Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cessna 150L, N6905G: Accident occurred December 28, 2013 in Gladewater, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA094
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 28, 2013 in Gladewater, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 150L, registration: N6905G
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that he was returning to the airport after a short practice flight and that, as the airplane neared the airport, the engine started to lose power, and the rpm decreased. The pilot performed the restart checklist, but the engine did not respond. The pilot then chose to conduct a forced landing in a nearby clearing. Examination of the airplane revealed that fuel was available and that the fuel was clear of debris and contaminants. A test run of the engine was performed, and no abnormalities were noted. Atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to the serious risk of carburetor ice accumulation at a glide power setting. It is likely that the engine lost power due to carburetor icing because it was operating at a reduced power setting for the approach to the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.

On December 28, 2013, about 1215 central standard time, a Cessna 150L airplane, N6905G, impacted terrain following a loss of engine power near Gladewater, Texas. The commercial rated pilot and passenger were not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan.

The pilot reported that he departed for a practice flight which included slow flight, stalls, and steep turns. As he returned to the airport, the engine rpm started to decrease. He reported that he performed the restart checklist, but was unable to restore power. The pilot added that he was too low to make it to the airport, and selected a clearing for the forced landing.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that the airplane impacted trees and terrain, near a pipeline right-of-way. The impact resulted in substantial damage to the airplane's left and right wings. A visual inspection of the engine did not reveal a reason for the loss of power. Additionally, a fuel smell was present on site and an estimated 20 gallons of fuel was available in the airplane's fuel tanks.

The airplane was retrieved by the owner, who examined the airplane's engine. The owner reported that all the connections; fuel line, throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat all were in place. The air filter was free from obstructions, the gascolator and screen were clear of any debris or contaminates. The owner was able to start and run the engine; the owner also added that the airplane ran on automobile gas (mogas).

The carburetor icing probability chart included in Federal Aviation Administration Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin No. CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, indicated that the airplane was operating in an area that was associated with a serious risk of carburetor ice accumulation at glide power settings.

In December 2013, the NTSB issued Safety Alert (SA-029) "Engine power loss due to Carburetor Icing". The Safety Alert states that "engines that run on automobile gas may be more susceptible to carburetor icing than engines that run on Avgas".

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA094 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 28, 2013 in Gladewater, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 150L, registration: N6905G
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

On December 28, 2013, about 1330 central daylight time, a Cessna 150 L/M airplane, N6905G, impacted terrain after experiencing a loss of engine power near Gladewater, Texas. The commercial rated pilot and passenger received minor injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan.

The pilot reported to the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector, that he departed earlier and had flown for about thirty minutes. As he approached the airport, the engine rpm started to decrease. He was unable to restore power and was too low to make it to the airport. The airplane impacted trees and terrain, near a pipeline right-of-way. The impact resulted in substantial damage to the airplane's left and right wings. A visual inspection of the engine did not reveal a reason for the loss of power. Additionally, a fuel smell was present on site and fuel was available in the airplane's fuel tanks.


 The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled the Saturday afternoon plane crash in Gladewater as mechanical failure.

Jon McClandon, the plane's owner, was not flying the plane at the time of the crash, and tells us the pilot did everything right in the circumstance.

Trees had to be cut down to move the single-engine plane back to the Gladewater Airport.

Jon McClandon has several planes there and was flying at the time of the crash, but in a different plane 125 miles away. He says his heart sank when he heard the incident over his radio. All he could do was hope for the best.

"He did real well. You have an engine out and you have to fly it all the way to the ground. You can either stall it or fly it into the trees and hope for the best. He did a really good job. You can't complain about that. I'm glad everybody is all right," Jon said.

Pilot John Barryhill kept the 1971 Cessna 150's wings level and didn't turn. Jon McClandon explained the plane glides farther if the pilot doesn't turn or pull up. He says he would have flown it the same way if he lost power.

Jon added, "You can fly it the best you can and you have to keep the airspeed up a certain amount of speed to keep it in the air and that's the air and that's the only thing you can do. Once you turn you lose your airspeed so once your wings are level and you get pointed into a direction you don't have much alternative."

McClandon says if Barryhill would have cleared the trees he probably would have made the airport. The pilot walked away from the crash and his teenage passenger had a few stitches in his ear and was released from the hospital.

"He's a good example of a great pilot," McClandon added.

John Barryhill has been flying for four years. The FAA says they found no evidence of pilot error., Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News


 DPS Troopers Brant Smith and Bobby Dean look over the scene where a plane crashed Saturday. The pilot and passenger walked away from the plane, which crashed in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater.

 A plane lies on its side after making what appeared to be an emergency crash landing due to engine failure on Saturday in Gladewater. The pilot and passenger walked away from the wreck.

 Texas DPS Cpl. Darren Thomas looks over the scene where a plane made what appeared to be an emergency landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater.

 A plane sits on its side after making what appeared to be an emergency crash landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater. 

 Texas DPS troopers look over the scene where a plane made what appeared to be an emergency landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater. 

 Texas DPS Trooper Brant Smith looks over the scene where a plane made what appeared to be an emergency landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater.

 Chris Hawley talks about seeing the plain fly over his home before it makde what appeared to be an emergency crash landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater.

 Texas DPS Troopers Brant Smith and Bobby Dean look over the scene where a plane made what appeared to be an emergency landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater.

A plane sits on its side after making what appeared to be an emergency crash landing due to engine failure, on Saturday December 28, 2013, in a clearing near Culver Street in Gladewater. 

UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A single-engine plane crashed in a heavily wooded East Texas area, and a pilot and passenger miraculously survived. 

 It happened around 1:30 Saturday afternoon as the single engine Cessna went down in a wooded area off Culver road in Gladewater, one mile south of Highway 80. When Department of Public Safety troopers arrived on scene, witnesses say they saw the plane in some obvious trouble as it flew over their homes.

"When he circled over the rodeo grounds, I knew the plane had trouble, he wasn't running very well. We heard him go down back here behind us and my son called 911," says neighbor Bobby Knight.  

The plane crashed in a heavily wooded area, not accessible to cars.

"Looks like he had some engine failure, trying to make it back to Gladewater airport. The plane was tangled in the trees, wing was broken and all the fuel was leaked out on the ground," says DPS Trooper Brent Smith.

When rescuers arrived they found that both pilot and passenger were alive and talking.

"Someone should have died. That wasn't nothing but the Lord. Somebody should have died in that plane," says neighbor Chris Hawley.

Witnesses say the pilot had lost power to his aircraft and was looking for a place to set down, but he didn't have enough room.

The pilot tried this clearing, but ripped into the trees. The wings were mangled and the plane came to rest on its side.

"You know that wasn't nothing but the Lord working," Hawley says.

No word on the extent of injuries; one man was taken to an area hospital.

DPS troopers say the investigation into that crash has been turned over to the FAA.


GLADEWATER — A pilot and passenger walked away Saturday afternoon from a crash landing that left a small plane mangled at the edge of a pipeline right of way through heavy woods.

“Someone should have died. That wasn’t nothing but the Lord,” said witness Chris Hawley, who had wondered at the south-bound, low-flying plane he saw at 1:45 p.m.

“They walked out of it. One of them had nothing, like, a bump on his head. And the other one had a scratch behind his right ear. They said, ‘We just had a wreck.’ I guess so.”

Department of Public Safety troopers at the scene, on Gladewater’s far west side inside the Upshur County line, would not release information on the crash or about the plane’s occupants. They said they were there to secure the scene for the Federal Aviation Administration to arrive and begin its investigation.

“We don't release names of pilots or passengers,” FAA spokesman Lance Lunsford wrote in an email response to questions. “Beyond that, all we can say right now is that we are investigating.”

Lunsford’s email said preliminary reports indicated the plane had engine trouble and clipped the tree line after landing.

Another FAA spokesman added the plane’s place of origin was unknown.

“They didn’t file a flight plan,” spokesman Roland Herwig said Saturday night from the regional headquarters in Fort Worth. “That’s not unusual.”

Records on the aviation administration’s website indicate the Cessna 150L is registered to Don L. McClendon of Kilgore. Contact information for McClendon was not available Saturday.

The FAA site also indicates the Cessna’s reciprocating engine is 42 years old.

Hawley said he thought the plane’s occupants might be inspecting the nearby pipeline right of way. He said he didn’t hear any engine sputter or other sounds of distress.

“It was quiet when it came over,” he said. “It was real low. I knew something was going on. I thought it was checking the pipeline.”

The plane came to rest on the wooded edge of the cleared right of way. It was nose-down at roughly a 45-degree angle, the left wing bent back 90 degrees and the right torn back to the fuselage. The cockpit and fuselage appeared mostly intact.

West Bengal launches helicopter service

The maiden flight of the West Bengal government’s helicopter service to four destinations in the State took off from here on Sunday. The first flight, described by Transport Minister Madan Mitra as the brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, took off from the Behala Flying Club.

The service was announced by Mr. Mitra on December 27.

Seven passengers

Seven passengers, the maximum the helicopter can carry, took the first ride to Gangasagar, a pilgrim spot on Sagar Islands at the confluence of the Hooghly and the Bay of Bengal in the Sundarbans.

Twin engine helicopters are being provided by the government-owned Pawan Hans Ltd. (PHL).

The State government is also planning to connect Krishnanagar in Nadia district and Baharampur in Murshidabad district.

On Sunday, the passengers paid a subsidised rate covering the distance in 35 minutes, which would they have otherwise covered by road and through riverine transport. The rides are now set to be extended to four other destinations, which will be a mix of industrial towns and tourism spots.

‘Transport system smarter’

The Trinamool Congress hailed the move, saying this marked the fulfilment of a promise made by the Chief Minister. It said the State’s transport system got smarter by a notch with the introduction of this passenger helicopter service.

The Transport Department had signed a MoU with PHL to commence the service. However, the takeoff point for the helicopter in the western part of the city was inconvenient for passengers due to lack of signage.

The maiden flight of the West Bengal government’s helicopter service to four destinations in the State about to take-off at the Behala Flying Club in Kolkata on Sunday. 

Chopper service to Ganga Sagar takes off

KOLKATA: At around 10.30am on Sunday, while his friends were still reading newspapers over a cup of tea, Rajiv Ranjan Pandey was soaring high. On the maiden flight of Pawan Hans from Kolkata to Ganga Sagar, the clothe merchant was on a flight of fancy.

As the eleven-seater Dauphin SA 365, the iconic twin-engined Eurocopter helicopter, started soaring to 3,000 feet above Kolkata, Pandey could feel the thrill he never felt on a plane. "I could see the city becoming smaller gradually. The ramming sound of the rotors that was driving the blades was the only sound I could hear. I was a little afraid initially," said Pandey, with a smile.

Minutes after taking off from Behala Flying Club, the helicopter took the southward route along the Hooghly river. "From above, the river looked like a long grey stretch flowing through green patches all across. You never get to see the cities so clearly if you are on a plane," a seemingly excited Pandey said.

"While the river was about to join the seas, it widened and for a moment it seemed we were flying over an ocean," Pandey said. Further south, Haldi river joined Hooghly.

The twin engine Dauphin that left Kolkata at 10.30am, picked up a speed of around 250 kilometre per hour within a few minutes. The entire stretch to the Sagar Island was covered in 30 minutes. "I could also see the huge chimney strutting out of the ground," said an amazed Sitaram Verma. One of the main obstructions for the pilots is the 965-feet high chimney stack of the CESC power plant in Budge Budge. The safety norms require helicopters to fly 1,000 feet over the tallest structure in the area.

While going from Kolkata to Ganga Sagar via road and waterways, passengers have to drive till Harwood Point. A ferry service from Harwood Point crosses the Muriganga river to reach Ganga Sagar.

On his first ride in a helicopter, Verma was excited to notice how a four-hour long journey to Ganga Sagar was reduced to merely 30 minutes. "There was no bumpy ride on the road, no waiting for the launch from Harwood Point. The journey was smooth," Verma said. "As the helicopter approached the Sagar Island, I could see Kapil Muni's Ashram. I think we were flying at 2,000 feet then," he added.

"We will fly from Kolkata to Ganga Sagar every Sunday initially. The state government has kept the fare at Rs 1,500 for one-way ride," said Sanjay Kumar, general manager (marketing), Pawan Hans. The once-in-a-week helicopter service will also cover Durgapur and Malda-Balurghat routes soon.

Kolkata- Gangasagar service

Will fly once every Sunday

Fare kept at Rs 1,500 (one side).

Tickets can be booked from Quick Service (Jadavpur) and Surabhi Communication (Howrah)

Will have to bring photo -ID both for purchasing tickets and boarding the aircraft.

Will have to reach at least one hour before boarding time.


Capital Region International Airport (KLAN) 'Sea of Green' Before Rose Bowl

A crowded terminal. A buzz in the air. A 747 jet parked on the tarmac.

It was the Capital Region International Airport as Dana Koot had never seen it before.

"Nothing like this before, this is crazy," said Koot, who has worked at the airport for 15 years.

In fact, Koot says she normally avoids the airport on Sundays, preferring to spend time with her family instead. But this Sunday was a different story.

"I just wanted to be a part of all the action," she said, "send all these great Spartans off to Pasadena."

Koot volunteered to help out Sunday, handing out flowers, taking photos and sharing her Spartan spirit with more than 3,600 passengers making their way to see the Michigan State football team play in the Rose Bowl.

"As far as I know this is the largest group we've put out of here in maybe 30 years," said Robert F. Selig, Executive Director of the airport.

Airport staff prepared two weeks for this day. In total, 14 flights traveled from Lansing to Los Angeles Sunday. Extra hands in the parking lots, terminals and security lines helped keep things moving.

"They've done a great job," said Sue Collier who was traveling to the game. "It's well organized, everybody's very friendly, they're moving as fast as they can with these people, it's been great."

Fight songs in the security lines and free roses and signs were just some of the things contributing to the buzz in the air.

"What I love is that it's a sea of green," said passenger Debbie Swartz. "It's absolutely beautiful."

The airport's executive director says he was happy to put fans in the right mood before they went on their way.

"Well we're part of the community too," said Selig. "The airport is the community's airport and so we just want to create the right atmosphere. You don't want to just process people. You want to send them off on a nice trip."

Most fans say they arrived hours before they were assigned to in order to ensure they would make their flights.

The airport expects to be busy again come Thursday, when fans make their return flights to Lansing.

Drone enthusiasts, Federal Aviation Administration on legal collision course

Well before introduced the idea of commercial drone deliveries to the public imagination, U.S. regulators were telling people flying these unmanned devices to ground their gadgets and to file for a permit.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a dozen orders to halt the operation of what are technically called unmanned aircraft systems (or UAS) for commercial pursuits, including those performed by aerial photographers, videographers and journalism schools.

And while no one disputes the FAA's role in regulating the national airspace, some legal experts question whether the agency has authority over the use of private commercial drones that operate below 400 feet and away from airports.

Brendan Schulman, an attorney at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, says that no U.S. regulation specifically addresses commercial drone use and that the agency has merely stated the commercial drone ban as federal policy - one not subject to a prior rule-making process.

"I think it's doubtful, legally speaking, that the FAA was ever given jurisdiction over that airspace" under 500 feet, says Schulman, himself a private-drone enthusiast. "That's not where you would find people flying in airplanes."

Nonetheless, the agency has rules about drones, issues permits for their use and levies fines on people it deems bad actors. In July, the FAA heralded its approval of user certificates for two commercial drones weighing less than 55 pounds.

Rules for small drones

Both were planned for energy exploration in the Arctic, and the agency was quick to note that it viewed the approval as an initial step to integrating commercial drones into the U.S. airspace.

Many drone enthusiasts are hoping the agency will follow through with rules in 2014 for broader use of these smaller drones - the kind that journalism professors, farmers and, eventually, Amazon all want to exploit for different tasks.

The real estate industry, in particular, has taken a special shine to drones for their ability to shoot alluring video of tony properties and entice potential buyers.

As of now, the FAA is also playing the role of enforcer.

"I don't know if you've ever gotten a certified letter from the federal government, but it's an exhilarating experience," says Matt Waite, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Drone Journalism Lab, which received a cease notice in July.

The professors there have been training future journalists to report stories using drones fitted with cameras. Waite says the drone lab "wrongly believed that we could fly under hobbyist rules because we weren't doing any research and development into drones, and there was no commercial interest in what we were doing."

Schulman's law firm launched an unmanned aircraft systems practice on Dec. 18. One of that group's first cases is the $10,000 penalty assessed by the FAA on Raphael Pirker, a video-drone photographer, for an October 2011 drone flight at the University of Virginia.

The school's public relations firm had hired Pirker to shoot the footage, which the FAA contends shows Pirker operating a drone "in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another."

Schulman has filed a motion to dismiss the penalty, which is pending before an administrative law judge at the National Transportation Safety Board.

"I think the FAA is viewing this technology as the same thing as an airplane, except without the pilot, and their view is we have to replace the pilot with something else," says Schulman.

Distinct approaches

Schulman contrasts the FAA's slow, cautious approach to commercial drones with the Internet, another government-funded entity that burst into worldwide popularity long before any rules or regulations governed its commercial use.

"The answer wasn't to ban the Internet until the commercial rules were implemented," he says.

14 years on, IAF jet trainer still not ready

NEW DELHI: Proper training of rookie IAF pilots remains under a cloud with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) still struggling to deliver its intermediate jet trainer (IJT), in the making for the last 14 years but yet to become fully-operational.

While HAL has now promised the initial operational clearance (IOC) for its Sitara IJT by June 2014, IAF remains skeptical given the trainer has missed deadlines at least five times since 2007.

Pilots are trained in three stages, first on a basic trainer aircraft (BTA), then on a IJT and finally on an advanced jet trainer (AJT) to learn the complex and inherently-dangerous art of combat flying.

IAF has for long been saddled with unsafe, obsolete training aircraft like HPT-32 and Kirans, with new pilots often being unable to handle highly-demanding fighters like MiG-21s. Almost 40% of the 1,050 crashes recorded by IAF since 1970, for instance, have been attributed to "human error (aircrew)".

IAF may be now breathing easy on the basic and advanced training fronts, with the ongoing induction of Swiss Pilatus PC-7 BTA and British Hawk AJTs, but the intermediate one remains a major problem.

For one, Sitara cannot as yet "stall and spin", which is a critical manoeuvre to train young cadets on how to handle emergencies, hold their nerve and retrieve their planes from a spin. HAL is now closer to resolving this with help of experts from BAE Systems, said sources.

But another major issue is the IJT's Russian AL-55I engine, which initially had a "time between overhauls (TBO)" of only 100 hours. After demanding more money, over the initial $350 million contract, Russia is now extending the TBO to 300 hours.

But IAF wants the TBO be about 1,200 hours. "A trainer aircraft flies six to eight sorties daily, clocking around 10 hours. If the TBO is just 100 hours, the engine will have to be replaced every 10 days. This will require more engines and overhauls, apart from the planes sitting on ground for longer periods," said a source.

Given all this, IAF has been forced to extend the operational life of its aging Kirans by another four years. It has refused to give more money to HAL for the IJT, over the Rs 4,500 crore already shelled out, till Sitara reaches "some verifiable milestone".

In all, with 240 new trainee pilots every year, IAF requires 181 BTA, 85 IJTs and 106 AJTs. India has already inducted a bulk of the 123 Hawk AJTs ordered for its air force and naval pilots in an overall project worth around Rs 16,000 crore.

The BTA issue, in turn, has been somewhat resolved with the Rs 2,896 crore deal for 75 Swiss Pilatus inked in May 2012. But IAF and HAL are still locked in a tussle over the additional requirement of 106 BTA, with the former asking the PSU to make the Swiss trainer under licensed production. But HAL is pushing its own under-development HTT-40 as the BTA. IAF contends it wants the IJT, and not two types of BTA.

Lawsuit: Republic Airport (KFRG) workers damaged plane

This photo courtesy of shows a twin-engine plane that was allegedly damaged at Republic Airport during the 2010 blizzard. The operator of the plane used mostly to transport multiple sclerosis patients to treatment has sued two companies that operate Republic Airport, claiming the Cessna 340 was damaged after airport employees tried to tow it out of a snowdrift. 

The operator of a twin-engine plane used mostly to transport multiple sclerosis patients to treatment has sued two companies that operate Republic Airport, claiming the Cessna 340 was damaged after airport employees tried to tow it out of a snow drift.

Cezar Andrei Floroiu, the sole shareholder of Exigo -- a Manhattan-based company that owns the plane -- sued Farmingdale-based Flightways of Long Island Inc. and URS Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, for negligence.

The companies' workers tore the plane's tie-down hook and part of its tail section on Dec. 27, 2010, after trying to tow it from snow, according to the suit filed Dec. 23 in the Supreme Court of the state of New York.

Attempts to reach representatives from both companies were unsuccessful.

"It's like pulling a car from the bumper," said Floroiu, the pilot, adding that no patients were on the flight. "You know you're just going to take off the bumper."

The defendants acted in a "negligent manner" when they used a tow method that is prohibited by the Cessna 340 operating handbook, and without attempting easier and safer options, according to the suit.

Following a blizzard that brought 10 to 20 inches to parts of Long Island, the plane became stuck shortly after 6 p.m. upon exiting the runway onto the taxiway.

URS Corp. personnel advised Floroiu and his passengers to remain in the plane, while both companies tried to free the Cessna, according to the suit.

Floroiu and about three others waited in the cold and the dark for four hours, since the aircraft battery had been drained, according to the suit. After witnessing the tow attempt, Floroiu exited the plane and directed a passenger to remove snow from one of the tires with a shovel. The passengers and workers then pushed the aircraft out of the snow drift by hand, the suit said.

The suit seeks unspecified damages that Floroiu's attorney Benjamin Klein, of Manhattan-based The Klein Firm LLC, said would be a "five-figure number."

"There was just no willingness on the part of either defendant to compensate my client on the damages," said Klein. "They just sort of pointed the finger at one another."

The plane's damages rendered it unusable for more than two months, said Floroiu, causing him to loose momentum with Fly for MS -- an organization Floroiu founded in 2010 that flew to 31 countries to offer sightseeing flights to those affected by multiple sclerosis, raise funds and transport specialists and patients without access to care to hospitals for treatment."I got close to MS while investing in biotech companies that were developing [drugs] for MS," said Floroiu, a former Wall Street investor. "I was pretty impressed by the people who live with MS. It's such a terrible disease and they live with no cure. So, I thought I could do something about it."


Saudia probes erring employees

Saudi Arabian Airlines has launched an investigation into alleged fraudulent practices by some employees who are responsible for reserving seats and then leaving them vacant to accommodate other passengers without any prior reservations.

Sources in the airline said Saudia chief Khaled Al-Molhem has directed formation of a fact-finding committee on the seating capacity issue of a number of local and international flights.

“It was found that a number of seats where left vacant during some local and international flights at the peak of the annual aircraft movement,” said the source.

The committee will hold accountable all those involved in the malpractice. It will apply necessary controls to prevent such practices in the future, the source added.

It is worth mentioning that the safety and licensing sector at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is entrusted with the tasks of monitoring, inspecting and checking the national and foreign airliners in Saudi Arabia, both local and international flights.

GACA also conducts regular inspection of aircraft repair stations, and licensed schools and institutes of aviation in the Kingdom to check performance and operation standards according to the local and international regulations to ensure the highest levels of safety.

The agency is the regulatory body of all activities of civil aviation and air transportation industry in the Kingdom.


Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N4936D: Accident occurred December 29, 2013 in Pacoima, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA080
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 29, 2013 in Pacoima, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N4936D
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

On December 29, 2013, at 1253 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172N, N4936D, impacted power transmission wires during an aborted landing at Whiteman Airport (WHP), Pacoima, California. Vista Air, Inc., operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and the private pilot receiving instruction (PUI) sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage due to impact forces. The local instructional flight departed Pacoima about 1200. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

During an attempted landing on runway 30, the airplane touched down on the runway adjacent to intersection Delta and then became airborne again. The air traffic controller heard the engine sounds increase as the airplane turned 90 degrees left. Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported that the airplane's left wing collided with power transmission lines. The airplane then descended into a building in a used car sales lot.

The CFI reported that due to the high winds, he was the flying pilot during the landing. He stated that as the airplane touched down, they hit a gust of wind and became airborne. The airplane drifted left of runway centerline and the CFI added power in an attempt to crab into the wind and avoid the air traffic control tower. The airplane continued to drift left and collided with power transmission lines.

The reported winds at WHP during the timeframe of the accident were from 350 degrees at 24 knots, 320 degrees at 22 knots, 360 degrees at 26 knots, and 360 degrees at 25 knots, respectively.

PACOIMA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two men were hospitalized after the plane they were traveling in struck a building and crashed in Pacoima Sunday. 
Los Angeles firefighters responded to the 10350 block of North San Fernando Road around 1 p.m. following reports of a small plane down.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, says a Cessna 172 was inbound to Whiteman Airport when the pilot decided to execute a missed approach and come around for another landing attempt.

During the landing approach, Gregor says, the plane struck a building and crashed into a used car lot.

Officials say two male adults had self-extricated themselves from the aircraft. Both were transported to a local hospital via ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.

No fire was reported.

San Fernando Road was closed to all traffic between Pierce and Osborne streets following the incident.

The investigation is being handled by the FAA and the NTSB.

Investigators will be looking into whether weather conditions played a part in the crash. The National Weather Service hoisted Red Flag Warnings for much of Los Angeles Sunday.

Whiteman Airport is a small general aviation facility at the eastern end of the San Fernando Valley, about halfway between Burbank and San Fernando.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

 Photo credit: CBS2/Art Barron

A Cessna 172 crashed into a parking lot across San Fernando Road near Whiteman Airport in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.

PACOIMA ( — Authorities say a small plane crashed in a used car lot not far from Whiteman Airport in Pacoima.

The incident was reported about 12:55 p.m. Sunday in the 10300 block of N. San Fernando Road, according to Brian Humphrey, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Humphrey says two men managed to free themselves from the wreckage and were transported to an area hospital in fair condition with non-life threatening injuries.

Humphrey also indicated that there was an outage in the area due to downed power lines. Motorists were asked to avoid San Fernando Road between Pierce and Osborne streets.

Ian Gregor, a public affairs manager for the FAA, said the Cessna 172 was inbound to Whiteman Airport at the time of the crash. According to Gregor, the plane struck a building and crashed in the lot.

Gregor said the FAA and NTSB are expected to investigate.

No further information was immediately available.

DeltaHawk struggling before takeoff

RACINE — DeltaHawk officials have said it before and they’re saying it again: They will start making aviation engines — soon! 

Manufacturing should begin in April or May, DeltaHawk President Dennis Webb and Vice President of Manufacturing Steven Smiley said late this month. That’s a year or more later than they expected back in mid-2011, after the city approved $1.2 million in low-interest loans and the state had promised $720,000 in loans.

Webb acknowledged he’s become accustomed to some “eye-rolling” when DeltaHawk promises to start manufacturing or obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification in a certain time frame.

“In all candor, we have missed a lot of dates,” Webb admitted.

But he and Smiley voiced confidence DeltaHawk, 2300 South St., has dismantled its main technical obstacles.

DeltaHawk was founded on the development of a lightweight, diesel-burning engine that company officials say will use 25-75 percent less fuel than other aviation engines. Most engines in general aviation — which is everything but commercial and military — burn leaded gasoline.

Webb said the march toward manufacturing has been slowed in the past couple of years by two significant technical stumbling blocks relating to the engine. One has been resolved, and resulted in some “extraordinary” intellectual property, he said, and the other challenge is “basically resolved.”

He and Smiley said that gets DeltaHawk into production in April or May, with a slow ramp-up — and a large backlog of orders.

Customers waiting

DeltaHawk hasn’t yet achieved Federal Aviation Administration certification. But even without it, the company can sell to builders of experimental aircraft and sell test engines for certified manufacturers, both important categories.

“We have about 18 months of production in orders,” Smiley said. Webb said DeltaHawk is negotiating three possible larger projects: one military; one a domestic helicopter project; and one overseas.

“We have 40 customer projects underway, people who are developing their aircraft around our engine,” Webb said. Some are retrofits of existing aircraft; some will be new aircraft designs.

One of those brand-new aircraft is a radical new design, the Synergy airplane by inventor John McGinnis.

“He’s going to change aviation,” Webb said, “and he chose our engine.”

DeltaHawk is also getting interest from markets outside aviation, Smiley said, including a military boat project and military generators, “because our engine is so small and lightweight.”

He and Webb said they expect DeltaHawk, which has only about 11 employees now, to reach 40 to 50 by the end of 2014 and about 150 a year later.

The engines will be assembled and tested at DeltaHawk, but all parts will be made by others. About 70 percent of parts will be manufactured within 100 miles, including several Racine County companies. Every DeltaHawk job will support about three outside jobs, Smiley said.

Gateway partnership

As DeltaHawk pushes toward production, the first class of the two-semester DeltaHawk Certification Program is being groomed at Gateway Technical College.

“So these will be our production workers,” Smiley said.

The initial class contains 17 students but the next will have about 30, he said. The $644,592 Wisconsin Covenant Foundation grant will train up to 90.

Smiley said about those first DeltaHawk certification students at Gateway, “Most are older, seasoned people that are passionate about diesel engines or aviation.”

Before they started the class, the students had one orientation with Gateway and one with DeltaHawk, Smiley said. So DeltaHawk knows what it will get from the class.

The biggest drag on getting into manufacturing has been fundraising, Webb said. DeltaHawk has raised and spent about $22 million so far and needs about $3.3 million more.

“When all is said and done,” Webb said, “we will have developed an aviation engine for about one-fourth of what other (companies) develop an engine for.”

And a better one, DeltaHawk will tell you.

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Frank Laettner, left, and Andrew Findlay test an engine on a dynanometer on July 14, 2011, at DeltaHawk Diesel Engines, 2300 South St. The company makes diesel engines for airplanes. Each engine undergoes this load testing.

Cleveland Regional Jetport hangars complete and full

CHECKING THE OIL on his Cirrus plane is Jack Byrd. Byrd recently moved his aircraft from Hardwick Field to the Cleveland Regional Jetport. 
 JOYANNA LOVE,  Cleveland Daily Banner 

Hangars filled up fast for recreational pilots at the new Cleveland Regional Jetport.

Despite being designed to hold twice the number of private recreational planes than had been housed at Hardwick Field, the hangars are full, according to new Cleveland Regional Jetport director of operations Mark Fidler.

Hardwick Field had 10 T-hangars.

“They were actually all spoken for many, many months ago. We actually have a waiting list of people who would like us to build more of them, so they can bring their airplanes here and move in,” Fidler said.

Fidler said there is a waiting list of about 10 pilots wanting to rent one of the T-shaped hangars.

He said it was good to see all the local planes coming to one airport.

“It’s kind of like bringing everybody home to their new home now,” Fidler said. “ I look forward to getting to know the people who are moving in and establishing relationships with those people.”

Two buildings newly constructed at the jetport hold 10 planes each.

“The people who are over at the old airport Hardwick Field now have a place to move,” Fidler said.

Hardwick Field will be officially closed on Dec. 31.

The majority of the pilots leasing the new hangars are from Bradley County. A few are from Athens or Georgia. Most of the pilots from Hardwick Field have moved to the new location. Fidler said some of the pilots who have stopped flying no longer needed a place for their planes.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” Fidler said.

Additional T-hangars are in the long-range plan for the jetport. Private hangars for local business or ministries have been constructed near the T-hangars.

The Jones Airways hangar, located closer to the terminal building, is also nearing completion.

For these hangars, the city has leased the property and they have constructed the hangars.

Jetport operations have been busy since the airport’s opening earlier this year. While the number of takeoffs and landings fluctuate, Fidler said there is air traffic daily.

The holiday season has brought a slight slump to usage of the airport. Before the holidays, the jetport was seeing a number of business flights. Fidler said planes fly in from all over the United States.

Fidler said revenue from fuel sales — both jet fuel and recreational plane fuel — have exceeded expectations.

Next on the enhancement schedule for the Cleveland Regional Jetport is extending the runway by 500 feet.

Work on this project will begin in the summer.

“It’s to serve the major corporations we have here in Cleveland … that are flying larger corporate jets,” Fidler said.

The additional runway length will give these larger jets more room for taking off and landing.

Other future projects include installing approach lighting and updating a taxiway to meet new aviation regulations.

Source: Cleveland Daily Banner - Jetport hangars complete and full

CLEVELAND REGIONAL JETPORT features 20 T-hangars for recreational airplanes.

Civil Aviation Authority to investigate loose plane panel

The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed it will carry out an inquiry into the emergency landing of a passenger aircraft in Blenheim this month.

A spokesman for the authority said on last week it would be "actively assisting the operator in their investigation into the incident".

The Sounds Air flight from Wellington was bound for Koromiko on December 18 when it diverted to Marlborough Airport after a loud bang that was heard in the cockpit about 10 minutes into the flight.

The company said that after landing, it was discovered a heat shield between the engine exhaust and the cargo pod of the plane had come loose during the flight. It then fell off as the plane landed.

Alan Riwaka, one of six passengers on the flight, said he hoped there would be a full investigation because "those things don't just fall off".

The incident prompted him to ask how secure the rest of the aircraft was, he said.

The Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said its role in the investigation would be "desk-based", which included using all known facts and reports leading up to the incident.

It was not known how long the investigation would take, although the authority's communications manager, Mike Richards said last week they were still gathering the necessary information.

"So far we have learnt that the airplane did not have an engine problem. It [the loose heat shield] was causing vibration [and] it seems the pilot thought the vibration was an engine issue, so as a precaution he diverted into Blenheim, where he declared an emergency."

After realizing the engine was performing normally, the pilot made a safe landing, Mr Richards said.

Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said last week the incident had been "very minor".

He had spoken to the passengers following the flight, and had further apologized that night.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission said it would not be investigating the incident. 


East Texas Regional (KGGG) and Gladewater Municipal (07F): Airports not going hog wild

QUESTION: I have heard that Gladewater sometimes has wild hogs on the runway at the airport. Do any other airports such as Longview have this problem and what can be done about it?

ANSWER: Officials with the Gladewater and Longview airports told me they do not have any ongoing, major problems with feral hogs at their airports.

“We’ve had calls ... before about wild hogs around the airport area,” said Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate. Those reports haven’t indicated they were on the runway, he said, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been at some point. However, the hogs seem to stick close to a gully area at one end of the airport.

“There’s been a couple of people in the past that have approached us and we’ve allowed them to set hog traps on the north end,” Pate said.

At East Texas Regional Airport, Director Roy Miller said there have not been wild hogs on the airfield in a couple of years.

“Occasionally, we’ll see one out in the property beyond us,” he said, adding that the airport has a wildlife hazard management plan.

“One of the things we do is try to reduce their habitat, keep the grass cut and the fences cleared,” Miller said, sometimes trapping wild hogs or deer or other kinds of animals to keep them off the airfield.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the agency works with airports to develop wildlife management programs and provides guidelines for building fences to keep wildlife from getting onto airport property. The airports would work with wildlife biologists to determine whether animals are trapped or shot once they end up on the airfield.

Civil Air Patrol cadets train for disasters

Civil Air Patrol Communication Officer Dave Augustine uses a transmitter and receiver Saturday during basic and advance ground team member school, for Civil Air Patrol members training.

About 20 cadets took part in ground school training through the Lonestar Emergency Services Academy Saturday as part of their inclusion in the Civil Air Patrol.

Cadets from across the southwestern portion of Texas worked to learn or improve skills ranging from locating crashed aircraft using satellites and constructing radio towers — all tasks members of the Civil Air Patrol are routinely asked to perform as part of their duties during times of need.

A national organization, the Civil Air Patrol is the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, a non-governmental nonprofit organization that assists with search-and-rescue missions, documenting areas before and after natural disasters and offering services in emergencies.

Lt. Col. Sean Crandall is commander of the Brownsville wing group of the CAP, and he said his unit was called on to assist in the aftermath of the Moore, Okla. tornado, which struck there in May.

Photographing homes there with a geosynched camera allowed homeowners and officials in that area to provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with evidence of the destruction for the government entity to take into account when determining how much aid was needed.

When the Air Force asks for assistance, Crandall said, the CAP is sitting on go.

“We’re the only ones that do what we do,” he said.

And that’s what makes it so important to properly train cadets to prepare them for senior status when they reach age 21. Cadets can join the CAP at 12 and immediately begin training through learning about leadership, aerospace science and emergency services.

Gilbert Saldivar, 15, of Brownsville has been involved with CAP for about a year, beginning when a cadet who he attended school with told him about the program.

His interest in aerospace technologies roped him in, he said, noting he always keeps his eyes on the skies.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching planes,” he said.

But his first time training in ground school exposed him to search-and-rescue tactics along with using communication systems, and he said he gained an appreciation for the worth of that type of knowledge as well.

“The training is being able to go out there and save someone’s life if they’re in danger,” he said, adding that the skills he picked up aren’t limited in use only with CAP. “I can use (that training) the rest of my life.”

The ground school began the day after Christmas and involves 140 hours of training that combines classroom education and hands-on training into an opportunity for cadets to be tested as if they were assisting with real-life rescues.

Building shelters, setting up radio towers and locating downed planes were all practical applications the cadets sought to master during the training, which will finish up Tuesday.

Brandon Bridgewater, 19, attends Texas A&M, but the Brownsville native is still active in the local CAP group.

A member of the Texas Army National Guard, he said the military discipline within the program interested him in CAP when he heard about it from his 7th grade history teacher. He knew he was destined to join the military, so getting the CAP training was a natural fit.

Bridgewater, one of the more experienced cadets, now assists with the CAP tests, he said, noting that one of the more exciting practical challenges for cadets is to assist in a mock search-and-rescue mission.

Cadets are expected to locate and backboard — under stress — an instructor who portrays an airplane crash victim.

And while much of the knowledge cadets gain is specific to CAP missions, Evan Lopez, 17, of Harlingen explained that the knowledge about basic safety is useful for everyday life.

Lopez has his eye on the Naval Academy, but was quick to note the experience he’s gained while helping the local group to fix up its facilities, which were donated by Texas State Technical College.
Building a deck over the muddy part of the land, which was donated by the City of Brownsville, not only made it safer, he said, but taught him a bit of carpentry.

The group is still looking to spruce up its facilities, Crandall said, in an effort to grow the program and increase the capabilities of the Southwest Regional Training Center.

For now, though, focusing on educating the cadets in search and rescue is the focus, as the center aims to prepare the next generation of the Civil Air Patrol.

Sheriff advised against using county funds for pilot’s license: Sheriff Bryan Backus says he would only fly aircraft for police work

 CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ritchie County Sheriff Bryan Backus disagrees with State Ethics Commissioners who advised him not to use money from the county's concealed weapons permit fund to pay for flight lessons and airplane rentals.

Backus had asked the State Ethics Commission if he could continue using surplus county money to earn his pilot's license, in hopes of one day manning a fixed-wing airplane for the sheriff's department.

Backus said he would fly an airplane to enforce traffic, eradicate illegal drugs and help with search and rescues. The airplane would also provide aerial surveillance while police conduct search warrants and conduct extraditions and transports, he said.

However the Commission issued an advisory opinion on Thursday, concluding that the sheriff's private gain would outweigh any public benefit from his license.

"Most of the stated reasons for the proposed use of aircraft are not critical for law enforcement or are duplicative of services already available at no cost, e.g., drug eradication and searches for missing children," commissioners wrote in the opinion.

Backus would only have about two years remaining in his second term once he obtains the pilot's license, according to the Commission.

Backus told the Gazette-Mail on Saturday that he would continue to work toward his pilot's license, but would pay for it out of his own salary. He disagreed that his license would outweigh the public good and said he did not want it for his own personal gain.

Backus said he plans to stay with the department long after his term as sheriff is over, flying airplanes for official police duties.

"I have 17 years with the sheriff's office and I helped move the office forward by leaps and bounds," he said. "I also call it progressive, but some people don't like progression."

Details of Backus' flying lessons were publicized by Ritchie Gazette owner Rodney Windom this week. Windom had submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Ritchie County Sheriff's Department for invoices and receipts related to the sheriff's flying lessons.

Windom said he made the requests after Ritchie County commissioners authorized a $231 reimbursement for Backus' three-night stay at  the Wyndham Hotel in Bridgeport in April. Backus was also reimbursed approximately $26 for dinner at Outback Steakhouse, Windom said.

Backus provided the newspaper with receipts from April through October, in which he had paid a flight instructor from Marietta, Ohio to give him lessons at the North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport.

Backus spent more than $2,100 from the concealed weapons fund for airplane rentals from an Ohio-based flying club, according to the invoices he provided. He paid the instructor approximately $660 and bought equipment from an online flight store totaling about $730.

The concealed weapons fund is used by county sheriffs to issue permits to carry a concealed deadly weapon. County sheriff's may use any leftover money in the fund at the end of the fiscal year to spend on law enforcement activities.

Backus said he does not waste county money and has worked to find ways to cut back on spending. He's received several grants, he said, including fuel upgrades to county vehicles that saved nearly $9,000.

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Mooney "veteran pilot" OK: Merced Regional Airport (KMCE) Back Open

The Merced Regional Airport is back open after a pilot made a crash landing Saturday afternoon.

Merced Fire Battalion Chief Shawn Henry says the single-engine Mooney plane crashed after 5:30 p.m., after its landing gear collapsed as it was arriving at the airport.

The pilot, who Henry described as a "veteran pilot" was the only one on board, and he was able to walk away.

The runway was closed as crews removed the aircraft.

This affected a Great Lakes Airline flight that had been scheduled to arrive from Visalia.

The plane was kept in Visalia until the runway was cleared.

Dramatic helicopter jailbreak temporarily grounded pilot's lifelong dream

 Sébastien Foray

Sebastien Foray may not have been physically injured when he was turned into an unwitting tool in a dramatic airborne prison escape, but his time behind the controls of the helicopter that briefly spirited two prisoners to freedom wound up temporarily grounding his career. 

 Foray, 24, earned instant notoriety as the pilot allegedly held at gunpoint and forced to participate in the jailbreak that made international headlines.

Two passengers who booked Foray's time for what he thought was a routine flight wound up forcing the pilot to land on a tower at the St-Jerome prison while they reeled two inmates up from the exercise yard below.

An account from Foray's former boss detailed how the passengers later blindfolded the pilot and abandoned him next to his machine while they made their short-lived escape.

The two escapees and their accomplices were apprehended within hours of their flight and returned to jail. For Foray, the ordeal has lasted much longer.

Anxiety, fear and post-traumatic stress have combined to strip Foray of his pilot's license and leave him wondering if he'll be able to keep pursuing his lifelong dream.

"Even today, I'm not sure I fully realize everything that happened," Foray said in a telephone interview from Montreal.

For Foray, a French-born former helicopter mechanic who moved to Canada in 2011, that oblivion set in moments into his fateful flight.

He still feels great reluctance to talk about the specific exchanges that took place as the chopper soared towards the prison and declined to delve into details of his ordeal.

Foray's most vivid memory of the encounter, he said, was a strong sense that he was watching his life flash before his eyes.

"I was sure I was going to die. The moment the four people (the two alleged accomplices and the two escaped inmates) were in the helicopter and there was no more police around us and I was going to drop them off in a place they knew... I was sure they were going to kill me since I was the last person to see where they were and I could have given information," he said.

That certainty gave way to a feeling of surrealism that dogged him for the first two weeks after the jailbreak, he said, describing those days as a "strange kind of afterlife."

Shock soon gave way to regular anxiety attacks as Foray tried to come to terms with what had happened without disrupting his normal routine. Family and friends repeatedly urged him to seek medical treatment and enter therapy for post-traumatic stress despite their ignorance of the true scope of his struggles.

Foray ignored their advice, however, preferring to relegate the terrifying flight to the past where he felt it belonged.

"I told them I was doing well even though I wasn't necessarily doing well..," he said. "I didn't tell them everything."

In the end, professional help was forced on Foray when Transport Canada suspended his pilot's license on medical grounds.

This came as a blow to Foray, who had relocated to Canada specifically to pursue the career he described as a childhood dream.

Two months of sessions with doctors and psychologists allowed Foray to regain his license, only to find his old job had been filled in his absence.

"It was very very hard because I moved here for that, I made huge changes and huge financial sacrifices to do it, and they wouldn't let me fly when it's what I've always dreamed of," he said.

Despite his numerous setbacks, Foray said he has not given up hope of earning his living in Canadian skies.

Winter marks the traditional low point for job opportunities in his field, but Foray said he hopes to be airborne again by the spring.

"Flying helicopters is still my dream," he said. "It's what I love to do the most in the world."


Dissecting the daring helicopter escape from a Quebec jail