Friday, October 11, 2013

Neighbors of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (KBHM) sue United Parcel Service after deadly plane crash

To view the full lawsuit, click here.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Four residents living by a Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport runway have filed a lawsuit claiming damages against the airport authority and United Parcel Service in the wake of the Aug. 14 cargo plane crash that killed both pilots.

The residents claim, among other things, that before the crash an increasing number of flights were directed to Runway 18/36, which they allege is one of the shorter of the airport's runways and more dangerous because of the terrain.

Read lawsuit here
"The airport authority knew, or should have known that the approach on Runway 18 posed a danger to both flight crew of larger aircraft and the surrounding community," the lawsuit states. "Despite this knowledge, it landed more and more planes on this shortened runway."

Both the airport and UPS declined comment on the lawsuit.

"The accident was a tragic situation for UPS, our pilots and their loved ones, and the Birmingham community. However, UPS does not discuss legal proceedings," Mike Mangeot, a spokesman for UPS Airlines, stated in an email.

A spokeswoman for the airport stated they do not comment on lawsuits.

The lawsuit was filed by the Birmingham law firm of Leitman, Siegal, Payne & Campbell, P.C. on behalf of residents Cornelius and Barbara Jean Benson, Christopher Whitfield, and Pamela Yarber. The four are the closest residents to Runway 18/36, near the intersection of Treadwell Road and Tarrant-Huffman Road.

UPS Flight 1354 crashed shortly before 5 a.m. on Aug. 14, just short of Birmingham Airport runway 18/36. The crash killed both pilots on board. 

The lawsuit states that the residents' homes so far have been left out of the homes that the airport has bought as part of its expansions. The lawsuit states the airport commissioned a study in 2005 that identified more than 600 single-family homes, two multi-family homes, three churches and a school that it intended to buy. Since 2009 the airport has bought at least 570 of those properties, the lawsuit states.

The authority has refused to buy the four residents' houses, claiming no planes were routed over their properties, the lawsuit contends. But that wasn't true, the lawsuit states.

"Flights over the (residents') properties increased even more with the shutdown of another runway during the ongoing renovations and expansions to the airport terminals," the lawsuit states. "The planes flying over the Bensons property were routinely so low that Ms. Benson would wave to the pilots as she went to retrieve her morning newspaper." 

The residents also claim the crash damaged their property, has lowered their property values, and has caused them mental anguish. 

According to the lawsuit the Aug. 14 crash: clipped the tops of trees in the residents' yards; debris punched a hole in the roof of Yarber's home and damaged outbuildings on her property; debris damaged a ramped walkway and Cornelius Benson's truck; and took out power lines.

The lawsuit states the empty field where the plane crashed slopes downward before rising steeply and cresting just before the north end of the 7,000-foot-long 18/36 Runway. "In predawn, rainy, and foggy conditions such as the ones existing on the morning of the crash, the hill creates what pilots call a "black hole" which obscures the dangers of flying too low and makes it difficult for pilots to see the target runway."

Larger cargo planes, like the A300 UPS cargo plane in the crash, normally approach the airport on longer runways that are 12,000 feet long, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit states a publicly available NASA report called the approach to Ruway 18 "marginally safe at best" and recommended an unnamed air carrier to discontinue using it.

The lawsuit states the residents have sought treatment for "mental anguish and stress stemming from the crash and the fear that it may happen again."

The lawsuit makes claims against the airport for inverse condemnation for claims regarding property values, negligence, and nuisance. It also makes claims against UPS for negligence and trespass and against both the company and UPS for outrage and mental anguish. The lawsuit does not state any specific claims for monetary damages.

To view the full lawsuit, click here.

NTSB Identification: DCA13MA133
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of UNITED PARCEL SERVICE CO
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 14, 2013 in Birmingham, AL
Aircraft: AIRBUS A300 F4-622R, registration: N155UP
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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August, 14, 2013, at about 0447 central daylight time (CDT), United Parcel Service flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, N155UP, crashed short of runway 18 while on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (KBHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The two flight crew members were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The cargo flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 121 supplemental and originated from Louisville International Airport, Louisville, Kentucky.

Delaware River and Bay Authority leases space to microbrewery at Millville Airport (KMIV), New Jersey

The Delaware River and Bay Authoritiy will lease a building to a company that will open the first microbrewery at Millville Airport.

Glasstown Brewing Co. plans to open at the 2,000-square-foot facility on Peterson Street in early November, authority officials said.

Plans call for the company to start producing about 200 gallons of beer a week in December, authority officials said. Visitors can tour the facility, which will have a retail outlet and tasting room.

“We’re pleased to welcome another tenant to our Millville Airport facility,” said Frank W. Minor, the authority’s deputy executive director. “Small-business growth is the backbone of the American economy, and businesses like Glasstown Brewing Company contribute to the economic vitality of the region.”

The company has a one-year lease with the authority with three, one-year extension options for the airport site.

“I am extremely excited to begin brewing at the airport location, and the authority has been instrumental in the process of preparing the building for the microbrewery,” said company founder Paul Simmons, of Millville. “The hard work and dedication of opening the brewery will be such an accomplishment. It will be a dream come true when the first beer is poured, but that is only the beginning of the big plans for this little brewery.”

Glasstown Brewing will be Millville’s first and only production brewery, authority officials said.

The company is working with local establishments, such The Old Oar House Irish Pub on High Street, to carry the brewery’s beer. Negotiations with other establishments will begin when the brewery approaches its grand opening, authority officials said.

Glasstown Brewing is the second microbrewer to lease space at an authority airport.

Cape May Brewing Co. opened at the Cape May Airport in 2011.


Morgantown Municipal Airport (KMGW) Director Leaving

 The Director of the Morgantown Municipal Airport is resigning according to Morgantown City Manager Jeff Mikorski.

Michael Clow's last day as director will be October 15, and his resignation will be effective as of October 30.

Several enhancements were completed at the Airport under Clow's leadership. Working with the Airport's engineering consultant to provide an update to the Airport Master Plan, giving a clear direction for future development at the Airport and imporvements to the airfield such as the conversion of old Runway 5-23 to a taxiway.

He believes his greatest contribution was the recruiting of Silver Airways to assume the air service for the greater Morgantown region, when Pinnacle Airlines declared bankruptcy in the summer of 2012.

In the interim, Jackie Marhefka will administrate and supervise under th guidance of Assitant Ctiy Manager of Operations, Co. Glen Kelly.

"Mike is a nice guy so I hope he finds happiness and success in his next position," said Mikorski. "I want to review the organizational structure of the airport before I make any decision on hiring a director for the Airport. We are in good hands with Jackie Marhefka dn Glen Kelly for the interim."

"We have enjoyed our time in Morgantown," said Clow. "However, the time has come for me to pursue other opportunities.


Texas woman injured after skydiving accident in Vinemont, Alabama

VINEMONT — A Texas woman was med-flighted to Huntsville Hospital around 1 p.m. today following a skydiving accident in Vinemont after she reportedly slammed into the ground when her parachute turned incorrectly, law enforcement officials said.

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office and the Vinemont Fire Department responded to the incident where the victim, whose name cannot be released at this time, was unconscious following the incident and med-flighted to Huntsville Hospital.

Skydive Alabama, located at Folsom Field in Vinemont, reportedly hosted many “Experienced Jumpers” attempting to set an Alabama record for the most people in a skydiving formation at one time. Officials said there were 47 skydivers in the formation in the air.

Officials said, after the divers broke apart to do their individual landings, witnesses told law enforcement officers the victim was trying to make a “low turn or something and she and the parachute slammed into the ground really hard.”

Responders said the woman was initially unconscious, but “came to” as they were preparing her to be flown out. Officials said the woman fractured both of her legs and had other injuries.

Door falls off plane in flight, hits motel near Monterey Peninsula Airport (KMRY), Monterey, California

A passenger door fell off a private plane taking off from Monterey Regional Airport onto the roof of nearby motel, but wasn't discovered for 17 hours.

"Every hour we didn't hear we felt better that it didn't hit someone or cause injuries," airport general manager Thomas Greer said Friday.

The estimated 75-pound door plummeted about 1,000 feet before crashing into the roof of a rear, second-story building at the El Castell Motel at North Fremont Street and Casa Verde Way. The crash site was less than a block from the Monterey County fairgrounds.

A workman at the motel spotted the door on the roof about 8 a.m. Friday, and motel staff called police and airport officials. Firefighters managed to get the door off the roof without using heavy equipment.

"We were able to maneuver it to the ladder ... and walk it down slowly," said Monterey fire Capt. Fred McAlister.

Motel manager A. J. Panchel said the room below where the door crashed was unoccupied at the time. "No one heard anything," he said.

The door came off a privately owned Beechcraft King Air — a widely used twin-turboprop plane — being flown by the owner, Greer said.

The pilot had just taken off about 3 p.m. Thursday, climbing to about 1,000 feet and starting to make a turn when he heard "the door loose and a big noise."

The pilot returned to the airport, but didn't realize the door had come off until after landing, Greer said.

Airport officials contacted federal aviation officials. They will oversee the investigation of why the passenger door, which is located toward the rear of the plane, came off.

Such things are rare, Greer said.

In his 43-year aviation career, he said, "I've had only two other incidents where things have fallen off (a plane)."

On Thursday afternoon, airport officials checked at the fairgrounds and nearby Monterey Pines golf course, and alerted officials with the parks and Coast Guard to be on the lookout for the plane's door, Greer said.

"We didn't get a call until (Friday) morning," he said. "We are very grateful it only caused some property damage," he said. "Can you imagine being in the room?"

The door damaged about a 10-square-foot section of the roof, breaking tile and sheeting, McAlister said.

By late Friday morning, pigeons sat next to the damaged roof section, taking in the sunshine. They, too, — or their colleagues — escaped harm when the plane door crashed beside their perch.

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Piper Aerostar 602P, Young Living Essential Oils LLC, N35FD: Accident occurred September 23, 2013 in Sandpoint, Idaho

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA419
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 23, 2013 in Sandpoint, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA60 602P, registration: N35FD
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot reported that, while on a right base leg visual approach, he received the current automated weather report and that he did not think that the 4-knot tailwind was an issue because the runway was 5,500 feet long. The pilot reported that, although the airplane landed long, he thought that he had sufficient runway to stop the airplane with heavy braking. However, as he applied the brakes, he felt the sensation of “no brakes” as the end of the runway quickly approached. The airplane’s owner, who occupied a seat in the rear cabin, reported that the pilot seemed to be having a problem aligning the airplane with the runway during the approach, that the airplane was high and fast and the flaps were full down, and that the pilot was trying to force the airplane down onto the runway. The passenger reported that he observed that the approach speed was 132 knots; per the airplane's flight manual, the calculated approach speed for the landing weight of the airplane was about 90 knots. The airplane subsequently ran off the end of the runway and impacted the localizer structure, which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane. A postaccident examination of the airplane's braking system revealed that the brakes were likely operating properly before the airplane exited the runway.

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

The pilot's failure to fly the approach at the appropriate landing speed and attain the correct touchdown point, which resulted in a runway overrun.

On September 23, 2013, about 0815 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA60 602P, N35FD, sustained substantial damage as a result of a runway overrun and subsequent impact with the airport's localizer equipment at the Sandpoint Airport, Sandpoint, Idaho. The airplane was registered to Young Living Essential Oils LC, of Lehi, Utah. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured, while the remaining passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the corporate cross-country flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight departed the Provo Municipal Airport, Provo, Utah, about 0600 mountain daylight time, with SZT as its destination.

In a statement submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported while approaching SZT, he requested and was approved for the GPS approach [for Runway 01]. After descending out of the clouds at about 2,500 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot received the local automated weather; the wind was reported to be from 190 degrees at 4 knots. The pilot stated that as he was set up on a right base leg for runway 01, he considered the 4 knot tailwind minimal for the 5,500-foot runway. The pilot further stated that he landed quite a bit long, but thought he had sufficient room to stop with heavy braking, and [during the landing roll] had the sensation of "…no brakes at all." The airplane subsequently ran off the end of the runway, and impacted the localizer before coming to rest upright. The pilot concluded in his report that this accident could have been prevented by landing into the wind and on the numbers. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

In a telephone interview with the IIC, the owner of the airplane reported that he was seated in the rear cabin at the time of the accident. The owner stated that during the approach he detected that the pilot was having an alignment problem with the approach. He further reported that the pilot was high, the flaps were full down, the airspeed over the threshold was 132 knots, and that there was a tailwind of about 10 knots; the airplane flight manual states that the approach speed for the reported landing weight of 5,156 pounds and full flaps (45 degrees) would have been about 90 knots. The owner stated that over the runway threshold, the airplane dropped down then went back up, and that the pilot tried to force the airplane down. The owner added that after the airplane went off the end of the runway and came to a stop, he exited the aircraft and noticed that while the brakes were not smoking, they were hot.

A postaccident examination of the airplane's braking system was performed by a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector, on September 25, 2013. The inspector reported that an inspection of the brake reservoir revealed that all of the brake fluid was gone, however, the inside area of the reservoir was observed to be wet and shiny, indicative that there had been brake fluid present recently. Further, inspection of the brake actuators on the pilot's rudder pedals revealed that all components appeared to be working correctly. The inspector concluded that all evidence observed supports the contention that the brakes were most likely operating properly prior to the airplane leaving the runway.

SANDPOINT — A pretrial settlement agreement is being proposed to resolve a misdemeanor criminal charge against a Utah pilot who crashed a plane at Sandpoint Airport last fall.

Donald Moss Muirhead is charged with flying under the influence of prescription medication at the time of the Sept. 23 crash.

The terms of the agreement were not made public following a pretrial hearing in Muirhead’s case on Friday in Bonner County Magistrate Court. The agreement is slated for review by Judge Debra Heise, who is presiding over Muirhead’s trial on Thursday.

Muirhead, 55, of Orem, was at the controls of a Piper Aerostar 620P when he careened 600 feet off the north end of the runway and crashed into an antenna array that helps pilots make instrument landings.

Neither Muirhead nor his 61- and 39-year-old passengers were injured.

Muirhead, according to a Sandpoint Police report, blamed the crash on a mechanical issue. Witnesses, however, told police that believed Muirhead touched down on the runway too late and with too much speed, the report said.

Replacing the antenna array and attendant equipment is expected to cost about $270,000, although the system has been deemed obsolete by airport officials. The county is considering a dual-band system that will improve the localizer’s accuracy, adding about $100,000 to the cost.

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA419
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 23, 2013 in Sandpoint, ID
Aircraft: PIPER PA60 602P, registration: N35FD
Injuries: 3 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 23, 2013, about 0815 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA60 602P, N35FD, sustained substantial damage as a result of a runway overrun and subsequent impact with the airport’s localizer equipment at the Sandpoint Airport, Sandpoint, Idaho. The airplane was registered to Young Living Essential Oils LC, of Lehi, Utah. The certified commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured, while the remaining passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the corporate cross-country flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight departed the Provo Municipal Airport, Provo, Utah, about 0600 mountain daylight time, with SZT as its destination.

In a post-accident interview with a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector, the pilot reported that on landing rollout he experienced a braking anomaly, which resulted in a runway overrun. During the overrun the airplane impacted the runway localizer array and a perimeter fence, which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane’s left wing.

The airplane was recoverd to a secured hangar for further investigation of the reported brake anomaly.

Plane crash pilot pleads not guilty

SANDPOINT — A Utah man accused of crashing a plane at Sandpoint while under the influence of prescription medication is maintaining his innocence.

 Counsel for Donald Moss Muirhead filed a written plea of not guilty in Bonner County Magistrate Court, court records show.

Muirhead, 55, of Orem, is charged with operating an aircraft while under the influence of drugs, a misdemeanor. Hearings dates in the case are pending.

The charge arose from a crash at Sandpoint Airport that occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 23.

Muirhead was at the controls of a Piper Aerostar 620P when he careened 600 feet off the north end of the runway and crashed into an antenna array that serves a distance-measuring system that helps pilots make instrument landings.

Muirhead and two passengers, 64- and 39-year-old residents of Lehi, Utah, escaped the crash without injury, according to Sandpoint Police reports.

Muirhead blamed the crash on a mechanical issue.

“He said when he hit the runway, the plane did not have any brakes and he was unable to stop,” Sgt. Derrick Hagstrom said in the report.

The two passengers, however, felt that Muirhead approached the landing with too much speed and touched down too late on the runway, according to the police report and witness statements. They also suspected that prescription medication may have factored into the mishap.

The manager of the airport’s fixed-base operations, Jason Hauck, estimated the plane was traveling 110-120 knots (about 126-138 mph) during its landing. Hauck advised police that the cloud deck was high enough that Muirhead could have throttled back up, circled around and made another pass at the landing, the reports said.

Muirhead allegedly appeared lethargic and was slow in his movements and speech while speaking with investigators. Bonner County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Deal, a certified drug-recognition expert, determined Muirhead was under the influence of intoxicating substances.

Muirhead reportedly denied being under the influence, although he did admit to being prescribed antidepressants Seroquel and Lexapro, both of which he said were approved for pilot use by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Muirhead submitted a Breathalyzer sample which showed no presence of alcohol, court records indicate.


vonTobel says goodbye after 20 years as airport manager: Orcas Island Airport (KORS), Eastsound, Washington

Bea vonTobel has a few things on her to do list: spend more time with her wife Cindy Elliott, renovate her kitchen and bathroom, revamp her deck and build a plane.

After 13 years as Airport Manager vonTobel, shown right, is retiring.

“By the time I walk out the door I’ll be 72,” said vonTobel. “I want to find out what I want to be when I grow up. The Peter Pan complex is alive and well with me.” 

Thirty-two applicants presented their resumes to the port commissioners in hopes of winning what vonTobel calls the best job on the island. 

After a public meeting on Thursday night port commissioners selected Anthony “Tony” Simpson as their top choice and elected him as the new manager.

“Tony’s education and experience will serve him well in his new position,” wrote vonTobel in a press release.

Simpson is a  native of Delaware and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, with graduate 
degrees from the University of Washington and the Naval Postgraduate School. He has 20-plus years of experience in operations in Afghanistan, Korea and Japan. He will finish his current position as a technical training expert for Boeing Aerospace Operations based at Misawa Airbase in Japan later this month and return to Orcas , where his family lives now. 

His return to the island completes the circle for his wife, the former Blythe Stephens, and their two children. She is employed in the OASIS program of the Orcas Island School District.

vonTobel said Simpson will have plenty to keep him busy at his new position.

“You’re on the job everyday learning. There is so much variety and you have intellectual challenges and problem solving inside and outdoors,” she said.

vonTobel added that she has worked on many different levels at the airport from finance to communicating with the public to working with the port commissioners who she describes as “absolutely wonderful.”

She started working as manager in 2000 after a career at Orcas Island School District as the K- 12 counselor. Before that she worked in construction and at the golf course. 

Some of the projects she looks back on with pride during her time as airport manager are putting up the fence, improving lighting and signage, installing a weather reporting system and storm water upgrades. Some projects are left to be finished by the new manager like the moving of a taxi way six feet to the east to allow more distance separation for aircraft.

She calls the job really a Chief Factotum position where one has to do everything and anything. But she said work is made simpler thanks to Facility Manager James Reid.

“He is mechanically minded and creative,” she said. “He is a great asset and is taking on more and more responsibility.”

Although vonTobel is leaving the airport she will not lose her love of planes. As a pilot she appreciates the work that goes into creating such an aircraft, which is why she has plans to build one. Her dream is to get a project started at the school to build the plane with students. 

“It’s a great skill and I know in the future there will be pilot and mechanic shortages,” she said.
It’s clear whatever vonTobel will do next, it will keep her busy.

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Neighbors complain about Dallas Love Field Airport (KDAL) noise



People who live right next to Dallas Love Field are upset about jet noise and they say they're not going to take it anymore.

They told people in charge of airport operations last night that the problems began during recent construction, when pilots started landing on the runway closest to Lemon Avenue.

People who live in the nearby residential neighborhoods say the noise is very disruptive.

"At 6:20 p.m. last night four Southwest Airlines… one flight after another right over the top. You couldn't even hear the TV. It's ridiculous," one homeowner said.

The airport said it has made improvements and on an average day at least 70 percent of flights are using other runways.


Crash investigations halt under government shutdown

Halted crash investigations. Delayed training for air-traffic controllers. No federal certification to ensure the safety of new aircraft before delivery.

These are a few results of the federal government shutdown, which the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee examined at a hearing Friday.

"The shutdown is doing enormous harm to our country, and it was totally avoidable," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., who heads the panel.

Lawmakers continued meeting Friday with President Obama, to resolve the spending disputes that prompted the shutdown Oct. 1 and still prevent an extension of the country's debt limit. But a solution remained elusive.

"No one is happy about the current shutdown," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who attended the hearing after meeting with Obama. "Regrettably this is a catastrophe of our own creation."

The National Transportation Safety Board furloughed 383 of its 405 workers during the shutdown, said Acting Chairman Deborah Hersman. Investigations can still be launched to collect perishable evidence at the scene, but more than 1,000 investigations have been suspended, she said.

"These delays slow our determinations of probable cause and issuance of safety recommendations," Hersman said.

Two investigative hearings have been postponed: one Nov. 6 and 7 into the Asiana Airlines crash that killed three in San Francisco and one Oct. 22 and 23 into two Washington subway crashes in May.

NTSB hasn't sent any investigators to a dozen accidents since the shutdown began. One was a bus crash Oct. 2 in Dandridge, Tenn., that killed eight people and injured 13 others. One was the crash of a Bombardier Dash-8 on Oct. 5 in Colombia near Panama, which killed four people and seriously injured two. One was a worker fatality Oct. 6 during construction on Washington's subway system.

"I urge you to take action to permit the NTSB to resume its critical safety mission," Hersman said.

Marion Blakey, CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, said the shutdown has prevented the Federal Aviation Administration from training new air-traffic controllers and halted inspections that certify the safety of new aircraft so they can be delivered.

"While the impacts are tangible and harmful to our nation and industry, a much lengthier shutdown could lead to cascading and devastating consequences," Blakey said.

Her group wrote Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on behalf of 49 manufacturers urging him to reopen the portion of the FAA that certifies new aircraft for delivery.

Kenneth Quinn, a partner at Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman LLP and a former FAA chief counsel, wrote the letter strongly urging the department to "exercise its discretion" to restore the office's operations.

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Cape Air stops service out of Southwest Florida International Airport (KRSW) after 20 years

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- After serving Southwest Florida for 20 years, Cape Air has announced it will stop service between Ft. Myers and Key West on Nov. 5.

The last day of flights will be Nov. 4. On their website, Cape Air issued an apology for any inconvenience the decision may cause.

For customers affected by the cancellation of flights, the airline has provided some guidelines on their website at

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Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR) gets upgrades for Super Bowl XLVIII

NEWARK — Among the various luxury jets parked outside the new Signature Flight Support terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport recently was the big daddy of private aircraft, the Boeing Business Jet, an opulently appointed 737 airliner with living and dining areas, shower and bath, and a master bedroom.

And more like it are expected.

"We will get the larger aircraft," said Signature’s eastern regional vice president, Mike French, who was talking about a surge in private jet traffic expected to descend on local airports for Super Bowl XLVIII, scheduled for Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium.

Signature is putting the finishing touches on a new $11 million terminal in Newark, where it anticipates a tripling of its normal volume of 20 to 25 flights per day during the run-up to the game. Signature’s Newark location is expected to attract the largest private jets because of the airport’s commercial-length runways.

To accommodate its jet-setting fans in the style to which they are accustomed, Signature’s new terminal will offer all the comforts of home or office. The 11,020-square-foot terminal will have leather sofas and chairs, 60-inch high-definition television screens, a bar, private offices with phones and internet access, and custom black-and-white photographs of New York City landmarks. Ultra high-end clients flying on their own jets will have a separate VIP lounge with bathrooms, and a separate entrance onto the tarmac, distinguishing them from charter groups.

"We certainly do cater to a high net-worth individual," said Patrick Sniffen, a Signature spokesman.

State officials have cheered the NFL’s decision to play the next Super Bowl in New Jersey as a boon to local development and employment. Apart from Signature’s new terminal, the airport Marriott location is undergoing a $34 million face-lift.

Rahsaan Johnson, a spokesman for United Airlines, said several projects are underway at Newark’s Terminal C, run by United, to be in place by late January. They include a new check-in area for top-tier members of United’s mileage-plus club; the addition of four screening lanes; and creation of a space where carry-on bags can be screened while passengers wait in line ahead of the checkpoint. The latter two are in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration.

"We expect a noticeable increase in the number of people flying to, from and through Newark Airport for the game," Johnson said.

Less visible aviation preparations for the game include enhanced security plans by the Transportation Security Administration and the Port Authority Police Department. The Federal Aviation Administration says it will impose a temporary flight restriction on the airspace above and around MetLife Stadium during and immediately before and after the game, although details of the restriction have not been released.


Small general aviation airports in the region are also expected to see an increase in game-related flights. The closest one to the game is Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, whose southern end is just 2 miles away north of MetLife stadium.

Kirk Stephen, a spokesman for Meridian, a fixed base operator that also runs charter flights at the airport, said pilots approaching from the South on Sundays see players on the field.

Stephen said Meridian is expecting a significant increase in traffic for the game. And while the focus will be on passenger comfort and convenience, Meridian will try to accommodate flight crews on Super Bowl Sunday as well.

"The game will be shown for the pilots while they’re waiting," he said.

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Superior's Kestrel Aircraft late on loan payments to Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Two weeks after taking office in January 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker traveled to Superior for a stunning announcement that suggested he wasn’t blowing smoke when he vowed Wisconsin would be “open for business.”

Kestrel Aircraft Company said it going to invest $120 million in a production facility that would employ 600 workers, the most new jobs in Superior since World War II. The company would produce a high-performance, single-engine plane made from carbon fiber.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walker's new public-private corporation that replaced the state's Department of Commerce, quickly stepped in with $18 million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits and a $2 million economic development loan.

But nearly two years later, Kestrel has yet to open its factory and is now 90 days late in payments on two state-administered loans.

Moreover, the company has been having trouble meeting payroll for some 100 current employees, split between its operations in New Brunswick, Maine, and Duluth-Superior. One employee told the Bangor Daily News that direct-deposit checks have been arriving late and his health insurance was dropped.

Company president Alan Klapmeier -- a legend in the aviation world who with brother, Dale, once built a plane in the family barn in Baraboo -- maintains Kestrel is only awaiting further funding.

But this recent story out of Maine suggests that Klapmeier’s vision may never take flight, noting the difficulties in start-ups trying to compete in the airplane business.

Officials in Superior, meanwhile, continue to wait. Kestrel, which has received a $2.5 million loan from the city that isn’t due until 2015, made a presentation to the city council in July and said the company was still trying to raise money to move the project forward. The city is also providing two building sites in its industrial park for production facilities.

“You never say ‘never’ and never give up,” Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Hagen, who worked in the administration of former Gov. Tommy Thompson before moving back to Superior, noted that Klapmeier has experience working with the Federal Aviation Administration on previous designs. He remains optimistic the project will eventually pay dividends for the Twin Ports area.

“Getting a new company going can be a rollercoaster,” he said.

Kestrel Aircraft has received two loans that are being administered by WEDC: a $2 million state loan and a $2 million State Small Business Credit Initiative loan, which is a federal loan.

According to WEDC, the last payment from Kestrel for either loan was in June, 2013. WEDC has sent Kestrel 30-day and 60-day past-due notices, and a 90-day notice will be sent out by mid-October.

“If no payment is made, the account could be determined to be in default and, in accordance with our policies, WEDC could pursue legal remedies if the default is not resolved,” said WEDC spokesman Mark Maley.

But Maley emphasized that WEDC has been reaching out to Kestrel and is working with the company as it continues to try and raise more capital.

“It’s not uncommon for startup companies to have cash flow issues in the early stages,” he said.

Maley, who started at WEDC this week, replacing Tom Thieding as spokesman, said the state remains optimistic Kestrel can move the project ahead.

“This is an innovative company that’s developing an aircraft that has the potential to bring hundreds of jobs to Wisconsin,” he said in an email. “WEDC is aware that there are risks involved in working with leading edge technology firms and manufacturers, but we believe in supporting startups that have long-term potential, and Kestrel is one of them.”

Klapmeier and younger brother, Dale, rocked the aviation world two decades ago with their single-engine, carbon-fiber plane featuring a parachute in the tail that deployed in emergencies.

The brothers eventually located their company, Cirrus Aircraft, in Duluth and eventually passed Cessna in the number of four seat-airplanes sold. At its peak in 2007, Cirrus employed about 1,350 people in Duluth and Grand Forks, N.D. But that number has slipped amid a decline in plane orders during the recession.

Alan Klapmeier was CEO of Cirrus before being fired in 2008. He and another Cirrus director, Ed Underwood, also left the board after being snubbed in an attempt to buy the new jet aircraft business, which Cirrus is hoping to bring to market.

While Kestrel continues to work through its funding issues, Cirrus is saying the general aviation business is picking up. The firm is posting more than two dozen job openings in Duluth and Grand Forks.

Original article:

Some United States pilots finding the friendly skies of China more profitable (with video)

(CBS News) Air travel is soaring around the globe and so is demand for pilots. Airlines will have to hire nearly 500,000 commercial pilots in the next 20 years to keep up with aircraft orders and the biggest need is in the Asia-Pacific region. Boeing estimates nearly 200,000 pilots will be hired there.

Tianjin Airlines has 56 foreign pilots and 17 are Americans. One of those is American pilot Dave Hubberts who has been flying for 15 years.

"I was doing Greensboro, and Chicago and Fargo and Lafayette, Louisiana whereas here I get to go to Qingdao, and Wenzhou, and Fuzhou," he said. "Not only places I'd never heard of - but look at Tianjin - Tianjin is a city of 10 million people I'd never heard of before I looked at coming here!"

Tianjin, China actually has 14 million people and it's now home to the 33-year-old Hubberts.

Hubberts said that being a pilot in China never crossed his mind until there were layoffs at the regional carrier he worked for in Chicago.

"I got moved back from being captain to being first officer and a regional airline's first officer doesn't make a lot of money," he said.

He told CBS News' Seth Doane that with that job he made enough money to qualify for food stamps for a family of four.

According to U.S. industry estimates, first officers at regional carriers can make as little as $20,000 a year, whereas Tianjin Airlines is advertised jobs with pay of $18,000 a month.

Hubberts told Doane that, with overtime and some bonuses, he has made in just one month the equivalent of nine months of regional first officer pay.

Asked if the fast growth of the industry could lead to a sacrifice in safety, Li Rongkui, general manager of Tianjin's flight department said that safety is always the priority and no airline can afford "unsafe incidents."

From his seat in the cockpit, Hubberts can definitely see China's growth.

"With the middle class expanding like it is China, they want to travel, they want to go places and you don't understand what that equates to until you get over here and you see it for yourself and you realize that no matter where we run the airplanes, they're full," he said.

In fact, the planes are so full that China's airlines need to triple the number of planes of the next 20 years. It can take up to 10 years to train a pilot, meaning the only empty seats on those planes may be in the cockpit.

For Seth Doane's full report watch the video:

Socata TBM700 C2 , Cool Stream Media LLC, N731CA: Accident occurred December 20, 2011 in Morristown, New Jersey

The widow of a passenger killed when a plane came crashing down onto Route 287 in 2011 is suing the estate of the plane's pilot, saying the crash could have been avoided.

New York investment banker Jeffrey Buckalew, with his family and with colleague Rakesh Chawla on board, took off in a private plane from Teterboro Airport for a Christmas-week trip to Georgia on Dec. 20, 2011.

But minutes later, Buckalew radioed that he was encountering icing. His turboprop plane  fell out of the sky and crashed onto Interstate 287 in Harding, killing all five people on board — 45-year-old Buckalew; his wife, Corrine, also 45; their two school-age children; and Chawla. The family dog was on board and died as well.

In a suit filed in New York Superior Court Thursday, Cathleen Chawala says Buckalew failed to get a weather briefing before taking off, failed to avoid icing conditions and failed to declare an emergency once the icing began. She says her husband, Rakesh Chawla, suffered mental anguish and physical pain leading up to his death.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages for Cathleen Chawala and her three children.

The suit also names Cool Stream, a company Buckalew owned  that held title to the plane. It says Cool Stream let Buckalew take off without a more experienced pilot, despite rough weather conditions. It says Cool Stream failed to properly train its personnel and service the airplane so it would be safe to use.

"Jeffrey Buckalew knew, or should have known, that he did not have the necessary skills, experience or knowledge to safely operate, pilot and/or control the aircraft given the meterological conditions that existed prior totakeoff and/or during the flight on Dec. 20, 2011," the lawsuit states.

Buckalew, who worked for Greenhill & Co. in New York, had more than 1,400 hours of flight time and had recently completed an annual refresher training course on the plane, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

As reported by the Star-Ledger earlier this year, the NTSB report said icing was being reported throughout the region the morning of the crash, but Buckalew did not request weather information before leaving Teterboro.

The NTSB said Buckalew was directed by an air traffic controller to climb to 14,000 feet and advised of moderate rime icing.

"We’ll let you know what happens when we get in there and if we could go straight through, it’s no problem for us," Buckalew radioed back.

Buckalew reported light icing and asked for a higher altitude, according to the NTSB: "We’re getting a little rattle here. Can we, ah, get ah higher as soon as possible please." A controller responded, "stand by," then directed plane to climb.

Buckalew's Socata reached 17,800 feet , abruptly turned and began its sudden decent. Buckalew's last call may have been an attempt to declare an emergency: "N731CA's declaring …"

The plane broke apart in midair as it tumbled to toward Route 287. Its debris covered a half-mile of Route 287 and nearby areas.

The NTSB said the plane had no pre-existing ruptures of its leading edge de-ice boots, and the cockpit switches for the de-icing system were found in the "ON" positions.

The NTSB, also noted the pilot’s handbook for the Socata specifically warns of flying in freezing rain, freezing drizzle or mixed icing conditions, which "may result in ice build-up on protected surfaces exceeding the capability of the ice protection system, or may result in ice forming aft of the protected surfaces. This ice may not be shed using the ice protection systems, and may seriously degrade the performance and controllability of the aircraft."

Story and Comments/Reaction:


J. Bruce McKissock, Senior Counsel - Chair,  Aviation and Complex Litigation Practice Group

Teterboro ATCT (TEB) Audio,  New York TRACON (N90), New York ARTCC (ZNY)

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA115
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 20, 2011 in Morristown, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N731CA
Injuries: 5 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.

Although the pilot filed an instrument flight rules flight plan through the Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS), no evidence of a weather briefing was found. The flight departed in visual meteorological conditions and entered instrument meteorological conditions while climbing through 12,800 feet. The air traffic controller advised the pilot of moderate rime icing from 15,000 feet through 17,000 feet, with light rime ice at 14,000 feet. The controller asked the pilot to advise him if the icing worsened, and the pilot responded that he would let them know and that it was no problem for him. The controller informed the pilot that he was coordinating for a higher altitude. The pilot confirmed that, while at 16,800 feet, "…light icing has been present for a little while and a higher altitude would be great." About 15 seconds later, the pilot stated that he was getting a little rattle and requested a higher altitude as soon as possible. About 25 seconds after that, the flight was cleared to flight level 200, and the pilot acknowledged. About one minute later, the airplane reached a peak altitude of 17,800 feet before turning sharply to the left and entering a descent. While descending through 17,400 feet, the pilot stated, "and N731CA's declaring…" No subsequent transmissions were received from the flight.

The airplane impacted the paved surfaces and a wooded median on an interstate highway. A postaccident fire resulted. The outboard section of the right wing and several sections of the empennage, including the horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and rudder, were found about 1/4 mile southwest of the fuselage, in a residential area. Witnesses reported seeing pieces of the airplane separating during flight and the airplane in a rapid descent. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the outboard section of the right wing separated in flight, at a relatively low altitude, and then struck and severed portions of the empennage. There was no evidence of a preexisting mechanical anomaly that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engine.

An examination of weather information revealed that numerous pilots reported icing conditions in the general area before and after the accident. At least three flight crews considered the icing "severe." Although severe icing was not forecasted, an Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory included moderate icing at altitudes at which the accident pilot was flying. The pilot operating handbook warned that the airplane was not certificated for flight in severe icing conditions and that, if encountered, the pilot must exit severe icing immediately by changing altitude or routing. Although the pilot was coordinating for a higher altitude with the air traffic controller at the time of the icing encounter, it is likely that he either did not know the severity of the icing or he was reluctant to exercise his command authority in order to immediately exit the icing conditions.

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

The airplane’s encounter with unforecasted severe icing conditions that were characterized by high ice accretion rates and the pilot's failure to use his command authority to depart the icing conditions in an expeditious manner, which resulted in a loss of airplane control. 


 On December 20, 2011, about 1005 eastern standard time, a Socata TBM 700, N731CA, collided with terrain following an in-flight loss of aircraft control near Morristown, New Jersey. The airplane was registered to Cool Stream LLC and was operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight from Teterboro, New Jersey (TEB) to Atlanta, Georgia (PDK). The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certificated private pilot and four passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated from TEB about 0950.

On December 20, 2011, at 0700, an IFR flight plan was filed for the flight using the Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS). The flight plan listed a cruising speed of 292 knots and an en route altitude of flight level (FL) 260. At 0930, TEB clearance delivery issued an IFR clearance to the pilot and he subsequently contacted TEB ground control at 0943 for taxi clearance. The pilot was cleared to taxi to runway 6 and at 0948 the pilot reported that he was ready for departure for runway 6. According to air traffic control (ATC) recorded communications between TEB local control, ground control, and the pilot, weather information was not requested by, nor issued to, the pilot.

During the departure climb, while passing 8,000 feet for 10,000 feet, the pilot was directed to climb and maintain 14,000 feet. The controller then advised the pilot of moderate rime icing from 15,000 feet through 17,000 feet with light rime ice at 14,000 feet. The controller asked that the pilot advise him if the icing got worse, and the pilot responded with, “we’ll let you know what happens when we get in there and if we could go straight through, it’s no problem for us.” At 0958:24, the controller directed the pilot to climb and maintain 17,000 feet and to contact New York Center (ZNY). While climbing between 12,800 and 12,900 feet, at 116 knots ground speed, the pilot acknowledged and advised that they were entering instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

At 1002:17, the ZNY controller advised the pilot that he would be cleared to a higher altitude when ATC could provide it, and that light icing would be encountered at 17,000 feet. The pilot responded with, “I can confirm that light icing…” and stated that, “…light icing has been present for a little while and a higher altitude would be great.” The altitude of the airplane at that time was 16,800 feet and 101 knots ground speed.

At 1002:34, the pilot reported, “we’re getting a little rattle here can we ah get ah higher as soon as possible please.” The ZNY controller responded with “stand by” and coordinated for a higher altitude with an adjacent sector controller.

At 1002:59, the ZNY controller directed the pilot to climb and maintain FL200 and the pilot acknowledged. At 1004:08, the airplane reached an altitude of 17,800 feet before it turned about 70 degrees to the left and entered a descent. At 1004:29, while descending through 17,400 feet, and at 90 knots ground speed, the pilot transmitted, “and N731CA’s declaring…” No subsequent radio transmissions were heard from the pilot. The final radar return at 1005:17 was observed at an altitude of 2,000 feet, about 600 yards west of the main wreckage impact site. The previous return, recorded 9 seconds earlier, indicated 6,200 feet.

Numerous witnesses observed the airplane during the accident sequence. A consistent observation was that the airplane descended at a rapid rate, and was trailing smoke. At least five witnesses saw pieces of the airplane separate during flight or they observed the airplane descending without a wing attached.


The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He reported a total flight experience of 1,400 hours on his latest second-class medical certificate application, dated July 14, 2011. The pilot’s personal logbook(s) were not located after the accident.

The pilot completed a TBM 700 two-day recurrent training course at the SIMCOM Training Center, Orlando, Florida on November 15, 2011. According to a representative from SIMCOM, ground training was accomplished that addressed the technical aspects of the installed ice protection and environmental systems, including preflight checking and testing. Normal and emergency checklist procedures were also discussed. Simulator training consisted of system checking, testing, and operation, including operating in icing conditions, at altitude, and system malfunctions. The SIMCOM representative stated that, “It is always stressed that the installed ice protection systems are intended to provide protection while departing icing conditions.”

SIMCOM training records showed that the pilot completed a similar recurrent course on November 15 and 16, 2010.


The airplane was manufactured in 2005 and was equipped with a single Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-64 turbo-prop engine. The airplane was issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate on September 22, 2005 and was registered to Cool Stream LLC on October 25, 2005.

The most recent annual inspection was performed on July 27, 2011. At that time, the airplane had accumulated approximately 702.0 total flight hours. The last logbook entry was recorded on November 18, 2011, at an aircraft total time of 724.6 hours.


The public docket for this accident contains a Meteorology Factual Report and numerous attachments to support that report. All times that follow in this section are expressed in eastern standard time unless otherwise noted.

A search of the Direct User Access Terminal (DUAT), the DUATS, and Lockheed Martin Flight Services revealed that the pilot did not access weather services or receive a telephone weather briefing prior to the accident flight. It was not determined if the pilot received weather information from other sources.

The closest surface weather observation was at Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), located about 3 miles east-northeast of the accident site at an elevation of 187 feet. The 0945 observation reported wind from 360 degrees at 8 knots with gusts to 13 knots, visibility of 10 miles or greater, ceiling overcast at 20,000 feet, temperature 6 degrees C, dew point -2 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.17 inches of mercury. No precipitation was noted in the observation.

The 0951 surface weather observation for TEB, located about 20 miles east-northeast of the accident site at an elevation of 9 feet, included sky clear and visibility of 10 miles or greater.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1000 depicted a low pressure center near the Indiana/Ohio border with a stationary front extending east through Ohio into western Pennsylvania. A cold front extended from this point eastward through southern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and continued over coastal waters. No present weather symbols were depicted in the accident region.

The portion of the Area Forecast directed toward northern New Jersey and in effect until 1000 included the following, ceilings overcast at 7,000 feet and cloud tops to FL180. The conditions between 1000 and 1600 forecasted ceilings broken at 15,000 feet. The Area Forecast Discussion issued at 0956 did not discuss any icing hazard to aircraft.

An Airmen’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory, “ZULU,” was issued at 0945 that included the area of the accident site. The AIRMET advised of moderate icing between the freezing level (identified as located between 2,000 feet and 8,000 feet) and FL200.

Prior to the 0945 AIRMET ZULU, an amended AIRMET ZULU was issued at 0645. The amended AIRMET advised of moderate icing between the freezing level (identified as located between 3,000 feet and 9,000 feet) and FL180.

Pilot reports made over New Jersey, southern New York, and eastern Pennsylvania between 0800 and 1300 were reviewed by investigators. More than 80 reports were compiled.

An urgent pilot report was received at 0749 from a pilot operating a Cessna Citation at 14,000 feet, about 15 nautical miles southwest of Modena, Pennsylvania. The pilot reported moderate to severe rime icing between 13,000 and 14,000 feet.

An urgent pilot report was received at 1042 from “multiple” types of aircraft at 14,000 feet near Schooley’s Mountain, New Jersey. The report included severe rime icing between 14,000 and 17,500 feet.

An urgent pilot report was received at 0808 from a flight crew operating a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft at 14,000 feet over MMU. The pilot reported moderate to severe rime icing between 14,000 and 16,500 feet. One of the flight crewmembers reported that the icing was the worst he had seen in 38 years of flying experience and that he had never seen ice accumulate so quickly. He described “golf ball-sized” accumulation on the windshield wiper.

An interview with the captain of a Bombardier CRJ aircraft that was operating close to the accident aircraft reported that the wing anti-ice system could not “keep up” with the accumulation. He estimated 2.5 inches of ice on the protected areas of the wing, and 4 inches accumulation on some unprotected areas in a time span of about five minutes.


The airplane impacted the paved surfaces and a wooded median on Interstate Highway 287, about 1 mile south of Morristown. The point of initial impact of the main wreckage was in the southbound lanes, at coordinates 40 46.573 north, 074 28.624 west. The main wreckage debris field was oriented on a heading of about 070 degrees and was about 350 feet in length. The propeller assembly separated from the engine during impact and came to rest in a wooded area on the east side of the northbound lanes.

A post-crash fire was evident on the highway and in the wooded median, where sections of the fuselage, the left wing, and the vertical stabilizer came to rest. Due to the impact damage and fragmentation of the cockpit, cabin, and fuselage, the seating positions of the airplane occupants was not determined.

The outboard section of the right wing and several sections of the empennage, including the horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and rudder, were found between 0.20 and 0.23 nautical miles southwest of the fuselage, in a residential area.

The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility in Clayton, Delaware, where an examination and partial reconstruction of the wreckage was performed on January 3 and 4, 2012. The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of a pre-accident mechanical malfunction or anomaly.

A visual inspection of the pneumatic leading edge de-ice boots revealed no pre-existing ruptures or cracks and all observable boot fasteners were intact and secure. Impact damage prevented functional testing of the aircraft de-ice systems. The cockpit de-ice system panel was found intact. The airframe de-ice, propeller de-ice, pitot heat 1 and 2, and stall warning heater switches were found in the “ON” positions. The ice inspection light, the left and right windshield de-ice, and the inertial separator switches were found in the “OFF” positions.

An examination of the C6 and C8 carry-through structure, where the wings were attached to the fuselage, exhibited twisting and bending distortion at the right wing attachment points, in the up and aft direction. The carry-through structure was fragmented. All fracture surfaces exhibited overload signatures. No evidence of pre-existing cracks or fatigue was observed.

An examination of the outboard section of the right wing revealed that the wing tip, aileron, and spoiler were still attached. Examination of the aileron attachment and actuator hardware revealed no evidence of stop-to-stop damage.

The horizontal stabilizer was separated from the airframe at location C21, with the C21 frame still attached to the assembly. The right-hand horizontal stabilizer was fractured in half, near the midpoint on the right-hand leading edge. The outboard half of the right-hand stabilizer was found adjacent to the larger portion that included the left-hand horizontal stabilizer and C21 frame. The right elevator was still attached to the outboard section of the right horizontal stabilizer by the trim tab actuators. The left elevator was attached to the left horizontal stabilizer.

During the examination of the airframe structure, the outboard section of the right wing was manually positioned, or “mated,” with the leading edge of the right-hand horizontal stabilizer to explore the possibility of in-flight contact. The examination revealed that deformation on the leading edge of the right wing was consistent with an in-flight contact with the leading edge of the right-hand horizontal stabilizer. Also, impact signatures and damage observed on the right wing leading edge, near positions N19 and N20, were consistent with an in-flight collision with the right side of the rudder.

The engine displayed contact signatures at the compressor first stage and shroud, compressor turbine, compressor turbine shroud, first stage power turbine vane ring, first stage power turbine, first stage power turbine shroud, second stage power turbine vane ring, second stage power turbine, and the second stage power turbine shroud. The engine housing exhibited severe radial deformation around the right hand circumference resulting in circumferential impact fractures of the compressor turbine blades and the first and second stage power turbine blades.

The examination of the propeller revealed that three of the propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub and a fourth blade separated into two sections. The blades exhibited twisting, chord-wise scratching, “s” bending, and blade tip separations.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed at the County of Morris Medical Examiner’s Office, Morristown, New Jersey, on December 21, 2011. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as “multiple injuries” and the manner of death was “accident.”

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology report indicated negative for ethanol and drugs. Testing for carbon monoxide and cyanide was not performed.


The following “WARNING” was included in the TBM 700 Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) and was applicable at the time of the accident:



The POH also included information on how to detect and identify severe icing conditions. The POH directed the pilot to immediately request priority handling from air traffic control to facilitate a route or altitude change to exit the icing conditions.

Section 3, “Emergency Procedures” also described pilot actions in the event of flight into severe icing conditions. Excerpts from the POH are included in the public docket for this accident.

Part 91.3 of the Federal Aviation Regulations addresses the responsibility and authority of the pilot-in-command:

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.

Yakutia Airlines Boeing 737 Grounded in Alaska 'Over Unpaid Bills'

WASHINGTON — Yakutia Airlines is currently one plane short, as a Boeing 737 in its fleet enters its third week parked on the tarmac at an Alaskan airport, thanks to a legal dispute over millions of dollars in alleged unpaid leasing fees, a news report said.

The airplane was grounded Sept. 26 at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage when representatives of International Lease Finance Corp., which owns the airplane, presented the Yakutia Airlines captain with legal papers before takeoff, the Alaska Dispatch reported

Eight passengers booked on the return flight to Russia were unable to complete their journey, although they eventually managed to do so via connections in Seattle.

ILFC launched its repossession effort after it claimed that Sakha-based Yakutia Airlines fell behind on payments on two 737s worth a total of $54 million it had leased from the firm, the report said.

ILFC says it is owed $2.6 million and also complained in an Alaska court that Yakutia Airlines had failed to fulfill a contractual obligation to file an annual "technical evaluation report" one year after signing the 7-year leases.

ILFC is the largest aircraft leasing company in the world, with nearly 1,000 planes on lease internationally.


Anchorage, Alaska: Big-game guide with history of illegal hunts found guilty of violations

A man who troopers say has operated illegally as a big-game hunting guide in Alaska since the mid-1990s was found guilty last week on two charges and is still awaiting trial on three felonies and about 30 misdemeanors.

An Anchorage jury convicted Michael A. "Tony" Roberts, 51, of criminal mischief in the third degree and violating conditions of his release, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Alaska State Troopers.

Roberts will be sentenced in February, a trooper spokeswoman said.

Last week's two-day trial was Roberts' second in five months. In June, a Palmer jury convicted him of unlawful possession of illegal game and numerous counts of flying without a pilot's license. He was sentenced to 520 days in jail with 180 days suspended, fined $5,000, ordered to forfeit a Cessna 206 and placed on five years of probation.

The Cessna is the third plane the state has seized from Roberts, who twice since 1999 has been the subject of a manhunt.

In October of last year, while out on bail on charges that he guided without a guiding license, flew without a pilot's license and drove without a driver's license, Roberts used a grinder to saw off his ankle bracelet, troopers say. He was found about a week later, hiding under a bed in Big Lake.

In 1999-2000, Roberts eluded troopers for nearly a year. He fled at the sight of a trooper helicopter while on an illagal hunt near Talkeetna, according to testimony at his 2000 sentencing for guiding without a license, same-day airborne hunting, unlawful possession or transportation of game and putting false information on game tags.


Dallas, Georgia: Paulding Co. airport has huge economic potential

Dallas, GA —

The runway at Silver Comet Field in Dallas is almost deserted. A lone Cessna 172 is doing touch-and-goes, a training exercise used in pilot training. But even as the Cessna lands, accelerates and takes off again, both airport officials and the citizens who pay their salaries are confident that this $50 million airport will someday soon begin to pay off in terms of jobs – jobs that currently flee the county to other places across the metro area.

“The vast majority of the residents see the value in it,” said Airport Manager Blake Swafford.

And that could be the key to the future of both industrial development and commercial flight at this airport. While Propeller Investments faced crushing opposition in Gwinnett, it’s a done deal in Paulding. Papers have been signed, hands have been shaken and the first commercial flights are expected here by the end of the year.

“I’m proud of this little airport,” said George Delmar Cook, a resident of Paulding County for more than 50-years.

The 81-year old Cook said he firmly believes the airport will bring economic development to the county of the likes never seen before.

How can an airport bring that assurance to a county that, just 40 years ago, had one high school, two paved roads and a single stoplight?

Economic studies indicate that currently, about 78-percent of Paulding County residents travel to other cities and counties for work. That leaves Paulding with a paltry tax base. If the airport keeps its vaunted promise to bring more jobs here, that would mean more residents would stay home – as would their tax dollars.

“And that little airport would bring in people from other counties as well,” said Cook. “They’ll come from Cartersville and Carrollton and Douglasville and Rome. They’ll come to fly from here to other cities and they’ll come to work.”

Swafford said commercial air traffic – the bane of the Gwinnett County proposal as far as citizens were concerned, will only account for approximately 10-percent of the revenue Paulding County derives from this airport. Instead, he said, his vision of an aerospace research and manufacturing complex on the airport grounds will provide hundreds if not thousands of jobs and millions if not billions of dollars to the local economy.