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.

García 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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Navy ENS Marlon Bo receives medal for helping CebuPac passengers: Cebu Pacific Airbus A320-200, RP-C3266, Flight 5J-971, Runway Excursion at Davao International Airport on June 02, 2013

Philippine Navy Capt. Jesulito Calimag, deputy commander of the Naval Reserve Command in Intramuros, Manila, pins a commendation medal on ENS Marlon Bo on Friday, June 14. Bo, a Navy reservist, helped calm down and assisted the stricken passengers of the Cebu Pacific plane that skidded off the Davao Int'l Airport runway on June 2. 
Danny Pata

Marc Jayson Cayabyab, GMA News

June 14, 2013 8:32pm

When Ensign Marlon Bo, a naval reserve officer, boarded Cebu Pacific's Flight 5J-971 as a passenger on June 2, he didn't know he'd emerge from it a hero.

Bo was the “Captain Bok” referred to by the flight's passengers who they said helped maintain calm after the plane skidded off the runway of the Davao International Airport on that day.

"They thought I was the captain," a visibly happy Bo told GMA News Online on Friday. "But I was actually wearing shorts and sandals that time."

For his deeds, the Philippine Navy awarded Bo with the Military Commendation Medal at the Navy Reserve Command Headquarters in Intramuros.

Bo was mentioned in a personal account of one of the passengers, describing him as a "guiding voice" at the time of the incident, which paralyzed the operations of the Davao airport for almost two days.

Captain Bok

"It took the courage of one person, whom we only know as Captain Bok from the Philippine Navy, to stand up and calm everyone down. He knew what he was doing and he was in control even when the cabin crew looked like they were really at a loss about what to do," Nino Ruel Alinsub said on his Facebook status.

Asked why the passengers called him captain, Bo said they thought he was the pilot for guiding them to safety.

He also laughed at how he was called "Bok," when his surname was "Bo," noting that the passengers may have misheard him over the noise.

Bo recounted how he took the initiative to calm down the passengers, who started panicking when they smelled smoke coming from the plane's engine.

David vs. Goliath

Bo said he felt like a "David" against a "Goliath" that time, referring to the popular Biblical story, since he was not the right person to lead the passengers.

"I was actually in the wrong place at a wrong time," he said.

Using his training in crisis management, Bo said he then decided to be the leader in the crisis situation.

"The passengers should trust me first... After I established my credibility, all my instructions were being followed," he said.

Bo said he directed the passengers to leave the airplane row by row, the children and pregnant women first, to prevent the plane from tilting.

He added that he kept the passengers busy by counting them out loud to distract them from panicking.

"Nung nalaman ko na kalmado na sila, that's when I applied my crisis management training," Bo noted.

Guiding voice

Lt. Commander Gregory Pavic, Philippine Navy spokesperson, said Bo was given the award for his "leadership qualities and presence of mind."

"He really was the guiding voice of the passengers," Pavic said.

He, however, said Bo will not be promoted or granted "special treatment" for his actions.

But for Bo, the award should be shared with the "unsung heroes" from the passengers that time who helped him in leading the others to safety.

"I just tried to help the situation. To tell you frankly, hindi lang ako 'yung dapat makausap. There were a lot of unsung heroes," he said.

Bo said that the first rule in crisis management is learning how to calm down.

"Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to control that fear," he shared. 

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Suspension sought for airline firm in runway accidents: Cebu Pacific Airbus A320-200, RP-C3266, Flight 5J-971, June 02, 2013 and Cebu Pacific Airbus A319-100, RP-C3197, Flight 5J-448, June 13, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Following two runway accidents by Cebu Pacific planes, a legislator called for the airline’s temporary suspension and the grounding of all its pilots while investigation was ongoing.

In a statement, Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles urged the Department of Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to look into these incidents and to make the recommendation.

Nograles said he planned to file a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry into the airline’s safety standards.

The legislator made this statement after another Cebu Pacific plane skidded and damaged runway lights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Thursday afternoon.

June 2, a Cebu Pacific plane overshot the runway at the Davao International Airport.

“I call on my former colleague in the House of Representatives and now DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya to immediately mobilize the proper agencies to conduct a no-nonsense and transparent investigation so that the public will be made aware of what is really happening to Cebu Pacific,” Nograles said.

He said that the decision of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to ground the pilot of Cebu Pacific’s flight 5J-448 was insufficient.

“We cannot wait for a more serious accident to happen. We are talking here about back-to-back mishaps happening in a span of a few weeks,” he said.

The Davao City lawmaker saw these incidents as “tell-tale signs of grave danger to the public.”

“It is time for DOTC and the full force of all its agencies to step in,” he said, urging the agency to check not only Cebu Pacific’s safety standards but also the training of its personnel and pilots.

He said that Cebu Pacific pilots may be working more than they should because of possible over booking.

Nograles also claimed that the carrier’s ground and in-flight personnel were not properly trained for emergency situations.

“If we have accidents involving buses, the DOTC, through the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) almost immediately suspends their entire fleet pending results of their investigation. Wouldn’t it be also appropriate if we do the same to these airlines companies?” he asked.

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COME SEE HISTORY: North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

 Matt Molloy/The Beacon 
 Sandra Seaward, the executive director with the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, recently hosted a group of players from the tourism industry with hopes it leads to an influx of visitors over the summer.

Published on June 14, 2013 

 Matt Molloy

Seaward wants everyone to know the aviation museum is still relevant

Sandra Seaward wants it made known the North Atlantic Aviation Museum is still in the community and it’s still vitally important to the town of Gander.

Located on the Trans Canada Highway in Gander, near the Tourism Information Centre, the museum tracks the history of the Gander International Airport, and houses countless pieces of historic memorabilia, like a piece of steel from the World Trade Centre.

However, since it has been around for so long, Ms. Seaward said it’s only natural for residents of Gander to not notice the aircrafts scattered around the museum’s property.

“Believe it or not, the planes that are in our yard, people don’t notice them. It’s pretty amazing,” said Ms. Seaward with a chuckle. “We are a museum and we’ve been here for a long time. I guess people in the local area, like anywhere else, when you see it everyday you tend to not notice it, and it kind of blends in with the background of the town. We want to bring this to everyone’s attention again.”

To help bring it to the attention of the people — both tourists and locals — Ms. Seaward, the executive director at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, recently welcomed a group of players in the tourism industry to the newly-renovated museum.

The main goal of having these players tour the museum was to make sure they left impressed, and they went back spreading the word about the North Atlantic Aviation Museum.

“We thought it would be a good idea to bring in some people from (the tourism) industry, particularly frontline people. These are the people that talk to the tourists as they’re coming through, and it’s pretty difficult to give people a head’s up where to go if they don’t know what it is,” said Ms. Seaward. “Not only can they say, ‘You can drop by the aviation museum,’ but they can also tell the tourists some of the things they can see and do here because they’ve seen it firsthand. It’s a lot different when you know what you’re talking about.

“We had a complete renovation job done last spring, and this will be our first full season with the renovations. It’s a world-class display. It’s definitely worth seeing.”

According to the executive director, the tourism players were “really, really pleased” with the tour and what they saw at the local museum, and everybody got around the museum and tested and saw and touched everything they could.

Now, she hopes they spread the word about the museum, and more people — both tourists and locals — stop by to see what they have to offer.

“There is nothing better than word of mouth, be it positive or negative,” said Ms. Seaward. “They were networking throughout the tour. It was a very relaxed, social atmosphere, and I do believe it was a positive experience, so people tend to talk about that. For every person that came in, if they tell a family of four, that family will talk to another family they find at the park, and it will carry on.”

And there is certainly a lot to take in at the museum.

It all starts with the history of Gander and its airport, which is a pretty unique story in its own right.

“The new displays start with the beginning of Gander. We basically started in a bog. 1935, Hattie’s Camp. It was nothing. It was the end of a railway line,” said Ms. Seaward. “You stopped that train and it was nothing. This site was chosen as the best possible site for an airport. From that little bog, we became the largest paved airport in the world at that time. We played a vital role in the evolution of aviation in travel and war.

“1935 wasn’t too long ago when you think about it…not when you think about the history of the province, of the country, of the world. It wasn’t that long ago,” added Ms. Seaward. “We’ve come a long, long way in very short time. Our displays will feature the evolution of the airport, and that will bring us right up to 2001, the 9/11 event, which, in a strange way, put us on the map. People didn’t even know we existed let alone where we were, and, suddenly, people here opened their doors to complete strangers in need. It touched the hearts of a lot of people. That’s featured, and we were lucky enough to be given a piece of steel structure (from the World Trade Center).”

Along with the many things to see, Ms. Seaward said the museum has a major initiative ongoing right now, one that would see an historic aircraft preserved for years to come.

As it stands, the Hudson Bomber currently rests outside of the museum, and Ms. Seaward said it’s important to hangar the Hudson.

“One of our best and biggest initiatives right now, and this is very important, is to hangar the Hudson. We need to raise money to build a hangar to bring (the Hudson) inside,” she said. “The Hudson Bomber is our prized possession. It’s outside right now, and it’s the only complete one of its kind in North America, and it’s the only one in the world left outside. Our harsh weather is taking its toll.”

“It’s a memorial to the (Atlantic) Ferry Command and to the people that served in the Second World War. These were the planes that were ferried across by the hundreds to Europe during the war, and it’s very, very important we hold on to that piece of history. That’s our biggest initiative, so if anyone wants to donate to that cause, please feel free.”

Ms. Seaward said plans are in the work to organize an activity at the museum during Festival of Flight that will be geared towards children.

The museum will also have a booth at Town Square Gander on Canada Day.

For more information, including upcoming events, visit the museum’s website,, call 256-2923, or email

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Sale Now -- Very VIP Jets: WSJ

June 14, 2013, 10:27 AM

By Daniel Michaels

The Wall Street Journal

What’s next for the unloved A340?

Big versions of the A340 jetliner from European plane maker Airbus haven’t fared well lately in the market, but that doesn’t mean their lives are over. At the right price, say industry officials, the planes could be quite attractive.

Question is, “What’s the right price?” Probably a lot lower than current owners hope.

The giant A340-500 and A340-600 can carry hundreds of people across the world, but their fuel consumption and maintenance costs are higher than those of competing 777 models from Boeing Co., airlines say. Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., stopped building the models in 2011 after barely a decade because demand evaporated. Airlines that fly them, including Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Singapore Airlines, are removing them from their fleets at relatively young ages.

Airbus and some investors who own the planes see a good future for them – though not as standard airliners.

Airbus is pitching the A340-500 – one of the world’s longest-range planes – as a great VVIP (that is, Very VIP) private jet. Imagine a widebody airliner built to carry 300 people with just a handful onboard. Sounds like the good life. One Central Asian government just snapped up an A340-500 that had been idle for several years from a Saudi company.

The bigger A340-600 could work well for a charter airline that packs in travelers on non-scheduled flights, Airbus says.

“If I were running a charter airline now, I would look at an A340-600,” said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers.

Hi Fly Malta, an airplane-leasing company, is now closing a deal for at least one of Virgin’s former A340-600s, according to people close to the talks. Hi Fly Malta’s website shows the planes. (Hi Fly Malta is a subsidiary of the Lisbon-based Hi Fly Aero  set up to own and run the planes.)

Here’s the catch: The planes originally sold for more than $100 million each and appraisers until recently valued them at north of $40 million. Now, people who buy and sell jetliners say they’re likely to fetch no more than $20 million. For some investors holding the large metal assets, accepting that price won’t be easy.


Airbus A350 Completes Maiden Flight: WSJ

Updated June 14, 2013, 8:42 a.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal 


TOULOUSE, France—The new Airbus A350 jetliner made its maiden flight Friday, roughly two weeks ahead of the company's publicly stated deadline, offering hope that the aviation industry is moving beyond years of costly delays and production problems.

The two-engine intercontinental plane is the first new model from Airbus since its giant A380 superjumbo, which initially flew in 2005 but faced serious manufacturing glitches that pushed it billions of dollars over budget and several years behind schedule.

Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., EAD. has tried to learn from those mistakes and from those of its U.S. rival Boeing Co., which has struggled to build its new 787 Dreamliner.

The A350, like the Dreamliner with which it competes, is built largely of carbon-fiber composites, rather than traditional aluminum. Both planes aim to significantly cut airlines' cost of operations by burning less fuel than current models and requiring less maintenance.

The A350's first flight began at 10 a.m. local time under sunny skies with puffy clouds and ended at 2 p.m. with a smooth, quiet landing.

"It's a galvanizing event for Airbus and for the entire group," said EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders on Thursday.

The flight kicks off more than a year of testing. If the proving proceeds smoothly, the plane should be approved by government regulators to carry passengers in the middle of next year. Airbus expects to deliver the first A350, to Qatar Airways, in the second half of next year.

Didier Evrard, chief engineer of the A350 program, said achieving that target looks realistic if no big surprises arise during flight testing, which will be conducted on five planes. Mr. Evrard, who has overseen the A350's development since soon after its launch in late 2005, said in an interview that after a string of problems early on, the program now is on course.

His next task will be to begin assembling A350s for customers and ramp up production quickly while controlling costs. Airbus aims to deliver A350s at a rate of three planes each month by the end of 2014.

"At the end of the day, what counts is the revenues and the margins," Mr. Evrard said.

The timing of the A350's first flight, three days before the opening of the Paris Air Show on Monday, is critical for Airbus, which wants to build excitement around the plane. Airbus officials had long said they wanted to fly the plane by midyear, but internally Chief Executive Fabrice Brégier had targeted the week of the air show, which is the aviation industry's biggest trade event of the year.

Mr. Evrard said that after the opening of the A350's new assembly hall in October, he started a countdown timer on his computer for June 17. Around that time, "it became obvious to everybody on the team that it would be possible" to fly the plane by the air show, Mr. Evrard said. "The fact we had a fixed target helped."

Mr. Brégier said in an interview that he was surprised that the first A350s assembled "came together perfectly." In the past, components of initial units of new planes have needed extensive reworking in assembly because measurements were imperfect. But thanks to advanced computer design and manufacturing, combined with the plane's composite structure, "the tolerances of parts is much better" than on past planes, Mr. Brégier said.

Mr. Evrard said that early investments in computer models and networks to link engineers have paid off. As the first prototypes came together, workers had many fewer questions about the A350's digital blueprints than they had faced with the two-deck A380 almost a decade earlier.

Computer modeling has also improved since the A380, allowing engineers to do more testing of parts and systems before production, Mr. Evrard said. As a result, he said, support materials such as flight manuals and troubleshooting guides are already largely completed, at an unusually early stage in the plane's development.

Mr. Evrard said Airbus has also already delivered to the European Aviation Safety Agency half of the documentation that is required for EASA to certify the plane for passenger flights. All the documentation should be delivered by year-end, Mr. Evrard said. Flights for the certification are set to begin early next year, he said.

With flight tests beginning, the next priority for Airbus is to ensure that production begins smoothly. Shifting from initial assembly of prototypes to steady manufacturing of jetliners in large numbers has been a problem for both Airbus and Boeing recently. Mr. Evrard said to address this and avoid surprises, he has adapted his organization and is increasing assistance to Airbus suppliers.

Mr. Brégier, who before becoming Airbus chief executive a year ago spent five years fixing its manufacturing as chief operating officer, said he hopes to learn from past mistakes. The apparent success of the first A350 flight won't make Airbus complacent about challenges ahead, he said.

"We will remain humble," Mr. Brégier said. "In the past, we were caught by surprise."

—David Pearson contributed to this article.