Saturday, June 15, 2013

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec, N27FT: Accident occurred April 13, 2013 in Georgetown, Guyana

NTSB Identification: ERA13WA203
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, April 14, 2013 in Georgetown, Guyana
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23-250, registration: N27FT
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 14, 2013, about 1854 coordinated universal time, a Piper PA-23-250, N27FT, was destroyed when it impacted a residence shortly after departing from Ogle International Airport (SYGO), Georgetown, Guyana. The certificated airline transport pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The local aerial observation flight was conducted under Guyanese flight regulations.

This accident investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Guyana Civil Aviation Authority
Fairlie House
96 Duke Street, Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Telephone: (592)-227-1219
Fax: (592)-225-6800

This report is for informational purposes and contains only information released by the government of Guyana.


Angiel EnviroSafe, Inc:

President Donald Ramotar

Kit Nascimento, PRO, Aircraft Owners’ Association

One of the engines being loaded onto a canter truck

The burnt interior of the Piper PA-23-250 Aztec (N27FT)

The house on fire after the Piper PA-23-250 Aztec crashed into it.

Captain Pierre Angiel 
Home Base Miami, Florida 

 Nick Dmitriev 
Canadian Scientist 

Saturday,  June 15, 2013 | By Kaieteur News

Members of the Aircraft Owners’ Association are still waiting on President Donald Ramotar to invite them to discuss concerns surrounding the American registered aircraft that crashed into a Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara house some two months ago.

This is according to the Association’s Public Relations Officer, Kit Nascimento. He said that the body is very disappointed that Ramotar has not yet met with the Association on this important issue.

The two-man crew on board the aircraft was on a technical survey mission for the Amaila Falls Hydropower project. Apparently, Sithe Global, responsible for managing the construction of the project, subcontracted Digital World Mapping to conduct surveys.

The aircraft, just after taking off from the Ogle Airport, crashed into Florence Tyndall’s residence and burnt a section of her neighbour, Michelle Belle’s house. Tyndall escaped unharmed but the aircraft’s owner and pilot Pierre Angiel and his passenger Canadian Scientist, Nick Dmitriev perished.

The Association sent a letter to the President early in May calling for the establishment of an independent Commission of Inquiry into the crashing of the aircraft. It was also worried that the aircraft entered Guyana without proper due diligence being carried out by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The letter pointed out that GCAA should not be the body conducting the investigations since they are the subject of investigation. And the regulations provide for the President to direct the investigations.

According to a source, the Air Transport Management Department of GCAA did not inform GCAA’s Aviation Safety Department of the aircraft’s presence in Guyana. And, it was only when the plane crashed that the Aviation Safety Department became aware of the plane. GCAA’s Director General Zulficar Mohamed who is also the head of the Air Transport Management Department denied that accusation.

Nascimento said, “We were informed that the President has our letter and was reviewing recommendations with consideration and we are disappointed that no further progress has been made.”

Whilst the Association is seeking an audience with the President, observers in the aviation industry believe that Ogle International Airport should take part of the blame for the incident.

According to an observer, a Senior Officer of the airport made some negative comments of the physical condition of the plane while it was at Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Service. “That officer should have contacted GCAA and placed the concerns,” the observer lamented.

But, according to Nascimento, Ogle International Airport is not responsible for the physical condition of a foreign plane that comes to Guyana. That is the responsibility of GCAA that has to give approval for the aircraft to operate in Guyana, he added.

In addition, the Safety Officer of the airport is only responsible for the airport’s safety and not that of aircraft utilizing the airport, Nascimento said.


Plane Off Runway at Thessaloniki Macedonia Airport: AMC Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Astra Airlines Greece), SU-BPZ, Fllight A2-921

On the morning of June 15, Thessaloniki Macedonia Airport was on red alert after an aircraft coming from Russia with 160 passengers, went off the runway during landing.

Reportedly the pilot, for unknown reasons, was unable to stop the airplane from getting off the runway.

Fortunately, the immediate mobilization of the airport rescue averted a disaster and all passengers are in good health.

'I’ll set this plane on fire': Note causes jet diversion: Egyptair Boeing 777-300, SU-GDO, Flight MS-985

Passengers leave the Egyptair aircraft flying from Cairo to New York after it was diverted to Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire.

A passenger jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Scotland after a written note was found on board threatening to set the plane on fire.

RAF Typhoon fighters were scrambled to escort an Egyptair flight from Cairo to New York as it diverted to Glasgow Prestwick airport following the discovery of the note in the toilet. After landing, the Boeing 777 was isolated on the tarmac, away from passenger terminals, and surrounded by police. Egyptair later confirmed a technical team, including bomb disposal experts, were checking the aircraft. A police spokesman said that all 326 people on board would be questioned.

The emergency began after BBC New York producer Nada Tawfik, one of the passengers flying to JFK, alerted crew to the note she had found in the cabin toilet which said: “I’ll set this plane on fire.” Speaking from the plane, Ms Tawfik said: “When I went in to change my daughter, about three hours into the flight, I found a note by the sink saying ‘I’ll set this plane on fire’ with the seat number 46D written on it. So I immediately went to the crew and told them about it. It was on a hand napkin written in pencil and the pencil was actually still there, so I told the crew to make sure to keep it so they can get any fingerprints off it. They locked the bathroom immediately so that no one could go into it.

“It almost looked like a child’s handwriting or someone who has very sloppy handwriting, but it was very alarming, especially these days when everyone is so concerned about safety on flights. I said to one of the stewardesses, ‘I don’t know if this is a prank’; they said no, it can’t be a prank. Either someone has a very bad sense of humour or, you know, it’s very scary.”

A spokesman for the Ayrshire airport said it was dealing with an “ongoing incident”, although no other flights were disrupted.

A Scottish police spokesman said: “At 1420 hours today an Egyptair aircraft flying from Cairo to New York was diverted to Prestwick after a suspicious note was discovered on the aircraft. There are no reports of anyone injured. All passengers will be interviewed by police.”

In a similar incident last month, RAF Tycoon jets were scrambled when a Pakistan International Airlines flight was diverted to Stansted on its journey from Lahore to Manchester. The emergency landing came after air traffic control reported a dispute on board the aircraft. It was alleged that a passenger had threatened to blow up the plane amid reports of an on-board dispute with cabin staff. Two men were later charged with endangering an aircraft.


Goodbye Lumbia Airport, Hello Laguindingan

MOVING OUT. A truck laden with desks and other office equipment leaves the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines compound in Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, June 14 en route to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. 
Photo Credit:  Froilan Gallardo,  MindaNews

LAST DEPARTURE. A passenger carries a huge cargo through the departure gate of Lumbia Airport on the last day of its operation on Friday, June 14. Effective June 15, passengers will fly in and out of the new Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan town, Misamis Oriental. Lumbia airport will be turned into an airbase of the Philippine Air Force 15th Strike Wing. 
Photo Credit:  Froilan Gallardo,  MindaNews

By Froilan Gallardo on June 14 2013 10:14 pm 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 June) — An era of passenger aviation history in Cagayan de Oro  has come to an end as Lumbia Airport ceased operations Friday night, June 14.

There was no fanfare, no press conference to announce the closure of Lumbia Airport and senior officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) were not around to answer queries from the public and journalists.

They were busy at the new P7.8 billion Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental where commercial flights for passengers to and from Northern Mindanao will resume at 6 a.m. on Saturday, June 15.

“Soon after the last passenger plane leaves at 10 tonight, we will be closing the gates of Lumbia Airport for good, “ CAAP air comptroller Luis Luisma said on Friday.

Trucks laden with desks and office equipment were seen leaving the the CAAP compound in Lumbia Airport en route to Laguindingan Airport.

Luisma said the first commercial plane will arrive in the new airport at 6 a.m.

The Department of Transportation and Communication has limited operations at the new airport at daytime  — from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only —  because the airport does not have an Instrument Landing System (ILS).

Luisma said Laguindingan Airport is equipped with a wind cove which can be visible to pilots from miles away, radio communications and the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) which were installed on both ends of the runway.

“These are the minimum requirements to operate an airport safely,” he said.

He said planes coming to Laguindingan will still use the radar beacon of Lumbia until it is within seven miles — enough visibility to switch to a Visual Flight Rule (VFR) landing.

“The pilots will see the PAPI lights from seven miles away but until they see them, they will rely on the beacon from the Lumbia airport to guide them in,” Luisma said.

Luisma said as soon as the pilots see the PAPI lights, they will start a three-degree inclination toward the runway and land. He said the comptrollers in Laguindingan airport will guide the planes to land at this time.

“The Lumbia tower will still be operational until all the navigational aids will be installed in (Laguindingan Airport) in May 2014. Two towers in Lumbia and Laguindingan will take turns guiding the planes to the new airport and land to land safely,” he said.

CAAP has promised to install the ILS, VHF Omnidirectional Range Navigation (VOR); Meteorological Observing System; and Precision Lighting System (PALS) by May 2014.

While CAAP has apparently solved the safety issues of Laguindingan Airport, the problem of the settlers in Lumbia Airport is another matter.

Former CAAP Northern Mindanao director Artemio Garcia said he and 100 retired ATO and CAAP employees who have made a portion of Lumbia Airport their home will resist any attempt by the Philippine Air Force to demolish their houses.

Garcia and the retired CAAP employees have built their houses on a small strip of land inside the facility since Lumbia Airport expanded operations in 1955. They are joined by 80 families of porters, airline employees and security guards.

“We cannot be thrown away like dogs. We also made sacrifices in turning this airport into what it is today, “ he said.

Garcia said PAF officers have been meeting with them, insisting they vacate their houses or face demolition.

“I told them we are one in planning to resist them. They will face old, retired guys like me who do not want to leave this place we call home,” he said.

As an era of local aviation history came to a close, nostalgia about the old airport swept the social networks.

“That place will always hold a special part in my heart. I had amazing memories and I hope the new one will create the same memories to the young ones,”  Jamisola Rosalia wrote on facebook.

“Oohh I (will) really miss that airport!!” wrote another blogger.

Local historian Nanette Roa said Lumbia airport will always have a sentimental place for Cagayanons.

She said it was here where most Cagayanons had their first plane rides and experienced seeing the clouds above the skies.

“Everyone would come in their Sunday’s best when they ride the planes. Polished shoes and pretty dresses,” Roa said.|

Luisma, who has been living in Lumbia since childhood, remembered that the fare to Cebu on board a DC3 plane in the 1960s was P15 while that for Manila was P40.

“I will really miss this place. This is where I grew up, worked and had children,” saidthe 53-year old airport comptroller.

Luisma said Lumbia airport had no major plane accidents except in the 1980s when a Philippine Air Lines BAC one eleven plane skidded off the runway during heavy rain.

He said another incident was in the late 1990s when a Cebu Pacific plane was not able to stop and its nose crashed inside one of the restaurants in the airport

“Lumbia airport is lucky for Cagayan de Oro but we have outgrown it. We need a bigger airport for our needs,” Luisma said.

According to local historians, the airport was built by the Americans in the 1930s.  During the second World War, the Japanese improved its runway using manual labor from Cagayanons conscripted for the jobs. A flight of Zeros warplanes  used Lumbia as staging point to attack Filipino guerrillas and ships of US allied forces.

Lumbia was not the first airport of Cagayan de Oro. The first airport was in Barangay Patag, now the present headquarters of the Army 4thInfantry Division is located.

On a runway made of gravel and grass, DC3 planes took off from Patag with destinations to Camiguin and Cebu as well as Manila. Lumbia Airport will be turned into an airbase of the Philippine Air Force 15th Strike Wing.

 (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

Story and Photos:

ORNGE suspends night flights at remote sites across Ontario: Sikorsky S-76A , C-GIMY, Accident occurred May 31, 2013 in Moosonee, Ontario, Canada

Two weeks after the fatal crash of an air ambulance helicopter, ORNGE has temporarily suspended night flights to almost 60 sites across Ontario, Canada

By:  Bruce Campion-Smith Parliament Hill
Published on Saturday,  June 15,  2013 

OTTAWA—Two weeks after the fatal crash of an air ambulance helicopter crash in northern Ontario, ORNGE has temporarily suspended night-time chopper flights to 58 remote sites across the province.

While the cause of the May 31 midnight crash in Moosonee may not be known for many months yet, the air ambulance service says it is taking the actions for “maximum safety.”

“Rotor operations at night are certainly an area where you have to be very vigilant,” Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and chief executive officer of ORNGE, told the Star in an interview.

ORNGE has implemented several changes in the wake of the crash that killed four employees, including suspending night flights to 58 landing sites that involve so-called “black hole” approaches.

Such conditions occur in remote areas where the lack of lighting, such as house and street lights, leave the pilot with few visual cues for their landing, raising the risk of an accident.

“We do know that probably black hole approaches are the biggest challenge for rotor (emergency medical service) pilots,” McCallum said.

Rather than conventional lighting, these 58 helipads are marked by reflective cones that mark the landing site when illuminated by the landing lights of an approaching helicopter.

In the coming weeks, ORNGE chopper pilots will get additional training on landing at reflective cone helipads. As each crew completes the training, they will be allowed to resume flights into these sites. The training is expected to take two weeks.

Of the 58 sites, the helipads at Grassy Narrows, White Dog, and Sioux Narrows — the three used most often by ORNGE — are getting new lighting systems altogether.

“I’ve just said to our staff that this has got to be fast-tracked,” McCallum said. “Once we have those in and train people we will be able to return it to service.”

In the interim, ORNGE will be relying on its fixed-wing fleet of aircraft to perform medical evacuations, along with land ambulances, spokesperson James MacDonald said.

“Every effort will be made to minimize delays,” he said Friday.

“ORNGE generally uses these helipads for modified scene calls, where the patient is already in the care of emergency medical personnel. At this time of year, there is an abundance of daylight hours, reducing the instance of night time flights,” MacDonald said.

Finally, ORNGE is reminding pilots on its procedures for night-time departures, which typically involves climbing to 150 metres above the ground to ensure terrain clearance before making any turn towards the destination. 

ORNGE has sent a bulletin, “reminding pilots to exercise heightened awareness during operations, especially when operating at night in remote areas,” the agency said in an email to the Star.

“We’re doing a whole bunch of things out of an abundance of caution. We’re reminding people about night departure procedures and reinforcing how you do this. We’re not saying that’s what it was,” McCallum said.

The Sikorsky S-76 crashed after a midnight departure from Moosonee en route to Attawapiskat to pick up a patient. After a brief climb, the chopper descended into the forest next to the airport. It was airborne for less than a minute.

The four crew onboard were killed: Capt. Don Filliter, First Officer Jacques Dupuy, and flight paramedics Dustin Dagenais and Chris Snowball. A funeral service was held Friday for Dupuy, the last crew member to be laid to rest. A memorial service is planned Tuesday in Toronto.

ORNGE initially grounded its remaining S-76 helicopters but they resumed service after the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has said it found no early evidence that a mechanical problem had crash the crash.

There are questions whether the inky blackness of the northern Ontario airport and the possibility of pilot disorientation played a role in the chopper’s crash so soon after take-off.

“I think it’s really important that we not jump to conclusions here. I think there’s a lot of things still in play,” McCallum said.

“This is not technically a black hole situation that is associated with this accident. We don’t know if disorientation at night was a factor.”

In the lobby of ORNGE’s Mississauga headquarters this week a small memorial was on display to pay tribute to four killed in the crash. A table displayed photos of the men along with books for visitors and employees to write notes of condolence. Bouquets of flowers dotted the tables in the reception area.

“It’s been extraordinarily difficult for our people,” McCallum said.

“We’re working with them to try and make this post-event period as easy as can be. We’ve been very respectful of people who have had concerns going back to the job.”


Air stunt 'wasted rescue resources': French film crew blasted for not telling police about parachute stunt which sparked air-sea rescue

Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboat and the Coastguard were alerted when people reported a parachutist spiraling apparently out of control in Oban.

Saturday,  June 15, 2013

A film stunt of a parachutist spiraling out of control prompted an air, land and sea search costing thousands of pounds.

Police criticized the film-makers for failing to inform them of the stunt near Oban, saying they had wasted emergency crew resources.

Oban Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboat and coastguard teams from Oban and Appin assisted police, along with the force helicopter and Oban Mountain Rescue Team, to search the area between Ganavan Sands and Dunstaffnage.

Chief Inspector Alistair Davidson said inquiries quickly revealed the incident was a pre-planned stunt by a French parachute team, who were filming a documentary.

He said: "A full air-sea rescue operation was put into place, including the force helicopter from Glasgow, the Marine Coastguard Agency and the lifeboat, and the mountain rescue team was called out.

"The costs of mounting such an operation are significant and it's incredulous that the organizers would neglect to inform the police. Had these resources been required elsewhere, for a genuine incident, we may not have been available to respond."

Iain MacKinnon, station officer of Oban Coastguard volunteer team, said: "The cost of the call-out, for the coastguard and lifeboat alone, would have been about £5000."


French film crew blasted for not telling police about parachute stunt which sparked air-sea rescue:

Belizean Detained In Cuba With Chinese Passports

Tonight, a Belizean man is detained by authorities in Cuba after he tried to get into that country while carrying two Chinese Passports. 7news has learned that he is 28 year old Carlos Murga who was intercepted flying into the Jose Marti Airport in Havana Cuba over last weekend. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belize has confirmed through a spokesperson that the Belize Embassy in Cuba is aware of his detention and is assisting him as they would any Belizean detained by a foreign authority.

Now, a case like this points immediately to the possibility of human smuggling and visa fraud – and in previous cases Cuba has been known as a gateway for this type of illicit activity. Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse confirmed today that his ministry is aware of the case and is quote, “gathering information so that it can get a clear picture of what has taken place.”

But, in a case like this, the chain of events can be shrouded by peripheral facts, the first of which is that unconfirmed information to us says that at least one staffer at the Belize Embassy in Cuba may be friendly to him. The Ministry of Foreign affairs in Belmopan said they had no knowledge of this today. In this regard it is of note that Carlos Murga is a relative of a staffer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belmopan.

It’s an interesting case and one we’ll keep following. 


Vulcan still a thriller for pilot

Saturday, June 15, 2013
Lincolnshire Echo

A Lincolnshire man who was the youngest ever captain of a five-man Vulcan bomber crew at 23 will be watching the iconic aircraft from the ground at the RAF Waddington International Air Show.

And the sight of XH558, still the only airworthy delta- winged Cold War deterrent, will make the hairs on the back of 69-year-old Tim Turnbull's neck stand on end.

The retired squadron leader, who spent five years at the Scampton base flying the Vulcans carrying Blue Steel stand-off missiles, now lives at nearby Nettleham.

But he has a true boy's own story – the son of a mill owner, he set out to fly and had his pilot's licence before he could drive. It reached a peak in January 1964 when he flew his very first Vulcan, the same XH558 which will thrill thousands in the skies above Lincolnshire later this month.

Within two years, the young pilot was elevated to captain the crew, an honour he cherishes to this day.

In all, he flew the Vulcan fleet for a total of nearly 2,000 hours, nearly 1,200 as skipper.

And he went on to log more than 7,000 airborne hours, including taking the controls of the Tornado fast jet.

Given a model airplane for his fifth birthday, he made his own and progressed to the Airfix kits – dreaming all the time of becoming an airman.

"If I hadn't been accepted as a trainee pilot, I would have run my father's cotton mill," he said. "I didn't want to do anything else in the RAF but fly.

"And I was so lucky because all the aircraft I flew were so very different. But we all still love the Vulcan because of its shape, amazing maneuverability for such a big plane – and that noise. It's such a formidable package.

"I'm really pleased that it's still flying and I'm looking forward to seeing it again at the Waddington Air Show."

Brought up in Lancashire, Mr Turnbull joined the RAF in 1961 and, after officer training, was posted to Lincolnshire to fly the de Haviland Vampire in 1963 out of RAF Swinderby.

A year later, at 20, he joined 27 Squadron at Scampton.

He then instructed at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire and Manby in Lincolnshire and then secured a NATO attachment with the Allied Command Mobile Force (Land) from 1973 until 1975.

This was a quick reaction force which could be deployed at short notice to resist any attack on a member state. He was also stationed at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus.

He was based in Germany in the 1980s before his final posting of a 37-year career – at RAF Cranwell from 1995 until 1998 as an instructor on the Bulldog airplanes.

Even after his official retirement from the RAF, Mr Turnbull stayed on for another decade at RAF Coningsby as a civilian.

"I achieved all my ambitions, had wonderful experiences, made many friends and enjoyed every minute," he said.

Story and Photo:

Sechelt aims to expand airport

June 15, 2013  
By Christine Wood

Did you know Sechelt has an airport? 

The tiny airstrip atop Field Road in Wilson Creek may be better known for drag races than air travel, but the District of Sechelt’s airport development advisory committee is aiming to change that.

The committee wants to expand the airport and invite larger operators to create scheduled flights between Sechelt and Vancouver. Currently the airport is used by small planes and private operators that don’t offer the sought after flights.

In order to make the change, Sechelt must first expand their runway from 800 to 1,330 metres, upgrade their terminal building and install new lighting, which comes with a price tag of about $4.6 million, according to committee chair Coun. Chris Moore.

“But we’re ready to go. We could start tomorrow if we could write the cheque,” Moore said.

While the idea’s not a new one (many Sechelt councils have put airport expansion on their agenda, but never secured the funds) Moore says things are different this time.

The committee has already compiled a detailed business case and marketing plan as well as a brochure and PowerPoint presentation pitching the benefits of developing the airport. The pitch includes the offer of 61 hectares of airport property that can be developed for specific uses and the right to brand the airport.

The idea is to pursue a public-private partnership (P3) to get the airport expansion done.

“We do touch on that in the business case. There is at least a modest profit to be made,” Moore said, pointing to the airport partnership between Fort Langley and their local Rotary club, which proved profitable. “The strategy is to meet individuals on a P3 level, and we’re prepared to take that anywhere. We’d be in control of the whole thing the whole time. We would get tax benefits, obviously, which would be great, but more importantly, you create job opportunities with well paying jobs and you have regular service to the Sunshine Coast.”

Moore sees a potential partnership as a “win-win,” but his committee is not putting all their eggs in that basket. They’re pushing for grant funding at the provincial level too.

“Our strategy with the provincial politicians has been not just to meet with the politicians, because we didn’t know who was going to win the election, but to meet with the bureaucracy that supported the various ministries, to get our face in front of them on a name-to-name basis and bring our PowerPoint presentation forward and say this is what we want, this is what we have and this is what we ask, and we accomplished that extremely well,” Moore said.

Now that the election is over and the same government is in power Moore noted the committee “will be pursuing that with vigour.”

He sees the expansion of the airport as an important economic stimulus for the Sunshine Coast and a viable form of transportation apart from BC Ferries.

“BC Ferries did a study years ago about what they perceived as the number of individuals who would use aircraft as opposed to ferry and they used four per cent of ridership — that’s a huge number. I think four per cent translated into something like 15 flights a day,” he said. “We’re not operating with anywhere near that kind of optimism but even if it was a half per cent, we just want to get regular scheduled service on an ongoing basis.”

The airport development advisory committee meets every two weeks at the District of Sechelt. Meetings are open to the public. Find their upcoming agendas online at


Four flights abort landing at last minute

Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 15, 2013
First Published: 09:46 IST(15/6/2013)
Last Updated: 09:48 IST(15/6/2013)

Passengers flying in and out of the Mumbai airport faced long delays mid-air and on the ground as the daylong downpour slowed air traffic on Friday.

According to the officials, around 12 flights were circling above the airport during morning as high winds and heavy rain prevented their landing.

Four flights - a Jet Airways flight from Bhuj, an Emirates flight from Dubai, and two Indigo flights from Delhi and Bangalore - aborted landing at the last minute. Although the runway visibility was within the permissible limits for safe landing, the flights' crew decided to wait for the winds to subdue.

"The reason for the go-around was unavailable," said a senior air traffic control official.

Passengers traveling to Diu and Porbandar were stranded in Mumbai as Jet Airways cancelled its only flight to the destination. SpiceJet passengers to Delhi and Ahmedabad were also stuck as the carrier cancelled a flight each to these destinations.

Also, flash strike by the transport company, which ferries Jet Airways crew, delayed the airline's operations, said sources.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Canberra's air traffic control: an eye on the sky ... It's a building that towers over the Canberra Airport, but what goes on at the top of the spiral staircase? (With Audio)

Canberra air traffic controllers 

Canberra air traffic controllers Iain Martin and colleague watching the skies
 (ABC Local: Kate Corbett)

14 June, 2013 4:02PM AEST

By Kate Corbett

On a quiet and drizzly day, I was escorted into the Canberra Airport Control Tower to see just what goes on behind the barbed wire fences and closed doors.

Emerging from the spiral staircase, it was pretty much as I expected: 360 degree views through sparkling clean windows, lots of buttons and flashing lights and a line up of men looking out into the distance.

But surprisingly, much of the equipment looked as if it had been around since the early 1970s.

There are several retro stand-up telephone receivers with long spiral chords hanging out of the desk, well-worn square buttons and a dated grey, blue and beige colour scheme.

Veteran controller Iain Martin says some of the equipment may be ageing but it still functions well, and he's particularly enamoured with the stand-up phones.

"They're perfect, they work for the job so why change them?"

Tower tour

Iain volunteered to show me around his workspace and he's well-equipped to do so, having worked as an air traffic controller for more than three decades.

Every day starts with a "brew" - a cup of tea or coffee. Iain offered one to me and each of his colleagues.

Then the real work begins - checking the log books and weather, listening in to the radios, doing the change-over with colleagues and so on.

Iain has a lot of stories.

"We've had camels out on the aerodrome," he laughed, describing one perculiar event that took place on the field that is now Canberra Airport.

"The RAAF guys, when this was a RAAF base, were coming back from the Sinai and the local jokers thought it would be great to bring a camel out for the troops returning. Unfortunately the camel didn't like the sound of jet engines. So the camel got loose on the aerodrome so the aerodrome was closed due to a camel."

Iain doesn't say he was on shift that day but he's certainly had some exciting moments on the job.

Problem solvers

The day I visited the control tower was wet, foggy and pretty quiet, but I did watch on as the air traffic controllers solved a problem very quickly and efficiently.

A small plane was on the runway ready to take off, at the same time a car wanted to cross the runway and a large Qantas jet was approaching for landing.

The small plane easily had time to take-off but suddenly had a minor problem and had to abort its plans.

Quickly, the three air traffic controllers went into action.

They directed the small plane off the runway, guided the jet into land and once the runway was clear, directed the car to drive over the runway.

A couple of minutes later the small plane had resolved its problem and was allowed back onto the runway for take-off.

It was a minor issue for the traffic controllers, but exciting for a novice watching on.

"You don't like excitement in this job, but I get absolute joy and pleasure out of it every day, just watching aircraft and being part of the industry - it's a fantastic industry," Iain told me.

Aircraft lovers

Tower manager Binh Huynh has been an air traffic controller since 1991 and he still loves it.

"The job itself is very challenging, it's always changing, it's different every day especially in the tower environment, and you look outside and it's a nice view."

Binh is obviously smitten by aircraft.

"That's the beauty of our job sometimes, we see quite a lot of aircraft and the military have some really nice aircraft - F18s and all that."

Surprisingly, he's never been a pilot himself and believes he's too old to learn now.

Safe industry

Iain had dreamed of becoming an air force pilot when he finished school but was told his eyesight was not good enough.

His father recommended he try air traffic control and he has never looked back.

Iain's witnessed many incidents in his 34 years on the job but still says he's bemused when he hears people get nervous flying.

"People don't understand how sophisticated, how regulated, how safe, how well-trained all aspects of aviation are," he adds.

"I love flying, especially when you're sitting in the back of an Airbus sipping a champagne going on holidays, that's fantastic - why wouldn't you?"

Jet Shows Its Maneuverability—on the Ground: WSJ

June 14, 2013, 5:58 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

A nondescript, second-hand test aircraft is slated to make aviation history at next week's Paris Air Show—without ever getting off the ground.

Sandwiched among the booming aerobatic displays of cutting-edge jets climbing and diving above Le Bourget Airport near Paris, the 1990's-vintage Airbus A320 is set to perform a different type of aviation ballet. Barring last-minute glitches, the plane with both engines shut off will silently pirouette, taxi backward and execute sharp turns that no large jetliner is currently able to do unless it is attached to an airport tug.

The demonstration is designed to show off a prototype system from Honeywell International Inc. and its French partner, Safran SA, that saves jet fuel by using electric motors attached to both sides of the main landing gear to move jetliners around the tarmac. The electricity is generated by the planes' onboard auxiliary power units. With airlines hunting for every ounce of fuel savings, Honeywell is racing competitors including WheelTug PLC to show it has the optimum solution to reduce the cost, air pollution and noise currently associated with relying on normal engine thrust to taxi aircraft between runways and gates.

Aviation experts said this year's international air show is the first time they can recall a series of strictly ground maneuvers included as part of the official lineup of public aircraft demonstrations.

"The system's agility is even astonishing the three test pilots" rehearsing to run through the drills starting Monday, according to Brian Wenig, Honeywell's top executive on the program. Such capabilities also are intended to improve the bottom line of airlines by moving planes off the gate more rapidly.

Over the weekend, Honeywell and its partner are expected to announce some customers for their proposed technology, dubbed the "electric green taxiing" system, according to people familiar with the matter.

So far, the Honeywell-Safran venture has invested about $25 million, built 15 systems and logged about 3,000 hours in laboratory tests. It is committed to spend at least several times that much as part of the effort to persuade Boeing Co. or European plane maker Airbus to incorporate electric-drive technology on new production single-aisle jets. Retrofits could add thousands of additional planes.

"We definitely believe we have an advantage," said Mr. Wenig, because the Honeywell team "made the investment to mature the system," giving it credibility to persuade plane makers "it is the tight time and the right technology."

Boeing and Airbus, however, remain noncommittal, as they consider weight, cost and reliability issues. To secure regulatory approval, both ventures require the blessing of manufacturers in order to gain access to prized engineering documents.

For aircraft that fly frequent, short routes and spend a proportionately large portion of their day shuttling to and from gates at congested airports, Honeywell projects annual fuel savings of around 3%, amounting to roughly $350,000 per plane. On a daily basis, turning off engines on a single such jet during taxi can eliminate air pollution equal to the amount spewed out by 400 cars, according to the joint venture.

Eventually, Honeywell envisions a totally automated taxi system, in which electric propulsion linked to autopilots, cockpit computers and onboard navigation devices will steer airliners around congested tarmacs while cockpit crews merely monitor those movements.

But for now, the joint venture's contingent of roughly 200 engineers is scrambling to keep up with rival WheelTug in developing and marketing a less-ambitious electric taxi option.

Other proponents of environmentally friendly taxi systems have included L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and a team made up of Lufthansa Technik AG and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

WheelTug, based in Gibraltar, has been most aggressive in landing customers and promoting its system, targeting the existing fleet. Unlike Honeywell-Safran's approach of powering main landing gears, WheelTug has opted to put its electric-drive hardware on nose wheels. That reduces weight, and Chief Executive Isaiah Cox said it also reduces overall costs by avoiding potential electromagnetic inference with jetliner brakes and antiskid systems, which could prompt potentially expensive regulatory and safety-certification issues.

"The hardest changes in the industry are the ones that people have a hard time imagining," according to Mr. Cox. Nonetheless he contends airlines and manufacturers now "are coming to realize e-taxi is inevitable."

Yet getting the attention of the world's largest jet makers isn't easy, forcing WheelTug last year to resort to some creative marketing. The company affixed a promotional banner on a Germania Fluggesellschaft mbH Airbus jet that was a frequent visitor earlier this year to the European jet maker's factories in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany.

WheelTug already has tentative deals covering more than 550 aircraft from 11 airlines around the world, operating both single-aisle Boeing Co. 737 and Airbus A320 jets. All of those agreements, including Icelandair's recent decision to have WheelTug retrofit certain updated 737 Max aircraft due later this decade, are subject to gaining access to relevant Boeing engineering documents. Instead of carriers buying its systems, WheelTug offers to lease them or asks customers to pay fees based on verified operational savings.

In addition to projected savings in jet fuel, Mr. Cox believes there is potentially an even bigger benefit: allowing pilots to keep engines off as long as possible before takeoff. The wear and tear of sucking in debris such as sand on the ground can significantly increase maintenance cost of engines, he says. Overall, WheelTug projects annual savings of as much as $700,000 per plane.


Tarija, Bolivia: Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera Uninjured After Emergency Landing

La Paz, Jun 14 (Prensa Latina)   Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera escaped unharmed today from an emergency landing during travel to the southern city of Yacuiba, second such incident reported in the last two days.

As reported by the Vice President, the aircraft suffered technical failures before reaching their final destination and was forced to land at the airport of Tarija city.

According to the report, over Yacuiba, the pilot of the Bolivian Air Force aircraft reported damage in the left landing gear.

Following the report of the control tower, the pilot decided to divert the flight to another airport with more space for an emergency landing.

GarcĂ­a Linera was traveling to Yacuiba to participate in the launch of a plan of hybrid seed corn, at an event organized by the National Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Innovation.

On Wednesday, a Bolivian plane had to make an emergency landing in the Amazon rainforest in Beni, with no report of casualties or injuries.

Chennai, India: Director General of Civil Aviation wants new study on airport runway safety

Arun Janardhanan, TNN | Jun 15, 2013, 02.44 AM IST

CHENNAI: The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to appoint an independent agency to evaluate the structural safety of the new secondary runway bridge built across Adyar river.

DGCA director Arun Mishra said the decision was taken following media reports and complaints on the structural safety of the bridge. On April 23, TOI reported about some cracks and water seepage on some pillars of the bridge. "We have asked AAI to go for an independent study on the structural safety. Following media reports, we sought the AAI's explanation. They have explained the reasons for the water seepage and cracks, but we have suggested an independent study by a team comprising experts from IITs," Mishra said, assuring that the study will be transparent and will not be influenced by AAI or the private consortium that built the bridge.

Mishra said a detailed proposal for the clearance of the secondary runway was submitted by AAI only four months ago. AAI has long been claiming that the clearance of the runway and the bridge had been pending before DGCA for more than a year.

Mishra said some concerns on the runway end safety area of the secondary runway will also be addressed. Stating that he has received complaints on secondary runway from the civil aviation safety advisory council, he said it is obvious that AAI has to furnish more details regarding the runway. "We have written to AAI seeking clarification on project details," he said.

When contacted, AAI chairman V P Agrawal said independent agencies including IIT-Madras have already given approval for the bridge.

Mohan Ranganathan, a senior member of the Civil Aviation Security Council Captain Mohan Ranganathan said the whole runway project had many flaws. "The structural safety of the runway bridge is yet to be studied. On the operation side, runway will not have modern navigational equipment. AAI has long been claiming that the secondary runway will be provided with an instrument landing system (ILS). But at the end of the runway, there is no space for ILS as it needs at least 300metres without any obstruction. "Moreover, the high voltage cable on the roof of metro rail passing right under the end of the runway may interfere with the ILS signals," said Ranganathan. 


Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Neighbors of Burlington Executive Airport (CZBA) complain of ongoing fill activity

June 14, 2013
Burlington Post

By Julia Le

Burlington resident Vanessa Warren spoke to a Halton Regional Council committee meeting on Wednesday (June 12) to voice frustration felt by local residents over fill activity taking place at the Burlington Executive Airport. 

Appearing as a delegate on behalf of the newly-formed Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition, Warren told planning and public works committee members how over the last five years her and fellow residents’ concerns about the impact of heavy trucks on Appleby Line and the fill activity taking place on airport property have fallen on deaf ears. Up until very recently, no one, she told committee members, was willing to take action because of confusion over whose responsibility it is to regulate the air park.

Warren said aviation typically falls within the federal government’s jurisdiction, but it’s unclear whose responsibility it is for keeping the air park owner accountable for what is taking place on the air park site.

Last month, the City of Burlington began looking into the matter to try and enforce its site alteration bylaws at the air park, she said, adding the city is in the midst of trying to determine what is exactly going on with a steady stream of dump trucks carrying loads of fill and who has the authority to stop it.

Warren said residents grow continually worried about the environmental impact the unknown fill may be causing. Showing a picture of one resident’s property line adjacent to a fill pile that continues to pile high day-by-day, she said flooding has become a problem for the air park’s neighbours, to the point where one can’t even farm a portion of their property.

The impact is also felt by residents complaining of noise and dust at all times of the day.

Reiterating a point one resident made at a Burlington council meeting earlier in the week, she said a lineup of dump trucks 12-15 deep can often be seen from the front of this resident’s home waiting for the gates to open to the air park. With that also comes honking, shouting, swearing and public urination, she alleged.

Warren pleaded with the region to do what it can to address the concerns.

“Please take a clear position on the air park (fill) dumping operation and expansion as you have with other incongruous plans in the region like the Niagara GTA highway,” she said on behalf of the coalition group, that is comprised of the Airpark Residents Association, Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment and other citizen action organizations. “Do everything you can to stop the dumping, mitigate the damage and stop further dumping and expansion on agricultural land and protected countryside.”

Other requests made to the region included determining how an air park can become a location for fill.

Warren’s presentation was followed by more than an hour of discussion by councillors.

Halton Region’s Commissioner of Legislative and Planning Services Mark Meneray told committee members the region is working closely with the City of Burlington to see what steps can be taken to address the situation.

“I can assure as well that, again subject to any jurisdictional constraints we have, the region is very tenacious in protecting agricultural land and the region, ensuring that fill is not placed in such a way that it would impair the ability of farm to operate,” he said.

The committee also reviewed a memo by regional staff expressing safety concerns about the most southerly entrance to the air park that seems to have significant truck traffic entering and exiting the site. The region has requested that the airport submit an application to modify the existing entrance. As part of the application, the owner will be required to submit a traffic impact study and safety audit.

Committee members unanimously supported a motion moved by Burlington Councillor John Taylor to enact a bylaw that will immediately suspend and close access to Appleby Line — a regional road — from the most southerly access of the Burlington air park until the application is dealt with.

The motion will go before regional council next Wednesday for formal adoption.


Woman ran into plane’s propeller while going to collect package - Eyewitness: Pilot shared meal with her hours before - Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni, Guyana

Police  as well as personnel from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of 22-year-old Raquel Joseph who lost her life after being struck by a spinning propeller of a Cessna 172 aircraft. On Wednesday afternoon, Joseph had her face disfigured when she reportedly walked right into the spinning propeller of the aircraft minutes after it had landed at Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni.

The dead woman’s address has been given as Old Road Timehri and the incident occurred around 17:40hrs on Wednesday.

Yesterday, the disfigured body of the woman was flown out of the remote area to the Ogle International Airport in the company of a policeman and the pilot who was in control of the aircraft at the time.

Speaking with this publication at the airport, yesterday, just after landing with the body of the woman, Captain Orlando Charles said that the now dead woman landed at the airstrip two hours before his flight had arrived. According to him, she traveled to the location from Olive Creek.

The captain who spoke with this publication while sitting in his vehicle at Ogle, yesterday, said that he first encountered the woman and her boyfriend one week ago. The man said that the two were at Olive Creek and had been looking to secure a flight from that area to Ekereku.

According to Captain Charles, the woman was able to secure a flight out of Olive Creek and traveled to Ekereku but her bag was left behind. He said that when his aircraft landed at Olive Creek he was asked to drop the woman’s five-pound bag to Ekereku, considering that her clothing and other personal effects were in the bag.

The pilot said that as he landed at Ekereku, the 22-year-old woman walked up to the plane from behind and enquired from the baggage handler if he had a bag for her, and he responded in the positive and gave it to her.

After receiving the bag, Charles related, the woman instead of removing from close to the aircraft via the route she had come decided to walk straight to the front of the aircraft which had its propeller still spinning.

The woman then came into contact with the propeller which killed her instantly. According to Charles there were some efforts on his part to prevent the situation from happening.

He explained that as the woman began walking to the front of the aircraft, he observed her and immediately switched off the engine. However, she came into contact with the propeller before it had fully stopped. He posited that had he not taken off the engine of the aircraft the woman may have been minced beyond recognition.

The captain who was still visibly shaken almost 24 hours after the incident told Guyana Chronicle that he has been flying for the past 13 years and never experienced or had cause to deal with the death of a passenger or anyone else while he was in the pilot seat.

The man said that the incident will forever haunt him as he did experience a few mechanical problems but a death is unprecedented.


On Wednesday, a few hours before the woman’s death, the captain said he had shared his lunch with her and her boyfriend while they were at Olive Creek.

He described the experience as heartbreaking while expressing his condolences to the woman’s relatives and friends.

Captain Charles is the director and founder of Flight of Hope. Flight of Hope is an organization which conducts outreaches in the hinterland areas. He said that the organization runs hinterland program to schools and to date they have been able to serve approximately forty schools over a four-year period.

Captain Charles told the Chronicle there was no extensive damage to the propeller but if, after an assessment, there is need for an overhaul of the engine and propeller it could be costly.

Yesterday morning, flight officials and investigators of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority traveled to the area where they began conducting investigations into the matter. 


Ekereku mishap…Teen ran into plane’s propeller while going to collect package – Eyewitness 
June 14, 2013 | By KNews,
  By Javone Vickerie
The death of 17-year-old Berbice resident, Raquel Joseph, under horrific circumstances, at Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni, on Wednesday, has stunned the mining district.

The young woman died after coming into contact with the propeller of a Cessna 172.

A source from the area told this publication that Joseph had landed in the area about 15:30 hours (3:30 pm) Wednesday on an earlier aircraft to the one by which she met her demise. The source added after departing the plane the teen went into the police station and provided her name, address and her age (which she gave as 22). Her relatives later confirmed that she was 17.

The source said that after she came off the aircraft, Joseph was seen walking around the area a few times “as if she was looking for something”, but then requested officials at the immigration office to check for a bag which she had left on the previous plane. This publication understands that a request was made via radio for the package to be delivered on the next incoming flight.

It was then further related by the source that when that aircraft, a Cessna bearing the registration number 8R-JIL, landed for the final flight of the day at about 17:30 hours (5:30 pm) from Olive Creek, the teenager ran towards the aircraft (with propeller still spinning) to collect the bag which she had left on the other plane, but became entangled with the propeller.

The blade sliced away a portion of the young woman’s scalp, face, left shoulder, left breast and hand, before she was thrown approximately three metres away from the aircraft.

The body which was clad in pink jersey, blue short pants (denim) and with socks and sneakers was then covered with a sheet before it was taken away by authorities.

A small haversack was also on the ground with items of clothing strewn around the immediate area.

Kaieteur News was made to understand by a reliable source that the aircraft involved in the accident was owned by a newly functioning air service which was privately-run by a gold miner of the district.

Deputy Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Paula Mc Adam told this newspaper that a number of inspectors and investigators were deployed to the area yesterday to conduct a full scale investigation.

She confirmed that the body of the young woman was flown to Georgetown and is currently at Lyken’s Funeral Parlour. The pilot provided a statement to the police before he was made available to the GCAA for questioning.

A post mortem report is expected today.

Meanwhile, Kaieteur News visited a close relative of the dead teen, her aunt Roxanne, who said that she last spoke to her niece on June 1st after she was home for her 17th birthday.

The woman explained that on Wednesday she received a call from a man who related to her that Joseph was involved in an accident with an aircraft, where she “got caught up with the propeller”. The still grieving aunt said that her worst fears were confirmed when she received another call which gave a full and gruesome description of the scene and the state of her niece’s body.

The aunt made mention that Joseph went into the interior with “a big woman” to work, but this was not the first time she had taken the trip to the destination.
When asked what sort of work she did in the mining district, the aunt said “All we know is that she use to go there and work, we don’t have any idea of what work she use to do. Raquel was not somebody who use to tell people her business”.

The aunt explained that Joseph was the fourth of 10 siblings who resided with their grandmother in Georgetown, before she moved to Timehri to live with her. The woman said that after awhile the teen moved in with her father who resides in Berbice and would visit Timehri “now and then”.


Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia, Canada: Man dies after becoming trapped by baggage loader

Labor Department investigators interview workers next to a Cargojet plane at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday morning.

A 58-year-old man died this morning as a Cargojet was being loaded near the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

“Our early investigation revealed he died after being trapped by a hydraulic baggage loader,” RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae said.

The man died at the scene.

His death is the 15th workplace fatality in Nova Scotia so far this year.

MacRae said officers were called to Gateway Facilities ULC on Pratt and Whitney Drive in Goffs at 4:43 a.m.

The case has been turned over to Department of Labour investigators and the medical examiner’s office, MacRae said.

Pauline Dhillon, spokeswoman for Cargojet, said the victim was not a Cargojet employee.

“It was our aircraft that was being loaded but it was a Servisair employee,” Dhillon said. “We contract with (a) third party.”

In another incident on Thursday afternoon, a 46-year-old man working at a construction site on Peggys Cove Road was taken to hospital after he fell off a concrete wall.

Few details of that accident were available from the RCMP, but MacRae said the man’s injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

That investigation was turned over to the Department of Labour, he said.

Just this week, the Dexter government said it is taking steps to protect Nova Scotians at their job sites.

One new measure is increasing workplace inspections by provincial safety officers including more surprise visits to employers who have been repeat violators.

Another is hooked to fall protection and prevention. Companies with a work site where there’s a risk of an employee toppling from a height of more than three metres need to provide proof of proper fall-prevention training.

And employers with personnel working on the province’s roads, highways or public parking lots must have a hazard assessment done and show written safe-work procedures.

Also, Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service has been advised to “pursue harsher penalties for employers with serious and repeat offences,” a news release Tuesday said. This course of action follows Labour Minister Frank Corbett’s recent pledge to have a Crown attorney in place who is responsible solely for occupational health and safety.

The province has about 34 worksite safety inspectors covering thousands of permanent and seasonal businesses.

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Pilot Tony de Bruyn Thanks Teams Who Saved His Life: North American OV-10B Bronco, G-BZGK, Accident occurred July 10 , 2012 at Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, UK

Tony de Bruyn and his wife Edith presented Frenchay hospital with £5,000 to say thank you

14 June 2013 Last updated at 09:12 ET

 A Belgian pilot who was badly burned in a crash at an airport in Gloucestershire has returned to thank people for their "support and prayers".

Tony de Bruyn, who flies with a display team, was injured during a practice flight at Cotswold Airport last July.

The 47-year-old was treated by medics from Wiltshire Air Ambulance, South Western Ambulance Service and spent two months in Frenchay hospital burns unit.

Money raised by his team has been presented to medical staff.

'Stuck in plane'

Mr de Bruyn, who flies with the OV-10B Bronco Demo Team, suffered serious burns and back injuries when his plane came down during a practice manoeuvre on 10 July.

He was in the UK as part of the Royal International Air Tattoo at nearby RAF Fairford.

He said: "I sustained some burn injuries because I couldn't get out of the plane. I was stuck with my left leg - it took three to four minutes before I got out.

"As soon as I got out everything went like clockwork. Cotswold Airport did a fantastic job getting all the emergency services there."

Mr de Bruyn praised the intensive care and burns unit staff at Frenchay hospital in Bristol.

He and his team returned to visit the hospital as well as South Western Ambulance Service in Bristol - formerly Great Western Ambulance - and Wiltshire Air Ambulance in Devizes.

He said: "All those people have done a brilliant job in making my survival happen in the best possible way."

A UK Bronco Fan Weekend event has been organized at Cotswold Airport this weekend o thank everyone involved in the rescue following the crash.

The AAIB is investigating the cause of the crash.


George Town, Cayman Islands: Heliport found unsafe

Posted on Fri, 06/14/2013 - 07:46 
Cayman News Service

The country’s highest judge has ruled in favour of a legal action challenging the reasonableness of a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) to certify the commercial heliport in George Town, owned and used by Cayman Islands Helicopters Ltd (CIHL). Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that the decision was unreasonable and the pad should not have been certified as it is not in compliance with the various safety standards with which the authority would normally use to assess such a site. In a complex ruling, the CJ points to a catalogue of reasons why the heliport should not have been certified in response to the legal challenge filed by Axis International Ltd, a commercial neighbour of the heliport.

Although the chief justice has not directly overturned the certification, he has ordered the CAACI to reassess the heliport in accordance with the rules and regulations and safety criteria that it should have used in the first place. Although CIHL also uses the airport, the George Town helipad has been used by the helicopter firm since November 2011 from which it takes off and lands its helicopter for customer tours of Grand Cayman, particularly from cruise ship passengers.

In his ruling following the legal dispute, which listed a catalogue of objections and issues relating to safety questions and the nuisance factor of the heliport against both the CAACI and CIHL, Smellie found that the CAACI had failed to meet its duty imposed by the Air Navigations Overseas Territories Order (ANOTO) and the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements.

At the end of the 149-page ruling, in which the chief justice scrutinizes the details, procedures, regulations, safety questions and much more followed by the CAACI during the process of the certification, as well as the influences on its decision, he stated, "[T]he certification of the heliport is not in compliance with the ANOTO and the standards of the OTARs.” The judge pointed to his detailed explanations in the ruling and stated, “[T]he heliport may not be considered to be safe for the purposes of the on-going operation of the helicopter in the manner that it is being operated.”

Smellie highlights a catalogue of issues surrounding the certification, starting with the CAACI’s close involvement from the beginning and its misguided indication to the owners of CIHL that the pad was a suitable location and that it could be certified, as well as the commercial interests of the business.

Smellie said, “It is apparent from the evidence that the CAACI allowed itself to become unduly influenced in the process of certification by its willingness to accommodate the commercial objectives of CHIL. Indeed, it may have felt embarrassed and obliged to do so on account of its own early and premature expression of satisfaction as to the suitability of the Heliport site.”

The port is located on North Church Street in the George Town harbour on an ironshore coastline and is very close to the water.

He points to the evidence of the CAACI’s willingness to depart from the “obviously prudent” safety standards imposed by the OTARs as there were a number of issues raised in the case that indicated the location was unsuitable.

The ruling notes a number of problems but the police also indicated that they would not use the site for its air support unit except in the most dire emergency circumstances, as they too did not believe it was safe.

The ruling found an accumulation of issues which point to the CAACI’s decision being unreasonable and, as a result, ordered the authority to address the issue. Despite finding that the port may not be safe, the judge opted not to order its closure.

“I consider it appropriate, however, that the Court should recognize the on-going remit of the CAACI as the body duly authorised and responsible for ensuring air navigation safety within the Islands. This is not a function that the court should override if there is another appropriate remedy. The CAACI has an on-going ability under Article 122 of ANOTO to monitor and reassess the Heliport and decide whether or not to vary, suspend or revoke certification. Rather than quashing the certificate, the court should allow the CAACI to exercise this function now in light of the clarifications of its responsibility and the issues for its assessments …”

Smellie adds that it should not be obliged to maintain the certification because of the commercial interests, as he declared that the heliport was not in compliance with the standard regulations.

Despite the findings of the CJ and the obvious safety issues raised in the complex and lengthy ruling, other sources have stated that the CAACI is appealing the decision.

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