Monday, July 08, 2013

Special meeting on Warren County Airport draws large crowd, heated comments

GLENS FALLS -- Warren County supervisors fielded hours of questions and comments on spending at the county airport during a special meeting Monday night that drew a standing-room only crowd to Crandall Public Library.

At least 175 people packed a basement meeting room at the library for a special Warren County Board of Supervisors Facilities Committee meeting, most of them clearly against a proposal to lengthen the main runway at the airport in Queensbury.

The meeting ran two hours and only ended when the library closed for the night. The committee plans a second meeting in the coming days, with the date to be determined.

Several of them called for a countywide vote on the proposal to expand the airport's main runway. County Attorney Martin Auffredou said it was unclear whether the issue could be put on the ballot.

"It's not an easy question to answer, but it's something we could look into," Auffredou said.

The committee did not take action on that request, but Glens Falls 1st Ward Supervisor Dan Girard, chairman of the Facilities Committee, said that could be considered by the Board of Supervisors.

Critics questioned the spending, costs in the future, the possibility that the Federal Aviation Administration could handcuff the county if federal funding was accepted and concerns that increased air traffic would affect quality of life.

Speaker after speaker went well over the three-minute limit and had to be cut off 10 or 15 minutes into their commentary. Many were affiliated with Upstate New York Taxpayer Advocates, a group that has come out against the expansion and sought cuts to the airport budget.

Several local business leaders were among them, including Sean Garvey of Garvey Auto Group and Jack Currie of Currie Associates.

Garvey questioned the return on the investment to serve 50 planes based at the airport, while Currie said commercial airliners will not return and pointed out that communities that sought to close airports that took federal funding were kept from doing so.

"When you accept FAA funding, it's not without strings," Currie said.

The economic benefits of an expansion that proponents have touted were also repeatedly questioned. Queensbury resident Kathleen Sonnabend pointed to the Hudson Falls trash plant, new county jail and natural gas cogeneration power plants as mistakes that cost money and didn't raise revenue.

Speakers also sought more information about revenue and budget issues and asked why land around the airport was being purchased around the airport to remove obstructions. (The FAA has ordered it to allow full runway use.)

Many weren't satisfied with the answers they got.

"The taxpayers don't get anything from the airport," Queensbury resident Craig Sweet said.

The commentary was heated at times, as Girard had to stop the meeting at one point to threaten to have people removed for "heckling" pro-airport speaker Brian Straub.

Straub said critics have been led astray by "misinformation" and said the airport has received $10 million in federal funding over the years, money that comes from fees paid by users. The airport provides millions of dollars in economic benefits, he said.

Bolton resident Neil Van Dorsten said the airport debate has become a "political football" and that the money that is being spent is "peanuts" compared to the rest of the county budget.

Taxpayers would be happy to get $8 million in federal funding for $400,000 in county funding for any other project, he said.

Bolton resident John Michaels told the crowd that increasing corporate jet traffic would boost revenue from the airport because fuel sales would increase. A longer runway would allow pilots to fuel up.

"There are so many people who come into that airport who would never know about this county if they landed in Albany," Michaels said. "It will increase safety."

The 5,000-foot runway is scheduled to be expanded 1,000 feet to the south, toward Quaker Road. The project was first approved in 2003, but has come up as newly elected supervisors questioned the need for the work.

Hudson County officials want sightseeing helicopters to buzz off

HOBOKEN – A campaign to ban tourist helicopters from flying over the New Jersey side of Hudson River is gaining momentum with the backing of Rep. Albio Sires, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and several Hudson County mayors.

"All over this area helicopter flights have increased to the point that this is a safety issue," Sires, D-West New York, said at a news conference today at Pier A Park, with his voice competing with the buzz of helicopters flying along the waterfront. "We have all these tourist helicopters coming over until almost until midnight. ... The safety issue and quality-of-life issue is paramount. If they (tourists) want to see the skyline of New York let them drive over here. This is the most beautiful view in the country."

Sires said a recent accident in which a sightseeing helicopter carrying a family of four tourists made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after losing power on June 30 "really woke everybody up."

Sires was joined at the press conference by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Freeholder Chairman Anthony Romano and Bill Gaughan, representing County Executive Tom DeGise, and Hoboken Councilwomen Beth Mason and Theresa Castellano.

Sires, with the support of Menendez, he will be meeting with the Federal Aviation Administration to ask them to ban flights over the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, after meeting last week with mayors in Hudson County, Mason, and members of a local group, Stop NYC Tourist Helicopters over NJ.

"I am meeting with the FAA and I am meeting with the people in Washington to try to ban these flights over this congested area," Sires said.

Zimmer said the helicopters are "getting out of control," flying "too frequently, too low and loudly" over homes and the waterfront without bringing benefit to New Jersey.

"The helicopters are a major, major issue, and you hear an endless stream of helicopters flying over on the weekends and on the holidays," Zimmer said. "Hoboken is an urban area. For us, our parks are supposed to be an oasis from the noise of urban life. But more often than not it sounds like a war zone with all the helicopters flying overhead. ... It's not just an inconvenience. This New York tourist helicopter noise is excessive, unreasonable, and unfair."

Although not present at the meeting, state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who has been fighting his own battle with helicopter traffic, said in a statement they backed the call for a ban.

One of the helicopter routes runs from the Statue of Liberty to the George Washington Bridge, officials said.

"The helicopters that travel north along the river make a turn right at the Guttenberg-North Bergen border, where over 3,000 of our residents live and come within a couple of 100 feet of the Galaxy and Bull's Ferry development," Drasheff said. "Since they don't have the habit of staying in the air, we are very concerned what happens when they have to make an emergency landing."

After complaints from New Yorkers, the New York City Economic Development Corp.  has banned helicopters from flying over Brooklyn, the Chrysler Building and Central Park in Manhattan, increasing traffic on the New Jersey side, Sires said.

"As a resident of Hoboken, this goes on from 9, 10 every morning to about 11 o'clock every night," said Brian Wagner, a Hoboken resident and founding member of Stop NYC Tourist Helicopters over NJ. "We have an ongoing assembly line of tourist helicopters in addition to all the helicopters that fly through the area that we have to deal with."

Wagner estimates that between 40,000 to 60,000 helicopter flights over the area each year, equating to roughly 700 a helicopters a day.

Jeff Smith, chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, which represents the helicopter industry in the region, said in an emailed statement that in 2010 a comprehensive plan to minimize helicopter noise in and around New York City was implemented that reduced the number of tour routes, increased altitudes and kept all northbound and southbound air tour traffic over the Hudson River.  

"As a result of this plan, we have seen a dramatic decrease in noise complaints from 2010 and we will continue to work with all parties to minimize future complaints," Smith said in a statement. "We have always taken community concerns very seriously and for years have worked with elected officials, local leaders, the FAA and community residents to find the best solutions to mitigate noise concerns."

Helicopter New York City offer rides at Pier 6 in Downtown Manhattan for $149 for their basic New Yorker Tour, which includes views of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, up to $299 for their Deluxe Helicopter Tour, which includes the Yankee Stadium, Harlem, The Bronx and George Washington Bridge. 

Liberty Helicopter offers a 15-minute ride, The Big Apple, from its Downtown Heliport at 6 East River Piers to the Statue of Liberty for $150 per person. At the top end, the company offers a 20 minute Married Over Manhattan tour where four customers can "celebrate their wedding vows" in a helicopter overlooking Manhattan for $1,895. 

Piper PA-28-151 Warrior, N44293: Accident occurred July 08, 2013 in Bronston, Kentucky

NTSB Identification: ERA13CA317 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 08, 2013 in Bronston, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-151, registration: N44293
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that he was attempting a soft-field takeoff from a turf runway that he described as “extremely wet and soggy with tall grass.” The airplane became airborne approximately halfway down the 2,500-foot-long runway, and the pilot reported that climb performance was degraded due to hot weather conditions. During the climb, the left landing gear impacted a line of trees past the runway end. The pilot stated that he was unable to maintain airspeed, and the airplane subsequently stalled and impacted an open field, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing. The fuselage was consumed by post-crash fire. The pilot reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed during takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the airplane’s reduced climb performance due to density altitude, as well as the pilot’s decision to initiate the takeoff from the wet turf runway.

BRONSTON, Ky (WYMT) - Two people have been injured in southeastern Kentucky when the small plane they were aboard crashed after takeoff.

Officials in Pulaski County have confirmed the plane crashed near Flynn-Collyer Road in the Bronston community.

Gary D. McGlothin, 54 of Lexington, and Charles A. Jackson, 55 of Winchester, were both involved in the crash.

Police say the plane was a 1974 Piper Warrior, and the accident took place at Boss Airfield.

Officials  say the fire seen in the crash pictures erupted after the plane crashed.

Both men were able to walk away from the scene before being airlifted to UK Medical Center for precaution. 

Sheriff's Office officials say that two people were injured when a two-passenger plane crashed at about 4:00 PM on Monday.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified and will be conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.

2 men remarkably survive Utah chopper crash

A helicopter crashed Monday, July 8, 2013, in the Lone Peak Wilderness area above Alpine near Lake Hardy. Two people were injured in the crash, and they were taken off the mountain by medical helicopters.


Two men survived a helicopter crash into a mountainside near American Fork Canyon on Monday. It was the ninth recorded crash since 2005 for Upper Limit Aviation.

AMERICAN FORK CANYON — A flight instructor and a student survived a helicopter crash into a mountainside near Tibble Fork Reservoir on Monday.

Rescuers say not only were the victims lucky to survive the crash, but they were fortunate to have cellphone service and to be found so quickly.

The men, ages 24 and 28, were on an instructional flight from Heber City to Salt Lake City. The training flight was operated by Upper Limit Aviation, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

About 8:20 a.m., the pilot called 911 to report their Robinson R-22 training helicopter had crashed.

"The pilot reported that they had been flying low to the ground, that a gust of wind or a current actually grabbed the plane, kind of sucked it into the earth, and then it rolled," Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Yvette Rice said.

Fortunately for the victims, they were able to get cellphone service in an area where service is normally spotty and call 911.

"It's really phenomenal," said Lone Peak Assistant Fire Chief Spencer Edwards.

The second stoke of luck was the fact searchers were able to find them within 45 minutes.

Rice said the helicopter crashed in a very steep, rugged and remote area near Silver Fork Flat. It's an area accessible only by horseback or hiking and one that few people ever cross.

"Even when we flew over and knew where they were supposed to be, we could barely see the helicopter tucked in against the granite where it landed," said Lone Peak Fire paramedic Steve Allred, one of the rescuers.

The 28-year-old pilot suffered a possible broken wrist and elbow, Rice said. The passenger suffered a cut on his head and reported rib and leg pain.

"The helicopter is in a ball. It's pretty amazing … that anybody made it out of that thing alive," Allred said. "They kept commenting they didn't know how they got out of this. They're pretty fortunate."

Both were carried on backboards over rugged terrain to two waiting medical helicopters. Allred said it wasn't easy.

"It was dang high and it was hard," he said. "The air gets thin up there."

Even though their injuries were not considered life-threatening, the men could have been in much worse condition had they not been found so quickly, officials said. And if not for the cellphone service, Rice doubts searchers would have found them in a timely manner.

"It's pretty amazing that they'd survive the initial impact of a crash," Edwards said. "And then for the helicopter to roll down the hill, and then for them to self-extricate, get themselves out of that helicopter is all pretty remarkable."

For Upper Limit Aviation, it was the ninth recorded crash since 2005. None of the previous incidents involved serious injury.

- In July 2012, an Upper Limit instructor was unable to regain control of a helicopter after a student attempted some type of manuever at Skypark Airport in Woods Cross. The helicopter skidded about 84 feet and rolled several times. There were no injuries.

- In April 2011 at South Valley Regional Airport, a helicopter lost power on the way back to the airport during a lesson. The instructor made a hard emergency landing, seriously damaging the aircraft and leaving a student pilot with a minor head injury, police said.

- In March 2011 at Tooele Valley Airport, a Bell 206B made a sudden move to the right and plunged to the ground during training. The pilot managed to slow the descent just before impact, but the crash was hard enough to break the tail rotor.

- In February 2009, a 21-year-old instructor was flying members of her family in an R-44 helicopter in the Francis Peak area near Bountiful. While trying to reverse course downhill after making a low pass over a ridge, she crashed and rolled the aircraft, severing the tail boom.

- In May 2008, a 32-year-old flight instructor prematurely started a maneuver, leading a student to improperly press an anti-torque pedal, causing the R-22 to crash.

- In June 2007, a 21-year-old flight instructor on a cross-country training flight with a student crashed in Park City while demonstrating an emergency maneuver, bending an R-22's support tube and fuselage.

- In April 2006, a 40-year-old instructor and student landed at the Tooele airport, then took off again to resume their lesson. The Robinson R-22 helicopter got no more than 70 feet in the air before crashing back to the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board noted a "failure to maintain control" and gusty winds.

- In September 2005 near Jackson, Wyo., a Robinson R-44 from Upper Limit crashed. There were no injuries.

Scott Banning, assistant chief flight instructor at Upper Limit, said the company is conducting an internal investigation and is "working closely with the NTSB and the (Federal Aviation Administration) to determine the cause of the accident."

In a 2011 Deseret News article, company officials said it would not be fair to associate some of the earlier accidents with the flight school because they did not involve students.

The NTSB will investigate Monday's crash, though Rice noted gaining access to the crash site wouldn't be easy.

Contributing: Sandra Yi

Scott Banning, Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Upper Limit Aviation

Pilots receive extensive training when learning to fly: Wendell H. Ford Airport (KCPF) Hazard, Kentucky

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) --- Edward Thomas made a pit stop at Wendell Ford Airport Monday on his way to Oxford, Mississippi. 

 “Everything is exciting and takes my full concentration, so it hasn’t become second nature yet,” Thomas said.

He has been flying for nearly one year now and is still going through training.

“Once you get your pilot’s license, the first level of pilot’s license only allows you to fly in VFR conditions, which is Visual Flight Rules, which does not allow you to go into the clouds,” Thomas added.

Airport Manager Jeffrey Hylton says that is typical for someone new to the cockpit.

“It varies from individual to individual, but that’s one of the biggest things when becoming a pilot, you have to be able to manage those tasks. And if you can’t manage them, then you can’t meet the standard,” Hylton said.

When flying an aircraft, pilots are required to know all of the checklists needed to land it safely.

“Landing gear down, the flaps have to be in the correct position, you have to make sure you’re the correct distance from the airport, you’re at the correct altitude, and that you’re at the correct air speed. You go through the hole series of checklists,” Hylton added.

Despite the crash in San Francisco and another crash in Alaska that killed 10 people on board, some folks say traveling by air is still safer than traveling by car.

“I think they’ve come a long way for safety in crashes for the people inside the plane and the seats are better,” Thomas said.

And that is a reason to fly high. 

Story and Video:

Mooney M20F Executive, N9524M: Accident occurred December 17, 2012 in Yosemite Valley, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FAMS1
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 17, 2012 in Yosemite Valley, CA
Aircraft: MOONEY M20F, registration: N9524M
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 December 17, 2012, about 1230 Pacific standard time, a Mooney M20F airplane, N9524M, was reported overdue/missing near Yosemite Valley, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained unknown injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from the Santa Ynez Airport (IZA), Santa Ynez, California, about 1025 with an intended destination of Mammoth Lakes, California. An emergency locator beacon signal has not been reported.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to local law enforcement the evening of December 17, 2012, after becoming concerned when the pilot had not arrived at his intended destination. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane at 2309.

Nicol Wilson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A single-engine plane that vanished over Yosemite National Park last December during a winter storm was found crashed in the rugged high country, its pilot dead, a park spokesman said on Monday.  

A hiker discovered the wreckage of the single-engine plane, which was largely intact, on Saturday near the park's remote Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, said Scott Gediman, a Yosemite Park ranger and spokesman.

Rangers hiked to the location on Sunday and positively identified the pilot as Nicol Wilson, who had been flying the 1966 Mooney M20F from Santa Barbara to the Mammoth Lakes Airport when he was reported missing on December 17, 2012.

Wilson's remains were removed from the crash scene and would be turned over to the Mariposa County Coroner for an autopsy, Gediman said, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board would conduct an investigation into the crash.

Authorities conducted an extensive search for Wilson, whose flight plan took him directly over Yosemite, at the time of the crash and again this year after suspending the operation during the winter season, Gediman said.

He said the plane was found above the timber line, at about 11,000 feet to 12,000 feet, a rocky area that few hikers reach during the winter season. The white plane blended in with snow on the ground, making it hard to see from the air.

Gediman said the plane would eventually be removed from its rocky perch, some of it by likely by hand and carried down the mountain by horses or mules, other parts hauled out by helicopter.


National Air Cargo B747-400, N949CA: Accident occurred April 29, 2013 in Bagram, Afghanistan

By Nolan Law Group

CHICAGO, July 8, 2013 — /PRNewswire/ -- A wrongful death lawsuit was filed today in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois on behalf of the family of an airline employee who perished in the fiery crash of a Boeing 747 cargo plane outside Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan on April 29, 2013.  The victim, Gary P. Stockdale, was a mechanic for National Airlines who was aboard the flight when it crashed shortly after takeoff.  The suit was filed by Chicago-based Nolan Law Group which is also representing the families of Jamie Lee Brokaw and Rinku Summan, pilots for National Airlines who were among the seven men killed in the crash.

Video of the crash captured on a vehicle dash cam went viral after being posted on the internet through the Live Leaks website.

At the time of the crash, the plane was transporting cargo that included five Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles weighing nearly 80 tons which were on pallets in the main cargo area of the plane.  Government investigators have reported that it is likely a shift in the cargo from one of the vehicles breaking loose from its restraints that resulted in the crash.

The suit alleges that the accident aircraft was unreasonably dangerous and unfit for the transport of high density, rolling cargo and that Boeing's manuals lacked sufficient limitations and warnings related to the transportation of such cargo.  The suit further alleges that the airplane's cargo restraint system was faulty, that it was improperly assembled by Boeing during its conversion from a passenger to a cargo aircraft, and that the instructions on the use of the cargo restraint system were inadequate.

Well-known as an aviation law firm, Nolan Law Group has extensive experience in major air cargo crash litigation having represented crew members and families of crew members in accidents involving Fine Air at Miami Airport in August 1997, Emery Worldwide near Sacramento in February 2000, and most recently the Kalitta Air Boeing 747 crash near Bogota, Colombia in July 2008.  The firm has also been active in other crash claims from Afghanistan including a previous National Airlines crash near Kabul in October 2010, and the successful resolution of claims arising from a fatal helicopter accident at Kandahar Air Field in July 2009.

SOURCE Nolan Law Group


NTSB Identification: DCA13RA081
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Bagram, Afghanistan
Aircraft: BOEING 747-428, registration:
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 29, 2013, at about 1056 local time, a National Air Cargo B747-400, registration N949CA, crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base (OAIX), Afghanistan. According to news reports, witnesses observed the airplane attain a very steep nose-up attitude shortly after takeoff before descending into the ground near the end of the runway. All seven crewmembers onboard were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed from impact forces and post-crash fire. All seven crew members were American citizens. The 14 CFR Part 121 Supplemental cargo flight was destined for Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The investigation is being conducted by the Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation of Afghanistan (MoTCA). The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of the Operator, Manufacturer, and Registry of the airplane. All investigation information will be released by the MoTCA.

No injuries in ultralight crash east of Wellington, Colorado

The owner of an ultralight suffered a bruise to his pride but no other injury when his aircraft hit a bump and flipped during takeoff Monday from a private airstrip east of Wellington.

Larimer County sheriff’s deputies and area firefighters raced to the scene near Indian Creek Reservoir shortly before noon, only to find the aircraft’s owner uninjured and attempting to load his banged-up ultralight onto a flat-bed trailer. A concerned neighbor who saw the upturned ultralight called the incident in.

The single-seat aircraft crashed on a dirt strip off of Pelican Cove Lane, on the northeast side of the reservoir, roughly 2 miles east of the Interstate 25 Owl Canyon Road exit.

Wellington Fire and Platte River Fire also responded to this call.

Widow Blames TV Studio for Husband's Death - Courthouse News Service: Glaser-Dirks DG-1000S, N7760A, Accident occurred October 13, 2011 in Cle Elum, Washington

SEATTLE (CN) - A TV studio trying to save a little money negligently killed a woman's husband by hiring him and other inexperienced people to make a commercial featuring stunt gliding, the widow claims in court.

Nicole Weller sued Supply & Demand Inc., a New York City-based maker of TV commercials, for the death of her husband William Lynn Weller.

They are the only parties to the complaint in King County Court.

"Supply & Demand was hired to produce a Cadillac Escalade television commercial involving stunt glider flying," Weller says in the complaint. "The flying included an automobile ground launch of a high-performance glider, towed by a Cadillac Escalade, a sport utility vehicle. The plan was for the stunt glider pilot to then follow the Escalade along winding roads in scenic mountainous terrain, and end with promotional images of the Escalade. The filming was to be performed on the ground and in the air by way of helicopter-mounted cameras."

Weller claims that Supply & Demand sought advice from professional stunt pilots and aerial photographers, but "decided to save money by not using experienced TV/film production stunt pilots and experts, and instead solicited local persons for the commercial, some of whom did not have any experience in the TV/film industry and were not stunt pilots."

One of them was her husband, Weller says in the complaint. He was a general aviation glider pilot, with no experience in the film industry, and he was not a stunt pilot.

Supply & Demand hired him on Oct. 12, 2011, and began filming that day at Cle Elum Municipal Airport and environs.

"On Oct. 13, 2011, the Cadillac Escalade operated by Supply & Demand began to two Mr. Weller in his glider down the runway a Cle Elum Municipal Airport," the complaint states. "During filming of the ground tow operation, the aircraft became airborne, pitched up, rolled right, and rapidly descended, striking the ground and killing Mr. Weller."

Nicole Weller seeks funeral and burial expenses and damages for negligence and wrongful death. She is represented by James T. Anderson III with the Aviation Law Group.

Cle Elum is in the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle.


NTSB Report

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA010
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Cle Elum, WA
Aircraft: DG FLUGZEUGBAU GMBH DG 1000S, registration: N7760A
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.


On October 13, 2011, about 1558 Pacific daylight time, a Flugzeugbau DG 1000 S glider, N7760A, impacted terrain in a nose-low attitude shortly after takeoff from the Cle Elum Municipal Airport (S93), Cle Elum, Washington. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of the glider, was fatally injured. The 2-seat glider sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and wings. The glider was registered to Northwest Eagle Soaring LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

Full Narrative:

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee E, N1441T: Accident occurred July 05, 2013 in Blairstown, New Jersey

NTSB Identification: ERA13CA316  
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 05, 2013 in Blairstown, NJ
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N1441T
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he was departing an airport near a ridge. Everything was normal on takeoff; however, during climbout shortly after departure, the airplane descended as if it was in a strong downdraft and he could not maintain altitude. The passenger, who was a glider pilot, stated that he estimated the airplane was approximately 200 feet above the ground when the pilot reported that they were losing altitude. Witnesses at the airport stated that during takeoff roll, the airplane rotated nose-up about one-third to one-half down the 3,088-foot long runway. The airplane remained in that attitude down the entire runway, about 20 feet above the ground. The airplane pitched up further, just cleared trees off the departure end of the runway, then appeared to stall and descend behind the treeline. The airplane subsequently impacted the front yard of a residence off the departure end of the runway and came to rest upright. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that during the impact, all three landing gear separated. Additionally, the firewall and lower fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions with the airplane and the inspector did not observe any. The recorded wind at an airport approximately 10 miles from the accident site, about 25 minutes after the accident, was variable at 5 knots. The recorded temperature at that time was 84 degrees F.

The National Transportation Safety Board is awaiting word from the Federal Aviation Administration's local office in Allentown before assigning federal investigators to two airplane crashes over the holiday weekend.

A plane went down July 4 at about 5 p.m. in a field near the Wells Fargo Bank at 1300 Uhler Road in Forks Township. Aliosman A. Bilukbash, who was the only one in the aircraft at the time, escaped without injury except for a lacerated finger, authorities said.

Charles Everett, executive director of Lehigh Valley International Airport, which runs the Braden Airpark where Bilukbash was attempting to land his  Beechcraft A23-19 Musketeer Sport, said the pilot overshot the runway and made a crash landing.

A Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee E crashed Friday morning shortly after taking off from Blairstown Township Airport. The plane came down at 65 Gwinnup Road in the township and neither Craig Levine, of Blue Bell, nor his passenger, Matthew Giannini, of Harleysville, were injured, authorities said.

Dennis Diaz, an air safety investigator with the Office of Aviation Safety Eastern Region in Virginia, said the NTSB is awaiting word from local FAA officials on both crashes. Because there were no major injuries in either incident, Diaz said the national agency must now wait to see if the damage caused in the crashes was substantial enough to warrant a full investigation from their office.

"If that's the case, we'll assign an investigator," Diaz said.

Jim Peters, spokesman with the FAA, said if the damage in a crash is below a federal threshold, then it's categorized as an "incident" and the FAA is in charge of the investigation. The crash will be upgraded to an "accident" and bumped up to the NTSB if the damage is substantial enough, Peters said.

He said the FAA will be doing the preliminary assessment work on both crashes this week.

Replacement emergency siren to be tested at University Park Airport (KUNV), State College, Pennsylvania

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Authorities at the University Park Airport will finalize installation and begin testing of a replacement emergency siren system near mid July. The siren system, which is tested at 8 a.m. daily, is designed to alert on-site Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighters (ARFF) in the event of an aircraft emergency at the airport. Residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the airport may notice a change in the siren’s tone or volume as testing begins.

Ed Foster, the associate director of airport operations at the University Park Airport, said the new system will be more powerful, with an omnidirectional broadcast range of up to 4,000 feet.

“We need to be sure that our ARFF personnel can hear emergency broadcasts whenever they might happen, no matter where they are at the airport,” Foster said. “This new system will do a better job than the one we currently have in place. Activation of the siren also will send an alert to ARFF personnel pagers, adding another level of alert capability.”

Once the new system is ready for use, testing will begin. As part of the testing process, personnel will stand at the far corners of the airport and assist with the calibration of the siren, to ensure that it is audible but not overpowering.

In the event of an emergency, the siren system would be used to alert on-site ARFF personnel as a first step in a process that also would involve calls for assistance to various local emergency response agencies via Centre County 911.

Foster said the project to replace the current siren system began about one year ago and was funded primarily by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.


Long Island Flight Attendant Suing American Airlines Over Bizarre Accusations: Louann Giambattista Is Seeking Unspecified Damages

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) – A Long Island flight attendant is suing American Airlines for unspecified damages, the New York Post reported.

Louann Giambattista, 55, claims that allegations made against her by three colleagues have turned her life upside down.

Giambattista claims that colleagues accused her of boarding a plane with pet rats hiding in her underwear, according to the lawsuit, the Post reported.

Witnesses, including a pilot, apparently reported that Giambattista had a live pet in her pocket, among other places, prior to and during a flight from St. Martin to Miami in February according to papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

According to a published report, a coworker accused Giambattista of feeding her alleged pets a dinner roll during a flight. Giambattista claims that the roll was for herself.

When the flight landed in Florida, Giambattista was apparently questioned and searched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.  No animals were found on Giambattista or her luggage, but a flag was placed on her passport, the Post reported.

Giambattista claims that the series of searches and interrogations left her with ‘symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and debilitating anxiety’, according to the Post.

Giambattista is an admitted animal lover but her attorney, Stephen Morelli, told the Post that the claims against her are ‘preposterous’.

“Everybody has pets, she has pets at her home, not at work. She’s not a nut,” he said.

American Airlines said that it would respond to the claims in court.


New business Osceola, Florida: Italico Aviation USA LLC

July 7, 2013

Occupational license issued recently by county and municipal government in Central Florida:

Italico Aviation USA LLC, aviation services, 3950 Merlin Drive, Kissimmee, 34741.

Kissimmee lands Italian plane manufacturer 

The company, doing business as Italico Aviation USA, will make light sports aircraft. Italico Aviation also will do research and the new site will be a sales distribution point. 

“Italico’s choice to locate in Florida reflects our ability to help international firms achieve their business goals through the partnerships, resources and talent the state offers,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who also is president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state agency charged with diversifying the economy.

Aerobatic pilot is still winging it at age 77: Rye woman loves to fly

At age 77, Rye's Sigrid Baumann is a grandmother and snowbird who winters in West Palm Beach, Fla. But the senior citizen stereotype stops there because Baumann also pilots her own aerobatic monoplane and does "a lot of upside down" flying.
"I love to do hammerheads," Baumann said, explaining that the airborne maneuvers involve flying straight up, then falling nose-down toward earth, then flying straight back up again.

Baumann said she also loves flying loops, snaprolls and other gravity-defying feats in her Extra 200 plane she custom ordered in her native Germany. "It's not something for everyone," she said.

During the warmer months, Baumann flies out of Skyhaven Airport in Rochester, and for the winters she has her plane flown to Florida. Until recently, the local barnstormer piloted the plane to Florida herself, a trip that takes a day and a half and a watchful eye on the gas gauge.

On land, Baumann drives a Porsche Carrera she said she wishes she could drive on the German autobahn network, a national highway system without a speed limit.

In spite of her age — and two titanium rods with six screws in her spine to repair an injury from a fall — Baumann said she now flies once or twice a week. Usually, she finds a spot in the sky to "just play around." Typically she's alone.

Baumann describes piloting her 200-horsepower, two-seater plane, with her name painted outside the cockpit, as "old-fashioned hand flying."

"It looks pretty complicated, but it's not," she said.

From the pilot's seat, which Baumann said "fits like a glove," she faces a control panel with dozens of dials, knobs and toggle switches. She said she always has her hand on "the stick," triggering wing flaps to open and close, and her plane to dive and dart.

But don't call them stunts, Baumann said. Her high-altitude loops, spins and rolls, she explained, are "really organized maneuvers" that require plenty of practice to execute.

Views below of the ocean, New Hampshire mountains and lakes, make it "a really wonderful area to fly in," she said.

Baumann first became "fascinated with flying" as a toddler when she saw a Zeppelin hover above her in Germany and she's since logged 2,500 hours in a cockpit. She earned her pilot certificate in 1973, the same year she was hired to work as coordinator of the U.S. Aerobatic Team championship in France.

She took a hiatus from flying while raising two children and working as chief financial officer for her husband Hans' global valve manufacturing business. But in 1989, Baumann was back in a little plane, being introduced to loops and rolls, and "fell in love with acrobatic flying," she said.

Before long, she was starring in competitive contests and air shows.

In addition to the Extra 200, Baumann has flown a Piper Cherokee 140, a Cessna 150, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, a Cessna 150 Aerobat, a Super Decathalon, a Zlin 242L and gliders. She said that not once while flying vertical, upside down, or pulling 4 Gs has she ever become ill.

To stay in the cockpit as she approaches her eighth decade of life, Baumann said she eats healthy and exercises regularly. Because of the flying, she said, her legs are "very strong and I like to keep it that way."

Baumann's children and grandchildren have flown with her and a granddaughter, now 21, recently earned her pilot license.

"I'm very proud of her," said Baumann, who describes being a grandmother as her greatest passion. And this grandmother said she has "no desire to slow down."

"I only want to keep going," she said. "I think it's very important to have a passion and to keep on going."

Story and Photo:

Airport gets a makeover: Terminal renovations underway -- Northwest Alabama Regional (KMSL), Muscle Shoals, Alabama

MUSCLE SHOALS — If you haven’t been to Northwest Alabama Regional Airport recently, you have missed the initial stages of a face-lift at the terminal.

The building is in a state of transition with metal wall studs exposed in places, covered by clear plastic in others.

Much of the building is already covered with new wall board, which will eventually be covered with a new exterior finish.

The work is part of a multimillion dollar renovation project that will not only enhance the appearance of the facility, but alleviate water problems and make the building more energy efficient.

“The airport renovation and rehabilitation project is intended to elevate the reputation of the facility from a place where some travelers try to avoid to one they wish to utilize due to convenience,” Airport Director Barry Griffith said. “The last upgrade occurred in 1993 and since that time, the building had begun to show signs of deterioration in certain areas.”

The project will improve the energy efficiency of the building, which also houses Shoals Flight Center and the Silver Airways ticket counter.

In addition to improving passenger comfort, Griffith said, it will provide a sustainable exterior building structure that will alleviate moisture problems.

“This project will include an entirely new wall system composed of new exterior cladding, new wall and roof air and moisture barriers, new wall and roof insulation, a new roofing system and new interior wall finishes,” Griffith said. “New entrance canopies and signage will accent this new, high-tech exterior facade.”

He said the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

H&N Contractors is the general contractor for the project. The company submitted the low bid of $1,035,000, Griffith said.

Griffith said the project is ahead of schedule and under budget.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important project for the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport Authority,” said Mike Holbrook, project management director at Fuqua & Partners Architects. “The airline terminal building will get a sleek new skin and be fitted with a high-tech energy envelope, perhaps the first of its kind in the private sector in north Alabama. This renovation should provide a low-maintenance exterior and comfortable interior environment for many years to come.”

With the exterior walls being removed, temporary walls must be in place inside the terminal.

The U.S. Department of Energy describes the “building envelope” as a building’s foundation, walls, roof, windows and doors. A building controls the flow of energy between the interior and exterior of the building. A well designed envelope allows the building to provide comfort for the occupants and respond efficiently to heating, cooling, ventilating and natural lighting needs, according to the Energy Department.

Energy efficient

Griffith said the improvements to the terminal will make the building more energy efficient, which should lead to lower utility costs.

The renovations required the relocation of the Silver Airways ticket counter to the area formerly occupied by airport management, which is in the center of the terminal building. Shoals Flight Center has been temporarily relocated to a modular building in the north parking lot.

Silver Airways began service in the Shoals about a year ago and has experienced a bumpy ride so far.

Airline boardings that initially dipped have been steadily increasing, but Griffith said they are still about 40 percent less than the airport’s best year.

Two travelers sat outside the terminal one day last week waiting for an outbound flight that was delayed due to severe weather in Altanta.

Prem Bindraban, who was visiting the International Fertilizer Development Center, said the construction did not disrupt his flight.

“I’m sitting outside because I don’t like the air conditioning,” he said.

He and his traveling companion, Antyama Massada, said the airport should consider marketing the Shoals area to entice people to use the new air carrier.

Bindraban said only three people were on the flight into Muscle Shoals.

To put people in the planes, Massada suggested that the airline or the local airport authority advertise more and target Atlanta to entice people to visit the Shoals with travel packages for events like the W.C. Handy Music Festival or to fish or play golf.


Members of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce’s Air Services Committee have discussed at length ways to market the airport and the new air service, including marketing to areas around the Shoals, but held off on implementing a marketing campaign while Silver Airways tweaked its online reservation system.

“We’ve taken a cautious approach in implementing parts of the marketing plan,” Griffith said.

Griffith said the airport has been marketing local air service in various publications.

Mike Reiter, project manager for the airport’s aviation consultant, the Michael Baker Corp., said the project will provide a fresh new look to the airport terminal as it continues to perform as the transportation gateway to the Shoals.

The cost of the renovations is being covered by the entitlement funding the airport receives from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Griffith said the airport board has agreed to allocate FAA money to the project for the next four years.

“Passengers will soon be able to enjoy a modern, hassle-free airport in the Shoals area that offers twice-a-day service to Atlanta at an affordable price,” Griffith said.


Historic Look: Zanesville Municipal Airport (KZZV), Ohio

This week’s feature photo is from the Zanesville Municipal Airport.

Photo of a plane owned by Trans World Airlines, known as TWA, which named its Martin 4-0-4 Skyliners, including number 425, Skyliner Zanesville.

Many of the photos from the TR archives are from the 1950s and 1960s. One of the photos, which appears online, is from a Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker operated by the U.S. Airforce out of Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus that developed engine trouble on June 26, 1954 and made a forced landing at Zanesville Municipal Airport.

See photo gallery:

Runway extension to get public hearing: Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (KMBT), Tennessee

MURFREESBORO — Residents can examine Murfreesboro Airport runway expansion plans before a public hearing July 16, Airport Manager Chad Gehrke announced.
The public hearing will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. July 16 in the City Council Chambers on the first floor of City Hall, 111 W. Vine St. A draft environmental assessment and drawings will on display.

Representatives from the consulting firms who assisted the city in the preparation of the assessment, Atkins North America and Hanson Professional Services, will attend the public hearing to answer any questions about the city plans to extend the runway 852 feet northward toward DeJarnette Lane, officials said.

The extension is part of the Airport Layout Plan Update, which was unanimously approved by Murfreesboro City Council last year.

The city is complying with Federal Aviation Administration procedures in presenting consultants’ work on the Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Finding Of No Significant Impact.

Copies of the documents are available for public review and comment at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, 1930 Memorial Blvd.; in Linebaugh Public Library, second floor Reference Table, 105 West Vine St.; and in the City Hall offices of the city recorder on the first floor and of Planning and Engineering on the second floor.

The City Hall and the library are part of Civic Plaza, and free parking is available underneath in a two-story garage with access from Vine, Church and Broad streets.

Written comments will be received by Hanson Professional Services, 53 Century Blvd., Suite 160, Nashville, TN 37214, until 4 p.m. July 26 for transmission to the FAA. The comments received will be transcribed without alteration and included as a part of the environmental assessment document, which will be sent to the FAA for its review and determination.

People attending the July 16 public hearing will have opportunity to record their comments for inclusion in the assessment and official consideration by the FAA reviewers. Attendees may present their comments orally for transcription by a court reporter, or they may write down comments.

The airport’s services to the community continue to be invaluable, Gehrke stated in a press release. Murfreesboro Municipal Airport is home to the Middle Tennessee State University aerospace department, one of the top aviation programs in the nation, which continues to attract students from all over the country.

A recent MTSU economic impact study concluded the airport has about a $70 million impact on the local economy, the manager added. The airport is one of the few general aviation airports in the state that is self- supporting. No local tax dollars are used in its annual budget for operations or capital improvements.

For more than 60 years, the airport has been a great asset to the community and its residents, Gehrke said, and he looks forward to seeing the results and completion of this environmental assessment as the airport prepares to serve the community into the future.