Monday, September 02, 2013

Flight instructor and student pilot praised for "textbook execution of the forced landing procedure": PathFinder Aviation in South East Queensland, Australia


Two young pilots who were at the controls of a light aircraft which was forced to make an emergency landing in Queensland have been praised for their calm actions. 

Aviation authorities are investigating the cause of the crash which happened at Victoria Point, south-west of Brisbane, two weeks ago.

Footage taken from inside the cockpit captured events as the Jabiru J-170 light plane lost power.

Within minutes the plane crash landed, narrowly avoiding a pump house and ending up in a barbed wire fence.

Josh Matica, 18, was at the controls on what was his first training flight with perfect conditions.

When the engine started to surge, his 22-year-old instructor, Doug Field, took over but he was unable to get the power back and they began gliding.

Recalling the events, Mr Field said: "We're at 11,000 feet, we've got about a bit under two minutes before we're going to hit the ground at this point in time."

Realising they were not going to make it back to the airfield, they made an emergency call to the tower and Mr Field began looking for a place to land.

Mr Field, who does work with the Wings of Life charity which raises money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, said: "I'm having a bit of a look around, you can see there weren't too many good options there."

The plane came down in what has been described as a textbook emergency landing.

The company that owns the aircraft, Pathfinder Aviation, released a statement praising the student and instructor for a "textbook execution of the forced landing procedure".

Meanwhile airline pilot Captain Michael Greig said: "Those are the sort of guys you want sitting next to you in the seat when something does go wrong because you know how they're going to react – they’re going to be calm, methodical and do the job at hand at the time."

The findings of a report into the crash landing are expected to be released in a couple of months.

PathFinder Aviation: 

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Jabiru J170, 24-7984  


Grounded TV Marti plane a monument to the limits of American austerity

Monday, September 2, 8:14 PM 

By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — At an airfield in rural Georgia, the U.S. government pays a contractor $6,600 a month for a plane that doesn’t fly.

The plane is a 1960s turboprop with an odd array of antennas on its back end and the name of a Cuban national hero painted on its tail. It can fly, but it doesn’t. Government orders.

“The contract now is a ‘non-fly’ ” contract, said Steve Christopher of Phoenix Air Group, standing next to the plane. “That’s what the customer wants.” 

The airplane is called “Aero Martí,” and it is stuck in a kind of federal limbo. After two years of haphazard spending cuts in Washington, it has too little funding to function but too much to die. 

The plane was outfitted to fly over the ocean and broadcast an American-run TV station into Cuba. The effort was part of the long-running U.S. campaign to combat communism in Cuba by providing information to the Cuban people uncensored by their communist government.

But Cuban officials jammed the signal almost immediately, and surveys showed that less than 1 percent of Cubans watched. Still, when Congress started making budget cuts, lawmakers refused to kill the plane. 

But then they allowed across-the-board “sequestration” cuts. And there was no more money for the fuel and pilots. So the plane sits in storage at taxpayer expense — a monument to the limits of American austerity. In this case, a push to eliminate long-troubled programs collided with old Washington forces: government inertia, intense lobbying and congressional pride. 

 The result was a stalemate. And a plane left with just enough money to do nothing.

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Paragliding pilots told to get license within a week: Pokhara, Nepal

POKHARA, Sept 2: Local administration has asked Nepali paragliding pilots, who were so far plying their trade without any license or accreditation, to get license by September 7.

Chief District Officer of Kaski, Yadav Koirala, said the local administration has given local pilots a week-long time-frame beginning Sunday to meet all requirements for operating paragliding flights. “We have tried to regulate the paragliding pilots working in the lake city, as it would be difficult for us to take action if any untoward incidents happen,” Koirala said.

He further said the local administration asked pilots to get license within a week after none of them applied for the license on their own.

The Aviation Sports Regulation 2013 makes it mandatory for local pilots to obtain a license from authorities concerned before operating paragliding flights.

Paragliding entrepreneurs, however, said the regulation has yet to be implemented.

Koirala said the local administration will take action against pilots if they are found operating flights without getting license after September 7. “We have not decided yet what action we will be taking. But we will go to the extent of revoking registration of paragliding companies that allow unlicensed pilots to operate flights,” he added.

Basanta Raj Dawadi, general secretary of Nepal Air Sports Association (NAA), said delay in the implementation of the regulation has affected the paragliding business. “Nepali pilots were excited when they knew the government would provide license to them as per the Nepal Air Sports Regulation. But they were disappointed, as the government has been postponing the process to distribute license even eight months after the enforcement of the regulation,” he added. “The local authority told the pilots that they don´t have ´additional´ documents for the regulation.”

Most of the Nepali pilots are operating paragliding flights based on their skills and expertise, while few of them has taken permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) after producing license issued by other countries.

After the DAO Kaski asked paragliding pilots to get license within seven days, NAA has said it will put pressure on the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to start licensing process on a fast track mode.

“The government is not issuing license, but the Kaski DAO is asking pilots to get license within seven days,” Dawadi said, adding that the decision will affect paragliding operators ahead of the peak tourist season.

Pratap Babu Tiwari, chief of CAAN´s Pokhara Office, said the process to issue license to paragliding pilots has been delayed as the aviation service regulator is yet to make standards for the regulation.


Boston hotelier drops in on Kennedy via red float plane

HYANNIS — You never know whom you'll see in the air or on the water on the Cape.

On Sunday afternoon, hotelier Andre Balazs landed his red float plane in Hyannis Harbor for a brief visit with Cape resident Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and the son of Robert F. Kennedy.

Reached by telephone on Sunday, Kennedy confirmed he had picked up Balazs, president and CEO of Andre Balazs Properties, at the plane, which was parked on the famous family's mooring.

Balazs visited with the Kennedy family for several hours before flying off with his crew again, Kennedy said.

The plane, a Cessna 208 built in 2000, has transported some famous passengers in recent years.

In September 2012, Pippa Middleton, the sister of Catherine "Kate" Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, took the float plane from New York City to Balazs' luxurious Sunset Beach hotel on Shelter Island, N.Y.

Float planes, which are outfitted with pontoons to provide buoyancy, are ideal for environments where airstrips are limited and water is plentiful.

Balazs, who has been linked romantically to actress Uma Thurman and comedienne Chelsea Handler, launched his seaplane service StndAIR in the summer of 2011. According to the service's website, flights are offered between East Hampton, N.Y., and New York City for $525 one way.

Balazs owns The Standard Hotels, a collection of boutique hotels across the United States, as well as The Mercer Hotel in New York City and the famed Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, Calif.

"We are very proud of Andre because he is a Boston kid who has become a success," Kennedy said by phone Sunday.

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