Saturday, April 27, 2013

Boulder owes man $260K for airport agreement, jury rules: City plans to appeal verdict concerning runway access

Barry Barnow, photographed in 2012, looks for air traffic as he prepares to taxi his plane across the end of the runway at the Boulder Municipal Airport to his property via an over 50 year old easement in Boulder.

A Boulder County jury ruled this week the city of Boulder must pay almost $260,000 to nix a longstanding agreement with a Boulder man that allows him to access the Boulder Municipal Airport from his nearby property. 
After a four-day trial, the jury ruled that the city owes Barry Barnow, a pilot and owner of Boulder Valley Aviation, $259,900 for the access to the airport he has from his property at 5864 Rustic Knolls Drive.

"My interpretation is the jury was trying to tell the city something about their behavior throughout the process over these past six years," Barnow said Friday.

Barnow said he was "happy,' with Thursday's verdict, which comes after a long battle between him and the city over a "through the fence" agreement attached to the property, which Barnow bought in 2006. The city said the agreement -- which allows the property owner to taxi an aircraft directly to the airport runway -- posed a safety concern and did not comply with Federal Aviation Administration guidelines

After Barnow rejected both a $10,000 offer for the access agreement and a $350,000 offer for the entire property, the city decided to take the case to condemnation trial.

"We took this action because we wanted to make sure we complied with safety standards and in general with FAA rules and regulations," said Sarah Huntley, a spokeswoman with the city of Boulder. "We're definitely disappointed with the verdict. We believe the 'through the fence' agreement raises significant safety questions that we and the FAA have been seeking to address."

In 2009, the FAA decided that all such agreements should be eliminated, due to safety concerns. After some public outcry, the FAA created an interim policy that allows the use of the agreements as long as airports submit proof that the access meets federal requirements. That proof is required in order for airports such as Boulder's to receive FAA funds.

The city said in order for Barnow's agreement to meet regulations, it would have to build a taxiway from his property to the airport, so decided to instead take the matter to trial. The city valued the agreement's worth at $5,000 while Barnow estimated it's worth at $270,000.

"The city had maintained and still maintains, the 'through the fence' agreement did not contribute any value to the property." Huntley said. "The cost of building a taxiway to use the easement was over $1 million and that was cost-prohibitive."

Huntley said the city is considering an appeal. City attorneys said Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter prevented the city from bringing in FAA experts to testify to the safety concerns of the agreement, but did allow Barnow's attorneys to call a former FAA employee who presented a dissenting opinion.

"We believe a ruling the judge made before this case went to trial had a significant impact on the jury's deliberation," Huntley said. "At this point we will look carefully at the ruling, and look very carefully at the law and make a decision probably by the end of May about whether we are going to appeal this ruling."

Barnow said he felt the judge's rulings were fair.

"I think she ran the trial with great expertise," he said of Berkenkotter.

In the meantime, the city has taken immediate possession of the access. Should the city decide not to appeal the case or lose the appeal, it will buy the access from Barnow for the $259,900.

"The city felt that it was necessary because of the immediate safety concerns," Huntley said. "If we are unable to prevail in an appeal or choose not to appeal, the city will purchase that agreement at that cost."

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Marsh Blaze Near Ferry Fought from Land, Air

NORTH CAPE MAY -- About 20 acres of marshland on or near the Cape May-Lewes Ferry property burned April 27.

Fighting the blaze on the ground were firefighters from Town Bank Fire Department, New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

Erma Fire Department at the Cape May County Airport helped to refill the forest fire tanker airplane that dropped water on the blaze.

Also responding to the call was Lower Township Police Department, Delaware River and Bay Authority police and Lower Township Rescue Squad.

The blaze was contained after about 1.5 hours.

Low-flying airplane ban backers to meet in Hempstead, New York

The Town-Village Aircraft Safety Noise Abatement Committee will host a meeting on Monday to discuss concerns over low-flying planes and ways to control jet noise in communities near Kennedy Airport.

The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall, 1 Washington St. in Hempstead Village.

Voters to decide airport millage: West Michigan Regional (KBIV), Holland, Michigan

Holland —

Voters in Zeeland and Holland charter townships will decide on May 7 whether they will raise property taxes to support the West Michigan Regional Airport on Holland's south side.

The millage request is the same in both communities. Voters are being asked to approve paying 0.1 mill. That translates to 10 cents for each $1,000 in taxable property value or about $10 per year on a home with a taxable value of $100,000. If the measure passes, property owners would begin paying this year and continue through Dec. 31, 2017.

Holland Township voters rejected a similar measure in 2008, when voters in Park Township and the cities of Holland and Zeeland approved the levy.

The money would be used for a long list of bills, from planning and marketing to operations and new construction, according to the ballot language.

Holland Township tax revenues would amount to an estimated $111,108 this year, while Zeeland Township taxpayers this year would add about $32,000.

The West Michigan Airport Authority operates the airport and can apply for federal grants based on millages.

Absentee ballots for Holland Township voters are available by calling (616) 396-2345. You must submit an application before you may receive an absentee ballot. Those who would like to be on the township's permanent absentee voter list for being 60 years or older or having disabilities can call Laurie Slater at the Township office, (616) 396-2345.

Zeeland Township voters who need an absentee ballot must pick it up personally at the township office or have it mailed to them. Call (616) 772-6701 for details.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Fantasy of Flight: New schedule closes attraction Mondays-Wednesdays


 Fantasy of Flight, the aviation-themed attraction in Polk County, is switching to a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule, effective May 6. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those days.

It will no longer be open to guests on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Previously, Fantasy of Flight was open seven days a week.

Closing on non-peak days allows the attraction to focus on development, founder Kermit Weeks said.

"By reducing our days open, we will be able to deliver more focus to our daily customers and use the closed days to focus on developing an even better product that will touch even more people," he said.

For more information, go to

Altitudes Café opens at Suffolk Executive Airport (KSFQ), Virginia

Travelers and hobbyists passing through the Suffolk Executive Airport will once again be able to get a bite to eat at the airport without putting quarters in the vending machines.

Altitudes Café held its grand opening last weekend. Set in the newly remodeled terminal building, the restaurant will serve breakfast platters, sandwiches, burgers and salads. Initially set to be open on weekends only, it will expand to Fridays as the weather warms up.

Owner Raven Ford heard of the opportunity through the work of her husband, Orren Ford, who is an instructor at Skydive Suffolk. She spent lots of time at the facility and eventually met Kevin Hughes, the city’s economic development director.

“He asked me about opening the restaurant, and we just kind of went from there,” Ford said.

The restaurant is an expansion of Cravin’ Raven’s Cheesecakes, which she has operated for several years. It includes cheesecakes, birthday parties, sculpted cakes and special orders.

The airport has been without a restaurant operator since the Throttle Back Café closed.

“We’re kind of hoping it’s going to stay pretty busy,” Ford said. “But it’s going to be hard because the restaurant was closed for so long. I don’t think it will be a problem once the word gets out.”

Ford said she aims to provide good food at reasonable prices while enabling people — both fly-in and walk-in customers — to support a small business rather than eat fast food.

“We try to keep it around that same price range, but better quality food,” she said. “We’re trying to get to that point where people can go out and enjoy a meal and not take long, and it’s not something that comes in a wrapper.”

She also said she hopes to source at least some of her offerings from local farmers.

“We’re excited,” she said, speaking of herself and her business partner, Tanni Williams.

“We are so pleased to welcome Altitudes Café to the Suffolk Executive Airport,” Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a press release. “For many travelers, our airport is both a welcome center and a central hub for their activities in our community. It will be a wonderful amenity for Suffolk’s fly-in visitors and guests to have dining options during their stay.”

To contact the restaurant, call 828-3512.

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New title, $33,000 raise, 4-year deal for Mike Dunn at Chicago/Rockford International Airport (KRFD), Illinois

 ROCKFORD — Mike Dunn got a new title and a $33,000 raise Thursday when the Greater Rockford Airport Authority approved a new four-year contract.

Dunn was named executive director of Chicago Rockford International Airport by a 3-0 voice vote. There was no discussion.

His salary: $175,000.

Commissioners Paul Cicero, Ray Wetzel and Tom Myers approved the contract. They are a quorum of the five-member board, which has two vacancies. Chairman Bharat Puri resigned in February, and Cicero said Phil Rubin resigned several weeks ago and plans to move to Florida.
Commissioners Darrin Golden and K. Edward Copeland were absent.

The airport authority will provide group life, health accident and disability insurance, and match up to $8,750 of Dunn’s contributions to a retirement plan. The airport will make all payments under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Dunn will get 20 vacation days and an automobile allowance of $1,000 a month. Total compensation will be about $200,000 a year.

“Mike came here with a short-term contract,” Cicero said. “We were confident he would do well and so was he.

“We’ve done a written personnel review of his first year and it was excellent on all accounts. Quite frankly, we want him to stay here.”

Dunn was hired for $142,000 in January 2012 as the director of government affairs and economic development. His contract was for one year and did not include insurance benefits.

His predecessor, Bob O’Brien, made $187,000. O’Brien and the board parted ways in March 2011.

The board did a national search to replace O’Brien, but decided none of the candidates were a good fit. They hired Dunn.

When Dunn was hired, the board said it also planned to hire an operations manager who would report directly to the board chairman. But that won’t happen.

The board also:

    Approved a reorganization that puts Dunn in charge of the operations manager and the board chairman. Dunn was the latter from 2004 to 2010.
    Appointed new officers: Cicero as chairman, Myers as vice chairman, Wetzel as treasurer and Copeland as secretary.

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Airport study recommends independent authority as long-term solution: Charlotte/Douglas International (KCLT), North Carolina

Airport study suggests independent authority may be long-term solution


A consultant hired by Charlotte city leaders recommends Charlotte Douglas airport remain in the city's hands for now, but that could change down the road.

"It is the hottest ticket in town -- reading this thing and going through it," councilman Andy Dulin said.

The 60-page study, obtained by Eyewitness News, cost taxpayers $150,000. State lawmakers have recently pushed a controversial plan that would take control of Charlotte Douglas away from the city and give it to a regional board.

Read the full report by clicking here.

The study praises the city's governance, saying the airport is "spectacularly successful."

"Charlotte has done a good job," Dulin said. "The authority is not a bad idea, but it's just not workable now."

Even after saying Charlotte has done a great job, in the end, the study did recommend control being handed over to an airport authority, saying a board would be less "politically involved" in airport management, function more like a corporation and keep finances separate from the city.

The authority the study talks about is very different from the one Rep. Bill Brawley introduced a bill to create.

"I think the whole state has a stake in the success of the airport," Brawley said.

The authority in the study would give more control to the city -- over picking board members -- and less to the entire region and surrounding counties.

"We would want to have the entire area that is impacted by the airport included to some extent," Brawley said.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Progress pleases Jetport authority: Cleveland Regional (KRZR), Tennessee

Much of the discussion among Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority members on Friday revolved around tidying up loose ends and working on minor discrepancies at Cleveland Regional Jetport.

One topic of discussion was the Instrument Approach Procedures scheduled for FAA publication on June 27.

Board member LeRoy Rymer Jr. said the airport opened less than three months ago and no one should expect it to be perfect at this stage.

“Frankly, I am amazed we are getting our instrument certification as quick as we are,” Rymer said. “Usually it takes a year and a half to two years to do this.”

He commended PDC Consultants for surveying the runway for the approach after the first pouring of concrete.

“I think we’re ahead of schedule. We get these little things from people and stuff like that and I tell them this is still a startup business,” he said.

“So far it has gone very, very well. I’m proud of where we are at this stage of the game.”

Fidler reported $5,700 in fuel sales on April 6 and an increase in the number of flight students.

In the first three months, the airport has sold 1,331 gallons of aviation gasoline and about 3,500 gallons of jet fuel, which equals about $21,000 of products sold in the first quarter of operation.

Fixed-base operator Taylor Newman said sales and traffic should increase as pilots discover the airport and what services are available.

An open house on April 27 is scheduled. It will include airplane rides for $15 each.

Airport Authority Chair Lynn DeVault said she was surprised no one has complained about the rainwater runoff from the storm on Wednesday.

She expressed concern that the drainage ditch where the sewer line was laid is deep enough.

“It’s not unusual to have that much runoff during construction. I was just concerned and trying to observe if the ditch seemed deep enough or not deep enough to a lay person like me,” she said.

Fidler reported the ditch is not deep enough because the dirt was simply pulled in over the sewer line with a backhoe.

Read more: Cleveland Daily Banner - Progress pleases Jetport authority

Pennsylvania lawmakers crafting new tax loophole for private aircraft

April 25, 2013

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s state sales tax code – already full of carve-outs for niche industries and special interests – is about to get a little more complicated.

The state General Assembly appears to be on the way to passing a new sales tax exemption for airplane parts and maintenance, meaning private plane sales and repair expenses would go untaxed. The change would mean a loss of $12 million dollars in tax revenue for the state General Fund.

The proposal is good news for plane owners, who might be paying thousands in 6 percent sales tax on a $50,000 repair. But some say the bill is further complicating a tax code that already gives plenty of specialized tax exemptions.

Proponents of the measure, like bill sponsor Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, said plane owners in Pennsylvania are flying their jets to other states in order to avoid paying sales tax on costly maintenance.

States like New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and Connecticut all have a partial or full sales and use tax exemption for aircraft. If Pennsylvania follows suit, it will boost a stagnant industry, Kortz said.

“The bottom line is I want people to work, make money, expand the business, and pay taxes,” Kortz said. “This will do just that in the aviation industry.”

There’s about 8,000 planes in Pennsylvania, and about 130 airports. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates planes must be inspected on a routine basis after certain numbers of hours of flying, and Kortz said this creates a built-in market for services.

Kortz faced some opposition on his proposal even within the Democratic caucus, as some felt it was favoring special interests with another tax break. The bill passed the state House with bipartisan support, though it saw 23 negative votes.

Bipartisan support also exists in the state Senate. The Democratic caucus has the exemption listed on their 2013-2014 budget plan, Sen. Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill, has a similar proposal in the works, and Kortz said he’s met with the governor’s staff to discuss the proposal.

To Kortz, the measure isn’t a tax break but a tax shift, as aviation industry jobs will balance out the lost sales tax dollars.

“If we get more tax dollars, I don’t care how we get it,” he said. “We’re stagnating in this industry.”

Read more here:

Airport kicks off marketing campaign: Morristown Municipal (KMMU), New Jersey

HANOVER: Morristown Municipal Airport has launched a new marketing campaign, “Why Wait?” with the goal of educating the business aviation community about the convenience of MMU.

The campaign kicked off with an evening networking event and airport tour, co-sponsored with the Morris County Chamber’s Economic Development Corporation, according to a press release from the airport. Maria Sheridan, senior director of government affairs and business development, highlighted the many positive attributes of MMU, including the ability to service international flights and the airport’s proximity to New Jersey based corporate facilities.

“The Morristown Municipal Airport is a unique opportunity for corporations seeking quick and efficient executive travel. Combined with Morris County’s state-of-the-art Class A office space, the Airport provides Corporate America with international access in a suburban setting with an unparalleled quality of life,” said Jim Jones, executive director of the MCEDC.

Morristown Municipal Airport was built in 1942 and is is a general aviation airport that has served the business community for 70 years. The airport is capable of handling the largest of the fleet of business aircraft flying today, the release said.


Another Airport Restaurant Goes Out of Business: North Central West Virginia (KCKB), Clarksburg, West Virginia

By Jeff Toquinto on April 24, 2013

Another North Central West Virginia Airport Restaurant, another one that closes its doors.

At today’s meeting of the Benedum Airport Authority – the governing body of the NCWV Airport – President Ron Watson announced that The Plane View Restaurant, which opened in September, is no longer in operations. The airport was notified of its closure April 8.

The closure is one of several involving the space reserved at the airport for an eatery since the 9/11 attacks. Prior to that, the Bland family owned and operated a restaurant that was successful for years at the terminal building. Since that time, despite the airport providing the facility at almost no cost and covering the cost of utilities, no restaurant has been able to make it.

Despite the fact no eatery has been able to make it for more than a decade, airport officials aren’t throwing in the towel. Airport Director Rick Rock is still of the belief that a restaurant is not only needed, but can prove to be viable.

“I’m not convinced that (a restaurant) can’t work,” said Rock.

Airport officials apparently aren’t convinced that one can’t work either. This morning, a request for proposal for those who may want to consider opening the space on the second floor of the terminal was published in media outlets. Proposals will be accepted until May 14 at 4 p.m.

“I think we need to see what we get from the RFPs that are out,” said Authority member Roger Diaz.

Rock said although the RFPs just went out, he has already received interest from at least one group that may want to open the space back up. In fact, Rock said he provided a recent tour of the now vacant space to a potential restaurateur.

While no one was certain if someone can make the space work, most were in agreement that doing things as have been done with recent tenants won’t work. Authority member and Marion County Commissioner Butch Tenant, who has a background in the restaurant business, said it can work, particularly if a lunch crowd can be served.

“You have to have something unique because you’re not in the downtown area,” said Tenant. “ … You’ve got to get in and be able to get out.”
Rock said that wasn’t the case with the most recent venture. He said during the early months of the operation there was plenty of individuals going to the restaurant, particularly at lunch time. However, he said comments regarding long waits at lunch time apparently led to a demise in the same traffic as the numbers decreased.

“We need someone committed to success. We need someone to have some cash involved so that they have a buy-in,” said Rock. “You need that for at least six months … I do think we have a potential game changer when it comes to restaurants.”

Who that “game changer” was, Rock did not elaborate on. He did say that airport restaurants can work as Hart Field, in Morgantown, has had a successful restaurant for years after struggling for years. Rock said the owner was committed to the business and its success.

Watson added that the airport may consider running the restaurant. That remained an option, but all involved wanted to see the response to the RFP before moving ahead.

"Hopefully we can find a person that has a reputation for good food that's good at business," said Authority member and Bridgeport Mayor  Jim Christie.

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Cessna 402B, My Plane LLC, N402RC: Accident occurred April 10, 2011 in Biddeford, Maine

A lawsuit says negligence led to an engine problem, which led to the pilot's death and the destruction of a house.

PORTLAND – The children of a highly decorated, retired Air Force pilot who died when his civilian plane crashed in Biddeford two years ago, and the couple whose home was destroyed by the crash, are jointly suing the companies that maintained and inspected the plane.

Edward L'Hommedieu, 71, of North Yarmouth was flying alone in the twin-engine Cessna 402B on April 10, 2011, as he approached Biddeford Municipal Airport at an altitude of about 500 feet when the plane lost partial or total power in its right engine.

The plane rapidly lost altitude and was going too slowly to stay aloft, says the lawsuit filed April 9 in Cumberland County Superior Court.

"L'Hommedieu, as an experienced pilot, would have understood that the aircraft was going to crash and that he was almost certain to die in such a crash," says the lawsuit.

The plane crashed into the home of Stephen and Kim Myers at 235 Granite St., near the Biddeford Municipal Airport, then "caught fire and became engulfed completely in flames," the lawsuit says.

"L'Hommedieu was alive and conscious subsequent to the crash" and "suffered severe and excruciating pain and discomfort prior to his death" as the plane and the house burned, the 13-page lawsuit says.

Lance Walker of the Portland law firm Norman, Hanson and DeTroy sued on behalf of L'Hommedieu's children, E. Chris L'Hommedieu and Heather Perreault, as representatives of his estate, and on behalf of the Myerses, seeking damages in a five-count complaint.

The lawsuit names as defendants nine companies that manufactured parts or maintained or inspected L'Hommedieu's plane.

"These are all companies that each did engine overhauls or they did what is called annuals, which are inspections for airworthiness," Walker said Tuesday. "When they certified it, they are certifying that it is airworthy. It's a heavy burden."

The companies are Ram Aircraft L.P. of Texas, McCauley Propeller Systems of Georgia, Maine Aviation Sales Inc. of Portland, Aircraft Maintenance of Maine Inc. of Portland, Yankee Aviation Services Inc. of Massachusetts, New England Propeller Service Inc. of Connecticut, Engine Component International Inc. of Texas, Champion Aerospace LLC of Delaware and Tom's Aircraft Maintenance Inc. of California.

Ron Caruso, president of Aircraft Maintenance of Maine, said his company did maintenance on the plane but did not work on the engine. He said his other company named in the lawsuit, Maine Aviation Sales, had no connection to the plane.

"We didn't do anything wrong," Caruso said. "We never inspected the part in question."

Caruso said he isn't surprised that his companies are named as defendants, because it is standard procedure in such lawsuits to name all of the companies that worked on a plane.

Representatives of Yankee Aviation, New England Propeller Service, Engine Components International and Tom's Aircraft said they had not been served with the lawsuit and declined comment. Phone messages left with Ram Aircraft and McCauley Propeller were not returned. No one answered the phone in several calls to Champion Aerospace.

Walker said the Myerses' home was insured and their insurance carrier is seeking to recoup its losses of as much as $500,000, claiming negligence.

L'Hommedieu's children are seeking an amount of money to be determined by a jury, claiming that their father's death was wrongful, that it was caused by negligence and that he suffered as a result.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash and determined in May 2012 that a combination of engine trouble and pilot error caused the crash.

L'Hommedieu's plane, built in 1977, lost power on a return trip from White Plains, N.Y., because O-rings in the engine throttle and control assembly were not properly installed, the NTSB found. The report is not admissible evidence in the lawsuit.

Walker said L'Hommedieu's children and the Myerses sued together because they agreed that pilot error was not an issue and that negligence in maintaining and inspecting the plane was the cause of the crash.

"The NTSB reports fairly frequently attribute at least partial responsibility to the pilot," Walker said. "In this case, we don't believe that was true. His airspeed and altitude were too low. He didn't have time to react."

On the day of the crash, L'Hommedieu flew from the Portland International Jetport to pick up a passenger on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts, flew the passenger to Westchester County Airport in New York and then flew back to Biddeford, where he hoped to have dinner with a friend who lived nearby, according to the lawsuit.

L'Hommedieu began flying as a teenager, and joined the Air Force in 1964, flying B-52s and, later, FB-111s. During his 20-year Air Force career, he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 12 Air Medals, the Cross of Gallantry and the Meritorious Service Medal.

He was a master navigator, a flight instructor and chief of operations and maintenance, according to the lawsuit.


NTSB Identification: ERA11FA233
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 10, 2011 in Biddeford, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/14/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 402B, registration: N402RC
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 multi-engine airplane was being repositioned to its base airport, and the pilot had requested to change the destination, but gave no reason for the destination change. Radar data indicated that the airplane entered the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, flew at pattern attitude, and then performed a right approximate 250-degree turn to enter the final leg of the approach. During the final leg of the approach, the airplane crashed short of the runway into a house located in a residential neighborhood near the airport. According to the airplane's pilot operating handbook, the minimum multi-engine approach speed was 95 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), and the minimum controllable airspeed was 82 KIAS. According to radar data, the airplane's groundspeed was about 69 knots with the probability of a direct crosswind.

Postaccident examination of the propellers indicated that both propellers were turning at a low power setting at impact. During a controlled test run of the right engine, a partial power loss was noted. After examination of the throttle and control assembly, two o-rings within the assembly were found to be damaged. The o-rings were replaced with comparable o-rings and the assembly was reinstalled. During the subsequent test run, the engine operated smoothly with no noted anomalies. Examination of the o-rings revealed that the damage was consistent with the o-rings being pinched between the corner of the top o-ring groove and the fuel inlet surface during installation. It is probable that the right engine had a partial loss of engine power while on final approach to the runway due to the damaged o-ring and that the pilot retarded the engine power to prevent the airplane from rolling to the right. The investigation found no mechanical malfunction of the left engine that would have prevented the airplane from maintaining the published airspeed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot did not maintain minimum controllable airspeed while on final approach with a partial loss of power in the right engine, which resulted in a loss of control. Contributing to the accident was the partial loss of engine power in the right engine due to the improperly installed o-rings in the engine’s throttle and control assembly.


On April 10, 2011, about 1815 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402B, N402RC, was substantially damaged when it impacted a house near Biddeford, Maine. The airline transport certificated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to My Plane, LLC, and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulation 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The airplane had departed from West Chester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York, about 1630.

The flight originated at Portland International Airport (PWM), Portland, Maine earlier in the day, flew to Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK), Nantucket, Massachusetts, and acquired 115.6 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. Then picked up a passenger, flew to HPN, where the passenger disembarked, departed and the pilot was planning to land in PWM. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control transcripts, the pilot requested to change his destination to Biddeford Municipal Airport (B19), Biddeford, Maine. Radar data provided by the FAA Portland Air Traffic Control facility, revealed that the airplane overflew the south end of B19 at approximately 1,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), turned left, as if entering the left downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. Then, approximately 2 miles from the approach end of runway 24, the airplane was observed, on radar, turning right about 250 degrees, and then a slight left turn in the direction of B19. The last radar data was recorded for the accident flight at 1804:29 and was in the vicinity of the accident location. The data indicated an altitude of 400 feet msl and a ground speed of 69 knots.


According to FAA records, the pilot, age 71, held an Airline Transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, commercial pilot privilege for airplane single-engine land, and a certificated flight instructor with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued February 4, 2011, and at the time of the examination the pilot reported 5,010 total hours of flight experience. According to a resume provided to the pilot's employer in August 2010, the pilot reported 4,735 total hours of civilian flight time as well as military navigator flight time. The resume also indicated 120 flight hours in the accident aircraft make and model. At the time of this writing no pilot logbooks had been located.


According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1977 and registered to the owner on October 18, 2000. It was equipped with two Continental Motors TSIO-520 series engines. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was dated on August 21, 2010. At the time of the inspection the reported aircraft total time was 6,624.5 time in service and a Hobbs time of 4,554.1 hours. At the time of the inspection the engines had 359.0 hours since overhaul. The most recent maintenance logbook entry was March 21, 2011, and indicated a Hobbs time of 4,567.2 hours. The Hobbs meter was not located in the wreckage.


The 1815 recorded weather observation at Sanford Regional Airport (SFM), Sanford, Maine, located approximately 16 miles to the southwest of the accident location, included wind from 150 degrees at 8 knots with gusts of 15 knots, the wind direction was variable from 100 degrees to 160 degrees, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point minus 2 degrees C; barometric altimeter 30.03 inches of mercury.


The airport was equipped with a single runway oriented northeast to southwest and designated as 06/24. The runway was 3000-feet-long and 75-feet-wide, constructed of asphalt, was equipped with a 4-box visual approach slope indicator (VASI) on the left side of runway 6; however, no visual slope indicators were available to runway 24. The airport did not have an air traffic control tower. Communication was accomplished utilizing a common traffic advisory frequency; however, it was not recorded. The airport was served by two approaches to runway 6; however, runway 24 was the preferred calm wind runway.


The airplane impacted four trees varying in diameter from 3.2 inches to 8.75 inches and at a height of approximately 25 feet. The airplane came to rest on the roof of a single story residence that was located approximately 1,491 feet to the northeast of the runway 24 threshold. A post crash fire ensued engulfing the airplane. The left wing was thermally damaged and the outboard section of the wing was located on top of the roof. The left engine was located inside the residence. The right wing and engine were visible above the roof line. The airplane nose section, cabin, and empennage sections were thermally damaged. Portions of all flight controls were located at the accident location.

Examination of the wreckage indicated that the right main landing gear remained attached to the right wing attach point, and was in the down and locked position. The left main and nose gear were separated from the airframe and located within the residence.

The left wing's leading edge exhibited impact damage and the diameter of the damage was similar in dimensions to the diameter of the trees that were initially impacted. The left aileron was consumed by post impact fire. The fuel caps were secured and in place. The fuel tank selector handle located in the cockpit was found in the auxiliary tank position and the fuel valve located in the wing was found between the main and auxiliary tank position. The fuel strainer and filter were thermally damaged and had an area of corrosion in the bottom of the strainer approximately 30 degrees of coverage.

The right wing's aileron was separated and in the vicinity of the right wing. The right wing's outboard section approximately 2 feet inside the main fuel tank, located at the wingtip, was fractured but remained attached to the wing structure. The right main fuel tank was impact damaged near the leading edge of the tank. The right fuel tank selector handle, which was located in the cockpit and the fuel valve located in the wing, were in the main fuel tank position. The fuel strainer was removed from the wing and contained aviation gasoline, the filter was free of debris. The fuel strainer was noted as having an area of corrosion located in the bottom of the strainer and was approximately 30 degrees of coverage and was similar in appearance as the left fuel strainer.

The wing flaps were found in the extended position and were verified by the flap motor chain position located under the cabin floor. Continuity was confirmed from the flap motor to the flap actuator. The right wing flap remained attached to the wing, the left wing flap mechanism remained attached; however, the flap skin was consumed by post impact fire.

The cockpit seats were separated and thermally damaged. Four of the five cabin seat frames remained attached to the cabin floor except for the most aft cabin seat which was located with portions of the flooring still attached to the seat feet.

Rudder continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedals to the rudder horn. The rudder counter weight was located in the wreckage in the vicinity of the empennage. Aileron continuity was confirmed from the cabin chain on the control columns to the aileron sector and then from the aileron sector to both ailerons bell cranks. The aileron sector was impact damaged in the positive direction. The aileron counter weights were located in the vicinity of the associated wing or attached to the wing. Elevator continuity was confirmed from the elevator horn to the swaged end of the cable. The right elevator counter weight remained attached; however, due to thermal damage the left counter weight could not be located.

The stall switch, located in the left wing, was removed and inspected; however, the internal mechanism was damaged and was found in the closed circuit position.

Left Engine

The engine and propeller assembly exhibited impact and thermal damage. The exhaust assembly including the turbocharger, controller, and wastegate assembly were separated from the engine and were located with the main wreckage. The wastegate actuator housing had extensive thermal damage and only the internal components were visible. The cylinders were thermal and impact damaged. The fuel system including the fuel manifold valve, fuel control, and lines had extensive thermal damage. The magnetos and ignition leads had thermal damage. The induction assembly had thermal damage. The induction elbows and air throttle assembly were not found during the inspection. The upper spark plugs were removed and had light gray to dark deposits. The cylinders were boroscoped and the combustion chambers were undamaged. The valves heads were undamaged and had normal thermal discoloration. The oil filler cap had thermal discoloration and damage. No oil was indicated on the engine oil dipstick.

Right Engine

The right engine remained partially attached with impact damage to the left aft mount leg. The engine was removed and the exhaust had impact damage. The exhaust wye-duct was torn and the left section remained attached to the impact damaged wing section. The propeller assembly had impact damage and was removed from the engine. The oil and fuel lines remained attached. The induction assembly was crushed and the No. 6 cylinder riser separated near the cylinder attachment. The fuel manifold valve was undamaged and disassembled. The diaphragm and retaining nut were undamaged and secure. The manifold valve cavity had fuel present and the screen was free of debris. The fuel control was undamaged and the linkages moved freely by hand. The fuel control inlet screen was removed and was free of debris. Approximately 2 ounces of fuel dripped from the fuel control inlet screen port. The upper spark plugs were removed and had light gray deposits. The cylinders were boroscoped and the combustion chambers were undamaged. The valve heads were undamaged and had normal thermal discoloration. The crankshaft was rotated by hand through the upper right accessory mount drive. Gear continuity was obtained to the crankshaft propeller flange and magneto drives. Compression was obtained from each cylinder. The ignition leads were undamaged and spark was obtained from the spark plug connections. The oil filler cap was undamaged and no oil was indicated on the engine oil dipstick.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on April 11, 2011, by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Augusta, Maine. The autopsy listed the cause of death as "smoke inhalation and thermal burns."

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The report stated 12 percent carbon monoxide, no cyanide or ethanol was detected in the blood, and Quinine was detected in the blood.


Engine Examination

The engines were sent to the Continental Motors facility in Mobile, Alabama manufacturers facility for examination. It was determined that the left engine exhibited thermal damage and was unable to be placed on a test stand and ran. The left engine was disassembled and no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation.

The right engine was examined and mounted on an engine test stand, and a test club propeller was installed. Approximately 20 minutes into the test the engine sustained a partial loss of power. Utilization of the manual primer restored engine power; however, when the primer was not used the engine would incur a partial power loss. No leaks were noted and the engine was shut down. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and placed on a test bench; the test results indicated that when compared to normal tolerance allowed by a new pump the accident airplane's pump would produce adequate to high pressure. The accident pump was reinstalled. The engine was restarted and subsequently backfired and sustained a partial loss of power. The engine was shut down and fuel was utilized from a temporary fuel tank; however, during operation the engine continued to sustain a partial power loss. The fuel screen was examined and free of contaminants. The throttle body assembly was removed and a replacement assembly was attached. The engine was started and operated smoothly at various power settings and was subjected to several rapid accelerations and decelerations. The engine responded to the power changes smoothly and without any noticeable delay.

Right Engine Throttle and Control Assembly

The Throttle and Control Assembly was examined and no noticeable malfunctions were noted. The unit was placed on a test stand, tested, and was classified as a "failed test." The unit was disassembled revealing the four o-rings on the cam, inside the unit. The cam was determined to be a -11 and according to manufacturers guidance should have been a -8 unit. The o-rings were examined and two of the o-rings had noticeable "flat spots" around the outer circumference. The o-rings were retained and sent to the NTSB's Materials Laboratory. Four new o-rings were installed; the unit was reassembled, and reattached to the accident engine for another test run. The engine started and idled smoothly with no noticeable malfunctions, accelerated to numerous power settings, including full power, with no noticeable indication of power loss. The engine was further subjected to several decelerations and accelerations and performed smoothly without hesitations.


The propellers were removed from the engine and shipped to McCauley Propeller Systems the manufacturers facility for examination. The examination took place on July 12, 2011 at the propeller manufacturers facility in Wichita, Kansas and Federal oversight was provided by an inspector with the FAA. The examination revealed that propeller damage was consistent with impact damage and no evidence was noted of any indications of propeller failure prior to impact. Both propellers had evidence of rotation at the time of impact and were being operated under conditions of low power. Impact signature markings indicated that both propellers were operating at or near the low pitch position at the time of impact, and the feather stop mechanisms were undamaged. Blade bending, twisting, and damage on both propellers were consistent with low power at impact.


The two o-rings from the right engine throttle and control assembly were sent to the NTSB's Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C. for further examination. Both o-rings were examined utilizing a stereomicroscope. One o-ring had two semi-circular cuts; however, no material was missing from the damaged area and no mechanism was identified that could have caused the damage. The other o-ring was damaged in two areas of the outer diameter, material was missing from the damaged areas and the damage was consistent with the o-ring being pinched between the corner of the top o-ring groove and the fuel inlet surface during installation. For more information, the Materials Laboratory Report is located in the docket for this accident.

According to a right engine log book entry dated 02/16/04, several engine accessories were exchanged for remanufactured units; however, no reference to the Throttle and Control Assembly being changed was found in the logbook. According to the Authorized Certificate Release form the throttle controller unit was overhauled on 02/04/04. Based on the information from the last airframe logbook entry, the right engine Throttle and Control Assembly had accumulated more than 372.1 flight hours.

Pilot's Operating Handbook

According to Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) and FAA Approved Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), Section 4, Normal Procedures "Before Landing" checklist for the accident airplane model states in part "…Wing Flaps – Down 45° below 140 KIAS [knots indicated airspeed]… Minimum Multi-Engine Approach Speed – 95 KIAS at 6200 pounds … Air Minimum Control Speed – 82 KIAS."

According to the POH/AFM, Section 5 "Performance" the lowest aircraft weight provided by the "Normal Landing Distance" chart was 4300 pounds and a "Speed at 50-Foot Obstacle" was 79 KIAS.

Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25)

According to the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25), minimum control speed (Vmc) is defined as "the minimum flight speed at which a light, twin-engine airplane can be satisfactorily controlled when an engine suddenly becomes inoperative and the remaining engine is at takeoff power."

Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A)

The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A), Chapter 12 "Transition to Multiengine Airplanes", states in part "If an engine fails below Vmc while airborne, directional control is not possible with the remaining engine producing takeoff power…the final approach should be made with power and at a speed recommended by the manufacturer…but in no case less than critical engine-out minimum control speed (Vmc)…"

UPS Airlines calls Federal Aviation Administration claims 'unwarranted'

The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $4 million fine for Louisville-based UPS Airlines for alleged violations of safety regulations.

But UPS Airlines, a division of Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. plans to challenge the FAA findings.

The alleged violations date to 2008 and 2009, when UPS Airlines is accused of operating four cargo aircraft that were not in compliance with federal aviation regulations.

A news release from the FAA said UPS “failed to follow FAA-approved procedures for making structural repairs” for two DC-8 and two MD-11 aircraft. The planes were used for more than 400 flights between October 2008 and June 2009, the FAA said in its release.

“These violations stem from UPS’s failure to fully comply with the terms of a consent agreement in which the carrier agreed to inspect all aircraft in its fleet and compare actual repairs with maintenance records,” the FAA release said. “This would have ensured the four aircraft were in compliance with the regulations.”

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Weekend incidents keep airport busy: Laughlin/Bullhead International (KIFP), Bullhead City, Arizona

Terminal evacuated for unattended backpack day before plane crashes

By NEIL YOUNG/The Daily News

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:49 AM MDT

BULLHEAD CITY — Last Friday and Saturday were unusual days for the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport. There was a plane crash Saturday, after the pilot killed himself with a gunshot wound to the head before his single-engine plane plunged to the ground near the runway.

Previously — on Friday — the airport’s main terminal was evacuated for approximately 45 minutes due to a backpack found on the sidewalk, reported Airport Director David Gaines at Wednesday’s Mohave County Airport Authority board meeting.

“A very observant airport tenant employee saw it and reported it to a law enforcement officer on duty out here, whereupon we initiated our evacuation procedures,” Gaines said.

Bullhead City Police sent their bomb robot to the scene.

“A flight had been processed (but) they were in the other terminal building and were not at any risk,” Gaines said.

The backpack’s owner “realized it was missing and came back for it,” he said.

“In both situations, the aircraft crash and the evacuation, the response from all emergency responders, whether it was airport or from city PD, Bullhead Fire, other agencies, including the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), everything worked like it’s supposed to work,” Gaines said.

The plane crashed between the runway and the parallel taxiway. If the plane had crashed on the runway, airport operations would have been at a standstill, he said. “The crash scene didn’t create a problem for some aircraft operations. So we were able to get our scheduled charter flights out. We were able to get some general aviation aircraft out who needed to leave.”

FAA investigators came from Las Vegas within two hours of notification, Gaines said. Within seven hours after the crash, “the recovery team from the FAA had removed the plane from the airport. I thought that was pretty amazing that in about (seven) hours, from discovery to site cleanup, everything was done.”

Regarding the airport’s legal action to prevent the closure of its contract control tower, “the initial notice to federal court was filed on Monday. And then we will have another petition that will be filed following this one,” Gaines said. “The initial filing is on our own, but the federal courts have consolidated all the lawsuits right now.” The lawsuits will be heard in the Ninth Circuit court.

The MCAA board has authorized an expenditure up to $25,000 for legal action against the FAA.


Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE) announces first air show act


The Lehigh Valley International Airport has announced the first act for its first air show in 15 years.

The Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team will be descending on the Lehigh Valley Air Show from 4,000 feet in the sky.

The team has been participating in airshows since the 1980s, displaying parachuting talents that make them some of the most skilled skydivers in the world.

The airport authority is resurrecting the air show in an effort to lure people back to the financially struggling airport.

Authority officials anticipate the show will generate more a profit of more than $30,000 for the airport.

The last time LVIA hosted an air show was 1997. This year's event will run Aug. 24 and 25.


Man arrested for having loaded handgun in carry-on at Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), New Jersey 

EGG HARBOR TWP. - A Pennsylvania man was arrested for having a gun in his luggage Tuesday night at Atlantic City International Airport. 

Just before 7 p.m., 67 year-old Edward Morgan of Media, Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon at the airport.  His loaded, small caliber, semi–automatic hand gun was found in his check–in luggage at the security check point.

He was arrested and released pending court.

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Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG) considers oil country charter flights

April 25, 2013

By BRENDA J. LINERT, Tribune Chronicle


VIENNA - Airport officials are working to start offering regular charter flights to Houston to service the oil and gas industry.

"There are several companies that are based in Houston who have expressed interest in that, and we hopefully can secure that shuttle service," Youngstown Warren Regional Airport director of aviation Dan Dickten said Wednesday.

Dickten said he is working to facilitate the shuttles possibly with Republic Airlines, doing business as Frontier, which began serving the local airport in January with casino junket flights. Dickten said a conference call was held on the topic just this week.

Dickten said charter service is the most likely way to start such a program and noted similar methods were used at Williamsport and Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, Pa., airports, the heart of the Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling industry, before the airlines decided to add permanent flights there.

"We will try to work with the airlines for some kind of scheduled charter service, low frequency," Dickten said. "Realistically, that is how that works."

Dickten's announcement to the Port Authority board was accompanied by another announcement that after courting United Airlines for more than two years in the hopes of bringing daily passenger service to the local airport, the carrier said it has decided against providing regular flights here.

"We thought we had made a very good case with United," Dickten said. Still, he said he feels strongly about other continuing talks with American Airlines about potential daily service between the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Chicago O'Hare.

On the topic of cargo transportation, Dickten reported that the local airport has been having "meaningful on-going discussions" with UPS about a possible air freight feeder operation at the Vienna location. In addition, the airport has heard from Ireland-based Shamrock Airways about the possibility of creating an international air cargo distribution hub here. The proposed operation would initially consist of two or three weekly trans-Atlantic flights using DC-9, DC-8 or B-727 aircraft.


Port approves new three-year contract with aviation director: Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG), Ohio

Published: Thu, April 25, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Ed Runyan, 

 VIENNA, OHIO -  The Western Reserve Port Authority has authorized a new three-year contract with its director of aviation, Dan Dickten, that pays him $90,000 the first two years and $92,700 the third year.

Though three of the eight board members voted against the raise, none of the three would discuss the reason why, saying they would let chairman Scott Lynn speak for the entire board.

Lynn said the ‘no’ votes were because some members felt three years was too long.

“Some board members wanted one year, two years. For most of us, a one-year term didn’t seem like an option. I feel like he’s done a good job, and he’s earned a three-year contract.”

Lynn said Dickten has worked hard and passionately on behalf of the airport, drastically increasing parking revenue, negotiating improved leases with companies operating at the airport and helping to increase the number of passengers at the airport 15 percent to 20 percent per year.

Dickten’s initial three-year contract, which expired Saturday, paid him $75,000 annually.

Lynn said Dickten’s new salary was determined by looking at what other airport managers earn, and whose airports have a similar number of passengers. The average was around $96,500, Lynn said.

“As a board we were not looking at it as a raise. We were looking at it as bringing him up to industry standards,” Lynn said.

While negotiating the contract, port members discussed it with commissioners from Trumbull and Mahoning counties and found them OK with it, Lynn said.

Last July, the port authority approved a one-time $7,500 bonus to Dickten for his extra work on a $3.7 million bond projected he headed up and other things, but Dickten refused the bonus after Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel protested, saying the bonus sent a bad message to Trumbull County employees who have received a wage freeze for several years.

“We were successful in pulling the airport out of the so-called black hole, but there are still a lot of things to do,” Dickten said after the vote.

He said the airport won’t live up to its full capabilities until daily air service is returned.

“It’s an uphill battle, but it looks like we have some good traction with a couple airlines and we’re going to continue that and pursue and add leisure airlines and service with Allegiant,” Dickten said.

Meanwhile, the board plans to talk about what to do about the contract of the port authority’s executive director, Rose Ann DeLeon, at next month’s meeting, Lynn said.

Her six-month contract expires June 6.

“I can’t speak for the board, but I’d like to see her back,” Lynn said.


Runway shortened at Sawyer International Airport (KSAW), Marquette, Michigan

Marquette County Board takes action after Federal Aviation Administration reduces maintenance funds

April 24, 2013
By JOHN PEPIN, The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to back a plan to shorten the runway at Sawyer International Airport by 3,366 feet, increase the fee for lost airport parking tickets and approve a $2,000 grant to offset the cost of federally-required airport training exercises.

Under a plan recommended by airport officials, the length of the 150-foot-wide runway will be reduced from 12,366 feet to 9,000 feet and the length of an adjacent taxiway will also be shortened. Airport officials hope to keep the runway at its current length through 2016, while funding is sought to renovate the remaining portions of the runway before closing the north end.

"It's a good plan," county board Chairman Gerald Corkin said.

An estimated $870,000 from Airport Improvement Program and Passenger Facility Charge funding will be used to pay for moving navigational aids, repainting the runway and completing other work involved in shortening the runway.

"In 2011, the FAA informed Sawyer International Airport that federal funding would no longer support repair or construction on the north 3,366 feet of the runway, including the north section of Taxiway A," said Sawyer Operations Manager Steve Schenden in a recent memo. "The county could continue to operate the full length of the runway, but all repair and construction costs would have to be funded by Sawyer International Airport for the section of runway proposed to be closed."

Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay said the airport will still be able to comfortably accommodate "just about any commercial aircraft that would ever consider flying into Sawyer."

Closing the north part of the runway and taxiway would be expected to cut maintenance costs by $15,000 to $20,000 each year. The north and south ends of the runway are concrete, the center section is asphalt 30 years old.

The Airport Advisory Committee concurred with the airport staff recommendation to begin the process of closing the north end of the runway now.

Airport officials have asked the Michigan Department of Transportation about the possibility of using money from a potential $1.5 million state grant, for other necessary projects at the airport. Sawyer officials have received preliminary approval for $220,000 to repair and upgrade fire suppression and fire alarm systems in three buildings currently leased by American Eagle.

"The project would increase safety for American Eagle workers and add to the value of those buildings as a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for an airline," Schenden said. "The project would require a 10 percent match, which would come from the airport's stabilization fund."

The county board approved a staff recommendation to increase the lost ticket fee for parking at the airport from $35 to $50. The Airport Advisory Committee supported the hike, which was designed to help stop people from potentially "gaming the system" at the airport.

Lost ticket charges are reimbursed if a lost ticket charge receipt and travel itinerary are provided, showing travelers had a vehicle parked in the airport lot for less than seven days.

"Records indicate there has been an increase in lost ticket transactions and staff feel many of these transactions are from customers who have been in the parking lot longer than the seven days a lost ticket represents," Schenden said. "There are typically 10 to 15 lost ticket transactions per month.

"With the increase in lost ticket transactions, staff have not seen an increase in request for reimbursements, leading to the belief that some customers are taking advantage of the system."

The board also voted to authorize receiving a $2,000 Michigan Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Grant designed to offset in-house costs for annual training excercises required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The grant will reduce Sawyer's $5,300 direct expense by 38 percent.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sky Lounge of Ewing debuts at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

Trentonian Photo/GREGG SLABODA 
Jim Hines (right) owner of the Sky Lounge at Ewing restaurant and bar in the Trenton-Mercer Airport terminal held a grand opening on Tuesday.

EWING — Travelers flying out of the Trenton-Mercer Airport can now pack one less item in their carry-on luggage — food.

County officials gathered on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open The Sky Lounge of Ewing, a new full-service restaurant located steps away from the passenger holding area on the second floor.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to try something different, and with Frontier setting up operations here, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity for my company,” said owner Jim Hines.

The 49-year-old entrepreneur has a long standing relationship with the county and as a caterer. Hines began his career dishing up fine fare over 30 years ago and started Mercer Oaks Catering at the Mercer County Country Club just about 10 years ago.

“It has been such a great experience working with the Parks Department and with the County to open this restaurant,” he continued.

The tavern type eatery, which had a soft opening approximately one month ago, offers a full line of alcoholic beverages and fresh continental cuisine which can be enjoyed seated at the dark oak finished bar while watching the latest news on three flat screened TVs or can be picked and packed to go.

“The food is just terrific I am very impressed,” said Frenchtown Diane Mallon, who enjoyed a seated lunch at the restaurant before boarding her first flight on Frontier to Ft. Lauderdale. “I am so pleasantly surprised, the airport is so convenient, parking was easy and a great restaurant … this sure beats the heck out of flying out of Philadelphia.”

According to the menu, dishes vary in price from $5 to just under $10 and drinks, both hard and soft, are all under $8 a glass.

“This is a great day for the airport,” said County Executive Brian Hughes, who was flanked by several locally elected officials, as he cut the green ribbon officially launching a new small business in Ewing. “We have seen more than 50,000 passengers come through the airport, since Frontier has been flying out of here, and we expect more in the coming months,” continued Hughes.

Although officially called the Trenton-Mercer Airport, the ground of this newly revived transportation jewel is actually in Ewing Township, and since the launch of Frontier Airline’s East Coast operations in January, Ewing’s Mayor has not let an opportunity go by without highlighting this geographical fact.

“I am really happy to see Ewing in the name of the restaurant,” said Mayor Bert Steinmann, “I’m still hoping we can get it into the official name of the airport at some point,” he joked.

The monthly rent for the restaurant, according to Hines, is $3,500. However he believes the restaurant will be successful thanks to the recent surge in arrivals and departures from the regional airport.

“Even when the airport shuts down for construction in the fall, I think workers and construction crew will come by for something to eat,” said Hines.

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Pilot arrested in drug bust says he didn't know what was on board: Lubbock Aero at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (KLBB), Texas

  Michael Paul Gallanter 
(Source: Lubbock County Sheriff's Office)

 Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade 
(Source: Lubbock County Sheriff's Office)

KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade, 31, stood before Federal judge Nancy M Koenig this afternoon to face charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, but officials said no decision was reached.

Authorities say Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade and Michael Gallanter, 48, flew into Lubbock and arrived at Lubbock Aero last Wednesday evening, April 17, around 10 p.m. to refuel their airplane. Law enforcement officials received intelligence that the plane was on its way from Northern California to Atlanta, Georgia and met the plane at Lubbock Aero.

Gallanter rented and was piloting the Piper PA28-181 aircraft, and officials asked him to get out of the plane and show them appropriate paperwork. He did exactly that, but the plane was searched and law enforcement agencies found 98 bundles of marijuana totaling 200 pounds, four bundles of hash totaling 10 pounds and two bundles of hallucinogenic mushrooms totaling three pounds that were hidden in a compartment in the back of the plane. Federal officials were not able to comment on a value of the drugs seized.  

Gallanter told federal officials a guy he met at a coffee shop in California asked him to deliver the cargo to Atlanta and after he agreed, he picked up the duffle bags in the coffee shop parking lot. He said no payment arrangements had been discussed according to the arrest affidavit. 

Both men face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. U.S. Gallanter will have his detention hearing next week.

Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Lubbock Police Department were all involved in the bust and are continuing the investigation. Federal authorities said they could not comment until the two men have been prosecuted. 

RELATED STORY: 200 lbs. of marijuana seized in Lubbock drug bust

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Old clock prompts bomb scare at Kansas Aviation Museum (With Video)

WCH 12 Eyewitness News

4:18 p.m. CDT, April 24, 2013

(WICHITA, Kan.)—

Wichita Police found nothing suspicious after a package was left at the Kansas Aviation Museum.

The call was reported just before 4 p.m. Wednesday. Dispatchers said someone dropped a package at the museum, 3350 S. George Washington Blvd., and left.

Lon Smith, director, said someone left the package at the museum because it was stolen. He said he drove the package out past the museum gate and called 911.

Officers shut down 31st and George Washington while authorities investigated.  The museum was also placed on temporary lock down.

The bomb squad did not determine the package to be dangerous. An official opened it to find an old clock.

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Citing sequestration uncertainties, Army stops officer transfers into flight school at Fort Rucker

The Army is suspending its aviation branch transfer panels indefinitely, a move that stops officers from transferring into helicopter training at Fort Rucker.

Army Times is reporting the move was made due to the uncertainties over sequestration, the across-the-board cuts that are slicing some $46 billion from the Department of Defense this fiscal year. Suspending the transfer panels effectively stops new student pilots from starting at the Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, the headquarters for Army aviation.

Fort Rucker is looking at losing some 500 student pilots and 37,000 hours of aviation training due to sequestration cutbacks. Officials said they stopped transfers until it could be determined how many spaces were available.

The transfer panels, which normally meets in April and October, would have considered five officer transfers this session, Army Times reports. Those soldiers come from ROTC units, Officer's Candidate School, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Army said the applications will be reconsidered at a later time.

The move comes just weeks after a visit by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

Odierno toured Rucker's different training facilities, held briefings and met with students from the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College and flight school. He said while Fort Rucker was important to the Army, sequestration's cutbacks reached into all corners.

"If we don't sustain Fort Rucker, we will lose our readiness for our aviation capabilities. If we have to reduce it, we will try to mitigate that as much as we can," he said.

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Airport Authority puts 753 acres in Rockefeller's hands

Deal with New York development company envisions massive warehouses on 753 acres just outside Lehigh Valley International Airport's core property.

By Matt Assad, Of The Morning Call

10:16 p.m. EDT, April 23, 2013

If the Rockefeller Group of New York gets its way, in the next few years hundreds of acres of farmland around Lehigh Valley International Airport will spout industrial complexes, offices and some of the largest warehouses in the region.

And if Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority officials get their way, the money Rockefeller pays for the 753 acres of farmland will dig the airport out from under its crushing debt.

The authority Tuesday approved a Rockefeller conceptual plan that envisions 10 huge warehouses and distribution centers — some of them larger than the massive Nestle distribution center on Interstate 78 — and more than a dozen smaller buildings.

The plan, more than a year in the making, is designed to help the airport pay off the remaining $14 million of a $26 million court judgment against it for taking a developer's land in the early 1990s. But while the deal has the potential to virtually erase the court debt, there's a chance the payoff will come too late.

Under Rockefeller's deal with the authority, it has five years to get the property developed. The authority has to have the court debt paid by the end of 2015.

Authority officials said the company has interest from a distribution company that wants to develop 200 acres of the land as soon as possible. A Rockefeller executive declined to comment Tuesday.

"Are we holding our breath and hoping they get this done ahead of schedule? Absolutely," authority Chairman Tony Iannelli said. "But we also recognize that this is our best chance to fix this problem."

Not everyone agrees. Two members of the 15-member board voted against approving the plan. William Berger and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski worry that the authority is putting too many eggs in the New York City real estate developer's basket.

"I'm a little concerned about tying up 750 acres of good land for five years," Berger said.

"We've kicked this can down the road for 16 or 18 months," replied authority member Michael Dowd. "We've been down this road a couple of times."

The authority expects to have enough money to make its debt payments through 2013, but has to come up with a $5 million payment in 2014 and a $6 million payment in 2015.

Rockefeller's plan comes after months of reviewing all property airport officials have deemed nonessential. In its plan, Rockefeller offers a letter of intent to buy and develop 534 acres of farmland straddling Allen and East Allen townships just north of Race Street, and an additional 219 acres just east of Airport Road in Hanover Township, Northampton County, airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. said.

The company also served notice that it has no interest in several smaller properties along Airport Road, or in the 74-acre Braden Airpark in Forks Township, but Everett said the airport will try to find other buyers for those parcels.

In a draft conceptual plan they say could change depending on buyers, Rockefeller officials envision the 534-acre tract as a distribution and warehouse park similar to those along Interstate 78 in Upper Macungie Township. The park just north of LVIA's main terminal would include eight distribution or warehouse buildings, including two of 600,000 square feet, one of 780,000 square feet and another of 1 million square feet that would be larger than the Nestle warehouse along I-78 west of Route 100.

On the 219-acre tract in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Rockefeller's draft conceptual plan calls for warehouses of 415,000 square feet and 1 million square feet, and 14 other lots for office, retail and commercial buildings.

No homes are allowed to be built on any of the land because of its proximity to the airport.

Under the proposed deal, the company has 12 to 24 months to get township planning and zoning, and Federal Aviation Administration approvals. Rockefeller will foot the bill, expected to reach $750,000, for all of that.

Once the land is prepared for development, a new FAA-approved appraisal will be done to determine how much Rockefeller must pay the airport authority. Then the company will have up to three years to lease, sell or develop the land.

It won't be clear how much the property will fetch until federally approved appraisals are done, but a large portion of the same land — roughly 559 acres — was appraised at $8 million to $10 million in 2010.

Everett understands the need to get the money soon, and he's counting on Rockefeller to get some of the land developed well ahead of schedule. He also added that if all of the money doesn't come in time, the authority could borrow money against the future sale to pay the court debt on schedule.

"We are confident that Rockefeller is as motivated to get this done as we are," Everett said. "This is our best hope."

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