Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photo Gallery: Cold case -- Innovative Winnipeg facility tests high-tech jet engines under Arctic conditions

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Nanchang CJ-6, N2726C: Accident occurred June 23, 2013 in Wolcott, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA368
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 23, 2013 in Wolcott, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2014
Aircraft: NANCHANG CHINA CJ-6, registration: N2726C
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot flew his experimental, exhibition, high-performance airplane over friends' houses. One witness indicated the pilot flew the airplane low enough to be identified. The pilot performed a second flyby of the houses. Another witness indicated that the airplane subsequently flew south and then climbed in a counterclockwise rotation. The airplane then attempted to “go upside down” and fly to the west. It subsequently impacted terrain following the low-level acrobatic maneuver. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact anomalies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilots decision to perform an aerobatic maneuver at a low altitude from which he was unable to recover.


On June 23, 2013, about 0811 mountain daylight time, an experimental exhibition Nanchang China CJ-6 airplane, N2726C, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Wolcott, Colorado. The private pilot and the pilot rated passenger were both fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial fuselage damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The local flight originated from the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), near Eagle, Colorado, about 0757.

Witnesses, who lived near the accident site, stated that the pilot flew over their houses. One witness, who was a friend of the pilot, indicated the pilot flew the airplane low enough to be identified as the pilot. The pilot performed a second flyby of the houses. One witness indicated that the airplane subsequently flew south and then climbed in a counter clockwise rotation. The airplane attempted to "go upside down" and fly to the west. The airplane descended below the witness's line of sight. His wife call 911 and he ran to the accident site where he waited for first responders. 


The pilot, age 70, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. A FAA third class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on August 30, 2012 with a restriction for near vision lenses. On the application for that medical certificate, he reported accumulating 1,180 hours total flight time with 15 hours accumulated in the previous six months. The pilot reported using Tamsulosin. The pilot recorded in his logbook that he had accumulated 1,200.1 hours of total flight time, 5.4 hours of flight time in the 90 days prior to the accident, 2.6 hours of flight time in the30 days prior to the accident, and 120.1 hours of flight time in the CJ-6.

The pilot rated passenger, age 69, held a commercial pilot certificate with single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The passenger did not have a current medical certificate on file in FAA records.


N2726C was a Nanchang CJ-6 airplane with serial number 5232007. The airplane was manufactured in 1991. Airworthiness records show that the airplane's amended special airworthiness certificate in the experimental exhibition category and purpose was issued on November 16, 2010. Records also indicated that the airplane was equipped with a M-14P radial engine with serial number KR322012, which drove a model number B530TA propeller. 

The last yearly condition inspection was conducted on June 17, 2012. A logbook endorsement indicated the airplane had accumulated 2,697.18 hours total time. At the time of that inspection, the engine had accumulated 62.8 hours total time in service.


At 0750, the recorded weather at EGE was: wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point -4 degrees C; altimeter 30.12 inches of mercury.


The airplane impacted terrain near the intersection of Horse Mountain Ranch Road and Elk Ridge Road. A witness mark on the ground was consistent with the airplane initially impacting terrain and sliding about 100 feet. The airplane became airborne again and came to rest about 162 feet from its first impact point. A FAA inspector examined the wreckage. The inspector indicated that all components, which were possible to examine, had their control continuity confirmed and the airplane was confirmed to have fuel on board when the crash occurred.


The Eagle County Coroner's Office arranged for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple injuries.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report on samples taken from the pilot. The report indicated:

Tamsulosin detected in Muscle
Tamsulosin detected in Liver

The FAA Forensic Toxicology's WebDrugs website description of Tamsulosin, in part, indicated it was an a1a-selective alpha blocker used in the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The Eagle County Coroner's Office arranged for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot rated passenger. The cause of death was listed as multiple injuries.

The FAA CAMI prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report on samples taken from the pilot rated passenger. The report stated that the samples sustained putrefaction and further indicated:

44 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine
28 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle
25 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Brain

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA368 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 23, 2013 in Wolcott, CO
Aircraft: NANCHANG CHINA CJ-6, registration: N2726C
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 23, 2013, about 0811 mountain daylight time, an experimental exhibition Nanchang China CJ-6 airplane, N2726C, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Wolcott, Colorado. The private pilot and the passenger were both fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial fuselage damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The local flight originated from the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), near Eagle, Colorado, about 0757.

At 0750, the recorded weather at EGE was: wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point -4 degrees C; altimeter 30.12 inches of mercury.

Chris Hall, right, took some time for a Father's Day flight with his son, Alexander, left. Hall had a passion for flying, and spent a big part of his life restoring ultra-rare TT 1 "Pinto" training jets.

Garfield "Gar" Brown never became a pilot, but always had a passion for flight. He spent his last hours Sunday with longtime friend Chris Hall in Hall's 1950s-vintage Chinese pilot-training plane.

Chris Hall's Nanchang China CJ-6

EAGLE COUNTY — Chris Hall and Garfield “Gar” Brown had been friends and flying buddies for years. The men, and their families, grew up together in the Vail Valley. This week, the Hall and Brown families are mourning. So is the valley’s family of pilots. 

 On a bright, blue Sunday morning, Hall and Brown headed into the air together, flying in Hall’s 1950s-vintage “Yak,” a plane once used to train Chinese pilots. They didn’t come back.

Monday, Hall and Brown were remembered as men who, literally, helped build the valley, each in his own way.

Hall showed up in the valley, riding a Triumph motorcycle, the summer between Vail’s first and second seasons. He quickly fell in with Bob Lazier, a veteran of that first season. The two became friends, and in the mid-1960s, the pair built the first wing of Lazier’s second “Wedel Inn,” which brought 24 rooms of employee housing to the new village.

“Neither of us had built a full building before,” Lazier said, adding that the project started on Sept. 8 and finished Dec. 19.

“We did (almost) everything,” Lazier said. “Chris could work like nobody I knew.”

The 1960s and ’70s saw Brown and his family come and go, before the group settled here for good. Those years included Brown’s time in the U.S. Navy’s flight school. Although he never became a pilot, Brown always loved flying. His daughter, Lindsay Weiss, said flying, riding motorcycles and boating were her dad’s top passions. Brown spent a lot of time riding, Jeeping and exploring the mountains of his adopted state.

Through the Vail Valley years, the families spent a lot of their off-hours together.

“We were always at their house,” Weiss said.

The families also spent a lot of time on the water. Hall’s son Alexander noted the family still has a boat parked at Lake Powell.

While Hall and Brown spent a lot of their time-off together, the men had different career paths.

Weiss said her dad worked in construction and held numerous jobs with Vail Associates and, later, Vail Resorts. Most recently, he was working as a driver for Colorado Mountain Express.

“He’d complain about the traffic, but there was something about hearing people’s stories that he loved,” Weiss said.

Hall, meanwhile, became one of the most specialized mechanics in the world. Always good with his hands and tools, he spent the past 25 years of his working life rebuilding and maintaining the TT 1 “Pinto” jet trainer. Only 14 were built in the mid-1950s, and Hall had a hand in putting half of those planes back into the air.

The first Pinto Hall rebuilt was a project for Lazier and some partners. The project started as many restorations do, with several boxes and crates that someone believes might be made again into a flyable plane.

“Only Chris could have put it together,” Lazier said. “Chris was a genius that way.”

Hall also rebuilt and maintained the Chinese trainer he was flying Sunday, and his mechanical skills were legendary at the Eagle County Regional Airport.

“He was always willing to share his expertise,” longtime friend Walt Olsen said. “He really had a passion for flying.”

Hall’s passion for flight passed down to Alexander, who also has a pilot’s license. On Father’s Day, the two got up into the air, just for a quick trip up and down the valley.

“It was great,” Alexander said. “We circled over the Tough Mudder (race at Beaver Creek) a few times.”

While Hall spent much of his time on the north side of the airport — where many of the valley’s private pilots hangar their aircrafts ­— Vail Valley Jet Center General Manager Paul Gordon said he was well-known among the group that uses the more jet-friendly facilities on the south side of the runway. Gordon said both Hall and Brown were involved with the Eagle County Aviation Association and were well-known in that group.

“It’s just devastating when somebody you’ve known passes like this,” Gordon said. “They were part of a tight-knit flying community, and it’s hard to lose them.”


Rock Hill-York County Airport (KUZA) Airport head says job isn’t a ‘stepping stone’ -- Rock Hill, South Carolina

Steven Gould

Steven Gould was introduced Tuesday as the new administrator at the Rock Hill-York County Airport replacing the retiring Eric Ramsdell. 

Gould explained to reporters what attracted him to the local airport.

Gould has worked during the past two years as director of operations for the Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas.

Gould said he plans to be here for a while.

Rock Hill’s General Service Administrator, Kevin Bronson, says Gould was chosen from a pool of 60 applicants.

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The remarkable ramshackle aircraft made by Africa’s DIY aviators

Published on 27 Jun. 2013 12:34 AM IST 

Most of us are happy to try a spot of DIY but there aren’t many who would take on the challenge of building their own aircraft.

These unusual looking planes are the creations of amateur engineers in Africa who have made their own jets - often just using scarp metal, a book guide and a lot of improvisation.

Despite their lack of material, training and money, these determined aviation-enthusiasts have managed to build their own machines.

Gabriel Nderitu’s aircraft, which he built in his front yard in Kenya, is powered by an engine which was once used to mill animal feed.

He sourced aluminum bars, bolts and plastic sheeting to make the frame - sticking it all together with some gum.

While Somaliland trio Mohamed Abdi Barkadle, Saed Abdi Jide and Abdi Farah Lidan, built a helicopter from an old van engine and scrap metal with no financial support in 2010.

They’d hoped to use the plane to fight fires but it is unclear whether their machine ever made it off the ground.

Farmhand Onesmus Mwangi managed to build a 25-kilogramme helicopter from scrap material he salvaged from around his village in Magomano.

According to the BBC, the 20-year-old dropped out of school at the age of 12 and has no training in aviation.

But, incredibly, Mwangi has managed to build a plane in just seven months, working around his full-time farming job.

It is not known whether it can actually fly - but Mwangi says he has managed to get it a full feet off the ground.


Hearing-impaired Romeoville High School student dreams of being a commercial pilot

Marc Sotelo wants to be a commercial airline pilot.

On the surface, such an ambition isn’t all that unusual for a 16-year-old; but, in Marc’s case, it is because he has lived with a moderate to severe hearing loss since he first started kindergarten more than nine years ago at Hermansen Elementary School.

“It’s been my dream since I was six years old,” Sotelo said. “But because of my hearing loss, people were telling me I couldn’t do it.”

Marc, now a Romeoville High School student, refused to take “no” for an answer, launching a personal research campaign three years ago that culminated in a remarkable discovery that a Southern Illinois University flight instructor has carved a flying career despite a more severe hearing impairment than Marc’s.

“I e-mailed him and he responded, telling me it was possible,” Marc recalled. “He said airlines don’t care if you have hearing loss. All they care is if you are able to function properly and can handle tough tasks.”

The communication gave new life to Marc’s quest.

Since then he has begun making plans for flight time toward his pilot’s license. And he already knows he must go to college when he graduates from RHS in 2016.

“I wanted to finish all my education,” he said. “Airlines want a four-year degree.”

“Marc is one of the most ambitious students I’ve seen,” said Romeoville High School Itinerant Teacher Jill Furto. “I’ve had a lot of serious students who don’t know what they’re going to do with their lives. He’s not going to let his hearing loss hold him back.”

Marc launched his flying career earlier this month when RHS Transition Specialist Laura Bargas helped get him aboard a plane out of Lewis University Airport.

“I was scared at first, but then when we lifted off I was like oh this is so easy,” he said as he recalled taking over the controls for two 15-minute periods. “It was easier than driving a car. It was thrilling to have the opportunity.”


Missouri's new airplane not justified, audit says

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri State Highway Patrol did not conduct a formal written analysis to justify its decision to buy a $5.6 million airplane in December, according to an audit released today

The audit also questions whether the 2012 model Beechcraft King Air 250 frequently used by Gov. Jay Nixon was a necessary addition to the state air fleet, which the audit claims was already "underutilized. 

The new state plane was a frequent point of discussion during this year’s legislative session, and the auditor's report is sure to give more fuel to the political fire surrounding it. Republican legislators have frequently criticized Democrat Nixon over the purchase, which they only became aware of after-the-fact. 

Officials in the Department of Public Safety and the Highway Patrol have routinely defended the buy, as has Nixon.  

Comments from DPS explaining the decision to buy a new plane are also in the state auditor's report. 

“After careful consideration of all aspects, and evaluating the costs and benefits involved with each, the patrol concluded that the purchase of this airplane would provide the best investment. This airplane is expected to serve Missouri for the next 20+ years,” the department’s response states.

The purchase was legal and within the Highway Patrol’s authority, using an equipment purchasing fund.

But Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, said DPS had an obligation to do a more thorough review of whether or not the purchase was the best decision for the state.

“You’re talking about $5.6 million of taxpayer money in tough budget times,” he said. “Just on the face of the data, why would you need a new plane?”

His audit of the Department of Public Safety, which includes the Highway Patrol, found that, before the purchase, the state had five passenger airplanes – the oldest a three-passenger 1981 model Cessna Centurion and the newest a six-passenger 1999 King Air C90.

According to the audit, there was no day in 2012 when all of the planes were in use, and there were 113 days when none of the planes flew.

“There was a plane available every single day,” Schweich said.

Based on the analysis, the auditor’s office concluded that the airplanes were “underutilized even before the purchase of an additional airplane.”

Overall, Public Safety received a “fair” rating in its audit – one step above “poor” in the auditor’s four-tier rating system. Because of that rating, Schweich said his office will do a follow-up review in 90 days.

Other issues raised in the audit include the handling of seized cash from old cases and oversight of school bus inspections. The department’s response indicates that efforts are already in the works to address those concerns.


Glasair helps students build planes

ARLINGTON — Glasair Aviation in Arlington is teaming up with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association to provide a unique hands-on learning experience for high school students from Michigan and Minnesota from June 17-30, as the students build a pair of Sportsman aircraft in Glasair’s “Two Weeks to Taxi” program. 

Chris Strachan, director of marketing and sales for Glasair, noted that the Arlington-based company had undertaken a similar venture a couple of years ago, albeit with far fewer students, which is but one reason that he deemed the scope of this program to be unprecedented for Glasair.

“It’s a much bigger format,” Strachan said. “I’ve always been for supporting the youth — I’m part of the EAA Young Eagles program — and I see this as a way of giving them a different perspective on technology. They have to do 51 percent of the builds themselves, and doing that work allows them to feel empowered and take ownership over what they’re building. We tell them that these planes need to be able to fly for the next 50 years, and the people who fly in them are laying their lives on these kids’ work, so if they don’t feel right about anything, they should check it and do it again.”

GAMA President Peter Bunce noted that students from 27 schools in 22 states entered the “Build A Plane” aircraft design contest to be eligible for this opportunity, for which he thanked Glasair.

“The biggest surprise has been how great the guys on the Glasair factory floor have been with these kids,” Bunce said. “They’re not trained to be teachers, but they’ve got such a good way with the kids that they’re able to get them focused on the tasks at hand while they’re still having fun. These kids are working long days, but they’re motivated and ready to dive right in.”

Julia Garner of Saline High School and Kyle Labombarbe of Lincoln High School both hail from Michigan and had never been to the Pacific Northwest before. They agreed that the lessons they’ve learned at Glasair could not be replicated in a classroom.

“I’ve known since my freshman year that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, but this puts the problem solving in a different perspective,” Garner said. “I never expected I’d build a plane.”

“Everything has to be of the highest grade,” Labombarbe said. “Everything has to be locked in and checked twice.”


Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N830SS: Accident occurred June 22, 2013 in Idaho Falls, Idaho 

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA281 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Idaho Falls, ID
Aircraft: PIPER PA-30, registration: N830SS
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 22, 2013, about 1335 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-30, N830SS, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from runway 17 at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA), Idaho Falls, Idaho. The airplane was registered and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a cross-country personal flight. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured and one passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident, with an intended destination of Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson, Wyoming.

In a written statement, a controller from the Air Traffic Control Tower reported that after clearing the accident airplane for takeoff, she watched as the airplane started it’s takeoff roll and subsequent climb about 3,000 feet down the runway. The controller stated that she turned her attention to inbound traffic and shortly after heard an airplane’s engine revving up. She looked in the direction of the sound and saw dust in the air in the area of the accident site.

Witnesses adjacent to the accident site reported observing the airplane depart runway 17 and that it sounded like the engines were “surging and popping.” Witnesses stated that the airplane climbed to an altitude of about 150 feet above ground level, and turned to the right, in a steep turn toward a small open grass lot. Subsequently, the airplane impacted terrain near an office building and about 1,000 feet southeast of the terminal building at IDA.

The 13-year-old boy who was rescued from the wreckage of a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche plane on Saturday is recovering.

Joelyn Hansen, public information officer for the Idaho Falls Police Department, said the boy was listed in good condition on Tuesday.

His improvement is the only bright spot in the tragic plane crash that took place south of the Idaho Falls Regional Airport on Saturday. Both Idaho Falls resident Mark J. Schell, 64, and Rexburg resident Brian W. Hymas, 43, died at the scene.

Idaho Falls Police Department patrol officer Mark Burnell, who is stationed at the airport, was one of the first emergency responders on scene. He was able to hear the teen talking from inside the passenger compartment of the plane, and watched as emergency crews successfully extricated him later.

“It was a very good moment in a bad situation,” Burnell said, adding that he was relieved when the boy was pulled to safety. “It was something to hang onto.”

The accident occurred shortly after the plane left the Idaho Falls airport around 1:30 p.m.

Teofilo Romero was returning to his desk at Center Partners on International Way at that time, when he noticed the airplane flying low. “It sounded like the engines sputtered. I heard at least three ‘pops,’” he said.

From where Romero was standing, it appeared that the pilot was trying to gain altitude. The plane appeared to be traveling on a direct line toward Romero and the call center at 1755 International Way.

“He looked like he was trying to climb, I could see the plane’s under belly,” Romero said.

Seconds later, the plane nose-dived.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be good from there,” he said.

The plane slammed into a vacant lot across the street from the call center.

“It was so eerie. You could hear the sound of crunching metal (but) it didn’t really make any noise ... just a poof,” Romero said.

There was no explosion. No fireball. No plume of thick, acrid smoke.

“My co-worker called 911 (and) I ran over there to see what I could do to help,” Romero said. “I couldn’t see anyone (in the plane). The plane was so mangled I couldn’t tell where the cockpit was ... or the cabin.”

One of the engines — attached to a wing pointing up from the wreckage — appeared to be leaking fuel. Romero said he heard what sounded like the popping of electrical components within the plane, then the engine caught fire.

Others also rushed to the crash site. Someone brought a fire extinguisher, Romero said, and quickly doused the engine fire.

“Initially, when I got there, I didn’t hear anything,” he said.

That soon changed.

Romero heard someone calling out. It was the voice of the 13-year-old boy who survived the crash.

“He talked to my co-worker,” Romero said. “She asked him, ‘What’s your name?’ He said, ‘Jacob.’ He was calling for his father. He kept saying: ‘I’m over here. I’m over here. I’m over here.’”

Romero went to the back of the plane and peered into the twisted metal and debris that once had been a cabin.

“I looked to see it (the voice) was coming from. I could see someone pushing on a piece of the plane,” Romero said.

Burnell said some witnesses reported the crash to him, and he quickly responded to the scene a few hundred yards from the airport.

Transportation Security Administration officer Mitchell Barney and several civilians were already there.

Although the engine fire had been extinguished, Burnell said he was still concerned about another fire starting.

“Airplane fuel was running down both wings,” he said. “It was running onto dry grass so all we needed was a spark to create a bigger problem.”

Burnell, a former firefighter volunteer who has experience responding to plane crashes, said he kept vehicles and people out of the area until emergency crews arrived.

“I knew we were not going to get the survivor out of the small area quickly,” he said, adding that it was obvious that the teen would have to be extricated and he didn’t want to see any other problems arise in the meantime.

Emergency crews arrived on scene a short time later, which made things easier, Burnell said.

“We had the right people on scene with the right gear,” he said, adding that everyone worked together to help the teen.

It was quickly apparent that the boy was the only survivor, but his life gave the responders hope.

“As every firefighter (and responder) will witness, you’re energized by the thought that there is the potential to save a life here,” he said.

Burnell is not sure how long it took them to reach the boy, but he was grateful that they were able to get him out safely and in time. The teen was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in stable condition on Saturday.

“It’s a classic example of everybody going about what needed to be done,” Burnell said, adding that all of the responders, including some of the civilians, worked together to help the teen.

“I couldn’t be prouder ... ” he said.

Although they were able to rescue the boy, Burnell said he hurts for the families of the two men who didn’t survive.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to them,” he said.

An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board began combing the crash scene Sunday morning for evidence of what caused the plane to go down. Efforts to contact the investigator failed on Tuesday.

Romero speculated that before the plane went down, the pilot was trying to avoid crashing into the call center and the nearby homes.

“If that’s what he was doing, I think he was a hero,” Romero said.

Police: Ryan Lucas distracts aviation search unit with laser pointer

Orlando, Florida -- Osceola County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 20-year-old man who distracted an aviation unit with a laser pointer as it searched for people lost in a rowboat in the Shingle Creek area late Tuesday night. 

 The pilot and an observer told deputies they were blinded by a green laser light three times while conducting their search between Poinciana Boulevard and Bass Road.

The Aviation Unit was able to locate the home where the light was coming from and saw several individuals in a swimming pool. Deputies responded to the vacation rental property in the 200 block of Hideaway Beach Lane where they saw several individuals, including Lucas behind the home.

Lucas appeared nervous and went directly into the house. Deputies were invited inside the home and asked to speak with him and asked him to bring them the laser light.

Lucas gave the deputies the laser light and told them he "messed up and should not have shined the light at the helicopter." He said he had no explanation as to why he did it.

Based on his statement and the evidence, Lucas was arrested and charged with pointing a laser device at a driver/pilot.

The sheriff's office says the boaters the aviation unit was looking for were found.


Will pilots take over Braden Airpark?

With Braden Airpark recommended for closure, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority officials say they'd be willing to turn it over to pilots.

If small-plane pilots are so passionate about keeping Braden Airpark open, maybe they'd be willing to take over its operation.

That's the latest plan floated to save the 80-acre small-plane airfield in Forks Township. But Lehigh Valley International Airport authority officials cautioned — buyer beware. Braden comes with more than $2 million in debt and a list of repairs that may need to be done in the next few years.

Authority officials and pilots met last week, hoping to find an alternative to the authority's recommendation to close the small airport to cut expenses. While they didn't hatch a detailed plan, they came away with mutual hope that one is possible.

"One of the options being discussed is having them assume airport operations," said Charles Everett Jr., executive director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, which owns Braden. "Everything's on the table right now. It was a very positive meeting. We're willing to expend a lot of time and energy to determine if there is a way."

Braden was opened in 1938 by packaged-meat seller Edwin Braden and remained a family-run airport until the airport authority bought it for $2.4 million in 1999. Now, faced with paying the remaining $14 million of a court judgment against the authority for taking a developer's land in the 1990, the authority has been assessing all its assets. The authority board determined earlier this year that Braden, with $160,000 per year in debt payments and more than $2 million in needed capital improvements, was too expensive to keep open.

Everett last month recommended that it be closed, and all of its planes be moved to Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, or to Queen City Airport in Allentown. The airport authority owns all three facilities.

But earlier this month the authority agreed to give the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association 120 days — starting Tuesday — to find a way to keep Braden open. One option is simply to turn it over to the pilots association, or some other private entity with similar plans to keep it operating, said Authority Board chairman Tony Iannelli. Other options included finding a private operator, having Forks Township take it over or having the authority continue to run it.

What intrigued some authority members was having the pilots association take Braden over, whether it be full ownership, or a public-private partnership that relieved the authority of all future expenses. While all of the talks last week were preliminary, it was good news to pilots who only last month were shocked to hear the authority planned to close it.

"I don't think we're singing 'Kumbaya' yet, but it was encouraging," said Michael Rosenfeld, president of the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association. "I think they are genuinely interested in helping us keep Braden open."

The meeting made it clear that Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority officials are not looking to sell Braden, just get its expenses off their books, said William Berger, authority board member who met with pilots.

That opened the door for any plan the pilots can muster that puts the operations — and expenses — of Braden Airpark in someone else's hands, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority board member William Berger said.

"Having it remain an airport, but not run by the authority, would be a win-win," Berger said. "I think we all want that."

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Former pilot jailed for murdering wife in car crash after disabling airbag

A former pilot was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years for murdering his wife by deliberately crashing his car into a tree at 50mph after her airbag had been disabled.

Iain Lawrence, 53, denied murder and claimed during a three-week trial that the crash which killed his 47-year-old wife Sally Lawrence was an accident.

But today a jury of six men and six women convicted him by a majority verdict of 11-1 at Leicester Crown Court.

High Court judge Mr Justice Leggatt told Lawrence he would serve a minimum term of 24 years.

The jury took just over eight hours to convict Lawrence of murder.

Family and friends of Mrs Lawrence clapped and shouted 'yes' in the public gallery as the verdict was read out.

Lawrence, wearing a grey suit, stared straight ahead in the dock.

Prosecutors said Lawrence adopted the brace position in the crash as Mrs Lawrence, who was not wearing a seat-belt, died almost instantly.

Iain Lawrence purposely careered off a bend on a quiet country road in order to kill company director wife Sally, who was sitting in the passenger seat, in a 'most cunning way'.

Jurors were told Lawrence, 53, said after the crash that he had no recollection of what had happened.

But Leicester Crown Court heard he was unable to accept the fact the couple, who had a 10-year-old son together, were going through a divorce and Mrs Lawrence had found a new partner.

Nirmal Shant QC, prosecuting, said the 47-year-old was terrified of her husband in the months before her death, even telling a friend: 'One day he will kill me.'

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Buzzing Planes Ruin Father's Day: Cape May County Airport (KWWD), Wildwood, New Jersey

Photo Courtesy/Credit: Kathryn

 June 24, 2013 - 10:13 am 

Letters to the Editor

By Charles Jackson

To The Editor: 

As I sat here typing this letter at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning on Father’s Day, I hear a loud and buzzing sound coming from the direction of the Cape May County Airport. Yesterday it lasted from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. The sounds that the planes make are very annoying and they last all day. It's been going on for three days.


1. Do they need a permit to fly like they do around populated areas? 

2. Does the Federal Aviation Administration know about this type of flying? 

3. Are there any safety factors to be considered? 

4. Why not fly over the bay or the ocean?

This is the second year of this and it is annoying. Just when you think you are going to have a nice, quiet, Father’s Day on your front porch and enjoy the weather, you get to listen to planes buzzing around your house. I hope it is not going to be like this all summer.


Rio Grande

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