Friday, September 27, 2013

Pilots of private planes know danger can be lurking


 More than a century after humans learned how to defy gravity, there still is something majestic and enthralling about flight, be it small prop planes or sleek airliners soaring through the sky.

Perhaps that’s why it is shocking when we see airplanes reduced to crumpled heaps of smoking metal on the ground and pilots and their passengers lose their lives.

Wednesday’s crash of a private plane on its way to Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook, which killed a Kentucky couple, recalled other plane crashes in recent years in Will County.

The plane came down in a bank parking lot on Weber Road. Passenger Jay Venguswamy died at the scene. Her husband, Dr. Narayan Venguswamy, 63, who was the pilot, was able to escape, but he was severely burned and died at a hospital the next morning.

Four similar crashes have occurred in the past decade:

December 2012: A Minnesota man was killed when his twin-engine plane plummeted to the ground in a field a half-mile from Gougar and Offner roads.

June 2011: A Darien man died after his single-engine plane struck trees and power lines in front of the St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center at Airport Road and Illinois 53.

September 2008: A plane hit a light pole and crashed onto Weber Road at Lily Cache Lane after it took off from Clow. The pilot, who told authorities he lost power on takeoff, and his passenger survived.

October 2004: A Missouri man was killed when his single-engine plane crashed into the Springwood subdivision in Joliet, narrowly missing two rows of townhouses and coming to rest in a crumpled heap under a streetlight.

In the 2004 crash, emergency workers said they were impressed that the pilot was able to thread his way through two townhouse buildings at the north end of the subdivision without hitting them.

That’s what pilots are trained to do, said Chris Lawson, manager of Lewis University Airport in Romeoville. Lawson, who had his solo pilot license before he got his driver’s license, said instructors force students to fly with an idle engine to see how they will react.

“(An instructor) will reach down to the throttle cable and pull it,” Lawson said. “And he says, ‘OK, what are you going to do?’ And it’s a test. He wants you to think, and he wants you thinking all of the time.”

Looking for safe places to land becomes instinctual, he said.

“You’re flying along and you’ve always got a field in your eye and you don’t even know you’re looking at it,” he said.

Keith McGill, chief of pilot training at Lewis University, said pilots in distress are taught to look for fields to land in if they can’t make it to an airport.

“Sometimes, depending on circumstances, there are no good options,” he said. “A pilot may have to choose the best of the worst options.”

Pilots who fly in and out of Will County are fortunate because there are so many farm fields, McGill said.

“We train pilots to try to pick a field that’s lined up with the wind,” he said. “We want to land into the wind as much as possible.”

They’re also taught to avoid creeks and to look for low vegetation.

“Even corn will stop you,” he said.

Pilots also are instructed to avoid roads.

“Most roads have power lines that go along with them,” McGill said. “And the wingspan of an average aircraft is 40 feet.”

Sometimes there is no runway or field. For instance, a week ago, a pilot landed on Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. He was lucky enough to walk away.

And there’s the legendary example of U.S. Airways Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger III landing his jumbo jet in the icy Hudson River in New York City in January 2009. Those kinds of things can’t be taught, McGill said.

“I can guarantee you never at any time in his training was there a discussion that you should land a plane in a river if you lost both engines on takeoff,” McGill said. “Every situation is different. And no pilot can be trained for all circumstances.

“As a pilot, you’re trained to deal with things as they come up. And based on the cards you’re given, you have to make the best decision even though it may be something that’s contrary to training.”

Sadly, there was no safe landing for the Kentucky couple last week. McGill said takeoffs and landings are the most dangerous times for pilots.

“Statistically, even though takeoffs and landings make up 3 percent of an entire flight, 50 percent of all aircraft accidents happen during takeoffs and landings,” he said. “The airplane is usually close to the ground so ... things happen much quicker.”

Airplane crashes are hard to take because they are rare, Lawson said.

“It hurts us all,” he said of Wednesday’s crash. “It’s a hollow feeling in your gut, and you feel sorry for the individual and his wife. My God, that was horrible.”

“It’s tragic,” McGill said. “It absolutely is, and it affects everyone. Obviously we don’t know what happened (with the Bolingbrook crash). But aviation is safe, and, hopefully, if we do our job and aircraft are maintained we avoid accidents.”

Lawson said he feels more comfortable flying in his plane than he does driving in traffic to get to work most days.

“Freedom, it’s called,” he said. “You can take your boat and go floating anytime you want. Or you can take your airplane and you can fly — and that’s what we do.”

Original article:

2011 in-flight 737 fuselage tear blamed on poor workmanship

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report released Friday blamed bad workmanship at Boeing for a 2011 incident when a five-foot-long hole ripped open in the roof of a 737-300 during a Southwest Airlines flight.  

When the jet was assembled 15 years earlier, the drilling of the rivet holes along one side of the fuselage skin panel that tore away “showed a lack of attention to detail and extremely poor manufacturing technique,” the report concluded.

The work also “was not in accordance with Boeing specifications or standard manufacturing practices.”

The NTSB said evidence indicates the hidden cracks emanating from the rivet holes had been slowly growing with each takeoff and landing, and had started “approximately when the airplane entered service” in 1996.

However, the safety agency’s report suggests this may have been a one-off error by a mechanic.

In a statement, Boeing pointed to the NTSB finding that subsequent inspections of other 737s found no similar damage in the same fuselage panel joints.

The NTSB concluded that therefore it’s “unlikely that there was a systemic QA (quality assurance) error at the Boeing facilities.”

The report reveals that a panel above the one that ripped away was replaced at some late stage of the assembly process and that the join between these two panels — three rows of rivet holes along the overlap — showed serious discrepancies including non-circular holes, double-drilled holes, gaps between the rivets and the holes, and metal burrs protruding from under the rivets.

Read more here:

NTSB Identification: DCA11MA039
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Accident occurred Friday, April 01, 2011 in Yuma, AZ
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration: N632SW
Injuries: 1 Minor,121 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 1, 2011, at about 1557 mountain standard time (MST), Southwest Airlines flight 812, a Boeing 737-300, registration N632SW, experienced rapid depressurization at approximately 34,000 feet. The flight crew conducted an emergency descent and diverted to Yuma, Arizona. Upon landing, a 5-foot x 1-foot hole in the crown area was observed on the left side of the airplane, aft of the over-wing exit at the stringer 4L lap joint. Of the 117 passengers and 5 crew members onboard, one flight attendant received a minor injury. The flight was being conducted under 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona and Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento, California.

Frontier Airlines Sale Talks Falter: Negotiations Hit Hurdle With Pilots Union

Updated September 27, 2013, 10:24 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

The long-awaited sale of Frontier Airlines is in jeopardy because of stalled negotiations between its pilots and the prospective buyer, Indigo Partners LLC, according to two people familiar with the investment firm's thinking.

Indigo and Frontier's parent company, Republic Airways Holdings Inc., are not expected to reach a deal by Monday, when Indigo's exclusivity period is set to expire, according to one of these people.

Republic has been trying for almost two years to off load Frontier, a Denver-based airline that carried 5.1 million passengers in the first half of this year.

Earlier this summer, Republic entered into exclusive talks with Indigo, the investment firm of former America West Airlines Chief Executive Bill Franke, and the two sides have made significant progress toward a transaction, these people said. But stalled negotiations with Frontier pilots are now endangering the deal, they said.

In 2011, Frontier agreed to give its pilots an equity stake in the company or a $7.2 million cash settlement in exchange for cuts to their pay and benefits, according to regulatory filings. Indigo would like to terminate or reduce promised equity stakes for Frontier's pilots and flight attendants, these people and another person familiar with the talks said.

Mr. Franke has been a lead investor in several ultralow-cost airlines, which have found success by cutting costs and lowering fares with tactics like fitting more seats onto planes and charging for extras that previously were free. He helped lead the transformation of Spirit Airlines Inc. into an ultralow-cost airline. If successful in his bid for Frontier, Mr. Franke would turn the 52-jet airline into a third such carrier for the U.S., joining Spirit and Allegiant Travel Co.

Two weeks ago, Republic extended Indigo's exclusive negotiating period for Frontier to Sept. 30. Republic Chairman Bryan Bedford said then that it had "made substantial progress" toward a deal with the buyer and believed that "the additional time will allow for the process to be completed."

Republic could extend the exclusivity deadline further. If it doesn't, negotiations could continue past Monday, but other bidders could step in.

Further complicating talks is a complex dispute over which union represents Frontier's pilots and whether the agreement that promised the equity stakes is valid. The 2011 deal was negotiated by the Frontier Airlines Pilot Association. Weeks later, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters replaced the association as the aviators' representative and sued Frontier in federal court to annul the agreement that promised the equity stake, according to the filings. Litigation is continuing.

Indigo is negotiating with the Frontier Airlines Pilots Association, the people said. Craig Moffatt, head of the local Teamsters chapter, said his union legally represents all Republic pilots, including Frontier's. "Indigo is talking to the wrong pilots," he said.

Indigo is also far apart in talks over the equity stake with Frontier's flight attendants, though the two sides are negotiating, people familiar with the talks said.

The exact terms of a possible deal are up in the air because of the ongoing labor negotiations, though any deal would likely include Indigo-owned Frontier assuming hundreds of millions of dollars of liabilities, according to the two people familiar with Indigo's thinking. One of the people said that in addition to any liabilities, Indigo would pay between $20 million and $50 million to Republic for Frontier.


Plane crashes on anti-coca mission in Colombia; American pilot killed

BOGOTA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - An American pilot was killed and a United States co-pilot seriously injured on Friday when their plane crashed while on a mission to eradicate coca plants in southern Colombia, police said.

Spraying of coca plants to combat the drugs trade has been intensified in Colombia since 2000 with support from the United States, which has provided billions of dollars to help Colombia fight guerrillas who are funded partly by revenue from cocaine.

"Preliminary information we have is that it was a mechanical failure. An American piloting the plane was killed and the one accompanying him was injured," a police source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The police source said the two were contractors working for companies hired by the Colombian government to fumigate coca crops. Most of those companies are from the United States, but it was not immediately clear who employed the pilots.

Officials at the U.S. embassy were not immediately available for comment on Friday evening.

The plane crashed in Caqueta province near the township of Montanitas, where the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have a presence.

The group has been fighting the government for five decades in a conflict that began as a peasant movement seeking land reform. More than 200,000 have died in the fighting.

The Caqueta area is one of Colombia's biggest coca-producing regions. The plant's leaves, when exposed to petrochemicals, yield a paste which is refined into cocaine. 

Original article:

Plan Board opposes Hatchet Creek request: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)

An effort by the developer of Hatchet Creek to undo a ban on building homes on a swath of land near the Gainesville Regional Airport hit some turbulence Thursday night.

The city’s Plan Board unanimously recommended denial of a request to eliminate a 2009 ban on residential development in an area near the airport where the average daily noise exceeds 65 decibels.

Byron Flagg, a representative of Hatchet Creek, said the prohibition was an obstacle to the development of the subdivision and economic development in east Gainesville.

Gainesville Regional Airport CEO Allan Penska and others who spoke in support of maintaining the ban said a subdivision would lie in the approach path of the busiest runway for arrivals.

They said that would restrict the growth of the airport, raise safety concerns, potentially lead to curfews and changed flight patterns and cultivate ill will with any residents who moved into the area now subject to the ban.

Plan Board Chair Crystal Goodison said she was conscious of the need to spur economic development in east Gainesville. But she said the continued growth of the airport was also key to economic development of the area.

The City Commission will have the final say on the Hatchet Creek developer’s request. A vote on the measure has not yet been scheduled.

Developer Robert A. Simensky of Bedford Hills, N.Y., first proposed the development in 2007 on 291 acres between Northeast 39th and 53rd avenues and abutting the city-owned Ironwood Golf Course.

The ban on residential development covers some 180 acres toward the center of the property and abutting the golf course.

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Tweed New Haven Regional Airport (KHVN) says it will continue operating if tower funds cut

NEW HAVEN >> Tweed New Haven Regional Airport officials believe the airport and its contract-operated control tower will continue to operate in the event that Congress fails to authorize continued spending beyond the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.

But in the absence of specific assurances from the Federal Aviation Administration, they can’t say for sure.

As things stood Friday, “the only that we would be concerned about would be our (Airport Improvement Program) funds, which pay for capital improvements,” said Tweed Airport Manager Lori Hoffman-Soares.

But “we have heard nothing from anybody,” Hoffman-Soares said. “We have had no communication from the FAA as to any procedure.”

The FAA, in a prepared statement e-mailed to the New Haven Register, said only that “Congress has not yet approved a budget for FY 2014 so we do not have an update regarding future funding allocations. The Administration continues to urge Congress to act to replace the damaging cuts imposed by the sequester with a balanced approach that reduces the deficit while protecting critical priorities,” it said.

An FAA spokesman said the statement applies to all airports.

“My understanding is that the air traffic control piece is kept out of the equation because no one wants to go down that road again,” said Tweed Authority Executive Director Tim Larson.

“I don’t think it’s good for anybody, including the airport, if the FAA shuts down...” Larson said. But “I think that we’re going to be OK.”

In the event of any future cuts, Tweed is in the same category as five other smaller state airports that also have towers operated by private companies on contract to the FAA, which already went through considerable uncertainty earlier in the year when funding was threatened by the budget sequester.

The others are Bridgeport’s Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, Hartford Brainard Airport, Groton-New London Airport, Waterbury-Oxford Airport and Danbury Municipal Airport.

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is in a different category, with controllers who work directly for the FAA.

Where Tweed may be in better shape than some airports in its class is that the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority in the spring approved a $275,000 line item to hire its own controllers in the event that FAA funding is cut.

“We had put that in there” because “when we did our budget in April, that was back when we didn’t even know if they were continuing the program,” said Hoffman-Soares.

Tweed and many of the 250 other airports with contract towers received an e-mail Friday from the president of the American Association of Airport Executives, which suggested that towers would be likely to continue to operate, at least initially.

“Although we have received no official word from our repeated inquiries to FAA, if the history of past government shutdowns are any indication, we expect that contract controllers, just like FAA controllers, will remain on the job if the government shuts down on October 1, at least for the short term,” wrote AAAE President Spencer Dickerson.

“If the government shutdown lasts for more than 30 days, the continued operation of contract towers will be reevaluated,” Dickerson wrote. 

Original article:

Department of Transportation cracking down on Honolulu International Airport (PHNL) tenants

Pilots and other tenants at Honolulu International Airport met Thursday night to discuss the state’s recent crackdown on businesses renting hangars.

After years of lenient enforcement, the Department of Transportation started handing out fines.

The state says they need to make sure tenants are in compliance so they can continue to receive funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Most tenants are being cited for storing non-aeronautical equipment.

The fines run between $25 and $100.

“Why don’t you come through, do your inspection, and issue corrective action? And then for those that need corrective action, come back through in 30 days, as a matter of fairness and if you haven’t corrected it, then cite the people,” tenant Charlie Goodwin asked.

“The worry I have is it will damage the support systems that keep the private aviation community alive,” tenant Doc Owens said.

Some tenants say they will pay the fines, while others say they’re willing to take the state to court.

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City OKs second hangar deal with Chicago Jet - Aurora Municipal Airport (KARR), Illinois

The Aurora City Council unanimously approved a lease with an aircraft charter and maintenance company to occupy a second hangar at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove.

Chicago Jet agrees to a 20-year lease of the hangar under the deal.

The company already occupies another hangar, but will use the second hangar to service customer aircraft.

The second deal with Chicago Jet has the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue and business at the airport, according to Bill Wiet, city chief development officer.

Mike Mitera, president of Chicago Jet, said aircraft the company brings in buy a significant amount of fuel at the airport.

Diamas Real Estate Holdings, LLC, previously had a 20-year lease with the city to rent the hangar, but the company went bankrupt. The lease was then acquired by First Midwest Bank. The bank has agreed to loan

Chicago Jet funding through a Small Business Administration loan to occupy the hangar.

Original article:

Cessna 172B Skyhawk, Above All Aviation Inc, N7593X: Highway 101 Near Gaviota, Santa Barbara County, California

Plane Takes Off On Hwy 101 After Emergency Landing: Student Pilot, 25, Forced Down After Running Out of Fuel

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The student pilot of a single-engine Cessna miscalculated on fuel, forcing him to make an emergency landing on Highway 101 during a solo training flight between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. All lanes of Highway 101 were re-opened to traffic after the pilot took off. 

 The Cessna landed in the southbound lanes of Highway 101, then taxied off the highway east of Mariposa Riena just after 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The student pilot was the only one on board the aircraft and was not hurt.

The plane was rented from Above All Aviation.

The student pilot,who asked that his name not be reported said there was a lot of traffic  101 when the plane lost power. He thanked the driver of a red convertible for pulling over and directing traffic away from the plane as he landed and steered it onto the shoulder.

The driver, Warren White, is also a pilot who said he saw that the Cessna's propeller had stopped.  White said the student pilot managed to avoid two cars, a motorcycle and a power line.

A few cars going in the other direction got into an accident, but California Highway Patrol officers said no one was injured.

Above All Aviation rented the 1960 fixed wing single engine Cessna, nicknamed Norma Jean, to the 25-year-old student for a solo cross country flight needed to get his private pilot's license. The student had stopped at airports in Paso Robles and Santa Maria before running out of fuel on his return flight.

Chief pilot Bill Patterson drove to the plane, refueled it and then let his assistant fly it back to the airport. The student pilot was not on board. He was offered a ride back in a land-bound automobile and took it.

He said he has every intention to complete the hours needed to get his private pilot's license.


 A light aircraft, apparently out of fuel, made an emergency landing on Highway 101 near Gaviota Friday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The single-engine plane, a Cessna 172, landed on the southbound highway about a mile south of Mariposa Reina, said fire Engineer Paul Christensen.

After touching down, it taxied to the side of the roadway.

"The plane landed on the freeway, it did not crash," Christensen said.

Only the pilot was on board, and he was uninjured in the incident, which occurred at about 4:30 p.m., fire officials said.

About two hours later, after the aircraft was refueled, the freeway was shut down briefly, allowing the plane to takeoff from the highway and be flown back to the Santa Barbara Airport.

The 25-year-old student pilot from Michigan reportedly was returning to Santa Barbara on a training flight after stops in Paso Robles and Santa Maria.

The aircraft apparently was trying to make it to the Santa Barbara Airport when the engine cut out at about 5,000 feet over the Gaviota Pass, and it was forced to land.

The slow lane in the area was blocked off while officials worked to secure the aircraft, Christensen said, and motorists in the area were urged to use caution.

A non-injury vehicle accident occurred in the northbound lanes shortly after the plane touched down, presumably involving a driver distracted by the aircraft landing on the highway.

Original article and photo:

Above All Aviation:

Southeastern Oklahoma State University signs aviation agreement with American Eagle

DURANT -- It's a concern for almost every college student: Will I find a job after graduation? But now, one Texoma university is taking away the guesswork.

Morgan Hartwell is an aviation student at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. "I came to this meeting because I want to get to know, possibly, my future employer," Hartwell said.

Kyle McKeever has already graduated from the program and is now a flight instructor. "I've known I wanted to be a pilot since I was 10 years old," McKeever said.

Both came to a signing ceremony Friday on-campus between SOSU and American Eagle Airlines. American Eagle is a subsidiary of American Airlines.

The agreement establishes a new program designed to streamline the process for student pilots who want to one-day fly for a commercial airline.

"This is truly a historic day for the university with the signing of this agreement. It's truly a milestone," SOSU President Dr. Larry Minks said.

The program is called the American Eagle Pipleline Program.

Under the program, aviation students will be mentored through graduation. After graduation, students are guaranteed a job at American Eagle as a flight instructor at SOSU, giving pilots-in-training a chance to continue to log flight hours and pick up a paycheck.

In addition to being guaranteed a job after graduation, new pilots for American Eagle will also receive a $10,000 signing bonus. The bonus comes after graduates acquire the 1,000 flight hours required by the FAA to become a commercial airline pilot, and when they begin training as a first officer.

"That's obviously going to help the pilot out during the first several years at the airline," Nick Alford, American Eagle director of pilot recruiting said.

Graduates also have to go through pilot training with the airline itself.

For Alford, the program will begin bringing the airline a brand new crop of pilots to replace many soon set to retire.

"So, there's a lot of opportunity for a Southeastern graduate," Alford said.

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Pilot's deadly in-flight heart attack threatens to renew age debate

(CNN) -- The 161 passengers aboard United Flight 1603 must have known something was wrong when a crew member announced through the cabin loudspeaker if anyone aboard was a physician.

Capt. Henry Skillern, 63, was suffering a heart attack.

The in-flight emergency Thursday night that began somewhere in the skies between Houston and Seattle prompted the 737 to divert to Boise, Idaho. Air traffic controllers radioed the plane's first officer who updated them with the captain's condition.

"We got a man down, chest compressions going on right now," the first officer said. "I'm not sure too much right now on status."

Once it was on the ground, first responders boarded the airliner and rushed Skillern to Boise's Saint Alphonsus hospital, where he later died.

The tragedy threatens to reignite the debate over FAA age restrictions for commercial airline pilots. In 2007, the mandatory pilot retirement age was raised from 60 to 65. At that time the FAA said five pilots -- their ages ranging from 48 to 57 -- had died in-flight since 1994 when the FAA began following that statistic.

When that the FAA was considering changing the rule, then-administrator Marion Blakey underscored the value of pilot experience, calling it "an added margin of safety."

"Foreign airlines have demonstrated that experienced pilots in good health can fly beyond age 60 without compromising safety," she said.

Former Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo doesn't believe Thursday's tragedy alone will fuel a new debate over whether pilots should retire at age 60 or 65. But she says it does point out the importance of careful pilot screening.

"People die everyday from unanticipated heart attacks, but in many cases you can find problems when you do a rigorous physical," says Schiavo, who's now at the law firm Motley Rice, where she specializes in aviation.

The FAA has already shown signs that it's looking more closely at what prescription and over-the-counter medications pilots may be taking and what effect they may have on pilot performance. "I think the FAA will probably revisit whether they're monitoring pilot health stringently enough," Schiavo says.

Current FAA regulations call for a medical examination every year for commercial airline pilots under age 40 and every six months for those over age 40. To pass the exam, they must not have an established medical history or diagnosis of coronary heart disease that has required treatment.

All airline pilots are required to get EKG heart checks at the age of 35. For those age 40 and older, annual EKGs are required.

And airline pilots are required to report any heart disease to the FAA, regardless of when they learn about it.

It wasn't immediately known whether Capt. Skillern was piloting the plane at the time he became incapacitated. Typically, there are two pilots in the cockpit so that during an emergency, either pilot can quickly take control of the aircraft.

Flight 1603's passengers waited at the Boise airport until United flew in another pilot from San Francisco, before they were able to continue their journey to Seattle.

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Cirrus SR20 G2, N406DC, GDK International LLC: Accident occurred September 25, 2013 in Bolingbrook, Illinois

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA558 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 25, 2013 in Bolingbrook, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N406DC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was captured on airport surveillance cameras as the pilot attempted to land. A review of the video revealed that the airplane touched down multiple times about halfway down the runway. During the go-around, witnesses reported that they observed the airplane depart the runway and make a left turn at low altitude. The airplane descended with the wings level as it flew over a few buildings. The airplane then struck a tree and a light pole, and then impacted terrain next to a bank building. A postimpact fire ensued and consumed most of the airplane. The slash marks found in the dirt next to the main wreckage were consistent with the propeller rotating at the time of impact. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. 

The substances found in the pilot’s toxicology report were consistent with a resuscitation effort. Based on the available medical history, physical examinations, toxicology and autopsy, the pilot had no known or reported pre-existing medical issues that would have posed a hazard to flight safety.

A witness who spoke with the pilot immediately after the accident stated that the pilot told him that the airplane’s speed was too fast (witnesses stated that he was landing with a tailwind), so he decided to go around and attempt the landing again. He then stated that as he was banking, he lost power and control of the aircraft. Based on the evidence, it is likely that the pilot lost control of the airplane during the go-around and subsequently impacted terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a go-around. 


On September 25, 2013, about 1715 central daylight time (CDT), a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N406DC, impacted terrain after executing a go-around from Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport, (1C5), Bolingbrook, Illinois. The pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to GDK International LLC and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from Georgetown Scott County Airport (27K), Georgetown, Kentucky, at 1505 eastern daylight time (EDT) and was en route to 1C5.

The airplane was captured on airport surveillance cameras as the pilot attempted to land on runway 18. A review of the video revealed that the airplane touched down multiple times at least half way down the runway. The airplane was observed to takeoff from the runway and then made a left turn. The airplane then descended and continued out of the camera's field of view.

Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane depart the runway and make a left turn at a low altitude. The airplane continued to descend with the wings nearly level and flying northbound. After the airplane flew over the last building the wing struck a tree and a light pole before impacting terrain next to a building. A post impact fire ensued and consumed most of the airplane.

In a statement provided by one witness, a Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner, who observed the landing attempt and go-around, the airplane touched down three fifths to three quarters of the way down the runway and bounced. It appeared to her that after the bounced landing the pilot increased engine power and started a climb and then rolled left. The accident pilot appeared to then regain control and level the airplane's wings. The airplane continued out of the witness' view.

According to a statement provided by another witness, an off-duty fire department Lieutenant, who observed the airplane flying eastbound after departing 1C5, the airplane was at a low altitude and the wings were nearly perpendicular to the ground. The airplane disappeared from view and then he saw several large plumes of black smoke. When he arrived at the wreckage he saw the pilot on the ground so he began to question him. The pilot stated that he was flying in from Kentucky and that on his first attempt to land at 1C5, his speed was too fast so he decided to go-around and attempt the landing again. He then stated that as he was banking, he lost power and control of the airplane.

The pilot succumbed to his serious injuries at the hospital hours after the accident. The only accident information provided by the pilot was to the witness on scene.


The pilot, age 63, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single engine land. On November 11, 2011, the pilot applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate. On the application the pilot reported his flight experience as 200 total flight hours and 40 hours in preceding six months. The pilot was issued a third class limited medical certificate with the limitations "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision."

According to the pilot's airplane insurance provider, the pilot reported 299 total flight hours as of December 31, 2012.


The Cirrus SR20 was a four-seat, low wing, fixed gear, single engine airplane which was manufactured in 2004. The airplane was powered by a Continental Motors IO 360-ES engine, rated at 210 horsepower and drove a 3 blade metal Hartzell propeller.

An examination of the airplane's logbook revealed that an annual inspection was completed on January 10, 2013 at 1,399 hours on the Hobbs meter.


At 1715, an automated weather report at the Lewis University Airport (KLOT), which was 5 miles south of the accident site, reported wind from 070 degrees at 8 knots, a clear sky, temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 48 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.


The accident was located in front of a bank building, which was 0.2 nautical miles east of the departure end of runway 18 at 1C5 at an elevation of 661 feet.

During the accident sequence, the airplane descended toward the bank building when it collided with a tree top and then a light pole. The airplane impacted the ground next to a small tree and came to rest upright on a heading of 350 degrees. The engine separated from the fuselage and continued into the bank parking lot. Slash marks were present in the dirt next to the main wreckage. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the airplane.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that a 4 foot outboard section of the right wing tip separated from the inboard section and remained mostly intact. The left aileron was partially damaged by fire but was still recognizable. The cowling and engine mount were separated from the fuselage and were not damaged by fire. The nose landing gear remained attached to the cowling area and was not damaged by fire. The main landing gear remained attached to the fuselage and was damaged in the fire.

The rudder and elevator control cables were separated in tension overload. The right aileron control cable was separated in tension overload about 2 feet inboard of the right aileron actuation pulley. The left aileron control cable continuity was confirmed. The flight control cables and the associated hardware remained attached to the master pulley in the cockpit area. The elevator trim position could not be determined as the pitch trim motor was consumed by fire. The roll trim was between the neutral and the full left trim position. Based on the flap actuator position, the flaps would have been in the full up position.

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) rocket and parachute were found in the main wreckage. The position of the CAPS activation handle could not be verified due to thermal damage. The parachute was found in a packed state and received thermal damage. The CAPS activation cable was examined and no stretching was observed. The rocket motor was found with the propellant expended.

The engine continued in the directional of travel and came to rest about 20 yards forward of the main wreckage. The three propeller blades were labeled A, B and C for identification purposes only. Blade A exhibited leading edge damage, chordwise scratches and was bent slightly aft. Blade B was bent aft and exhibited leading edge damage and chordwise scratches. Blade C exhibited leading edge damage and was bent forward. The left magneto was separated from its mount; when actuated by hand, the magneto's impulse coupling engaged. The ignition harness was impact damaged. All 4 engine mount legs were impact damaged. The oil sump was breached and the oil filter adapter was impacted damaged. The number 1 spark plug was impact damaged.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Cook County Medical Examiner, Chicago, Illinois, on September 27, 2013. The cause of death was thermal injuries. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute completed a Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report and the following Tested-for-Drugs were found:

>> 148 (ng/mL, ng/g) Fentanyl detected in Blood

>> 89 (ng/mL, ng/g) Fentanyl detected in Liver

>> Lidocaine detected in Liver

>> Lidocaine detected in Blood

>> 1.372 (ug/mL, ug/g) Midazolam detected in Blood

>> Midazolam detected in Liver

The substances were administered to the pilot during medical treatment after the accident.

An autopsy was performed on the passenger by the Will County Coroner, Joliet, Illinois, on September 26, 2013. The cause of death was thermal injuries. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute completed a Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report and the following was found:

>> 22 (%) CARBON MONOXIDE detected in Blood


Avidyne Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi-function Display (MFD)

The PFD and MFD were damaged from the postimpact fire. The recorded data from the devices was not able to be retrieved due to the extensive fire damage.

Flight Service Information

At 1104 eastern daylight time the pilot called the Washington FAA Contract Flight Service Station Preflight position by telephone and obtained a preflight pilot briefing for a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from 27K to 1C5.

Air Traffic Control (ATC)

During the flight, from 1506 to 1710 CDT, the pilot was in contact with ATC and was directed to maintain visual meteorological conditions throughout the entire flight. During the descent and approach into 1C5, the pilot requested multiple altitude and frequency changes. The air traffic controllers advised the pilot that he could descend at his discretion and to maintain VFR. The pilot continued to request approval for altitude changes.

Radar Summary (All times below are central daylight time unless otherwise specified)

1505 - The pilot departed the 27K from runway 03.

1506 - The pilot contacted Lexington approach, reported departing 27K and requested flight following to 1C5. Lexington Approach control assigned him beacon code 6752.

1710:49 - The airplane was 1.5 nautical miles southeast of 1C5. At this time the pilot acknowledged the frequency change approval.

1710:58 - The pilot changed transponder code to 1200 and turned onto the left downwind leg for runway 18 at the 1C5. On the downwind leg, he flew at 1,400 feet above ground level (AGL) with an average ground speed of 109 knots.

1712:12 - The airplane was 1.3 nautical miles north of the runway 18 threshold; the pilot started a 180 degree left turn to final course at an average rate of 5.5 degrees per second.

1512:26 - The pilot started his descent out of 2,100 feet to land at 1C5.

1712:44 - The pilot stopped his turn to final about 1.1 nautical miles north of the runway 18 threshold.

1713:08 - The last radar return recorded for the airplane occurred at 500 feet AGL, 0.4 nautical miles north of the runway 18 threshold.

The data revealed that from 1712:26 to 1713:08, the airplane had an average rate of descent of 1,301 feet per minute and an average ground speed of 117 knots on final approach.


Engine Examination and Test Run

On December 17, 2013, the engine was examined at Continental Motors, Inc., under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The examination revealed external impact damage concentrated to aft and under side of the engine. The left magneto sustained impact damage so it was tested on a magneto test bench and then disassembled with no anomalies noted. The engine was subjected to functional tests in an engine test cell per the manufacturer test procedures. The engine start and test were completed with no anomalies noted.

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA558 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 25, 2013 in Bolingbrook, IL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N406DC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On September 25, 2013, about 1715 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N406DC, impacted terrain after executing a go-around near Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport, (1C5), Bolingbrook, Illinois. The pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to GDK International LLC and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from Georgetown Scott County Airport (27K), Georgetown, Kentucky about 1500 and was destined for 1C5.

The airplane was captured on 1C5 airport surveillance cameras while attempting to land. A review of the video showed that the airplane touched down multiple times about half way down the runway.  The airplane was observed making a left turn after takeoff, descending, and then proceeding out of camera view.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane depart the runway and make a left turn at a low altitude. The airplane continued to descend, struck a tree and a light pole before impacting a parking lot and sidewalk. A post impact fire ensued and consumed most of the airplane.

The automated weather reporting station at Lewis University Airport which was 5 miles south of the accident site reported at 1715: wind from 070 degrees at 8 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 21 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 9 degrees C, and a barometric pressure 29.94 inches of mercury.

During the on-scene examination investigators confirmed flight control continuity and that the flaps were in the retracted position. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) rocket and parachute were found in the main wreckage. The position of the CAPS activation handle could not be verified due to thermal damage. The parachute was found in a packed state and received thermal damage. The CAPS activation cable was examined and no stretching was found.

The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

Dr. Narayan Venguswamy and his wife, Jay

This memorial appeared at the crash site on September 26, 2013. 

Cirrus SR20 G2 (N406DC)

Investigators inspect the charred remains of a Cirrus SR20 G2 plane in the Chase Bank branch parking lot at 262 S. Weber Rd. in Bolingbrook on Sept. 26 after it crashed the day before, killing two people.

A small plane that crashed in September outside Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport touched down several times on the runway before taking off again, making a left turn and crashing.

The details, released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board, offers new insight into the Sept. 25 Cirrus SR20 plane crash that killed Dr. Narayan Venguswamy, a Kentucky surgeon, and his wife, Jay Venguswamy.

The single-engine plane's final moments were captured by Clow surveillance cameras, according to the NTSB.

The cameras lost sight of the plane after it went left, according to the board.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane leave the runway and make a left turn at low altitude, according to the NTSB. The airplane continued to descend, struck a tree and a light pole before crashing into a parking lot near the Chase Bank at 262 S. Weber Road at about 5:15 p.m.

Jay Venguswamy died at the scene. Narayan Venguswamy was first taken to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital with severe burns, then was transferred to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 26, according to officials.

Witnesses at the scene in September said the plane burst into flames after crashing, and that Narayan Venguswamy staggered away from the wreckage.

The flight originated from Georgetown Scott County Airport in Kentucky, according to the NTSB.
"We kept telling him to roll," said Mike Grohar, who was working nearby. "He kept asking to get his wife out."

Bolingbrook firefighters extinguished the plane fire in about 15 minutes.

An on-scene examination by investigators revealed the plane's flight controls were still operable at the time of the crash, according to the NTSB.

An airframe parachute system was found still packed in the plane, but the position of the parachute's activation handle could not be verified due to fire damage, according to the NTSB.

The four-seat airplane was registered to GDK International in Georgetown, Ky., according to Federal Aviation Administration records. GDK's Web site lists it as an importer/exporter. Narayan Venguswamy was a licensed pilot, according to a federal database.

Narayan Venguswamy, known to colleagues at Georgetown Community Hospital as Dr. Vengu, had worked at the hospital for 27 years, according to hospital spokeswoman Cindy Wesley.

"He was an extraordinary physician, outstanding surgeon, who was passionate about the practice of medicine," she said shortly after his death.

Jay Venguswamy had worked in her husband's office, according to Wesley.

The couple had two adult children, she said.

The information released Thursday is preliminary, according to the NTSB, and a final report is yet to come.

Nearly 400 friends and family attended a vigil in Kentucky Tuesday night for a couple killed last week in a small plane crash in southwest suburban Bolingbrook.

Dr. Narayan Venguswamy and his wife, Jay, died when their plane plunged into a Chase Bank parking lot after attempting to land at Clow Airport.

Mrs. Venguswamy was killed immediately in the fiery crash just after 5 p-m last Wednesday.

Dr. Venguswamy died later at Loyola Medical Center’s burn unit.

At Tuesday night’s vigil in their hometown of Georgetown, the couple were remembered for their generosity to the community.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.

Newly-released dispatch recordings capture the pandemonium among emergency responders moments after a small plane crashed into the parking lot of a Bolingbrook Chase Bank Wednesday.

A Kentucky couple, Narayan and Jay Venguswamy died in the crash.

It was just after 5:15 pm that arriving emergency units radioed back to their command center that a monumental tragedy was unfolding.

At first authorities weren't sure what they had, believing the plane had actually struck the bank, and there was genuine concern that bank employees were in jeopardy.

One of the responders reported that people were trapped inside the bank. As it turned out, everyone inside the bank was safe, and the injuries were contained to the two individuals inside the plane.

It was 6 minutes from the original call that dispatch was notified that the pilot had made his way out of the plane, but was badly burned.

The Will County Coroner announced Friday that it will be two weeks before they determine whether Jay Venguswamy died from the crash or the fire.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board say the pilot actually touched down at Clow International Airport, but may have aborted his landing because he didn't have enough runway.

Coroner: Dental records ID woman killed in plane crash 

FAA: Low-flying plane was a C-17 practicing takeoffs, landings at Harrisburg International Airport

Update: The mystery has been solved. Here's the explanation from the Federal Aviation Administration:

A military C-17 practiced takeoffs and landings yesterday at Harrisburg International Airport. After its last practice departure, the flight continued on visual flight rules. This means the flight was not receiving air traffic control service.

The FAA referred questions regarding where the aircraft is based and where it was heading to the military.

Update: YDR readers flocked to Facebook Friday night -- and again this morning -- to talk about what they saw, describing how low the plane was and how loud it was.

Reporters are still working to track down officials to talk about why the plane was in the area and why it was so low.

Related links:

This low-flying military plane came and left the sky over York County's safely. Not all have  York County reacts to low-flying

Previously reported: Officials at Dover and McGuire Air Force Bases are checking their records to see if it was their low-flying plane spotted around York County Friday afternoon.

Word of the plane started spreading through social media around 6:30 p.m. in West York, and West Manchester and Springettsbury townships. An official at Dover Air Force base looked at a photo of the aircraft and said he thought it was a C-17 Air Force plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it had no reports of a plane in distress. And Fort Indiantown Gap said it's not its plane either.

An official with Harrisburg International Airport said they would have noticed a plane like that, and it was not practicing maneuvers there.

Daily Record/Sunday News readers flocked to Facebook Friday evening for reports on the aircraft. They speculated it was a military plane, and many said it's a common occurrence.

Others said the plane's noise and low altitude scared them at home or on their afternoon commutes home.

See what others were saying about the low-flying plane on Facebook.

Story, Photo and Comments/Reaction:

The hangar opens: Dean Baldwin paint shop employs 150, looking for additional hires

Two things about Dean Baldwin LP’s new facility at Grissom Aeroplex: it’s huge, as expected, and it doesn’t smell like there’s aircraft painting going on.

The giant aircraft parked inside, with paper and tape masking material draped all over, say otherwise, as do the 150 people already hard at work.

One would probably have to go back to the late 1990s to find a private sector company bringing so many jobs to Miami County, and the 200 or so dignitaries gathered Thursday for a ribbon cutting were a testimony to the company’s importance.

“It has been a dream to have a paint shop like this,” Dean Baldwin CEO Barbara Baldwin said. “The airlines were waiting for a facility like this.”

The $13.8-million project expanded one of Grissom’s old hangars, a structure built in the late 1950s, by 50,000 feet on the east and west sides so large airplanes could fit inside. There is 155,000 square feet inside, enough room to paint four of the largest airliners at once.

Baldwin was asked if there were any aircraft too large for the Grissom facility.

“Probably a [Lockheed] C-5 [Galaxy]. That’s about it,” she replied.

Teams of painters were lined up in front of aircraft as Baldwin led a tour Thursday. With massive ventilation systems and 1,400 separate filter panels in place, paint fumes clear out in a matter of a few minutes, she explained. The floors are washed frequently; no paint is allowed to build up.

“This facility is one-in-a-million,” Baldwin said in March. “It’s really state-of-the-art.”

Thursday, she said the company plans to paint and service more than 200 airplanes a year out of the new facility, which could attract other aviation businesses to the area.

The expansion nearly doubles the size of Dean Baldwin, which currently employees 240 people at its facilities in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

It’s a godsend for Miami County, which lost a larger percentage of its residents between 1990 and 2000 than any other Indiana county. In the subsequent decade, only the addition of several thousand Miami Correctional Facility prisoners in 2010 stanched the downward trend.

Peru Mayor Jim Walker said Grissom’s transition from an active duty Air Force base to a reserve base cost 4,500 jobs and $105 million in economic activity.

Returning from that blow hasn’t been easy.

“In all honesty, when you’re handed a former Air Force base, the first question is, what are we going to do with it?” Walker said. “From the shock in 1994 to a celebration in 2013, this really is a success story.”

Baldwin called the hangar, which was gutted, retrofitted and painted bright blue, “the ugly duckling which turned into a swan,” and said the facility’s painting bays are already booked into next year.

They’ve hired 150, she said, “and we need 30 more right now.”

“I’m killing them, making them work six days a week to get all of these aircraft out of here,” she said.

Baldwin said the Grissom facility is probably the largest independent paint shop of its kind.

“The big thing I think it means for Grissom is that people know we’re open for business in the aviation industry,” Walker said.

The expansion project was funded by a $7.2-million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state loans totaling $5.1 million and more than $1 million in local funding from Miami County.

Dean Baldwin signed a 30-year lease agreement with Miami County to use the hangar. The yearly lease payments will go toward paying off the federal and state loans.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said studies estimate the facility will have an economic impact of $162 million in the area during its first five years of operation.

Original article

Norwegian Dreamliner Grounded Again: Boeing Aircraft Suffers More Technical Problems After Crisis Meeting in Oslo

September 27, 2013, 12:05 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

One of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA's Dreamliner jets remained grounded in Bangkok Friday due to technical problems, adding to a range of recent mishaps and coming after the Norwegian budget earlier this week held a crisis meeting with Boeing Co. over the issue.

The jet should have left Bangkok for Stockholm, Sweden, at 5:30 p.m. local time with almost 200 passengers but had to remain on the ground due to hydraulic pump problems, Norwegian press spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson said Friday.

The passengers have been rebooked on other flights, and some of them have been checked into hotels, Ms. Holmbergh Jacobsson said. Norwegian is still trying to fix the aircraft's technical problems, she said.

Norwegian operates two Dreamliners on long-distance routes from Scandinavia to Asia and the U.S., and aims to phase in six more over the next few years as it ramps up its long-haul service. But it has had to ground the aircraft several times in recent weeks due to technical issues including hydraulics problems, power supply issues and indications of malfunctioning brakes. LOT Polish Airlines SA also had to halt flights recently due to technical issues with its Dreamliners, and Qatar Airways has become critical of the aircraft's reliability.

Top managers of Norwegian and Boeing met in Oslo on Wednesday to discuss the recent problems.

"If this continues, it is totally unacceptable," Norwegian Chief Executive Bjørn Kjos told The Wall Street Journal in an interview after the meeting, while a Boeing spokesperson said the company is "working…to ensure we have the right support in place to help each airline through the entry-into-service process."

Norwegian is pressuring Boeing to help resolve the situation, for instance, by setting up spare parts supplies for the aircraft at various destinations, Ms. Holmbergh Jacobsson said Friday.


Aviation business park wins $2m federal grant - Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) Oskosh, Wisconsin

A joint plan to develop an 80-acre aviation business park received a major boost Friday with word it had received a $2 million federal grant.

Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., announced the Economic Development Administration’s investment award that will help pay to develop roads and extend utilities to the business park at the southeast corner of Wittman Regional Airport.

The city of Oshkosh and Winnebago County partnered earlier this year to purchase the land and developed a plan to extend infrastructure and, in the future, fund development of a business accelerator aimed at early stage startup companies.

The city will match the $2 million grant with an additional $2.4 million in funding.

“I’m extremely happy that the EDA chose to invest in this project,” Petri said in a news release. “By increasing export potential and encouraging future development, the business park will go a long way in ensuring there is stable economic growth and consistent jobs in the region.”

The EDA cited the region’s need for additional industrial space and the focus on the emerging aviation business cluster in the grant announcement.

The Northwestern will update this story as more information becomes available.

Seaplane Business Has New Home

(Rising Sun, Ind.) – A high-flying business in Rising Sun will celebrate its new home next month.

Mac’s Seaplane Service earlier this month moved into a new hangar at 308 S. Front Street, near the Rising Sun Boat Dock on the Ohio River. The hangar – a project three years in the making – was built by the City of Rising Sun and the Rising Sun Port Authority.

Business owner Troy MacVey, a Milan resident and former Comair pilot, called the hangar he now leases from the port authority a “dream materialized.” It features an office, elevator, and enough space for to house the planes: a Cessna 195 and a smaller Cessna 140.

“It couldn’t have been done without the port authority, the mayor, and former mayor Steve Stewart,” he said.

Prior to the hangar’s completion, the seaplanes were parked and tied down outside in the elements. 

MacVey said he prayed three years for no hail storms or high winds that could have damaged the planes.

The growing seaplane business has already been in operation for two years offering sightseeing, charters, special events, and training in its vintage float planes. The pilots have been spotted offering rides at various festivals and events along the Ohio River this summer. The recent obtainment of an air carrier certificate makes Mac’s Seaplane Service Indiana’s smallest airline, MacVey said.

Mac’s has generated remarkable interest from those in the aviation industry, attracting pilots from across the country to Rising Sun to earn their seaplane certification. It’s even boosting local tourism.

“Mr. MacVey and the City of Rising Sun are hoping this new venture will bring more tourists and pilots to the community to add additional dollars to other businesses in Ohio County,” said Sherry Timms with the Ohio County Tourism Commission.

Mac’s Seaplane Service and the City of Rising Sun are hosting a public open house at the new airplane hangar on Friday, October 11th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Learn more about Mac’s Seaplane Service at

Original article:

Airport Board goes into executive session, issues warning to manager: Cullman Regional Airport-Folsom Field (KCMD), Cullman, Alabama

VINEMONT — Folsom Field airport director Bob Burns was apparently the subject of an executive session Thursday concerning complaints written about him by personnel board members.

Following new and old business discussions, the Airport Board elected to go into executive session, citing good name and character of airport manager Bob Burns in reference to recent complaints the personnel board filled against him.

The personnel board is comprised of airport board members Cullman Mayor Max Townson and county commission Chairman Kenneth Walker, who allegedly wrote the six complaints against Burns in an effort to allow the board to approve purchases and make changes before decisions were made. Burns said all the complaints were inaccurate.

“I received a written warning from the personnel board which was a list of complaints against how I run the airport,” Burns said. “I responded to it and that’s how it stands right now.”

In Burns’ response to the complaints he received, he wrote, “Not only were your statements inaccurate, but they were personally condemning without facts. Remove this written warning no later than (9/26/13) from my personnel file or it will require me to take action.”

In closing of the written warning to Burns, the personnel board reported that the airport has been over budget in three of the last four years including 2013. Records obtained by The Cullman Times show the 2013 budget was for $1,107,960 and the actual expense was $1,081,437. Another complaint alluded to property negotiation done by Burns without the board’s approval, where Burns cited the board’s approval on the negotiation as well as a grant approval. The written warning  ended stating: “Any further incidents of this nature will result in changes being made, including but not limited to, changes in management. This is your notice and warning to that effect.”

Walker said in reference to the complaints he and Townson took out against Burns, they do not wish to replace him in the airport manager position, but they do want to be included in decisions the airport makes.

“It’s been going on for several months and it was just a few things that were done that shouldn’t have been done without the board’s approval,” Walker said. “We were just trying to let the certain individual realize that it needed to come through the board before the decisions were made. It will be discussed more in the special-called meeting in November. Bob will be the manager of the airport, we don’t have anyone else in mind. The board just wants to be informed before decisions are made and it’s never been that way.”

 When asked directly about the complaints and why Walker felt they were a bigger issue in comparison to other airport decisions in the past, he said he would rather not comment on it at this time.

Townson did not return the calls made by The Times before deadline.

 “I always go over the financial report before each meeting with the personnel board in case they want anything explained or to add or subtract anything,” Burns said. “I always keep them informed, that’s they way I run the airport.”

Original article:

Airport consultant approved -- Rochelle Municipal (KRPJ), Illinois

ROCHELLE — Rochelle City Council members voted to accept a recommendation by Rochelle Municipal Airport manager Mark Delhotal to enter into a contract for consultation fees with Hanson Professional Service Inc.

Delhotal explained that the Federal Aviation Administration requires entities to solicit proposals from pre-qualified engineering firms every three to five years for airport consultation services. The city solicited applications earlier this year.

Four engineering firms submitted Statements of Qualifications in July. On July 17, the Airport Advisory Board met to review the applications. Following some discussion the board voted unanimously to recommend that the Rochelle Municipal Airport retain the current consultant, Hanson Professional Services Inc

For the complete article see the 09-26-2013 issue.

Bridgeport, Connecticut, resident Phil Smith: Hiring Of Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR) Manager Flies In The Face Of City Charter

Bridgeport resident Phil Smith, a student of the Bridgeport City Charter, files this commentary about the recent hiring of Pauline Mize as acting manager of the city-owned airport. Years ago Smith directed proposed changes to the City Charter presented to voters.

We appear to be well on the road to another controversy at Sikorsky Memorial Airport due in large measure to the Finch administration’s insistence on doing what it wants to without regard to the Charter, the city’s finances or the public good. I wish I could say I’m surprised.

This latest controversy is the result of the administration’s appointment of Pauline Mize as the acting airport manager following the termination/retirement of former airport manager John Ricci.

It’s important to note the airport manager is not a mayoral appointment. It is a classified, competitive position under the city’s civil service system and is subject to all of the rules of the civil service system, rules which are designed to prevent the politicization of city employment.

Those rules, set forth in the charter and the regulations of the Civil Service Commission, generally require positions in the classified service to be filled on the basis of a competitive examination. There is an exception to those rules which allows a temporary “provisional” appointment “if necessary to prevent the stoppage of public business or inconvenience to the public, but not otherwise.” (City Charter, Chapter 17, Section 214).

It’s fair to ask why the appointment was needed. The airport continued to function after former airport manager John Ricci’s suspension and has continued to do so since his subsequent termination. According to the Connecticut Post, on September 3 Mayor Finch told the Airport Commission that the airport’s longtime operation manager was in charge while a nationwide search was conducted for the position. In short, filling the airport manager’s position on an acting basis does not appear to have been “necessary to prevent the stoppage of public business or inconvenience to the public” as required by the charter. In short, it was illegal.

Read more here:

Classification given Cambridge Municipal Airport (KCDI) questioned by airport officials

The results of the Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Aviation's recent study of the Cambridge Municipal Airport did not sit well with some local officials.

Held Sept. 13 at the Zane State College Cambridge branch location, the primary objective of the Ohio Airports Focus Study was to share how Ohio's general aviation airports are being classified and the types of aviation system coverage being provided today, and to seek input on: Whether the classification system accurately depicts what's happening at your airport of interest; whether Ohio has appropriate general aviation airport coverage; if Ohio has the right types of aviation facilities and services in the right places; what improvements should be considered in the future; and which compliance factors should be considered when evaluating the airport system.

Local officials on hand included Airport Manager Terry Losego, Steve Potoczak of Delta Airport Consultants, Cambridge Area Regional Airport Authority Board of Trustees member Tom Stemmer, accomplished pilot Carl LaRue, Cambridge-Guernsey County Community Improvement Corporation/Guernsey County Port Authority Executive Director Norm Blanchard and Jeannette Wierzbicki of Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association.

The study classified the Ohio airports in one of four levels. The study classified the Cambridge Municipal Airport as a "Level 3" airport. This classification of airports serves light, twin-engine and single-engine aircraft flying for business, pleasure and training. Its purpose is to fulfill nearly all the needs of piston-powered aircraft. Jet-powered aircraft can use these airports, but the primary focus is on meeting the facilities and services that support piston-powered aircraft.

However, Losego and Potoczak reportedly had several objections as to the criteria of the study for the value of the airport to the community. Objection points were:

• The value of the airport was based on the pilot surveys submitted based on the dollar amount they spent in the community, commonly lunch

• No consideration was given to the corporate jets that are doing business in the area

• No consideration was given to the oil and gas boom bringing more than a billion dollars to the area and corporate jets arriving and departing on a regular basis

• Points were deducted for not having a maintenance facility on site; however, the Cambridge airport has as many as five men available to perform on-site repairs.

The Airport Authority and elected officials are encouraged to access the Airport Focus Study online at and fill out the form to object to the classification of the airport.

In other action, the Authority accepted the contract with Perram Electric for the installation of precision approach path indicator lights for runways 4 and 22 and the replacement of runway end identifier lights on Runway 4.

The new jet refueler truck was ordered Aug. 26. The approximate arrival date is 165 days from this date, placing the delivery in February 2014.

Potoczak presented a project cost description for fiscal year 2014 budgetary planning. The plan includes airport obstruction light rehabilitation (construction and repackage bid) Dever/Lemmon land purchase/reimbursement, flight check reimbursement and administration cost.

The board discussed what would be in the best interest of the airport, and agreed to reconfigure the plan, which includes airport obstruction light rehabilitation for two poles, the Dever/Lemmon land purchase/reimbursement, flight check reimbursement and administration costs. The plan would also include runway 4 and 22 extension, rehabilitation and GPS approach analysis.

The total cost for this project is $443,182. Federal dollars are $398,863. Local match monies are $44,319.

The Airport Authority Board authorized President Ron Guthrie to enter into the flight check reimbursement agreement in the amount of $7,115.78.

Fuel sales through Aug. 31, with sales through the same point last year in parenthesis, are as follows:

• Aviation gasoline -- 7,699.2 gallons (8,562.9 gallons)

• Jet fuel -- 14,585.4 gallons (16,905.6 gallons).

Operation (takeoffs and landings) through Aug. 31 with operations through the same point last year in parenthesis, are as follows:

• General aviation -- 732 (1,228)

• Business -- 524 (647).

Losego deemed the recent fly-in a success.

"A beautiful weather day drew hundreds to the 25th Annual Fly-In on Sept. 7," he said. "The airspace around the airport was filled with numerous aircraft waiting to arrive. Several different types of aircraft were on display for the community viewing. A big highlight of the day included the arrival and departure of Med Flight. The staff of Med Flight were very gracious and fielded many questions asked by the community.

"The Millennium Street Rodders held a show at the event displaying cars, trucks and motorcycles. Airplane Rides were also a big highlight for the local community. The Cambridge Lions Club served a delicious menu. The Boy Scouts did a wonderful job in parking the cars. The People's Choice Trophy went to Jim Ross of Cambridge for his 2007 Trike.

"The airport manager and staff truly appreciates all the volunteer help to make the annual fly-in a truly successful event."

The Cambridge Regional Airport Authority Board is scheduled to next meet at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 16.

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