Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting a buzz from United States plane

A low-flying American military aircraft spooked animals and excited plane spotters as it buzzed the Nelson region over the weekend, and two more flights are scheduled over the next two days.

Woodstock farmer Fay Baker said she saw a large khaki-colored aircraft following the course of the Motueka River about 10.30am yesterday.

She estimated that the plane was flying at 500 feet, and said she had heard reports that it passed low over the Stanley Brook area on Saturday morning and yesterday evening.

"It's scaring the snot out of all the farmers and their animals."

She said her animals were scared and were in danger of running into electric fences.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force's senior media and communications adviser, Squadron Leader Lyn Coromandel, said the flights were "tactical low-level training flights" by a United States C-17 Globemaster as part of Operation Southern Katipo.

Although the operation was based near Timaru, the flights over the Nelson region were part of a related operation called Kiwi Flag, he said, and were likely to have originated at RNZAF Base Ohakea in Manawatu.

The first flight was about 8pm on Saturday, and the second about 10.30am yesterday.

Mr Coromandel said the C-17 was flying at about 500 feet. The minimum allowable level for such flights was 300 feet.

He said that because that the aircraft was so large, it could appear to be lower than it was, and its turbofan engines were "very quiet".

The flights allowed the crews to practice navigation skills such as reaching a set destination at an exact time, to simulate combat situations such as delivering troops within a tight time frame, he said.

Pilots reported seeing the Globemaster making a low pass over Nelson on Saturday evening. They said it came in from the south, flew low over the airport and city, waggled its wings and flew off to the north.

On the Nelson Mail's Facebook page, readers reported a military aircraft flying "very low around Pakawau then out towards Anatori" from Thursday to Saturday, as well as over Rabbit Island.

Mr Coromandel described Operation Southern Katipo as the largest joint military exercise in New Zealand in more than 25 years. It involves 2200 people from nine other countries - Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tonga, Britain and the US.

He said the remaining two flights, today and tomorrow, were scheduled to be near Farewell Spit, weather permitting.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Directorate General of Civil Aviation orders probe into Jet Airways pilot violating Flight Duty Time Limit

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated a probe on the anonymous complaint against a Jet Airways pilot who reportedly violated Flight Duty Timing Limit (FDTL) while operating a Mumbai-London flight on three occasions.

The violations were allegedly committed by captain Balaraman, whose termination in 2008 had sparked off a strike by pilots in the airline.

DGCA chief Arun Mishra said, "A probe has been ordered and I cannot comment until it is complete."

Flight duty time is the total time commencing from the time of reporting at the airport for the purpose of operating a flight and ending with the termination of a flight or a series of flights.

In the complaint, it was alleged that the pilot operated the Mumbai-London long haul flight (on August 12, August 18 and September 11) in a severely fatigued state which jeopardized the safety of the aircraft and passengers.

The DGCA has sought details of the transport arrangement provided to the pilot for flying Mumbai-London flights on the three dates mentioned in the complaint.

The complaint revealed that the pilot lived in Chennai and flew to Mumbai in the evening to operate the late night Mumbai-London Boeing 777 flight, which is a gross violation of FDTL as per international regulations. Ideally, pilots on international flights must have 14 hours of rest.

In an email response, a Jet Airways spokesperson said the airline was in touch with DGCA and would not like to comment.

The complaint also said the airline allowed Balaraman to travel as ACM (additional crew member) on domestic flights to reach Mumbai.

The complaint said it was shocking that the airline did not do anything to rein in the pilot violating the rules of DGCA.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Termonfeckin plane crash report turns out to be false alarm: Coastguard helicopter and Lifeboat search called off after two hours

Clogherhead Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard helicopter and boats spent two hours searching the sea off Termonfeckin and the mouth of the Boyne yesterday after a member of the public reported seeing a light aircraft ditching into the sea.

A spokesman at the Irish Coastguard Service’s Dublin Rescue Centre said there had been a couple of light aircraft in the area flying at low altitude during the afternoon but none had been in radio contact with them and none had been reported missing by any of the local airfields or flying clubs.

The 999 call from the member of the public was received at approximately 3.15 pm and both the Coast guard and Clogherhead Lifeboat rushed to the scene where they searched until approximately 5.30 pm when the search was called off with nothing being spotted in the water or on the shore.


Diamond DA42: Unmanned aerial vehicle industry taking off in Alaska

 The venerable Piper Super Cub isn’t being squeezed out, but the face of aviation in Alaska is changing.

Once strictly a military tool, unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are now being used in civilian government work and the private sector.

Fairweather LLC announced the formation of research subsidiary Tulugaq LLC Sept. 30. A joint venture between the resource industry support company and regional Native corporations Olgoonik Corp. and Kaktovik Inupiat Corp., Tulugaq’s work centers on its 21st Century aircraft, the Diamond Aircraft DA42. The word Tulugaq is Inupiaq for raven. Fairweather was founded in 1976 by Sherron Perry with an initial focus on providing aviation weather observation services to remote regions, and has since expanded into a wide array of industry support activities.

“We make science happen,” Tulugaq Operations Manager Steve Wackowski said. “My boss, Sherron Perry, saw a niche for airborne remote sensing so we’re approaching it in two ways: manned and unmanned remote sensing. Part of our DA42 is the manned portion of that, but the kicker on the DA42 is it’s optionally unmanned.”

By replacing the pilot seat in the DA42 with a remote control conversion kit, the $1.2 million aircraft becomes a UAV with a 44-foot wingspan.

The dual-flight option is the reason Tulugaq bought the DA42, Wackowski said. And when the time comes, it will be taken advantage of, he said.

Manned or not, the Tulugaq has about $400,000 worth of sensing equipment and cameras that can be swapped in and out of receivers on the nose and belly of the DA42.

All of the equipment is operated with a Microsoft Xbox video game controller. Wackowski said it was developed with the Xbox controller so the controls would be as recognizable to operators as possible.

Because the sensors are designed to fit into receivers built into the plane, Tulugaq does not need to get a certificate of airworthiness every time it changes them, he added.

“The analogy I use, is, the plane’s kind of like an iPhone; you can build an app for that,” Wackowski said.

Until recently the Federal Aviation Administration had banned commercial operation of UAVs in the United States. On Sept. 24, ConocoPhillips announced it had completed the country’s first commercial UAV (also known as an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS) flight off of Northwest Alaska in the Chuckchi Sea. The roughly 40-pound ScanEagle UAV was launched from Fairweather’s Westward Wind research vessel during a week of flights, according to a ConocoPhillips release.

“Airborne surveillance is often a component of offshore projects. The UAS could be useful in monitoring and data collection efforts, with the benefit of improved safety and lower noise levels as compared to using manned aircraft,” ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen said in a formal statement.

To operate a UAV, a certificate of authorization, known in the industry as a COA, must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. It is essentially a flight plan for unmanned aircraft. It designates where, when and at what altitude a UAV can be flown.

ConocoPhillips can claim the first commercial UAV flight, but Alaska has also already seen unmanned craft used for noncommercial purposes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Alaska Fisheries Science Center staff flew UAVs on Steller sea lion surveys in the Aleutian Islands in the spring of 2012 in conjunction with University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers at the UAF’s Geophysical Institute, which has become a leading research center for unmanned aircraft development.

By hovering a small, quad-copter UAV above the sea lions’ brooding grounds the researchers took infrared photos of the animals — listed as an endangered population — and were able to count them from an offshore vessel without disturbing the sea lions or putting pilots and biologists in risky low-level flying situations.

Unmanned craft will allow for monitoring shifting sea ice, marine mammals and birds as more companies from transportation to resource development enter the Arctic.

While it will likely be another couple years before widespread commercial use of UAVs is approved, particularly for large aircraft like the DA42, it’s “dull, dirty and dangerous” missions similar to the sea lion counts that they are made for, Wackowski said.

“Most clients won’t let you put a manned crew (in the Arctic) when you’re talking about going more than 20 to 30 miles offshore,” he said.

Prior to his work with Fairweather and its subsidiary, Wackowski had experience as an unmanned aircraft pilot in the Alaska Air Force Reserve. He holds the record for the northernmost UAV flight at 88.5 degrees North for flying a hand-launched AeroVironment Raven RQ-11 off of a Canadian icebreaker in the summer of 2011.

He was flying so close to the North Pole that the Raven’s compass was disrupted, Wackowski said.

“Things operate differently up in the high Arctic,” he said.

While setting the record, Wackowski was able to find leads, or cracks, in the sea ice ahead of the ship with an infrared camera on the Raven, which ship pilots prefer to follow when traveling through an icepack, he said. He also searched for polar bears while a team off the ship installed a buoy under the ice.

While he didn’t find any bears, he said the mission is an example of a simple task a UAV can perform to make Arctic work easier.

The FAA is in the midst of developing operational guidelines for UAVs and was directed by Congress to have them complete by 2015. As part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, the agency was tasked with choosing six UAV test sites across the country.

UAF Geophysical Institute Director Greg Walker is pushing for Alaska to be one of the test sites and has said that given the state’s areas of open airspace and potential for future UAV use, it is more a matter of whether Alaska is chosen first, rather than at all. The FAA is expected to choose the test sites by the end of the year.

A test site would consist of airspace and a landing strip designated for UAV research.

“We fully support the University of Alaska’s efforts to get the UAV test bed up here,” Wackowski said. “It would be huge — a boom for industry and Alaska.”

Aviation industry experts have forecast UAVs will quickly become a $30 billion-plus business in the U.S. once the FAA clarifies its airspace and communication regulations for the aircraft subset.

Anchorage-based Peak 3 Inc. is in the business of prepping other companies for the FAA standards rollout. Peak 3 President and CEO Jen Haney said her company has worked in Alaska and the Lower 48 consulting with businesses and government agencies on how UAVs can benefit their operations and how to be ready to fly when the FAA says, “cleared for takeoff.”

Part of the UAF team pushing for an Alaska test site, Haney said the culture of UAV operators needs to be similar to that of traditional aviation for safety reasons.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable for (UAV) pilots to be required to have their pilot’s license,” she said.

The FAA is the “biggest roadblock” to expanding the unmanned industry, Haney said, but the slow careful nature of the agency is necessary to safely integrate a whole new realm of aircraft into the skies.

Story, Photo and Comments/Reaction:

Emergency crews fail to find any evidence of light plane which crashed into a shed - Mt Tamborine, south of Brisbane - Australia

Nine news photo at the scene of the shed fire. 
Source: Supplied 

"No light plane has been found at the scene," a Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said.   "But firefighters are dealing with a number of accelerants in the shed, including gas, fuel and acetylene cylinders." 

Emergency crews have failed to find any evidence of a light plane inside a well-alight shed at Tamborine this morning despite initial reports of a plane crash. 

At 11.20am: Primary inspection by fire crews finds no evidence of a light plane inside the shed.

11am: Fire crews are battling to rescue a pilot reportedly trapped in a burning shed after reports a light plane plowed into the structure at Tamborine this morning.

A Department of Community Services spokeswoman said initial reports were the light plane crashed into a shed just off Waterford Tamborine Road at about 10.30am.

The shed, which contains fuel tanks and live ammunition, is well alight and creating a hazard for the mulitiple fire crews battling the blaze.

Fire crews are `in defensive mode' but firefighters have not been able to confirm if a light plane is definitely inside.

No may day call was made before the crash.

No word yet on the welfare of the pilot but crews are unable to get inside the shed.

More to come. 

Richard Moore: A life of flight, awards and meeting famous folks

Susan Elzey/Register & Bee
  Richard Moore, a retired aviation mechanic, looks over the memorabilia he has collected over more than 65 years of work in the aviation field. He has put together what he calls an "aviation museum" in his garage.

Richard Moore’s garage has been turned into somewhat of an aviation museum to hold memorabilia from his years as an aviation mechanic.

Some people’s garages hold junk, some hold tools, and some even have room for cars. Richard Moore’s garage, however, has been turned into somewhat of an aviation museum to hold memorabilia from his years as an aviation mechanic.

Moore, 82, and his wife, Alice, moved to Danville 17 years ago to be near family and get out of the traffic of the Hampton Roads area. Before that Moore served first in the military and then in the Civil Service as an aircraft mechanic and inspector.

“I was authorized to work on the aircraft and authorized to sign off to let you fly,” Moore said.

He was so good at it that he was awarded the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, named in honor of the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. Taylor was the mechanic for the Wright brothers and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.

“You have to have worked for 50 years without any infractions on your record and you’re nominated by your peers,” Moore explained.

Meeting dignitaries

From 1966 to 1988 Moore worked at Langley Air Force Base with the Civil Service. He was in the Air Force for eight years before that.

As an aircraft mechanic at Langley he parked and positioned the planes of visiting dignitaries, many times having the honor of meeting and escorting the dignitaries as they disembarked the airplane.

“I got to meet Presidents Reagan, Johnson and Ford and I served in the honor guard for Eisenhower. I also met the Kennedy family — Ted, Robert, Jackie and Mama Rose when they launched the Kennedy aircraft carrier,” Moore remembered.

He also met Jimmy Stewart, Chuck Yeager and Chappy James, the first black American to reach the rank of four-star general in 1975 .

He also escorted French President Francois Mitterand off his plane.

His co-workers teased him that he wouldn’t be able to get Mitterand’s autograph, but he did.

“I told him I wanted it for my son who was studying French,” he said.

Moore and his wife have one son, Russell, who is a church organist and choir director in McLean and preaches in French.

Getting started

The first plane Moore ever worked on was a J-3 Cub in the Lawrenceville airport.

“I had a friend who worked there, and I’d hang out and get my hands greasy,” he remembered. “When I graduated from high school I joined the Air Force. I wanted to be an auto mechanic, but they needed aircraft mechanics. ‘That’s what you’ll be, boy,’ they said. ‘You’re going to Amarillo.’”

Moore said people have been real nice to him along the way, except for maybe a few.

“I started working for the Aero Club at Langley where they teach dependents to fly. I started with three airplanes and built it up to 17,” he said. “I started under a light pole, then a shed and then they built me a nice hangar.

“Someone made me a nice nameplate that said ‘Richard T. Moore Hangar.’ After three or four managers, a smart one said you have to be dead to have a hangar named after you and took the nameplate down, put it in his car and brought it to me.”

That nameplate now hangs over his memorabilia in his garage.

When Moore first moved back to the Danville area he freelanced as an airplane mechanic. That led to an interest in racing after he worked on the planes of race car drivers, such as Ward Burton at the Roxboro, N.C., airport. Now his garage museum also includes a corner for racing memorabilia.

Praying for a miracle

These days, however, it’s getting harder for Moore to do any work on airplanes because he has developed macular degeneration and his eyesight is failing.

“But we’re praying for a miracle,” his wife said. “I think daily he’s seeing better. We’re asking for it. It’s just sad; he’s worked all his life on airplanes — for 65 years.”

He was still working at the Danville Airport until his eyesight began to fail.

“They didn’t want anyone who was blind,” he said with a good-hearted chuckle.

He still can putter around in his museum, though, even if some days he has to squint a little bit to find what he wants.

“The museum is an ongoing process,” he said.

Story and Photos:

Five-hour mission: Hunter rescued from Iroquois Refuge swamp - New York

Rescue team searches for lost hunter in the wildlife refuge
 (Photo: Alecia Kauss) 

Members of the cold water rescue unit from Niagara County
(Photo: Alecia Kauss)

Earlier:  Hunter needs to be rescued from Iroquois wildlife refuge swamp - The Batavian

A hunter is reportedly in the middle of the swamp in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. He called dispatch on his mobile phone seeking help and they used GPS to track his position. "He's obviously cold," and not injured, but possibly has hypothermia. The man, whose vehicle has out-of-state license plates, shot a deer and tracked it well into the swamp. He has fallen down in the swamp several times and is now chest-deep in icy water. Rescuers are staging at 968 Casey Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding, along with reps from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service. Mercy Flight is on ground standby.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: The State Police helicopter is available if needed.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: The hunter has been tracked to "smack dab in the middle" of two large bodies of water between Casey and Feeder roads. An ATV is at the rescuers' disposal, too.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: "I have a group of guys going in there on foot," says the Alabama fire chief. A crew from Lyndonville is requested to fill in at Alabama Station #2.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: Command says "Do you still have phone contact with him? Ask him to fire off one round into the air so we've got a bearing." The dispatcher replies "I'll see if he's got a whistle. ... The firearm is frozen to the point that he can't even unload it."

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: Command says "He tells dispatch he can hear something, so maybe you guys are close." They want dispatch to ask the victim "to ping his cell" -- and/or a crew member's 9-1-1 call -- so they can see if indeed they are getting close. The crew on foot has spotted fresh boot prints on the ground. The original ATV is out of commission but two more are headed to the scene. Alexander Fire Department is assembling in its hall for possible deployment of its Gator.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: The State Police Helicopter has been deployed and rescuers "have a visual on it." It is hovering just west of command. The foot crew of four firefighters is northward, in the woods west of the area between two ponds where they can now see the victim. Also, a family member of the victim is on scene.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: "We are about 80 yards away from him, we are working our way across the swamp toward him," says a member of the foot crew. Another responder asks "Is he conscious?" The reply is that he is upright. The State Police helicopter pilot says heavy lake effect show is moving in from the Northwest and he won't be able to stay in place for much longer. The visibility is very low and, besides, he could see no place to land. He provides rescuers with the exact geographic coordinates of the victim's position. A crew member reports there is solid ice around there, and they are slogging through three feet of water, and the Gator probably can't get back there. So the hovercraft from Clarence Center is called for and stand-by crews from Clarenden and Shelby.

UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: Foot crew members are going to be sent back. The State Police helicopter has gone back to the hangar. Command says they have both the pilot's coordinates and compass coordinates, but it's difficult to discern where access paths may be. A crew member said they have so far gone 300 yards in knee-deep water and doubt that ATVs could be useful in that terrain. They await the hovercraft from Clarence Center.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: "Command, he's 100 yards in front of us. He's in four feet of water."

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: It's sounding as though the foot crew members may be in jeopardy. "We're depending on the hovercraft at this point." The ATVs won't be useful. The crew members are in three feet of water and the path, and others, are not clearly discernable. They want to see if they can get the State Police helicopter back to try and better pinpoint their location at this time for rescuers to be able to find the foot crew. But command says the weather, which prompted the helicopter to leave, is likely to prevent it from responding to the scene a second time.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: The helicopter, with zero visibility, cannot fly. A foot crew member says "We're east of (the victim). We're trying to find higher ground. We're surrounded by water." A person says to look for a path to the east and the crew member responds "We followed the path to the east all the way here," and it apparently can no longer be clearly seen. The hovercraft and the Clarence Center crew are at the ready, preparing to enter the swamp. A rescuer says the victim "is trying to work his way to us," and they are going to set up a rehab area in the vicinity.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: "We're on an island in the middle of water," says a foot crew member. It is announced that a patch of landing space to the west may be a possibility if Mercy Flight is needed and is able to fly. It remains on standby.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.: Command tells the now-stranded foot crew that the hovercraft crew of four, fully suited, is going to trek in and try to retrace the tracks and locate an access point for the hovercraft.

UPDATE 4:02 p.m.: The lost hunter and members of the foot crew have met up. The hunter "has cold hands" but otherwise seems OK. They are going to remain stationary and try to stay warm. Someone has hot packs now on his feet. One of the men is going to the edge of "the island" to try and get a visual on the rescuers looking for them.

UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: Dispatch says the Forest Service is on the way, with an ETA of two hours. A responder says "Could you repeat that? The hovercraft just went zipping by."

UPDATE 4:09 p.m.: "The hovercraft is in the middle of the pond headed your way."

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: There is some confusion. The hovercraft is said to be in the wrong pond. But someone says that its location is in sync with the coordinates provided.

UPDATE 4:16 p.m.: They have definately found a path to the stranded men. They just need "to make a plan" to get the hovercraft to them.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: "We're having some issues with the hovercraft. Is it possible to walk out?" "No, that's not possible. We walked through waist-deep water to get here." Several hunters are seen walking in the area, and someone asks if perhaps their location may provide an access point.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: It is determined that the Clarence Center hovercraft will not be able to do the job. "But we'll need a hovercraft of some kind." "Can a boat get in there?" "There's a land mass between two bodies of water."

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: Dispatchers are contacting Erie County and the State Police, again, for aerial aid.

UPDATE 4:36 p.m.: Meanwhile, they are going to try to re-deploy the hovercraft from Clarence Center and the men are asked to listen for it. All they can do is try to stay warm and wait.

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: The hovercraft is not going to work. "We're going to have to go with another plan." A total of five men, including the victim, need to be rescued and they are in two separate locations.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m. Concern at the scene grows as it is nearly dark and the weather is expected to get colder. A plan involving a helicopter is under way.

UPDATE 5:06 p.m.: "We're are going to send in a team for you two and then airlift the other three," command tells a stranded firefighter. "We'll sit tight," is the reply.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: A helicopter from Erie County is on the way with a 10-minute ETA.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: A water rescue team is going to attempt to extricate the pair of men in one of the locations. The helicopter and its crew will try to get the others. The pilot asks what the condition is at the scene. There's "a few flakes in the air," but otherwise it looks good.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: All available manpower from Alabama Fire Department is requested to the scene's command post at Lewiston and Casey roads.

UPDATE 5:27 p.m.: "Make sure a landing zone is clearly marked in case they have to land quickly."

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: "We're hovering above but there are so many lights shining, we can't see where the victims are," says the pilot. The responders on the ground are told to shut off all lights except in the two locations were the stranded parties are.

UPDATE 5:34 p.m.: The Erie County helicopter is hovering over the ice and "will lower the basket down for the victim." A firefighter who is with the victim has a dead radio and it's not known whether they can contact him via mobile phone to let him know about the basket drop.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: Dispatch is in phone contact with the firefighter who is with the victim and will remain in contact with him until the victim has been extricated.

UPDATE 5:44 p.m.: Dispatch is communicating now with the State Police helicopter pilot who is apparently going to be able to return to the incident. The pilot asks about the location and is told "same spot as before but now the rescuers need rescuing." Meanwhile, the other helicopter pilot is asked whether the victim's firearm can be put aboard the helicopter with him or "will it have to be walked out?" The answer is pending.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: One issue has been getting wetsuits (for protecting from hypothermia) for at least two individuals needing rescue, as well as those who will be trying to get the wetsuits to them.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: The men who were to be led out by the water rescue team are now being told they will be air-lifted out. The process in either of the victims' locations is done one person at a time, thus multiple trips by the helicopter(s).

UPDATE 6:47 p.m.: "OK we're coming out. Everyone's accounted for."

UPDATE 6:59 p.m.: "Alabama command -- all the men and equipment are accounted for. We're out."

UPDATE 7:43 p.m.: All responders are back in service. The Alabama assignment is concluded.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

GENESEE COUNTY – Emergency personnel from four counties ended up responding to a 911 call from a hunter who became trapped in waist-deep water while roaming the backwoods of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Sunday afternoon. 
Rescuers were able to free him at about 6 p.m. after he had spent several hours in the water. He was taken to a staging area by helicopter where he was treated for symptoms of hypothermia.

The command center for the operation was set up near the intersection of Lewiston and Casey roads in the Genesee County community of Basom.

Crews from Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties joined rescue personnel from Genesee County in the rescue effort, which included a cold water rescue unit from Wolcottsville and even a hovercraft from Clarence. Three firemen and the hunter had to be ferried out of the woods by helicopter as darkness fell over the wilderness area.

More information on this story on and on Channel 2 News Tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.

ALABAMA — A long, harrowing search and rescue for a hunter trapped in Iroquois Wildlife Refuge swamp ended successfully as the man along with a team of rescuers were airlifted out of the swamp Sunday night. 

The nearly five-hour mission was hampered by wind, snow and cold, along with rough terrain, with rescuers wading hip-deep in ice water to reach the stranded hunter.    

Searchers used cell phone and GPS technology, aircraft and hovercraft and dozens of volunteers on foot to find the hunter.

The search began after the hunter called Genesee County emergency dispatchers from his cell phone about 2:30 p.m. The hunter told dispatchers he had shot a deer and tracked it into the swamp, where he fell through ice and became trapped.

Alabama Fire Department, Genesee County sheriff’s deputies and state police arrived and set up a staging area on Casey Road near refuge headquarters.

The man was trapped between Casey and Feeder roads.

As the first crews set off on foot, a state police helicopter was called in, as was a Gator from Alexander Fire Department and a hovercraft from Clarence Center. The helicopter was unable to assist at that time because of a snow squall.

Firefighters were able to see the man about an hour after rescue efforts began and at 4 p.m. made their first contact with him.

The rescuers, however, opted to wait with the man and not attempt to bring him out of the swamp, leading to the second rescue that took three hours.

The initial team of rescuers had a tough go, wading three hip-deep water and breaking through ice.

That’s one reason why the team of four decided to stay with the hunter and await further word on how they would get out of the swamp.

An hour later, they were told a hovercraft from Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Company was unable to make it through the rough terrain.

Instead, another team of rescuers hiked in, loaded with supplies as darkness set in.

Helicopters from Erie County Sheriff’s Department and state police arrived and began airlift operations.

It took about 45 minutes to bring all the men back to the command center.

All were treated at the scene and no one was transported to a hospital, including the hunter, dispatchers said.


Cessna Citation X, XOJET: Sioux Gateway Airport (KSUX), Sioux City, Iowa

SIOUX CITY | A private airplane made a safe emergency landing at Sioux Gateway Airport about 2 p.m. Sunday, airport Operations Supervisor John Backer said.

The Cessna Citation X, which was traveling from Oakland, Calif., to White Plains, N.Y., had to make the emergency stop because the hydraulic system that controls its brakes and landing gear was experiencing low pressure, Backer said.

The small jet is owned by XOJet, a private aviation company based in Brisbane, Calif.

"He had minimal brakes," Backer said. "He could not deploy the thrust reverser, so he had to use his foot brakes."

The two crew members and one passenger were not injured, and the plane was not damaged during the landing, Backer said. However, one pilot got hydraulic fluid blown into his face while  inspecting the plane after the landing and was sent to Mercy Medical Center as a precautionary measure, Backer said.

The Sergeant Bluff Fire Department was on standby as the plane approached the airport.

After the plane landed, airport personnel were working to get it off the runway, but it will remain at the airport until at least tomorrow so mechanics can fix the hydraulic issue, Backer said.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Airport board member will push for second destination for Sioux City air travelers: Sioux Gateway Airport (KSUX), Iowa

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -  American Airlines has served Sioux Gateway Airport for the last 19-months. And, the airline says it wants to keep operating daily flights, to Chicago, from Sioux City.

Spokesman Matt Miller told KTIV, "American will submit a proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation to continue to provide Essential Air Service in Sioux City." Miller says the airline is "pleased" with its service at Sioux Gateway Airport, and the support it has received from the entire Sioux City community.

Airport board members are thrilled with the news, but they don't simply want to maintain the "status quo."

Nearly two years ago, the Department of Transportation picked American Airlines, over Delta Airlines, to get the Essential Air Service subsidy to serve Sioux Gateway Airport. The two-year agreement will expire this spring, and the DOT has already asked airlines to bid, again, for the right to serve Sioux City. Dave Bernstein, Airport Board Member said, "It will guarantee us that the DOT would incentivise someone to serve this market."

Airport Board Member Dave Bernstein says he's not concerned about losing service, just how much it will cost the federal government to make sure Sioux City has service from American, or another airline. "Our hope is that, when they come in with a subsidy request, and if there's other bidders as well, that the subsidy amount is much lower than it was in the past," Bernstein said.

Sioux City's participation in the Essential Air Service program, which pays airlines to serve smaller markets, wasn't Bernstein's choice, or the city's. "In the end, Delta made that decision two-years ago to put this in play," said Bernstein. Before that, Sioux City wasn't part of the EAS program. "We do feel the market can stand on its own, but with the EAS program out there, that can incentivise someone to come and serve the market," said Bernstein.

That won't stop the airport board from pushing for service to a second hub.

"We do need something that goes south, or west." But, Bernstein admits those conversations will likely come after the next EAS agreement is worked out.

The EAS bids are due to federal transportation officials by December 2nd. Bernstein says the DOT may ask for recommendations from the airport board, and city council, before a final decision is made.

Story, Video and Comments/Reaction:

Foreign pilots are flouting UK drink rules, court hears

Foreign pilots are putting thousands of lives at risk by flying drunk from UK airports, it was claimed yesterday.

The shock revelation came as Pakistan International Airlines Captain Irfan Faiz was jailed for nine months for attempting to fly an Airbus 310 while more than three times over the Civil Aviation Authority limit.

The 55-year-old was seen stag­gering towards his cockpit as he prepared to take off from Leeds Bradford Inter­national Airport with 156 passengers bound for Islamabad.

Faiz’s former colleague Captain Shahid Hussain revealed in court that Pakistani rules allow pilots to drink “as much as they want so long as they leave a 12-hour gap between bottle and throttle”.

And Paul Greaney QC, defending, said Faiz, a father-of-two, “had no idea that he had failed to comply with the law of this country”.

The court heard Captain Fiaz, who had been with the airline for 25 years, claimed he had finished drinking a 750ml bottle of whisky at 3am on September 18. He was arrested in the cockpit at 9.15pm that day as he conducted pre-flight checks.

When Faiz was breathalyzed he was found to have 41microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The CAA limit is nine micrograms, while the drink-drive limit is 35.

He pleaded guilty to preparing to fly while impaired by drink.

Jailing Faiz at Leeds Crown Court Mr Justice Coulson said: “I find it extraordinary that a rule connected to pilots’ drinking can encompass any amount of alcohol consumption provided there is an amount of time to flying.”

The judge said he recognized Faiz had broken British law “inadvertently” but added: “I have to send a message that airline pilots in drink when about to fly will go to prison.”

A spokesman for the CAA said: “A pilot attempting to fly while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs is a major threat to flight safety.”

Pakistan International Airlines flies from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham and Heathrow.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Mile-high madness disrupts flights

Airline passengers applying nail polish remover and using hairspray in aircraft toilets have disrupted flights in recent months, aviation safety reports show.

And flight crews confiscated a toy cap gun and a lighter in the shape of a weapon from passenger bags brought on-board.

Dozens of incidents each week are logged on the Australian Transport Safety Bureau aviation safety database, with the single most common occurrence being a bird or animal strike.

Galahs, hawks, flying foxes, magpie larks, ducks, owls, bandicoots, wallabies and echidnas have met with grief after being sucked into engines or being hit by aircraft on runways, according to a Herald Sun analysis of reports during the past six months.

On July 20, a Piper aircraft taking off from Moorabbin was struck by a flock of seagulls and had to return to the airport.

More than 1300 wildlife incidents were reported to the ATSB in 2012, mainly involving birdstrikes, which have doubled over the past decade due to the big increase in aircraft movements.

Plovers, bats, galahs, kites, kestrels, hawks, swallows, flying foxes and magpies were the most common victims identified.

There were 15 animal strikes reported last year, with rabbits, hares, foxes and kangaroos the most common species, says a separate ATSB report.

"In recent years, the ATSB, airport and airline operators have worked together to improve reporting processes for confirmed and suspected birdstrikes," it said.

The safety database shows that several crew members were injured due to turbulence and some pilots were affected by lasers pointed at cockpits over the last six months.

Passengers using or having leaking nail polish remover caused fumes in aircraft cabins while a passenger using hairspray in a toilet set the smoke alarm off during a descent to Sydney in May.

On July 20, the crew of a Boeing 737 jet confiscated a toy cap gun found in a child's carry on bag.

Dangerous goods checked in but not declared included a chainsaw containing fuel, liquid nitrogen and lithium batteries.

In 2012, there were 107 accidents, 195 serious incidents and over 7300 incidents reported to the ATSB.

Commercial transport aircraft were involved in the majority of incidents, the most common being animal strikes, noncompliance with published information or air traffic control instructions, and aircraft system and airframe issues.


Company leaders express necessity of Warren County airport for clients, to conduct business: Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (KGFL), Queensbury, New York

Tom Cahill Sr. parks his Cessna 310 in a hangar at the Warren County Airport in Queensbury on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Cahill, owner of Melvina Can Machinery, had just returned from a multiple-leg trip to visit customers, most recently in Long Island. Cahill says his business relies on the airport. 
Derek Pruitt,  PostStar

QUEENSBURY — If it weren’t for Warren County airport, Tom Cahill’s nearby business would be somewhere else.

Cahill, whose Cessna 310 is based at the airport, frequently uses his plane to visit clients of his manufacturing business, Melvina Can Machinery, who are scattered throughout the Northeast and beyond.

“If it wasn’t here, I would flat out leave,” Cahill said of the airport. “It’s a tool I’ve always used in my business.”

From Cahill’s small manufacturing operation to some of the region’s largest employers, in single-engine Cessnas and small jets, local companies are using the county-owned airport to conduct business.

But a proposed runway expansion remains controversial in Warren County, with opponents questioning whether the benefits to taxpayers outweigh the cost. Cahill and other airport users take issue with arguments that the airport benefits only a small, wealthy segment of the population.

The airport is an amenity local economic development groups point to when they market the region, and it was one of the reasons Hacker Boat Co. is relocating from Ticonderoga to Queensbury Business Park, just south of the airport, company officials said.

“One of the first questions we have is, ‘Where is the nearest airport?’” said Ken Rawley, Hacker’s director of sales and marketing.

Hacker officials hope to break ground on their new Queensbury plant during the first quarter of 2014.

“It was a factor for us,” Hacker CEO George Badcock said of the airport. “Probably 70 percent come that way, and with larger boats, custom boat-building and now with building for yacht vendors, we do see that increasing.”

Over the next several years, as Hacker expands its product lines and puts additional focus on overseas markets, production of the luxury boats will increase and the company’s employment is expected to nearly double, from 45 to 80 employees.

“That’s a perfect, concrete example of what the benefits are of having that airport,” said Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Harold “Bud” Taylor, who also chairs the Warren-Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency board.

Come fly to us

The airport property is flanked by the Warren-Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency’s Airport Industrial Park, and the Queensbury Business Park, where Hacker will go.

When Warren County Economic Development Corp. markets the county as a place to locate businesses, features like proximity to the airport and the Northway are played up. Ed Bartholomew, who took over earlier this year as president of the EDC, sees the airport as integral to a strategy of promoting the area to businesses.

“I strongly believe the airport is an economic plus for the area,” he said. “It’s serving existing businesses and industries and it’s an attraction tool.”

EDC is the developer of the Queensbury Business Park. In the corporation’s brochure promoting the business park, proximity to the airport is played up, along with the park’s infrastructure and Empire Zone benefits.

Business owners consider numerous factors when deciding where to locate their operations, and a nearby airport is one of the variables that can tip the scales.

Business leaders of companies already here use the airport to fly to corporate headquarters located elsewhere, fly clients in and ship materials. International Paper, Finch Paper, Irving Tissue, General Electric, Nibco, Aetna Insurance and Travelers have been among the airport’s regular users, officials said.

Target representatives fly into the airport occasionally; visiting elected officials fly in; and during the summer months, Sagamore Resort guests and Saratoga Race Course visitors use the airport.

“I knew about tourism, but I was surprised what industry was lending to it,” said Dan Girard, chairman of the Warren County Facilities Committee, which oversees airport operations.

For some smaller business owners like Cahill and Queensbury-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rich Saunders, the ability to fly to work means the ability to expand their businesses and cut back on the hours they’d otherwise spend driving.

Cahill’s company builds new can machinery and rebuilds used machinery. The machines can cost more than $100,000 — so meeting clients in person, taking them out to lunch and earning their trust can make or break a sale. For years, Cahill had another plant on Long Island, and he’d fly between here and there before moving the company to Queensbury full-time five years ago, he said.

“That’s been my Volkswagen Beetle going back and forth for years,” Cahill said. “I use that as my commuting tool.”

Sometimes he goes on a “tour,” visiting 10 customers that are within 200 miles of one another in one trip. A single-stop trip that would be 14 hours in a car becomes three hours when he travels by air. He may fly out to pick customers up and bring them back to his plant to see a machine, or fly somewhere to look at a used machine, he said.

Dr. Saunders co-owns a medical practice with five primary treatment offices split among Warren, Washington and Essex counties. But when he started an independent medical examination company as well, offices popped up in Utica, Plattsburgh and Newburgh. He has been flying six to eight days a month to one of those locations, booking an entire day of clients when he’s there.

Saunders began flying five years ago, obtaining a pilot’s license primarily as a way to get to work. The Newburgh office is completely aviation-dependent — Saunders wouldn’t have opened it if he didn’t fly, he said.

“It’s much easier for me to fly myself,” he said. “It’s superb for the type of aviation I do.”

The public can’t fly

The runway expansion at Warren County airport has been a hot-button issue, and played a defining role in this year’s election. Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott, who founded the group Upstate New York Taxpayers Advocates, leads the opposition to the expansion and questions how beneficial it would be, when weighed against its cost.

A 2010 state Department of Transportation report indicates the annual economic impact of the local airport at about $8.4 million, a finding opponents have also questioned.

The county qualified for $8 million in Federal Aviation Administration funds, with a $400,000 county match, for the 1,000-foot expansion of the main runway. Supporters argue it’s a good investment, especially with most of the money coming from the federal government. But opponents say it’s all taxpayer money, and the airport at its current size could be run at a lower cost than a larger one.

Earlier this year, the Warren County Board of Supervisors voted to create an airport advisory committee, which is charged with finding ways to better market the airport. Bartholomew sees that as “a positive,” and said EDC will be part of it.

Warren County airport has about 50 aircraft based there currently, a number soon expected to grow to meet demand. The planes are predominately single- and twin-engine aircraft and turboprops, with a few jets, Airport Manager Ross Dubarry said.

One line of new hangars has been constructed, and as of Friday, airport officials were waiting only for the power to be turned on. Another line of hangars is coming, because the airport’s fixed-base operator, Rich Air, has a waiting list of aircraft owners who want space, Dubarry said.

Officials said earlier this year that Rich Air, headed by local developer Richard Schermerhorn, spent more than $1 million on renovations at the airport, including construction of the new hangar building.

Flights from the airport are used to get to business meetings, for shipping cargo, for pleasure and recreation and for police and medical purposes. Generally, the base aircraft are used for business or recreation or a combination of the two, Dubarry said.

But the 72-year-old local airport hasn’t been used for commercial service in years. When airlines were deregulated in the 1970s, it essentially gave airlines the ability to determine which markets to serve.

The Essential Air Service program was then put in place by the federal government, subsidizing some commercial flights to larger hubs to ensure smaller communities were still being served. Warren County was transitioning between carriers at the time the program was put into place, and got left out, Dubarry said.

The Northway was completed at about the same time.

Expansions at other county-owned airports in upstate New York within the past decade resulted in commercial service being offered from them to air travel hubs.

The Jefferson County-owned and operated Watertown International Airport in recent years underwent runway and passenger terminal expansions, and American Eagle Airlines last year began direct service from Watertown to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where travelers can catch flights to destinations worldwide. That corner of the North Country has seen a development boom from Fort Drum.

Both Watertown and Plattsburgh International Airport are close to the northern border, and Canadian travelers are part of those markets. Allegiant Air operates flights from Plattsburgh International Airport to Las Vegas and several locations in Florida. There is also direct service from Plattsburgh to Myrtle Beach and Boston.

The demand for commercial service is driven by local demographics, and without the guarantee of a federal subsidy, it seems unlikely air carriers would be willing to compete with Albany International Airport by flying out of Warren County, Dubarry said.

“But you never know what the future holds,” he said.

Story, Photo Gallery and Comments/Reaction:

Boeing Cites Flaw in GE-Powered Dreamliners, 747s: Operators Warned to Avoid High-Altitude Thunderstorms

The Wall Street Journal

By Andy Pasztor and Jon Ostrower

Nov. 23, 2013 7:48 p.m. ET

Boeing Co. has urged operators of 787 Dreamliners and the newest 747 models that are powered by General Electric Co. engines to take special precautions to avoid high-altitude thunderstorms that can cause engine malfunctions.

The recommendation, which affects 17 passenger and cargo carriers flying planes equipped with the GEnx family of engines, ratchets up industry efforts to prevent dangerous engine icing that can lead to sudden loss of thrust, internal damage and in extreme cases, even a brief in-flight shutdown.

Boeing's action prompted Japan Airlines Co. to replace 787 Dreamliners on routes linking Tokyo with New Delhi and Singapore, as well as to drop plans for using 787s between Tokyo and Sydney.

There have been six icing-related incidents with such engines since April, most recently in early November, affecting five 747s and one 787. GE has said all of the aircraft that experienced engine issues landed safely at their destinations, and in every case the engines resumed normal thrust.

Nevertheless, the actions by Boeing and Japan Airlines, a major 787 customer, underscore escalating industry concern over the issue.

GE previously advised airlines about the problem and told them work was under way to come up with a solution. Software fixes are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2014.

Before that, U.S. and foreign regulators are expected to mandate Boeing's nonbinding safety recommendation and require airlines to install the revised engine-control software, according to industry officials. The Federal Aviation Administration has to test and approve the changes before they can be rolled out.

A Boeing spokesman said "changes will be introduced into the fleet as soon as they are available."

Japan Airlines said in a statement that Boeing had instructed the airline to not fly within 50 miles of specific types of weather. Such a restriction is likely to increase the amount of fuel consumed by the flight, undermining the jet's touted fuel-efficiency.

Japan Airlines said its 787s would continue on other routes where they are less likely to encounter the type of high-altitude storms that can cause tiny ice crystals to build up inside the engines.

The airline's announcement also suggested it is likely to seek financial penalties from Boeing and GE.

The Boeing spokesman said it doesn't publicly discuss its conversations with customers. He said Boeing is "disappointed in any impact" to its customers and "we regret the business disruption this will cause…and remain ready to provide whatever assistance we can to Japan Airlines."

Other GEnx operators include Deutsche Lufthansa AG , United Continental Holdings Inc., TUI Travel PLC and Qatar Airways.

Deutsche Lufthansa operates nine 747-8 aircraft with such engines, while Japan Airlines has 11 Dreamliners and United Continental has seven aircraft powered by GEnx engines.

Previously, experts believed such icing occurred primarily below 25,000 feet. From the mid-1990s to the end of 2011, the FAA and various engine manufacturers investigated ice-crystal buildups affecting more than 100 big jets around the world, including at least 14 instances of dual-engine shutdowns, called "flameouts." Starting in 2007, the industry successfully rolled out various modifications to counter those hazards.

The latest engine problems caught GE, Boeing and the FAA by surprise, partly because they cropped up on a different engine model at significantly higher altitudes than anticipated, according to industry officials. Moreover, the recent incidents often occurred in clear air without clouds or signs of nearby storms.

In the past decade, safety experts identified significant increases in global engine-icing incidents, particularly as air traffic grew over certain tropical regions. Since 2007, the industry has rolled out numerous engine-software modifications, redesigned parts and revised operating procedures intended to reduce the hazards of various types of ice buildup inside engines. U.S. and foreign regulators also have moved toward tightening certification safeguards for newly designed engines aimed at preventing internal ice formation.