Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Buddha Air: Nepalese airline taking off

 

What makes an entrepreneur? The BBC's Surendra Phuyal hears from Birendra Bahadur Basnet, a private-airline owner in Nepal, about the risks he took starting his business, and how he believes success can be achieved.

He does not come from a family of business people. His father is a retired judge, his ancestors were farmers in eastern Nepal. But Birendra Bahadur Basnet, 49, is amongst Nepal's most successful entrepreneurs. He has carved a niche in the country's not-so-impressive aviation sector in just a few years.

When he registered his airline, Buddha Air, and started operations in 1996, the business graduate from a Kathmandu university had only one aircraft that was purchased with a loan: a US-made Beechcraft 1900D.

Nearly two decades later, he is is the proud owner of nine aircraft - three Beechcraft 1900, three ATR 42-320 and three ATR 72-500 aircraft.

Basnet's Buddha Air fleet is the largest in Nepal's domestic sector.

"When we obtained the loan of around NPR 70m (£442,000; $708,000) in 1996 to set up our business and purchase an aircraft, our friends and relatives and other people said we had gone mad," Basnet, says, smiling. "But we started doing good in aviation sector and we paid our loan after six years," he says, adding his airline business has grown almost ten-fold since then.

When he started, he recalls Nepal's state-owned airline Royal Nepal Airlines was not particularly successful and the newly liberalised domestic aviation market was looking for stable players from the private sector.

"That's precisely where we saw the gap and we jumped in," he says. "The market was competitive, but safety, reliability and comfort being our mantra, we succeeded in winning the trust of our customers and we have been adding aircraft, one after another to our fleet."

'A very sad experience'

Basnet's road to success has not been easy though; the biggest blow came in September 2011 when one of his Beechcraft crashed on a hill near Kathmandu while returning from an aborted Mount Everest sightseeing flight, killing 19 people.

"We thought we were invincible, but that crash proved we were not," he said, tears welling up in his eyes. "We lost three of our great colleagues, several other people and the aircraft.

"That was a very sad experience that we had, but that also helped us grow."

After the crash, he says, the airline did a review of its flight safety mechanisms and other related procedures to ensure that Buddha Air's safety standards remain impeccable.

"We thought people would choose other airlines after the crash, we were concerned," he says. "But that didn't affect our business. People - both Nepalis and foreigners - continued to love us."

Up, up and away

Every morning, Buddha Air attracts dozens of foreign tourists to Kathmandu airport for its early morning sightseeing flights to the Mount Everest region - it hosted former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan when he visited Nepal in 2001.

Boasting Nepal's first private airline to have its own hangar within Kathmandu Airport premises, Buddha Air flies to major towns inside Nepal and connects the Indian city of Varanashi with Kathmandu.

"We are the first Nepali airline to fly outside Nepal," says Basnet, adding that he plans to take Buddha Air to other major cities in the Asia Pacific region in future to better facilitate connectivity for passengers flying into and out of Nepal.

Buddha Air currently employs more than 700 people, offering them salaries between 150 dollars and thousands of dollars per month.

"They are a mostly happy bunch of people," he says. "We are like a happy family, but still we need to make sure that everyone is looked after and content."

His recipe for success remains this: "Don't multi-task, focus on your goal. Success is floating around, all you have to do is go and grab it. But again, you have to focus on what you want to do and what you want to achieve."


Story, Photos and Video: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Missing Ontario pilot found safe

A pilot reported missing on a flight to northern Ontario has been located and is OK, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton.

The Department of National Defence said the aircraft left Caesarea, Ont., Saturday evening and was en route to Cree Lake, Ont. Earlier reports indicated the plane was reported missing after failing to arrive at Hornepayne, Ont.

The rescue centre was notified about the missing pilot and aircraft Sunday evening.

Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Don Enns said the pilot of a single-engine Stinson 108 float plane decided to put the aircraft down on a lake after noticing an oil leak.

"I guess the landing wasn't quite as smooth as he had hoped and [he ran] into trees and muskeg ... at the far end of the area he was trying to land in," Enns told the CBC. "[There was] substantial damage to the airplane but fortunately not much damage to himself."

Enns says the TSB is interested in learning the source of the oil leak that caused the emergency landing, but noted it will not be sending a team to the incident site, northeast of Wawa, for any on-sight investigation.

Enns said the TSB was told the pilot had recently purchased the plane and was in the process of relocating it​.


The damaged aircraft was spotted Monday by a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules in a swampy area northeast of Wawa. The pilot was not injured.

Two Hercules planes, two Griffon helicopters, and several civilian air search and rescue aircraft took part in the operation to locate the man who had taken off from Lake Skugog, north of Oshawa, Ont.

The aircraft was spotted Monday by a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules, in a swampy area.

The pilot was picked up by helicopter.



http://www.cbc.ca

 
Search and rescue (SAR) crews from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) together located and rescued a missing pilot yesterday northeast of Chapleau, Ontario, following an extensive search. 

 The pilot had departed on Saturday, October 12 for a 740-kilometre trip from Caesarea to Cree Lake, Ontario. He was reported overdue to Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton at approximately 8:45 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, October 13.

Upon being notified of the overdue pilot, JRCC Trenton tasked a CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., which searched through the night. Following this initial response, numerous other aircraft participated in an extensive search coordinated by the JRCC. The search covered an area of about 27,000 square kilometres.

A CC-130 Hercules from 17 Wing Winnipeg homed in on an electronic locator transmitter that went off in the search area earlier on Monday, October 14th. SAR technicians parachuted into the site of the transmitter, where they found the pilot uninjured. They were extracted by helicopter and transported to Chapleau, Ontario at approximately 5 p.m. (EDT) Monday, where the OPP arranged for the pilot’s return home.

In Canada, SAR is a shared responsibility among federal, provincial/territorial and municipal organizations, as well as air, ground and maritime volunteer SAR organizations.


http://www.wawa-news.com

"Skinny runway" - Cameron Airpark (O61), Cameron Park, California

CAMERON PARK (CBS13) – A pilot had some trouble landing at the Cameron Park Airport on Tuesday morning.

Cal Fire said the plane coming from Monterey and made a hard landing on the runway. Airport personnel say it appears the pilot wasn’t used to the landing strip, which is considered to be narrower than most.

The landing gear was damaged.

No serious injuries were reported.

Story, Video and Comments/Reaction:  http://sacramento.cbslocal.com
 

CAMERON PARK, Calif. (KCRA) —Cal Fire crews are at Cameron Park Airport, where a plane made a hard landing Tuesday morning. 

Cal Fire officials said they initially received reports that a plane crashed at the airport.

When crews arrived, they found the 2011 Czech Sport Aircraft plane had actually made a hard landing in the middle of the runway at 7:15 a.m.

The plane was registered out of Shingle Springs.

No injuries were reported.

Story and Photo: http://www.kcra.com

Attorney in airport lawsuit says UPS crash highlights larger safety issue

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - 

Four plaintiffs suing UPS and the Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) after a recent plane crash held a press conference Tuesday with their attorneys.

The Aug. 14, 2013 crash killed both pilots. UPS and the Birmingham Airport Authority are named as defendants.

Attorney Andy Campbell further explained the lawsuit recently filed in court as well as shared pictures of damage to multiple homes allegedly caused by the UPS plane crash.

"We believe this is a case that has vital public importance, not only to our clients but to the community," said.

Campbell says the public needs to understand how the airport authority has continued to allow these large planes to continue to use a shortened runway, thus creating an "area of risk."

He says the crash was caused by UPS and also by "the actions and omissions of the Birmingham Airport Authority over the years."

"Acting together, the two essentially put our clients in a danger zone of a direct approach of a plane coming in to the runway," said.

Campbell and his team contend that the runway is too short and has inadequate lighting to accommodate larger planes like UPS Flight 1354, and says it's unreasonable that the airport authority hasn't bought these homes when they've bought all the other homes around them.

He says his clients are in a danger zone that is not only physically dangerous but causes them mental stress, and has destroyed the value of their homes, making it nearly impossible to move.

In addition, Campbell says the damage done to his clients' homes by the crash has "rendered the homes worthless."

"My clients are not seeking more than what the value of their property is before it was essentially taken by the airport authority," Campbell said.

He adds that clients deserve to be paid the value of their homes and deserve to be out of danger.

Since the accident, Campbell says no one from the airport authority has contacted his clients but UPS has contacted some of them.

A spokesperson for the airport released this statement Oct. 11:

"The Birmingham Airport Authority has been served the lawsuit. Airport Authority does not make comments on pending litigation."

A UPS spokesperson released this statement Oct. 11:

"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."

To view the full lawsuit, click here.

Story and Video:  http://www.myfoxal.com

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.

Low-flying plane didn't crash in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

A few weeks ago, there were rumors of an airplane crash near East Stroudsburg. But I never heard anything more about it. What happened? -D.D., Stroud Township

You can put an end to the rumors. The airplane did not crash.

On Sept. 29, a small, low-flying aircraft was spotted over a wooded area near Pinebrook Road in Stroud Township. At the same time in the same area, black smoke from a car fire was seen drifting above the treeline.

The simultaneous occurrence of the smoke and the plane — the pilot had flown low to investigate the smoke — led to the belief that the aircraft had crashed.
 

Source:   http://www.poconorecord.com

Southern Airways, which added Birmingham flights in July, seeks funds for expansion

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Southern Airways, the small, Memphis-based airline that began Birmingham service in July, is raising funds for an expansion, founder Stan Little said today.

The airline, which was launched in August, is in discussions with venture capitalists in New York, Little said in a prepared statement.

"We need the next round of funding to secure more aircraft, expand our routes, and add the resources we need to do it right," he said.

The airline currently flies four refurbished nine-seat Cessna turboprops and serves five states. Tickets for flights from Birmingham to the Gulf Coast range in price from $129 to $249 each way with flights to Gulf Shores, Destin and Panama City. 

The potential investors have expressed interest in duplicating Southern Airways’ model in the Northeast, serving New York, the Hamptons and Cape Cod, Little said. The airline is pitching the addition of routes connecting Memphis with Southeastern cities that lost nonstop service following the Northwest Airlines, Delta merger, he said.

Story, Photo Gallery and Comments/Reaction:   http://www.al.com

Premier Aviation signs contract with Cape Air, creating dozens of jobs with hope of more in the future

Rome (WSYR-TV) - An airline has signed a contract with Premier Aviation in Rome, a deal that will create 15 jobs and hopefully more in the future.

Premier Aviation has been contracted on a three-year-deal to paint up to 70 of Cape Air's passenger aircraft.

The company is recruiting 15 people to work in the paint facility, but they're also looking to fill 50 other positions in the near future.

The Premier Aviation overhaul center deals with maintenance, repairs, and paint jobs.

“It's the only paint bay in the Northeast. We'll have 25 full-time dedicated employees. This is a stepping stone to this paint hanger," said Jennifer Rapson, Financial Controller with Premier Aviation.

Rapson says the 15 positions are entry level, but that there is potential for growth within the company.

"We need people to stay in the paint program, but we need them to excel further in to other areas possibly," Rapson said.

Rapson says major contracts are in the works, which could mean more jobs for the area. 



Source:  http://www.9wsyr.com

Eznis Airways flight delayed after propeller fire

Several recent problems with safety have occurred in the Mongolian aviation sector, but Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia administrators have allegedly hidden them according to Unuudur Newspaper. On Sunday, October 6, an SAAB-340 airplane of Eznis Airways took off at 6:30 p.m. in route of Ulaanbaatar-Dornod but landed after 30 minutes due to a problem with a propeller. Two passengers gave a short interview about the flight.

-You were passengers of a Ulaanbaatar-Dornod flight on Eznis Airways on October 6. Exactly what fault occurred?

-Prior to taking off, the flight was delayed twice, which caused a big inconvenience for passengers. We were actually scheduled to take off at 1:30 p.m. according to the official schedule. But it was announced that the flight was delayed until 3:30 p.m., as the airplane hadn’t arrived in time due to bad weather. After a while, the flight was delayed once again to 6:30 p.m. We waited again and finally took off around 7 p.m. But the pilot said the airplane was faulty after around 30 minutes of flying.

-How did he explain the fault?


-I presume a part of one of the plane’s propellers was on fire, as flames were coming out of the left propeller during the flight. The airplane itself wasn’t stable. The light in the passenger cabin was cut and passengers couldn’t even move or make a sound for extreme fright.

-Did it land instantly?


- It felt like the airplane stopped in midair. The pilot carefully turned the airplane to Ulaanbaatar and landed. It seemed to take a long time to get back. Fortunately, our pilot was highly experienced in his job and we landed safely.

-You say passengers were very frightened. Did the pilot or flight attendants calm you down?

-As soon as the airplane landed, one of the flight attendants said, “What has just happened? A fire was coming from propeller. In my case, I will never get on this airplane again.” Flight attendants are responsible for calming down passengers, but some of these flight attendants were acting so unprofessionally and fulfilled their duty poorly.

-How many passengers were there in the airplane?

-There were 18 of us. When the passengers switched airplanes and were preparing to head to Dornod Province, three of us even returned our tickets for fear that the same thing might happen again. All of the passengers were so afraid. Though a doctor came to us after landing, the doctor didn’t check on us. After complaining about it repeatedly, the doctor barely checked passengers and went away.

-Did Eznis Airways officially apologize to passengers?

-Even Eznis Airways and flight officials were not concerned about us. It is quite typical for them to be careless when it comes to domestic flights.





Source:  http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn

'Ah, bless him': Air traffic control reaction as footage emerges of passenger's emergency landing at Humberside airport

Video released by the RAF shows the moment a passenger was forced to land a light aircraft after the pilot fell ill at the controls.  


John Wildey, who had never flown a plane before, had to be guided down by two instructors on the ground at Humberside Airport last Tuesday after the pilot became ill. 

An RAF helicopter that had been called in to assist filmed the plane as it attempted the landing. 

At one point during communications with air traffic control, a woman can be heard saying "ah, bless him" after Mr Wildey appears to say "sorry for the trouble". 

The 77- year-old who grounded the Cessna 172 in the dark and with no lights, praised the flight instructors and emergency services for keeping him calm throughout the ordeal. “I was lucky they were talking to me on the radio all the time,” he said. “I fumbled along.” 

The footage also shows how the plane veered off the runway after landing, coming to a stop in a field adjacent to the tarmac strip. 

Story and Video:   http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Moment of passenger's emergency landing at Humberside airport

Voices of the shutdown: "It's a job you can't slack off of"

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world's busiest airport, with more than 95 million passengers passing through it in 2012, according to the Airports Council International's 2012 World Annual Traffic Report. 

Douglas Lowe, 32, is an Airways Transportation Systems Specialist for the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), at Hartsfield-Jackson, a job that is considered essential to public aviation safety. 

"In a nutshell, everything that an air traffic controller uses to keep aircrafts in the sky, I work on and maintain," said Lowe. 

Lowe works specifically on the rapid deployment voice switch - connecting air traffic controllers to the channels they use to speak to pilots. 

"They're [air traffic controllers] talking to airplanes that are coming in on final approaches and taking off and turning out," he said. 

However, since Oct. 1, Lowe has been working without pay because of the government shutdown. He's one of 40 on his team not being paid, working 10-hour shifts on a seven-day rotation. 

"We work days, nights, weekends, holidays," said Lowe. "It's a job you can't slack off of." 

Lowe's next pay check is scheduled on Oct. 29. Like thousands of government workers across the country, he's hoping the shutdown ends before then. 

"If this continues on, the next pay day I will get absolutely zero on my paycheck," said Lowe. 

The shutdown has been stressful for him and his family. 

"I actually tapped into my savings plan and took out a loan to make sure I don't default on anything. I have a mortgage, and then I have a second mortgage for my mom. I take care of her because she is mentally ill so I have two mortgages to worry about, car payments, a kid," said Lowe. 

"I'm the only one that works in the house; my wife goes to school full-time. It's very stressful to say the least," he added. 

Lowe, a former Marine, joined the FAA in 2007. 

He is also the Georgia chapter president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) union, which represents 11,000 nationwide employees. He and some of his members have organized a small protest Tuesday to hand out flyers at the airport. 

"[We're] letting the public know they're getting on that flight right now because we're at work," said Lowe. 

Lowe says the government is holding people's lives in their hands over something that has nothing to do with making the government function. 

"Congress has a very important role of funding the government and deciding what should be funded and what shouldn't be funded instead of sitting there bickering over a health care law that was passed into law," said Lowe. 

"Not funding an entire government, putting people on a straight furlough, and making people work for free is ridiculous to me." 

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

South Africa: 58 Percent of Aircraft Do Not Have Airworthy Certificates

Of the 12 500 aircraft registered in the South African Civil Aviation Authority register, only 42.4% (5 300) have been issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness, according to a reply to a DA parliamentary question.

According to the Civil Aviation Act, no aircraft may be legally operated without a Certificate of Airworthiness.

The issuing of Airworthiness Certificates has been a source of great contention between the Civil Aviation Authority and the airline industry over the last eight years.

The airline industry has expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the renewal process of Airworthiness Certificates is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The DA has it on good authority that the Civil Aviation Authority has been operating without a General Manager for Air Safety Operations for quite some time now.

The DA will submit follow-up questions to the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, to establish whether aircraft without certificates are still in operation, why they are not being issued with certificates of airworthiness and what steps have been taken to assist them in obtaining certificates of airworthiness.

We will also, as a matter of urgency, request that the Acting Director of Civil Aviation, Poppy Khoza, together with the representatives of the airline industry meet with the Portfolio Committee of Transport to seek a solution to this problem.

Parliament needs to be reassured that the renewal process is not to blame for this poor record in issuing airworthiness certificates and it is not being used as a revenue-generating exercise.

The Civil Aviation Authority and the airline industry need to get both our aircraft and economy flying once more. Parliament must assist in ensuring that this happens.

Greg Krumbock, Shadow Deputy Minister of Transport

Jef fuel shortage hits airport in Mombasa

 

The Moi International Airport in Mombasa has been hit with a jet fuel shortage.  The shortage, which started on Monday , has forced at least four airlines to be diverted to other airports in the region for refueling.

Airport manager Yatich Kangugo yesterday said the shortage has been occasioned by wrangles between the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited and oil marketers in the country.

  According to Kangugo, the four oil marketers contracted to supply Jet A1 fuel to the airport have been unable to access the fuel at the refinery.

The four include KenolKobil, OilLibya, Total Kenya and Vivo Energy (formerly Shell Kenya).  As a short-term measure to contain the situation, Total Kenya was by yesterday the only oil marketer that was supplied with 710,000 litres of the jet fuel.  However, Kangugo said this is not enough and may only last for three days.


Source:  http://www.the-star.co.ke

Kestrel Aircraft catches up on loan payments to Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Kestrel Aircraft — which is hoping to build a $120 million factory in Superior that could eventually employ up to 600 workers — has caught up on its loan payments to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The firm made a wire transfer of $26,536 on Friday, bringing it current as of Oct. 1 on two loans being administrated by WEDC. It had been over 90 days late.

“The WEDC is pleased it was able to work with Kestrel as the company brought its account up to date,” said WEDC spokesman Mark Maley. “We believe in supporting and assisting innovative startups like Kestrel because of the potential for significant job creation and economic development that exists with these types of projects.”

Kestrel has two loans through WEDC: a $2 million state loan and a $2 million State Small Business Credit Initiative loan, a federal loan. The state has also offered the company $18 million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits 

The wire payments came the same day the Capital Times reported the company was delinquent on its public debt and follows a series of news stories out of Maine where the company headquarters are located.

Kestrel had reportedly been missing payroll and cutting health benefits for its workers.
The firm has about 100 employees, split between its operations in New Brunswick, Maine, and the Duluth-Superior area.

Kestrel, which has not responded to requests for comment, has also received a $2.5 million loan from the city that isn’t due for payments until 2015. In addition, the city is providing two building sites in its industrial park for production facilities.

In January 2012, Kestrel announced plans to open an airplane factory in Superior producing single-engine, turboprop planes made from carbon fiber. Gov. Scott Walker and other top state officials appeared at a news conference announcing the project, which was widely hailed as bringing badly needed technical jobs to northern Wisconsin.

Progress has been slow, however, with Kestrel in July telling the city council it was still trying to find investors to move the project forward.

Story and Comments/Reaction: http://host.madison.com

Cessna 525A CitationJet CJ2, N194SJ, CREX-MML LLC: Fatal accident occurred September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA430
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 525A, registration: N194SJ
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

The private pilot was returning to his home airport; the approach was normal, and the airplane landed within the runway touchdown zone markings and on the runway centerline. About midfield, the airplane started to drift to the right side of the runway, and during the landing roll, the nose pitched up suddenly and dropped back down. The airplane veered off the runway and impacted the 1,000-ft runway distance remaining sign and continued to travel in a right-hand turn until it impacted a hangar. The airplane came to rest inside the hangar, and the damage to the structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A postaccident fire quickly ensued. The subsequent wreckage examination did not reveal any mechanical anomalies with the airplane's engines, flight controls, steering, or braking system. 

A video study was conducted using security surveillance video from a fixed-base operator located midfield, and the study established that the airplane was not decelerating as it passed through midfield. Deceleration was detected after the airplane had veered off the runway and onto the parking apron in front of the rows of hangars it eventually impacted. Additionally, video images could not definitively establish that the flaps were deployed during the landing roll. However, the flaps were deployed as the airplane veered off the runway and into the hangar, but it could not be determined to what degree. To obtain maximum braking performance, the flaps should be placed in the ”ground flap” position immediately after touchdown. The wreckage examination determined that the flaps were in the ”ground flap” position at the time the airplane impacted the hangar. 

Numerous personal electronic devices that had been onboard the airplane provided images of the passengers and unrestrained pets, including a large dog, with access to the cockpit during the accident flight. Although the unrestrained animals had the potential to create a distraction during the landing roll, there was insufficient information to determine their role in the accident sequence or what caused the delay in the pilot’s application of the brakes.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to adequately decrease the airplane’s ground speed or maintain directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with an airport sign and structure and a subsequent postcrash fire.

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On September 29, 2013, at 1820 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 525A Citation, N194SJ, veered off the right side of runway 21 and collided with a hangar at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, California. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to CREX-MML LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Hailey, Idaho, about 1614.

Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing, on centerline and within the runway touchdown zone markings. The airplane started to drift to the right side of the runway during the roll out, the nose pitched up suddenly and dropped back down, then the airplane veered off the runway, and impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign. It continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing. The airplane came to rest inside the hangar, and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued.

On-scene examination of the wreckage and runway revealed that there was no airplane debris on the runway. The three landing gear tires were inflated and exhibited no unusual wear patterns. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower local controller reported that the pilot did not express over the radio any problems prior to or during the landing.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 63, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single & multiengine land, and instrument airplane, issued March 27, 2004, and a third-class medical certificate issued May 21, 2012, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's current logbook was not located. An examination of copies from the pilot's previous logbook showed the last entry was dated June 5-7, 2009, and totaled his flight time as 3,463.1 hours, with 1,236.2 hours in the Cessna 525A. On the pilot's May 21, 2012, application for his FAA medical certificate he reported 3,500 hours total time, and 125 hours within the previous 6 months. The pilot had logbook endorsements from Flight Safety International, Orlando, Florida, for flight reviews and proficiency checks dated January 19, 2002, November 2, 2002, November, 15, 2003, June 4, 2004, March 2, 2005, March 22, 2006, March 21, 2007, and March 31, 2008. Training records provided by Flight Safety showed that he had completed the Citation Jet (CE525) 61.58 Recurrent PIC training on February, 27, 2013.

The person occupying the right seat in the cockpit was a non-pilot rated passenger.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low wing, six-seat, retractable landing gear, business jet, serial number 525A0194, was manufactured in 2003, and was based at the Santa Monica Airport. It was powered by two Williams International FJ44-2C engines, each capable of producing 2,400 pounds of static thrust at sea level. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent maintenance was performed on September 7, 2013, and included hydrostatic test of the fire extinguisher bottles, battery functional check, pitot-static system check, transponder calibration check, visual corrosion inspections on the landing gear and horizontal/vertical stabilizer spars, and a generator control unit wire bundle service bulletin. The records showed that as of September 7, the total airframe hours were 1,932.8. Total time on the number one engine (SN 126257) was 1,932.8 hours with 1,561 cycles, and the total time on the number two engine (SN 126256) was 1,932.8 hours with 1,561 cycles. Total landings were 1,561. The aircraft was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.


Flap Position & Speed Brakes

The flap system description from the Cessna 525 Operating Manual states: "The trailing edge flaps are electrically controlled and hydraulically actuated by the main hydraulic system. Normal flap travel is from 0 to 35 degrees and any intermediate position can be selected. A mechanical detent is installed at the takeoff and approach (15 degrees) position of the flap lever. The full flap position (35 degrees) is reached by pushing down on the flap lever when passing through the takeoff and approach detent."

"The flaps have an additional position called GROUND FLAPS (60 degrees) which provides additional drag during the landing roll."

The speed brake system description from the Operating Manual states: "The speed brakes are installed on the upper and lower surfaces of each wing to permit rapid rates of descent, rapid deceleration, and to spoil lift during landing roll. The speed brakes are electrically controlled and hydraulically actuated by a switch located on the throttle quadrant and may be selected to the fully extended or fully retracted positions. When the speed brakes are fully extended a white SPD BRK EXTEND annunciator will illuminate to remind the pilot of the deployed status of the speed brakes. The angular travel for the upper speed brake panels is 49 degrees, +2 or -2 degrees and the lower panels travel 68 degrees, +2 or -2 degrees. The lower speed brake panels close with the upper panel. The speed brakes will also automatically deploy when GROUND FLAPS position or selected on the flap handle."

Brake System

The brake system description from the Operating Manual states: "An independent power brake and anti-skid system is used for wheel braking. The closed center hydraulic system is comprised of an independent power pack assembly (pump, electric motor, and filter), accumulator and reservoir which provides pressurized hydraulic fluid to the brake metering valve and anti-skid valve. A hand-controllable pneumatic emergency brake valve is provided in the event of a power brake failure. Pneumatic pressure is transmitted to the brakes though a shuttle valve integral to each brake assembly."

"The brake metering valve regulated a maximum of 1,000 psi +50/-20 psi to the brakes based upon pilot/copilot input to the left and right rudder pedals. RPM transducers at each wheel sense the onset of a skid and transmit information to the anti-skid control box. The anti-skid control box reduces brake pressure by sending electronic inputs to the anti-skid valve. Pressure to the brake metering valve is controlled by mechanical input through a bellcrank and push-rod system from either the pilot or the copilot's rudder pedals. A manually operated parking brake valve allows the pilot to increase the brake pressure while the brake is set, and provide thermal relief at 1,200 psi. After thermal relief, pressure will drop to no less than 600 psi, and the pilot or copilot must restore full brake pressure prior to advancing both engines to take-off power."

"Pneumatic pressure from the emergency air bottle is available as a backup to the normal system."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Recorded weather data from the Santa Monica Airport automated surface observation system (ASOS elevation 177 feet) at 1824 showed the wind was from 240 degrees at 4 knots, visibility was 10 statute miles with clear sky, temperature was 21 degrees C and dew point 12 degrees C, and the altimeter was 29.97 inHg.

Sun position was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) solar position calculator. The Los Angeles location of 34 degrees, 3 minutes, 0 seconds latitude, and 118 degrees, 13 minutes, 59 seconds longitude was used for the solar position calculation on September 29, 2013, at 1820 PDT. The solar azimuth was calculated to be 264.33 degrees, and solar elevation was 3.59 degrees above the horizon. This position placed the Sun near horizon level, about 54 degrees to the right of the centerline of runway 21.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), is at an elevation of 177 feet msl. The airport consists of a single 4,973 by 150-foot asphalt/grooved runway oriented southwest to northeast (03/21), with a downhill gradient to the west of 1.2%. There are no overrun areas for either runway, and the departure end of runway 21 terminates in an approximately 50-foot drop off into residential housing to the west and south (residential homes are located approximately 220 feet from the departure end of both runways). Along the last 3rd of the northern side of runway 21 are privately-owned hangars with an approximately 30-foot rising embankment behind the hangars. The runway physical condition was good with no evidence of broken asphalt, debris, pot holes, or water on the runway at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE & IMPACT INFORMATION

Visible tire track marks from the right main landing gear tire on the runway started at 2,840 feet from the threshold of runway 21; the airplane veered right, colliding with the 1,000-foot runway remaining sign, crossing over the tarmac between taxiway A2 and A1, and finally colliding with the last row of hangars on the northwest corner of the airport. The tire marks on the runway consisted of light scuff marks from the right main landing gear tire and became dark black transfer marks of all three landing gear tires after the airplane had veered off the runway and impacted the 1,000-foot remaining sign. The collision with the hangar resulted in the hangar collapsing over the airplane. A post-accident fire erupted, damaging adjacent hangars.

The collapsed hangar structure was lifted using cranes and shored up using wood timbers. The wreckage was removed by attaching chains to the airframe structure and pulling it out of the hangar with a forklift loader. The fuselage had separated from the wing structure in scissor fashion. The fuselage had rotated counter clockwise about 60 degrees around the longitudinal axis so that the cabin door was pointed towards the ground. The pilot was located in the left front seat, an adult female passenger was in the right front seat, an adult female was located with her back against the cabin door, and an adult male was sitting in a right-hand seat mid cabin. The remains of two cats and a dog were also located within the cabin. The tail section aft of the pressure bulkhead was exposed to extreme heat/fire. The nose landing gear was extended with the wheel and tire attached to the mount. The continuity between the nose wheel steering linkage up to the cockpit rudder pedals was verified. The tire was inflated and exhibited no usual wear.

The right wing had separated from the fuselage at the attach points. The wing spar had broken outboard of the wheel well rib, and a semicircular leading edge indentation was evident at the fuel filler cap location. Aileron and flaps were attached to the wing, and the speed brake/spoiler was deployed. The aileron control cable was attached to the aileron bell crank and the cables were traced to the center fuselage. The right main landing gear was extended with the wheel and tire attached. The tire was inflated and did not exhibit any unusual bald or flat spots.

The tail section aft of the pressure bulkhead separated from the airframe due to extreme fire damage, and was the only part of the airplane that remained outside of the collapsed hangar structure. The horizontal stabilizer was present with both elevators attached. The vertical stabilizer was present with the rudder attached. Both engines remained attached to their respective engine mounts. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT), manufactured by ACR Electronics, was located in the tail section, exhibited minor heat damage and was transmitting during the time immediately following the accident.

The left wing exhibited extreme fire damage at the wing root, and the wing extending outboard of the root was discolored gray/black. There was slight denting along the leading edge of the wing. The flap and aileron were attached to the wing, and the speed brake/spoiler was deployed. The aileron control cables were traced from the aileron bell crank to the center fuselage section.

The fuel control cables were attached to both engines fuel control units; both engine's bleed valves were movable. The left engine N1 section had seized and the visible fan blades were free of dirt or soot. The right engine N1 section could be rotated by hand, and the intake fan blades were evenly coated with black soot. Borescope examination of the high pressure compressor of both engines showed soot and small particulate matter within the compressor section, consistent with the engines operating while ingesting smoke, soot, and ash.


MEDICAL & PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 3, 2013, by the Los Angeles County Coroner. The cause of death was ascribed to the combined effects of inhalation of combustion products and thermal burns.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology on specimen from the pilot with negative results for ethanol, and positive results for 10 ug acetaminophen detected in urine, and Rosuvastatin detected in urine.

An autopsy was performed on the passenger, who was in the cockpit's right seat, on October 3, 2013, by the Los Angeles County Coroner. The cause of death was ascribed to the combined effects of inhalation of combustion products and thermal burns.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology on specimen from the passenger with negative results for ethanol, and positive results for 0.077 ug/ml diazepam detected in liver, 0.042 ug/ml diazepam detected in blood, 0.524 ug/ml dihydrocodeine detected in liver, 0.109 ug/ml dihydrocodenine detected in blood, 0.659 ug/ml hydrocodone detected in liver, 0.258 ug/ml hydrocodone detected in blood, 0.132 ug/ml nordiazepam detected liver, and 0.064 ug/ml nordiazepam detected in blood.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Brake System Examinations

The following airplane brake system components were removed from the wreckage; skid control unit fault display, left and right wheel transducers, brake control valve assembly, and the skid control box. The components were examined at Crane Aerospace, Burbank, California, on January 22, 2014, under the oversight of the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC). Each component was examined and tested per Crane Aerospace acceptance testing procedures. No discrepancies or anomalies were identified that would have precluded normal operation of the components. The complete examination report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Both the left and right main brake assemblies were examined at UTC Aerospace Systems, Troy, Ohio, under the oversight of the NTSB IIC, on February 11, 2014. A hydraulic fitting was placed on the primary port of the shuttle valve and pressurized to 100 psi. No leakage was observed, piston movement was observed on all 5 pistons, and the rotors could not be moved by hand. Hydraulic pressure was released and adjuster assemblies were observed to return to their normal position. The system was pressurized to 850 psi, no leaks were observed and the rotors could not be moved by hand. The wear pins extensions indicated about 2/3 wear on both brake assemblies. The system held pressure at 850 psi for 5 minutes. The system was depressurized to 9 psi. The pistons retracted and a feeler gauge measured a gap between rotor and stator disks. The hydraulic fitting was removed from the primary port and placed on the pneumatic port (emergency system). When pressurized to 100 psi the shuttle valve could be heard to move from primary to emergency, indicating the last actuation was via the normal (primary) brake system. The system was pressurized to 850 psi, no leaks were observed, and piston movement was evident. The complete examination factual report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

The parking brake valve assembly had been exposed to extreme thermal heat and was deformed in such a way that disassembly by normal means was impossible. To determine the parking brake internal configuration and condition, the parking brake valve was subjected to x-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning. The scanning was conducted from April 29-30, 2014. The scans were performed by Varian Medical Systems, Inc., under the direction of the NTSB using the Varian Actis 500/225 microfocus CT system CT system. The components were scanned using a total of 1,522 slices. The images were examined for any signs of missing or damaged parts, contamination, or any other anomalies. Nothing was identified in the scan images that would have precluded normal operation of the parking brake. The complete examination factual report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) Data

The EGPWS was removed from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for further examination. The accident flight was identified as flight leg 1592. Only warning data pertaining to the event flight The data in the warning file for flight leg 1592 began recording at operational time 2614:08:08. The event that triggered this recording was an excessive bank angle warning that occurred at 2614:08:28 operational time, when the aircraft was at about 15,000 feet about 3 minutes after takeoff. There were no other warnings on the accident flight. The landing time was recorded as 2616:08:04. The complete examination factual report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

The complete EGPWS Factual Report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Airplane Performance Study

Available information for the accident flight included the radar track, ground marks from the aircraft's tires, and airport security camera footage.

Radar data was used to describe the accident airplane's ground track, altitude, speed, and estimated attitude on approach to the airport. Radar data was obtained from the Los Angeles, California, LAXA ASR-9 (airport surveillance radar), and sampled at 4.5-second intervals. The radar is approximately 5.5 nautical miles (NM) from the aircraft's final location. The aircraft approached Santa Monica from the northeast. The last radar return was recorded at 18:20:26 PDT, about 1,500 ft before the airport threshold. The aircraft's groundspeed final groundspeed was about 115 kts. Wind was 4 kts from 240°, which would have added a slight headwind when landing on runway 21. The approach speed (VAPP) for the 525A for 15° of flaps is between 98 kts indicated airspeed (for 8,000 lbs landing weight) and 122 kts (for 12,375 lbs landing weight). The aircraft's glide slope during the approach was 3.9°. Runway 21 at Santa Monica has a four light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) for a 4.00° glide slope.

The rubber tire marks left by the aircraft on the runway and other paved surfaces were photographed and their locations recorded. The first tire mark was found about 2,800 ft from the threshold of runway 21 and 35 ft right of the centerline. The aircraft's path was determined by connecting the recorded tire marks. Aircraft braking causes rubber from the tires to be deposited onto the runway. The tire marks consist of light scuff while on the runway, but become heavy and dark once the airplane departs the runway veering off to the right.

Six security cameras at the airport recorded the accident sequence. The airplane was first recorded on the ground and approximately 2,000 ft from the runway 21 approach threshold. Additional configuration information, such as flap or spoiler settings or thrust reverser deployment could not be determined from the video due to low resolution. However, the average speed of the aircraft was estimated for each camera recording. The calculated speeds do not uniformly decrease between camera views partially due to the uncertainty of estimating the speed from video. The calculated ground speeds as the airplane passed through mid field varied between 82 knots and 68 knots, with a calculated average of 75 knots. The details of the speed calculations can be found in the NTSB Video Study.

Cessna Aircraft Company provided data from two exemplar landings and ground rolls for a Citation 525A. The data included distance along the runway, calibrated airspeed, GPS speed, left and right brake pressures, brake pedal inputs, and flaps. To compare the exemplar and the accident aircraft landings and ground rolls, it was assumed that all aircraft touched down at the 1,000 ft mark. Assuming a 1,000 ft touchdown point, the first speed estimate is about 10 kts faster than the exemplar ground rolls at the same location. This may indicate that during the first 1,000 ft of the ground roll, the accident aircraft was decelerating near as expected. The exemplar aircraft slowed to a stop more than 1,700 ft before the accident aircraft impacted the hanger.

The aircraft's flight path, altitude, and calculated speeds during the approach were consistent with the standard approach for a Citation 525A into SMO. The aircraft's ground roll was longer and faster than exemplar landings. Tire marks indicate braking occurred late in the ground roll. The aircraft's flap and spoiler settings and thrust reverser deployment are unknown. A reason for the lack of normal deceleration could not be determined using the available data.

The complete Aircraft Performance Factual Report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Personal Electronic Devices (PED)

Five PED's were recovered from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for examination. The laboratory was unable to recover data from three of the devices, however, data was recovered from the remaining two devices.

An Apple iPhone 4 contained text messages and photo activity just before and during the accident flight. A text message "Leaving the Valley" and a photo showing a woman in the right cockpit seat of the airplane before departure. A video captured the takeoff from Hailey, Idaho. The phone contained 14 in-flight photos. A photo of the instrument panel showed a climb through 37,300 feet, airspeed was 251 knots, and the anti-skid switch was in the up (ON) position. One photo was oriented aft into the cabin. In the foreground was a large, red/brown-haired dog in the aisle with its head towards the camera and torso forward of the rearward-facing seats; and in the background were two people seated (each with a cat in their lap) in the forward-facing seats. Another photo showed the dog further forward and both cats were now on the lap of one of the occupants. None of the animals were restrained or caged. Most of the remaining photos were pointed outside the airplane.

None of the content on the iPad 2 was from the accident flight, however, it did contain pertinent photos and video related to N194SJ. The iPad contained a low resolution, 52-second, video of the airplane taking off from the Santa Monica Airport on an undetermined date. The video was taken from a position consistent with the right cockpit seat and began as the airplane started its takeoff roll. About 10 seconds into the video, the camera panned left showing the interior of the cockpit. A red/brown-haired dog (same as was seen in the iPhone 4's images), was positioned facing forward with its nose about 18 inches aft of the throttle quadrant. As the airplane rotated, 19 seconds into the video, a person in the cockpit said "…you want to be up front too, huh?" The video then panned outside to show a row of hangers on the right, then the ocean, and generally clear skies. The video ended with Santa Monica Tower directing N194SJ to contact "SoCal departure."

The full PED Factual Report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

Surveillance Video

The NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division's Image Laboratory received two files containing images from 9 unique security camera feeds from a Bosch DIVAR 700 Series recorder. The recording contained six camera streams and captured the accident sequence and subsequent Airport Rescue Firefighting (ARFF). The six camera streams contained images from cameras 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 17, each of which captured the accident aircraft at some portion during its landing roll and subsequent impact with the hangar structure. The recording provided was 1 hour 40 minutes and 5 seconds in length. The beginning portion of the recording showed the landing roll and impact and the remainder of the recordings showed subsequent ARFF activities related to the accident The video file was provided by a local Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and the majority of the cameras (3, 4, 7, 8, and 9) were recorded from a cluster of locations near the FBO ramp entrance area. Camera 17 was mounted remotely on a different area of the airport property.

Images from the collection of cameras in this feed showed view of portions of runway 03/21 and the ramp area of the fixed base operator. Cameras 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 were oriented toward the southeast and showed the ramp area and the center portion of runway 03/21. Camera 17 faced southwest toward an aircraft parking area and a distant group of hangar structures on the boundary of the airport's property. The camera locations were evaluated in chronological order of the aircraft's appearance in each camera's field of view. The aircraft was first captured by camera 7 as it moved toward the departure end of runway 21, and last captured in camera 17 as it impacted the hangar structure. The aircraft was assumed to be on the centerline of runway 03/21 until it is out of view of camera 4.

Camera 7 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown behind an open hangar structure. Calculated average speed of the airplane was 82.5 knots.

Camera 8 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of an open hangar door on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 75.2 knots.

Camera 3 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of the corner of a large hangar structure on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 68.1 knots.

Camera 4 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of the three chimney structure on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 70.7 knots.

Camera 9 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left-hand corner of the recording as the fuselage is shown traveling down runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 79.0 knots.

Camera 17 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left-hand corner of the recording as the nose of the aircraft is shown veering towards a tarmac area between runway 03/21 and the intersection of Taxiway A1 and Taxiway A. A trajectory was estimated using photographs from the on-scene portion of the investigation which showed witness marks from the aircraft's tires as it moved toward the impact location. This trajectory was used to calculate the overall distance the aircraft traveled through the measurable segment. Calculated average groundspeed was 50.5 knots.

The accident aircraft's speed can be averaged throughout a portion of runway 03/21 that is not covered by security camera footage. An image from camera 9 in which the aircraft is shown passing behind a hangar structure near the FBO's ramp area at a recorded common timestamp and the nose of the accident aircraft appears 9.75 seconds later on camera 17. The calculated distance the airplane traveled was approximately 1,040 feet, providing an estimated average groundspeed of 63.2 knots.

The calculated average groundspeed for the airplane as it passed through the field of view of each camera in sequential order is summarized in the following table.

Camera 7 82.5 kts
Camera 8 75.2 kts
Camera 3 68.1 kts
Camera 4 70.7 kts
Camera 9 79.0 kts
Between 9 – 17 63.2 kts
Camera 17 50.5 kts



Exported still images from each camera position were examined to attempt to make a determination of the accident aircraft's flap position. The still images selected were the best examples of potential flap position recognition. Still images from cameras 7, 8, 3, 4, and 9, provided inconclusive results as to flap position. Camera 17 provided an image that showed the flaps deployed, however, the extent of flap deployment could not be quantified.

The complete Video Study Factual Report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

http://registry.faa.gov/N194SJ

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA430 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 525A, registration: N194SJ
Injuries: 4 Fatal.


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


On September 29, 2013, at 1820 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 525A Citation, N194SJ, veered off the right side of runway 21 and collided with a hangar at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California.  The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to CREX-MML LLC, and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91 flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated at Hailey, Idaho, about 1614.

Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing.  The airplane traveled down the right side of the runway, eventually veered off the runway, impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign, continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing.  The airplane came to rest inside the hangar and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued.

On-scene examination of the wreckage and runway revealed that there was no airplane debris on the runway. The three landing gear tires were inflated and exhibited no unusual wear patterns. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower local controller reported that the pilot did not express over the radio any problems prior to or during the landing.





LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Three sons who lost their mother in a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the estate of the aircraft’s pilot, alleging negligence.

Kyla Dupont, 53, was killed aboard a Cessna 525A CitationJet CJ2 aircraft that went off the runway Sept. 29 before colliding with a runway sign and crashing into a hangar. The hangar collapsed on the plane, which then caught on fire. Authorities said the blaze, which spread to two nearby hangars, burned at unusually high temperatures due to jet fuel.

Kyla Dupont’s sons Charles Dupont, Elliot Dupont and Jackson Dupont brought the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the pilot failed to maintain proper control over the plane, did not undertake the necessary actions to achieve a safe flight, acted unreasonably in the landing of the plane and failed to maintain the aircraft with proper repairs.

Mark Benjamin, the 63-year-old president of Santa Monica-based construction company Morley Builders, was believed to be at the controls at the time of the crash. The passengers were returning from a trip to Hailey, Idaho.

Benjamin’s 28-year-old son Lucas and 28-year-old Lauren Winkler, Lucas’ girlfriend,  were also killed in the crash.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from the estate of Mark Benjamin and Malibu-based MML Investments LLC, a real estate and aircraft management company. A representative for the Benjamin estate could not be reached for comment.

The cause of the crash remains unclear. A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation found no debris on the runway at the time of the crash and said all four of the aircraft’s tires were inflated upon landing.

At the time of the crash, NTSB officials said the pilot never contacted authorities stating there was a problem.

Source:   http://losangeles.cbslocal.com

Mark Benjamin, President and CEO of Santa Monica-based Morley Builders, died on September 29, 2013 in a tragic airplane accident that also took the life of his son Lucas Robert Benjamin and two other lives [...]

A memorial service will be held for Mark and Luke on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 3:30 p.m., with a reception following, at the California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles.
Morley Builders


DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - A memorial for Morley Builders President and CEO Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas Benjamin, who died in a Sept. 29 airplane crash at Santa Monica Airport, will be held Sunday, Oct. 20, at the California Science Center.

Mark, 63, and Lucas, 28, were two of four passengers onboard the plane who died in the accident. Mark Benjamin took over the Santa Monica-based Morley Builders from his father, Morley Benjamin, in 1981; Lucas was working as a senior project engineer at the company at the time of his death. Morley Builders has constructed more than 800 buildings in Southern California, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Museum Tower on Bunker Hill, additions to the California Science Center and projects at the University of Southern California. Sunday’s memorial begins at 3:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. The California Science Center is at 700 Exposition Park Drive.


http://www.morleybuilders.com/sites/default/files/pdf/MarkandLukeBenjaminObituary10-9-13.pdf

Government shutdown postpones 21st annual Boshears SkyFest

The 21st annual Boshears SkyFest scheduled for this weekend has been postponed to April 26 and 27 due to the government shutdown, event organizers announced Monday.

In order to have an airshow with aerobatic performances, such as dives, loops and barrel rolls, a waiver is required from the Federal Aviation Administration, event spokeswoman Becky Shealy said.

At this time, Shealy said the waiver is sitting on a desk inside the FAA’s closed offices.

“Boshears SkyFest was advertised as an airshow and no waiver means no airshow,” Becky Shealy said of the Daniel Field festival which draws 6,000 to 8,000 fans to Augusta annually.

Shealy said organizers initially planned to downgrade the show to only include military plane fly-ins and fly-bys, but decided against that course of action.

“It just wouldn’t be right to do that to this community,” she said. “This community deserves the best. They deserve the show that had been advertised.”

The Skyfest has proudly held the title of being the only aviation event held within 100 miles of Augusta for the past 11 years, and each year has increased in both attendance numbers and local economic impact numbers.

The 2013 Skyfest promised to be the largest to date, said Carly Kobasiar, the director of marketing communications for the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Barry White, the president and CEO of the Augusta CVB, said the postponement hurts vendors that planned on revenue this weekend, air show acts that booked trips to Augusta and restaurants near Daniel Field. But, holding the event in April should be a success for the city.

“Attendance and participation in the festival will be just as strong in April as it would be in October,” White said.

In 2012, the event brought in more than $40,000 in direct visitor spending to the city, and in was estimated to generate more than $171,000 this year. According to event organizers, this year’s show would have featured more vendor booths and additional aircrafts on display than ever.

“All performers said they would be more than excited to come back in the spring and give our community the show it was promised,” Shealy said.

Shealy said all advance tickets purchased will be refunded. For more information on refunds, contact Augusta Aviation at (706) 733-8970.


Story and Comments/Reaction:   http://chronicle.augusta.com

FAA: Wetumpka Municipal Airport (08A) not violating obligations to tenants

A long legal battle surrounding the Wetumpka Municipal Airport appears to have come to a close.

Tenants at the airport filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration in August 2012 in regard to grant assurances involved with the operation of the airport, owned by the city of Wetumpka. The FAA sent notice Thursday that the city was not in violation of any of its federal obligations.

“The city is very happy and pleased,” said Regina Edwards, Wetumpka’s city attorney. “Hopefully, this will put everything in motion, and we can have a positive outlook from here on out.”

The original complaint claimed the city engaged in “economic discrimination by failing to provide a rental structure which makes the airport self-sustaining” and that the city “took actions which operated to deprive it of its rights and powers.”

Dave Ramsey is an aircraft owner at the airport and also is secretary/treasurer of the Elmore County Aviation Alliance. As one of the tenants filing the complaint, Ramsey said Thursday he was disappointed in the outcome.

Before the ruling was issued, Ramsey and other tenants had been in negotiation talks with the city about new leases. Ramsey said offers already had been made to some tenants that were more favorable than ones that led to the complaints, which centered on issues such as lease terms and the inability to make additional improvements.

“We just want to protect our investments,” Ramsey said.

Both sides appear to be focused on moving forward.

“We look forward to working with tenants and meeting their needs,” Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis said.

Ramsey said he felt like it would “all get worked out.”

“It’s in nobody’s advantage not to,” he said.


Source:    http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com