Saturday, June 08, 2013

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."

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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.


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.


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: