Saturday, July 20, 2013

ORNGE: Two nighttime crashes prompt a second look at goggles that help pilots see their surroundings and avoid disorientation in deep darkness

OTTAWA—Helicopter pilots flying to nighttime medical emergencies in Ontario may get some high-tech help to see through the inky darkness.

In the wake of two night crashes — including a fatal accident on May 31— ORNGE says it is now considering equipping its helicopters with night-vision goggles.

The sophisticated gear gives pilots a better view of their surroundings in darkness, to aid in takeoffs and landings and watch for hazards.

“It’s absolutely on the table,” said Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of ORNGE, the province’s medical transport service, which operates both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to move patients around Ontario.

“I’m looking at it with a positive disposition ... I want to make certain we make a good choice,” he told the Star in an interview.

Questions about the safety of night operations—and the possible advantages of night-vision goggles — were raised by the midnight crash of an ORNGE helicopter in Moosonee on May 31 that killed two pilots and two paramedics.

Investigators have so far ruled out mechanical failure as a cause of the crash. One possibility is “controlled flight into terrain,” a situation in which pilots inadvertently fly into the ground, usually in conditions of poor visibility or darkness.

That was determined to be the cause of an earlier air ambulance accident in 2008, when a Sikorsky S-76A hit trees during a landing at a helipad in Temagami. Three of the four crew on board were seriously injured.

That accident should have been the catalyst for the agency to introduce night vision equipment in its helicopter fleet, one former air ambulance pilot told the Star.

“I believe that if the pilots had been using (night vision goggles) that they would have been able to see that they were low on the approach path and been able to correct for it, preventing the accident,” the pilot said.

He worried that it was “only a matter of time” before ORNGE suffered an accident.

“It only makes sense that if pilots can see something they will not fly into it,” he said. “Now that (night vision goggles) are commonly available, there is no good reason for them to not be used by ORNGE.”

McCallum, who joined ORNGE in January, agrees that the 2008 crash should have prompted consideration of night-vision goggles.

“It’s not helpful to revisit the events of years back, but this is a consideration that is coming now — but it could have been considered five years ago,” he said.

McCallum says the service will be looking at the experience of other Canadian operators, such as STARS, an air ambulance agency serving Western Canada.

“We’ve got people in the industry who use them now in Canada ... we’re going to leverage those types of contacts and make the best decision we can,” he said.

If ORNGE decides to go with night-vision goggles, it won’t be a quick or easy transition. For starters, the pilots would have to be trained and get experience flying with them.

The task would also require a costly retrofit of its helicopters, since ORNGE did not require its newly purchased fleet of Agusta-Westland AW139 aircraft to be compatible with night-vision goggles.

But the experience of other air ambulance operators suggests the technology is worth considering.

“Night-vision goggles increase safety, and it does that by dramatically increasing the pilots’ ability see in the dark. It allows greater access to patients,” STARS spokesperson Cam Heke said.

He said all its pilots are trained and certified to use the goggles, and all its helicopters have been equipped with the technology since 2003.

“It’s part of how STARS operates,” he said.

The agency has bases in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but Heke said the technology has proved especially valuable on night flights from Calgary and Edmonton, responding to calls in the mountains.

“It’s very useful in difficult terrain in the mountain areas,” he said.

Night-vision goggles are a “huge safety multiplier,” said Ken Lawson-Williams, a Canadian who works as a flight nurse on fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters with a company that flies across the U.S. Southwest.

“It’s a cliché, but it’s literally a night and day difference ... It’s just amazing,” he told the Star in an interview.

He said the true value of the goggles is that they allow pilots to keep their “situational awareness” and avoid becoming disoriented, which can happen when visual clues disappear in the darkness.

The goggles have their shortcomings. They narrow a pilot’s field of vision. Rain on the windscreen can distort the view, and clouds remain impenetrable to view.

“So it’s not the perfect answer for everything. But it does make a huge difference on a clear, no-moon, dark-environment night,” said Lawson-Williams, who worked as a flight paramedic in the Canadian north and Alberta before moving to the United States.

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Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed : Mid Valley Airport (T65), Weslaco, Texas

WESLACO - A small airplane crashed at Weslaco-Mid Valley Airport, officials said.

An instructor and a student pilot were in the plane when the incident happened. 

Weslaco Emergency Management Coordinator George Garrett said the landing gear collapsed causing severe damage to the aircraft.

No one was injured in the crash, officials said.


Azeri Socar eyes stake in Turkish fuel market

ISTANBUL: Azeri Socar is in talks with Austrian OMV’s Petrol Ofisi to buy into its aviation fuel business, industry sources said, as the state energy company aims to expand into Turkey’s fast-growing fuel sector.

A source close to the SOCAR-Petrol Ofisi talks said negotiations had been under way for some time and were likely to be concluded in early August. It was not clear how much of a stake Socar might take in Petrol Ofisi.

Petrol Ofisi declined to comment on the talks or to give figures for its share of the Turkish fuel market. Socar already has major investments in Turkey. It owns Turkish petrochemical company Petkim and is building a $5bn refinery in western Turkey in partnership with Turcas Petrol to supply Petkim and meet booming domestic demand.

The Azeri company also controls the $8bn Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project, aimed at taking Azeri gas to Turkey and markets in Europe.

A subsidiary of Socar, Socar Turkey Petrol Enerji Dagitim, obtained a licence for fuel distribution earlier this year, Turkish energy watchdog records show.

The company has snapped up at least four members of staff from Petrol Ofisi’s downstream team, who handled aviation, commercial bunkering and marine sales, industry sources said.

“Socar’s been eyeing Turkey’s retail sector for some time, obviously for the growth story, and it looks like they’re slowly making their way,” an industry source close to the company said.

Turkey imports almost all of its energy needs, which are rising rapidly.

It is set to overtake Britain within a decade as Europe’s third biggest electricity consumer. Jet fuel demand is set to soar due to growing passenger traffic, which is likely to get a big boost towards the end of the decade when Istanbul’s planned third airport opens.

Turkey hopes the ¤22bn ($29bn) airport will become one of the world’s largest, handling 150 million passengers per year, more than double the current traffic of all  Turkish airports.

In the first half of this year, more than 66 million passengers passed through Turkey’s airports, over 15 percent more than in the same period last year. Half of them arrived at Istanbul airports.

OMV first entered the Turkish energy market in 2006 when it bought shares in Petrol Ofisi, Turkey’s largest chain of petrol stations. It then increased its stake in the company to 97 percent in 2010.

The company has been active in the jet fuel market for more than four decades, it said on its website, supplying more than 140,000 aircraft a year at over 100 domestic and international airlines.

Turkey’s sole refiner Tupras sold about 3.3 million tonnes of jet fuel into the domestic market last year, a rise of around 20 percent from 2011.  Analysts say the refiner’s sales on average account for at least 55 to 60 percent of Turkey’s total market for refined oil products but in jet fuel its market share could be higher.   


5K race at Teterboro Airport (KTEB) for United Way draws hundreds

Runners warming up before the Teterboro Airport 5K. 

TETERBORO – With jet planes and the New York City skyline in the background, hundreds of runners on Saturday hit the blistering hot runway at Teterboro Airport to run a 5K race to benefit Bergen County’s United Way.

The 16th annual race, sponsored by PSE&G, brought in around $50,000 that will be used toward United Way’s 2-1-1 system, a 24-hour crisis helpline that assists callers with everything from housing, temporary financial needs and mental health. Since the race’s inception, $500,000 has been raised.

The hotline, which receives around 150,000 calls a year, was instrumental in helping people rebuild after Superstorm Sandy in October, said Gina Plotino, director of communications for the United Way. Since Sandy, the hotline received 50,000 more calls, she said.

Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County’s United Way, said the race is a great community event that unites the airport community with local runners. The race also attracts many of the region’s top runners because of its flat, unique course – the airport’s runway – that also provides views of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.

"It’s really kind of beautiful," said Toronto, who also runs the race every year.

While the runners didn’t have to contend with hills or many turns, they did have to face a tarmac baking under the sun in the middle of a protracted heatwave. The number of runners dropped to around 800 from just under 1,000, likely because of the weather, Plotino said.

The Moonachie First Aid & Rescue Squad, which brought 10 more members this year, had three units out in the fields in the 90-degree heat.

"It’s flat, it’s fast, but it’s hot," said Jessica Palange of Stamford, Conn., participating in the event for her seventh time.

Kevin Burns of Ramsey, part of the North Jersey Masters Track and Field Club, said he and his group train to run in the heat. But on one curved stretch of the tarmac, he estimated that the temperature felt about 120 degrees.

"It feels like a wall," Burns said.

John Puljols of Hackensack blazed past the field in a neon pink shirt to win in 16 minutes and 40 seconds. Puljols, an athlete at La Salle University in Philadelphia, ran with a group of friends who also compete collegiately and train together over the summer by running local races.

Puljols said he was relieved the weather wasn’t as hot as it had been over the past week, with temperatures soaring to 100 degrees or higher.

"It was a good race," he said.

And while race organizers expected the blistering heat of the past week to be an issue -- as it usually is every year -- they also stepped up security in light of the bombings in April at the Boston Marathon, said Cheryl Moses, race director.

While runners and guests always were required to present ID and go through security, all the volunteers had their backgrounds checked again this year instead of sporadically, Moses said.

Moses said when she saw what happened in Boston, she was concerned about what would happen to races moving forward. But three months later, she said the mood has lifted.

"Everybody’s out to have fun," Moses said.

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Flying event builds confidence in kids

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Dozens of kids were on hand Saturday for the first annual Flight 1 Community Day Celebration at Vincennes University's Aviation Technical Center.

That center is located out near the Indianapolis International Airport.

Participants don't just ride in a Cessna 172 or advanced flight simulator, they fly them.

The event is designed to build confidence in children affected by serious illnesses.

For one kid 24-Hour News 8 spoke with, it means so much.

“I feel a lot better about myself,” participant Shawn Moore said. “I feel like I can maybe make a difference in the world.”

“It's very rewarding to see the kids and to see them grow, even in a short period of time,” Flight 1 President Marcus Strawhorn said. “To see how they've changed from when they've first started the program until now.”

Strawhorn is the founder of Flight 1. He says the kids start out in a flight simulator then move to a full size aircraft where they are able to fly that and take control.

Strawhorn says they manage the whole thing including taking off.

He says the best part is when the kids pick out their house from the air. 

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Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc - Jet I.C.U: Hernando County Commission Meeting

This discussion is part of the agenda of Tuesday's county commission meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St., in downtown Brooksville:

County Administrator Len Sossamon will present a memo from Michael Honeycutt, president of Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc., asking for permission for his company to become a fixed base operator at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Honeycutt, whose company does business as Jet I.C.U at the airport, said he wants to expand his business and has been trying to become a fixed-base operator since 2012.

Corporate Jet Solutions, which recently leased a vacant building and hangar at the airport, was awarded fixed-base status in four months, Honeycutt wrote.

Russell said he wants to wait until new airport manager Kevin Daugherty takes office in August before making a decision.

To view the entire agenda, visit


Bridgeport, Connecticut: City uses eminent domain to help controversial developer

Bridgeport -- A controversial developer who owes more than $10 million in back taxes is nonetheless getting the city's help in acquiring a parcel of land he has long wanted for a parking lot.

The City Council's Economic Development Committee this week approved a plan that will allow the Port Authority to seize a South End property by eminent domain and transfer it to developer Sal DiNardo, who would pay all costs of the acquisition.

The parcels are needed to keep Sikorsky Aircraft and businesses that lease space from DiNardo from leaving the city, economic development officials told council members. DiNardo, city officials said, would also pay for the remediation of contaminants on four sites bordering his properties on South Avenue and Atlantic Street.

"We are not funding the acquisition," said Bill Coleman, project manager with the city's Office of Planning and Economic Development. "Mr. DiNardo is writing the checks. And likewise, he would be on the hook for the remediation."

The developer is the brother of state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo. He is known for his political connections, the $10-million-and-counting tax bill he refuses to pay on the former Remington Arms site on Bridgeport's East Side and controversial tax breaks he has received on smaller parcels in the past.

The vacant, wooded properties the city will seize are now owned by the Invensys Group, a British company. Calls to the company's Foxboro, Mass., office and its Texas headquarters were not returned. The sites border Seaside Park and are assessed at about $1 million.

"They've been sitting on these properties for 50 years," said David Kooris, the city's economic development director. The Port Authority had placed eminent domain on the table because DiNardo had previously tried to purchase the property from Invensys and failed.

The company also didn't return city officials' calls until the Connecticut Post ran a story in May about the city's intentions to acquire the property, Kooris said. Now, port officials hope to negotiate a sale, but are still leaving eminent domain as an option.

The oddly shaped parcels wrap around two of DiNardo's buildings. They would not remain off the tax rolls for long. Because DiNardo is funding the acquisition, he could receive the title immediately upon the closing.

Without the properties, he does not have the space needed to provide parking for the office building constructed for Sikorsky's use years ago when it planned to assemble the U.S. Army's Comanche reconnaissance helicopter.

The brand-new building has never been used because the Comanche project was abandoned. The building is a hard sell without parking, DiNardo, who was not at the meeting, has said.

The land would also enable ABC Supply Inc., which leases DiNardo's building on South Avenue, and a boat repair business now operating out of DiNardo's Atlantic Street warehouse to expand on those parcels.

"All have needs that they can't currently get on their existing sites," Kooris said.

Sikorsky, meanwhile, would benefit from the acquisition because DiNardo has consented, in a land disposition agreement negotiated by the city, to give Bridgeport the right to build a road through the properties.

That road, Kooris said, would allow the city to end South Avenue at the point where Sikorsky's buildings -- on either side of South Avenue -- begin. The city would then abandon Barnum Dyke, a short street connecting South Avenue and Atlantic Street.

Sikorsky would then own the land where the roads are now.

Creating a large campus, without a public street running through it, would enable Sikorsky to consider the site for future expansions and maintain its usefulness to the business, which has been downsizing and recently announced layoffs in Connecticut.

It would also give Sikorsky the option to consider renewable energy solutions for its Bridgeport site, Kooris said.

"The fear I have is Sikorsky says it's not worth it to add online operations there and we're going to shut it down," he added.

The council members accepted the city's reasoning, but showed reluctance in approving DiNardo's part. "It's a creative solution" to the Port Authority's lack of funds, Councilman Angel DePara said sarcastically.

Coleman, who was president of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. for seven years, said that's the same tactic used by the organization to acquire the downtown property where developer Phil Kuchma's mixed-use building now sits.

"And he doesn't get to build the (city) road," asked Councilman Steven Stafstrom, eliciting nervous chuckles from city officials with the indirect reference to the city's recent decision to pay developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho $400,000 to build a driveway leading to his mansion in Stratford. The city claimed it needed to provide a right-of-way through airport property owned by Bridgeport to move forward with improvements at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, but council members say they were never told of the driveway plans when they approved the funds last year.

Neighbors of the driveway filed an appeal, though, and a court has now overturned the driveway approval Moutinho received. It now is supposed to be removed.

Still, Stafstrom noted that because DiNardo would be on the hook for the money and the Port Authority is a separate legal entity, he felt comfortable that the city would not be on the hook if the deal were to go awry.

The plan, approved Tuesday, will now be forwarded to the full council for a vote at its next meeting on Aug. 5.

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Nigeria: Clearing Disused Aircraft from Airports

 The desire to reclaim space, reduce mishaps and prevent unserviceable planes at the airports being used as cover for any plot that could compromise security informed the order to remove such assets. But the effort has not been without some drama, write Ahamefula Ogbu, Chinedu Eze and Emmanuella Okorie

Three things informed the removal of disused aircrafts from airports across the country: the threat by Boko Haram to attack Nigeria’s economic hub, the desire to curb the bird strikes as birds build nests in the parked planes and the removal of psychological effect of unserviceable planes, some of which crashed and parked at aircraft take-off point.

Unknown to many, the exercise was well planned and coordinated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which also aimed to free about two acres of land where the planes were parked, popularly called the “mortuary”.

According Mr. Joel Obi, minister of aviation, Stella Oduah’s spokesman, though the ministry did not have direct dealings with the removal of the planes, it backed the move because, “they were unsightly and constituted grave danger for obvious reasons. It forms part of the efforts to tidy up the airports and make them safer for users”.

However, barring the incident a few weeks ago where Lagos residents awoke to find two jets parked along Oshodi-Apapa expressway some metres from Sanya bus stop and another at Ighando road, people would not have known that the exercise was ongoing except on learning so from the media.

An old problem

According to Yakubu Datti, FAAN’s general manager in charge of corporate communication, “the issue of disused aircraft has been one of the issues that have been bedeviling the aviation sector. We are talking about several aircrafts belonging to different airlines that have been lying dormant at the local wing of the Murtala Mohammed airport for up to 10 years and these are aircrafts that are at the terminals whereby when there is take off, you see them.

“It was totally against any form of security or safety. In the first place in the case of safety, you are aware that bird strikes have been one of the major causes of aircraft accidents, so these abandoned aircrafts at the terminals created an easy nest for the birds to remain and they were just at the point of take off. So you now have an accident waiting to happen because by the time the birds come out when the flights are waiting to take off, an air mishap can happen.

“Secondly in this era of terrorism when vehicles are being used as shells for bombing, leaving such things provides easy arsenal for terrorism; so for safety issues especially we were given  a mandate to ensure we evacuated those aircrafts immediately for the purpose of security and that was done because it was at the height of these bombardments by the terrorists where they also  bombed the UN headquarters and there were threats that they were going to attack the artery of the economy which is the airport, so we needed to act on that directive immediately for the  purpose of security and safety.”

A stitch in time

Datti continued: “We had almost 65 abandoned aircrafts across the country and the models range from Fokker 28, Embrear 100 to Boeing 727 and 737 which  occupied over two acres of land in Lagos alone and these are very strategic lands that were needed for the transformation. For a long time, we had asked owners of these aircrafts to take them away but the people refused to do the right thing and so when this order came in, it became incumbent on us to do it and we ensured that we took  all the necessary steps in conjunction with our now developed legal department. We were able to write the owners, gave them time to evacuate them; some responded and some who did not, after the expiration, there was also another extension given with due publicity and when it expired, we moved in and cleared the aircraft.”

While some responded, others did not which prompted them to consider the proposal by some people to be allowed to remove them and use the parts to offset the cost of the removal

FAAN denied it made money out of the removal saying, “we did not make money because in the first place, the process of making money will not allow us to achieve the objective which was to remove the present danger as at then and ensure that within one week, all the 13 aircrafts had been broken down and removed.”

The controversy

Datti denied they towed any of the aircrafts that were ordered to be removed and denied having a hand in the jets that caused a stir when residents woke up to see them parked by the roadside prompting a hoax that they had crashed.

“The ones that were seen on the roads are a separate issue; they were planes that were parked elsewhere, outside the airport but in one of the facilities under the confines of Nigerian Airports Management Agency. Those were part of the aircrafts that were to be moved away but the ones that were directly on the terminal were the ones that created immediate security issues which was what we did,” he said.

On the procedure to be adopted, he said: “We had insisted on dismembering the aircrafts where they were parked and removing them. We also created a window for owners to take them away, so those who showed willingness we allowed to take them and the way they take them was their responsibility. When it comes to movement of aircraft on the road, I am sure there are relevant agencies that have that responsibility. We are in charge of airports and our responsibility ends at the airport.

“We have the Federal Road Safety Commission, we have the police who are constitutionally mandated to look at issues that have to do with road transportation. They may have overlapping responsibilities but once something leaves our airport it leaves our confines. For instance, I cannot go to somebody who has converted an aeroplane into a restaurant for inspection because it has left our confines and there are clearly defined responsibilities in a democracy and we have to restrict ourselves to our areas of responsibility. If someone moves an aeroplane on the roads, it raises safety concerns on the roads and that is where the police and road safety commission comes in.”

So far all the abandoned aircrafts in Lagos are said to have been removed. Datti said they were almost through with Abuja as “it is almost finished. In Kano it is ongoing. Benin is where we have a little challenge because some of the aircraft belong to the defunct Okada Air, and they have a hangar there. We have been discussing to see how they can either move them to their hangar or elsewhere but we have invited our legal department to see ways we can persuade them because these are issues of safety and security.”

Removal not an emergency

The National Emergency Management Agency public relations officer for South-West zone, Ibrahimn Farinloye, said they were inundated with calls when the jets were sighted but discovered they were not crashed planes. “When we received the alert around 11.00pm that there was an air crash and we went and found out that it was scrap we informed the people. We were not informed when it was being towed as it was not an emergency. We are only involved in emergencies which towing of a disused aircraft is not,” he said.

When the buzz about the crash were on, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency under whose custody the said planes were parked came out to deny any crash as their equipment did not capture any crash or missing plane. Its director general, Nnamdi Udoh, was reported as saying that the junk belonged to the late Apostle Gabriel Oduyemi of Bethel Ministries and was released to Captain M.J. Ekeinde.

“The aircraft was actually released to Captain M.J. Ekeinde who will be using it for educational purposes in Badagry, Lagos. A cross section of the wings was removed to ease transportation to its new location.

“I affirm again that NAMA facilities are working at optimal level and this could have assisted in detecting any missing plane within the nation’s airspace. While we appreciate the concern of the public on sighting the plane at an unusual site, we urge that people should always contact police and local government officials for proper information before spreading the news on incident involving any aircraft.”

Quite a scare

Asked if he was aware of the towing of the planes on the road, the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nseobong Akpabio, said: “We were not informed, we were not involved. We thought it was a crash. They said they contacted the police, they did not contact us.

“People contacted us that there was a crashed plane at a filling station, so we thought it was a crashed plane until we did an investigation and discovered it was not a crash. We contacted the police and they said it was done at night when the road was free”.

Asked if the towing of aircraft on roads did not contravene any law, he admitted that “they don’t tow aircraft on the road but somehow, they contacted the police. Road Safety ought to have been informed on time for possible assistance but in this case, they did not inform us.”

On whether they arrested anybody, Akpabio quipped, “why should we arrest? We did not make any arrests”.

Possible Uses

Disused planes can be used for training and could serve as tourist attractions. In some countries there are those that have converted them to restaurants. People can use the parts to recycle in terms of plastics companies or furniture companies. Even though they cannot fly, the shells are still of value.
Aircraft boneyard is a term for a storage area for aircraft that are retired from service. Most aircraft at boneyards are either kept for storage or turned into scrap metal. Deserts, such as those in the Southwestern United States, are good locations for boneyards since the dry conditions reduce corrosion.

Notable aircraft boneyards

Boeing B-52s in storage or awaiting deconstruction in Arizona

•    Kingman Airport, Kingman, Arizona
•    Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Goodyear, Arizona
•    Pinal Airpark, Marana, Arizona
•    309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona
•    Southern California Logistics Airport, Victorville, California
• Mojave Air & Space Port, California
• Roswell International Air Center, Roswell, New Mexico contains the remains of several large passenger and cargo jets, including at least two Boeing 747s and five Boeing 707s.
• Abilene Regional Airport in Abilene, Texas is home to many retired Saab 340 aircraft, primarily from American Eagle Airlines.
• RAF Aircraft Storage Flight, RAF Shawbury
• Alice Springs Airport in Alice Springs, Northern Territory is the first large-scale aircraft boneyard outside the United States.


Circling helicopter just a routine exercise -- CID chief Dato Zulkifli Hassan

KUCHING: The presence of a police helicopter circling the city sky on Friday night was part of a routine crime prevention exercise and had nothing to do with rumors being spread through Facebook.

When contacted over the matter yesterday, state CID chief Dato Zulkifli Hassan said the crime prevention exercise, which included roadblocks at multiple parts of the city, was also conducted in view of the upcoming Hari Raya celebration and also several important events to be held here in the coming weeks.

“Kuching folk should not get too excited or unduly worried at the presence of the police helicopter in the sky as it is just a routine check against crime. In fact, we conducted a similar exercise earlier this year,” he said.

On postings made by local Facebook users that the presence of the chopper was to track down prisoners who escaped from an Indonesian prison in Medan, Sumatra last week, Zulkifli assured that there was no truth in the matter whatsoever and advised city folk not to panic.

“If one were to really think about it, the Indonesian prisoners who escaped would have to swim across the sea from Sumatra just to get here. It’s not logical at all,” he said, adding that people should not blindly believe everything they read on the Internet.

Apart from the ‘escaped Indonesian prisoners’ rumor, other local Facebook users posted slightly modified claims that the presence of the helicopter and roadblocks was due to 300 Indonesian detainees escaping from local jails.


KTVU Claims Copyright - orders gaffe videos pulled from YouTube: Asiana Boeing 777-200, HL7742, Flight OZ-214, Accident occurred July 06, 2013 in San Francisco, California

by Matthew Keys

KTV-U mad, bro?  

The station has started filing copyright infringement notices with YouTube ordering the removal of several videos depicting KTVU’s embarrassing misidentification of four pilots aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport earlier in the month.

Two videos uploaded by the account MatthewKeysLive for use on The Desk and elsewhere were removed by YouTube after copyright infringement notices were submitted by KTVU in an apparent attempt to scrub the internet of the gaffe. Several videos that also showed KTVU’s error and subsequent apology were removed on other YouTube accounts.

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Sólyom Hungarian Airways license application partly rejected

Hungary’s national transport authority NKH has partly rejected an application by Solyom Hungarian Airways for a license, daily Nepszabadsag said on Saturday.

Solyom (falcon) Investment and Asset Management company earlier acquired Avicraft which was licensed to operate ultralights and gliders. Solyom Hungarian Airways asked the authority to extend the license to commercial air transport, but the NKH said the airline must apply for a new license.

Solyom Hungarian Airways wants to fill the gap left by former national carrier Malev, which was grounded a year and a half ago. It aims to launch flights with six aircraft this year and expand its fleet to 50 in four years, competing in the premium category rather than with low-fare airlines.

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Kenyan who gave Precision Air wings to soar higher

After 10 years at the helm of Precision Air, Tanzania premier airline, as the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alfonse Kioko, retired from the carrier on March 5, 2013.

Mr Kioko, a Kenyan, shared his experiences in this competitive business. “My tenure at Precision Air (PW) can be described as nothing less than a roller coaster in many ways,” he told The Standard on Sunday. He joined the airline on March 5, 2003, a year when national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ) bought 49 percent in Precision Air. The airline was a little known family-run business at the time.

“Though I had done 13 years in the aviation sector prior to this appointment, I have to confess that I didn’t know of Precision Air!’’ he said. Founded by Mr Michael Shirima, who previously worked for the East African Airways and Air Tanzania, the airline’s head office was in Arusha and at the time it was struggling to remain afloat. Kioko says staff strength was less than 100, with most of them coming from around Arusha and the northern region.

“Because of this the airline was labeled a northern region outfit and run by people from the north. This was one of my major challenges. I had to work hard to convince people to see it as a Tanzanian carrier rather than a tribal owned firm,” he said.

Highly competitive

He concedes that aviation business is highly specialized and skilled manpower was a big challenge as well. That meant that one had to fold their sleeves and go to work irrespective of seniority.

The fleet composition at the time, Kioko said was a seven-seater one engine Cessna 207, one seven-seater Cessna 402, two eleven-seater Cessna 404s and the nineteen-seater LET 410 and later ATR42-300. “Often scheduled flights would be disrupted to pave way for quick buck from charter flights,’’ the aviation expert said.

Unknown to many and devoid of any encumbered tangible assets to use as security, the company had a very weak financial base.  The money that KQ paid to purchase the 49 percent stake went into the pockets of the initial investors. No single cent was put into operations.

“Indeed the due diligence report done by KQ in 2002 prior to investing into PW clearly stipulated that although the company had great potential, it could become viable only after a capital injection of $12 million,’’ he noted.

 Without this cash, the company was set for major tribulations. Kioko concedes to date that sadly this capital injection was never done. “I inherited a company with very weak capital base, problems of cash-flow, no assets to use as security to secure loans, unskilled manpower and a myriad of other challenges,’’ he said. With Kioko at the top, he set out to turnaround the fortunes of the airline in a highly competitive market. The carrier has now grown to effectively acquire the tag of Tanzania’s unofficial national carrier.

“As the new MD & CEO, I had the option of sitting and lamenting about all those challenges and perhaps blaming them on my predecessor or acknowledging the situation and looking for solutions,’’ he said. He chose the pretty path of looking for immediate solutions. Despite all these challenges, we grew the company to a level where it was not only known and appreciated in Africa but also internationally.

 “In my 10 years at the helm of PW I made no loss...despite taking off with weak cash flow,” Kioko who has since returned to Kenya said.

 He is full of praise to a very good team and supportive board under chairman Shirima and loyal customers who opted to support PW throughout his stay at the firm.

“It was for this reason that whatever I did, the board was fully involved,” said Alfonse who bid goodbye to Precision top seat on March 5, 2013.In 2010 when his contract expired, he decided not to renew his contract for the five years that the board wanted him to. “At the time I informed them that I needed only a year to groom my successor as seven years in the same airline was too long. The board did not accept my proposal. It took a lot of persuasion for me to finally sign three more years.” The new contract ran upto March 5, 2013.  This meant my notice to PW was actually 3 years!

Suitable position

But in between something else also happened. “Since I had been seconded to PW by KQ, ideally I was still a KQ employee, hence after the expiry of my contract with PW, I would have gone back to KQ,” he added.  “With the current set up in KQ, I did not foresee a suitable position for me. When KQ introduced the Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) in August 2012, I applied and my application was approved. I therefore retired from KQ on September 3, 2012. I had to sign another short term contract with PW running until the day I disengaged.”

 Kioko is credited for having helped PW expand its network, modernize its fleet and build a ultra modern hangar, that cost the company $5.7 million.  Prior to this, PW was utilizing an old government hangar. Further he negotiated with ATR aircraft manufacturers, Government of France and a university in Tolouse (aero spatial) for scholarships in leadership and maintenance for PW staff.  By March this year, more than six staff had gotten their MBA and more than 24 technicians had trained in France at no cost to the airline. “I believe in growth since without it you stagnate,” Mr Kioko said.

Of course the risk here is overtrading and managing the growth. Other people may believe in shrinking the business, with the risk of downsizing operations and possibly causing redundancies. Different leaders would deploy different strategies to achieve their goals. There is really no clear-cut solution. On December 21, 2011, PW made history by being the first airline in Tanzania to list at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange with a total of 7,056 investors who took part in the Initial Public Offering (IPO). During the IPO, the airline raised Tsh12 billion, which was a subscription of 43.18 percent, most taken up by Tanzanian nationals.

“This as far as I remembered was the initial external capital to be injected into the company, since I took over...most of the time we relied on revenue we generated and bank loans,” Kioko said.

Asked about what kept him awake at night, Mr Kioko said, “Steering any business with no strong financial base could be a nightmare.”  “Throughout my tenure, cash-flow was always a major concern and this gave me sleepless nights.  Remember ‘cash is king’.”


Beech A36 Bonanza, N117HB: Accident occurred July 20, 2013 in Tupelo, Mississippi

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA331
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Tupelo, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N117HB
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

While the airplane was on final approach to the destination airport about 600 feet above ground level, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing, and the airplane impacted the ground, became airborne, crossed a road, and then came to rest short of the intended runway. First responders reported that they found the fuel selector valve positioned to the left tank and that they observed fuel leaking from the left wing; however, an exact amount of fuel could not be ascertained. The recovery company reported that the right wing fuel tank contained 17 gallons of fuel and that the left wing fuel tank contained less than 1 gallon of fuel. Postaccident examination revealed no evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Although blue streaking was observed on the aft portion of the left wing, it could not be determined if the blue streaks were due to fuel leaking during the flight or the accident sequence or before the day of the accident. Examination of the engine revealed carbon deposits on all of the cylinders’ piston faces, which is consistent with operating the engine at too lean of a fuel mixture. Following a normal engine test run, minimal carbon deposits were noted. Although some fuel was in the left wing tank at the time of the accident, it was likely less than the usable amount required, as indicated by the lean fuel mixture at the engine; thus, it is likely that the total loss of engine power was due to fuel starvation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.


On July 20, 2013, about 1309 central daylight time, a Beech A36, N117HB, experienced a total loss of engine power while on approach for landing at Tupelo Regional Airport (TUP), Tupelo, Mississippi. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing, impacting the ground prior to the airport, the airplane became airborne, crossed a road, and impacted the ground again prior to the intended landing runway. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and forward portion of the fuselage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama about 1200.

According to the pilot, he departed TUP earlier in the day and flew direct to BHM. While on final approach to runway 18 at TUP the engine lost power about 600 feet above ground level. The airplane impacted the ground in an off airport open field, bounced back into the air, crossed a road, and landed inside the airport fence. Once the airplane came to rest, he turned the ignition switch to "OFF" and exited the airplane. The pilot further reported that on a previous flight, fuel was observed streaming out of the right fuel tank cap and that he had subsequently replaced only the right fuel cap.

According to first responders, the fuel selector valve was turned to the left fuel tank and fuel was observed leaking from the left wing. According to photographs provided by the airport authority, blue fluid was evident on the underside of the left wing and the left wing's flap.

Initial examination by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest approximately 1,400 feet from the beginning of the displaced threshold for runway 18. The initial impact location was approximately 800 feet prior to where the airplane came to rest.

According to photographs provided by the first responders, two of the three propeller blades exhibited no curling or S-bending and the other propeller blade was bent aft about midspan.


The pilot, age 54, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. He held a third-class medical certificated issued August 22, 2012 with the limitation that he possess glasses for near vision. The pilot reported a total flight time of 1,067 hours, with 411.6 hours in the make and model of the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was conducted in a Beech A36 on May 22, 2013.


The 6-seat, low wing, single engine, airplane with retractable landing gear, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a Teledyne Continental IO-550-B(4), 300-hp engine. The most recent annual inspection was conducted on July 26, 2012, and at the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued 2,670.7 hours. The most recent engine maintenance logbook entry was dated March 19, 2013, and , indicated an engine total time and time since overhaul of 1,481.35 hours.

A work order, dated April 10, 2013, was located that revealed the right hand fuel cap was replaced and the left hand fuel cap o-rings were lubricated.


According to fuel records, on June 30, 2013 the airplane was fueled with 40.3 gallons of aviation fuel. However, according to the recovery company, the right wing had about 17 gallons of fuel and the left wing had less than 1 gallon of fuel on board.

A JP Instruments Inc., EDM-700 unit, was removed from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for download. The data indicated that the engine was operating at a steady rate. About one minute prior to the end of the recording the exhaust gas temperature reading indicated a slight rise followed by a steady decrease to the end of the data and no other abnormal indications were noted.

Engine Examination

The engine was removed from the airplane, crated, and sent to the engine manufacturer for examination. On November 12, 2013 the engine was examined and mounted in a test cell for an engine run with oversight provided by the NTSB investigator. The examination revealed carbon deposits on all of the piston faces prior to the engine run, which were consistent with operating the engine at too lean of a fuel mixture. Following the engine run there were little carbon deposits noted on the piston faces. More details about the examinations can be found in the "Engine Examination Report" in the public docket for this accident.

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA331 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Tupelo, MS
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N117HB
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

On July 20, 2013, about 1309 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36, N117HB, experienced a total loss of engine power while on approach for landing at Tupelo Regional Airport (TUP), Tupelo, Mississippi. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing impacting the ground prior to the intended landing runway. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and forward portion of the fuselage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama about 1200.

According to the pilot, he had departed TUP earlier in the day and flew direct to BHM. When returning to TUP, while on final approach to runway 18, the engine lost power about 600 feet above ground level. The airplane impacted the ground in an off airport open field, bounced back into the air, crossed a road, and landed inside the airport perimeter fence. Once the airplane came to rest, the pilot turned the ignition switch to “OFF” and exited the airplane.

According to first responders, the fuel selector valve was selected to the left fuel tank position and fuel was observed leaking from the left wing. According to photographs provided by the airport authority, blue fluid was evident on the underside of the left wing and the left wing’s flap.

According to fuel records, on June 30, 2013, the airplane was fueled with 40.3 gallons of aviation fuel.

Initial examination by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest approximately 1400 feet prior to the beginning of the displaced threshold for runway 18. The initial impact location was approximately 800 feet prior to where the airplane had come to rest.

The engine was retained for further examination.


TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - It was a close call for a Columbus pilot flying into the Tupelo Airport.

Fred Newman was flying his Beech A36 Bonanza when he crash-landed about 2,000 feet short of the runway.

The pilot glided through Tupelo's Buffalo Park, crashed through a fence, bounced off a road over another fence and finally landed on airport property.

Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson said emergency personnel were on the scene immediately and the relief went according to plan.

"Everybody knew exactly what needed to be done," Abramson said. "The pieces all came together, and we responded real well to the accident."

According to Abramson, the pilot was able to walk away from the scene and was transported by ambulance to North Mississippi Medical Center.

He said having the Buffalo Park located near the landing strip helps in this type of situation.

"You don't want homes," he explained. "You don't want populated areas. You don't have daycares. You have good, open space, like a park."

In fact, he said without the park, the outcome may have been different.

"If there were trees there or a building, we may have not had as a successful recovery of the pilot as we did," Abramson said.

It took workers nearly three hours to remove the plane. Abramson said the entire cleanup was a group effort involving multiple Tupelo agencies.

"Everybody came together," he said. "It was great teamwork. It was a successful recovery, and I'm just thankful for all the team players with Tupelo."

A spokesperson with North Mississippi Medical Center confirmed the pilot is in good condition and was released from the hospital shortly after being admitted.  

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County leaders wonder about Warren County airport grant payback: Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (KGFL), Glens Falls, New York

QUEENSBURY -- Town Supervisor Ron Montesi wants a determination whether Warren County would have to repay about $800,000 in grant funding if the county halts its plan to expand the runway at Warren County airport.

“It’s an important consideration,” he said.

Queensbury at-large Supervisor Mark Westcott, a leader of a taxpayer group opposed to expanding the airport, said the county should not move forward, even if it does have to return the money, some of which has already been spent.

“I had a good professor (at Duke University) who said, ‘Don’t throw good money after bad,’” he said, at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Friday.

Later in the meeting, the board voted 17-2, with one supervisor absent, on two resolutions associated with the runway expansion.

The board authorized applying for up to $1.11 million in Federal Aviation Administration and state Department of Transportation grant funding to buy land and aviation easements for the runway approach.

The board also authorized applying, separately, for up to $1.15 million in FAA and DOT grant funding to remove about 70 acres of trees in the runway approach, install three obstruction light towers, and landscape a buffer area along Queensbury Avenue.

The grants have local matching fund requirements of $55,500 and $57,500 respectively.

Westcott and Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow voted against both resolutions.

The remaining 17 supervisors present voted in favor. Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino was absent at that point in the meeting.

Upstate New York Taxpayer Advocates, a local political advocacy group on fiscal issues, has been pushing to halt the runway expansion.

Critics have questioned the cost and need for the expansion, and said increased air traffic might be disturbing.

Supporters of expanding the runway have said it will help attract new employers and retain existing ones.

Montesi asked that county Administrator Paul Dusek, County Attorney Martin Auffredou and county Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson determine whether the county would have to pay back grant money already received, if the county halts the project.

Dusek said the county has spent $380,000 in federal grant funding on the project so far, and has received another $423,000 in grant funding that the county has committed to spend, but has not yet actually spent.


Passenger suffers cardiac arrest mid-air, dies

Hyderabad: An air passenger suffered a cardiac arrest mid-air and later died even as the Bangalore-bound aircraft made an emergency landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad today, an official said.

Passenger Mane Uttam Vishnu on the New Delhi-Bangalore flight complained of chest pain.

The pilot alerted the air traffic controller at the Hyderabad airport and was allowed to land, an airport official said.

The 46-year-old passenger was rushed to the Apollo Hospital clinic at the airport where he was pronounced dead, a hospital spokesman told IANS.


Manassas Regional Airport/Harry P. Davis Field (KHEF) chosen for stop on AirCruise tour

Mauiva AirCruise, which provides multidestination vacations using private planes, selected Manassas Regional Airport as a regular stop on its AirCruise tour.

The airport’s amenities include personal attention to patrons, an inviting terminal, a longer runway, proximity to tourist attractions and available de-icing equipment, officials said.

“This new venture at the airport is a great step in economic development for the city of Manassas,” Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II (R) said. “We welcome the AirCruise to the Manassas Regional Airport and look forward to a lasting relationship with Mauiva and its subsidiary, Charter Air Transport.”


Beechcraft C23 Sundowner, N377TT: Accident occurred July 20, 2013 in Augusta, Kansas 

NTSB Identification: CEN13CA423 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Augusta, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/05/2013
Aircraft: BEECH C23, registration: N377TT
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor and student pilot were performing a soft field takeoff from a 2,340 foot grass runway. During the takeoff the airplane did not accelerate as expected. The flight instructor stated that the airplane lifted off, but the trees at the end of the runway were approaching quickly. The instructor then made a slight turn, aiming for some shorter trees to the right. The airplane did not climb out of ground effect and struck a barbed wire fence. The airplane then impacted the ground just beyond the fence and came to a stop in the upright position. Examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the airplane’s fuselage and wings. A review of the airplane’s Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) indicated from grass field, no wind, flaps up, 2000 feet mean sea level, and 88 degree Fahrenheit, the airplane would have a 1,700 foot ground roll and would need 2,827 feet to clear a 50 foot obstacle. The instructor added that the airplane did not perform as the POH indicated. Based on a soft field takeoff technique of having flaps extended and nose high attitude, it’s likely the airplane did not reach the grass field performance data indicated in the POH. The soft field, nose high attitude and an over rotation of the nose, to compensate for the rapidly approaching runway end, likely degraded the airplane’s takeoff performance.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot did not obtain adequate airspeed and clearance from obstructions during a grass field takeoff.

The flight instructor and student pilot were performing a soft field takeoff from a 2,340 foot grass runway. During the takeoff the airplane did not accelerate as expected. The flight instructor stated that the airplane lifted off, but the trees at the end of the runway were approaching quickly. The instructor then made a slight turn, aiming for some shorter trees to the right. The airplane did not climb out of ground effect and struck a barbed wire fence. The airplane then impacted the ground just beyond the fence and came to a stop in the upright position. Examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the airplane’s fuselage and wings. A review of the airplane’s Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) indicated from grass field, no wind, flaps up, 2000 feet mean sea level, and 88 degree Fahrenheit, the airplane would have a 1,700 foot ground roll and would need 2,827 feet to clear a 50 foot obstacle. The instructor added that the airplane did not perform as the POH indicated.

A Beechcraft C23 Sundowner plane is sitting in one of the westbound lanes of Highway 54/400, east of Augusta near the Haverhill exit, in what appears to have been an emergency landing. 

According to a source at the Butler County Sheriff's office, no injuries were reported.

Emergency crews from Augusta, Butler County and the Kansas Highway Patrol responded.

Colombia Navy seizes 791 kilograms of cocaine

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The Colombian Navy seized 791 kilograms from a plane at the Bahía Solano airport in the department of Chocó, military officials said on July 17.

The Navy’s Marine Infantry Brigade arrested two Colombian crew members and the manager of the hangar where the plane was searched. 

The cocaine, which was found in 36 boxes and had a street value of US$20 million, was expected to be flown to Central America, according to the Colombian Navy.

The Navy also seized three GPS devices, satellite equipment and US$5,320.


Here’s some good news for future Aerospace students at Everett Community College…

FedEx to Donate 727 to Everett Community College Aerospace Program 

A FedEx Express 727 freighter donated by the company to Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School is arriving July 25 at Paine Field.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and EvCC President David Beyer will welcome the delivery of the airplane with a celebration at 1:30 p.m. July 25 at the Paine Field Administrative Office, 3220 100th St. SW in Everett, followed by a tour of the airplane.

“Thanks to FedEx Express, EvCC students will be able to do hands-on training with a large aircraft, enhancing their skills and helping Washington lead the way as the world’s aerospace training center,” said EvCC President David Beyer.

The FedEx gift to EvCC marks the 76th 727 the company has donated over the last several years to aviation schools, colleges, local community airports and fire departments for training purposes coast to coast.

David Sutton, FedEx Express managing director of Aircraft Acquisition and Sales, will present the plane to EvCC at the celebration.

“We’re so proud to be able to provide these aircraft to school aviation programs that are helping train our next generation of aviation professionals,” Sutton said. “Not only are the retired 727s providing essential training opportunities, but their retirement is also allowing FedEx to introduce more modern, fuel-efficient, lower-emission aircraft into our extensive fleet.”

With a wingspan of 108 feet, measuring 153 feet from nose to tail, and a maximum FedEx operating revenue payload capacity of 55,000 pounds, the donated 727 freighter will be the largest plane in the EvCC aviation maintenance program.

Until now, curriculum about larger airplanes was presented in the classroom, textbooks and on the computer, said Dave Bowen, Director of EvCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School.

“This donation gives our students a head start by better preparing them to enter the aerospace industry,” Bowen said.

The 727 weighs in at about 191,000 pounds when loaded and has a tail height of 34 feet. It is capable of reaching a top speed of 685 mph and an altitude of 36,000 feet.

FedEx 727 freighters, once the backbone of FedEx’s domestic fleet, are retired and being replaced with Boeing 757s. The company is upgrading its fleet with more fuel-efficient, lower emission aircraft under a fleet modernization program that includes Boeing 777s and this fall the first of 50 Boeing 767 aircraft.

Students and faculty from EvCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School will attend the July 25 celebration. The school, which has 71 students enrolled during Summer quarter, is one of only about 150 schools nationwide that train airframe and powerplant mechanics. In the eight-quarter, 2,040-hour program, students learn about 45 subjects and work hands-on with a variety of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Students can prepare for a Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant license, get a certificate in Aviation Technology or earn an associate of technical arts (ATA) degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology.


Seaplane pilot fined $400 for takeoff

Mark Futch has been picking up island passengers in his seaplane for more than two decades, and was “taken aback” Thursday when he received his first fine.

After hearing the case for an hour, including arguments and questioning from Futch’s attorneys, the Code Enforcement Board ordered Futch to pay $400 for taking off within the corporate limits of town.

Lead Code Enforcement Officer Rob Walton said he saw Futch’s plane taxiing east of Everglades Island toward 336 El Vedado Road on Feb. 22. He said Futch picked up a passenger, and luggage and taxied his plane to the open waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. “I did not witness the plane take off.”

But, a gardener at the El Vedado Road estate, said he did witness Futch take off. What was unclear, was where Futch took off.

Walton said the corporate limits of town go to the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway channel. There are no “town limit” markers in the water, but “the channel markers would mark the edge of town,” he said.

Norman Cannella, Futch’s attorney, said his client shouldn’t be fined because no one could say for sure where Futch was when he took off.

“We don’t know whether the airplane was ever in city limits when it was taking off,” he said. “Any seaplane pilot that decides to fly around the area that encompasses Palm Beach has no idea of where those limits lie.”

Futch did say he took off in the channel because of “operational procedures,” but wasn’t sure if he was in “the confines of town limits.”

Futch said he runs the oldest-continuing operating seaplane business in Florida, which he started in 1987, with many of his customers from Palm Beach.

The board ordered him to pay $150 in administrative costs and a $250 fine.

“I voted the way I did because it’s not up to us to decide whether it’s marked correctly or not,” said member Alan Golboro. “We’re dealing in the law and this survey shows our town line goes to mid-channel and the channel is within our corporate limits.”


Piper PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III, N31698: Accident occurred July 19, 2013 in Holdrege, Nebraska

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA429 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 19, 2013 in Holdrege, NE
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-201T, registration: N31698
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On July 19, 2013, about 1200 central daylight time), a Piper PA-28RT-201T, N31698, impacted high vegetation during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during climbout from the Brewster Field Airport (HDE), near Holdrege, Nebraska. The pilot who was the sole occupant was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial wing damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Altitude LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The flight was originating from HDE at the time of the accident and was destined for the Mark Hoard Memorial Airport, near Leoti, Kansas.

At 1155, the recorded weather at HDE was: Wind 050 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 30 degrees C; dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

Courtesy of Phelps County Sheriff's Office. 

Courtesy of Phelps County Sheriff's Office. 

Courtesy of Phelps County Sheriff's Office. 

The Phelps County Sheriff's Office is reporting an emergency landing of a small airplane north of Holdrege.
Mark Budde of Leoti, Kansas advised the Sheriff's Office that he took-off in his 1978 Piper Turbo Arrow from the Holdrege airport at noon. 

The plane lost power shortly after take-off and Budde determined he didn't have enough power to return to the airport. 

Chief Deputy Russ Nedrig says Budde found a dirt road to set the plane down but, the right wing caught the nearby corn and spun the plane into the field.

 No injuries were reported. 

Some damage was reported to the plane, a small amount of corn and some irrigation pipe. 

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Cirrus SR20, CDC Aviation (PTY) LTD, ZS-CAP, Accident occurred July 18, 2013 near Lanseria International Airport (FALA) - South Africa

The two people who died in a light aircraft crash near Lanseria International Airport outside Johannesburg were identified.   Beeld today named them as Odette Prinsloo (24), a flight instructor from Lanseria, and Jaun Claassen (19), a trainee.  The two were reportedly on a training flight when the plane crashed on Thursday.  According to Beeld, Claassen, from Hartbeespoort, was crazy about flying and worked part-time at a gym to finance his flight training.   Airport spokesperson Claudette Vianello said eyewitnesses stated the plane left the airport and appeared to be trying to return when it crashed on open land outside the airport.  Officials were trying to determine the cause of the crash.  Source:




Twee sterf toe tuig val: Ongeluk is ’n raaisel, sê pa van instrukteur 

‘Sy was ’n perfeksionis en die heel beste vlieënier wat ek ken.”

So het Chantelle Prinsloo (21) gister gesê langs die vliegtuigwrak waarin haar ouer suster verongeluk het.

Odette Prinsloo (24), ’n vlieginstrukteur van Lanseria, en ’n student het gister omstreeks 10:00 by die Lanseria-lughawe opgestyg vir ’n opleidingsvlug.

Oomblikke nadat die Cirrus SR22 die grond verlaat het, het die ligte vliegtuig gedraai en langs die Jukskeirivier neergestort.

Die ligte vliegtuig het sowat 3 km noord van die Lanseria-lughawe neus eerste die grond getref en in stukke gebreek.

Santi Steinmann, woordvoerder van Netcare 911, het gesê Prinsloo en die student, wie se naam teen druktyd nie bekend was nie, was dood teen die tyd dat nooddienspersoneel kort ná die ongeluk by die toneel opgedaag het.

Claudette Vianello, lughawe-woordvoerder, het gesê volgens operateurs in die beheertoring het dit gelyk of die vliegtuig probeer omdraai voordat dit neergestort het.

Odette se pa en stiefma, Marius en Marinda Prinsloo, asook Chantelle, het hulle van Hoopstad in die Vrystaat na Lanseria gehaas toe hulle die nuus hoor.

Marius, ’n wildboer wat self al 35 jaar lank vlieg, het langer as ’n halfuur om die wrak geloop, met ondersoekbeamptes gepraat en met sy hande beduie, maar kon nie sin maak van wat gebeur het nie.

“Hierdie is vir my ’n raaisel,” het hy gesê.

“ ’n Vliegtuig val mos nie sommer net so neus eerste in die grond nie. Nee, nee.

“Dalk onder slegte weersomstandighede in die berge, maar nie hiér nie.”

Marius het sy dogter op 18 leer vlieg. Odette het in 2006 aan die Hoërskool Voortrekker in Bethlehem gematrikuleer.

“Sy was klaar met matriek, maar was nie seker wat sy ná skool wou doen nie. Ek het vir haar gesê: ‘Hoekom vlieg jy nie solank nie?’ En toe byt die gogga haar.

“Ek was ’n kwaai vlieginstrukteur. Sy het so goed presteer en ek was trots op haar. Ek kan nie verstaan wat gebeur het nie.”

Twee ontplooide noodvalskerms het langs die wrakstukke gelê.

Odette het Chantelle, wat ingenieurswese aan die Universiteit van Pretoria (UP) studeer, in haar vrye tyd opgelei as vlieënier.

“Sy was streng wanneer sy my geleer het. Sy sou my sommer knyp as ek ’n fout maak. Sy was ’n perfeksionis en ’n fantastiese vlieënier.”

Die lyke moes met lewenskake uit die vliegtuigwrak gehaal word.

Die vliegtuig se neus was verpletter en sy wiele in die lug.

Die polisie en die Burgerlugvaartowerheid (BLO) ondersoek die saak.

Photographer killed in powered hang glider accident

A well-known Chinese sports photographer was killed in a powered hang glider accident during a Chinese auto race at Zhangye on Saturday.

The two-man glider crashed after hitting a wind tower, killing Yu Yonggang, a top auto rally photographer, and injuring the pilot.

Yu was killed while photographing Zhangye - Chinese Auto Rally. The organizers scrapped Saturday's second stage and the race will resume on Sunday. 


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Pilot, editor team up on McSherrystown book

Karen Walter Bowling works part-time at the Gettysburg Frame Shop on Chambersburg Street. Last winter she mentioned to a patron, Michael Cooper-White, president of the Lutheran Seminary, her work compiling a book for the 250th anniversary of McSherrystown. In the course of conversation at the shop, Bowling indicated that a previous book, "The McSherrystown Bicentennial" book done in 1963, included aerial photos of the McSherrystown community, one of which appeared on the cover.   Cooper-White offered to collaborate with Bowling to do updated photos of the town from his Cessna 150. Cooper-White waited for a perfect sunny winter day, and was skillfully able to pilot and snap photos at the same time. One striking aerial photo of the town was selected by Bowling and the Book Committee to grace the cover of the new book, "Fifty Years in McSherrystown: 1963-2013."

Numerous aerial photos add to visual interest in the book. Cooper-White said, "Without my usual photographer in the right seat, I just kept clicking my little Kodak while flying solo. I'm glad something turned out for them to use in celebrating what McSherrystown looks like today."