Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pakistan International Airlines suspends pilot, 3 stewards arrested in UK

KARACHI, Sept 19: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended on Thursday a pilot and three stewards, who are in custody of the British police and facing allegations of wrongdoing in two incidents in the United Kingdom over the past couple of days.

According to sources, the suspension of the pilot led to a flight being delayed for over 15 hours, causing hardship to the Pakistan-bound passengers.

The sources said the pilot was ‘high’ when he reported for duty and on examination tested positive for alcohol. Action was taken against the stewards on a complaint by a woman, who said the two indulged in ‘indecent behavior’.

PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar said Pilot Irfan Faiz had to take flight PK776 from Leeds-Bradford to Islamabad on Wednesday but he was declared unfit for flying. In the absence of an alternative pilot the flight had to make an overnight stop in Leeds. It departed for its destination after a delay of over 15 hours.

Mr Tajwar said the pilot, who was under custody of the British police for investigation, had been suspended by the PIA for violation of rules.

Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (Palpa) leader Chaker Shah said the pilot had been caught by security personnel, who are very strict.

Regarding stewards Adnan Raza, M. Adnan and Farrukh Pervaiz, Mr Tajwar said it was a case of indecent behavior that had taken place in Manchester. He said the stewards had been taken into custody by Manchester police on a complaint made by a British woman and an investigation was under way.

The PIA management had suspended the three stewards, he said.

The spokesman said the PIA was not responsible for a violation of rules or the code of conduct committed by an employee and it would not provide legal or any other support for such an act by an individual.

Upon receipt of the final report the violators would face further action in accordance with the rules of the corporation, Mr Tajwar said.

“At about 10pm last night police were called to Leeds Bradford International Airport where they arrested an airline pilot on suspicion of carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while impaired by drink,” a statement from the West Yorkshire Police said, according to AFP.

Original Article:

After THAI incident, Suvarnabhumi Airport to get new runway

Heavy traffic at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Sunday’s incident with a disabled Thai Airways International aircraft which closed a runway for three days compels the Airports of Thailand (AoT) to build a new runway as soon as possible.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt insisted that Suvarnabhumi Airport needs a third runway to ease traffic congestion and to be prepared for emergencies.

THAI flight TG679 from Guangzhou skidded off Suvarnabhumi Airport’s eastern runway Sunday night, forcing its closure until Wednesday night, causing delays to hundreds of flights.

Chadchart said the new runway would not be longer than 3,000 meters following AoT’s recommendation that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) would be compulsory if it is longer than 3,000 meters.

However, AoT should conduct an EIA in conjunction with the construction, bearing in mind the possible impacts on people, he said.

Sita Divari, AoT board chairman, said AoT would strictly follow the Transport Ministry policy and would conduct an EIA during the construction.

He said the third runway would be reserved for emergency use.

AoT directors discussed the matter Tuesday together with building a new runway for Phuket Airport, he said.

Marisa Pongpattanapun, chairwoman of the Airline Operators Committee (AOC), said the third runway is necessary to prevent landing and takeoff delays as much as possible.

The transport minister has appointed a fact-finding committee to investigate the THAI’s Airbus A330-300 incident. It took 65 hours for the aircraft to be moved from the runway to a hangar.

The committee was instructed to submit its report within two weeks in order to find measures to effectively handle such an incident at all airports in the future.

The committee must find out whether passengers were transferred from the aircraft in accord with required procedures, whether the media crisis management including covering the THAI logo after the accident was appropriate, and whether the post-accident aviation management was correctly done.

Original article:

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300, HS-TEF, Flight TG-679,  Accident occurred September 08, 2013

Oxford Aviation defaults on lawsuit, court rules: Cessna 441 Conquest II, N383SS

Peter L. McGuire,  Sun Journal

Thursday, September 19, 2013

OXFORD — The U.S. District Court in Portland has entered a default against Oxford Aviation, at the request of plaintiffs in two lawsuits claiming negligent and reckless actions by the company.

The parties are seeking damages from an emergency landing after a piece of the tail of the airplane they were flying on May 31 broke off during a descent into Colorado Springs (Colo.) Airport.

The suits claim Oxford Aviation failed to put the plane back together properly after painting it.

In two motions for default, filed with the court on Sept. 18, attorney for the plaintiffs Daniel A. Nuzzi said Oxford Aviation failed to file a response to the complaint within 21 days of being served with a summons on Aug. 27.

By granting the request for default, the plaintiffs can move forward to request a default judgment from the court, which likely will schedule a hearing to assess damages in the case.

"When you don't answer a complaint, then it's on the other party to ask for entry of default, which basically results in the facts being admitted," said David Bertoni, a lawyer who is working with Nuzzi on the cases.

Oxford Aviation still has an opportunity to file a motion to set aside the default, according to a case manager at the court.

A phone call to Oxford Aviation owner and President Jim Horowitz of Casco at the company's headquarters at the Oxford County Regional Airport was not returned Thursday afternoon. 

Joseph Skilken & Co. and Karen Skilken, both of Columbus, Ohio, filed separate lawsuits against Oxford Aviation in Maine U.S. District Court on Aug. 21.
Bertoni said it was relatively unusual for a company to not respond to a suit filed against it.

"Ordinarily, a business takes lawsuits seriously," Bertoni said. "This is two lawsuits in U.S. Court. One would think you'd pay attention to that and want to answer, so it's unclear what's going on."

He noted that numerous efforts by the Skilkens and their attorneys to contact Oxford Aviation, even before the lawsuit was filed, have been unsuccessful.

"There's basically been radio silence," Bertoni said.

The next step in the process will be to file a judgment of default and move on to address the amount of money the Skilkens will be looking for in damages, Bertoni said.

A case manager for the court in Portland said the plaintiffs have until Oct. 18 to file a request for default judgment from the court.

The plaintiffs allege that Oxford Aviation was hired to paint a Cessna 441 aircraft owned by Joseph Skilken & Co. and failed to put the plane back together properly.

According to the lawsuits, a piece of the plane's tail, which was not properly attached, broke off in mid flight as the aircraft, piloted by Steven Skilken, 63, descended into Colorado Springs Airport on May 31.

His wife, Karen Skilken, the couple's two daughters, and Karen Skilken's mother and father were passengers in the plane when the incident occurred.

The lawsuits allege that it was only due to Steven Skilken's extraordinary efforts that tragedy was averted.

In interviews with the Sun Journal last month, the couple described the emergency landing as a terrifying, near-death experience.

In her suit, Karen Skilken claims Oxford Aviation's actions and inactions servicing the Cessna were "so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency and were atrocious and utterly intolerable."

She is suing the company on counts of negligence and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Joesph Skilken & Co. is suing on the grounds of breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent representation.

Original article:

FAA restores Oxford Aviation’s repair license

Ohio couple sues Oxford Aviation

OXFORD — An Ohio couple who claim to have had a near-death experience because of shoddy work done by Oxford Aviation has filed a lawsuit in Maine U.S. District Court seeking at least $200,000.

Joseph Skilken & Co. and Karen Skilken, both represented by Brann and Isaacson, a Lewiston law firm, filed separate lawsuits against Oxford Aviation on Aug. 21

The lawsuits allege that “negligent and reckless” actions by Oxford Aviation resulted in a May 31 emergency landing of a Cessna 441 aircraft at the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Airport.

According to the suits, Oxford Aviation failed to fasten and attach a portion of the Cessna’s tail section after repainting the aircraft, causing it to fall off during flight.

The company, located at the Oxford County Regional Airport on Number Six Road in Oxford, paints, refurbishes and maintains aircraft.

Reached at his office Friday, Oxford Aviation owner and President James Horowitz of Casco declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Steven Skilken, 63, was piloting the Cessna with five family members from their home city of Columbus, Ohio, to Colorado Springs when a section of the airplane’s tail broke off, sending it into a “violent yawing oscillation” as it was coming in for a landing, the suit alleges.

Due to Skilken’s “extraordinary efforts” a tragedy was averted and the aircraft landed with only one passenger, Karen Skilken, sustaining minor injuries, the suit alleges.

In a phone interview Thursday, Steven Skilken said he hired Oxford Aviation in early May to repaint the Cessna in advance of a trip to Las Vegas with his family for Karen Skilken’s 50th birthday.
The aircraft is owned by Joseph Skilken & Co., his real estate company.

Skilken said he had never dealt with the company but was impressed by their website and facilities. He was assured by Horowitz that the job would be completed by May 29, he said.

The job wasn’t finished by the agreed date and Steve showed up at Oxford Aviation’s hangars on the morning of May 30 to find the plane “in pieces all over the place,” he claims.

Aside from the fact that it was late, the paint job was poorly done and because of the delays, Horowitz agreed to take $13,000 off his bill, Skilken said.

At about 5 p.m. he finally took a test flight with one of the mechanics and, satisfied that the plane was safe, flew it home to Columbus, Ohio.

The next day, he said, he loaded up his two daughters, ages 9 and 12, his wife, and parents-in-law and took off for Colorado Springs. During the flight nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until the plane hit some turbulence at 15,000 feet as it descended into Colorado Springs, he said.

In an instant, the six occupants were suddenly holding on for their lives as the aircraft kicked and bucked underneath them, Skilken recounted.

“It was like being in a clothes dryer on the tumble setting,” he said.

The violent twisting was so jarring it tore onboard tables out of their housing and exploded the toilet, spraying blue fluid inside the cabin, the suit alleges.

Karen Skilken, in an interview Thursday, said the various parts of the cabin were flying through the air as the plane bucked up and down. Unhinged components flew across the cabin, narrowly missing the passengers. One of the tables came within 4 inches of her 9-year-old daughter’s throat, she said.
“I truly thought we would die,” she said.

Through it all, her husband remained calm, she said. Somehow, he was able to right the plane and bring it down safely on the runway.

A veteran pilot with more than four decades of experience, Steven Skilken said he got his pilot’s license when he was 19 years old.

Looking through the windshield, all he saw was sky, trees and desert as the plane, directionless, spiraled through the sky, he said.

“I don’t know how I did it, but I did it,” he said.

A flight controller later told him the aircraft looked like a moth, flipping and flopping as it fell to the tarmac, he said.

Skilken remembered his 12-year-old daughter, who was sitting next to him in the cockpit, looking up and asking if they were going to die.

“I just said, ‘Be quiet, honey,’” he recounted.

His daughter spoke to him one more time during the harrowing descent, asking him to turn off the XM radio that was piping Ke$ha’s “Die Young,” into her earphones, he said.

That Skilken was able to land the plane at all shocked a representative from the FAA who was at the scene, he said.

“He told me I needed to buy a lottery ticket, I was so lucky,” Skilken said.

Photos of the aircraft provided by Skilken show surprisingly slight damage from the emergency landing, including a chipped propeller and a blown tire.

John McGinley, a representative from the Colorado Springs Airport, confirmed that a Cessna 441 with six passengers and the same tail number as the Skilkens’ declared an emergency and landed at the airport on May 31.

He said the pilot was unable to maintain altitude, but McGinley could not comment further.

Months later, the family hasn’t recovered from the terrifying experience. Karen Skilken said she was uncomfortable flying and Steven Skilken reported that his 9-year-old was afraid to fly.

In her suit, Karen Skilken claims Oxford Aviation’s actions and inactions servicing the Cessna were “so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency and were atrocious and utterly intolerable.”

She is suing the company on counts of negligence and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Joesph Skilken and Co. is suing on the grounds of breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent representation.

On Thursday, Steven Skilken said he wants Oxford Aviation to pay for the approximately $200,000 damage to the plane, as well as a full refund for the work it did.

In addition, he may be seeking damages for the costs to his business. Skilken said he frequently uses his plane to transport clients and has had to hire charter flights since the Cessna has been out of service. According to its website, Joseph Skilken and Co. rents property in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida.

He said multiple calls to Oxford Aviation from himself and his attorneys made in the past three months had not been returned.

According to proof of service documents from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Horowitz was issued a summons, on behalf of his company, from the court for both suits on Aug. 27.
Oxford Aviation’s repair certificate was suspended by the Federal Aviation Administration in July and restored on Aug. 19. According to the agency, the license was restored following a management review of the company.

“I’m amazed that they are allowed to have their license,” Karen Skilken said.

On Friday, FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said it was probable that the agency was looking into the incident, but she did not confirm an investigation.

Original article:
FAA restores Oxford Aviation’s repair license

OXFORD — Oxford Aviation has resumed full repair and maintenance operations one month after its federal repair certification was suspended.

In a statement released Aug. 21, FAA spokesperson Arlene Salac said the agency restored Oxford Aviation’s Operations Specifications on Aug. 19, after reviewing the company’s management personnel.

Operation specifications refer to Oxford Aviation’s Part 145 Repair Certification, required to preform structural and mechanical repairs and aircraft maintenance.

The company specializes in interior and exterior aircraft painting and refurbishment as well as maintenance and repairs.

“The FAA completed a review of Oxford’s management personnel, including its newly hired Director of Maintenance,” Salac said in the statement. “This action allows the company to resume preforming aircraft maintenance.”

On Friday, Oxford Aviation President Jim Horowitz said the brief suspension of the company’s certification was the result of a policy adjustment from the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office in Portland relating to how aircraft maintenance companies report changes in management and personnel.

“We made a position change within senior management, and the procedure we used to achieve that was no longer an approved method,” Horowitz said.

The suspension of its certification put the company’s work schedule slightly behind, but the delay wasn’t serious, Horowitz said.

Although he was unaware of the policy change at the time, Horowitz said Oxford Aviation is fully briefed on future expectations.

“We know how to do that going forward, and we will use the new process and method in any changes in staffing and employee position changes, and it won’t happen again,” he said.

“Now we are in good standing with the FAA and we are fully confident we will stay there.”

The company, which has been in operation since 1989, employs 60 people at its 40,000-square-foot space at the Oxford County Regional Airport, off Number Six Road in Oxford.

Original article:

Float plane operator Harbour Air buys first wheeled plane

Vancouver-based Harbour Air is expanding beyond float planes with its purchase of its first wheeled plane, the company announced September 19.

Harbour Air is starting Tantalus Air, which will offer private charter flights on the Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop that can seat eight passengers.

The PC-12 can land on short airstrips as well as turf and gravel. Harbour Air said this means they will be able to travel to more remote areas than other carriers.

“Charter flights have always been a part of our business, but now with the Pilatus, we’re able to offer a land-based option at a cost comparable to that of our seaplanes, which is considerably less than that of a private jet,” said Harbour CEO Air Greg McDougall.

The Harbour Air Group also owns Westcoast Air and Whistler Air.

Original article:

Development Review Board has questions about Deerfield Valley Airport expansion

WILMINGTON- At Monday night’s meeting the Development Review Board requested that Hermitage Real Estate Holding Company LLC representatives provide construction permits from previous owners of the newly named Deerfield Valley Airport. The DRB also set a site visit to the airport for Monday, September 30, at 5:30 pm, which will be followed by a public meeting at town hall.

Before granting a permit for Hermitage to extend the Deerfield Valley Airport runway to 4,400 feet, the DRB is requesting original development plans from the 1960s, as well as state and local permits pertaining to the development of the airport from the 1990s. The board wants these documents to back up language in Hermitage’s application that mentions the existence of the airport for over 45 years. “What I’d like to see is documents that show that,” said DRB chair Nicki Steel. “We have nothing in terms of a piece of paper showing the original time for when it was started.”

The permits were part of a list of information that the DRB needs from Hermitage and the town. Other items the board would like to collect include clarification of airport hours of operation, information about lighting, and information on whether abutters who live in Dover can be included as interested parties in the proceedings.

The board will also take time to evaluate how the airport plans fit into the town’s zoning ordinance, after Hermitage representative Bob Fisher explained that the Hermitage application lists their plans as conditional use, when in reality they are looking at a pre-existing, nonconforming use. Fisher says this is because the area where the proposed runway extension will go is a residential district with allowed commercial use, and since the airport plans were developed in the 1960s with expansion to 4,400 feet in the 1990s, the Hermitage plans actually fit the definition of a pre-existing, nonconforming use. The Hermitage changed its request to be an extension of a nonconforming use.

Bob Harrington, an engineer working with the Hermitage, explained that the original runway was 2,650 feet with 850 feet in Wilmington. Harrington also said that the extension to 4,400 feet had been approved with an Act 250 permit in the late 1980s, at which time he began construction, clearing 1,200 feet to the south and putting in the necessary fill. “Did that make it part of the runway?” asked Steel. “No, it was never paved, just filled in,” said Harrington. “Because of the economic situations of the time it was abandoned.”

“If you look at the map from at least 1970 this was the proposed footprint of the airport,” said Fisher, “that’s why no lots were made on that orange line (the orange line on Hermitage’s map shows the extension area) because this airport was slated.”

Harrington said that the need for the extension, as well as widening the clear space along the sides of the runway, were required by the FAA in order to allow B1 planes and jets to land at the airport. “ It (airport) had many major defects by FAA standards and that’s the reason why we’re doing this project.”

Ken Kaliski, senior director of Resource System Group in White River Junction, presented the board with a noise level study his group performed. The board had not been given time to read it, so Steel asked Kalinski to summarize some of the main points of the study. Kalinski said that the FAA uses a 65-decibel standard for noise at airports the size of this one, but he was recommending a 55-decibel limit because it was in a residential zone.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News - DRB has questions about airport expansion

Nassau County, New York: Air noise complaints up – East Hills official

A liaison between the Village of East Hills and the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that even though residential complaints about airplanes flying through village airspace have increased, the FAA still has not taken action.

“Just to give a brief update on where we are with the aircraft issue, the FAA and Port Authority has been supplying data regularly on the flights coming into our area,” said Rob Liebowitz, one of the village’s representatives on FAA affairs.

Addressing the board of trustees during its Thursday meeting, Liebowitz said complaints about aircraft frequently flying through village airspace have risen since East Hills held a seminar outlining ways residents could voice their concerns to the FAA, Port Authority and state and federal elected officials.

“In June there were seven complaints from our general area, in July 219, and in August there were 638,” Liebowitz said.

But Liebowitz said little progress has been made to reduce the frequency of flights passing through East Hills to reach John F. Kennedy Airport’s 22L or 22R runways.

Liebowitz said the 22L and 22R runways account for half of all landings at JFK, and that landings remain constant throughout the day even though the Port Authority agreed in 2000 to only use those routes overnight for emergency purposes.

Liebowitz said planes pass over East Hills as low as 1,500 feet when they should be flying at nearly twice that altitude, increasing the volume of the aircraft noise.

Liebowitz also cited data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization that states noise is considered safe at 55 or fewer decibels, though he said the FAA regulates noise safety at 65 decibels.

Planes passing East Hills, he said, have been recorded at 80-90 decibels.

Liebowitz said the village’s petition imploring the FAA and Port Authority to find alternative routes for planes has amassed 900 signatures.

But Village of East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz said a petition may not make the kind of impact in lessening airplane noise that the urging of elected officials might.

“We all know that [U.S. Sen. Charles] Schumer has the power to turn it off. He’s a senior senator there. He can call and make a lot of noise to the FAA,” Koblenz said.

Last month, Schumer, along with fellow U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. representatives Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Grace Meng (D-Queens) in writing a letter to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael P. Huerta. The officials called for the implementation of additional airplane noise monitors are needed to more accurately monitor airplane noise levels near JFK and LaGuardia.

“We understand that the Port Authority is in the process of upgrading the Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System with the latest technology and creating a public Web site that will make data accessible within 24 hours,” the officials wrote. “We applaud the Port Authority for this effort. We believe that the next step should be adding additional noise monitors so that the affect of airplane noise can be understood in all communities.”

Liebowitz said he recently issued a letter to the FAA and Port Authority with questions and concerns the village has regarding airplane noise, adding he hopes to receive some answers.

Original Article:

Snohomish County rescue helicopter needs salvation


Thursday was training day for the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team, in preparation for the long winter ahead. Crew member Miles Mcdonough is proud to be part of what’s known as "the last resort." 

“People are really grateful when we show up,” he said.

An unsung member of this team is named SnoHawk, which comprises the helicopter part of the Helicopter Rescue Team. The chopper keeps watch over Snohomish County, as well as Whatcom and Skagit Counties. It lends its assistance to King and Pierce Counties and even flies across the Cascades to run rescues over there.

“Because of SnoHawk we're able to get there within that window of when they need help,” said Mcdonough.

SnoHawk averages 80 missions a year, from the back country to this summer’s Skagit River Bridge collapse. The crews are almost entirely volunteer, but it costs $150,000 a year fly the bird, and an expiring timber tax is threatening to ground it for good.

“The resource is extremely critical, being able to get there within that golden hour,” said Mcdonough. “That’s how lives are saved.”

Snohomish County found emergency money to keep SnoHawk aloft through next year, but after that there is no money. And when crew members say “no money” to fly the county helicopter, they mean it. They're so desperate, the team is doing everything short of a bake sale to raise cash. They’re holding fundraiser dinners and even selling t-shirts.

“Times are tough for everybody,” said Sgt. Dennis Wikstrom, who oversees the program.

It will ultimately be up to the community to save the stalwart SnoHawk, which has stood ready for them almost 20 years. If the helo doesn't fly, rescues will be relegated to much slower crews on foot.

“We'd much rather go out quickly and rescue and treat living people than go out there later and bring back dead people,” said Wikstrom.

Few know that better than rescue volunteer Miles Mcdonough. He fell seven stories down Mount Stuart in Chelan County during a hike with a friend two years ago. He suffered a broken shoulder blade, four broken ribs, a concussion and a collapsed lung. His buddy ran for help, and who came to the rescue? His own crew aboard SnoHawk.

“Seeing that helicopter coming over the ridge, I knew that I would make it through the day,” said Mcdonough.

The rescue volunteers need all kinds of fundraising help. They’re hoping to find a restaurant or caterer who can donate services for their dinner next spring. They say any and all help is appreciated. 

You can find out more and buy t-shirts by visiting or through the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team Facebook page. 

Story and video:

Copter pilot contrite about gun-play flight: Charlestown, Rhode Island

CHARLESTOWN — Licensed pilot Dean F. Scalera said he and his buddies won’t be shooting high-powered weapons out of his helicopter in the area of Narrow Lane anytime soon because their Sunday outing panicked residents and brought a police response.

Scalera, 53, who lives in Florida and lists a Charlestown address of 151 Biscuit City Road, was apologetic when reached by phone Monday to discuss the incident. He was on his way to the airport to catch a flight back to Florida. Although apparently not illegal under state law, the spectacle of men firing automatic weapons from a low-flying helicopter Sunday afternoon sent neighbors to their phones to alert police.

Scalera apologized and explained his group was only out for about a half-hour taking shots at a junked car in a gravel bank owned by one of the men in the shooting party. Police responded to the gravel bank to greet Scalera and his eight passengers upon landing.

Police reports indicate the men had been involved in a get-together at the gravel bank at 60 Narrow Lane, a spot they had previously used for more mundane target practice. This time, however, the crew took aim from above the more than 80 acre site armed with semi-automatic weapons. A pick-up truck parked at the gravel bank was loaded with semi-automatic rifles and handguns, police said.

The property, known as Shoreline Sand and Gravel, is owned by Evelyn Smith and her son, John, also of 60 Narrow Lane. John Smith was among those in the helicopter.

Charlestown Police Sgt. Philip B. Gingerella Sr. noted in his report that when he asked Scalera why “he thought it was a good idea to perform this type of activity with large neighborhoods on both sides of the gravel bank” Scalera responded that he believed the helicopter was being flown low enough to be safe and that he knew of “pilots in other areas who have done the same thing.”

“In Rhode Island?” asked Gingerella.

“No, Texas,” Scalera said, according to police.

“This is Rhode Island, not Texas,” Gingerella told the pilot, according to the police report.

“I apologized up and down,” Scalera said. He said he and his friends thought “it would be cool to do this, but we won’t do it again.” He politely said he was rushing to catch his flight and ended the conversation.

Meanwhile, Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen said his department continues to investigate whether any federal laws were broken and has called for the Federal Aviation Administration to look into the incident. Allen said he has sent the police report and photos to the FAA and will follow up for an investigation.

Story and Comments/Reaction:


Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR) gets new temporary head

BRIDGEPORT -- Six weeks after John Ricci was ousted as the manager of Sikorsky Memorial Airport, the city has quietly installed a new temporary boss while searching for a permanent replacement.

Pauline A. Mize has been named acting airport manager for the Bridgeport-owned facility, which is located in Stratford. She officially started the job Monday, but news of her arrival became public a few days later.

"We were planning to announce it this week, but we were just giving her an opportunity to get settled," said Elaine Ficarra, spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Finch, said Thursday.

Mize will be paid $94,161 as acting manager, about the same salary Ricci was earning when his tenure abruptly ended in early August.

Ficarra said Mize will serve as acting manager until the conclusion of an ongoing national search for a new, permanent airport manager. It was not clear Thursday how long that search would take, or how Mize was selected as an interim manager.

Multiple attempts to reach Mize on Thursday were unsuccessful.

"I look forward to the challenge, and am pleased to have been selected to take the helm as acting manager at the airport," Mize said in a city news release. "My goal will be to make the airport a safer facility for the flying public, our tenants and the surrounding neighbors."

According to the release, Mize worked as the airport manager for Francis S. Gabreski Airport on Long Island. There, she secured $10 million in federal funding for improvements to the airfield's lighting system and headed up economic development initiatives involving the airport. The release said Mize also worked for the Long Island city of Glen Cove in various capacities.

Mize takes over the top job just as the airport emerges from the turbulence of Ricci's departure.

He was fired amid a controversy over a $400,000 driveway built by millionaire developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho and paid for by the city. The city said that Ricci did not disclose his business connections with Moutinho before he and the city attorney's office hired Moutinho for the job. Ricci has told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers that he did disclose the relationship.

The driveway went across Sikorsky land to Moutinho's waterfront mansion. City officials said the project was needed because a dirt driveway used by Moutinho and three other property owners was going to be eliminated by a runaway safety project.

Sources said the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office had been investigating the driveway controversy because the safety upgrade is being paid for with federal dollars. Initially fired by Mayor Bill Finch on Aug. 1, Ricci opted later that month to retire and collect city benefits instead filing a grievance against the city.

Original article:

Up close & personal: ease, efficiency of fixed-wing ambulance

 Guest Column

By  Marilyn (Labar) Nasman/San Juan Island

I am grateful for both fixed wing and helicopter ambulance service on our island.

As a 41-year-resident of San Juan Island, I have seen some dramatic positive changes in air evacuation. Ten days ago I wrote the following thank you letter to the EMS service and Island Air. Recent concerns over the fixed-wing service cause me to make my letter public.

To: Jim Cole, San Juan Island EMS, Jackie Hamilton, Island Air

I found myself in a “time capsule” two weeks ago. I stood on the tarmac of the Bellingham Airport at one o’clock in the morning watching my husband being transferred from Island Air’s fixed-wing ambulance plane to the waiting ambulance ready for the journey to the cardiac care unit of St. Joe’s hospital. We had been transported from our boat at Shipyard Cove to the new Peace Island Hospital by the EMS personnel.

After a determination at the local hospital that my husband’s heart was in need of attention by specialists, Jackie’s team was called into duty to join the EMS for the evacuation to Bellingham. We left the new local hospital with its wonderful team of skill and support to be transported to the Friday Harbor Airport. It is here where my memory of 40-plus years on the island came full circle.

My late husband, Les Labar, the founder of Aeronautical Services, had been a pioneer in fixed wing medical evacuation to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bellingham in the late 1970s. I remember our original Cessna 207; the day UPS freight hauler, quickly converted to accommodate a stretcher and two EMS personnel.

If I recall correctly that conversion involved removing a piece of plywood that formed the floor of the freight area and then allowing the stretcher to be tied to the floor rings. I think there was one rear seat for one EMS person and the other personnel sat up front with Les.

The local ambulance met the plane at our freight hangar; no extra lights, or special equipment, just Les, the plane and a space for the stretcher. No one was tracking the flight, no communication network, no cell phones, no radio contact with the hospital, just the promise to meet the flight by the original contact from St. Luke’s.

There was limited ability for the EMS to provide medical support for the patient in route and no room for a family member to accompany the patient. Compare that 35-year-old scenario to what I experienced in the early morning of Aug. 18, 2013.

We were greeted by a gleaming Cessna 207 fully dedicated to medical evacuation. It was housed in a spotless hangar with state of the art equipment to smoothly move my husband into an aircraft equipped in a manner my late husband could have only dreamed.

I had met our pilot, Craig Bailey, just the week before at the 40th anniversary for Aeronautical Services. He was the consummate professional. He orchestrated the flight with skill, competence and ease.

Continued ....

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A new approach - Second water tower may be back on the table: Le Mars Municipal Airport (KLRJ), Iowa

A planned 140-foot second water tower in southern Le Mars may still be a possibility.

To make it so might mean a shift in how air traffic comes into and leaves Le Mars.

Earlier this summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the city the water tower couldn't be built as planned because of the air hazard it could pose to the Le Mars Municipal Airport.

The FAA stated that a water tower in that location -- 24th Street South and Sixth Avenue West -- couldn't be taller than 86 feet.

Now city officials are looking into an option that would allow the city to build the 140-foot tower there.

City Administrator Scott Langel said the airport could require pilots to only approach and take off from the airport from the west.

The proposed water tower site is to the east of the airport.

The idea is this: if air traffic isn't accessing the airport from the east, then a water tower to the east of the airport would be less of a hazard.

Langel told the Le Mars City Council this week that switching to a west-only approach could possibly impact the FAA's earlier determination not to allow the 140-foot tower.

"If it's west only, then FAA -- as far as hazards are concerned and what gets put into the flight books -- isn't nearly as complicated as if it's 'any approach goes,'" Langel said.

Since the Le Mars airport's inception, air traffic has been able to access and leave the airport from both the east and west.

However, considering a west-only approach to the airport was originally suggested in a 2005 FAA review, Langel told the council.

Councilman John Rexwinkel noted that this isn't an unheard of idea -- Ankeny's airport has an east-only approach.

Le Mars' airport manager Earl Draayer filed the paperwork to switch Le Mars to a west-only approach, Langel said.

An FAA representative then initiated a new study on the water tower proposal, Langel said.

"From the indicators we're getting ... it sure looks very, very favorable that we could get a west-only approach, and if we do that, then the hazards that are east of the runway are not nearly as substantial," he said. "And that's the key word we're trying to take off the determination, that it's no longer a substantial hazard."

The process for this study will take 90-120 days, Langel said.

In August, after receiving word the FAA was not going to allow a tower higher than 86 feet at the site, the city council chose to reject all bids on the water tower and the associated water booster station.

After hearing about the west-only airport approach option Tuesday, the council rescinded that motion and voted to extend consideration of those bids for another 90 days -- to Dec. 23.

If the FAA allows for a 140-foot water tower and the council chooses to accept bids for the tower and booster station, the project would likely be planned for spring of 2014.

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New Planes for American Airlines, Tulsa Workers Uncertain About Jobs - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather  
American Airlines is preparing to fly more new models of planes in 2014. Tulsa workers maintain a model of aircraft that is being phased out. Sources within a local union said that could mean Tulsa could see a surplus of 400 more workers than would be needed. 

Tulsa workers maintain MD-80s. American Airlines is aiming to use newer models of planes that require less maintenance.

Sources within the Transport Workers Union Local 514 said it is uncertain what that means for the hundreds of workers specialized in the older technology.

Several American Airlines workers told Channel 8 they had heard about the possible changes.

When asked about possible layoffs means for morale, plane inspector Lee Shegog said, "Right now, about the same."

Union officials said they are already working to locate other tasks within the company for as many workers as they can.

"We are concerned and we are acting in the background to try to keep this base full of as much work as possible," said Local 514 President Dale Danker.

American Airlines said the possible changes are not related to its attempted merger with US Airways. The deal has not yet gone through due to a challenge from the Department of Justice.

American Airlines Spokesperson Andrea Huguely said, "American's operational needs for 2014 are still being assessed as we revitalize our fleet and complete several aircraft modification initiatives. While no final decisions have been made, we will let our people know of any changes at the appropriate time."

Union sources said the changes pertain to American's first quarter, meaning around March.

Union sources said they encourage local and state officials to pay attention to the Tulsa base to ultimately benefit local jobs.

Story and Video:

Keller engineers enter homemade aircraft in Red Bull event

Decked out in flight suits, five local mechanical/aerospace engineers will test their home-built aircraft Sept. 21 at the National Red Bull Flugtag in Irving.

The event, on the south shore of Lake Carolyn, is known at the world’s wildest homemade, human-powered flying craft competition and will take place simultaneously with other events in Washington D.C., Long Beach, Caif., Miami, Fla. and Chicago, Ill.

Keller residents Jared Paulson and Kyle Cravener along with Travis Jurell and Antonio Rucker of Fort Worth and Alan Falls of Arlington, are competing in the Irving event against 32 other teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arizona, Wyoming, Mississippi and Colorado.

The team, named Top Gun, began building their aircraft July 4. Last week, they were putting on finishing touches.

Paulson, 27, said the aircraft has a 28-foot wingspan and is 10 feet long, from nose to tail.

It will be launched from a stand over the lake from about 30 feet in the air.

Because teams will be judged by distance, creativity and showmanship rather than speed, Top Gun’s “need for speed” is replaced with the need for a nice glide across the lake in their human powered aircraft, modeled after fighter jets in the movie.

“I’m a little nervous,” said Cravener, the team pilot. “I hope to glide down nice and soft and land on the water. But we are super pumped to take our aircraft on its inaugural flight into the record books.”

Paulson said his team was selected from more than 300 entries.

“I don’t know their criteria but they wanted a sketch of our concept. It helps that we had CAD software to use ... and we had a really good sketch,” he said. “We also played on the fact that we are five nerds but we also have personality.”

To gain more points, participants can wear outrageous costumes, act out skits and create their own music for the flight.

Top Gun’s skit will be inspired by Tom Cruise’s “sexiness.”

Paulson said the project has been fun and a good experience for himself and the team.

“It’s kind of a mix of emotions,” he said. “It was so much hard work, once we launch it will only be alive for a few seconds. But we’re lucky to have gotten to participate.”

Red Bull Flugtag, known as “flying day” in German, has taken place worldwide for 12 years. The first event took place in 1991 in Vienna, Austria. The first U.S. event was in 2002 in San Francisco, Calif.

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Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines to set up new full-service airline

NEW DELHI: Tata Sons — the founders of Air India — are back in aviation with a bang. The group on Thursday announced it has tied up with Singapore Airlines to launch a new full-service airline in India which will initially fly on domestic routes and then head overseas too.

This new joint venture comes on the heels of Tata’s partnership with Malaysian low cost carrier AirAsia under which they will launch a budget airline here possibly before the year-end.

“Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and applied for Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to establish a new airline in India that will help further stimulate demand for air travel…. the airline will be based in New Delhi and will operate under the full-service model. Tata Sons will own 51% and Singapore Airlines will own 49%,” according to a statement jointly issued.

This is the second time in just over a decade that Tatas and Singapore Airlines have got together for an aviation business venture in India. In 2001, they had jointly bid to acquire a 40% stake in Air India, when the then government had tried to part-privatize the loss-making national carrier. However, the privatization plan for Air India did not take off due to opposition from political parties and other important players in Indian aviation and the two then parted ways.

“The initial board will have three members, two nominated by Tata Sons and one nominated by Singapore Airlines. It is Tata Sons’ evaluation that civil aviation in India offers sustainable growth potential. We now have the opportunity to launch a world-class full-service airline in India. We are delighted that we are partnering in this endeavor with the world renowned Singapore Airlines,” said Prasad Menon, chairman of the joint venture.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said: “We have always been a strong believer in the growth potential of India’s aviation sector and are excited about the opportunity to partner Tata Sons in contributing to the future expansion of the market. Tata Sons is one of the most established and respected names in India. With the recent liberalization, the time is right to jointly bring consumers a fresh new option for full-service air travel. We are confident the joint venture airline will help to stimulate market demand and provide economic benefits to India.”

Original article:

Tweed-New Haven Airport (KHVN), private operator poised to settle suit over lost business

Officials for Tweed New Haven Regional Airport and Robinson Aviation, a private business at Tweed, have essentially reached, but have yet to finalize, a settlement of a lawsuit Robinson filed after construction of federally mandated runway safety areas hurt its business in 2008.

The city of New Haven initially was a defendant in the suit but was later dropped.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s done except for signing,” Tweed New Haven Airport Authority member Tom Scarpati, a member of the authority’s litigation subcommittee, said at an authority meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“I believe that we’re at a point … where we’re settled,” Scarpati said. The full Tweed authority discussed the case in closed session last month and gave the authority’s Executive Committee authority to pursue the settlement, as long as it fell within certain parameters, members and staff said.

Robinson Aviation President Ken Robinson said before the meeting that he did not consider the settlement a done deal until it’s signed. “I don’t know that there’s anything that’s announcable yet because it hasn’t been signed,” he said.

But at the meeting, which Robinson attended, he said that “terms are settled” even if the settlement has yet to be signed.

According to representatives of both sides, the settlement does not involve any money changing hands. But in exchange for withdrawing the lawsuit, Robinson will receive extensions on two options, now expired, that it previously had on land at Tweed to build additional hangars to expand its business.

It also works out a framework to communicate such things in the future so the problem will not be repeated, said Robinson.

Robinson Aviation runs the private aviation on the East Haven side of the airport, leases hangar space and provides gasoline and repair service. Tweed collects landing fees for private planes and gets a cut of the gasoline Robinson sells, however, so the more traffic Robinson can attract, the more money Tweed makes.

The lawsuit alleged, among other things, that Robinson’s business was damaged by repeated shutdowns of the main runway that accompanied construction of the north runway safety area and work on the taxiway that runs alongside the runway.

It said Robinson had not been told that would be the case prior to signing its most recent lease — and alleged that Tweed and the company that manages the airport, American Facilities Co. Inc., withheld details before signing the lease.

Meanwhile, the runway would reopen for US Airways Express flights but not for the private flights heading to and from Robinson Aviation.

Tweed is managed by Avports, a subsidiary of AFCO.

Original article:

Pennsylvania widow says husband’s ashes vanished on trip to England

ANGELINE O’GRADY doesn’t know where her husband is.

She knows his soul is no longer on this earth – it left in 2011 when he lost his battle with cancer.
His earthly remains, however, were lost by US Airways in Philadelphia two years ago and have yet to be found, O’Grady claims in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court.

O’Grady, of Trumbauersville, Bucks County, was on her way to bury her husband’s cremated remains in their hometown in England in 2011 when TSA agents made her take the ashes out of her carry-on luggage and place them in her checked bag, the suit said. But she said the remains were missing when she retrieved her luggage in England.

O’Grady said US Airways has failed to find the ashes or explain how they were lost.

“US Airways, rather than Mr. and Mrs. O’Grady, has had the last word in determining Mr. O’Grady’s final resting place,” the lawsuit reads. “He is not at peace.”

Before Brian O’Grady died in October 2011 at age 71, his wife pledged that she would scatter his ashes in Hull, England.

On Nov. 1, 2011, she went to Philadelphia International Airport to fulfill his wish, but when she reached TSA security, agents told her she couldn’t take the cardboard box that contained a plastic urn of her husband’s ashes in her carry-on because “its contents were not a solid substance,” according to the suit.

O’Grady returned to the US Airways desk with her baggage-claim ticket so the ashes could be placed in her checked luggage, the suit said.

By the time O’Grady got to her gate, she was told she was late and that she’d given up her seat, said her lawyer, Bill Goldman Jr. He said she was required to pay $500 to upgrade to first class to stay on the same flight that she thought her husband’s ashes were on.

Although her bag arrived in England, O’Grady claims the remains weren’t in it.

Goldman said US Airways’ response to O’Grady’s inquiries and his requests has been to “Ignore, ignore, ignore.”

US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie provided a statement to the Daily News:

“While we certainly send our condolences to Mrs. O’Grady, US Airways’ investigation into this matter did not uncover any information indicating that US Airways is responsible for this unfortunate incident,” he said. “We, of course, will defend ourselves against this suit.”

Goldman said he wants to know what kind of investigation US Airways conducted into the incident.

“To merely say that our investigation did not reveal anything is inadequate and it’s an insult,” he said.

Original article:

Northampton County Council willing to fight potential sale of Braden Airpark (N43), Easton, Pennsylvania

Northampton County Council members indicated at a committee meeting tonight they are willing to enter a legal dogfight to prevent a potential sale of Braden Airpark.

The council’s finance committee unanimously recommended passing a resolution calling on County Executive John Stoffa to file a lawsuit against the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority if it tries to sell the 80-acre Forks Township facility without the county’s go-ahead.

Braden Airpark is part of the authority’s core mission, opined council solicitor Phil Lauer. Any proposed sale would require Northampton and Lehigh counties to amend the authority’s articles of incorporation to change that, he said.

“The authority has a specific purpose, which includes the ownership and operation of … Braden Airpark,” Lauer wrote in a memo.

County solicitor Dan Spengler generally agreed but was more cautious. Charles Everett, the authority’s executive director, has said the airpark is losing money and the county cannot force the authority to operate at a loss, Spengler said.

Everett has said the authority must sell the general aviation airstrip in order to finance its $16 million court payment due in 2015 from a lost lawsuit. He has previously said the authority would not need either county’s approval to move forward on any deal.

The authority is scheduled to restart sale considerations in October after a four-month delay. The LNAA is seeking $3.5 million for the sale, according the Save Braden Airpark Initiative Group, a band of local pilots hoping to save the airpark.

The group is discussing ways to purchase the property and maintain it as an airpark, and it asked the county to provide the authority with a $5,000 monthly subsidy for Braden in the meantime. Council members rejected the proposal during the meeting, but Councilman Bob Werner said council would likely support a sale to the group.

With the authority’s bankruptcy a real possibility, council President John Cusick said it may be necessary for both counties to subsidize the authority to keep it afloat. Councilman Tom Dietrich questioned the wisdom of bailing out authority leadership, saying the financial problems they are facing are largely self-made.

“Now we’re going to subsidize their stupidity?” he asked.

Councilman Scott Parsons reminded council they have other, long-term options to change the authority’s direction. About half of the authority’s board of governors are appointed by county council, he said.

“When a member comes due and they didn’t do what we asked them to do, we have to change that member,” he said.

Stoffa did not speak during the meeting, but earlier in the day he said he was on the fence about suing the LNAA. Forcing the authority to keep Braden could damage its bottom line and private ownership could bring positives to the table.

“I really haven’t decided yet,” Stoffa said.

Original Article:

State Police Decline to Release Photos of Possible Gunfire Damage to New Helicopter

Maryland State Police have declined to release a photo of an alleged bullet hole in the rotors of a new AW139 Medevac helicopter saying that it could ultimately serve as evidence in a criminal investigation.

The damage grounded the new multi-million dollar chopper on the roof of Baltimore’s Shock Trauma last week.

Maryland State police speculated last week that the damage to the top rotor may have been caused by a stray bullet fired while the AW139 was providing air support during the chase of a Pennsylvania bank robbery suspect in Chambersburg.

PA police later told FOX45 that they have no reports of shots fired by bank robbers at aircraft during the chase and are not currently investigating shots fired at aircraft which participated in the chase.

Maryland state police say the helicopter is now operational, though it is still awaiting repairs. The state purchased 10 AW139s for $130 million dollars to replace an aging fleet.

A decision to purchase 12 of the larger, more technologically advanced helicopters was controversial when it was made in 2008 – and remains so today.

The requisition forced the state to borrow $133 million instead of choosing cheaper alternatives such as privatizing the fleet or refurbishing existing helicopters.

Original article:

A Fair trade on helicopters (letter)

Letter to the Editor

Updated: 09/19/2013 04:14:00 PM EDT

To those of you who complained about the noise from the helicopters giving fairgoers rides, my heart goes out to you. I would like to make you an offer. Next year, come and spend the 10 days of the fair at our house in the country. We have a spare room, and you will be free to come and go as your needs demand. There is only one caveat. Our house is in the flight path of the Thomasville Airport. The peace and quiet of the country is broken only by the planes, helicopters and a company jet or two, taking off, flying overhead, and landing, mornings, daytimes and, yes, even at night.

Then I must also mention that we live along Route 234, or as I call it, the East Berlin Speedway. Our home is at the intersection with Short Road, which is at the crest of a blind hill. People laugh when I tell them I have to come out of my driveway doing 65 miles and hour. The speed limit’s 45, but most do 55 or more. The tractor trailers prefer our road because there are no traffic circles and fewer traffic lights, so you have the sound of trucks accelerating to make the hill and the Jake brakes to reduce their speed. Then there’s that repaired spot in the road that causes a boomp when the trucks go over it. Weekends and holidays we have swarms of Harleys that pass in a never-ending flow.

You will enjoy the serenity of country life. You’re welcome to stay for free. There’s plenty of farmland surrounding us, and the neighbors are quiet and seem to be very friendly. So, next year when the fair comes to town give up the helicopter noise and come stay with us.



Original article:

Cape Air Adding Service to Culebra and Virgin Gorda

Regional airline Cape Air is adding new service to Culebra, Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, according to the company.

The new service will begin Dec. 17 with four daily flights between San Juan and Culebra. On Dec. 18, the company will begin operating three daily flights between San Juan and Virgin Gorda.

“We are thrilled with these additions to our Caribbean route map,” said Linda Markham, President of Cape Air, in a statement. “There is a real need to provide reliable service from San Juan to Culebra and Virgin Gorda, and the new service will benefit travelers and locals alike. We are so committed to the success of these routes that we have acquired new aircraft specific to the unique needs of Culebra and Virgin Gorda,”

Because of the short runways in both Culebra and Virgin Gorda, the company has acquired three Britten Norman Islanders “specifically suited to the needs of these markets,” the company said.

“By acquiring this new equipment, we are maintaining our nine passenger model on an aircraft appropriate for short take offs and landings that will allow us to take our passengers to destinations that have limited access but are unique,” she said.

The planes are nine-passenger, high-wing, twin-engine aircraft.

“The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board is excited about Cape Air’s expanded service into our destination,” said Sharon Flax-Mars, director of tourism for the British Virgin Islands. “Guests traveling to Virgin Gorda now have another seamless transfer option. We applaud Cape Air for their initiative and dedication to our islands,” said Sharon Flax-Mars, Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands.”

Cape Air operates more than 100 flights every day to St Thomas, St Croix, Tortola, Vieques, Mayaguez, Anguilla, Nevis and, soon, Culebra and Virgin Gorda.

“Our Five Star Island is a diverse destination that offers something for everyone. The new Cape Air flights make Puerto Rico even more attractive to those looking for the perfect Caribbean getaway,” said Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Original article:

Turtle Mountain family says crop dusting spray made them ill: Woman says she had allergic reaction to pesticide sprayed on canola field

A woman in the Turtle Mountain area in southwestern Manitoba says a chemical sprayed from a crop dusting plane on a nearby field has made her family and neighbors sick.

Marie Denbow said she and members of her family were ill for days after a crop duster sprayed a pesticide, used to control insects on canola, on a neighboring field in mid-August.

Winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour caused the chemicals to drift, Denbow said.

“My hair was matted. I had it on my skin, I had it in my mouth. You could taste it. You could smell it,” she told CBC News on Thursday.

“Every time they’ve sprayed, we’ve been able to taste it and smell it — in the house.”

Denbow said she experienced a number of symptoms, including diarrhea, a burning sensation on her skin, nose bleeds, sore throat and sore eyes.

She said she had to get medication for what her doctor called an allergic reaction, and she still feels unwell today.

Denbow’s young granddaughter also didn’t feel well, and numerous neighbors reported experiencing similar symptoms, she said.

The farmer who hired the crop duster has apologized to Denbow and her neighbors.

Denbow said people need to be given more notice when crop dusters are spraying near their homes.
Her family was notified on the morning that the spraying took place, so they left for the day. But the crop duster flew over the field again that evening and the next day — when they were home — without further notice, she said.

“It’s our health that’s being affected. Our kids, our pets. This chemical that they’re spraying is very dangerous,” she said.

Manitoba Agriculture and the company that conducted the crop dusting have not responded to CBC News’ requests for comment.

Original article:

A group of residents in the Turtle Mountain area is up in arms after a family fell sick after a crop duster allegedly sprayed a hazardous pesticide on their rural acreage.

Lorna Canada said her two children, her husband and herself were ill for several days after an aerial applicator made repeated passes over her home while spraying an adjacent canola field on Aug. 17.

“The spray was so thick that you couldn’t even go outside without tasting it — it was nasty,” said Canada, who is a nurse and lives along Highway 450 just north of Lake Metigoshe.

Her youngest child, aged 11, vomited constantly for an entire day, and then suffered from severe diarrhea on the following two days, while her older child had a bout of diarrhea and nausea that lasted for five days, she said.

Neighbor Marie Denbow, who videotaped the crop duster flying over the cluster of three homes, said she is outraged by the incident.

“If I went over to their house and sprayed Warhawk all over their yard, children and pets, I’d go to jail,” said Denbow.

Anthony Raes, a farmer from Deloraine who rents the field, confirmed he hired an aerial applicator to spray a generic brand of chlorpyrifos on the canola field to control bertha armyworms. The active ingredient is an organophosphate that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headache, blurred vision and other health issues.

But Raes said he gave residents advanced warning and told the applicator to stay away from the cluster of three homes near the highway.

“I did tell them to avoid that corner because there’s a few houses there. I left it up to them,” he said. “We just hired them to do the job.”

Steven Kiansky, of Altona-based Southeast Air Services, said he couldn’t confirm if one of his applicators sprayed the three homes, but said it’s sometimes necessary to fly over yard sites.

“I would take every precautionary measure to make sure spray doesn’t get in their yard,” said Kiansky.

Aerial applicators avoid spraying when the windspeed exceeds 15 kilometres per hour. But sometimes the weather, especially in hilly, bushy areas can change quickly, he said.

“Say you’re flying 50 to 60 miles to a field, it’s impossible for us to know, so we have to rely on the farmer to tell us that it’s good, it’s safe,” he said.

This is the first complaint about spray drift he’s had all year, he said, adding his company maps “sensitive” areas such as organic farms and yard sites as “no-fly zones.” Anyone can have their property put on the map by calling his company, he said.

“We mark those fields off on the map and we’ll never be back there for the rest of eternity,” said Kiansky. “We don’t need the trouble, nor do we need the work that badly.”

But area residents and local organic farmers are banding together to ensure their is no repeat of the incident and held a meeting on Aug. 28 at the Turtle Mountain Metis Local hall.

Among them was Elizabeth Lavallee, who has a 2.2-acre property filled with fruit trees and roaming cats a few miles away from the others.

She said pesticides applied to a canola field across the road drifted onto her property several times this summer, sickening her cats, killing dragonflies and bees, and leaving her with a sore throat, difficulty in breathing, and burning skin.

“I’m tired of some farmers putting people and the environment at risk to line their own pockets,” Lavallee wrote in an email.

“I’m not against spraying, I’m against getting sprayed.”

Dale Goethals, the owner of the canola crop across from Lavallee’s home, said he does his best to give residents advance warning, and doesn’t take a decision to spray lightly.

“Do they want us to just let the berthas come in and ruin a year’s worth of income?” he asked.
As for the complaints, he said “some people seem to get sick a lot easier than others.”

He also said he uses the more costly insecticide Coragen (that only kills pests which eat plants that have been sprayed) in order to avoid problems with local beekeepers and acreage owners.

The federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency has developed easy-to-use software called the Buffer Zone Calculator to assist crop dusters in preventing drift. But if there is a problem, the onus is on property owners to prove they’ve suffered health problems or damages, said David Neufeld, an organic farmer who lives in the Turtle Mountains and has studied regulations covering spray drift.
The best option is to be pro-active, said Neufeld, who spoke at the Aug. 28 meeting.

“It’s really important for us to confront people as its happening, including the farmer, and say, ‘Look, this is not reasonable, we’re neighbors, we’ve got to get along,’” he said.

Crop dusters are keen to do everything they can, said John Bagley, owner of Westman Aerial Spraying, adding his company constantly updates its list of “no-fly zones” and shares it with any spray company that asks for it.

Even if a spray plane flies over a yard, it doesn’t mean pesticide is actually being released and aerial sprayers also use a “suck-back valve” to prevent drips, he said.

Aerial applicators are required to stay 2,000 feet away from built-up areas, but there are no rules covering rural yard sites.

“That would cripple aviation,” said Bagley. “It would be like saying a truck can’t drive past somebody’s driveway.”

Original article:

Meet the Airport Virtual Assistant, or AVA at Northwest Florida Regional Airport

Ava is the newest thing in commercial airports across the United States and overseas.

Northwest Florida Regional is the first airport in Florida to buy the system.

“Ava is a virtual assistant that never gets tired, never gets annoyed or irritated and in a very pleasant way at the point when the message should get delivered informs passengers on what they need to do,” said Sunil Harman, Airport Director VPS.

Ava’s main purpose to remind passengers things like having their boarding passes ready at the security check point, taking off their shoes and even to relax and enjoy their flight.

“People are drawn to AVA because she is very unique. She represents the airport. She will be dressed as an airport agent and she has a great persona,” said Harman.

While it’s a new technology, many travelers tell News Channel 7 is much more relaxing then hearing t-s-a personnel over the intercom.

“When you travel a lot it’s nice to be reminded of all the rules and she is a beautiful spokesperson,” said traveler Brenda Cagle.

“She is very impressive and I want to talk to her. But I like watching her hands move and I love the information she gives,” said Frances Stanfield, another traveler.

Airport officials are paying about $40,000 a year for AVA’s services, and Harman says that’s inexpensive for technology like this.

Original article:

Pilot error caused Caribbean Airlines crash; report contains recommendations

Guyana will have to implement a series of recommendations on how to avoid another crash at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) similar to the one involving a Caribbean Airlines jet two years ago, a senior official said Thursday.

The Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Zulfikar Mohammed said the report, which confirmed pilot error was the cause of the July 30, 2011 mishap, would be studied and released by Transport Minister Robeson Benn.

Mohammed said the report would not be used to file any claim for damages. “It’s not for litigation purposes or cast any blame as such,” Mohammed told Demerara Waves Online News (

The GCAA boss explained that the report would say exactly what happened and emphasise several areas for safety. “They will tell you what actions should be taken in terms of improving safety, preventing accidents of this sort from happening again,” he said.

Mohammed’s explanation followed confirmation by Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira earlier Thursday of what had been known hours after the crash- the pilot engaged in a “long-landing” on the CJIA runway that prevented him from stopping the Boeing 737-800 before it could have ran off the 7,400 long runway half way over a ravine. The plane cracked in half.

Reading an excerpt from the report, Teixeira said: “The cause of the accident was the aircraft touching down far beyond the touch-down zone due to the captain maintaining excess power during the flare and not using the airplane’s full deceleration capacity resulting in the aircraft overrunning the pavement and fracturing the fuselage.”

The GCAA-led probe received support from the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight (CASSOS), Caribbean Airlines, Trinidad and Tobago’s Civil Aviation Authority and Boeing Aircraft company.

Eight Guyanese passengers in July 2013 filed lawsuits claiming a total of GUY$8 million associated with alleged negligent operation of Caribbean Airlines Flight # BW523

Original article:

NTSB Identification: DCA11RA092
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 1 Serious,161 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On July 30, 2011, at 1:25 am local time (0525 UTC), a Boeing 737-800, Trinidad & Tobago registration 9Y-PBM, operated by Caribbean Airlines as flight 523, overran the runway upon landing at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Georgetown, Guyana. Of the 156 passengers and six crew on board, there was reportedly one serious and multiple minor injuries. Weather was reported as raining at the time of the accident. Preliminary details from local authorities indicate that the airplane fractured in two pieces as a result of the overrun. The flight was a scheduled passenger flight from Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

The accident is being investigated by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of manufacture. All inquiries should be directed to the Guyana CAA at:

Civil Aviation Authority
Fairlie House Lot 96
Duke St