Friday, September 13, 2013

Latter-day Saints tradition may hamper cremation scattering

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Will it fly in Utah? 

 That's the big question facing Russell Whetton, an Ogden chiropractor/mortician/pilot who recently founded Four Winds Scattering Service at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

Whetton offers to fly cremated remains in his 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer aircraft, releasing them in midair to scatter them to the winds.

But that might not be an easy sale here in Utah. Traditionally, cremation has been frowned upon among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Whetton admits it's a practice the LDS Church used to discourage. But he believes, with the worldwide growth of the church, that attitude is changing.

"The Mormon church has changed its stance," he said. "It's becoming far more accepted in the ... church."

Barbara Kemmis doesn't know about that, but she does know cremation is on the rise throughout the United States.

In 1970, the cremation rate in this country was just 4.59 percent, said Kemmis, executive director of the Wheeling, Ill.-based Cremation Association of North America.

It was 9.72 percent by 1980, 17.13 percent by 1990, and 26.19 percent by the turn of the century. Last year, the national average had jumped to 43.2 percent.

Kemmis predicts that, as a country, we'll reach the 50 percent mark in cremations by 2017 or 2018.

But statistics vary greatly by state. In 2012, Mississippi had the lowest cremation rate, at 16.9 percent. Nevada, meanwhile, boasted the highest, at a whopping 74.2 percent cremations.

"Utah does lag behind the national average," Kemmis said.

What's more, while most states have seen growth in cremation rates, Utah's rate has remained relatively flat for the last five years.

In 2006 and 2007, Utah's cremation percentages were 22.7 and 23.8, respectively. In 2008, that jumped to 26 percent, but it has since remained in that neighborhood from year to year. Last year's cremation rate was 27.5 percent.

To cremate or not to cremate? Kemmis said tradition plays a primary role in that decision.

"Tradition is huge," she said.

Regarding cremation, the LDS Church, through spokeswoman Ruth Todd, issued this emailed statement:

"Issues of burial are left to individual families to decide. In some countries, cremation is required by law. The Church does not usually encourage cremation."

But Whetton, who is LDS, said he has already decided he's going to be cremated. After 30 years in the mortuary business, having disinterred countless bodies, Whetton said decomposition is not a pretty thing — whatever your religion.

"The garments go the same way as the body; they don't protect you from decomposition," Whetton said.

"I'm going to get barbecued, and I don't care what they do with me after that."

Original Article:

$33,000 fine for helping fire ants chopper crew

AN AIRSTRIP owner faces a $30,000 fine from the Ipswich City Council for helping the State Government battle fire ants, despite the backing of a Newman Government minister.

Mutdapilly resident Brian Scoffell was given 30 infringement notices by council for allowing a Bio Security Queensland helicopter to use his airstrip in 2003, breaching the town planning act.

When the Government began to tackle the spread of fire ants in 2003, Bio Security Queensland had approached Mr Scoffell to use his airstrip to refuel and restock their helicopter.

The infringement notices were issued last year and despite a letter of support from Premier Campbell Newman and the backing of Agricultural Minister John McVeigh, Mayor Paul Pisasale won't rescind the fines.

The two parties are scheduled to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on September 30.

Mr Scoffell never contemplated that the goodwill offer made over a decade ago would land him in court.

"I thought I was doing a community service," he said.

"They came to me in 2003 and asked me if they could land on the property."

The agreement was non-financial.

Cr Pisasale said Mr Scoffell had a responsibility to obey council's town planning act.

He said a planned meeting between the parties was cancelled earlier this week.

"We will not stop the prosecution. He has to comply with the DA approval," he said.

A statement released by Ipswich City Council said it was a condition of Mr Scoffell's Development Approval (DA) not to engage in commercial operations and to only use his airfield as his private airstrip, and only for his plane when flown by him.

A spokesman for the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said the Minister will be contacting Cr Pisasale to see if the matter can be resolved.

"We also want to make sure that Council has no issues related to Biosecurity Queensland's previous use of the airstrip at Mr Scoffell's property for its Fire Ant eradication program," the spokesperson said.

"This program is critical to protecting the Ipswich community and southeast Queensland from this major exotic pest."

Original Article:

Weather patterns behind complaints over flight traffic

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Jet engines provide the soundtrack to Jane McCotter’s summer.

Commercial airliners roar over her house seemingly non stop on some days, the Winslow resident says. A few fly so close she can make out the logos on their tails. The noise is deafening.

“It’s become a real nuisance, and a mental health issue,” McCotter said.

According to McCotter and her Lovell Avenue neighbors, airplanes began cruising over their neighborhood in much greater frequency a few months ago. As the issue persisted, they got in touch with City Council members and contacted state Sen. Christine Rolfes. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office was also enlisted in the search for answers. SeaTac Airport is now preparing a report on Bainbridge air traffic for Kilmer.

Sea-Tac officials believe the surge in flights reported by island residents is due to a seasonal shift in flight patterns. There are two general patterns airplanes use to approach and depart SeaTac, depending on which direction the wind is blowing over Puget Sound.

On overcast days — about 65 percent of the year — the wind tends to blow from the south. Pilots prefer to land and take off into the wind, so on those days planes land and depart the airport from north to south (called south flow).

On clear, sunny days the wind tends to blow from the north and the pattern reverses. Planes approach and depart the airport from south to north (north flow).

The direction the planes arrive and depart the airport dramatically alters the routes they follow over the Puget Sound region. Neighborhoods that see few planes on a cloudy day could see an upsurge in air traffic on clear days. That happens to be the case for Bainbridge Island.

SeaTac provided the Kitsap Sun with charts showing flight tracks for two 24 hour periods in September. On one day, Sept. 1, planes were flowing to the south. On the other day, Sept. 9, planes were flowing to the north.

On the south flow day, there were only scattered flights over the island. On the north flow day, a steady stream of arriving planes followed a diagonal route across the north end of the island, from Suquamish to Wing Point. A similarly intense stream of planes departed Sea-Tac and flew west over the island, crossing over Eagle Harbor and Illahee, or veering southwest over Fort Ward and Manchester.

Stan Shepherd, manager of Airport Noise Programs at Sea-Tac, said the long, hot summer has created more north flow days, leading to increased flights over Bainbridge Island. Plus people are spending more time outside, where they can hear — and be annoyed by — airplane noise.

Shepherd said it’s common to receive a spurt of noise complaints from specific neighborhoods when wind directions change in the summer. Sea-Tac officials reviewed flight track records over the island and didn’t find any long-term shift in flight patterns.

The seasonal explanation wasn’t satisfying to McCotter. She has lived on Lovell Avenue for five years and said air traffic wasn’t nearly as intense in previous summers. She believes something must have changed in the last year to route more flights over her neighborhood.

Now she feels like her yard is at the end of a runway.

“If I wanted this, I would have bought a house by Sea-Tac and lived there,” McCotter said.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Lufthansa to Split Long-Haul Jet Deal Between Boeing, Airbus: Announcement Expected as Early as Next Week

September 13, 2013, 5:04 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

Deutsche Lufthansa AG will split an order for long-range jetliners between Airbus and Boeing Co., giving the U.S. plane maker its first customer for the upgraded 777, according to three people familiar with the deal.

Lufthansa had previously signaled that it would place the order for dozens of jets with a single manufacturer, but dividing it would provide more flexibility as well as buying leverage by playing the archrivals off against one another.

A deal is expected to be announced as soon as late next week, according to one of those people.

The German flag carrier's goal was to allow for as much flexibility to switch between different-sized models over time, rather than buying one class of jet from both manufacturers. The A350 seats between 300 and 350 passengers, while the yet-to-be-launched 777X will carry 350 to 400.

The 777X order is expected to be for a 400-seat model of the twin-aisle twin-engine jetliner. The aircraft is expected to feature an all-new carbon fiber composite wing and General Electric Co. engines, and Lufthansa's deal marks the first commitment for the jet.

Boeing has yet to formally seek approval from its board of directors to move ahead with the program, contingent on securing sufficient commitments from airlines before the green light is given.

The official launch is widely expected to come in November at the Dubai air show, a major industry gathering. Hometown carrier Emirates Airline is the world's largest 777 operator in the world—flying 126 as of March 31, plus another 54 on order—and has been closely involved in the design of the new jet, due to enter service around 2020.

Boeing and Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., declined to comment on their respective negotiations with Lufthansa. News of the order was first reported by Bloomberg News.

European carriers have been on a significant buying spree the past several years, replacing aging less-fuel-efficient jets, despite a struggling continental economy. Those same carriers have also faced an onslaught of competition from Middle Eastern carriers that are growing rapidly and flying to faraway destinations once the hallmark of European long-haul flying. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, parent company of British Airways and Iberia, placed commitments for up to 36 A350 and 18 787 Dreamliners earlier this year.


Big crowd - Little profit: Sands Lehigh Valley Airshow - Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania


Despite massive crowds, the Sands Lehigh Valley Airshow will have little effect on struggling LVIA's finances.

Flying high, earning low

Cost to run the Sands Lehigh Valley Airshow — $350,000

Number of people who attended — 42,000

Net profit for airport — $32,000

Source: Lehigh Valley International Airport


The Sands Lehigh Valley Airshow, the area's first in 16 years, may have brought oohs and ahhs from more than 40,000 people, but it did little to brighten Lehigh Valley International Airport's gloomy financial picture.

Despite being attended by four times the number of people as originally projected, the two-day air show netted $32,000. That's a welcome cash infusion for an airport selling assets to pay off a $26 million court judgment against it for taking a developer's land in the 1990s.

But after seeing an estimated 42,000 people on the airport grounds Aug. 24-25, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Chairman Tony Iannelli had higher hopes.

"Don't get me wrong, it was a huge success," Iannelli said. "But if you quadruple attendance, shouldn't that show up somewhere in the bottom line? If we're going to keep doing this, we're going to have to think a little more entrepreneurial."

Though some air shows post hefty profits — a military air show near San Diego reports annual profits as high as $1.5 million — it's not uncommon for shows to make little or no money. Many airports hold them as a way to bond with the community, and some even buy weather insurance to guard against losing money.

"They aren't all intended to make a profit, but when things go well, and the weather cooperates, they usually do," said John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows. "I don't think $32,000 is bad for a first-year show."

When airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. in March proposed the air show at LVIA, he projected an attendance of 10,000 and a profit of about $30,000. Iannelli commended Everett and the consultants hired to run the air show for making it more successful than anyone hoped.

As it turned out, the signing of a jet squadron to the bill, perfect weather and apparently pent-up excitement from not having a local air show since 1997 boosted attendance to roughly 42,000. Unfortunately, more profit created more costs, Everett said.

For example, when the roads around the airport were overwhelmed by traffic trying to get in and people waiting in satellite parking lots on Day 1, the airport hired eight more shuttle buses and several more traffic police and security to work the second day.

Portable toilets alone cost $25,000, while fuel and smoke oil for the planes cost $20,000, Everett said. As a result, an air show budgeted to cost $283,000 ended up costing $350,000.

In addition, part of what helped boost attendance was a higher-than-expected number of sponsors for the show. While that brought in more than $100,000 in corporate money — compared with the $50,000 Everett had budgeted — it also meant the airport had to give away a lot more free tickets than expected. Everett said as many as 10,000 free tickets were distributed to corporate sponsors such as Sands casino, The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV.

Everett added that air shows often lose money, including the last one at LVIA.

Besides all that, Everett argued, profit was never the motivation.

"We wanted to promote the airport, engage the community and increase the interest in aviation," Everett said. "In that regard, it was a success. We accomplished our goals."

Iannelli agreed that was the pre-event motivation. But given that the air show drew more people than anyone expected, the airport missed an opportunity to cash in. It's an opportunity he's hoping they can seize now that they know better what to expect.

Lehigh Valley International has had just two air shows since 1979, but given the success of this year's event, board members are considering doing it more often. While some suggest that it become an annual event, Iannelli said a consensus seems to be building for doing it every other year.

"That way we'd have more time to plan a better event, and we think people will appreciate it more than if we did it every year," Iannelli said. "Whenever we do it, I hope we figure out a way to make the success have a greater impact on the bottom line."

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Plane forced down at Jim Hamilton L.B. Owens Airport (KCUB) in South Carolina Air National Guard training exercise

Published: September 12, 2013  

Richland County Sheriff’s Department

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — A drama unfolded over the skies of Columbia today when a SC Air National Guard pilot spotted a suspicious plane, swooped in with his jet fighter and forced the aircraft to land at Owens Field south of Rosewood Drive.

While the interdiction really happened, the criminal intent was not for real. The South Carolina Air National Guard along with members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, was participating in a exercise to practice what to do if National Guard pilots have to stop intercept a plane involved in criminal activity.

Story and Photo:

North Dakota State University: Scheels to buy its plane

FARGO (AP) — A North Dakota State University airplane that drew the ire of lawmakers might have a buyer.

The university's foundation said Scheels All Sports has signed a letter of intent to buy the Beechcraft King Air B200.

NDSU has been leasing the plane for roughly $320,000 a year from the privately run foundation since July 2007.

Legislators earlier this year established a central aircraft management system of state-owned planes overseen by the Department of Transportation.

The law also required NDSU to discontinue its lease by June 2017.

A news release from the foundation didn't disclose the purchase price.


Duke Flyers tour lands in the Twin Ports


Duluth, MN ( - More than two dozen modern aviation marvels made a stop in the Twin Ports on Thursday. 
Commemorative Air Force Squadron 101 hosted the 25th annual fly-in of the Duke Flyers Association.

The Beechcraft Duke Flyer, first built in 1968, became a superior performer and alternative to commercial flight, giving passengers a more comfortable and compact option when it comes to a ride in the sky.

No longer in production, 411 of the original 596 planes are still flying.

The president of the Association says the private plane introduced more convenience and efficiency than your standard commercial flight.

"When you get into this airplane you have the capability of flying above weather, around weather and you can do things the airlines can't do. We can go to smaller places, little towns where they have an airport, we can make a business day far more productive flying privately than you can commercially," said Earle Olson, DFA president.

Duluth is one of many stops for the Duke Flyers, organizers with DFA say the stop in Duluth is an important part of the tour because of the city's many aviation accomplishments.

Story and Video:

Flying Scots join the Red Arrows

Two Scots pilots, from the Borders and the Highlands, are to join the Lincolnshire-based Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.

Flt Lt Stewart Campbell and Flt Lt Joe Hourston will be display pilots.

The two men - who have both previously flown operations with the RAF in Afghanistan - will stay with the Red Arrows for three years from 2014.

They will begin training in October before joining the aerobatic team's nine-aircraft formation next year.

The appointments come after a selection process that involved flight tests, interviews and other exercises.

They are joining in a milestone year, with 2014 being the Red Arrows' 50th display season.

Flt Lt Campbell, 33, who grew up in Peebles, joined the RAF in 2003.

Before the Red Arrows, he was posted to 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) and flew two operational tours in Afghanistan in Tornado aircraft.

He said: "The Red Arrows represent the pinnacle of fast jet flying and I'm honoured to be joining this famous team.

"The way the team operates and how it represents the air force and UK as a whole, is something I very much wanted to be part of.

"Although the selection hasn't sunk in yet, I don't think I will feel like I'm now a member of the Red Arrows until I taxi out with team leader and go through the first loops and rolls."

Flt Lt Hourston was born in Inverness, and grew up in the Black Isle village of Cromarty, before studying at Glasgow University.

He started his Initial Officer Training with the RAF in 2001.

The 34-year-old is also a former Tornado GR4 pilot with 617 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth and served in Afghanistan and on exercise in North America.
'Inspire people'

He said: "I'm very proud to be joining the Red Arrows and the 50th display season in 2014 makes this a particularly special time to arrive.

"Since day one of deciding to be a pilot I've always wanted to be a member of the team because of what it represents and the variety and challenge of the flying itself.

"It's wonderful to be part of this team and, in turn, help inspire people to consider a career in the armed forces and also promote UK plc."

On completion of a three-year tour with the Red Arrows, the pilots either return to the frontline, instructional or staff duties.

Based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, the Red Arrows have performed more than 4,500 displays in 54 different countries since they were formed in the mid-1960s.

Original Article: