap movement, the flaps were briefly adjusted to up and returned to half.

About 36 seconds after initial flap movement, the flaps were adjusted from half to full and the airplane began a right roll to a steep right bank attitude. A stall indication was recorded 38 seconds after the flaps were adjusted to full. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) was deployed two seconds after the stall indication. The CAPS handle pull occurred at a pitch of 22 degrees nose down, a roll attitude of 86 degrees right bank, and an altitude of about 519 feet above ground level.

The airplane was examined at the accident site by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors and a representative of Cirrus Design Corporation. The right flap rod end was found disconnected from the right flap actuation fitting. The right flap rod end mounting bolt and washer were found lying on the snow under the airplane. No evidence of a safety wire was present on the mounting bolt or on the right flap actuation fitting.

An examination of the CAPS Rear Harness assembly revealed that both reefing line cutters had fired but the rear harness remained “snubbed.” The impact scars on the snow and Ice, and the damage to the aircraft indicated that touch-down occurred while the airplane was in a 40-50 degree nose-down attitude. This nose-down attitude is consistent with a touch-down prior to “tail drop.”

A review of maintenance records indicated that the right flap was reinstalled on August 3, 2011, at a Hobbs time of 66.4. According to maintenance manual procedures, the mounting bolt and washer hardware were to be torqued to a measured 50-70 inch pounds, then safety wired to the flap actuation fitting. An annual inspection was conducted on July 10, 2012 (163.9 Hobbs), a pre-buy inspection was conducted on November 5, 2012 (177.2 Hobbs) and the accident occurred with a Hobbs time of 278.0.


According to the Cirrus SR22T pilot operating handbook, the preflight checklist states to "inspect flap hinges, actuation arm, bolts, and cotter pins.....secure."


NTSB Identification: CEN13LA212 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 29, 2013 in Alexandria, MN
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22T, registration: N1967N
Injuries: 2 Minor,2 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 29, 2013, about 1045 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T-0031 airplane, N1967N, was substantially damaged after impact with terrain (frozen lake) near the Chandler Field Airport (AXN), Alexandria, Minnesota. The private pilot and one of the three passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to MWBS Holdings LLC and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which originated from the Marv Skie-Lincoln County Airport (Y14), Tea, South Dakota at 0904.

While on pattern downwind to AXN, the pilot reported a loud noise during flap extension, followed by a roll of the airplane to the right. The pilot countered this roll with aileron inputs and initiated a climb. He then attempted to reduce the airplane’s rolling tendency by adjusting flap position. As his control of the airplane worsened, the pilot pulled the ballistic recovery system handle. The parachute deployed and the airplane descended onto a frozen lake.

During initial examination, the right flap rod end was found disconnected from the right flap actuation fitting. The right flap rod end mounting bolt and washer were found laying on the snow under the airplane. No safety wire was noted on the mounting bolt or on the right flap actuation fitting.



Cirrus SR22T (N1967N)  crashed on northwest Lake Latoka in Alexandria shortly after 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.



 
Douglas County sheriff's deputies looked into the cockpit of a plane that crashed on Lake Latoka Friday morning. 




More information has been released about a single-engine, fixed-wing airplane that crashed on northwest Lake Latoka in Alexandria shortly after 10:30 a.m. this morning. 

 No serious injuries were reported.

The pilot was Hamid Reza Abbasi, 54, from Alexandria and Edina. He was flying with his wife and their two juvenile children.

The plane, built by Cirrus Design Corporation, was en route to the Alexandria Airport when it crashed, according to a deputy at the scene.

The nose of the plane cracked through the ice, creating some open water.

Witnesses on shore reported hearing a plane's engine making sputtering noises, followed by a loud bang, which apparently came from the plane's parachute being deployed.

The plane is intact and didn't appear to have much damage, except for the front portion.

The family in the plane is reportedly from the Twin Cities area and the man works in Alexandria. The family was taken to the home of Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels for temporary shelter.

A long-time resident on the lake noted that last year at this time, the ice was already off the lake and speculated that the crash could have been worse in open water.

The Alexandria Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene. The Douglas County Sheriff's Posse was also called in to secure the open water area.








ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - A single-engine, fixed-wing airplane crashed on northwest Lake Latoka in Alexandria shortly after 10:30 a.m. today.

 No serious injuries were reported.

The plane was en route to the Alexandria Airport when it crashed, according to a deputy at the scene.

The nose of the plane cracked through the ice, creating some open water.

Witnesses on shore reported hearing a plane's engine making sputtering noises, followed by a loud bang, which apparently came from the plane's parachute being deployed.

The plane is intact and didn't appear to have much damage, except for the front portion.

The family in the plane are reportedly from the Twin Cities area and the man works in Alexandria.

A long-time resident on the lake noted that last year at this time, the ice was already off the lake and speculated that the crash could have been worse in open water.

A news release has not been issued yet so no names are available.

The Alexandria Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene.


http://www.inforum.com

Pics! Never-Before-Seen Photos of a Young John F. Kennedy Jr. Playing in Cockpit

The JFK library released previously unseen images of John F. Kennedy Jr. playing in the cockpit of a helicopter. The pics were taken in 1963 when John-John was just 2 years old.

President Kennedy’s son died at 38 in a tragic 1999 plane crash. He was piloting the aircraft to his cousin’s wedding. His wife and sister-in-law were also killed.


JFK Jr. photos on the JFK Library Tumblr page.

Frontier Airlines will temporarily suspend flights at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey, in September

EWING — Frontier Airlines will suspend flights at Trenton-Mercer Airport for two months starting in September while construction crews install a safety enhancement project on the airport’s main runway.

The airline said in a news release today that it will suspend flights Sept. 9 and resume them Nov. 9. Frontier is currently only selling tickets for flights through Sept. 8, and this Sunday will begin selling tickets for the week of Nov. 8 to Nov. 13, the release said.

Daniel Shurz, a senior vice president with the airline, said in the release that Mercer County, which owns the airport, and Frontier collaborated to schedule the runway project for the “lowest-demand period of the year.”

During the two-month period crews will installed an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) on the airport’s 6,006-foot runway. The EMAS is a series of crushable concrete blocks placed at the end of the runway to slow and stop planes that overrun the runway.

The airport installed EMAS beds at both ends of the airport’s shorter runway last year.

County officials said they are required to install the EMAS to comply with FAA regulations on runway safety.

“While suspending service is our least favored option, this short-term disruption will produce long-term gains,” County Executive Brian Hughes said in a statement. “We are pleased that our partners at Frontier are able and willing to work with us as we meet our federal obligation.”

The project will cost $15.8 million, with $14.2 million coming from the FAA. The project has been planned for several years and is required to be completed by the end of 2013.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back on board Frontier flights from Trenton-Mercer airport in November,” Shurz said in the release.

The Denver, Colo.-based airline in November began offering four flights a week from the Ewing airport to Orlando, Fla., and will expand to 10 destinations starting early next month.

The suspension of Frontier flights in September is unrelated to the expected closure of the airport's control tower due to the federal budget cuts called the sequester, which will happen May 5, according to the FAA. Frontier has said it plans to continue its regular flight schedule after staffing of the tower ends.


Story Photos,  Reaction/Comments:   http://www.nj.com

Charlotte/Douglas International (KCLT), North Carolina: 'Talking points' emails reveal airport leader working against city

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Emails, that were supposed to be secret, show an airport leader going behind the city’s back. Those emails were obtained by the I-Team and are prompting city leaders to question who they can really trust. 

The tug-of-war over Charlotte-Douglas airport hit some unexpected turbulence this week when the state's deputy treasurer warned state lawmakers that uncertainty over the airport's debt could result in "potential prolonged litigation".

The I-Team has learned that the chair of the Charlotte-Douglas airport advisory committee, a man appointed by the city, is covertly working with those trying to take the airport away from Charlotte. Charlotte City Council Member Michael Barnes told the I-Team, “"We've learned that there are a lot of people, who we thought were working with us, who are working against us."

In a letter to State Senator Bob Rucho, sponsor of the bill to transfer Charlotte-Douglas to a regional authority, the deputy state treasurer urges lawmakers to "proceed cautiously". But before the treasurer’s report was finished, Rucho pushed the bill through the Senate.

The I-Team has obtained an email, sent by Shawn Dorsch, the chair of the Charlotte airport advisory committee, to members of the general assembly. They are listed as "talking points" for those trying to take the airport away from city control.  One of the talking points recommends lawmakers say the treasurer's report, "contains nothing new or that would prevent the creation of the authority."

Councilman Barnes told the I-Team, “It is very disappointing that the chair of the airport advisory board, a body that is appointed by the council, is engaged in essentially providing talking points to folks who are trying to take the airport away from Charlotte. In this case, you've got basically our airport director and the chair of the advisory board both working against the interests of the city."

The bill to transfer Charlotte-Douglas Airport to a regional authority is being debated in the North Carolina House.

Story and Video:  http://www.wcnc.com

Charlottesville-Albemarle (KCHO), Charlottesville, Virginia: New Director Takes Over the Airport


A new airport director has taken charge of the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport which means some changes may be on the radar.

With major renovation projects planned and national cuts to airport funding, her list of priorities could soon be soaring.

Melinda Crawford took over as director of CHO March 1.

"I love the airport I particularly love this area, it's a beautiful place to live and work," she said.

Crawford came to CHO from the Pensacola Florida International Airport. Her staff says she brings "big airport experience" to this region.

"I think that you might see some cosmetic changes, you might see some changes in terms of...you might not notice it, but in our infrastructure," Crawford said.

Changes to infrastructure like the 800 foot runway expansion project, a new taxiway, some ramp improvements where the aircraft park, and a runway overlay, or new pavement.

Crawford says she's also considering parking expansion. 

  
"Additional parking, and modification to parking, making access to ingress and egress parking," she said.

She says her priority is the overall experience for fliers. "Maybe restroom improvements, access through the screening and exit, and mainly focusing on, as you come in as a passenger, what are you experiencing?"

The sequester cuts that caused airport towers across the country to shut down is not affecting Charlottesville-Albemarle.

"We were very fortunate because we play a vital part in the transportation system for the nation," Crawford said.

But other budget issues could still leave staff grounded, like cuts to the Transportation Security Administration. Crawford said they might not be able to fill a vacant position or they may not be able to have overtime. And now she has to be more mindful of money spent.

"This is probably one of the biggest assets the community has because it's not paid for with any tax dollars so every penny it takes to run this airport comes from within this airport," Crawford said. "So when we start looking at improvements we have to find out how to fund it."

As for the recent decision by the TSA to allow pocket knives on planes, Crawford says the TSA is the expert on what should be allowed on planes and what shouldn't, and she supports its decisions.

"I really don't have a feeling one way or another about the knives," she said. "I do think they have a really tough job and sometimes they have to make hard decisions that everybody doesn't agree with and so we just try to support them and back them up."

Crawford said she doesn't think TSA directors would be making the change if they didn't think it was in the best interest of national security.

"If it was going to endanger the security I don't think that they would have moved forward with it," she said.

Either way, Crawford said she just hopes people choose to check out CHO.
"They have the ability to look around, but we just want to make sure they don't forget us."

And moving forward, the sky's the limit.

"You have amazing air service for our region here with the destinations that we have, and the markets, and the service this staff has done a very great job," Crawford said.


Story, Photo, Video:   http://www.nbc29.com

Army policy could ground hefty pilots

A new Army policy may ground some Fort Rucker flight instructors next week who have packed on a few extra pounds.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA), a new Army regulation takes effect April 1 which will bar flight instructors employed by URS Federal Support Services from flying in certain helicopters, or even instructing in certain flight simulators if they weigh more than 250 pounds in their flight suit and boots.

The suit names six flight instructors as defendants who live near Fort Rucker, are employed by URS and currently weigh more than 250 pounds. According to the policy, the instructors will be placed on paid leave for as long as the instructors are eligible. Employees who do not have paid leave will be placed on unpaid leave and will remain on the seniority roster for up to 24 months, but will not be eligible to work as long as they weigh more than 250 pounds.

The suit claims the instructors have not been given due process. It states the instructors are working under a collective bargaining agreement which states instructors can only be discharged for cause.

“The (Army’s) weight limit policy does not allow Plaintiffs to be heard at a meaningful time in a meaningful way before they are deprived of their property right,” states the suit, filed on behalf of the defendants by the law firm of Quinn, Connor, Weaver, Davies and Rouco of Birmingham.

The instructors do not work for the Army. URS employs about 450 civilians at Fort Rucker. About 400 work as flight instructors, academic instructors and support personnel, according to the suit.

The suit states the Army initially sought to impose the weight restriction on Oct. 1, 2012, and instead opted to implement a weight monitoring/control program. The implementation of the weight restriction was moved to April 1, 2013. The PHPA sought another six-month delay, but the Army denied the request.

The restriction affects TH-67, OH-58 and TH-1 aircraft and also includes some flight simulator instructors. The suit claims that the Army has not provided rationale for the new policy. It also claims Army personnel and flight instructors for other contractors are not subject to the weight restriction.

PHPA attorney Robert Weaver said the parties are scheduled to participate in a telephone conference Friday with U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker.

“We believe the clients have been deprived of due process,” Weaver said Thursday. “Our position is their employment is being adversely affected by a policy of the federal government and they have a right to due process.”

The Army has not yet filed a response in the case. Weaver said the Army is in the process of responding to a Freedom of Information request for documents relating to the policy.

An e-mail to the Army’s attorney of record, Robert Anderson, was not returned.

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The ups and downs of the Foxtrot Four: Mayor Rawlings-Blake backs down from last week's budget plan to ground one of four police helicopters

The Baltimore Police Department won’t be losing one of its Foxtrot helicopters after all.

As part of her proposed 2014 budget, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced last week that the city would reduce its police aviation fleet from four helicopters to three, saving $1.2 million. The savings was one of the few cutbacks to a police budget that was otherwise considerably higher than its current level of spending.

Today, though, the mayor’s staff told The Sun’s Justin Fenton that the city will keep its full complement of EC120B choppers, known in the department as the “Foxtrot Four.”

Today’s change of course echoes a similar flight pattern in 2010-11 when Rawlings-Blake threatened to ground the entire helicopter fleet as a budget-cutting measure, then supported the purchase of a new fleet – at a cost of $9.5 million – delivered to the city last summer.

It was one of these choppers that was on the chopping block in the 2014 budget based on “a needs assessment” conducted by the Department of Finance, according to documents released last week.

No Competitive Bids 

The latest Foxtrots that buzz around the city to spot criminal activity – sometimes to the annoyance of citizens who complained of their obtrusive nature to the mayor during a budget workshop last year – had been strongly backed by former police commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.

Bealefeld argued that the aircraft was an essential asset to police on the ground, able to spot criminals running down alleys, pursue dirt bikes and discover illegal caches of marijuana growing on porches and back lots.

Equally important was the replacement of the fleet, which was reaching the end of its useful live.

In an unusual deal ratified by Rawlings-Blake and other members of the Board of Estimates, the helicopter order was awarded to Texas-based American Eurocopter Corp. without competitive bids.

The Police Department and Bureau of Purchasing justified the “sole-source” contract as cheaper for the city because Eurocopter had supplied the original Foxtrots.

As a result, the city’s supply of parts would be compatible with the new fleet and ground and air personnel would be qualified to maintain and operate this type of helicopter without retraining.

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