Tuesday, October 01, 2013

United States says 'No' to Fly Jamaica, Caribbean Airlines direct Georgetown to New York flights

The United States Department of Transportation (Dot) has denied requests Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica to fly direct from Georgetown to New York, saying the carriers did not provide compelling evidence that doing so will be in the public’s interest.

“In light of these existing Georgetown-New York services and the lack of a showing by the applicants on the record that there is a truly demonstrable need for additional Georgetown-New York services, we are unable to find that the CAL and Fly Jamaica seventh freedom turnaround proposals satisfy our public interest test for the type of extraordinary authority at issue,’ states the order dated September 30.

The Guyana government had hoped that the granting of flag carrier statuses to Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica would have aided those airlines in offering cheaper direct flights from Georgetown to New York.

But the DoT said the applications did not pass the test that would have aided American authorities to conclude that a demonstrable need for the service exists, there would be a negligible impact on U.S. flag carriers, and the proposed operation is limited in scope. “Against that background, we have reviewed the applications of CAL and Fly Jamaica and determined that we cannot make the necessary public interest finding,” states DoT.

The US regulatory agency assured that the decisions would not affect Fly Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines’ flights to New York through Kingston and Port-of-Spain respectively.

Petitions against the order could be filed within seven days of that action although, according to DoT, filing of petitions would not alter its effectiveness which began Wednesday. Fly Jamaica's Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Reece said no decision has been taken about whether to appeal the order. "They have seven days to appeal and we have not made a decision yet. The Board is still looking at it," he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Two organisations-Airlines for America and the Air Line Pilots Association- had opposed the requests by the Fly Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines. Air Line Pilots Association has contended that oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago has been providing a “substantial fuel subsidy” to CAL “and at least one US carrier has ceased services in the market. For all of these reasons, the Department should deny these applications.”  The Trinidad and Tobago government has since announced that it would be scrapping the subsidy from next month. Airlines for America had stated that granting the applications will reward behaviours and policies in the region that have resulted in less choice because market distortions have resulted in the withdrawal of service on the route

The DoT in its order acknowledged concerns raised by ALPA and A4A pertaining to fuel subsidies paid to CAL but said “we have been advised through diplomatic channels that those subsidies have already ceased or will soon cease."

Fly Jamaica hopes to use the one-stop in Kingston to its advantage by offering reasons to travel to that Caribbean island. They include concerts, festivals and games. Reece said the Kingston stop would also help intercept drugs that might leak through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Story and Comments/Reaction:   http://www.caribnewsdesk.com

New airline to touch down - Daily flights to Bangalore beginning January

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 1: ABC Airways, an aviation company based in Bangalore, has received the nod of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to start its services from here.

The company will run two flights — one in the morning and another in the evening — between Bhubaneswar and Bangalore from January next year.

ABC Airways is a subsidiary of the Bangalore-based ABC Aviation and Training Services Private Limited. Promoter Rajesh Ebrahim is a commercial pilot and this will be a new venture.

“The private company is promoted by Rajesh Ebrahim will fly Embraer 170 aircraft to Bangalore and operations will start around January next year,” Biju Patnaik Airport director Sharad Kumar told The Telegraph.

The airline has three Embraer 170 aircraft in its fleet.

The news comes as relief to those who travel frequently between the two cities. They were worried about the air link between the two cities after a private airlines decided to stop its Bhubaneswar operations from October 27.

Satyabrata Swain, an IT professional based in Bangalore, said: “With the rise in the number of Odia IT professionals here and the opening of more IT development centres in Bhubaneswar, daily flights between the two cities are necessary.”

Debasish Mohapatra, a travel planner and consultant, said: “Bangalore is a major sector in the aviation route from the city. While the usual passenger load remains between 65 and 70 per cent on weekdays, the figure touches nearly 90 per cent on weekends. The new venture can be effective in the absence of any other operator after October 27.”

“We contacted the airport officials at Guwahati and Amritsar last week. Today, we met the director of Biju Patnaik Airport here and are really happy to get the co-operation and support from the AAI and the state government. Next week, we are going to meet airport officials of Patna, Surat and Lucknow,” managing director of ABC Airways Rajesh Ebrahim told The Telegraph.

“We will plan the flight schedule in such a way that people can leave Bhubaneswar in the morning, finish their work in Bangalore during the day and get back home in the evening. All our aircraft will have a seating capacity of 78,” he said.

Apart from Bhubaneswar, the airlines will also link other southern destinations from Bangalore. “We are going to have services to Pune and Goa from Bangalore in the near future,’’ he said.

However, Guwahati, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar and Surat routes will be given priority by the carrier because the cities have emerged as the new happening places in the aviation sector.

Original article:  http://www.telegraphindia.com

Smooth takeoff for airport manager: Sikorsky Memorial (KBDR), Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT -- In two short weeks Pauline Mize has made a good impression on tenants and volunteers in her job as acting manager at Sikorsky Memorial Airport.

"She seems incredibly knowledgeable and I'm very impressed by her experience," said lawyer and ex-Republican politician Rob Russo, co-owner of Three-Wing Flying Services, a tenant at the city-owned, Stratford-based Sikorsky. "I'd be thrilled to see her get the job permanently."

Mize was quietly hired last month to replace John Ricci, who was fired this summer after over two decades running the airport for a conflict-of-interest involving a $400,000 driveway built over Sikorsky land.

Tuesday marked Mize's first appearance at a meeting of the airport commission, made up of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Bridgeport Council President Thomas McCarthy, D-133, and Stratford Mayor John Harkins.

"That was a more comprehensive airport manager's report than we've ever had," said David Faile Jr. head of the 650-member strong Friends of Sikorsky, whose members use and promote the airport.

Anyone doubting Mize inherited a lot from Ricci should have attended Tuesday's meeting.

Russo was there hoping to work out an arrangement to forgive over half of the $120,000 debt he inherited from Three-Wing's former owners so he can continue growing the company.

A frustrated Eugene Madara, president of the Connecticut Air & Space Center, urged the commission to resolve some issues that have kept that group from opening a museum at the airport.

Mike Becker, owner of Blue Sky Flight, an aircraft rental and flight instruction business, voiced a similar complaint -- he's been refurbishing an airport hangar without a finalized lease.

Then there's that $40 million, federally funded runway safety project that got Ricci fired in the first place.

The city has said Ricci failed to reveal his real estate dealings with Manuel "Manny" Moutinho even as he was negotiating to hire the developer to build a $400,000 taxpayer funded, no-bid driveway to Moutinho's waterfront mansion. The project -- first revealed this summer by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers -- was, the city said, needed to replace a dirt driveway used by Moutinho and three neighbors that will be taken for the runway safety work.

Although Mize, who lives on Long Island, ran Suffolk County's Francis S. Gabreski Airport from 1998 to 2005 and oversaw projects there, she told airport commissioners Tuesday, "This will be my first $40 million one."

The city is facing a federally mandated deadline of 2016 to improve runway safety two decades after a small plane crash at Sikorsky killed eight people.

"We should be able to bid this job out this spring," Mize told the commission.

Despite the controversy surrounding Ricci and the driveway, the Finch administration has been less-than-forthcoming about the circumstances of Mize's hiring or her long-term relationship with Fred Hall, the manager of the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry. The couple owns a home on Long Island.

The mayor's office, for example, continues to decline requests for the resumes of the other two candidates it said were in the running.

And after ignoring Hearst's repeated questions about whether Mize's hiring was approved by the city's Civil Service Commission, City Attorney Mark Anastasi Tuesday told the airport commission her appointment will be on that group's next agenda.

The mayor's office has said it needed to move quickly to replace Ricci and keep the runway work on track.

On Tuesday, Finch appeared to criticize some of the continued scrutiny of the airport and runway project.

After Mize's report the mayor said the runway safety upgrades are all about ensuring no more lives are lost.

"That's what we're all about -- most of us," the mayor said.

Original article:  http://www.ctpost.com

Braintree, Massachusetts: Jet brokerage's business climbs back from Recession-era lows


In 2009, Sentient Jet’s prospects looked bleak.

Less than two years after its merger with Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based private jet company JetDirect Aviation, in the face of internal financial challenges and external turmoil in the global marketplace, Sentient was sold off to Macquarie Global Opportunity Partners and the remaining company was forced to file for bankruptcy.

“Private aviation was sort of kicked around as a political term for a year or two,” said Sentient Jet President Andrew Collins.

Today, the 14-year-old Braintree-based charter jet brokerage is seeing a positive upswing in its business, after being acquired by the private equity firm Directional Aviation Capital in June 2012.

Between May and August of this year, Sentient sold 11,000 hours of flight time. Its customers flew 10 percent more hours compared to the same period in 2012, according to the company.

It has hired four new employees and plans to hire eight more, adding to its current staff of 125, according to Collins.

“One of the things we experienced was that even though there was a financial crisis, there was a core group of people that will always fly privately. Either they need it from a business perspective, or for the security,” Collins said.

A key element of Sentient’s recovery has been its 25-hour flight card, which allows customers to purchase 25 hours of flight time to use whenever they need it.

Sentient offers flight card buyers four sizes of private jets to charter, ranging from a six-passenger to a twelve-passenger plane. Two age classes are offered – 1999 and earlier or 2000 and later.

Jet Cards start at $123,100 and can go up to $347,350 for 25 hours of flight time.

According to Collins, the average Sentient customer will purchase a card valued at about $130,000. He said about 85 percent of customers are from the U.S. Over the summer, many used their flight cards for vacation getaways to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the Hamptons, he said.

Original article:  http://www.patriotledger.com

Restored Lakefront Airport regains its former beauty

Calvin Moret wasn’t there for the dedication of Shushan Airport back in February 1934, but that doesn’t mean a walk around the airport’s newly restored terminal doesn’t bring back memories. At 88 years old, Moret is the last remaining Tuskegee airman in Louisiana, and he remembers well the role the New Orleans airport played in aviation history.

“I flew out of this airport many times,” Moret said Saturday. “And my father-in-law was a plasterer who worked with John Lachin, the company that did the plaster work here.”

Moret was among a group of several hundred who turned out for the rededication — after a four-year, multimillion-dollar restoration — of the terminal building at what is now known as New Orleans Lakefront Airport. After being covered by concrete since a 1964 renovation, features like bas-reliefs by sculptor Enrique Alferez and murals by Xavier Gonzales are now once again on view for all to see and appreciate.

“After Hurricane Katrina, we made the decision not just to repair the building but to restore it to its original appearance,” said Joe Hassinger, chairman of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority, the Orleans Levee Board successor that now has authority over the airport. “We were able to work with FEMA and use some funds that would have gone to repairing hangars we weren’t going to rebuild to get the work done.”

The renovation removed not only the bricks and casing obscuring the terminal’s façade, but also the walls and floor coverings that hid original architectural features like the two-story atrium and the decorative stone, plaster, tiles and artwork on the interior. The original terrazzo floors with multi-pointed compasses pointing the way to exotic destinations combine with Art Deco light figures and abstract aluminum screens to complement the five types of granite used to embellish the public spaces.

Except for Louisiana political boss Huey Long and his close relationship with Abraham Lazar Shushan — then the president of the Orleans Levee Board — the airport might have been built in a totally different style.

“The first plan was for a Spanish Colonial building,” said Vincent Caire, a historian of Louisiana aviation who works with the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority. “It isn’t clear whether that design was for the current site or for a site elsewhere in the city.”

The Young Men’s Business Club had thrown a wrench in the works while the airport was in the planning stages, decrying the proposed location on the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline east of the Industrial Canal and promoting instead the idea of building the airport in what was known as the City Park extension.

Another hurdle that needed to be cleared was a lawsuit brought against the Levee Board by owners of some of the 290 camps along Lake Pontchartrain that would be displaced by the project.

Ultimately, though, the City Park idea died and the camp owners were assuaged, clearing the way for construction of a seawall extending out into the lake to form a peninsula.

Backfill inside of the floodwall created the 300 acres of land on which the airport’s administration building, hangars and runways were constructed.

National Airport Engineering of Los Angeles was awarded the contract to design the facility in June 1931, and plans developed by the firm were approved by the levee board in February 1932.

The Spanish Colonial-style administration building was to be 300 feet by 70 feet and would house offices, space for handling airmail, a lunchroom on the first floor and sleeping quarters on the second floor.

But by June 1932, National Airport Engineering was abruptly replaced by Long’s hand-picked local architects, Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth, who also designed the new state Capitol and Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge, as well as Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

Although the terminal’s Art Deco beauty was disguised for the past 50 years, the airport never ceased operations, even after passenger travel migrated west in 1946 to Moisant Field, now Louis Armstrong International Airport. In fact, said Hassinger, Lakefront Airport remains a favorite arrival and departure point for private planes.

“A lot of sports teams and celebrities like to fly in and out of here because it’s more private and convenient,” he said. “Planes were parked wing to wing here for the Super Bowl, when we logged a landing every 45 seconds and a takeoff every 90 seconds.”

With the restoration of the building complete, the next step in the process will be to restore the seven remaining murals created by Xavier Gonzalez for the second floor and, if funds allow, the Alferez fountain known as “The Four Winds.”

“The murals are under rice paper now to help conserve them,” said Wilma Heaton, chairwoman of the airport committee of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority. “We’ll be holding a fund-raiser in February to raise money to properly conserve them.”

One of the eight murals — named “Bali” by the artist — was accidentally destroyed during the 1964 remodeling. Another one had been in storage at the Louisiana State Museum since the 1970s, but it was returned and placed on view in its original location.

A second relic of the original building was also returned in time for Saturday’s event: The original dedication plaque that had been housed at the Earl K. Long Library of the University of New Orleans. The plaque is now on permanent loan to the airport.

Within a few months, officials expect to announce an operator for the airport’s restaurant, the once-fabled Walnut Room. The atrium, bar and space on the second floor will be made available for special events. The first lease for office space has been signed, and a second is in the works. Meanwhile, atop the building, the beacon lights up the night sky.

“You can see it from the causeway,” Caire said.

For all of the glory that the airport brought to the city of New Orleans in its early years, the man for whom it was named, Long crony Shushan, did not fare so well. He was convicted of income tax fraud and went to prison. While he was incarcerated, the airport was renamed simply the New Orleans Airport, later gaining the name New Orleans Lakefront Airport to distinguish it from the Moisant facility in Kenner.

Story and Photo Gallery:  http://theadvocate.com

Will Rogers-Wiley Memorial Seaplane Base, Maintenance Dredging Project, City of Renton, Washington

The project consists of Maintenance Dredging of the existing Seaplane Base Facility at the Renton Municipal Airport Seaplane Base Facility located at the South end of Lake Washington. The work includes construction surveying, environmental protection and water quality monitoring, dredging, dredged material disposal at open water disposal site in Elliott Bay and Large Woody Debris removal and stockpiling. 

Project #REN4, Bid Date: 10/16/2013 @ 2:30 pm PDT: http://www.bxwa.com/bxwa_toc/pub/299/ren4_will_rogers_wiley_memoria_46693/info.php

Minor runway obstructions, major public cost

Thirteen light poles and an overhead sign on Interstate 95 are among the minor obstructions in the clear zone for the new airport runway. They must come down.

Cost in public funds: $907,185.

For example, a concrete barrier wall will be removed for $8,906. A new one will be constructed for $42,084.

The runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is scheduled to open in a year. The obstructions are scheduled for removal by Feb. 1.

Source:  http://www.sun-sentinel.com

Gary mayor’s chief of staff named interim airport director

GARY — Two weeks made all the difference, as the City of Gary’s chief of staff, Bridget “B.R.” Lane, was appointed unanimously Monday as interim airport director by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority.

The first try at Lane’s appointment, on Sept. 20, failed in a 3-3 vote, with one member absent. Board Chairman Tom Collins Sr. explained after Monday’s Airport Authority meeting that the entire board hadn’t been made aware of Lane’s potential candidacy when they took the original vote.

Alesia Pritchett, Shontrai Irving and Denise Dillard voted for Lane, while Collins, James Cooper and Tom Cavanaugh voted against her. Member Michael Doyne was absent.

In a prepared statement, however, Collins seemed to now support the decision.

“The board has agreed to enter into an employment contract with B.R. Lane,” Collins read. “For over a year, B.R. has already been actively engaged with all parties on a local, state and federal level regarding airport issues, and she shares our major objectives, which are to complete the runway expansion, and to develop sustainable sources of revenue for the airport.”

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who supported Lane from the start, reiterated Lane’s credentials, including her familiarity with all the issues the airport faces, such as efforts to create a public-private partnership to manage the facility.

“We can always get someone who understands aviation, but to move us forward, she’s the best candidate,” Freeman-Wilson said.

Though the position is an interim one, Lane did become an official airport employee as of Monday. As such, Lane said she wasn’t sure whether she would return to her chief of staff position if the P3 entity decides to hire its own manager.

Freeman-Wilson said someone would likely fill in for Lane, but whether the appointment would be an internal or external hire hasn’t been determined.

Collins said he was unsure of the salary Lane would make as interim director but indicated it would be the same as previous Interim Director Steve Landry’s position. According to the City of Gary’s 2014 budget, Lane would’ve made $80, 039.80 as Chief of Staff.

Collins also said he didn’t know the details of paying a Florida-based search firm $30,000 the board approved in April to find a new director.

Original article:   http://posttrib.suntimes.com

Bismarck Airport Recruits More Air Service

KFYRTV.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports 

Ticket prices at the Bismarck airport are 14 percent higher than the national average, but that could be changing. The Department of Transportation recently awarded the city 500 thousand dollars in a Small Community Air Service Development Grant. 

"They have some guidelines that they use to make their choices of who's going to get them each and every year," said  Greg Haug, Bismarck Airport Manager. "One of the things is higher than average fares, maybe a lack of a certain amount of competition in the market and then also a growing demand and a growing travel base and area."

The Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce and the Airport have decided to use the money for a new carrier,  who will provide additional air service to Dallas and or Chicago.

"The trips down into Dallas or the Texas market, we think would really help out the energy sector, there are a lot of energy businesses that are located in that part of the country," said Haug.

 Additional flights means more competition between airline companies, which could mean lower ticket prices for fliers.

"More competitive air fare, which is what we've been striving on the air service committee for years is to make our prices more competitive with other cities in the area,"said Cheryl Fenster, a member of the Air Service Committee.

The grant must be matched with private sector funding, and 250 thousand dollars has already been secured through commitments from community businesses. 

Story and Video:  http://www.kmot.com

Rep. Waxman: Federal Aviation Administration Ignoring Safety Issues at Santa Monica Airport (KSMO) - California

From Representative Henry A. Waxman:

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael P. Huerta to request immediate action to address safety conditions at Santa Monica Airport, following a deadly crash earlier this week at the airport. The FAA has consistently failed to address past concerns about inadequate measures to ensure the safety of the Santa Monica community, pilots, and passengers.

Rep. Waxman wrote, “The people of Santa Monica – and especially those living next to the airport – deserve your full attention. They have been warning for years that the airport is an accident waiting to happen. The tragic crash on Sunday illustrates how inadequate safety measures jeopardize the surrounding community and endanger pilots and passengers.”

The full text of the letter is available online here.
Original article:  http://www.yovenice.com/2013/10/01/rep-waxman-faa-ignoring-safety-issues-at-santa-monica-airport/

Avenger torpedo bomber takes flight: After years of work, public can view restored World War II plane

 When retired airline pilot Charlie Cartledge bought his World War II vintage TBF Avenger torpedo bomber in 1999, it was missing a few important parts, namely an engine and cockpit instruments. The wings needed to be rebuilt, too, and attached to the fuselage.

It took 14 years of work, but the plane finally became flyable a few weeks ago. On Aug. 14, Cartledge took to the air with his plane for the first time, in Wadsworth.

He hoped the plane would be fine after all that work.

“Yeah, that first takeoff is pretty exciting,” he said.

The legendary torpedo bomber is now at Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport, near Port Clinton. When Liberty Aviation Museum’s star attraction, a B-25 bomber, is away, the museum rolls Cartledge’s bomber into the museum hangar to take its place, so that visitors will still have a World War II plane to look at. The Avenger was at the museum Friday.

Cartledge, 54, who lives in Orrville and Middle Bass Island, remembers confidently telling people that his torpedo bomber would be airborne in five to six years. “I still get kidded about that,” he said.

The Grumman TBF Avenger is a single-engine plane, but if you saw it in a picture, you’d likely not realize how big it is. It has a wingspan of about 54 feet and is about 40 feet long, dwarfing most single-engine planes.

People who stand next to the plane are surprised how large it is, Cartledge said.    “It was the largest carrierbased aircraft of World War II,” he said. “It handles like it looks — like a big truck.”

Cartledge’s bomber was built in New Jersey. The Navy accepted it in July 1945, shortly before the war ended. It was retrofitted to spray pesticides on farm fields and then passed through various hands before Cartledge bought it for $100,000.

He picked a bomber, rather than a fighter, because it was what he could afford.

“Basically, it came down to finances,” he said.

A working fighter plane cost $1.5 million. A working Avenger cost $150,000, although Cartledge paid less for a “needs work” model.

With help from friends, he had to retrieve parts for the Avenger from all over North America. The engine, for example, was purchased at an auction in Oregon and shipped to Oklahoma City for an overhaul before finally traveling to Ohio.

“I had to fabricate all the hydraulic lines,” Cartledge said.

“I just think it’s amazing and fantastic,” said Ed Pickard, a Liberty Aviation volunteer who’s been working to restore one of the museum’s PT boats. “The job he did on this plane is just incredible.”

Cartledge owns three planes: the Avenger, an AT-6 Harvard training plane — also used in World War II, and on display at Liberty Aviation Museum — and a Cessna.

The Cessna is the practical plane, the one he uses to take a quick trip to Middle Bass Island. A Cessna can be ready to go in 10 minutes.

But when Cartledge wants to fly his Avenger, he starts work at about 8 a.m., checking oil levels, seeing if any of the hydraulic fluids are leaking and doing other service tasks.

The wings fold back for easy storage on top of an aircraft carrier, so he has to make sure they’re fully extended and locked into place. If all goes well, his plane is ready to fly three hours later, at 11 a.m.

World War II pilots had a ground crew, but Cartledge is his own ground crew.

Pickard said Cartledge deserves credit for his dogged persistence in restoring the plane. Many aviation buffs buy an old plane, work on it for years and wear out, leaving the incomplete bird sitting in a hangar somewhere.

“He really is to be commended,” Pickard said.

Story and Photo Gallery:    http://www.sanduskyregister.com

Youssef Selim: First solo flight at Montgomery County Airpark (KGAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland

Most teenagers dream of getting a car or throwing a big bash for their 16th birthday. For his special day, Youssef Selim set his sights high: flying an airplane solo for the first time.

On Monday evening at dusk, the Urbana High School junior flew a PA-28-161 Piper Warrior plane without anyone else in the aircraft for two consecutive takeoffs and landings at Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg. The flight, which included two circles around the airport at an altitude of 1,500 feet, sealed Youssef’s position as one of the youngest pilots to fly solo in the area, according to his flight instructor.

Following the flight, more than 40 friends and family members waited in the airpark’s cafe to surprise him with a celebratory dinner.

“I’m pretty psyched,” Youssef said about his accomplishment.

After turning 16 on Saturday, the Urbana resident became eligible for his student pilot certificate, a document issued to pilots in training. It is a prerequisite to fly alone in the plane.

To qualify, the pilot must be 16 years of age, demonstrate English language fluency and pass a flight physical administered by an aviation medical examiner, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

For his solo flight, Youssef’s flight instructor had to endorse the student pilot certificate, deeming his student competent to fly on his own and giving written permission for the event to proceed. The FAA’s website says there is no minimum number of flight instructional hours to achieve the certificate or fly solo.

The certificate carries certain restrictions, such as not being able to fly at night or take passengers.

Montgomery County Airpark instructor Sharif Hidayat, who has been teaching Youssef since July 2013, said he was pleased with Youssef’s performance.

“I would not have ever signed off on him if I didn’t think he was ready, and he proved he was,” he said.

Hidayat said he hoped Youssef’s milestone would inspire other youths to learn about aviation and take advantage of the opportunities that the small airpark offers.

Youssef reached this milestone at a young age, but it was years in the making. The International Baccalaureate student said aviation has intrigued him since childhood. He began taking lessons at age 12 at Frederick Flight Center Inc. Twice a week during the summer, Youssef attended three-hour training sessions that were split into ground and in-flight instruction.

After taking lessons for a year and a half, Youssef took a break to make more time for school and football. He started training again this July, spending about three hours each week at the Montgomery County Airpark with Hidayat.

“I feel free when I’m flying,” Youssef said. “You can see the world from up there. You can see it from a different perspective.”

Learning to fly isn’t a cheap hobby, according to Selim’s mother, Hwaida Hassanein. A two-hour training session runs about $200 to $250.

Youssef belongs to the Octopus Flying Club, a nonprofit organization at the Gaithersburg airpark. The group has helped offset training expenses, Hassanein said.

By paying a monthly fee of $75, Youssef gets access to three planes at the airpark, which he can fly at any time. There is still an hourly rate to use the aircraft, but the price is lower because of the club membership.

Hassanein said she is proud of her son, but was glad he was safely back on the ground.

“I am so relieved,” she said right after the flight. “I was counting down the seconds until he touched back down.”

The young pilot doesn’t plan on stopping here. When he turns 17, he will be eligible to fly cross-cross country on his own, and can take another step toward his ultimate goal of making a career out of his hobby.

“I’d like to become a commercial pilot, without a doubt,” he said.

Story and Photo Gallery:  http://www.gazette.net

Widow of air crash victim still fighting for apology from airline

The widow of a businessman killed in a 2009 Air France plane crash has said she is still fighting for an apology from the airline.

Speaking after the inquest into her husband Arthur Coakley’s death, Patricia Coakley said all the victims’ families deserved an apology but Air France had refused to give one.

The Air France flight 447, from Rio de Janeiro-Galeao airport in Brazil, bound for Charles de Gaulle in Paris, crashed in the North Atlantic Ocean just before 2.15am on June 1, 2009.

All 216 passengers and 12 crew on board died. The cause of death of those who underwent a post mortem was multiple injuries sustained in the impact of the aircraft with the ocean.

The inquest, held at Northallerton’s County Hall today (Tuesday, October 1) was conducted by Coroner Michael Oakley and referred to both Mr Coakley, 61, from Sandsend, near Whitby, and Neil Warrior, 48, from London.

French air accident investigators blamed mistakes by inadequately trained pilots and faulty equipment, and the report was read by Timothy Atkinson, a senior inspector at the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Investigators found that the aircraft’s pitot tubes, which use airflow to measure airspeed, had developed ice crystals causing airspeed indicators to fail and the autopilot to disengage.

From that point on, despite investigators referring to other incidents where this occurred and the crew was able to safely continue with their journey, pilots failed to maintain sufficient speed resulting in numerous stalls.

Mr Atkinson said the report found that one of the pilots misinterpreted what was happening and made a serious of wrong decisions – including the final fatal move which kept the nose up, instead of downwards, resulting in a loss of thrust.

Evidence from the French investigators showed that the pilots were not adequately trained to manually handle the aircraft at high altitude.

Mr Oakley, recording a narrative verdict, said: “The accident report highlights systemic failures and a lack of comprehension of the aircraft’s situation between the pilots during the flight.

“The air disaster highlights serious public concern of whether pilots are overly dependent on technology and are not retaining the skills required to properly fly complex commercial aircraft.”

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Coakley said she missed her late husband every day and still expects him to walk through the door.

She said: “It is an emotion that goes way back and it is still very difficult.

"We are fighting for an apology, everyone deserves an apology but they are refusing to give it.

"I spoke to Air France's lawyer and he ignored it. That's all we want, an apology."

Original article:  http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk
NTSB Identification: DCA09RA052 
Accident occurred Monday, June 01, 2009 in Atlantic, France
Aircraft: AIRBUS A330, registration:
Injuries: 228 Fatal.

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

At approximately 0220 UTC Air France flight 447, an Airbus A330, registration F-GZCP, en route from Rio de Janerio, Brazil to Paris, France lost contact with ATC over the Atlantic Ocean. Automatic maintenance messages were recieved, and some wreckage has been recovered. Strong convective weather was in the vicinity. The investigation is being led by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) The US NTSB is participating as the State of Manufacture of the General Electric engines.

For information see http://www.bea.aero/fr/enquetes/vol.af.447/vol.af.447.php

Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority opens bids for security fence

The Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority opened seven bids for the airport's security perimeter fence Monday.

The construction project bids for the 8-foot-tall fence are broken into three parts: base bid one for 4,930 linear feet; base bid two for 4,100 linear feet, 400 linear feet for the chain link section, and four drive-through gates; and alternate bids for access road paving.

The following companies submitted bids:

Abel Fence Co.'s base bid one for $64,965; base bid two at $66,925; alternate bid at $12,590

Bash Contracting's base bid one for $68,053; base bid two at $85,889; alternate bid at $3,304

Boland's Excavating and Topsoil Inc.'s base bid one for $71,100; base bid two at $77,400; alternate bid at $1,900

New York State Fence Inc.'s base bid one for $67,580; base bid two at $69,400; alternate bid at $7,800

Performance Construction's base bid at $76,076; base bid two at $65,816; alternate bid at $9,000

Pro Max Fence's base bid at $66,700; base bid two at $72,100; alternate bid at $8,300

Reliance Fence's base bid at $84,069; base bid two at $98,340; alternate bid at $8,320.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires the fencing up as a security measure.

The authority will announce who won the bid - not only based on amount, but design as well - at the next meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 16.

Original article:   http://www.sungazette.com

Wreck of '48 plane crash found in upstate New York lake

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A group of volunteer divers says it has found the sunken wreckage of a single-engine airplane that crashed into an upstate New York lake in the late 1940s.

The Biological Field Station Volunteer Divers Team says it found the remains of the Ercoupe plane in Otsego Lake on Sept. 22 while checking out side-scan sonar images made during a July 2012 survey of the lake bottom.

The aircraft with a unique twin-tail configuration crashed into the lake in July 1948 shortly after taking off from a Cooperstown airfield, killing the two 24-year-old World War II veterans who were on board.

Their bodies and parts of the plane were recovered after the crash. Local divers raised the wreckage in 1964, but it broke free and sank while being towed to shore.

Air India flight to Muscat cancelled after pilot felt uneasy

AHMEDABAD: Air India flight to Muscat had to be cancelled on Sunday night after the pilot complained of chest pain while the flight was still on runway. The scheduled flight AI-985 Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Muscat had to be cancelled at the last minute after pilot Manju Kumari reported difficulty in flying.

Thirty-five year old Manju Kumari was immediately taken to Apollo hospital where she was given the necessary medical care. Admitted as outpatient, she was discharged on Monday morning as it was a minor muscular pain.

As many as 39 passengers who were traveling by the Air India flight were shifted to other flights. "Those who were to go to Mumbai were sent through the Air India flight and the passengers for Muscat were sent in the Emirates flight", said Air India official.

Later in the night, the captain and rest of the crew finally took the flight AI-985 to Mumbai. "As it was a scheduled flight there were fewer passengers. Our team made the necessary arrangements for all the passengers", added Air India official.

Original article:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Big money being sought by Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP), Mississippi

 TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- One month after requesting and receiving money from the city of Tupelo for taxiway repairs, the Tupelo Regional Airport Authority Board makes another request, this time for $1.2 million.

In a specially called meeting of the Tupelo City Council Monday, airport executive director Joshua Abramson stated their case: the money, paid from the city in increments of approximately $140,000 over 20 years, would go toward capital improvements for the airport.

"Everybody wants to make the best use to the taxpayers' money. We don't want to waste anymore than we ever have to," Abramson said.

The vast majority of that would go toward a taxiway used primarily by the airport's largest tenant: Universal Asset Management.

City council members had already approved shelling out more than $100,000 to fix the section in August, which has begun to crumble under the weight of large-body aircraft that passes from the airport runway to UAM's facility.

UAM said earlier this year the taxiway repair was essential to keeping its business in Tupelo, and with it, some 85 jobs.

This change had some council members question what changed over the course of the last month, and whether UAM felt the money already provided by the council was inadequate.

"If they would approve a $1.2 million fix, it would incorporate that and it wouldn't be necessary to replace that area. So you wouldn't have to spend the money if the full long-term fix was applied," Abramson said.

Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell says he feels the airport applied a fix Monday to the council, since they're being approached for even more money once again.

"It's a power play on both sides, probably. It's going to cost us a lot of money if they leave, but it's also going to cost them a lot of money if they leave," Newell said.

Figures from the Tupelo Airport Authority Board indicate UAM will have a $29 million impact over the next three years for the city, worthy of an investment to some on the council.

However, Newell says the company has basically said no to negotiations or compromise, and that sets a dangerous precedent in his view.

"It is apparent from this council that this council is going to want some cost-sharing and to reevaluate their lease agreement, or this council may take the position that if you're not willing to look at that, then you're welcome to leave," Newell said.

WTVA News contacted UAM's management team for a response Monday evening, but it has not yet responded to these recent developments.

The Tupelo City Council agreed during the meeting to make a decision later this week on whether to approve the request.

Story and Video:  http://www.wtva.com

Santa Monica crash renews debate on airport's safety

Even before Sunday's fatal accident, residents near the airport had been pushing for limits on flight operations over concerns about noise, pollution and safety.

Santa Monica Airport is steeped in glamour and history.

Douglas Aircraft Co. built its famous DC-3s there, and in 1924 it was the jumping-off point for U.S. Army pilots who were the first to circumnavigate the globe by air. The first woman to fly the U.S. Mail began her milestone flight in Santa Monica in 1938.

More recently, actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford and casino mogul Steve Wynn have been among the celebrities and business tycoons who have kept planes there.

But the oldest operating airport in Los Angeles County has become the most embattled general aviation facility in the nation as housing tracts, started during the Douglas years, moved right up to its boundaries.

Concerned about noise, pollution and safety, those well-heeled Westside communities have been pushing city officials for years to either close the airport or slash flight operations — demands that intensified after Sunday's crash of a private jet that slammed into a hangar, killing at least two people.

The fiery crash, which occurred as the plane landed after a flight from Idaho, is believed to be the first fatal accident involving a jet in the airport's history. The impact and fire collapsed the hangar's steel roof onto part of the aircraft as well as planes stored inside.

Morley Builders of Santa Monica announced Monday that its chief executive, Mark Benjamin, 63, and his son Luke, 28, are believed to have been killed. It remains unclear whether others were in the plane.

Residents near the airport and community activists say the crash of the twin-engine Cessna Citation 525A reflects some of their worst fears because the plane came to rest about 150 feet from homes near the northwest section of the airfield.

"It's a warning of what could really happen," said John Fairweather, founder of Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic. "Obviously we are saddened by those who lost their lives in that plane. Our concern is what would have happened if it hit houses and the fire spread beyond the hangar."

There have been at least 11 crashes involving planes coming and going from Santa Monica since 1989, according to federal records. Six were confined to airport grounds, two struck homes, two came down in the ocean and one crashed on a golf course. The airport had about 7,300 takeoffs and landings in August, the most recent month for which data was available.

Some community activists are pushing to turn the 227-acre airport into a park. They say that the federal requirements and leases to operate a large portion of the property as an airport, including a section of runway, end in 2015.

"We hope it's a wake-up call," David Goddard, chairman of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, said of Sunday's crash. "Now we hope the City Council will take the next step" and reduce flights.

But the Federal Aviation Administration asserts that Santa Monica must operate the airport in perpetuity under a 1948 transfer agreement reached when the facility was returned to the city after World War II. Agency officials have vowed to protect the interests of pilots and aviation-related businesses.

The fate of the airport has been debated for decades. When jets began operating at Santa Monica in the 1960s, the city imposed restrictions and, at one point, a total jet ban, which aviation advocates successfully challenged in court in the 1970s.

With the advent of more powerful private jets, the city voted in 2007 to ban high-performance aircraft with fast landing speeds, such as larger Gulfstreams, Bombardier Challengers and some Cessna Citations. (The aircraft involved in Sunday's crash was not one of the barred models.)

The Federal Aviation Administration later struck down the ban because it discriminated against aircraft types, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court.

The closure of Santa Monica has long been opposed by pilots, airport-related businesses and national aviation organizations, such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn. They caution that the cause of the crash has not been determined and it was unlikely the jet could have entered a nearby neighborhood because of a protective berm, landscaping and a wall.

"Let's find out what happened first before we speculate," said Bill Dunn, the association's vice president of airport advocacy. "The reality is that accidents occur, and the reality is that more people have been killed on bike paths and in fatal car accidents in Santa Monica than in airplanes."

Robert Chandler, a veteran Santa Monica pilot whose vintage 1953 Cessna may have been damaged by the crash, said the airport has a good safety record and is a vital part of the region's transportation system.

"To close it would be the equivalent of closing 10 miles of the Santa Monica Freeway," Chandler said. "It's disingenuous to move next to an airport and then complain about it."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash. FAA officials said the agency is continuing to speak with Santa Monica officials about how best to balance community concerns and safe operations.

But Sunday's accident has emboldened those who live near the airport.

In the 12 years since Pete Thorson moved into his house, he said the jets have gotten bigger and faster, posing a safety risk. Thorson's home is about 50 feet from the crash site.

When he heard the plane and felt his house shake, Thorson feared it was heading for his home.

"That's my worst fear," he said, noting that the bedrooms of his 9-year-old and 11-year-old sons face the airport. "The jets put everybody in danger. They are too big and too fast for this runway."

Sunday night, Thorson and his family climbed on step stools to watch firefighters knock down the 40-foot flames that engulfed the plane and hangar. Thick, black smoke filled the sky, and the smell of jet fuel wafted into the air.

Gerry Cohen, 61, recalled that when he moved into the neighborhood in 1981, "no jets" signs hung on the fence that separated Sunset Park from the airport. Those signs disappeared with court rulings that overturned the city's restrictions.

"Now I marvel at the size of the jets that come out of here," he said, looking up at the clear, blue sky. "I do say to myself that if one of those jets go down, it will take down half a block."

The last fatality related to a flight at the airport was in 2010. A pilot was killed when he took off and crashed his plane on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice. Residents said that incident highlighted the perils of having an airport so close to homes.

Then-L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district borders Santa Monica Airport, visited the crash site and called for the airport's closure. His successor, Mike Bonin, on Monday renewed that demand.

"I have long thought that the airport should be shut down, and I feel the same way today," Bonin said. "The airport is a proven danger to nearby residents both from the risk of crashes and from growing evidence of pollution and emissions from jet fuel. Sadly, this is deja vu all over again."

Original article:  http://www.latimes.com