Saturday, July 6, 2013

Aviation up close: Lahm Airport Day aims to get visitors excited about planes

MANSFIELD — A dozen planes came together Saturday with a purpose.

“We want the public to see them up close and to get excited about aviation,” said Curt Hall, a member of the Mansfield Aviation Club. “Today is all about getting the families and especially the kids involved.”

Mansfield Airport Days took place Saturday and featured a car, truck and cycle show; a kids plane fun area, historical exhibits and lectures; a dozen airplanes; a SWAT vehicle; a C-130 and a C-27J.

It started with a pancake breakfast with more than 300 attendees.

“I just enjoy being around all the people and seeing the enjoyment on everyone’s face,” Hall said. “We like to see the spirit of aviation still alive.”

Luke Davidson, 4, was one of more than 60 who participated in the Hot Wheels competition that benefited the United Way and Garden of Heroes Family Aviation Park.

His mother, Desiree Davidson, said her son had been anticipating the race all week.

“He’s been talking about it non-stop,” the Mansfield woman said with a laugh. “So we came out to do that and then look at all the airplanes.”

Robert Fullmer, 36, took second place, while Bryce Hall, 13, took first in the competition.

“I was thrilled. I raced about four times,” Hall, of Lucas, said.

Trent Gerber, of Mansfield, brought his two children and nephew.

“We’ve come before, but we enjoy seeing all the planes,” he said.

Pam Fonseca, of Mansfield, had her T-6 Texan, a World War II trainer, on display.

The name “Miss Jo” was written on the side.

“That came with the plane. I keep telling my husband to change the name to Miss Pam,” she said. “This plane was built in 1943, and we’ve had it since 2000. This was one of the planes that trained all the pilots for World War II. I just hope people take away the awe of the planes and share our enthusiasm for flying.”

Randy Broderick, a volunteer with the Mansfield Aviation Club, spent the day doing various jobs, but enjoyed every minute.

“I love aviation. That’s why I belong to the group,” he said. “I just like to fly and be around airplanes.”

Randy Woff flew in on his red-and-white Piper Tri-Pacer. The Mount Vernon man said he spent seven years restoring the 1957 aircraft.

’“It’s just nice to be here getting people excited about flying,” he said.

Dave and Angela Eyerly, of Ontario, sat with their three daughters Brooke, 6, Robin, 12, and Kelly, 14, under the wing of a C-130 for a picnic lunch.

Next the family would take a tour through the open plane.

Kelly Eyerly said she hopes to become a pilot someday.

“She has absolutely no fear of heights,” Dave Eyerly said.

Master Sgt. Aaron Zieber helped administer tours of the C-27Js.

“We give people an overview of what we can do with the airplane and let them see the cockpit. The kids really enjoy that,” he said. “It’s great for the community to see the airplanes they supported and saved.”


Story and Photos:  http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com

Freedom to fly, drive celebrated at event

Why have a Fourth of July weekend festival that celebrates both cars and airplanes?

Ask Kim Fisher that, and she’ll look at you like you’re a slow child.

“It’s part of the Freedom Fair, right?” she says. “There’s freedom in both -- the freedom to fly, the freedom to drive.”

That’s the essential premise of Wings & Wheels, Pierce County’s annual celebration of fast machines, held at and above the Tacoma Narrows Airport.

Wings & Wheels is a companion festival to the July 4 Freedom Fair along Ruston Way, and it features not only aerial acrobatics but also buffed up vintage cars and pickup trucks.

Fisher, who lives in Spanaway, is okay with the airplanes, but she thinks of them mostly as a sideshow at Wings & Wheels.

She barely notices the Ace Maker T-33 Shooting Star, the Cobra helicopter and the P-51D Mustang.

Her passion is big Dodge muscle cars, especially her husband’s 1966 Polara. “It’s a smooth ride but still muscular,” she said. “It has power.”

“There’s nothing like the roar of the engine of a Mopar,” she said. “There’s really nothing else like it.”

(For the uninitiated, “Mopar” translates roughly to “Chrysler.”)

More than 2,000 people attended this year’s show, which is sponsored by the Tacoma Events Commission in conjunction with the Pierce County Airport and Ferry Division and the City of Gig Harbor.

They strolled among the cars, breathed in fumes of aviation fuel and chowed down on hot dogs, lemonade, shaved ice and Philly cheese steak.

Unlike Thursday’s air show, Wings & Wheels lets people see the planes up close and even meet the pilots.

Will Allen, an aerial acrobat who splits his time between Renton and Tucson, Ariz., was one of the stars of the show.

After a seemingly impossible series of high speed twists and turns and spinning dives, Allen taxied his red and white biplane along the flight line, waving to the crowd like a athlete on a victory lap.

Later, he hung with fans next to his plane, posing with little kids, getting them to grin and do a thumbs-up for their moms and dads snapping photos.

One little boy, wearing goggle-style glasses and clearly starstruck, asked him, ”How fast were you going?”

“Pretty fast,” Allen said. “I had it up around 220 miles an hour. My hair was flying back the whole time.”

Allen is onto the freedom thing. “The freedom of flying is unmatchable,” he said. “It’s awesome.”

But talking to children afterward is also important to him, Allen said.

“Basically, we’re trying to impress kids with this,” he said.

“I hope what I’m doing inspires them to follow their passions -- no matter what they are,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be flying.”

“I hope it makes them want to reach for what their passion is and really go for it full bore.”


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com

Tampa International Airport Gets Technology Overhaul

TAMPA | There's a new way of looking at things at Tampa International Airport — visually and mentally.

The airport is in the midst of a $7 million project to install new digital signs. High-definition flat-screen TVs, video walls and other displays will broadcast a constantly updated stream of data to travelers: arrival and departure times, weather forecasts, anything that could affect their flights.

Call it peace of mind through technology. Airport CEO Joe Lopano believes better-informed passengers are less stressed-out passengers. More data, he thinks, can help smooth the increasingly rough edges of air travel.

And more relaxed passengers, he hopes, are bigger spending passengers.

"Most people have a certain amount of control in their lives," Lopano said. "But when they travel, they have very little control. It's all in the hands of the airline and the airport. Is the line long? Is the traffic bad? There are a lot of uncontrollable factors.

"So when you're at the airport and you can see what time the flight is going to arrive, you can go relax, have a drink or something to eat.

"It just makes the customer feel much more at ease."

For those so at ease, Lopano has expanded the airport's dining and shopping options in the main terminal and airsides, boosting the airport's revenue per customer.

For too long, the airport was filled with outdated and mismatched signs. AirTran's old gate signs had to be changed manually. The gates for Delta and other airlines had small LED signs that displayed the city and flight number in red lights

"Everybody had a little different flavor of the cheesy LED-type sign," said Doug Wycoff, the airport's manager of innovation and infrastructure support.

Before Lopano took the Tampa job, when he was a jet-setting executive at Dallas-Fort Worth, he said TIA had a reputation for technological advances — it was one of the first airports to offer free Wi-Fi — but lagged considerably in other areas. And whenever he passed through here on a business trip, he definitely noticed all those decades-old, scrolling LED signs.

The first new digital signs predate Lopano. New flat-screens started going up in the gate areas in July 2010. But when Lopano took over in January 2011, the pace of change accelerated.

"One of the first things I did was get with IT and say, 'What are we going to do to turn this airport around?' " Lopano said. "I think they were energized. I told them you have all the authority you need, just go out and do whatever the customer needs."

In July 2012, new video walls went up in the baggage claim areas.

The challenge for the airport was getting the new technology to communicate with the airlines. In the old days — pre-2010 — the old signs had to be updated manually. But now when the airlines change their flight times, the gate signs automatically change too. The IT staff monitors the information on each sign display in the airport's network operations center.

Not only are the signs new but so is the information they display. In May the airport started displaying FlightView's Flight-In-Sight! system. Displayed at each gate, it lets people see the exact location of arriving planes, as well as its speed, altitude, remaining distance and the weather along its flight path.

Smartphone apps can provide that same information. But TIA wants that information to be just a glance away — and less savvy passengers won't feel the need to pepper gate agents with questions anymore. Agents won't have to keep everyone penned in at the gates, either.

"It's peace of mind," Wycoff said. "Typically when you're at the gate you don't want to give up your seat. You get everyone asking: 'Where's the plane? How long until it gets here?' "

Said Lopano: "Research tells us the more information you provide, the better the experience is."


Source:  http://www.theledger.com

East Valley aviation experts discuss the growing aviation industry taking off in the East Valley

 

Published on July 3, 2013 

East Valley aviation experts will come together on the stage of Mesa Morning Live to discuss the growing aviation industry taking off in the East Valley. Topics of discussion include unmanned airborne systems, aviation technology and innovation, the economic impact and what you can expect in the future.

PANEL INCLUDES:

  • Dr. Mitzi Montoya, Arizona State University, Dean of the College of Technology & Innovation
  • Otto Shill, Shareholder, JacksonWhite P.C., Chairman, East Valley Aviation & Aerospace Alliance
  • Richard Lemaster, The Boeing Company, Director of Unmanned Airborne Systems
  • Dane Mullenix, Alion Science and Technology, Vice President / Director of AZLabs.com

Fate of $400,000 driveway in question: Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

By Brian Lockhart
CT Post

Updated 5:15 pm, Saturday, July 6, 2013


BRIDGEPORT -- For months the city was millionaire developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho's silent partner, quietly bankrolling the $400,000 driveway Moutinho recently completed to his waterfront mansion in Stratford.

Now Mayor Bill Finch's administration must engage in a very public battle if it wants to save the 1,000-foot-long, 20-foot-wide gravel structure from demolition.

Finch was already laboring to explain to the City Council and taxpayers why the driveway was needed for runway safety at Bridgeport-owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport when a judge Tuesday dropped a bombshell.

Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe ruled that Stratford erred in giving Moutinho a zoning variance to build the driveway from Sniffen Lane, over Bridgeport-owned wetlands, to the town's shoreline.

Radcliffe sided with neighbors who sued to stop installation and restore the wetlands.

Those Breakwater Key condominium residents filed their lawsuit in September after Moutinho obtained his building permits. Bridgeport was not a defendant. But the Finch administration quietly assumed Moutinho's permits in March, and hired his company -- Mark IV Construction -- in April to install the driveway.

Moutinho and Bridgeport knew the risks of moving forward with the Breakwater suit pending.

"When we stepped in to get the driveway moving and out of our way, one of the concerns we had to look at was we're building at risk because there is an appeal pending," Sikorsky Memorial Airport Manager John Ricci said last month.

So if Moutinho and Finch don't want to be forced by Stratford to tear the driveway up, they must act soon, and likely on two fronts --in court and before Stratford's land-use boards.

Stratford Town Attorney Timothy Bishop said Radcliffe's decision is not final for three weeks.

"When it becomes final, we'll revoke any approvals," Bishop said. "It's sort of like the variance never existed. So they'll have to restore any wetlands disturbed by what they did with this driveway."

But Moutinho can delay that process by asking the state Appellate Court to overturn Radcliffe's decision.

"I don't see there being a strong likelihood this case gets overturned on appeal," Bishop said. "(Radcliffe issued) a strong opinion. ... I don't think personally there's a lot they're going to be able to do about it."

What an appeal will do is buy Bridgeport time to apply for a new variance from Stratford, Bishop said.

"Reading the tea leaves, it seems like the smart play if you want the driveway to exist, is for the city to come in and make its own application for whatever permit it needs and really lay out sufficient legal grounds," Bishop said.

In other words, Bridgeport must introduce the Sikorsky Airport runway safety project into the equation -- something that was never done publicly when Moutinho applied for his zoning variance last summer.

Radcliffe had to base his ruling solely on the information available to Stratford land use officials when they issued Moutinho's permits, and on any evidence presented at the June 3 trial.

None of that involved work at Sikorsky -- a $40 million, mostly federally funded plan that has been in the works since a plane crash two decades ago killed eight people.

Moutinho's gravel driveway runs through a right-of-way Bridgeport granted him over airport land. It replaces an old dirt driveway off Main Street, across from the Sikorsky runway, also located in an airport right-of-way.

Moutinho built his waterfront home in 2010 and, around that same time, got permission from Bridgeport to relocate the right-of-way from Main Street to Sniffen Lane. Then last summer Moutinho sought the zoning approvals from Stratford for what was supposed to be a $200,000 driveway fully paid for by the developer.

Moutinho and his representative, Nick Owen, at the time said the dirt driveway was prone to flooding and state environmental officials had ordered Bridgeport to abandon the original right-of-way to restore the wetlands.

Radcliffe concluded no such order existed and Moutinho should have fixed the dirt driveway at his own expense.

Hearst Connecticut Newspapers in early June first reported the Finch administration paid for the new $400,000 gravel driveway for Moutinho and circumvented competitive bidding rules to hire the developer to build it.

Finch has since launched an internal probe after learning from Hearst Connecticut Newspapers that Ricci -- who spearheaded much of the driveway project -- is a longtime friend and business associate of Moutinho's.

But the Finch administration continues to insist that because Moutinho's original dirt driveway is in the way of the Sikorsky project and the developer had not built the new driveway, Bridgeport was obligated to do it for him.

And that somehow doubled the cost to $400,000.

And the decision to not only assume Moutinho's permits, but to pay his construction company to build the driveway, all stemmed from a need to move quickly so the safety zone will be built by a federal deadline of 2016.

While it is possible these new arguments will help Bridgeport and Moutinho salvage the driveway, it is unlikely Breakwater Key residents will stand idly by.

Attorney Richard Saxl, who represents the condominium association, said he is "in it to the end," as is Frank Johnson of Fairfield, who owns a boat slip at Breakwater Key.

"Are we still going to fight it? Yeah, especially now we have a well thought-out decision by the judge," Johnson said. "So they're (Bridgeport) going to throw more money at attorney and legal fees to defend something they shouldn't have to begin with."

A longtime member of Fairfield's Zoning Board of Appeals, Johnson said he has seen illegal projects torn down, and that's what should happen to Moutinho's driveway.

"He should pay for it out of his own pocket and the city of Bridgeport should be reimbursed."

Staff Writer Daniel Tepfer contributed to this report.


Story and Photos:  http://www.ctpost.com

Pilots share their love of flight at annual fly-in

 
Jarrett, 10, and Jesse, 6, Clark, of East Providence, R.I., show their favorite aircraft at the 22nd annual Yankee Ultralight Flyers Fly-In & Camp-In at Sanderson's Field in Greenland on Saturday.
Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Suzanne Laurent



GREENLAND — Mike Paquin was tuning up his canary yellow gyro plane Saturday afternoon. A member of the Yankee Rotors based in Laconia, Paquin said he decided to treat himself to the adult-sized toy during a mid-life crisis. 

 “It’s kind of like riding a dirt bike in the sky,” said Paquin of Hooksett. While his aircraft can go up to altitudes of 10,000 feet, he likes to hover around 1,000 so he can get a good look at things on the ground.

Paquin was one of many pilots who flew into Sanderson’s Field on Post Road for the 22nd annual Yankee Ultralight Flyers Fly-In Camp-In event.

Darlene Doughty, vice president of the club, said she wasn’t sure how many people would show up at this year’s event that began Friday.

“They’re still coming in and probably more will come in tomorrow,” she said. The club has around 50 members, but others come from different flying clubs and some come as spectators to camp on the lush field that sits beside a pond.

Doughty said the hot, humid weather wasn’t too good for the lighter aircraft.

“It makes them sluggish and harder to get off the ground,” she said. “The general aviation planes don’t have a problem.”

Doughty of Barrington has been attending the annual event for 16 years with her husband Scott Doughty.

“I guess I’ve always been a daredevil,” she said. She owns a powered parachute and a Flight Star 2 plane.

She said people come from all over the country and Canada to attend the event which runs through Saturday, July 13.

The grounds are open to the public through Sunday, July 7. During that time, children age 8 to 17 can participate in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Flight program that gives kids a chance of a lifetime to have a ride with one of the experienced pilots at no charge.

The show features fixed-wing ultralights, trikes, powered parachutes, rotorcraft, and light sport and general aviation aircraft. Flying takes place from dawn to dusk each day.

Many come just for the show and to check out the aircraft. Mike Clark of East Providence, R.I., brought his two sons, Jesse, 6, and Jarrett, 10, to the field.

“It’s our first time and we’re camping for the weekend,” Clark said. “I hope to make this a yearly event.” Clark was also networking with some of the flyers as he is interested in getting his own ultralight.

“I like the take off the best,” Jarrett said. “Oh, and the hang gliders.”

A group of Boy Scouts from New Boston Troop 123 were also camping on site for the weekend and working toward their aviation merit badge.

“They’ll all have a chance to fly and they attended the Federal Aviation Administration safety seminar this morning,” said assistant Scoutmaster Doug Cullen.

Both Cullen and Scoutmaster Tom Lazott were appreciative of Carroll Werren of Chutes-Up based in Plymouth. Werren came to give a special presentation on flying to the 16 scouts in attendance as well.

Doughty said after Sunday, the flyers relax and do some day trips.

“We might fly to Hampton for what I call the “$100 breakfast,” she said, because of the cost of fuel.

Sunday, July 7, is also the last evening for the kids’ candy drop at 6 p.m. Sanderson’s Field is at 683 Post Road. There is ample parking for a donation, and food and craft vendors on site. For information, visit www.yankeeultralights.com.


Story and Photo:  http://www.seacoastonline.com

Optimism Takes Off For Safety Changes to Friedman Memorial Airport (KSUN), Hailey, Idaho

After spending years debating the fate of Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport, there is renewed optimism in the Wood River Valley that the current airport will be allowed to continue its operations at its existing site, until a new airport can be built.

A November 2012 analysis estimated that modifying the current airport could cost a princely sum, with price tags ranging anywhere from $38.4 million to as much as $149.4 million. And a report in July 2012 estimated that a new airport could cost as much as $370 million.

The airport had been put on notice from the U.S. government that it must bring its runway safety into new compliance standards by the end of 2015. However, Friedman Memorial Airport is located within too confined a space to fully meet the standards.

But this week's Idaho Mountain Express reports that a temporary fix, proposed by airport planners and presented to the Federal Aviation Administration, would relocate some of the airport's taxiways and hangars.

"Most of the controversy about what should be done with the airport has been vetted and resolved," airport manager Rick Baird told the Mountain Express. "In the past, the FAA said they would not entertain any modifications to the standards. This is an exciting time for the community."

Source:  http://www.boiseweekly.com

Public Petition To Fight Air Tax

An internet petition which aims to collect 1,000 signatures is urging Prime Minister Perry Christie and tourism officials to repeal the new processing fee for general aviation or face ‘devastating’ effects on the country’s tourism product.

The petition, which was sponsored by Robert Gallo, is on the website thepetitionsite.com and encourages people to sign “to stop the unfair additional fees for people visiting the Bahamas.” As of yesterday afternoon,67 people had signed up.

The petition is in response to possible fee increases which if put into effect would mean that all flights would be charged $75 for both arrival and departure, for a grand total of $150 per flight and there would be a customs service charge for planes arriving after 5pm, and before 9am, on any given day.


Additionally commercial aircraft with a seating capacity of less than 30 will be charged $50 per hour; airliners with seats numbering between 31-70 will be charged $100 per hour; and those with 71 seats or more will be charged $200 per hour.
 

In addition to a number of Bahamians, people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ohio, Mississippi, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, New Mexico, Ontario and Texas have joined.

Dr Ralph Bundy, a Florida resident, urged the Bahamas to not “shoot yourself in the foot,” while an anonymous user said: “We have been coming to the Bahamas for three years. If it continues to get more expensive with every little thing being over taxed we will be forced to find a different vacation location.”

Another anonymous user said: “Really, why would you do this? Greed? or you wish to kill tourism?”

Patricia Mulligan said: “These fees and the way they were enacted have the potential to destroy the small airlines servicing the Bahamas. We make two to three trips to Abaco every year on Airgate Aviation - a reliable company with excellent service for a reasonable price. We were in Green Turtle in April, and have two more Abaco trips planned for this year. On principle, if this new tax puts Airgate out of business, they will be our last.”


Chelise Brodtmann said: “The cost to get to Abaco is already sky high. This tax will cost your country the tourist dollars that it needs. Not to mention, make our three trips a year unaffordable. That is just one couple that spends over $15,000 a year in Abaco.”

Long time visitor Joseph Hamrick said: “I have been boating and flying to the Bahamas for over 45 years. Starting to rethink go to the Bahamas! Not my choice but you are pricing your self out!”


Source:  http://www.tribune242.com

China Nanchang CJ-6A, N116RL: Accident occurred June 30, 2013 in Ocean City, Maryland

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA309 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Ocean City, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/10/2014
Aircraft: NANCHANG CHINA CJ-6A, registration: N116RL
Injuries: 2 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.

Witness accounts and on-board video recordings of the accident flight revealed that the pilot initiated and performed a series of aerobatic maneuvers with the airplane before initiating a stall, rolling the airplane inverted, and entering a steady-state spin to water contact. The airplane completed 22 revolutions in the spin, with the engine running smoothly, and the stick held fully aft. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomaly. Review of the pilot's flight records revealed no evidence of formal aerobatic training. However, the records indicated that he had conducted aerobatic maneuvers, including, on at least one occasion, a flat spin.

The on-board video recordings showed no signs of pilot distress or incapacitation and indicated that the pilot was actively engaged in controlling the airplane and was providing control inputs to maintain the spin to impact. There was no indication of any distracting event or of the pilot attempting to diagnose, troubleshoot, or respond to a perceived in-flight control, system, or engine anomaly. There were multiple cues available to the pilot that the maneuver should be terminated, including an increasing ground presence/perspective from the out-the-window view and the rapidly decreasing altitude indicated on the altimeter in the panel. However, the pilot failed to terminate the maneuver at an altitude adequate to prevent impacting the water. Therefore, it is most likely that the pilot lost situational awareness during the aerobatic maneuver/prolonged spin and did not recover from the spin before impact.

Given the fact that this was a sustained aerobatic maneuver, it is possible that the pilot lost situational awareness due to target fixation, a phenomenon that can occur at varying levels ranging from a breakdown in an instrument scan to failing to pull out of an aerial application run. In these cases, the pilot has cues that a response is required and has the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully perform the response. However, because of the narrowing of attention resulting from the goal-directed activity associated with this phenomenon, a loss of overall situational awareness occurs and the appropriate response is not commanded/input. The circumstances of this accident are consistent with the loss of situational awareness due to target fixation. The pilot appears to have focused on the performance/sustainment of the spin maneuver and therefore misjudged or lost awareness of his exit altitude.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to terminate the intentional aerobatic spin at an altitude adequate to prevent impacting the water. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's loss of situational awareness due to target fixation during the prolonged aerobatic maneuver.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 30, 2013, about 1605 eastern daylight time, a Nanchang China CJ-6A airplane, N116RL, was destroyed during a collision with water following a spiraling descent, just offshore from Ocean City, Maryland. The certificated private pilot/owner and one passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight departed Ocean City Municipal Airport (OXB), at 1532.

The pilot and passenger were friends and fellow officers with the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD), and the purpose of the flight was a local pleasure/orientation flight for the passenger.

Several witnesses provided written and verbal statements to local law enforcement, and the statements were largely consistent throughout. Most described the airplane as it descended in a steady-state, nose down spin to water contact. Some described a "flat spin" as well as describing the landing as "flat… a belly flop."

In a telephone interview, one witness said he was familiar with the accident airplane, and had watched it fly over Ocean City and its beaches many times. About 15 minutes prior to the accident, he heard the airplane's distinctive engine sound, so he called his friends' attention to it. The witness watched one loop, and one barrel roll, and described the maneuvers as "slow," "lazy," and some distance from shore. He said the airplane flew out of his sight to the north after that, and didn't notice the airplane return near his location.

The witness then next noticed the airplane in a spiraling descent. He did not see the airplane depart controlled flight, and said he'd never seen the airplane fly close to shore before. He added, "He has never been that low, or that close to the shore." When asked about the sound of the engine, he said there was none. When asked if he thought the sound of boats operating close by could have drowned the engine out, he said no.

The witness stated that nothing departed the airplane during the descent, and he said he noticed that the canopy was still on the airplane throughout its descent. He described the airplane in a shallow, nose-down, spiraling descent, and added that the airplane's attitude was nearly flat. The airplane finally "pancaked" into the water with a slapping sound, "like your hand slapping against the water."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued November 12, 2009. 

Examination of the pilot's flight records revealed that he had recorded his flight experience in two logbooks, and then transitioned his recordkeeping to a computer-based spread sheet. Because of gaps, overlaps, and anecdotal evidence of flights taken after the last logged in the records, his total flight experience could not be reconciled. 

The pilot first logged flights as a student pilot in 1996 and took extended breaks from flying before he was issued his private pilot certificate on October 5, 2007. His log book entries ended on June 30, 2011, however; his spreadsheet entries predate that, and his most recent entry was April 14, 2013 which was 2.5 months prior to the accident.

The pilot logged 859 total hours of flight experience, of which 231 were in the accident airplane make and model. All of the 231 hours in the accident airplane were annotated on the spreadsheet. In the remarks section the pilot annotated Formation and Safety Team (FAST) formation flight training. There were brief or one-word entries such as "practicing rolls," "roll," and on November 11, 2012, "flat spin" , but no dual instruction in aerobatic maneuvering was noted anywhere in the pilot's flight records.

In an email exchange with his insurance agent, the pilot stated that the 10 hours of dual instruction he received in the accident airplane as required by his policy was not performed by flight instructors. The response explained that exceptions were often granted for "warbirds" in order to meet the requirement. In the pilot's logbook, three pilots were noted as having provided "CJ training." Of the three, only one was a flight instructor. All three were interviewed, and each said that they only provided familiarization training to the pilot specific to his Nanchang China CJ-6A airplane. At no time did they provide aerobatic training to the pilot. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1980 and registered in the experimental exhibition category. It was a two-place, tandem-seating, basic military trainer. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on April 2, 2013, at 3,485.3 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1621, the weather reported at OXB included few clouds at 600 feet, and the winds were from 200 degrees at 7 knots gusting to 17 knots.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

Video footage as well as still photography revealed that the airplane appeared intact all the way to water contact. Sonar mapping and salvage divers revealed that the entire airplane rested together on the ocean floor, but was fractured in several places due to impact. The majority of the airplane was recovered on July 4, 2013. All major components were recovered with the exception of the left wing, and the vertical stabilizer. 

Examination of the airplane revealed that the engine was still attached to the firewall, but the upper two engine mounts were fractured due to impact. The firewall-mounted oil tank was crushed. The underside of the fuselage was compressed due to impact with water (hydraulic deformation) and the fuselage was fractured between the fore and aft cockpit stations. The left wing was separated due to impact and was not recovered. Recovery personnel cut the right wing. 

The empennage was fractured, torn, and separated from the fuselage due to impact, but remained attached by cables. Recovery personnel cut the cables to affect recovery. The vertical stabilizer was separated due to impact and was not recovered. The rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and the left-side elevator remained attached. The right-side horizontal stabilizer was cut to affect recovery, and the elevator was removed.

Control continuity was established from both cockpits, through cable, tube, and bellcrank cuts and breaks, to the flight control surfaces. 

The engine was separated from the airplane, and was rotated by hand at the propeller. Continuity was established through the powertrain and valvetrain to the accessory section with one exception. The pushrod for the number 4 cylinder exhaust valve was displaced due to impact, and would not actuate the rocker arm for valve movement.

The examination revealed no evidence of any pre-impact mechanical anomalies of the engine or airframe.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that each died as a result of "multiple injuries."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. The testing was negative for drugs, alcohol, and carbon monoxide.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On July 8, 2014, two GoPro Hero self-contained video recorders and one Garmin Aera hand-held global positioning system (GPS) receiver were examined in the NTSB Recorders Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

The GPS receiver was damaged by impact and salt water immersion. Removal and download of the data chip revealed that no track data was recorded on the day of the accident.

The GoPro Hero video recorder was a high quality self-contained battery powered video and audio recorder. One camera was damaged and the flash memory card was wet from salt water immersion. The memory card was dried and data was recovered using the laboratory's file recovery software. The second camera was undamaged, and the memory card was downloaded normally.

The video recovered from the first memory card consisted of the entire accident flight from taxi, takeoff, enroute maneuvering and the start of the accident spin sequence. The portions of the accident flight captured by the second memory card consisted of the events that occurred just prior to the accident spin sequence through water impact. The angle of each video suggested that the first camera was mounted on the aft glareshield facing aft, and the second camera was hand-held by the passenger in the aft seat. 

A Recorder Laboratory Specialist reviewed the video and prepared a transcript of the events from each camera. Video from the first camera revealed that after takeoff the airplane climbed to about 5,000 feet and performed a series of maneuvers that included barrel rolls, banks of 60 degrees, as well as positive and negative pitch angles of 80 degrees or more. The passenger was seen holding a GoPro camera facing forward, and rudder movement was evident throughout the flight.

Beginning about 1604:00, video from the second camera showed the airplane pitched up through 70 degrees, roll through 120 degrees of bank and eventually rolled inverted, before it entered a steady-state, nose-down spin. The video showed the airplane stabilized in a 30-degree nose down attitude, wings level, the inclinometer (trim ball) displaced 1-2 ball widths to the right, and a 600 feet-per-minute rate of descent. As the airplane descended in the spin, the nosed-down pitch attitude decreased to about 20 degrees. The pilot's head was upright and faced forward, the control stick was fully aft, and the pedals moved somewhat, but remained generally neutral. The pilot and the airplane maintained this attitude through 22 complete revolutions before water contact at 1605:00. The pilot never released aft pressure on the control stick, and no evidence of remedial action was observed. The propeller was rotating and the engine sound was smooth and continuous without interruption all the way to water contact.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A friend of the pilot provided a written statement as well as video footage of flights he had taken with the accident pilot. The witness was not a pilot, but interested in taking lessons at some point in the future. He said that the accident pilot was not his instructor, but offered him advice with regards to study guides, practice tests, and map reading. During flights, he was given the flight controls, and allowed to practice navigation and steep turns. 

The pilot would assist him in donning a parachute, and go over "bail-out" procedures prior to each flight. The flights would depart to the east over the water, and then turn north and travel between 5 and 30 miles to perform aerobatic flight "as a safety precaution to any one on the ground should something go wrong." He said that during the flights, the pilot would perform loops, rolls, and on one occasion, "went vertical and put the plane into a stall."

A review of the video footage provided by the witness revealed views from a wingtip-mounted camera pointed back towards the fuselage, as well as a rear-facing view from a camera mounted on the aft-cockpit glareshield. The footage showed the airplane operating at low altitude over the ocean, as well as climbs that penetrated clouds. The airplane would be surrounded, and the ground would be completely obscured by clouds, for several seconds. The aerobatic maneuvers were also as the witness described them. The vertical climb, stall, and spin entry captured in the video provided by the witness was consistent with the accident spin entry.

The airframe and powerplant mechanic who maintained the accident airplane was interviewed by telephone and provided a written statement. He held an airline transport pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, and had approximately 14,000 hours of flight experience, with 1,300 hours in the accident airplane make and model. He provided instruction and a "check-out" in the accident airplane to the pilot/owner after it was purchased. The instructor did not provide any aerobatic instruction to the pilot/owner, and said he did not think any formal aerobatic training had been provided to him. When it was explained that there was video evidence of the pilot/owner performing aerobatics in the accident airplane during several flights previous to the accident flight he said, "If I had known that, I would have put a stop to it."

When asked about the stall/spin characteristics of the accident airplane, the instructor said that the airplane had very predictable handling characteristics. The instructor stated, "You have to hold the airplane in a spin. The airplane will recover from a spin by itself. The second you release the stick, it will come out of the spin. The airplane will recover by itself from a fully developed spin in less than one turn. Once it is in the stall and spinning, you must hold the stick fully aft to maintain the spin." The instructor volunteered and stressed that "aerobatics over water is dangerous. It's disorienting." 

Among the Federal Aviation Regulations that address aerobatic flight, 
"…no person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight—
(b) Over an open air assembly of persons;
(e) Below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface."
According to U.S. Army Field Manual 3-04.301 (1-301) Aeromedical Training for Flight Personnel:
9-31. Fascination, or fixation, flying can be separated into two categories: task saturation and target fixation. Task saturation may occur during the accomplishment of simple tasks within the cockpit. Crew members may become so engrossed with a problem or task within the cockpit that they fail to properly scan outside the aircraft. Target fixation, commonly referred to as target hypnosis, occurs when an aircrew member ignores orientation cues and focuses his attention on his object or goal; for example, an attack pilot on a gunnery range becomes so intent on hitting the target that he forgets to fly the aircraft, resulting in the aircraft striking the ground, the target, or the shrapnel created by hitting the target.




NTSB Identification: ERA13FA309 14 
CFR Part 91: General Aviation  
Accident occurred Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Ocean City, MD
Aircraft: NANCHANG CHINA CJ-6A, registration: N116RL
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 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 30, 2013, about 1605 eastern daylight time, a China Nanchang CJ-6A airplane, N116RL, was destroyed during a collision with water following a spiraling descent, just offshore from Ocean City, Maryland. The certificated private pilot/owner and one passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight departed Ocean City Municipal Airport (OXB), at 1532.

The pilot and passenger were friends and fellow officers with the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD), and the purpose of the flight was a local pleasure/orientation flight for the passenger.

Several witnesses provided written and verbal statements to the Ocean City Beach Patrol, the Maryland State Police, and the OCPD, and the statements were largely consistent throughout. Most described the airplane as it descended in a steady-state, nose down spin to water contact. Some described a "flat spin" as well as describing the landing as "flat… a belly flop."

In a telephone interview, one witness said he was familiar with the accident airplane, and had watched it fly over Ocean City and its beaches many times. About 15 minutes prior to the accident, he heard the airplane's distinctive engine sound, so he called his friends' attention to it. The witness watched one loop, and one barrel roll, and described the maneuvers as “slow” and “lazy” and some distance from shore. He said the airplane flew out of his sight to the north after that, and didn’t notice the airplane return near his location.

The witness then next noticed the airplane in a spiraling descent. He did not see the airplane depart controlled flight, and said he’d never seen the airplane fly close to shore before. He added, “He has never been that low, or that close to the shore.” When asked about the sound of the engine, he said there was none. When asked if he thought the sound of boats operating close by could have drowned the engine out, and he said no.

The witness stated that nothing departed the airplane during the descent, and he said he noticed that the canopy was still on the airplane throughout its descent. He described the airplane in a shallow, nose-down descent and added that the airplane’s attitude was nearly flat, and that it “pancaked” into the water with a slapping sound, “like your hand slapping against the water.”

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued November 12, 2009. No pilot logbook was recovered, but on his most recent insurance application, he reported 819 total hours of flight experience, of which 204 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The airplane was manufactured in 1980 and registered in the experimental category. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on September 12, 2012, at 6,576 total aircraft hours.

The majority of the airplane was recovered on July 4, 2014 and examination of the wreckage was scheduled for a later date. Video footage as well as still photography revealed that the airplane appeared intact all the way to water contact. Sonar mapping and salvage divers revealed that the entire airplane rested together on the ocean floor, but was fractured in several places due to impact. The left wing was lost during recovery.

A video camera was recovered from the cockpit, and forwarded to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC, for download.

At 1621, the weather reported at OXB included few clouds at 600 feet, and the winds were from 200 degrees at 7 knots gusting to 17 knots.



OCEAN CITY, Md.- The Ocean City Police Department has announced the funeral arrangements for the two off-duty police officers, 27-year-old Joshua D. Adickes, of Berlin, and 43-year-old Thomas J. Geoghegan Jr., of Ocean City, who were killed in a tragic plane crash late Sunday afternoon.

The small military style plane plunged into the ocean after taking off from the Ocean City Municipal Airport. Witnesses told police the aircraft spun out of control before making a nose-dive crash into the ocean.

Their bodies were recovered Monday, but rough waters and zero visibility forced a delayed Thursday recovery of the plane. 


 
Joshua D. Adickes


Here are the arrangements for 27-year-old Adickes, who lived in Berlin:

• Monday: Public viewing will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Cochran's Funeral Home, 905 High St., Hackettstown, N.J.

• Tuesday: Services will be at 11 a.m. at Highlands Presbyterian Church, Heath Lane, Schooleys Mountain, N.J., 07870. Burial will follow at Fairmount Cemetery, at routes 512 and 517, Fairmount, N.J.

Then a reception will follow at Schooleys Mountain Fire Company, 231 Schooleys Mountain Road, Schooleys Mountain, N.J.



 
Thomas J. Geoghegan Jr.



Here are the arrangements for 43-year-old Geoghegan, who lived in Ocean City:

• Thursday: Viewing from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at John B. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis.

• Friday: Services will be at 11 a.m. at Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 710 Ridgely Ave., Annapolis.

• Saturday: Another viewing will be at 4 to 6 p.m. at Ocean Pines Community Church, 11227 Race Track Road, Ocean Pines. Services will immediately follow.

Ocean City police said Geoghegan's body will be returned to Annapolis for cremation.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will continue to investigate and inspect the plane wreckage as part of a year-long investigation into the crash.


Source:  http://www.wboc.com

(Nanchang CJ-6A, N116RL, Accident occurred June 30, 2013 in Ocean City, Maryland)

Aviation Tax Rises ‘Absolute Insanity’

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor



The Opposition’s shadow tourism spokesman yesterday described the increased Customs fees/taxes levied on the aviation industry as “absolute insanity”, and called on the Government to “urgently” revisit its policy.

Responding to the Airlines for America consortium, which warned that its members might “reconsider their service levels to the Bahamas” in the wake of the 2013-2014 Budget’s tax rises, John Bostwick, an attorney and FNM Senator, said the episode raised questions over the Christie administration’s “ability to govern in a modern, globalized world”.

Pointing out that the tax increases, and airline industry response, threatened to undermine efforts to increase airlift capacity into the Bahamas by 400,000 seats in preparation for Baha Mar’s 2015 opening, Mr Bostwick told Tribune Business he had “some serious concerns”.

Noting that Michael Halkitis, minister of state for finance, appeared to “dismiss” concerns raised by the private aviation industry over the new $50 refueling stop and Customs processing fee, plus associated departure tax rises, Mr Bostwick said the situation had resulted from the Government’s “total failure to consult”.

Tribune Business revealed yesterday that the Airlines for America coalition, which represents key operators such as Jet Blue, Delta and American Airlines, had warned that its members “may be forced to reconsider their service levels to the Bahamas”.

Keith Glatz, Airlines for America’s (A4A) vice-president of international affairs, warned Customs Comptroller Charles Turner in a June 28 letter, in no uncertain terms, that the new charges threatened his members’ “exceedingly slim profit margins” and could “undermine the desire to stimulate the Bahamas’ economy”.

In response, Mr Bostwick said: “My concern with this administration in general goes beyond the airlines. It’s a failure to consult with those interested, period, as to the net consequences of their actions.

“It’s insanity. How could they make such a decision without sourcing industry consultation with local and international airlines who have the majority of the airlift?”

“A4A’s members want to maintain and grow, where demand warrants, their operations to the Bahamas,” Mr Glatz told Mr Turner. “Higher taxes will not encourage A4A members to grow their service to the islands.

“With exceedingly slim profit margins and the inability to recoup the taxes and fees that they pay directly to governments, airlines may be forced to reconsider their service levels to the Bahamas.

“The proposed fees may have unintended consequences and undermine the desire to stimulate the Bahamian economy.”

Mr Bostwick questioned where the Ministry of Tourism was on the Customs fee increases, given that it regularly met the major airlines on a monthly - even weekly - basis to address their concerns and develop airlift.

“How could they not consult with them on this fee increase? It’s madness. It’s insanity,” the FNM Senator told Tribune Business.

“That cannot be the intended policy to push away the airline industry at a time when we’re trying to fill this big hotel. That is absolute insanity.

“It shows a lack of vision, a lack of planning, a lack of consultation and a lack of proper governance. We hope they revisit this and do so urgently, and be seen to revisit urgently.

“It’s a complete and total failure of consultation. You have to question their ability to govern in a modern, globalized society. You really have to question it.”

While acknowledging that the Government needed to find ways to raise revenue, Mr Bostwick said it had to do it in ways that resulted in a “net gain” for all concerned - not collect $1 and someone lose $10 in return.

He added that the Government needed to sit up and take the Airlines for America warning seriously, given the airlines it represented and the speed with which the letter had been issued.

This, he said, indicated the letter was supported by the 10 US airline members, and that each company’s Board must have approved its wording.

It’s a serious thing,” Mr Bostwick said.

Emphasizing that his organization represented 10 US airlines, Mr Glatz said they and their marketing partners accounted for “over 90 per cent of total US-Bahamas scheduled passenger airline capacity” in terms of available seat miles for the year to end-June 2013.

Describing airlift as “a key economic driver which supports and stimulates increased business travel, tourism and shipping” between the US and the Bahamas, Mr Glatz said the carriers were especially concerned at the rise in Customs services’ charges and the new Customs processing fee.

“This development is of particular concern to A4A’s member airlines due to the lack of notice, transparency and cost-based justification for the new charges and increased fees,” Mr Glatz charged.

“Less than two weeks is insufficient time for airlines to re-program their systems to accommodate the new fees and increased charges.”

Noting that all flights would be charged $75 for both arrival and departure, for a grand total of $150 per flight, the airlines also slammed the Customs service charge for planes arriving after 5pm, and before 9am, on any given day.

Commercial aircraft with a seating capacity of less than 30 will be charged $50 per hour; airliners with seats numbering between 31-70 will be charged $100 per hour; and those with 71 seats or more will be charged $200 per hour.

And A4A’s members also expressed concern over Customs’ new 1 percent administrative processing fee, which will be added to brakes, tires and other aircraft parts imported to the Bahamas for repairs. This fee, capped at $500 per import, replaces the previous $10 Stamp Duty levy.


Story and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.tribune242.com

Repeal new "processing fees" for general aviation in Bahamas

Target:  Prime Minister and Tourist Director of Bahamas.

To stop unfair additional fees for people visiting the Bahamas.

Signature goal: 1,000


Read more:   http://www.thepetitionsite.com

Seeley Lake Airport (23S) pushes economy

 


SEELEY LAKE, MONTANA - When you think of Seeley Lake, you're probably thinking of going camping, or seeing the great outdoors - but now flying in and camping by the airport could be just as outdoorsy.

Planes, car service and hotel lodgings are not something you expect to see in the middle of the backcountry.

"They love the airstrip. They love the country. They're all from back east, or south, California, Idaho," Seeley Lake Airport Manager Mike Lindemer explained.

He added that up until 20 years ago, it wasn't so nice, or as safe, for pilots to land in Seeley Lake.

"The airport back when we moved here...gopher holes were everywhere, little trees were growing up."

It was Seeley Lake's beauty and calm that charmed Mike Lindener's dad to relocate, and open a steakhouse by the lake in the 1980s.

"And he would travel back and forth from Minnesota, and there was an airstrip here. He got a hold of the state, and the Missoula Airport Authority, and helped maintain [it] and get it back to neat and usable conditions," Lindemer said.

Since then the family and community have joined efforts to make the airport a one of a kind gem.

"We all work together to make the airstrip nice," Briand Bertsch of East Pole Lodge told us.

But the community has done more than just yard work, with members like Bertsch building lodgings right on the airport grounds.

"Our lodges, we have four units, we started in 99, and it took about 10 years to build," Bertsch said.

Word about the place is taking off.

"When they come and find Seeley Lake they hear about it and then they go to other FBOs, other airstrips and they talk about it," Lindemer said.

Among aviation enthusiasts Seeley Lake is kind of a big deal and has been featured in nationally published pilot magazines.

Now as more people fly in, they're also discovering the perks downtown Seeley Lake has to offer.

"We're known as a great community to come to, we have open arms for anybody," Lindemer concluded.

Lindemer and members of the Seeley Lake Aviation Foundation have organized several antique airplane fly ins to draw out more people.

The airport is also becoming a popular wedding venue.


Source:  http://www.kaj18.com

Teen spending summer learning to fly: Mifflin County Airport (KRVL), Pennsylvania

Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Lewistown Sentinel by BRADLEY KREITZER
 ~


LEWISTOWN - During the summer, teenagers often try to find ways to busy their time away from the classroom. Many teens get involved with sports, take a trip to camp, go on vacation or waste their time playing indoor video games. Bryn Ferguson is an exception to the average 14-year-old teenager; she is involved with basketball, dance and volleyball, but her hobby is set in the skies above.

Ferguson, a student at Mifflin County Junior High School, is a student pilot. She was initially drawn into the art of flying by her grandfather, David Ramsey, who is also a pilot, She took to the skies for her initial flight last year at the Mifflin County Airport, where she continues to learn under the direction of Certified Flight Instructor, Dan Daldarale. In addition to flying at the local airport, Ferguson was offered a unique opportunity to spend a week this summer to study at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis.

"They offer classes for 14 to15-year-olds and more classes for older students. This experience will teach me more about the science of flying and learning how to operate a plane and a helicopter," said Ferguson.

According to Ferguson, the number of certified pilots in the United States is declining. She said there are approximately 620,000 pilots in the U.S. and female pilots account for only about seven percent of that number.

Ferguson's sponsors for the EAA Academy include: EAA Chapter 1327, in State College; EAA 518, in Reedsville; and EAA 748, in Clearfield.

The EAA Air Academy offers young people the opportunity to meet and work with aviation professionals, while living and learning the arts, sciences and lore of aviation in both classroom and workshop settings. Participants in the EAA Air Academy come from around the United States and several foreign countries.

Ferguson says she wants to eventually become a professional pilot.

"I definitely want to make a career out of flying. After I graduate in a few years, I want to attend the Air Academy," said Ferguson.

Ferguson will be flying to Oshkosh in a couple of weeks and will continue to meet with her instructor on a weekly basis at the Mifflin County Airport to work on her skills.

Story and Photo:  http://www.lewistownsentinel.com

The practicalities of bringing back flying boats

The Empire flying boat had a huge romantic appeal, and it is tempting to imagine similar aircraft flying in and out of the Thames Estuary without the need for elaborate infrastructure (Letters, July 2).

Sadly, there are practical reasons why flying boats are seldom used for passenger services except on specialized routes, such as those involving small islands.

A flexible service would require the use of amphibious aircraft able to operate from conventional runways as well as water, which adds to weight, complexity and operating costs. Most large amphibious aircraft are built for specialized applications such as fighting forest fires.

Having said that, at least one such aircraft, the Beriev Be-200, is available as a passenger variant. A business opportunity for someone, perhaps?

Read more and comments/reaction:   http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Airplane firm looks to locate in Vacaville, California



A company known for "reinventing flying" through its sport aircraft is looking to relocate its business to Vacaville.

City staff has received a non-binding letter of intent from ICON Aircraft Inc., based in Southern California, which plans to move forward on a plan to create a sport aircraft assembly and sales office in an existing 137,940 square foot building at 2141 Beechcraft Road, adjacent to the Nut Tree Airport.

Tuesday, the Vacaville City Council will consider authorizing the City Manager to sign the agreement with ICON and to begin work on developing a final binding financial agreement for future consideration by the council.

ICON Aircraft Inc. was founded in 2005 after the Federal Aviation Administration changed its regulations and created a new "Light Sport Aircraft" category. The goal of ICON Aircraft, according to staff, is to create a consumer-focused "sport aircraft."

The ICON A5, sold for $139,000, can be placed on a vehicle trailer to take-off from or landing on water and traditional runways. The plane seats two, can travel at a maximum speed of 120 mph, uses automotive fuel, has retractable landing gear and the cockpit of the plane is similar to a car. Owners of the plane need 20 hours of training to obtain their sport flying license which is half the required time for other aircraft.

More information, including photos, is available the company's website at www.iconaircraft.com.

ICON Aircraft in Vacaville, said Vice Mayor Dilenna Harris, will be a big boost to the economy since purchasers will travel to Vacaville, stay at local hotels and eat at local restaurants while they receive the training for the aircraft.

Since 2011, according to a staff report, Vacaville has been in talks with ICON Aircraft to develop a project that will benefit not only the city through generation of sales and property taxes, but also with jobs that will service the Solano County region. Other agencies involved in those meetings included the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, Solano Economic Development Corporation, Solano Community College, Solano County and the Nut Tree Airport management staff.

"They would be fabulous to have in Vacaville," said Harris. "It opens a lot of possibilities for Vacaville."

She said the "world class" company offers the potential for hundreds of jobs and is a great complement to the Nut Tree Airport and the establishment of the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum.

Vacaville also has signed a letter of intent with the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Educational Foundation that could result in the creation of an aviation museum and other structures between the Nut Tree Shopping Center and Nut Tree Airport.

Harris said she's pleased to move forward with ICON since she knows there was a lot of competition for the relocation.

"They've really taken all the complexity of flying an aircraft and put it into a car type setting," she said. "It's a luxury car you can fly."

The letter of intent represents a non-binding commitment to negotiate a financial agreement with ICON Aircraft that would include provisions to extend the agreement and incentives should ICON Aircraft reach an employment level of 500 employees in its Vacaville location.

Some of the key points for the proposed letter of intent include sharing a predetermined percentage of sales tax to ICON based upon specific performance standards such as full time job generation with an average salary basis. It also proposes loaning permit processing, development and impact fees to ICON Aircraft to be paid back with future sales that are generated by the project. The city estimates that those fees would reach about $250,000 or less depending on the final design to tenant improvements.

Additionally, the letter of intent proposes that the city work with ICON Aircraft to process an application to consider renaming of various streets in and around the area as well as promptly process all entitlements and permits necessary for the company to construct improvements.

The Vacaville City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber, 650 Merchant St.

Source:  http://www.thereporter.com

Winds blow skydiver off course, onto house: Impact knocks hole in roof of 2-story home

The impact knocked a hole in the roof of the home (circled in red).
 (Photo courtesy: Jim Grady)


The injured skydiver is removed from the roof. 
(Photo courtesy: Jim Grady)


The skydiver is taken to a waiting ambulance. 
(Photo courtesy: Jim Grady)


LONGMONT, Colorado - A skydiver was blown off course while attempting to land at the Vance Brand Municipal Airport in Longmont on Friday and slammed into the roof of house about a mile away. 

The skydiver, identified only as a 31-year-old man, landed on the second-floor roof of a home at 4115 Florentine Drive, just after 4 p.m. The impact punched a hole in the roof.

Longmont firefighters used a bucket truck to reach the injured skydiver and treat his knee injuries before bringing him down to a waiting ambulance.

Winds of nearly 20 mph apparently blew the skydiver off course and into the house.  The family who lives there were not at home during all the commotion.  Firefighters used a blue tarp to cover the hole in the roof before leaving.

The skydiver was taken to Longmont United Hospital for treatment.

Source:  http://www.thedenverchannel.com

Fire Dept: Static electricy caused fire that destroyed 2 planes, 2 cars and hangar -- Swanson Airfield (2W3), Eatonville, Washington

Chopper 7 
The Eatonville Fire Marshal says static electricity caused a fire that destroyed 2 vintage planes, 2 classic cars and a hangar



An electrical spark from static electricity destroyed two antique planes, two classic cars and an airplane hangar at Swanson Airfield in Eatonville. 

Bob Hudspeth from Eatonville Fire tells KIRO 7 the plane's owner was draining gas from one of the planes Friday afternoon into a plastic bucket.

That's when static electricity caused a spark, lighting the plane on fire, Hudspeth says.

The fire spread to another vintage plane, and two classic cars inside the hangar.

Hudspeth says the elderly man was able to get out of the hangar and call 9-1-1.

One of the planes was a 1940 J3 Cub, and the other was a custom 1941 Luscomb AD, according to Hudspeth.  One of the cars was a 1957 Chevy.

Hudspeth says one of the planes had a cloth skin.

The fire marshal determined the two planes, cars and hangar are a complete loss.  The loss is estimated at $340,000.

Source:  http://www.kirotv.com