Monday, June 30, 2014

Fight over view at air show leads to arrest: Vectren Dayton Air Show


A Vectren Dayton Air Show spectator hoping for a better view of the action in the sky, led to a fight and an arrest on a likely charge of assault.

According to a Dayton police incident report, a 53-year-old man was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor assault involving 21-year-old Cole Johnson in the chalet area of the show at Dayton International Airport.

According to the report, Johnson walked by the man to obtain a better view of air show activity when he accidentally brushed against the man who was later arrested.

Johnson told police the man grabbed him by the throat and slammed him to the ground. Another man in the chalet was able to get the man off Johnson.

Dayton police placed the man in handcuffs and arrested him.

A check of court records Monday shows no formal case filed yet. The suspect is not listed as being in the Montgomery County Jail.

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Airpower Museum receives A-10 Thunderbolt built on the site in 1980

 The American Airpower Museum has filled a gap in its collection with a long-desired Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II partly built at the East Farmingdale site now occupied by the museum.

The museum already had five warplanes on display built by Republic Aviation Corp. or its successor, Fairchild Republic, during World War II and the Korean War.

But an A-10 had eluded the museum until it located a surplus Air Force aircraft in Arizona and the New York State Office of General Services arranged with the federal government for it to be donated.

The $13-million jet fighter, built in 1980, arrived by truck two weeks ago after the Air Force removed top-secret equipment and armaments and disabled the twin jet engines.

It is now on display on the tarmac with examples of all the other fighters made by Republic and Fairchild Republic: a World War II propeller-driven P-47D Thunderbolt used in Europe for supporting ground troops, killing tanks and escorting bombers; the Korean War and Vietnam-era F-84E, F-84F and RF-84F jets; and an F-105 Thunderchief that flew over Vietnam. Only the P-47, owned by museum president Jeff Clyman, still flies.

The stubby A-10 -- given the nickname Warthog by an Air Force officer offended by the plane's ungainly appearance -- was designed as a fighter but gravitated to the specialized role of supporting ground forces and particularly knocking out enemy armor, Clyman said. It gained fame for destroying tanks during the Iraq War.

Fairchild Republic produced 716 A-10s starting in 1972 to combat the threat of Russian tanks during the Cold War. Production ended in 1984, three years before Fairchild Republic folded. More than 300 of the Warthogs are still on active duty. The fuselages and some other components were built in East Farmingdale. The remaining manufacturing and final assembly were done in Hagerstown, Maryland.

"The aircraft is essentially a flying tank," Clyman said. "It does not fly extremely fast,' up to about 350 miles an hour. "It was designed to fly around trees at low altitude."

While it can carry bombs and missiles under its wings, its most daunting weapon is a 30-millimeter Gau multiple-barrel rotary cannon that can fire in a minute up to 6,000 rounds of depleted uranium armor-piercing shells. The shells melt the metal armor and spray it around the interior of the tank, shredding everything inside. It had redundant control systems: If one was destroyed by anti-aircraft fire, the pilot -- protected by an inch-thick titanium steel "bathtub" -- could still fly the plane.

The museum's Warthog came from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. It had flown until 2011 and then was used for training mechanics before going into storage earlier this year.

It had flown in South Korea where Air Force Maj. Johnnie Green, currently based in Hawaii, was one of its pilots, with more than 2,000 hours in its cockpit. He said he flew A-10s from 2003 until 2011 and spent two years with a demonstration team performing at air shows.

The pilot said having the plane in a museum rather than in mothballs "is great. It's exciting because I flew out of that airport a couple of times for the Jones Beach air show and it's the birthplace of the A-10. It's a good thing to bring it home."

Equally excited are the Fairchild Republic retirees who had worked on the plane, a group of whom gathered at the museum Friday.

Elliot Kazan, 86, of Dix Hills, director of the A-10 program for Fairchild Republic, said, "This is great. This is where it belongs."

José Diaz Dujan, 63, of Babylon, worked 14 years at Fairchild Republic for the full run of A-10 production as a manufacturing project manager overseeing design modifications.

"It's a home run," he said of having the plane back on Long Island. "It's very personal. I can touch parts of this airplane that I know I had a part of. It's just fantastic now the whole family of Republic airplanes is here."

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Those Who Can Afford It Have a Better Way to Fly

We are on the cusp of the Fourth of July weekend, when the fun really begins in air travel, as summer crowds push into already packed planes, challenging the laws of both physics and good manners.

There are, of course, other options. But they will cost you.

“I absolutely hate flying commercial,” a Florida businessman, Vincent M. Wolanin, said on Friday as he braced himself for a trip that day from Fort Myers to Albany. “To me, an airplane is basically a bus with wings now.”

Usually, Mr. Wolanin is one of those lucky fliers with an alternative — a private plane, in his case a Gulfstream G-2SP. Actually, it’s a sign of renewed growth in the private jet industry that he had to take a commercial flight at all.

He said his own plane was waiting to be serviced by mechanics at PrivateSky Aviation Services, where he is the chairman and founder. The company maintains and refurbishes Gulfstream aircraft and provides other private aviation services in Fort Myers. “I got airplanes stacked outside, and the customer comes first,” he said, referring to the queue of used Gulfstreams from all over the world that the company was working on.

Mr. Wolanin looks on the bright side when he travels by commercial airline. “I welcome having a miserable experience, because every bit of abuse the airlines do helps me in my business,” he said. “The decline in service on airlines is the best thing that ever happened to private aviation.”

The obvious advantages for those fortunate enough to be able to fly private include far higher levels of comfort and efficiency.

As commercial airlines cut routes and service, the argument for private flying becomes stronger — at least for those who can afford it. A trip that might take all day with multiple connections on a commercial flight could take only hours on a private jet, though of course at a higher cost. And most private flights, which typically depart from general aviation airports, do not require their passengers to pass through the T.S.A. security checkpoints.

“The business is swinging back again,” Jeff Burger, the editor of Business Jet Traveler, a glossy trade magazine for the industry, said of a slow recovery in the private market.

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Federal Aviation Administration building height restrictions could hinder Phoenix developments from getting insurance, financing

Past regional spats over Tempe developments and their impact on Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport could have been an impetus for controversial proposed Federal Aviation Administration rules that would restrict building heights on flight approaches near major U.S. airports.

Now, the Phoenix area could be a new and intense battleground over an FAA proposal that has real estate and economic developers worried about future construction near Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Tempe and downtown Phoenix. The new rule could make it difficult for developers and builders to get local approvals as well as insurance and financing. In addition, FAA policies adverse to development could also lower property values of impacted areas.

An official familiar with the issue said the FAA looked at situations in Phoenix and other markets as it mapped out its new policy change. Phoenix, Tempe and the FAA have had past skirmishes over building heights.

Height and flight-path concerns helped kill an Arizona Cardinals stadium proposal in Tempe more than a decade ago on land owned by the Salt River Project utility near Papago Park and the Salt River. SRP also owns Papago Park Center in Tempe where First Solar has its headquarters.

More recently, the 30 and 22-story West Sixth apartment towers near Mill Avenue were cause for consternation between the two cities as well as the FAA.

Sky Harbor may have been part of FAA inquiries and pilot projects into the issue as far back as 2006, and the Tempe apartment development could be one of the main drivers of the new rules, according to the official who asked not to be named. New FAA restrictions could have the biggest impact on downtown Tempe.

FAA regional spokesman Ian Gregor did not know whether past Tempe, Phoenix and FAA spats were an impetus for the new policies.

Gregor contends there is misinformation going around about the FAA having uniform and nationwide prohibitions on any building of 160 feet or more — approximately 8 stories — near airport runways.

“We review every proposed structure individually,” Gregor said.

The FAA cannot directly stop development, but a number of cities — including Phoenix — have zoning ordinances that nix projects that the agency opposes or deems hazardous. Tempe, Mesa and Queen Creek do not have FAA hazard ordinances. 

 Even if the FAA cannot directly stop a development or redevelopment, its opposition can hamper a project from getting insurance.

That occurred in the case of a San Diego building that was built too tall for the FAA’s liking.

Airlines could also terminate flight routes or not go into a market if there are tricky flight paths or FAA rules require lighter passenger loads.

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U.S. Coast Guard Chopper busy over weekend

6.30.14:  Coast Guard choppers rescue hiker and kayakers

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 2 kayakers from Lake Michigan near South Manitou Island Sunday evening.  The kayakers were too fatigued to complete their journey.  One person was hanging on to a capsized kayak and had symptoms of hypothermia.

A Coast Guard chopper was called in to help rescue a dehydrated woman who had been hiking in the dunes near Muskegon Saturday afternoon.  She had been hiking at Hoffmaster State Park when she began developing heat-related symptoms.  It was too difficult to get rescue crews to her in a timely manner and a helicopter was called in to take the woman to a nearby hospital.


Chicago weather cancels St. Cloud Regional Airport (KSTC) flight

The Monday night flight to St. Cloud Regional Airport from Chicago O'Hare Airport was canceled because of weather issues in Chicago, a spokesperson for SkyWest said.

Other flights were delayed. United Airlines has two flights each to and from Chicago that SkyWest runs.

O'Hare traffic controllers started a flow program that reduces the amount of departures and arrivals.

Dawn Patrol crowd gets a close-up look at aviation: Kirsch Municipal Airport (KIRS), Sturgis, Michigan

Sturgis  -    Dawn Patrol was a high-flying success at the Kirsch Municipal Airport in Sturgis Saturday.

Pilots and interested patrons joined to view the nearly 20 different aircraft showing.

Helicopter rides were offered from R.A.I. Jets by pilot Brian Riley and a 1942 SNV Navy Warbird, piloted by Bruce Koch, came to show its former glory.

Koch is the owner of the 1942 Warbird and has been a pilot since he was 19.

“It has been his passion, and he owns and operates it himself,” Marty Hart said.

The Navy Warbird was built in September of 1942. During its time in service it was used to train cadet pilots for war during World War II. First based in Pensacola Fla., the aircraft made its way around the country, training pilots and ended up being retired in Los Angeles. In 1993, Koch purchased the aircraft.

"I purchased the plane and had it flown back to Michigan,” Koch said. “It was in pretty rough shape. I had to replace just about every instrument.”

Crowds also gathered in a hangar for a pancake breakfast.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (KPIB) to see major improvements

While Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport waits word on a new potential commercial carrier, it will tend to what executive director Thomas Heanue calls its “heart and lifeblood.”

A repaving of the airport runway/apron/taxiways and the construction of a seventh hangar for general aviation are expected to be underway by September.

“The runway, that’s the heart, and if we let that fail, the airport doesn’t exist, there’s nothing here,” Heanue said. “So, we’ve got to take care of the heart. It’s been 22 years, and while it’s held up very well ... if we hadn’t of planned (repaving), another year or so, and we might have had some major issues out there.

“General aviation, now, that’s where our future is, that’s our lifeblood. Even if you have no (commercial) air service, even if it goes away, that’s where the future is, that’s sustainability.

Heanue, who has overseen operations for the past 12 years, said the airport still was waiting to hear from the United States Department of Transportation on whether a bid from Sky West’s ExpressJet to serve a combined Hattiesburg-Laurel/Meridian route to Dallas-Fort Worth will be approved and granted an Essential Air Service subsidy.

“We still have heard no word,” Heanue said. “But we’re hoping that with improvements coming at the right time and a new carrier, going to a good hub, and hopefully, pricing very well, we’re hoping that good things are coming and we’re going to take off.”

Commercial boardings have dipped significantly since the arrival in late 2012 of Silver Airways, which stepped into the void left when Delta Air Lines dropped service at Hattiesburg-Laurel.

Between May 2009 and August 2012, Hattiesburg-Laurel saw at least 1,000 passengers pass through its terminal in 36 of those 40 months.

Since September 2012, the airport has not welcomed 1,000 travelers in any month, and has not seen 600 fly in or out in any of the past 20 months.

But the airport has seen significant growth on the general aviation side. Hattiesburg-Laurel’s Fixed Base Operator, U.S. Aviation, has seen revenues increase 68 percent over the past five years.

The number of private planes based at the airport have more than doubled in Heanue’s tenure, going from 34 in 2002 to 75 today.

Heanue said demand has led to the construction of a seventh hangar, a 10,000-square-foot space that will house one or two jets.

“That’s where our future is,” Heanue said.

The project, which is expected to get underway in the next few months, is expected to cost about $450,000.

“It just depends on the cost of steel and how hungry people are or not hungry, the contractors,” Heanue said. “Sometimes they come in pretty low, sometimes they come in high. It just depends on who bids and how many.”

Heanue said the airport received a $250,000 Multi-Modal Grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The remaining funds will be borrowed, either through a commercial bank or the Mississippi Development Authority, with user fees paying off a 10-year-note.

In September, the runway is scheduled to be closed for seven days for its first facelift in two decades.

A federal, Airport Improvement Project venture will resurface the airport’s runway, apron and taxiways in the first complete repaving project at Hattiesburg-Laurel since 1992.

Previous AIP projects at Hattiesburg-Laurel had included improvements to the terminal as well as energy-saving LEDs at the terminal and on runway/taxiways.

“The things we’ve done, energy-wise, it looks like we’re saving about $1,800 a month on our power bill,” Heanue said. “That’s LED-lighting on the airfield, LED-lighting inside. We redid some doors, keeping hot air out and the cold air in.”

Heanue said federal AIP dollars would fund 95 percent of the $3.1 million runway repaving project, which was awarded to Dunn Roadbuilders of Laurel. The remaining 5 percent will be paid with state funds, including another Multi-Modal grant.

“It’s pretty straight forward,” Heanue said. “It’s just asphalt taken up, new asphalt put down and then temporary markings because they need to let it cure before they put in (permanent) ones. Then they have to groove it.”

All flights will be canceled Sept. 2 to Sept. 8.

“The idea of that was there’s just too much opportunity for bad to happen if you try to keep part of the runway open,” Heanue said. “So we told the contractor, ‘Seven days, we’re going to shut it down. We don’t care if you work 24-7, but it needs to be done in seven days.’

“That will allow us to not get in any trouble with the FAA or NTSB, stay away from any kind of accident. Then, we can kind of piecemeal the taxiways in. You can back-taxi, and do sections of them at a time and that’s less intrusive.”

Heanue said it wasn’t easy finding seven consecutive days that could be marked off the calendar.

“We’ve got charters for USM coming up pretty soon, and we know those dates right now because the schedule’s out,” Heanue said. “Then we’ve got a group that comes every other week, from Haliburton, up to Sandersville, to their headquarters, the oil workers fly out of here every other week and every other Sunday.

“So, when you start to block out the days when you have those kind of operations, there isn’t a whole lot of seven-day stretches open in there.”

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45th Annual Cracker Fly-in set for Saturday: Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (KGVL), Gainesville, Georgia

GAINESVILLE - The Gainesville-based Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 611 will host its 45th Annual Cracker Fly-In July 5 in Gainesville at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport.

Organizers say more than 135 aircraft are expected from all over the Southeast including historic, homebuilt, helicopters and more. Aircraft judging in several categories will take place and a pancake breakfast will be served at 7:30 and lunch, catered by Branch House Tavern, at 11:30.

This is not an air show but is billed as a "car show for airplanes." There will, however, be helicopter and bi-plane rides and Lanier Flight Center will have new aircraft on display - and there'll be a display of Austin Healey cars and a Jumpy Castle for kids.

Admission is $3 per person, children 12-and-under free. Parking on Palmour drive next to I-985. 

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Fort Smith Regional Airport (KFSM) Traffic Up Amid Improvement Projects

The Fort Smith Regional Airport, the big business entry point for the manufacturing hub of Arkansas, has seen monthly increases in airport traffic this year.

With business travel an economic indicator, steady traffic in and out of the Fort Smith airport is a good sign for the direction of the local economy. Passenger traffic has increased 7.2 percent on average the first five months of the year, according to monthly reports.

“It’s the front door to the community and an important component of the local economy,” Michael Griffin, airport director of operations, said of the airport on a recent tour. “A large percentage of people coming through that terminal are business travelers.”

Operating in the same business format as a shopping mall, where other businesses lease space from the main facility, the airport has a 2014 budget of $5.5 million with total liabilities and net assets of nearly $39 million. Construction of the final third phase of a multi-year taxiway project recently was recently bid out for $4.6 million. Another $25,000 safety project for new terminal roof ice guards will begin soon. Federal and state agencies reimburse a large part of the bill.

One of the more interesting behind-the-scenes aspects to the Fort Smith airport is that it is home to Razorback Approach Control, a TRACON (Terminal Radio Control) designated air-traffic control group that serves as the central air command for all air traffic in northwest Arkansas. TRACON centers handle all flights from, and to, airports.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Razorback Approach Control provides “separation services” for flights at Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM), Drake Field Airport (FYV) in Fayetteville, Springdale Municipal Airport (ASG), Rogers Municipal Airport (ROG), and Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA).

Air service providers Delta and Envoy, a subsidiary of American Eagle, offer competitive flight prices, Griffin adds. Tulsa International Airport is also a competitor.

“You just need to check early and often,” Griffin said. “That’s the only advice I can give you. We don’t have anything to do with the prices.”

The airport also does not have anything to do with operations of rental car companies, or else National Car Rental’s 4 p.m. closing time on Saturdays without arrangements made with the other two car rental companies could be altered.

The airport operates with a staff of 14 people, including grounds and maintenance, so when the bad winter weather strikes, Griffin and Airport Director John Parker also can be found behind snow plows late at night and into the early morning. At least five snow and ice events occurred this winter, though there is usually only one or two.

Opened in 2002 to replace another 50-plus-year-old terminal building, the Fort Smith facility has built a reputation as a connector that takes pride in its amenities. In 2005 the airport received an odd but prestigious honor in the form of Cintas Corporation’s America’s Best Bathroom. The bathroom continues to be upgraded, most recently with an automatic toilet seat paper wrapper.

Calls to two Fort Smith corporations, which often use the local airport for both their corporate jet and commercial flights, report good marks on both accounts.

Tracy Long, vice president of marketing for Baldor Electric Co., said the electric motor builders have used a hangar at the airport for more than 25 years.

“The team we work with is very professional and prompt whenever we have a question,” Long wrote in an email. “They are very proactive about letting us know when things are happening around the airport that may affect our schedules, like a runway closure. They make it very easy for us to do business out there.”

Kathy Fieweger, chief marketing officer for ArcBest Corp., said the ArcBest employees use the airport frequently, and it “serves the company very well.”

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Grand Rapids charter school uses aviation to entice, inspire students

A vintage Piper Cub airplane hangs from the cafeteria’s ceiling. Down the hall, a helicopter sits in a lobby-sized area. A nearby office showcases the military pilot career of the office-dweller. An oversized room at one end of the school holds stacks of under-construction model airplanes and tools. 

It has the feel of an aviation company’s headquarters.

But look closer.

There’s a high school student reading a book behind the helicopter. In a classroom, two freshman girls are dressed in Greek costumes as they lead their English class. In front of the school, parents drop off their children.

It’s the combination of aviation with a more traditional high school curriculum that attracts students to West Michigan Aviation, a charter high school in Grand Rapids in front of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Less than 4 years old, the school has more than 400 students and uses aviation across all content areas. Its focus is on the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math.The school doesn’t offer band or many sports.

“We want kids who like to tinker,” said Patrick Cwayna, the school’s CEO and the former longtime principal of East Grand Rapids High School. “We want to fill a niche.”

Students wear uniforms, and the school has seven-hour days.

Freshmen take electives that introduce them to aviation, and they specialize as they get older.

School officials see themselves as developing a talent pool for aviation and engineering schools.

In an English class, students might study flying-related poems. During a visit last spring, an introduction-to-aviation class was watching newsreel footage of airplane dogfights. Students can earn rewards of actual flight time.

“We can do so much for students because they are coming for a purpose,” Cwayna said. “We want students to succeed and go on to further education.”

The school was founded by Dick DeVos, one of the wealthiest men in Michigan, former gubernatorial candidate and nationally prominent Republican.

Before running for office, DeVos, and his wife, Betsy, had led a drive to get a voucher system approved by Michigan voters. He’d been active in the push for charter school expansion for several years.

“We really wanted to figure out how can we expand quality education options to all children, especially those who can’t afford traditional private schools,” DeVos told the Free Press.

Then came DeVos’ failed run for governor against Jennifer Granholm in 2006.

His wife encouraged him to stay involved and pair his passion for flying — he’s a jet aircraft and helicopter pilot — with education.

The school was hatched.

“It’s not about just training kids for aviation; it’s broader than that,” he said. “It’s a hook to get them involved in the school.”

DeVos began to put his school together. The school is self-managed but hired a firm to handle human resources.

“I chose to go the nonprofit route because I got tired of always having the criticism that everything I do was about profits,” DeVos said. “This school has cost me money. We’re west Michigan folks, and our goal is to impact kids in west Michigan.”

DeVos is proud of the diversity at the school: It is 78% male, 22% female — 67% white, 33% minority. There is a nationwide push to add more females and minorities to science and technology fields, where they are underrepresented.

DeVos also has brought in high-profile speakers such as retired four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Former President George W. Bush spoke at a fund-raising dinner in May.

The night of the school’s first open house, DeVos broke into a large smile as he drove into the school building’s parking lot to see a line around the building.

“I had no idea what to expect,” DeVos said. “To see that many people interested in it was amazing.”

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Columbiana County Airport (02G) to be repaved thanks to federal grant

LISBON - The Columbiana County Airport Authority will receive another federal grant for repaving. 

 County Commissioner Tim Weigle reported at this week's meeting the airport authority was recently awarded a $340,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to resurface taxiways and ramps. The airport has received FAA grants in the past for similar resurfacing projects.


Stakes get higher for Davis-Monthan noise critics

The budget fight in Congress over the planned retirement of the A-10 attack jet has reignited the debate over aircraft noise from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and renewed fears that louder jets will soon fly here.

For now, both D-M supporters and neighborhood noise critics are on the same side of one issue — both want the Air Force to keep the A-10 at the local air base.

But neighborhood critics and groups such as Tucson Forward oppose basing louder planes such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the much louder next-generation F-35 stealth fighter at D-M — even though experts say D-M’s future could be in jeopardy if it doesn’t win such new flying missions.

Robin Gomez, who represents the midtown Colonia Solana neighborhood on a local military-community relations committee, said he and other neighborhood advocates don’t want to see D-M closed, but its missions must be compatible with affected neighborhoods.

Warnings that D-M could close if new jets aren’t based there amount to fear tactics by D-M backers, Gomez said. He contends that units at D-M such as the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group — the Air Force’s main aircraft-storage facility, known as “The Boneyard” — are too valuable to move.

“We’re assuming the base is not going to close because of the Boneyard,” Gomez said, adding that the base should pursue new missions such as cyber warfare and remote drone piloting to replace A-10 operation.

The stakes are high on both sides of the issue.

Base supporters, led by the DM50 and the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, say that the Air Force’s plan to retire the A-10 would cost the community more than 2,000 of the base’s nearly 9,000 jobs and slash D-M’s annual local economic impact, estimated at $973 million last year.

If D-M is passed over in future F-35 basing decisions, backers say, its mission would be diminished and it would be more vulnerable to closure as the Pentagon seeks to cut overcapacity. A new round of the Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRAC) process could happen as soon as 2016, observers say.

Neighborhood advocates concerned about jet noise and safety say the A-10C Thunderbolt II “Warthogs” now based at D-M — the Air Force’s quietest fighter jet — are tolerable.

But they vehemently oppose plans to base more of the louder F-16 fighters at D-M as the A-10s are retired, as well as basing the F-35 here.

Under the Air Force’s plan — so far stymied by Congress — D-M would lose three squadrons of 83 A-10Cs and gain one 21-plane Reserve squadron of F-16s by 2019.
Operation Snowbird

Plans to base louder planes at D-M worry Rita Ornelas, who lives with some of the worst jet noise at her home in the Julia Keen Neighborhood. Initially built in the 1950s and ’60s, Julia Keen lies just beyond the northwest end of D-M’s runway, in the highest noise and safety-risk zones.

Ornelas describes the near-daily routine of A-10 “Warthog” attack jets taking off and landing over the neighborhood in the morning and again in the afternoon, one after another.

“The A-10s are a pain in the butt, but we tolerate them,” she said during a visit to her neighborhood, as A-10s thundered overhead.

The louder F-16s and the much louder F-35 are another matter. A small squadron of F-16s based at D-M are on alert for homeland-security duty, using engine afterburners on takeoff over the city.

“They make this thunderous noise when taking off — it shakes your house, it shakes the ground, it shakes you,” Ornelas said.

Besides the homeland-security planes, F-16s from the Air National Guard 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport occasionally fly in to D-M to be loaded with live munitions before training missions.

Visiting aircraft participating in Operation Snowbird — a joint training exercise that was expanded around 2002 — can create an even bigger noise problem, Ornelas and other neighborhood advocates say.

Louder planes, including F-18 Super Hornets, Marine Corps’ Harrier attack planes, and foreign Harriers and Tornado fighters have visited D-M as part of Operation Snowbird, which is hosted by D-M and managed by the 162nd Air Guard.

So-called “transient” aircraft can also rattle nighborhoods. Ornelas recalls one day last September when a group of eight F-18s stopped at D-M to refuel.

“It was terrible — the noise was continuous for 20 minutes,” she recalled.

Davis-Monthan has tried its best to stay engaged with the community and adjust its operations to minimize disruptions, said Scott Hines, D-M’s chief community liaison.

He noted that the base altered flight patterns and altitudes to the limits of safety to reduce noise over neighborhoods in response to the 2006 recommendations of a military-community compatibility committee. As a result, aircraft fly 86 percent higher over populated areas.

The base also changed helicopter routes, rerouted night flights and increased the use of airfields at Fort Huachuca and Gila Bend for practice landings.

But critics say D-M operations still are disruptive at times, and the arrival of the F-35 — which is about two to seven times louder than the loudest version of the F-16 used at TIA — would greatly expand the zone in which jet noise is considered “intrusive.” Last year, 19 Tucson neighborhood associations signed a letter strongly opposing any plan to bring F-35s to Tucson.

If the F-35 comes to D-M or the Air Guard base at TIA, Gomez said, densely populated neighborhoods surrounding the bases will suffer quality-of-life damage from noise, health issues — and increased safety risk.

In contrast, Gomez asserted that members of D-M support groups including the DM50 and the recently formed Southern Arizona Defense Alliance typically live far from jet-noise problems.

Brian Harpel, president of the DM50, acknowledged that he doesn’t live near enough to D-M’s flight paths to deal with serious noise issues, but he sees the base’s survival as a matter of economic security for Tucson, as well as a national-security issue.

“I don’t live under there, I don’t contend with the noise, I’ll be the first to admit that,” said Harpel, a commercial real estate broker. “But at the same time, I value D-M, I value our airmen and what they do across the world to keep us free.”
Inn owner anxious

D-M overflights already cover much of the city as the normal traffic patterns extend out over much of midtown, including Reid Park and higher-rent historic neighborhoods like Sam Hughes.

Susan Banner bought a historic house in the Sam Hughes neighborhood in 1999, just east of the University of Arizona, and in 2000 she opened it as a four-room bed and breakfast. At the time, flight operations over the house — more than three miles from D-M’s runway — were not a major concern, Banner said.

“It was a very random nuisance for the first five years, I’d say,” she said.

But as time wore on, the flights increased and so did the noise.

“It’s like a skin rash — it creeps up on you,” Banner said.

Banner plans to retire in the next few years and worries she will have trouble selling the inn, which was built in 1931, but she says she’s more concerned about the future of Tucson as a whole.

D-M’s backers often say “urban encroachment” threatens D-M and ask why those upset by jet noise don’t simply move away if they don’t like it.

First jets came in 1953

Charles Lindbergh helped dedicate what was then called Davis-Monthan Field in 1927, and it was used for civilian and military operations until converting solely to military use around 1941. D-M hosted heavy propeller-driven bombers during World War II, and the first jets didn’t come to D-M until 1953, when B-47 Stratojet strategic bombers and F-86A Sabre fighter jets arrived.

Neighborhood advocates say it’s D-M that has encroached on the city, pointing out that many Tucson neighborhoods were built well before D-M became a full-time military base.

But up until at least the mid-1950s, D-M still had a miles-wide buffer of desert between the base and most other development to the northwest, D-M’s Hines said.

The oldest subdivision in the Julia Keen Neighborhood was built in 1953 — then mostly surrounded by desert — and initially served as private, off-base military housing.

Keen Elementary School was built around the same time and taught neighborhood kids until Tucson Unified School District closed it despite widespread community opposition in 2004. The closure was approved by TUSD’s board at the urging of the D-M and the DM50, who feared it would hurt the base’s chances in the last base-closing round in 2005, according to district documents.
“Nobody had an idea”

Anne Gomez and her husband, Robin, moved into their Colonia Solana home near Reid Park in 2000 after inheriting it from her father. She said her father bought the land in 1953 and built the house in 1973.

“Nobody had an idea in ’53 what kind of airplanes they would be bringing in,” Anne Gomez said.

Robin Gomez, a former real estate agent in Virginia, said many people bought their homes before the state began requiring homebuyers to sign disclosures that a property was in a “military airport” zone.

Many of the homes in the Julia Keen neighborhood were passed down through generations, and many current owners can’t afford to move elsewhere, said Ornelas. Though some of Julia Keen’s mainly slump-block homes and condos are a little run-down, many are well-maintained and attractively landscaped.

Ornelas said that selling out and moving is not a viable financial option in the current market for her and many others.

“They say, ‘if you don’t like it why don’t you get out?’ How am I going to get out? How am I going to sell my house?” she said. “I’m 66 years old, I was disabled, now I’m retired. My husband just died, what am I supposed to do?”

Story and photo gallery:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca III, Twin Flyer Club Basel, HB-LSD: Fatal accident occurred December 07, 2016 at Basel-Mulhouse Euro Airport (LFSB), France

NTSB Identification: CEN17WA051
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 07, 2016 in Alsace, France
Aircraft: PIPER PA-34-200T, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 7, 2016, at 1644 coordinated universal time, a Piper PA-34-200T airplane, Switzerland registration HB-LSD, was destroyed when it collided with the terrain near Alsace, France. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane departed the Nurnberg Airport (EDDN), near Bayern, Germany at an unconfirmed time and was destined for the Bale-Mulhouse Airport (LFSB), Alsace, France, when the accident occurred.

This investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the French government. Any further information may be obtained from:

Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses
pour la securite de l'aviation civile
Zone Sud - Batiment 153
200 rue de Paris
Aeroport du Bourget
93352 Le Bourget Cedex
Tel: +33 1 49 92 72 00
Fax: +33 1 49 92 72 03

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by, or obtained from, the BEA of France.

Un avion de tourisme, un bimoteur Piper PA-34, s'est écrasé en bout de piste ce mercredi à 17 h 41 en tentant d'atterrir à l'EuroAirport de Bâle-Mulhouse, alors que du fait d'un épais brouillard, les conditions de visibilité étaient exécrables. L'appareil s'est alors embrasé.

Le corps du pilote a été retrouvé sans vie sur le lieu du drame ; l'hypothèse d'une seconde victime a été infirmée au cours de la soirée par la Brigade de gendarmerie des transports aériens (BGTA), en charge de l'enquête.

A la suite de ce drame, l'EuroAirport a été fermé et les vols suspendus. La piste devrait rester fermée jusqu'à 23 h, le temps d'être dégagée. Beaucoup de supporters d'Arsenal sont bloqués à l’EuroAirport, au lendemain de la rencontre de Ligue des Champions qui opposait le club londonien au FC Bâle.

Le Piper PA-34 peut voler à une vitesse de croisière de 370 km/h avec un rayon d’action de 1300 km. Selon la coutume propre à Piper Aircraft, il porte le nom d'une tribu indienne PA-34 Seneca.

Les messages d’incompréhension, voire de colère, défilaient hier soir sur le réseau social Twitter. Des centaines de supporters anglais du club de football londonien d’Arsenal se plaignaient en effet d’être bloqués – comme d’autres passagers – à l’aéroport de Bâle-Mulhouse, et d’être peu informés sur la raison des annulations ou retards de vols.

Arrivés la veille pour assister au match de Ligue des Champions entre le FC Bâle et le club anglais managé par Arsène Wenger, ces supporters devaient repartir hier.

Mais à 17 h 41, un avion de tourisme qui devait atterrir à l’EuroAirport a connu des difficultés et s’est crashé au seuil de la piste principale Nord-Sud. Mauvaises conditions climatiques, et donc visibilité exécrable due à un brouillard dense ? Problème technique ? Aucune information n’a été donnée hier soir. L’avion s’est embrasé et le corps d’une personne, le pilote, a été retrouvé parmi les débris de l’appareil.

Après cet accident, l’EuroAirport a donc décidé de fermer les pistes et de suspendre les vols, le temps de dégager les débris et de procéder aux constatations, jusqu’à 23 h au moins. « Le service de sauvetage et de lutte contre l’incendie des aéronefs (SSLIA) de l’EuroAirport s’est rendu immédiatement sur les lieux » pour éteindre le feu, a précisé hier soir la direction de l’aéroport. La piste principale a été fermée afin que la Brigade de gendarmerie des transports aériens (BGTA) puisse entamer ses premières investigations.

L’avion qui s’est écrasé au sol est un Piper PA-34 Seneca, d’une capacité de quatre places et capable de voler à une vitesse de croisière de 370 km/h avec un rayon d’action de 1 300 km. Ce bimoteur de l’école de pilotage venait d’Allemagne et rentrait à sa base située à l’EuroAirport.

Geisinger's LifeFlight helicopter a hit at Saturday event

Marieda Joyner and her best friend went to Nay Aug Park Saturday night to hear the music and watch the fireworks. 

When she saw the Geisinger LifeFlight helicopter on display on the helipad, she had one more thing to do: say thank you.

The 51-year-old Taylor resident totaled her car in a crash and was flown to Geisinger Community Medical Center in 2007.

“I thought I was going to die, but the people inside (the helicopter) comforted me,” she said. “I knew that I was going to be OK.”

The helicopter was on display as part of an Emergency Education Symposium, presented by GCMC and other emergency crews, including Pennsylvania Ambulance. Before United Polka Artists with Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra played and before fireworks lit up the skies, crews advised park-goers about fireworks and summer safety. At the helipad, visitors were able to sit inside the helicopter and ask the crew questions about their work.

In Ms. Joyner’s case, she gave hugs and got her photo taken with her friend, Debra London, as well as LifeFlight medic Robert F. Sembrat and LifeFlight nurse Bryan Shepard.

“This Life Flight saved me,” Ms. Joyner said.

Mr. Shepard said the LifeFlight provides service to most of Wayne, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.

Pointing to the equipment strapped to the walls of the helicopter’s interior, he explained that crews in the air are “pretty much ready for everything” with cardiac monitors, IV infusion pumps and even an intensive care unit quality ventilator.

LifeFlight pilot Michael Carson said he closely monitors the weather, conditions and determines whether a flight is possible, even calculating the maximum weight of the patient or patients the chopper can transport. The helicopter’s maximum speed is about 165 mph, but it usually travels at about 135 mph, he said.

Before he joined the LifeFlight team, Mr. Carson spent 15 years as a medevac pilot in the military.

“We’ve got the best medics and nurses I’ve flown with in a long time,” he said of the other men in uniform, talking to the families who stopped by.

In all, about 60 people checked out the helicopter, many with small children who grinned as they climbed into the passenger seat and posed for pictures.

Michael McCormick of Pennsylvania Ambulance said events like Saturday’s help take some of the fear out of medical transports, whether they are by helicopter or ambulance.

“I think it’s important that the public is aware what goes on in an ambulance,” he said. “Though it may be scary, we’re going to help them.”

Story and video:

Vintage aircraft on display in Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE — At 70, Doug Kindred says he’s the junior member of the Oregon Aviation Historical Society’s board of directors.

So it pleased him greatly to see youngsters roaming the grounds of Jim Wright Field at Cottage Grove’s airport this morning, checking out vintage aircraft and automobiles during the historical society’s first-ever Wings & Wheels event.

“We’re always trying to get younger people interested,” Kindred said.

The historical society formed in 1983, and has since collected Oregon-related aviation artifacts that highlight the history of flight in the state.

The group, which is headquartered at the airport, has also been involved in the restoration of a number of airplanes built in the first half of the 20th century. Proceeds from today’s event will be applied to three restoration projects already in progress.

The event continues until 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for children ages 16 and younger.

Story and photo gallery:

Dayton Air Show wows thousands


Michael Nadaud has aspirations to become a pilot.

The 30-year-old computer programmer got a little inspiration Saturday from the Blue Angels.

“They’re awesome,” said Nadaud, wearing a NASA t-shirt as the six F/A-18 jets thundered over the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Nadaud and his wife, Julie, were part of a crowd of thousands who spilled through the gates of the air show at Dayton International Airport to watch the Navy’s jet team and acrobatic performers like Sean D. Tucker and Patty Wagstaff. The air show takes to the skies again today.

The couple drove from their Cincinnati home to last year’s show, but never saw any performances because they arrived just after a biplane crash June 22, 2013 killed a wing walker and pilot and canceled remaining performances that day, Michael Nadaud said.

Saturday’s show went smoothly, fending off occasional rain drops and a gray overcast before making way for the sun just in time for the Blue Angels take-off.

Air show officials will not release attendance numbers until Monday, but they were pleased with the first day’s turnout which may easily exceed the 23,000 who attended over two days last year. “This tells me that Daytonians want their air show and they want their jet team,” said Dayton Air Show spokesman Timothy Gaffney.

Tyler Mitchell, 47, of Vandalia, brought his 7-year-old son, Jayden, already a young veteran of three air shows.

“He loves planes,” his father said. “Everything about them.”

Not surprisingly, Jayden picked the fast and loud acrobatic jets of the Blue Angels as his favorite performers.

“Because they do some awesome stuff,” Jayden said.

Air show attendees roamed dozens of vintage aircraft on the ground, too.

Tony DeSantis, a retired airline pilot, answered questions about the historic American Airlines DC-3 “Flagship Detroit” while Judy, his wife, sang tunes from the Big Band era to those waiting in line to tour the passenger cabin.

“I didn’t want to be left home and I am a professional singer,” she said.

Tony Desantis, 66, flew the stick and rudder plane to Dayton.

“It’s like you’re sitting in a piece of history and actually getting to fly it,” said DeSantis, of Palm City, Fla.

Normally accustomed to flying large, state-of-the-art airliners like the Boeing 767, DeSantis literally had his hands full manually controlling the world’s oldest flying DC-3 without the aid of modern fly-by-wire computers. The plane first flown in 1937 was restored after it was found as a crop duster in a field in Virginia about a decade ago.

“For me having 15,000 hours of flying time, when I started flying this thing, it was challenging,” said DeSantis, a former Air Force pilot who described flying the DC-3 as “seat of the pants.”

“I love it,” he said. “It’s more fun flying this thing than anything else I’d say.”

History also found a spot under a Tuskegee Airmen tent, where Army Air Corps veteran Harold J. Wesley, 90, of Springfield, remembered the fighter plane protection the pioneering black airmen gave his B-24 Liberator crew over Europe.

“When you see a German airplane coming at you, you need all the help you can get,” he said.

Donald E. Elder, 85, of Columbus, trained with the Tuskegee Airmen, but never deployed overseas.

“It’s impressive,” he said, “to come back and see the people recognize history.”

Story and photo gallery:

Vintage planes gather in Idaho Falls

Plane: $500,000.

Fuel: $5.50 a gallon. 

Maintenance: Endless.

The camaraderie tied to owning one of fewer than 100 Beechcraft Staggerwing planes: Priceless.

“The airplane originally brought us together, and we are all still passionate about the airplane, but over 40-plus years, the airplane has played a second role to the friendships you make all over the country,” John Parish said. “Really, the glue now is the friendships.”

Parish flew his Beechcraft King Air C90 from Tullahoma, Tenn., to visit his friend, Bob Hoff, and Hoff’s sons, Thomas and James,, at the Aero Mark Inc. hanger for the fourth annual Round-Engine Round-Up. The event pulls in enthusiasts of 1920s and 1930s planes from around the country.

The most popular plane among the group is the Beechcraft Staggerwing, a vintage round-engine biplane where the top wing is farther back on the plane than the bottom wing — a rarity for aircraft. Thomas Hoff, vice president of Aero Mark, said the planes range in value from $250,000 to more than $500,000. There are fewer than 100 in existence.

The Round-Up is one of two events per year where the group of 30 to 40 pilots get together. Parish hosts the other one in October at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tennessee. He is the museum’s co-founder and chairman of the board.

“The people that own them get together talk about flying them and maintaining them; there’s just a lot of friendship. Kind of like car clubs,” Thomas Hoff said. “It’s a very interesting group of people. It’s everyone from CEOs to Joe Blow, so it’s pretty interesting.”

The group left Idaho Falls this morning to fly to Smiley Creek for brunch and were to return to Idaho Falls later today for a gathering at the Hoff ranch, south of town.

Bob Siegfried flew his Beechcraft V35B from Chicago. He and Bob Hoff are on the Tennessee museum’s board of directors.

“It’s just people that like airplanes,” Siegfried said. “Good personalities. I’ve been flying for 68 years and loved every minute of it. It’s a ball.”

Pat Napolitano is western regional service representative for Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics in Wichita, Kan. He was at the round up for the second time — flying his boss’ Staggerwing. He’s also the plane’s mechanic.

Napolitano, a pilot for 27 years, flies the Staggerwing as a business plane.

“This is the only corporate-flying Staggerwing in the country,” Napolitano said. “This is my company car, I use it to go visit customers.”

While a select few have the honor of owning such rare planes, everyone can admire them.

Kirk Lindholm is a photographer for the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg. He is a self-proclaimed “airport rat” and has a love for vintage planes. For Lindholm, nothing compares to the Staggerwing.

“It’s kind of like some women you see on the street. They take your breath away,” he said.

Story and photo:

ATR 42-500: Accident occurred December 07, 2016 in Havelian, Pakistan

NTSB Identification: ENG17RA010
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 07, 2016 in Havelian, Pakistan
Aircraft: ATR ATR42, registration:
Injuries: Unavailable

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

Pakistan has notified the NTSB of an accident involving an ATR 42-500 that occurred on December 7, 2016. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the Pakistan Safety Investigation Board investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Design of the engine propeller system and the State of Manufacture and Design of several propulsion control system components.

All investigative information will be released by the PSIB.

For additional information contact Air Commodore Muchammad Munir Butt, President, Safety Investigation Board

Address: CAA Offices Complex, Lehtrar Road, Rawalpindi Pakistan

Telephone: Office +92 51 4472750

Mobile +92 300 8250472

Fax +92 51 4472754

Grand jury: Stanislaus County sheriff’s helicopter can be used for community events

A civil grand jury Friday released a report that found that it’s OK for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to use its helicopter in community events, such as efforts to help at-risk youths or charitable organizations.

The grand jury, however, noted that county policies do not allow for the sheriff’s helicopter to be used for such non-law enforcement purposes. The grand jurors recommended that a policy be created with a procedure on how to gain approval before the helicopter is used for something other than a public safety response.

Complaints about the helicopter usage came from a resident who alleged a helicopter ride was used as an auction item to benefit a local hospice organization. Concerns about the helicopter appeared in several articles in a local newspaper, according to the grand jury’s report.

A Stanislaus County sheriff’s helicopter took part in the Make Dreams Real event May 15, 2013, at Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis, Calaveras County, which raised money to send schoolchildren to sixth-grade camp and other outdoor education programs, according to a Modesto Bee news story published a year ago.

The helicopter’s use for a golf ball drop over the course was intended to benefit the charity organization, designed to help Stanislaus County children.

No specific event was mentioned in the grand jury’s report. As part of their inquiry, jurors reviewed the sheriff’s helicopter flight records from July 2008 through August 2013 to identify activities that might not be considered a law enforcement purpose.

The county CEO’s policy indicates that the sheriff’s helicopter shall be used only for law enforcement or emergency-related purposes, or for other county government purposes with prior approval from the county’s chief executive officer or a designee.

The sheriff’s policies list several proper uses for the helicopter, which include assisting other public safety agencies, assisting sheriff’s personnel on the ground, capturing suspects or inmates who present a danger, finding a missing person, conducting vehicle pursuits and rescuing a stranded person in a remote area.

The grand jury found that neither policy has specific language or procedure that allows usage of sheriff’s vehicles in non-law enforcement activities, no matter how charitable or beneficial. Yet sheriff’s vehicles, particularly helicopters, have been used in community events numerous times in the past several years.

Participating in activities to support at-risk youth and charitable groups provides a positive impression of the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement in the county, according to the report. The grand jury also said the department is especially supportive of activities that focus on the positive role of law enforcement, as opposed to the more apparent conflict that occurs in criminal investigations.

The grand jury recommended that a specific policy be written defining the use of sheriff’s resources such as helicopters for non-law enforcement activities. The jurors also recommended that such usage be approved in advance of the event by two senior managers at the Sheriff’s Department, or one senior manager each from the Sheriff’s Department and the CEO’s Office.

The report indicates that the elected sheriff is in a unique position in relation to the authority of the county’s CEO and the Board of Supervisors. While the board maintains approval authority of the department’s budget, the sheriff is directly accountable to the voters.

The grand jury says neither the Board of Supervisors nor the county CEO has direct supervisory authority over Sheriff Adam Christianson or his department.

The grand jury, which is a watchdog group, is appointed by the presiding judge of the Superior Court to serve a one-year term. Its recommendations are not legally binding, but officials have 90 days to respond in writing to the findings.

Story, photos and comments:

No trains, but there are planes and automobiles: Aitkin Municipal Airport, (KAIT), Minnesota

Fly in, drive in, or walk into the annual event this Sunday at the Aitkin Municipal Airport.

The Fly-in/Drive-in and Auto Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 29. There’s no admission and the public can come before 9 a.m. as breakfast is served beginning at 7 a.m. Lunch is served later through 3 p.m.

There will be antique and specialty aircraft on display and a silent auction. A worship service is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The auto entrance fee is $5. Awards will be given to the top 20 entrants.  There will be street rods, sports cars, custom cars, unrestored classics and more. Planes will be coming and going all day, weather permitting.

The event is sponsored by Country Road Classics and the Aitkin Flyers Club. Free root beer floats will be available, sponsored by Peoples National Bank.

For more information on the auto show, contact Mike Macioch at 320-684-2170 and for the aircraft display, contact Dale Johnson 218-838-0390 or Jim Larson, 218-820-8898.

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North Pole man pleads guilty to shooting fireworks at Army helicopters

FAIRBANKS—A North Pole man who shot fireworks at Army helicopters flying over his house and shined a spotlight at them pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor count of assaulting U.S. military personnel performing official duties.

Federal Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec accepted Daniel Lee Slayden's guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks.

Court documents say Slayden bought a home in a residential area near North Pole in March 2013 and became irritated at helicopters from nearby Fort Wainwright performing night flights around 1,000 feet above ground. There was no mention of interference from low-flying aircraft in the legally required disclosure statement when Slayden bought the house, and the sellers refused Slayden's request to rescind the purchase.

Slayden, according to a recorded conversation, complained to the Public Affairs Office on Fort Wainwright, after which some helicopters appeared to have shifted south. Some helicopters, however, were still flying over Slayden's house and at an altitude that Slayden estimated as below 500 feet.

Slayden goes on to say in the recorded statement that friends of his who worked on Fort Wainwright told him helicopter pilots knew who he was and that their flights irritated him and that they continued deliberately flying over his house. Slayden declined an offer to have the allegation followed-up by providing the names of his friends.

Slayden admits that, starting last fall, he began to shoot fireworks and shine a spotlight at helicopters flying over his house. He said the helicopters' bright lights shined into his windows and that he wanted to "give it back to them," according to statements.

Slayden said he shot mortar-based fireworks or aimed a spotlight at helicopters on roughly 12 occasions but did not necessarily aim the mortar tubes at the aircraft. He estimates the fireworks reached 100 feet into the air.

The court document states uniformed Army pilots confirmed fireworks exploded about 300 feet below their aircraft and that a spotlight interfered with their operations — including causing blackouts to night-vision goggles — during the reported time frame.

A search of the Slayden's home resulted in the seizure of several fireworks, four cardboard mortars for launching fireworks and a 12-volt spotlight.

Under a plea agreement, Slayden would be sentenced to three years probation, fined $12,500 and would forfeit for destruction any instruments used in the offense. The maximum penalty is a one-year prison sentence and $100,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 2.


Incident occurred June 27, 2014 in Mayhill, Otero County, New Mexico

Helicopter accident southwest of Mayhill:   Hard landing due to weather conditions

Two people were transported to an area hospital after a privately owned helicopter made a hard landing due to weather condition in the area southwest of Mayhill Friday evening, a New Mexico State Police spokesman said.

Lt. Emmanuel T. Gutierrez said four people were on board the helicopter at the time of the hard landing.

Gutierrez said a man and woman were transported to an area hospital complaining of non-life threatening injuries.

He said NMSP officers were notified by an Otero County Sheriff's Office dispatcher of the helicopter accident around 6 p.m. Friday.

Otero County Sheriff's Office deputies and area volunteer fire department emergency personnel initially responded to the accident.

Gutierrez said the accident happened at 58 Mule Canyon Road near New Mexico State Route 130 and Miller Flats Road southwest of Mayhill.

He said no one was killed in the accident.

Gutierrez said the privately owned helicopter is owned by Jay Arabians.


I-Team investigates Maryland State Police helicopter transition

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Norman Perry relinquishes chairmanship of Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY) commission

Under fire by the Dukes County commissioners, Mr. Perry stepped back from a lead role, but will remain on the airport commission.

Norman Perry, chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission since April, relinquished the chairman’s post at a meeting of the airport commission Friday morning. Mr. Perry notified his fellow commissioners of his decision to step down from the leadership post but remain on the commission in an email late Thursday night.

“I have assumed his position as chair,” vice chairman Constance Teixeira, said at the beginning of the airport commission’s regular monthly meeting.

Ms. Teixeira set a stern tone. “The meeting today will be governed by Roberts Rules of Order, which gives the chair custody of who is allowed to speak,” Ms. Teixeira said. “Anyone not acknowledged by the chair will not be able to speak at this meeting. There will be some changes in committees. At this time I’m not ready to make those changes.”

Newly appointed airport commissioner Christine Todd, who is also a county commissioner, questioned the process. The airport commission has no bylaws spelling out the process of succession.

“I was under the impression that we would elect a new chair,” Ms. Todd said. “I’m just wondering what the process is.”

“The process is, the vice-chair steps up, and we elect a new vice-chair,” Ms. Teixeira said.

The meeting was tense at times, but less confrontational than meetings held earlier this year, which drew widespread criticism of airport commissioners by members of the county commission.

Members of the county commission have been highly critical of the airport commission for its handling of several public disciplinary hearings involving an airport employee.

At a meeting on June 18, Dukes County Commission chairman Leonard Jason Jr. asked the seven appointed members of the airport commission to resign. The longtime county commissioner modified his call in a letter dated June 19 addressed to the airport commission in which he suggested that commissioners find something else to do. Mr. Jason asked for a response by July 1.

County manager Martina Thornton, county treasurer Noreen Mavro-Flanders, and Mr. Jason attended the Friday morning meeting.

After attending to routine airport business, commissioners approved a response to Mr. Jason’s June 19 letter in which he asked the  airport commissioners to consider another line of civic duty.  Commissioners did not discuss the text of the letter or read it aloud.

Ms. Teixeira, Mr. Perry, Peter Bettencourt, Denys Wortman, and James Coyne voted in favor of the response. Ms. Todd voted against sending the response, and newly appointed airport commissioner Richard Michelson abstained.

Ms. Todd said she has already sent her response. Mr. Michelson, a former airport employee, said he intended to send his own response.

Following the meeting, assistant airport manager Deborah Potter refused to respond to an oral request for the letter. She asked that all requests for public documents be submitted in writing. She did not responded to a written request from The Times by the end of the day Friday. The Times also requested a copy of the letter from the county manager. That request was also not met by the end of the day Friday.

The airport commission also distributed a draft of an airport employee policies and procedures handbook for discussion. Airport policies and procedures have been a sharp point of contention during recent disciplinary hearings and meetings. Beth Tessmer, a nine-year airport employee who was twice suspended and then fired earlier this year, has contended in a workplace discrimination lawsuit, that the airport commission did not follow disciplinary procedures established for Dukes County employees.

Airport commission attorney Susan Whalen, speaking by conference call, advised commissioners to keep the document confidential, not to distribute it electronically, and not to share copies with outside advisors. Though distributed at a public meeting in open session, she maintained it is not a public record, because it falls under an exception to the Massachusetts Public Records Act concerning formulation of public policy.

“I would recommend that the commissioners keep their copy privileged and confidential,” Ms. Whalen said. “You’re obligated to maintain the confidential record of the public body.”

“I don’t see anything that is so secret, secret, that no one else in the world can look at it,” said Mr. Michelson, who has spoken forcefully in recent meetings about the need for a policies and procedures manual.

The commissioners agreed to review the document, and send comments to Ms. Potter by email.

The meeting was not without its lighter moments.

The commissioners agreed, at the suggestion of Mr. Michelson, to send an electronic survey to all airport stakeholders, including tenants, employees, pilots, and others, to gauge what they think about airport operations. Ms. Potter suggested using the popular Internet based survey software known as Survey Monkey.

“I can see the headline,” said Mr. Coyne. “‘Commission creates monkey committee.’”

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Fairborn volunteer information for Dayton Air Show

FAIRBORN — Skyhawk Athletic Club parents and students volunteering for the Vectren Dayton Air Show June 28-29 should remember these items:

The morning shifts are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the evening shifts are 1-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A Fairborn City Schools bus will transport volunteers from Fairborn High School to the air show promptly at 7:30 p.m. Please be at FHS by 7 a.m. The bus will pick up afternoon shift volunteers at FHS, leaving at 12:30 p.m. so please be at FHS by 12 p.m.

Adults are asked to wear their “Hawk Pride” T-shirts. Extras will be available at the main volunteer tent. Students will have bright yellow program shirts provided to them on the bus. They will also be available at the main volunteer tent.

Volunteers must have their pass to enter the air show and also to park in volunteer parking area. Instructions and maps will be provided immediately upon arrival.


As Marshfield Municipal Airport (KGHG) expands, couple agree to sell their home

MARSHFIELD – With barbed-wire fencing and a taxiway buffer creeping toward their backyard, a Woodbine Road family said the $15.34 million improvement project at Marshfield Municipal Airport left them with little choice but to sell their home.

Thomas and Pamela Scott this month agreed to sell their home at 23 Woodbine Road to the airport commission for $315,000, most of which was funded with federal money.

The home is one of three properties at the end of Woodbine Road and Old Colony Lane that were identified in 2005 for possible acquisition. It’s the second to be purchased for the expansion project.

The Federal Aviation Administration provided an $11.34 million grant for improvements to the town-owned airport, which is managed by Shoreline Aviation. The state pitched in $1.4 million, and voters at a special town meeting in 2011 approved $200,000.

The newly reopened runway was shifted 190 feet west of the previous surface, widened by 25 feet and extended 300 feet. An additional 300 feet of paved safety buffer was added at each end, providing 3,600 feet for takeoffs and 3,900 feet for emergency landings.

Airport manager David Dinneen acknowledged that the fence enclosing the airport and taxiway protection zone are “very close” to the Scott home, which will be demolished.

“We went through the process and offered to purchase the home, and they accepted,” he said. “We struck a good deal with them. They’re happy with the decision, and we’re happy to be able to use the property to create a buffer.”

While Thomas Scott said he’s glad his family received fair market value for the home, he’s disappointed that officials put them in that position to begin with.

“We’re leaving under duress. We’ve been told by medical professionals that the dangers and the risks outweigh the attempt to tolerate or adjust to the situation,” he said Thursday. “You can’t argue with noise levels that exceed federal guidelines and toxic fumes 50 feet away. … And to think airport commissioners, who are my own neighbors, denied that there would be a problem.”

Airport officials have said the project is necessary because improvements will bring the airport into compliance with FAA safety and design standards.

The zoning board in 2011 granted a special permit for relocating and widening the runway. Town Counsel Robert Galvin said part of the airport property already existed in a residential zone prior to the expansion.

 “All they did was change the nature of use, and that was through a special permit,” he said. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that there has been no further incursion than what (the board) approved.”

Galvin said no neighbors appealed the board’s approval of the permit at the time. “They should have taken issue with it in 2011,” he said. “They had a legal obligation to do that.”

Scott said none of the plans as presented included the adverse details his family is experiencing.

I'm not anti-transportation and I’m certainly not anti-business, but some serious negligence existed here,” he said. “Perhaps the consultants involved presented the decision-makers with a very different description of what would happen compared to what has happened.”

Scott did credit Dinneen for his handling of the situation, calling him a “professional who took a different approach” from other airport officials.

“He was proactive and made it possible for us to exercise our option to relocate,” Scott said. “If it weren’t for him, I don’t think we would have had any options other than to file for injunction.”

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