Sunday, June 23, 2013

Plane forced to land when girl burned at Oregon Health & Science University has seizure

PORTLAND -- The young girl burned in a bizarre fire sparked by hand sanitizer in February was on a plane that made an emergency landing Sunday after she had a seizure.

Ireland Lane, 12, left PDX Sunday morning, heading to Ontario, Calif. for a week-long camp. Hours later, she was back in Portland because her plane had to land in Reno when she had the seizure.

Ireland is a cancer survivor who suffered burns over 18 percent of her body after a fire was sparked by hand sanitizer and olive oil at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Her father, Stephen Lane, said since the burns, Ireland has suffered from pseudo-seizures that aren't dangerous but can alarm others nearby.

Ireland was invited to the Angel Faces camp while she was in the hospital. Her flight and retreat were all paid for by the nonprofit organization for young burn and trauma victims, and she has been excited for her short journey to California for months.

Stephen Lane said he told Alaska Airlines that since it was Ireland’s first time flying alone, stress could bring on a seizure, which is what happened.

"And they forgot to inform the flight attendants, and so when she had one on the plane, they got scared and re-routed the plane to Reno," said Ireland’s father Stephen.

Ireland ended up in the Reno hospital emergency room. Hours later when everything was sorted out, Ireland was flown back to Portland.

KGW called the airline for a comment, and no one has called back yet.

Ireland will be spending a week at camp just for girls who have been burned or disfigured. Her dad said she's been looking forward to it for months.


Port Isabel-Cameron County (KPIL), Port Isabel, Texas: County airport improvements fueled by state program

Brad Doherty 
The Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport recently won the "Most Improved" award for 2013 from TxDot thanks to a new pilots lounge and other improvements. Cameron County Commissioner David Garza says the tower at the airport will also undergo improvements.

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013 5:04 pm


The Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport was recently honored with the “Most Improved Airport” award for 2013 by the Texas Department of Transportation.

In truth, it had nowhere to go but up. County Commissioner David A. Garza admitted the facility was in sad shape after decades of neglect under county stewardship.

“This place was a dump,” he said on a recent tour of the facility.

Garza said that when he first became a commissioner 13 years ago, the county wasn’t doing much with the airport but a little mowing and occasional cleanup “when things got out of control.” Southwind Aviation, the fixed-base operator, was doing most of the upkeep, Garza said.

He realized that, thanks to the dilapidated state of the maintenance hangar/office/pilots lounge and general scarcity of services and amenities, the airport wasn’t likely to attract much traffic, and an airport that doesn’t attract traffic doesn’t generate revenue. Gaza took the facility under his wing, so to speak.

The airport, northeast of Bayview, was built by the U.S. government in the early 1940s as the Laguna Madre Sub-Base. Its purpose was to support training at Harlingen Army Airfield, now Valley International Airport. After World War II the base served as a Navy Auxiliary Air Station. In 1963 it was decommissioned and handed to Cameron County.

The facility had had plenty of time to go to seed — nearly four decades — by the time Garza found it. But in 2003 the airport’s cavernous maintenance hangar, built in 1942, was repainted. Runways were restriped and cracks sealed. The work was made possible with grant funds available through TxDOT’s Routine Airport and Maintenance Program, Garza said.

The RAMP program, supported by a tax on aviation fuel sales stateside, is very well funded, he noted.

“That fund always has money for general aviation airports,” Garza said. “It has money because I guess people — like we used to have here — didn’t pay attention to their little airports and they never used that money.”

In 2005 the county formed an Airport Planning Advisory Committee and an Airport Development Plan was commissioned. RAMP funds covered 90 percent of the cost. In the eight years since, the county has checked off the items in the master plan one at a time, which makes sense in light of the $50,000-per-year cap on RAMP funds per recipient.

In 2008 and 2009, funds from TxDOT’s Capital Improvement Program were combined with local money to mark and seal runways, taxiways and aprons, install lights and signs and replace an aging wind cone.

In 2009, eight new T-hangars (for plane storage) were built, again with CIP funds and local money. The same year, the county received CIP funds for engineering and design of a new terminal building.

The old “terminal” was jammed into one side of the old hangar and featured an exceptionally ratty pilots’ lounge. The new terminal, completed in 2010, features a nice lobby, counter, pilots’ lounge with showers, flight-planning room, conference room, conference room, vending area, and more.

The cost was roughly $500,000. TxDOT paid 80 percent of the cost and the county 20 percent — typical for this type of grant, Garza said.

Shifting back to 2008 and Hurricane Dolly, insurance money covered repairs of heavy structural damage to the hangar and made a new roof possible — badly needed even before the storm.

“Dolly was a blessing in disguise,” Garza said. “At the end of the day we were well insured.”

In 2011 and 2012, the county used 80/20 RAMP funds to replace the massive, operable hangar doors on the west and east sides of the old hangar.

Up next is a $1 million project, already approved by TxDOT and the county, to install a rotating beacon and tower to make the airport more visible. More runway lights are planned, as are 20 new tie-down areas on another portion of apron scheduled for resealing, as is a 24-hour, self-service fuel farm.

“We hope that we can attract some of our Homeland Security people that now can’t use us because they want service whenever they need it,” Garza said. “Their helicopters burn a lot of fuel.”

The airport will also have emergency generators installed with enough capacity to power everything at the airport, including the fuel farm.

Finally, TxDOT has allotted nearly $15 million already to fix the worn-out road that connects the airport to SH 510 and Rio Hondo. That project is awaiting clearance from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regarding ocelot crossings and should begin this year, Garza said.

“After this is done, we’re probably like 90 percent done with the master plan,” he said.

Garza credits Marty Peña, operations director for Cameron County Parks who also oversees the county’s international bridges, as being indispensable in “getting things done” at the airport. Port Isabel Mayor Joe Vega handles all the grant writing for the airport and is likewise a key player, Garza said.

Why go to all this trouble and spend all this money to resurrect a quietly expiring World War II relic in the middle of nowhere?

Because the future is calling — largely in the form of the proposed second causeway to South Padre Island, Garza said.

“We anticipate the Island tripling in size in the next 20 years,” he said.

“We want to make sure that we have all the improvements in place that are needed so when that new causeway gets developed the improvements are already going to be there,” Vega said.

In addition to other potential business opportunities on the horizon, the airport hopes to attract people with private planes who own condos on the Island.

It’s all about rebranding, Garza said, adding that, ideally, it will all lead to economic development. None of it, he noted, would have been possible without TxDOT grants.

“I’d like to be self-sustaining in the next five years, and then in the next five to 20 years be an economic generator,” Garza said. “General aviation, when you look at what it does for the state of Texas in regard to the economy, is unbelievable.”

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon accounts for 83 percent of 2012 flights

Gov. Jay Nixon leaves the airport in Jefferson City on June 30 using a state-owned plane. 
Photo Courtesy/Credit:  Julie Smith.

By Bob Watson 
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Gov. Jay Nixon was the most frequent flier of the 125 flights the Missouri Highway Patrol flew last year.

Records for 2012 show Nixon and members of his administration used the patrol’s 1999 King Air airplane 104 times — or 83.2 percent of the flights.

First lady Georganne Nixon was listed as a passenger on 19 of the flights.

The patrol measures its flights in hours, not miles — the governor’s trips used 173.1 hours, or 80 percent, of the total 215.9 hours shown on the patrol reports provided to the News Tribune under a Sunshine Law records request.

By contrast, the patrol’s records show six flights total made last year for the state Transportation department, two on behalf of University of Missouri doctors, one for Attorney General Chris Koster and four for the state Public Safety department and various law enforcement agencies.

Only seven of all the flights were out-of-state, including a Nixon trip to Detroit and another to Washington, D.C., for meetings.

The records don’t include any campaign flights made during last year’s gubernatorial race, because the Highway Patrol can’t provide a plane for election campaign flights.

Six months ago, the patrol paid $5.6 million for a new, larger, turbo-prop King Air 250 — stirring a controversy among a number of lawmakers who thought the purchase was unnecessary.

Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle told reporters last January that Nixon did not ask the patrol to buy the plane.

Instead, he said then, the agency had been considering getting a second plane for several years.

“We are the transportation for all of state government,” he said. “We have turned flights down, in the past. ... We have turned criminal-related flights down, in the past, because we didn’t have an airplane available.”

The Office of Administration used to provide those flights but, Replogle said in January, the patrol took over in 2006 when budget cuts forced OA out of airplane “business.”

“The current (1999) King Air that we have is an aging aircraft,” the colonel said, “and if we’re going to continue to be the flight services for the state, we’ve thought for years about upgrading our fleet.”

In addition, the colonel told reporters in January, “We use the plane extensively for out-of-state flights for criminal interdiction work.”

Flights on the 1999 plane cost about $650 an hour, Replogle said.

Spokesman Tim Hull said: “The other state agencies who use the Patrol’s flight service are billed directly for the service,” both for the flights themselves and for the time of the pilots who fly the plane.

It’s a practice that also has generated complaints against Nixon for sharing the costs of his flights with other state agencies.

The governor’s flights generally included at least three other people — administration representatives from the governor’s office or state agencies and, usually, a communications spokesman — plus one or more troopers assigned to the governor’s security detail.

Patrol spokesman John Hotz said: “We do not provide specific information about the security detail.”

The MoDOT flights usually involved carrying one, or two, commissioners from their homes to the department’s Jefferson City headquarters.

The law enforcement flights involved several people and, in two instances, brought suspects back to Missouri for continuing criminal investigations.

According to the patrol’s records, Nixon flew on:

• 11 (17.3 hours) of the 16 flights (24.4 hours total) in January, 2012, with MoDOT using the other five.

• All 9 of the flights (20.3 hours) in February.

• 8 (11.6 hours) of the 12 flights (17.2 hours total) in March, with two for MoDOT and one each for MU doctors and Attorney General Koster.

• 11 (14.9 hours) of April’s 13 flights (17.0 hours total), with one for MoDOT and one for the Public Safety department.

• 14 (20.6 hours) of May’s 17 flights (30.4 hours total), with two flights for MoDOT and a 6.9-hour law enforcement round-trip flight to Texas for a homicide investigation.

• All 8 flights in June (12.2 hours).

• 15 (29.0 hours) of July’s 17 flights (32.0 hours total), with MoDOT using the other two flights.

• 13 (20.5 hours) of the 15 flights in August (27.1 hours total), with MoDOT using one flight and law enforcement the other.

• All 7 flights in September (12.4 hours total).

• All 7 flights in October (11.1 hours total).

• One flight (3.2 hours) in November — after the election — with MU doctors using the other flight (4.6 hours total).

• No flights in December, although a Highway Patrol investigation used two flights for a total of 7.2 hours.

Last year — well before the patrol’s purchase of the new plane was made public in January — State Auditor Tom Schweich announced his regular audit of patrol operations would include airplane usage and school bus inspections.

That report has not been released yet.

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Propeller strike sends man to hospital: Gary Collins' girlfriend found him injured

A man suffered a life-threatening head injury Thursday evening when an airplane propeller apparently struck him in Clermont County, Goshen Twp. police said. 

The man, whom police officials named as Gary Collins, was believed to be in critical condition after a medical helicopter flew the victim to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said Goshen Twp. police Sgt. Ron Robinson.

The man was apparently getting ready to fly the recently-purchased plane at a private airfield along East Huntley Road when something went wrong, Robinson said.

Around 5:30 p.m., the man’s longtime girlfriend reported discovering he had been badly hurt, Robinson said. The woman had come to check on her boyfriend after not hearing from him for several hours, Robinson said, so the man was believed to have lain undiscovered for quite some time.

Goshen Township, Ohio —A 72-year-old man was flown to UC Medical Center on Thursday afternoon after being struck by a plane propeller.

Sgt. Ron Robinson with Goshen Township Police said Gary Collins was found by his girlfriend at about 5:30 p.m. in a hangar on East Huntley Road, near a private air strip.

Robinson said it appears that Collins had been injured a few hours before being discovered. Collins suffered a severe head injury and was flown by Air Care to the hospital.

Robinson described the plane as an experimental airplane that had recently been purchased by Collins.

Police arrest two for stealing aviation fuel: Bangalore

Bangalore, June 23 (PTI) Two persons were arrested for stealing aviation fuel worth Rs 25 lakh, City Crime Branch police said.

The duo in connivance with oil tanker drivers used to steal the fuel by drilling a hole into the tanker's cap, they said.

The police confiscated articles, including a tanker containing 20,000 litres of aviation, four iron funnels, plastic can, plastic pipes and Rs 3,000 cash.


Family takes to the skies

Alex and Michael Turnbull.

Published on June 23, 2013 at 16:00 
The  sky’s the limit when it comes to larking about in one Morpeth family.

Retired firefighter Michael Turnbull became the 50th person to gain his pilot’s license from Eshott-based Purple Aviation in December.

But Mr Turnbull decided to keep the feat secret from his son Alex, who works as a commercial pilot in New Zealand.

That is until Alex arrived in the UK for a visit and his dad decided to break the news as the pair sat in a cockpit, moments before taking off.

“Alex was just gob-smacked,” said Mr Turnbull.

The family travelled to the Eshott airfield on the pretext that Mr Turnbull had been chatting to someone from the facility and they had offered Alex a flight during his Morpeth visit.

Mr Turnbull’s instructor Lawrence Bell played the part, greeting the family and taking them to a microlight, then inviting Mr Turnbull and his son to climb in for photographs.

“Lawrence taught me how to fly so he has known me for several months, but we had to make out that we were meeting for the first time,” said Mr Turnbull.

“We got in and I started putting the harness on, then I said I wanted a picture with the helmets on. I leaned forward to flick the master switch, which enables you to communicate with each other and Alex said ‘Dad, stop it, you don’t know what you’re doing’ and switched it off again.

“It was then that I said, ‘just relax, I’m going to fly you’ and his face just dropped. It was a brilliant moment, one of the best moments of my life. It was fantastic.”

Alex, who initially started flying through Morpeth Air Cadets and now flies skydivers and visitors in New Zealand, said: “Everybody was standing around taking photographs. Dad said to put the harness on, then the headset. I didn’t realise what was going on at the time, I just thought it was a bit over the top for a photograph. Then he started flicking switches. I just thought he was fiddling with stuff he shouldn’t.

“When he said ‘I’m going to fly you’ it began to sink in.

“I’ve worked as an instructor so I’m used to being flown by people, but this was so different because I wasn’t expecting it. Even when we got back from the flight it hadn’t really sunk in, though we have been up since and it was great.”

The flight was brief as Mr Turnbull’s youngest son Chris was also visiting from his home in Bristol and he then took him up.

The family were together for the last time in the UK as the Turnbulls are soon moving to Nelson in New Zealand.

Mr Turnbull thanked Purple Aviation for their support.

“I have always been interested in aviation, but I always thought it was out of the realms of the average working man,” he said.

“It was when I retired that I decided to do something about it, which is when I came across Purple Aviation.

“For me flying is purely a hobby, but it has been fantastic learning. It has been challenging, but I have really enjoyed it.”


The Federal Aviation Administration begins planning for new control tower at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (KBWI), Baltimore, Maryland

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun preliminary planning for a new air traffic control tower at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. 

Replacing the existing three-decade-old tower, a new one would provide a more panoramic platform for viewing airport activity and ensure room for a new generation of electronic monitoring equipment. The cost would be at least $26 million.

"The agency is determining when funding may be available and working with the airport to identify a site for the new facility," said an FAA spokeswoman.

Before deciding to replace the existing tower, which rises above Concourse C, the FAA also considered a renovation. It assessed the structure's condition, age, location on the airfield, height and size. It also evaluated projected air traffic volume and staffing levels and anticipated technology and equipment.

Now the agency is conducting "a complete technical analysis of potential tower sites" that includes best sight lines, potential environmental impact and FAA office space needs, said BWI Executive Director Paul Wiedefeld. The process is expected to take at least another six months.

The project would then move to the design and budgeting phase for a tower standing about 228 feet tall, 100 feet higher than the current one.

"We want to work with them to make this happen when they want to make it happen," Wiedefeld said.

But it also has to fit into the airport's own plans beyond opening its $100 million terminal expansion this summer and its long-term hopes to upgrade Concourse D and attract more international traffic to Concourse E.

"We have a role in this," Wiedefeld said. "They understand what our master plan is. There's going to be a little bit of give and take."

The base of the existing tower was built in the 1950s, when the facility was known as Friendship Airport. At nine stories, it was hailed as the tallest tower in the nation. The structure was raised and topped off with the existing control room, or cab, in 1983.

Three decades ago, the airport handled 4.7 million passengers. Last year, it handled 22.7 million.

"Needless to say, the tower's a tad old," said John Dunkerly, who represents local workers in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "The standards for height have changed and the amount of equipment in the cab has grown. We're working on old consoles and you can only cut and paste so many times to make room. You keep stacking up monitors and pretty soon you look like a Best Buy."

Suburban Washington's two airports have newer towers. The 200-foot tower at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., was built in 1997. Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Va., got a new 325-foot tower in 2007.

"We're due," Dunkerly said. "This airport is an economic engine and important to the state's growth. A new tower really will let us move forward as the airport grows the way it wants to grow."

Representatives of the Maryland Aviation Administration and air traffic controllers assigned to the tower made two visits to an FAA design center in Atlantic City to test 18 potential sites on a computer simulator that provides a 360-degree, tower-eye view. The preferred site so far appears to be adjacent to the international concourse at the northeast corner of the terminal.

"They look at different factors. Can you see all taxiways and aircraft tails from every tower position? What do the shadows look like at different times of the year? That ended up being the best site, but they still have to run it through all their assessments," Wiedefeld said.

The most ideal site for a new BWI tower would be adjacent to the footprint of the old one atop Concourse C. But construction would block the view of controllers and the finished product might not have good sightlines if the international concourse is expanded, said Dunkerly.

The old tower would either be razed or turned into office space.

The project's price tag will hinge on a number of factors, including its outward appearance and what the FAA budgets. For example, the agency is paying $69 million of the $102 million price tag for San Francisco International's new tower, with local government covering the rest. That 221-foot tower had to meet stringent earthquake standards. The new 137-foot tower at Hawaii's Kona International Airport cost $35 million.

"It's a question of function over form," Dunkerly said. "Gone are the days when you build it as high and fancy as you can."

Wiedefeld said that "a design that fits into the airport is one of my highest priorities. We're not going to let them stick in just anything."

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Resolution Bans Future Airport Blasting Without Council Approval: Charlottesville-Albemarle (KCHO), Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville City Council passed a resolution this week that bans future blasting at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport without council's approval. 

This comes after homeowners from the Walnut Hill neighborhood complained the blasting damaged their homes.   

City Council passed the resolution at Monday night's meeting.  In the resolution it says there will be no future blasting after the current project without the council's approval. The appointee for the board is also responsible for keeping people who live in Walnut Hill in the loop about future blasting projects.  

The resolution is ultimately a way to make sure property rights remain respected.

"We want to make sure that they are treated well, there's somebody monitoring that also makes sure that if there is a problem they're compensated for that," said Satyendra Huja, Charlottesville mayor.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution June 5 requiring the airport to get approval before future blasting projects.


Archangel Systems, Auburn, Alabama: Tech company helping top aircraft fly

KRISTEN OLIVER, The Opelika Auburn News

Published 6:38 am, Sunday, June 23, 2013

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — About 20 years ago, Dr. Michael Greene took a leap of faith and started his own aerospace and automotive company.

He said it was a decision he made "foolishly."

"I was a professor of electrical engineering at (Auburn) University," Greene said. "I had been a pilot for a long time and I was unhappy with the state of instrumentation in my plane. I thought I could do better, did do better, but it wasn't commercially successful."

Greene attributed his company's initial struggles to the crash of the general aviation market in the early 2000s, but like any good pilot, he recognized the time to change course.

"We kind of shifted gears with the company," said Greene, who is CEO and chairman of the board. "We were down to three employees and we started doing more contracting for the military and for NASA, and had the idea we would come back with products when we got the technology to a certain level."

That's exactly what his company, Archangel Systems, did.

Today, Archangel employs approximately 32 people, 18 of whom are engineers and many of whom are Auburn graduates.

"You would think being in a relatively small (area) it would be difficult to hire people," said Kitty Greene, Michael's wife and the company president. "But I think we're just very centrally located with Auburn University and the aviation school down near Fort Rucker."

Archangel is a world leader in the development and manufacturing of inertial sensing equipment, or, more specifically, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial sensing equipment and systems. Aviation leaders such as Boeing, Elbit Systems, Marenco Swisshelicopter, branches of the United States military and the Australian Ministry of Defense are some of the company's clients.

"What we build here primarily are what's known as inertial measurement units, which go into various things that are used in aircrafts or submarines for stability or to measure their orientation," Michael Greene said.

He said they also perform custom engineering, meaning they make products or variations of products specifically for clients.

"They want a product that's sort of like what we have, but not exactly because they have very specific needs," he said. "What we'll do is some engineering work and turn it into a new product that is theirs."

The company's marketing director promotes products at various trade shows.

"It's interesting because I think the main way people hear about us is by word of mouth," Kitty said. "They hear Boeing is using our product and say, 'If it's good enough for Boeing, maybe I'll contact them.' And the Internet has changed the way you market your products."

The product

Archangel's most popular product is an Air Data Attitude Heading Reference System. Michael Greene said the two prototypes, the AHR150A and AHR300A, are quickly becoming the standards in aviation.

"Our premiere product (the AHR150A) we've been building since about 2005 and started selling in about 2009," he said. "Now we have a total of four or five products."

Every product is developed, manufactured and elaborately tested in the facility on Pumphrey Avenue. Equipment such as the SMTmax "pick & place" machine places parts smaller than ants onto the boards that make up the sensors.

"After they are done here they go through a reflow oven," Michael said. ". Then they are coated in a material that pretty much makes them waterproof. This is because they are operating in environments like in aircrafts where they may sit and be in use for 10 to 12 years."

After coating, the boards are assembled into the final product, which is rigorously tested.

"We do thermal calibrations, inertial calibrations, air data calibrations and then thermal cycling to try and catch any infant mortality," Michael said. "In most electronics, 90 percent of the failures are going to happen in the first few hours, so you run them through temperature cycles to try and force those failures to happen before you ship the product. You need this particular device to keep your plane flying stably, so you certainly prefer that it not quit."

After a product is calibrated, it's mounted on a vibration table to test its durability. Following vibration, it's tested a final time to make sure it meets specifications.

"This is all basically here to try and catch anything from going out the door that's bad," Michael Greene said.

Michael Greene said the company has experienced rapid growth in the last three to five years and is preparing for renovations to improve the facility's flow. He said he's pleased about the growth and believes it's a reflection of Lee County's workforce.

"We've been on the same track for the last 12 years," Michael Greene said. "And the (AHR150A) we're going to ship more than twice as many this year as we did last year, and we're expecting next year to ship twice as many as this year. So we are doubling every year on the production side."

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Archangel Systems, Inc:

Houma-Terrebonne Airport (KHUM) expecting more aircraft: Houma, Louisiana

By Xerxes Wilson
Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.


Like many ventures in Terrebonne Parish, as the oilfield goes, so goes business.

With a busy Gulf of Mexico, the Houma-Terrebonne Airport continues to grow and is taking steps to improve its facilities.

The airport sees more than 88,000 annual operations, which is airport parlance for take-offs and landings.

This puts it in the top four busiest airports in the state, according to David Slayter, director of the airport and adjoining industrial park.

Slayter said the airport is down in total operations since its busiest days midway through the last decade. He attributed this decrease to fewer flight training companies operating out of the airport.

“The commerce and business has not declined — it has increased,” Slayter said.

The airport is expected to increase activity in the coming years due partially to ongoing investments from oilfield service companies.

Following the floods brought by Hurricane Katrina, many oilfield transport companies began relocating their aircraft to areas less prone to flooding. The airport has benefitted from that, Slayter said.

Today, the airport hosts 155 aircraft including helicopters and traditional airplanes, Slayter said. That's a 35 percent increase from 2005 figures.

One of the companies that has increased its footprint in Houma is PHI Inc. The Lafayette-based oilfield transport company has more helicopters based in Houma than anywhere else and not coincidentally had Terrebonne's second-highest property tax bill last year.

Slayter said PHI and ERA Helicopters, which has a similar footprint at the airport, are set to increase the number of their locally based aircraft. Bristow Group has fewer helicopters than ERA and PHI in Houma but is also increasing the space it has there.

Slayter said it's unclear now how much property PHI will need for its planned expansion or how many aircraft will be added.

“I would expect it to be a significant expansion,” Slayter said.

ERA has leased an additional 20 acres. Though it's unclear how many aircraft will be added, Slayter said the expansion is expected to bring in new jobs.

The three helicopter companies couldn't be reached for comment.

Slayter said hosting more aircraft is not only a benchmark of the airport's health but also brings jobs and money into the parish.

“Bigger helicopters require more crew, mechanics on the ground, and that is just more people that eat and spend money here,” Slayter said.

Along with helicopters, the number of airplanes based at the airport has also increased. The airport now has 83 fixed-wing aircraft. That's up from 64 in 2005, Slayter said.

About 40 of those are single engine, 30 have multiple engines and 10 are classified as jets, Slayter.

“In the years past, folks thought the airport was just a place for people with money to play, but it's important for economic development,” Slayter said. “Even the jets are economic development. ... It is a strategic business tool, and we want businesses to have them based here because it means business is here.”

The airport is undergoing federally financed drainage projects and is mapping out other expansions and maintenance to one of its runways.

The South Lafourche Leonard Miller, Jr. Airport has also benefitted from activity in the Gulf.

Last year, the airport saw 20,000 operations. That is up from 12,500 in 2011, airport Manager Joe Wheeler said earlier this year.


Laurence G Hanscom Field Airport (KBED) receives regional award for snow and ice control: Bedford, Massachusetts

Wicked Local Bedford
Posted June 23, 2013 @ 07:40 AM

Bedford, Mass. —

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced that the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (NE/AAAE) has awarded L.G. Hanscom Field with the Balchen/Post Award for Outstanding Achievement in Airport Snow and Ice Control.

The award recognizes the dedicated efforts of "snow crews" in maintaining their airports in safe and operational status during the winter season. The Balchen/Post Award, named for pioneering aviators Wiley Post and Bernt Balchen, was recently presented at the 47th annual International Aviation Snow Symposium in Buffalo, New York.

Last winter Hanscom Field recorded more than 69 inches of snow; significantly more than the airport’s average of 47 inches. Crews responding to 17 storm events over the winter.

Hanscom received their award in the category of Large General Aviation Airport with over 50,000 annual operations.

"For airports operating in the Snow Belt, the Balchen/Post award is considered top honors for a job well done," said Hanscom Field Director Sharron Williams. "The importance of the [award] is that it is an endorsement by the pilots and businesses that depend on us to keep the airport open and functional during all weather conditions."

Prior to taking top honors this year, Hanscom Field last won the coveted award in 1991. Hanscom had received honorable mention recognition at the International Aviation Snow Symposium for three of the past four years.

To be considered for the award, an airport is recommended by the users of the airport. Hanscom received recommendations from the Independent Fixed Base Operators Association, Raytheon Company, Rectrix, and Swift Air. During the selection process, careful consideration is given to an airport’s in-depth preparedness, including their snow and ice control plan, equipment readiness, personnel training and overall safety awareness.

"Throughout a very difficult winter season, including a blizzard that crippled the East Coast, Hanscom’s snow crews demonstrated time and again that the interests of the aviation community are always their top priority," said Russell Arena, manager of aircraft operations at Raytheon Company. "The men and women charged with maintaining and operating the airfield did their absolute best to ensure a safe and efficient operation and for that we at Raytheon are thankful for their professionalism and dedication."

The International Aviation Snow Symposium award Selection Committee includes the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association; Airlines for America; Airline Pilots Association; Federal Aviation Administration; Metro Washington Airlines Committee; National Business Aviation Association; and the Regional Airline Association.

"[Hanscom] excels in customer service, teamwork and sheer will power and throughout a very challenging winter, maintained the airport and allowed us to move our passengers and crews safely," said Swift Air Flight Operations Manager Tony Jobusch.


Sea-Tac Airport live music program showcases local artists: Seattle-Tacoma International (KSEA), Seattle, Washington


The airport isn’t the first place any of us go to relax, but a program at Sea-Tac is trying to make the experience at least somewhat enjoyable.

After a three week trial period, the airport is launching a full time live music program showcasing local artists. 

The program will continue at least through the rest of the year, and they hope beyond.

“What we’re trying to do is give travelers a real sense of place in the northwest, we want them to see what the northwest music is all about,” said Tami Kuiken, director of Sea-Tac’s music initiative.

It’s not only live local music at the airport, there’s also an all-local soundtrack pumped through the speakers. They even have artists such as Macklemore record airport announcements.

If you like the artists you heard in the story, you can hear more of them at and


Blairsville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania: Mike Gwinn, president of Measurement Instruments, packs on miles with Piper Seneca V

Mike Gwinn, president of Measurement Instruments, racks up miles in his Piper Seneca V.   "It opens a whole multitude of airports much closer to where I want to be,"  he says of flying general aviation. 
Photo courtesy of Mike Gwinn 

June 21, 2013, 6:00am EDT 
Paul J. Gough- Pittsburgh Business Times  

Mike Gwinn is definitely what you’d call a frequent flier. He travels about 55,000 miles a year for business, running Measurement Instruments, an engineering firm he began more than 35 years ago.

But you won’t often find him in first or business class, racking up frequent-flier miles. When he travels in the Midwest and Northeast, Gwinn is piloting his own Piper Seneca V to his company’s offices, client meetings and conferences.

Measurement Instruments provides electronic testing and measurement of expensive, high-tech capital equipment for large manufacturers. It’s based in Blairsville and has offices in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Dayton, Ohio, ...

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Measurement Instruments:

"Driveway-gate": Hurry up and sign the contract -- Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT -- Time was of the essence when the city scrapped competitive bidding rules and hired developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho to build the $389,000 driveway he planned to his waterfront mansion in Stratford.

So why, if there was such a hurry, did it take six months after the money was approved in September for Bridgeport to take control of the project and get price quotes -- only to award the job to Moutinho's own Mark IV Construction?

"There's no reason why they shouldn't have started, as soon as that (funding) was approved, the bidding process," said former Democratic City Councilman Robert Walsh.

And it also appears the city did not use that window of time to challenge the original designs Moutinho submitted in March 2012 to Stratford for building -- on his own dime -- a cheaper $200,000 driveway.

The Bridgeport city attorney's office has said the driveway was built based on specifications Moutinho submitted to Stratford land use officials last year.

Democratic Mayor Bill Finch's office says the council approved the $389,000 on Sept. 17 when members voted to borrow $3 million for safety upgrades at city-owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford.

The City Council -- 20 Democrats -- maintains it knew nothing of the driveway until Hearst Connecticut Newspapers reported on the project three weeks ago, right after its completion by Mark IV.

The Finch administration has said it had to build Moutinho the gravel driveway from Route 113 over airport land because an existing dirt right-of-way, also off of Route 113, will be closed for the $40 million runway safety zone.

Facing a federal deadline of 2015 for the zone, the mayor's office further justified the driveway as a "small but necessary and time-sensitive piece."

But according to documents filed in Stratford, Bridgeport -- through Airport Manager John Ricci -- waited until mid-March of this year to take over the land-use permits granted Moutinho in summer 2012 when the developer was planning to install a cheaper driveway for himself and three neighboring property owners.

Finch recently suspended Ricci with pay pending an investigation into his long friendship and various real estate dealings with Moutinho, something the mayor said he knew nothing about until asked this month by Hearst.

Ricci enjoys union protection as a member of the Bridgeport City Supervisors Association. He has said the administration knew of his relationship with Moutinho.

On March 11, Ricci wrote Stratford's Conservation Department asking that the driveway permit granted Moutinho the prior July be turned over to the city. He copied Finch and Associate Bridgeport Attorney Lisa Trachtenburg.

Moutinho simultaneously on March 11 sent his own letter requesting his permit be given to Bridgeport.

Stratford's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission unanimously approved the transfer on March 21.

On March 28, Brian Carey, Stratford's Conservation Administration, notified Finch via certified mail that Bridgeport was officially responsible for Moutinho's driveway project.

Then, as Hearst recently reported, Ricci -- with the blessing of the Bridgeport city attorney's office -- circumvented the typical four to six-week bidding process and solicited quotes from three contractors: H.R. Candee Construction Co. Inc. responded April 11 with a $410,000 estimate; Anthony Julian Railroad Construction Co. submitted a $605,000 proposal April 15; and Moutinho's Mark IV Construction on April 16 offered to charge $389,000.

Six days later Stratford held a project kick-off meeting with Ricci and Moutinho. By June the driveway was done.

"Half of this was done last year and this March was when everything gets pushed into place?" said Councilman Carlos Silva, D-136, a contracts committee chairman who wants the council to launch a public investigation.

"Anybody would think it was already set up -- already done. This was a done deal," Silva said.

Bridgeport Republican Chairman John Slater agreed.

"They already knew who they wanted to give the bid to," Slater said. "Everybody knows what happened."

Walsh also questioned whether the Finch administration between September and March tried to review Moutinho's original driveway plans to reduce the costs.

The plans Moutinho filed with Stratford showed the gravel driveway also included installation of 1,200 feet each of electrical, gas, sewer and water lines, plus two fire hydrants. Those are major upgrades over the dirt driveway he lost, which had no utilities buried beneath it. The road is 1,000 feet long and 20 feet wide.

Trachtenburg last month told Hearst the city used the specifications approved in the Stratford permit.

"We're doing that as the permit instructed. Period. End of story," Trachtenburg said.

Walsh has a different opinion.

"It seems like that whole thing was based on Manny's specifications," Walsh said. "You waived bidding and let the contractor determine the bid specs."

Finch's office declined to comment, citing the city's ongoing internal investigation.

Staff Writer Daniel Tepfer contributed to this report.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

New T-Hangar Lease? Edgar County Airport (KPRG), Paris, Illinois


EDGAR CO. (Edgar County Watchdogs) -

We recently received a copy of the new t-hangar lease, “Hangar Lease” (do not confuse it with the business lease), from the airport manager. This came as a surprise since there have been no discussions or approvals of any such lease at any airport board meeting. The Advisory Board, being advisory only (Chris Patrick’s words),  would have had to take a vote on whether or not to recommend its adoption to the county board – that did not happen. Once recommended, the county board would have had to approve its adoption – that did not happen.

There are a few items in the new, unapproved, unadopted t-hangar lease that are questionable, most notably:

 - Must show proof of liability insurance on all “flyable” airplane stored inside the t-hangar, and all airplanes stored outside the hangars. The County is to be named additionally insured and have a notification certificate.   **Why did they mention only “flyable” when stored inside hangars and “any” when stored outside hangars? Could it be that Jimmy Wells’ airplane is not flyable and is stored in a t-hangar, therefore does not need proof of insurance? Are they trying to make a t-hangar leaseholder show proof of insurance on items not stored in the hangar when others can store on there without proof? Maybe the County should have to show proof of insurance to the leaseholder, since we know the county doesn’t carry fire insurance…Why is there no mention of a dollar amount for insurance coverage? Would a one dollar liability insurance policy conform to these “insurance requirements”? Couldn’t a person just “self-insure” for a one dollar policy, put it in escrow until something happens where it needs to pay out?

- Paragraphs 5 and 6, wow, the county and its employees aren’t liable for anything even if negligent. That paragraph makes the entire lease invalid.

- Paragraph 7, the County insists on the right to ground all of leasees airplanes if they don’t agree with what the leaseholder does. Can anyone see a problem with this part? The County does not have the power to ground an airplane, let alone all of the airplanes owned by one person. Think back to what has happened the past 6 or 8 months, then tell me who this is designed for. Would you want Jimmy and Chris to have that power over your airplanes with no recourse? – Just because they felt like it? What a joke!

- Paragraph 8, County can terminate at any time with or without cause and leaseholder must immediately vacate. Who do these people think they are? This is not their little private kingdom!

- Paragraph 9, County can enter the leased space for any reason or no reason at all, at any time, without notice, and without leaseholder being present. Another freakin joke, but I’m sure Jimmy and Chris has one person in mind when they inserted that one in there…

- Paragraph 13, Leaseholder has to give a key to any and all locks they have, let me guess…so Jimmy can “safeguard” them?

- Paragraph 15, They demand this of other people, but violate it themselves…

To top it all off, it is a 5-year lease!

Continued ....  Read more and comments/reaction: