Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beech A36 Bonanza, Omega 337 LLC, N77DC: Harrisburg International Airport (KMDT), Pennsylvania

  Dr. David Cooper talks about having to make an emergency landing last week in the Harrisburg area while piloting his private plane.

WILKES-BARRE — Dr. David Cooper said he wasn’t scared at all, even though the plane he was piloting had lost power and he had to make an emergency landing with its landing gear unable to lock last week. 

 “It was like being up there all alone like (Charles) Lindbergh,” Cooper said Tuesday. “I just had to get it on the ground without bumping into another airplane.”

Cooper made the emergency landing at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown late Thursday afternoon. He was traveling alone.

Cooper, an orthopedic surgeon who owns The Knee Center on Kidder Street, was on his way to Hershey, where he had scheduled surgeries on Friday — appointments he kept despite the harrowing experience.

For most of the 25-minute flight from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Harrisburg, Cooper said it was uneventful. He was at about 8,000 feet and had just received clearance to go to 6,000 feet for his approach into Harrisburg — about 10 minutes away.

“After that, things started to go bad real quickly,” he said.

His single, jet-engine Beech Bonanza — converted from a piston-driven engine — began to oscillate and the electrical system began to shut down. In a matter of minutes, Cooper said, the plane, valued at $750,000 and one of only 40 in the world, was without electrical power.

He said the jet engine never lost power, but he was flying an aircraft with no communication that was undetectable on radar. The airport couldn’t track him and other planes in the air would not know he was there.

Cooper used a hand-held radio to notify the airport he was going to make an emergency landing. He used a hand-held GPS device to help get him to the airport. He also was able to use the towers at Three Mile Island, located adjacent to the airport, to guide him.

Cooper said he was able to keep the plane level as he manually cranked the landing gear down. However, he was unable to know if the gear locked in place. When he hit the runway, the landing gear collapsed because it wasn’t locked.

“I felt the best thing was to get the plane on the ground,” he said. “I had a normal approach and the airport had the fire engines out in case of a problem.”

Cooper said the landing went well, despite being unable to use flaps to slow the plane. He said the plane veered slightly off the runway and sparks caused a small grass fire.

“I came in at a higher speed than normal,” he said. “I was uninjured, but the plane sustained between $100,00 and $200,000 worth of damage.”

Cooper said sheet metal was damaged, but the largest expense will be in tearing down the engine. He said the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate to determine what caused the electrical system to quit.

The 25-year licensed pilot said it will take four months to repair the aircraft at Seamans Airport in Factoryville.

Cooper said he flies all over the U.S. and can’t wait to get back into the air.

“Pilots, like surgeons, solve problems,” he said. “In this case, you accept your fate and make the most of it.”

What will Cooper take away from this experience? He said he was concerned about encountering another aircraft.

“Well, you learn how you react in an emergency,” he said. “It’s interesting; I didn’t panic and I had no fear — just determination. I was confident I was going to get the plane and myself on the ground safely.”

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An emergency landing at Harrisburg International Airport last week was even riskier than first believed.

The pilot, Dr. Dave Cooper, told abc27 News Monday that he landed Thursday night without any power to the plane.

"Well, it all started out with a very uneventful flight. I was looking forward to coming to Harrisburg, flying out of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton," said Cooper, an orthopedic surgeon in Wilkes-Barre. 
"Normally, it's about a half an hour flight."

About 10 minutes away from Harrisburg, Cooper said everything went dark.

"Frankly, at that point, I didn't really know what was going on," he said. "You just sort of collect yourself and we have three things we do in aviation; it's called aviate, navigate and communicate."
But Cooper had no way to communicate other than a handheld radio, and with his panel out, he had no way to navigate. He had to do it the "old school" way.

"I knew that the airport was near the stacks, the stacks are readily visible," he said, referring to the cooling towers at Three Mile Island. "So, you started flying sort of to the stacks, understanding they're probably not too happy that the plane is flying near a nuclear power plant."

But there was another problem: Cooper had to manually release the landing gear.

"There's a crank that - you have to lean backwards and turn it 50 times counter-clockwise, all while flying the plane with your left hand," Cooper said.

As if that was not stressful enough, Cooper had to worry about colliding with other planes in mid-air because the power outage essentially made him invisible. Once he saw the emergency lights, Cooper went in for the landing.

"Then, you're at the mercy of what's happening," he said. "The plane went along straight. You hear a lot of screeching because as you can see the propeller hit and then the belly of the plane hits. But planes are made, structurally, to withstand a belly landing."

Cooper said he kept his cool and let his 25 years of flying experience kick in. He said he could not have made such a successful landing without the help of HIA's air traffic controllers.

"They did a fantastic job clearing the air space. "As you know, there were some delays, unfortunately, and I apologize for that. Some flights had to be diverted because the runway was closed. But the tower did a great job," he said.

"I'd like to say in defense of small planes and single pilots that most land very successfully," he said. "We have a great track record."

Cooper's plane will stay at HIA for a few days so that a mechanic can figure out what went wrong and how to fix the problem.

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 A single-engine plane made a crash landing Thursday night at Harrisburg International Airport, which forced the airport’s lone runway to close for at least 45 minutes, according to an airport spokesman.

The pilot of the plane was not injured and was the only person on board, said Scott Miller, the airport spokesman.

The plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza, had an issue with its landing gear and that caused it to skid across the runway on its belly, Miller said.

The incident occurred sometime between 7 and 7:30 p.m. The runway was reopened at 8:15. The closure was necessary because the plane was blocking part of the runway and posed a safety concern.

The incident is under investigation. The pilot's identity was not immediately available.


An emergency landing forces Harrisburg International Airport in Dauphin County to close for about an hour Thursday evening.  A single engine Beechcraft Bonanza declared an emergency when the pilot couldn’t get his landing gear down.  The incident began at about 7:15 pm.

The pilot safely made a wheels up belly landing but the aircraft skidded off the runway before coming to a halt.  The airport closed while emergency crews removed the aircraft.  The pilot was not injured. Flight operations resumed at about 8:15 pm.

The name of the pilot was not released.  The Federal Aviation Administration will examine the aircraft.


Israeli steals life jackets from plane

Stewardesses on charter flight to Crete spot 17-year-old passenger taking three life jackets to use as swimming floats during vacation on Greek island. Police also find 19 Kalashnikov bullets in her handbag

A young Israeli woman has been arrested on suspicion of stealing three life jackets from a charter flight on her way to a summer vacation in the Greek island of Crete.

And if that were not enough, 19 Kalashnikov bullets were found in her bag.

The incident took place last Friday. During a flight to Crete, stewardesses spotted the 17-year-old Israeli taking three life jackets located under the place's seats in case of an emergency landing at sea. The girl had planned to use the life jackets as swimming floats while vacationing with her friends in Greece.

When she got off the plane, she was arrested by Greek police officers, who also found a magazine of a Kalashnikov rifle with 19 bullets in her handbag. The girl had apparently left Israel with the magazine, which was not discovered during the Ben-Gurion Airport security check.

She told police investigators that her handbag was an old bag used by her father during his military reserve service and that she had been unaware of the magazine's presence. Her claim is rather puzzling as the Kalashnikov rifle is not considered a standard weapon in the Israel Defense Forces.

The Israeli girl was brought before a judge on Friday and released for being a minor.

Nonetheless, the Greeks are planning to charge her with theft and possession of weapons.

She was allowed to return to Israel after promising to return for the trial, which has been scheduled for October.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is pleading with Israelis to check their bags thoroughly before going abroad in order to ensure that no bullets or magazines have been forgotten inside.


Beech 76 Duchess, N803FC: Gillespie Field Airport (KSEE), San Diego/El Cajon, California


EL CAJON (CNS) - A light plane with faulty landing gear made a non-injury hard landing at Gillespie Field Thursday. 

The front wheel assembly of the twin-engine aircraft apparently collapsed when it touched down at the El Cajon general-aviation airport shortly before 4:30 p.m., sending the plane's nose scraping along the runway, a Heartland Fire & Rescue dispatcher said.

No injuries were reported and no fire resulted, according to city spokeswoman Monica Zech. It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard the fixed-wing aircraft at the time of the mishap.

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Airport Officer Assaulted at Terminal: Philadelphia International (KPHL), Pennsylvania

 Tyreas Carlyle, 26, of Philadelphia

A Philadelphia Police officer who works at Philadelphia International Airport was assaulted while on patrol at one of the terminals on Wednesday night. 
Police say the officer approached a man who was trying to open the Terminal E exit door, marked "Exit Only." The man didn't listen to the officer's order not to go through the door, that reads opening it will result in prosecution.

The man, identified as Tyreas Carlyle, 26, told the officer he had a plane to catch, but wasn't able to show identification or a boarding pass.

Carlyle grabbed the officer around the neck and reached for the officer's gun several times, police say.

Other officers were called to the Terminal to help get Carlyle in custody.

The Philadelphia man is charged with Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Simple Assault, Criminal Mischief, Defiant Trespass, and Resisting Arrest.

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Airport Commission 'clears the air' on alcohol ban at Aviator Park: Tehachapi Municipal Airport (KTSP), California

Aviator Park, located on the grounds of the Tehachapi Municipal Airport, can be reserved for special events. Lately it has been the center of controversy after some in the aviation community protested the recent ban on alcohol in the park. 
Photo by Gregory D. Cook/Tehachapi News

Airport Commission chairperson Eric Hansen spearheaded an informal open discussion at the commission's regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13. The conversation topic was the recent happenings surrounding the commission's request for an exemption to the alcohol ban in Aviator Park.

Phil Shinar represented the Airport Commission with a letter to the City Council, which he read at the Council's meeting on July 15. At the time, Shinar was the elected secretary of the commission, but the verbal response by Councilmember Kim Nixon immediately following his request prompted him to resign his post two days later.

Hansen acknowledged Tuesday that the City Council as a whole did not provide a formal response and that Nixon spoke of her own accord.

The discussion was the only item on the commission agenda. When chided by City Manager Greg Garrett, who was in attendance, for not focusing on economic issues, Hansen responded by saying he thought it important to "clear the air."

Mayor Phil Smith also attended.

Hansen opened the subject with an apology.

"It was kind of in your face," Hansen said about the letter. "I want to apologize to the city and the people of Tehachapi for being kind of blunt on that."

The chairman said he tried filling out a special use permit and found it to be "unwieldy." He then suggested using an alternate registration system for Aviator Park, but the idea was quickly dropped.

Jerry Koszyk, the commission's vice-chairperson, was absent from the last airport commission meeting when the members decided to submit the request to the City Council. During the course of Tuesday's meeting, his opposition to the request became clear.

"The whole thing seems very petty to me," he said. "Of all the things we can discuss, I think this is very petty."

Garrett expressed a similar sentiment.

"It takes $250,000 more per year to run this airport than it brings in," he said. "It's really tiring to hear this petty stuff."

"But it's important to us," airport business owner Ken Hetge said in response to Garrett. "It's not a pilot's job to promote the city's economic development. It's your job."

"I'd like to be able to do more of what we're charged with doing," Hansen said.

In other comments, he stated his desire for the commission to spend more time focusing on how to bring in more business to the airport and help it grow.

The mayor played the arbitrator as the meeting wound down. He said he applauds the volunteers at the airport who helped build Aviator Park.

"Volunteerism makes this airport shine," Smith said. "I think this thing with the beer has been blown way out of proportion... The police officers aren't going to say, 'Here's a ticket, there's the beer.' You're just not going to get someone doing that."

Smith reiterated how city taxpayers are the owners of both the airport and its park.

"The public out there spends a quarter million dollars a year [on the airport] that could be spent on potholes, recreation, or whatever else," the mayor said. "My point I'm trying to make here is, you're on the inside of the fence looking out... But try to pretend the fence isn't there and we're all one big community."

After the meeting, Smith summed up the outcome.

"Everyone left shaking hands," he said.

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Airport, Asphalt plant top city issues: Seward Airport (PAWD), Alaska

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG
 Carl High, DOT’s Kenai Peninsula District superintendent and DOT Regional Hydrologist Paul Janke (right) discuss the airport predicament while behind them the Resurrection River spills over runway 13/31.

The City of Seward administration has publicly weighed in on repeated flooding of Seward Airport and the recent closure of Seward’s main airport runway by the Alaska Department of Transportation. As reported by City Manager Jim Hunt at Monday’s city council meeting, both he and Assistant City Manager Ron Long granted at least a television interview apiece over the past week. 

 In addition to the exposure of the situation via Anchorage media, Hunt says that contact with Rep. Mike Chenault has elevated the awareness of the importance of getting the airport back online and solving the flooding issue. Councilor Marianna Keil mentioned that she communicated with legislators Chenault and Sen. Cathy Giessel and that they signified their awareness of the situation and the need to have it addressed immediately.

One of the factors prioritizing dealing with the airport situation in the short term is the use of the facility for medevac operations. Another is the loss of business which, according to Seward Air’s Denny Hamilton, may put him out of business if it continues much longer. Seward Air, among other services, is the only fuel provider on the airport premises. Hamilton says that the fuel business is a significant underwriter of the rest of his business and presently he’s out close to $100,000 in lost sales.

In June, DOT tested the main runway pavement and determined that it should not be used by aircraft heavier than 12,500 pounds which limits the facility to just small planes. Since then, it has been reopened when it was not flooded and DOT has maintained that the current situation is under study and that the airport is not closed. However, depending on how saturated or undermined the entire area is, use of the short runway may also be restricted and the longer runway closed permanently.

During a visit to the airport by DOT personnel on Aug. 8, Carl High, DOT’s Kenai Peninsula District superintendent and DOT Regional Hydrologist Paul Janke were confronted by another flooding episode. As they waited for a helicopter ride, the Resurrection River washed across the nearby runway. High said that they were there to get the big picture and perform aerial surveys.

Janke asserted that, according to current budgeting and departmental priorities, there would likely be no money for projects at the Seward Airport until 2016. Pending completion of a formal study by DOT, the present conversation lays out a combination of fixes required to permanently address the airport’s problems including dredging the river and armoring the river bank as well as replacing fill materials under portions of the pavement and, overall, raising the elevation of the runways.

Before the recent restrictions by DOT, the airport’s runways had essentially no weight limits and had supported traffic in the past including large and heavy planes such as 100,000-pound DC-6s loaded with outbound Seward Fisheries seafood shipments. The airport also was open to use by medium size commercial jets such as the 737’s typically used for flights between smaller Alaska communities.

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Helicopter flight school at Pease raises concerns: Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (KPSM), New Hampshire

PORTSMOUTH — A proposal to bring a helicopter flight school and charter service to Pease International Tradeport is being met with turbulence from some in the community.

Seacoast Helicopters, a limited liability company, has applied to the Pease Development Authority to provide flight instruction and air charter services at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease. The PDA board of directors is slated to vote on the proposal today.

The application, filed by company founder Bruce Cultrera of Mont Vernon, indicates the company has subleased space from Port City Air and plans to provide primary and advanced helicopter flight instruction, as well as air charter operations including scenic tours and air taxi.

"Seacoast Helicopters is being formed as a private company, offering helicopter services to student pilots and tourists," according to Cultrera's proposal.

The company will use Robinson helicopters, which Cultrera said are "renowned for their reliability, safety and ease of maintenance." The business is proposing to offer services seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

While a review of the application by Pease officials indicates the proposal meets minimum standards for flight instruction and air charter service, some officials expressed concern with the potential effects the service could have on surrounding communities.

Concerns surfaced earlier this week during a meeting of the PDA's Airport Committee.

Committee member Margaret Lamson, who is also a member of the PDA board of directors, said she believes the proposal needs further vetting before the full PDA board can act. As the Newington representative to the PDA board, Lamson said she wants the public to have a chance to weigh in on the proposal due to the potential noise the helicopters could create.

"I have a responsibility to the town of Newington, but I also have a responsibility to our neighbors," she said.

Lamson said she wants the proposal to go before the PDA Noise Compatibility Committee before it moves forward.

City Manager John Bohenko, who attended the meeting, said he also believes the proposal should be discussed further. Bohenko, a PDA board member, said while he has yet to make up his mind on the proposal, he agrees the noise committee should review it.

"I have not taken a position either way," he said.


Mooney M20M Bravo, N251JK: August 15, 2013 - Runway overrun at Provincetown Municipal Airport (KPVC), Massachusetts

PROVINCETOWN — On Thursday, Aug. 15, at approximately 1:50 p.m. the police officer assigned to the Provincetown Municipal Airport reported a small plane had crashed off the primary runway, according to a press release from the Provincetown police. 

 Provincetown Airport personnel, as well as police, fire and EMS department members responded to the scene to discover a small plane had come to rest off the runway surface to the south proximate to the primary 25/07 runway.

Both occupants of the aircraft stated they were unhurt but were evaluated by EMS at the scene and released.

The scene was surrendered to the airport manager while the State Police, FAA and Mass. Aeronautics assess the incident at the scene.

The Provincetown Airport was closed temporarily during the incident, but opened approximately 90 minutes later.


ROVINCETOWN - There were no injuries in a small plane crash at Provincetown Municipal Airport Thursday afternoon.

According to a Provincetown police release, a small plane had "come to rest off the runway surface."  

Provincetown police, firefighters and EMTs responded to the scene shortly after the incident occurred at 1:50 p.m.

Both the pilot and passenger told authorities they were not injured. They were checked by EMTs and released, police said.

Massachusetts State Police,
Federal Aviation Administration and Mass Aeronautics all responded to the scene. Police did not indicate if the plane was taking off or landing when it left the primary 25/07 runway. The cause of the incident is unknown.

The airport was closed for about an hour, then reopened for regular use, police said.


PROVINCETOWN – A private plane went off the runway at Provincetown Municipal Airport on Thursday afternoon, closing the airport for about 90 minutes. 

The accident happened just before 2 p.m. and neither of the two occupants in the single-engine plane was hurt, according to a statement from Provincetown police Lt. Jim Golden.

The airport – which has just one runway and is in the Cape Cod National Seashore – is serviced by one commercial airline, Cape Air.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, the plane is owned by Joseph P. Keenan of Westfield.

The plane was in the brush at the south end of the clear zone away from the runway and will require a crane to remove, which could take up to two days, said Cape Air spokeswoman Michelle Haynes.

“It is not interfering with Cape Air,” she said.

The state police, FAA and the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission are investigating, Provincetown police said.


Disabled man files lawsuit against National Air and Space Museum

A disabled flight student and his brother have filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the National Air and Space Museum alleging that they were denied access to flight simulators and publicly embarrassed during a museum visit last year.

The suit was filed in Washington’s federal district court Thursday morning against the Smithsonian Institution, which runs the museum, and Pulseworks LLC, the company that operates the simulators.

Max Gold, 21, who suffers from a rare vascular birth defect that has left him wheelchair-bound since his right leg was amputated at age 6, and his brother, Jake, 25, were visiting from New York last August when the incident occurred. They say they were told the simulator “required two legs and since Max only has one,” it was potentially too dangerous. They were then directed to an interactive flight simulator and allowed to purchase tickets.

“Upon me lifting Max to place him to the seat, a supervisor came running over and said I had to put him down,” Jake Gold said. Afterward, the pair say, the supervisor directed all her comments to Jake despite attempts by Max to speak for himself.

“She was yelling that the only way I could ride this ride was if I physically got out of the chair and walked up the stair,” Max Gold said. He said he tried “jumping in” to explain that his brother had been lifting him for most of his life, “but she didn’t understand that I was trying to get involved and state my authority.”

According to lawyer Shawn Heller, of the Social Justice Law Collective, the suit seeks a policy change that accommodates individuals with disabilities, staff training on accommodations and sensitivity and unspecified damages for emotional distress.

Claire Brown, a museum spokeswoman, said there would be no comment on the pending litigation.

Max Gold, who is entering his junior year at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, where he studies security systems with an aviation concentration, says they came straight to the museum from the train “due to my absolute love for aviation.” By the descriptions of the rides, “you were actually able to have a hands-on experience with flying a plane. Once I saw that I thought, ‘I absolutely must try this.’ ”

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Piper PA-28R-200, N55695: Near Big Muskego Lake, Waukesha County, Wisconsin 


A small plane had to make an emergency landing near Big Muskego Lake early Wednesday evening. 

The control tower lost contact with the plane.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department contacted police departments around southeastern Wisconsin to be alert for the plane.

It landed safely in a farm field near Loomis Road.

No one was injured, and Piper Arrow appears to be intact, News Chopper 12's Matt Salemme said.

Drone company lets pilots know they won't get in the way: Henry County Airport (KPHT), Paris, Tennessee

 Members of the Henry County Airport Committee examine this information sheet about a Savannah drone aircraft site during a safety briefing Wednesday at the airport. 

A company flying drone aircraft in the Savannah area wants pilots flying out of the Henry County Airport to know they’re there.

Dave Daniels, chief of flight safety for the ISR Group, visited the airport Wednesday afternoon for a safety briefing and information session.

The company has operated a 6,200-acre research and development facility 10 miles east of Savannah for the past three years.

There, the company tests unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs — popularly known as drones.

Daniels met with airport officials and one local pilot to brief them about their operation, and how pilots can contact them if they’re in the area.

“That’s our primary concern,” Daniels said. “To make sure we don’t become a hazard to any other aircraft.”

Airport officials included Don Davenport, airport manager; Dell Carter, airport board chairman; and Jackie Jones, board member.

The company, which has operated UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan, uses their Hardin County facility to explore non-military applications for their aircraft.

The company operates six models of UAVs, ranging from hand-launched models to the 400-pound Viking 400, which is capable of reaching altitudes of 4,000 feet above ground level.

Daniels said that among the most-used models are the Shadow Hawk, a camera-equipped helicopter which typically operates 100-400 feet off the ground, and the Scan Eagle, a fixed-wing aircraft with a maximum altitude of 1,500 feet.

Henry County residents won’t be seeing the company’s drones anytime soon, Daniels said. Any test flights the company makes are either over their property, or very close to it.

“We won’t go outside the boundaries of our property unless we have the ability to dead-stick (land) it back to our property,” Daniels said.

Ground observers maintain eye contact with the UAVs, or “birds” as Daniels called them, at all times.

The company also has four control towers, which are manned primarily to look for other aircraft.

The company posts information about flights at Memphis and Jackson airports.

“We just want you to know, more than anything else, that we’re going to stay out of your way,” Daniels said.

“This is not much different than having skydivers in the area,” Davenport said. “In fact, it’s safer.”

Daniels said the Savannah site will become one of the six sites selected by the Federal Aviation Administration as a Congressionally mandated site for testing civilian drone applications.

That decision, which would see the ISR facility grow to about 10,000 acres, will be made in December.

Possible non-military uses for the drones include agricultural, search and rescue, law enforcement, and emergency management applications.

Daniels said the company had been in talks with Mississippi Emergency Management officials about the UAV’s uses after a major hurricane or similar event.

The drones also could be used by the Tennessee Valley Authority to inspect power lines — a job currently being done by manned helicopters.

“It’s a lot cheaper to fly a lot of these little birds than it is a helicopter,” Daniels said.

Pilots who want flight information about the ISR facility near Savannah can call Daniels at 731-438-7591; or Davenport at 644-7933.

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Smith Field Airport (KSLG) Hires New Airport Manager: Siloam Springs, Arkansas

After interviewing a number of candidates the city of Siloam Springs chose to hire from within and promote James Nixon as the new airport manager.

Nixon has spent the last year as a dispatcher at the city’s police department, but says his passion is aviation. Nixon earned a Bachelor of Science from Utah Valley University in Aviation Administration. He is also a Federal Aviation Administration licensed pilot.

Nixon will start in the position Sept. 2.

The Airport Manager is responsible for the day to day operations of the airport. Nixon will also oversee daily safety checks and facility upkeep.

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Oceanside’s airport to get long-awaited improvements: Bob Maxwell Memorial Airfield/Oceanside Municipal (KOKB), California

Airport Manager Dennis Easto discusses improvements to the Bob Maxwell Memorial Airfield with Oceanside Resident David Terrell. The city hosted an open house at the Oceanside Public Library on Wednesday to get feedback from the community about the master plan. 
Photo by Paige Nelson 

Oceanside is in the process of updating the master plan for the Bob Maxwell Memorial Airfield off Highway 76. The plan for the airport will determine improvements required to accommodate future aviation needs over the next 20 years. 
by Paige Nelson

OCEANSIDE — After a two-year lawsuit over land use, Oceanside is moving ahead with its new master plan for the Bob Maxwell Memorial Airfield. 

 The yearlong process of updating the plan began earlier this year in March. The last plan was adopted in 1994.

At an open house meeting on Wednesday, officials introduced the preliminary outline to the public at the Oceanside Public Library.

“This is a good thing for the little guys,” said Dan Matloch, an Oceanside resident and commercial pilot. “I think the airport is a diamond in the rough.”

Airport Property Ventures, the company that leases the airport and runs it for the city, was awarded the contract in 2009 with a promise to the city there would be many improvements, said Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood.

“This airport hasn’t had a lot of investment, but we have been able to secure some federal grants,” said Darcy Driscoll, senior administrator for Airport Property Ventures.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires all airports to update their master plans regularly to maintain eligibility for FAA grants, said Laura Feja, AECOM Airport Planner.

“We need to make sure it’s affordable, environmentally appropriate and accommodates the growth forecast,” said Feja.

Feja said the plan will help determine what improvements are required to meet future aviation needs at the 43-acre airport for the next 20 years.

Under the grant terms, the FAA will cover 90 percent of the cost to create the new master plan. The remainder of the cost will be funded by Airport Property Ventures.

“The delay has been because of ongoing legal issues,” Wood said, “but this is a prosperous airport and we’re moving forward.”

The city was sued back in 2008, when Santa Monica-based AELD LLC argued it was the rightful owner of 14.7 acres of vacant land at the north side of the airport.

In 2010, a district judge ruled the FAA’s jurisdiction over the airport trumped the company’s claim to the land and the dispute was resolved.

When Wood first joined the city council, he said he questioned whether the airport was worth keeping at all.

“We’ve obviously resolved that since the FAA said they would not let us close the airport,” Wood said, “so we’re going to fix it up.”

Wood said one of the main issues with the plan right now is how to use the empty space, but for many residents who attended the meeting, noise mitigation is a bigger priority.

“We’re all concerned about noise pollution because it affects the quality of life,” said Oceanside resident Victor Roy.

Over the years, Wood said the airport has received complaints about small aircrafts that don’t follow the designated take off and landing path and veer over nearby houses.

“I think people here are worried that somehow expanding the runway will bring in small jets,” Wood said. “We won’t do that — it’s too small.”

Wood said as the McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad becomes more commercialized, the new airport would inevitably draw in more of those small planes.

The airport is mostly utilized by local private pilots and small businesses, with about 12,000 total operations per year. According to the predicted growth forecast, that number isn’t expected to increase drastically.

A final report will be released in January and the complete plan is anticipated to be completed by June.

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Greenwood Lake Air Show is this weekend in West Milford, New Jersey

Greenwood Lake Airport Manager Tim Wagner and his staff are ready to open the three day Air Show at Greenwood Lake Airport tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 16). This is the fifth year for the event. It includes activities featuring aircraft in the air and on the ground and a car show and a series of other attractions geared to pleasing people of varied interests and ages, Wagner said.

The event continues through Sunday. Gates are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The daily air show is 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The car show is Saturday and Sunday with trophies presented to contest winners.

Raymond P. Martinez, chairman and chief administrator of the New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission, contacted Wagner and is expected to be among the guests attending the show.

"The Greenwood Lake Air and Car Show is a fantastic event," wrote Martinez in a letter he sent to the airport. "Tim and the rest of the coordinating staff once again have done a commendable job. This outstanding event will attract thousands to one of the most beautiful regions of our state for three days of exciting entertainment and events."

Martinez – on behalf of the state Motor Vehicle Commission – congratulated Wagner and the show team on the staging of the successful annual event.

Wagner smiles and doesn’t argue when someone calls him a perfectionist. He has been planning this show since the day that the 2012 show ended. He is very enthusiastic about the response and support the show receives from the Township of West Milford people who answer his annual call for event volunteers.

"We had a huge turnout for this year’s mandatory volunteer meeting last week," Wagner told AIM West Milford. "This year we have a volunteer force of over 150 people – the largest ever."

He said many who joined his staff of volunteers in past years have returned. The airport manager said new helpers include the Civil Air Patrol, Councilwoman Vivienne Erk, the Knights of Columbus and several dozen residents.

The opening ceremony on Friday is at 12:30 p.m. with Team Red Bull, Air Force/Kirby Chambliss Circle Sky Divers. The Iron Eagles Aerobatic Team and Gary Ward will also participate in the traditional patriotic opening of the show. Wagner said all branches of the nation’s Military will be represented at this year’s event.

At 1 p.m. there is a Jet Car Run with Greg Koontz doing a Comedy Club routine. The air acts continue throughout the afternoon. To find details about each act and the performers go to the site for details.

On the ground Project Supercar – a tour to educate youth about mechanical and technical careers offered in the United States Air Force will be available for viewing. Of about 130 available careers 51 are mechanical and technical related. Two super cars developed to demonstrate how passion for cars and mechanics can develop into an Air Force career are being displayed. They are a Ford X-1 Mustang and Dodge Challenger Vapor, showcasing that Air Force ingenuity starts as technology, inspiration and input from the best experts.

There’s a new trailer display with historical information about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and how they triumphed over adversity. The display gives inspiring encouragement to youths to reach and attain future goals. Two of the airmen who were part of the unit of World War II will be present.

The Army Air Forces Historical Association will be part of the Living History section of the show. Artifacts portraying what life was like during World War II can be viewed. Members will be wearing vintage-designed clothing and uniforms from that era.

There will be vendors selling items such as military goods, dog tag pins, and patches and other items. There will be various types of food available for purchase.

Daily admission is $25 for adults and $15 for veterans and senior citizens 65 years and older. For children ages 4 to 12 it’s $10 and those under 4 attend free of charge.


Pilot wins champion prize at Oshkosh air show for handmade aircraft

Mike Riley, 66, owner of Sport Rider in Altoona, was awarded a grand champion prize in the ultralight and light sport aircraft division recently at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture air show in Oshkosh.

Mike Riley is afraid of heights, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying the view from the sky as an airplane pilot. 

 “It’s an unbelievable world, looking down on everything,” said Riley, who flies a light sport aircraft he built last year from a kit. “It’s beautiful.”

The 66-year-old Riley’s hand-made airplane is so impressive it was awarded the grand champion prize in the ultralight and light sport aircraft division at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, which occurred July 29 to Aug. 4.

“This whole thing has been a Cinderella story for me,” Riley said of his award. “To achieve these results are overwhelming.”

Riley, the owner of Sport Rider in Altoona, always has had an interest in aircrafts and has been building model airplanes for six decades. However, he was afraid of heights and feared going into a small plane.

Then he met Scott Walby, an area firefighter who built his own plane. About five years ago Walby gave Riley a ride in his airplane, prompting Riley to decide to build a plane of his own.

At first they took off but stayed within a few feet of the ground, until Riley got more comfortable being higher up.

“I got to ride with the right person,” Riley said.

Riley built his first plane in 2010 from a kit he ordered from Illinois-based Quad City Ultralight Aircraft Corporation. It took him about six months to build.

“I’m a get-it-done sort of person,” Riley said, noting some airplane builders tinker for years on their projects. “It was my desire to get it done and get flying.”

Building that first plane cost Riley about $28,000. He was surprised to win a reserve grand champion award at the Oshkosh show in 2011 in recognition of his work.

In 2012 Riley built another plane, finishing the eight-month project in October. That venture cost about $35,000.

Walby helped with the first plane, particularly with painting it. But Riley did the second plane entirely himself.

Walby said he wasn’t surprised Riley’s plane was selected as the best at the Oshkosh show.

“It’s his attention to detail,” Walby said. “He did a nice job of putting it together and painting it.”

Riley said he was graded in several categories and was told he won because of his quality workmanship. He made sure to have independent inspectors check his airplane for safety.

“I took that to heart because your life depends on it,” he said.

Riley’s plane weighs 530 pounds empty. It can haul twice that weight, including fuel.

“I weigh 190 pounds, so I can put someone 200 pounds in the back seat, no problem,” he said.

Riley said he tries to get up in the air at least once a week. He usually flies 25 to 100 miles at a time. He plans to fly his plane to Moline, Ill., for the 30-year anniversary of the Quad City Ultralight Aircraft Corporation next month.

Even five years after learning to fly, Riley said he still fights his fear of heights. And as much as he enjoys flying, he said he isn’t about to try performing air stunts in his plane any time soon.

“This plane is not aerobatic,” he said. “It’s strictly go up, and come back down.”

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Pilots compete, test skills this weekend: Spencer Municipal Airport (KSPW), Iowa


More than 20 pilots will compete this weekend in five categories of skill at the Annual Doug Yost Challenge, a lead-up to the national championships. Joining the competition are members of the United States Aerobatic Team and participants in last year's world championships. 
(Photo by Kate Padilla) 

The Spencer Airport will host the 16th annual Doug Yost Challenge this weekend, a competitive air sports event with the International Aerobatic Club. 

This is the fifth year the local airport will host the challenge, and more than 20 pilots are expected to compete.

"It's similar to an air show - we've got the loops, rolls and tumbles you'd see at that kind of event - but it's not quite as flashy," Aaron McCartan, a representative of the International Aerobatic Club, said. "Instead of flying for the crowd, these pilots are flying for a panel of judges."

Although McCarten noted this is a "competitive event" and may not be as spectator-friendly, he said members of the community are welcome to come and watch.

"We do have some confirmed members from the United States Aerobatic Team," he said. "This is a regional event, in preparation for the national championships."

The members from last year's world championships will compete against each other and against others hoping to qualify for the prestigious team.

Also competing is the University of North Dakota team, which will fly for points against other aviation schools.

McCartan noted the competition includes five categories of difficulty, from beginner to unlimited.

"Some of our flyers are in their early years of college still - 19 and 20 years old - and who maybe have flown in only one or two other competitions before," he said. "Then we've got a gentleman out of Michigan who just turned 70 and is still flying."

Last year, a major pilot with the International Air Show flew out just to compete in Spencer. McCarten noted she will unfortunately not return this year due to scheduling conflicts.

The event has no admission, though McCarten noted there will not be many "crowd amenities."

"People are welcome to come up, park and hang out," he said. "Everyone's welcome to come out and take a look."

Registration and practice will take place Friday, and the competition will officially begin Saturday. Saturday morning will include the qualifier flight and Saturday afternoon will include the freestyle event.

Sunday is reserved for the unknown, where pilots must fly a sequence they have not seen before and without practice.

McCarten noted he hopes to include one event into the weekend that would be more spectator-friendly.

"If we can get enough unlimited competitors to be interested, we may have an event early afternoon Sunday called the four-minute freestyle," he said. "We welcome anyone to come out who would like to see. It's a fantastic event."

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Woman stepped into rotating plane propeller at Popham Airfield

A woman had a lucky escape from serious injury after she stepped into the path of a rotating plane propeller.

The accident took place at 11am on Saturday, May 5 this year, while the microlight airplane was sat running idle at Popham Airfield.

The details appear in a report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch for the Department for Transport.

The 54-year-old pilot had refueled the Ikarus C42 FB80 microlight airplane before starting the engine and was running it at idle to allow it to warm up.

The report read: “His passenger was strapped in and the doors were closed but the passenger complained that she could not find her mobile telephone and suddenly, against the advice of the pilot, opened the door, stepped out of the aircraft and into the path of the rotating propeller.”

The passenger suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder, and two of the three propeller blades were damaged.


Plane makes emergency landing at Greenville Spartanburg International Airport (KGSP), Greer, South Carolina

GREER, SC (FOX Carolina) -  A Delta airlines flight made an emergency landing at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport on Wednesday evening.

Airport officials said the plane reported a alert two level five, which means there was a mechanical issue and that there were more than 50 people on board.

Officials tell us the plane's issue had to deal with the plane's landing gear.

Emergency crews were on stand-by in case of any issues on the ground.

They said shortly after 9 p.m. the airplane landed safely at GSP.

None of the 149 passengers were injured, officials said.

Right now the only information is that the plane was a Delta flight. Officials were not sure if it was rerouted to GSP or was scheduled to land there.