Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cessna U206F Stationair, Airborne Flyer LLC, N208LH: Aircraft on landing at Stinson Lake, flipped over - Rumney, New Hampshire

RUMNEY, N.H. —A plane that crashed into Stinson Lake in Rumney last week was removed from the water Thursday.

Two people and a dog got out of the plane safely after the crash landing. Pilot Don Stoppe said he has flown and landed seaplanes dozens of times, but he said a small error on his part last week caused the plane to flip as it hit the water.

A home video caught the crash as it happened Friday. The engine can be heard sputtering seconds before the plane splashes into the water and flips.

Stoppe, a pilot with 20 years’ experience, was at the controls. He said he had taken off just minutes before from the Plymouth airport.

“I realized we were going to flip before it happened,” he said.

That gave him and his passenger time to brace for impact.

“I touched down at the lowest possible speed,” Stoppe said. “The actual force on it wasn’t much worse than a carnival ride might be.”

The two men on board and Stoppe’s dog, Tracker, walked away with a few scratches. Stoppe said he credits the safety courses he took with keeping him safe. In particular, he learned that when crashing into water and landing upside down, open the door first.

“You are upside down, and if you unbelt yourself, you’re disoriented and won’t be able to find the door handle,” he said.

The plane is totaled and will be towed to Moultonbourough Airport. The wings and other parts will be broken down into scrap, but Stoppe said it can all be replaced.

“We thank God we’re OK and lucky to be here,” he said.

Stoppe said he wants to suggest to the National Transportation Safety Board that changes are made to the control panels and safety checklist used before seaplanes take off.

Air India to lease a dozen small planes: The airline is likely to float a global tender to lease 70-90 seater planes

Mumbai: State-run Air India Ltd plans to lease nearly a dozen small planes as the debt-laden national flag airline seeks to connect more small cities, according to a government and an airline official. They said it will shortly float a global tender to lease 70-90 seater planes to replace some of its aging aircraft of its regional passenger airline unit Alliance Air, that connects Tier II and Tier III cities.

“Air India is looking at all options in terms of aircraft models. The airline is evaluating ATRs and Q400 types of aircraft. Essentially, it is looking at 70-90 seater planes that will fly for Alliance Air,” said the government official, requesting anonymity.

An Air India official, who also requested anonymity, confirmed the development adding the fleet plan of Alliance Air has been finalized and it needs to replace current aging and fuel guzzling planes.

“As a part of fresh fleet plan, Alliance Air has introduced ‘Buy-on-Board catering services on its flights starting 1 August 2013,” said the Air India executive.

The airline has a total debt of Rs.40,000 crore.


United Recalls 600 Furloughed Pilots: Positions Open Up Due to Retirements and New Rest Rules

September 5, 2013, 1:11 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

United Continental Holdings Inc.  said Thursday that it intends to recall nearly 600 furloughed United pilots to address the airline's future staffing needs.

The callbacks echo those made by other large airlines, including AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc. as carriers have returned to financial health and are coping with a wave of retirements.

United Continental, based in Chicago, is the result of the 2010 merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines. In all, the two have more than 12,000 pilots. The company said training classes will begin next month and run through the end of the year for the furloughed pilots who choose to return to work. All of the laid off aviators were from the United side of the operation.

"We welcome our brother and sister pilots back with open arms," said Capt. Jay Heppner, chairman of the leadership council of the United branch of the Air Line Pilots Association. "We have worked toward this day for more than five years."

Like many other U.S. airlines hit by a plunge in travel demand after the 2001 terrorist attacks, United furloughed thousands of workers. For the pilots, it took from 2001 until 2007 for the airline to recall all those who still wanted jobs or weren't flying on temporary assignment for the military. But when oil prices spiked in 2008, United furloughed 1,400 of its most junior pilots and grounded its fleet of Boeing Co. 737s.

The company has instituted small pilot recalls since then. And in the past year, about 600 laid-off United aviators took the opportunity to take positions at Continental, which had completed its own pilot recalls by early 2011. That left about 600 United pilots to be returned to work. United wouldn't comment on how many pilots it expects to come back. Typically, after lengthy furlough periods, only about half the pilots return because they found jobs at other carriers or switched careers.

The company isn't calling back the pilots because it plans a growth spree. A spokeswoman said the recalls are aimed at filling positions coming open because pilots must retire at age 65, and to accommodate new pilot rest and duty regulations the Federal Aviation Administration plans to implement in early 2014. The new rules, which will give pilots more daily rest time, are expected to boost staffing needs at passenger airlines by at least 5%.

Both American and Delta said they have recalled all of their furloughed pilots. Delta said it plans to add about 50 pilots a month from November through early 2014 and then take 20 a month through September 2014.

The pilots of United and Continental last December ratified a new labor agreement covering both groups, replacing concessionary agreements under which both sides had been working for as long as a decade. The four-year accord provided hefty signing bonuses followed by a 8.5% raise in January 2014 and three subsequent annual raises of 3%. By early 2017, when the pact is open for renewal, the pilots will earn between 32% and 63% more than they did, with the largest gains coming on the United side.

After agreeing to the new pact, the two groups set to work trying to reach agreement on a single seniority list, which dictates which aircraft and routes the pilots can fly, their schedules and vacations. In accordance with ALPA merger policy, a three-member arbitration panel earlier this week released the seniority list, which is final and binding.

Now the airline and union must build on that list in terms of reassigning pilots to different planes, moving them from first office to captain and in constructing their monthly schedules, for which the aviators put in bids. Once that process is finalized, pilots and airplanes will be able to be mixed and matched freely, bringing United Continental some new efficiencies, on top of the increased productivity it garnered in the new labor contract.

The final step for the pilots will be merging the governance of the two ALPA branches under a single leadership council, accompanied by the election of new officers. This should occur in October, the union said.


Seaplane service proposed for Galway Harbour

Test flights have taken place for a proposed seaplane service operating out of Galway Harbour.

The Harbour Flights company began commercial operations two months ago from a base at Mountshannon in Co Clare.

It offers scenic flights over Lough Derg and hopes to expand its operations to the west coast next year.

Harbour Flights Chief Executive Emlyn Heaps said today's test flight into and out of Galway went "fantastically well".

Any service would have to be regulated by the Irish Aviation Authority.

Navigation, radio and safety checks were conducted after the plane touched down and taxied around the harbour area today.

Harbour Flights hopes to construct a pontoon in Galway and offer scenic flights around the region next year.

Mr Heaps says the possibility of providing a service to the Aran Islands was being examined and that the eventual aim was to offer Galway - Dublin seaplane flights.

Today's test involved a Cessna 206 craft.

The checks at the harbour come almost 80 years after Galway was considered as the base for PAN-AM transatlantic flights.

In October 1933, Charles Lindbergh visited the city as part of his search for a suitable seaplane base.

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Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR) expands services

The Sugar Land Regional Airport is the fourth largest in Houston with about 82,000 flight operations each year.

With the completion of its newest runway in 2012—Taxiway Juliet—and an expansion of its services, the changes at Sugar Land Regional Airport are being made with the business community in mind, according to Sugar Land's director of aviation, Phil Savko.

“We understand our market,” he said. “We have a large business market, and we have everything to supply that market here. [Sugar Land Regional] provides an excellent service and a commitment to keep the airport in the condition that it is in.”

Since it was purchased by the city of Sugar Land in 1990, the Sugar Land Regional Airport has undergone about $100 million in expansions and has served an average of 82,000 flight operations each year. The public airport has been ranked as the fourth largest in the Houston metro since 2009, and the relocation of the estimated $10 million Taxiway Foxtrot is expected to increase commuter services.

In addition to several large companies housing their jets at Sugar Land Regional, the airport sees international flights and local stopovers for its competitive retail fuel prices. According to Savko, Sugar Land Regional's gas prices have stayed just above $5 per gallon in 2013 compared to an average $7 in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

As a result of increased business, the airport has been able to employ about 200 people—a workforce that is expected to grow in the next five years, Savko said.

“In the next five years we will be looking to build a new, larger maintenance facility, a possible hotel and a restaurant,” he said. “There are five sites left to be developed and room for development to the west. We will see that managed growth continue after the next five years.”

Savko said that he is looking to partner with other businesses to complement the community's wants and needs. Western Airways, Houston Aviation and other large companies are housed at Sugar Land Regional along with Anson Aviation—an on-site flight school and commercial operator—which has moved into a new facility and expanded its services.

Anson Aviation has operated out of temporary buildings for several years, but moved into a 24,000-square-foot facility at the south end of Sugar Land Regional in mid-June.

“We understand that the primary purpose of flying is to travel and travel by your own terms,” said Jay Robinson, operations manager with Anson Aviation. “Our primary goal has always been, and now is more so, to facilitate flying as a lifestyle.”

The new facility features new equipment, a pilot shop, additional storage and a flight simulator for practice and lessons.

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City of Renton celebrates completion of Taxiway Bravo Rehabilitation

The City of Renton has spent the last several months reconstructing one of the two main taxiways at Renton Municipal Airport/Clayton Scott Field. The Taxiway Bravo Rehabilitation Project serves both general aviation and aircraft manufacturing needs at Renton.

The taxiway was originally built in 1943 with involved reconstruction of its subgrade and pavement occurring in the 1960s. The rehabilitation of Taxiway Bravo is a $9.8 million project funded through a 90 percent grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The remaining 10 percent of project funding was provided by revenue from on-airport tenant leases.

“This project is critical to maintaining Renton as a launch site for Boeing 737 aircraft, and to support the growth of general aviation,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “This project could not have been possible without the outstanding support of the Federal Aviation Administration, through their grant funding and project review.”

The upgrades include replacement of some portions of the storm drainage system, which will improve storm water quality and work to protect salmon in the adjacent Cedar River. The fire water system has also been replaced, and the taxiway lighting system has been upgraded to LED (light emitting diode) to cut power consumption and long term airport operating costs.

In addition, all of the connecting taxiways around the airport have been re-designated to meet national standards, improving communications between pilots and the Air Traffic Control Towerstaff. An emergency generator has been installed to power the Air Traffic Control Tower and airfield lighting.

“Thanks to the great work by our staff and the contractors on this project we’re on schedule, on budget, and the craftsmanship of the work is high,” said Ryan Zulauf, Airport Manager.

The engineering and construction management was provided by Reid Middleton, and ICON Materials worked on the construction. For more information visit

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Man charged in airport metals theft: Augusta Regional (KAGS), Georgia

A 44-year-old man has been charged with stealing more than $6,000 in copper wire from Augusta Regional Airport, where he was employed.

Investigators were called to the airport July 6 when a 500-pound wooden spool holding 4,500 feet of insulated copper wire was reported missing, according to a Richmond County sheriff’s news release. The wire is used for lighting the airport.

Police later discovered that the wire had been sold to an area recycling center by Jefrey Larry West, who has been employed at the airport as a temporary laborer for nearly a year.

West was booked into the Richmond County jail Thursday on a felony charge of theft by taking.

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Ogden, Utah: Company can scatter cremains from the air

Russell Whetton remembers vividly the first time someone asked him to scatter a loved one’s ashes from an airplane.  

It was 1955, he was working for a funeral home in San Diego, and he had his pilot’s license. He had rented a plane to scatter the remains out over the ocean.

“I didn’t think about the negative pressure in the cockpit,” he chuckles. “I opened the door to scatter it, and the cremated dust came back in on me in a cloud. I couldn’t see anything in the cockpit.”

Whetton can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t so funny at the time. “It took me a vacuum, and about two hours, to get it all out of the rented airplane,” he said.

So, did Whetton ever let the family know their loved one had been briefly interred in a Hoover?

“Oh, no,” he says. “And after that, I think I just took the ashes out and scattered them by hand off Coronado.”

Over the years, Whetton did hundreds of airborne scatterings there in San Diego before leaving the funeral business in 1976 to become a chiropractor.

Today, at 83, Whetton runs the Whetton Chiropractic Center in downtown Ogden. But he insists he has dearly missed the mortuary business, and if he had the backing, he’d open his own funeral home; he even went so far as to buy a funeral coach three or four months ago.

Then, Whetton got an admittedly “wild idea.” He and his wife, Helyn, recently decided to open Four Winds Scattering Service, running it out of their hangar at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

Whetton will fly your loved one’s cremains in his 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer airplane and disperse them, at altitude, in a pre-arranged spot — such as up in the mountains, or out over Great Salt Lake.

The service starts at $300 within a 30-mile radius; the price goes up the farther it is from Ogden. You can even have the event recorded and put on a DVD, and the Whettons have talked about adding other memorial-type services to their business.

They’ve advertised in the Standard-Examiner, but thus far haven’t had any takers.

“We’ve practiced with wood ash so far,” said Helyn Whetton. “The business hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet.”

However, the Whettons think scattering remains only makes sense. Sometimes, a generation or two after someone is cremated, the family doesn’t know what to do, and “Grandma ends up in a closet — or the dump,” Russel Whetton said.

“If they’re on the mantel getting dusty, why not scatter their ashes someplace they loved?”

Having learned his lesson about releasing remains from inside an aircraft cabin, Russell Whetton built a device for scattering the remains.

It’s basically a tube that attaches to the struts on one wing, with valves on each end that are attached to cables running inside the aircraft. To release the ashes, the pilot pulls first on one cable, and then the other, to open the valves.

It’s all perfectly legal, he said, and the cremated remains contain no pathogens.

“They’re completely sterile; there’s no harm to the environment,” he said.

Whetton said the remains can be scattered over public lands, and even private property with permission from the owner. There’s even a form to fill out if you’d like them scattered over a national park.

The only other requirement, because it’s a for-profit business, is that it requires a pilot with a commercial license. For that, Whetton’s friend Wayne Law will be lending his support. He’s a commercial pilot, flight instructor and aircraft mechanic.

Law has never done anything like this before but says working with cremated remains won’t bother him one bit.

“I think it’ll be great. Although I don’t know how well it will go over in Utah.”

Whetton’s new business combines two of his loves — flying and assisting those who are saying goodbye to loved ones. His love of flying started at an early age; he later learned to fly in the military.

“When I was 4 or 5, we’d go to the market and get those wooden orange crates,” he said. “We’d take those crates and make airplanes. I flew them all over the world.”

And as for the mortuary business? Whetton sees it as an extremely important service to others.

“I love being able to help people at these most difficult times in their lives.”

Four Winds Scattering Service can be reached at 801-920-2030.

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Foggy summer limits flights to Block Island, threatening federal grants, pizza runs


Ever had a hankering for Chinese takeout?

If you’re on Block Island, satisfying your hunger could be a tall order. Sky high, in fact.

The island has no Chinese restaurants, according to Deputy Town Clerk Millie McGinnes.

So what do you do to get your sweet-and-sour fix?

You could drive down to the harbor, put your car on the ferry for the one-hour trip to Point Judith, hunt down a takeout joint, and take the hour ferry trip back to the island.

But that’s a long way to go for General Tso, not to mention expensive.

Enter New England Airlines.

For $5 to $10, depending on the size of the order, owner Bill Bendokas and his pilots will fly foo yung to you on one of their passenger flights. They’ll accept delivery at Westerly State Airport, stow it in one of their Britten-Norman Islander 10-seat, twin-prop aircraft, and, 12 minutes later, land it at Block Island State Airport.

But you’d better pray that it isn’t foggy. If it is, your moo goo gai pan will be grounded.

Fog has proven to be a particular problem this summer, canceling an abnormally high number of flights.

“It was a multiple of what we usually have. It was a factor of two or three times the amount,” said Bendokas. “We’ve just had a lot of fog this summer.”

The gloomy weather presents a problem to more than just the moo-shu-deprived on Block Island. It could also cost the State of Rhode Island nearly $1 million in federal grants.

The Federal Aviation Administration awards grants nationwide to airports large and small to support passenger service, said Kelly Fredericks, president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, a state agency in charge of Rhode Island’s six state-owned airports, including Block Island and Westerly. The grants are especially useful for items such as capital improvement, repairs and maintenance at the airports, Fredericks said.

Rhode Island gets a baseline of $150,000 for the passenger service between Westerly and Block Island. If the planes carry more than 10,000 passengers a year, Rhode Island gets an additional $850,000, for a total of $1 million.

Although the amount of the grant is based on the passengers traveling between Westerly and Block Island, the money does not have to be spent there. “We can use the funds at any airport in our system,” Fredericks said.

The Airport Corporation’s other airports are T.F. Green, the main commercial airport with major airline service, in Warwick; North Central State Airport, in Smithfield; Quonset State Airport, the former Naval Air Station, in North Kingstown; and Newport State Airport, in Middletown.

The $1 million for 10,000 passengers is where the fog comes in.

In July, New England Airlines carried 885 fewer passenger than it did in July of last year. The numbers dropped from 3,672 in 2012 to 2,787 in 2013, which Bendokas attributed to the weather, not a decrease in demand to get to and from Block Island.

With nearly 2,800 passengers in a single month, 10,000 for the year should be a breeze, right?

Not necessarily. The Block Island air-travel market is highly seasonal.

“It’s heavily weighted, of course, toward tourists, because that’s the life blood of Block Island,” said Bendokas, whose planes fly year-round.

“July is our peak season,” said Fredericks, who added that passenger traffic to the island drops off dramatically outside the summer months.

“The sky is not falling. We’re not being Chicken Little,” said Fredericks. “We’ve got to monitor this closely.”

So people who want Chinese on foggy days are out of luck, but what about the tourists who want to get to the island?

“Most of them simply go down and take the ferry,” said Bendokas. The ferry leaves from Point Judith, about a half-hour up Route 1 from Westerly State Airport.

Both modes of travel between the island and the mainland can be cut off by the weather, but it tends to be different kinds of weather. Fog keeps Bendokas’ planes grounded, while wind and high seas keep the ferries tied up at the dock. “We kind of complement each other,” said Bendokas.

On any given clear day, though, New England Airlines might be carrying just about anything out to the island, from plumbing parts and builders’ tools to Chinese food and boxes of pizza.

Said Bendokas: “We do a little of everything.”

Rhode Island’s state airports

The state of Rhode Island owns six airports under the control of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, a semi-independent state agency. The six airports each serve general aviation needs, which includes handling smaller aircraft that are used for business or pleasure. The airport also have some “specialties” for which they are known. Here’s a quick look at them:

T.F. Green State Airport


The state’s main commercial airport, home to regularly scheduled passenger service on major airlines, including Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways

North Central State Airport


Home to recreational pilots and owners of small aircraft, helps relieve general aviation traffic at Green

Quonset State Airport

North Kingstown

Home to the Rhode Island Air National Guard air base

Westerly Airport State Airport


The jumping off point for Block Island

Block Island State Airport

New Shoreham

Destination for tourists — and Chinese takeout

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Elkhart Municipal Airport (KEKM) faces coyote hazard

ELKHART – Officials at a northern Indiana airport have turned to shooting coyotes that wander onto the property because of worries about the animals posing a safety hazard.

The move comes after workers used live traps for two years without catching any of the coyotes.

Doing nothing to curtail their presence would be “a recipe for disaster,” Andy Jones, Elkhart Municipal Airport manager, said.

At least two landings have had to be aborted in recent years because of coyotes near or on the runway and one plane taking off missed a coyote by about 20 feet, Jones told The Elkhart Truth.

Under the current policy, when a coyote is spotted, airport workers contact police officers, who then attempt to shoot the animal.

Three coyotes have been killed this year, and officials believe about five more have been spotted.

The city obtained a nuisance wildlife animal control permit to kill the coyotes, said Phil Bloom, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Airport officials are seeking a federal grant toward an estimated $1 million wildlife hazard fence that would run around the perimeter of the airport’s 670 acres.

That fence would be 10 feet tall, extend three feet underground and be topped with barbed wire.


Airport restaurant deal fails to get off the ground: Quincy Regional-Baldwin Field (KUIN), Quincy, Illinois

Owners withdraw from agreement after getting old location back; Aeronautics Committee also approves Airport Manager hiring

Owners of a closed Payson restaurant who were in talks with the city to open an establishment in the Quincy Regional Airport have backed out of the proposed agreement.

The news comes one day after the Quincy City Council tabled approval of a proposed lease agreement and sent it to the Aeronautics Committee.

Roy and Penny Noble had planned to open the Blue Skys Family Restaurant in the Quincy Regional Airport. The space formerly housed The Runway restaurant.

The Nobles had previously owned the Payson Park View Restaurant but were forced to close when the building they rented was sold.

Under the lease agreement, the owners would have paid $910.83 a month in rent, plus utilities. The city council was slated to take up the lease agreement at their meeting on Tuesday night but decided to send it to the Aeronautics Committee so they could look at the agreement first.

Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said the owners notified the city on Wednesday that they would no longer seek to open the restaurant at the airport because they had arranged to get their former Payson location back.

“The restaurant was approached by their bank today who said that they had foreclosed on the restaurant’s old property,” Moore said.

“Essentially the (old) restaurant was there, ready for them to move in and also was less expensive than their lease was going to be with the airport so they decided to go with their old location. It was kind of a turn-key operation and they didn’t have to spend any time moving equipment or parts in there.”

Moore said the airport location remains available for any interested restaurant owner.

The Aeronautics Committee also addressed the hiring of Jarred Hester as Airport Manager. Hester’s appointment was tabled by the City Council last month so the Committee could look at it.

Click here for previous story.

The city has been in hot water with the Federal Aviation Administration over staffing issues including not having a full-time airport manager.

Click here for the story.

The one-year agreement with Hester stipulates that he will receive a salary of $53,811 with a pay increase if he completes the Accredited Airport Executive Program. The committee decided to extend the amount of time Hester must complete the program to 42 months.

With little discussion, the motion to hire Hester received unanimous approval. The City Council will take up the matter at next Monday’s meeting.

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Italian air hostess: Ryanair is 'slave labor'

A Norwegian law suit against Ryanair for unfairly firing an Italian flight attendant will "open the floodgates" to a rush of similar claims against against the Irish budget airline, the union leader behind the case has told The Local. 

The Irish low-cost airline has until September 16th to appeal a decision in August by a Norwegian court that Alessandra Cocca, an Italian air hostess stationed in Norway, should be eligible to sue Ryanair for unfair dismissal in Norway, rather than in Ireland, where Ryanair claims she was employed.

The former Ryanair flight attendant, who compared her work agreement to a "slave contract", claims she was wrongly dismissed from her job while stationed at Rygge Airport in Norway.

Vegard Einan, from Norway's Parat union, told The Local that a case launched on Monday by a Belgian union on behalf of six workers showed ex-Ryanair staff were no longer scared to battle their former employer.

"I think the floodgates are now open," he said. "We have been contacted by cabin crew from Germany, from Holland, and from Spain, who have all asked for our help to get into contact with their national unions. So I would expect more of these cases to be held in the future."

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely, said the company would send the "bizarre" decision over Cocca’s case to appeal in Norway's Supreme Court.

Norwegian law, he argued, should not apply to work done “outside Norway, by an Italian citizen employed on an Irish contract by an Irish company subject to Irish law and who paid her taxes and fees in Ireland."

Einan said he hoped too that their appeal was successful.

 "We really want it to go to the Supreme Court," "because this is a situation which has never been tried in Europe. This is the first time this has been tried in aviation, because aviation is a highly mobile business."

He said Ryanair's business model rested on avoiding the higher tax rates and more generous employment rights its competitors were forced to give employees in countries like Norway, by claiming that all of its staff are stationed in Ireland.

"It's more convenient and profitable for them if they can use Irish taxes and work contracts all over Europe," Einan said.

"Even if Norwegian Airlines and SAS were to have their employees work for free, the tax costs and employment costs would be higher than Ryanair pays today."

He said that Ryanair staff had up until now been deterred from complaining by the threatening clauses in their contracts.

"This is the first case in Europe where one of the employees of Ryanair dares to stand up against the company. That's because of the culture of threats that exists in Ryanair. The contracts are full of clauses saying if you tell journalists what it's like to work for Ryanair, we will sue you.”

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Cryodon, Pennsylvania: Helicopter shop helps its clients reach for the sky

Between the Delaware River and River Road in Croydon sits a nondescript building surrounded by a carpet of grass and bordered by a strip of woodland.

The building is unlikely to catch a motorist’s eye, with no sign indicating its purpose.

It’s a different story when you look at it from the rear. Wide open garage-type doors reveal a 25,000-square-foot hangar filled with about a dozen stripped-down helicopters of all sizes and colors, all undergoing maintenance or repair.

The site belongs to Sterling Helicopter, a company that has kept its clients flying high for the past 30 years. The Bristol Township location was established about seven years ago and caters to customers ranging from corporate executives to law enforcement agencies, said Mike Anzelone, Sterling’s executive consultant.

Sterling employees work on everything from bubble-front small copters to massive search and rescue “birds,” all sitting on steel pallets designed to put every part within easy reach of workers.

There’s no copter worth less than $1 million in the hangar, and a few are worth upward of $20 million, Anzelone said. Maintenance bills can run into the seven figures.

“For a helicopter that costs $15 million, paying $1 million is a drop (in the bucket),” Anzelone said as he ducked around a tan copter being overhauled for a corporate client. “An engine overhaul alone can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. But, that takes the ‘odometer’ reading back to zero.”

Sterling also continues to operate from its original location at Pier 36 at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. That’s a fixed-base operation, meaning that pilots can fly in to refuel, park their helicopters, or store them in the hangar. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s MedEvac and NBC 10’s new SKYFORCE are parked there, for example. The Croydon site is private and strictly for repair and maintenance.

Sterling’s Croydon plant employs 22 FAA-certified aviation technicians. The law also requires service centers like Sterling to have an FAA inspector as part of its workforce.

“Maintaining safety is a matter of checks and balances. If we’ve worked on a helicopter, our inspector checks it out before it leaves,” Anzelone said.

Anzelone showed a visitor the range of aircraft being worked on. The largest was a shiny red AW 139 whose interior will be fitted out as a flying emergency room. Ordered by the government of Canada, the helicopter will be used for rescue and trauma cases in the vast remote areas of that country.

Next on Sterling’s to-do list is to make more room for its Croydon service center. Plans include construction of an additional 15,000-square-foot workshop.

“Whether you are someone whose time is valuable and needs to make it from Philadelphia to Manhattan in 25 minutes, or struggling to meet that 15-minute window of life for a trauma patient, helicopters are reliable and safe ways to do so,” said Anzelone, a pilot who learned his skills from Ernie Buehl, who ran a small airfield in Middletown.

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Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management tells Yardley Borough Council of attempt to get environmental impact study of new commercial airline’s use at Trenton-Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

YARDLEY BOROUGH – The Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management (BRRAM) is doing all it can to ensure air traffic in and out of the Trenton-Mercer Airport doesn’t get any worse.

Leaders of the civic group gave borough council a detailed update Sept. 3 about a proposed improvement plan and the group’s current fight for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN).

They also reported on the current status of new service at TTN with Frontier Airlines.

Council president Joe Hunter said it was the consensus of the council to help BRRAM.

He said he testified during the group’s fight to stop TTN’s expansion about 15 years ago.

“We supported you then,” he said. “We will support you now.”

BRRAM is saying that an EIS should have been conducted before the commercial Frontier Airlines started operations last year at TTN.

Holly Bussey and Rich DeLello, both of Lower Makefield Township and both long-time BRRAM leaders, noted that an EIS “would provide a more in-depth evaluation of the direction of the airport, analyze the need for the project, cumulatively evaluate the impacts from the airport’s past, present, and foreseeable future actions, and develop and implement a reasonable plan of mitigation to minimize the current, as well as future, socio-economic and environmental impacts to airport neighbors.”

BRRAM previously fought to stop the expansion of TTN. The project never came to fruition. BRAAM said they were successful in stopping the expansion in the early 2000s.

“BRRAM has been reactivated as TTN is on the move,” Bussey said.

She said that the FAA issued a statement that should another carrier express an interest, “[it] would likely cause sufficient noise impacts that would require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)”.

They also said the EIS should be done before future work starts at TTN.

The public airport, which is owned by Mercer County, was built by the U.S. Navy in 1924 and was known as Mercer Field. Ownership was transferred to the county in the 1950s.

In 2006, an agreement was reached concerning what would trigger an EIS should another carrier decide to use TTN as their base, according to BRRAM.

“Frontier Airlines has now established a foothold at TTN and will expand their daily departures following airport renovations,” said Bussey. “The quiet skies of Bucks County will cease.”

She said that BRRAM has been actively monitoring the operations and expansions of the airport for well over a decade.

At the meeting, DeLello and Bussey were accompanied by four other BRAAM members. Other concerned residents were in attendance from Yardley Borough including some from the Orchard Hill development off of Dolington Road, North Main Street and Delaware Avenue (River Road).

BRRAM members recently circulated a flyer in some neighborhoods in the borough. In it, residents are encouraged to contribute to BRRAM.

“Currently, BRRAM is filing a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to halt any TTN scheduled improvement work and Frontier service expansion until our case [on] non-compliance is heard in federal court,” the flyer reads.

Borough solicitor Jordan Yeager summed up what BRRAM was saying.

“The allegation is that what’s going on constitutes federal action,” he said.

Bussey said that tax money has been previously used to prop up the airport and its service.

“Historically TTN has had a series of improvements and expansion and has brought in airline service without adhering to the law,” Bussey said. “For decades, the federal government has been dumping millions of taxpayer dollars into TTN for all sorts of improvement projects.”

She said that these projects have “collectively increased the size and capacity of the airport. Over time, the combination of these changes has altered the airport’s original operational character from being a small, good-neighbor, friendly, community airport to an aggressively expanding, federally funded, unplanned and unregulated initiative…”

Bussey said that the airport “is making residents of Pennsylvania’s quality of life miserable and could have a significant economic impact to this historic area.”

BRRAM, she noted, questions how this was permitted and why it continues to happen each time passenger jet service is re-introduced.

In early 2000, BRRAM successfully challenged the introduction of air service and improvements and the finding of no significant impact to the surrounding area.

“Through litigation, BRRAM was successful in causing the FAA and Mercer County to withdraw a proposed new terminal,” she said.

Original Article and Comments/Reaction:

Lower winter storage rate at Sawyer International Airport (KSAW) OK’d

Marquette, Michigan - Sawyer International Airport officials are looking to attract light aircraft owners to store their planes at the region's largest airport over the winter.

The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize airport staff to implement a special winter hangar storage rate. A similar reduction was put in place in 2011.

Winter storage of light classification single-engine planes will cost $80 a month and $90 each month for light classification twin-engine aircraft.

Those winter rates are for a public hangar where several planes are stored together. Normal rates, which are for private T-hangar facilities, are $140 a month for a single-engine plane and $190 a month for a twin-engine aircraft, DuRay said.

"What this is, is somewhat marketing trying to entice aircraft that are not currently lodged at Sawyer to come up here and store their aircraft for the winter," Sawyer Manager Duane DuRay said. "What we would do, if approved, is lower the rate - the initial winter rate - so that we would entice aircraft to come up here."

Boreal Aviation has also offered to include a special rate for aircraft annuals during the winter months.

"We do have hangar space. We have Hangar 662 that is 28,000 square feet," DuRay said. "And we feel that this would be a good marketing tool to entice new users at Sawyer to come up here and possibly winter their aircraft here and then maybe see fit that they would want to make this a permanent base."

Commissioner Steven Pence asked if the reduced rates would be available to current customers.

"This is kind of a program that we're not opening up to current residents or current based aircraft, granted there is a risk that if a lease comes up during this time that they could utilize this promotional offer," DuRay said.

Pence responded: "I was just more concerned about them feeling like they've been with us for a while and their not being treated the same as the new kid on the block. But you've considered that?"

DuRay said: "Yes," adding it is unknown whether light aircraft owners will seek out winter storage locations.

"So there is no guarantee that Sawyer will have any takers," DuRay told Marquette County administrator Scott Erbisch in a memo. "Consequently, the cost of printing the flyers and bulk mailing may not be recovered."

Commissioner Bruce Heikkila wanted DuRay to send email advertisements to aircraft owners as a cheaper alternative to direct mail. DuRay said that would be considered using a Federal Aviation Administration Website to identify aircraft owners.

Original Article:

Boeing's classic 767 continues rolling off the company's Everett assembly line

 Even as Boeing Wednesday delivered its first 767-300 Freighter to FedEx Express from the company's Everett flight line, there is no sign that  production of the venerable twin jet will halt anytime soon.

It's been more than 31 years since Boeing delivered its first 767, a passenger version, to United Airlines. In the intervening years, the company has delivered more than 1,050 767s to airlines around the world.

Even as Boeing's mid-sized replacement for the 767, the 787 Dreamliner, rolls out of the adjacent production bays at Boeing, production of the 767 will likely continue well into the next decade.

According to Boeing's website, through the end of July, the company had recorded 1108 orders for the 767 with 1054 delivered.  And those orders were just for commercial versions of the plane.  The U.S. military has plans for Boeing to build at least 179 tanker versions of the 767.

The first of two of those tankers, dubbed the KC46-A, are under construction now in Everett.

Boeing expects that the Air Force as well as foreign military forces may order dozens, if not hundreds, more of those tankers. The first of the Air Force tankers is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

Read more here:

Rans S-6ESD Coyote II, G-MYSP: Accident occurred August 28, 2013 at Redhill Aerodrome, Kings Mill Lane, South Nutfield, Surrey - United Kingdom

Rans S-6ESD Coyote II, G-MYSP: 

A pilot who was killed when his plane crashed at Redhill Aerodrome had only held his license for a few months.

David Marjason died when his microlight crashed into the turf shortly after take-off last Wednesday.

Mr Marjason, a chartered surveyor from Oxted, was one of four recreational flyers who owned the 21-year-old Rans S-6 microlight as part of a syndicate. It is understood he had been flying the plane for less than four months.

The aircraft co-owner Keith Diamond said: "He only joined our group earlier this year.

"He was a very organized person and he took over the role of secretary of the club, which he was very good at.

"I have known him for about a year. I have been flying with him and, apart from the experience side of it, he was quite a capable pilot."

Mr Marjason was circuit flying, in which a pilot practices manoeuvres by repeatedly landing and taking off again, when he crashed at 12.18pm.

Eyewitnesses have told the Mirror the engine appeared to be "spluttering", and that Mr Marjason may have tried to turn the aircraft shortly before it fell to earth.

Mr Diamond, a pilot for 30 years, said the plane had a good safety record.

He said: "During your training it is drummed into you that you never turn back.

"I have one or two ideas about what could have gone wrong. One is that he tried to turn back.

"If you get engine failure you are trained to deal with that situation. I am just wondering whether he forgot that. I just hope the AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) can come to a conclusion. The engine on that aircraft has never missed a beat.

"It looks like it nose-dived into the ground. No person is going to survive that. What I can't understand is why.

"I did hear someone say they thought the engine might have been the issue but that engine was in very good condition.

"He was just knocking out some circuits to fine-tune his ability.

"He was practising his landings, presumably to give himself more experience for when he came across airfields with shorter runways."

He added that Mr Marjason had a love of flying, saying: "That is why he bought into the group. That is why we all do it.

"It is something you enjoy, everyone has a hobby of some sort. You are operating in the third dimension and unfortunately things sometimes go wrong.

"My thoughts are with his family."

Mr Marjason, of Hamfield Close, ran his own business, Marjason & Associates.

He played the second horn in Oxted Band, which he had been a member of since 2000.

Writing on a British Microlight Aircraft Association forum in May, he said he had just passed his general skills training and would be flying the Rans aircraft.

His twitter profile states: "Chartered Surveyor, Corporate Building Engineer and Energy Assessor undertaking Building, Condition and Energy surveys… but would rather be flying a Microlight."

Original Article:

Norwegian Air: Dreamliner Stuck at Arlanda Due to Brake Issues - Plane Has Been at Airport Since Monday

September 5, 2013, 6:41 a.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal

Norwegian airline Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said Thursday one of its freshly delivered Boeing Dreamliner aircraft has been stuck at Arlanda Airport in Sweden since Monday afternoon due to potential problems with the brakes.

"There are indications of some problem with the brake system," Norwegian communications manager Asa Larsson told The Wall Street Journal. "The Dreamliner is still at Arlanda, but the technicians are working on it and we hope it will be up in the air pretty soon."

Norwegian received the Dreamliner last month. It recently ordered a total of eight Dreamliners, which it plans to phase in over the next few years and use on long-distance routes.

Despite the brake problems, as well as earlier delivery delays amid technical issues with batteries, Ms. Larsson said Norwegian won't change its plans for the aircraft.

"Almost all new aircraft have problems in the beginning. We have full confidence in the Dreamliner," she said.

In midmorning trading in Europe, shares in Norwegian were up against a 0.4% drop in the wider Oslo market.