Saturday, April 13, 2013

Interest Grows in Inexpensive Planes at the Light-Sport Aircraft Mall

LAKELAND | When ultralight aircraft reigned supreme, Sun 'n Fun Fly-In's Paradise City was the place to be during the weeklong event.

"This place used to be standing room only," Jeremy Monnett of Sonex Aircraft said Friday. "Anybody and everybody wanted to be here."

But as ultralights lost popularity to newer light-sport aircraft, the area faltered and drew fewer people, according to pilots who talked with The Ledger.

However, Paradise City's popularity might be on the rebound with this year's changes to the south side of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. In the last year, fences have been removed, a road paved and more places made for planes closer to the grass airstrip, all allowing for a greater gathering of light-sport pilots on the new LSA Mall.

Sun 'n Fun President John "Lites" Leenhouts said the impetus for the expansion was to get younger people interested in flying.

While the costs of traditional planes can make them financially unattainable for younger people, light-sport aircraft are much less expensive, sometimes half as much.

"We thought the expansion was the perfect opportunity for kids to get into airplanes," he said.

Vendors also were encouraged to set up in that area, as well, along with gyro­coptors.

Light-sport planes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some can land on water, while others are made for a traditional runway. Some look like gliders, while others resemble vintage airplanes. But what defines them as light-sport is their weight and speed, said Gregg Ellsworth, of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association.

Typically, light-sport planes are restricted to 120 knots, or 138 mph, and a maximum take-off weight of 1,320 pounds. If its an amphibian aircraft, the maximum weight can be 1,430 pounds, Ellsworth said.

The changes to the LSA Mall have been openly welcomed by pilots and vendors, Ellsworth said.

Monnett said that while his Wisconsin-based company is no longer is a vendor at the fly-in, he might be willing to reconsider in the future if the popularity continues to grow.

"At this point, we think this is a big step forward," he said. "We may reconsider in time. But in recent years, we've been sitting back trying to see what Sun 'n Fun was going to do with the fly-in. Were they going to focus more on the spectacle, like with the air show, or on the expo part?"

Monnett said he thinks the emphasis has been more on attracting the general public, getting more corporate sponsors and the air show rather than on the business of aviation. But he thinks moves like the new LSA Mall area are steps in the right direction.

Dan Johnson, a light-sport pilot and president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, flew 15 times to Lakeland from his home in Daytona to attend planning sessions for the new LSA area, he said.

One of the biggest improvements to the area is that pilots can fly whenever they want and don't have to wait for the air show to finish. Before, the Federal Aviation Administration wouldn't allow pilots to take off when the air shows were going on each day.

"This brings a whole new life to the area," he said. But when Johnson first saw the proposed plans for the area, he wasn't happy. However, he now says he is pleasantly surprised and hasn't heard any criticism about the changes.

"I think we hit it out of the park," he said.

Phil McCoy, preside of Light Sport America in Bartow, said he isn't so sure the changes have been discovered yet by those attending the fly-in.

"I've been displaying here for the last three years," he said. "They keep moving us further and further away from the flight line. This is remote enough that people haven't discovered we're here yet."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lakeland Sun 'n Fun Fly-in goers watching the weather, memories of 2011 storm never far off


LAKELAND - The memories of the tornadic activity that swept through the Sun 'n Fun air show are never far too off whenever the weather gets a little cloudy.

Pilot Mike Zidziunas still remembers when hail and high winds pelted the Lakeland Regional Airfield and threw planes around like they were toys.

"All of a sudden the sky started turning green and we had a big frame tent that was destroyed and a few dents in the airplanes," he says.

That's why Friday's weather caused just a slight concern.

The skies were grey, and the sun was nowhere to be found as wind gusts occasionally hit up to 15 knots just before noon.

Click here for the Sun 'n Fun Fly-in website, or follow this link:
Even though nothing near tornadic activity was forecasted for Friday afternoon, high winds and cloud levels could ground some of the planes and not allow some people who would fly-in to the show to think twice about their decision.

Some flights have already been canceled.

President of the show John Leenhouts says the show has gone through the extra measure to be storm ready, even implementing extra-warning technology to keep the show running, even if the rain does damper the area.

Right now they're just trying to make the most out of what they currently have.

"Well you know we'd hope for perfect blue skies, but the weatherman doesn't always do that. So we're making lemonade out of our lemons here," Leenhouts said.

And the viability of the show is definitely something that a lot of people are paying attention to; the show brings in an estimated economic impact on Lakeland of about $67 million dollars and it's also expected to bring in about 200,000 visitors throughout it's entire run.

All everyone asks for is just a little sun, but for now, they're making do with what they have.

"It's been pretty iffy. It's been on and off. For a while it clears up and then we get these little bands through here," Zidziunas says.

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Rhode Island National Guard cancels air show

News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England 

The Rhode Island National Guard said Thursday that it has canceled the annual Open House and Air Show scheduled for June 29-30 at the Quonset Air National Guard Base. 
An Air National Guard spokesman said the Blue Angels were the last of its seven military acts to back out of the show.  He said the guard is not allowed to hold an air show without any military acts.

Earlier this week, the Navy demonstration squadron canceled all performances for the year because of the federal budget cuts called sequestration.

The National Guard also said its personnel were prohibited from participating in the combined arms exercise, another popular aspect of the event.

"The Department of Defense and its services are facing difficult fiscal challenges, which requires us to prioritize our training and plans, ensuring we are prepared to perform overseas and domestic missions," said Col. Arthur Floru, 143rd Airlift Wing commander.

Officials said they spent the past few days looking through policies, trying to come up with alternatives. But they could not.

"We understand it's a very important event, not only for the community, but for our members in uniform as well. It's a community outreach for us. Everyone is disappointed. And we're considering the local vendors, the small businesses that depend on the air show. I can tell you we took a close look at everything and we made the best decision that we could," Maj. Christopher Peloso said.

The air show did not charge an admission fee, but donations raised thousands of dollars for Hasbro Children's Hospital.

Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride, the adjutant general, said the National Guard would continue to make plans for the 2014 air show.

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Airport offers music for Masters travelers: Augusta Regional (KAGS), Georgia


Tom Gallagher stepped out of Augusta Regional Airport’s Gate 5 Wednesday, his rolling suitcase behind him, and stopped and stared. 

There among the bustle of travelers were four members of the Thomson High School Jazz Band, belting out tunes on a baritone saxophone, trombones and percussion.

“I thought it was like being on the Titanic,” said Gallagher, who flew from Chicago to attend the Masters Tournament. “It was nice to see.”

For the first time, Augusta Regional has brought in musicians to perform for travelers during Masters Week, the airport’s busiest seven days of the year. A local musical act will perform in the Spring Music Fest each day through Monday.

“We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get local artists the most exposure we could,” said Augusta Regional communications manager Lauren Smith. “This week is very busy. The terminal is full. Almost shoulder to shoulder with people.”

During Masters Week, Smith said, about 20,000 passengers filter though the airport – the same number seen during a typical month.

Augusta Regional began planning the Spring Music Fest earlier this year as an expansion to the mini concert series held around Christmastime.

Thomson High School band director Jessie Morlan said the gig is an opportunity to give exposure to his four young musicians, who were chosen to play at the airport from the school’s 25-member jazz band based on their skill and academics.

His band agreed.

“We’re just in high school, so we’ve really just done band concerts and football games,” said Thomson junior Mitchell Powers, who plays trombone. “This is really exciting.”

The airport’s marketing budget will also pay out $100 an hour for the three-hour slots, which Powers said is another bonus.

When he arrived at the airport Wednesday, Michael Via of Sarasota, Fla., had about a three-hour wait for his 1:40 p.m. flight back home. It was his first trip to Augusta for the Masters Tournament, and he spent Tuesday watching golfers at the practice rounds and taking in the azaleas.

His ears perked when he heard the band start playing.

“It’s pretty neat,” he said. “I had a long wait, but hopefully now it will go quicker.”


Tuesday: Eryn Eubanks and The Family Fold

Wednesday: Thomson High School Jazz Combo

Thursday: Sunwell

Today: Robin Dixon

Saturday: Cloud Formations

Sunday: Ramblin’ Fevers

Monday: Mike Frost Jazz


Ventura County Air Show canceled by US Navy amid budget cuts


POINT MUGU, VENTURA COUNTY (KABC) -- The U.S. Navy's annual Ventura County Air Show has been canceled amid military budget cuts.

The show was set to take off on Sept. 28. The Blue Angels expected to attract over 200,000 people over the two-day event but then the sequestration axe fell.

When the Blue Angels fly at an air show, jaws drop. And when they don't fly at an air show, attendance drops.

So when the U.S. Navy decided to ground the aerial demonstration team, the organizers of the Naval Base Ventura County Air Show decided to pull the plug on this year's event.

"Announcing the cancellation was a little gut-wrenching, done a lot of planning, it's very important to the community but it was the right choice to make," said Kimberly Gearhart, a spokeswoman for the base.

All of the Blue Angel's demonstrations for this year have been cancelled. The Air Force's air demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, have also canceled their entire 2013 season. The cancellations are the result of Congress' automatic budget cuts called sequestration.

The cuts will keep the fliers from taking part in other air shows as well including San Diego's Air Show at Miramar, which is considered to be the biggest in the country.

"This is kind of unprecedented," said Blue Angels pilot and Cmdr. Thomas Frosch, "I know it hasn't happened since Korea but we also sent them over to Korea. This is the first time I think the team has been grounded for this amount of time."

Ventura County Air Show fans won't be the only ones affected by the cancelation. Small business owners throughout the Ventura area say they too will feel the hit.

"When something like that is cancelled, all those people we would have had business and it just could really hurt us," said Alexandra Walters, a Ventura business owner.

Naval base officials say Ventura's last Air Show brought over 100,000 people through the gates. Many attendees ended up spending money in the county at stores, restaurants and hotels. That's money that now may not make it to places like Nature's Grill located in downtown Ventura.

"The more people that are around the more people come in here and the better it is for us," said Kelsey Meritt of Nature's Grill. "Anytime that there's an event that goes wrong, we get less customers so it makes a difference."

But even if Congress is able to solve its budget impasse, don't expect the Blue Angels to rocket back into Point Mugu anytime soon. Gearhart says now that the show's been canceled, there's really no way to get the high-performance fliers back this fall.

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Pilots Work to Save Big Country AirFest after Dyess Backs Out: Abilene Regional Airport, Texas (With Video)

You can see them flying high, every May, during Abilene's annual Big Country Airfest, except this year, as Gary Potter admits:

"The air shows not going to be the same."

The sky will be a bit emptier after budget cuts forced the Air Force to cancel their public airshow.

However, that doesn't mean the Airfest has been entirely cancelled.

"It'll be a smaller, more intimate get together," said the President of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Abilene Chapter 471.

At least that's if Potter and other members have anything to do with it.

"We're going to try to do something for the local aviation community," said Potter.

While Air Force participation did have a big influence on the shows turnout, which brought in hundreds of participants, for Potter, the show must go on.

Except without much public participation, since only pilots will be allowed in.

"The experimental aircraft association does not want to hold themselves liable for any injuries that could occur to the general public," he said.

Spectators may have to just stand outside of the airport to catch a glimpse.

"They could come out and park alongside the roads and see airplanes flying," said Potter.

Members searching for other pilots to participate in their own event which will include an airplane rally and fly in.

So far people from all over are signing up.

"I believe we're expecting people to come from Oklahoma and New Mexico," said Potter.

They just aren't sure of how many  will show up.

"We have no idea, whether it will be 10 airplanes that fly in or 1000 airplanes fly in," he said.

One thing is for sure, come May 3rd you'll be able to spot Potter's plane up in the sky and he'll be there with a few others to participate in the annual breakfast his chapter sponsors.

"We don't know if were going to run out of eggs and bacon or not, we're just going to hope," he said.

Because there's no grounding their plans to keep the Airfest going.

The fly in is scheduled for May 3rd at the Abilene Regional Airport.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Marshals Looking for Missing Inmate Who Crashed Plane Near Wheeling in 2004

 Eugene Nicholas Cobbs 

Cocaine dealer behind largest-ever West Virginia bust escapes from prison camp 

 A drug dealer who disappeared in 2004 after crashing his cocaine-filled plane in Wheeling, W.Va., leading to an international federal manhunt, is again on the loose after he walked away from the federal prison camp in Morgantown on Wednesday.

Federal marshals are hunting for Eugene Nicholas Cobbs, 42.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said he was missing during a 4 p.m. headcount at the minimum-security facility on Wednesday, although the Marshals Service was not notified that he was gone until seven hours later.

Mr. Cobbs was last seen at the prison facility at noon Wednesday.

Alex Neville, supervisor for the Marshals Service in Clarksburg, W.Va., said authorities believe Mr. Cobbs had help in escaping and is no longer in the area.

Mr. Cobbs, sentenced to seven years in federal prison for dealing coke, was transferred to the prison camp in February from a federal penitentiary in New Jersey.

It wasn't immediately clear why he was moved, although federal inmates are often transferred to lower-security facilities for good behavior.

Mr. Neville said he could not comment on why a man who had previously been the subject of a manhunt was allowed to be housed in a prison camp, which has no perimeter security beyond a three-foot fence.

Mr. Cobbs crashed his Piper Aerostar on Dec. 18, 2004, at Wheeling-Ohio County airport, leaving behind 525 pounds of cocaine worth $24 million, the largest haul of coke ever recovered in West Virginia.

He was on the run for four years until the Marshals Service captured him in Mexico in 2008.

Mr. Cobbs, who is originally from Philadelphia and uses several aliases, also triggered a state grand jury investigation of the Pennsylvania driver's license system because he was using a fake state ID.

That case resulted in charges against more than 45 people accused of using stolen or fake identities to get driver's licenses.

In Mr. Cobbs' case, the state grand jury said he used a counterfeit Arkansas birth certificate and Social Security card, along with a fraudulent letter from the Social Security Administration, to acquire a license in the name of Marquis Munroe, who turned out to be a 13-year-old in Philadelphia.

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NTSB Identification: IAD05CA025. 
 The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, December 18, 2004 in Wheeling, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2006
Aircraft: Smith, Ted Aerostar 601P, registration: N60CF
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 pilot attempted a night landing on a taxiway in front of the control tower, which was closed at the time. The airplane overran the end of the taxiway, rolled down an embankment and struck trees. The pilot, whose identity was not confirmed, was believed to have incurred minor injuries. He subsequently paid a passerby to take him to a local hotel, and after a night's rest, he left the area. Ownership of the airplane could not be determined due to a recent sale. Approximately 250 kilos of cocaine were found onboard the airplane. Further investigation was being conducted by federal authorities and local law enforcement.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot misjudged his distance/speed, and his intentional landing on an unsuitable taxiway at night. A factor in the accident was the night light conditions.

Ocean City air show to go on without Blue Angels, Thunderbirds

The Navy's famed Blue Angels aerial demonstration squad has canceled the rest of its 2013 performances, including dates this summer in Ocean City, in San Diego, Navy officials announced earlier this week.

"This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them," the Navy said in an official statement.

The move was caused by the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, officials said. In March, the Air Force announced it would ground its Thunderbirds jet demonstration team beginning April 1.

That means this year's OC Air Show, scheduled for June 8-9, will not have any military jets soaring above the Atlantic off the coast of Ocean City, but the show will go on.

OC Air Show organizers said the moves were disappointing but ultimately would not hurt the show in terms of entertainment value or attendance.

"We’ll have an all-star, almost all-civilian lineup of aircraft. We’ll put together and bring in the best civilian acts in the country," said Bryan Lilley, president of the OC Air Show, adding that organizers created a similar show two years ago, when they did not fly any jets.

"In 2011, we didn’t have a jet team and it was our second-best year," Lilley said.

However, Lilley said that the military groundings have hurt the industry overall with many air shows facing cancellation. But for Ocean City, even that may offer a silver lining.

"There’s no air show left [in the region], so you have to go to Ocean City," Lilley explained. "Andrews is gone, Dover is gone, the Blues aren’t flying in Annapolis. So there aren’t any air shows left except for Ocean City."

In addition to the OC Air Show, Lilley's company also produces the Lauderdale Air Show later this month in South Florida. He said that show has been successful using only civilian aircraft for the past three years and that he would seek a similar lineup for Ocean City.

Still, Lilley said he understands that some OC Air Show fans may be disappointed,

"There’s that patriotic salute to the military and they want to show their support," he said. "It’s disappointing, but we’re going to do the best show possible."

Lilley also notes that because of its location, Ocean City still offers the best draw.

"When you look at a waterfront airshow, it’s like launching fireworks over the ocean, it makes one of the best reasons to go to the beach for a weekend."


2014 air show at Pease in doubt due to budget cuts

PORTSMOUTH — The 2014 Service Credit Union Boston-Portsmouth Air Show at Pease could be in jeopardy in light of recent military cuts due to sequestration, organizers said this week.

The original plan, proposed by the Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Brain Injury Foundation of New Hampshire, called for the air show to take place at Pease International Tradeport in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Whether the 2014 show will take place is now up in the air, however, after U.S. military officials announced all remaining air shows in 2013 involving military demonstration teams have been canceled. This includes the Navy’s Blue Angels, the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights.

Michael Kaufman, executive director and chief executive officer of the Daniel Webster Council, said Thursday that the cancellation of the 33 remaining air shows in 2013 are a prime example of the effects of the federal across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester.

Kaufman said while it is not yet known what will happen next year, he plans to have in-depth discussions with stakeholders involved in the local air show.

“It was fortuitous that we decided not to have a show this year,” Kaufman said. Had the show been planned for this year, Kaufman said organizers would already have been well under way in the planning effort by now.

In addition, the impact sequestration will have on the N.H. Air National Guard could also play a role in the planning effort, he said.

In June 2012, approximately 65,000 people filled the tarmac at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease for a two-day event featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, as well as other notable acts and performers. The air show earned $140,292 for both the Daniel Webster Council and the Brain Injury Foundation. It also generated $14,000 for Portsmouth High School and money for several other Seacoast charities.

The 2011 air show featured the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and drew nearly 50,000 people to Pease, and the 2010 show featured the Blue Angels drew more than 70,000 spectators. The 2010 event was the first air show at Pease in about 20 years.

Airport manager Bill Hopper said he is optimistic that the 2014 air show will go on as planned.

“2014 is a long ways away,” he said. “I’m hoping they’ll have this all taken care of by then.”


Shaw community remembers Capt. Steel

Photo Provided
U.S. Air Force Capt. James Steel, 77th Fighter Squadron pilot, stands in front of a F-16 Fighting Falcon in Afghanistan after a combat mission. Capt. Steel was killed April 3, 2013, after his aircraft crashed returning to base from a close air support mission.

BY CAPT. ANN BLODZINSKI 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It was what they wore underneath their uniforms this week that told a story of commitment, friendship and respect.

Col. Shaun McGrath, 20th Operations Group commander, on Monday allowed members of the operations group to wear 77th Fighter Squadron "Gamblers" red and black T-shirts under their duty uniforms to honor pilot Capt. James Steel, who died April 3 when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed in Afghanistan. He is the first aviator lost in combat from the 20th Fighter Wing since 1945 during World War II in England.

The 77th, known as the Gamblers, has been deployed since the fall of 2012. In total, Steel flew 85 combat missions, and his efforts in combat saved American and coalition service members' lives, according to Lt. Col. Johnny Vargas, 77th Fighter Squadron commander.

"He flew with great passion and as sad as his loss is, know that Mano (Steel's call sign) died doing what he loved to do. He died serving his country, protecting his fellow service members and accomplishing our nation's objectives. He died a fighter pilot. A hero."

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Vulnerabilities in aircraft systems allow remote airplane hijacking, researcher says

IDG News Service - The lack of security in communication technologies used in the aviation industry makes it possible to remotely exploit vulnerabilities in critical on-board systems and attack aircraft in flight, according to research presented Wednesday at the Hack in the Box security conference in Amsterdam.

The presentation, by Hugo Teso, a security consultant at consultancy firm N.runs in Germany, who has also had a commercial pilot license for the past 12 years, was the result of the researcher's three-yearlong research into the security of avionics.

Teso showed how the absence of security features in ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast), a technology used for aircraft tracking, and ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System), a datalink system used to transmit messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite, can be abused to exploit vulnerabilities in flight management systems.

He did not experiment on real airplanes, which would be both dangerous and illegal, according to his own account. Instead Teso acquired aircraft hardware and software from different places, including from vendors offering simulation tools that use actual aircraft code and from eBay, where he found a flight management system (FMS) manufactured by Honeywell and a Teledyne ACARS aircraft management unit.

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Propellers stolen from Portland-Troutdale Airport (KTTD), Oregon


TROUTDALE, Ore. – Two airplane propellers were stolen from the Troutdale airport Tuesday and a Good Samaritan helped police quickly track it down. 

 The Good Samaritan saw a propeller in the back of a truck and thought it seemed odd. So he called 911, not even knowing about the theft several miles away.

Investigators pulled over that truck a short time later and found two propellers inside. Their owner was called to the scene to identify them, and police returned the propellers to him.

Three suspects, 31-year-old Donald Paul Olson (L), 44-year-old Michael John Anderson (C) and 30-year-old Stefanie Nicole Anderson (R), were jailed on theft charges.

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Three people ended up behind bars accused of stealing airplane propellers on Tuesday. 

Portland police said it started at around 7:15 a.m. when they got a call near the Space Age Fuel at Southeast Foster and Jenne Road.

The caller reported seeing some people loading a propeller into a pickup truck and said it seemed strange.

Portland officers then learned that Troutdale police had just taken a report of a stolen propeller taken from the Holiday Inn Express in Troutdale.

Portland officers said they found a truck at Southeast Foster and Jenne.

They took three people into custody and recovered two airplane propellers.

Portland officers said they were able to return the propellers to their owner.

Officers identified the  three people arrested as Donald Olson, 31, Michael Anderson, 44, and Stefanie Anderson, 30.

All three were expected in court to face theft-related charges on Wednesday.

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Hearing told of 'culture' of ignoring orders: Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3806 - Accident occurred April 25, 2010 - Pukerua Bay, north of Wellington - New Zealand

LATEST: A retired squadron leader giving evidence at a hearing of an officer charged over the fatal Anzac Day Iroquois crash that killed three men says there was a 'culture' of ignoring some flight orders.
A summary proceedings hearing for Flight Lieutenant Daniel John Pezaro, 30, is being held at the Ohakea Air Force Base today in front of disciplinary officer Wing Commander Shaun Sexton.

Pezaro is charged with negligently failing to perform a duty, after failing to abort the mission of the formation when weather conditions deteriorated so much that visibility was lost.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Flight Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, 33, Flying Officer Dan Gregory, 28, and Corporal Ben Carson, 25, were killed when their 3 Squadron Iroquois helicopter crashed in thick cloud at Pukerua Bay, north of Wellington, about 6am on April 25, 2010.

A fourth crew member, Sergeant Stevin Creeggan, survived with serious injuries.

Pezaro was the formation leader of the three Iroquois flying to Wellington from Ohakea for a ceremonial fly-past.


In cross examination this afternoon, Retired Squadron Leader Rob Stockley admitted there was a "culture" of ignoring Minimum Separation Distance (MSD) orders that was supported by unit commanders.

When cross examined by Defence Squadron Leader Ron Thacker, he said there were contradictory orders in place that suggested MSD levels were absolute, and another order which allowed for weather variances.

Earlier today, in an edited version of an interview with Pezaro, he admitted his focus was on the flyover itself, and less on the transit from Ohakea to Wellington.

The hearing heard a recording of a phone call where he admitted that poor weather conditions had forced him to fly between 200-250ft lower than the recommended Minimum Separation Distance (MSD) of 600ft, before the crash happened.

Stockley gave evidence this morning that Pezaro had contacted him the day before the flight and told him that bad weather was forecast.

Stockley assured Pezaro that if he decided to abort the flyover, Stockley would back him up and no pressure was placed on him to carry through.

When asked if he would have thought Pezaro should have aborted the flight altogether Stockley said the expectation was pilots would "have a look" and they could have set down in Paraparaumu if they needed to.

If they were unlikely to be able to make their first task - a flyover of the cenotaph in Wellington at 6.15am - there were still three further flyovers they potentially could have made later in the morning, he said.

Before the crash, Stockley said it was accepted practice that bad weather was considered an appropriate reason to break MSD, provided there was an escape route or clear route to turn back.

After the crash, Stockley's views were radically changed, and he now believed that they should only be broken if the pilot had no other option, or were forced.

Choosing to break MSD was not forced, he said.

Seven witnesses were expected to be called by prosecution, and it was hoped they will be finished giving evidence by the end of the day.


Two witnesses have been called by prosecutor squadron leader Anthony Budd, and an edited video interview featuring Pezaro has been shown.

In the video Pezaro said there were three sets of orders given. He described them as ''a shambles''.

Evidence also heard at the hearing mentioned that the temporary orders given were not written in mandatory language.

In an edited version of an interview with Pezaro, he admitted his focus was on the flyover itself, and less on the transit from Ohakea to Wellington.

The offence Pezaro is facing has a maximum sentence of two years' jail under the Armed Forces Discipline Act.

A court of inquiry report into the crash was published in December 2011, and found the flight should have been aborted when the squadron met cloud below 600 feet near Paraparaumu.

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Boeing issues formal layoff warning to 939 machinists working in Everett, Washington

The Boeing Co. issued formal layoff warning notices Wednesday to 939 machinists working on its 787 and 747 assembly lines and modification centers at Everett.

That notice tells them they could be laid off by June 7.

The company two weeks ago told union representatives of the impending cutbacks. Those cutbacks are happening because the assembly process on the two new planes is stabilizing and because modification work necessary to bring some of the early production versions of those two new planes up to certification standards is declining.

“This is the same layoff that was publicized earlier,” said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder. “The number is up from 800 to 939 because the law requires us to notify anyone who might be considered for layoff,” he said.

The company expects the final number laid off will likely be about 800. Other workers losing their present jobs, he said, may transfer to other jobs within the company.

Boeing has said it expects its Puget Sound workforce will decline by 2,000 to 2,300 workers this year. The company employs 86,000 workers in the Puget Sound area.

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Boeing to withdraw permits for planned Everett office building

Boeing is planning to withdraw a permit application to build a 650,000-square-foot office building in a forested area a half mile northwest of its current Everett headquarters building, city officials say.

“The most recent word is they’re going to withdraw the application; we haven’t seen anything formal as of yet,” said Gerry Ervine, Everett land use manager. “We were going through the environmental review process.”

Dubbed the North Office Tower, the building would have replaced several smaller buildings immediately north of the large Everett aircraft assembly building, Ervine said, based on what Boeing officials told him. The flat-topped structures date from when the plant was originally opened in the late ‘60s, said Ervine.

“I think the intention was to provide the same square footage, in one building in one location," Ervine said.

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At Sun 'n Fun, rides in vintage Vietnam-era helicopters: Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (KLAL), Florida

LAKELAND (FOX 13) -  You can take a step back in history at Sun 'n Fun, now going on at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. It's one you may not be able to take for much longer.

Retired Vietnam pilots are giving rides in helicopters that actually flew during the war.

The pilots are members of the Heritage Army Heritage Aviation Foundation. They travel around the country to air shows to exhibit the vintage Vietnam choppers, and educate people about the war. But perhaps the most thrilling thing they offer is for members of the general public to actually fly with them.

"We're all getting old, so we're not going to do this much longer, you know," Retire pilot Rusty Pickus told FOX 13 on Wednesday.

A ride costs $60 for eight minutes. They will be available Thursday and Friday. Sun 'n Fun runs until Sunday.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

McGhee Tyson (KTYS), Knoxville, Tennessee: Weather team could be cut at airport

Weather observers at McGhee Tyson Airport said they are concerned about safety for pilots and passengers after their contracts through the Federal Aviation Administration were only extended through the end of May.

Budget cuts from sequestration are prompting the FAA to reduce spending. While the FAA said the contract weather observers, or CWO, are budgeted through the fiscal year, which ends September 30th, local observers said they were told the contracts are only good through the next 60 days.

"This impacts everyone that flies. I think they're doing away with safety," said Gary White, who works part-time as a weather observer at McGhee Tyson Airport. "Our job is extremely important because we are one of the main components of air traffic safety."

White said contract weather observers are trained by the National Weather Service. McGhee Tyson observers are contracted through Vero Tech, which sent White a notification that the contract was only extended through May 31st. White said their badges also expire on that date.

"The FAA is being very tight lipped on this," said White. "Our contract has been extended a couple of months. Whether they extend it again, it just depends on how quickly they can get the air traffic controllers trained on the new system they're working on, which is actually going to be a much limited data gathering system compared to what we currently use."

White said the system will not be able to track snowfall totals, detect ice pellets and freezing drizzle, report visibility under a quarter-mile, or get detailed information on thunderstorms.

"I highly respect the work that air traffic controllers do. They have a profession that is extremely time-sensitive and it also requires quite a bit of subject matter expertise. But whenever you have inclement weather that comes in, they have to be at the top of their professional game to get aircraft vectored correctly and taken care of quickly," said White.

Joe Davis, another weather observer, said he sent politicians letters outlining his concerns.

"Across the nation, CWO offices team with similar professional staff. The loss of the experience of this office and those like it across the nation, in my opinion, is negligent at best and bordering on criminal," said Davis.

Davis said McGhee Tyson and other airports will be using air traffic control (ATC) personnel in a Limited Aviation Weather Reporting Station (LAWRS) capacity.

"This is an extremely dangerous undertaking the FAA is instigating. The replacement of experienced, dedicated, veteran weather personnel with novice, inexperienced tower staff who will handle weather duties, limited as collateral duties, ifs foolhardy," said Davis. "This broad sweeping regression of service will endanger the lives of the traveling public."

The FAA would not confirm the weather office is closing.

"The weather observer contract is funded for this fiscal year, which ends September 30," said Kathleen Bergen, with FAA Communications.

According to the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), it got word of the closing dates for weather offices at over 100 airports across the country. The list showed McGhee Tyson would have to transition from contract weather observers "no later than June 30th."

"It's not a matter of if they are, it's a matter of when they're going to do it," said White. "Being someone who's been in aviation weather for 23 years, I've seen quite a bit of activity. But I've never seen a decision such as this, a decision that has potentially great ramifications than any other budget cut out there."

"A lapse of seconds is enough for mistakes to occur," said Davis. "At Lexington, Kentucky, in 2006, Comair Flight 5191 crashed killing 47 passengers and two crew members. The air traffic controller gave the correct runway assignment and stepped away to complete other administrative tasks assigned by FAA protocol. The plane crashed taking off from the wrong runway."

"We must be able to provide them that information, especially during inclement weather, as quickly as possible, as accurately as possible. We all have to be at the top of our game during inclement weather," said White. "So if an air traffic controller will be doing both jobs at once, you cannot do both jobs perfectly."

According to the list from PATCO, Tri-Cities Regional Tn/VA is required to make the transition no later than June 15th, and Memphis International by July 31st. 


Colorado: Slurry Bombers

 Published on April 9, 2013

Delta County (KESC), Escanaba, Michigan: Airport Manager Connie Ness announces plans to retire


ESCANABA - Following a career at the Delta County Airport that "took off" 17 years ago, Airport Manager Connie Ness has announced her plans to retire. 

The Delta County Board of Commissioners recently received a letter from Ness, who expressed her desire to retire effective June 1.

The board voted Tuesday night during its regular county board meeting to approve a personnel committee recommendation to post the open airport manager position. The job will be posted through Michigan Works! and the Michigan Association of Airport Executives. The board will meet as a committee of the whole to interview applicants for the open position on April 29.

Ness, who is a certified instructor for both aircraft and float aircraft, has worked at the airport for approximately 17 years. Half of this time she served as the assistant airport manager before taking over as airport manager for the remaining half.

In her job as airport manager, Ness has been responsible for maintaining the airport and ensuring its safety while also representing the county to the Federal Aviation Administration and the state.

"Some of the things I'm most pleased with now are our relationship with the airline with our commercial service," said Ness. "They're doing really well right now so I hope we can keep that up. We've also been able to do a number of projects to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure."

So what's next for Ness?

"I'm looking forward to doing other things," she said. "There's lots of things to do."

However, Ness said she will miss the people she has worked with day in and day out.

"I will miss the camaraderie out here of the staff and the pilot and aviation community," she said.

Many who have worked with Ness over the years have had plenty of positive things to say about her and her advocacy for the airport.

"She's always been an advocate for the airport and worked to make things better - to Improve services, improve the atmosphere and comfort of the passengers, private pilots and employees," said Delta County Administrator Nora Viau.

Kelly Smith, assistant manager of the Delta County Airport, has worked with Ness since 2004 and said Ness' knowledge and passion for aviation will be missed.

"She's very passionate about this airport and making sure the community, locally in Escanaba and the whole surrounding area, know how much of an economic impact having a local commercial airport has," said Smith. "It's an investment in the community."

Tom Elegeert, chairman of the county board of commissioners, also praised Ness' job performance.

"She's done an outstanding job," he said. "Over the years she's brought the airport to a very high level and she's done a very super job. She's a really good team player."

Vicki Schwab, director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance and a member of the Delta County Airport Advisory Board, has worked with Ness over the past couple years and commended her work.

"Connie did a great job managing our wonderful airport asset," said Schwab. "Connie was very committed to promoting and attracting business to the Renaissance Zone and the development of the Delta Green Aviation and Marine Integrator Cluster. It was a professional pleasure to work with her."

Former county commissioner Darrel Bengry also formerly served on the airport advisory board and worked with Ness for many years.

"She's a great asset. She's a very responsible person and I wish her well," he said. "She's what has made the airport successful, really."


Savannah/Hilton Head International (KSAV), Savannah, Georgia: Graham to retire as airport director

The Savannah Airport Commission today announced that Patrick S. Graham, longtime executive director of the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport will retire, effective June 30. Airport assistant executive director Gregory B. Kelly will become the acting executive director on July 1.

Graham began working with the Savannah Airport Commission in 1985 and has served as executive director since January 1, 1991. Before that, he was director of administration and finance, as well as assistant executive director.

In his 28 years with the airport, Graham has been responsible for many major capital projects, the largest of which was the design and construction of the new $68 million airport terminal in the northwest quadrant of the airport from 1992 to1994.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Savannah Morning News and on

Canso restoration group negotiates east coast engine swap

The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society members, left to right, Don Wieben, John Campbell, Jim Allan and Doug Roy with one of the engines they will be taking to Newfoundland.

The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) has gotten the green light on a pair of low-hour engines for the CANSO project. 

The towns of Stephenville and St. Anthony in Newfoundland have a Canso aircraft on display with a pair of good engines but as the aircraft there is for display purposes only, they are willing to trade them for a pair on non-running examples.

The FARS group has found a pair of engines, one with just a few hours life left in it, the other with internal damage and will be transporting them to Newfoundland to install on the Canso there after removing the good engines from it.

Canso CFIZU in St. Anthony was on reserve as a waterbomber for the Newfoundland government until about three years ago when it was given to Stephenville for display purposes. Stephenville agreed to let It pass on to St. Anthony as that town had an extensive history with the Canso aircraft – a mission operating out of St. Anthony had used a Canso for emergency flights up and down the coast and a local pilot had died while flying one of them.

Roger Penney, a pilot with 30 odd years flying the Canso on waterbomber duty flew IZU to St. Anthony.

Before the engine exchange could happen, the town councils of both Stephenville and St. Anthony had to agree to it and Don Wieben of FARS said the two councils are thrilled the engines will be flying once again. They attached only two conditions to the exchange, one being if the engines and propellers were sold instead of being used the money from the sale would revert to the towns of Stephenville and St. Anthony. The second is that once the aircraft is flying the Canso group make Stephenville and St. Anthony a part of the airplane’s itinerary so the citizens of Newfoundland can see what they contributed to.

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The Patriots are not the Blue Angels, get over it

BY Chris Sullivan on April 10, 2013 @ 5:51 am (Updated: 7:24 am - 4/10/13) 

The Andrew Walsh Show 

Now that the sadness over the Blue Angels canceling their trip to Seafair is wearing off, it's time to start thinking about who is coming to fly over Lake Washington. 

 What is the Patriots Jet Team, and what does it do?

The Patriots are an all-volunteer jet stunt team. Their pilots do this in their spare time, for fun, but they are former military guys, some who have flown with the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds and the Snowbirds.

Their L-39's are made in the Czech Republic. They are slower and smaller than the F/A 18 Super Hornets used by the Blues, with a top speed of about 450 miles an hour. "They're a single-engine jet trainer," lead pilot Dean Wright told KIRO Radio's Andrew Walsh. "They don't have all the avionics and weaponry that you're going to find on an airplane like the F/A-18 with the Blue Angels."

The jets don't have an after-burner, which means they certainly don't make as much noise, but Wright said they're still pretty loud.

The Patriots flew over Seafair in 2007 and 2008 as the appetizer for the Blues. This year, they are the main course, and Wright knows that is a disappointment for many. "It sucks that this has happened," he said. "It really does. The same thing has happened down here in the Bay Area with our own Fleet Week, but you know get out and enjoy the day, and we are going to do our best to entertain you and I guarantee you if you do come out you'll go home satisfied. Don't come expecting the Blue Angels or for us to try and mimic the Blue Angels because that's not what we do."

So what do the Patriots do?

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Yukon Mountie charged with dangerous flying after plane clips vehicle

WHITEHORSE — A Whitehorse Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable has been charged with dangerous flying.

RCMP say the charges were laid after a low-flying aircraft struck an unoccupied vehicle near Fish Lake in Whitehorse on January 11.

No one was hurt in the incident.

The officer, who was off-duty at the time, has been charged with three counts of the dangerous operation of an aircraft, but his name has not yet been released and he is scheduled to appear in court May 8.

In addition to the criminal charges, the officer is facing an internal RCMP investigation and has been assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of that probe.

Police aren’t saying what type of aircraft was involved, the type of vehicle that was struck, or if the incident happened during takeoff or landing.

The RCMP say the criminal investigation involving the officer was reviewed by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team and was found to be impartial and comprehensive.

Barry Holt of the Transportation Safety Board said the matter does not fall within the board’s mandate so it did not get involved.


Continental Airlines flight 1404, Boeing 737-500, N18611: Accident occurred December 20, 2008 in Denver, Colorado


DENVER - The federal government paid $10.2 million to settle lawsuits from passengers and crew on a plane pushed off a Denver runway by a wind gust. 

In December 2008, Continental Flight 1404 slid off a wind-blown runway during a night takeoff and down a ravine, where it caught fire. All 110 passengers and five crew members managed to escape. Six people were seriously injured and dozens of others were treated for minor injuries.

The jetliner crash was blamed on pilot error and a strong crosswind. A 2010 National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot failed to make the proper rudder adjustments to keep the plane on the runway while dealing with the crosswinds.

The lawsuits alleged that air traffic controllers didn't tell the Continental Airlines pilot about wind gusts when giving him wind speeds before takeoff. The NTSB report also cited air traffic controllers' failure to provide "key, available" information about the wind as a contributing factor.

A lawyer for some of the around 60 people who sued revealed last month that settlements had been reached and they totaled "several million dollars." The Department of Justice released the settlement amount in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request received by The Associated Press Wednesday.

Investigators said the air traffic control system and inadequate crosswind training in the airline industry contributed to the crash.

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 NTSB Identification: DCA09MA021
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of CONTINENTAL AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Saturday, December 20, 2008 in Denver, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/17/2010
Aircraft: BOEING 737-524, registration: N18611
Injuries: 6 Serious,41 Minor,68 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-10/04.
On December 20, 2008, about 1818 mountain standard time, Continental Airlines flight 1404, a Boeing 737-500, N18611, departed the left side of runway 34R during takeoff from Denver International Airport (DEN), Denver, Colorado. A postcrash fire ensued. The captain and 5 of the 110 passengers were seriously injured; the first officer, 2 cabin crewmembers, and 38 passengers received minor injuries; and 1 cabin crewmember and 67 passengers (3 of whom were lap-held children) were uninjured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The scheduled, domestic passenger flight, operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, was departing DEN and was destined for George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas. At the time of the accident, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, with strong and gusty winds out of the west. The flight operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The captain’s cessation of right rudder input, which was needed to maintain directional control of the airplane, about 4 seconds before the excursion, when the airplane encountered a strong and gusty crosswind that exceeded the captain’s training and experience. Contributing to the accident were the following factors: 1) an air traffic control system that did not require or facilitate the dissemination of key, available wind information to the air traffic controllers and pilots; and 2) inadequate crosswind training in the airline industry due to deficient simulator wind gust modeling.

Last of the Helldivers: Aircraft a Popular Attraction in the Warbird Area of Expo

Ted Short , crew chief of the Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver, the only remaining aircraft of its kind still flying, poses with the aircraft at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland on Tuesday.

LAKELAND | There were 7,200 Curtiss-Wright SB2C Helldivers built in the 1940s, but only one is still in the air. It's at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In this week.

The fact that this Helldiver is still flying is incredible considering she crashed 31 years ago and broke into three little Helldivers.

"This is an amazing airplane," said Ted Short, 82, from Fort Worth, Texas, crew chief for the plane.

It's still humming along just fine, with a maximum speed of 270 mph, the World War II aircraft is a popular attraction in the Warbird area at Sun 'n Fun.

The two-seat dive bomber, built in 1945, has a chair for a pilot and one for a rear gunner. It was a monster in many ways. It delivered bombs and depth charges and could strafe with rockets, a cannon or machine gun fire.

With the nickname "The Beast," it's still a monster, but now it's a fuel monster, Short said. "It sucks gas like you wouldn't believe."

There are a handful of other Helldivers in the world, but right none of them are in the air, Short said. He said some are in museums, and one is being restored in California.

This particular aircraft was assigned to the Navy from July 1945 through August 1948, primarily in California. Her final service assignment was in Corpus Christi, Texas, after which she went to an aeronautical school and a museum.

A Commemorative Air Force member bought it in 1972.

In 1982, the airplane appeared to meet its doom. It crashed in an emergency landing in South Texas, Short said, breaking into three pieces. The pilot luckily stayed in one piece.

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Hartzell Propeller Debuts New Website at Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo

LAKELAND, Fla., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Hartzell Propeller today announced the debut of their new website, at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida. The new Hartzell Propeller website is the culmination of nine months of market research and strategy aimed to provide each of the diverse Hartzell audiences quick, easy access to information they need.

Joe Brown, President of Hartzell Propeller, welcomes the change, saying, "There is no such thing as a typical Hartzell customer. We serve everyone from pilots to mechanics to kit builders. So we felt that this new website had to have something for everyone. It had to be easy to navigate for each one of our customer groups."

Aside from the easier navigation, the new features one-click access to the Hartzell Service Center located at the company's headquarters in Piqua, Ohio. It also features an enhanced Top Prop section and a substantial online reference library with access to hundreds of categorized documents, forms, and manuals.

For the aviation enthusiast, new features include "Arrivals and Departures," a blog specifically geared to the aviation community, a collection of Hartzell Propeller videos, and an illustrated company history timeline that dates back to the company's origins tied to Orville Wright in 1917.

According to Brown, "We love aviation and the community that surrounds it. We want this website to be welcoming to everyone in that community."

Hartzell Propeller is widely recognized as the leader in advanced propeller design and manufacturing technology. The company has developed the next generation of propellers based upon innovative "blended airfoil" technology and is manufacturing these blades using a combination of revolutionary machining centers and robotics; and with its new ASC-II(TM) composite technology, to provide mission-optimized performance for its customers. Hartzell Propeller was founded on the principle of "Built on Honor" - a tradition that continues today.

SOURCE Hartzell Propeller

Cessna 172 Cutlass RG, N9343D: Essex County Airport (KCDW), Caldwell, New Jersey

Courtesy of the Fairfield Police Department
No one was injured when this Cessna 172 Cutlass RG  front landing gear malfunctioned today, necessitating a scary but safe landing at the Essex County Airport.

FAIRFIELD TWP. _  No  injuries were reported when a single engine plane was forced to land without its front landing gear engaged at Essex County Airport shortly after noon today.

Police received a 9-1-1 call from airport officials at 12:21 P.M. reporting a plane would be attempting to land without its front landing gear engaged.

The plane, a 1982 fixed wing, single engine Cessna owned by CF Images LLC of 19 Wright Way, Fairfield,  apparently had some malfunction in engaging its landing gear while in flight, police said.

Frederick Hartman Jr. of Century Air, which is located at the airport, was at the plane’s controls at the time of the incident. He was engaged in training a second individual, identified as Alberto Corvo, to become a flight instructor.

The plane landed at 12:49 P.M. without the front landing gear and without incident. No one was injured.

The Fairfield Fire Department, Atlantic Ambulance and Paramedics and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the emergency. The investigation of the incident was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport has resumed normal operations.

This is the second incident at the Essex County Airport this year involving a plane that had a landing gear malfunction during landing. On February 7th a 1964 Piper PA-30, fixed wing, multi-engine airplane lost the use of all of its landing gear and the plane ended up sliding down the runway. No one was injured.

Nice Cessna 172 Cutlass RG (N9343D) sits at Essex County Airport (CDW):

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Air rage Briton pictured with black eye after offering to fight everyone on board holiday jet

A holiday jet made an emergency landing after a boozed-up Brit offered to fight everyone on board.   Money broker Sean Kelly was last night being held in a Florida jail over his outburst.  The 31-year-old allegedly spat at cabin crew on the British Airways flight from Mexico after downing half a bottle of vodka.

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A British holidaymaker was in a Florida prison cell Tuesday facing up to 20 years in jail after allegedly spitting on crew members and threatening fights with other passengers on a flight back to London.

Sean Jude Kelly, 31, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence after the captain of the British Airways flight from Cancún to Gatwick made an emergency landing in Orlando on Sunday night.

Kelly, of Chingford, Essex, drank half a bottle of vodka and became disruptive shortly after takeoff, then fought with police officers and threatened to kill one of them as they removed him from the aircraft when it was on the ground, according to his arrest report.

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Privatizing the Blue Angels suggested


PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Tuesday, April 9, the Navy announced that the entire 2013 Blue Angels air show season had been canceled due to federal military budget cuts. The same day, the unit's commanding officer spoke to the media aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola. 

"We understand it's an important balance, so we don't want to jeopardize any of the resources our deploying forces have," said Commander Tom Frosch. "I've been over there, and you don't want to find out you don't have the equipment you had because of an air show so to speak.  But it's a balance; and we just have to trust our leadership will figure out that balance."

Santa Rosa Island Authority Director Buck Lee said the cuts will kill business on Pensacola Beach.

"If they would just send one less jet airplane to some third world country, we could pay for the air shows around the United States," Lee said.

Lee has his own idea: privatize the beach show and fund it with contributions from local businesses and corporate sponsors.

He said the problem is the price tag.

"I checked to see what it would take," Lee said.  "It would take 15 practices, and then three days of an air show, and you're looking at about $1.2 million to put it on. I could probably go out and find some major sponsors and bring in $200,000, it's the other $1 million that's the trick."

FOX10 News brought Lee's idea to 'Boss' Frosch.

"I know that has been discussed, but unfortunately that's out of my lane," Frosch said.  "It would require a lot more than just one air show. We'd have to maintain proficiency all the way up until that air show. So even if that were the case, we wouldn't have enough proficiency to do something like that.  We can't just turn the air shows on or off; it's something that we need to maintain throughout the year,

The Blues will continue to fly from NAS-P, but not near enough to get ready for shows.

"It's considerably different," Frosch said.  "We're talking 11 hours a month maximum, and it requires a lot more. We normally fly 30 to 40. So to put on a safe demonstration, you need a lot more than 11 hours."

Those 11 hours are all the Blues will get each month.  You can catch them flying around in pairs, just don't expect the normal aerial acrobatics.

The shows may be canceled for 2013, but the commander did leave us with some optimistic words for the future.

"Our hope is that we will get turned on for the 2014 season, and get back up to speed and have a great season next year," Frosch said.

Lee said according to a study done last year by the University of West Florida, the economic impact of the Pensacola Beach show exceeds $2 million for the area.

The Blues said they'll still maintain their high level of community outreach, and will sign autographs Wednesdays at the National Naval Aviaton Museum on-base.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department chief says airport needs more officers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a new letter, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says the airport needs more police officers and outlines what he thinks the city needs to do to keep the airport safer.

 The letter comes at the request of city manager Ron Carlee, who was examining costs at the airport amidst the struggle over control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Travelers said they've never worried about safety.

"I've always felt safe every time I come here," traveler Dwayne Templet said.

Since taking over policing in December, CMPD has bumped up the number of officers from 42 to 61.

But in the letter, Monroe said the airport still has the fewest officers among the 23 Category X airports -- high traffic airports that are at the highest risk of terrorist activity.

"That surprises me," traveler Brenda Martin said, who also added that she feels safe traveling at Charlotte Douglas.

The transition this year, fiscal year 2013, increased costs. With the transition, costs were about $5.5 million. In 2012, the airport spent about $2.6 million on police. Next year, fiscal year 2014, it expects to spend almost $6 million.

Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) said the rising costs are a big reason why giving control to a regional airport authority makes sense.

He said it would protect the airport's low-cost status.

"You don't need more people if the job was being done by what you had before. Are we better off? Are we safer?" he said.

But councilman Andy Dulin said yes and pointed to a memo from Homeland Security attached to the chief's letter.

It says the agency is "delighted" with CMPD taking over and its recent seizures at the airport of more than $200,000 associated with "criminal activity."

"They're saying the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police force is the correct group to be looking after the airport," Dulin said.

Councilman James Mitchell said it shows the city's decisions here have been good ones.

"The question is still -- what did we do wrong?" he asked.

City leaders said it's still unclear to them what kind of security an airport authority would have.

CMPD said no one representing or supporting the authority has asked what it would cost to contract with CMPD and keep police in place.

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