Friday, August 02, 2013

Airport eatery Hangar Too makes changes after unplanned closure: General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International (KPIA), Illinois

PEORIA —   Though the last flight out of Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport departed at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, lingering passengers and their greeters had an extra hour to eat and drink at Hangar Too.

The airport's restaurant and bar adjusted its hours Wednesday, opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. rather than aligning with the schedule of departures. The change should alleviate confusion and act as a guideline for Hangar Too, which can opt to remain open and serve customers of the many flights arriving daily past 8 p.m.

"The airlines changed schedules so often, that was very hard to target," said executive director Gene Olson, adding that vending machines are still available after the restaurant shutters. "We're not really targeting arriving passengers because they tend to zip right in and leave really quick."

The private restaurant will also see an additional worker, following a recent incident in which the sole waitress on duty broke with policy and closed Hangar Too for about 40 minutes, Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria board members discussed Wednesday.

"She was taking a smoke break," said Board of Commissioners treasurer Michael Landwirth, who observed the unplanned closure. "I couldn't believe it."

Lisa Holcomb of Streator had decent service while waiting for her cousin to arrive from Chicago, but she said the restaurant would benefit from another hand on deck.

"She's kind of busy because she's the only person in here," said Holcomb, one of four patrons at the time. "You come here and it's like, 'I gotta get something here before I leave.' They definitely need another person."

A frequent visitor to the airport, Jennifer Fee of Groveland said even a short closure would be a great inconvenience.

"I would think that would look very, very, very bad in an airport," said Fee, waiting for her boyfriend's delayed flight from Fort Worth, Texas. "And I would be more akin to say the restaurant should be open as long as the airport is open and the flights are coming in. It's such a nice place, it only makes sense to have it open for the people."


Bill Finch: Strengthen ethics code and airport safety -- Sikorsky Memorial (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut


Published 3:04 pm, Friday, August 2, 2013

As I said from the moment I was first sworn in as Bridgeport's mayor, any time any wrongdoing in my administration is brought to my attention by any person, I will ensure a full and thorough investigation is conducted by the appropriate individuals or agencies.

As a result of a thorough and highly professional internal labor relations investigation, I have made the decision to terminate Airport Director John Ricci for "reckless and intentional misconduct" in regard to the construction of an access way on airport property.

In light of the recent internal investigation into Mr. Ricci's actions, I am implementing new and enhanced reporting requirements of city officials to more effectively and comprehensively monitor full organization-wide compliance with the city's Code of Ethics.

The city of Bridgeport requires a very high standard of conduct from its employees. The current Code of Ethics, however, does not require an annual accounting of the outside financial interests of city employees, which creates potential for conflict for those employees involved in the decision-making process for city contracts. We have examined the current best practices to determine how we can best modernize our oversight in this area.

Department heads and those other employees involved in procurement will now be required to annually fill out a disclosure form, similar to that used by the state of Connecticut, in which the employee must disclose any financial or personal interests which may conflict with city contracts.

Prospectively, all city employees also will be required to take part in ongoing annual ethics training and testing, which has been developed in conjunction with the city's Human Resources Department and the former chairman of the Ethics Commission Joseph Ianniello, a retired human resources executive.

With these enhanced requirements, our goal is to have the strongest ethics standards in the state. This will enable us to proactively determine, on an annual basis, whether any of our senior city employees might have a conflict of interest that could cause problems in contract compliance or the award of contracts.

Several weeks ago, the city engaged John King, a partner in the law firm Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, and city attorney for New Britain, and Hugh I. Manke, a senior principal in the firm and a specialist in municipal land use matters who represented Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority and the city of New Haven in suits against the town of East Haven, to conduct a comprehensive review of the city's procurement procedures, particularly as related to the airport access way issue.

In addition, the city solicited and received two independent post-construction scope of work/price analyses to determine the true cost range of the access way project from: (1) Epic Construction, at $810,000 and, (2) PJ's Construction, at $517,000. Significantly, both figures are substantially more than the $389,000 bid by Mark IV Construction, as well as higher than the other two original unsuccessful bids submitted by Candee Construction ($410,000) and Julian Construction ($605,000). This analysis belies the unsubstantiated reports and estimates that have recently been circulating concerning the appropriate cost for the access way project.

This episode has only served to reinforce my administration's commitment to maintaining the public's trust and faith in their government, and the implementation of these enhanced ethics reporting requirements will help us achieve that goal.

Nothing is more important to me than for you, the citizens of our great city of Bridgeport, to have full faith and trust that your government is working for you. I will never stop working toward this goal. Bridgeport's past remains a challenge for our city, but this administration will always tackle issues of any wrongdoing head-on and address them in the best interest of the residents of Bridgeport. That is my commitment to our citizens.

Finally, be assured that we will continue to move forward aggressively with the runway safety zone improvements at Sikorsky Airport as planned, in order to meet Congress' Dec. 31, 2015, construction deadline. As we are only too aware, the installation of an EMAS system at the end of Runway 6/24 is vital to preventing future tragedies such as the 1994 multiple-fatality crash at Sikorsky. We have received full assurance from both state and federal officials that this vital project remains firmly on track for timely completion.

Bill Finch, a Democrat, is mayor of Bridgeport.


Elgin, Illinois, woman killed in skydiving accident, 'chased after her dreams'

Stephanie Eggum's father said that his daughter died while practicing a jump that involved 40 to 50 people who linked hands before separating and plunging headfirst into a "vertical dive." 
(Facebook photo)

An Elgin woman well known in racing and skydiving circles died during a jump in LaSalle County, officials said. 

 Stephanie Eggum, 32, had cut her main parachute for some reason but deployed her reserve chute at low altitude and plummeted into a corn field north of Ottawa around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

The LaSalle County sheriff's office and the LaSalle County coroner's office were investigating.

Eggum, who graduated from Jacobs High School in Algonquin, was a shy girl as a child. After she turned 18 and moved to Chicago to enroll in beautician’s school, she met friends who sparked her interest in skydiving, said her father, Jim Eggum.

There was no stopping her after that, her father said. She began drag-racing after a few years of skydiving, then returned to skydiving again.

“She chased after her dreams, traveled all over the country and all over the world,” he said.

Eggum said that his daughter died while practicing a jump that involved 40 to 50 people who linked hands while plunging headfirst into a “vertical dive” and then separating.

She was planning to participate in an event sponsored by Sky Dive Chicago scheduled for the next day, said Eggum, who learned about her fall after receiving a call from the Sky Dive Chicago owner.

“She was very careful. What happened was just a bad accident,” he said.

According to a 2004 Chicago Tribune story, Eggum said she had temporarily stopped jumping from planes after she was injured in a skydiving accident.

Eggum, then 23 and a former hairdresser, moved back into her parents' home in West Dundee after suffering a concussion in the accident in 2001.

She and her father developed an interest in drag racing.

Eggum spent two years competing as an amateur in the NOPI Drag Racing Association's all-women Chic Class. Her success led her to turn pro in 2004, the only woman in NOPI's Nitrous Express Pro 4 Cylinder Class, according to the story.

Eggum said other drivers had been very supportive of her and her crew chief despite being "the ultimate rookies" at the sport.

"I'd love to continue to do this," she said at the time. "It's amazing."


Airlines Cautious on Alert Impact: State Department Alert's Impact on Carriers, Tours Remains Muted

Updated August 2, 2013, 6:54 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. world-wide travel alert raises the specter of the global travel industry's biggest fear—but the alert's impact on airlines and hotels is likely to be muted for now.

The State Department on Friday warned travelers that al Qaeda and affiliated groups may try to carry out terrorist attacks this month in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. The alert didn't cite any specific threats to air travel but noted "the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure," and pointed out that they have targeted "subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services."

The State Department regularly issues travel alerts for specific countries around events such as protests in Egypt or elections in Mali, or even for the Caribbean around hurricane season. But the U.S. rarely issues alerts that specifically warn of potential terrorist attacks, particularly for such a broad region.

The advisory "is fairly strong," said William Daly, who heads the New York office of Control Risks Group LLC, a global consultancy specializing in political and security risk. "It suggested quite a bit of caution. Maybe the information is not specific or granular, but it's quite compelling."

Despite the scope of the warning, travel professionals and hotel and airline analysts said it should have little impact on travel. Such advisories "make people more careful, which they should. But it doesn't cause people not to go anywhere," said Paul Ruden, a senior vice president of the American Society of Travel Agents. "If the State Department meant 'Do not travel,' they would have said, 'Do not travel.' "

Actual events can seriously crimp travel—such as the first Kuwait invasion or, especially, the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, which sharply reduced air travel for several years, said Richard Aboulafia, a global aviation analyst at the Teal Group. "I don't think you're going to see anything significant related to this [among airlines], unless something does happen," he said.

In August, three U.S. airlines have just 217 flights scheduled to the Middle East and none to North Africa. Investors in those U.S. carriers—United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. —were far from panicking Friday. Shares were barely down for Delta and US Airways and slightly up for United.

The Middle East is a busy region for air traffic, but a huge portion of the passengers are stopping there to connect to other destinations. Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi are some of the largest transfer airports in the world. Middle Eastern airlines dominate the market, flying more than 80% of the 16.9 million seats scheduled to fly to the region this month.

In the past, U.S. airlines have issued travel waivers for passengers scheduled to fly to regions affected by travel alerts. By late Friday, however, Delta, United and US Airways said they weren't offering waivers. US Airways flies to Tel Aviv; Delta flies to Tel Aviv and Dubai; and United flies to Tel Aviv, Dubai, Kuwait, Doha and Bahrain. All three said they were monitoring the situation but declined to comment further.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG  said it hadn't yet seen many cancellations or a big decrease in bookings, partly because summer is a low season for Middle East and North African destinations. The German airline said at this time of year, only 7% to 10% of its passengers from the U.S. are destined for connections to the Middle East.

Noam Matas, owner of a tour operator that offers trips to Biblical destinations in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, said he had 12 groups in the region, but that his company hadn't received many inquiries from people concerned about their friends and families on the trips. "It takes a day or two until the news kicks in," Mr. Matas said. "If it continues in the news, we'll get people calling us on Monday."

Several U.S. universities with campuses in the Middle East or students studying there said they had already contacted students about the travel alert. Michigan State University said that all seven of its students studying in the region had been contacted, apprised of the alert and directed to additional resources.

Douglas R. Laird, president of Laird & Associates Inc., which advises airports, governments and airlines on security, said that issuing travel alerts are "a double-edged sword. The government is damned if they do, damned if they don't."

Mr. Laird said passengers should expect to see advisory messages at check-in and at the gate before boarding if they are traveling to a destination covered by the State Department's alert. He said the U.S. airlines' directors of security, who have government security clearances, would likely have been briefed by government security officials.

At Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, owner of the Radisson hotel brand, head of security Chris Gernentz immediately began pushing emails around the security group after the alert was issued Friday morning, particularly to check whether the company had its own executives out on business travel and to check on hotels in the affected regions.

"Our first priority is for our guests," said Carlson spokeswoman Molly Biwer. "If it's going to hurt our business, of course we'd be concerned. But it's too soon to know that."


Pilot and Passenger of Plane That Crashed in Yoakum County Plead Guilty to Drug Charges

Two people that crashed an airplane at an area airport have pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Sacramento, California resident Gregory Thomas, the 55-year-old pilot of the airplane, and 66-year-old Dorothea Cangelosi of Waller, Texas, each pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and aiding and abetting.

On April 30th, 2013, deputies with the Yoakum County Sheriff’s Department responded to a plane crash at the Yoakum County Airport in Plains, Texas.

The deputies found a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 plane that had belly landed in a field around 50 yards past the end of the runway.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, on the day before the crash, Cangelosi flew on a commercial airline from Houston to Sacramento, California, where she met up with Thomas, a charter pilot. Thomas was paid about $5,000 cash to fly her from Sacramento back to Houston.

They left Sacramento during the early morning hours on April 30th, and landed in Plains to refuel. After refueling, the plane encountered engine problems when attempting to take off and crashed.

Yoakum County Sheriff’s Deputies received a 911 call from a person who reported seeing a woman with bags by a road that runs parallel to the airport. Later, deputies found four large duffel bags that were hidden next to a bush more than 100 yards from the crash site.

Deputies discovered 151 individual packages of marijuana with a total weight of 160 pounds.

They both admitted that they had intended to distribute the marijuana to other individuals in Houston.

Both Thomas and Cangelosi face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. They remain on bond pending sentencing.


 Here is the official press release from the Department of Justice:

United States Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña
Northern District of Texas
                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  MEDIA INQUIRIES:  KATHY COLVIN
                                   FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2013
Pilot and Passenger of Plane That Crashed at Yoakum County Airport
After Refueling Plead Guilty to Drug Charges
Approximately 160 Pounds of Marijuana on Board Plane
That Belly Landed at Airport in Plains, Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas — A pilot and his passenger, who belly landed their Beechcraft plane at the Yoakum County Airport on April 30, 2013, appeared this morning before U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings and pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge.  Pilot Gregory Thomas, 50, of Sacramento, California, and his passenger, Dorothea Cangelosi, 66, of Waller, Texas, each pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and aiding and abetting.  They each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine, and will remain on bond pending sentencing.  Judge Cummings ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after the completion of that report.   Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

According to plea documents filed in the case, on April 30, 2013, deputies with the Yoakum County Sheriff’s Department (YCSD) responded to a plane crash at the Yoakum County Airport, in Plains, Texas.  When they arrived, they observed a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 plane that had belly landed in a field approximately 50 yards past the end of the runway.  

On April 29, 2013, the day before the crash, Cangelosi flew a commercial airline from Houston, Texas, to Sacramento, California, where she met up with Thomas, a charter pilot, who was paid approximately $5,000 cash to fly her from Sacramento back to Houston.  They left Sacramento during the early morning hours of April 30, 2013, and in route to Houston, landed in Plains to refuel.  After fueling, the plane encountered engine problems when attempting to take off and crashed.

The YCSD received a 911 call from an individual who reported seeing a female with bags by a road that runs parallel to the airport.  Later, deputies located four large canvas duffel bags that were hidden next to a bush more than 100 yards from the crash site.  A YCSD drug-detector dog alerted on the bags for the presence of drugs and deputies discovered 151 individual packages of marijuana, with a total weight of 72.8 kilograms or 160 pounds.  The drug-detector dog also alerted to the presence of drugs inside the plane.  

Thomas admits that after the plane crashed, he and Cangelosi retrieved the duffel bags from the plane’s passenger compartment and hid them more than 100 yards away, across two barbed-wire fences and a road, from the plane.  Cangelosi admitted that Thomas carried most of the bags and threw some of them over the fence.  They both admitted that they had intended to distribute the marijuana to other individuals in Houston.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the YCSD and the Texas Department of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Cunningham prosecuted.
# # #

Lawsuit filed in deadly helicopter crash at Fort Benning: MD Helicopters AH-6M Little Bird, accident occurred August 08, 2011

Chief Warrant Officer 3 
Steven B. Redd

The family of a decorated pilot who died in a 2011 crash at Fort Benning has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging the AH-6M “Little Bird” helicopter was unsafe. 

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steven B. Redd, 37, was in control of the helicopter Aug. 8, 2011, when he and Capt. John D. Hortman, 30, died during a training exercise with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Redd and Hortman were assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky.

The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman of Los Angeles filed the lawsuit Monday in Connecticut for plaintiffs Adalia Lee Redd, the pilot’s wife, and his three children, Jazlyn, Dezaray and Tristyn Redd. Defendants include the Goodrich Corporation; Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems Inc; Rolls-Royce North America Inc.; Allison Engine Company Inc; Boeing Company and MD Helicopters Inc.

The suit was filed in Connecticut because each of the defendants is authorized to do business in the state. Goodrich Corporation was identified in the lawsuit as the designer, manufacturer, tester, seller, supplier and systems integrator of a key part on the helicopter, the Fully Automated Digital Electronic Control. The FADEC is a digital computer that controls fuel to the turbine engine on the helicopter.

During operation, the computer senses the engine parameters and delivers fuel to the engine according to its programming. Failure of the computer results in fuel delivery failure, which directly effects the engine power, control and performance of the aircraft.


139 jobs being cut at 2 Lockheed Martin sites in upstate New York; 367 layoffs planned nationwide

  • Lockheed Martin Corp. says it will lay off 139 workers at two upstate New York plants this month as part of the defense contractor’s cutting of 367 jobs nationwide.
  • Lockheed announced Thursday that 114 workers will be laid off at the company’s Electronics Park in Salina, outside Syracuse. Another 25 will be laid off in Owego in Tioga County.  

Washington -- Lockheed Martin Corp. said today it will lay off 114 employees from its campus at Electronics Park in Salina, part of a larger cutback of 367 employees nationwide.

The Salina layoffs affect employees mostly in engineering and program management jobs. Most of those subject to the layoffs will be asked to leave the company by Aug. 15, Lockheed Martin officials said.

"Reducing our workforce is not a decision we make lightly," Lockheed said in a statement. "This reduction is necessary to address current business realities, including uncertain program funding, a delay in contract awards and an extremely competitive market. These realities require us to continue our focus on tightly controlling costs to remain as affordable as possible."

All told, the layoffs affect 367 U.S.-based employees across Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training division.

Keith Little, a Lockheed spokesman in Rosslyn, Va., said the affected employees will receive "workplace assistance" but he did not say if they would receive any severance packages.

Little said the layoffs are not tied to any specific project or program at the Salina campus. The local plant won a big order from the Army on June 27 for $206.8 million in mobile radar systems that can track incoming rocket, mortar and artillery fire from any direction.

The company said in June that the big order would help maintain the Salina workforce of about 1,900 people. But Little said Thursday night that employment at Electronics Park is currently about 1,700. He said that number will be reduced to about 1,600 employees after the round of layoffs.

Lockheed Martin is the world's largest defense contractor, and one of the largest private employers in Central New York. The company has continued to record big profits, even in the face of federal budget cutbacks and the automatic sequester spending cuts.

In addition to the radar contract, Lockheed Martin's Salina plant has benefited from at least two other big military contracts this year. In March, Congress approved spending an additional $380 million to finish developing the MEADS anti-missile system.

In April, the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed's Salina campus a $57 million contract to upgrade the fleet's electronic warfare defenses against anti-ship missile threats.

Despite cutbacks in U.S. defense spending, Lockheed Martin generated $47.2 billion in sales last year, and had profits of more than $2.7 billion in 2012. The company employs about 118,000 people worldwide.

Last week, the company reported second-quarter earnings rose 10 percent, thanks to stronger profits in its mission systems and missile divisions, which includes Electronics Park in Salina. The company also benefited from a lower pension charge.

For the quarter, Lockheed reported a profit of $859 million, up from $781 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter was down 4.3 percent to $11.41 billion. 

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