Friday, September 06, 2013

Fort Lauderdale-Based Seaplane Service Expands in Bahamas

Island hopping in the Bahamas just got a bit easier.

Fort Lauderdale-based Tropic Ocean Airways has announced the addition of a new eight-passenger Cessna 206 seaplane.

The company offers scheduled seaplane flights to Bimini four times a week and charters every day of the week to anywhere in the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and Florida.

Bimini is about a 30-minute flight from South Florida.

Tropic Ocean launched the seaplane service in 2012, and is the only US-based seaplane carrier authorized by the Bahamian government to service the North Bimini Seaplane Base.

That had previously been operated by the now-defunct Chalk’s International Airline, another seaplane service.

“Additional airlift into Bimini is always positive news,” said MichaelWeber, General Manager for the 51-room Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina, located in Alice Town. “Sixty percent of our guests arrive by air, and to come by seaplane is growing in popularity.  It¹s a great way to see the island and certainly adds to the overall island adventure.”

Original Article:

3 Rescued after being Stranded in Helicopter on Alaska Peninsula Volcano

Two researchers and their pilot were rescued Friday from an Alaska volcano after their helicopter's blades were covered in ice by freezing rain, stranding the trio.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters told The Associated Press the three were rescued at about 5 p.m. Friday. The freezing rainstorm started Wednesday evening, and the bad weather prevented an earlier rescue.

Pilot Sam Egli, United States Geological Survey geophysicist John Paskievitch, and University of Alaska-Fairbanks researcher Taryn Lopez were unscathed.

Asked how they passed the time for more than two days, Egli said they remained in the helicopter and "just yakked."

"There wasn't anything to do," he told the AP. "We work together, we've got things in common, so we just talked about that."

The researchers were working on recovering short-term volcano-monitoring equipment, the AP reported.

When freezing rain iced over the helicopter's blades, the three became stranded.

"We were unable to produce enough lift to take off at that point," Egli said, according to the AP. "The weather didn't clear up after that."

A rescue helicopter airlifted the trio to safety Friday, but the iced-over chopper was left behind on Mount Mageik, the AP said.

Original Story, Photos and Comments/Reaction:

U.S. Approves United Continental's Application to Fly to Chengdu, China: Airline Now Must Await Approval of Chinese Government

September 6, 2013, 4:01 p.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday approved an application by United Continental Holdings Inc. to begin nonstop flights next June from San Francisco to Chengdu, China, that nation's fourth-largest city and one of the fastest-growing with more than 200 Fortune 500 companies having a presence there.

According to a DOT docket item, United's Aug. 29 application was approved. The Chicago-based airline now must await approval from the Chinese government, a DOT spokesman said.

United intends to offer thrice-weekly flights using a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner plane. The new nonstop flight will shave nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities, which normally requires a connection. United said Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in the southwest part of China, will be the ninth city the U.S. airline serves in Asia from its San Francisco hub.

Overseas airlines increasingly are targeting large cities in China's interior, because of congestion at the big gateway airports in Shanghai and Beijing and due to the increase of foreign companies setting up shop away from the coast. British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A., is slated to begin flights to Chengdu from London later this month.

Nonstop international flights to such "secondary" cities are being aided by the arrival of new, fuel-efficient aircraft such as the two-engine Boeing 787. The plane, which can fly up to 8,000 nautical miles, has just 219 seats in two classes in United's configuration, meaning it can span long distances but doesn't have too many seats for the demand on the route.

China's Hainan Airlines Co., which this week launched flights from Beijing to Chicago, plans to use 787s on the route starting in early November, replacing larger, four-engine Airbus A340s.


Carson City finalizes land sale to Carson Health

CARSON CITY — After almost eight months of negotiations, a purchase/sale agreement has been finalized between Carson City and Carson Health.

The Carson City Council approved selling the former water tower property to Carson Health at the Aug. 20 council meeting. The property was appraised at $36,000, but the hospital offered $20,000, which the council accepted.

City attorney Thomas Wilson previously advised the council that the property could only be sold for its appraised value unless the use of the property would be a benefit to all city residents.

The property was the only viable spot for a helipad, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the hospital was in jeopardy of losing the right to land aircraft on the existing helipad area, according to City Administrator Mark Borden.

“Having a helicopter pad would indeed be a benefit to everyone in our community and that is how we were able to sell the property for less than appraised value,” Borden said. “The city was not willing to sign the agreement until the hospital made provisions to enclose their trash dumpsters and that issue has been resolved. The hospital will only place fully enclosed dumpsters/compactors in the dumpster area located adjacent to the proposed new helicopter pad.”

The council and the hospital originally approved the sale/purchase of the former water tower property last January.

“We are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with the city in purchasing the property,” said Carson Health Director of Service Excellence and Corporate Communications Daniyel McAlvey. “We plan to relocate our helipad to this piece of property. In doing so, we will meet the requirements of the FAA.

“It is imperative that Carson Health continues to have the ability to utilize the services of flight care, as we are rural and know that when an extreme emergency presents, seconds count,” McAlvey said. “This is a huge benefit to the communities that we serve.”

Borden said the hospital’s architect is hoping to use local contractors for the concrete and electrical work with construction set to begin in the near future.

“All parties involved are excited to move forward,” he said.

Original Article:

Silver Airways adds two direct flights to Orlando

Regional carrier Silver Airways will offer two weekday flights from Tallahassee to Orlando beginning Nov. 21, part of a service expansion the company announced Thursday.

The morning flight to Orlando will leave Tallahassee at 7 a.m. and arrive at 8:05 a.m. The second flight leaves at 1:35 p.m. and lands in Orlando at 2:40 p.m., Silver said.

The Orlando-to-Tallahassee flights leave at 11:55 a.m. and at 7:56 p.m., with travel time listed at an hour and 10 minutes.

“This latest expansion in our operations is all about better serving the broader needs of our customers here in Florida,” said David H. Pflieger Jr., the airline’s president and CEO. “Within the state, we’re improving connectivity from north to south and extending our reach to the Bahamas.”

Other service additions include flights daily between West Palm Beach and North Eleuthera in the Bahamas, service between West Palm Beach and Freeport, Grand Bahama, and between Orlando and West Palm Beach.

“We know there is a lot of interest in serving Tallahassee, especially when the Legislature is in session,” Pflieger said in an interview.

To mark the introduction of the additional service, Silver is offering one-way sale fares for flights booked now through Monday at midnight. The promotional one-way direct fare from Tallahassee to Orlando is $69. The airline’s website is

Orlando will be Silver Airways’ third nonstop destination offered from Tallahassee. The airline also flies direct to Tampa and to Fort Lauderdale from Tallahassee.

“I would say for our Tampa service it has done very well and that was what has prompted us to add Orlando,” said Travis Christ, chief commercial officer. “It has been good to watch in terms of passengers flying to Tampa for business and connecting to the Keys, and flying to Fort Lauderdale.”

David Pollard, Tallahassee Regional’s acting deputy director of aviation, said adding Orlando means connection to another major hub, which opens up an additional avenue for fliers to book service to distant destinations.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Silver Airways Corp. is a U.S.-owned and operated airline with nearly 200 daily scheduled flights to and from 46 gateways in Florida, the Bahamas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Montana.

Original Article:

Nevada DMV to Offer Airports Association License Plate

From the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles:

A specialty license plate for the Nevada Airports Association (NAA) will be available for purchase at Nevada DMV offices on September 9. The specialty plates will cost an initial $61 and $30 for renewal. The NAA will receive $25 from the initial issuance and $20 from renewals.

NAA is a nonprofit organization comprised of airport executives, airport policymakers and airport supporters whose mission is to promote and sustain the development of all airports in the state. Revenue generated by the sale of the special license plate will fund the Nevada Aviation Trust Fund. This fund provides Nevada's general aviation airports (excluding Clark County and the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority) with a funding source to provide the required five percent local match for FAA's Airport Improvement Program grants, which pay 95 percent of the cost of an airport improvement project.

"The Nevada Airports Association is very pleased with the release of the new "Nevada Airports Association" specialty license plate. This specialty plate is so very important to the 44 rural airports in our state. Because funding from the license sales goes into the Aviation Trust Fund, many of our airports will be able to complete important safety and maintenance projects that were financially not possible without this revenue source. We greatly appreciate the assistance of the DMV staff throughout the process," said Bobbi Thompson, NAA president and manager of the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

There is a cap of 35 specialty license plates that can be active at any time. There are currently 16 organizations on the waiting list for specialty license plates.

"Specialty license plates provide a way for the general population to support these groups and show their support by having the organization's plate on their vehicle," said DMV Director Troy Dillard.

Article and Photo:

Man killed in remote-control helicopter accident in Brooklyn, New York

 NEW YORK (WABC) -- A man operating a remote-control helicopter was killed Thursday when it struck him in the head in a park in Gravesend, Brooklyn. 

Nineteen-year-old Roman Pirozek, Jr., of Queens, was flying the helicopter in a park near Bay 44th Street and Shore Parkway. 

The young man's family returned home Thursday night and were met by neighbors with tears in their eyes. 

"We are in shock because we are neighbors, we look after each other, we love each other, we care for each other," said Margarita Aviles, a neighbor.

Pirozek, Jr. was an avid flier of remote control helicopters. 

He flew gas-powered, turbine choppers with two foot-long carbon fiber blades. 

Roman made a series of videos in the field in Gravesend, Brooklyn and posted them on YouTube

Police say it was there while flying spectacular stunts that Roman lost control of his helicopter and was struck in the head and killed. 

He was a member of a small group of remote control chopper pilots who told reporters that it can be a risky hobby. 

"We're all concerned about our own personal safety, but things happen, things happen," said Eaton Boyce, the victim's friend.

"It's just an unreal event that someone that young, that full of life, enjoying something, is gone," said Dino Spadaccini, the victim's friend.

Weah Roberts assembles and repairs remote control helicopters and says Roman was clearly a talented pilot. 

The cause, he says, was most likely a mechanical malfunction. 

"You've got something with whirling blades, it's like knives, and you get hit with that it's no joke," said Weah Robert, an RC Helicopter expert.

YouTube video of Pirozek flying his helicopter:

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