Saturday, May 25, 2013

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, Angel Flight Northeast (Campbell Associataes), N31743: Accident occurred May 24, 2013 in Johnstown, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA253
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 24, 2013 in Johnstown, NY
Aircraft: PIPER PA-34-200T, registration: N31743
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

On May 24, 2013, at 1710 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N31743, operating as Angel Flight 743, was destroyed during an in-flight breakup near Johnstown, New York. The certificated commercial pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the second passenger was missing and presumed fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Laurence G. Hanscom Field Airport (BED), Bedford, Massachusetts, and was destined for Griffiss International Airport (RME), Rome, New York. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The purpose of the volunteer medical transport flight was to return the patient and his spouse from the Boston, Massachusetts area to their home in New York. The flight departed BED about 1604, and climbed to its planned cruise altitude of 8,000 feet. Preliminary air traffic control radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane was established on a northwest heading near Ephratah, New York, when, at 1708, the airplane altered its course to the north-northeast. The airplane continued on this track for approximately one minute before beginning a descending left turn towards the south. The last recorded radar return, at 1709:19, placed the airplane about 1,500 feet northwest of the accident site, at an altitude of 6,700 feet.

The wreckage path measured approximately one mile in length, beginning on the southeast side of the Garoga Reservoir, continuing to the north end of the reservoir, and oriented on a heading of approximately 360 degrees magnetic. The left side of the horizontal stabilator, the vertical stabilizer and rudder, sections of the left wing, and portions of the fuselage skin were located south of the reservoir. The main wreckage, including the majority of the fuselage and cabin area, along with the right wing and engine, came to rest in the reservoir. The left engine was found on the north side of the reservoir.

The main wreckage was recovered from the reservoir on May 28, 2013, and transported to a secure facility for further examination.

The 1653 weather observation at RME, located about 40 miles northwest of the accident site, included winds from 330 degrees magnetic at 8 knots, 10 statute miles visibility in light rain, broken cloud layers at 2,300 and 2,800 feet, overcast clouds at 3,700 feet, temperature 7 degrees C, dew point 4 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of mercury.

Remains of Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II (N31743) that crashed in Ephratah are shown near the crash scene Wednesday. 
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland 
The Garoga Creek reservoir was in the midst of being drained Wednesday in the search for a body from Friday’s plane crash in Ephratah. On Wednesday afternoon, the reservoir had dropped 15 feet since 10 p.m. Tuesday. It was expected to be fully drained by today. 

FULTON COUNTY, N.Y. -- Investigators released the names of the people killed in the plane crash in Fulton County on Friday.  

They said Evelyn Amerosa, 58, and Frank Amerosa, 64, a couple from Utica, were killed, along with the pilot, John Campbell, 70 of Stamford, Connecticut.

The flight was an Angel Flight, a volunteer organization that provides free air travel for people with medical needs.

Searchers have recovered the bodies of John Campbell and Evelyn Amerosa. They are still trying to find Frank Amerosa.

"The rangers are coordinating a search team. We have probably anywhere between 50-60 searchers that are going to be searching today in groups. We do have the state troopers here with their dive team. They have sonar on the pond as we speak,” said Mark Souza, Rockwood Garoga Lassellsville Fire Department Chief.

Divers found the fuselage of the plane in the Garoga reservoir on Friday. It's been moved to a different part of the reservoir to look at it with special sonar equipment.

And Monday, a special recovery team is expected to pull it out of the water completely. 


Ephratah, New York - A cancer patient and his wife lost their lives to a remote Fulton County plane crash Friday afternoon that left behind a vast wreckage site that authorities still combed on Saturday in hopes of finding the aircraft's pilot, who was feared dead.

 Just hours earlier, Terence Kindlon and Dale Thuillez, two high-powered Albany lawyers, had flown the couple aboard a different plane from Rome, Oneida County, to Boston, where the man was receiving treatment.

"It's just crushing," said Kindlon the morning after the crash, his shock still palpable.

Kindlon and Thuillez are volunteer pilots for Angel Flight Northeast, a nonprofit organization that connects pilots with patients in need of non-emergency medical transport.

Angel Flight coordinated the couple's flight to Boston, piloted by Thuillez, as well their return trip to Rome aboard the Piper PA 34 aircraft that tragically went down just after 5 p.m. Friday in the sleepy, 700-person town of Ephratah.

The ill-fated plane departed Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., only a few hours after Kindlon and Thuillez had dropped the couple off at Logan International Airport.

The man, Thuillez said, was a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, a brain cancer, about a year ago. He regularly received an experimental cancer treatment at a Boston hospital. It was the second time Thuillez had been the couple's pilot.

"We saw them five hours before they crashed," said Thuillez, who had only received news of the crash early Saturday.

"It was a happy couple," he recalled. "They were really just great."

Both attorneys declined to identify the couple, deferring to authorities.

The flight to Boston on Friday morning was uneventful – there was heavy rain and low-lying clouds, but it was overall a routine hour-long ride from Central New York to Boston.

On a previous flight, Thuillez said the man sat up front in the co-pilot's seat, getting a kick out of flying in his Pilatus PC-12, a sophisticated single-engine turboprop plane.

On Friday's flight, his old Albany Law School buddy, Kindlon, tagged along, an unofficial co-pilot. Both have volunteered for Angel Flight for years – Thuillez has made over 50 volunteer flights. Angel Flight NE has scheduled more than 60,000 missions since 1996. It has recruited nearly 1,000 volunteer pilots, who are required to have completed at least 500 hours of flight time, among other rigorous conditions, before becoming volunteers.

It is still unclear what caused the return flight, piloted by another volunteer, to go awry. Witnesses said the plane appeared to have engine trouble before it crashed, according to the Fulton County Sheriff's office.

At some point, somehow the plane's fuselage broke apart, leaving fragments scattered across a debris field that authorities said was perhaps as large as one-square mile. The bulk of the plane was found submerged in a large pond.

Joan Dudley, the owner of Granny's Ice Cream Shanty, located near the crash site, heard the small plane begin its emergency descent, even before she saw it.

"It sounded like something was going to drop on top of us," she said Saturday. "It was an airplane that just fell apart in the middle of the sky and then crashed."

As its fuselage began to break apart, she said, the plane began to "roll over and over again," mid-air, until it finally crashed not even a mile from the ice cream stand. The twin-engine aircraft has a 39-foot wingspan and can reach a top speed of 235 mph.

"It was right over my business," she said. "It it had come down any sooner, it probably would have crashed right into the ice cream store."

The bodies of the husband and wife were recovered Friday. Authorities sent in divers to drag the pond, where they believed the pilot's body was likely submerged among the wreckage. The search will resume Sunday, officials said late Saturday night.

The names of the crash victims were not released Saturday afternoon.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the crash, though the NTSB is ultimately charged with determining the probable cause of the accident.


EPHRATAH - Authorities have found the bodies of the pilot and one passenger of a twin-engine plane that crashed in the hamlet of Rockwood on Friday evening, and they continue to search for the body of the second passenger.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said today the fuselage of the plane, which includes the cockpit and passenger compartment, has been found at the bottom of a 30-foot deep reservoir in Ephratah owned by Canadian renewable energy company Brookfield Power, which operates a dam near the crash site.

Lorey said a New York State Police dive team searched the area around the wreckage of the plane but didn't find a third body. He said the dive team has not yet been able to search the interior of the wreck because it has been deemed too dangerous. The dive team was attempting to stabilize and raise the structure using inflatable airbags this evening.

"When we get it to the surface, we will have to search the fuselage completely to see if there is anything in there. We have no idea where the third body is; the debris field is as far as a five miles around the crash," Lorey said. "We won't release anybody's name until we recover the third body."

The airplane was part of Angel Flight Northeast, a division of the Angel Flight not-for-profit flying organization that provides air transportation and volunteer pilots for people with serious medical needs.

Lorey confirmed Saturday that the two passengers of the plane were a married couple from Utica and the pilot was from somewhere in Connecticut. He said one of the Utica residents had been receiving medical treatment near Bedford, Mass., where the plane took off, and the flight was scheduled to land in Rome, New York.


Ephratah — Authorities searched a small reservoir today for the pilot in Friday’s deadly plane crash in the town of Ephratah, but as of noon a body had not been recovered.

Two bodies were recovered Friday evening, but their identities have not been released. The missing pilot is believed to be dead.

The search picked up around 8 a.m. today, with rescue workers primarily focused on the reservoir known locally as the Garoga Dam — by Murray Hill Road in the hamlet of Rockwood. A dive team remained out there into the afternoon, but Town Supervisor Todd Bradt said no one was really sure if that’s where the body would be since the debris field was so spread out.

“This could take all day,” he said early this morning, as a steady rain fell. “They can’t see anything. They don’t know if it’s even in there. They don’t know where it is.”

At around noon, crews were working to extract the fuselage from the dam, which is run by Brookfield Power Corp through National Grid, said Bradt.

About a dozen officials first gathered at the R.G.L. Fire Department on Route 29, before splitting up equipment and personnel between two command centers — one at the Ephratah Town Barn on Route 10 and one at Granny’s Ice Cream Shanty on Route 29 by Royal Mountain Campsite.

Granny’s owner Joan Dudley told The Associated Press that she and her employees were among the first at the scene Friday night.

“We were just leaving to get something to eat, and we heard this noise,” Dudley said.

“We looked up and saw the plane flipping in the air. Then it fell apart,” she said. “Parts and pieces of it were flying through the sky, and a body fell out.”

They called 911 as they parked their car and ran to the crash site in the rain to see if they could rescue anyone.

“Airplane parts were all over the place,” she said. “They were picking them up all over last night.”

The small aircraft — a twin-engine Piper PA 34 — crashed at around 5:10 p.m. Friday across from the ice cream shop in a wooded area south of Route 29 that is bordered on the west by Route 10. Three people were on the plane, which the Federal Aviation Administration said was en route from Bedford, Mass., to Oneida County Airport in Rome.

There is no word yet as to what caused the crash. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause, and could not be reached Saturday.

The plane was flown by a volunteer with Angel Flight, a nonprofit group that provides free air service to financially strapped patients who need diagnosis or non-emergency treatment. They also fly families out to medical facilities, people who are unable to use public transportation because of their medical condition or those who live in remote areas where public transportation is not available, according to the organization’s website.

A sheriff’s patrol car blocked access this morning to a driveway at 3781 Route 10, a private residence across from the town barn and near the reservoir where rescue workers operated ATVs and trucks. At around 9 a.m., most of the search crew had left this command area and moved down the road to access the dam from a private residence across from Granny’s.

Agencies assisting in the search include Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwood-Garoga-Lasselsville Volunteer Fire Co., Montgomery County Emergency Services, New York State Police, New York State Forest Ranger and local volunteers.

Fulton County Sheriff Tom Lorey declined to comment Saturday morning. Three reporters showed up to the R.G.L. Fire Department in Rockwood at 8 a.m., having been told a news conference would be held, but officials at the scene today said no such conference would take place.


EPHRATAH — A crane and divers worked Tuesday to remove the wreckage of a small plane from a Fulton County pond as searchers used dogs to scour the area for a brain cancer patient who was on board the volunteer medical flight that crashed last week.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said equipment and salvage personnel were in place to pull the fuselage out of a pond in Ephratah, an hour west of Albany.

Frank and Evelyn Amerosa of Utica were aboard the Angel Flight on Friday night when the twin-engine aircraft went down, according to police and family members.

Rescue workers have been scouring woods and a big, murky pond where the bulk of the aircraft was submerged. Wreckage from the crash was dispersed over a large area, with pieces of the plane and documents found as far as five miles away.

John Campbell, 70, of Stamford, Conn., was flying the couple back from the Boston area, where Frank Amerosa was being treated for brain cancer, officials and family said.

The bodies of both Campbell and Evelyn Amerosa were recovered from the crash site. Searchers continued to look for the body of 64-year-old Frank Amerosa on Tuesday, authorities said. The retired trucker had been diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago.

Campbell was a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a nonprofit group that arranges free air transportation for the sick. Angel Flight Northeast said it has set up free air transportation and medical care for more than 65,000 children and adults on about 60,000 flights covering more than 12 million miles. It was founded in 1996.

Weiss said salvage workers hoped to have the wreckage out of the pond by the end of the day. He said the fuselage as well as debris collected from surrounding woods and fields will be transported to a secure facility in Delaware to be examined by crash investigators.

The Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II departed from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., and was headed to Rome, N.Y., before it crashed just after 5 p.m. Friday, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The plane did not issue a distress call before losing radar and radio contact, the NTSB said.

Weiss said a preliminary NTSB report on the accident will be issued in about two weeks, with a final report on the probable cause in about 18 months.

Last trip for Orkney flights pilot

Stuart Linklater
26 May 2013

A pilot who has completed the world's shortest scheduled flight more than 12,000 times is taking to the skies over Orkney for the final time.

Stuart Linklater, 59, will make his final trip on the route between Westray and Papa Westray.

Mr Linklater, a senior pilot with Loganair, is retiring from the Orkney inter-isle service after 24 years in the job.

During his time on the inter-isle routes - which also includes flights to Stronsay, Sanday, North Ronaldsay and Eday - the Orkney-based pilot has chalked up more than 1.3 million miles in the single-manned, eight-seater Britten-Norman Islander aircraft used on the service.

The journey is approximately 1.5 miles long and is thought to be a shorter distance than the runway at Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Linklater, who will continue working part-time for Loganair operating aircraft out of Glasgow, said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Orkney inter-isle service and have worked with and carried so many interesting people over the 24 years I've spent piloting the Islander.

"There's nothing quite like the experience of taking the Islander up and I will look back fondly on my years spent flying between the islands over the years. Flying the Islander in some of the most challenging weather conditions in Scotland means I've had my fair share of turbulence over the years, but I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Mr Linklater joined Loganair after gaining his private pilot license in 1982 and his commercial pilot's license in 1988, and has worked with the airline for 25 years, 16 of them as part of the company's then air ambulance service contract. He has flown enough miles to circumnavigate the globe 50 times.

Loganair said he can also lay claim to the record for the amount of times he has flown the world's shortest scheduled flight and holds the record for the time taken to travel between the two islands - 53 seconds.

Loganair president Scott Grier said: "Those of us based at Loganair's headquarters in Glasgow always had peace of mind knowing that Stuart Linklater was very much in control of the specialist flying operations in Orkney, whether North Isles scheduled services, or the many years of ambulance missions."

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MONTANA: Early morning helicopter call protects Missoula winery's grapes

Posted: May 25, 2013 4:42 PM 
Updated: May 25, 2013 5:38 PM
by Bernie Riggs - KPAX News  

MISSOULA - Some residents of the Rattlesnake Valley woke up Saturday wondering who could possibly be mowing their lawn at 5 a.m., before realizing the mysterious noise was from a hovering helicopter overhead.

It turns out the early morning flight was to prevent frost from damaging the grapes at Ten Spoon Winery's vineyard. Co-owner Andy Sponseller called in the helicopter when temperatures dipped to 30 degrees on the valley floor.

The helicopter hovered about 90 feet over the grapes from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., and at that height the temperature was about 44 degrees, a full 14 degrees warmer.

The chopper's blades pushed warmer air down, acting as a giant fan. Sponseller says the five acre vineyard produces about 16 tons of grapes, which equals somewhere between $100,000 and $125,000 worth of wholesale wine.

"The stakes are high enough now that with the amount of mature vines that we have in our vineyard that we really can't afford to take a chance anymore. There's a lot at stake with each and every crop," he explained.

This isn't the first time Tenspoon has used a helicopter. When temperatures dipped last October, a chopper was called in, saving a full harvest of mature grapes.


Tale of ‘Shetlander’ spitfire and pilot uncovered

Published on 26/05/2013 00:43 

The remarkable forgotten tale of a spitfire named “Shetlander” and its brave American ­pilot has been uncovered by an amateur historian.

Margaret Stuart was researching the role of Shetland women in the Second World War when she “stumbled” across the story of how islanders raised more than £250,000 in today’s money to fund the aircraft.

She told Scotland on Sunday she tracked down the sister of the Shetlander’s pilot, Flight Sergeant Walter Wicker, in Chicago. She said he forfeited his American citizenship at the age of 20 and hitchhiked to Canada to join the RAF.

Wicker went on to carry out eight sorties in the Shetlander before being shot down over the English Channel in 1942.

“It is a very humbling story, both on the part played by Shetlanders who raised so much money to fund a Spitfire and Flt Sgt Wicker,” said Stuart, who lives in Walls on the west side of the islands.

She added: “I stumbled on it by accident and it took over my life. I was researching Shetland women in the wartime for an exhibition when I noticed an advertisement on the front page of the Shetland News – on 22 August, 1940, about a Fighter Plane Fund. It caught my attention and I wondered what that was all about.”

As the Battle of Britain was raging and planes were being lost at an alarming rate, a campaign was launched by Lord Beaverbrook, the minister of aircraft supply at the time.

He was appealing to companies and individuals across the British Empire to make donations of £5,000 – around £250,000 nowadays – for the construction of new aircraft.

Stuart said: “The Shetland community were really enthusiastic and supported this campaign to raise enough cash to fund a Spitfire.

“It involved ten weeks of ­intensive fundraising; £5,000 was a huge sum of money in 1940. It was kicked off with two shopkeepers in Lerwick who gave £500 – a huge amount.

“Every week, every donation was acknowledged in the columns of the Shetland News – even if they gave six pence they were there. The amounts were given in districts of the islands. There were more than 7,000 individual donors – an amazing feat. They had collection boxes in shops, dances and the Boys Brigade paraded a model Spitfire through the streets.

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Skydiving accident under investigation: Palatka Municipal Airport/ Lt. Jasper Kennedy "Kay" Larkin Field (28J), Florida

PALATKA, Fla. -- A local skydiver died Saturday afternoon in Palatka.  

According to the Palatka Police Department, it happened at Skydive Palatka located on Reid Street.

Investigators said 72 year-old Lawrence Leroy Elmore from Keystone Heights went for a routine jump when people on the ground saw him spinning very fast and noticed his parachute did not open.

Elmore was an experienced skydiver having done more than 6,000 jumps.

"He was a good guy, he used to be a Navy pilot and worked for TWA. He's always given a lot back to the sport," said Art Schaffer, Owner of Skydive Palatka.

It's not the first time Skydive Palatka has had a similar incident. According to Schaffer, two years ago someone also died after he never pulled their parachute.

Action News spoke to a family friend who did not want be identified. According to her, Elmore has been skydiving for more than 25 years and can't believe this happened.

"I have made multiple jumps with Larry and some were a little more reckless than others but that was just Larry's personality," said the family friend.

The Palatka Police Department is still investigating the incident and do not suspect foul play at this time.

Elmore's friends find comfort in knowing he died doing what he loved.

"If you're going to go it's great to be able to go doing what you love and Larry definitely loved skydiving. He lived for it," said the family friend.

Elmore leaves behind two adult children.

PALATKA, Fla. -- One skydiver is dead after an accident during a jump, according to the Palatka Police Department.

The victim is identified by police as 73-year-old Lawrence Leroy Elmore from Keystone Heights.

According to Palatka Skydive, Elmore was a veteran skydiver and had executed over 6,000 jumps.

The circumstances surrounding Elmore's death have not been released.

Investigators have been at the Kay Larkin Municipal Airport, in Palatka, since the incident happened Saturday afternoon.

PALATKA, Fla. -- A man has been killed in a skydiving accident in Palatka.

The man was skydiving with the company Skydive Palatka.

In a statement, Art Shaffer, the owner of Skydive Palatka said:

"Right now we are gathering the information we can and police are investigating. Anything else I can tell you at this point is speculation. We take safety very seriously here."

Airport Reflects on Angel Flights: Westfield-Barnes Regional (KBAF), Westfield/Springfield, Massachusetts

WESTFIELD , Mass. (WGGB) –Angel Flights have been taking off and landing at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport for a number of years. In that time, Manager Brian Barnes has gotten to know some of the pilots who volunteer for the non-profit organization. “We don’t always notice that they’re here unless you see an ambulance or vehicle pull up, you would never know that they’re around. They’re very humble people, they’re very gracious, they give of their time and all their equipment,” he said. 

Which is why he was saddened when he learned that one of their planes that took off from Bedford Friday, crashed in Ephratah, New York, killing 3 people on board.

Angel Flights’ volunteer pilots use their own planes to transport sick people free of charge, to hospitals around the country.

They land at Barnes to take patients to Springfield’s Shriner’s Hospital for Children.

While the
Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the crash, Barnes says planes like the ones Angel Flight uses are still subjected to the same safety regulations as commercial airliners. “They get inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration, people that work on their airplanes have to be certified, and inspected on a regular basis, as do the pilots, they have to go and take biennial reviews.

Starting in 1996 Angel Flights has given more than 65,000 free flights and medical care to both adults and children.

Shriners Hospitals for children in Springfield has utilized Angel Flight for years predominantly to transport patients from Maine to our hospital for treatment. We are very grateful this service exists and appreciate the generosity of the pilots in volunteering their time and covering all costs associated with transporting not only our patients, but others in need of expert medical care as well. It is a wonderful organization with a mission very similar to our own – to help those in need of medical care regardless of their ability to pay.

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Lantana, Florida: Airstrip with old-time charm braces for modern ‘glass and chrome’ upgrade

Saturday, May 25, 2013,  3:24 p.m.

By Jennifer Sorentrue - Palm Beach Post

LANTANA —  For more than six decades, Florida Airmotive has managed Palm Beach County’s general aviation airport, a relatively quiet, homespun facility at the corner of Lantana Road and Congress Avenue.

The main terminal is designed to look like a Florida farmhouse, with wooden benches and model airplanes dangling from the ceiling. The airport’s main security gate is open during business hours, allowing cars to drive onto the airfield. Pilots store boats and cars in their rented hangars. Pets watch as their owners tinker with airplanes.

Founded in 1941 by Owen Gassaway Jr., a fixture in the county’s aviation community, the company is now led by his son. Gassaway died in 2007, and Owen Gassaway III is now responsible for maintaining the small terminal, leasing hangars and selling fuel.

That may be about to change.

Florida Airmotive’s lease with the county expires next year and county managers are seeking bids from companies interested in taking over Palm Beach County Park Airport, the official name of the Lantana facility. Bids are due by June 21.

Under the new lease, the county will require major renovations, including making the operator responsible for building a new terminal and improving security. A major face-lift appears in store for the airport, where 120,000 planes take off and land each year.

The change has worried some pilots and business owners, who fear it will result in higher rents and more stringent regulations and insurance requirements. Many have grown fond of the airport’s old-time charms.

“Those are the things that make this airport unique,” said Paul Pefley, who runs a company specializing in airplane modifications at the airport. “Going into an airport like this is like riding on an airliner in the ’60s. It is nostalgic.”

But Pefley and other business owners say a new operator would also bring needed improvements.

Many hangars need repair. Several can no longer be used to store aircraft.

The airport is in a “state of disrepair,” said Bruce Pelly, county airports director. The changes are meant to improve the buildings and facilities, not to bring new types of aircraft to the field, he said.

“The goal is not to change the character of the airport,” Pelly said. “We aren’t looking to do anything differently. We want to replace what needs to be replaced. We want to make it nicer and more secure.”

Gassaway is skeptical. He said his lease with the county expires in March and that he isn’t planning to bid on the new contract. He did not attend a mandatory meeting this month for companies interested in bidding.

County officials are looking for more “glass and chrome,” Gassaway said. “It is just a different world.”

Mike O’Neill, co-owner of Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller, said the improvements probably will bring new airplanes and more business to the airport. O’Neill said he also looked forward to security upgrades that would prevent semi-trucks and delivery trucks from driving onto the airfield.

“Some of the things have to be cleaned up,” he said.

Others airport users complain about the cost of fuel there. They say it is cheaper to fill up at other airports in the region.

High fuel prices discourage pilots and airplane owners from using businesses based at the airport, said Reese Leach, co-owner of Windward Aviation.

Leach said she is monitoring the county’s bid process. She hasn’t decided whether her business, which operates out of three hangars, will stay at the airport once a new operator takes over.

“If the company makes it so that my business is easier to run, then I say, ‘Come ahead,’ ” Leach said.

But she also would be prepared to leave if the changes become too great.

“It is a wait-and-see thing,” she said.


Mayor wants 'interim' tag removed from two positions: Quincy Regional Airport-Baldwin Field (KUIN), Quincy, Illinois

Posted: May 25, 2013 12:00 AM EST 
Updated: May 25, 2013 1:51 AM EST

By EDWARD HUSAR, Herald-Whig

Marty Stegeman is about to have the "interim" title removed from two jobs he holds with the city of Quincy.

Mayor Kyle Moore said Friday he intends to ask the City Council on Tuesday to name Stegeman as director of the Central Services Department and director of the Quincy Transit Lines.

Stegeman has been interim director of Central Services since February 2012 and interim director of Quincy Transit Lines since January 2010. Moore says it's time for Stegeman to be recognized as full-fledged director of both.

"He's been doing it for two years and done an exceptional job, and I felt it was time to reward Marty for doing such a great job for the city of Quincy," Moore said. "He's a hard worker and a dedicated public servant. He works well with the council, and he's worked well with me -- first as an alderman and during my administration. He puts the people's interests first before his own, and that's the kind of person that we need directing our Central Services and Transit."

Moore's appointment of Stegeman to head both departments must be approved aldermen.

When he started his term as mayor May 6, Moore appointed Stegeman to an additional post as interim director of Quincy Regional Airport -- a job previously held by Jeff Steinkamp, the former city engineer released by Moore. Appointment of interim department heads doesn't need council approval.

Moore said Stegeman will remain as interim airport director until a full-time person is found.

Federal Aviation Administration is telling us it would be beneficial for us to have a full-time person out there. We want to comply with their wishes," he said. "And the airport deserves someone who is full time. I mean, it is important for long-term growth of the airport to have somebody there. It serves not only our residents but it serves as an important tool for our business community." 


Port of Shelton, Washington: Looking for Helicopter Noise “Ammo”




May 21, 2013 by Dedrick Allan, Mason WebTV

The Port of Shelton is looking for “ammunition” relating to noise from helicopter training exercises at Sanderson Field.  On April 2, reported anyone with a complaint about helicopter noise should call the Port and Joint Base Lewis McChord. Since that story, the Port has only received three calls – two positive; one negative. However, Port Commissioner Jay Hupp has received numerous calls; the most recent was Monday night when the helicopters were operating late into the night.

The issue is not with the military. It’s the noise from the night operations that has people upset. Hupp wants the Port to meet with command officials at JBLM before resentment sets in.

Commissioner Dick Taylor is asking those with complaints to call the Port Office, (360) 426-1151 or even one of the commissioners so they have “ammunition” when the meet with JBLM officials.

People can also register their noise complaints online through the Joint Base Lewis McChord website: but also contact the Port of Shelton.

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Robinson R44 Raven II, Lucas Oil Products DBA, N569BC: Fatal accident occurred May 24, 2013 in Cross Timbers, Missouri

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA295 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 24, 2013 in Cross Timbers, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/10/2014
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N569BC
Injuries: 2 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 helicopter pilot was conducting an aerial tour. After the helicopter did not return when it was expected, a search was conducted. The wreckage was located the following day in a sparsely populated and densely wooded area. Signs of impact damage were found on nearby trees. A postimpact fire had consumed the fuselage and most of the empennage. A postaccident examination of the airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A power line was found wrapped around the main rotor drive shaft, and a section of the power line was found resting on the ground leading from the power line pole toward the main wreckage. Before impact, the power line was perpendicular to the helicopter flightpath and suspended about 65 feet above the ground. It is likely that the pilot did not see and avoid the power line and that the helicopter impacted the power line and, subsequently, trees and terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to see and avoid a power line during the low-altitude flight.


On May 24, 2013, about 1800 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N569BC, collided with a powerline near Cross Timbers, Missouri. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Lucas Oil Products, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a corporate flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri, about 1730. 

According to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the pilot's landing zone marshal, the helicopter took off from the speedway to provide an aerial tour for the passenger and did not return when it was expected. A local search was conducted about 2100 to locate the helicopter. The wreckage was discovered from the air about 0130 on the following day in a densely wooded area. 

According to a witness near the accident scene, he observed the helicopter flying overhead and then appeared to land in a field nearby. He stated that as the helicopter was flying overhead, the engine did not sounds normal. However, he is not familiar with helicopter engines and their sounds. Moments later, the helicopter appeared to have lifted off from the ground and then level off. He did not notice anything out of the ordinary at that time. 


The pilot, age 32, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single engine land, airplane multi engine land, rotorcraft helicopter, and airplane instrument. He also held a flight instructor certificate for helicopter and flight instructor for instrument helicopter. He was issued a second class medical certificate issued on June 5, 2012. 

A review of the pilot's logbooks revealed that as of May 19, 2013, he accumulated 1,983.5 total flight hours. Of the 1,983.5 hours, 1,054.5 hours were in the make and model of the accident helicopter, 1,041.4 of which he served as pilot in command. He accumulated 918.8 flight hours in the accident helicopter. 

According to the pilot's ground marshal, when asked about the pilot's flying habits, he reported the pilot liked to be at least 500 feet above any clouds and no lower than 300 feet above ground level when the clouds were not a factor. The pilot would fly at cruise speeds so the passengers could take pictures. 


The four-seat, single main rotor, single-engine helicopter, serial number 11349, was constructed primarily of metal, and manufactured in 2006. The helicopter was powered by a 260-horsepower Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5 engine, serial number L-31379-48A, and with a maximum continuous rating of 245-horsepower.

The helicopter was maintained on an annual inspection plan as well as a 100-hour inspection plan. A review of the helicopter's maintenance logbooks revealed that a 100-hour inspection was completed on the airframe and engine on March 13, 2013, at a total time of 1,219.6 hours. 


The automated weather report from Camdenton Memorial Airport (KH21), which was about 30 miles east of the accident site, reported at 1755: wind 110 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dewpoint 41 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.24 inches of Mercury.


A postaccident on-scene examination of the helicopter was conducted on May 26, 2013, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), inspectors from the FAA, and a technical representative from the airframe manufacturer. The helicopter came to rest in a sparsely populated and densely wooded area of rolling terrain about 7 miles northeast of the Lucas Oil Speedway. A postimpact fire consumed the fuselage and most of the tail boom. The main rotor, tail rotor, and tail rotor gear box separated from the helicopter during the accident sequence. 

The helicopter came to rest in an upright position on a northerly heading. There were signs of impact damage on the nearby trees and the rotor blades, windscreen, and metal fragments were scattered across the wreckage path. The main wreckage and surrounding area received thermal damage. The forward cabin was positioned where the second tree was located; it was mostly consumed by fire and impact damage was evident. The aft cabin area was positioned just behind the tree and was mostly consumed by fire. The area from the vertical firewall to halfway through the tail boom was also consumed by fire. The second half of the tail boom, which contained the registration number decal, received impact and thermal damage. 

A powerline, which exhibited impact damage, was found wrapped around the main rotor and a section of the powerline was found on the ground leading from the powerline pole to the main wreckage. The origin of the powerline was traced back to a powerline pole which would have suspended the line about 65 feet above the ground. 

Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact and thermal damage, but flight control fractures were consistent with overload and thermal damage. All of the associated hardware and rod ends remained attached respectively. All flight control connections were accounted for and secure. 

Rotational scoring was evident between the fixed and rotating swash plate. The main rotor blades were fractured in multiple places and were labeled A and B for identification purposes only. The spar of blade A was separated about 18" from the hub assembly. The spar from blade B was separated about 24" from the hub assembly. Beyond the initial points of separation, the remaining portion of each spar was intact and sustained impact damage. The leading edges of the blades exhibited chord-wise striations in a chatter pattern that was consistent with contacting the metal powerline. 

The tail rotor blades were both separated at the root fittings and received impact damage. The tail rotor blades were labeled A and B for identification purposes only. Blade A was fractured the root fitting and blade B was fractured in multiple places. Both blades exhibited leading edge impact damage.

There was no evidence of abnormal wear or damage on either the upper or lower sheave grooves. The upper sheave exhibited rotational scoring around the entire aft face. The sprag clutch assembly in the upper sheave still operated as designed. Continuity was confirmed from the clutch shaft to the forward flex coupling assembly which was still connected to the main rotor transmission input. The main rotor gear box was fractured in overload just above the case connecting point. The mast and the upper half of the case came to rest beside the main wreckage. The remaining main rotor transmission case was melted. Continuity was confirmed from the main rotor ring gear to the main rotor drive shaft. The hub assembly remained attached and continuity was confirmed at the connection point. 

The entire instrument panel was detached from the cockpit and was found near the main wreckage. The panel sustained impact damage. The ignition switch was found in the left magneto position. The flight instruments provided no useful information. The filaments for each warning light were examined and none of them exhibited stretching that would have indicated they were illuminated at the time of impact. 

The engine received impact and thermal damage. The bottom of the case melted and the crankshaft was clearly visible. The accessories were melted away from the case. Cylinders 1-3-5 were separated from the case. Cylinders 2-4-6 remained attached to the case.

The helicopter was retro-fitted with main and auxiliary bladder fuel tanks. Fuel quantity stickers specific to the bladder tanks were placed on the instrument panel. The bladder tanks received thermal damage and only the caps were recovered. Bladder material was evident around the aluminum fitting on the underside of the tank. The smell of aviation gas was evident underneath the area where the tanks were located. 


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on May 28, 2013, by Southwest Missouri Forensics, Springfield, Missouri. The autopsy reported the cause of death as cerebral anoxia secondary to hypoxemia due to aspiration of blood induced by blunt force trauma to the head and chest. 

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report. The results were negative for all screened substances.

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA295
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 24, 2013 in Cross Tmbers, MO
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N569BC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On May 24, 2013, about 1800 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, impacted trees and terrain near Cross Timbers, Missouri. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Lucas Oil Products, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri, about 1730.

According to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the helicopter departed from the speedway to provide an aerial tour for the passenger. The helicopter did not return when expected and a local search was initiated about 2100. The wreckage was discovered from the air, about 0130 on the following day in a densely wooded area.

A postaccident on-scene examination of the helicopter was conducted on May 26, 2013, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), FAA inspectors, and a technical representative from the helicopter manufacturer. The helicopter came to rest upright in a densely wooded area of rolling terrain about 7 miles northeast of the speedway. A postimpact fire consumed the fuselage and most of the empennage. The main rotor and tail rotor separated from the helicopter.

The impact point and wreckage path were consistent with the helicopter’s westerly flight path over a tree line. A wire, which was originally suspended in the air about 65 feet above the ground, was found wrapped around the main rotor and laying in the woods up to where the main wreckage was located.

Flight control continuity was established for the anti-torque pedals, collective and cyclic. The rotors exhibited signs of rotation.

A Garmin global positioning system (GPS) 500 and a Lowrance Elite-5m Chartplotter were located at the accident site and were retained for further examination.

 Sunday, May 26, 2013:   UPDATE  -- The Hickory County Coroner has officially released the names of the two people killed in a helicopter crash near Cross Timbers on Friday. 

The pilot was 32 year-old William Higgenbotham from Arizona and 21 year-old Catalina Richard from Bolivar. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to arrived at the crash site sometime today. 

Catalina Richard 

The Highway Patrol says two people died in a helicopter crash in Hickory County near Cross Timbers.

Kelly Richard is the older sister to of one of the victims. She says Catalina Richard was a passenger in the helicopter. She was a student at Missouri State and just started working for Lucas Oil, which owned the chopper.

Kelly Richard says her sister and the pilot were supposed to fly around at the company's speedway in Wheatland. Something went wrong and they wound up way off course.

Official word on the victim's names and what caused the crash hasn't been released by federal investigators.

The family has set up a  Facebook page  for details about the funeral.


The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it was two people that died in a helicopter crash in Hickory County near Cross Timbers. 

Kelly Richard is the older sister to of one of the victims. She says it was Catalina Richard who was in that helicopter. Richard was a student at Missouri State and worked for Lucas Oil  who also owned the chopper.

Richard says her sister and the pilot were only to fly around an event put on by Lucas Oil.  When the two didn't return after a half hour, people on the ground alerted authorities

The official word from the National Transportation Safety Board on the victim's names and the cause hasn't been released.   Troopers say the crash is in a heavily wooded area.

The Highway Patrol says
Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to arrive sometime tomorrow.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base (KMTC), Mount Clemens, Michigan: Trees pose risk for aircraft

A sign along Hall Road that alerts drivers that they are approaching the Selfridge runway. 
(The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

Saturday, 05/25/13 03:16 pm

By DON GARDNER,  The Macomb Daily

Hundreds of trees will be removed this fall in Chesterfield Township as part of scheduled maintenance by Selfridge Air National Guard Base to make the north end of its runway safe for aircraft to take off and land.

The work is scheduled to take place this fall to avoid disrupting migratory bird nesting periods. A similar project took place in Harrison Township two years ago around the south end of the runway.

Ironically, the work will come after Chesterfield Township received a Tree City USA designation earlier this year.

According to Capt. Penelope Carroll, the chief public affairs officer at Selfridge, the trees have become flight obstructions in areas identified as flight Clear Zone (CZ) and Accident Potential Zones (APZ).

“The trees are obscuring the safety of aircraft as they go in and out of the north runway,” Carroll said. 

In the most basic terms, a diagonal line can be formed from the runway to the sky and the treetops to determine whether or not trees are a safety hazard. Once that line becomes too steep, the trees become a safety hazard. They impede the safe operation of the flight line by exceeding the glide path limitations. Carroll said the base could just top off the trees, but that would become an eyesore, so removing them altogether was considered the best plan.

Carroll said the land in question encapsulates about 11 acres, with the majority of trees being maple or cottonwood. She said the land is mostly wooded, but a lot of the trees and brush are already dead. While the land is in Chesterfield Township, almost all of the trees are located in Selfridge easements on the east and west borders of the CZ. According to Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock, “three or four trees” on township property will have to be removed. All of them are located behind the township youth center on Sugarbush Road south of 21 Mile Road. The south end of the youth center property backs up to northern portion of the Selfridge CZ. Lovelock said one tree has grown too tall, and the other trees are in the Clear Zone.

According to the 2009 Selfridge Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Report, at each end of the runway is a 3,000 foot by 3,000 foot CZ, some of which is on the base itself, the rest is just north of the base, north of Hall Road. There are two APZs sitting on top of each other further north of the base.

According to Carroll, no private property will be affected, nor will contractors doing the cutting be required to access the cutting zone from private property.

Lovelock said he doesn’t believe the tree removal will cost the township its Tree City USA designation. The township has already planted 35 new trees at Brandenburg Park on Jefferson Avenue and the township historic village, which is adjacent to township government offices.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, a community must reach four standards set by the ADF and the National Association of State Foresters to qualify as a Tree City. Those standards include establishing a tree board or department; approving a tree care ordinance; establishing a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and having an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

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Akron-Canton Regional (KCAK), Akron, Ohio: Airport officials confirm website was hacked Saturday

May 25, 2013

By: Cassandra Nist,

GREEN, Ohio - Akron-Canton Airport officials are reporting that their website was hacked Saturday morning around 8 a.m.

According to Akron Canton Airport officials,, was attacked by a TurkishAjan group.

The same group reportedly hacked into the City of Akron's website last week.

Akron-Canton Airport officials issued the following statement late Saturday morning:

"We are aware of the situation and are actively supporting the authorities in their investigation. We temporarily suspended access to our website while we worked to address the attack and secure information.

As of 10:30 a.m., is operating normally and is secure.

We are working with our web consultants to ascertain how the attack occurred and intend to reassess all of our web security protocols and implement any needed improvements at the appropriate time."

Akron-Canton airport officials stress that anyone who has booked a ticket or is flying from the airport, your information has not been affected by the attack on our website this morning.

Information that was obtained included entries to contests on the airport's website. This included names, emails, cities and phone numbers. No email address passwords or credit card information was on the airport's website.

If you have signed up for an airport contest in the past two years, you should change your email password as a precaution.

If you are flying from the Akron Canton Airport, it's business as usual. Your personal information on your flight iternary has not been accessed or compromised.

Special Agent Vicki Anderson with the FBI confirms they are assisting with the investigation.


Easton, Pennsylvania: Braden Airpark (N43) demise will hurt the future of Lehigh Valley business, vitality

2:09 p.m. EDT, May 25, 2013

Paul Carpenter, The Morning Call
It was a glorious day in the skies above Kutztown, and after releasing its tow cable from a powered airplane, the sailplane whooshed back and forth, sometimes catching an updraft, before returning to Kutztown Airport for a smooth landing in the grass alongside the asphalt runway.

For most of the ride, the pilot let me take the controls, but not for the takeoff or landing, and then he took my daughter, Cindy, for a similar adventure. It is sad that many people do not get to experience such things, and the chance of them doing so in the Lehigh Valley is diminishing.

Kutztown Airport closed down in 2009. It seems there isn't enough money in taking people on sailplane (I prefer the term "glider") rides, nor in the general aviation functions of small powered aircraft at a small community airfield.

The Morning Call reported Friday that Braden Airpark in Forks Township, north of Easton, may be shut down soon. It seems there isn't enough money in it, either, at the moment, and the future doesn't matter.

I'll get back to that, but when I think of small airfields, I think of Bobby Livingston and the way he used to fly — not up in the sky but around velodrome in Trexlertown.

Livingston moved to the Lehigh Valley from Georgia in the 1980s because of the velodrome, and he was soon a fan favorite, winning many of the local professional races with his ripsnorting style. He also won national championships in the hair-raising madison and the kilometer.

In 1988, he was on the U.S. Olympic cycling team, but no medals.

In the meantime, he caught the flying bug and got a private pilot's license in Florida and a commercial glider pilot's license in Kutztown. He was one of those pilots who took other people for those marvelous rides, although it was another pilot who took Cindy and me on our rides. (My wife wimped out.)

At one point, Livingston tried to join the Air Force, but was too old (30). "So I went to chiropractic school … in Seneca Falls, N.Y.," he told me. Once he had his doctorate, along with a master's in acupuncture, he headed back to the Lehigh Valley.

"The reason I came back to this area was that I wanted to be close to both the velodrome and the Kutztown Airport," he said, "and then the airport closed up that year."

Fortunately, his home and office are just west of the velodrome, which is the nation's best recreational cycling area, so he still gets to ride bicycles quite a bit, mainly just for the exercise.

I am one of those who believe strongly that future prosperity depends on general aviation and general aviation facilities. In any region in which air travel is increasingly shifted to major airports — and the hellish congestion and hassles they represent — business is going to suffer.

It's not just about fun sailplane rides in the wild blue yonder; it's about the availability of convenient air travel vs. the strangulation of convenient air travel.

Looking no further into the future than their next budgetary meeting, the members of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, it was reported Friday, made plans to close down Braden Airpark, calling it a "money drain."

Speaking of money drains, the authority itself is in a fiscal funk because it still owes $14 million of a $26 million court judgment because of its previously unwise attempt to grab somebody else's property.

Also, Friday's story said that Braden had been operated by Moyer Aviation, which provided an annual budget of $56,000, but when the authority refused to give Vern Moyer a long-term lease, he took the business — and that $56,000 — to Pocono Mountain Municipal Airport in Monroe County last month.

Tony Iannelli, the chairman of the authority, was quoted as saying the 80-acre Braden facility "doesn't appear viable." He may be right, but it makes one wonder how it got that way.

Along those lines, Iannelli was discussed in another story last month, noting how delighted he was that some of the authority's financial woe may be relieved by the anticipated sale of a 753-acre piece of Lehigh Valley International Airport land, appraised at up to $10 million. "This is very positive news," he was quoted as saying.

Never mind that it cost the public $30 million to buy only a portion of that same land in the first place.

If that is the kind of business acumen displayed by this authority, the chairman of which then celebrates the fact that the public is taking that $20 million drubbing, I'm not sure how much faith we should have in the authority's decisions about closing down Braden Airpark.

The demand for small general aviation facilities indeed may not be robust enough, at the moment, for them to be as profitable as we'd like. But do we want to put all our eggs of the future in the basket of major airports, where small pleasure and business aircraft will get shot down in the hubbub?

Once Braden is gone, it's gone forever, no matter how badly future business communities may need it, no matter how many people with the vitality of a Bobby Livingston may decide to go elsewhere.


Civil Air Patrol to photograph damaged home sites: Up to 12,000 homes damaged, according to some estimates

MOORE, Okla. —"I don’t think we’ve ever had a mission like this one,” said Lt. Col. Dave Roberts of the door-to-door ground team the Civil Air Patrol is performing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The job, which began on Wednesday, is to photograph up to 12,000 home sites damaged by the Oklahoma tornadoes.

“We’ve had boots on the ground and have been right in the middle of it from day one,” said Roberts, Saturday’s CAP incident commander, of CAP’s role in providing photographic assessments of every house damaged by the tornadoes.

Half of the members conducting the mission are cadets 12 to 20 years old, he noted. To date, more than 100 members from the Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas wings have contributed to the aerial and ground team missions. “We’ve got some really sharp people working and they are doing a great job," he said.

CAP’s aerial photo tracks taken for FEMA and the Oklahoma Division of Emergency Management, which documented the depth and width of the damage, were added to Google Earth images from Moore and Oklahoma City to determine where streets had been located and where houses were supposed to be, creating a grid to guide CAP’s pilots.

On the ground, GPS trackers are being used to locate housing sites within 30 feet of their location, allowing CAP to photograph each home site. CAP is taking an average of 500 photos per day, but is planning to triple that number beginning Saturday with the addition of more volunteers and more cameras.

“It really drives home what I’ve seen on the news the last couple of days,” said Capt. Brian Summers of the Oklahoma Wing, a ground team leader for the door-to-door photography. “I feel bad for the people affected by the storms and am amazed at the positive attitude of homeowners. All have said thank you for our support.

“CAP is happy to be able to provide the pictures to allow everybody to see how severe the damage was and to assist FEMA and others in planning for the future and to support the people affected.”

“CAP gets the job done; we don’t have to worry,” said Linda Pryor, emergency management officer with ODEM, which is using the images “to compare which houses were there and which weren’t so FEMA can get recovery money to the homeowners.”

“I am honored to work with such am amazing team,” said Chris Vaughn of FEMA. “Thank you for everything you do. You are really making a difference in the way that we support survivors.”

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Opinion/Letter: Is spraying the cabins of aircraft really necessary?

Saturday, May 25, 2013
Opinion > Letter 

Dear Editor,

Caribbean Airlines’ Guyanese passengers have long expressed concern about the airline’s practice of spraying insecticide within their closed cabins prior to take-off.  Murmurs can be heard as the flight attendant walks the length of the plane’s cabin spraying insecticide. Some passengers are observed trying to cover their noses while others discretely fan away the fumes from themselves and infants.

“What exactly is the content of the aerosol spray?” is usually the meek, polite question asked by passengers. “Why is it that Caribbean Airlines seems to be the only one doing it if it is so necessary? Can it present immediate or latent health concerns? Why are passengers not offered the option to use a surgical mask or eye protector during the spraying exercise?” are some other questions they think aloud.

These are all perfectly valid and reasonable questions to which the travelling public has the right to have answers. Consequently, we call on Caribbean Airlines to provide full disclosure as to the contents and strength of the chemicals they spray within the closed occupied cabins of their planes.

We understand that it may be a USA requirement for airlines to spray their cabins with insecticide when servicing some identified countries. However, my research does not show Guyana to be one of the countries on this list.

Since 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency has not registered any aerosoliz-ed insecticide products for application in the cabin or flight deck of commercial aircraft (per PR 96-3).

When I contacted Caribbean Airlines on this subject, I received the following response:

“Thank you for permitting us the opportunity to address your concerns.

“It must be explained that the spraying of Caribbean Airlines’ aircraft is a mandate of the Trinidad and Tobago Port Health Authority. This requirement must be adhered to by the airline for landing in Trinidad and Tobago and the insecticide utilized is supplied by the same authority. We have been advised that it is non-toxic to humans and hypo allergenic.

“Caribbean Airlines is currently in discussions with the relevant Public Health Officials regarding the discontinuance of this practice, as the airline has implemented alternative measures. We are currently awaiting the necessary approvals and trust that permission would be granted within the near future.

“Mr Van Bowen, we truly appreciate your feedback and the time taken to communicate with us. We look forward to your continued support and to welcoming you onboard when next you fly with us.”

Yours faithfully,
Berkeley Van Bowen

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Shelbyville Municipal (KGEZ), Indiana: Airport sees 20,000 takeoffs, landings a year -- Availability of air travel helps city, county businesses

By Nick Cusack, Shelby News

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 7:07 AM US/eastern

The Shelbyville Municipal Airport is perhaps one of Shelby County's best kept secrets when it comes to economic development.

The airport sits on 500 acres and has two runways, one asphalt and the other grass, tucked into Shelbyville's northwest corner near the National Guard Armory and Interstate 74.

Each year the airport facilitates more than 20,000 flight operations per year -- that is, takeoffs and landings. As a comparison, the Indianapolis International Airport facilitates almost 10 times that.

Those operations are a mix of recreational fliers and corporate fliers, who often arrive in large jets that park beside and tower over the airport's administrative building.

These are the people ultimately responsible for many of the factories, businesses, services and jobs in Shelby County and the surrounding region. For many of those executives, time is money. A small airport near their targets saves hours and days.

"Companies are making decisions on where to travel based on distance from the airport," said one of those corporate jet pilots, Jason Greubel, who was at the airport with his plane on Tuesday.

That unnamed company flies in regularly to meet with clients, he said. The corporate jets saves busy executives hours of large airport delays and driving time.

Greubel and fellow pilot Kent Tipping insist that the jets pay for themselves.

"Our people don't waste a lot of time," Tipping said.

Darrell Schrader, manager of the airport, said the airport played a factor in several businesses locating in Shelby County. He said executives and interests from everything from a truck stop franchise to Indiana Grand Casino come in for business, including several manufacturing companies.

"There are big companies that wouldn't be here if we didn't have this airport," Schrader said. "Some in the general public don't know we're here."

The airport has its origins in the 1930s, and was purchased by Shelbyville in the 1950s.

Since then, corporate jets have brought in executives from companies such as General Electric, who built a factory that has come and gone in the city.

Besides those that fly in and out are those who used to fly in, but changes in the economy and public image have stopped their flights, at least temporarily.

That, and a loss of military planes from the adjacent armory, have hurt the airport in terms of fuel sale.

"It's affected us tremendously," Schrader said.

Despite the economy and a slowdown at the airport, the federal government continues to invest in airport infrastructure. The mile-long, $5.1 million runway at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport was paid for using 90 percent to 95 percent with federal funds.

The government might recognize the economic impact to places such as Shelbyville, but Schrader also argues the cost to the federal government is in some ways more efficient than building highways. A mile of highway, he says, can only get a car a mile.

"You build a mile of runway," he said, "you can go anywhere in the world."


Pilot accused of ferrying illegal immigrants to Chandler, Arizona (DOCUMENT)

May 25, 2013
Perla Trevizo,  Arizona Daily Star

A pilot is accused of using the Bisbee-Douglas International Airport to smuggle illegal immigrants to the Phoenix area.

Border Patrol agents arrested James Bissell and three other U.S. citizens, who haven't been identified, when Bissell was getting ready to load into a single-engine plane three people from Mexico who had crossed the border illegally, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Bissell told authorities two women were paying him to fly late in the evening the one-way trips to Chandler, the complaint said.

He had been flying three times a week with about three to four passengers per flight for a year.

He said the women had paid him $900 for Monday's trip, in addition to another $900 for a prior flight, court documents show.

That would be transporting in one year about 500 people in 156 flights for more than $140,000.

The illegal immigrants told authorities they crossed the border fence and were taken by smugglers to a residence where they were picked up and driven to the airport.

Bissell is charged with alien smuggling and had his first appearance Wednesday in the Tucson federal court before Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald.

Customs officials said it's unusual to find smugglers using planes to transport illegal immigrants.

PDF -- Criminal complaint against James Bissell: