Thursday, November 28, 2013

National Championship Air Races seek immediate sponsors

Reno, NV (KRNV & -- The National Championship Air Races has announced a worldwide, online fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $500,000 by December 15, 2013.

As the future of the National Championship Air Races is unknown, Mike Houghton, the President and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association is looking forward and staying positive. However, if enough money is not raised the National Championship Air Races could be canceled, which could significantly impact the local economy.

Houghton says in the last three years the organization has lost about $1.4 million, but the event contributes between $80 -$85 million to the local economy for the ten days that the racers and fans are in town.

Without the Air Races, Houghton says multiple businesses would be impacted, "It does have a significant impact throughout our entire community, it's not just the hotel/casino's it's the gas stations the grocery stores, the restaurants throughout the community that have a benefit from this event."

After a recent announcement citing financial challenges, the National Championship Air Races has launched a worldwide, online fundraising campaign aimed at raising the $500,000 necessary to ensure the future of the historic event. In addition to new and increased sponsorships as well as debt reduction, online contributions will be accepted.

For more information or to donate visit:

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Suspected engine trouble diverts Detroit-bound plane to Indianapolis: Plane landed safely

INDIANAPOLIS - A flight en route to Detroit made an emergency landing in Indianapolis on Thanksgiving morning after experiencing engine trouble in the air.

A spokesman for Indianapolis International Airport said Southwest Airlines Flight 392 from St. Louis was redirected to IND.

The plane landed safely, and emergency crews inspected the engine exterior.

Inspectors found no obvious exterior issues, and the plane safely taxied to the gate.


A mystery flight, and its fiery end

The flight of an executive jet from Mexico to the Caribbean isle of Bonaire and on to a grassy field in Venezuela’s remote south, where it was reduced to a smoldering heap, seems straight out of a novel about the drug trafficking underworld.

The flight occurred Nov. 4, and it has been in the news ever since.

What is most curious is the row that the aircraft’s destruction has sparked between Mexico and Venezuela, and Mexico’s pique about a flight that had all the signs of a drug transport excursion.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office issued a statement yesterday (Spanish language link) declaring that it would press on the case until there is “total clarification.” That may be a Mexican elocution for: Stop asking questions. Let the case drop.

The aircraft in question was a Hawker Siddeley DH-125 executive jet that came off the factory line in 1969 -- an old disposable aircraft of the kind favored by drug traffickers. If they need to abandon it after a drug flight, no big deal.

The plane, carrying Mexican license XBMGM, took off from Queretaro in central Mexico on Nov. 4. It carried two pilots and five passengers. The flight plan said it would head to Bonaire’s Flamingo International Airport. Bonaire, a Dutch overseas territory, is off Venezuela’s coast.

In Bonaire, four passengers got off. The two pilots and another passenger flew on. The flight plan called for the jet to travel to La Ceiba, a city on the north coast of Honduras. But when the aircraft flew west off of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, it suddenly veered south and flew to Venezuela’s Apure, a remote state of grasslands bordering Colombia.

Apure state is a staging area for Colombia’s FARC guerrillas and is considered one of the hemisphere’s prime areas for cocaine shipments leaving Colombia’s eastern plains.

At 10:36 p.m. on Nov. 4, Venezuela’s military said it intercepted the rogue aircraft and forced it down, where it was “immobilized.” The two pilots and passengers apparently fled.

How the executive jet landed in a grassy field with no landing lights at nighttime is among unanswered questions. A photo apparently taken the next morning shows the aircraft burned to a smoldering heap. Was it shot down or forced down at a landing strip and later flow to the field, where it was burned?

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the next day that the aircraft was the latest of 30 destroyed as part of his nation’s battle against drug traffickers.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat immediately issued a diplomatic note asking Venezuela to provide proof that it acted in accordance with international law.

The note made Maduro bristle. On Nov. 9, he told journalists that the plane carried narcotics, and that “the Mexican president should know that he is interceding on behalf of a plane that was full of cocaine.”

Whether that is true is unclear. Were there residues of cocaine in the plane? Or did it carry a full load of narcotics, as Maduro alleges? Why did Venezuela not offer photos?

A series of diplomatic exchanges and recriminations have taken place since then, and the mystery only deepens.

In its latest statement, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office says the two pilots and one passenger who flew on from Bonaire carried false passports. The four passengers who disembarked in Bonaire traveled on to Bogota, Colombia, later returning to Mexico. All four carried legitimate passports, the statement says. Three of them have undergone questioning by prosecutors, it adds.

The whereabouts of the two pilots and the last passenger are unknown.

Even as the statement says Mexico wants “total clarification” of the case, it still hasn’t answered elemental questions. Mexico maintains the aircraft was “shot down,” but offers no proof itself of that. Authorities also haven’t explained why the aircraft diverted to what is arguably a no-man’s cocaine staging area. They also haven’t said who owns the aircraft, details about the other passengers, and what legitimate reasons they might have for taking such an odd flight.

My bet is that they have no intention of providing further information. Case closed. 


Continúan las investigaciones de PGR en relación al caso Venezuela

Miercoles, 27 de Noviembre de 2013 > Boletín 118/13

En relación con la investigación iniciada por la Procuraduría General de la República con motivo del avión con matrícula mexicana detectado en Venezuela se informa:

1. Se inició una averiguación previa por el abatimiento y posterior incineración del avión con matrícula mexicana en territorio venezolano.

2. Se obtuvo información en el sentido de que el avión partió de la ciudad de Querétaro el día 4 de noviembre del presente año, con siete personas a bordo, incluidos dos pilotos con destino a Bonaire, Antillas Holandesas, a donde arribó el mismo día.

3. En Bonaire descendieron cuatro pasajeros y el avión continuó con los dos pilotos y un pasajero su vuelo con destino solicitado según el plan de vuelo hacia Honduras.

4. La información obtenida dentro de la investigación, reportó que los pasaportes de los dos pilotos y de uno de los pasajeros son falsos y que los de los otros cuatro pasajeros son auténticos.

5. Se detectó que los cuatro pasajeros con pasaporte auténtico regresaron a la ciudad de México el día 7 de noviembre del presente año provenientes de Bogotá, Colombia.

6. La Procuraduría General de la República declaró a tres de los cuatro pasajeros y está a la espera de la presentación del cuarto.

7. De las declaraciones obtenidas y de las pendientes por recabar además de las investigaciones que realiza la Procuraduría, dependerá si se deriva responsabilidad por estos hechos.

8. Se desconoce hasta el momento el paradero de los dos pilotos y el pasajero que viajaba con pasaporte falso.

9. La PGR está en espera de la información del gobierno de Venezuela en el marco de un acuerdo de ambos países para el esclarecimiento de los hechos.

10. La Procuraduría General de la República continuará las investigaciones hasta el esclarecimiento total de este evento.

Beech V35 Bonanza, N5655D LLC, N5655D: Accident occurred November 28, 2013 in Trussville, Alabama

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Docket And Docket Items  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -   National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA052
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 28, 2013 in Trussville, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2014
Aircraft: BEECH V35, registration: N5655D
Injuries: 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, during approach, he heard a “loud pop” and that the engine then lost total power. The airplane was too far away to glide to the destination airport, so the pilot chose to perform a forced landing to a field, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage. Subsequent teardown examination of the engine revealed evidence of oil starvation at the No. 2 connecting rod, which resulted in its separation from the crankshaft and its subsequent puncturing of a hole in the crankcase. The oil tube from the main bearing to the No. 2 connecting rod was found clear and unrestricted. At some point during the life of the engine, the interior of the rocker covers had been coated with an unapproved material. The coating material had been flaking off during operation and had been cleaned from two of six of the rocker covers. The four remaining covers still contained the coating material, but it could not be determined if the material caused the oil restriction because none of the material was found in any of the oil or oil passages. However, it is possible that any restricting material dislodged and escaped during the engine failure.

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

The failure of the No. 2 connecting rod due to oil starvation, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.

On November 28, 2013, about 0950 central standard time, a Beech V35, N5655D, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field in Trussville, Alabama, following a total loss of engine power while on approach to Birmingham International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The airline transport pilot and two passengers received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to BHM. The flight departed Norfolk International Airport (ORF), Norfolk, Virginia, about 0620.

The pilot reported that the departure from ORF and cruise flight were uneventful. The airplane was descending toward BHM through 5,400 feet mean sea level (msl), from 6,500 feet msl, when he heard a loud bang and the engine lost all power. The airplane was too far from BHM to glide there and the pilot elected to perform a forced landing in a field.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, during the landing, the airplane collided with a fence and farm equipment, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage. Initial examination of the engine revealed a hole in the top of the engine case.

The airplane was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-550B, 300-horsepower engine. The engine was manufactured in 1994 and overhauled in 2004, after accumulating 1,457 hours of operation. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on August 15, 2013. At that time, the engine had accumulated 1,195 hours since overhaul. The airplane flew about 62 hours from the time of the last annual inspection, until the accident.

The engine was subsequently retained and forwarded to the manufacturer's facility for a teardown examination under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The examination revealed evidence of oil starvation at the No. 2 connecting rod, which resulted in its separation from the crankshaft. During the separation, the No. 2 connecting rod punctured a hole in the engine crankcase. The oil tube from the main bearing to the No. 2 connecting rod was clear and unrestricted at the time of inspection. Additionally, the remaining connecting rods did not exhibit signs of oil starvation. Further examination revealed that at some point during the life of the engine, the interior of the rocker covers had been coated with an unapproved material. The coating material had been flaking off during operation and had been cleaned from two of six the rocker covers. The remaining covers still contained the material.

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA052 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 28, 2013 in Trussville, AL
Aircraft: BEECH V35, registration: N5655D
Injuries: 3 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 28, 2013, about 0950 central standard time, a Beech V35, N5655D, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field in Trussville, Alabama, following a total loss of engine power while on approach to Birmingham International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The airline transport pilot and two passengers received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to BHM. The flight departed Norfolk International Airport (ORF), Norfolk, Virginia, about 0620.

The pilot reported that the departure from ORF and cruise flight were uneventful. The airplane was descending toward BHM through 5,400 feet mean sea level (msl), from 6,500 feet msl, when he heard a loud bang and the engine lost all power. The airplane was too far from BHM to glide there and the pilot elected to perform a forced landing in a field.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, during the landing, the airplane collided with a fence and farm equipment, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage. Initial examination of the engine revealed a hole in the top of the engine case. The engine was retained for further examination.

 Son Taylor Ewing and father Kent Ewing have picture snapped moments after climbing out of crashed airplane. (photo courtesy Kent Ewing)

How to survive a small plane crash. Pilot in Trussville mishap gives account and 3 tips 
It was a clear Thanksgiving Day morning, 7:20 a.m. Virginia time, when pilot Kent Ewing boarded his small V-tail plane enroute from Norfolk to Birmingham for a holiday family reunion at his daughter's house.

On board for the 3-1/2-hour flight were his son and his son's girlfriend. 

And a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

But delivery of the pie and passengers to the Thanksgiving dinner table took a terrifying twist near the end of the flight when the engine blew out over Trussville, less than 20 miles from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. 

But, as Ewing relates to Alabama Media Group in a phone interview and an essay he has submitted to an aviation magazine: "All in all, it was a beautiful day for flying."

"As we passed north of Atlanta into Georgia and Alabama we commented on how great the visibility was -- we could see center city Atlanta and actually could pick out Stone Mountain to the East of the city!" Ewing wrote in his essay. "It was one of those days. The drone of the engine put my two passengers to sleep for a short while. I took a peaceful shot of them using my mini iPad. 

"The quiet before the storm," he wrote.

Approaching Birmingham, the tower radioed: "N5655D you are cleared to descend to 3500, turn left to 245 degrees to avoid the Birmingham departure corridor."

Ewing said they waited until about 18 miles from the airport, its outline in sight and started a descent at 500 feet per minute.

"Pretty routine stuff," Ewing said.
Routine shattered at about 5,400 feet.

"We got a muffled pow/bam, immediate white smoke in the cabin and a spray pattern of oil on the windscreen," Ewing wrote. "My son (Taylor) and I go into immediate action."

As a flight and ground instructor, Ewing has been teaching this kind of incident for years "so no buck fever here," he said.

"I put out an immediate mayday, mayday, mayday and opened the window to clear the smoke."
The airport control tower began telling him where the freeways were and Ewing told them he didn't think they had engine power to make it the needed eight or so miles to a freeway.

"I did reach down and switch tanks---just because we train that way," Ewing wrote. "I did turn on the fuel boost pump with nothing registering so put it back off. No need to have excess gas on a blown engine."

About 4,000 feet Ewing said his mind switched to landing mode. Interstate 59 was too far north and I-20 was too far south. 

"My son correctly kept pointing out the Birmingham Airport at 1230 o'clock and kept scanning the instrument panel and the outside world with his cell phone," Ewing wrote.

He homed in on a field about 2,000 feet long with trees and a fence line down the middle.

As we lined up parallel to the fence line I could see the gray barn at the far south end of the field," he wrote. "Where I wished to touch down ended up about 800 to 1,000 feet behind me."

They touched down at about 90 knots (103 mph), bounced twice.

"Our skid marks showed up about 300 feet prior to the barn," he said. "As we hit the southern edge of the gravel drive leading up to the barn, we went airborne again and into the tree line at 50 knots. ... I was aiming at light spots between the trees, mostly small oaks. We did not hit any directly head on.
"The right wing tip light was removed by a pole next to the barn, but the left wing hit a tree with enough force to turn us left 90 degrees before we came to a stop by a hefty tree which caught the airframe exactly at the right wing root where the door hinges are. The door (we had not cracked it) flew off and landed about 30 feet down track from the aircraft; my sunglasses and my son's cell phone went another 100 feet down the same track."

Going through Ewing's mind was a quote by famed pilot Bob Hoover: "Fly the aircraft as far into the crash as far as you can."

That means "don't give up," Ewing said. "Continue to stay in control of the aircraft."

Ewing had minor cracked ribs but no injuries requiring hospitalization. Once out of the plane, "we were high-fiving."

 "We even checked to see if the pumpkin pie survived," he said. "It did."

Ewing said he doesn't know why the engine failed, having shown no signs of trouble in previous inspections.

"I just hope the NTSB can conduct a sufficiently thorough evaluation to determine something meaningful in order to predict and/or prevent future catastrophic failures," he said. 

Ewing's three takeaways from his plane crash:
  1. If you do not have shoulder harnesses, do not fly your plane. I won't go with you.
  2. Always have a place picked out to land, no matter the phase of flight. Always know the terrain below you, the surface wind, the glide ratio, etc. At 5,000 feet AGL you have 5 minutes until you touch down with no power.
  3. Execute your plan to meet up with the planet, and fly the airplane all the way into the crash!!


 A small plane made an emergency landing near a Trussville neighborhood on Thursday. There were no serious injuries. 

A single engine Beechcraft made an emergency landing in a Trussville field Thursday morning. Police say the people on board were lucky to walk away with just some bruises.   According to police, Kent Ewing, his son and his son's girlfriend were flying from Virginia Beach to Birmingham for Thanksgiving. At 9:46 a.m., Ewing who was piloting the plane notified air traffic control of engine problems.

Police say it took them some time to find the farm between Pinebluff Trail and Thompson Lane where the pilot made an emergency landing. The plane landed in a field but didn't stop until it hit trees beside a barn.  The family had some bruises and a cut finger. No one was taken to the hospital.

"They were very fortunate. We were very surprised to see all three passengers were walking around," said Lt. Eric Rush of Trussville Police.  A FAA investigator is on scene.   The plane won't be removed until this weekend.

TRUSSVILLE, Alabama -- A small plane made an emergency landing in a large field in this town northeast of Birmingham this morning but there were no serious injuries, according to Trussville Fire Chief Russell Ledbetter.

The three occupants on board had minor injuries but were not taken to the hospital, Ledbetter said.

The occupants, whose names were not disclosed, said they were flying from out-of-state to Birmingham for Thanksgiving when the engine apparently stopped, Ledbetter said.

Trussville Police Chief Don Sivley said the plane clipped some trees as it tried to make the landing in a field between Thompson Lane and the Cahaba Cove subdivision. 

No houses were damaged.

"There were some minor cuts and bruises, but they were up and walking around," Sivley said. "They are going to end up having a fine Thanksgiving."

The plane was damaged in the crash and doesn't appear to be airworthy, Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter said he got the call at 10:11 a.m.

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A single-engine plane went down near Cahaba Cove in Trussville this morning. 

The plane was located by Trussville police on the back side of Pinebluff Lane and Cahaba Cove.

Three people from Virginia were on the plane. There were no serious injuries.

“They were very fortunate,” Chief Don Sivley of the Trussville police department said. “They were all walking around. No broken bones or anything serious. Just some bumps and bruises.”

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A small plane made an emergency landing in a rural area near Trussville on Thanksgiving Day morning. 
The incident happened just before 10:00am CT, southeast of Trussville near Pine Bluff Trail.

The Trussville Police Department tells Alabama’s 13 News Digital Journalist Sarah Killian that the single-engine Beechcraft plane lost power, and crashed in an open field, and ended up in a tree.

Three people were on board the plane, and no major injuries were reported.

The passengers were flying from Virginia Beach, Virginia, en route to the Birmingham airport.

Those on board were a father, his son, and his son’s girlfriend.

There was no fire, and the Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene investigating.

The plane landed next to a barn with most intact, except the tail is broken off.

A Trussville Police officer says they were surprised to see people walking around the crash site when officers arrived.

The TPD praises the pilot for an excellent landing in those circumstances.

Duty-free booze runs amok on El Al flight: Mishap on Plane Under Investigation

During landing at Ben Gurion Airport, cart of alcohol comes loose and crashes into the cockpit, with bottles of drink smashing around the pilots. 

An errant cart of duty-free booze nearly caused a crash at Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this week during the landing of an El Al flight from Bangkok, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

The incident occurred early Tuesday morning as the plane’s wheels touched down during a routine landing.

While the airplane was still barreling down the runway at high speed, the cart and its cargo of alcoholic beverages got loose and rolled swiftly through the cabin. It smashed through the doors of the cockpit, surprising the pilots who were in the midst of landing procedures.

Multiple bottles of alcoholic beverages were shattered inside the cockpit, but the pilots were able to retain control of the airplane and no injuries were reported.

The flight carried some 450 passengers.

It was unclear how the cart become loose. Safety procedures require that all food and beverage carts be secured before landing. Both El Al and the Transportation Ministry said they would investigate the event and check whether the duty-free cart was overloaded. Investigators were also to check whether the cockpit door was locked as required.


Last week, a duty free cart broke through the cockpit doors of an El-Al flight, shattering contents all over the pilot and co-pilot in a potentially dangerous incident, IDF Radio reported Thursday.

According to the report, the incident occurred on flight 082 from Bangkok to Israel last Tuesday. The cart broke through the doors during landing, which over 450 passengers and staff on board.


Iran sanctions deal sparks hunt for vintage plane parts

A Boeing 747 set to be dismantled is seen in the recycling yard of Air Salvage International (ASI) in Kemble, central England November 27, 2013. 
REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

(Reuters) - While foreign ministers raced to Geneva for a crucial phase of talks over Iran's nuclear activities earlier this month, passengers with the country's national airline faced a little-noticed drama on the other side of the world.

As a 37-year-old Boeing 747 climbed out of Beijing bound for Tehran, the Iranian crew received a cockpit alert that one of the jumbo jet's four Pratt & Whitney engines was on fire.

The Iran Air pilots shut the engine down, activated a fire suppression system and flew back to the Chinese capital.

Both the November 8 incident and the actions taken to remedy it, as reported by accident database Aviation Herald, highlight the juggling act needed to keep Iran's fleet in the air after years of sanctions and challenges in procuring parts.

The relief plane that was dispatched to pick up stranded passengers is not just a jet but a time capsule, symbolizing the 34-year chill in ties between the United States and Iran.

It entered service weeks before the 1979 hostage crisis and is the only original 747-100 jumbo still flying passengers. Its resale value of $60,000 would not pay for fuel for the trip.

For years, aircraft such as these have been kept in service through parts imported on the black market, cannibalized from other planes or reproduced locally, aviation sources say.

Now, following last week's interim deal to ease a decade-long standoff over Iran's nuclear activities, Tehran will be allowed limited purchases of aircraft parts and repairs.

The immediate problem Iran faces is that some of its aircraft are so old that parts may not be readily available. The 747-100 was first launched in 1966 and Boeing hasn't built a new one since 1982.

"The last 747-100 we saw was about 10 years ago," said Mark Gregory, head of Europe's largest aircraft recycling company, UK-based Air Salvage International.

On paper, Iran's need for parts could be a boon for salvage firms and any second-hand stockists who have had unwanted bits of the oldest types used by Iran accumulating dust for years.

"Everybody is lucky if somebody wants to buy because it is a dead market. These parts don't sell like fresh bread from the baker," said Derk-Jan van Heerden, general manager of Netherlands-based Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS).

Barring a full lifting of sanctions, the volumes involved are not enough to make much difference to the profits of global aerospace firms and parts manufacturers, analysts say.

But the renewal of old business relationships marks the tentative early steps of a process that could, depending on diplomacy, resuscitate a market frozen in time for a decade.

Iran is already indicating that sanctions relief may plant a seed for future aircraft purchases if economic ties are fully restored. Diplomats caution that depends on the uncertain outcome of months of detailed negotiations that lie ahead.

"With the new deal made in Geneva, hopefully we will be able to purchase parts directly from manufacturers and not from middlemen for a higher price," said a senior Iranian official.

"We are looking forward to the time when sanctions are lifted and then we will purchase 250-400 planes, whether from Boeing or Airbus," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jetmakers, salvage firms and parts suppliers have responded cautiously and stress nothing can be done without approval. But Iranian officials say people claiming to represent at least one foreign firm have made overtures as the sanctions thaw loomed.

"We will first have to learn about possible changes in the legal situation in detail before we can make any business assessment," a spokesman for Europe's Airbus said.

A spokesman for Boeing declined comment.

Van Heerden, who is also deputy director of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, said the industry has end-user agreements designed to avoid parts being used illegally.


Last week's deal calls for licensing of an unspecified quantity of aircraft parts and services for Iran's fleet.

But the mechanism and timing remain unclear and governments are expected to keep a strict eye on how funds are spent.

"I suspect there will be a tight rein initially on who supplies which parts to Iran. It is in the interests of all the governments and the manufacturers to ensure that there are no issues over the quality of the parts being supplied," said Bill Cumberlidge, executive director of leasing firm KV Aviation.

Items likely to be closely scrutinized include tail parts for the oldest Boeing 747s, which until 1980 were made with depleted uranium as counterweights, until tungsten took over.

An Iranian airline official said carriers were waiting for news on how and where any unfrozen funds could be deployed.

"The first issue would be that of finance and banking transactions. There are many planes out there but the problem has always been that we cannot buy them," he said.

The lack of parts has not prevented Iran Air and three others - Iran Aseman Airlines, Kish Air and Mahan Air - from passing safety audits of the International Air Transport Association.

"Many middlemen provided us with aircraft parts and even once one plane, carrying hundreds of parts, landed at (Tehran) Mehrabad airport," the senior Iranian official said.

"Iran managed to get everything it needed for its airplanes; even some very sophisticated parts."

But there has been a spate of reported incidents involving items with a limited life such as engines and landing gear, and the cost of running a covert re-supply operation has been high.

Parts that Iran might now seek to buy could cost anything from a few dollars for a tray table to millions of dollars for an engine. Airbus and Boeing may themselves have to scour the second-hand market for parts for old jets they no longer have.

In addition to parts, Iranian airlines also urgently need training, said a Dubai-based consultant whose clients include Iranian carriers. Poor training of Iranian pilots on elderly Russian aircraft was blamed for a series of crashes that killed more than 190 people in 2009, leading the Iranian authorities to clamp down on purchases of Russian equipment, he added.

Iran has an active fleet of 189 passenger aircraft with an average age of 22 years. It also has 76 in storage with an average age of 24 years, says UK aviation consultancy Ascend.

The situation for flag carrier Iran Air is worse. Its 37 active aircraft have an average age of 24 years. Two of its active Boeing 747s have been flying for close to four decades.

The fleet includes some planes for which there are ample parts, such as the Fokker 100 and MD-80. Many have been recently mothballed, making their spares relatively cheap.

Others, like the earliest vintage Boeing 747s and the first Airbus A300 aircraft, depend on a shrinking supply of parts or a steady flow of organ transplants from other "donor" aircraft.

"Ultimately the most cost-effective solution for Iran, when sanctions allow, would probably be to upgrade their fleet. There comes a stage when it becomes impossible to support aircraft because of their age," Air Salvage's Gregory said.


Pilot had just three seconds to prevent tragedy: Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, Ravenair Aircraft Ltd, G-RVRF

Ian Daglish, 59, from Alderley Edge, was flying a Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk plane which crashed into houses in Peel Green, Eccles, on July 29, 2011. 

The wreckage of the Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk aircraft that crashed into houses in Peel Green, Eccles, in July 2011, and inset, pilot Ian Daglish who was killed in the crash

It would have been ‘virtually impossible’ for a pilot to have prevented a fatal crash caused partly by a worn fuel valve, an inquest has found.

Ian Daglish, 59, from Alderley Edge, was flying a light plane which crashed into houses in Peel Green, Eccles , on July 29, 2011.

He had 400 hours of flying experience before the crash, which a jury at Bolton Coroner’s Court described as ‘catastrophic’.

Mr Daglish was conscious when he arrived at Wythenshawe Hospital , but died two days later as a result of burns and inhalation of fumes.

His passenger, Joel McNicholls, 20, survived, but has been left with severe burns.

The plane stalled when it’s engine stopped at 200ft and the pilot then had a three-second ‘window’ to regain control – which assistant coroner Kevin McLaughlin described as ‘virtually impossible’.

A jury concluded that ‘significant wear of the aircraft’s fuel valve and shaft resulted in the reduction of power which was most probably the cause of the incident’. A narrative verdict was recorded.

The marketing consultant’s death came just six weeks after he had received training in how to deal with engine failure.

“It couldn’t have been more pertinent,” said Mr McLaughlin. Three months earlier, the father-of-two had a medical which concluded that he was in good health.

His wife, Joy, described him as being in ‘excellent general health’. He was also described as ‘alert and sensible’.

Mr McLaughlin told her: “Your heart must be close to breaking. I know that inquests can churn up raw emotions.”

The jury heard investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) raised concerns about the stiffness of the valve following its examination.

Adrian Cope, who has 17 years’ experience, said it was ‘very stiff to turn’.

The two-seater Piper PA38 Tomahawk was built in 1978 and is now out of production.

Jeff Nuttall, managing director of Liverpool-based flying school Ravenair, which owned the aircraft, said it was ‘not unusual to have an aircraft for 45 years’ and noted that a plane’s life is determined by the number of hours flown, rather than age.

There are no regulations as to how stiff a fuel valve should be.

The jury concluded that the aircraft was ‘serviced in accordance with a service letter’ and had passed inspections.

After the inquest, a Ravenair spokesman said the firm had complied with all regulatory and maintenance issues. He said Ravenair hoped to provide the Daglish and McNicholls families with some closure.

He added: “Ravenair’s priority has been to understand the cause of this unfortunate incident, so as to ensure – as far as possible – no possible recurrence in the future.”

The spokesman said they did not believe the most probable cause had been established.

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The aircraft suffered an engine stoppage on takeoff at approximately 200 ft, stalled, rolled more than 60º to the left, crashed into houses and caught fire. Both occupants survived the impact and fire but the pilot succumbed to his injuries later in hospital. The most likely cause of the engine stoppage was stiffness of the fuel selector valve causing it to be in an intermediate position, reducing fuel flow to a level too low to sustain continuous engine operation.

NTSB Identification: CEN11WA538
Accident occurred Friday, July 29, 2011 in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Aircraft: PIPER PA38, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

On July 29, 2011, about 1123 coordinated universal time (UTC), a Piper PA-38-112 airplane, United Kingdom registration G-RVRF, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom. One occupant of the airplane was fatally injured, and the second occupant was seriously injured in the accident. The exact flight itinerary has not been established at this time.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of the United Kingdom. Any further information may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Berkshire Copse Road
GU11 2HH
United Kingdom
Tel: 01252 510300
Web site:

This report is for informational purposes only, and contains information released by or obtained from the Government of the United Kingdom.

Grumman G-21A Turbo Goose, N221AG: Accident occurred February 27, 2011 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

General Civil Aviation Authority Publishes the Investigation Final Report of McKinnon G-21G Fatal Accident, Al Ain International Airport - UAE,  27 February 2011  

Landon Studer, 28, the owner of Triple S Aviation, was piloting the plane at the time of the crash. The company's international project manager, Joshua Hucklebridge, also 28, was also on board, along with two seaplane enthusiasts from the western US - Tyler Orsow, 25, and Chuck Kimes, 61, who is believed to have been the co-pilot.

Chuck Kimes

Landon Studer

 Joshua Hucklebridge

Tyler Orsow is shown here (right)

General Civil Aviation Authority Publishes the Investigation Final Report of McKinnon G-21G Fatal Accident, Al Ain International Airport - UAE,  27 February 2011  

ABU DHABI // A seaplane crash that killed four Americans in Al Ain nearly three years ago was likely caused by pilot error, a final report into the accident said. 

The final air accident investigation report, released by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Thursday, said the plane’s pilot attempted a steep left turn that resulted in a stall and a likely loss of control.

The antique seaplane, called a Grumman Goose, crashed on the taxiway at Al Ain International Airport less than two minutes after being cleared for take-off on February 27, 2011. All four American airmen onboard were killed instantly.

The men were en-route to Riyadh for the first leg of a week-long trip that would have made stops in Morocco and South America before ending in Texas. Grumman G-21A Turbo Goose, N221AG: Accident occurred February 27, 2011 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates 

The cause of the crash is listed in the report as the pilot’s “lapse in judgement and failure to exercise due diligence when he decided to enter into a steep left turn at inadequate height and speed”.

Contributing factors were the pilot’s “self-induced time pressure to rapidly complete the post-maintenance flight” and his lack of recent experience in the aircraft type.

The GCAA report also makes safety recommendations to both US and UAE aviation authorities.

Recommendations include improving regulations governing foreign aircraft operations in the UAE and developing a requirement that airports establish procedures to report aircraft parked for a pre-specified period.

The GCAA has also been asked to enhance the foreign aircraft safety assessment system to ensure any aircraft parked in a UAE airport for a pre-specified period submit “certain documents” to assure that the aircraft is airworthy before a clearance of departure is issued.

The report also recommends that the US Federal Aviation Administration enhance general aviation aircraft worthiness certification and oversight, in addition to airman licensing practices, in line with federal aviation regulations.

Final Report:

Interim Report: Photographs

NTSB Identification: DCA11WA032 

Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 27, 2011 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Aircraft: GRUMMAN G21, registration: N221AG
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On February 27, 2011, a Grumman 21, registration N221AG, crashed shortly after takeoff from Al Ain Airport (OMEL), Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. All four passengers and crewmembers onboard were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was destined for OERK, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The investigation is being conducted by the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority. The NTSB has appointed an Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the Country of Manufacture and Design of the airplane.

All requests for information should be directed to:

United Arab Emirates
General Civil Aviation Authority
Air Safety & Flight Security Department
Aircrafts Accidents Investigation Section
+971 4 2111722

Plane hits gulls, halts takeoff in Goose Bay: Flying risky if birds get in engine, veteran pilot says

Seagulls may prove to be a nuisance when they dig into garbage bags left on sidewalks, but they can pose an even bigger problem for airplanes.

Such was the case recently in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where a Cessna Citation 560XL had to abort its takeoff when it hit four seagulls.

According to a Transport Canada report documented in the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System, the incident happened Sept. 11. The plane, destined for Buffalo, N.Y., and registered in Germany, was 2,000 feet into its takeoff roll when it hit the birds.

The pilot believed the plane had hit at least one bird. Marks were found on the cockpit window and the leading edge of the left wing. It was also determined that gulls were caught in both of the plane’s engines.

According to Palmer Tibbo, an experienced pilot based in Gander, birds such as seagulls can create trouble when they get caught in engines.

“That could cause a potential flameout of the engine,” said Tibbo.

The speeds reached by planes can make contact with even small birds problematic during flight, according to Craig Blandford, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association.

“If you’re flying along at 250 miles an hour and you hit a bird, no matter what size the bird is, it’s going to leave a dent in your wing or in some part of the airplane,” said Blandford, who is originally from Springdale and was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force for 20 years.

The Transport Canada report said bird activity was light at Goose Bay Airport that day and the runway was scanned by air traffic control prior to takeoff.

“The young gulls blend in with the runway, almost (the) same color,” noted the report.

Mechanics traveled from Chicago to inspect the Cessna. The report did not specify when the plane was able to depart from Goose Bay.

Tibbo has struck gulls on occasion, but none have ever come in contact with an engine while he’s been flying a plane.

“I did once upon a time flying the air ambulance into St. John’s (have) one hit the windshield,” he recalled.

While birds can cause engine trouble, Blandford said modern planes can often handle them.

“There’s lots and lots of cases of modern jetliners ingesting birds, spitting them out the back and incurring no damage whatsoever. However, on a precautionary basis, if you know you’ve taken a bird, you would come back and land and have the engine serviced and checked, just to make sure everything is safe.”

He said it would take a large bird to damage an engine.

“It’s surprising to learn that frozen chickens and other things are thrown into engines during some of their testing to make sure they can survive.”

Birds were responsible for the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in January 2009, an incident that did not result in any deaths. The plane hit a flock of Canada geese after it left LaGuardia Airport in New York and lost power before the pilot managed to land it safely on the river.

In the air, Blandford said, there are techniques pilots can employ to avoid hitting birds. Final cruising speed is not reached until 10,000 feet, an altitude at which birds do not tend to fly. Blandford said propeller airplanes often employ paint-schemes that make the propellers visible even as they are spinning.

“Air traffic controllers will also tell you if birds are reported,” he said.

St. John’s International Airport Authority implemented a plan in 2006 to manage gulls on its property.

“I know St. John’s had a lot of them,” said Tibbo. “They had gulls heading towards Windsor Lake or wherever they’d go, and we had the same problem in Gander. In the evening time, you’d get them leaving the local dump and heading for Gander Lake.”

According to Tibbo, propane is used to create a loud popping noise at Gander International Airport that helps keep birds away.


CADORS Number:2013A1029 


A German registered Cessna Citation 560XL, was cleared for takeoff on runway 34 at Goose Bay, NL (CYYR) to Buffalo, NY (KBUF). At approximately 2000 feet into the takeoff roll, the aircraft struck 4 gulls. The pilot aborted the takeoff and taxied back to its servicing agent. The pilot reported at least one gull struck the windshield. On returning to the ramp, they observed 2 marks on the cockpit window (no damage), one mark on the leading edge of the left wing and possible ingestion of gulls into each engine. The aircraft is now,located in one of the hangars and mechanics from Chicago are expected in Goose Bay this evening to inspect the aircraft. Bird activity on the airfield was light for the day, light bird activity was on the ATIS. The runway was scanned by the tower controlled prior to issuing takeoff clearance. The young gulls blend in with the runway, almost same color.

New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania: Plans on hold for a new hangar

Members of the New Garden Board of Supervisors learned Monday that a proposed deal to build a new hangar at New Garden Flying Field collapsed, leaving the board to look into new options for building the facility.

NEW GARDEN – At Monday night’s public meeting, Jon Martin, New Garden Airport manager, was expected to present township Supervisors a land-lease proposal from the a group interested in building and managing a new hangar at the township’s aviation facility. 

Instead, Martin said, “We don’t have plans for a hangar or a proposed lease because the new-hangar group has been derailed.”

He gave no further details for the apparent impasse in planning.

Nevertheless, the board seemed very interested in continuing a discussion of how best to fund a new hangar without participation by the new-hangar group. Board Chairman Steve Allaband asked the board, and township solicitor, Vince Pompo, what funding options might be available.

Pompo suggested that a new entity separate from the airport itself, such as an “airport authority,” could be established to build, own, manage, lease or perform a combination of these functions. During discussion of this idea, Martin made it clear that the New Garden Airport itself did not want to be in the business of maintaining hangars.

Allaband asked Martin to pull together several viable suggestions for financing additional hangar space and present them to the board at a later date.

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Row after Cape air show cancelled

Cape Town - A furious row has erupted over the South African Air Force’s decision to pull the plug on Cape Town’s Wings and Wheels Air Show, with the local aviation fraternity claiming political interference as the root cause.

The air force announced on Wednesday that the air show, which was set to take place at the Ysterplaat Air Force Base next weekend, had been cancelled and since then, the aviation website, Avcom, has been abuzz with many calling the air show saga a “knee-jerk reaction after the Guptagate” fallout.

But the air force defended the move on Wednesday, claiming safety concerns and procedures as the main culprit.

“The compliance to pertinent security measures and planned arrangements that are underpinned by approved regulatory policies and standard operating procedures is indispensable for staging such a major activity on the Air Force Base,” it said.

Major-General Wiseman Mbambo, the General Officer Commanding Air Command, said that after a due diligence review of the arrangements for the show, and several attempts at corrective action, the air force command found it “difficult to reconcile the planned show with the air force’s vision and strategic outcomes”.

He said in line with government initiatives, the air force earlier this year instituted austerity measures, which included the scaling down of air shows.

But sources close to the event organizers said they were not buying it.

One exhibitor, who did not want to be named, said event organizers had obtained prior permission from the police who had earlier approved the safety and security plans for the event.

Others claimed that, up until a week ago, air force headquarters were still on board despite minor changes being suggested. “This just does not make any sense, and it appears as if politics are at play,” he said.

Speaking (unofficially) on behalf of aviators and organizations, the managing director of Sky Messaging, Thomas Kritzer, said it was unfortunate the show has been cancelled with such little notice being given.

“A lot of companies, organizations and other participants had made plans to partake at the event, dedicating time and resources, such as the hiring of staff and equipment. In addition, cancelling such an event could be seen as a nail in the coffin for general aviation, which needs to be brought further into contact with the general public,” he added.

Kritzer said if the rumor mill about political interference was true, then the cancellation of the show was indeed a great pity.

“If it is true that political meddling is the root cause of the cancellation, the motives behind this are questionable and should be investigated. Politics and aviation have historically never fared well together. Politics and ulterior motives should never mingle with general aviation,” he said.

Patrick Davidson, a pilot from Port Elizabeth, who was set to bring his nearly 70-year-old P-51 Mustang fighter, which saw service during World War II, said he would likely never take part in the event again.

“It would have been the first time since World War II that a P-51 Mustang had flown in Cape Town or the Western Cape. My aircraft burns about 200 litres of avgas (aviation fuel) an hour, so cancelling the event is a massive bugger-up.”

The Western Cape government also entered the fray, saying it was concerned about the allegations regarding the cancellation.

Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde said the air show was one of the province’s premier family days. “We are highly concerned about the allegations regarding the cancellation of this event and will be looking into it.”