Friday, December 6, 2013

Pilots seek answers, say officials of McMinnville-based Evergreen International Airlines unavailable

Published on December 06, 2013 at 6:30 PM, updated December 06, 2013 at 7:47 PM

 Officers of Evergreen International Airlines Inc.'s pilots union say they’re in the dark concerning the fate of the McMinnville-based company, which apparently flew its last flight Monday. 

Capt. James Touchette, chairman of Air Line Pilots Association International Local 118, issued a statement Friday in the form of a news release that was more like a plea, fishing for reliable information on the troubled airline. The release said Evergreen’s management team had planned to meet Tuesday with lienholders to determine the company’s future, but a decision on the airline’s fate remains unknown.

“As far as the union knows, all of the planes have been parked and the lights are out at headquarters in McMinnville,” said Touchette, a former Evergreen cargo-jet pilot who is chairman of Local 118’s master executive council.

Managers of the privately held airline have been out of the public eye since Monday, when Mike Hines, chairman of parent company Evergreen International Aviation Inc., last returned a call from a reporter for The Oregonian. Hines said then that the company was still operating and managers hoped to save it.

Delford Smith, the parent company’s chief executive officer, has not returned repeated phone calls. An assistant said this week that Smith hadn’t been at work, adding that the 83-year-old founder of several Evergreen companies hadn’t been to the office the week before, either.

Touchette's news release said paychecks received by crew members Thursday lacked vacation payouts that had been promised by management. The union has filed a grievance on the missing payouts, he said.

“We are doing our best under these circumstances that we possibly can to get the crew members all of the money owed to them by the last payroll,” Touchette said in the release. It's what loyal union members deserve, he said.

Evergreen’s last flight apparently occurred early Monday. A Boeing 747-400 cargo jet made a short hop from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to Victorville, Calif., according to former employees and reports by workers who said they crewed the 46-minute flight. The 747-400 – the same one that flew Evergreen’s last military flight, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, to Travis -- had arrived at Travis after midnight Thursday from Yokota.

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

Supreme Court to hear Wisconsin airline case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a case involving a Wisconsin air carrier that could determine whether airlines should be protected from lawsuits, as the Transportation Security Administration is, after mistakenly reporting a security threat.

The case involves Appleton-based Air Wisconsin Airlines, which reported concerns about pilot William Hoeper’s mental state before he boarded a plane as a passenger at Dulles Airport in December 2004.

Hoeper knew he would be terminated after failing a series of flight tests on a simulator near Dulles, and Air Wisconsin officials worried that he might be a security threat, according to the airline’s written legal argument.

Hours before the flight, Hoeper “blew up” at instructors after failing his fourth test, yelling and cursing at them, according to the airline. In addition, Hoeper was trained to carry a firearm in the cockpit, although Air Wisconsin officials didn't know if he had a gun with him for the test.

The Colorado Supreme Court denied Air Wisconsin immunity from a defamation lawsuit in the case by finding the airline “overstated” its concerns. Hoeper, who lived in Denver, won $1.4 million in a jury trial.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the law that created TSA and gave it immunity from such lawsuits also granted airlines the same protection.

The immunity granted to TSA was similar to libel protections for newspapers, saying the agency should be protected unless statements are made “with actual knowledge that the disclosure was false, inaccurate or misleading” or “with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of that disclosure.”

The federal government filed a brief in the case arguing that reporters of potential security threats should be immune because they are critical to maintaining air safety.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a former head of the transportation committee, argued in another brief that over-reporting of security threats is better than under-reporting.

If Air Wisconsin isn’t granted immunity, the case “would have a chilling effect on the airplane industry’s willingness and timeliness in reporting suspicious activities,” Mica said in a written argument to the court.

A trade group, the International Air Transport Association, with 240 member airlines, also asked the Supreme Court to hear the case by saying the Colorado court was wrong, that it second-guessed Air Wisconsin and conducted a “hair-splitting” analysis of the case.

The purpose of the reporting law, according to the group, is “when in doubt, report.”

But Hoeper responded in a court filing that Air Wisconsin escalated a personal dispute between him and some of the airline’s workers into “a national security emergency.” He complained that the simulator test was conducted unfairly, and then airline officials reported him as mentally unstable and possibly armed.

Hoeper’s flight to Denver as a passenger was surrounded on the ground by emergency vehicles and a snow plow before he was removed by law-enforcement officials and arrested.

But Hoeper, a 20-year commercial pilot, was released after investigators sorted out what happened and he caught another flight later that day, according to his written argument in the case.

Air Wisconsin “had no reason to think that Hoeper was actually armed and lacked any basis for implying to the TSA that Hoeper posed any real threat,” according to his argument.

A decision in the case is expected by June.


Source:  http://www.sheboyganpress.com

Secretary looted historic aircraft firm to hide debts from husband

An office manager plundered the accounts of a family run aviation business because she could not bear to tell her husband she had run up thousands of pounds of debts.

Amanda Hallett stole so much that her thefts helped drive the historic aircraft firm into liquidation with the loss of jobs at its Exeter Airport base.

She felt she was underpaid after not receiving a rise when she was promoted to company secretary and fiddled the books to take what she thought she was worth.

Hallett worked for Hunter Flying, which helped enthusiasts preserve historic warplanes including Hawker Hunters. It had a workforce of 11 until it moved to Wales.

The company was run by John and Nadine Sparks who were friends of Hallett and her husband, who worked on the aircraft which they maintained, Exeter Crown Court was told.

She betrayed their trust by stealing around £10,000 which she used to hide debts and mortgage arrears from her husband.

Hallett escaped jail after a judge heard how her marriage has broken up and she is now the sole carer for the couple’s eight-year-old daughter.

Hallett, aged 41, of Crownhill Park, Torquay, admitted three counts of fraud and was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work.

Judge Wassall told her:”The prosecution say the effect on the company was that it went out of business. You dispute that and say it was not purely your fraud that did that, but you accept it must have played a part.

“I accept that a company would be unlikely to have gone into administration over the loss of £10,000 and there were other issues and the move to Wales.

“Mr and Mrs Sparks not only trusted you but you accepted their friendship and that makes matters a good deal worse.

“You were managing your family’s finances and struggling to pay your mortgage and your husband was not party to this. I accept it put a great deal of pressure on you to ensure he did not find out about the mounting debts.

“You began to make these fraudulent transactions. I don’t know if it was because you thought you were doing two jobs and in your mind the amount you were taking was a second wage.”

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said Hallett worked for Hunter Flying from 2008 to 2012 and left because they relocated to St Athan in Wales.

The family which ran the firm were alerted to deficiencies by their accountants and it was found she had been channeling money to herself through checks, debit card transactions and cashpoint withdrawals.

The firm estimated its losses at £13,454.87 but she put the amount she stole at £10,000. For much of the time she was company secretary, with a legal duty to safeguard its interests.

She used company money to pay council tax and mortgage arrears and fend off debt management companies and also used it to buy a Nintendo games console.

Miss Cassel said:”The Sparks family have been devastated and struggling financially. Their livelihood has been lost. When interviewed Hallett expressed remorse and said she was trying to keep a roof over her family’s head.”

Miss Kelly Scrivener, defending, said her client felt so guilty about what she was doing that she had not paid herself her £1,000 salary for two months to make up for the money she had taken.

She said at the time she had serious financial problems which she was hiding from her husband and that the marriage has now broken up.

She said:”She was not motivated by revenge of greed. She was driven by the particular financial circumstances in which she found herself.”

Hunter Flying was based at Exeter Airport before moving to St Athan at Barry, South Wales. It has since changed its name to Horizon Aircraft Services.

It specialises in restoring and historic warplanes, including Hawker Hunter jets but also provides maintenance services from hangars at the Ministry of Defence run base at St Athan.

It has operated since 1999 and supports enthusiasts who own restored aircraft including Jet Provosts, Strikemasters and Russian-built Yaks.

Its website also offers flight training for pilots who need to qualify to fly historic aircraft, which requires specialist training.

Source: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk

Bitter Cold: Workers at the Saskatoon airport making sure planes run, no matter the weather

 


Kelvin Sproule is bundled up as he works in the bitter cold at West Wind Aviation at the Saskatoon airport.

"They're getting ready to tow that 1900 Beechcraft into the hangar so hopefully it doesn't freeze," he said, pointing to other members of the ground crew working on a nearby plane.

As a member of the ground crew, he's making sure planes are fueled, their power charged and the ramp is clear of snow.

"In a 12 hour shift, you're probably out there maybe six hours at a time," he said.

Sproule explained the cold does make the job more difficult as it's hard on both the people and the planes.

"We prefer rain and everything else to go with it other than snow and cold," he said.

He said a big challenge right now is keeping the planes' engines warm.

"There's been delays because of the cold because if (a plane) has been sitting out there on the ramp there for 20 minutes or a half hour prior to take off, engines freeze up," he said.

What Sproule then has to do is use a big construction heater with hoses to blow warm air on the engines.

He said the key to working outside when the temperature drops is dressing for the cold.

"I have a Saskatchewan Roughrider toque and a balaclava," he said.

"Actually, it's not too bad right now."

He said the worst weather he's had to work in was the huge blizzard of 2007 in Saskatoon when West Wind and WestJet were the only two airlines running.


Source:   http://cjme.com

Wetland threat to airport still unresolved: Napa County (KAPC), California

Napa County and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife remain at loggerheads over whether a wetlands area has been filled in sufficiently to reduce the threat that birds present to planes taking off and landing at the Napa County Airport.

Given the disagreement over facts, the issue may ultimately end up in court if it can’t be resolved through negotiations. This leaves an uncertain future for a leg of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which is planned to connect Napa to American Canyon.

The dispute stems from restoration work Fish and Wildlife performed at an old Cargill salt pond adjacent a Napa County Airport runway, returning the area to wetland habitat. The state bought the land from Cargill as part of a large restoration project spanning thousands of acres of former salt ponds.

That restoration work triggered public safety fears from pilots who fly in and out of the airport. They were concerned that having wetlands so close to a runway would increase the chances that birds could strike their aircraft.

A less bird-friendly safety area — a 7-acre, filled-in upland area near Green Island Road — was proposed.

Napa County Public Works Director Steve Lederer wrote a letter to Fish and Wildlife in October asserting that Fish and Wildlife hadn’t finished the job. The area remained wetlands, the county asserted.

Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham wrote back last week, stating that the department finished that work in the summer of 2008. While the runway safety area isn’t up to Federal Aviation Administration standards, Fish and Wildlife’s letter said the county needed to get easements from the FAA for the reduced standard.

The letter cites a 2010 county email sent to Airport Manager Martin Pehl and the Napa County Park and Open Space District, which said that the runway safety area’s upland elevation would decrease and become wetland over time. The email also said it would be up to the county to do any additional work on the safety area, according to Bonham’s letter.

As such, Fish and Wildlife hasn’t violated its obligations under the an environmental impact report for the restoration project, Bonham wrote. Still, the letter concluded that the department was willing to work on the issue with the county.

Lederer’s letter disputed that Fish and Wildlife had met its requirements.

“We wish to formally request that the Department of Fish and Wildlife do whatever it takes to add sufficient fill to raise the runway safety area to an upland condition,” Lederer wrote. “The new wetland created by your department represents a serious public safety threat to the future operation of the airport that cannot remain unabated.”

Lederer also wrote that the runway safety area is needed to complete the leg of the Bay Trail.


Source:    http://napavalleyregister.com

Daytona mother suspected in 40 burglaries, including Spruce Creek Fly-In

Lyudmila Prilutskaya
DAYTONA BEACH — A mother often drove her teenage son and some of his friends through high-end neighborhoods and the Daytona Flea and Farmer’s Market so that the youths could steal from cars and merchants’ booths, according to sheriff’s officials. 

The woman’s son, 15-year-old Georgiy Andriyenko, told investigators that he and his mother, Lyudmila Prilutskaya, 52, targeted the Spruce Creek Fly-In for example, because it’s “an upscale neighborhood with more valuable stuff to steal.”

Mother and son and their associates are suspected in up to 40 burglaries in Daytona Beach, Port Orange and Ormond Beach over the last month, said Gary Davidson, Volusia County sheriff’s spokesman. The crew stole cash, electronics, wallets, smoking devices and anything else they deemed valuable, Davidson said.

Witnesses have told investigators that Prilutskaya approved or disapproved of the items that were stolen, deciding which ones would be kept based on the property’s value, Davidson said.

But a broken down getaway car did them in.

On Nov. 9, they went to the flea market on Tomoka Farms Road and stole 14 bongs valued at $3,000 from a business called Island Mystique, Davidson said. A security guard caught one of the youngsters from the group and recovered four bongs, Davidson said. The guard let the boy go and when he and the others tried to bolt from the flea market, the car Prilutskaya was driving them in would not start, Davidson said.

Prilutskaya then called someone who agreed to pick up the group. The tag on the abandoned vehicle was traced to Prilutskaya’s residence on St. Augustine Road in Daytona Beach and investigators spoke to both suspects, Davidson said.

Then on Nov. 30, again at the Fly-In, two cars were broken into in a garage and a camera and two iPads were taken, Davidson said. Port Orange arrested Andriyenko the following day and recovered stolen property at his home, Davidson said.

On Thursday, sheriff’s investigators, as well as detectives with the other three agencies obtained search warrants for the house shared by mother and son, Davidson said. The investigators uncovered more stolen goods and the pair were arrested.

Prilutskaya is charged with three counts of burglary, grand theft, child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Her son is charged with three counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft and one count of dealing in stolen property.

Sheriff’s officials say there have been several other burglaries at the flea market not connected to the mother and son.

Arnold Zazulia, owner of Atlantic Tools & More, was surprised to learn something was taken from his shop in the early morning hours Thursday.

It turned out the group of crooks took a hammer from his shop and used it to burglarize the other businesses, Zazulia said.

Dan Hamblen, who manages E-Cigs Best Smokers, said the burglaries have affected business.

“I had people asking for stuff that I didn’t have because it was taken,” Hamblen said Friday. “I have to take home all my stuff in a duffle bag now. I shouldn’t have to do that.”

Flea market management did not return a call Friday for comment.

Steven Savoca, owner of Stronghold Military Exchange, said most businesses are vulnerable as they only cover their booths with a tarp when they leave.

He and other business owners said they worry about the lack of security at the flea market.

“I’m not impressed,” Savoca said. “If I come in one day and all my stuff’s gone, then I’ll shut down.”


Source:  http://www.news-journalonline.com

Police seek help finding suspect in helicopter scam - Delaware

Police are searching for a Delmar man they say stole money through an investment scheme.

In February Rodney Bounds, 48, approached a 76-year-old Delmar man and asked him to invest in a helicopter business, Cpl. John Day said.

The victim gave Bounds $5,000. Bounds contacted him several months later and received more money, police said.

For the past several months, the victim has been unsuccessfully attempting to contact Bounds. Bounds cannot be located and police have been unable to find any sign that the helicopter company was a legitimate business, Day said.

Anyone with information about Bounds’ location is asked to contact Troop 4 at (302) 856-5850 ext. 257, or by using the State Police Mobile Crime Tip App available at: http://www.delaware.gov/apps/. 

Information also may be given to Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."

Article and Photo:  http://www.delawareonline.com

Rodney Bounds / Delaware State Police

Buffalo Airways plane catches fire at the Yellowknife Airport in Northwest Territories, Canada

Mikey McBryan, of N.W.T.'s Buffalo Airways, says another Buffalo plane was delayed from landing at the Yellowknife airport due to the fire in the C-46 on the runway. (CBC)


This Buffalo Airways C-46 airplane caught fire after it blew an engine while taxiing down the runway at the Yellowknife airport around 8 a.m. Friday. (CBC) 

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a Buffalo Airways C-46 airplane caught fire after it blew an engine while taxiing down the runway at the Yellowknife airport around 8 a.m. 

 The plane was bound to pick up freight in Hay River when its right engine caught fire.

Buffalo Airways says the airport fire crew was quick to respond and none of the airplane's three crew members were hurt.

The plane was briefly blocking both runways, until it was given the all-clear to move from the Transportation Safety Board.
 

Mikey McBryan with Buffalo Airways said the fire did cause disruptions.

"It happened right at the intersection of the airport and my father was in a DC-3 coming in with a plane of passengers and he actually had to circle the airport waiting for us to clear the airplane so he could land, so it essentially shut the airport for 20 minutes."

A number of flights were delayed following the incident.

TSB officials will now have a look at the C-46 to find out exactly what went wrong.

Story, photos and comments/reaction:  http://www.cbc.ca





Yellowknife, NWT - No injuries have been reported after a plane engine fire this morning at the Yellowknife Airport.

GNWT Department of Transportation Communications Manager Earl Blacklock explains what happened.

"A Buffalo C-46 aircraft, which was down the runway at the Yellowknife Airport, caught fire in one of its engines earlier this morning. The fire was put out, the crew was safe and the aircraft has now been removed from the runway. Yellowknife Airport operations have resumed to normal. There were no injuries and no significant damage to the aircraft."

Blacklock says there were three crew members on board.

It's not clear whether that included a camera operator.

Buffalo Airways is of course, the airline that is featured in the TV show Ice Pilots NWT. 


Story and Photo:  http://hqyellowknife.com

Man dies in freak accident at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata

Kolkata, Dec 6 (IBNS): Minutes before the arrival of President Pranab Mukherjee at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, a man was killed in a freak accident while he was cutting grass beside the runway here.

The man, identified as Bapi Oraon, fell down from a dumper and was smashed under its wheels when the vehicle started moving suddenly, reports said.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead.

However, there was no hindrance in the landing of the President's aircraft at about 12.25 pm.

Madera County looking for Search and Rescue applicants

By Madera County Sheriff's Office

December 5, 2013

Madera County’s nationally recognized Search & Rescue Team is now accepting applications.

Applications can be picked up at either the Sheriff’s main office at 14143 Road 28 in Madera or the Sheriff’s substation in Oakhurst, 48267 Liberty Drive.

Interested candidates are asked to submit their applications no later than December 31st, 2013.

You must be 18 or older to apply. The Madera County Sheriff’s Department provides training. Novice newcomers are more than welcome. Applicants accepted into the program will undergo a 100 hour class and field training course that covers the following: · Incident Command System · SAR Crime Scene Awareness · Land Navigation · Basic Rope Rescue · Helicopter Safety · Radio Communications · Search Technique

Madera County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team is trained and certified to carry out the following missions in regards to both rescue and recovery operations:

· 4X4 Team · Dive/Swiftwater Team · Technical Rescue Team · Snowmobile Team · Communication Team · Medical Team · Incident Management Team · OHV Team

Again, if you are interested in becoming a SAR volunteer you are urged to fill out an application and submit it no later than December 31, 2013

Applications can be dropped off at the Sheriff’s main Office, the Department’s Substation in Oakhurst, to the attention of Sgt. Jim Bernardi.

Pilot dies in crash - South Africa

Well-known local resident and pilot, Keith Irwin (61), died on Friday afternoon when his light aircraft crashed during take-off at The Coves estate where he lived.

Keith, a long-time resident of Hartbeespoort and owner of the Top Flight Academy flight school at the Brits Airfield, took off from The Coves in his two-seater aircraft shortly after 13:30 to fly to Mahikeng. According to eyewitnesses, the plane made strange noises when it took off and then crashed just over the estate’s fence onto a neighboring farm.

Keith had more than 25 years’ flight experience.

According to Loanne Louw from the Hartbeespoort Emergency Services, Keith was already dead with the paramedics’ arrival on the scene.

Brits Airfield chairman, Roel Jansen, said Keith was an accomplished pilot and the airfield wants to express its deep-felt sympathy to his daughter and other family members.

“At this stage it seems as if the aircraft stalled shortly after take-off, according to what eyewitnesses saw. The civil aviation authorities are investigating the cause,” he said.

“Keith was in the process of establishing a pilot training school for disadvantaged communities in Pilanesberg, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, at the time of his death,” Roel said.

Taxpayers should have questions about Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Filed Under 
Letters To The Editor  


I must be a misinformed taxpayer of Winnebago County. I attended the 2014 county budget meeting and asked these three questions concerning tax dollars. No one chose to answer.

1) How does Wittman Regional Airport expect more income next year from the storage of Oshkosh trucks when income from this storage has declined already this year? A shortage of about a half-million dollars of income based on the current situation of Oshkosh not securing new Defense Department contracts seems to be a cautious estimate.

2) Why do we keep spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the airport fire equipment? Based on Wittman’s status, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t require our airport to provide fire service.

3) Since 2011, we have spent nearly $200,000 on promotions at the airport. How do we measure success? About $75,000 was spent to list Wittman as the “official airport” of a cable TV show produced in Canada. More than $14,000 was spent on blogs written by a firm in Chicago. More than $6,000 was spent on some sort of writing contest for Oshkosh school students. The answers must be so obvious that almost no one on the Winnebago County Board or our executive raised an eyebrow. What I did learn is that Wittman is off-limits when questioning spending.

Buckle up, fellow taxpayers. In the near future, the airport advisory board wants to build a new terminal building. Yes, a new terminal/bus station.

Dumb questions? Maybe; maybe not. It seems everyone at the meeting must have known the answers but me, the taxpayer.

Larry Last,

Oshkosh


Source:    http://www.postcrescent.com

Russian Investigators Search Flight Watchdog Over Kazan Crash

MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators announced a search at the offices of the country’s civil aviation watchdog Friday in connection with last month’s Tatarstan Airlines crash in Kazan that killed 50 people.

“The plane’s captain, Rustem Salikhov, was a qualified flight navigator, and then he supposedly obtained certification as a commercial pilot from one of the aviation training centers licensed by [the watchdog] Rosaviatsia,” said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee.

“Investigators have raised doubts over the legality of the activities of these centers, which have since closed down,” he said.

Markin said investigators would search Rosaviatsia departments to confiscate paperwork related to the training centers, and would also question the department heads.

Tatarstan Airways previously said Salikhov was an experienced pilot with around 2,500 hours flight time, while his co-pilot had around 1,900 hours.

No traces of alcohol or drugs were found in the blood of the pilots flying the doomed aircraft, Markin said Friday.

The Boeing 737-500 operated by Tatarstan Airlines, flying from Moscow to the central Russian city of Kazan, crashed on November 17 while attempting to land at Kazan Airport. All those on board – six crewmembers and 44 passengers – were killed after the pilots apparently lost control of the aircraft after overshooting during a missed approach.

On Wednesday, the airline’s general director was sacked, and the next day, Rosaviatsia recommended the airline's license be revoked over violations of the regulations, following an inspection of the company in the wake of the fatal crash.

Russia's airlines are increasingly suffering from a shortage of qualified aircrew. On Thursday, the government approved a bill that would allow foreign pilots to work as crew members on Russian civilian aircraft, which they had not previously been allowed to do.


Source:   http://en.ria.ru

Reconstructing the Kazan Plane Crash:  http://en.ria.ru/infographics

Kestrel Aircraft remains behind on Brunswick Landing rent

The Forecaster Staff
Dylan Martin
Friday, December 6, 2013



BRUNSWICK — Kestrel Aircraft Co., a major tenant of the former naval air station, remains several months behind in lease payments to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

The aviation startup has been waiting for financing to continue toward its goal of manufacturing a new turboprop single-engine plane.

Steve Levesque, MRRA's executive director, confirmed on Tuesday that Kestrel hasn't paid rent for "several months," but could not provide more specifics, citing a need to protect the company's financial information.

He said there is a month-to-month arrangement in place to defer Kestrel's payments.

"We have agreed to defer their rent, but it involves discussion and constant evaluation," he said. "... We're confident that they will be able to secure the funding to pay off the rent and grow the company. If I didn't have that confidence we would have said, 'no, you ought to give up your lease.'"

John Peters, chairman of the MRRA board of trustees, echoed Levesque's remarks.

"Like any business, we're trying to work with this tenant and be patient, let them get new capital in place, hope for the best," Peters said, adding that his board is aware of the situation. "... They're a big tenant for us, so we're hoping soon they'll get their capital in place and get current."

Kestrel's rent is about $13,000 a month for nearly 84,000 square feet of administrative and workshop space at Brunswick Landing's Hangar 6.

The aviation company's 20-year lease from MRRA, the quasi-municipal organization charged with redeveloping the base, began in April 2011.

Kestrel's financial woes were first reported by the Bangor Daily News in September, when Chief Executive Officer Alan Klapmeier confirmed the company was having "cash flow issues."

At the time, Klapmeier said although Kestrel was current with payroll, some employees had been furloughed or place on reduced work or pay. He also said that completion of a prototype plane was a year behind schedule.

In addition, Klapmeier said he was expecting  a significant source of funding to come through to finance "essentially the majority of the project."

On Wednesday, Kestrel spokeswomen Kate Dougherty confirmed that the company has arranged with MRRA to defer rent payments, but declined to comment on other financial details.

She said she also couldn't comment on the progress for financing.

"Alan Klapmeier is relentless in his capital investment campaign," Dougherty said. "He absolutely continues to pursue capital financing."

Alluding to how some successful companies once struggled as startups, Dougherty said, "we're Apple in the garage and not (General Electric.)" She also said "tremendous work" is already being done, including the beginning of the company's Federal Aviation Administration certification process.

Kestrel, which employs about 40 people at Brunswick Landing, originally set its sights on the former naval air station for its headquarters, with an announcement in July 2010. At the time, Klapmeier said he hoped to create 300 jobs.

But more than a year later, after the company was courted by Maine and two other states, Kestrel's CEO announced the company would move its manufacturing operations to Superior, Wis., where the company received a better financial package. A smaller workforce remained in Brunswick to create composite components of the plane, while a majority of workers – about 60 – are in Superior.

Levesque said it's not unusual for a developer like MRRA to give a business experiencing financial difficulty some time to sort things out, especially if they're willing to keep communications open.

"We'd hate to have all these people laid off just so (Kestrel) could pay their rent," he said, noting that such a scenario would be regretted if the company ended up with financing only weeks later.

He said two other tenants at Brunswick Landing have had similar difficulties, but he would not disclose which ones.

But Levesque did identify two businesses whose leases were canceled because of funding problems.

"Integrated Marine Systems and Resilient Communications aren't here anymore because they couldn't afford it," he said, adding that decisions to end their leases were mutual. "The key is to maintain constant communication with our tenants."


Source:   http://www.theforecaster.net