Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cessna 172RG Cutlass, Ameriflyers of Florida LLC, N4677V and Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N64030: Accident occurred April 29, 2013 in Calabasas, California

http://registry.faa.gov/N64030

http://registry.faa.gov/N4677V


NTSB Identification: WPR13FA211A 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Calabasas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 172RG, registration: N4677V
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious, 2 Minor.


NTSB Identification: WPR13FA211B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Calabasas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N64030
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious, 2 Minor.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A Cessna 172RG and a Cessna 172M collided in midair. The flight instructor, who was seated in the left seat in the Cessna 172RG, and the pilot-rated student reported that they departed the airport and then proceeded to a practice area northwest of the airport heading in a westerly direction at 3,500 ft mean sea level (msl). After reaching the practice area, the flight instructor made two position reports on the local practice area frequency; he received no radio acknowledgement of his position reports and heard no radio transmissions from any other aircraft in the area. The pilot receiving instruction then began to conduct clearing turns. The pilot made a right turn to a northerly heading and then turned the airplane back to the left and leveled off on the original westerly heading at 3,400 ft msl. The flight instructor reported that he was looking to the front and left, which was his normal traffic scan practice. When the airplane leveled off, he heard a “loud bang” and felt something hit the left side of the airplane. The flight instructor looked outside at the left wing and noted that it was damaged from the wing root outboard, the pitot tube was missing, and the left side windscreen was broken with metal protruding into the airplane. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and determined that it could not maintain altitude, so he made a forced landing onto a nearby golf course.

The Cessna 172M was operating as a personal flight. A review of radar data showed the Cessna 172M approaching the practice area on an easterly heading and climbing from 3,200 feet msl. When it reached 3,400 feet msl, it collided with the Cessna 172RG. The Cessna 172M subsequently made a sharp left turn and descended rapidly into terrain. A postcrash fire consumed the wreckage. 

Postaccident examination of both airplanes’ airframes and engines revealed no mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. Postaccident examination of the Cessna 172RG identified scratch marks and paint transfer marks on the left wing. Four pieces from the Cessna 172M’s right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were found at the golf course; scratch marks were noted along the upper outboard portion of the largest horizontal stabilizer piece. Based on the paint transfer and scratch marks on both airplanes and radar data, the airplanes converged with about a 50-degree angle relative to their longitudinal axes, and the collision angle between the two airplanes was 80 degrees relative to the horizontal plane.

The radar data indicated that, before the Cessna 172RG initiated the clearing turns, the pilots in both airplanes should have been able to see the other airplane in the distance. However, the pilot of the Cessna 172RG would not necessarily have recognized that the Cessna 172M was climbing. Once the Cessna 172RG initiated the clearing turns, it is likely that airplane structure obstructed the pilot’s visibility out the left side as the airplanes converged; however, the Cessna 172M pilot’s visibility was likely not obscured at this time. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the pilots in both aircraft to maintain an adequate visual lookout, which resulted in a midair collision. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 29, 2013 about 1401 Pacific daylight time, two airplanes, a Cessna 172RG, N4677V (172RG), and a Cessna 172M, N64030 (172M), collided in midair approximately 3 miles southwest of Calabasas, California. The 172RG certified flight instructor and the commercial pilot sustained minor injuries, and the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The 172RG was registered to AmeriFlyers of Florida, LLC, and operated by American Flyers as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight. The 172M commercial pilot and private pilot were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The 172M was registered to a private party, and operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The 172M departed from the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, California about 1313, and the 172RG departed from SMO about 1353.

The certified flight instructor (CFI) from the 172RG reported that the purpose of the flight was to familiarize two pilot rated students (one of which was seated in the back seat) with the local airspace and normal practice areas. After departing SMO they flew north along the Santa Monica shoreline before proceeding to the Malibu State Park and the Simi Valley practice area. As they crossed over Topanga Canyon, they switched from the SMO tower frequency to the local practice area frequency and made the first position report transmitting "Malibu and Simi Valley practice area, white Cessna, over Topanga Canyon, northbound at 2,800 climbing 3,500". They leveled off at 3,500 feet and the CFI asked the pilot in the right seat to perform the cruise checklist. The CFI made a second radio call transmitting, "Malibu and Simi Valley practice area, white Cessna, over Calabasas, south of the 101, east of Malibu Canyon Road heading west towards Westlake 3,500." No airplanes acknowledged their position reports nor did any other airplanes transmit a nearby position. 

The pilot under instruction then conducted a right clearing turn from a westerly heading to a northerly heading and then brought the airplane back to the left and leveled off on the original westerly heading. The CFI reported that he was looking to the front and the left in his normal traffic scan practice. When the airplane had leveled off, he heard a loud bang and felt something hit the airplane on the left side. He looked outside at the left wing and noticed that the inboard leading edge was damaged from the wing root outboard, the pitot tube was missing and the left wing strut was bent. The pilot's side window was also broken and metal was protruding into the airplane. The CFI took control of the airplane and, unable to maintain altitude, executed a forced gear up landing onto a golf course. The airplane slid about 430 feet when the left wing impacted a tree that spun the airplane about 180 degrees before it came to a rest. 

A witness reported that he and his wife were walking in the area when they heard an extremely loud strike. He looked up and saw an airplane descending almost vertically to the ground before it went out of his view; he did not note hearing an engine noise. Shortly after, he saw a plume of dark smoke rise from where the airplane had disappeared. The witness further reported that his wife observed a second airplane depart the area to the west. 

Review of the radar data revealed that the Cessna 172RG was observed on radar immediately after departure from SMO at 13:51:32 until shortly after the collision occurred. At 14:01:04, the airplane's transponder return showed 3,500 feet mean sea level (msl) with a westerly track and a ground speed of 104 knots. At about 14:01:14 the track indicated the start of a gradual right 6 degree turn towards the northwest at a ground speed of 103 knots. At about 14:01:46 the airplane maintained a heading of 266 degrees until the collision occurred at 14:01:55 at 3,400 feet msl (about 2,540 feet above the ground). After the collision, the airplane's track continued to the north followed by a left turn towards the west and a right turn to the northwest. The last radar return was at 14:02:32 at an altitude of 2,800 feet msl. 

At 13:58:23 the Cessna 172M is identified on radar cruising in an easterly direction at 3,200 feet msl at 110 knots. At 13:59:00 the transponder return indicated the airplane was at 3,200 feet msl and the track showed the start of a gradual left turn at 111 knots. At 14:01:09 the airplane was at 3300 feet msl, and at 14:01:28 the airplane was at 3400 feet msl flying at 100 knots. The collision occurred at 14:01:55. The airplane track made a sharp left turn and descended rapidly into terrain.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Cessna 172RG Flight Crew

The CFI, age 37, held an airline transport pilot certificate for airplane single- and multi- engine land issued December 22, 2012. The CFI also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single- and multi-engine land, which was issued February 19, 2012. His second-class airman medical certificate was issued on May 11, 2012 with no limitations. The CFI had a total of 2,200 total flight hours, 600 of which were in the accident airplane make and model. 

The pilot under instruction, age 34, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single- and multi- engine land issued on January 20, 2013. The second pilot's first-class airman medical certificate was issued on November 20, 2012 with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The second pilot reported 485 total flight hours; the accident flight was his first flight in the accident airplane make and model. 

Cessna 172M Flight Crew

The first pilot, age 69, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued on October 29, 2003. The pilot also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine land which was issued on July 25, 2011. The pilot's third-class airman medical certificate was issued on March 5, 2012, with the limitation that she must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's logbook was not located. On the pilot's application for her most recent medical examination she reported 1,750 total flight hours, 50 of which occurred within the six months preceding the examination. 

The second pilot, age 63, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued May 10, 2010, and a certified airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate issued on February 18, 2010. The pilot's third-class airman medical certificate was issued on December 6, 2011 with no limitations. On the pilot's application for his most recent medical examination he reported 1,350 total flight hours, 25 of which occurred within the six months preceding the examination. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Cessna 172RG

The Cessna 172RG, serial number 172RG0224, was manufactured in 1980, and was a four seat, high wing airplane that was predominately white in color with blue striping. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-360 series, 180 horsepower engine, and was equipped with a 2 blade McCauley propeller. The airplane was registered to Ameriflyers of Florida LLC, and operated by American Flyers. The airplane's most recent maintenance was a 100 hour inspection that occurred on April 5, 2013 at an airframe total time of 10,383. 

Recovery personnel reported that during the recovery, about 43 gallons of fuel was removed from the fuel tanks. 

Cessna 172M

The Cessna 172M, serial number 17264976, was manufactured in 1975, and was a four seat, high wing airplane that was predominately white in color with red and blue striping. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-320 series, 180 horsepower engine, and was equipped with a 2 blade McCauley propeller. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the commercial pilot. Review of the maintenance records indicated that on April 16, 2013, at an airframe total time of 58,623, the airplane's engine and propeller were reinstalled onto the airplane from a previous incident involving a propeller strike. The airplane's most recent annual inspection also occurred that day. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The nearest weather reporting station was located about 9 nautical miles northeast of the accident site at the Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California. At 1351, VNY reported clear skies, wind 140 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 17 degrees C, dewpoint 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting 29.82 inches of mercury. 

COMMUNICATIONS 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that at 1313, the 172M pilot contacted Santa Monica air traffic control tower and requested to stay in the pattern following maintenance. At 1340, the pilot requested a departure to the west. The controller approved the request, and terminated services. 

At 1353, the 172RG pilot requested clearance to depart SMO to the west to follow the shoreline northbound. The request was approved and shortly thereafter services were terminated. 

There was no evidence of the two airplanes communicating with each other.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Cessna 172RG

The airplane landed onto the golf course hard and dug into the fairway grass. The grass and concrete showed sliding marks for about 430 feet along a bearing of about 73 degrees magnetic, followed by a tree, and then the main wreckage. The main wreckage was orientated from tail to nose on a bearing of 253 degrees magnetic. 

The airplane's left wing leading edge sustained two large indentations. One indentation was located at the wing root and was approximately three feet long. Within the damaged wing root were distinct white and red diagonal paint transfer marks that were at about a 50 degree angle when compared to the nearest longitudinal rivet line. The outboard dent was located about 2.5 feet from the wing tip and was about three feet long. Within the dent were brownish red scrape marks as well as tree residue imbedded in the dent. The left strut sustained a dent approximately 2 feet from the bottom of the left wing. One of the propeller blades had a one inch gouge along the leading edge about 6 inches from the propeller tip. The left side door posts were bent aft, and the upper portion of the back center window post was bent to the right. The empennage remained intact and mostly undamaged. 

About four pieces of right horizontal stabilizer and elevator with red and blue striping were found on the ground resting near the left horizontal stabilizer of the 172RG. Scratch marks were noted along the upper outboard portion of the largest horizontal stabilizer piece. These scratch marks were measured to be at about a 50 degree angle when compared to the nearest longitudinal rivet line. 

Cessna 172M

The wreckage of the 172M was located at an elevation of 1,170 feet on a mountain side about 5 miles southeast of Westlake Village, California. 

The airplane impacted the ground in a nose low attitude and a postimpact fire ensued; the wreckage was heavily burned and no paint transfers or obvious scratches from the collision were noted. The engine was separated from its engine mounts and the propeller was separated from the engine. The airframe sustained forward accordion crushing throughout. The flap actuator was located and the flaps were in the up position. The flight control cables were traced throughout the airframe and control continuity was established from the cabin controls to their respective flight control surfaces. The right horizontal stabilizer and the elevator were separated from the forward horizontal stabilizer spar about 6 inches from the spar root. A small portion, which was believed to be the inboard portion of the right horizontal stabilizer, was found within the wreckage. The remaining components of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were not present on scene, however, they were found on scene with the 172RG. 

Postaccident examination of the engine from the 172M revealed heavy thermal discoloration throughout. The cylinder rocker covers were removed; the valves were intact and sustained thermal discoloration. The right magneto was separated from the engine, and the left magneto remained attached. The ignition leads were consumed by fire. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited wear consistent with "Worn Out – Normal" when compared to the Champion AV-27 check-a-plug chart. When viewed from the spark plug holes, the interior surfaces of the cylinders and piston heads revealed no signs of internal catastrophic damage. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsies of the pilots from the Cessna 172M were performed by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, Los Angeles, California. 

The first pilot's autopsy was conducted on May 1, 2013, and concluded that the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries. Specimens from the autopsy were sent to the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and toxicological tests were performed. The results were negative for ethanol and drugs in the pilot's liver or muscle; tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed. 

The second pilot's autopsy was conducted on May 2, 2013, and concluded that the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries. Specimens from the autopsy were sent to the FAA's CAMI and toxicological tests were performed. The results were negative for ethanol and drugs in the pilot's liver or muscle; tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed. 

TESTS AND RESEARCH

172RG

Evaluating the paint transfer marks on the 172RG wing root and the 172M horizontal stabilizer components, along with the radar provided ground speed of both aircraft, it was possible to calculate the horizontal convergence angles and the collision angle between both airplanes. The airplanes converged at about a 50 degree angle relative to their longitudinal axes. The 172RG was traveling at about 102 knots, and the 172M was traveling at about 101 knots. Based on these values the collision angle between the two airplanes was determined to be 80 degrees relative to the horizontal plane. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cockpit Visibility

According to a Cessna representative, a left seated male with an average eye level height looking out the front windscreen has about 85 degrees visibility from the center of his view to the right and 52 degrees from his center of view to the left. The pilot also has about 53 degrees of visibility from the center of vision downward when looking out the left side window and 22 degrees from the center of vision downward when looking from the right window.

Other

FAA Regulations [14 CFR 91.113(b)] required that each person operating an aircraft maintain vigilance so as to "see and avoid other aircraft."




The family of a man who died in a midair collision involving two small planes has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the plane's owner and the pilot who survived in the other plane after making an emergency landing at a golf course.


The family of Christopher Wade, 63, filed the lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Sept. 10.


Wade and Cheryl Jolene Strawn, 69, were killed after their Cessna 172 hit a similar aircraft on April 29 about eight miles east- northeast of Ventura, the Federal Aviation Administration said.


Three people in the other plane, which made an emergency landing at a golf course in Westlake Village, survived.


Named in the lawsuit is Peter Nagy, the pilot in command of that plane and the company he was flying for, American Flyers.


Nagy was with two other licensed pilots who were being trained in how to become flight instructors, said Charlie Finkel, the attorney for the Wades.


A call to American Flyers was not immediately returned.


Strawn was a production designer who worked on the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies.


The suit was filed Tuesday by the family of Christopher Wade against Santa Monica-based flight school American Flyers and one of its employees.

Relatives of a man who died when two small planes collided in flight earlier this year near Calabasas sued a flight training school and the pilot of the other aircraft. Marta Wade, widow of Christopher Wade, and the couple's children, Ryan and Jamie Wade, filed a wrongful death suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the American Flyers school in Los Angeles and one of its employees, Peter Nagy.

Wade, 63, and Cheryl Jolene Strawn, 69, died in the collision of the two Cessna 172s that occurred about 2 p.m. April 29 about eight miles east- northeast of Ventura, according to Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Nagy was providing flight instruction in the American Flyers plane at the time of the crash, the suit states.

A representative of American Flyers did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Strawn was a production designer who worked on the  "Nightmare on Elm Street'' movies.

The plane piloted by Nagy landed on the Westlake Golf Course in Westlake Village, the last Los Angeles County community before the Ventura County border along the Ventura (101) Freeway, while the aircraft with Wade and Strawn crashed in Malibu Creek State Park, igniting a one-acre brush fire that was quickly extinguished by county firefighters, Kenitzer said.

Original Article and Comments/Reaction:  http://santamonica.patch.com


NTSB Identification: WPR13FA211A 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Calabasas, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172RG, registration: N4677V
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious,2 Minor.

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA211B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Calabasas, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N64030
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious,2 Minor.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 29, 2013 at about 1401 Pacific daylight time, two airplanes, a Cessna 172RG, N4677V, and a Cessna 172M, N64030, collided in midair, approximately 3 miles southwest of Calabasas, California. The Cessna 172RG flight instructor and the commercial pilot sustained minor injuries; the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries. Both the commercial pilot and the private pilot in the Cessna 172M were fatally injured. The Cessna 172RG sustained substantial damage to the left wing; the Cessna 172M was destroyed. The Cessna 172RG was registered to AmeriFlyers of Florida, LLC, and operated by American Flyers as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight. The Cessna 172M was registered to a private party, and operated by the commercial pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either airplane. The Cessna 172RG departed from the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) about 1353, and the Cessna 172M departed from SMO about 1313.

A representative from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that at 1313, the Cessna 172M pilot contacted the Santa Monica air traffic control tower (ATCT), and requested pattern work following maintenance. At 1340, the pilot requested a departure to the west. The controller approved the request, and terminated services.

At 1353, the Cessna 172RG pilot requested clearance to depart SMO to the west en route to Camarillo, California. The request was approved.

Representatives from the FAA reviewed recorded radar data, and reported that the Cessna 172M departed Santa Monica to the west, turned north up the coastline, and then turned inland, eastbound, at a Mode C reported altitude of 3,300 feet mean sea level (msl). The Cessna 172RG was westbound at a Mode C reported altitude of 3,400 feet msl. At 1401, the targets merged; one descended immediately, and the other continued west until it dropped below radar coverage.

Witnesses reported that they were hiking in the area when they heard a very loud strike. When they looked up, they observed two airplanes. One airplane (Cessna 172RG) was flying to the west. The other airplane (Cessna 172M) was rapidly descending towards the ground; they lost sight of it as it vertically descended behind a ridgeline; however, they saw a plume of black smoke shortly thereafter.

The Cessna 172RG landed in a golf course about 5 miles northwest of the Cessna 172M.

Both airplanes were moved to secure storage for further examinations.

Competition Begins at Reno Air Races

KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video - 

The Reno-Stead Airport has been buzzing all week long, with pilots, vendors, and fans showing up for the 50th year of the National Championship Air Races. 

Pilots have been taking their qualifying runs all week, and Wednesday the air races got underway, with pilots and aviation fanatics coming from all around the world.

"It's just really fun to get out there and be able to fly at 50 feet above the ground," Steve Senegal said.

Senegal races in the Formula 1 class.

While his AR-6 will fly up to 260 miles per hour, the airline pilot says the speed is not unusual, but the altitude is.

"Some people say we're risk takers," Senegal said. "We're not risk takers, we're risk managers. We'll go out and we'll think about everything there is to be thought about that can possibly go wrong."

"I consider this more as formation flying, except everybody wants to be the leader," Jay Jones said.

Jones has been coming to the Reno Air Races since 1997.

Competing against other elite pilots and pushing the envelope is something he says keeps him coming back, every year.

"It's really exciting," Jones said. "The competition, this year, is really close. There are five out of eight of us are within a second of each other."

Mike Houghton is the President and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association. He says about 200 pilots, worldwide, are qualified to race at this annual event.

"It's a very small, elite fraternity," Houghton said. "They've got a passion about racing but they also have a passion about the event and there's a lot of camaraderie."

Along with the races, fans can also check out the pits, with mechanics fine-tuning their planes.

The pilots say there's something for everyone.

"You see a lot of history," Senegal said. "You know, Bob Hoover is out here. We have astronauts flying out here. We've got airplanes, that fought in World War II, flying. And with actual history."

The air races run until Sunday evening.


Source:   http://www.ktvn.com

Alaska Airlines unveils new Q400 turboprop plane

 


FAIRBANKS — Alaska Airlines took another step toward the Bombardier Q400 era in Fairbanks on Monday, when the company brought one of the twin-engine turboprop planes to town for a tour by employees, board members and the media. 

Starting in March, the 76-seat Q400 will replace Boeing 737 jets on most of the carrier’s Anchorage-Fairbanks routes. The Q400, which will be operated by Alaska’s sister company, Horizon Air, is projected to save money by slashing fuel costs and adding more route flexibility with eight daily round-trip flights. A single daily 737 flight will remain on the route.

Inside a hangar at Fairbanks International Airport, a Q400 was unveiled for visitors on Monday afternoon, as employees handed out glossy brochures and visitors wandered the aisle or sat in the co-pilot’s chair.

Alaska Airlines plans to add three Q400s to its fleet this fall, along with 30 flight attendants and 30 pilots based in Anchorage to operate the planes. The shift away from costlier 737s is expected to slash costs by about 30 percent, said Horizon Air President Glenn Johnson.

“It does come down to the right airplane in the right market,” Johnson said.

The change to the Q400, which was announced in June, was greeted with skepticism by some Alaskans. Accessing the turboprop planes across an icy tarmac was criticized by some, while uncertainty remained about how disabled passengers would get aboard.

Johnson said both issues will be resolved by the time the planes begin service in Fairbanks next year. He said a passageway will allow temperature-controlled access to planes. Several options are being explored to accommodate disabled passengers, but no final decision has been made, he said.

“We will make sure customers are warm and safe and dry,” Johnson said.

The cruising speed of a Q400 is 414 mph, according to a fact sheet distributed by Alaska Airlines, which is 88 mph less than a Boeing 737-400. But Johnson said the difference in flight time will be negligible, since the jets spend only a small amount of time at cruising speed on short trips.

The planes, which have been used by Horizon on runs that include Western Canada and the Portland-Seattle routes, are certified for the same temperatures as a 737, Johnson said.

The $30 million Toronto-made aircraft are about 12 feet shorter than a 737-400 and hold roughly half as many passengers. The interior of the plane is noticeably smaller than a 737, with two seats on each side of the aisle, but Horizon officials said the space for a seated passenger is the same as in a larger plane. 

Most carry-on baggage will be checked at the gate by the ground crew, then returned to passengers upon landing.

But company officials vowed that the planes won’t represent a downgrade for passengers. Perry Solmonson, the director of flight standards and training for Horizon Air, said the planes feature new technologies that allow them to better avoid winter storms and dampen vibrations. The cabins are fitted with 70 microphones, which record cabin noise to project sound-canceling frequencies to offset it, he said. Two flight attendants will be stationed on each route.

“You always wish you had your dad’s keys to the hot rod,” Solmonson said, gesturing to the plane behind him. “This is that.”

In a second-quarter conference call, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of planning and revenue management Andrew Harrison said the Q400 additions to Alaska will have only a small impact on the company as a whole. Alaska Airlines has a fleet of 128 737s and about 50 Q400s.

But Johnson said once the use of the planes reaches “a critical mass,” the shift should ultimately allow the company to pass savings onto customers in Alaska.

“That should help us as we move forward to bring lower fares to the state,” Johnson said.

Story, Photos, Video and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.newsminer.com
 

Related: Alaska Air promises warm boarding on smaller planes in Fairbanks

Warbirds scheduled to fly in to Tehachapi Municipal Airport (KTSP), California

Volunteer group Friends of Tehachapi Airport, the City of Tehachapi and Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District have partnered together to bring a day of fun to Tehachapi Municipal Airport.

If you have lived in Tehachapi any time at all, you have occasionally heard or seen one of the wonderful World War II aircraft arriving or departing the airport. These aircraft have a distinctive sound and look that sets them apart. On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Tehachapi community will have the opportunity to get up close to approximately 10 such aircraft. The photos that accompany this article are examples of the type of aircraft that will be on display.

The day begins with a 5K Run on the airport property and a 1-mile Kids Fun Run on the Tehachapi runway. You may contact TVRPD for registration information about the run.

At 10 a.m., the aircraft will begin arriving. Following the arrival of all aircraft there will be the opportunity to walk around, take photos and ask questions of the pilots for a couple of hours. Several of the aircraft will be doing flybys from 1 until 2 p.m. Along with the aircraft, there will be displays of various military vehicles and memorabilia from one of the pilots of the Doolittle Raiders. Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club will be selling food and Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District will have their beer garden available.

With any event held, funds are an important part. Many of the aircraft will be flying some distance to take part in our fly-in; it is our desire to provide each aircraft with 100 gallons of fuel as a thank you. 
Our goal is to raise $7,500 to cover the cost of the fuel. We have received generous donations from businesses and individuals toward this goal and to date we have received approximately $4,000 in pledges. Won’t you join us with a donation of $100, $500 or more? Contact me at kimnixon5123@gmail.com or 619-5123 for more information.

The event is open to the public and is free. Plan to arrive early and enjoy a beautiful day at our very own Tehachapi Municipal Airport.

Source:  http://www.tehachapinews.com

Jim Bridger Plant, Wyoming – investigation of suspicious activity reported yields little

ROCK SPRINGS – The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports of suspicious activity relative to the Jim Bridger Power Plant east of Rock Springs, but the investigation has so far uncovered nothing definitive.

Sheriff Rich Haskell said people in Point of Rocks, a small community on Interstate 80 about four miles from the coal-fired plant, reported that travelers in an out-of-state vehicle who stopped at a local convenience store asked a good number of questions about it. That, combined with reports of aircraft flying low over the plant site in August and early September, plus other reports of people photographing the plant, prompted the investigation.

County detectives worked with federal authorities and air traffic control officials in Salt Lake City in checking the flights. All but a few have been confirmed as routine commercial flights, and those remaining continue to be investigated.

“There have been no threats made against the Jim Bridger Plant and no direct information has been received concerning any threats,” Haskell confirmed. “We’re simply following up on reports of suspicious circumstances.”

Authorities confirmed that while private security resources have been enhanced at the Jim Bridger Plant, it is not in lockdown, as has been reported.

Source:  http://www.sweetwaternow.com

Despite Fewer Small Plane Crashes, 2013 Yields More Fatalities - Alaska


A rash of small plane crashes late this summer in Alaska has pushed the number of crash related fatalities past last year’s total, according to National Transportation Safety Board Alaska Region chief Clint Johnson.

In comparing Thursday’s date with Sept. 10 of last year, Johnson says the actual number of light plane crashes is down.

“In 2012, we had a total of 98 accidents; in 2013, on September 10, we had a total of 85,” Johnson said. “However, that’s where the similarities change.”

“Last year, in September 2012, we had 10 fatalities and, unfortunately, this year, we have 32 fatalities, which is pretty surprising.”

He says an investigation into the most recent crash, on Monday, continues.

The crash of an experimental home-built airplane took the life of Big Lake pilot Kenneth M. Whedbee, and seriously injured passenger Jason Scott.

Johnson says late summer and fall tends to have more fatal plane crashes.

“Obviously, during the latter part of August September, historically for our office has always been a busy season,” he said. “However, this year, it seems to be a little busier in years past – no doubt about it.”

He says it is too early to tell if there are determining factors related to all the crashes.

“Keep in mind that all of these investigations; these most recent accidents here are still very much in progress, whereas they’re still in the very preliminary stages,” Johnson said. “So, it’s way too early to look and see if there are any similarities between any of the accidents.”

NTSB keeps records on the number of crashes and fatalities on a calendar that runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Johnson says a crash in Soldotna in July took 10 lives, another at Merrill Field in Anchorage recently took two more, while a plane crash on Sept. 5 killed one man.

Other light plane accidents ended without fatalities.

Two men walked eight miles to safety after their plane went down near Nondalton earlier this month, and three men were rescued after their helicopter iced up and was weathered in on Mt. Mageik at Katmai National Park.

A pilot and passenger survived a crash into a lake near Talkeetna over the weekend.


Source:   http://www.alaskapublic.org

Airplane Wi-Fi Gets Up to Speed: Gogo Inc.’s New System Combines Satellites and Cell Towers

September 11, 2013, 12:04 a.m. ET

By JACK NICAS And ANDY PASZTOR

The Wall Street Journal


The race for fast Internet at 30,000 feet is accelerating as airlines roll out new technologies and speedier connections—offering more productivity for business travelers but also encroaching on a rare refuge from the wired world.

Gogo Inc. the largest provider of inflight Internet in the U.S., on Wednesday plans to unveil a system that uses a combination of satellites and cellular towers, connecting airplanes to the Web at speeds six times as fast as its current best option.

Virgin America Inc. will launch Gogo’s new inflight Wi-Fi service in the second half of 2014 and says it expects to eventually upgrade its 53 aircraft with the product.

That comes after JetBlue Airways Corp. received government approval last week to install a new high-capacity satellite link on many of its aircraft, an inflight Wi-Fi solution that can support streaming video to fliers’ devices from Netflix Inc.and Hulu, among others.

JetBlue, which has lacked inflight Internet, plans to launch the service on some aircraft this year and equip its entire fleet of 180 aircraft by the end of 2015.

Gogo sets the prices for its onboard Wi-Fi, with options including $14 one-day passes and $50 monthly passes.

JetBlue said it is reviewing pricing for the service, but that basic Internet use initially will be free, while the airline will charge fliers for streaming content, which uses more bandwidth. Other airlines that provide Wi-Fi currently block access to streaming services like Netflix, to avoid cannibalizing their own fee-based inflight entertainment.

The new technologies could mean Internet speeds in the air that are at least as fast as the average Internet speeds for Americans on the ground—something that could help break down flier resistance to paying and make the service profitable.

Almost nine of 10 U.S. fliers said they think every flight should offer Wi-Fi, according to a survey of 2,000 people released last week by Honeywell International Inc., which makes equipment for providing in-flight Internet. Yet Gogo said about 6% of potential customers currently purchase its Internet on flights.

Tim Farrar, a Menlo Park, Ca., satellite-industry consultant, said the same lower-than-expected percentage has generally held steady across the industry, “there’s no indication of any dramatic shift” on the horizon and the trend could impede the swift growth that Gogo and rival services foresee.

Some blame pokey speeds for that gap between desire and purchase. Fliers must share bandwidth, meaning that speeds slow when more passengers log on. David Cush, Virgin America’s CEO, said that on average flights, about a fifth of its fliers pay for Wi-Fi, but that “it starts to top out at 30 to 35 users very simply because response time starts to degrade.”

Gogo says its new service will offer speeds of 60 megabits per second to each airplane, compared with 3 mbps on its original Wi-Fi connection, which 1,700 aircraft still use, and 10 mbps on an updated product launched last year, which about 300 aircraft have. Panasonic Avionics Corp., which provides Wi-Fi to about 2,000 aircraft internationally, says its speeds now average 5 mbps to 10 mbps.

The average Internet connection on the ground in the U.S. is 8.6 mbps, according to Akamai Technologies Inc., a network operator.

JetBlue is connecting its aircraft via ViaSat Inc.’s  satellites, the first time a commercial airline will use the higher-capacity Ka-band satellite spectrum, which some in the industry see as the future of inflight Internet. Gogo intends to use the same constellation.

JetBlue said its new service would provide speeds of 12 mbps to each flier’s device—not just the airplane, like on other providers. That model means “almost everyone on the airplane can enjoy that, not just one or two,” said Don Buchman, ViaSat’s director of mobile broadband.

Consultants said that JetBlue may be able to deliver high speeds to each device if several dozen fliers are just surfing the Web, but if users gravitate toward more bandwidth-intensive applications, JetBlue may find it hard to meet expectations.

Flights have been one of the few places that require people to unplug for a few hours. But since 2008, when AMR Corp.’s American Airlines flew the first Gogo-equipped commercial aircraft, the U.S. airline industry has rapidly expanded inflight Wi-Fi, connecting nearly 2,500 aircraft over the period.

Today, nearly 60% of commercial passenger aircraft in the U.S. are connected, not counting commuter jets, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of the nation’s 12 biggest airlines. That compares with about 35% two years ago. By the end of 2015, the airlines plan to have more than 85% of their mainline aircraft connected, including virtually all of the larger jets flown by the nation’s biggest carriers.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Jason Cupp, an independent management consultant from Kansas City, Mo., who took about 150 flights last year. “On one hand, it’s good because I get a lot of work done. On the other, [a plane] is the only space in literally my entire life where I’m not on the Internet.”

Matt Nevans, who travels more than 200,000 miles a year helping local governments set up email systems, said he is a loyal flier of United Continental Holdings Inc. But in recent years, as United was slow in adding inflight Wi-Fi, “I chose other airlines because I knew I needed to be online” during the flight.

United expects to add Wi-Fi to 200 of its 700 mainline aircraft by the end of the year, from 90 now, and to be fully equipped by the end of 2015.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mr. Nevans said.

Various foreign carriers have tried to focus on business travelers by maximizing connectivity on long-haul and intercontinental runs. But in some cases the revenue hasn’t been as hefty as envisioned, according to industry consultants, partly because many of those trips are overnight flights. There also are signs that short-haul flights may not be conducive to streaming video. Southwest Airlines Co. which specializes in such flights, originally agreed to have Row44 Inc., is a unit of Global Eagle Acquisition Corp., provide such content for a fee. But at least temporarily, the connectivity is now being provided free of charge as long as users watch a brief advertisement for sponsor satellite-broadcaster Dish Network Inc.

Gogo posted a loss of $70.5 million in the first half of this year. According to Mr. Farrar, Wall Street analysts expect Gogo’s revenue to climb to about $500 million over the next two or three years from an estimated $300 million in 2013. But plans to enhance Gogo’s hybrid network will cost hundreds of millions of dollars over the same period, according to industry consultants and analysts.

Jimmy Schaeffler, who runs satellite consultancy the Carmel Group, said hybrid satellite and land-based systems “still may have to contend with quality issues stemming from clouds, weather systems and other factors.”

Source:   http://online.wsj.com