Thursday, June 27, 2013

New TIMCO hangars have plenty of suitors: Piedmont Triad International Airport (KGSO), Greensboro, North Carolina

GREENSBORO — TIMCO Aviation Services said this week it hasn’t made its final commitment to build two new hangars at Piedmont Triad International Airport because it has a problem.

A good problem.

Several banks and businesses have jumped at the chance to help it finance the two hangars it may build at its Radar Road location for about $30 million, TIMCO Vice President Kip Blakely said.

“It was my inexperience and naivete,” Blakely said. “I didn’t know we would have people coming out of the woodwork.”

So the company’s wading through offers with its best poker face before it commits to Greensboro or one of the locations in other states it’s considering.

Several states have already lined up to recruit the hangars and the 400 jobs TIMCO would bring, Blakely says.

“I’m not ready to stipulate it’s here and nowhere else,” Blakely said.

TIMCO is already at the heart of a thriving aviation industry at PTI, with a major Cessna Citation maintenance center and Honda Aircraft Co. employing hundreds just down the road.

And the region’s business recruiters say they want to build a stronger aviation community because companies typically bring hundreds of well-paying jobs.

The Greensboro City Council and the Guilford County Commissioners have each approved $400,000 in incentives to make sure TIMCO doesn’t go anywhere else.

PTI has offered $1 million and the state is offering $4 million for the project.

Now, he said, TIMCO is considering its financing options. That includes traditional loans, investors and even developers who would own the hangars and lease them to TIMCO.

“What’s slowing us down is there is so much interest,” said Blakely, whose company has been planning to build a new hangar in one of several locations since April.

TIMCO already employs 1,500 workers in 700,000 square feet at PTI.

Five other states are seeking the company’s expansion Blakely said.

He said several states approached TIMCO earlier this month at the annual air show in Paris.

TIMCO maintains, overhauls and repairs passenger airliners, military cargo and tanker planes.

There’s been such a demand for its services, it has had to turn away clients, Blakely said.

The new hangars would allow the company to take on more business.

TIMCO expects to add 85 new employees a year from 2015 to 2018 and another 64 jobs in 2019, according to the city. The company will hire machinists, sheet metal workers and technicians, Blakely said.


Source:   http://www.news-record.com

Cessna P337H Pressurized Skymaster, N337LJ: Accident occurred June 24, 2013 in San Luis Obispo, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA289
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 24, 2013 in San Luis Obispo, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/10/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA P337H, registration: N337LJ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

The pilot/owner had recently purchased the multiengine, high-performance, complex airplane. He had obtained his private pilot certificate 15 years before the accident and had limited flight experience, having amassed a total of about 118 hours of flight time. He had obtained his multiengine rating 5 weeks before the accident, and his total flight experience in multiengine airplanes was about 40 hours. Of that time, 18 hours were logged in the accident airplane of which 3 hours were while acting as pilot-in-command.

On previous flights, the airplane's rear engine had been "stuttering" as the throttle was advanced. The pilot was able to forestall the problem by advancing the throttle slowly; however, the symptoms had been getting worse. A maintenance facility at the departure airport attempted to troubleshoot the engine problem but was not able to resolve the issue. Thus, the pilot intended to reposition the airplane to another airport where a different maintenance facility had agreed to continue the diagnosis. He planned to fly the airplane in the traffic pattern, perform a touch-and-go landing, and proceed to the other maintenance facility if the airplane performed correctly. He had also made plans to depart that night on an important and time-sensitive business trip to Europe from an airport close to the second maintenance facility.

The departure for the initial flight appeared uneventful; however, during the approach for the touch-and-go landing, the pilot seemed distracted, missing multiple landing clearances issued by an air traffic controller. The airplane landed and used the full runway length for the ground roll, while making "popping" sounds similar to an engine backfiring, indicative of at least a partial loss of engine power. Having reached the end of the runway, the airplane lifted off and climbed to about 150 feet above ground level, and a short time later the pilot issued a mayday transmission. The airplane maintained the runway heading and the same altitude for about a mile and then began a descending right turn, striking a set of power distribution lines and a building. The length of the runway and its overrun area would have provided ample stopping distance for the airplane after the landing. Further, the area between the runway and accident site was comprised of level fields which would have been adequate for an emergency landing.

The majority of the airplane's structure was consumed by postimpact fire. The front engine's propeller displayed considerable rotational damage, consistent with it producing power at the time of the accident. The rear propeller exhibited less significant rotational damage signatures, consistent with it operating at a reduced power level. The rear engine sustained thermal damage, which precluded a determination of the reason for the loss of power.

Postaccident examination of the front engine revealed that the right magneto was set to an incorrect timing position. The left magneto had broken free during the impact sequence, so its timing position could not be ascertained. If the left magneto had been set to the correct timing position, the incorrect timing of the right magneto would have resulted in a minimal loss of engine power. Additionally, although no damage was noted to the right magneto, it is possible that it became misaligned during the impact sequence. Lastly, because the engine was producing power at the time of impact, it is unlikely that both magnetos were misaligned.

Performance charts indicated that at the airplane's takeoff weight, a total loss of engine power from the rear engine should have allowed for an adequate takeoff profile, assuming the emergency procedures detailed in the Pilot's Operating Handbook for the airplane had been followed. However, examination revealed that the procedures had not been followed because at the time of impact, the flaps were not completely retracted, and the rear engine's propeller was not feathered. Although the pilot had the minimum experience required to fly the multiengine airplane, he had only acted as pilot-in-command of this airplane for 3 hours; and when he was faced with an emergency, he likely did not have the proficiency and confidence to readily deal with it. The pilot was likely distracted during the landing (as supported by the missed radio calls), failed to abort the landing and continued with his original plan to takeoff despite the loss of engine power, and was unable to appropriately configure the airplane for flight with only one engine operable after the takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Loss of engine power from the rear engine for reasons that could not be determined because of the postimpact thermal damage to the engine. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's decision to continue flight with a known deficiency, his failure to abort the takeoff during the ground roll, his failure to follow the correct emergency procedures following the loss of power, and his lack of experience in multiengine airplanes and the specific airplane make and model.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 24, 2013, at 1255 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna P337H, N337LJ, collided with a power distribution line, building, and delivery truck following takeoff from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, San Luis Obispo, California. The airplane was registered to CSC Solutions LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot/owner sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post impact fire. The cross-country personal flight departed San Luis Obispo at 1254, with a planned destination of Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

According to a friend of the pilot, during the month leading up to the accident, the rear engine was "stuttering" as the throttle was advanced from idle to full power. The pilot reported that he was able to forestall the problem by advancing the throttle slowly. The friend had not experienced this problem, having flown with him on a number of occasions; however, the pilot stated to him that it had been getting worse during the 2-week period leading up to the accident.

PCF Aviation, at the pilot's home base of San Luis Obispo, began troubleshooting steps on the rear engine about 1 week prior to the accident. Although they could reproduce the problem, they could not definitively determine its cause, and the pilot asked them to discontinue the diagnosis.

Another mechanic at a maintenance facility (Advantage Aviation) located at Palo Alto Airport, stated that the airplane was brought to him about 2 weeks prior, and that he had attempted to diagnose the same problem. He briefed the pilot on the most likely cause, and was subsequently approached again by the pilot, who agreed to fly the airplane back to his facility on the day of the accident for further diagnosis.

The pilot had also made plans to depart on an international commercial flight from San Francisco International Airport (20 miles from Palo Alto by automobile) at 1925 later that evening. According to his wife, the reason for the flight was so that he could attend a time sensitive business meeting in Europe.

According to the pilot's friend, the pilot planned to fly the airplane in the traffic pattern, and if all was well, continue the flight to the maintenance facility in Palo Alto.

The airplane departed uneventfully and flew a single circuit in the traffic pattern. The pilot requested a touch-and-go landing, and while on the final approach leg for runway 29, an air traffic controller issued landing clearances to the pilot on three different transmissions. The pilot responded to the last transmission, accepting the clearance for the touch-and-go.

A series of security cameras were located at various positions along the length of runway 29. They captured video of various segments of the flight sequences. The recordings revealed that during the touch-and-go, the airplane appeared to utilize almost the full runway length for the ground roll. As it reached the runway overrun, it climbed to about 70 feet above ground level (agl) with the landing gear retracted. The climb progressed to about 150 feet agl and a short time later, the pilot transmitted, "Mayday Mayday". The tower controller responded, and a broken transmission of, "uh" was then received.

A camera located at a tire service center, about 1 mile west-northwest of the departure end of runway 29 recorded the airplane's departure path. The camera was facing northeast, and recorded the airplane flying on a northwest track at an altitude of about 150 feet agl. The airplane remained level and then began to descend out of view, and 4 seconds later, power to the camera was lost. About 20 seconds later power was restored, and a plume of smoke was seen in the vicinity of the airplane's descent path. The airplane collided with a power distribution line during the descent, temporarily shutting off power to multiple local businesses.

Multiple witnesses located at various locations within the airport perimeter recounted observations similar to the video recordings. They recalled that their attention was initially drawn to the airplane because it was producing an unusual sound during the departure roll of the touch-and-go. An air traffic controller reported that she heard the sound of a "bang," and looked below towards the airplane as it passed the control tower at midfield. Another witness described the airplane as making a "popping" sound, with another stating the sound was similar to a radial engine. A witness located at an FBO at midfield, stated that he looked up when he heard the sound of "propellers out of sync" and when he did so, he observed the airplane traveling northwest along the runway.

A witness who was in an airplane holding short of runway 29 was cleared to "line up and wait" by air traffic control personnel just after the accident airplane passed him on the runway after landing. The witness stated that as he looked up he perceived that the airplane was continuing on the runway for a long time. It finally rotated as it approached the runway end, and continued at a low altitude, flying in what he described as ground effect. It eventually transitioned to a shallow climb, with a steep angle of attack such that he could see the entire upper wing surface. The airplane then began to "mush" back down, remaining in the nose-high attitude, and rocking from side to side. It then began a rapid descent, followed a short time later by a flash.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 44-year-old pilot was originally issued a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land in 1998. In May 2013, about a month before the accident, he was issued an additional rating for multiengine land. At that time he reported his total flight experience in airplanes was 82 hours, of which 23 hours he acted in the capacity of pilot-in-command, primarily in a Cessna 152. He also reported 29 hours of rotorcraft experience, with 1.1 hours as pilot-in-command.

The pilot's logbooks indicated his multiengine training utilized about 22 hours of flight time, and occurred in a Piper PA-44 during the period from April 6, 2013, through to his check ride on May 16, 2013. Over the following month he received about 14 hours of dual instruction in the accident airplane culminating in his high performance and complex-airplane endorsements. His last logbook entry was dated June 3, 2013, and indicated a total flight experience of 118 hours, of which 2.8 hours was logged as pilot-in-command time in the accident airplane.

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued in March 2013 with no limitations.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The pressurized, high-wing, centerline-thrust multiengine airplane was manufactured in 1978, and purchased by the pilot 2 months prior to the accident. It was powered by two Continental Motors Incorporated TSIO-360 series turbocharged-engines and equipped with McCauley two-blade constant-speed propellers.

The last entry in the airplane's maintenance logbooks was a 100-hour/annual inspection, which was recorded as being completed on March 22, 2013. At that time, the airframe had accrued 2,096.2 total flight hours. The front and rear engines had accumulated 1,110 and 616 hours, respectively, since their factory rebuild.

A work order dated 1 week before the accident was provided by PCF Aviation, which documented the diagnosis of the rear engine. The order indicated that the engine stuttered at 2,000 rpm, and that maintenance personnel could duplicate the problem, but were unable to resolve the discrepancy. The "Action Taken" section of the order specifically stated:

"Adjusted aft idle mixture and check aft engine fuel pressures per Teledyne Continental SID97-3E. Fuel pressures satisfactory. Swapped fuel pump and flow divider from forward to aft engine. No change in aft engine. Returned fuel pumps to original configuration. Inspected aft engine for induction leaks, no discrepancies found. Stopped troubleshooting at owners request.... Found excessive play in prop governor assembly linkage. Notified owner that prop governor needed to be sent out for repair/overhaul."

The owner of PCF Aviation stated that he informed the owner that the airplane had not been repaired. The pilot stated that the problem was, "manageable" and that he would take it to another repair facility. The airplane then remained on the ramp, and was not flown again until the day of the accident.

In a post-accident interview, the mechanics at PCF Aviation who performed the diagnosis stated that the propeller blade pitch angle did not change while the engine was stuttering, and they therefore discounted a governor problem as the cause. They further stated that if the throttle was rapidly advanced the engine speed would reach 1,900 to 2,100 rpm, and then stutter and "oscillate" but not reach full speed.

A mechanic from Advantage Aviation in Palo Alto stated that he had performed troubleshooting steps about 2 weeks prior to the accident for the same problem, and that he recommended the governor control be sent to a repair facility for overhaul. Work orders for that visit indicated that the tachometer for the front engine was providing intermittent readings, and that this discrepancy was resolved by repairing the right-hand magneto ground. 

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Runway 29 at San Luis Obispo Airport was 6,100 feet long, by 150 feet wide, and comprised of asphalt. A 600-foot-long blast pad/stopway projected beyond the runway's departure end, and the area from the runway to the accident site was comprised of level open fields, transected by a two-lane road.

Following the accident, the runway was examined for remnants of foreign objects or recent propeller strike damage; none were found.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the San Luis County Sheriff-Coroner's Office. The cause of death was reported as the effect of multiple blunt force trauma injuries, with significant contributing conditions including smoke inhalation, and extensive thermal injuries.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from the pilot were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. The results were negative for all screened drug substances and ingested alcohol. With the following findings for carbon monoxide, and cyanide:

18 (%) CARBON MONOXIDE detected in Blood
0.41 (ug/ml) CYANIDE detected in Blood

Refer to the toxicology report included in the public docket for specific test parameters and results.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage came to rest adjacent to a building in a business park, 1 mile beyond, and directly in line with, the departure end of runway 29. The initial point of impact was characterized by damage to a series of three power-distribution lines located on the border of the street, which divided the building and a strawberry field. Two of the lines had become separated from their insulator supports on top of the 35-foot-tall wooden power pole. Two pine trees adjacent to the distribution lines were topped at the 35-foot level. A second tree, 50 feet to the northwest, exhibited a 40-foot-wide swath of cut branches at an angle 45 degrees relative to the ground. The debris field, consisting of tree branches and limbs, continued another 25 feet to the building. The building's east-facing wall was about 30 feet tall and constructed of cement blocks. The right wing was located on the roof of the building, just above a series of diagonal white, blue, and black paint transfer marks on the face of the wall. Additionally, the debris field, consisting of the rear engine's turbocharger inlet wheel and shroud, as well as cowling fragments, continued to the main wreckage, which had come to rest impinged against the front of a truck. The entire cabin area was consumed by fire and a fuel odor was present at the site.

The entire cabin structure and wing center section was consumed by fire, with burnt wire remnants, seating structure, and lower frame components remaining. The flap actuator jack screw displayed 2.9 inches of thread between the screw and actuator housing, which corresponded to 10-degree (1/3) flap deployment. The main and nose gear were in the stowed position. The engine controls within the cabin were in the full forward position, with the exception of the rear engine mixture control, which was about 10 degrees short of full forward.

The horizontal stabilizer had separated from the tailbooms and sustained crush damage along the entire length of its leading edge. The elevator and associated trim tab remained attached to the stabilizer; the elevator trim tab actuator position could not be determined accurately due to its cabling having been pulled through the structure during the impact sequence.

The propeller for the front engine remained attached to the crankshaft and exhibited leading edge gouges, chordwise scratches, and tip twist to both blades. The spinner along with the propeller hub dome sustained radial gouge marks.

The rear engine's propeller had separated at the crankshaft and was located behind the truck. Both blades remained attached to the hub; one blade exhibited 15 degrees bending along its entire length, the second blade had twisted about 60 degrees forward and exhibited chordwise scratches at the tip.

Both propeller domes contained markings consistent with the counter weights making contact with it during impact. The orientation and position of the markings were consistent with the propeller blades being at a flat pitch (power) setting.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Engine Examinations

Both engines were removed from the airplane and transported to the facilities of Continental Motors Incorporated (CMI) for examination by the NTSB investigator-in-charge and representatives from the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and CMI. A complete examination report is contained within the public docket.

Rear Engine

The rear engine sustained thermal discoloration and sooting throughout.

Both magnetos remained attached to the crankcase; the spark plug leads were thermally damaged and continuous to the spark plugs. The propeller governor remained attached to the forward crankcase, with its control linkages continuous through to the firewall. The propeller synchronization motor and gears remained attached. The governor unit was removed and the input shaft rotated smoothly by hand. A brown-colored oil flowed from the passages of the unit and the screen was noted to be free of debris. The control arm moved freely. Disassembly revealed the pump gears, fly weight, and drive gear to be intact.

The engine driven fuel pump remained attached to the forward crankcase. An external examination revealed that it appeared undamaged, was coated in black soot, and all fuel lines were firmly attached at their fittings on the pump. The mixture control arm was bent; its control cable and eyebolt remained attached and continuous through to the firewall.

All upper ancillary components, including the fuel manifold valve, induction manifold risers, and fuel metering unit exhibited black discoloration. All lines to the fuel injection nozzles were intact with their fittings tight. The fuel pump and metering unit exhibited thermal damage to all internal components consistent with post-impact fire.

Due to the thermal damage sustained, an engine test run could not be performed. As such, the engine core was disassembled and the turbocharger examined; no anomalies were found that would have precluded normal operation.

Front Engine

The front engine remained partially attached to its mounts and had sustained varying degrees of impact damage to the sump, left magneto (which had broken away from the pad), both magneto harnesses, starter motor, and the number one cylinder.

The right magneto remained attached to the engine case, and did not display any obvious indications of damage. Its timing to the engine was tested utilizing a magneto synchronizer. The test revealed that the magneto points opened at 1 degree after top dead center (TDC) instead of the nominal 20 degrees before TDC. According to representatives from CMI, a 20-degree change in crankshaft angle corresponds to a circumferential change of 0.5 inches at the magneto flange, which equals about 16 degrees of angular rotation to the magneto.

The engine was installed in a test cell and an engine run was performed with the right magneto remaining in its as-found position of one degree after TDC. A replacement left magneto was attached and set to the same 1 degree after TDC position in an effort to gauge engine performance with two incorrectly timed magnetos. The engine started after two attempts and was run at 1,000 rpm for 5 minutes at which point the oil reached its standard operating temperature. The throttle was then advanced to a fully open position and the engine speed increased. The maximum speed that could be attained was 1,850 rpm at an indicated manifold pressure of 38.5 inHg; with the throttle in the full open position, the engine should have been able to reach a speed of at least 2,400 rpm. A magneto check was then performed in accordance with the Cessna P337H Pilots Operating Handbook (POH), and the engine speed was observed to drop 200 rpm for each magneto. According to the POH, the rpm drop should not exceed 150 rpm on either magneto, or 50 rpm differential between magnetos.

The left magneto was then set to the correct ignition timing of 20 degrees before TDC and another engine run was performed. The engine started immediately and responded smoothly to throttle inputs. A magneto check was performed at 1,800 rpm, and a drop of 20 rpm was observed when the left magneto was selected, and a drop of 240 rpm with the selection of the right magneto. The engine appeared to run normally and was capable of reaching maximum rpm.

A final series of engine runs were performed with both magnetos set to 20 degrees BTDC. The engine operated smoothly throughout its rpm range, and was able to achieve its maximum speed at a corresponding nominal manifold pressure.

A post engine test cylinder leakage test was performed in accordance with the latest revision of CMI Service Bulletin SB03-3 and normal pressure readings were attained.

The right magneto was subsequently removed and examined; the internal timing was correct, and no anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation. The original left magneto was installed on a test stand and operated at speeds varying between 500 and 2,100 rpm. All leads produced a spark in proper firing order and the impulse coupling triggered appropriately.

ADDITIONAL INFO

The airplane's POH documented the following emergency procedures for continuing a takeoff with an engine inoperative:

1. Throttles -- FULL FORWARD.
2. Propeller Controls -- FULL FORWARD.
3. Mixture Controls-- FULL FORWARD.
4. Inoperative Engine -- IDENTIFY from manifold pressure, RPM, fuel flow and EGT (if installed) indications....NOTE Verify inoperative engine by momentarily closing throttle and noting power response to throttle movement.
5. Windmilling Propeller-- FEATHER PROMPTLY.
6. Wing Flaps -- RETRACT slowly.
7. Airspeed-- 89 KIAS (80 KIAS with obstacles ahead).
8. Landing Gear -- RETRACT (after immediate obstacles are cleared).
9. Inoperative Engine -- SECURE.

Furthermore, a single engine rate of climb of 440 feet per minute would have been possible at sea level, with a temperature of 20 degrees C, under the following conditions:

-Weight 4,400 pounds
-Inoperative Propeller Feathered
-Flaps Up
-Gear Up
-2800 RPM
-37 Inches Hg
-Mixture Set at 140 PPH
-Cowl Flaps Open on Operating Engine
-Cowl Flaps Closed on Inoperative Engine

The sea level landing distance under similar conditions and utilizing the short field landing technique would have been about 810 feet.



NTSB Identification: WPR13FA289 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 24, 2013 in San Luis Obispo, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA P337H, registration: N337LJ
Injuries: 1 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 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 24, 2013, at 1255 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna P337H, N337LJ, collided with power distribution lines, a building, and a delivery truck following takeoff from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, San Luis Obispo, California. The airplane was registered to CSC Solutions LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post impact fire. The cross-country personal flight departed San Luis Obispo at 1254, with a planned destination of Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The NTSB investigator traveled in support of this investigation.

According to air traffic control personnel located in San Luis Obispo Control Tower, the pilot reported that he intended to perform a high speed taxi, followed by a circuit in the traffic pattern, a touch-and-go landing, and then finally a departure. A series of security cameras located at a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) adjacent to the midfield of runway 29 recorded various segments of the flight sequences. The recordings revealed that during the final departure, following the touch-and-go, the airplane appeared to utilize almost the full runway length for the ground roll, then climbed to an altitude of about 150 feet above ground level (agl). A short time later, the pilot transmitted, “Mayday Mayday” over the tower frequency; the tower controller responded, and a broken transmission of, “uh” was then received.

A security camera located at a tire service center, about 1 mile west-northwest of the departure end of runway 29 recorded the airplane's departure path. The camera was facing northeast, and recorded the airplane flying on a northwest track at an altitude of between 100 and 200 feet agl. The airplane remained level as it passed from the right side of the camera's view to the center. It then began to descend out of view, and 4 seconds later, power to the camera was lost. About 20 seconds later power was restored, and the camera recorded a plume of smoke in the vicinity of the airplane’s descent path.

Multiple witnesses located at various locations within the airport perimeter recounted observations corroborating the camera recordings. They all recalled that their attention was initially drawn to the airplane because it was producing an unusual sound during the departure roll. A tower controller reported that she heard the sound of a bang, and looked over towards the airplane as it passed the tower at midfield. Another witness described the airplane as producing a “popping” sound, with another stating the sound was similar to a radial engine. A witness located at an FBO at midfield, reported that he looked up when he heard the sound of “propellers out of sync” and when he did so, he observed the airplane traveling northwest along the runway.

According to friends of the pilot, the airplane had been experiencing a problem with the rear engine during the month leading up to the accident. He left the airplane with a maintenance facility at San Luis Obispo Airport about 1 week prior, where a series of troubleshooting steps were performed. Work orders indicated that the engine was, "stuttering at 2,000 rpm." Maintenance personnel were unable to resolve the discrepancy, and the pilot requested that they discontinue the work. The airplane remained on the ramp, and was not flown again until the day of the accident. Another mechanic at a maintenance facility located at Palo Alto Airport reported that the airplane was brought to him about 2 weeks prior, and that he had attempted to diagnose the same problem. He briefed the pilot on the most likely cause, and was subsequently approached again by the pilot, who agreed to fly the airplane back to his facility on the day of the accident for further diagnostic evaluation.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage came to rest adjacent to a cement-block building in a business park, 1 mile beyond, and directly in line with, the departure end of runway 29. The initial point of impact was characterized by damage to a series of three power distribution lines located on the border of the street, which separated the building from a strawberry field. Two of the lines had become separated from their insulator supports on top of the 35-foot-tall wooden power pole. Two pine trees adjacent to the distribution lines were topped at the 35-foot level. A second tree, 50 feet to the northwest, exhibited a 40-feet-wide swath of cut branches at an angle 45 degrees relative to the ground. The debris field, consisting of tree branches and limbs, continued another 25 feet to the building. The building’s east-facing wall was about 30 feet tall, and constructed of cement blocks. The right wing was located on the roof of the building, just above a series of diagonal white, blue, and black paint transfer marks on the face of the wall. Additionally, the debris field, consisting of the rear engine’s turbocharger inlet wheel and shroud, as well as cowling fragments, continued to the main wreckage, which had come to rest impinged against the front of a delivery truck. The entire cabin area was consumed by fire, and the odor of fuel was present at the site.





Updated: June 27, 2013, 3:30 PM

Source: SLO Sheriff's Department

Type of Incident: Death Investigation

Date and Time of Incident: 6-24-13, Approximately 12:55 PM

Place of Occurrence: 277 Granada Drive, San Luis Obispo

Victim Information: Scott Morgan Metzger, 44, San Luis Obispo

Suspect Information: N/A

Details of News Release:  The Coroner's Unit of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has identified the victim involved in a plane crash on 6-24-13 in San Luis Obispo. The man has been identified as 44-year-old Scott Morgan Metzger of San Luis Obispo. Because of the extent of the injuries suffered, it was thought that DNA analysis would have to be utilized to make a positive identification. An autopsy was performed on 6-26- 13. During the course of the autopsy, a tattoo was discovered and confirmed by the family. Based on information gathered during the course of the investigation along with identifying information found during the autopsy, coroner's investigators were able to identify the victim.


Prepared By: tcipolla

Released: Thursday 06/27/2013 2:03:31 PM 

Watch Commander: Cipolla 

Source:  http://www.slosheriff.org
























SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A plane crashed near the San Luis Obispo County Airport Monday afternoon, according to deputies. Investigators say they are unable to identify the body of the person in the plane due to the extensive injuries. 
 
The Department of Justice says they will have to confirm the identity through DNA analysis.

Witnesses said the plane crashed into a FedEx truck around 1 p.m. then crashed into the Promega Bio Sciences building on the 200 block of Granada Drive. Authorities said the pilot was killed instantly. The chemical warehouse building was evacuated, as well as surrounding buildings and businesses. The name of the pilot hadn't been released as of Monday night.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was recently purchased in Napa and is registered to a business in downtown San Luis Obispo, but the owner of the building declined to comment on who the plane might be registered to.

The National Transportation Safety Board was on scene Monday night investigating the cause of the crash. Officials plan on spending the rest of evening combing through the wreckage as they continue to search for clues as to why this plane went down.

"Shortly after departure, the pilot declared 'may day', declared an emergency with air traffic control and the airplane crashed about a mile and a half northwest," said NTSB investigator Elliott Simpson.

Officials said the Cessna went through a power line, a tree and then clipped the chemical warehouse building. Once the plane hit the ground, it stopped and landed on a parked FedEx truck. The driver had walked away from the truck only moments before the crash.

"This building houses several chemicals so we were very fortunate none of the containers were comprised," said Fire Chief Charles Hines with San Luis Obispo Fire Department.

The plane will be transferred to a warehouse in Los Angeles Tuesday for further investigation and officials said it could take months before they know the exact cause of the crash.

Van Nuys aircraft mechanics school to receive $25,000 donation

 
Students check out landing gear recently at the aviation mechanics schools operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District at Van Nuys Airport. The vocational program was saved from closure in May. 



Recently spared from closure, the popular aircraft mechanics school at Van Nuys Airport will receive a $25,000 donation this weekend to establish a scholarship fund for low-income students.

The University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation will present the donation during ceremonies Saturday evening at Clay Lacy Aviation, which is near the North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center.

North Dakota "is home to one of the nation's top collegiate flight training programs and we're honored to show our support for one of the nation's top aircraft mechanics schools," said Larry Martin, board chairman of the foundation.

The aviation center off Hayvenhurst Avenue was saved from closure or relocation to smaller facilities earlier this year when it received a $100,000 private donation and the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of Van Nuys, agreed to a $1-a-year lease.

During the mayoral race, Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti called for measures to keep the highly regarded school from shutting down or being moved to smaller facilities elsewhere.

The program, which opened in 1971, offers a two-year program that prepares students for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration as airframe and power plant mechanics. About 100 people attend classes per semester.

Saturday night's event also will honor Clay Lacy, a legendary aviation figure and University of North Dakota board member.


Source:  http://www.latimes.com

GoAir opts for female crew to save fuel

NEW DELHI: The falling rupee has claimed a new victim — the male cabin crew. Low cost carrier GoAir has decided to recruit only airhostesses from now on instead of the 'heavier' male flight pursers. The idea is to lighten the aircraft to reduce fuel burn because of increased operating costs.

GoAir currently has 330 cabin crew members, 40% of whom are males. Every additional kg on board costs Rs 3 per flight hour. With an airhostess weighing about 15-20kg less than a male flight purser, Go expects to save about Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore annually. P 15

The airline's 130-odd male flight pursers will keep flying but future cabin crew recruitments will be all airhostesses. Go plans to induct about 80 aircraft over next seven years, for which it will recruit about 2,000 airhostesses and pilots.

"The rupee's fall has hurt the industry badly. All major expenses — aircraft leasing, spare parts and fuel costs — are linked to the dollar. The fall in exchange rate of a rupee costs us Rs 30 crore on an annual basis. We are looking at every possible way of cost-cutting to remain profitable," GoAir CEO Giorgio De Roni said.

With the rupee's freefall hiking operating costs, the airline has taken other steps to lighten its aircraft and improve fuel efficiency.

"We are reducing the weight on board our aircraft. The size of inflight magazines has been reduced. The potable water tanks are no longer being filled to capacity as only 35% to 40% of that water is actually used. Now the water tanks are filled 60%," De Roni said. Operational procedures have been revised with aircraft now doing single engine taxi to save fuel.

"Our new aircraft will have sharklets (wingtip devices) that will help in reducing fuel burn by 5%. From next year onwards, we will have sharklets installed in five of our existing planes as the remaining 10 will be phased out to have a young fleet," he said.


Story and Comments/Reaction:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Steier Ag Aviation: Help From Above

LOADING UP:  Chad Meyer of Steier Ag Aviation
 Photo Courtesy/Credit:  Dan Voigt  


Chad Meyer of Steier Ag Aviation loads his plane with microencapsulate nitrogen at the Emmetsburg Municipal Airport Tuesday morning. Area farmers, stymied in their planting and fieldwork by the wet weather, have turned to pilots like Chad to apply the dry nitrogen by air to get fertilizer on their crops to replace nitrogen washed away by all the rains. While Chad was busy spraying around Emmetsburg for the past couple of days, his brother Tony has been flying for nearly two weeks in Missouri, applying fertilizer by air for farmers also facing wet weather. Deadlines to finish the planting season are rapidly approaching for area producers in the next week to 10 days. 

Man arrested for trespassing at Sikorsky Aircraft

A 22-year-old white male from outside Stratford was arrested around 4:30 a.m. June 27 after hopping a fence and trespassing on Sikorsky Aircraft property, according to Stratford police. 

 The call was made to police after a Sikorsky personnel saw the man. Police responded and charged the man with criminal trespass and interfering with an officer.

Police report that the alleged trespasser was “committed for a medical checkup.”

No further details were released.


Source:   http://www.stratfordstar.com

Sikorsky to lay off 200 workers, most will be in Connecticut

STRATFORD – Sikorsky Aircraft officials say that economic uncertainty and shrinking foreign and domestic government budgets are forcing the company to lay off about 200 workers, most of which are in Connecticut.

Company spokesman Paul Jackson said the layoffs represent about one percent of the company’s total workforce of more than 16,000. The helicopter maker, which is a division of United Technologies, employs more than 8,600 in Connecticut, Jackson said.

“Sikorsky continues to look to a promising future, but today we face difficult challenges,” Jackson said in a statement. “Our costs to compete are increasing, and many customers are delaying purchase decisions amid the economic uncertainty. Given all this, we must do all we can to protect our competitiveness while continuing to invest in our future.”

The company will provide those being laid off with outplacement services as well as other benefits, Jackson said.

Sikorsky has operations in eight other states besides Connecticut, he said. The layoffs other than the ones occurring in Connecticut will be spread across those other facilities.


Source:  http://nhregister.com

Beech B95A, N9500Y: Rowan County Airport (KRUQ), Salisbury, North Carolina

 

SALISBURY, North Carolina -- A small aircraft was forced to make a landing without landing gear Thursday morning in Rowan County.

The pilot of the Beech BE95 plane was the only person aboard at 10:15 when the the aircraft made an unusual landing at the Rowan County Airport.

As of 11:30, the runway was still shut down, but authorities say they expect it to reopen soon.

No one was injured in the incident.

Airport plans to expand

At Thursday's meeting of the Carroll County Airport Commission, commissioners discussed the planned expansion of the airport to include more hangars and a longer runway suitable for small jets.

With the expansion of the runway to 4,000 feet, the airport will be able to accommodate small classes of jets; as of now the runway is too short for them, but the expansion will increase the airport's traffic and revenue as well as the county's, said Dave Teigen, chairman of the Airport Commission.

"We get people all the time who call and ask if we have any intentions to expand our runway to 4,000 feet," said Sheila Evans, airport manager. "This is for people who want to do business around here. We are getting more and more folks flying into here for business. We just had some Tyson guys come here and stay for about 45 minutes and then fly out."

The commission approved the leases for the "pre-sale" of the eight hangars they plan to build. Each lease is for $20,000 and 10 years and must be paid up front. After the lease expires, each hangar will have a monthly lease payment of $200. Teigen said that buying the pre-sale lease now will save the renter $4,000, since they are expected to go up to $24,000 for 10 years when the project is near completion.

To build the hangars, the airport will need $400,000. The commission has already raised $100,000 and will attempt to get a loan for the rest. The commission is also looking at options to extend the runway to 4,000 feet with funds outside of their $150,000 budget for the airport improvement plan.

The commission also noted during the meeting that the airport has excess grant money and a proposal was approved Thursday to seek approval to use the excess funds to add a bathroom to the the eight new hangars.

A motion to prohibit vehicles from driving on the taxiway was also approved. The airport has had troubles with large trucks damaging the taxi way because of weight. The new rule will allow travel on the taxiway to and from hangars and aircraft as well as special circumstances such as an emergency medical situation.

Also Thursday, airport commissioners learned that the airport has been advised by attorneys and others that they cannot build a fence to help with the wildlife problems, and that the airport is not liable for drainage problems on the adjacent property.

In the financial review portion of the meeting, commissioners learned that April and May saw a jump in fuel sales over last year, with $9,000 and $13,000 being sold each month, respectively. Officials said June figures also are expected to show an increase in airport use and traffic over last year.


Source:  http://www.lovelycitizen.com

Mysterious metal bar falls from the sky, crashes into Seattle home

 
Photo Courtesy/Credit: Seattle Police Dept. 


Photo Courtesy/Credit: Seattle Police Dept. 


 Photo Courtesy/Credit: Seattle Police Dept. 


 Photo Courtesy/Credit: Seattle Police Dept. 



A Seattle family got a big surprise when a metal bar fell from the sky and crashed through the roof of their home in the South Park neighborhood.

The incident happened Sunday, but the family waited until Tuesday to call 911, Seattle police said on their blotter.

Officers photographed a metal bar and an 8-inch by 6-inch hole that the metal bar made in the family's roof and ceiling.

An officer at the scene surmised the piece of metal may have fallen from an "aircraft or a really big bird that had stolen a lead bar."

Officers have contacted the Federal Aviation Administration about the incident.

Sources:

http://spdblotter.seattle.gov

http://www.kboi2.com

http://www.nwcn.com

Blue Grass (KLEX), Lexington, Kentucky: Storms Cause Issues At Airport

Overnight storms caused a travel nightmare for passengers flying in and out of Lexington's Blue Grass Airport Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Strong storms prevented overnight flights from arriving in Lexington. As a result, aircraft for departing flights in the morning weren't available.

Airport officials say six flights canceled overnight. Four incoming flights were diverted to other airports. Lightning also knocked out some runway lights, but officials say everything still meets FAA standards.

According to the airport website, there were at least four cancellations and two delays Thursday morning. Delta flights to Detroit, Washington Reagan and Atlanta were scrubbed, along with a U.S. Airways flight to Charlotte and an American Airlines flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.

For the latest flight information at Blue Grass Airport, click HERE.

Hot air balloon crashes into power lines in Lake County, Florida

Pilot Chuck Rohr kept his cool through a shower of sparks after his hot-air balloon clipped power lines this morning east of Eustis.

"I felt I had it under control," said Rohr, 73, founder of Rohr Balloons in Lake County. "If I had panicked something major could have happened."

One of the two passengers aboard the balloon burned his hand. Rohr and the other passenger were not injured.

Rohr stood on the side of County Road 44A near Bear Tracks Road and pointed to trees south of his business' warehouse. He said that the branches blocked the power lines from view as he and two friends were floating back toward the warehouse to land.

Meanwhile, Rhett Whitfield, a 16-year-old Rohr Balloons "chaser," was doing his job from the ground, following the balloon in his car and on foot. He had just pulled to the side of the road near the warehouse when he looked up and saw the point between basket and balloon bump the power lines.

"There was a bunch of lightning shocks coming off the balloon," Rhett said. "It was pretty scary. I didn't know what was happening."

Terry Benton, who lives next to the balloon business, said he was walking his dog when he heard what "sounded like a loud roaring noise." He didn't see the collision, but the power went out at his house for about 30 minutes, he said.

However, after the chaos, Rhett said he was able to help Rohr safely land the balloon in a field next to the warehouse.

Rohr said he's been flying hot-air balloons with his business for more than 40 years. He opened a branch in Lake County about 10 years ago when he moved to the area. His brother, Brian, operates another branch in McKinney, Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Sumner County Regional (M33), Gallatin, Tennessee: New board takes control of airport, court cases continue

Airport Administrator Steve Sudbury speaks at the Sumner County Airport Authority meeting Monday, June 24.
 Dessislava Yankova/Hendersonville Star News


 
Dan Downs, right, member of the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority, speaks during the board's meeting on Monday, June 24. Sitting next to him are Charles Moore, Frank Kessler and meeting attendee Sue Nickens. 
 Dessislava Yankova/Hendersonville Star News


The latest twist in the years-long running feud between the Sumner County Commission and the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority appears, with no degree of certainty, to give control of the airport board to members appointed by the commission in February. However, the situation is still clouded by five attorneys fighting it out in two courtrooms in three counties.

Six of the eight new members took their seats Monday for a three-hour meeting, joined by two of three members whose terms were unexpired from the so-called “old” board.

The eight members of the board re-did most of the actions taken at a meeting in March before a Murfreesboro judge rendered those actions null and void in ruling on a lawsuit between the county and the airport board. The judge, Robert Corlew, is overseeing the case after Sumner County Chancellor Tom Gray recused himself.

On Monday, the board unanimously elected Jim Egan as chairman, Don Drayton as vice chairman, and Steve Nelson as secretary. They next unanimously voted to again terminate airport board attorney Art McClellan, who represented previous board members who met in executive session in March as a competing board. The vote to fire McClellan gave him 10 working days to turn over corporate records and submit bills for past services.

The new board voted to hire Gallatin attorney Mark Smith on a temporary basis for $250 an hour. The board is expected to look into a permanent hire later.

After extensive questioning of Airport Administrator Steve Sudbury and discussion about his single-signature authority over checks, the board voted unanimously to require two signatures for any check over $10,000. Previously, Sudbury was allowed to sign a check for any amount, including many for hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors. Sudbury told board members that he kept detailed records, that the auditor looked at every check, and that he never signed any check of any amount to himself.

New board member Bill Taylor said he was astounded by the lack of financial control over such large amounts of money. However, board member Dan Downs repeatedly came to Sudbury’s defense and pointed out the fact that certain grant payments, by law, had to be made within a set period of time.

Smith advised the board it could try the $10,000 level for three months or so and change it if necessary.

Sudbury’s employment contract with the airport has a high bar of termination without cause that requires monthly payment of the full five-year contract period that began Feb. 25.Resignation may be allowed in lieu of termination. During a period of severance pay, “the employee shall be available to the board as a consultant.”


Two seats

Board member Charlie Moore, whose appointment ends June 30, appeared willing to remain on the board. The county’s Committee on Committees also met Monday and in its report to the full commission gave notice that there was an upcoming airport board vacancy for next month.

The third member, Wayne Hooper, whose term is unexpired and who is the airport board’s treasurer, did not attend the meeting. Egan said Hooper indicated he was not interested in continuing on the board. However, he had not submitted an official resignation and is recognized by the current board as a member and as treasurer.

Both Egan and County Executive Anthony Holt, who nominates board members and accepts resignations, said Monday they had no resignation and that there was no vacancy at that time. A formal written resignation could put a second appointee up for consideration next month. The new board “is still sorting things out” on what it can and cannot do, Egan said.

A motion by Egan to move the next meeting to the County Administration Building failed 4-4. He did not make a motion to require office hours for Sudbury after discussion on the topic.


Ongoing lawsuit

 
McClellan, the former Airport Authority attorney, filed a motion Monday in Chancery Court for a stay to keep the County Commission from sitting any new airport board members prior to the outcome of an appeal. The motion claims that Monday’s meeting fell within an automatic 30-day stay of the Murfreesboro judge’s order and that the board was preparing to conduct business in violation of law. The stay was not signed before the board met or concluded its action Monday.

McClellan also filed a notice of appeal with the Tennessee Court of Appeals. A decision from that court could take up to a year.

“If it were to go all the way to the state Supreme Court, it could take two years,” Smith said.

Corlew ruled in favor of McClellan in June on a technicality that board members appointed by the County Commission under newly adopted rules were not qualified because they had not taken the oath of office and presented certificates of appointments to the airport board. Corlew ruled the county had the right to change the rules but they could not conflict with state law.

Holt swore in eight newly appointed members June 15. They retook the oath of office June 17-19 from Sumner County Clerk Bill Kemp. Their certificates were delivered to McClellan June 19, the day McClellan filed the notice of appeal.


Source:  http://www.tennessean.com

Eagle Air comes to Castleview

Beginning in June, travelers on Highway 6 will noticed a brand new helicopter positioned on the helipad at Castleview Hospital. The chopper is operated by Eagle Air Med and will provide Price and the surrounding area with an added resource for emergency response and quick patient transportation.

The aircraft will be capable of assisting local first-responders, Emergency Medical Services, fire, and law-enforcement by responding to motor vehicle accidents, industry related injuries and any other response needs as well as helipad-to-helipad patient transportation.

The capabilities of this helicopter are a perfect fit for the altitude and terrain of the region, according to hospital officials. The same model of aircraft achieved a world record when a standard production helicopter landed on the top of Mount Everest in 2005.

"Eagle Air Med is excited to begin responding to emergency needs and transporting patients from Price as well as Central and Eastern Utah," said Mike Brown, Eagle Air Med's Program Director. "The B3e is a reliable and safe aircraft and we have taken our time in hiring and training the very best flight personnel for this program."

For Castleview Hospital, the air service provides additional resources for the larger coverage area.

"We have worked hard for the last couple years to evaluate and find a partner to provide these services for the hospital and the community as a whole," said Castleview Hospital CEO, Mark Holyoak. "The purpose of having full-time air transport services available is another way in which we meet our mission of "Making Our Community Healthier. With Eagle Air now based here on our helipad, we will be able to eliminate the response time when the service is necessary. This will come in as a significant benefit especially with acute stroke, and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients when time savings is critical. I look forward to this being a successful partnership for many years to come." The copter is also great for helping trauma patients who are in bad shape, by allowing their fast transport to Wasatch Front hospitals. However it was pointed out that Castleview is applying to be a first class trauma center, and that applications should be approved soon.

To showcase their new helicopter, Castleview hosted an Open House on June 19. In addition to food and education, the community event allowed several attendants to be taken up in the new craft for unique look at Carbon County.



Source:  http://www.sunad.com

New name, logo for Pinnacle

A Delta Airlines subsidiary that offers some flights at Rochester's airport officially has its new name and logo.

Endeavor Air officials unveiled them Wednesday at its new headquarters at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the Star-Tribune newspaper. The planes, however, still will be labeled as Delta.

The airline, formerly known as Pinnacle Airlines, moved to MSP from Memphis after emerging from bankruptcy. It's a conglomeration of three regional airlines:Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan.

Pinnacle's pilots fly Delta Connection regional flights. The Rochester International Airport's Delta flights mostly are handled by Skywest regional airlines, but some are handled by Endeavor Air, said Airport Manager Marty Lenss.

But the aircrafts and counters in Rochester all have the Delta signs. "Out here everything looks like Delta — you'd never know you were on an Endeavor aircraft," Lenss said.

The airline has a chaotic recent history. The carrier lost its flying contracts with United and US Airways, Pinnacle employees agreed to concessions during bankruptcy and Delta is reducing Pinnacle's fleet, according to MinnPost.

Delta is phasing out Pinnacle's 50-seat aircraft, because its leadership has emphasized that the economics of those planes don't work with high fuel prices, MinnPost says.As part of a three-way deal involving Pinnacle, Delta and the pilots union, Pinnacle gets to keep 41 76-seat regional jets and Delta will allocate 40 more large regional jets to Pinnacle.


Source:  http://www.postbulletin.com

Pilot resignations leave ORNGE scrambling to fill vacancies, keep air ambulance helicopters flying in busy summer season

 OTTAWA — An exodus of helicopter pilots has left ORNGE scrambling to fill shifts, meaning air ambulance choppers could be unable to fly at times during the busy summer trauma season.

Dozens of flying slots are empty, forcing ORNGE's central scheduling office to appeal for pilots to work overtime to fill shifts at bases in London, Toronto and Ottawa in the coming weeks.

According to one veteran pilot, the staffing shortfall is unprecedented and he predicted it will impact the agency's ability to move patients.

"We will see a significant shortage of service in the coming months," the pilot said.

ORNGE has been hit by a wave of resignations of senior pilots in the 18 months since it took over helicopter operations from Canadian Helicopters, with at least three announcing their departure last week alone.

A spokesperson for ORNGE said addressing pilot staffing has been an ongoing priority for the agency.

"These positions are highly specialized and recruitment can be time consuming when a pilot leaves the organization," James MacDonald said in an email.

He said ORNGE makes "every effort" to fill shifts left vacant by sick leave or training.

The call for overtime work comes amid reports from frontline employees that bases across the province have been frequently out of service because of a shortage of pilots and medics, as well as maintenance needs.

London was out of service for an entire weekend earlier this month because there were no medics or pilots to staff the helicopter, insiders say.

Moosonee, home base to an ORNGE helicopter that crashed on May 31, killing two pilots and two medics, had been out of service for "long periods" on night shifts because of maintenance woes and staffing troubles, sources tell the Toronto Star.

The staffing shortages are driving home the emerging crisis at ORNGE as disgruntled pilots, unhappy about management and now openly airing safety concerns, are leaving for more lucrative flying jobs elsewhere.

"It is out of control and they can't stop the exodus," one pilot told the Star. "The entire operation is at risk."

Veteran air ambulance pilots, including several working at ORNGE, spoke to the Star on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees plans to put those concerns in the spotlight Thursday with a news conference to air the worries voiced by ORNGE employees.

"These are paramedics and pilots who tell me that they have serious concerns about accountability, about the safety issues, about training and very concerned about the exodus of their colleagues," Klees said.

"I believe the (health) minister must now step in and demand that an objective third party be brought in to assess the capacity of this organization to continue," said Klees.

Klees says he is certain that any independent review will conclude that ORNGE's aviation operations should be handed over to "an experienced company that understands the intricacies and technicalities."

"This is no longer now a matter of efficiency . . . I'm much more concerned now about the safety of the patients and the frontline staff and the competence of that organization," Klees said.

Health Minister Deb Matthews said Wednesday she awaits the outcome of the Transportation Safety Board's probe of the May 31 crash. She pledged to take any recommendations "very seriously, as will ORNGE's leadership.

"ORNGE continues to focus on enhancing the safety of their operations," Matthews said in a statement to the Star. "It would be unfair to those affected by the tragedy to rush to premature conclusions on the outcome of that investigation."

She said that "rigorous" audits of ORNGE by Transport Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources have turned up "no major outstanding issues."

In the meantime, she said that the agency is recruiting new employees.

"I know that ORNGE continually works to ensure that they have the staff they need, including helicopter pilots, to meet patient needs," Matthews said.

MacDonald said the agency has been hiring to fill the pilot ranks.

"Despite a competitive international market for helicopter pilots, we have been successful in our recruitment efforts," MacDonald said.

He said ORNGE has hired six new pilots who are now in training and should be ready by early July.

"ORNGE's practice is to hire fully qualified pilots and then to provide several weeks of training before they begin to fly missions," he said.


Source:  http://www.therecord.com

One million hours in the air with cargo plane earns award for Rhode Island Guard

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- The 143rd Airlift Wing of the Rhode Island Air National Guard has flown one million hours in C-130J cargo aircraft, an achievement to be honored Friday by the Lockheed Martin Corp., the aircraft manufacturer.

"Since 1975, the C-130 has been a Rhode Island Air National Guard staple," Col. Arthur Floru, commander of the wing, said in a news release, "and along with our people has established the 143rd as a C-130J center of excellence."

The wing is to receive Lockheed Martin's Million Hour Operation Award.

Cessna 172M, N4459R: Accident occurred June 27, 2013 in Birdseye, Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA294
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Birdseye, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N4459R
Injuries: 1 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 27, 2013, about 1020 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N4459R, was substantially damaged when it struck powerlines and terrain during an attempted emergency landing on a road near Birdseye, Utah. The airplane was owned and operated by IMSAR Aviation, a wholly owned subsidiary of IMSAR, Springville, Utah. The commercial pilot was seriously injured, and the required crewmember received fatal injuries. The radar equipment test flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to representatives of IMSAR, the airplane was one of two Cessna 172 airplanes used as test platforms for the development and testing of airborne radar systems. The airplanes were based at Spanish Fork-Springville airport (U77), Springville. IMSAR employed one full-time pilot, and occasionally utilized the services of contract pilots. On the morning of the accident, the IMSAR pilot was operating the other company airplane, and a contract pilot was operating the accident airplane. The mission plan was to fly predetermined tracks and/or orbits at a location about 16 miles south of U77, at an altitude of about 8,000 feet, for several hours.

According to preliminary information from the pilot, about 2 hours after departure, an overheat/smoke/fire event in the cabin was detected, and after an initial attempt to fly to the north (towards U77) to locate a suitable landing location, the pilot opted to land on a north-south road near his current location. He configured the airplane for landing, and set up to land to the south on the road. On short final, the pilot noticed a powerline that crossed the road was in his path, and pulled up in an attempt to overfly it. The airplane struck that wire, and then struck other powerlines and terrain. There was no post impact fire. Passers-by came to the aid of the pilot, and contacted emergency services to notify them of the accident.

The accident site was located about 15 miles south of U77, at an elevation of about 5,500 feet. The airplane was examined on-site by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel on the day of the accident, and then by FAA, NTSB, and Cessna Aircraft Company personnel the day after the accident. Examination revealed that a supplemental electrical system installed to provide power for the radar equipment and associated test equipment had overheated and began to burn. No evidence of overheating or fire was observed on any wiring or electrical components of the airplane itself; thermal damage was confined to the operator-installed electrical system and airplane furnishings (carpet, sidewalls, etc.). The airplane and components were recovered and transported to a secure facility for additional examination.

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1974 as Cessna serial number 17263201, and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The airplane was purchased by IMSAR Aviation in February 2013, and modified for mounting and testing of the radar equipment. IMSAR Aviation utilized the services of an independent FAA mechanic with an inspection authorization rating for some of the modifications. The airplane was registered in the restricted category.

The 0955 automated weather observation at an airport located about 20 miles north of the accident site included variable wind at 3 knots; visibility 15 miles; clear skies; temperature 26 degrees C; dew point 9 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.



 BIRDSEYE -- The two people that were inside a small plane when it went down in Spanish Fork Canyon Thursday morning have been identified. 

Orem resident Nicholas Soter, 66, and Gerald Wilson of South Jordan were conducting Radar Ground Mapping when their plane became distressed, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Soter was piloting the plane and in his attempt to conduct an emergency landing he clipped an electrical line but investigators are unsure if the clipping caused the crash. Soter was transported via medical helicopter to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in critical condition;Wilson died on scene.

According to Lt. Yvette Rice with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office the Cessna 172 crashed just before 10:30 a.m. She said Utah Valley dispatch received a call from the Salt Lake International Airport shortly before the crash saying they had received a call of a plane with a cockpit fire and that the plane was going to attempt to land on SR 89 at mile post 304. Rice said almost simultaneously another call came in from a Price Utah Highway Patrol officer saying someone in the area with a ham radio was reporting a plane crash at milepost 304.1. According to FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer the Cessna crashed after declaring a MAYDAY. Rice said there was no information about what caused the plane to malfunction.

Both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, along with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Kenitzer said the NTSB is the lead investigator and that it may take several weeks before a possible cause of the accident can be determined.

SR 89 was closed for several hours while crews landed a medical helicopter and investigated the accidents. The road was open in both directions early Thursday afternoon.







(Donald W. Meyers | The Salt Lake Tribune)
 Utah County Sheriff's Office personnel investigate the crash of a Cessna 172 on U.S. Highway 89 south of Birdseye Thursday, June 27, 2013. Sheriff's Lt. Shawn Chipman said the pilot, who was critically injured in the crash, radioed the Spanish Fork airport that his cabin was filling with smoke and was going to attempt an emergency landing on the road. A passenger in the plane was killed on impact, Chipman said. The crash blocked traffic until 1:20 p.m.


Birdseye, Utah County • One man was killed and another man was in critical condition after a single-engine airplane crashed during an attempted emergency landing late Thursday morning on Highway 89 near the Utah-Sanpete County line. 

Utah County Sheriff’s Lt. Yvette Rice said the crash, about 10:25 a.m., occurred near mile post 304, about 20 miles north of Fairview.

The aircraft appeared to have clipped power lines and flipped, crashing on its back just off the edge of the road on a parcel of farmland near the tiny town of Birdseye. No other vehicles were involved.

Utah Valley emergency dispatchers had been notified by the Spanish Fork Municipal Airport control tower personnel that at 10:25 a.m. the pilot of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk had called in a "May Day," reporting fire in the cockpit. The pilot said he intended to make an emergency landing on the highway.

"Almost simultaneously to that, the Utah Highway Patrol office in Price reported receiving a call from a ‘ham’ radio operator on the scene of a reported plane crash at the same location," Rice said.

UHP troopers and sheriff’s deputies confirmed one dead at the scene and a second man, the pilot, in critical condition. He was flown by helicopter to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo.

The identities of the men were being withheld Thursday afternoon pending notification of next of kin, but they were confirmed to have taken off earlier Thursday morning from Spanish Fork and had been expected to return there later in the day.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said investigation into the crash of the four-seat aircraft would be jointly conducted by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office along with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

It was expected to be several weeks before a preliminary cause for the crash is released.

The highway was closed down for several hours while wreckage was cleared and Rocky Mountain Power crews secured the electrical lines. The highway had reopened by 1:30 p.m.