Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flight makes emergency landing in A’bad with dead Dutch national

A Dutch national reportedly going to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam from Dubai in an Emirates flight no-EK-392 died in the plane moments before it landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport Saturday afternoon.

Airport officials said the passenger, identified as 40-year-old Alle Jelle De Boer, had reported sick during the flight following which the captain requested the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) at the city airport for an emergency landing around 1:30 pm.

Airport director R K Singh said the flight landed at the airport around 1:34 pm but the passenger was declared dead on arrival.

He said Emirates officials have informed the Netherlands embassy while the body has been sent for postmortem to find out the reason behind the death.

Around 4:30, the flight took off to its destination with other passengers.

When contacted, Emirates officials said, "Emirates flight EK392 from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City made an unscheduled diversion to Ahmedabad due to an on-board medical emergency. Upon arrival in Ahmedabad, the passenger was regrettably pronounced deceased."

They, however, refused to divulge the reason that caused the death and other details about the passenger.


Seaplanes are here but who will fly them?

KOCHI: Aviation companies waiting in the wings to launch seaplane services in Kerala are scouting for pilots across South Asia for want of commanders trained in amphibian operations in the country.

The aviation companies will have to source pilots initially from Maldives and Mauritius. They will be recruited in advance to familiarize them with the weather and the condition of water bodies.

These foreign pilots will then serve as instructors and equip Indian crew to handle the task, aviation experts told TOI.

"We will be getting a pilot along with the seaplane we are bringing from Dubai. But we have already shortlisted three Indian captains, who will be trained in Canada first and then allowed to gain flying experience in the country. They will fly with the foreign instructor as co-pilots during the training period," said Col. Sasikumar of Kairali Aviation.

"It is the dream of any pilot to engage in adventure flights like seaplane operations, and I'm lucky to have been selected for this," said Captain Karan, one of the three pilots shortlisted by Kairali Aviation for seaplane training.

"There has to be advance planning to get seaplane pilots - even if you get captains from abroad it will be tough to get DGCA clearance as the regulator will insist on high levels of experience and familiarity with local conditions," said an official of Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt. Ltd. (MEHAIR), operating seaplanes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 2011.

"Some of the foreign captains whom we had recruited left the assignment after finding it tough to cope with Indian conditions. We got two Indian pilots trained later," he said.

MEHAIR will start seaplane operations in Kerala post-monsoon and the process of getting clearance for the crew is already on.

The pay package of seaplane pilots is also quite high, almost at the same level as that of regular aircraft pilots. The monthly salary is around Rs 5 lakh. Other perks include accommodation, food and transport.

"It makes the operational cost higher as the expense/flight is divided among five or six passengers unlike 100-odd travelling onboard a regular flight," said a MEHAIR official.


Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N7444P: Accident occurred May 11, 2013 at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (KCHO), Charlottesville, Virginia

The Piper PA-24-250 Comanche came to rest upright and intact.

Two people escaped injury Saturday evening after the plane they were flying in, with a student pilot at the helm, crash-landed at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.  

 Airport spokesman Jason Burch said airport and Albemarle County emergency personnel were called to the scene at 4:58 p.m. for a crash involving a single-engine, general aviation airplane.

Despite an apparent malfunction of the landing gear, the blue and white 1961 Piper Comanche came to rest upright and intact, with no significant damage immediately visible from a distance.

In a news release, Virginia State Police identified the pilot as Robert Camp, a student pilot from Raleigh, N.C.

A spokeswoman with the state police said in the release that as the plane was coming in for a landing, "it made contact with the runway too hard," causing its landing gear to retract.

The plane then skidded to a stop on its “belly,” according to the release.

“Anytime you have any sort of alert at the airport, there’s a system in place, so we had several of the local stations here initially,” Burch said.

Melvin Bishop, Albemarle County assistant fire marshal, confirmed that county personnel and equipment responded, but they were released from the scene shortly after their arrival when the situation was declared under control. Albemarle police officers also responded.

“State troopers arrived, as well, and they will conduct an investigation,” Burch said at the airport Saturday. “It’s no different than a bus [crash] on the highway — they have to make sure there’s no foul play.”

The pilot and passenger were traveling from Winchester and had planned to land at the Charlottesville airport.

The incident delayed at least two departing flights, and an arriving flight was diverted to Lynchburg while officials investigated and cleared the runway.

Although the runway was reopened at 7:30 Saturday night, airport officials encouraged passengers to always check with their airline for the latest flight information.

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A single-engine plane resorted to an emergency landing at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Saturday afternoon.

 Passengers in the terminal said an overhead announcement reported the single-engine plane landed on the runway when its landing gear malfunctioned.

There were no reports of injuries to those inside the plane.

All incoming and outgoing flights are grounded until the investigation into the landing is cleared.


 A spokesperson for the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) is reporting a private plane has crashed on the runway.

Two people were on board, but are reported to be okay.

The plane was coming from Winchester to Charlottesville.

The spokesperson is reporting that something unusual happened during the landing, and the plane is now blocking the runway. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

An American Airlines flight to Chicago and a Delta flight to Atlanta are both delayed.

Remaining incoming flights are being diverted. One has been diverted to Lynchburg.

CHO is encouraging passengers to check with airlines about updated flight information.


Augusta air ambulance company will drop tax dispute

Officials for an Augusta air ambulance company say they will no longer dispute a $98,000 bill for property taxes, which was paid last month by the company’s new owners.

Bo Pounds, who sold his interest in AirMed in October to the Texas-based company Med-Trans, said Friday that after speaking with Richmond County Chief Appraiser Alveno Ross he was ready to drop the issue.

“They explained it to me, it was paid, it comes out of our money and I’m satisfied,” Pounds said.

Pounds said that the more than $98,000 in business property taxes will be deducted from $400,000 that he and his partner are still owed by Med-Trans. The overdue tax debt was paid by Med-Trans last month after Richmond County Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick seized one of the company planes at Augusta Regional Airport.

Med-Trans officials had said they paid the debt under protest and were prepared to pursue a refund, but Pounds said that was no longer necessary.

“Actually, I paid for it because I have a $400,000 hold-back on the contract with Med-Trans,” he said, adding that half of the money belonged to former AirMed President Dan Gates.

Pounds said he and Gates will split the bill because he owned two of the four AirMed aircraft that were assessed and taxed as business personal property.

“The helicopters were mine; Dan had the planes,” he said.

The Richmond County tax bill, however, is not the only tax issue.

Tax officials for McDuffie and Columbia counties said AirMed had not paid taxes on aircraft in previous years. Gates said he didn’t think he owed any when the taxes were assessed based on his interpretation of state law.

AirMed still owes a partial bill on Columbia County from 2011. According to Superior Court documents, AirMed has appealed an assessment of $10,422 on a helicopter it kept at its Wheeler Road headquarters.

To pursue the appeal in court, AirMed had to pay 85 percent of the amount owed, which it did, according to Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.

AirMed’s argument in Columbia County is much the same as the one in the Richmond County case – that it was exempt from local taxes because it was licensed as a commercial airline by the Federal Aviation Administration.

That argument doesn’t fly with the state Department of Revenue.

Charles Nazerian, the public utility program manager for the department, said that even if AirMed qualified as a commercial airline under state regulations, it would not be exempt from local taxes.

He said commercial airlines are generally those that have regularly scheduled flights, not air ambulance services.

“We are talking about the kind of airline where you can walk up to a counter and buy a ticket,” he said.

Even those companies pay local taxes, he said. The difference is that the Department of Revenue assesses the aircraft and apportions the value to the counties where it flies.

His office supplied a list of 37 such companies in Georgia that qualify as airlines for tax purposes. AirMed wasn’t on the list.

Nazerian said commercial companies have to file business property tax returns for aircraft in the counties they are based and pay taxes on those planes.

That’s what other licensed air ambulance companies operating in Georgia do. Spot checks with other tax assessors around the state found that other companies – Air Evac LifeTeam, Air Methods and Med-Trans – were in compliance with local tax laws.

Gates said Friday he understands now he was wrong about being exempt from local taxes.

“That was based on what the lawyers told us,” he said.

Wanda Sisson, the business property appraiser for the McDuffie County Tax Assessor’s Office, said she had different problems assessing AirMed’s aircraft when they were hangared in Thomson.

Sisson said company officials contended they didn’t have to pay taxes on their planes in Georgia because they were registered as a Delaware corporation.

“We did an inspection a couple of years ago at the airport and their plane was there,” she said. “Actually, the address they gave me did not exist. We tried and tried to get them to pay and the next thing we knew they were gone.”

Gates and Pounds said they were given bad advice by their attorneys on the tax issue, which is why they had not filed returns in the counties where the planes were hangared.

Pounds said that after learning more about the issues Friday, he and Gates intended to drop the appeal in Columbia County and pay what was owed.

“I told (Gates) he needed to withdraw from that Columbia County thing and just forget about it,” Pounds said.

Gates said the company fired him last week from his position at AirMed after the tax situation came to light.

Reid Vogel, a spokesman for Med-Trans, said the company was not aware of local tax issues when it purchased AirMed last year.

“This is all news to us and is very unsettling,” Vogel said.


Piper PA-44-180T Turbo Seminole, N8390K: Accident occurred May 11, 2013 in Loxahatchee, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA13CA240 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 11, 2013 in Loxahatchee, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180T, registration: N8390K
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, while en route to the destination airport at an altitude of 1,700 feet, a large bird struck the right horizontal stabilizer resulting in substantial damage. The pilot declared an emergency, diverted, and landed the airplane without further incident. 


A small airplane landed safely this afternoon at Palm Beach International Airport after its pilot reported smoke in its cockpit, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said. 

The plane — a Seminole 8390K — landed shortly before 12:30 p.m., said Capt. Albert Borroto, Fire Rescue spokesman.

There were no reports of injuries, Borroto said.

Smyrna Air Center upgrades aircraft for new engines: Smyrna Airport (KMQY), Tennessee

Tony Booker, a mechanic at Smyrna Air Center, modifies the cowling on a Beechcraft King Air C90 aircraft for a new engine Wednesday. 
John A. Gillis/DNJ 


 SMYRNA — For 30 years, Smyrna Air Center has provided services to the general aviation community at Smyrna Airport for everything from fuel sales to office and hangar leases to aircraft sales, maintenance and avionics repair. But the Fixed Base Operator is also the only company int he world with an exclusive contract with General Electric for the installation of engines on King Air aircraft. 

 Curt Drumm, the president of Lakeshore Aviation of Manitowoc, Wis., flew the first King Air airplane that has two brand new H80 General Electric engines in it into Smyrna Airport this past week. The conversion of the aircraft to handle the GE engine, along with modification of the plates to hold new avionics (instrument panels) and propellers was completed by Smyrna Air Center.

Drumm likes the ride.

“I have flown King Airs with the factory Pratt & Whitney enigines,” Drumm said. “The performance difference is huge. Take off distance to altitude, climb performance and the cruise speeds are much better.”

Drumm said a business investor took ownership of the aircraft on Dec. 31 last year. Drumm’s company operates the aircraft, which has a plush new interior, new avionics, new engines and propellers.

“Passengers love it,” Drumm said. “It is smooth, quiet and has a beautiful leather interior,” he said of the eight-seat aircraft and its quieter engines.

Blake Tumbleson, director of sales and marketing for Smyrna Air Center, said that King Air aircraft typically come out of the factory with three propellers blades that are then converted to five blades by Smyrna Air Center.

“With five blades, you can pass the same amount of air at a lower power setting,” he explained. “It saves fuel and it is quieter.”

The new GE engines running in combination with the new propellers increase horsepower from 550 to 800.

“You burn less fuel. You climb to altitude faster (normally in the low to mid 20,000-foot range),” Tumbleson said.

He said the aircraft, which is used by individuals or corporate charter companies, could fly as high as 26,000 feet.

Smyrna Air Center modifies the aircraft’s engine cowling to accommodate the new GE engines.

“If it is not done correctly, it could damage the engine(s),” he explains.

The GE engine is a push button computer start, which Tumbleson said eliminates any risk of damaging the engine. Typical factory engines are hot start engines.

“Each engine has a fuel controller,” Tumbleson said. “Sometimes the fuel controller breaks in flight. With these GE engines, you can continue to run both engines (if a fuel controller breaks).”

Tumbleson said Smyrna Air Center has some of the most experienced employees in its maintenance shop in the country.

“You can have a maintenance shop without being part 145 certified,” he said. “But as a certified avionics shop, we are held to a significantly higher standard by the FAA.”

Another King Air aircraft is going on the market by Smyrna Air Center, complete with brand new GE engines, propellers, avionics and new interior. The interior work: seats, carpet and wood laminate, is contracted out by Smyrna Air Center. Asking price is $1,895,000.

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Science used to test aerial sprayers: Park Rapids Municipal Airport (KPKD), Minnesota

As farmers prepare to plant crops, pilots from across Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin gathered in Park Rapids Wednesday for annual testing of their crop sprayers before the growing season begins.

Nick David, Midwest Regional Agronomist with R.D. Offutt Co. in Park Rapids, brought in pilots to test spraying and make sure their equipment is calibrated correctly. They conducted the testing at the Park Rapids Municipal Airport.

“We require anyone who flies for us to calibrate their planes or helicopters each year,” he said.

Pilots fly over a string that has been stretched over an area of the field at the correct height and speed while spraying water that has been dyed pink.

The string is analyzed in the computer to look at the pattern distribution across the width of the boom.

“We want to make sure it’s consistent across the entire width,” David said.

Water soluble cards are also set out and the droplet size is analyzed.

“The reason we do that is there is an optimum droplet size to reduce drift,” he added.

Department of Agriculture representatives were in Park Rapids to observe the testing, along with industry representatives.

After the testing Wednesday morning, a seminar was held to address topics including aerial application, ways to reduce drift and other new technologies.

M. Vincent Restucci, Director of Procurement and Business Technology with R.D. Offutt Co., distributes the products that are used on fields, including herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.

“We work to figure out the preferred products for each crop,” he said.

The main goal is environmental stewardship and being good neighbors, Restucci added.

“We want to make sure we’re following everything to the T and being good stewards,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to demonstrate responsible use.”

Dennis R. Gardisser, of WRK of Arkansas, LLC, conducted the testing and provided analysis for the pilots.

“It’s really a good way to test for anyone who does aerial application,” he said. “We want to make sure the airplanes are operating exactly the same way. It’s down to a science.”

Computers are used to measure droplet size and then work is done on the planes to make sure everything is in order.

WRK is involved in a number of field research projects and conducts S.A.F.E. calibrations in a number of states and provinces, according to its website. WRK specializes in calibration of spreaders on both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

During Wednesday’s test, 15 airplanes and 10 helicopters were calibrated.

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Airport attorney’s role, bills questioned: Whiteside County Airport (KSQI), Sterling/Rockfalls, Illinois

Click here to see invoices from David Murray, Attorney (who also is a pilot) since April 2011.

ROCK FALLS – Longtime attorney David Murray has represented the Whiteside County Airport for about four decades.

But his role goes beyond the legal realm. He performs bookkeeping tasks, drafts the budget, and prepares the monthly minutes for airport board meetings.

Now, though, some Whiteside County Board members are questioning Murray’s role. They wonder why the airport board needs its own attorney. And they ask why the airport is paying Murray $175 an hour for clerical work such as preparing meeting minutes for airport board meetings.

In the past year, Murray received $16,863 from the county, about what he gets each year.

Murray, who recently moved to Florida and plans to spend half his time there, noted the airport has no employees and has been frugal with taxpayers’ dollars. While in Florida, he takes part in meetings by phone.

“My bills are about $16,000 or $17,000 a year,” Murray said in a phone call from Florida. “They couldn’t hire a secretary for that.”

Murray, 77, joined the law firm now known as Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson in Sterling in 1961. He retired from full-time work about 3 years ago, but remains associated with the firm.

Murray defends his record as an attorney, saying he has never been the target of an ethical complaint or malpractice lawsuit.

He also said the airport has not been sued during his years of service.

Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls, chairman of the County Board’s Finance Committee, said the airport board has no contract with Murray.

“He functions as board secretary. He keeps minutes and other records. And he’s been doing that from his home in Florida,” Truesdell said. “He hasn’t attended at least the last four meetings. He is paid $175 an hour for talking on the phone [at board meetings].”

That arrangement, Truesdell said, is “ a pretty good gig” for Murray.

County Board member Sue Britt, D-Morrison, said the board would like to know more about the attorney’s role.

“We don’t understand,” she said.

‘There’s an art to keeping minutes’

At last month’s County Board meeting, State’s Attorney Trish Joyce answered questions about the airport board and its attorney. She advised members that the airport board has the right to hire an attorney and make its own decisions.

The County Board has powers, too. It drafts the airport’s budget and appoints its board members.

Another semi-autonomous county agency is the Health Department, but it goes to the state’s attorney for legal advice, as do other departments.

Joyce presented a legal opinion to Sauk Valley Media that showed that a health department could have its own attorney, though, unlike with airport boards, state law doesn’t specifically authorize all health departments to hire lawyers.

As for the airport’s budget, Truesdell said the county would take an “extensive” look at it this year, noting it has more than $1 million in cash reserves.

During the average month, Murray spends about four-fifths of an hour drafting minutes, which amounts to $140. A former secretary from Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson helps him with some of the clerical functions, getting $35 an hour. For instance, he said, she polishes up his meeting minutes.

“There’s an art to keeping minutes,” Murray said. “You can get the whole story in the minutes. I’m really proud of the way I take minutes. I don’t like minutes that don’t include much and then you have to seek out five other documents.”

‘I’m now a happy Florida resident’

Earlier this year, Murray announced that he was an official Florida resident. He sent a letter to state House Speaker Michael Madigan, blaming the speaker and the Democratic Party for “trash[ing] Illinois so badly that we finally decided to leave.” He accused the Democrats of creating a “financial morass of unfunded pension obligations, unpaid state bills and underfunded public education.”

“I’m now a happy Florida resident but a sad former Illinoisan,” Murray wrote Madigan.

He sent a copy of that letter to Sauk Valley Media – excerpts of which were printed in January.

Truesdell questioned whether the airport board should have an attorney who is a Florida resident. And he noted that Murray expressed pride in being an out-of-state resident.

Jerri Robinson, an airport board member, said she didn’t understand the concerns about Murray.

“We’ve been within budget,” she said. “He [Murray] has a vast knowledge about airports. It would be hard to find someone with that knowledge. His bills have gone down over the years.”

The airport board, she said, wasn’t wrong to have an attorney living in Florida.

“It’s perfectly legal,” she said. “There are all kinds of attorneys who are from somewhere else.”

The airport also has a contract manager, Mike Dowell of M&M Aviation, who has been in that role since 1996.

The airport’s budget is $361,000 this year, more than half of which – $189,000 – comes from the county’s property taxpayers. For a $100,000 house, that amounts to a little less than $7 each year.

A political dimension?

The tensions between the airport board and County Board members may be the result of political differences. The County Board has a Democratic majority, while the airport board leans Republican.

Robinson is chairwoman of the Whiteside County Republican Party, and Murray has contributed to GOP candidates over the years.

Last year, then-County Board Chairman Tony Arduini, D-Rock Falls, reappointed Robinson to another term on the board. But some members resisted, saying the airport was all Republican.

“We just want a couple of Democrats,” Vice Chairman Bill McGinn, D-Sterling, said at the time. “I’m not saying they [airport board members] aren’t doing a good job. We just want some of our people in there. Let’s be fair.”

Robinson was reappointed with a 17-9 vote; most such decisions are unanimous.

After Murray’s announcement of his Florida residency, some people criticized him. One said Murray had been a “hatchet man” hired by local school boards “to go after teachers during negotiations.”

Murray, who also is a pilot, said he continues as the airport attorney because the board wants his services. He said he enjoys working with its members.

“I spend considerably more time on the airport than I bill for,” he said. “I don’t need the money.”


Click here to see invoices from Murray since April 2011.

Nigeria: Commercial Airlines Lose N25 Billion Annually to Illegal Charter Operators

Both scheduled airlines and charter operators with commercial licenses in Nigeria lose over N25 billion annually to illegal operators which use private licensed aircraft to operate for hire and for reward, THISDAY has learnt.

The target of these illegal operators are high net worth individuals, captains of industries and others who would otherwise patronize the business class cabins of domestic airlines or the licensed charter operators.

Over the years these illegal operators dominated air charter services because of poor regulation and enforcement, as it is cheaper for them to operate such services because they do not pay taxes and charges to the regulatory body, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

These operators are not also subjected to the stringent maintenance conditions that NCAA subjects scheduled operators and commercial licensed charter operators to.

In addition, the illegal operators use foreign registered equipment, which helps them to shirk financial and regulatory obligations that locally registered aircraft with commercial license are subjected to.

An airline operator and experienced aviator told THISDAY on Wednesday that looking at the commercial implication of the illegal operations of these private jets would tend to eclipse the more critical implications, which include security and safety.

The operator said without insisting that these private jet operators declare their manifest and without the stringent measures recently introduced in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Policy that these jets could be used to take out and bring in anything into the country.

"When the former Governor of Plateau State jumped bail in London and came to Benin, a private jet was used to pick him to Nigeria. No one asked the pilot who was in the aircraft; he was not asked to declare his manifest. A country that has high rate of violation cannot be taken seriously in global aviation rating."

The operator also said it has to be noted that the charges the commercial airlines pay are different from that of private jet operators and because they use many of them for commercial operations they congest the airspace, increase emissions and increase infrastructural challenge at the airports.

"These private jets without stringent check on their activities have become very good for money laundering. Stolen money is used to acquire most of these jets. Their operation distorts the passenger traffic. They use them to carry the amount of money that they cannot declare on commercial flights...all these monies that are used for bribery are carried in these private jets so there is need that they declare their manifests," the operator said.

The operator also noted that blue chip companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Cadbury and others that operate in this country do not have private jets, and wondered why Nigerians, many of whom cannot explain how they got their money, acquire private jets, insisting that the recent measures introduced by the Federal Government, if enforced, would help to check the violations by these private jet operators.


Interview with Boeing B737 NG type rating students from India: Baltic Aviation Academy

 Published on May 10, 2013

Baltic Aviation Academy:  Interview with Boeing 737 NG type rating students from India. Explore how they became pilots, hear their opinion on current situation of Indian aviation market and advice for pilots-to-be!

Wife of convicted embezzler said she didn’t know; Use of home, property at stake in motions: Foothills Regional Airport (KMRN), Morganton, North Carolina

HICKORY, NC – The wife of former Foothills Regional Airport Manager and convicted embezzler Alex Nelson says she had no idea of her husband’s criminal activity and should have use of property seized until a final determination by the court.

In a response to the federal government’s motion to dismiss her claims to property seized when FBI agents raided the airport in June, Tammy Nelson says there is no connection between her husband’s criminal activity and the property she’s requesting be returned to her. The response asks the court to deny the government’s motion to dismiss her claim.

According to her petition filed in U.S. District Court in February, Tammy S. Nelson claims she solely bought and paid for a Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Corvette, Sun Tracker pontoon boat, the installation of a swimming pool at the home — 4640 Celia Creek Road, which agents also seized — and improvements made to the home, not her husband.

Tammy Nelson said in the document she and Alex had been married a year when she made the purchases and they still had separate accounts. She claims bank records show what account was used to make the purchases. The money used for the purchases and improvements were from her wages, severance package, investment accounts and a 401K retirement fund.

Alex Nelson and former airport operations manager Brad Adkins pleaded guilty in federal court in Asheville on Sept. 14 to embezzling and conspiracy. Alex Nelson also pleaded guilty to money laundering. The two men have not been sentenced in the case and federal officials say an investigation into the matter continues.

In response to the government’s motion to dismiss dated Tuesday, Tammy Nelson’s Attorney Corey B. Atkins in Asheville cites case laws and argues the government hasn’t met its burden to show the connection between the seized property and Alex Nelson’s criminal activity.

The response says the state will have to amend its forfeiture order if Tammy Nelson can show she has a right, title or interest and more of an interest than Alex Nelson in the property the government seized as part of its investigation of her husband.

Tammy Nelson signed the checks that paid for the items seized, the response says.

On Sept. 24, Judge Dennis Howell entered a consent order and judgment of forfeiture that allowed Alex Nelson to sign away any rights he had to the seized property and gave an opportunity for him to admit the property was from his criminal activity. The response argues that Alex Nelson signing away rights to the  property is not a substitute for his spouse or any other interested party.

It goes on to say the most convincing evidence the government has linking the property to Alex Nelson’s criminal activity is his own admission in his plea agreement. The response says Tammy Nelson was an innocent owner who had no knowledge of her husband’s criminal activity.

In addition, the response tells the court it can immediately release the property to Tammy Nelson due to several factors, including her ties to the community through her jobs as a school teacher in Lenoir, as well as her children’s enrollment in the same school. It says she intends to stay in the area and argues not having the vehicles has been a hardship, causing her to have to borrow vehicles. It goes on to say the Celia Creek property is the primary residence for her and her children and to deprive her of the property would put her family in a dire situation.

Tammy Nelson’s response concludes by requesting the court determine her rightful ownership in the seized property, her rights as an innocent owner and that all of the property be returned to her pending the outcome of the procedures.

The government’s motion to dismiss her claim says Tammy Nelson either admits or doesn’t refute the properties were already titled solely to her husband prior to their marriage or the properties were bought during the marriage but intentionally titled solely to him so she could evade alimony obligations of a previous marriage and debtors. Besides, the feds motion says, she hasn’t established her entitlement to legal ownership of the forfeited assets in the case, which are all titled solely to her husband. It says her “spousal interest” in the properties is not a sufficient interest.

Tammy Nelson’s name is not on the deed to the house, neither is she listed on any documents for the pontoon boat, the Ford or Corvette, the government’s motion to dismiss her claim says.

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Airport manager disagrees: Edgar County (KPRG), Paris, Illinois

Edgar County Airport manager Jimmy Wells disagrees with a statement Dan Bruner made during the May 8, 2013, county board meeting.

Bruner, an Edgar County Board member, reported he spoke with Wells following the May 7 airport advisory board meeting and was told by Wells that RSB Aviation has provided all of the required insurance documentation and is current in every obligation to the airport.

Wells denies having such a conversation with Bruner.

“Due to the complications of insurance – he (RSB owner Rusty Bogue) could drop insurance, change companies or a company could drop him – it is impossible for me to say he is compliant,” said Wells.


Cessna 401, N9DM: Accident occurred May 11, 2012 in Chanute, Kansas

 NTSB Identification: CEN12FA290
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 11, 2012 in Chanute, KS
Aircraft: CESSNA 401, registration: N9DM
Injuries: 4 Fatal,1 Serious.

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


On May 11, 2012, approximately 1630 central daylight time, a Cessna 401 airplane, N9DM, collided with terrain near Chanute, Kansas. A post crash fire ensued. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. One passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to DRDJ Sales and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated on an instrument flight rules plan. The cross-country flight departed the Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (RVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma, approximately 1545, for the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (CBF), Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The survivor of the accident provided a written statement of the accident. She reported that when the pilot turned on the heater, a “terrible smell” was detected. The pilot told the passengers that the smell was normal for some heaters. When the pilot turned the heater off, dark, black smoke began to enter the airplane, which made it difficult to see. In an attempt to extinguish the fire, they poured water bottles in the vents, which had not effect. The pilot quickly descended. During the emergency landing, the pilot attempted to pull up, but the wing tip hit the ground first. The passenger thought the airplane rolled as it hit the ground. Another passenger assisted her in egressing from the airplane, but that survivor later succumbed to his injuries.


The pilot, age 23, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. On June 28, 2011, a first class medical certificate was issued with the restriction “not valid for night flying or by color signal control.” At the time of the pilot’s application for a medical certificate he reported accumulating 600 total hours, with 50 logged in the preceding 6 months. On June 27, 2010, the pilot had applied for his commercial pilot certificate and on that application he reported 392.8 hour of total time. The pilot’s logbook was not located during the course of the investigation.


The multi-engine airplane, N9DM, serial number 401-0123, was manufactured in 1967. It was powered by two turbo-charged, fuel injected, 300-horsepower, TSIO-520-E engines. Each engine drove a metal, 3-blade propeller. According to the airplane’s logbooks, the last annual inspection was accomplished on January 15, 2012, at a Hobbs time of 2,455.5 hours. This inspection had a remark, “heater is inop[erative].” A sales advertisement, dated January 8, 2012, listed the airframe’s total time as 4,819 hours. Including the time the pilot flew for his insurance requirements, the airframe had accumulated at least 4,831 hours.


At 1652, an automated weather reporting facility located at the Chanute-Martin Johnson Airport (KCNU), Chanute, Kansas, 6 nautical miles east of the accident site, reported wind from 180 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, a broken ceiling at 11,000 feet, temperature 21 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 15 C, and a barometric pressure of 30.07 inches of mercury.


The pilot was under radar and radio contact with Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and at 1606 reported that the airplane was level at 10,000 feet. The pilot requested and was approved to proceed direct to CBF. At 1624, the pilot requested a descent from 10,000 to 8,000 to “get out of the clouds and turbulence,” which was approved. ARTCC then issued a frequency change which was acknowledged by the pilot. The pilot did not make radio contact with the next controller, and there were no further communications with the pilot. In addition, no distress calls were heard by ARTCC controllers or other pilots on either ARTCC frequency.


The accident site was in a line of trees between a grass field and a corn field. The debris path was aligned along a 277 degree magnetic heading. The first impact point was a narrow ground scar consistent with a wing tip strike. Near the impact point was a portion of the right wing tip. About 88 feet down the wreckage path were two ground scars of varying lengths. No other ground scars were found leading to the main wreckage.

The main wreckage came to reset in a tree line about 162 feet from the initial impact scar, in the upright position, facing east. A post-crash fire had consumed a majority of the fuselage. All of the airframe’s flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. However, just outboard of the engine nacelle, the wing was torn and fragmented. The left engine separated from the nacelle and was located behind the left wing. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage and was crushed rearward and folded along its length. The outboard portion of the wing was bent upward and twisted rearward. The right engine had separated from its nacelle and was located 105 feet west of the main wreckage.

The vertical stabilizer was torn and twisted. The rudder was torn and separated from the vertical stabilizer, but remained attached to the fuselage via the control cables. The vertical stabilizer and elevator had separated from the empennage and were beneath the tail portion of the airplane. Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls.

The flaps were set to 15 degrees. The landing gear was in the retracted position. Portions of acrylic glass from the forward wind screens were found east of the wreckage in an area not exposed to the post-crash fire. These portions of acrylic glass contained soot on the cabin side surface. The cockpit gauges were impact and thermally damaged and did not convey reliable information. Both fuel selector valves were examined and found in the OFF position.

The left propeller had separated from the propeller hub and was found near the right wing. All three blades were relatively straight with one blade bent rearward near its mid-span. All three blades had soil and debris on the blade tips. The right propeller remained attached to the propeller hub. All three blades displayed leading edge polishing and damage near the blade tips. The blades were labeled A, B, and C, for documentation purposes only. Blade A was bent rearward just outboard of the blade root and bent forward near its 2/3 span. Blade B was bent forward towards the cambered side. Blade C was curled towards the cambered side near its mid-span.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot as authorized by the Wilson County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was a result of thermal injuries. The autopsy found no indication of physical or toxicological impairment.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A reading of 12% carbon monoxide was detected in the pilot’s blood. Testing did not detect the presence of cyanide, ethanol, or other tested substances.


Engine runs

Both engines were shipped to Continental Motors Inc., Mobile, Alabama. Under the auspices of the NTSB, the engines were examined and prepped for engine runs. Each engine started and produced rated horsepower. No preimpact anomalies were detected with either engine.

Airplane Heater

The airplane was equipped with a South Wind 8259GL-1 combustion heater, serial number 388, which was last overhauled on February 11, 1994. Airplane logbooks recorded the heater’s installation on October 17, 1996, with a heater Hobbs time of 126.4 hours and Airworthiness Directive (AD) 81-09-09 accomplished. A review of the logbook did not find any additional entries for heater Hobbs time or compliance with AD 81-09-09.

On January 6, 2011, an annual inspection was accomplished and the heater was mistakenly identified as a Janitrol heater. This entry listed the heater as inoperative. A work order, dated February 9, 2011, described work performed on the heater: “Troubleshoot cabin heater. Found that cause of no fuel to fuel pump was due to no electrical power to fuel safety valve. Found stuck airflow switch, cleaned and heater operated normally.” There was not a log book entry that returned the heater to service. In addition, there was no evidence that a pressure decay test was accomplished. The heater Hobbs was destroyed in the accident and the heater’s hours could not be verified.

For insurance purposes, the pilot was required to fly with a certificated flight instructor (CFI) for at least 12 hours to obtain familiarization in the airplane make and model. In a telephone interview with the CFI, he recalled that during a flight on April 25, 2012, the heater’s overheat light illuminated shortly after they activated the heater. The heater shut down and no smoke or fumes were detected by the flight crew, so they continued to their destination. At the destination, the CFI demonstrated to the pilot how to reset the circuit breaker. He stated that they performed the return flight without utilizing the heater. Although they flew at least one additional flight on May 2, the CFI did not know any further information about the heater. The pilot’s father (a retired airline pilot) had flown with the pilot on May 6, in the accident airplane. He did not recall any placard on the heater and the pilot had not mentioned any problems with the heater to his father. Fire damage to the heater switch area prevented an evaluation of any placards.

Cessna’s Model 401 Owner’s Manual states that when the overheat warning light is illuminated, the heater overheat switch has been actuated and the temperature of the air in the heater has exceeded 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the heater switch is actuated, the heater turns off and cannot be restarted until the overheat switch, located in the right forward nose compartment, has been reset. Prior to having the overheat switch reset, the heater should be thoroughly checked to determine the reason for the malfunction.

There is no record of work being accomplished on the accident airplane after the overheat light had illuminated. Neither of the airplane’s home airfield repair shops performed work on the accident airplane. The fixed base operator did not recall seeing any personnel performing work on the airplane in the days preceding the accident.

Cessna’s service manual for the Cessna 401 listed the causes of “heater trips over heat switch” as a defective overheat switch or insufficient vent air and a defective duct limit switch. The corrective action is to replace the overheat switch or replace the duct limit switch and increase the air rate, respectively.

South Wind Heater exam

The heater was examined at Cessna Aircraft Company under the auspices of the NTSB and FAA. The heater displayed signatures of thermal damage. When the igniter housing assembly was removed, thermal damage was noted to the ignition unit and spark plug. The spark plug displayed heavy sooting. The heater’s shroud was removed and the duct limit switch was found to be misaligned. Discoloration on the switch surface suggested a misalignment prior to heat discoloring the metal. The combustion chamber’s interior was heavily sooted and contained several large pieces of carbon deposits and debris. The heater was reassembled with and sealed through the use of a general sealant. Attempts to perform a pressure decay test were unsuccessful. Utilizing a soap and water mixture and pressurization, at least four portions of the combustion chamber displayed signs of leaks. At least three leaks existed on welded joints and one leak around the igniter tip.

Compliance with Airworthiness Directive (AD) 81-09-09

After compliance with AD 81-09-09, the heater is required to be inspected every 250 hours of use and overhauled every 1,000 hours. Unlike comparable combustion heaters, there is no calendar time limits which would require an inspection. If the inspection is not completed or the heater is inoperative, there is no guidance in the AD to disable the heater in a manner that it can no longer be activated in airplane. In contrast, a similar heater’s AD requires a visual inspection every 100 hours or 1 year. That AD also provides steps to disable the heater in a manner that it can no longer be used, if the heater fails inspection or as an alternate compliance to the AD.

 One year ago, a private airplane carrying five people with ties to Oral Roberts University crashed in a cornfield near Chanute, Kan., killing four of them.

In the year since, the badly burned survivor has struggled to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of the crash, and the families of those killed have drawn together to comfort one another in their loss.

"We understand things about each other that nobody else can understand - the feelings of loss, of wanting to pursue our children's legacy," said Cathy Coble, whose son Garrett Coble was among the victims.

"Part of us is missing our sons terribly," she said, "but we made it through this year by being hugely busy pursuing the same kind of lifestyle that Garrett lived, single-mindedly helping people understand the love of Christ."

She said a dozen people - family members and friends - went to Lima, Peru, for 10 days in November to build dorm rooms and a playground at an orphanage that her son had started.

"It was the most wonderful time. We walked in the footsteps of our son. We met the kids he had talked about," she said.

A group of her son's colleagues - university professors from across the nation - will build a water well in June in Nicaragua and dedicate it to him, she said.

The family has founded a congregation in their hometown of Henryetta, one of Garrett Coble's dreams. More than 300 attended the first service on Easter.

These projects have "taken the pain and sorrow and loss and turned it into joy and hope," she said.

Blake Coble, Garrett's brother, said, "Our family is doing incredible. Of course we miss my brother. We miss him every day. But God has blessed our family and given us peace to know that he's in heaven. And he's not really gone. He lives through us."

Staying connected

Cyndi Luth, mother of victim Stephen Luth, moved to Tulsa from Muscatine, Iowa, since the accident to be near her three sons, who live here. She has become a close friend of Cathy Coble's. They meet for lunch about twice a month.

"All of the families have stayed connected," Luth said. "I've heard from everyone this week.

"We have so much in common it's been really easy to grow together and encourage one another.

"We're all on a journey that we didn't choose. We all have in common that grief and sorrow to process.

"The main thing that keeps us all tied together is our faith," she said.

She said ORU has been "just wonderful," as have the people of Muscatine as well as Chanute. She and her husband, Dave, will speak in June at a church in Chanute.

The families got together in February at the annual ORU Alumni Association Weekend.

Hannah Luce, who survived the crash, spoke at that event.

She has not yet granted media interviews, but her father, Ron Luce, said she is making a lot of progress.

He is founder and head of Teen Mania, a ministry that began in Tulsa and conducts large Acquire the Fire youth conferences around the country.

The plane crashed on its way from Tulsa to an Acquire the Fire event in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

"What she went through, what she saw, was like someone in a war," he said this week.

'A grieving process'

Hannah Luce suffered burns over 28 percent of her body in the crash, and was helped from the crash site to a road by Austin Anderson, 27, who died a short time later of burns over 90 percent of his body. He was an ex-Marine with two tours in Iraq.

Ron Luce said his daughter has moved to Chicago, where she plans to attend graduate school, and is writing a book, to be published in October.

"The biggest thing on my heart is the parents who have lost sons," he said.

"We're praying for them, and we want to let them know that we care about them and haven't forgotten them.

"We've had a lot of contact with them - we've met several times. It's been a grieving process for them."

All of them, and his daughter, he said, have had to struggle with the question of how God could allow this to happen.

Debra Sheets, mother of victim Luke Sheets, the pilot of the plane, said the loss of her son has caused the family to grow spiritually.

"We miss Luke with every breath we take. We were very close," she said.

"But when I think about him, I get a happy feeling knowing we will see him again. That's where we get our perfect peace."

"Craig (her husband) and Blake (her son) and I were so proud of Luke in his life, and even in his death. ... He was always an unconfused hero for his generation."

ORU and her church family in Ephraim, Wis., have been "amazing," she said.

"We couldn't have made it without them.

The families have stayed connected through ORU, she said.

Heroism in last moments

The Sheets family met with the other families at the dedication of a memorial to the victims last fall at ORU, and also at the alumni weekend.

Debra Sheets said crash survivor Hannah Luce told them that the airplane cabin had filled with smoke so that they couldn't see out, and Luke Sheets was able to get the plane onto the ground, allowing her to survive.

"He's still a hero in our eyes," Debra Sheets said.

Austin Anderson, the ex-Marine credited with saving Hannah Luce's life before he died, was posthumously awarded the Marine Medal of Honor for Bravery in April, his grandmother, Carrol Ann Anderson, said Friday.

He also received the Citizens Life Saving medal from the Neodesha, Kan., fire department.

"It's been tough, but it's been bittersweet. He definitely left a big hole in our lives," she said.

"Austin was awesome. He was so full of life.

"We were very proud of what he did in his short life," she said.

Austin Anderson's brother and sister are living with her in Ringwood. His mother died of heart problems in March, and his father died in 2000.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not released a cause or a final report on the accident.

A preliminary report last year said the Cessna 401 left Jones Riverside Airport about 3:45 p.m. and crashed at 4:30 p.m. The last radio contact with air traffic controllers was a request from the pilot, Luke Sheets, to descend from 10,000 feet to 8,000 feet.

"The wreckage path's initial impact point was a ground scar consistent with a ground contact by the right wing tip, followed by signatures of additional ground impacts, before the airplane collided with a large tree. A post crash fire ensued," the report states.


NTSB Identification: CEN12FA290
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 11, 2012 in Chanute, KS
Aircraft: CESSNA 401, registration: N9DM
Injuries: 4 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

On May 11, 2012, approximately 1630 central daylight time, a Cessna 401 airplane, N9DM, was substantially damaged upon impact with terrain near Chanute, Kansas. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. One passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated on an instrument flight plan. The cross-country flight departed the Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (RVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma, approximately 1545, for the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (CBF), Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Initial reports indicate that the pilot received air traffic control services and had requested to descend from 10,000 feet mean sea level (msl) to 8,000 feet msl. There were no further radio communications between the pilot and air traffic control, nor were there any distress calls by the pilot.

The accident site was located in a tree line, between a grass field and a corn field. The wreckage path’s initial impact point was a ground scar consistent with a ground contact by the right wing tip, followed by signatures of additional ground impacts, before the airplane collided with a large tree. A post crash fire ensured. All major airplane components were accounted for at the accident scene.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Frontier Airlines will get enthusiastic welcome: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (KCVG), Covington, Kentucky

Frontier Airlines will be welcomed to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport next Friday with full hoopla.

Live TV coverage. Zoo animals. A ribbon-cutting and water cannon salute by the CVG Fire Department. Swag bags for each of the 168 passengers making the fully-booked flight to Denver. All before 6:30 a.m.

Airport officials are making an occasion out of the launch of the first name-brand, low-cost carrier since the late 1990s – even if it is just one daily flight to Denver.

Says Frontier Vice President Scott Gould: “We look forward to exceeding everyone’s expectations in Cincinnati.” 


Schweizer G-164B, N8214S: Accident occurred May 09, 2013 in Biggs, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA223 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 09, 2013 in Biggs, CA
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER AIRCRAFT CORP G-164B, registration: N8214S
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 9, 2013 about 1630 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer, G-164B, N8214S, collided with runway service equipment during the landing roll at the William’s Ag Services airstrip, Biggs, California. The pilot was not injured; the operator of the service equipment was fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to the right wing and fuselage belly area. The aircraft was registered to Clarence E. Williams, and operated by Williams Ag Service under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a post-maintenance repositioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Yuba County Airport, Marysville, California at about 1615.

The pilot reported that he radioed his intention of landing while on the approach to the runway. He was reminded over the radio that maintenance was being done on the south end of the runway. He stated that he scanned the area and saw trucks. The pilot landed about midway down the runway and started ‘S’ turns and saw nothing on the runway. Shortly after the collision the pilot stopped the airplane. He further stated that everything with the flight was normal up until the collision.

According to the property owners, maintenance personnel were repairing potholes on the runway surface when the collision occurred.

BIGGS -- A man who died Thursday after being struck by a taxiing airplane was reportedly hearing-impaired and probably didn't hear the aircraft approaching, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

Texas resident Willie Valdez Suarez, 66, of Houston, was hit while a crop-dusting aircraft was on the ground at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday at a landing strip owned by Williams Ag Service, off Afton Road near Riceton Highway northwest of Biggs, according to the BCSO.

Suarez was hired by a contractor as part of a crew to repave the private landing strip, said Undersheriff Kory Honea.

The unidentified pilot reportedly circled the runway and it appeared to be clear so he went to land, Honea said.

The design of the crop-dusting plane puts its nose at an upward angle when it's on the ground. That requires the pilot to zig-zag down the runway to be able to see ahead, Honea said.

As the unidentified pilot was making a sweeping S-turn, the propeller hit Suarez, who had come back on the runway.

From family members and witnesses, it was learned Suarez was severely hearing-impaired and probably didn't hear the plane coming, according to the BCSO.

The fixed-wing, single-engine turboprop plane is owned by Williams Ag Service.

Suarez was deceased prior to the arrival of first responders, according to the BCSO.

The BCSO, the Federal Aviation Administration and the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health will continue to investigate the case, which is protocol for these types of incidents, Honea said.

Clarence Williams, owner of Williams Ag Service, could not be reached by deadline.

New air service to be unveiled -- Southern Airways to announce flights: Olive Branch, DeSoto County, Mississippi

OLIVE BRANCH -- Southern Airways Express, a new regional air carrier, on Monday will announce its summer schedule to five primarily summer vacation spots, the company's chairman and CEO said Friday.

The carrier will fly out of Olive Branch Airport and another small Memphis area airport that also will be announced Monday, said Stan Little,  who is also a Hernando attorney.

"Beginning in the fall, we will be unveiling a route map of more business-related destinations, all of which are pretty much within a 500-mile radius of DeSoto County and most of which are routes that have been been dropped by the major carrier," he said.

The Monday press conference and reception will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Olive Branch Airport. He said the public is invited and will have an opportunity to board one or two of the aircraft and talk to company leaders and other employees.

The company will use 10-passenger, luxury executive-style turboprop-powered aircraft.

Little said the service will be the first scheduled air service to be operated from DeSoto County.

"Prior to our arrival, the only way you could fly out of DeSoto County was if you owned a plane or chartered an entire plane yourself, which would be several thousand dollars to do," he said.

Little views the new carrier's major competitor as the automobile rather than he "legacy carriers'" that fly out of Memphis International Airport.

"Our goal is to provide passengers with a similar experience to what those of us with a private plane have," he said. "We studied almost every route that has been dropped by the major carrier in Memphis in the last couple of years.

"We came up with ones that we think are high demand, high volume out of this area and that are places where people really want to go and most of the time now they have had to resort to driving."

A company announcement says there will be no parking fees, no baggage fees, plane-side car rental pickup and "no TSA hassles."

Also, Little said, "What we are going to do is provide people an option that is a lot faster than driving. It is a lot faster than what they do on the legacy carrier. It is less expensive than the legacy carrier and in some cases, less expensive than driving."

Little said the carrier plans to provide service at another Mississippi airport in addition to Olive Branch and the small Memphis airport.

Little said check-in time for flights will be 15 minutes before departure.

The company headquarters is  at One Commerce Square in downtown Memphis that is part of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.'s old space.


Petition: Stop the NY Jets' Helipad - Florham Park, New Jersey

The Petition

"We the undersigned ask that the Florham Park Planning Board reject the request by Florham Park Helipad LLC for approval of a helipad to be built on the property designated as Block 1401, Lot 1, as an accessory to the Commercial Athletic Training Facility currently operated by the NY Jets on an adjacent lot (Block 1401, Lot 1.01).

Given that there is a perfectly adequate helipad facility at Morristown Municipal Airport, which is approximately 1 mile away, this request is unwarranted and should be rejected...."

Read more here:

Development Review Board scrutinizes helipad: Dover, Windham County, Vermont

DOVER -- Brady Sullivan LLC applied to the Development Review Board to consider granting its owners permission to use a parcel of their property for helicopters to land and take off.

Dover Zoning Administrator Dave Cerchio had sent the New Hampshire realty company owner a notice of violation on March 22. He believed using the property for landing helicopters is breaking zoning bylaws.

"I guess it’s a mode of transportation for them," said Cerchio. "I guess it’s convenience. We have an airport in town they could certainly land them in."

He told the Reformer that he doesn’t usually ask questions but looks at the zoning bylaw, which he believed had been violated.

Brady Sullivan, who is the land owner and developer of Snow Vidda, had been using that property on the Vidda condominium complex to land his helicopters. When they received a notice of violation from Cerchio, they hired attorney Richard Perra to appeal it.

On May 9, the Dover DRB will hold a hearing to discuss the application and the possibility of allowing the Snow Vidda land owner to use the property as a helipad.

"They had on occasion, three times a year or so, landed on their own property with their own helicopter," said Perra.

He told the Reformer that if the DRB denies their request, they will likely seek permits.

"Except as hereinafter provided, no land development as defined herein may occur unless in  conformity with the regulations herein specified for the district in which it is located," stated Cerchio’s violation notice. "Any use not permitted by this bylaw shall be deemed prohibited, except as provided in Section 490."

On May 2, Perra met with Cerchio to explore options for Brady Sullivan. Nothing was decided and the applicant is "waiting to be heard."

Cerchio told the Reformer that he wasn’t saying the applicant could not do it. But, Sullivan would need to obtain the proper permits to legally have a helipad on the property.

"They said they’re not breaking zoning laws," said Cerchio. "The uses are not provided for. The Planning Commission is saying that out of these 70 uses, there may be others out there ... They may want to put in for a permit."


Need a drink?? New airport bar offers extensive tequila selection: Portland International (KPDX), Oregon


PORTLAND, Ore. – Flight delays maybe just got a bit more tolerable at Portland International Airport.

You might even appreciate that extra time if you end up perusing the menu at Sandovals Tequila Grill, the newest addition to PDX that is being billed as the world’s largest airport tequila bar.

The bar has its grand opening on Thursday.

So what does it take to earn the label of “world’s biggest airport tequila bar?” That would be the 200 types of tequila that owner Danny Sandoval serves.

His bar isn’t intended to be a party spot, but rather more of a history lesson about the spirit. Sandoval has traveled to the agave fields in rural parts of Mexico to hand-pick his favorite tequilas.

He describes himself as a “tequila snob” who has spent 26 years learning about the drink.

“I don’t know what you did in college, but I know the first time I indulged in tequila it wasn’t the right way to do anything,” he joked. Now, he’s trying to teach people that right way.

Some of the prices mean that his bar isn’t exactly a place to throw back shot after shot.

“I’d say be careful when you say you want ‘good’ because the price range is from $6 to $125 dollars for one glass,” Sandoval said.

With such a high-end concept, you may be wondering why Sandoval chose to open at the airport.

“I know, but the support we get is incredible. You’ve got people who are sitting out here who are wonderful, who have nothing better to do,” he explained. “You have a captive audience and they have nothing better to do than to listen to you.”

Don’t expect to just pop in to Sandovals on a random weekend, however. The bar is located behind the TSA checkpoint in the C terminal, meaning you’ll need a plane ticket to drink this tequila. 

Story, photos, video, reaction/comments:

Pratt & Whitney offering buyouts before potential new round of layoffs


There is a possibility of additional layoffs at Pratt & Whitney.

A spokesperson at Pratt & Whitney told Eyewitness News an email went out to salaried employees about a buyout offer.

The letter said there will be a new round of buyouts, which would precede another round of layoffs.

"During the past few years, we have implemented several initiatives targeted at reducing our operating costs while ensuring a strong future for the company, our employees, customers and shareowners," the company said in a statement.

The company said several hundred people may take buyouts, which include a severance package for those employees eligible.

"The program contributes to the company's overall cost reduction initiatives," the company said in a statement. "Efforts like this, allow P&W to remain competitive and position our company for long-term growth."

It's unclear where the cuts would be made.


Signature Flight: Full steam ahead on Google airport despite California Environmental Quality Act suit

Signature Flight Support will not slow its approach despite an environmental lawsuit that seeks to stall work on the company's $82 million private aviation facility at San Jose International Airport.

"For Signature, our development project remains 'full-speed ahead' with a projected groundbreaking in the fall," SFS President Maria Sastre said in a statement on Friday. "We're as committed and excited as ever to work closely with San Jose and its leadership, along with airport management, to ensure our $82 million investment in San Jose comes to fruition."

On Thursday, competitor Atlantic Aviation filed suit against the city of San Jose under the state's California Environmental Quality Act. The company says the city erred by approving the elite jet facility without performing required environmental impact reviews. City Attorney Rick Doyle told me late Thursday the lawsuit is without merit.

Signature Flight Support received approval last month to build 270,000 square feet of hangar space on the airport's west side, most of which would be leased by a company that manages the private aircraft of Google's Eric Schmit, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Atlantic is currently the only fixed-base operator at the airport.

Read more here:

College of Business dean announces suggestion to terminate flight program within aviation management degree

Advisory Management Advisory Board vice chair Allen Thames (center) heads meeting.
 (Contributed by Art Morris, Dothan Regional Airport Director)

The Aviation Management Advisory Board met on May 10 during which Bill Hardgrave, dean of the College of Business, recommended the Aviation Management Program's flight program be outsourced to a private flight school. He also suggested the flight degree program be sunsetted. 

“The private flight school will be affiliated with Auburn, but will be open to the community. This option should provide an opportunity for more people to pursue their dream of flying,” Hardgrave said.

The outsourcing of the flight program and sunsetting of the flight degree means that students will not be able to receive training as professional pilots through Auburn University.

“It will be in partnership with the University. It won’t be a four year Auburn degree,” said Mike Clardy, Director of University Communication Services.

When asked by a member of the board the primary reason for the decision, Hardgrave said t the aviation management program was no longer viable.

“The overall reason is when we look at the program as a stand alone program, it has been in a state of decline for a number of years,” Hardgrave said. “This year, we will graduate six people from that program.”

Allen Thames, AMAB vice chair, refuted the reasoning that Hardgrave gave for recommending to terminate the flight program.

“The fact that we only graduated six students in one particular graduation is actually fiddling with facts. If we looked at a two year average with three graduations a year, then we could probably accept some numbers based on that analysis,” Thames said.

The board meeting was held open to students currently enrolled in the program, parents, professors, alumni and more. Hardgrave’s visit to the board was unscheduled and the news delivered was unexpected, according to AMAB vice chair, Allen Thames.

“We’re of course all in shock,” Thames said. “We did not expect this sort of bombshell without any advanced warning whatsoever.”

The suggestion to terminate the flight program means more for the University and Aviation management students than just the loss of training, however.

“[The program] won’t be accredited with an outsourcing program. You could come to Auburn and fly on a contract, but you wouldn’t have the same reputation we have now because it’s contracted and not affiliated with an aviation program,” said Jason Mohrman, a United Airlines captain.

“If we lose all of this, students will transfer and not come here to fly at all because we would lose our accreditation and all of our industry connections,” Mohrman also said

Mohrman is leading the alumni efforts to rectify the aviation management program, along with Lee Mills, Fed Ex Express First Officer.

The University has recently entered into a gateway program for graduating pilots with jetBlue Airlines.

“It is a program for the aviation students to reach a major airline, in this example jetBlue, as quickly as possible. It also gives students access to a personal mentor from the day they’re accepted into the program,” said Jose Caballero, a jetBlue captain.

Without the flight school, Auburn students will be ineligible for the gateway program.

“The gateway program is a professional pilot program,” Caballero said. “If there’s no flight degree, there’s no program.”

The suggestion to sunset the flight program must be decided upon by the University Senate.

Advocates for the flight program plan to continue to appeal for their cause.

“We’re going to continue to be positive and state the importance of our program,” Mills said. “Then we’re going to take the fight to where ever we need to take the fight to.”

Read more: The Auburn Plainsman - College of Business dean announces suggestion to terminate flight program within aviation management degree