Saturday, June 1, 2013

Towering presence at Nashua Municipal Airport moves on after 22 years: Boire Field (KASH), Nashua, New Hampshire

NASHUA – As longtime colleagues of newly retired Nashua Municipal Airport manager Royce Rankin Jr., Len Cushing and Russ Beeson wouldn’t have thought of missing Rankin’s sendoff social last week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

But if they seemed to heap a few extra thank-yous on Rankin, there’s a good reason: Both would most likely be out of work now, along with five other controllers, if Rankin hadn’t stepped up to vehemently oppose recent threats to close the local control tower.

Nearly 100 friends, family members, and current and former co-workers at the retirement party Thursday agreed: Rankin’s leading role, along with Don Davidson, Airport Commission chairman and former mayor, in heading off the sequestration-related tower closure in April capped most fittingly his 22 years at the helm of Nashua’s storied airfield.

Former Pease Development Authority security director Stephen Bourque is picking up where Rankin left off. Bourque, also a former director of Rochester’s Skyhaven Airport, was hired in April and worked alongside Rankin for a month to familiarize himself with the position.

Rankin’s retirement was announced publicly at the Aldermanic Budget Review Committee meeting Wednesday. The thanks and kudos began there, with several committee members and Mayor Donnalee Lozeau taking turns praising the 64-year-old Air Force veteran before getting down to the business of looking over next year’s airport budget.

Rankin first came to Nashua in 1988, when he was hired by Midwest Air Traffic Control Services to open a new control tower at the growing airstrip. The airport opened in 1934 and was dedicated as Boire Field 11 years later in honor of Navy Air Corps Ensign Paul A. Boire, one of Nashua’s first casualties of World War II.

“I was fresh out of the Air Force,” Rankin said of his 1988 military retirement. “I remember looking around and thinking, ‘Wow, look at all these little planes.’ ”

Three years later, Rankin was named airport manager upon the retirement of the late Ken Howe. The time flew by, Rankin said, probably because his job was more like a favorite hobby.

“So many people tell me they hate their job,” Rankin said. “But I’m lucky – I love mine. It’s easy to go somewhere to do something you love every day. I never thought of it as work.”

That kind of workplace demeanor seemed to work both ways for Rankin, who from all accounts was as appreciated in his position as he was appreciative of it.

“He’s always so easygoing. You do your job well and he’s happy,” said John Marcum, longtime airport maintenance man and retired Nashua Fire Rescue fleet superintendent. “Roy’s a great guy to work for.”

Several local aviation legends, including James Tamposi and retired Nashua District Court Judge Kenneth McLaughlin, were among those celebrating Rankin’s career Thursday.

“I’ve always had an excellent relationship with Roy. We worked very closely for a time on airport construction projects,” said McLaughlin, now a co-owner of Nashua Jet Aviation, which manages and rents out airport hangars.

“Never a harsh word was spoken. Roy and I have always had the same goal: to improve services.”

Cushing, meanwhile, recalls the day 22 years ago when he happened to see a Telegraph story announcing the promotion of an old friend to airport manager.

“We’ve known each other since 1971,” Cushing said. “He was one of my first supervisors. When I saw his name in the paper, I was in the flooring business, working across the street from the airport.”

The next day, Cushing said, he walked over to say hi. One thing led to another, and 24 hours later, Cushing was back in the aviation business as a Nashua controller.

He and Beeson, a controller for 11 years, shudder to think what might have been.

“He and Don did a tremendous job of getting a contract signed so we could stay open,” Beeson said.

“That’s right,” Cushing added. “Otherwise, we would have been out of work by now.”

Armand Dufresne, a contractor with whom Rankin did business, remembers prodding Rankin into trying golf.

“He said, ‘Sure, I’ll try it.’ ” After only a few outings, Rankin was taken: “One day he says, ‘I’m 59 years old. Why haven’t I done this before?’ ” Dufresne said to laughs.

Later, Rankin confessed one of his biggest worries about retirement.

“I looked around my office last week and realized I haven’t thrown anything away in 22 years,” he said. “Now I’ve got to spend time going through it all.”

But he’ll also find plenty of time this summer to hang out at his camp at Square Pond in Acton, Maine, to hit the links now and then, and finally to take the extended vacation to the Canadian Maritimes that he and his wife, Cynthia, have talked about for years.

Bourque, meanwhile, said he’s “very much looking forward” to his new role, though he does realize that succeeding Rankin is a tall order.

“For such a little guy, he sure left some pretty big shoes to fill,” Bourque said, sharing a laugh with his predecessor.

Story and Photos:

Braden Airpark (N43), closure would break local pilots' hearts -- Easton, Pennsylvania

Rich Lengel stands with his plane that is kept in a hangar at Braden Airpark. 
Photo Credit:  SUE BEYER,  Express-Times 

By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann | The Express-Times 
 on June 01, 2013 at 3:00 PM

For more than 70 years, amateur pilots and hobbyists have flown from Braden Airpark in Forks Township.

Children learn to fly there. Scouts sleep overnight there.

All of that will disappear if the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority goes ahead with a recommendation to close Northampton County’s only airport and sell its 80 acres.

Plenty of adolescents who learned to fly at Braden are now professional pilots, according to Jody Pysher, a member of Braden-based Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 70.

“It was one of our last outlets to interest kids that could be a lifetime career, pastime or hobby,” Pysher said. “It’s one thing to sit in a classroom to learn. It’s another thing to put your hands on an airplane.”

The Forks Township group has flown small planes and ultralights since the 1950s. Its 50 registered pilots fear the shutdown of the airport will lead to Chapter 70’s demise.

Airport authority members said pilots can move their aircraft to either Queen City Airport in Allentown or Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. Pysher said he doesn’t know if it’ll be worth the trip from his home in Upper Mount Bethel Township to Lehigh County to fly.

“If I have drive to Queen City — an hour — how much will I do it?” he asked. “The authority is not looking at the real importance of the airport community.”

Forks Township supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss, a pilot with Chapter 70, said fuel and hangar rentals will cost more in Lehigh County. It’s unclear how comfortable pilots of ultralights and gliders would feel shifting from a rural field to an international airport.

The airport authority last week postponed a vote on the recommendation by Lehigh Valley International staff to close Braden. The authority has to pay off a $16 million court-ordered debt by 2015 and while authority members are yet to say how much they can get for Braden, several sources said less than $1 million.

Maurice Heller, a pilot with Chapter 70 and a Nazareth Area school board member, estimated $1.4 million in tax dollars went into improvements at Braden Airpark so state police could refuel emergency helicopters.

"If Braden is closed and sold, those improvements will be bulldozed and the taxpayers’ money squandered," Heller said.

Keeping the airport open, though, would also require $455,000 in immediate building updates and equipment, as well as a $2.2 million capital investment over the next five years, according to airport authority officials.

Lehigh Valley International Airport Executive Director Charles Everett projects a loss from the operation of Braden by year’s end.

“The airport authority does not have the funds available to progress the necessary capital improvements,” Everett said, adding there are no pending offers to purchase Braden Airpark.

The airport had been run by Moyer Aviation, but when the airport authority refused to go beyond a month-to-month lease, Moyer left for Pocono Mountain Municipal Airport. That left a void for youngsters attending Moyer Aero Camp, which taught basic foundations and physics of flying and how to operate an aircraft.

About 300 to 400 youngsters take part in various Young Eagles programs each year, and those events are in jeopardy with the airport’s pending closure. There’s an annual fly-in for pilots. A radio-controlled airplane show draws hundreds of spectators annually, according to Chapter 70 secretary Richard Lengel.

“It would no longer exist at Braden,” Lengel said.

Each September, about 100 local boy scouts camp out under the stars at Braden. Those children would have to go to Lehigh County to fulfill badge requirements instead of in their own back yard, if the airports even allow them.

Lengel would miss the group’s pavilion, where they meet and hold breakfasts for families to eat and watch the planes take off. The area will never be the same, he said.

“We share our interest in aviation with the public,” Lengel said. “So, because the LNAA made a terrible error in operating their business, we must pay for it by losing something we love.”


EAA Chapter 70 is sponsoring free flights for children from ages 8-14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 8 at Braden Airpark on Sullivan Trail. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Story and Photos:

Aviation students check out a plane at Braden Airpark. 
Photo Credit:  Dino Ciliberti 

LETTER: Find a way to keep Braden Airpark open 

By Express-Times Letters to the Editor on June 01, 2013 at 12:58 AM, updated June 01, 2013 at 12:59 AM  

As someone who earned his pilot’s license and purchased a plane through the former Easton Airport (also known as Braden’s), I feel the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has done a disservice to the community by reneging on their promise to keep the airport open.

When the authority took ownership of it from the Braden family, it made a pledge to keep it open, to assist Lehigh Valley International Airport by having an additional place for small general aviation aircraft. 

If the authority had any intentions of selling, it should have made overtures of their intentions with a price from the start, so interested parties could possibility negotiate a deal. But true to form, they chased out the vendor who was operating it. LVIA was never destined to be a full-service  international port of call, complete with customs service. Yet the authority kept moving that way, driving up the cost of airport operations.

Now it is finally dawning on them that their mismanagement is degrading their grand plan, and they can’t meet their obligations to the community. To keep Braden Airpark open, Forks Township should work with any group capable of owning and operating it on a permanent bases, even if it means a temporary bridge mortgage until the financials are in place. 


Story and Comments/Reaction:

How to become a Cebu Pacific pilot

By Alena Mae S. Flores, Manila Standard Today 

Posted on Jun. 02, 2013 at 12:02am

Airline companies are aggressively recruiting new pilots to support their expansion amid the growth of the air transport sector.  One company makes sure these airlines have a pool of skilled pilots to choose from.

The Philippine Academy of Aviation Training built a $50-million facility at Clark Freeport in Pampanga to provide world-class training to pilots, focusing on Airbus aircraft.

PAAT, a joint venture between budget carrier Cebu Pacific and CAE of Canada, the world’s largest manufacturer of flight simulators, established the state-of-the art training center in Clark to help fill the demand for pilots especially trained to fly Airbus commercial planes.

“Competition for new pilots is fierce because air travel is booming especially in Asia. Our mandate is to improve training standards in the Philippines and being part of the CAE network, we are able to leverage its strengths,” says PAAT general manager Raoul Perez.

As global economies expand, air travel is expected to reach unprecedented levels.  Both aircraft manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing forecast a strong demand for new aircraft orders, highly-competent pilots and technicians.

Airbus forecasts demand for new aircraft to reach 10,000 in the next 20 years, fueled by increased orders from Asia-Pacific airlines.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Boeing Pilot and Technical Outlook predicts that some 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 maintenance technicians will be needed by 2031 as global economies, most especially countries in the Asia Pacific region grow.

The Boeing Outlook further states that training programs will have to focus on enabling airline operators to gain advantage of the latest generation of airplanes.

This is where PAAT comes in.  The flight training center offers type-rating, a qualification needed to fly a specific aircraft type as well as recurrency training for the Airbus A320 family.

The PAAT training center, located at C.M. Recto Highway corner P. Kalaw Street, focuses on bringing Airbus standards to training.

It has adopted the standard Airbus training footprint for Early Line Training Jet Familiarization & Multi-Crew Coordination course and A320 initial-type rating. The ELT Jet Fam/MCC is a requirement for the Airbus A320 initial type-rating.

“All our curriculum, training plans are all using the Airbus standards. All our entry requirements follow the Airbus standard including our training materials,” Perez says.

“Our instructors have been standardized by Airbus and have extensive experience in airlines and Airbus training centers abrpad,” he says.

PAAT has two A320 Level-D full flight simulators and an Airbus Procedures Transition Trainer. It has one computer-based training room, six classrooms, 10 briefing rooms, 2 APTT rooms, a pilot lounge and a cafeteria.

The two A320 simulators give pilots a realistic Airbus 320 experience, allowing them to obtain critical knowledge in flying the aircraft used by most commercial airlines.

Perez says unlike other A320 type rating schools, PAAT requires its applicants to have 25 hours of multi-engine flight time for a higher safety standards and competency level among its graduates.

“Our basic minimum requirements for those who want to study in our facility is that first, they should be pilots already. They should have minimum of 200 hours flight time, a commercial pilot license and instrument rating and have multi-engine flight time of 25 hours,” he says.

Perez says PAAT included this requirement so that pilots will be able to easily transition from flying solo in a single engine propeller-driven aircraft (which has a weight of one ton) to flying a twin engine jet-propelled  aircraft (77 tons) with two crews.

“We feel that our graduates would be more prepared because they already experienced multi-engine flying,” he says.

Perez says PAAT graduates also have an advantage of being hired by Cebu Pacific, one of the country’s fastest-growing airlines.  He says Cebu Pacific will be getting its pilots exclusively from PAAT.

“Both local and international airlines know the quality of our graduates because they trained under the CAE brand which is well regarded globally as part of the Airbus CAE cooperation,” he says.

Perez says the investment for the 40-day A320 type-rating training at PAAT would be a wise investment for the future partly because of the strong demand for Airbus pilots.

PAAT graduates gain more experience while training at CAE and are thus prepared for opportunities both here and overseas.


Dealing with Clouds and Airframe Ice in the Descent in a Piper PA46 Aircraft: Master Instructor Dick Rochfort

Ride along with Master Instructor Dick Rochfort on an in-flight demonstration of the techniques and procedures for dealing with clouds and air frame ice in a G500 equipped Piper PA46 Mirage. Dick uses proper call-outs and well documented, disciplined procedures to ensure the safety of this challenging flight. Dick Rochfort is a full-time pilot trainer specializing in the PA46 Matrix, Malibu, Mirage and Meridian aircraft. He also provides pre-purchase valuation, training, corporate service and expert witness services worldwide.

Legacy Flight Museum plans open house, free breakfast: Rexburg, Idaho

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 6:30 am

JOSEPH LAW/ Rexburg Standard Journal

REXBURG — Rather than a full air show as in many past years, the Legacy Flight Museum is holding an open house for the public on June 15 from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.

A free pancake breakfast is planned from 8 a.m. through 11 a.m.

John Bagley, founder of the museum, said the recently acquired aircraft on display will be a Navy twin-engined Grumman S2F Tracker and a Call-Air A-4, which is a short-take-off capable plane. He said in addition people can see the Boeing-Stearman with its new historically correct paint job.

The plane was a World War II trainer.

Founded in 2006 with a donation of the building and some historic aircraft to the City of Rexburg, the museum put on air shows in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

In 2010, the museum supported the Blue Angels air show in Idaho Falls with several planes on display and in 2011 there was a fly-in.

According to Bagley, the costs of putting on a free air show with professional performers depends on sponsors so the museum is working now to raise funds for a full air show in 2014.

“We’re going to do an air show in 2014 and beyond that we’re not making any commitments,” he said.

The Legacy Flight Museum’s collection of flying history is unique because all of the aircraft are in flying condition.

The collection of airplanes, some owned by the city and some by private owners, are on display to show examples of civil and military planes from the 1930s forward, including planes from World War II and other conflicts.

For more information go to the website or call 208-359-5905.


Aviation camp for students set for June: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 7:00 am

Fitchburg Municipal Airport (KFIT) open house on Sunday -- Fitchburg, Massachusetts

By Jack Minch, Sentinel and Enterprise
Posted:   06/01/2013 06:32:23 AM EDT

FITCHBURG -- Fitchburg Municipal Airport is scheduled to open its wings wide to welcome area residents onto the tarmac for its third annual open house from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

The airport wants to attract more than airplane enthusiasts, said Charley Valera, owner of FCA Flight Center.

"We try to get the people to support the airport without feeling pressured to learn to fly," Valera said. "It's not about coming down to take lessons, it's about coming down to see the airport."

Many people already visit the airport to sit at the picnic tables watching planes come and go, Valera said.

Attractions are scheduled to include a tractor tour of the airport's grounds and facilities; aircraft on display, including airplanes, helicopters and ultralights; model airplane displays; and a Fitchburg Fire Department display.

Valera expects to have three or four flight simulators available for visitors to use.

There will be a drawing for introductory flight lessons.

"I think anything that brings the community down to the airport to see how things run is very beneficial, said Airport Manager Scott Ellis.

The goal is to show area residents how the airport runs and if a couple of people get interested in aviation, then so much the better, he said.

A visual explanation is always better than trying to just tell somebody how something works, the former U.S. Air Force transportation and logistics instructor said.

It's difficult to estimate how many people will turn out for the event, Ellis said.

Santa Claus' arrival on a helicopter with a blinking red nose far outdrew expectations at Christmas, he said.

"We were expecting a couple hundred and we got 1,000," Ellis said.

The open house is sponsored by the Fitchburg Pilots Association and most people who fly at the airport are members.

"It should be fun, it should be good," Valera said.


Lake County Airport (KLKV) has new manager -- Lakeview, Oregon

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 12:00 am

By LEE JUILLERAT Herald  and News 


New faces are filling some key jobs in Lake County.

Lake County commissioners recently approved a contract for Tom and Julie Andrews to manage the Lake County Airport.

The Andrewses, who currently have an aviation business in Grants Pass, were hired to oversee airport operations effective today. Lake County Commissioner Ken Kestner said the couple will replace Bert Young, who plans to retire.

Kestner said Tom Andrews is licensed to repair fixed wing aircraft and helicopters and has experience serving planes owned by Lake County pilots.

Under terms of the contract, the two will not be county employees. Their $70,000-a-year contract stipulates the couple will manage and oversee the airport, handle airport promotion and marketing, represent Lake County at airport-related meetings and oversee the county-owned Paisley Airport.

The two-year contract also allows them to relocate their airplane repair and maintenance business to the airport’s main hangar. Kestner said it’s expected that several of Tom Andrews’ current clients will have work done in Lakeview, which, in turn, is expected to allow out-of-area pilots to become more familiar with Lakeview and the county during layovers. Julie Andrews will handle promotional efforts, research airport-related grants and be in charge of airport operations when her husband in unavailable.

As part of the new contract, Kestner said airport coverage is being increased to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Young, who has been paid $25,000 annually, had fewer job requirements and hours. He will remain available to work with the Andrewses during a transition period.

Efforts to hire a new airport director began last summer but the county received no responses.

“We had several very good applicants,” Kestner said of more recent recruitment efforts.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Helicopter and Plane Rides From Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), New Jersey

By Douglas Bergen, Ocean City Patch 
May 30, 2013  

At Thursday's public meeting, City Council voted to award a contract to Liberty Flight School of West Chester, Pennsylvania, to operate helicopter tours from Ocean City Municipal Airport. Liberty will pay the city $1,700 for the first year and $1,734 for the second year. This is the first year for the new visitor attraction, which will operate between June and September. Council also voted to award a contract for the return of Red Baron Air Tours (Aerial Skyventures of Woodbine) with visitor bi-plane rides. 


An aerobatic outing with the Air National Guard Airshow Team: Taking a spin with Lt. Col. John Klatt (With Video)

The Air National Guard Aerobatics Team was joined on Thursday May 30, by Daily Press Assigning Editor Ryan Gilchrest. The team will perform this weekend during the Patriotic Festival. 

6:59 p.m. EDT, May 30, 2013

Editor's note: Daily Press Assigning Editor Ryan Gilchrest took a ride with Lt. Col. John Klatt of the Air National Guard Airshow Team on May 30, 2013. The following is a first-person account of his experience.

Lt. Col. John Klatt made a career out of flying the C-130 and F-16. I'm glad he powered down a bit before taking me for a spin over Hampton Roads.

I arrived at Norfolk International Airport on Thursday morning — along with Daily Press photographers Adrin Snider and Ryan Kelly — and volunteered to let Klatt show me what he could do with a lightweight, two-seat aerobatics machine called an Extra 300L. Klatt oversees the Air National Guard Airshow Team through his company, John Klatt Airshows. He is a member of the Air National Guard and deployed to Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2009, according to a company news release.

His days in the seat of a fighter are likely in the past, he said, but his love of flight lives on. Klatt performs in around 15 air shows each year, he said, and his second event this year is this weekend's Virginia Beach Oceanfront Air Show. You can see the air show for free Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon-3 p.m.

After Snider, Kelly and I signed our lives away in the form of a legal waiver, team operations manager Tim Jarvis gave us a bit of preflight information. We would take off in formation, make a pass by the Peninsula to take a few photos, then head toward the Eastern Shore where Klatt would see just how many flips, spins, loops and slides he could do before I cried uncle. Snider and Kelly, meanwhile, would be stationed nearby — very nearby on a few occasions, as it turned out — in a Beechcraft Bonanza taking photos and video.

Since Klatt planned to perform aerobatic maneuvers, I was required to wear a parachute. Given our expected altitude of "low-enough-to-see-our-own-shadow," I recognized the relative futility of this requirement. Nevertheless, the FAA is not to be trifled with and neither is the pilot-in-command.

Klatt ran through the emergency scenarios. If we had to jump, he'd get rid of the canopy. I'd unbuckle, stand in my seat, leap straight up and pull the D-ring on the way down. He did not say it, but my mind added: "And hopefully you won't be cleaved in two by the tail of the aircraft." The water landing scenario was a bit trickier. We'd end up upside down in the bay, Klatt said, but the carbon fiber aircraft would float so we would have somewhere to sit while we waited for the Coast Guard.

I suspect the emergency chat doubles as a way for Klatt to figure out just how nervous his passenger is about the flight. Bailouts and water landings definitely fall into the category of "prepare for the worst."

Jarvis helped strap me in. I expected to be cramped, but the front seat in the Extra was a comfortable ride even snugged in tight by the shoulder harness. Klatt and I are both a few inches shy of 6 feet. Anyone over 6 feet tall or carrying a large frame might feel differently about the comfort level.

Our three-aircraft flight (another ANG Airshow Team pilot, Jeff Boerboon, flew alongside Kratt) taxied and took off in formation. The side door of the Bonanza, flown by Jarvis, was open so Snider and Kelly could take photos. Both were tethered, just in case they tumbled out the door. On the plus side, our formation was tight enough that they would have been able to put their feet on the Extra and step back in to the Bonanza.

After making a pass along the southern end of the Peninsula we headed toward Fisherman Island, on the north end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, to get down to business.

Klatt checked to see if I was ready for inverted flight. "Go fever" was in play at this point, and I would have said yes even if I wasn't prepared. The Bonanza began to move away, clearing out to allow room for Klatt and Boerboon to show off.

Next thing I know, I'm hanging upside down with a view full of the Chesapeake Bay over my head. It took a few seconds to let go and trust the harness, and once I did the experience was much like hanging upside down from the monkey bars in elementary school. A little pressure and a red face, but a lot of fun as long as you don't stay that way too long.

Klatt took a little jab at me, asking questions after we'd been inverted for about a few seconds. For me to respond, I had to find the button to key the mic (a tiny button on the throttle on the outside of my left knee) then manage to make words come out of my mouth. I choked out something enthusiastic and meant it. My inner 13-year-old was experiencing Christmas morning and the Fourth of July all at once.

The rest of the aerobatic maneuvers felt similar to a smooth roller coaster. I was strapped in tight, so I moved with the aircraft. There was no jerking or sliding sensation that might lead to motion sickness. Klatt performed hammerheads, barrel rolls, wing-overs, tail slides and loops. I was able to prepare for what was coming since he called out each maneuver beforehand to coordinate with Boerboon. Without those hints, I imagine the flight would have been disorienting.

And then, just a few exhilarating minutes later, it was over.


Klatt flipped the Extra over one more time then pushed over slightly and held the aircraft at an inverted upward angle. This has the effect of making it feel as though you are being thrown toward the earth. If the top of my head had a relief valve, it would most certainly have popped as we made a quick pass at the photo plane.

The hop back to Norfolk International was quick and quiet. The three planes touched down in formation, and it was all over but the handshakes.

Klatt will be available in the Air National Guard information booth after each air show performance this weekend. He was adamant about his role in promoting the guard's opportunities and benefits. During his time in the guard, Klatt has flown C-130s in the 133rd Airlift Wing and F-16s in the 148th Fighter Wing. He has participated in both humanitarian and combat missions.

The ANG booth will be located along the Virginia Beach boardwalk throughout the weekend.

Story, Photos, Video:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Canadian Forces ‘Snowbirds’ perform over Niagara Falls, New York

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - All eyes were on the skies over the Mighty Niagara on Wednesday. The Snowbirds from the Canadian Air Force put on an awesome, breath-taking air show. 

 There was definitely more than mist flying in the air over Niagara Falls.

Spectator Donna Scaduto said, "I thought they did a tremendous job. It was kind of scary; they get kind of close and you think they're going to touch and they're such professionals. It's unbelievable how skilled they are."

This precision flying squadron has been performing air shows for 42 years. It's the Canadian version of the Blue Angels and the crowd was delighted.

In some of their maneuvers, the Snowbirds, in perfect formation, fly over a hundred miles an hour with their wing tips just four feet apart.

Spectator Frank Mannarino said, "Wonderful, under this setting, coming down the gorge, it's really is something, especially the formations they fly, four- to five-feet apart. I wouldn't try it."

The Snowbirds perform in more than 50 air shows each year.

Story and Video:

Horizon Airships Docking at Woodbine Municipal Airport (KOBI), New Jersey

WOODBINE - Mayor William Pikolycky is pleased to announce the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) Blimp will be visiting the Woodbine Municipal Airport.

It will dock here on June 1 and June 2, and again from June 22 through June 30.

Their Snoopy blimp will also dock here from June 7 though June 12.

The airship invites onlookers to visit the airport when it is in dock.

“Once again we are glad to host the Blimp at our airport And welcome its counterpart Snoopy, and encourage everyone to come out and see them while they are in dock and as they transit along the coast during the day,” added Mayor Pikolycky.


2nd Annual Helicopter Day at the Aviation Wing: Marietta Museum of History, Georgia

This annual event will showcase helicopters used by law enforcement, emergency medical services and our military in the metro Atlanta area.

The 2nd annual “Helicopter Day at the Aviation Wing” will be held on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History, which is located at the corner of Atlanta Road and South Cobb Drive.

This annual event will showcase helicopters used by law enforcement, emergency medical services and our military in the metro Atlanta area.

Aircraft will be on display for the public to view.

Pilots and crew members will be on hand to talk about the specific vehicles, how they are used and the types of missions they fly. The Fox 5 Storm Chaser SUV is scheduled to be on display.

Blue Ridge Helicopters will be on site selling helicopter rides to Kennesaw Mountain for $40 per person (cash only, please).

Admission to the event is free, but there is a parking fee of $5 per vehicle.

The Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History is a growing collection of aircrafts displayed on a 15 acre campus, conveniently located 4.5 miles west of I-75. This museum’s mission is to highlight the impact the aviation industry has had on local culture.


Wings and Wheels set for June 2: Robertson Field Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut

When Nels Nelson launched his rickety flying machine into the air, little did he visualize how aviation would develop.

Nels was one of the first to fly in Connecticut and the very first to fly in Plainville from a farmer’s field off Unionville Avenue.

Stan Robertson was the next pioneer to believe in the vast possibilities of aviation in Plainville. He developed and opened the field for public use after returning from war in Burma, where he flew rescue missions.

The airfield now boasts a newly resurfaced 3,600 foot runway and will be the site of the second Wings and Wheels event on June 2.

All proceeds from the show go to benefit the Petit Family Foundation and the Plainville Community Food Pantry.

Show cars, antique cars, planes and helicopters of many kinds will be on display—some of which are available for rides for a fee.

Special events, including carnival rides, are planned for the children.

Robertson Airport, the oldest in Connecticut (circa 1911) will be alive with rides, displays, food, and fun.

Adults are admitted for $5. Children 5 to 11 years old are admitted for $2. Children under 5 are admitted free.

For more information, call chairman Scott Saunders at (860) 747-8837 or Mike Turcott at (860) 614-2140.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wings Over Gillespie Air Show Takes Flight this Weekend: Gillespie Field Airport (KSEE), San Diego/El Cajon, California

Bearcats, Hellcats, Wildcats and Corsairs — the skies above and runway below will be filled with excitement and fun this weekend at Gillespie Field in El Cajon when the annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

The air show, which is put on each year at the County airport by Air Group 1, the San Diego chapter of the “Commemorative Air Force,” will feature aerobatic displays, wing-walking, a mock battle with pyrotechnics, military re-enactors, a fun zone for kids, a beer garden for adults — and lots of airplanes and aircraft.

There will also be amusements, rides, educational displays, and food and drink venders.

This year’s event celebrates San Diego’s contribution to aviation during WWII. Attendees can learn about what San Diego was like when it was home to major aviation industries and thousands of pilots.

General admission at the gate is $20 for adults and $15 for children between ages 7 and 14, seniors 65 and older, and active military members. The event is free for children 6 years old and under, and to all WWII veterans, Korean War veterans and Purple Heart recipients. Special two-day passes are also available. Online tickets start at $8 at Air Group 1’s website,

Just some of the aircraft that will be on display in the air and on the ground — many of which were designed and built in San Diego — include: the PBY-Catalina amphibious flying-boat; the Douglas C-53 D-Day Doll paratroop carrier; the Navy version of the famed B-24 bomber, the Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer; “Lady Alice,” a P-51 Mustang; a P-63 Kingcrobra (used by the Soviet Union); and the only Northrup N-9M “Flying Wing.”

Aerobatic performer John Collver returns with “Wardog,” his North American T6-SNJ Texan. And the Silver Wings Wingwalking troupe will make their first appearance at Gillespie at this year’s event.

For more information, go to Air Group 1’s website.


Community Will Play A Role In Future Airport Restaurant: Tacoma Narrows (KTIW), Tacoma, Washington


Through an online campaign, the community can help finance the restaurant project at just $50 a piece, or "square."

When Harmon Brewing says it wants its future restaurant at the Tacoma Narrows Airport to be a community gathering spot, it isn't paying lip service.

It hopes that, literally, the community will have a role in the future Hub restaurant that it has dubbed "Pie on the Fly."

The restaurant's owners - Pat Nagle and Carole Holder - have teamed with a group called Community Sourced Capital to help raise $20,000 in loan money to cover the remodel and other costs associated with opening the airport site, which is expected to employ 25 people.

Instead of a bank, however, the community will be the lender.

Here's how it works:

Nagle and Holder are selling 400 "squares" for the restaurant at $50 apiece. The squares, technically, are small pieces of the larger, $20,000 loan that's needed for the site's facelift.

Through a website, people can buy them to become "squareholders." CSC says it will aggregate the funds generated through the website into a zero-interest loan for the Hub.

The restaurant will make zero-interest payments - based on a preset percentage of revenue - back to the squareholders over two years.

Another perk? "We will also be holding a pre-opening party for all squareholders and providing pizza and beer on us!" Nagle told Patch.

The Hub isn't the first restaurant to benefit from CSC's community financing.  Earlier this year, it helped generate $3,000 for Playback Sports on North Proctor, which designed a new sports sock featuring Tacoma's skyline.

Harmon Brewing Co. launched its campaign earlier this month and, at last count, filled $13,150 of the $20,000 loan thanks to 112 new squareholders in the Tacoma area.

It expects to meet the $20,000 minimum before the fundraising deadline of June 3. If the community is up for it, Harmon Brewing says it is prepared and capable of taking on a loan up to $40,000 to finance the new Hub location, according to CSC.

So the restaurant has eight days to raise the money needed for the Tacoma Narrows Airport site, which is expected to open after the airport conducts its Wings & Wheels Car Show in July.

Nagle, who lives in Gig Harbor, and Holder, who grew up on the Peninsula, are hoping residents with an appetite for a community gathering spot and local business will come to their aid.

To buy a square or learn more about the Harmon's community lending effort, click here.

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Popular Cocoa Beach Air Show may move to Melbourne, Florida


May 29, 2013 7:16 PM 
Written by Rick Neale

The Cocoa Beach Air Show may move southward down the barrier island in October to a new home at Paradise Beach park in beachside Melbourne.

The free, annual aerobatic spectacle has attracted droves of spectators — and hotel guests — to Cocoa Beach’s oceanfront the past four years.

Last September’s air show drew more than 250,000 people, said Bryan Lilley, organizer. Themed “The Year of Extreme Flight,” the event featured an F-22 Raptor, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and other high-performance planes.

However, Lilley said big beach crowds do not necessarily translate into financial success.

Tuesday, he told the Melbourne City Council that his event’s sponsor base needs to grow, and “significant” funding is required from the Brevard County Tourist Development Council.

The TDC earmarked $48,000 to help market last September’s show, said Kalina Subino-Person, director of marketing for the Space Coast Office of Tourism — and no such sponsorships are available right now.

Lilley and Melbourne City Manager Michael McNees will spend the next month seeking sponsorships and strategizing on parking, traffic flow, hotel cooperation and other matters.

City Council will likely hear a report on the air show June 25. McNees said he will recommend to City Council to move forward or “pull the plug.”

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Great New England Wings & Wheels show will bring World War II aircraft and vintage cars to Westover Metropolitan Airport (KCEF), Springfield/Chicopee, Massachusetts

By Cynthia Simison, The Republican
on May 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM, updated May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

CHICOPEE – The Galaxy Community Council, the charitable organization which has assisted the Westover Air Reserve Base’s 439th Airlift Wing and other military-related groups for more than two decades, is planning a new event to at least temporarily fill in the gap left by the absence of a major military air show in the region.

The “first edition” of the Great New England Wings & Wheels show will debut Aug. 24 and 25 at Westover Metropolitan Airport, 255 Padgette St.

Planning for the show came about in the wake of the federal budget sequestration’s effects on military air shows around the nation. This show will take place on the civilian portion of Westover and is not expected to include any active military aircraft.

Organizers say the Wings & Wheels show will “be the best and only opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to see vintage civilian and military aircraft” in the region because of the cancellation of shows like those previously held at Westover and at the Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing in Westfield.

This show will include a display of Air Force Gen. Hap Arnold’s B-25 Mitchell bomber and other World War II aircraft.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the, the Pioneer Valley USO, other military assistance organizations, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield and “the next edition” of the Great New England Air Show at Westover Air Reserve Base.

Along with the static vintage and modern aircraft, there will also be displays of classic cars, from early 1900s vehicles to “modern exotics.”

Music groups, along with food and beverage vendors, will be offered throughout the weekend. Admission will be $10; children under 12 will be admitted free.

The events schedule, prize schedule, musical line-up, gate and registration fees, and additional acts are still to be determined.

Car registration forms will be available online at in the near future. Sponsorships, as well as food and merchandise vendor booths, are available.


Boeing 747-400F, N571UP: Investigations into UPS crash near end - Accident occurred September 03, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has spent the past 33 months investigating the crash of the Boeing 747-400 that claimed the lives of 48-year-old Captain Doug Lampe and First Officer Matthew Bell, 38.

Investigators from the GCAA's Air Accident Investigation Sector worked with representatives from UPS, Boeing, the National Transportation Safety Board (
United States) and the Federal Aviation Administration (United States).

"Over the past years, the GCAA has gained enormous capabilities in handling air accident investigations, and we are very keen to collaborate with other specialised entities to share expertise and enhance the safety of the UAE skies," said Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA.

Representatives of all involved bodies met in the capital at the start of the month to review progress on the report and its findings.

"The GCAA is in the final stages of preparing the air accident final report," said Khalid Al Rais, the investigator in charge. "The workshop aimed to open a constructive dialogue between all parties involved in the investigation, to enhance safety.

"The investigation has involved a significant level of international cooperation that has seen the UAE take a leading role. A number of independent fire tests have been performed, and reconstruction of the aircraft critical systems was undertaken to establish the root cause of the aircraft's failures."

What is currently known to the public is that at 7.12pm on September 3, 2010, UPS Flight 6 reported its Main Deck Fire Warning had gone off. It is believed its cargo of lithium batteries was on fire.

The pilots were in contact with Bahraini air-traffic controllers at the time, who said they could land at Doha, but the pilots chose to return to Dubai instead.

Once in Dubai airspace, it became clear they could not change radio frequency meaning they had to communicate with Dubai air traffic control through their counterparts in Bahrain.

By the time the pilots attempted to land at Dubai International Airport, thick smoke had filled the cockpit and the aircraft overflew the runway at around 4,000ft, then turned right. Five minutes later, emergency services were alerted when the plane crashed inside Nad Al Sheba Military Base, close to the junction of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Road and Al Ain motorway.

The full findings of the crash investigation will be published on July 1, along with numerous safety recommendations set forward by the GCAA to concerned entities.



NTSB Identification: DCA10RA092
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of UNITED PARCEL SERVICE CO
Accident occurred Friday, September 03, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Aircraft: BOEING 747-44AF, registration: N571UP
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

At about 7:45 pm local time (1545 UTC), United Parcel Service (UPS) Flight 6, a Boeing 747-400F (N571UP), crashed while attempting to land at Dubai International Airport (DXB), Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Approximately 45 minutes after takeoff, the crew declared an emergency due to smoke in the cockpit and requested a return to DXB. The two flight crew members were fatally injured. The airplane was being operated as a scheduled cargo flight from Dubai, UAE to Cologne, Germany.

The investigation is being led by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of the operator and state of design and manufacture of the airplane and engines.

All inquiries should be directed to:

General Civil Aviation Authority
Regulations and Investigation Section
P.O. Box 6558
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Stearman reaches final destination

Posted: May 28, 2013 9:10 pm


Mike Rinker has been flying airplanes for nearly 30 years, but the thrill of flying a World War II PT-17 Stearman is an experience he humbly described as “an interesting deal.”

Rinker flew the bright blue and yellow airplane from Everett-Stewart Regional Airport to Everett Boulevard early today and landed it right in front of the Discovery Park of America.

“It’s not the most difficult plane I’ve ever landed, but it’s one of the most difficult,” Rinker told The Messenger early today, before his historic flight.

He described the Stear-man as “elegant” and “state-ly” and said the plane flies “very honest.”

It was an impressive spectacle as the single-engine Stearman rumbled smoothly from out of the bright blue skies onto the black asphalt that served as Rinker’s landing strip.

Everett Boulevard in front of the Discovery Park of America was blocked off for the landing and once on the ground, Rinker maneuvered the plane through the main entrance of Discovery Park of America. It will be hung from the ceiling as part of the facility’s military exhibit.

Nancy Atkins of Union City and Sue Williams of Memphis were among the first spectators to arrive on the parking lot of Second Baptist Church, across the boulevard from Discovery Park. They set up lawn chairs to enjoy today’s historic landing.

“It’s not every day you see a plane landing on the highway,” Ms. Atkins said.

“I’m looking forward to the museum opening,” Ms. Williams added. “I was really surprised they got a plane for the museum.”

They were among a large crowd of spectators lined up along a wire fence as the Stearman made several low passes over Discovery Center in the complex.

Chelsea Sanford, 7, of Union City positioned herself across the boulevard from the main entrance to Discovery Park to witness the plane’s landing.

“I’ve never seen an old-fashioned plane; I’ve never seen a plane ever,” she told The Messenger.

She was there this morning with her father, Byron Sanford, a member of the U.S. Army.

“It’s exciting. It’s not often you get to see a plane landing on the highway,” said Jason Molands of Union City.

He was there with his friend, Jimmy Schmidt, also of Union City, as they got a good view of the Stearman landing.

“I think it’s going to be good for the community...Discovery Park,” Schmidt said.

The Stearman’s high-profile landing at Discovery Park of America today was scheduled to help promote this fall’s grand opening of the multi-million dollar education and entertainment complex. 

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Jet Lands in Hillsboro with Broken Landing Gear

The pilot of a Lear jet managed to get five passengers down to the ground safely with its front landing gear deployed sideways.

Emergency crews lined the Hillsboro airport expecting the worst. 

But after burning over half it's 8,000 pound fuel load and making several low altitude passes, the jet landed safely on the runway. 

The plane was towed away for repairs and investigating. 

What caused the malfunction is still unknown.

4 apply to be commercial carrier for Boone County Airport (KHRO), Harrison, Arkansas

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:45 am 
Harrison Daily  

Four airlines have filed applications with the Department of Transport to provide Essential Air Service for airports located at Harrison, Hot Springs and El Dorado/Camden.

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Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain, N969BD: Accident occurred May 28, 2013 in Page, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR13CA245
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Page, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-350, registration: N969BD
Injuries: 5 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.

The pilot stated that he and four passengers were about 4.5 hours into the flight and about 10 nm from their destination when the left low boost light illuminated. About 20 seconds later the left engine quit, and the pilot feathered the propeller. After about 1 minute the right low boost light illuminated, and 20 seconds later, the right engine quit. The pilot feathered the right propeller and proceeded to execute a forced landing in the desert 5 miles east of the intended destination. During the accident sequence the right engine separated from the airplane and the left wing buckled, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane. The pilot reported that the airplane had ran out of fuel, and that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A loss of engine power during cruise flight due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper fuel planning.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office has released more information about the plane crash outside of Page on Tuesday aftnernoon. 

On Tuesday, at approximately 4 P.M., Page Police Dispatch received a call of an airplane crash near the Navajo Generating Station, about 5 miles east of the Page Airport.

The passengers of the downed aircraft called via cellphone and reported that only minor injuries were sustained by the pilot. 

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service, Navajo Police Department, and Page Fire Department responded to the area and located the aircraft and passengers.

The aircraft is a privately owned, twin engine plane out of Nevada. 

The plane had taken off from New Orleans, Louisiana to Nevada, with planned fuel stops in Texas and Page, Arizona. 

According to statements received by deputies, after departing Texas the aircraft’s fuel supply expired approximately 5 miles prior to reaching its re-fueling destination at the Page Airport. 

An investigation of the plane crash will be conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

This was the second crash of the day on Tuesday.  

Earlier in the day a plane taking off from the Flagstaff airport crashed near the community of Mountainaire, killing two aboard the plane.

There was a plane crash Tuesday afternoon east of Page. 

The location of the crash site was listed as approximately five miles east or southeast of town. 

Five passengers were reported to be on board the aircraft and all were listed as being okay and in good condition. 

The pilot was said to have suffered some cuts, but was otherwise uninjured. 

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, 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.

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Funeral arrangements have been announced for Frank and Evelyn Amerosa, the couple killed Friday in a plane crash in Ephratah.

A mass will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Genesee Street in Utica. The family will receive visitors following mass.

Frank was being treated for brain cancer, and was traveling back home following a medical appointment in Boston. He, along with Evelyn were on board and Angel Flight.

Frank was born in Connecticut on December 28, 1948. He was raised and educated in Utica and a graduate of Proctor High School.

Frank served in the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and was a retired truck driver who worked for many companies including the F.X. Matt Brewery.

Evelyn was born in Vermont on November 13, 1954. She was raised and educated in Bennington and Utica, where she was a graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School. She later attended MVCC.

For many years, Evelyn was a community life leader at the Masonic Care Community.

Frank is survived by two daughters. Evelyn is survived by her daughter and son. They also leave behind five grandchildren.

Pilots try to save Braden Airpark (N43), Easton, Pennsylvania: Forks Township airfield could close next month, but group says decision is short-sighted (With Video)

By Matt Assad, Of The Morning Call

9:44 p.m. EDT, May 28, 2013

Braden Airpark could be shut down this summer, but the pilots who use it say they're not going down without a fight.

Nearly two dozen small plane advocates Tuesday protested a Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority proposal to close the 75-year-old Forks Township airfield. While some circulated a petition urging the plan be killed, members of the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association asked for a chance to find a buyer that would allow the 80-acre property to remain an airfield.

Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority board members agreed not to act on Braden until next month, but airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. already knows where he stands. He recommended it be closed, saying Braden needs $2.6 million in improvements the authority can't afford, plus a yearly subsidy of $1,000 apiece for its 38 pilots.

"We are not in a position to keep open an operation that is projected to continue losing money," Everett said. "We cannot afford to invest in Braden, and we can't subsidize the pilots who use it."

That, according to a member of the local General Aviation Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association, is short-sighted.

"It's a unique, precious asset that a lot of communities would love to have," pilot Robert Brown of Easton told the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority board at Tuesday's meeting. "Once you close it, you can never get it back. Please don't close Braden Airpark."

The airfield has a single 1,956-foot runway and was opened in 1938 as Easton Airport by packaged-meat seller Edwin Braden. The Braden family sold it to the airport authority for $2.4 million in 1999, when it was renamed Braden Airpark. The Rev. Paul Braden, pastor of a church in Easton, said his family took less money to sell the airport to the authority back then so it could remain an airfield.

With a flight school and maintenance center, over the past seven decades it was a place where thousands of people learned to fly, practiced their hobby or based the plane they used for transportation.

The authority oversees the Lehigh Valley International Airport, which faces declining passenger traffic, and must repay millions to settle a court judgment for taking a developer's land in the 1990s.

That debt has caused the LVIA board to evaluate its assets, and Everett made it clear Tuesday his staff's assessment of Braden is that it be closed. According to Everett, Braden's hangars and terminal buildings badly need repairs costing $2.6 million over five years. Meanwhile, the authority pays $160,000 in annual debt service from when it was purchased.

Even without those big expenses, the airport's day-to-day operating expenses are projected to outpace revenues by $39,000 per year — meaning the airport would be subsidizing each pilot by more than $1,000 per year.

"Investing capital into a facility that has a negative rate of return?" authority board member Dean Browning said. "That makes no sense."

Neither do the numbers from Everett's evaluation, pilots say. They argue that the only reason revenues at Braden's are so low is because the authority refused to renew the lease of Moyer Aviation, which had been paying a $56,000-a-year lease fee to run airport flying and maintenance operations.

Vern Moyer's 18-member staff pumped the fuel, ran the flight school and fixed the planes for 16 years, but when the authority wanted him to work on a month-to-month lease while its assets were being evaluated, he moved Moyer Aviation to Pocono Mountain Municipal Airport in Monroe County.

"It's like poisoning your wife and then complaining that you are single," Paul Braden told the board. "Please consider the long-term affects of doing this, compared to the short-term gain."

Clarissa MacIntosh, an officer with the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association, asked the board to delay its vote long enough for the association to find a private buyer for the airport.

"How long do you need?" asked Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, an authority board member.

"About a year," MacIntosh said.

"A year?" Pawlowski said. "Maybe if you had said a few weeks. But not a year."

Everett said his staff has already considered the options of finding a new airport operator to do what Moyer did, or a private buyer to take it over. Neither is viable, he said: The airport simply needs too much work to justify keeping it open.

The authority could vote on the matter as early as its June 25 meeting. From there, Everett said he'd need 60 to 90 days to transfer the planes at Braden to LVIA or Queen City Airport. 

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