Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nigerian security officers ground ‘suspicious’ cargo plane in Kano airport

Soldiers and airport security officials have cordoned the plane.

Reports indicate that a cargo plane that landed at the Aminu Kano International Airport has been grounded by security officers.

Sources at the airport said few minutes after the plane landed on Saturday evening; security operatives conducted a search of the cargo.

Though the content is yet to be disclosed, speculations among senior airport security officials is that the cargo was filled with ‘suspicious’ arms.

Soldiers and airport security have now cordoned the area were the cargo plane is parked on the airport tarmac

Efforts to reach the spokesperson of Nigerian aviation parastatals, Yakubu Datti, were unsuccessful as he did not pick or return calls to his phone. The spokesperson to the Aviation Minister, Joe Obi, however, said he is not aware of the incident.


Fresh trouble for AgustaWestland: CBI begins probe against Brigadier, firm

Rahul Tripathi, Manu Pubby: New Delhi, Sat Jun 15 2013, 09:06 hrs 

Expanding its probe into the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, the CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry against a serving Brigadier of the Indian Army accused of trying to assist the Italian helicopter manufacturer in a separate deal for light utility helicopters.

The case has been registered following an Army request to the CBI to probe the matter after The Indian Express first reported that one of the documents recovered by the Italian investigators from an alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal referred to an Army deal for 197 light helicopters and named an officer who was in charge of the flight trials of the programme in 2010.

Source said that the officer, Brigadier V S Saini, has also been accused of helping Agusta in running their training programmes with the Indian forces for familiarisation during the process of the contract. While Agusta was subsequently disqualified from the tender following technical issues, the contract for light choppers to replace Army's ageing Cheetah fleet has not yet been finalised due to the accusation that the trial process may have been vitiated.

It is also learnt that a team led by Joint Secretary Upamanyu Chatterjee from MoD and a SP from CBI will attend the trial at the Milan court which is scheduled to start from June 19. With India becoming a party to the trial, the CBI is likely to get complete access to the documents submitted by the Italian prosecutors which will help them further to cement their case.

The CBI is also in the process of sending letter rogatories (LR) to three countries — Italy, Tunisia and Mauritius — seeking judicial assistance and evidence. In its LR which is pending before the home ministry, the CBI has sought questioning of the suspects arrested by Italian authorities, including alleged middlemen Guido Hascke and top Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland executives. The agency also said that they would seek voice samples for its cases to be proved before the Indian court.

The deal to procure 197 light helicopters has been hanging fire since the name of the Brigadier came up in the Italian investigations into the VVIP chopper deal last year. Italian investigators found a document that claimed that the Brigadier allegedly demanded a bribe of $5 million in 2010 to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland.

The "highly confidential" letter is part of an investigation report by Italian prosecutors and was allegedly seized along with other documents on April 23 last year. The letter claims that the Brigadier "made contact" after an orientation meeting in Bangalore on January 16, 2010 and volunteered information on the progress of the contract. It alleged that the Brigadier gave details on the deficiencies found in all three competitors for the tender — Russia's Kamov, Italian Agusta Westland and the Eurocopter and asked for money to favour the trials for Agusta. 


Tourism in Kerala goes innovative with a seaplane, project runs into controversy

By S Sanandakumar, ET Bureau | 16 Jun, 2013, 05.04AM IST
On June 2, when Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy launched a commercial seaplane service from the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam, Kerala was adding another innovative idea to its tourism product by providing hassle-free last-mile connectivity.

Tourists landing at the airports in the state will now be able to hop on to amphibious aircraft for the final leg of their journey to renowned backwater destinations.

Tourists started discovering the backwater districts in Kerala after the introduction of the houseboat service. The houseboats and the resorts in the backwater districts can now look forward to the drone of seaplanes to bring in new tourists.

After getting all the necessary clearances, the state government has now launched the service as it believes that the tourism potential of the state is still untapped. Inaugurating the service Chandy said that the start of the seaplane project is the first step towards the optimal utilization of tourism potential.

Sea to Sky

A Cessna 206 H six-seater operated by Kairali Aviation became the first aircraft to start operations in the state. Besides Ashtamudi, the seaplane will operate from other popular backwater tourism destinations like Punnamada in Alappuzha, Kumarakom in Kottayam and Bekal in Kasaragod district. The airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Mangalore will be used as base stations. The base stations will provide re-fuelling and maintenance facilities for the aircraft. Interestingly, the state government is not placing any restrictions on the number of operators. "We are following an open sky policy," Suman Billa, secretary, tourism, told ET Magazine.

Waterdromes with floating jetties have been built in the lakes. Retrofitted houseboats are being used as makeshift passenger terminals. Specially trained personnel from the State Industrial Security Force (SISF) have been tasked with the security at these facilities. Altogether five companies have been identified for starting seaplane service in the state. The remaining four are expected to start operations soon. By the end of 2013 around eight to ten seaplanes are expected to start services.

To make the project proposal more attractive to the operators the state government is offering incentives like tax waiver for aviation turbine fuel (ATF) for the first five years. Apart from this, there are other incentives like free usage of waterdromes for the first one year. Tourism department officials hope that the incentives will make the project more attractive to the investors.

According to Jose Dominic, managing director, CGH Earth Hotel: "The success of the project also depend on factors like pricing and the schedule of operation. The state government has decided not to interfere in the pricing policy of operators." Says Billa: "We are leaving it to the competition and the forces of supply and demand." In other words, the operators have the freedom to determine the fare between different points. The fare is expected to fall after the operations have stabilized. According to Billa, the schedules are also decided as per the traffic.

Joy Ride

It is estimated that around 7.3 lakh foreign tourists and 93.8 lakh domestic travellers visit the state every year. The government-owned Pawan Hans, which prepared the detailed project report (DPR) for the seaplane project, points out that apart from the tourism market, the seaplane operators can look forward to the leisure and fun market for joyrides. Special photography flights and emergency passenger evacuation flights, amongst other services, are the other sources of business for seaplanes.

Tourism industry professionals like Dominic consider seaplanes as a "good way to open up Kerala for the rest of the world". "The long journey from the airport to tourist destinations is a serious disincentive to many tourists," he points out. The seaplane will take tourism to remote locations in Kerala and even to the neighbouring states.

Projects & Protests

Not entirely unpredictably, the seaplane service has run into controversy, with environmentalists and fishermen backed by politicians protesting against it. The CPI's contention is that the livelihood of locals will be hit. Fishermen fear the seaplanes will affect inland fishing and a clutch of environmentalists are backing them. On the first day of the service, hundreds of fishermen blocked the landing area in Punnamada lake with their boats to protest against the seaplane service.

Such protests are perhaps inevitable in a state where the state government is focused on infrastructure creation. The seaplane project, after all, is just one of the many that the state government is pursuing in the transport sector. "In fact, Kerala has been making huge investments in improving connectivity in the state", says Ibrahim Kunju, the state PWD minister, who is in charge of key projects like the monorail in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The monorail project in Kozhikode covering 14.2 km will require an investment of Rs 1,991 crore. At the same time, a similar project at Thiruvananthapuram covering a distance of 22.2 km will necessitate an investment of Rs 3,590 crore.

In Kochi, the state government has launched a Rs 5,181-crore Metro rail project. The project has been entrusted to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The state is also planning a high-speed rail corridor from Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasargod in the north. The project is expected to cost above Rs 1 lakh crore.

The seaplane service is the latest initiative by the government in the transport sector. For thousands of tourists who visit the state every year it is good news. For, apart from saving time by avoiding the long road trips they can now look forward to seaplane journey with a panoramic view of the backwaters from the top and save time in the process.


Airport pays out American Airlines to make up for weak sales: Region of Waterloo International Airport, Ontario, Canada (With Video)

CTV Kitchener
Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 6:34PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 15, 2013 6:40PM EDT

It's been a year since American Eagle "checked in" to the region's airport connecting local passengers to Chicago.

Airport Manager Chris Wood says, “Chicago is one of the best hubs in the world really to connect, like I said 250 destinations once you're into Chicago the world is really there.”

Its carrier, American Eagle services is the only commercial flight to the US. In its first year sales have been weaker than expected and the region is paying for it.

Wood confirms that some flights are leaving only about half full and the airline is not breaking even on its Chicago route.

“The passenger numbers were lower however the average fare was higher so it did kind of balance out” says Wood.

Competition is fierce in Southern Ontario because of flights to Chicago from Toronto Pearson, Toronto Island and London international airports.

American Eagle customer Dan Dietrich says, “I very rarely have somebody sitting next to me, which once again is nice as a flier but a from business perspective I can understand how that might be an issue.”

Last year, the airport paid out $800,000 to American Airlines to make up for weak sales.

Wood says, that it isn't easy to get international airlines to set up camp in the area. To help, the region offers monetary compensation. This usually happens in the first year or two, to help the business take off.

Officials say the region is still making more money than it's paying out, about a hundred thousand dollars a year more.

Wood says, “All of the revenue that come in because of the American Airlines flight including parking, landing fees, car rental fees is more than what we've paid back out to them.”

Dan Dietrich uses the route as a connecting flight. He flies American eagle about 7 times a year.

“Takes 10 minutes to get to the airport, there’s no lineups, the flights are on time.”

In this case convenience comes with a price. The airport manager says they're willing to take the risk.

“WestJet had a very similar agreement to when they first started, and it was paid out, and WestJet’s been here for 5 years.” says Chris Wood.

There are 4 carriers at the airport servicing flights to 4 destinations including Ottawa, Calgary, Chicago and Cancun. Wood’s says they are in talks to acquire more routes for the region.

Story and Video:

Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport, Ontario, Canada: Concerns expressed nearly 10 years ago

A private aircraft lands at the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport on Saturday afternoon as some of the turbines order to be dismantled by Transport Canada for violating height restrictions loom in the background. 
Photo Credit:  Ellwood Shreve 

By Ellwood Shreve, QMI Agency 

Saturday, June 15, 2013 7:14:57 EDT PM


A long-time Chatham pilot says everyone involved was made aware of concerns about erecting wind turbines around the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport.

Jeff Pyefinch, who has been a pilot since 1984, said local pilots voiced their opposition to having turbines built near the airport when the project was in the initial stages during a meeting with interested parties nearly 10 years ago.

“We had concerns with it the right from the start,” he said on Saturday.

On Friday, The Chatham Daily News reported that, in an unprecedented move, Transport Canada has ordered the removal of eight wind turbines near the municipal airport for exceeding height restrictions.

A company official with GDF Suez Canada – owners of the turbines – told The Daily News on Friday, it hasn't been contacted by the federal agency about this order.

Pyefinch recalled that when these turbines were proposed, “the municipality was very pro-turbine. They wanted to position the municipality as a leader for wind turbines.”

He believes political motivation may have caused the municipality to not seek the protection of the airport, to the extent that was available to them, to prevent turbines from being located nearby.

Pyefinch said it was clear the turbines would be within the four-kilometre protected radius around the airport, which is a federal airport zoning regulation.

He said he personally raised concerns about where a few turbines are located in proximity to a grass runway trip on the southside of the airport, 90-degrees to the main runway, that pilots may choose to use if the wind is strong from the south.

Somehow these concerns didn't seem to go anywhere, at the time, he said.

Pyefinch admits to being surprised Transport Canada is ordering the turbines to be dismantled.

“I was more anticipating them putting operational restrictions on the airport then coming in and demanding the removal of them,” he said.

When asked how close the turbines feel when flying over them in a plane, Pyefinch said when weather conditions are good “it's not a major safety concern, per se, it's just kind of an annoyance factor.”

But he added, “as the weather deteriorates, then you could find yourself inadvertently a lot closer than you would care to be.”

Pyefinch credits the management of the airport for maintaining its federal certification, which provides projection under the Aeronautics Act.

“If we didn't have that, there would be literally nothing that we could do,” he said.

Story, Photo, Comments/Reaction:

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.


Roosevelt son's plane on auction in France

Parts of the plane in which former US president Theodore Roosevelt's pilot son Quentin was shot down in July 1918 will be auctioned off on June 29th in this northwest French town, organizers said Friday.

The fragments of cabin were handed down to the descendants of Quentin Roosevelt's former landlady in Issoudun, central France where the young pilot was based.

They were "without much visual value but very moving," said Laurent Mirouze of Aiolfi Partners who have put a 250 euro ($335) opening price tag on them.

Several US museums have shown interest.

"We don't know how (the landlady) got hold of the fragments and if it was friends of Quentin Roosevelt or soldiers who gave them to her," Mirouze added.

Quentin Roosevelt was shot down aged 20 over eastern France on Bastille Day, July 14, 1918.

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

June 15, 2013

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.”


Phuket Immigration Arrested Honest Tourists Because Airline Had a Drugs Record, Says Governor

Mistreated tourists Elodie Triche, Damien Della Libera and daughter Oxanna: ''The three of us in the basement of the court, awaiting our judgment''


By Alan Morison 
Saturday, June 15, 2013

PHUKET:  Governor of Phuket Maitree Intrusud yesterday explained away the arrest and punishment of a French couple with a young child by Phuket Immigration last month as ''a mistake.''

He even went so far as to suggest that the honest tourists, who went back to Immigration when they realized they had no visa stamps, were arrested because their airline had had several passengers arrested for carrying drugs in the past.

Readers of Phuketwan will be familiar with the appalling treatment of French couple Elodie Triche and Damien Della Libera, who with daughter Oxanna were arrested and fined when Immigration decided to treat them harshly for their honesty.

It's believed that Phuket Airport Immigration has since apologized to envoys, but not to the French couple, for the way their case was mishandled.

Yesterday Governor Maitree intervened to strongly defend Immigration's action in arresting the holidaymakers when they returned to the airport to get their visa stamps several days after arriving on an Qatar Airways flight.

He even questioned whether the issue should have been raised by Phuketwan journalist Chutima Sidasathian at the media conference with European Union Ambassadors following a seminar about tourism problems.

It had not been discussed at the seminar, the governor said, not quite making clear how Khun Chutima was supposed to know what had or hadn't been discussed behind closed doors.

There are still discrepancies between the account Governor Maitree said he had been given by Immigration and what Ms Triche says occurred.

The governor was told that Immigration and Tachatchai police had been proactive in apprehending the couple.

The couple say they went back to the airport where officials wanted them to sign a false account that would have made it appear that Immigration had discovered what had happened and acted to rectify it.

If the Immigration officials pushed the couple to sign a statement filled with lies, then that clearly falls under the category of the ''abuses of authority'' discussed by the EU envoys behind closed doors.

Their appalling treatment has yet to be properly explained. As French Ambassador Thierry Viteau said yesterday in response to the question: ''We wanted to know why they were arrested and of course lodged a complaint. We wanted to know exactly why they were arrested.''

He said envoys remained ''quite concerned.'' Danish Ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther also responded to the question, saying that ambassadors yesterday discussed ''abuses of authority'' and were concerned about ''extortion and harassment.''

He added that behind closed doors, the governor had given a ''very constructive'' response.

In an answer that appeared to be largely addressed to the Phuket media rather than the international media, Governor Maitree told how a group of eight to 10 passengers from the Qatar flight had taken a wrong turn, picked up their baggage, and left Phuket airport without passing through Immigration.

It was ''an easy-to-make mistake,'' the governor said. Airport and airline staff were ''working well but not well enough.''

Although it was the couple who alerted authorities to the mistake, the governor said: ''Tourists, they must know that they must have a visa stamp.''

It's still not clear whether the other passengers suffered any penalty after the French couple first raised the alarm that a group from the Qatar flight had gone out onto Phuket without visas.

The governor said the fine of 2000 baht was ''not big money, just little money.''

''If I had known, I would have paid their fine because it was a mistake,'' the governor said. ''This thing happened because Immigration were doing their job to 100 percent.''

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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.

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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.