Friday, December 27, 2013

Erie International Airport (KERI), Pennsylvania

There were some tense moments, Friday night, at the Erie International Airport, as first responders waited by the runway, for an emergency landing.

Reports first came in around 8 PM, for a failing hydraulic system of a plane flying nearby.

Several crews, including the West Ridge Fire Department, were called to the scene, preparing for a possible crash landing.

Around 40 people and 2,000 lbs. of fuel were on board.


Luckily, the plane made it to the runway safely, and all passengers are okay.

Part of Asbury Road and Powell Avenue were closed for a time as a precaution.


Source:    http://www.erietvnews.com

Phuket Flight Forced to Turn Back After Birds Strike Jet Engine

PHUKET: Bird strike forced a flight to return to Phuket International Airport last night when the smell of burning feathers entered the cabin, alarming passengers.

The AirAsia FD3167 flight took off from Phuket for Chiang Mai at 7.26pm and it's believed birds became caught in one jet engine soon after.

With the smell of burning evident to the 160 passengers on board, the captain turned back and landed at Phuket at 7.58pm.

A check on the engines of the aircraft showed that nothing was damaged and the flight took off after a delay. AirAsia reported that 10 passengers chose to fly using an alternative carrier.

The remainder completed their journey to Chiang Mai after a stop at Bangkok's Don Muang airport.

Flights to Phuket are fully booked at this time of the year - the peak season - with visitors to Bangkok who wish to see Phuket forced to consider travelling by bus.

Tourist industry official complain that there are never enough seats on flights to cope with all passengers who wish to visit Phuket at this time of the year. 


Source:  http://phuketwan.com

SkyBahamas brings Christmas to The Mission Home for Children in Cat Island

 
SkyBahamas Representatives Captain L. Miller (left) and Mr. J Chea (right) present The Mission Children’s Home caretaker Cindy Moss (center) with presents for members of the children’s home in Cat Island.



Nassau, Bahamas – SkyBahamas made a special delivery on Christmas Eve this year as representatives brought cards and gifts for each child of The Mission Home for children in Cat Island. 

In celebration of the season an estimated fifteen children were presented with large boxes filled with toys and gifts, an annual effort taken on by SkyBahamas.

With rosy cheeks and not much of a beard, Captain L. Miller, assisted by Mr. Jamarl Chea and members of the SkyBahamas team, called each child by name and delivered boxes of joy straight into their outstretched hands. The eyes of the children lit up and their smiles sparkled as they patiently waited to hear their names before receiving boxes of joy for Christmas.

Following the presentation, a brief “Thank You” was shyly given by one of the young residents of the home, and gratitude for helping to make their Christmas an exciting one was expressed to Captain Butler and the SkyBahamas team on behalf of the home by Ms. Cindy Moss, a caretaker at Mission Home.

“The Christmas season is one for giving to others, and we at SkyBahamas always believe in giving back. On behalf of our CEO, Captain Randy Butler and the SkyBahamas team, it was a great feeling to see the joy we were able to bring the children this Christmas,” stated Captain Miller.

SkyBahamas partnered with the Mission Home in Cat Island following the inaugural flight to the island, and continues to make an effort to provide for the needs of the children whenever possible.

SkyBahamas offers flights into Abaco, Cat Island, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Exuma, Long Island and New Providence. Please contact 702-2600 for reservations, Like the SkyBahamas page on Facebook or follow @FlySkyBahamas on Twitter. 


Source:   http://www.thebahamasweekly.com

Pilatus PC-12 NG: Ontario Provincial Police gets new plane for many tasks

 

From the OPP 

OPP Aviation Services has accepted delivery of a replacement fixed-wing aircraft—a 2013 Pilatus PC-12 NG.

Based in Thunder Bay, the Pilatus is a single-engine, turbo-prop airplane that is used to transport OPP and other personnel to the site of criminal investigations or emergency situations.

Additionally, the OPP Pilatus assists with surveillance, security detail, transportation of prisoners, and some search-and-rescue operations.

“The members of OPP Aviation Services play a critical role in combating crime and helping to keep our communities safe,” noted OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.

“It is important that we invest in the tools that help them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” he added.

“Whether for search-and-rescue operations, or for surveillance or other law enforcement functions, the acquisition of this replacement aircraft will ensure that our pilots will continue to be prepared, ready, and able to carry out their duties in the service of the people of Ontario in the best traditions of the [OPP],” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, OPP Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

The OPP has owned and operated various aircraft since 1974 to support fulfilling of its provincial mandate.

The current OPP fleet includes two 2011-model helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft—the Pilatus and a Cessna.

Routinely, the OPP Pilatus flies 1,300-1,400 hours per year.

The current 1997 Pilatus PC-12/45 has been in service since January, 1998, having transported an estimated 40,000 passengers and 90,000 pounds of freight during its operational life.

In terms of distances flown, the OPP Pilatus has travelled an estimated 151 trips around the Earth at the equator.

The 1997 Pilatus will be decommissioned as police equipment and returned to the vendor—Pilatus Centre Canada of Thunder Bay—for eventual resale.


Source:  http://fftimes.com

Pilatus PC 12/47E: Company owned by Missouri US Sen. McCaskill's husband purchases airplane

 

WASHINGTON — Sen. Claire McCaskill has a new private plane at her disposal, and new ethical safeguards to prevent the kind of embarrassing lapses that landed her in political hot water in 2011, her spokesman said today.

John LaBombard, McCaskill’s spokesman, said in an email that the company owned by McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, has purchased a new plane -- a $3.45 million Pilatus PC 12/47E that will “primarily be used for his business” and also chartered by others through an independent company. Shepard is a real estate investor.

“Claire may occasionally use the plane, but will always do so at her own expense,” LaBombard said.

McCaskill, D-Mo., and her husband sold their previous aircraft in 2011, after disclosures that the Missouri Democrat had used taxpayer money from her Senate office budget to pay for flights on the plane. McCaskill also revealed that she and her husband had failed to pay more than $300,000 in state property taxes on the plane.

She eventually paid the delinquent taxes and reimbursed the Treasury more than $88,000 for the cost of the flights. Facing a tough re-election contest and ethics charges from the GOP, McCaskill declared that she had convinced her husband to sell the “damn” plane.

“I will never set foot on the plane again,” she told reporters in 2011. She eventually sold that aircraft for $2 million. She won re-election in 2012.

LaBombard said McCaskill has put in place strict rules to make sure there are no lapses with the new plane.

“Safeguards have been implemented to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will ever be used to pay for or reimburse any costs associated with the plane, and that every cost associated with the plane is paid fully and on-time,” he said.

LaBombard said an independent company would manage compliance with tax laws, financial reporting, and any disclosures associated with the plane to ensure “that all payments associated with the plane are paid fully and on time.” He said McCaskill would “never” seek Senate reimbursement for travel on the plane even if she uses it for official Senate work.


http://www.news-leader.com 

McCaskill's Family Has Purchased Another Private Plane

Don’t fly in bad weather: Directorate General of Civil Aviation to chopper pilots

Pressure from employers and the fear of action by the civil aviation regulator are two main factors behind helicopter pilots opting to fly even in hostile weather, resulting in accidents.

This has been the finding of the regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

As a result, the DGCA on Friday issued a circular asking chopper pilots to stop operations in bad weather if they felt the need to do so, without bothering about the consequences of their decision.

"Keeping the safety of the helicopter and its occupants in mind, it has been decided that no punitive action would be taken against pilots who decided to abort the mission and carry out safe forced landing due to deteriorating weather provided the DGCA’s air safety directorate (is informed about them) as soon as they have taken place," read the circular.

"Pilots should not hesitate to divert or abort the mission as and when they encounter bad weather ... Such action is desirable in the interests of safety of the occupants on board the helicopter," said a senior directorate official, requesting anonymity.

This concern was first raised in the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s 169th reports on transport, tourism and culture, tabled in the Rajya Sabha in October 2011.

The report stated it had recorded instances of forced landings and take-offs of helicopters in low visibility, bad weather and even during nights.

While chopper pilots in advanced aviation economies have access to real-time weather data with Doppler radars and automated weather stations, the directorate’s review found the weather data in hilly areas are usually erratic and information from local weather stations is seldom available.


Source:  http://www.hindustantimes.com

Cessna 172K Skyhawk, N251JM: Fatal accident occurred December 26, 2013 in Fresno, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA078
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 26, 2013 in Fresno, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/09/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N251JM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The non-instrument rated pilot was on a cross-country flight in dark night, hazy, visual flight rules conditions. As the pilot approached his intended destination airport, witnesses observed the pilot attempt to land the airplane three times. During the third attempt to land, the airplane struck a 62-ft-tall tree with the left wingtip; the tree was located about 1,400 ft from the approach end of the runway. The airplane then continued to fly over the runway and entered a left turn. Subsequently, the airplane descended rapidly into the ground. Wreckage and impact signatures were consistent with a near-vertical impact with the ground. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. Review of the pilot’s Federal Aviation Administration medical records revealed that the pilot had not reported any medical conditions. However, according to the pilot’s personal medical records, the pilot had elevated cholesterol, gout, high blood pressure, and chronic depression that was in remission; all were adequately controlled and the medications being used were unlikely to impair the pilot’s performance.

Although the pilot’s corrected visual acuity remained 20/20 bilaterally, he had complained to his optometrist of vision problems with halos around stars. Annual exams documented progression of bilateral cataracts and vitreous opacities in the 4 years before the accident. Cataracts can cause halos around points of light (glare) and degrade night vision. A witness, who was based at the pilot’s home airport, reported that the pilot recently had problems taxiing on a familiar lighted runway and taxiway at night. The witness reported that he had to drive his truck onto the taxiway and use the truck’s headlights to allow the pilot to find his way off the runway. Based on the pilot’s 4-year history of progressive bilateral cataracts, complaints of halos around stars at night, prior difficulty operating the airplane at night on his lighted home airport runway, and his unsuccessful attempts to land on this unfamiliar runway at night, it is likely that cataracts degraded his ability to see clearly at night and resulted in his inability to safely operate the airplane during the accident sequence.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from trees while on approach, which subsequently led to a loss of airplane control. Also causal was the pilot’s continued operation of the airplane at night with a diagnosed medical condition that degraded his night vision. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 26, 2013, about 1820 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172K, N251JM, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH), Fresno, California. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Tehachapi, California at 1643, with an intended destination of FCH.

Information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot was receiving Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight following with Air Traffic Control (ATC). When the flight was about 10 miles south of the airport, the pilot notified ATC that he had the airport in sight. Subsequently, ATC canceled flight following and approved the pilot to change frequencies at 1802.

Multiple witnesses located adjacent to the accident site and airport reported observing the accident airplane enter the airport traffic pattern for runway 30. A witness located on the ramp area of the airport stated that the airplane initially captured his attention when it landed hard about midway down the runway, then proceeded to takeoff. Witnesses observed the airplane continue on a northwesterly heading and maneuver for landing on runway 12, where they observed the airplane flying at a high rate of speed about 10 to 15 feet above ground level (agl). The witnesses stated that the airplane entered a climb about three-quarters of the way down the runway and continued to the southwest where a series of turns were performed. Witnesses further stated that they then observed the airplane approach runway 30. Two witnesses located about mid-field on the airport reported observing the airplane fly along the runway about 100 feet agl, and noted that the left wing navigation light appeared to be inoperative. The witnesses stated that as the airplane neared the departure end of runway 30 at an altitude of about 400 feet agl, it rolled to the left and descended in a vertical attitude below their line of sight behind a row of hangars.

Review of airport security camera recordings revealed that 3 cameras, pointed at various locations on the airport, captured the lights of an airplane maneuvering over the runway, consistent with the accident airplane. The recordings depicted the runway lights turning on at 1811:54.

The first camera, located on the air traffic control tower, includes a view of the ramp, runway, and general area to the southeast. At 1813:44, lights of an airplane enter the right side of the cameras view angle, traveling towards the approach end of runway 30. The airplane was observed making a left turn, consistent with aligning with runway 30, and descending towards the runway. The airplane exited the view of the camera at 1814:29, at an altitude that appeared to be just above the runway surface. At 1816:58, the lights of the accident airplane traveled into view of the camera from the left, in an area consistent with runway 12, at a low altitude. The airplane appeared to enter a climb and continued on runway heading before initiating a left turn, and then traveled out of view of the camera at 1818:02. Lights of the airplane reappeared in the cameras view from the left at 1818:26. The airplane appeared to be in a descent, and in a right turn to align with runway 30. The airplane then continued to descend toward the runway. Two bright flashes from the airplane were observed 1819:23. The airplane continued to fly along the runway heading, and appeared to be in a climb until it traveled out of view of the camera at 1819:36.

A second camera, located adjacent to the airport administration building, includes a view of part of the runway, taxiway, airport administration building, and general area to the north. At 1814:24, lights of an airplane enter the camera view from the right side, at a low altitude, traveling on a heading consistent with runway 30. The lights of the airplane momentarily were blocked from view of the camera as they traveled behind the airport administration building, until they reappeared a short time later. The lights of the airplane appeared to be ascending above an area consistent with the runway, entered a right turn, followed by a left turn, until it exited the left side of the camera view at 1815:24. The airplane reappeared within the left side of the cameras view at 1816:37, and subsequently appeared to be in a right descending turn, aligned with runway 12. Lights consistent with the wing tip navigation lights (right wing) and the landing light on the left wing were observed. The airplane continued to descend out of view behind the airport administration building, and reappeared shortly thereafter in a climb from behind the administration building, until it exited the cameras view at 1817:03. At 1819:32, the airplane reentered the cameras view from the right, traveling along a heading consistent with runway 30. The airplane appeared to be in a level attitude before it entered a slight climb and a left turn. The airplane traveled out of the left side of the cameras view angle at 1820:02.

A third camera, located on the airport administration building, includes a view of the airport fuel pumps, runway, taxiway, air traffic control tower, and general area to the northwest. Review of the recorded video revealed that lights of an airplane entered the camera view at 1814:44 from the right side. The airplane's lights continued along runway 30, entered a climbing right turn, followed by a left turn, and then continued to travel outside of the cameras view at 1815:46. The airplane reappeared at 1816:04 on the left side of the cameras view. It then appeared to turn right and align with runway 12 while descending. The airplane continued traveling along runway 12 in a wings level attitude until it exited the cameras view at 1816:53. At 1819:50, the lights of the accident airplane entered the view of the camera from the right, and traveled on a heading consistent with runway 30 heading before a left turn was observed. Shortly thereafter, the lights of the airplane descended rapidly toward the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 72, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. A third-class airman medical certificate was issued to the pilot on May 15, 2013, with the limitations stated "must possess glasses for near vision." The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 1,500 total flight hours. Review of the pilot's logbook, which was located within the wreckage, and was fire damaged, revealed that as of the most recent logbook entry, dated February 1, 2013, the pilot had accumulated a total of 1,459.34 total hours of flight time, of which 25.3 hours were at night. The pilot's most recent flight review was completed on January 22, 2013.

A witness located at the pilot's home airport reported that approximately 3 weeks prior to the accident, about 1900 local time (after sunset), he heard the pilot flying within the airport traffic pattern for about 30 minutes. The witness started his vehicle, and observed the accident pilot about 20 feet above the ground, landing on runway 11 at the Tehachapi Airport. The witness observed landing light coming towards his location on runway 29 and queried the pilot using a hand held radio if he was coming to his hangar, since his normal parking area was in the opposite direction. The pilot replied "…no, I am trying to find the taxi way." The witness stated that he asked the pilot what he meant by "…trying to find the taxiway," and the pilot responded, "I can't find the exit off the runway." The witness instructed the pilot to remain in his current location. He then utilized his vehicle headlights to illuminate the taxiway, and assisted the pilot to exit off of the runway. The witness further stated that the pilot taxied off the runway, said thanks, and continued to parking. He added that at the time, the runway and taxiway lights were illuminated.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number (S/N) 17259188, was manufactured in 1970. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, serial number L-28066-27A, rated at 150 horsepower. The airplane was also equipped with a fixed pitch propeller.

Review of the airframe and engine logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on January 11, 2013, at a tachometer time of 1,050.4 hours, airframe total time of 3,706.1 hours, and an engine time since major overhaul of 876.2 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A review of recorded data from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) automated weather observation station, located 6 miles northeast of the accident site, revealed at 1953, conditions were wind from 320 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 5 miles, haze, clear sky, temperature 10 degrees Celsius, dew point 3 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Fresno Chandler Executive Airport is a non-towered airport that features a single asphalt runway, 12/30, which is 3,627 feet in length and 75 feet wide. Runway 30 was equipped with a 4-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) light system, oriented on a 3-degree glideslope and a 438-foot displaced threshold. The edges of the runway were marked by white runway lights. Two strobe lights on either side of the runway at the threshold were observed. Red lights from the threshold to the approach end of the runway surface (the entire displaced area of the threshold) were observed. Green lights were observed at the runway threshold (marking the beginning of the actual runway). The common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) is 123.00. The runway lighting system is controlled by the CTAF frequency after airport operation hours. The reported field elevation is 279 feet mean sea level.

The NTSB IIC, with assistance of a Fresno Police Department Helicopter, flew a visual flight rules approach to runway 30, with the PAPI indicating 2 white and 2 red lights the day following the accident. Throughout the entire approach, the descent was normal and no irregularities were noted. The IIC noted that as the helicopter passed over the tree that the accident airplane struck, the helicopter's altitude was about 100 feet above the tree.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain about 490 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 30. The airplane came to rest upright on an approximate heading of about 328 degrees magnetic. All major structural items of the airplane were located within about 50 feet of the main wreckage, except for a portion of the outboard left fiberglass wingtip. Two trees, located immediately to the southwest of main wreckage, were about 15 feet in height, and had numerous branches separated. Three pine trees located about 10 feet north of the main wreckage, and about 50 feet in height were not damaged. Two yard lights, about 10 feet in height and located 12 feet to the west of the main wreckage, were not damaged. A fence, about 6 feet in height, located about 2 feet east of the main wreckage, was not damaged. Two sets of power lines, located about 40 and 110 feet east of the main wreckage, were not damaged. However, a small cable, similar to a telephone or cable TV cable that extended from the farthest east set of power lines to a residential house located about 67 feet west of the main wreckage, was damaged. The orientation of the cable, from the power pole to the house, extended directly over the accident site.

In a secondary location, located about 1,406 feet southeast of the approach end of runway 30, multiple paint chips, landing light cover lens fragments, and a portion of the left fiberglass wingtip was located. A tree, about 62 feet in height, exhibited numerous broken branches about 40 to 45 feet above the ground.

Examination of the main wreckage revealed that the right wing was mostly intact and exhibited fire damage throughout. The leading edge was buckled and compressed aft throughout its span to aft of the forward wing spar. The wing chord at the wing tip was reduced to about 18 inches and 4 feet outboard of the fuel cell. The wing structure and flap from the fuel tank to the wing root was consumed by fire. The remaining portion of the flap and aileron remained attached to the wing via their respective mounts. The flap was in the retracted position.

The left wing was mostly intact and exhibited fire damage throughout. The leading edge was buckled and compressed aft throughout its span to the forward wing spar. Additional fire damage was observed at the wing root and area surrounding the fuel tank. The flap and aileron remained attached to the wing via their respective mounts. The flap was in the retracted position. The left wing tip was separated.

The fuselage, about three feet forward of the horizontal stabilizer, was mostly consumed and melted by fire. The left and right horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained attached via their respective mounts. The outboard leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer exhibited impact damage. The right outboard portion of the right horizontal stabilizer, about 20 inches from the tip, was buckled and partially bent upwards. The vertical stabilizer was intact, and the rudder remained attached. The top portion of the rudder was partially separated.

Flight control continuity was established throughout the airframe from all primary control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The elevator trim actuator position was found to be unreliable due to the cables being pulled by first responders. The flap motor was found separated, and the flap jack screw was found in a position consistent with the flaps being in the retracted position. The flap jackscrew moved freely by hand when rotated.

The engine remained partially attached to the engine mount structure, and exhibited thermal damage to the accessory housing area. The number one and number four cylinders exhibited impact damage to the bottom part of the cylinder. The vacuum pump and both magnetos remained attached via their respective mounts. The alternator and starter were separated from the engine. The propeller and crankshaft propeller flange were separated. The area of fracture exhibited 45-degree shearlips and torsional overload signatures.

The cylinder rocker box covers, magnetos, top spark plugs, and vacuum pump were removed. The crankshaft was rotated by hand utilizing a drive tool attached to the accessory pad
from which the vacuum pump was removed. Rotational continuity was established and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders in proper firing order. All intake and exhaust rocker arms lift action was observed. No evidence of any catastrophic mechanical malfunction was observed. All cylinders were examined internally using a lighted borescope. No evidence off foreign object ingestion or detonation was observed. The intake and exhaust valves, piston faces, and cylinder combustion domes were unremarkable.

The left magneto was intact. The magneto driveshaft was rotated by hand and impulse coupling engagement was rotated. When the driveshaft was rotated, spark was produced on all four posts. The right magneto was intact and exhibited fire damage. The magneto driveshaft was rotated by hand and no spark was produced. The magneto was disassembled, and the internal areas of the magneto exhibited fire damage. The ignition harness was fire damaged.

The top spark plugs exhibited light gray coloration within the electrode area, and were free of mechanical damage. The spark plugs exhibited signatures of normal operation.

The upper portion of the carburetor remained attached to the engine. The carburetor bowl was displaced from the carburetor assembly. The throttle and mixture control cables were secure at their respective control arms. The carburetor float assembly was impact damaged. Various fuel lines were impact and fire damaged.

The vacuum pump was intact and fire damaged. The vacuum pump was removed and the drive coupler was intact and undamaged. The vanes and rotor were undamaged.

The propeller remained attached to the propeller flange. One propeller blade was bent aft about 80 degrees along a small radius bend about 12 inches outboard of the propeller hub. The outboard 4 inches of the blade tip was curled aft about 45 degrees. Leading edge polishing was observed. The opposing blade was missing the outboard two inches of the blade tip. The remaining three inches of the blade tip was bent forward about 45 degrees. The propeller blade was bent and twisted aft about 45 degrees along a large radius bend, which started about 18 inches outboard of the blade hub. The blade exhibited leading edge polishing.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Fresno County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on December 28, 2013. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "…multiple…injuries due to blunt impact." The autopsy report revealed that evaluation of the heart was limited due to the extent of injury but identified mild to moderate coronary artery disease. The left main and left anterior descending coronary artery had up to 40% narrowing, and the right coronary artery up to 20% narrowing from atherosclerosis. The autopsy did not identify heart muscle fibrosis (scarring).

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and had positive results for unspecified levels of Bupropion in the muscle and liver.

Review of the autopsy, toxicology tests, FAA Medical Certification File, and the pilot's medical records by NTSB Medical Officer, revealed the pilot received his first medical certificate in April 2003. According to his most recent medical certification examination, dated May 15, 2013, he was 72 inches tall, and weighed 251 pounds. The pilot marked "NO" to all blocks in section 18 of the application for a medical certificate including, "Have you ever in your life been diagnosed with, had or do you presently have"… "c. Eye or vision trouble except glasses" and "d. Mental disorders of any sort, depression, anxiety, etc." The Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) issued the pilot a third-class medical certificate with the following limitation: Must have available glasses for near vision.

Review of personal medical records from March 2010 through November 2013, revealed that the pilot had a history of high cholesterol, gout, high blood pressure, and major depression in complete remission. Records from the pilot's last visit on November 23, 2013, identified his medications as simvastatin, allopurinol, lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide, and bupropion. On that date, the records noted, "mood, memory and judgment normal."

Simvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol, and is marketed as Zocor. Allopurinol is used to treat gout, and is marketed as Zyloprim. Lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide are used to treat high blood pressure, and are marketed as Prinivil and Esidrix (respectively). Bupropion is used to treat depression and help people quit smoking; it is marketed with the additional names Wellbutrin and Zyban.

According to additional records from the pilot's optometrist, he began annual visits to his optometrist in May 2010 because he was seeing halos around stars at night. That exam identified bilateral cataracts with trace nuclear sclerosis (yellowing and opacification of the central zone of the lens) in the left lens and 1+ nuclear sclerosis in the right lens. At that time, his corrected distance visual acuity was 20/20 in both eyes; his corrected visual acuity remained unchanged on all following examinations. The pilot's last eye exam was dated November 14, 2013 and the optometrist recorded bilateral cataracts with 1+ nuclear sclerosis, bilateral vitreous floaters, and a right vitreous opacity.

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA078 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 26, 2013 in Fresno, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N251JM

Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On December 26, 2013, about 1821 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172K, N251JM, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH), Fresno, California. The airplane was registered to private individuals and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Tehachapi, California at 1643 with an intended destination of FCH.


Preliminary information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot was receiving Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight following with Air Traffic Control (ATC). When the flight was about 10 miles south of the airport, the pilot notified ATC that he had the airport in sight. Subsequently, ATC cancelled flight following and approved the pilot to change frequencies.


Multiple witnesses located adjacent to the accident site and airport reported observing the accident airplane enter the airport traffic pattern for runway 30. A witness located on the ramp area of the airport stated that the airplane initially captured his attention when it landed hard about midway down the runway then proceeded to takeoff. Witnesses observed the airplane continue on a northwesterly heading and maneuver for landing on runway 12, where they observed the airplane fly at a high rate of speed about 10 to 15 feet above ground level (agl). The witnesses stated that the airplane entered a climb about three-quarters down the runway and continued to the southwest where a series of turns were performed. Witnesses further stated that they then observed the airplane approach runway 30. Two witnesses located about mid-field of the airport reported observing the airplane fly along the runway about 100 feet agl, and noted that the left wing navigation light appeared to be inoperative. The witnesses stated that as the airplane neared the departure end of runway 30 at an altitude of about 400 feet agl, it rolled to the left and descended in a vertical attitude below their line of site behind a row of hangars.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain about 490 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 30. All major structural items of the airplane were located within about 50 feet of the main wreckage, except for a portion of the outboard left fiberglass wingtip. Numerous white paint chips, landing light lens cover fragments, and a portion of the left fiberglass wingtip was located about 1,406 feet southeast of the threshold of runway 30. A tree about 62 feet in height exhibited numerous broken branches about 40 to 45 feet above the ground. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.


http://registry.faa.gov/N251JM



 









 



 
















The lights on the runway at Chandler Downtown Airport were working properly Thursday night, an airport official said Saturday.

The lights were tested to make sure they were all working the night Timothy Lowell Farmer, 72, of Tehachapi, and Finn Thompson, 9, from Fresno, died when their Cessna 172K Skyhawk crashed near the southwest Fresno airport, the official said.

Trees near the runway were also checked to determine if they had been trimmed enough so as to not obstruct any aircraft coming in to land. The check showed the trees were not a problem for the pilot, the official said.

---------

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man who let a friend borrow his Cessna 172 Skywalk said Tim Farmer and his nephew were in his plane when it crashed in a Southwest Fresno neighborhood Thursday night. 

 As small planes continued to take off from Chandler Airport Friday the NTSB investigators combed through the crash site just west of the runway. But the wreckage can only tell investigators so much. Investigators are also depending on witnesses and flight data to determine exactly how the plane crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Farmer was in his 70s and was licensed with the FAA. The NTSB began to remove the wreckage from the crash site and transported it to Madera for further examination Friday.

So far the NTSB knows that Farmer and his 9-year-old nephew left Chandler Airport and headed towards Tehachapi.

"Right now we're still trying to see if he landed or not, I don't have any data to suggest he landed in Tehachapi it was departed from here en route we think it was there we don't know ultimate destination yet," Joshua Cawthra with the NTSB said.

George Novinger said he believes Farmer took his plane up to Fresno, spent the holiday with family and offered his 9-year-old nephew a ride in the plane.

In a statement Novinger said, "It's a very sad situation. In 1959 I was teaching at Hoover High School and Tim was in my phys. ed. class. I've known him a long time. He loved aviation and was a good pilot; he had well over 1,500 hours of flying time. He loved to help people. He's single and lives in Bear Valley."

When Farmer was on his way back to Fresno and entered Chandler airspace witnesses reported the plane flying erratically.

"And continued to fly down the runway in the opposite direction and from there observed by radar and witnesses to do another 180 turn towards the runway," Cawthra said.

The NTSB said the plane then hit a tree, losing some of the plane in a Southwest Fresno neighborhood, before flying about another mile and crashing into the front yard of a home west of the Chandler runway. Both Farmer and his nephew died in the crash.

"I would like to extend my condolences to the families of both occupants of the aircraft, from the NTSB it's a tragic time," Cawthra said.

The NTSB says they are still looking for the pilot's log book to determine his level of flying experience. And say while a full report won't be available for six months their initial determination will be made public in about a week. 


http://abclocal.go.com


KMPH Fox 26 News has just learned that the two victims of Thursday night's crash near Chandler Airport were Tim Farmer and his 8-year old nephew, Finn. 
 
KMPH Fox 26 News received a statement from the family of Finn Thompson. Christina Askins, speaking on behalf of the family said, "We would like to thank everyone in the valley for the prayers and condolences. We feel your prayers at this difficult time in our lives."

NTSB investigators arrived on Friday and began sorting through the wreckage. Investigators took the single engine Cessna to Madera where they will piece the plane together.

Friends of the family tell KMPH Fox 26 News the plane actually left from Tehachapi and was headed into the Chandler Airport. Investigators say the plane made two180–degree turns before it clipped a tree. Pieces of the left wing were found in a backyard near the airport.

Friends say Farmer had radioed that he was concerned about the trees on approach and made two flyovers before attempting to land. Witnesses say the pilot tried to correct, but nosedived into the front yard.

Family friends and investigators say Farmer is an experienced pilot that has landed at the Chandler Airport before. NTSB investigators say Farmer is a licensed private plane pilot. Investigators say they're working on piecing everything together so the family can have answers.

"In hopes to ultimately determine what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent these types of accidents from ever occurring again," says NTSB Aviation Investigator, Josh Cawthra.

Family friends say Tim Farmer is survived by his daughter and two grandchildren. 8–year old Finn Thompson is survived by his parents, an older brother and a sister. Finn was a third grader at Bullard Talent Elementary School in Fresno.

The preliminary report from the NTSB will be ready within five days. A full investigation could take anywhere from six months to a year. The cause of the crash could take another eight weeks after that.


 http://www.kmph.com

The pilot of a single-engine Cessna made looping, 180-degree turns over Chandler Downtown Airport before the aircraft clipped a tree and crashed outside a southwest Fresno home, causing it to burst into flames, an federal investigator said Friday. 

Two people were killed: The licensed pilot, who was his 70s and from Tehachapi, as well a 9-year-old boy. Their names and the boy's hometown were being withheld pending notification of kin.

The pilot did not own the Cessna 172 K model aircraft, but was licensed and had an valid medical certificate to fly, Joshua Cawthra of the National Transportation Safety Board told a gathering of reporters.

The plane was built in the 1970s, he said.

The crash happened about 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the west side of West Avenue, south of Whites Bridge Road -- about 800 feet west of the runway.

No one in the house was injured and the structure was undamaged, police said.

Cawthra said he was still investigating the plane's flight path, but it appeared the aircraft left Fresno sometime Thursday afternoon and headed south toward Tehachapi.

Cawthra said he didn't believe the plane landed in Tehachapi before it turned around and headed back to Fresno. "I don't know how close it was to Tehachapi before the pilot decided to come back," he said.

Ten miles south of Fresno, the pilot made radio contact with air traffic control officials, saying he had visual sight of the airport, Cawthra said. (Chandler does not have an air traffic tower, Fresno Yosemite Airport does.)

The pilot then came in at a low altitude and made a series of maneuvers including two 180-degree turns that caused witnesses to become alarmed, Cawthra said.

Coming in from the south, he made two passes over the runway before he made final approach toward the runaway. He then clipped a tree with its left wing near the southeast side of the airport and crashed on the northwest side.

At the time, the weather was hazy but clear and calm, Cawthra said.

Cawthra, who arrived at the crash scene Thursday night, said the No. 1 priority is to collect data such as the pilot's flight log and all the pieces of the wreckage. It will then be taken to a secured location in Madera for further analysis.

"Our goal is to find out what happened and why it happened so we can prevent this from happening again," he said.

A preliminary report of the crash will be available within five business days. A final report that details how the plane crashed and why it crashed could take six months to a year to complete, he said.

Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said his office could not yet make a positive identification of the pilot because his body was badly burned.

"The autopsy is finished, but we don't have the dental records or DNA," he said. "We are in the process of hunting for dental records now."

He said the child killed in the crash was less badly burned.

Hadden said the pilot called family members to ask them to meet the plane at the airport shortly before he attempted to land.

The owner of the plane, according to federal records, is George W. Novinger of Tehachapi. He also owns the Apple Shed restaurant in that town. Novinger told The Bakersfield Californian that he didn't want to reveal the name of the pilot, but that he had been a longtime friend and had logged many hours in the air.

Novinger said the pilot and the pilot's nephew were flying to Monument Valley to spend a few days. He said the pilot, a Bear Valley resident, had previously owned a Cessna 172, but sold it and began flying Novinger's Cessna 172 a year or two ago.

"I just feel terrible for the parents of the young man who was with him, and for (the pilot) and his friends," Novinger said.

The pilot was a Kiwanis Club member who dedicated a lot of his time to service, Novinger said. He had no children and lived by himself.

"We'll miss him," Novinger said.

Stinson 108-1, N8848K: Accident occurred December 27, 2013 in Lodi, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA079
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 27, 2013 in Lodi, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/12/2015
Aircraft: STINSON 108 1, registration: N8848K
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, shortly after takeoff, the engine began to sputter and that it eventually lost all power. The pilot was unable to return to the airport and initiated a forced landing to an open field. During the landing, the airplane struck a berm, nosed over, and then came to rest inverted. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft and camshaft had broken adjacent to the accessory section. A metallurgical examination of the crankshaft fracture surfaces revealed a thumbnail-shaped pattern consistent with fatigue that had initiated at the crankshaft surface near the edge of the No. 2 connecting rod journal. It is possible that the fatigue initiated due to the No. 2 connecting rod bearing shifting during operation. The camshaft fracture features were consistent with overstress. Maintenance records indicated that the last annual inspection was completed about 9 months before the accident and that, at that time, the engine had accumulated about 250 hours since major overhaul. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The fatigue failure of the crankshaft, which resulted in a total loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 27, 2013, about 1055 Pacific standard time, a Stinson 108-1 airplane, N8848K, experienced a loss of engine power, and the pilot made a forced landing in an open field near Lodi, California. The owner/pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its wings and fuselage when it struck a berm and nosed over during the landing roll out. The airplane had departed from the Kingdon Airpark (O20), Lodi, about 1030, and was destined for the Modesto City-County Airport-Harry Sham Field (MOD), Modesto, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to a responding deputy from the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department, the pilot reported that shortly after takeoff the engine started to sputter. He turned back to the departure airport, and attempted to restart the engine. After switching fuel tanks, the engine regained full power, then quit completely. The pilot made a forced landing to an open field, which appeared to be free of obstructions. However, during the landing rollout, the airplane struck a berm and nosed over coming to rest inverted.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, the airplane traveled about 400 yards before impacting the ditch. The FAA inspector reported that the pilot had just put in new shoulder harness type seatbelts in the airplane.

The engine was examined at Plain Parts, Pleasant Grove, California, on January 10, 2014. A visual examination revealed that the right side of the engine crankcase near the accessory section had separated. The spark plugs, rocker box covers, and the top of the engine case were removed. The propeller was manually manipulated back and forth; however, full rotation could not be achieved due to damage to the crankshaft, but visible movement of the crankshaft was noted at the rear of the engine. Investigators reported that the crankshaft and cam shaft near the accessory section had broken, and several bearings had been damaged. The crankshaft with a portion of the number one connecting rod, crankshaft main journal bearing, crankshaft connecting rod journal bearing, and a camshaft were shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) metallurgical laboratory in Washington, DC, for further examination.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The NTSB metallurgical laboratory specialist documented the submitted components; the crankshaft was received in two fractured pieces. The fracture occurred through the web between the numbers one and two connecting rod journals. The fracture face was relatively flat with a thumbnail-shaped pattern, which was consistent with fatigue. The fatigue crack initiated at the crankshaft surface, with the primary fatigue crack propagating through 79 percent of the web cross-section. A second fatigue crack had propagated from the opposite side of the fractured crankshaft web and comprised about 5 percent of the web fracture surface. The remaining fracture surface had features consistent with overstress. The specialists reported that the primary fatigue crack propagated from the surface of the crankshaft near the edge of a darkened area on the number two connecting rod journal. According to the specialist, the fracture features of the camshaft were consistent with overstress. The specialists' report is attached to the public docket for this accident.

Maintenance records indicated that during the last annual inspection dated March 12, 2013, the engine had accumulated about 250 hours since the major overhaul.


 NTSB Identification: WPR14LA079
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 27, 2013 in Lodi, CA
Aircraft: STINSON 108 1, registration: N8848K
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On December 27, 2013, about 1055 Pacific standard time, a Stinson 108-1 airplane, N8848K, experienced a loss of engine power and the pilot made a forced landing in an open field near Lodi, California. The owner/pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its wings and fuselage when it struck a berm and nosed over during the landing roll out. The airplane had departed from the Kingdon Airpark (O20), Lodi, about 1030, and was destined for the Modesto City-County Airport-Harry Sham Field (MOD), Modesto, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to a responding deputy from the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department, the pilot reported that shortly after takeoff the engine started to sputter. He turned back to the departure airport and attempted to restart the engine. After switching fuel tanks, the engine regained full power, then quit completely. The pilot made a forced landing to an open field, which appeared to be free of obstructions. However, during the landing rollout, the airplane struck a berm and nosed over, coming to rest inverted.
 

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED IN A FIELD AND FLIPPED OVER, 13 MILES FROM LODI, CA 
 
http://www.pbase.com/wbyonder/image

http://registry.faa.gov/N8848K

Floyd and Ann Bryant, sore but otherwise OK after an emergency landing on Friday (Dec. 27, 2013). 
 Tom DuHain/KCRA


   
Snacking on bacon and smoking a cigar, pilot Floyd Bryant, left, sits the near the wreckage of his Stinson 108-1 Voyager with his wife, Ann Bryant, after the pair escaped an emergency landing unharmed on Friday.
Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Dan Evans/News-Sentinel 


 A Stinson 108-1 Voyager plane came to a rest upside down in a field outside of Lockeford after the pilot made an emergency landing on Friday. The pilot and passenger escaped unharmed.
Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Dan Evans/News-Sentinel 


A pilot and his passenger escaped unharmed after making an emergency landing in an open field in the Lockeford area on Friday.
 Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Dan Evans/News-Sentinel 


 A Modesto couple was uninjured and in good spirits after making an emergency landing in a field near Lockeford Friday afternoon. 

Roughly seven minutes after Floyd and Ann Bryant left the Lodi Airport, their Stinson 108-1 Voyager  aircraft lost power around 10:30 a.m., the couple said.

“Bang, that was it,” Floyd said.

Floyd, 69, who was flying the single-engine plane, made an emergency landing in an open field near Brandt and Clements roads at about 60 miles per hour.

The plane glided along the ground for more than 100 yards before it dipped into a small gully, causing it to flip onto it’s roof. Aside from a couple of small cuts to Floyd’s hand, the couple walked away unscathed.

“We’re very lucky,” Ann said, puffing on a cigarette.

The couple said they flew to Lodi Friday morning for breakfast and were returning home to Modesto when their plane lost power.

Floyd’s had his pilot’s license since the 1960s, but Ann said this was the couple’s last flight.

The couple was on the ground for about 30 minutes before paramedics, Clements Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Aviation Administration officials and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department arrived to the remote scene.

As authorities examined the plane, Floyd set up a folding chair and sparked up a cigar. Ann walked over and handed her husband strips of bacon.

“Looks like she saved your bacon,” a CHP officer said.



Source:   http://www.lodinews.com

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



 
This Stinson 108-1 Voyager ended up on its roof in an open field when the engine lost power just minutes after takeoff from Lodi's airport Friday. The pilot and passenger were not hurt, Dec. 27, 2013. 





SACRAMENTO - A small plane made a forced landing just minutes after taking off from Lodi's airport Friday morning. 

The single engine Stinson 108 plane ended up on its roof at about 10:50 a.m. on ranch land south of Brandt and Skaggs Ranch roads in San Joaquin County.

Pilot Floyd Bryant, 69, said he and wife Ann had taken off from Lodi for their home in Modesto when the engine failed. He looked for a road or airstrip to put down the plane but had to settle for the pasture.

The plane landed on its wheels but hit a ditch still going about 30 miles per hour, which caused it to overturn, Bryant said.

Bryant had a few cuts and bruises from the ordeal. His wife was not hurt.

Bryant, who has had his pilot's license since 1968, said it was probably going to be the last time he flew. He also said he wasn't planning on repairing the Stinson.

The couple had flown up from Modesto to have breakfast in Lodi.

Cessna 150F, N8672G: Aircraft "Docks" at Gulfport Marina, Florida

Boaters at the Gulfport Municipal Marina Saturday afternoon saw a different sort of vessel land at the boat ramp: a Cessna 152 plane. 
 
The plane, ownedF and piloted by Tom Beaman, a Clearwater D.O., was a 1966 Cessna 150, tail number N8672G. Dr. Beaman lives in the Feather Sound area; he landed the plane in Boca Ciega Bay last Friday, when the Cessna's engine quit.

He escaped with minor cuts, but the plane went underwater in minutes. Saturday afternoon a small crowd watched a boat lead the plane, floated with air bladders, back to the boat ramp at the Gulfport Municipal Marina.

The Gabber has no word on whether the plane paid the five dollar ramp fee.


http://www.thegabber.com

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON THE WATER AND FLIPPED OVER, THE 2 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE PICKED UP BY A BOATER, 5 MILES FROM ALBERT WHITTED AIRPORT, NEAR ST. PETERSBURG, FL 

http://www.asias.faa.gov

http://registry.faa.gov/N8672G



PINELLAS COUNTY –  Crews are at the scene of a small plane crash near the Pinellas Bayway.

According to emergency crews, the Cessna 150 went down in the water shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Officials said the pilot, 61-year-old Tom Beaman, had just taken off from Albert Whitted Airport when he started to experience mechanical issues.

“I was flying over Seminole, [when] the engine started riding kind of rough,” said Beaman. “Turned around and flew over Boca Ciega and I was going to fly over Lake Maggiore and the engine completely quit.”

Beaman turned around to head back when the plane went down, officials said.

“I probably glided for a good two minutes before I actually hit,” said Beaman.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said Beaman was five miles west of the airport when it crashed.

“All of a sudden the engine just stopped completely and I couldn’t get it started. So, I called the tower and told them I was going down into Boca Ciega.”

Witnesses said the plane flipped into the water.

“We thought, ‘Oh that’s a sea plane gonna make a landing out here,’ and all of a sudden the wheels hit the water and the plane flipped, did a somersault,” said John Dunn, president of Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club.

“I didn’t think I was going to flip,” said Beaman. “I was going pretty slow but it was a lot more violent than I remember, than I imagined it would be.”

A Good Samaritan pulled Beaman from the water. He has no serious injuries and refused medical treatment. He did however, hit his head in on the windshield.

“I didn’t get knocked out but the next thing you know you’re under water. Got the door open, live preserver on and was just going to swim in and then two boats came in and got me.”

Beaman said if he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, his head would have gone through the windshield. No one else was injured in the crash.

The FAA is investigating the crash.

Beaman said in 43 years of flying this is the first time he’s had anything happen.

“I could’ve gotten hurt, I could’ve gotten killed. It’s not that big of a deal really. Planes crash all the time,” said Beaman.

Beaman’s wife Diane said he is very lucky he only suffered a few cuts from the crash.

VIDEO – Pilot: ‘I didn’t think I was going to flip’



http://www.baynews9.com






 Pilot Tom Beaman


 

 


Air Force warns: We could run out of pilots

The Air Force is flying into gale force winds as commercial airlines start a hiring spree while military aviators struggle with low morale due to cutbacks and idle jets. And the Air Force may see a shortage as pilots vote with their feet.

Over the next year, the commercial airline industry is going to begin hiring tens of thousands of new pilots as aging flyers retire and the industry regains its economic footing. That could put dark clouds in the way of the Air Force’s wild blue yonder as it tries to persuade pilots to stay in a service even as top officials worry that pilots don’t have enough yoke time.

“If pilots aren’t flying in the Air Force because of our readiness issue, we worry that a number of them are going to say, ‘I’m flying somewhere else,'’ ” acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning told Foreign Policy in an interview this month. “If I’m looking at my jet parked on the ramp instead of flying it and I can get a job somewhere else flying, then I’m going to do that. So we are concerned that there is a sort of perfect storm approaching us in terms of flying retention.”

Fanning said current retention rates are better than historical averages. But he fears there are a number of lagging indicators that don’t tell the real story of how furloughs, the government shutdown, and lower readiness rates will affect the force over the next few years. The Air Force has publicly raised the alarm about its lower readiness rates because of sequestration and budget cutbacks. It may be using the threat of a pilot shortage to convince its budget overseers in Congress to ensure the service is properly funded. But no one disputes the factors at play are real.

Those factors start with the commercial aviation sector. There are three issues the industry is facing that could affect the Air Force in a significant way. The biggest one is the change to mandatory retirements for commercial airline pilots. In 2007, the FAA changed the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 60 to 65, keeping more seasoned pilots in the cockpits. But now thousands of those pilots are reaching retirement age and the airline industry, which is experiencing a comeback, will confront a shortage of experienced pilots across many airlines.

“That wave is just hitting,” said one Air Force official.

The FAA also increased the minimum number of flying hours pilots must have after the crash in Buffalo, NY, in 2009 of a Colgan Air commuter flight that pointed out problems with more inexperienced pilots. There are additional crew rest regulations as well that require airlines to maintain more pilots on staff.

The numbers suggest the Air Force’s fears are grounded in reality: Some worst case scenarios suggest the airline industry – including international carriers – could hire as many as 50,000 pilots over the next 10 years, and some estimates are even higher. If the industry aggressively targets pilots serving in the U.S. Air Force, the service could be in for some turbulence. The Airline Pilots Association, the primary trade group representing the interests of pilots and which is tracking the issue, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com

Barlaston widow welcomes Nepal airlines' EU ban following plane crash which killed her husband Steve Holding

Steve Holding with his wife Maggie. 



Sita Air Dornier 228, registration 9N-AHA takes off at Lukla Airport, September 19, 2012, unfortunately it's one of the last videos of this plane before it crashed on September 28, 2012.


The wife of a holidaymaker killed in a plane crash in Nepal has welcomed a decision to ban the country’s airlines from flying within the EU.

Maggie Holding, of Barlaston, says the move by the European Commission is an important step forward, but admits more still needs to be done to improve the country’s aviation safety record.

Her 60-year-old husband Steve was on a two-week holiday in Nepal when the plane he was traveling in crashed in September 2012.

A report following the accident – which killed 19 (passengers and crew) – found a catalog of failures, including findings that the pilot failed to use the correct speeds during take-off, and that the crew was not trained to handle the type of emergency situation.

Now the Commission has confirmed that all Nepalese airlines have been added to the EU Air Safety List – which names airlines banned from operating within the EU.

It means that airlines from Nepal are prohibited from flying into or in EU airspace, while operators and travel agents in Europe will have to inform travelers of the change if they have made a booking on a Nepalese carrier.

Mrs Holding, of Longton Road, said: “This is excellent news which feels like a positive step forward.

“But this only relates to flights to Nepal. I would like it made obligatory for European operators and travel agents to warn people about their risks of taking internal flights in Nepal.

“Travel companies who offer adventure holidays need to ensure that by using only airlines with high safety standards – ‘adventure’ begins after travelers have arrived at their destination.

“Risk should not be part of their journey.

“Lessons need to be learned from the past tragedies if improvements are ever going to be seen.”

The news of the ban has also been welcomed by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Aviation Law team, which is representing the families of several passengers killed in the fatal Sita Air crash.

Clive Garner, Head of the Aviation Law Group at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are delighted that our concerns have been listened to and hope that this decision will be a wake-up call to both airlines and the aviation authorities in Nepal.

“Urgent steps are needed to improve flight safety there, and we hope that this action will provide the incentive to improve standards and better protect aircraft passengers in the future.”

The tragedy involved a Dornier 228 aircraft crashing to the ground shortly after take-off at Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport. It was the sixth fatal incident in the country in a two-year period, and there have been three further crashes in the country since.

Stone MP Bill Cash added: “Any sensible measures which prevent unnecessary deaths are, of course, extremely welcome.

“It is a tragedy that my constituent died in this way, and more will still need to be done to improve the aviation safety records for a number of countries.”

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

NTSB Identification: DCA12RA153
Accident occurred Friday, September 28, 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal
Aircraft: , registration:
Injuries: 19 Fatal.

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

On September 28, 2012, a Sita Air Dornier 228, registration 9N-AHA, with Garrett (Honeywell) TPE 331 engines, reported a bird strike shortly and crash shortly after takeoff from Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal. The three crew members and 16 passengers onboard were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was a regularly scheduled passenger flight from KTM to Lukla Airport (LUA), Lukla, Nepal.

The investigation is being conducted by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Design of the engines.