Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fort Bliss receiving backlash from public over cancellation of Amigo Airsho

Posted: 6:52 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013

By Bill Melugin
KFOX14 News

EL PASO, Texas —

Fort Bliss spokesman Maj. Joe Buccino told KFOX14 he woke up to a barrage of emails Saturday morning, most of which were from unhappy El Paso residents who are angry about the cancellation of the Amigo Airsho.

The airshow has been a yearly tradition for the last 31 years, drawing huge crowds every year it's been in action at Fort Bliss' Biggs Army Airfield, but due to sequestration, the military post can no longer host the event.

"Well, the reaction has not been positive. People like the air show, people are accustomed to doing it, and it's something people in the community have grown up with in some cases," Buccino said. "We understand that people are upset about this, but this wasn't a decision Fort Bliss made, we were forced to make this decision by the Department of Defense guidance on sequestration."

At a time when sequestration is forcing Fort Bliss to cut back on supplies and furlough some of its workers, Buccino says it would send the wrong message if they spent money to host the extravagant airshow, on top of the fact that hosting civilian airshows is prohibited under sequestration.

"As part of sequestration, basically the military cannot provide support to non-federal entities, and in order to do the Amigo Airsho show, there is a cost involved for Fort Bliss, with the Department of Emergency Services, maintenance, there's buses that are involved, overtime for civilians, things of that nature," Buccino said. "This is a time for belt tightening and austerity and a time for us to really take a critical look at what we're spending money on, and that's a reality across the military."

Buccino said some of the emails he received even blamed people who have nothing to do with the situation.

"People were upset about it, and just felt that this was some measure by the presidential administration, the responses were all over the place, but the president had nothing to do with the Amigo Airsho in terms of us withdrawing our support.," Buccino said.

Fans of the airshow, like Juan Heredia, told KFOX14 they are heartbroken. Heredia has taken his young son to the Amigo Airsho in the past.

"I'm just bummed out, hopefully it comes back to Fort Bliss. That's an El Paso thing right there," Heredia said. "It's a good experience, the kids get to see and experience jet liners, tankers, walking in the C-17s. It's an experience for the family and kids."

A woman named Vanessa posted on the KFOX14 Facebook page after the airshow's cancellation was announced, saying "This literally just broke my heart. My daughter has been going since she was born and looks forward to it every year. She wants to be a pilot when she grows up. I'm going to hate breaking the news to her."

"Not really sure who to blame here, other than that sequestration did happen and we're in a hierarchical organization, we do have to follow orders, and this is part of the following of orders," Buccino said.

Amigo Airsho officials were planning to have the show sometime in October, but said they will now look for a new location to host the event.


Amigo Airsho:

Napa County Airport (KAPC), California: Obsolete flight school sign removed

More than a year and a half after Napa County Airport’s flying school changed its name, the old brand has finally been removed from a nearby billboard.

County workers last month whitewashed a sign advertising Bridgeford Flying Services to motorists on southbound Highway 29, airport manager Martin Pehl said Thursday.

The county Roads Division on May 2 sent a cherry-picker lift to the billboard, which became obsolete in September 2011 when Bridgeford renamed itself the Napa Jet Center, according to Pehl.

Despite the flight school’s re-branding and its presence on county-owned property, airport staff had been unable to immediately change the billboard, which stands on a privately owned plot. A Minneapolis firm, SA Challenger Inc., acquired the site in foreclosure last September and allowed the county onto the property to remove the Bridgeford ad.

An earlier attempt to take down the ad failed in December because the rain-softened ground proved too unstable to support heavy equipment.

The whitewashed Highway 29 billboard remains standing, and Pehl said the airport has no immediate plans for the site.


Boeing Found to Overcharge Pentagon $13.7 Million on Parts -— Bloomberg News

June 07, 2013

By Tony Capaccio

Boeing Co. overcharged the Pentagon’s primary parts-buying agency $13.7 million in 1,469 parts orders after government personnel failed to negotiate “fair and reasonable prices,” according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The inspector general recommended that the Defense Logistics Agency “implement available options to recover from Boeing the overpayment” and renegotiate for overpaid parts, it said in a report summary posted today on its website. It didn’t say which military systems the parts were for.

“Pricing problems occurred because DLA Aviation contracting officers did not conduct a fair and reasonable price analysis,” according to the audit summary. “If prices are not corrected, DLA Aviation will continue to overpay on future sole-source spare parts procured from Boeing.”

Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said in an e-mail that the Chicago-based company had no immediate comment. The inspector general’s summary said the defense agency provided comments that were responsive to its criticism.


Linda Castner of Pittstown, New Jersey, participates in Rutgers aviation workshop


By Hunterdon County Democrat 
on June 08, 2013 at 5:31 PM, updated June 08, 2013 at 5:32 PM

A dozen female faculty members from Rutgers University recently completed a two-day aviation workshop funded by the Rutgers Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (SciWomen) and a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant (award HRD-0810978) designed to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic sciences.

Spearheaded by Joan W. Bennett, Associate VP of the SciWomen Office, a mixed methods study designed by Dr. Elena Polush of Ball State University is testing a theory developed by Take Flight Workshop facilitators called The Flying Effect. Along with facilitated sessions on the ground, the workshop placed participants in the cockpit of an airplane to complete a series of in-flight tasks. The goal was to jumpstart a continuous process that allows participants to achieve peak performance not only in the short term (i.e., successfully piloting the airplane now), but also over the long term by applying gained knowledge and experience to their professional and personal lives. Preliminary results are expected by the end of June, with follow-up research activities scheduled through May 2014.

The workshop facilitation team includes Linda Castner from Pittstown, Sue Stafford from Cambridge, Mass., and Rich Stowell from McCall, Idaho. Castner holds an M.S. in physical education, is a private pilot and Advanced Ground Instructor, and co-owner of Alexandria Field (N85). Stafford holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, is a professor of philosophy, Emeritus, at Simmons College in Boston and an instrument-rated private pilot. Stowell holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is an eight-time master instructor and the 2006 National CFI of the Year. All three are members of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).

“We hope the final evaluation report on the Take Flight at Rutgers workshop will drive funding for long-term research into The Flying Effect and how it can assist people—especially women and minorities—to achieve peak performance in the workplace,” Castner said, noting that the ancillary benefit of the findings to general aviation could be significant as well. Bennett added, “Pilots must take charge and operate their planes with confidence. What better way to foster women’s self reliance than to teach ourselves to fly?”

Take Flight Workshops have undergone fifteen years of development and testing. Based on the scientific literature, the curriculum also draws heavily on the sports psychology behind peak performance. Rutgers Today, the university’s online news center, has posted a two-and-a-half minute video about the recent workshop at

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Hernando County, Florida: Couple to seek approval for private airstrip at planning and zoning meeting

BROOKSVILLE - Planning and zoning commissioners Monday will hear a request from a couple to install a private airstrip on 36.5 acres of homesteaded property off Mondon Hill Road, south of Popiel Road.

The airstrip will be used once a week, and flights will be during the day.

Jeffrey and Cynthia Jones said sound levels associated with the airplane are equivalent to a vacuum cleaner.

The pilot is Federal Aviation Administration-licensed with more than 4,000 hours air time.

The petitioner has indicated aircrafts required by the FAA be thoroughly inspected once a year for maintenance and safety.

The planning and zoning meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Monday at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.

Opinion: Plane crash merits further investigation, 87 words are not enough: Cessna 172N Skyhawk II, C-GBLG, accident occurred October 25, 2012 near Puslinch Lake in Cambridge, Ontario - Canada

Russ Hawkins

June 8, 2013

Opinion/ Editorial

In this age of budget cuts, difficult decisions must be made.

In the case of the federal
Transportation Safety Board of Canada, present budgeting realities mean if a small plane crashes on the hilly shoreline of Puslinch Lake and the investigators dispatched to the scene feel they can sum up what happened without the time and expense of a thorough report, then that is how they are to proceed.

If all people involved in the crash walk away from it and nothing can be learned to help prevent more incidents like it, that seems fair. But when a life is lost, such as was the case in the Puslinch Lake crash last fall, the harsh reality of these budget cuts is on display in an unacceptable way.

An accident report weighing in at 87 words arising from such an episode is not enough.

Yet that's where things were left following the investigation of last October's float plane crash that claimed the life of 47-year-old Russ Hawkins, a Guelph entrepreneur and new pilot trying to earn his credentials for a float plane. He had been practicing landings and takeoffs on the lake in his Cessna 172 on amphibious floats.

Eyewitness Ken Elligson said the plane would land, taxi around the lake, turn into the wind and take off again. But there was something different about the final takeoff.

"We're watching him taxi along and he didn't seem to be slowing down. And I thought if he doesn't slow down soon he's going to hit the shore. And then at the last minute he took off again," Elligson said.

"He just barely cleared the trees on the shore. And when he got up above the trees, straight ahead of him up on the hill was a new house. He was headed for that house. He banked to the left to avoid the house and as soon as he banked to the left the plane just flipped over upside-down and went straight down into the trees."

It's been about a month since a story published in this newspaper put on record that
Transportation Safety Board of Canada has reopened its investigation into the crash. As reported last month, the brief safety investigation report was silent on mechanical concerns raised before the crash and does not reveal the survivor, Simon Kuijer, is a flight instructor who was unable to prevent the crash. It does not reveal the flight may have violated aviation regulations. It says nothing about a cockpit struggle alleged to have occurred in the final seconds in a failed bid to abort the takeoff.

The safety board acknowledges that 30 years ago it would have fully investigated to bring out all these details. These days, with budget cutbacks, it can't justify a full investigation for a crash it readily explains as pilot error.

But for the Hawkins family — and anyone else who flies a small plane as a hobby — 87 words are not enough.


Grand Prairie Fighting To Save Helicopter Jobs: American Eurocopter at Grand Prairie Municipal Airport (KGPM), Texas

June 7, 2013 3:47 PM

GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Business leaders, workers and lawmakers are fighting to save some 100 Grand Prairie jobs that may fall victim to Pentagon budget cuts.  American Eurcopter’s U.S. headquarters is located at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport.

Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jenson said plans to reduce Lakota helicopter orders could affect future civilian orders for the aircraft. “We need the production to stay up a couple more years,” he said. “American Eurocopter does have some offshore and some international people who want to buy it, but if you shut the program down [then] the cost escalates and they may not be able to get those.”

Originally American
Eurocopter had plans to build 31 Lakotas for the military in the next year. Budget cuts reduced that number to 10 over the next year and none the year after.

On Friday the company held a rally in an effort to reverse Defense Department budget cuts. “We are not asking money just for the sake of asking money and only protecting jobs here,” said company president Marc Paganini. “We are asking the budget to be reinstated because we believe the solution we are giving to the U.S. Army is the right one.”

Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey attended the rally and told the crown, “I go to Washington, D.C. as a North Texas congressman and that means putting local jobs first.”

Republican Congressman Joe Barton was also on hand to show his support for Lakota helicopter production. “The good news for this rally is it is not an either/or situation,” he said. “We can balance the federal budget and we can build Lakota helicopters and we can build Lakota helicopters [sic] just as many as we’re supposed to.”

The U.S. Army and National Guard use the Lakota helicopter, which is built in Mississippi. The Grand Prairie location provides support and training for the chopper.

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American Eurocopter Corporation:

Sunbeams dance and sparkle off the blue-green water of Lake Michigan as Mary Creason guides her AG-5B Tiger south toward Holland: Grand Haven Memorial Airpark (3GM), Michigan

Photo Credit:  Tribune/Marie Havenga
Mary Creason climbs up on the wing to enter the AG-5B Tiger.

Marie Havenga 
Grand Haven
June 8, 2013

Her passengers on this balmy May afternoon are a local dentist and a reporter, who feel fortunate to fly with this 88-year-old local aviation legend who has called the sky her home for the past 70 years.

Creason's tailwinds include state and national awards, numerous certifications, and a firm place in women's aviation history.

At age 18, while a student at Western Michigan University, Mary started flight lessons with Eloise Smith, an instructor in Kalamazoo.

No one knew it at the time, but flying would become a life-long gift from Mary's older sister, Mabel. Mabel was an adventurer, the kind of gal who would rather be tracing Lazy 8s in the sky with her plane than walking in high heels on the ground.

After Mabel joined the military, she gave her younger sister a share in the ownership of a plane. The gift changed young Mary's life heading and attitude indicators forever.

So did the tragic fate of the gift-giver, who perished in a plane fire and crash on Aug. 23, 1943.

Mary vividly remembers the middle-of-the-night phone call and a loud voice on the other end reading a telegram: “We regret to inform you that (Mabel) has been killed ...”

Gone were Mabel's twinkling eyes, her infectious enthusiasm and her dreams. But somewhere deep inside, Mary learned to pick up the pieces of that tangled wreck, and send her sister's spirit soaring again, through her own passionate pursuit of aviation.

Age doesn't squelch Mary's passion, now nearly 70 years since her sister's tragic death. She still makes weekly visits to hangar F-10 at Grand Haven Memorial Airport. She rolls away the heavy hangar door, completes a pre-flight inspection, and then pulls her 1991 Tiger into the sun.

Deftly, she climbs onto the wing, slips into the cockpit and powers the Tiger's engine to life.

“The first thing we do is check for oil pressure,” Mary tells her passengers. “If we don't have any oil pressure, we shut the thing down right now.”

She idles the Tiger down the runway and into position for takeoff. She notices her former plane in the flight pattern preparing to land. The pilot radios her.

“Your old Tiger still flies pretty good,” he said.

“It looks good,” Mary responds. “You take good care of it.”

Mary proceeds with a radio call: “Tiger one-one-niner-two-echo departing runway two-seven, Grand Haven.”

She throttles up the plane, gently pulls back on the yoke and lifts it into the air — a maneuver she's performed thousands of times.

“It feels like I'm home again,” Mary said.

For all the freedom and romanticism flying represents, there are rules that must be adhered to, with little time for daydreaming.

“There's more danger in takeoff than in the landing,” Mary said. “You want to be careful and be alert. Every person who is flying needs to be thinking about what they're doing all the time.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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Florida Keys Marathon (KMTH), Marathon, Florida: New airport director hits ground running

Photo Credit:  RYAN McCARTHY 
 New Florida Keys Marathon Airport Director Don DeGraw and his administrative assistant Julie Thomson take in the Middle Keys airfield. DeGraw was hired in March and started work Monday.


Posted - Saturday, June 08, 2013 10:45 AM EDT
Florida Keys Marathon Airport Director Don DeGraw says he's spending his first week on the job boning up on a pair of potentially major changes looming at the Middle Keys airfield.

"The two big issues is the U.S. Customs [office], so I'm taking a look at the engineering drawings and how all that's going, and the other one is the runway separation issue. I'm trying to get a firm understanding. It's either move the runway, move the taxiway or do nothing," he said.

The proposed $1.1 million Customs digs appear more pressing, with the county on May 31 submitting "85 percent complete" plans to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for review.

County Engineering Division Director Kevin Wilson said it's typical to submit plans for review when they're 35, 85 and 100 percent complete. He said Homeland Security has "fairly stringent requirements" for its buildings.

"We're right on the schedule we set so we'll hopefully ... go to the commission, go out to bid and have it on its way later this year," Wilson said. "The scope remains the same as it was before. What they review at this point are specifications for walls and interview rooms."

Meanwhile, runway issues at the airport have been going on for at least 10 years.

Local officials have long objected, but the Federal Aviation Administration has insisted on a roughly $6 million renovation to the airport's taxiway and runway centerlines.

FAA regulations require 240 feet between the centerlines of the runways and parallel taxiway. It's 200 feet in Marathon. The airport has had a longstanding waiver to operate, but the FAA has pushed to bring all airports up to the current standard.

There was fear the FAA would insist on moving the runway 40 feet to the north, which would have meant cutting out swaths of rare hardwood hammock along Aviation Boulevard. The road runs parallel to the airport and the hammock serves as a noise buffer for a large residential area.

The alternative involves decreasing the 50-foot-wide taxiway to 35 feet and moving the centerline 40 feet toward U.S. 1. Doing so would mean losing a few hangars and ramp space, but be far less costly.

DeGraw came to the Keys from New York, where he was aeronautical services manager at John F. Kennedy International Airport for the past year. He's the potential successor to long-time airports Director Peter Horton, who's set to retire in January 2015.

Aside from learning the ins and outs of the airport, DeGraw said he's been busy acquainting himself with his staff of three employees. That's far fewer than the 50 to 75 he oversaw in New York.

"It's good because you get a much more personal relationship than when you have 50 or 75 employees. Here I have three under me, so it's good. And I'm getting to know people on the airfield," he said.

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New Richmond Regional (KRNH), Wisconsin: Airport manager counters property owner claims

Published June 08, 2013, 09:06 AM
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News


The six-year saga surrounding a lawsuit brought by three property owners against the city of New Richmond continued in St. Croix County Court Monday.

Since 2009, three families who live near the New Richmond Regional Airport have argued that their ability to use and enjoy their property has been compromised since the city-owned facility’s main runway expanded in 2007. They claim that airplanes are routinely flying directly over their homes, and at such unsafe altitudes, that they should be paid for their troubles.

But airport officials and consultants claim flight patterns have not changed in more than two decades, and the property owners should not be compensated.

The original lawsuit was decided in 2009, when Judge Howard Cameron determined that the city had not “taken” the properties in question and thus no compensation was required in the matter.

But after an appeal to Wisconsin’s District III Court of Appeals, the case was sent back to Cameron for further findings of fact and to determine if a “partial taking” had taken place. An appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed that appeal court’s decision.

The first half of the case was heard in March during more than three hours of testimony. At that time, homeowners Robert Brenner, Allan and Susan Seidling, and Steven and Christy Wickenhauser continued to claim that changes in flight patterns since the airport extended its runway by 1,500 feet have resulted in more “flyovers” of their properties and homes.

The second half of the case, presented by the city in its defense, was heard June 3.

As the trial re-opened, Cameron noted that he didn’t expect the lengthy legal fight to be over any time soon.

“We know someone is going to appeal it,” he said of his pending decision in the case. “I know that.”

Despite various objections from the city’s attorney, Ben Southwick, and the plaintiff’s attorney, Phillip Krass, Cameron made it clear that he was going to allow each side to present its full case so that there might be fewer legal entanglements down the road.

As the defense’s case began, Kirk Contrucci, a mapping expert with Ayers Associates, presented a map showing the Federal Aviation Administration landing and takeoff patterns established for the local airport.

When asked if the patterns were merely suggestions, Contrucci said no.

“I believe it’s a fairly rigid standard that is followed,” he said.

Airport manager Mike Demulling agreed, noting that the FAA once called such flight patterns “recommended” but that word has been stricken from documents.

“It’s a required procedure,” Demulling said.

He said pilots follow the established paths into and out of airports because obstacles such as trees and tall buildings have been removed to allow for safe operation of aircraft. If pilots were to deviate from the established flight patterns, Demulling suggested, they would be putting themselves and others at risk.

“I think it’s safe to say that pilots don’t want to die,” he said. “We practice risk management all the time.”

When questioned about previous testimony from homeowners suggesting that airplanes regularly fly outside the established flight corridors, Demulling said he believes the individuals are mistaken. He testified that it would take a significant and unsafe turn by an aircraft to fly outside the flight patterns.

“It goes past their property but certainly not over,” he said.

Krass noted that videos offered as evidence show that aircraft have gone directly over the homes in question, and at low altitudes, but Demulling was unmoved.

“I just don’t think it’s possible,” he said. “Most of these pilots are very careful.”

The only time a pilot would deviate from the established flight pattern would be due to an emergency, like trying to avoid a flock of birds, he said. Otherwise they would stay inside the boundaries, even if it was windy, he suggested.

Robert Cohrs, a senior airport planner with consultant Short Elliot Hendrickson, testified that his firm was hired to evaluate the average number of landings and takeoffs at the local airport.

During the peak month of June, Cohrs estimated that there were just 70 takeoffs or landings on New Richmond’s main runway each day. During non-peak seasons, daily operations might drop to 30 or 40 per day, he noted.

John Davis, with Ayres Associates, testified regarding an actual airplane count conducted in December 2012, and January and February of 2013. He said of the 102 landings or takeoffs witnessed, all but one fell within the established flight patterns. The one that was outside the FAA corridor was further to the east of the airport and not over any homes.

Krass questioned the timing of the airplane count study, noting that December, January and February are the slowest months of the year at the airport. He also noted that three of the observation days were cut short due to wintry weather, thus not giving an accurate picture of how many airplanes use the local airport on a daily basis.

Krass objected to the use of the recent airplane count study, noting that the lawsuit deals with airport operations from 2007 to 2009. Any data collected later than that, he said, should be thrown out.

Cameron said he would accept the testimony, but would later decide if it should be used to form a decision.

After four hours of testimony and cross examination, the second half of the trial came to a close.

Cameron, who will be recovering from surgery over the next few weeks, gave the attorneys until June 28 to file their closing briefs. He said he would likely begin final consideration of the case after July 1.


Sumner County Regional (M33), Gallatin, Tennessee: Judge rules in airport board's favor, orders county to pay court costs -- Corlew says incoming authority members must qualify, file certificates

June 7, 2013  

Written by  Jesse Hughes

Rutherford County Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III issued his opinion Friday in the Sumner County Airport Authority lawsuit against Sumner County, starting a five-day clock before his order takes effect. Until then, his May 24 temporary order granted at the request of the airport board continues to prevent either of two competing bodies from acting without the court’s permission.

Corlew ruled that eight newly appointed board members have not yet qualified to serve and must first be sworn into office and present certificates of appointment to the Airport Authority. He also decided the county erred in adopting a rule that board members “shall vacate their office immediately upon appointment of a successor.” That conflicts with state law which states that they serve “until a successor has been appointed and has qualified.”

“It is undisputed that the County Commission has the ultimate right to control appointments to the Airport Authority,” the judge’s opinion said. “The evidence shows that to this point, the newly proposed (board members) of the Airport Authority have not been duly qualified and their certificates of appointment have not been filed.”

Jim Egan, one of eight new appointees, said Friday it looked like the county lost the battle but won the war. County Attorney Leah Dennen requested that newly appointed members appear in County Executive Anthony Holt’s office June 17 to qualify for office, he said.

The commission and the airport board have been in court since March 2011 in a power struggle over which entity has control of appointments to the board. In January, the commission changed its rules on how it appoints airport board members after Sumner County Chancellor Tom Gray ruled the commission had not followed its own procedures in a previous attempt to replace two board members.

In February, the commission voted to appoint eight new members to the airport board to replace holdover members whose terms had expired. Two boards – the new one and the old one – ended up meeting in March. The eight new members elected officers, with Egan as chairman, and fired Art McClellan as the board’s attorney.

The matter went back to court. Gray recused himself from the case in April and the state Supreme Court assigned Corlew to decide the matter. Corlew held a short hearing May 13 and then attorneys for both sides presented oral arguments May 24.

Corlew’s decision makes the new board’s actions null and void. Egan said the new board plans to meet June 24 at its regularly scheduled meeting with or without the three members from the old board whose terms are unexpired. The new board would need to redo its actions.

Corlew signaled May 24 that he was giving serious weight to an argument McClellan made regarding appointees being qualified. Attorney Scott Derrick, representing the county, had dismissed that argument saying it was a non-issue whether members were sworn in or not.

Specifically, Corlew said there was a situation six to eight years ago in the district that includes Murfreesboro in which there were three candidates for circuit judge, including the incumbent. Larry Trail, a retired state senator, gained the majority. Trail died before taking the oath and beginning to serve.

The legal issue after he died centered on whether a vacancy was created by his death. The outcome of that case was the incumbent who finished third was deemed to hold office, because no vacancy existed.

The chancellor ignored McClellan’s argument that the County Commission violated Gray’s January order and went “behind his back” by changing its rules on appointments. Derrick countered that the commission had the authority to change its own rules and Gray had merely ruled they were required to follow them.

Corlew ordered the county to pay court costs.

McClellan declined Friday to comment on the judge’s ruling.

“I have no reaction,” he said.

Dennen said Friday she was “pleased with the decision and its determination to allow the new members of the board to take their positions and proceed with their duties.”

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Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut: City -- No federal funds used on Moutinho driveway

By Brian Lockhart
Connecticut Post
Updated 12:41 am, Saturday, June 8, 2013

BRIDGEPORT -- City Hall insists Bridgeport tax dollars, not an alleged misuse of federal funds, paid for developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho to build a $400,000 gravel driveway through city property to his mansion on Long Island Sound in Stratford.

That's the same driveway that got Sikorsky Memorial Airport Manager John Ricci suspended from his job this week after Hearst Connecticut Newspapers asked the mayor about Ricci's longtime business dealings with Moutinho.

True, the federal government is footing 90 percent of the $40 million safety upgrade at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, which Mayor Bill Finch said required replacing the old dirt driveway used by Moutinho and three neighbors.

Although questions have been raised this week that the city may have spent federal dollars building the controversial driveway, the mayor's office disputed that claim Friday.

"There has been no federal money used for the driveway reconstruction work," Finch spokeswoman Elaine Ficarra said.

She said the $400,000 was included in a $3 million bond the City Council authorized borrowing Sept. 17 for its 5 percent share of the long-awaited safety work at Sikorsky.

Bridgeport, which owns the airport, has been battling with Stratford, where the Sikorsky Memorial Airport is located, over runway improvements since eight people died in a plane crash in 1994.

Ficarra has corroborating documents. She provided an Aug. 29 memo from the city's Office of Policy and Management to the council's budget committee seeking to borrow $7.9 million for six different projects, including $3 million for Sikorsky renovations.

Ficarra also presented a related resolution that went to the full council that refers to the $3 million expenditure, but a driveway was not specified.

But in contrast, some of the vague and confusing council committee minutes from Sept. 17 seem to indicate the city was counting on a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to cover much of its $3 million share.

Ricci told members of the council's economic and development committee that he "received approval from the mayor to enter into a grant agreement for $2.4 million" and the city would pay a 5 percent local match of about $125,000.

The economic development and budget committees met around 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 to pass the Sikorsky package on to the full council, which then took it up later at their 7 p.m. meeting.

The budget committee minutes from that night also refer to an "application for a $2.4 million grant from the FAA."

Several council members this week said they were never told about a $400,000 driveway.

"I knew something was going to pop up," said Councilman Andre Baker, D-139, the only member of the 20-person council to vote "no" in September. "I knew something was going to be missing. This was it."

The city's decision to invest in a 1,000-foot-long, 20-foot-wide driveway off Sniffen Lane in Stratford for Moutinho -- and hire Moutinho's Mark IV Construction to build it -- was revealed Monday by Hearst.

For years, those shoreline properties have been granted an easement by Bridgeport for a right-of-way over a dirt driveway running across airport land to Main Street in Stratford. Moutinho had already planned to build and pay for a new driveway himself because the dirt one flooded.

Bridgeport agreed to shift the easement further east along Main Street to Sniffen Lane, and Moutinho last summer secured the necessary permits from Stratford.

"I thought Manny was going to go ahead on his own expense and put the road through," said Joan B. Brady, 78, who with family owns half an acre of vacant land near the driveway entrance. "We figured it was for the best."

Moutinho is a longtime Bridgeport personality who has battled the city in court over various properties. In Trumbull, his dispute with the town over allegedly faulty sewer work is being probed by the FBI.

Hearst revealed this week that he and Ricci share a friendship and business relationship that dates back to at least the 1980s. They have also been involved in property transactions over the years, as recently as 2012.

By September, the city -- in a decision spearheaded by Ricci and Finch's legal team -- decided to take over the driveway and hired Mark IV after Moutinho supplied the cheapest of three quotes.

The Finch administration this week said the city needed to remove contamination from the old dirt driveway and close it to install Sikorsky's new runway safety area. And that, the administration said, meant the city owed Moutinho and his neighbors a driveway, even if Moutinho was already moving forward with the job himself.

Sara Bronin, an associate professor with the University of Connecticut School of Law who specializes in property and land use law, Friday reviewed a copy of easement documents Hearst obtained from Stratford.

Bronin said while the city had the right to move the easement, she saw no language that said Bridgeport was obligated to maintain or pave the right-of-way. In fact, she said, the burden to maintain access was on Moutinho, his neighbors and their predecessors.

"The city has agreed simply to allow the private property owners to pass over. In this document, the city has promised little else," Bronin said.

Bridgeport does not exactly have $400,000 to spare. The city, in the latest financial report from March, is anticipating a $2.5 million deficit when the 2012-13 fiscal year concludes at month's end.

The mayor Wednesday suspended Ricci with pay -- he earns $94,000 a year -- after Hearst questioned Ricci's decades-long friendship with Moutinho and his numerous real estate dealings with the developer. The matter is being investigated internally for any conflicts of interest or inappropriate behavior, Finch said, adding he was unaware of the relationship between the two men.

Brady learned Bridgeport paid for the new driveway two weeks ago. She has met with Nicholas Owen, who is in the real estate business and also assists Moutinho, because her family may put their property on the market.

"That is when he (Owen) said, `I've got good news ... The city of Bridgeport is going to put the road through," Brady recalled.

A Milford resident, she was surprised given her knowledge and past interactions with Bridgeport.

"I've heard they're broke, number one," Brady said. "And two, when we inquired how to fix the (dirt) road, the city of Bridgeport was never interested in doing anything."

Story, Photos, Comments/Reaction:

Yuba County Airport (KMYV), Marysville, California: Air Show tries for cool entertainment

June 07, 2013 10:44:00 PM


The 2013 Golden West Regional Fly-in & Air Show took flight Friday, and Yuba County Airport manager Mary Hansen said organizers were working to make things cooler — trying to put in some misters along with stocking more water and ice.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday at the Yuba County Airport with the aerobatic shows starting at 1 p.m. both days.

"We encourage people to go into areas we have open, like the hangar space," Hansen said about where to find shade, adding the airport's restaurant is also open.

Hansen said the annual air show is off to a good start, with campers, spectators in recreational vehicles and others flying in for the event. However, there were some air restrictions Friday because of President Barack Obama's visit to Southern California.

At 4 p.m. today, there is a special presentation of the Montgomery Santa Clara Glider, created by Yuba City native John Joseph Montgomery in the 1880s.

His claim to fame is that he flew 20 years before the Wright brothers, who are recognized with the first flight in North Carolina in 1903.

A replica created by Thom Taylor will be on display. Taylor says Montgomery flew a "heavier-than-air" craft before anyone else did.

Know & Go:

WHAT: The Golden West Regional Fly-In & Air Show at Yuba County Airport, 1364 Sky Harbor Drive, Olivehurst.

WHEN: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Sunday.

COST: Adults, $10; children 8 to 17 years old, $5; veterans, military members, seniors, $8; children 7 and younger are free. Active-duty military in uniform are free.


Aerobatic shows

TODAY: 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

SUNDAY: 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.


Golden West Regional Fly-in & Air Show:

Pilot Michael Truffer dies of injuries suffered in skydiving accident: DeLand Municipal Airport (KDED), Florida

A DeLand skydiver who broke his neck during a jump last month has died, a hospital said Friday.

Michael Truffer, a longtime advocate of the sport, died Thursday at about 3:44 p.m., a nursing supervisor said. Truffer, known as Mike, was 63.

He also broke his pelvis and other bones when his parachute snapped open too quickly on May 25 at the DeLand Municipal Airport and he fell against a parked truck, a friend said.

Truffer, who published Skydiving Magazine for many years before retiring in 2009, skydived competitively as part of a team and won an award in 2006 from the U.S. Parachute Association. He was jumping at Skydive DeLand with friends when the accident happened.

Truffer maintained a part-time business selling logbooks for skydivers and pilots and was a volunteer pilot for an animal-rescue group. He owned two small airplanes.


Felts Field Airport (KSFF), Spokane, Washington: B-25 Bomber This Weekend

Spokane, North Idaho News  

Posted: Jun 07, 2013 5:49 PM EST Updated: Jun 07, 2013 6:32 PM EST 

 If you've ever thought to yourself, "I'd sure like to take a ride in a WWII B-25 bomber!" Well, you're in luck this weekend! During "Felts Field Neighbor Day," Historic Flight is offering rides on "Grumpy," the oldest and busiest B-25 bomber in the country.

Based out of Everett, "Grumpy" will be on display to the public throughout the weekend and paid flights can be arranged through Historic Flight, the company that owns "Grumpy."

Historic Flight also brought its WWII Spitfire fighter plane, but that will only be on display from 9am-4pm on Saturday.

Historic Flight was founded by Spokane Local, John Sessions, an attorney and graduate of Shadle Park High School. He operates the collection and restoration center out of an Everett hangar.

The arrival of the B-25 is the second time in a month that Felts Field has seen a World War II bomber. A B-17 known as the Memphis Belle was in Spokane in early May. Aviation enthusiasts will have the opportunity see many planes, as well as ride in the B-25. Rides are $450 per flight and will be available through Sunday at Felts Field.

Call Historic Flights at (425) 348-3200 to schedule a flight.

Story, Photos, Video, Comments/Reaction:

Lahore, Pakistan: Shahbaz displeased at showering of petals from plane

Saturday, June 08, 2013 

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed his displeasure over the showering of rose petals by a private plane on the occasion of oath-taking ceremony at Governor’s House.

He said that its time to work and a poor nation could not afford such extravagance. Issuing instructions to his staff to convey his displeasure to the persons concerned, he said that although some persons had arranged the show at the individual level to celebrate oath-taking of the CM yet PML-N also expects from its supporters to follow its policy of austerity and simplicity.


June 06, 2013:  LAHORE -- To celebrate the unprecedented third time election of PML-N chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in a unique way, a diehard worker of the party showered the city with around 200 kilograms of rose petals worth Rs500,000 in various parts of provincial metropolis, the stronghold and base of the party. 

Soon after the announcement of Mian Nawaz Sharif elected as the Prime Minister, PML-N worker Khawaja Salahuddin celebrated by showering rose petals from a Fokker plane in different parts of the city including Raiwind, residence of the Sharifs.

Pilot Muhamamd Shazad and PML-N trader expressed their happiness and said that the high hopes put in the leadership of PML-N to get the country out of crisis would be realised during this tenure of their party. PML-N workers also offered thanks-giving prayers at Masjid-i-Shuhda, The Mall, after Nawaz Sharif assumed charge as prime minister of Pakistan. Earlier, PML-N political workers celebrated the day through distribution of sweets, chanting popular slogans of the party used during the electioneering and performed dance and bangra.


Yucca Valley (L22), California: Airport district asks homeowners to approve tax

Embezzler’s land:  Forty acres in the Yucca Valley Airport District is owned by Richard Demel, a former volunteer airport manager who was convicted in 2008 of embezzling $1.3 million from the district and the state.

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 9:50 pm

By Jimmy Biggerstaff Hi-Desert Star

YUCCA VALLEY — The airport district here will hold a special election July 2 for a new tax to raise money to operate and maintain the airport.

If the tax passes, all property in the district will be charged 2 cents per square foot, an amount adjusted annually for inflation.

A typical property owner in the district may expect to pay an additional $200 or $300 on annual property taxes, depending on the size of the parcel.

The tax would generate an estimated annual revenue of $146,000, if all taxes were collected.

Measure Z must be approved by two-thirds of the district’s approximately 42 registered voters to pass, according to the county elections office.

If the tax doesn’t pass, the airport district will have to dissolve because it will not meet requirements to have a stable source of income, Bob Dunn, a member of the district Board of Directors, said. The airport will then become a private corporation.

The supporters’ argument submitted to the county states the airport is an important community resource. The public facility is available for use by government agencies responding to fires and search-and-rescue operations.

Medical teams use the airport to load trauma patients onto helicopters and fly them to hospitals.

Currently, the airport runs on $10,000 it gets each year from a Caltrans fund that distributes aviation gas tax money. The rest of the operating revenue comes from private use fees.


Ocean City Air Show rehearsal rained out: This weekend's performances will still go on as planned

Jun. 7, 2013 9:08 PM  
Written by Brian Shane


OCEAN CITY — The Friday before the OC Air Show is typically the day pilots run through a full dress rehearsal for their weekend performances, but not this year.

Organizers canceled the scheduled practice because of rain. The precipitation is an offshoot of Tropical Storm Andrea, now churning off the South Carolina coast. It’s the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, and so far has included some tornadoes, according to The Weather Channel.

However, the nasty weather most likely will not keep the curtain from rising on Saturday’s official Air Show festivities.

Organizers say they expect the local rains to subside in time for the 1 p.m. show start time, and are keeping fingers crossed for clear skies on Sunday as well. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require three miles of visibility before pilots get cleared by the Air Show to proceed with stunts or flybys.

Missing a practice day isn’t going to impact the performers one bit, said Brad Swezey, vice president and general manager of the Air Show, and a former Air Force public affairs officer. He said the practice show is often a requirement when military acts are flying, but not for civilians.

“We’ve got a group of professional pilots that have been flying for years, so they’re ready to go,” Swezey said. “There’s going to be no impact on the ability of anybody to fly (Saturday). They’re going to wow the crowd Saturday and Sunday with great weather.”

Since its inaugural year in the resort in 2008, the OC Air Show has only lost one day to bad weather. Ocean City was blanketed in fog on the first day of the 2009 show, but the performers made up for it with an extended run on day two.

Out at the Ocean City Municipal Airport with clouds overhead, the GEICO Skytyper’s SNJ-2 airplanes sat on the runway, their cockpits covered.

One man at the airport was in good spirits. Bill Wise, of Marbury, Md., had come to visit the airport to participate in the Maryland Aviation Administration’s “Explore Maryland by Air” program.

“I hope the sun comes out so they can have a nice air show,” he said.

Wise said he’s been to all 36 municipal airfields in the state, has visited Maryland’s four aviation museums, and has sat in on the required safety classes.

He and a friend made the trip to each airport during the last year, including seven spots in one day in Western Maryland. Participants get a faux passport stamped with each airport visit.

His prize for fulfilling the program is a brown leather flight jacket, which he plans to pick up this weekend at the annual convention of the Maryland Airport Managers Association. 

OC Air Show schedule 
If you go

Saturday, June 8

8 a.m. Breakfast with the Performers — Layton’s Family Restaurant, 16th Street
9 a.m. Display Village Opens — 15th, 16th, 17th Streets and Inlet Parking Lot
10 a.m. Drop Zone and Show Center Beach Open — Show Center Beach, 14th to 17th Streets
1 p.m. OC Air Show — Show Center at 16th Street
4 p.m. Air Show Happy Hour — Surfin’ Betty’s Pool Bar, 16th Street

Sunday, June 9

8 a.m. Breakfast with the Performers — Layton’s Family Restaurant, 16th Street
9 a.m. Display Village Opens — 15th, 16th, 17th Streets and Inlet Parking Lot
10 a.m. Drop Zone and Show Center Beach Open — Show Center Beach, 14th to 17th Streets
1 p.m. OC Air Show — Show Center at 16th Street
4 p.m. Air Show Happy Hour — Surfin’ Betty’s Pool Bar, 16th Street
7 p.m. Air Show Afterburner Party — Captain’s Table, Marriott Courtyard, 15th Street


Ocean City Air Show:

Cape May County Airport (KWWD), Wildwood, New Jersey: WWII bomber due to arrive on Sunday

Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2013 12:01 am | Updated: 12:12 am, Sat Jun 8, 2013.

By RICHARD DEGENER, Press of Atlantic City

LOWER TOWNSHIP - The World War II B-17 bomber "Yankee Lady" is due to arrive at the Cape May Airport on Sunday evening. It will be open for tours and excursion flights Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Flying Fortress, fully restored by the Yankee Air Museum, is scheduled to arrive at Naval Air Station Wildwood around 7 p.m. Sunday. It opens to the public at 10 a.m. Monday. The ground tours will be included with regular museum admission. Flights will cost more. For prices and to make reservations, call Dave Wright at 734-483-4030, ext. 236.

Yankee Lady pilot Duane Nelson, a retired Northwest Airlines pilot and one of only a handful of pilots worldwide qualified to pilot B-17s, said just seeing the four-engine heavy bomber take off and land is exciting. Flights should be within a 35-mile radius.

"Once airborne, we'll climb to approximately 1,200 feet and, under visual flight rules, assume an easterly heading for an outbound leg north. Following the coastline at approximately 160 mph, our northern marker will be the Somers Point area. We'll make a sweeping 180-degree turn to head south over the Intracoastal Waterway on the return leg to Cape May Airport," Nelson said.

Bruce Fournier, executive director of NASW, said the Yankee Lady's visit will help celebrate American Pride Days at the museum. He says it's an opportunity to provide people with a "once in a lifetime, remember forever, bucket list adventure."

American Pride Day includes three days of events at the airport, from Monday to Wednesday. Entertainment includes The Bob Ferris Orchestra on Monday and The John Walters Band on Wednesday.

American Pride Days includes several lectures on Tuesday. Geoffrey Rossano, recipient of the 2010 Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize, will present "Stalking the U-Boat" at 11 a.m. and "Hero of the Angry Sky" at 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Fournier at 609-886-8787 or by email at or visit the Hangar's website,


Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum:

Friday, June 7, 2013

The saying goes, “You can’t fight city hall” — but does the same hold true when it comes to the FAA? Law firm pitches more O’Hare litigation to Park Ridge City Council

June 7, 2013 7:18PM


Park Ridge

Voters and elected officials have said “no” in recent years to the city of Park Ridge using tax dollars to fight noise and pollution from O’Hare Airport. But the City Council has again heard from a law firm proposing litigation options for the city to pursue against the Federal Aviation Administration.

An hour-long presentation from attorney Richard Porter of the law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson took place during the June 3 City Council meeting. Porter was invited by Jim Argionis, chairman of the city’s O’Hare Airport Commission.

The City Council’s is expected to continue discussion of Porter’s presentation during a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

Porter presented recommendations to the city involving so-far-unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Federal Aviation Administration to do a new study looking at how expansion at O’Hare Airport has affected surrounding communities. Among the areas the city wants explored in the supplemental environmental impact study are levels of noise and air pollution.

Porter said the city’s first step should be to authorize his law firm to draft a comment on the FAA’s planned “re-evaluation” of its 2005 environmental impact statement. After that, the city should hire a professional engineer and also an air consultant to conduct studies that will reinforce the city’s stance that environmental situations have changed since the FAA’s environmental impact study was completed eight years ago, Porter said.

“We are willing and able to draft the public comment for you, but we believe you should hire additional experts,” he told the council.

Once the studies are completed, Porter suggested filing an injunction or other legal action against the FAA.

The cost of filing a “public comment” could cost the city between $15,000 and $30,000. Taking the matter to court could require the city to spend roughly $150,000, Porter said.

Members of the city’s O’Hare Airport Commission are hopeful that a new environmental impact study could lead to less noise, air traffic and pollution.

But 2nd Ward Ald. Nicholas Milissis suggested the council “keep lessons of the past in mind” when considering whether to spend any more large sums of money on airport-related litigation.

“Every time I bring up anything involving O’Hare, the response I get (from citizens) is, ‘Don’t spend any more money on that,’” Milissis said. “We’re still fighting against odds that are stacked against us.”

In years past, the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting O’Hare expansion and supporting plans for a third major regional airport in Peotone. That spending came to an end around 2003 when the city’s leadership changed.

In 2010, 57 percent of voters said “no” to a referendum asking if the city should spend as much as $500,000 on noise-abatement measures to address the impacts of O’Hare International Airport expansion. That same year, the city heard from an attorney interested in representing Park Ridge in future litigation against the FAA. However, he later learned he would be unable to take the case due to his prior employment as an FAA attorney.

Since 2011 the city has spent $2,500 for the firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson to draft two letters to the FAA seeking supplemental environmental impact studies. Both requests were rejected by the FAA.

Last year an online survey developed by the city’s O’Hare Airport Commission found that 92 percent of the 268 respondents said they would like to see another environmental impact study conducted prior to 2020, when the airport expansion is expected to be complete. Ninety-six percent said they felt Park Ridge’s elected officials should be monitoring O’Hare expansion and another 96 percent said they were in favor of requests to the FAA to “implement mitigation measures to reduce the noise and other environmental impacts” related to new runways.

Story and Photo:

Only 1 of 7 next-gen tankers flying as fires burn

June 7, 2013

Kyle Grantham/Casper Star Tribune

CHEYENNE — As fire season heats up, the U.S. Forest Service remains able to use only one of seven large, state-of-the-art air tanker planes it contracted last month to fight wildfires.

The other six planes have yet to be certified, a process that could take as much as two more months under the contract terms, according to U.S Forest Service spokesman Mike Ferris at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

"They could come on sooner," Ferris said Friday. "They just have to go through the steps to get them certified."

The Forest Service announced May 6 it was contracting five companies for the seven "next-generation" air tankers. The Forest Service has awarded the next-generation contracts twice in the past year — the agency did so last year but started the process over after two companies that didn't get contracts filed protests.

One of the protesters was 10 Tanker Air Carrier, which flies two DC-10 passenger jets modified to drop fire retardant. The company won a contract in the latest round to fly one of its planes.

The DC-10 has been ready to go, got Forest Service-certified, and now is the only plane as yet flying under the next-generation contract. The plane dropped slurry on the recent fires in southern California and lately has been fighting fires in New Mexico.

"These other airplanes aren't ready. They're in development. And it's yet to be shown when they'll be ready and, if they're ready, how well they will work," said Rick Hatton, president of 10 Tanker.

The company based in Victorville, Calif., is moving its headquarters to Casper.

The so-called "next-generation" turboprop and jet planes are bigger and faster than air tankers previously contracted by the Forest Service. The planes must be able to carry at least 3,000 gallons of slurry and fly at least 350 mph.

The certification process still to be completed by four of the five companies includes proving the planes' slurry tanks. Certification also requires being approved for field trials and having Federal Aviation Administration certificates, according to Ferris.

He said he didn't know if the four companies were on target to get their planes certified no later than Aug. 2 and 10, as their contracts require.

"I would assume they're eager to meet those expectations," he said.

The other four companies are Minden Air Corp., of Minden, Nev., to fly one BAe-146; Aero Air LLC, of Hillsboro, Ore., two MD87s; Aero Flite Inc., of Kingman, Ariz., two Avro RJ85s; and Coulson Aircrane (USA) Inc., of Portland, Ore., one C130Q.

The next-generation air tanker program allows the Forest Service to contract more planes as needed, Hatton said.

He pointed out that his DC-10s, with a capacity of 11,700 gallons, can carry more than three times more slurry than the other aircraft.

"We're hopeful they'll do that with one or more DC-10 as the need arises," Hatton said. "The need exists now."

Like before, the latest contracts awarded also got protested — this time by Missoula, Mont.-based Neptune Aviation. The company has a long history of flying propeller-driven aircraft for the Forest Service and sought a next-generation contract for its BAe-146 turboprop air tankers.

This week, the company withdrew its protest. CEO Ron Hooper declined to comment, citing legal advice.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who has been vocal about getting newer and better air tankers flying for the Forest Service, said Friday he was glad the company withdrew the protest, which could have held up the next-generation contracts.

"Lives and homes are more important than dollars and cents," Udall said.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Tropical Storm Andrea grounds Ocean City Air Show pilots (Video)

Tropical Storm Andrea brought heavy rains to the Delmarva region Friday, grounding pilots who had planned to practice for the Ocean City Air Show. 

Federal Aviation Administration Targets Boeing 737 Engine-Oil Leaks: WSJ

U.S. aviation regulators on Friday unveiled a proposed safety directive targeting maintenance errors that over the years have caused dangerous engine-oil leaks on more than three dozen Boeing Co. 737 aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it acted after receiving reports that 34 of the 737s—the world's most popular jetliner model—suffered "total engine oil loss" in one engine as a result of mechanics failing to replace a cap after routine ground checks.

According to the FAA, four other 737s experienced similar engines leaks with both of their engines.

Such leaks typically lead to engines being shut down by pilots to keep them from coming apart and to prevent fires. The incidents also sometimes led to emergency landings, though none resulted in accidents.

The leaks happened between 1986 and 2011, with the last incident involving loss of oil in both engines occurring in May 2011. The FAA's proposed solution is to mandate some of the same procedural safeguards and redundant checks mechanics have been required to use for many years when servicing engines on larger twin-engine jets flying long over-water routes.

But with some 7,000 of the affected planes operating world-wide—only a fraction of them equipped with modified seals to reduce the impact of such maintenance slip-ups—the FAA is moving to mandate heightened airline oversight of mechanics. Under the proposal, a second mechanic will be required to verify that the cap was replaced correctly.

Posted on the Federal Register website, the FAA's proposal covers 737 engines manufactured since the 1980s by CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co. And France's Safran SA.

The FAA's document indicates about 2,000 of the engines are installed on planes operated by U.S. airlines.

A GE spokesman said company officials have recognized the problem for at least two years, and voluntarily issued service bulletins urging 737 operators to heighten supervision over maintenance and install improved seals intended to prevent massive leaks even if caps are left off or end up secured improperly.

"With a population of engines that large," there are numerous opportunities for continuing mistakes by mechanics, according to GE spokesman Rick Kennedy.

On average, the caps are removed twice a year for routine engine inspections, Mr. Kennedy said.

In May 2011, the same month safety experts found out about the last dual-engine leak problem, CFM opted to take voluntary action and urged airline customers to be more vigilant. The engine maker also has been urging the FAA to make the company's service bulletin mandatory. An FAA spokeswoman declined to comment.

The agency's document said the proposed sign-off by a second mechanic "exceeds normal maintenance" requirements but "is necessary due to the design and location" of the cap.

The agency, which isn't looking to mandate installation of new seals, is setting aside two months for public comment.

Last October, European air-safety regulators mandated replacement of the cap with a new design and ordered mechanics to take special precautions when performing work that entails removal of the part.

That safety directive said taking off the cap must be considered a "flight safety sensitive maintenance" task, and must be followed by "an independent inspection of the correct installation" by a second mechanic.

Jet trails in the sky

Updated: Friday, 07 Jun 2013, 6:45 PM EDT 
Published : Friday, 07 Jun 2013, 6:45 PM EDT

ROBINSON, Ill. (WTHI) - Kevin Orpurt traveled to Robinson, Ill. for this segment of Hey Kevin!

Stephen Miller wanted to know…

“Hey Kevin! Do the jet contrails we see in the sky have anything to do with forecasting the weather?”

The answer is yes.

A jet contrail is actually the trail of a jet as it flies through the sky, one of the by products of burning jet fuel is water vapor.

And so high in the sky, if there's already a lot of water of vapor in the sky, or if it's quite cold in the sky, it leaves a trail.

The more moisture there is in the sky, the longer the trail will be.

If there's more moisture in the atmosphere, that's often a very good indication that there's rain on the way.

So, a jet trail that's very long in the sky is often a good indicator of rain because there is more moisture in the sky.

More moisture in the sky means there's a better chance for rain on the way.  

Story and Video:

Five make airport manager short list

Published: June 6, 2013

By Michael D. Bates
Hernando Today

BROOKSVILLE - And then there were five.

The county's human resources team has whittled down 33 applications for the soon-to-be-vacant airport manager position and phone interviews with the final five will begin Friday, said Director of Administrative Services Cheryl Marsden.

The ultimate decision will be up to Business Development Manager Mike McHugh, who plans to consult with County Administrator Len Sossamon during the hiring process.

All five candidates stressed in their resumes they are huge supporters of working together with economic development officials to bring in jobs and expand the local tax base.

Given the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport's position as an economic engine, a background in economic development is key in the hiring process, McHugh said.

"The airport is an enterprise, it's got some entrepreneurial facets and (the candidate) must be able to look at its strengths and apply them to the market to unlock its potential," said McHugh, who hopes to schedule in-person interviews in about a week.

McHugh said the airport derives about 70 percent of its revenue from industrial activities.

Don Silvernell announced in April he will retire as manager and move to Boise, Idaho, to be closer to his 7-month-old granddaughter.

Silvernell, whose last day is July 1, said he hopes to work with his successor before departing.

He said he is leaving at a time when the airport and its various activities are in a strong financial position.

"The airport's got a good reputation," Silvernell said.

The airport is located on 2,400 acres and includes the RailPark, Corporate Airpark, AirPark Northeast and the Industrial Park proper.

There are about 150 airport tenants who employ some 3,000 people, McHugh said.

The airport manager position was advertised with a pay range of $65,748 to $105,995.

Silvernell makes $78,624 annually.

Here is a look at the five finalists for the position of airport manager:

Kevin Daugherty: Currently the manager of Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland - a post he's held since 2007 - Daugherty said in his application packet he will work closely with the city of Brooksville and Hernando County's Economic Development team to bring businesses to the airport.

"This generates revenue opportunities and strengthens the airport as a self-sustaining entity, as well as supporting the local tax base," Daugherty wrote.

Thomas Frungillo: The executive director of the Bradford Regional Airport Authority in Pennsylvania since 1998, Frungillo says he is a "highly organized, innovative and motivated professional" who has a proven ability to "engage and develop strong relationships with key airport contacts, governmental officials and community members."

Frungillo included a newspaper article showing how he was involved in helping drive economic development at his airport.

Gary Hudson: The airport manager of Chester County-G.O Carlson Airport in Pennsylvania since 2004, Hudson said he handles all daily operations, safety, security and administration duties. He is liaison between airport administration, local airline personnel, airport tenants, the public and federal, state and local agencies.

He also developed and implemented his airport's first-ever policy-and-procedures manual.

Nickolis Landgraff: During his eight years as airport manager for the DeLand Municipal Airport & Business Park in Florida, Landgraff said he has helped grow revenue from $800,000 to $1.4 million.

His airport has a business park with 2,500- plus employees on 1,600 acres.

"We had a total economic activity of $271 million during our last Florida Department of Transportation assessment and are continuing to grow," Landgraff wrote.

Paul Phillips:
Currently an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University, Phillips had been director of general aviation for the Tampa International Airport from 2005 to 2012.

He left TIA and managed the Tampa Executive, Peter O. Knight and Plant City airports.

Phillips said his strong communication and management skills will benefit Hernando County because it has given him a "tremendous amount of experience dealing with elected and appointed boards, lease negotiations, tenant relations, economic development and job creation and community interaction.


Private pilots pushed out of hangars at Toronto island airport: court documents

June 7, 2013 3:26 pm

By Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – A group of private pilots who fly out of Toronto’s island airport have turned to the Federal Court, claiming the local port authority has failed in its oversight role by allowing Porter Airlines to evict them from its hangars.

There are no hangars devoted to general aviation on the island, so many private pilots, flight schools and other businesses who use Toronto’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport rent space from the airport’s main tenant, Porter Airlines.

In an application filed to the federal court, the Toronto Island Pilots Association alleges Porter has forced a number of its members out of the airport by jacking up their rent by as much as 300 percent or terminating their leases.

The association argues this violates the Tripartite Agreement that governs the island airport, which has been the subject of controversy over the years as island residents have vocally opposed its expansion.

The agreement – which was signed in 1983 by the city, Transport Canada and the port authority’s predecessor, the Toronto Harbour Commissioners – states the purpose of the airport is for general aviation and “limited” commercial flights.

The Port Authority oversees operations of the airport to make sure they’re in accordance with the Tripartite Agreement.

But Julian Falconer, a lawyer representing the pilots association, says the port authority is simply handing the reins over to Porter Airlines.

“Porter has been given a blank check to run affairs at Billy Bishop Airport in circumstances where the Tripartite Agreement dictates exactly the opposite,” Falconer said.

“The airport should be renamed to the Bob Deluce Island Airport, because that’s the level of control and influence,” he added, referring to Porter’s chief executive.

Falconer said he hopes the case will go before a judge by the fall.

The Toronto Port Authority said it would not comment on the case because it is before the courts.

“The Toronto Port Authority supports and is committed to a continued personal aviation presence at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport,” spokeswoman Pamela McDonald said in an email. Porter Airlines did not immediately return requests for comment.

Porter recently announced it hopes to fly jets out of the island airport, a move that will require the airline to fill in part of the lake so it can extend the runway by 168 metres at each end.

The plan will also require approval from all three groups included in the Tripartite Agreement. It has become the subject of much debate, with some residents raising concerns about noise and increased traffic congestion.

Toronto city council has commissioned a study that will explore the proposed changes.

The pilots association argues that Porter’s rapid growth has been at the expense of the general aviation community – something the Tripartite Agreement was meant to preserve.

Although the term general aviation is not defined in the agreement, the pilots association says the term does not apply to scheduled air services or commercial airlines.

The association alleges that as a result of Porter’s actions, a number of private pilots and other businesses have been forced to sell their planes or leave the island airport.

In an affidavit, the president of the Airborne Sensing Corporation says his aerial photographic survey company was evicted from the hangar space it was renting from Porter Airlines on April 30.

“Recently, there has been a mass exodus of General Aviation businesses and pilots from the Island Airport because of evictions and/or because their rent for hangar space or tie-down space has significantly increased,” said Alexander Giannalia in the affidavit.

The document lists a total of seven pilots or businesses who have received rent increases from Porter and four whose leases have been terminated.

Island Air, the last of three pilot schools still operating out of the island airport, may also be forced to close up shop, Falconer said.

“The Tripartite Agreement created checks and balances to ensure that a downtown airport wouldn’t become Pearson, flying over everybody’s neighborhoods,” said Falconer.

“But in fact, the opposite has happened. The Port Authority, in my view, has completely abdicated its oversight role. And, frankly, we’re at the stage where it’s the wild, wild west. The rules have been thrown out the window.”