Monday, March 31, 2014

Skydiver who died following midair collision is Jimmie Johnson's brother-in-law

JAMUL - A skydiving instructor who died following a midair collision is the brother-in-law of NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson, according to the racer's foundation. 

Jimmie Johnson's foundation issued the following statement Monday: 

"The Johnsons are saddened by the tragic passing of Chandra’s brother, Jordan Janway, 27. Jordan was an incredible son, brother, uncle and friend and will be dearly missed. Please keep the Janway family in your thoughts and prayers. The family asks for privacy at this time."

Jordan Janway, 27, of San Diego was found dead near Otay Lakes (outside of Jamul) late Sunday afternoon. He had been reported missing earlier in the day while teaching a group how to skydive. He was a contract employee for Skydive San Diego.

Buzz Fink, skydiving company's owner, said Sunday that Janway was practicing a maneuver called tracking when he collided with his jump partner's knee or leg.

"He was unable to deploy his parachute, probably because he was incapacitated after he hit the other jumper," Fink said.

The other jumper involved in the collision was not injured and was able to land in the drop zone.

Fink said the surviving jumper had a Cybernetic Parachute Release System (CYPRES), a reserve parachute which monitors a skydiver’s speed and altitude and automatically deploys if it senses a problem.

Janway was not using the system during his jump. Fink said the skydriver had a CYPRES, but it had been sent in for maintenance within the past couple of weeks.

Fink said Janway was an experienced skydiver who had completed more than 1,000 jumps.

Story, photos and comments/reaction:

Mineta San Jose International Airport (KSJC), California

SAN JOSE -- A small plane made an emergency landing Monday at Mineta San Jose International Airport, according to an airport spokeswoman.

The pilot of a two-engine King Air 350 aircraft reported an emergency of a mechanical nature, according to airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes. The exact nature of the problem was not immediately released.

There were three people on board the plane, which landed safely at 6:53 a.m., Barnes said.

San Jose police and fire responded to the airport as a precautionary measure.

InsideCounsel: Do attorneys ignore the NTSB's 45-day rule, which protects privacy rights of victims and their relatives? - By Ed Silverstein

The likely crash of a Malaysia Airlines’ plane highlights the 45-day rule, which bans early contact between attorneys and victims’ families.
By Ed Silverstein
March 31, 2014

It is widely known among aviation lawyers that attorneys are supposed to wait 45 days before contacting the families of victims involved in an airline crash in order to solicit them as clients.

The reasoning behind such a rule – passed by Congress in 1996 – is that it allows a family privacy at a very traumatic time. It probably makes sense from a strategic point of view, too. Often, it takes a while for the basic facts of a case to be revealed, such as information from a plane’s black box.

But there are those attorneys, eager to get clients, who do not value the rule. The rule, some sources add, may not apply outside of the continental United States. This would be important in the case of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, given most of its passengers are from overseas, especially from China and other parts of Asia. 

And even with regards to violating the 45-day rule in the United States, opponents may argue they want to sign up a client quickly in a very competitive (and lucrative) field of legal practice. Plus, they might argue that relatives of passengers have a right and need for legal counsel, before insurance companies and other possible defendants try to settle with them. 

In the case of the still-missing Malaysia Airlines’ plane, now assumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, there was speculation by some attorneys in private practice that the federal government was monitoring whether plaintiff’s lawyers were following the 45-day rule.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) could not be reached for immediate comment on Friday. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago said on Friday he would neither confirm nor deny if any investigation was taking place.

Already, one law firm, Ribbeck Law of Chicago, has filed a petition for discovery, preparing the way for a lawsuit in response to the missing Malaysian plane. The firm claims it expects to represent half of the victims’ families. It is not clear how they became counsel for them, if they did not contact their relatives. They did specify one relative of a passenger who appears to be a client. 

The Christian Science Monitor has reported that William Wang, who works for Ribbeck as Of Counsel, and is licensed to practice in China, “headed for Beijing as soon as he heard that the plane had disappeared,” and “says he has offered his firm’s services to the relatives of more than 100 passengers on a ‘no win, no fee’ contingency basis, and that about 10 have signed up with Ribbeck.” 

What is known is that in 2009 Ribbeck’s solicitation practices were highlighted in web reports on how they procured clients after a plane crash in Buffalo. “I questioned whether it was violating both New York’s 30-day moratorium on contacting victims/families as well as the federal 45-day rule that prohibits solicitation,” according to a recent blog post from New York attorney Eric Turkewitz. 

Last year, there were more questions over Ribbeck’s solicitation of clients involving the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco. The NTSB reported the law firm to the Illinois agency that regulates attorneys in response to questions about its online communications and in-person meetings with passengers on that flight, according to a report from The Associated Press.

In the Asiana crash, the NTSB “received an unspecified number of complaints about solicitations since the July 6 accident that killed three Chinese teenage girls and injured 180,” The AP said. 

On Friday, James Grogan, deputy administrator for the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, said there was a pending public disciplinary proceeding against Monica Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law regarding a Turkish Airlines crash. The commission could not confirm or deny if the commission was looking at her for any other incidents.

Grogan did confirm too that the commission would consider federal law when it comes to the solicitation of business by attorneys regarding air or railroad crashes. 

Key in this could be the 45-day rule, which is found in 49 U.S.C. 1136 (G)(2), and explains unsolicited communications.

“In the event of an accident involving an air carrier providing interstate or foreign air transportation and in the event of an accident involving a foreign air carrier that occurs within the United States, no unsolicited communication concerning a potential action for personal injury or wrongful death may be made by an attorney (including any associate, agent, employee, or other representative of an attorney) or any potential party to the litigation to an individual injured in the accident, or to a relative of an individual involved in the accident, before the 45th day following the date of the accident.”


Related stories:
Filing over missing Malaysia Airlines flight called premature as search for plane continues

Asiana Airlines to pay $10,000 to San Francisco crash survivors

Independence Bank subleasing airport space for its King Air 350: Owensboro-Daviess County Regional (KOWB), MidAmerica Jet

Franklin Aviation, a subsidiary of Independence Bank of Kentucky, has subleased space at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport from Mid-America Jet to house the bank's King Air 350.

Independence President and CEO Chris Reid said the plane is for the bank's private use to transport Independence employees as the company's footprint continues to grow.


Bahrain: Airport plan faces turbulence

 Opponents of a proposed new airport want the project to be scrapped or relocated.

They say if it goes ahead at the proposed location off the northern coast of Bahrain, it could destroy more than half of the country's fisheries.

MPs plan to highlight the issue tomorrow during their weekly session, while fishermen will hold an urgent meeting to discuss potential action against the government plans.

"This means the number one fishing area in Bahrain near Fasht Al Jarim will get destroyed by at least 50 percent depending on the area selected for reclamation," said MP Hassan Al Dossary, who is parliament's public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman.

"That area has already been affected by reclamation work for the Northern Town and I can't believe that there is any study in the world that says reclamation is damage free.

"The government has to re-evaluate its plans.

"We will take a stand during our next session and it is ridiculous that Bahrain wants to destroy its own fishing resources with its own hands."

Earlier this month, parliament rejected plans for the second airport near Fasht Al Jarim, which is off the coast of Duraz, and instead demanded the government spend money on developing Bahrain International Airport.

Mr Al Dossary, whose constituency covers the fasht, said the government should stop spending money on unnecessary projects.

"The existing airport is fine and just needs developing, and spending money for show on the expense of fishing resources is something we don't accept," he added.

"Fasht Al Jarim has been selected because it has shallow waters and would cost less to reclaim, but in reality the costs are higher since fish supplies will drop significantly."

Bahrain Fishermen Society president Jassim Al Jeran said urbanization was necessary, but not at the expense of marine resources.

"Fasht Al Jarim is the biggest shrimping and small fish reproduction place and is rich with coral reefs," he said.

"Reclamation in that area would change the entire marine system which will have huge consequences.

"The current water flow will be altered and that's dangerous.

"We will also be cut off from the Arabian Gulf's fishing resources that move to this area.

"It is a shame we are going to lose it, but that's the government's call. But, it doesn't mean we can't contest it because we will fight for the plans to be scrapped or the site changed."

The project was recommended to the Cabinet for approval by the ministerial committee for services and infrastructure last Wednesday.

The next phase will focus on preparing detailed studies including links with roads, water networks, electricity grids and the GCC railway network.

The GDN earlier reported that a $900 million expansion to Bahrain International Airport will be carried out at the end of the year.

The project, which will be financed from the $10 billion GCC aid, will help meet the requirements until work on the new airport project is completed. 


U.S. 23 South Reopens In Ross County, Ohio, After Medical Helicopter Broke Down


A medical helicopter that was responding to a crash broke down after landing in the southbound lanes of U.S. 23 in Ross County early Monday morning.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a AirEvac helicopter responded to U.S. 23 near Trego Creek Road for a single vehicle crash in the area that required a patient to be air-lifted to the hospital.

Troopers say the helicopter had engine problems after it landed, and had to be grounded until it could be fixed.

The southbound lanes of U.S. 23 were closed at Trego Creek Road until a mechanic was able to respond to fix the helicopter, according to OSHP. The southbound lanes reopened just before 6 a.m.

According to dispatchers, the driver, who is suspected of driving under the influence, crashed into a guardrail in the area. The driver sustained extensive injury to one of their legs and was transported to Adena Medical Center by ambulance.

No other information was immediately available.


Panel to meet on Natchitoches Regional Airport (KIER) master plan

After two years of work, the Natchitoches Regional Airport has a master plan for the next 20 years.

The airport commission will meet today to discuss the plan which was recently approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport was established in 1940 and has gone through several changes in its 74 years. The new master plan recommends aviation facilities that are necessary for potential growth over the next 20 years.

One possible project would be a runway extension. Airport Development Group, Inc, the master plan consultant, says completing that project would allow the regional airport to bring in bigger planes and, in turn, bring in big business.

The Airport Commission is expected to present the plan to the City Council on April 14.


Safran Aerospace Composites and Albany Engineered Composites: Aerospace companies mark opening of New Hampshire airplane engine blade facility

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire — Two companies that are partnering to manufacture light-weight airplane engine blades are marking the opening of a large production facility in Rochester, New Hampshire

Safran Aerospace Composites and Albany Engineered Composites are officially opening the plant Monday at a ceremony attended by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

During construction, the companies have been collaborating with Great Bay Community College to develop training programs aimed at allowing newly hired workers to adapt existing skills for the plant's advanced manufacturing operation.

The new manufacturing plant is expected to employ about 400 workers.


Feud over seaplane makes waves far beyond Lake Keystone, Florida

 ODESSA — The seaplane is so loud, the author said, it scared his wife's horses.

It rattled the orthodontist's new hurricane-resistant windows. It woke the plastic surgeon on a Sunday, just after he returned from vacation in India.

For months, a feud has raged on Lake Keystone. The seaplane, some say, makes the lake its personal runway, buzzing homes and treetops, forcing boats to swerve, shattering the tranquility of this wealthy, waterfront enclave.

Nine government agencies and two Hillsborough County commissioners have been involved. None has come to the aid of complaining neighbors.

The plane's owner has flight logs and global positioning system records he says refute complaints. He's the victim, he says, of the homeowners association president, who he asserts has lorded over Lake Keystone for years.

Last week, this characteristically Floridian feud took an inevitable turn: the plane owner sued. But there's more at stake than legal damages or a man's recreational aviation habits. Life on Lake Keystone may never be the same.

• • •

In 1990, Jim and Laura Swain moved onto Keystone, a roughly 430-acre lake in northwestern Hillsborough. Jim, a mystery author, is the longtime president of the Lake Keystone Property Owners Association.

The Swains have made fighting nearby development an avocation. Over the years, they have protested or demanded input on a proposed housing development, expanded roads, the design of a new strip mall, a new carwash and a new elementary school.

Neighbors credit them with preserving the rural charm of Keystone, where empty lots sell for seven figures.

"People trust him to be our eyes and ears," said Dr. Mark Eberbach.

"They wield a lot of power up here," said Jim Griffin.

Late last year, neighbors started calling Jim Swain, 57, about the seaplane. Besides noise, some worried about safety. What if it crashed? What if it hit a boat or a swimmer? Would it scare away the eagles?

• • •

Gary Cohen sat recently in an airport hangar, in designer jeans and a monogrammed shirt, explaining why complaints made by Swain and others are absurd.

"He thinks it's Lake Swain," Cohen said, "and he's acted that way for years."

Parked behind Cohen was his six-seat, white-and-blue 1971 Cessna 206 Amphibian. Cohen, executive director of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, declined to say how much he paid for it last year. The plane is worth between $200,000 and $300,000, he said.

Cohen, 54, moved to Keystone in 1993 and raised three children there with his then-wife. He's now engaged to Ericka Ciancarelli, 36, who's learning to fly.

A conversation with Cohen is an exercise in the art of polite interruption. He speaks quickly and at length, with a thick Brooklyn accent. He had prepared a white three-ring binder with 75 pages of evidence: FAA regulations, emails with Tampa Port Authority officials and a propeller manufacturer, and copies of his flight logs.

He read aloud emails complaining about him, listing what he calls inaccuracies. In one, Swain alleged Cohen took off 14 times on a Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. Cohen took off four times that day, he says his logs show, starting at 11:11 a.m. He was giving rides to neighbors.

A boat has never had to swerve to avoid his plane, Cohen said, and he does not buzz homes or tree tops. He pulled up GPS logs tracking his plane's elevation. Typically, as he clears the lake's edge, he's between 250 and 400 feet up, or at least 100 feet above trees, they show.

"He's a fiction writer. He lives in a fiction world," he said of Swain. "This stuff is somewhere between Harry Potter and Star Trek."

• • •

Swain and others have contacted the following about the plane: the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Tampa Port Authority, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and offices of County Commissioners Ken Hagan and Sandy Murman.

The FAA investigated and found nothing wrong. The DOT said it couldn't do anything, but county government could.

County Attorney Chip Fletcher disagreed. Florida Statute 330.36 (2) says a "municipality" can regulate seaplanes. A county is not a municipality, he said.

Swain turned to the Port Authority, which owns the land under the lake. A port official gave the same answer: The port is not a municipality.

Word reached the national Seaplane Pilots Association in Lakeland. Executive Director Steve McCaughey routinely deals with complaints about seaplane noise and safety, when he's not on the road lobbying.

Safety concerns are overblown, McCaughey said. Florida, home to about 650 seaplane owners, is among the most seaplane-friendly states in the country. Statistically speaking, he said, boats are more dangerous. There were 662 boat accidents and 50 fatalities in Florida in 2012, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The FAA does not keep statistics for seaplane accidents, but a review of newspaper articles from 2012 shows three seaplane accidents in Florida, none fatal.

A colleague of McCaughey's flew with Cohen in December, when the complaints started.

"I can absolutely assure you this pilot's not doing anything wrong," said McCaughey.

He acknowledged his bias.

"I try to be as objective as possible in these situations," he said. "I don't want my operators making headline news. I don't want them being bad neighbors."

• • •

In the past month, another complaining neighbor has taken the lead: Richard "Skip" Hirsch, 66, a retired orthodontist. Hirsch measured the plane at 95 decibels using an app on his smartphone, he said, putting it between a passing motorcycle (90 db) and a pneumatic drill (100 db).

"When the yard people come to do the yard, until they're right up near the house, I can't hear the mowers," said Eileen, Hirsch's wife. "This plane, I can hear it when it's out on the lake."

On March 6, Hirsch emailed a port official who, months earlier, told Cohen the port had no problem with his seaplane.

"You and the Port Authority have forever changed the status quo of our lake," Hirsch wrote. "Your two sentences of implied permission have enabled Mr. Cohen to threaten our way of life."

The official — Phil Steadham, environmental affairs director— sent Hirsch's email to a port attorney with this introduction: "This is absolutely preposterous."

• • •

On Jan. 29, Cohen's attorney sent a letter to Swain, advising him to stop "all defamation of Gary Cohen's character and reputation." Cohen has asked Swain to resign as president of the property owner's association.

Swain declined to meet in person with the Tampa Bay Times. In phone interviews, Swain said the situation has been resolved, and he's not resigning.

"I consider this a dead issue," he said.

Cohen doesn't. Friday, he sued, alleging Swain led an "ongoing, personal crusade" against him consisting of "fraudulent reports and complaints."

The conflict has already shaken up the association's board.

As tensions mounted last year, Swain asked longtime treasurer Tom Werner — Cohen's next-door neighbor — to step down until the dispute was resolved.

"He said it would be best for all parties involved," said Werner. He decided to quit.

"Personally, I think the plane is really neat," Werner said.

A few weeks ago, Werner said, he was standing on his dock when Skip Hirsch pulled up in his wakeboat.

"Is that your plane?" he said Hirsch asked.

"No," Werner recalled saying, "It's my neighbor's. What's the problem?"

Hirsch said he wanted to get the plane banned.

"I told him, 'Well, I don't like your boat. Maybe I'll try to get that banned,' " Werner recalled.

Wakeboats create waves that cut into his shoreline. He said Hirsch looked at him, puzzled.

"He said 'Are you kidding me?' " Werner recalled. "He thought I was being ridiculous."

Story and photo gallery:

Gary Cohen and fiancee Ericka Ciancarelli, who’s learning to fly, stand in front of his seaplane at the Bartow Municipal Airport in Bartow. Cohen says the complaints about his seaplane are overblown and he has records to refute the allegations. 

Angry Chinese tourists confront Cebu Pacific pilots

MANILA – An irate Chinese tourist allegedly punched a policeman Friday, after a Cebu Pacific (CebuPac) chartered flight to Shanghai was forced to return to the Kalibo International Airport due to low visibility.

A source from the airline industry said the policeman was trying to pacify the tourists who had allegedly "surrounded" the pilot and co-pilot upon their return to the Kalibo airport.

"Pinaligiran sila," the source said. "Arm-in-arm ang mga Chinese, but they did not hurt the pilot and co-pilot." This is also contrary to news reports that the Chinese held hostage the pilots.

In an incident report, Kalibo airport officer-in-charge Cynthia Aspera identified the pilots as Captain Johnny Tinto and co-pilot Richard Avila.

She told the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that “passengers of the said flight surrounded and blocked the two pilots [from entering] the terminal building. They are demanding for free hotel accommodation.”

The source also said that when police tried to break up the group, one Chinese tourist punched a policeman.The assailant was eventually handcuffed and detained.

Aspera did not mention anything in her report about the police being punched. She said, however, that “a certain Mr. Xue Weilang, Chinese national…was brought to the [PNP] for questioning [due to] being arrogant and disrespectful to the pilots.”

She said they eventually reached a settlement “and the pilots did not file any formal complaint.”

The source emphasized that the cancelled flight was chartered.

The aircraft and pilots were rented by a tour company, which in turn sold the airline seats to the Chinese tourists.

Asked why the tour company failed to adequately explain the situation to the tourists, the source said: “Dumating naman ang tour guide to explain. Pero yung ibang pasahero mainit, gusto nang umuwi."

In a statement, CebuPac said flight 5J074 Kalibo – Shanghai was cancelled last Friday, March 28, 2014 due to the weather condition (low visibility) in Shanghai.

“Passengers of this flight will be re-accommodated in this evening’s chartered CEB flight 5J074 Kalibo-Shanghai. It will depart at 1855H and arrive in Shanghai at 2245H.” 


Yeager Airport (KCRW) votes to help fund Coonskin bridge project

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When it comes to the West Virginia Air National Guard, few are more supportive than Yeager Airport. The two entities share the runway and grounds at Yeager and the Air Guard provides the airport's fire and crash response service.

"It's one of the best units in the country and we're very fortunate to have them," said Assistant Airport Director Brian Belcher. "It probably saves our airport one point five to two Million dollars a year just having them there."

The savings alone would explain the recent vote by the Yeager Board of Directors to help construct the new entrance to Coonskin Park. Yeager will pay 150,000 dollars each year for the next ten years to help pay for a bridge over the Elk River which will serve as the new park entrance.  The new entrance will allow for the closure of the present entrance which runs through the guard base. The openness of the base was a security problem identified in the most recent BRAC inspection of the guard's headquarters.

"We always try to partner with the 130th unit and it's important for them to get their base more secure," said Belcher. "It's something that's been one of their goals and we'd like to help them get it done."


Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo to partner for aviation

BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo are planning an aviation partnership, details of which will be announced at 11:30 a.m. today at the Wood County Regional Airport Hangar in Bowling Green.

The announcement is to be by BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs, State Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), and others.

Earlier this month, BGSU said North Star Aviation Inc. would provide flight instruction for its aviation program, a deal designed to allow BGSU to expand its program without increasing its costs for new equipment and additional personnel.

BGSU did not say how the North Star deal would affect the UT partnership.


Letter: Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO) serves a purpose

By Dr. Bernard Harris on March 30, 2014 in Opinion


How is it that Valerie Davidson (“Not-so-friendly skies,” Letters to the Editor, March 28), a Mar Vista resident, or any other resident living outside the city of Santa Monica, can talk about what Santa Monica needs or wants for its own airport. She says that the majority of residents want the airport closed. But is that really what the majority of Santa Monicans want?

The airport brings in millions of dollars into the economy of Santa Monica and its surroundings and multitudes of patients needing the health facilities of Santa Monica’s health resources. All of these indigent and needy patients are brought in from far outlying areas or taken back home at no expense to them by many pilots, including me, through voluntarily donating our time, use of our aircraft, and at our own expense, through the coordination of Angel Flight, an organization started here at SMO in the early 1980s, still based here at SMO, and since gone nationwide. Take away SMO and you have taken away the hopes of thousands of needy, sick and potentially doomed adults and children, whose only hope is the care they receive from health facilities in and around Santa Monica. Most, if not all of these patients, would suffer severely if not for Angel Flight West, because most could not tolerate the long drive from their homes, or afford the costs of transportation they would have to pay otherwise.

And as far as being a health risk to the community, what about all those fumes generated by those automobiles and trucks that ply our streets, contributing thousands of amounts of fumes and contamination more than are generated by the aircraft that come and go to and from SMO. By the same reason that the Santa Monica City Council is contemplating closing down fuel sales at SMO, perhaps they should also ban cars and trucks from our streets and close down all service stations that sell gasoline to them in our city, as well. Isn’t that what one would consider being anti-discriminatory?

Dr. Bernard Harris

Santa Monica


As trees in Connecticut grow, Westchester County Airport (KHPN) runway trimmed

For pilots landing into a west wind at Westchester County Airport, the first 1,300 feet of the runway is already off-limits because of trees the airplanes must fly over in Connecticut.

But soon, the Federal Aviation Administration may force the airplanes to touch down a few hundred feet farther down the airstrip, even as the county is waiting for a report on how to get more use of the runway, the shorter of two the airport offers.

Vacationers flying on JetBlue, Delta or US Airways use the airport's main runway, not the shorter one, which is called 11/29. But their waits for flights could become longer if more small corporate jets and turbo-prop airplanes are forced to use 11/29, some warned.

"People aren't going to stop going there, they're just going to wait longer," said John Johnston, president of the Westchester Aviation Association.

The FAA first ordered the airport to move the landing line, called a displaced threshold, in 1988 because of the height of the maple and ash trees, the closest of which are several hundred feet from the end of the airstrip. Last year, the inspectors said the trees continued to grow, and the line might soon need to be pushed farther along, said airport general manager Peter Scherrer.

"The last time, they said that, hey, you're getting close; it's tight at the bottom," Scherrer said.

FAA officials told The Journal News only that they continue to monitor the situation.

But Scherrer said a change could come as soon as the next inspection, scheduled for this week, or it could happen in later years. Either way, any change would need to be a significant move, he said. The current threshold stops just before the intersection with the main runway, 16/34. Since markings can't be made in the intersection, the line on 11/29 would have to be moved 350 feet or more, Scherrer estimated.

This comes as the airport prepares to chop 300 feet off the other side of the runway next year to meet an FAA requirement for a safety zone.

"The runway will be so short, it will be only be able to be used by very few airplanes," said Bill Weaver, the head of Million Air, a private-jet service company at Westchester County Airport.

In November, 2011, the county hired McFarland Johnson of Binghamton for $350,000 to figure out what to do with it. That report is expected to be completed soon.

One idea, shifting the runway, would cost $40 million, money that would be difficult to find, said Patty Chemka, deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation.

Installing landing guide lights called a precision approach path indicator system may help persuade inspectors to leave the runway as it is, but adding to pilots' abilities to approach on a steady path, especially at night when the trees are hard to see, Scherrer said.

"It would probably buy us some time," Scherrer said. "It's a short-term solution."

For now, the county is holding off on a $12 million project to give the runway its first repaving in 20 years.

Westchester's attempts to coax and even to force the landowners in Connecticut to remove or trim the trees failed years ago. The battle went all the way through the federal courts in the 1990s, and Westchester officials don't intend to try it again.

"We lost that battle at the Supreme Court," Chemka said. "We're not revisiting that now."

On a typical day, only about 5 percent of the airplanes landing and taking off at the airport use runway 11/29, Scherrer said. But it becomes more important when traffic is heavy and air traffic controllers want to alternate the landings and departures. Also, when a strong wind blows from the west or northwest, approaching runway 11/29 from the east allows small planes to land into the gusts rather than fighting a crosswind.

"That's the most important runway for landing when we have heavy winds from the west or northwest," Scherrer said.

While the airport has become popular with vacationers, such commercial flights made up less than 20 percent of the 151,000 landings and take-offs last year, Scherrer said. Corporate flights are the most common by far. It is also used by flight schools and private pilots, who appreciate having the second runway.

"You don't get stuck behind all the jets when you can use the shorter runway," said Dr. Jill Silverman of Yorktown, a psychologist and private pilot who flies single-engine Cessnas.

Taking away the alternate runway robs efficiency by halting operations if there's a problem on the one working airstrip and by mixing different types of airplanes that fly and land at different speeds.

"It's almost like going on the Taconic Parkway and someone's doing 40 miles and hour and someone else is doing 65 and someone else is doing 80," Scherrer said.

If the airport becomes less convenient to use, Johnston said, it would take away from one of the benefits that make Westchester attractive to corporations and other businesses such as flight schools.

"When the pain level gets to a certain point, they're going to say 'Thank you very much,' " Johnston said. "Aviation is a mobile product."

Story and photos:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MSP Aviation, dba MSP Jet Center: Recent bankruptcy filing in Minneapolis


MSP Aviation, doing business as MSP Jet Center, P.O. Box 44458, Eden Prairie; filed March 21, 14-41184; Chap. 7; assets, $70,000; liabilities, $536,140. Timothy Ashenfelter, president.


Fund to Help Pilot Injured in Crash: Cessna 172D Skyhawk, N2755U, Gone Broke LLC, accident occurred March 08, 2014 in Fairhope, Alabama

Updated: Sunday, March 30 2014, 07:05 PM CDT 

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WPMI) A fund has been opened to help the family of a pilot who was seriously injured in a plane crash earlier this month. 

Roger James was flying the single engine Cessna plane March 8 when it went down and burst into flames in Fairhope. 

The NTSB’s preliminary report says an investigation revealed no malfunctions with the aircraft of the engine. 

If you would like to help, you can leave donations at the BBVA Compass Bank on Fairhope Avenue in Fairhope. Just over $1,000 has been raised so far.
NTSB Identification: ERA14LA147

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Fairhope, AL
Aircraft: CESSNA 172D, registration: N2755U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 March 8, 2014, about 1400 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172D airplane, N2755U, operated by Gone Broke, LLC, was destroyed during a landing attempt and postcrash fire at H L Sonny Callahan Airport (CQF), Fairhope, Alabama. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was file for the personal flight operating under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight was operating under visual flight rules. The departure time and location have not been determined.

According to several witnesses, a military helicopter had been operating in the pattern at CQF for about 10 minutes. During the maneuver the helicopter descended into a hover over the approach end of runway 19, then transitioned into a takeoff and entered an initial climb about mid field. While the helicopter was ascending, the Cessna 172D was attempting to land on runway 19. A witness reported the airplane was about 30 feet above ground level when it suddenly rolled right in a right wing low attitude, leveled out and then impacted the ground flat in a level attitude forward of the runway threshold. Subsequently a post impact fire ensued near the engine cowling.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the airplane departed the right side of the runway and came to rest in the grass about 800 feet past the initial impact point and 50 feet west of the runway edge.

Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine by the FAA and airframe and engine manufacturers did not reveal any anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

Robert F. Rohde: Boyhood plane ride leads to dodging enemy fire as WWII cargo pilot

Robert F. Rohde, 91

• Hometown: Buffalo

• Residence: Lancaster

• Branch: Army Air Forces, Air National Guard

• War zone: China-Burma-India Theater

• Years of service: 1942-83

• Rank: Lieutenant colonel

• Most prominent honors: Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with two battle stars, Conspicuous Service Cross

• Specialty: Pilot on C-47 Skytrain

At age 12, when Robert F. Rohde was a Boy Scout, he was at a troop meeting in Riverside carving an airplane out of a block of wood when Scoutmaster Francis Ford walked up to him and asked if he’d like to go up in an airplane.

“I nearly fell over when he asked. I said, ‘Yes!’ He was a pilot, and he took me up in a Piper Cub at the airport in Cheektowaga,” the 91-year-old Rohde recalls as if it were yesterday. “I just loved it, and said I wanted to be a pilot.”

After he graduated from Riverside High School in 1941, Rohde enlisted in the Civilian Air Patrol, the training unit for what was then the Army Air Corps, and took up residence on the second floor of the University of Buffalo’s Lockwood Memorial Library, a makeshift barracks.

“We studied meteorology and navigation and practiced marching in UB’s back parking lot under Col. Oury,” Rohde says. “We learned how to fly at the Buffalo Airport.”

After completing his courses, he was activated and sent to Denton, Texas, where he trained to become a glider pilot. But due to a glut of glider pilots, he soon found himself at a base in Stuttgart, Ark., where he pulled shifts working in the base kitchen and digging a swimming pool for officers.

“We were using shovels to dig the pool, and this first sergeant came to the top of the hole we were digging and said, ‘We need some volunteers for liaison pilots,’ ” Rohde says, “and I stopped and asked my friend Arnie what a liaison pilot was and he said he didn’t know, and he wasn’t volunteering. I told Arnie, ‘It must be better than this,’ and I raised my hand with one other guy.”

The same night, he was on a train to Waco, Texas, where he learned the skills of a liaison pilot.

“Our job was to fly a Piper Cub and perform reconnaissance duty for combat troops, letting them know where the enemy was situated,” says Rohde, who was promoted to staff sergeant.

But before he was sent overseas, he made a case with the battalion commander at Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma to let him train with the big boys, the pilots who could fly twin- and four-engine airplanes.

At 21 years old and with his brand-new twin-engine C-47 Skytrain cargo plane, he was soon on his way to the China-Burma-India Theater, making a pit stop in Cairo, where he saw the Sphinx and rode a camel. In India, he toured the Taj Mahal, but what he would see the most of in that far-flung corner of the world were the Himalayan Mountains, while he was going “over the Hump” to resupply troops in Burma who were battling the Japanese.

“There were no roads in Burma, and everything had to be dropped, either free drops at 150 to 300 feet or parachute drops at 300 to 500 feet,” Rohde says. “We’d use parachutes for the 50-gallon drums of fuel and heavier items, but food and ammunition, that was pretty packed up, and could be free-dropped.”

It was exhilarating and dangerous work, with the Japanese often shooting at the unarmed cargo planes as they flew low to make the drops.

“When you’re low and flying between two mountains, you could see the bullets actually hitting the mountainsides,” Rohde says. “With every drop, you changed your approach on the target to stay out of the gunfire. Guys who didn’t would get shot down.”

Even with those precautionary maneuvers, he says, his plane was often struck with bullets. “When we’d come back to our base in India, they would patch up our plane.”

The weather, he says, was the biggest challenge.

“In monsoon season, we’d fly through terrible rain, thunderstorms, ice storms and fog. I had a surface ceiling of 14,000 feet, and when the plane was loaded, it was lower than that,” Rohde recalls.

“The mountains went up to 29,000 feet. We weaved our way through the mountains. We would use the aluminum on the ground from planes that had crashed to guide us. We called it the ‘aluminum trail.’ ”

To stay alive, pilots had to be imaginative, Rohde says, remembering how one of his buddies got the better of a Japanese Zero fighter plane.

“He had this Zero on his tail,” Rohde says, “and he took him up a dead-end valley and at the last minute dropped his landing gear to slow the plane and made a tight turn and the Zero crashed right into the mountain.”

Rohde also proudly recalled helping a famed figure who hailed from South Buffalo.

“We supplied Maj. Gen. William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan’s units with supplies about 100 to 150 miles behind enemy lines in Burma where they raised hell with the enemy,” Rohde says, remembering that Donovan had established the Office of Strategic Services, which eventually became the CIA.

After the war, Rohde knew he wanted to keep a hand in flying and joined the Air National Guard at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and was twice called up to active duty stateside during the Korean War and the Berlin Crisis, when Soviet leaders in 1958 demanded that the United States and the other allies vacate West Berlin. In 1983, he retired from the Guard.

Returning to civilian life, he began with Buffalo Savings Bank in 1948 as a file clerk.

“It was the lowest job, but the bank sent me to school and I worked my way up the ladder and – would you believe it? – I retired as the bank’s corporate secretary,” Rohde says.

He and his wife, Antoinette Tamila Rohde, raised five children, all of whom graduated from college with master’s degrees. And on April 30, the former military officer and bank executive and his bride will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.

“We’re happily married,” he says. “It’s always been a happy life for us.”

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Appareo Systems: Maturing Fargo firm makes high-tech devices for aviation, agriculture

FARGO – Situated between the airport and North Dakota State University, the location of Appareo Systems’ Fargo headquarters reflects its unique enterprise.

Ranked the fastest-growing engineering firm in the nation by Inc. Magazine in 2010, Appareo Systems makes high-tech devices and software used in aviation and, more recently, agriculture.

Airbus Helicopters, a global helicopter manufacturing company based in Marignane, France, announced last month it would equip all its new aircraft with Appareo’s Vision 1000 cockpit camera and flight data recorder. Airbus had been installing the “black box”-like device in its AS350 model helicopters, or about 200 aircraft a year.

The announcement caps a stretch of phenomenal growth for 11-year-old Appareo – Latin for “to appear.”

“The company’s starting to mature more from a startup phase to a mature business model,” said Tony Grindberg, Appareo’s aviation business unit manager who also launched the NDSU Research and Technology Park where Appareo got its start.

Appareo recently opened an expanded 11,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at the Research and Technology Park headquarters with three times the floor space. It now employs more than 140 people, and has additional offices in Tempe, Ariz., and Paris, France.

Appareo has plans to release two new Federal Aviation Administration-certified products in the next year, Grindberg said. He would not release details about the products.

In addition to those initiatives, Appareo is well-poised to eventually provide technology to allow unmanned aerial vehicles to safely share airspace with general aviation.

North Dakota is one of six test sites for integrating drones into general airspace.

Appareo President and Chief Operating Officer David Batcheller said the company will “participate in conversations” about how use of unmanned aircraft will expand. He said they will likely be useful in the oil industry, agriculture and other “dirty, dangerous or dull” jobs. He expects that will happen by the end of the decade.

“In some way, shape or form, I imagine we’ll be part of that market,” Batcheller said.

Humble beginnings

Appareo was founded in 2003 by Batcheller’s father, Barry Batcheller, who also was a founder of Phoenix International, now John Deere. He is now chairman and CEO of Appareo.

Appareo started from humble beginnings, basically a “closet” in one of the research park buildings in 2003, Grindberg said.

David Batcheller said Appareo attended its first aviation tradeshow in 2006 with a flight instruction tool that, while intriguing, didn’t have wide marketability.

It did open the door for creating the GAU 2000, a lightweight, low-cost data recorder for mobile equipment. That product is part of Appareo’s ALERTS (Aircraft Logging and Event Recording for Training and Safety) line, along with the Vision 1000 flight data recorder.

Its more popular product line, however, is the Stratus, a $900 “Wii remote on steroids,” David Batcheller joked.

The wireless receiver connects to an iPad or iPod touch, which private pilots can use to access weather, GPS and altitude information.

The Stratus features Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology, which sends out a signal broadcasting the aircraft’s location, rather than needing to be “seen” by radar.

ADS-B technology will be mandated as part of the FAA’s modernization of radar surveillance.

David Batcheller said it’s easy for people to look at the devices Appareo creates and define the company by them.

“The software side of this is important,” he said.

Pushing the envelope

David Batcheller said Appareo thinks broadly about how its technology can be used, including off-road vehicles.

He said the company’s “young team” doesn’t know what it’s not supposed to do.

“The more we’re successful, the more we’re able to push the envelope,” the 31-year-old said.

He wants Appareo Systems to be a household name in the community, one that “contributes to the culture and landscape of this place.”

Economic development often focuses on bringing outside businesses to Fargo, David Batcheller said.

“I think businesses that are grown here are the things that have a lasting impact on the business community,” he said.

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Little Known Characters in America: Calbraith Perry Rodgers

Born on Jan. 12, 1879, Rodgers had contracted scarlet fever as a child which left him deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other ear. This did not stop the adventurer, as on March of 1911, he visited the Wright Aircraft Factory and Flying School in Dayton, Ohio. He received 90 minutes of flying lessons from Orville Wright on Aug. 7, 1911.

He then took his official flying examination at Huffman Prairie and became the 49th aviator licensed to fly. Rodgers was the first civilian to purchase a Wright flyer.

Calbraith decided to purchase the Wright airplane but needed cash to buy the plane from the Wright brothers. Therefore, in order to obtain the plane and pay other expenses for his proposed flight from one coast to another, he had J. Ogden Armor of the Armor and Company finance the long trip by naming his plane the Vin Fiz. This was the name of a soft drink manufactured by the Armor company.

Responding to a challenge, Calbraith Perry Rodgers made the first transcontinental airplane flight across the United States. The flight began on September 17, 1911, from Sheepshead, New York, and ended in Pasadena, California, on November 5, 1911.

After landing in Chicago on October 9, 1911, he took a southerly route to Texas to avoid flying over the Rocky Mountains. Landing in San Antonio, Texas, he headed west and landed in Pasadena on November 5. After landing, he was met by 20,000 enthusiastic fans.

Calbraith’s attempt to fly the transcontinental route was probably the result of publisher William Randolph Hearst offer to pay any pilot $ 50,000 if he or she were able to fly from one coast to another in less than thirty days from start to finish. Unfortunately, Rodgers missed collecting the prize by 19 days. In order to rest and obtain more fuel, Rodgers had made dozens of stops.

On April 3, 1912, Calbraith was making an exhibition flight over Long Beach, California, and flew into a flock of birds, causing the plane to crash into the ocean. He was never able to recover from his injuries and died at the young age of thirty-three.

Calbraith was the first pilot known to have died as a result of striking a flock of birds. Even today, airports around the world have had difficulty with birds flying into airplanes. This is especially true if the airport is located near an ocean.

The American aviator was the 127th to die as a result of an airplane accident and only the 22nd American. Of course, the year 1912 was before the beginning of World War I, where many aviators were killed during action in the skies above France and Germany.

Task force will tackle air service problem at Riverton Regional Airport (KRIW)

Working to combat mounting air service problems at Fremont County’s only commercial airport, the Riverton Regional Airport Board has named a citizen task force to address the problem.

In February, Riverton mayor Ron Warpness invited residents to apply for spots on the task force. By March, Warpness became aware of state funding alternatives for airport issues, and an ad-hoc committee was formed March 12 to ensure Riverton regional got its “hat in the ring” for the funding, Warpness said. The official task force is an outgrowth of that effort.

“At that time there was a real feeling of urgency to move on that matter as quickly as we could,” he said.

The ad-hoc committee consisted of Riverton city administrator Steven Weaver, Fremont County commissioner Stephanie Kessler, Lander City Councilman Cade Maestas, IDEA Inc. executive director Phil Christopherson of Riverton, and Missy White from the Lander Economic Develoment Association.

Broader representation

In order to have a broad representation of the county for the larger airport task force, Warpness also recommended the participation of airport division manager Paul Griffin, chairman of the airport board Dean Peranteaux, Pavillion Mayor Gary Hamlin, and city of or town council members Richard Gard of Riverton, David Bennett of Dubois and Ken Kundall of Shoshoni.

Warpness also hopes a Hudson council member and representative from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes will participate.

The task force is intended “to make the airport more responsive to the needs of our traveling citizens” in the county, Warpness said.

The task force will work on a long-term plan to improve airline service at the city-owned airport, where flight cancelations have increased substantially this year as a new federal regulation on pilot eligibility takes effect.

Impact of rule change

The Federal Aviation Admin-stration mandate requires co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time before they can work for Great Lakes Airlines and other carriers. The previous standard was just 250 hours. Great Lakes relied on lower-wage, less-experienced co-pilots before the rule change, but they no longer can work.

High fuel prices and aging aircraft that require costly maintenance are other obstacles before the airline. Other small carriers operating in the U.S. are seeing the same effects.

Great Lakes has terminated service to all of its former destinations in North Dakota and has cut back drastically in Kansas as well, among other states.

Wyoming Aeronautics Com-mission consultant Nick Wangler addressed a March 21 meeting in Riverton.

Another airline?

He said options the task force might consider include inviting another airlines to serve Riverton Regional, but he said that would not be easy given the pressures being felt by all regional airlines.
Dennis Byrne, the aeronautics division administrator with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said the acquired funding available from the through an airport grants program would need to be applied for as soon as possible because other applicants would be submitting their requests soon.

The aeronautics commission would approve the application.

He said Cody, Rock Springs, Sheridan and Jackson either have applied for funding or are expected to, but “we do have some monies in the account that really aren’t allocated.”

He estimated that $2 million could be available for the next biennium.

Byrne said the added state funding wouldn’t necessarily be available each year, so the committee and community would have to take a long-term view to address the situation.

“It’s not being understated here when (Wangler) states that the community has to get involved and stay involved long-term,” Byrne said.

Any change would come with a cost, he reiterated, but if the ideas were well publicized and planned, and if committed investors were sought, the cost burden could be eased.

Moving forward

Commissioner Kessler cleared some confusion as the board discussed the task force, as to the preparedness of the group.

“We’re ready to jump on this,” she said. “We’ve already asked the questions. We’re already thinking about the private public partnerships that we need.”

White said IDEA Inc. and Lander LEADER have agreed to be co-sponsors of the grant application, work with the Wyoming Aeronautics Division, and seek private and public partnerships for additional funding.

She said task force members recognized the economic impact poor air service was having on the community, such as businesses leaving, choosing not to move to Fremont County, or recommending that their Fremont Count employees live in Casper instead.

“Unreliable air service essentially functions as no air service,” she said. “Currently for March we’re pushing 60 percent cancellations.”

Randy Kimmel of Avis Rental Cars at the airport told the board the business lost $3,000 in revenue in February because of poor airline service.

“We have a huge opportunity for big business here,” she said. “Fremont County is booming… (people) like to fly in here.”

She said she has seen huge community support and said airport patrons would prefer to fly Riverton rather than drive to another airport.

Committee balance

Maestas, who also is the president of Lander LEADER, told the board to keep in mind that Dubois, Lander and Shoshoni also have airports they have to support. He also added that although the task force was formed to address the countywide-used airport, there is dominant representation from Riverton.

“That says, ‘Here, come help us out,’ not ‘This is a joint effort,’ Maestas said.

Others noted that Riverton Regional is the only commercial airport among those mentioned and is owned by the City of Riverton.

Airport board chairman Dean Peranteaux volunteered to step down from the task force in order to balance representation. The appointments of the committee would still need to be approved by the Riverton City Council because the airport board is appointed by the council.

Once finalized, the committee is expected to meet to discuss what direction to take to improve service. Byrne said information will need to be detailed and presented in the grant application before moving forward.


We are ready for Federal Aviation Administration audit, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Director General assures

As the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commences the mandatory assessment of Nigeria’s aviation industry to retaining the Category One status achieved in September 2010 today, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it is fully ready for the reassessment exercise.

Acting Director General of NCAA, Engr Benedict Adeyileka, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, explained that the four-man team from the United States FAA will be in the country for the next five days. They will carry out assessment of NCAA’s compliance with applicable sections of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards contained in Annexes 1,6 and 8 as a result of the eight critical elements of a state safety oversight as described in the ICAO document 9734 A.

Although the Acting  Director General did not say if the four-man FAA team was already in Nigeria or are  still being expected at the time of compiling this report, but a highly dependable source told **Daily Independent** that the team may have arrived Nigeria  and are being taken care of by the United States Embassy in Lagos.

The NCAA boss explained that in preparation for the visit, the NCAA has provided responses to the checklist and forwarded it to the FAA team leader.

He stated that the team will also visit Arik and its facilities, as the airline currently operates directly into and out of the continental USA, which was used for their initial IASA category one assessment in 2010.

He further said that the team will use the current International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) checklist and ICAO guidance material during the assessment.

The eight critical elements include: Primary aviation legislation, specific operating regulations, state civil aviation system and safety oversight functions and technical personnel qualification and training.

Others are technical guidance and tools, licensing and certification obligations, surveillance obligations and resolution of safety concerns.

Daily Independent recalls that the immediate past Director General of NCAA, Capt Fola Akinkuotu, assured in an interview before his ouster that the body was prepared for the assessment and that a Technical Committee has been set solely to ensure that Nigeria retains Category One.


Job Announcement / Airport Manager: Ithaca Tompkins Regional (KITH), New York

The Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport (ITH) in Upstate New York, is a Part 139 Non-Hub airport served by Delta, United and US Airways/American with approximately 120,000 annual enplanements. The Airport Manager reports to the County Administrator, but exercises a high level of autonomy and independent judgment. Decisions involving FAA and TSA regulations, general aviation operations and safety practices are made without guidance.  AAAE accreditation is expected within 3 years of appointment. As a public officer, US citizenship is required. The successful applicant must establish residency in the county within a reasonable period of time. 

 Apply online at


Aurigny Flying Jet Planes

Aurigny's jet service starts today.

The States owned airline doesn't have its own jet yet, but is renting one off Flybe for now.

It's after Flybe pulled out of the Guernsey to Gatwick route.

Aurigny is going to lease an Embraer 195 jet to offer more seats on the lifeline service.

It will have its own Jet from June so this is just a short term solution - and also gives an opportunity for staff to train.

An Aurigny ATR will be the airline's back-up aircraft during the lease period.


Ticketed for improper lane usage: Low-flying jet distracts driver

A low-flying jet contributed to single car crash on West Jefferson Street near Veterans Parkway Friday.

Jack Haynes, 60, of Springfield was westbound on Jefferson about 8:30 p.m., when jet flew low directly over his vehicle. He told police he looked up at the jet, and when he looked back at the road his car was starting to veer toward the median. He overcorrected, lost control, spun around and hit a guardrail, according to a crash rep.

Haynes was not injured. He was ticketed for improper lane usage.


Biplane search review continues

Officials reviewing a search for a missing biplane are identifying areas in need of a further look.

Officials reviewing a search for a missing home-built biplane have identified one area worth another look and are searching for more.

The biplane, with 53-year-old pilot Daroish Kraidy on board, took off from Auckland's Ardmore airfield on Tuesday morning but disappeared from radar soon after.

Search teams have been scouring parts of Coromandel Peninsula for the plane.

On Friday, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said it was reviewing the search to identify areas warranting further investigation.

A RCCNZ spokeswoman said on Sunday the review was continuing and the centre would be in a better position to say what the next steps would be on Monday.

A helicopter was sent to an area near Cuvier Island on Saturday after the review identified it as not having been adequately covered by the search.

It is possible other areas will be identified as the review continues.

An air force Iroquois helicopter searched the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula on Friday.

The missing plane was heading northeast when it disappeared shortly after take-off about 11.30am on Tuesday.

Mr Kraidy has lived in New Zealand for several years and has represented New Zealand at the Precision Flying World Championships.


Directorate General of Civil Aviation tightens noose on air charter firms flying politicians

NEW DELHI: With the DGCA cracking the whip on air charter firms flouting safety norms, the companies busy flying politicians for poll campaign would now report to the aviation regulator on operational issues once every week from tomorrow. DGCA,which has deployed crack teams of its officers and engineers to carry out surprise checks, has kept the non- scheduled air operators on tenterhooks and warned of stringent action if they violate the laid-down aviation safety norms when they fly politicians across the country.

The regulator had earlier grounded an aircraft of Reliance Industries and issued notices to several private companies including the Jindal group, L&T, SRC Aviation and Poonawallah Aviation. It also ordered dismissal of a pilot of Reliance.

Official sources said the non-scheduled operators have been asked to report to DGCA every Monday on issues like whether any objections have been raised by the Election Commission about their flight or the passengers they flew or those relating to their operations.

The operational issues include those like Flight Duty Time Limitations of their crew members, whether they experienced any problems regarding their flight, the airport or the helipad and other operational issues. All these operators have been asked to nominate an official for managing election flying, who would be accountable for ensuring compliance of all instructions issued by DGCA, Election Commission, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Airports Authority of India, "before commencing election flying", the sources said.

The regulator has directed pilots and crew of aircraft or helicopters flying VIPs for poll campaigning to ensure that no unauthorized cash, narcotics or arms are carried in flights they would operate.

A week has passed since the DGCA effected the Air Safety Circular on operation of small aircraft and helicopters and their adherence to safety guidelines detailing the do's and don'ts for the charter operators. A special cell has also been set up within DGCA to monitor the flights of all these charter operators on a regular basis.

The regulator has also put the onus of aircraft safety on the owner and operator, with the sources saying that the analysis of earlier accidents or incidents associated with small aircraft or helicopter and the past experience of election flying has revealed that "instructions were violated time and again and safety was jeopardized."

Election flying is a highly demanding exercise in terms of skill levels and professionalism, the sources said, adding that long flying hours, large number of take-offs and landings, weather changes, lack of proper rest, hurriedly prepared helipads, crowd control and congested airspace pose serious challenges to air travel during polls.

Besides, frequent changes in itinerary, time management, highly stressed security arrangement, surcharged crowds, difficult and disturbed areas and lack of adequate communications also posed substantial risk, they said.

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Malaysia Digs Deeper Into Airport Security, People Aboard Flight 370: Interviews, Background Checks Turn Up Nothing to Incriminate Passengers and Crew

The Wall Street Journal
By Jake Maxwell Watts And Jeffrey Ng
March 30, 2014 6:28 a.m. ET

Hundreds of interviews and background checks have turned up nothing to incriminate the passengers and crew in the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet, authorities say, prompting officials to look again and more thoroughly in a bid to identify possible suspects while scrutinizing airport security procedures.

The multinational investigative effort has left investigators with no clear leads to why the plane ended up thousands of miles off course, with satellite and radar data analysis leading searchers to zero in on the Indian Ocean to hunt for wreckage but nothing so concrete about what happened to get it there.

"We cannot zero in on any faults by passengers or crew members so we are focusing on getting into value-added information in order to strengthen our investigative findings," Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters Saturday in Kuala Lumpur. He didn't elaborate.

Mr. Zahid also said that officials were re-examining airport security procedures. "We are revisiting our standard operating procedures," he said, "especially the protocol of our security at our entry points; especially at our Kuala Lumpur International Airport."

Malaysian investigators believe Flight 370 deviated from its original flight path on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing due to what Prime Minister Najib Razak has termed "deliberate action." They have been careful not to rule out any possible cause for the plane's disappearance and say they are focusing on hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems, without elaborating.

The country's police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, said earlier last week that all passengers had been cleared by their respective countries and that Malaysia was looking again at the crew. He didn't provide details.

"It's more likely they found nothing of concern for any of those people, and if there were one or two people who were of concern, I think they would pop out more quickly unless they were a complete unknown," said Justin Gosling, an independent law enforcement consultant and former criminal intelligence officer at Interpol.

Indeed, two passengers who boarded Flight 370 and were traveling on stolen passports were identified by investigators within three days of the flight's disappearance when their records were checked against an Interpol database. Pouria Nourmohammadi Mehrdad, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 30, were both from Iran. Neither was found to have any militant links. The younger man appears to have been trying to reunite with his mother in Germany.

Malaysia doesn't consult Interpol's database on a routine basis during the passenger boarding process. Mr. Zahid, the home minister, suggested in Parliament last week that the database would be too slow to work with Malaysian systems, a statement that drew an unusually sharp rebuke from Interpol.

"Interpol has no idea why Malaysia's home minister chooses to attack Interpol instead of learning from this tragedy," the agency said in a statement, adding that the database takes just seconds to access and that the U.S., one of the member countries using it, checks it 230 million times a year.

Malaysian officials turned to the 13 other countries with passengers on Flight 370 in the early days of the investigation to ask them for background checks on their own citizens. The country's police chief said that more than 100 interviews had been completed as part of their own investigation.

"It would be quite challenging to do very thorough checks," said Mr. Gosling, since some countries do not have nationalized databases to share information between relevant departments. More thorough checks could involve looking at travel habits of the passengers but those would likely involve non-law enforcement networks, such as immigration databases, he said. "And then you also have to join the dots from all the different countries."

Indonesia said it had cleared all seven of the Indonesian nationals on Flight 370. "We did a thorough check on them using international standards. We check their background, their track records. We found that they are not linked to any forbidden organizations," said police spokesman Agus Rikwanto.

China, which had 153 nationals on board Flight 370, has also cleared its own passengers. Chinese officials didn't respond to requests to comment about the process.

Malaysian investigators have focused their attention on passengers and crew with the experience to have cut off the plane's communications with air traffic control and steered it off course. The plane's pilots, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, have been subject to most scrutiny, but investigators haven't turned up anything suspicious relating to either man.

A homemade flight simulator belonging to Mr. Zaharie was seized by police and analyzed both in Malaysia and then again in the U.S. by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Neither analysis turned up anything suspicious.

"Malaysian police can effectively investigate our own citizens," said P. Sundramoorthy, head of criminology research at Universiti Sains Malaysia. But he added that diplomatic relations can be a sticky business. "You must understand that the sovereignty of a nation goes beyond all. Just because we are investigating here, it does not compel the other countries involved in this to provide'' comprehensive information.

—I-Made Sentana, Celine Fernandez and David Pearson contributed to this article. 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Are general aviation airports economically feasible?

LIMA — Area airport managers and an economic development director espouse the importance of general aviation airports, but one national organization wants to see a thorough and objective report showing their value and worth to local economies.

Lima Allen County Airport Manager Ryan Huizinga, Neil Armstrong Airport Manager Sean Stroh and Allen Economic Development Group Executive Director Jeff Sprague contend airports in Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam and Van Wert counties help maintain and generate new economic opportunities.

“There are more than 5,000 public-use airports in the United States, and each airport is an economic generator in its community,” Huizinga said. “Airports generate revenue through activities that include fuel sales, hangar and tie-down rental, aircraft maintenance and services on the airport, such as flight schools, restaurants, aircraft sales and rental. Other revenue comes to the community as visitors rent cars, check into area hotels and visit restaurants and other attractions.

“General aviation in the U.S. is a $150 billion industry that employs more than 1 million people, and airports play an important part in generating that revenue,” he said. “In addition, each airport is part of a national transportation system that links communities and markets.”

Sprague said this importance is stressed during meetings with businesses and filling out questionnaires.

“I know when we are dealing on attracting potential companies, where companies are looking to locate into a community, one of the questions on their inventory list of items they are looking for is do you have a regional airport and the specifics of the airport,” Sprague said. “It is an added check-mark on the plus side for our community when submitting potential site applications.”

Read more here:

Off-duty pilot convicted of groping 14-year-old girl on flight

SALT LAKE CITY –  An airline pilot was convicted this week of two counts of abusive sexual contact for groping a 14-year-old girl while he was a passenger on a flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City last year.

Michael Pascal, who has homes in Park City, Utah, and Texas, was found guilty Thursday by a jury after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

The girl told investigators that she woke up from a nap on an Oct. 26 Delta Airlines flight and found Pascal's hand under her, gripping her buttocks. She was sitting next to a window, and Pascal was in the middle seat.

Pascal, 45, who worked at the time as a pilot for a regional airline carrier that contracts with Delta, told investigators he fell asleep with his hands in his lap and doesn't know how one ended up underneath the girl.

He's scheduled to be sentenced July 29 and could face up to five years in prison.

The girl told authorities she elbowed Pascal after waking up with his hand underneath her and said, "What the hell are you doing?" court documents show.

She says Pascal pulled his hand out from under her and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I was asleep, I have to use the bathroom."

She said the armrest that she had pushed down was in the upright position. Pascal said he pulled up the armrest between him and the girl because the man on the other side of him was taking up a lot of room, according to documents.

The girl, who was flying alone, told flight attendants what happened and changed seats. She maintained Pascal was "clearly awake" and put some of his body on her.

Pascal's attorney, Rhome Zabriskie, has said his client was in shock about being charged. He has a teenage daughter of his own, Zabriskie said, and any touching that occurred was inadvertent.

It took the jury a couple of hours to reach the verdict.



FOX 29 Investigates: Pilot Fighting For What He Believes Is Owed - Jason Flood - Bellanca 8GCBC Scout, Heads Up Advertising, N87020: Accident occurred August 02, 2011 in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

FOX 29  

FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. -   A FOX 29 investigation: a young New Jersey pilot survives a devastating crash only to learn that his employer does not hold the important insurance policy that is vital in getting him back on his feet.

Jeff Cole and FOX 29 Investigates have the story tonight of Jason Flood and his fight for what he believes he's owed.

A warning, some of the images in this report are hard to look at.

"...This is what it's made to do. Doing the aerobatics--flips, rolls, spins..." said Flood.

Jason Flood is happy when he's around his aerobatic plane. He feels pure joy when he's strapped in its seat, control in hand---defying gravity.

"Free. I'm at home. It's a place of enjoyment. It's freedom. It's what I love..." said Flood.

Flood is a 23-year-old pilot who flies out of a small airfield near his Franklinville, New Jersey home. However, every time he soars, he remembers the day that he came tumbling to earth.

"...August 2nd. was a very devastating, life changing event for me..." he said. "I can't talk. I am in a strange room trying to figure out where I am. I can't get up to go to the bathroom. My life changed that day."

August 2nd., 2011, He's is flying low trying to hook-on an advertising banner to pull above beach goers along the Jersey Shore. Suddenly, the engine quits and Flood spirals down.

Federal Investigators found that the 20-year-old pilot made an error.

Flood says he had just moments to lift the nose of the aircraft before it slapped the earth.

"On the scene you could hear in the police recordings they said this doesn't look good," Flood said.

Jason Flood was knocked-out. Rescue workers found him bent-over and bloodied in the cockpit. Pictures show his crumpled body in the yellow tee-shirt. Flood had suffered massive injuries including broken bones, organ damage and internal bleeding.

Flood was eventually rushed to Camden's Cooper Hospital where, after 3 weeks in a coma and multiple surgeries, he emerged with rods and pins holding his broken body together.

"...How did you survive?" asked FOX 29's Jeff Cole.

"By the grace of God..." he replied.

Jason Flood's rehab was painful and long. Furthermore, he says it was made more difficult when he learned the family friend who'd hired him to fly banner planes failed to carry state-required insurance that would have gone a long way to help him get back on his feet."

That man is Herbert Degan of Woodbine, New Jersey. He can be seen behind the wheel of the Lexis recording FOX 29's Jeff Cole and his crew with his cell phone.

You can see Degan in happier times with Jason Flood in a photo posted on a web site which documents aerobatic air shows. They're also side by side in a video of a fund raiser held for Flood.

According to a State of New Jersey Workers Compensation Order, Degan's banner business Heads Up Advertising, LLC, which is under his and his wife's names, was uninsured. It did not carry state-mandated workers' compensation insurance.

While the Degan's did pay Flood his weekly wages of about 200 bucks for half a year in 2012, Flood's won a 190,000 dollar workers' compensation judgment against Heads Up Advertising and the Degan's, but he has not collected.

And there's something else you should know about Herbert Degan. He's an air traffic controller at the Atlantic City Airport. He's directed aircraft to depart and land safely for 22 years. In fact, he's listed as the "safety rep." at the Atlantic City air traffic control Tower for the National Air Traffic Controllers Union.

Jeff Cole tried to talk to Herbert Degan, but as he approached his SUV, he noticed his young son in the back seat, so he asked Degan to take his card so they could talk later.

Degan would not talk. His bankruptcy attorney, in an e-mailed statement to FOX 29, accused Jason Flood and his parents of spreading "venomous lies" about the Degan's.

He wrote that the Degan's would like "nothing more than to respond" but are unable to because the "Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case is still pending."

Herbert Degan and his wife filed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy in November of 2013 claiming that they owe between One-million and 10-million dollars.

Listed as creditors: Jason Flood for his 190,000 dollar workers' comp. judgment and the State of New Jersey for almost 1.2-milion dollars, most of it for Flood's medical bills. Those bills have now been cut to $400,000 and paid by a special state fund.

In a recording of the December bankruptcy hearing, Herbert Degan admits his banner business had no workers' compensation insurance at the time of Flood's devastating crash, but claimed it was an accountant's fault.

"He failed to obtain workers compensation insurance for us without us knowing," Degan said.

In the meantime, Jason Flood is back fighting gravity and battling for what he believes he's owed.

"I'm left in the dust, left at the bottom, trampled on again--even after the plane crash," said Flood.

FOX 29 called New Jersey accountant Michael Shumski who's listed on the Degans' bankruptcy filing. He said he did work for Degan's Heads Up Advertising but does not recall Degan asking him to arrange workers' comp insurance. He says he forwards such requests to insurance brokers. The Degan's Attorney calls the crash a "tragic event" which has forever altered the lives of the Floods and the Degans.

Degan's attorney says they will also not respond at this time due to an "open criminal charge" against Jason Flood's father. Flood's father was charged with harassment after he accused the Degan's of lying on their bankruptcy filing after that December hearing. Flood says he'll fight the charge.

Story, video, photo gallery:


Bellanca 8GCBC Scout, Heads Up Advertising, N87020: Accident occurred August 02, 2011 in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA437 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 02, 2011 in Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: BELLANCA 8GCBC, registration: N87020
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

After the airplane’s fourth unsuccessful attempt to pick up a banner, a witness reported that the airplane was flying about 100 feet above ground level and the wings were "wobbling." The airplane then descended, and spun before it impacted the ground. The pilot stated that he did not have any recollection of the accident or the events prior to the accident. No preimpact anomalies were noted with the airframe or engine during a postaccident examination.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering near the ground, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

On August 2, 2011, at 1500, eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 8GCBC, N87020, registered to an individual and operated by Heads Up Advertising, incurred substantial damage when it impacted terrain in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, banner towing flight. The flight originated from Woodbine Municipal Airport (OBI), Woodbine, New Jersey, about 1450.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that the pilot fueled the airplane prior to flying towards the banner pick up area. The pilot attempted 3 banner pickups prior to the accident. He maneuvered the airplane for the fourth attempt but failed to pick up the banner. The banner ground handler looked away and started to prepare the banner for another attempt, when moments later he heard a loud impact noise and observed the airplane had crashed into the ground about half mile away from the pickup area, on the crosswind for the banner tow pattern.

According to a witness, the airplane was observed flying approximately 100 feet above ground level. She noted that the wings were "wobbling" and the airplane was not climbing although it was in a nose up attitude. Next, she saw the airplane begin to "nosedive" and start spinning but was unable to see the airplane impact the ground.

The pilot stated that he did not have any recollection of the accident or the events prior to the accident.

The airplane was manufactured in 1974 and was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series, 180-horsepower engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on February 3, 2011. At the time of the inspection, the reported aircraft time was 6698.0 total hours and the recorded tachometer was 2090.15 hours. The tachometer located in the wreckage 2236.91 hours.

The pilot, age 20, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued in May 2011. He reported 600 total hours of flight experience, of which, 65 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

A post accident examination of the wreckage by the FAA revealed that control continuity was verified to all flight control surfaces. Fuel samples were taken from each wing with no water or contaminants noted. Examination of the engine was performed and the top and bottom sparkplugs were removed and no issues were noted. The crankshaft was rotated by the propeller flange and compression was observed on all cylinders. In addition, spark was obtained from the spark plug leads during the rotation.


Published on Mar 17, 2013
WARNING: Graphic material. Viewer discretion is advised.

This is a video montage of photos that were acquired by Jason Flood, an aerobatic pilot based in Southern New Jersey. On August 2, 2011, Jason was flying a Bellanca 8GCBC Scout on a routine banner tow flight when, in the process of picking up a banner, the engine seized on the airplane and he and the aircraft crashed in Egg Harbor Township.

As a result of the accident, Jason sustained the following injuries: crushed left calcaneus heel, right ankle explosion, broken right tibia and right femur, an assortment of broken ribs, lumbar spine explosion, the total loss of his left kidney and spleen, and lastly a ruptured aorta. Jason underwent numerous surgeries to fix his heel, ankle, and tibia with rods and screws as well as the insertion of plates and screws in his body, including rods and screws in his back.

Amazingly, Jason made a full recovery. He took his first airplane flight a mere two months after the accident and flew the family's Piper Cub shortly afterwards. Ten months after the accident, in late June 2012, Jason competed in the Widlwood Acroblast competition in Cape May County, NJ, placing second in the intermediate category out of nine competitors. Not even two months after that Jason flew his first airshow performance since the accident - the airshow taking place at the New Garden Flying Field in Toughkenamon, PA.

Jason would like to thank the Egg Harbor Township Police Department, the Scullville Fire Company, the Cardiff Fire Department, and their respective EMS personnel for assisting in his rescue as well as the EMTs and pilots for the New Jersey State Police's SouthStar Medevac unit, along with staff at AtlantiCare Regional Medicare Center and Cooper University Medical Center in Camden for going above and beyond to ensure Jason got the best medical care possible. He would also like to thank his family and friends for always being by his side during that time, and of course throughout the entire recovery phase and beyond.

You can visit Jason's website at 

Video of Jason's performances at the 2012 New Garden Airshow can be found at .