Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brazil's Embraer flying high in the United States

They were just two men trying to sell Brazilian airplanes from Dania Beach. 

Robert Terry was an independent entrepreneur who dared to represent Brazil's aircraft company, Embraer, in marketing its sole product at the time: the turboprop Bandeirante, or Portuguese for "pioneer."

Newton Berwig was a Brazilian pilot who had served in the U.S. Air Force and long worked with Piper Aircraft. He came to open Embraer's first U.S. subsidiary to provide support for burgeoning sales here.

Today, 35 years later, Embraer has grown into the world's largest producer of small planes (37-120 seats) and the third-largest manufacturer of aircraft overall, after Boeing and Airbus. Its regional jets form the backbone of commuter airlines worldwide.

With U.S. headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, the company employs more than 1,300 people nationwide, including more than 700 in Florida. The company makes executive jets on Florida's Space Coast, assembles military planes in Jacksonville and plans a high-tech research center in Melbourne employing former NASA engineers.

Next week, Embraer will open that $24 million research center, with plans to hire 200 more people there. Plus, the company plans to add 600 employees in Melbourne at a $48 million facility that will turn out a new line of executive jets starting in 2016, said Gary Spulak, long-time president of the U.S. operations.

"They're arguably the most transformational foreign direct investment in Florida," said Manny Mencia, who runs the international division of Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development group.

"They're the first foreign company ever to assemble airframes in the United States. And that they chose Florida has attracted enormous interest in Florida in the aviation and aerospace world. There now are projections that we will surpass California in the industry," Mencia said.

It's all a giant leap from the 1970s, when Terry began to work with Embraer, just in time for deregulation of U.S. airlines and a boom in demand for small planes by new airlines entering the market with short routes.

In 1979, Embraer followed with its own office, led by Berwig, who was familiar with Fort Lauderdale because he had ferried planes between Brazil and the United States.

Embraer later moved the U.S. headquarters to the Fort Lauderdale airport, where it has grown to employ 270 people and runs a maintenance facility for its executive jets.

Embraer invested heavily in Brazil in the 1990s to develop its regional jets, but the cost proved too much for the state-owned company nurtured under a military regime. In 1994, Brazil's democratic government sold Embraer to a private group, which has revamped operations, boosted growth and now lists shares on Wall Street.

Sales of the regional jets soared worldwide, but the new private owners saw opportunity in executive jets and recognized the U.S. as the world's No. 1 market for private planes.

So, in the 2000s, after an extensive search, Embraer chose Florida's Space Coast as the global headquarters for their executive jet business and the site to produce those jets.

Melbourne won because of its engineering and technical talent, including former NASA employees who had worked on the space shuttle program. It had an airport with room for expansion. Costs were reasonable, partly because Florida has no state income tax, and the area has a port nearby to handle imported supplies. Plus, the Melbourne site is only a couple hours' drive from Embraer's U.S. base, Spulak said.

Embraer has made its Phenom jets in Melbourne since 2011. Customers come from around the country and the world to order to their specifications. The smaller Phenom, which seats up to six people, sells for $4.7 million, and the larger one, seating up to nine, costs $10.3 million.

In all, Embraer's employment in Melbourne should grow from about 350 today to top 1,150 when the tech center and new executive jet lines are fully staffed, Spulak said. One-third of the workforce in Melbourne comes from NASA or NASA contractors, he said.

To service the executive jets, the company also has built multimillion-dollar maintenance facilities in Arizona, Connecticut and Fort Lauderdale, employing hundreds more.

Embraer's military expertise also helped it win a contract recently to supply Super-Tucano planes to the U.S. Air Force. Those two-seaters are being assembled in Jacksonville, and the first of 20 should be delivered in coming weeks.

For Spulak, who has dedicated 31 years to Embraer, what's most exciting is not the company's growth but its culture and its people.

Like its Brazilian parent, the U.S. unit fosters a family-like atmosphere, living its motto: "Our people are what make us fly." Employees in Florida this year voted Embraer one of Florida's best companies to work for, in a ranking published in Florida Trend magazine.

Then, of course, Spulak loves the thrill of aviation.

"You're whisked up in the air 40,000 feet and come down," Spulak said. "It's a magical experience."

Embraer

Business: Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, with U.S. headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.

Founded: In Brazil in 1969, in Fort Lauderdale in 1979.

Financials: $6.2 billion in revenues and $342 million in net income in 2013

Employees: 19,300, including Brazil, United States, Europe, United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore

U.S. employees: More than 1,300, including more than 700 in Florida.

Source: embraer.com

- Story:   http://www.sun-sentinel.com

 

Airmotive takes flight: Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport (KBRD), Brainerd, Minnesota

Something is happening at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport that hasn't taken place in 33 years.

Airmotive Enterprises, the fixed base operator at the airport, last sold a Piper plane in 1981. Then the airport's plane sales stopped. This year, Airmotive is back in the business of selling planes and is expanding its flight school as part of its business rejuvenation.

It's goal of selling three Kodiak floatplanes this year is well within reach with two planes sold and another interested party in the wings. The Kodiak draws attention as it sits on the tarmac, high above many of the other small planes and corporate jets.

"People come out and look at it every day," said Mark Mathisen of Airmotive Enterprises. Mathisen wears many hats, pilot, mechanic, plane salesman and base operator. Mathisen came to Brainerd from Alaska bush flying. Mathisen piloted the Kodiak to such smooth landings on Gull and Pelican lake it was hard to tell when the plane left the air to become a flying boat and when it was back out of the water.

The Kodiaks were designed for mission work. Mathisen said there are five other Kodiaks like the amphibious one in Brainerd. The 10-passenger floatplanes burn just about any kind of fuel, take-off and land in short distances to accommodate difficult terrain and reach remote areas - from the sides of mountains to the North Dakota oil fields. It may need 850 feet to get off the ground, fully loaded with passengers and cargo, and has an ability to fly 350 nautical miles before refueling.

Potential customers range from fishing and mining camps in Canada to the Chicago Police Department. Airmotive sold one of the $2 million Kodiaks to a buyer in Italy and another in Toronto, Canada.

Airmotive co-owner D.J. Dondelinger said there are numerous applications for the Kodiak, which is able to fly in any kind of weather, from sky-diving groups to those who want to cut a drive of maybe 9 hours to Williston, N.D. to a flight of two hours and 15 minutes.

Airmotive is the licensed dealer for Mission Aviation Fellowship's Kodiaks in six U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. Mission Aviation Fellowship serves medical teams, missionaries, churches, relief agencies and other serving people in remote places in the world.

"It's a pretty capable airplane," Dondelinger said. "It does an amazing job. ... We call it the turbine suburban."

Dondelinger said Airmotive profits have been going right back into improving the operations, both the physical offices and services, since they bought the business from John Reidl Jr. a couple of years ago.

Now Airmotive hopes to add mechanics and not only sell more Kodiaks, but service planes from the six-state area. The planes are made by Quest Aircraft Co. in Sandpoint, Idaho. Dondelinger said they'd like to install the de-icers in Brainerd. The Kodiak at the Brainerd airport is also a prototype for Aeroset carbon fiber floats. Mathisen said the floats are 394 pounds lighter than other certified floats making a difference for take-off distances and handling.

The Kodiak isn't the only addition at the Airmotive.

Airmotive's flight instructor Matt VanCura has six students now and will be teaching high school students what they'll need to know for their ground work in the spring, including a trip to the aviation museum in Anoka. Dondelinger said the classes are significant as the aviation industry expects to face a 15,000 pilot shortage.

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport is in phase three of its design and decor project. Many local artist's work can be viewed out at the airport while waiting to catch a flight or walking the halls to eat at Wings Cafe.

Danae Blanck Anderson, interior designer/owner of I.D. Your World, reported the next section of the plan is to create a history timeline of the airport and local aviation information. Anderson along with airport enthusiast Mike Peterson and Jeff Wig, airport manager, have been working on generating ideas, memorabilia and historical facts for this timeline.

"We are looking for any community involvement as well," Anderson said. "Our hope is to include items from people pertaining to aviation or specifically the airport whether it be letters, postcards, posters of events, photos or any airport nostalgia that can be located." 


For more information or if interested in donating items contact Wig at 825-2166 orjeffwig@brainerdairport.com or Anderson at 218-330-2338 or idyourworld@gmx.com.

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


DJ Dondelinger (left), a co-owner of Airmotive Enterprises and Mark Mathisen, pilot, mechanic, plane salesman, pause after taking a quick ride in the Kodiak float plane. Airmotive, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport fixed base operator is selling Kodiaks at the airport. 
Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch

Department of Environmental Conservation slates Mattituck Airport for removal from Superfund program

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed removing Mattituck Airbase from New York’s Superfund program, saying the property no longer poses a threat to public health or the environment, DEC officials said.

Before it makes a final determination, the DEC will accept public comment for the next month. The property is currently on the state’s Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site list, which identifies properties being investigated for potential hazardous waste and outlines any cleanup efforts taking place.

The airbase, located off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck, is one of 11 properties currently being investigated across Riverhead and Southold towns.

It was created in 1946, when Parker Wickham of Mattituck, who overhauled airplane engines during World War II, converted part of his family’s New Suffolk Avenue potato farm into a small airport and plane engine rebuilding shop under the name Mattituck Services, according to previous Suffolk Times coverage. The property is still owned by the Wickham family.

The site currently operates as an “informal airbase used by a few area pilots,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell.

The 12-acre site included a half-acre parcel where chemicals — including fuels, oils and cleaners — were once used for maintenance and repair work, according to state DEC officials.

According to the state agency’s listing, solvent rinses and wastewater used on the property were discharged to leaching pools in the area from 1946 to 1979, leaving elevated levels of copper, iron, nickel, zinc, lead and cadmium in nearby soils, as well as several pesticide ingredients.

To remedy the pollution, 25 tons of contaminated but non-hazardous soils were excavated from the area surrounding the leaching pools in 1997, with excavation extending at least three feet below the water table, the DEC listing states. The area was then packed with clean fill and closed.

Soil testing conducted in November 2013 found no lingering impact from the contaminants in question and it was determined that no public or environmental threats exist at the site, according to DEC officials.

Mr. Russell said he’s encouraged to hear that the historic site stands to be removed from the Superfund program.

“If the DEC is satisfied, naturally we are,” he said. “Certainly it is in the town’s interest to see all [of these areas] get remediated and delisted.”

Agency officials are asking that any public comments regarding Mattituck Airbase be mailed to Cynthia Whitfield, project manager, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Remediation, Remedial Bureau A, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7015 or emailed to cynthia.whitfield@dec.ny.gov. You can also call 518-402-9564.

The comment period will close Oct. 5 and a final decision will be made on or after Oct. 26, according to the DEC release.
 
- Source:  http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com

Flight line tram rides provide good look at Stearman planes: Galesburg Municipal Airport (KGBG), Illinois

GALESBURG — Stearman biplanes carried most of America's World War II-era military pilots into the air for the first time.

After victory was won, many flew on spraying and dusting crops. A relative few became air show stars. A handful now reside in museums. But over the years, most of the nearly 8,500 trainers built in Wichita, Kansas, simply disappeared.

Visitors to the National Stearman Fly-In held every September at Galesburg Municipal Airport can experience the sights, sounds and smells of the old warbirds. This year's Fly-In — the 43rd consecutive celebration of the airplane — is scheduled Monday through Saturday.

Tram rides along the Stearman flight line provide an “up close and personal look at the airplanes,” says Dale Ruebner of Galesburg, who's in charge of the rides.

Trams will be operated daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. Cost to ride is $1 per person.

A narrated program will help riders learn about the airplanes, why the people who own and fly them are dedicated to what they do, and about the Fly-In's history, Ruebner says.

Members of Knox County AMVETS Post 8 will be hosts on the trams again this year.

The tram rides were started several years ago to provide a convenient, safe and securite way to allow large numbers of people to get closer to the airplanes. Access to the flight line is generally restricted to registered Fly-In participants.

 Balsa plane competition

Youngsters from 3 to 12 can compete for prizes in a balsa airplane-flying contest during the Stearman Fly-In.

The event will be held from 1-3 p.m. Saturday in the Jet Air Inc. hangar at Galesburg Municipal Airport.

Competitors will be divided into three age groups — 3 to 5 years old, 6 to 9 years old, and 10 to 12 years old — according to Heather Godsil of Oneida, contest director.

Youngsters who successfully “pilot” their planes from 20 feet away to a landing in a 20-inch-in-diameter circle will qualify for a drawing for prizes.

First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded in each age group, Godsil said. The first-place prize is an airplane ride with a parent; second-place winners will get a 2013 Stearman Fly-In T-shirt; and third-place winners will get 2014 Stearman posters and buttons.

No pre-registration is required to enter the contest, and there are no charges for admittance to the airport or to compete in the balsa airplane contest. Competitors may keep their balsa planes after the contest.

 The event is planned to give youngsters the opportunity to watch the Fly-In's annual formation flying contest, scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Breakfast to wrap up Fly-In

GALESBURG — An all-you-can-eat breakfast served by the Galesburg Noon Lions Club will conclude the Fly-In.


The breakfast will be served from 7 to 11 a.m. Sept. 7 in the Jet Air Inc. hangar at Galesburg Municipal Airport.


The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee, milk and orange juice. Prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children.

Proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Lions Club projects.

Story and Photos:  http://www.galesburg.com



Port Columbus: Forgetful gun packers get a break

Who would try to bring a gun through airport security?

Only someone incredibly stupid, say the people who have been caught with weapons in their carry-on luggage at security checkpoints at Port Columbus.

“Hell, no,” a 70-year-old West Side man told airport police when they asked if he knew the unloaded handgun was in his bag in January 2013. “Not only no, but hell no. Only a dumb--- or a professional football player would do that.”

Since February, these forgetful gun carriers have gotten a break. Airport police are no longer criminally charging those who unknowingly pack a firearm in their carry-on luggage. In the seven months since then, eight people have been stopped, but none was charged.

All of last year, and in the first month of this year, eight others were slapped with a criminal trespassing charge and summoned to court for the same thing. Gun carriers who aren’t concealed-carry permit holders also could face a gun charge, but none of those charges was filed.

“It goes back to intent,” said Angie Tabor, a Port Columbus spokeswoman. “These are not people who are coming through the airport with the intent to do harm.”

Part of the criminal trespassing statute involves an offender knowing they are in violation of the law, chief city Prosecutor Lara Baker-Morrish said. When guns are found, the owners usually say they didn’t know or forgot they were in there.

“While one might question whether such a statement is accurate, it is still the prosecution’s burden in these cases to prove that they were aware the loaded firearm was with them or were reckless in that regard,” she wrote in an email.

Charges were dismissed or reduced for each of the eight people charged with criminal trespassing in the past 20 months.

The number of firearms found at checkpoints in Columbus has increased: There have been 10 so far this year, compared with six in all of 2013. That mirrors nationwide trends. Last year, more than 1,800 firearms were found at U.S. airports, most of them loaded, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The agency is on track to find about 2,100 guns this year.

Among the nation’s 63 large and medium airports, Columbus is in the top 20 for the number of weapons found at checkpoints through July of this year. There were 2.94 firearms found for every million passengers at Port Columbus, ranking it 18th.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky was 15th with 3.60 guns recovered per million. Dallas Love Field was first, with 6.71.

But both the airport authority and people caught at the checkpoints say the potential of criminal charges — and a steep fine from the TSA — isn’t really a deterrent.

“People simply forget,” Tabor said.

One 52-year-old Lawrence County woman found with a 9  mm pistol in her purse in June told police that she knew full well that bringing a gun to the airport wasn’t allowed.

“In fact, she stated that she had recently made fun of idiots that do bring firearms to the airport, which now she is one of them,” an officer wrote in her incident report.

A nongun owner might not understand how anyone could forget they were carrying a firearm, said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. But to a regular gun carrier, being unarmed is what would feel strange. He compared it with the odd feeling of driving without your seatbelt.

“We’ve got millions of people carrying firearms every day in our country, so occasionally somebody’s going to forget something,” he said.

Irvine, an airline pilot, said lots of people are under stress when they travel. Forgetting to leave their gun at home might be one of the things that slip their minds.

“That stress causes people to do silly, stupid things,” he said.

In some of the cases at Port Columbus, women forgot guns in their purses or men left a firearm in their briefcases. Others used a bag that they hadn’t traveled with in awhile, not realizing there was a gun in there.

That’s what happened to Frank Titus. He was at his Victorian Village home packing for a trip to Washington, D.C., and realized he could fit all his stuff in a smaller bag. Unbeknownst to him, a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 special was tucked in a pocket.

“I had no idea the firearm was in that piece of luggage,” the former Ohio State University police officer said.

Titus, 68, said a relative had put the gun in the suitcase awhile ago. Airport police were very nice, he said, and he wasn’t criminally charged, but he paid a $1,500 fine from the TSA.

Only three of the accidental gun carriers the Dispatch reached this week were willing to talk on the record. Most were embarrassed by their mistake and readily admitted to being at fault.

As Michelle Cefola watched her purse slide into the X-ray machine last year, she suddenly realized she’d left her loaded Ruger .38-caliber revolver in there. She told the agent.

“You would have thought I just blew up the airport,” she said. “They swarmed me.”

Cefola, a guidance counselor who was traveling back to Gilbert, Ariz., after driving her daughter to college in Ohio, was charged with criminal trespassing. She hired an attorney, and the charge was dismissed after she forfeited her bond and gave up her gun. She also fought the $3,000 TSA fine, hiring her attorney again to argue it down to $600.

While she didn’t benefit from it, she’s happy to see officers don’t charge mistaken gun carriers anymore.

“To just slap a criminal trespassing (charge) on someone like me was ridiculous,” she said. “Obviously, it didn’t hold up in court because they couldn’t prove intent.”

It was a stupid mistake, she admits, but she’d just driven across country with her daughter and had a lot going on.

“Life is not always that simple,” she said.

Linda Henry thought TSA agents were upset over some tweezers she might’ve left in her carry-on bag when they questioned her in May on her way to Galveston, Texas. They asked the Newark woman three times if there was anything they should know about before they opened her bag.

“There was my hair dryer and magazines and shoes, and they open this little side flap, and there’s this gun,” she said.

Henry, 63, started yelling at her husband, Alin, who had misplaced a Colt .25-caliber pistol years ago. He’d even accused others of stealing it. Turns out, it was in Henry’s bag all along.

“I had no clue,” she said. “And it was loaded to boot.”

She, like Titus, was grateful for the kindness the police officers and agents showed her. She wasn’t charged.

“I do know the next time,” Henry said. “I’m going to double-check and triple-check everything I take.”

Story, Photo and Comments:  http://www.dispatch.com


Columbus Regional Airport Authority photos
Security checkpoints at Port Columbus have found eight guns in carry-on baggage since February. According to a new policy, none of the passengers was charged.

Vintage World War II planes a plenty to display during annual Mustangs and More Days

Mustangs and more will be on display in October as the annual Nut Tree Airport Mustangs and More Days returns.

Sparky, Red Dog XII, Merlin's Magic, Kimberly Kaye and Strawboss 2 are scheduled to return to the Nut Tree airport on Oct. 18. These are names adorned on the North American P-51 Mustang, the best World War II fighter.

The public is invited to come out and enjoy a fun-filled family day at the 6th annual event. This event is sponsored by the Travis Heritage Center, along with the Solano County (Nut Tree) Airport.

The event is scheduled for gates to open at 9 a.m. Parking is $5 vehihcle, and admission is $5. All proceeds go directly to support the maintenance and operations of the Travis Heritage Center on Travis Air Force Base.

The event honors both the North American P-51 Mustang and the men who flew this steed into combat both in Europe and the South Pacific. Many aces were made flying the great fighter into combat. Visitors will enjoy the Mustangs, which will grace the ramp and be able to talk to the pilots who keep these aircraft maintained in flyable condition.

Other World War II aircraft, commonly known as Warbirds will be in attendance as well. Expected to attend would be various Boeing PT-17 Stearmans, North American T-28 Trojans, and an L-39 Albatross jet fighter as well as other antique and classic aircraft. Other aircraft that will be displayed are a Hawker Sea Fury and a Grumman FM-2 Wildcat.

Also available for special viewing will be the Gonzales Tractor No. 1 Biplane, built in 1912. This magnificent aeroplane is powered by a 4 cylinder Kemp engine that is still operational. Located with this Biplane for viewing is a replica Fokker D-7.

Several Mustang auto clubs will also be on hand to show their classic automobiles. Other vintage automobiles are expected to arrive unannounced. World War II vehicles will also be on display.

Food and retail vendors will be available to make this a complete family day. Representatives from the Travis Heritage Center will be available to discuss volunteerism and how to arrange for access to and receive guided tours of the Travis Heritage Center. Learn about the extensive restoration programs underway on the Cessna O-2 Skymaster, the A-26 Invader, C-7 Caribou, as well as other projects such as rework of a B-52 Hound Dog Missile pylon.

For those who would like an opportunity to view this display from up above, rides will be available in a Travelair Bi-plane.

For more information, please call Event Director, Larry Smigla at 689-4848, or by email at p51smigla@aol.com. 


- Source:  http://www.thereporter.com


Donnie Bragg: Southern Poly grad killed in skydiving accident

Donnie Bragg, a 27-year-old father and Southern Poly grad, died in a skydiving accident 


POLK COUNTY, Ga. —

Channel 2 Action News spoke to the family and friends of a local father who died in a skydiving accident over the weekend.

Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant spent Monday crisscrossing north Georgia speaking with those who knew, loved and respected Marietta resident Donnie Bragg.

People at Dive the Farm outside Rockmart say Bragg had more than 300 jumps under his belt.

"He was into so many different things. For a 27-year-old, he had accomplished so much," said his girlfriend Brooke Teague.

Teague said she wasn't quite ready to appear on camera, but did want people to know the Donnie she knew.

"He was confident in every single thing he did – that was Donnie. He grabbed life by the horns," she said.

His life ended when he and surviving jumper Tracy Sutherland, who both worked for Dive the Farm, collided at 13,000 feet.

"Both of them became unconscious. Both of them had good functioning parachutes when at that point, but after that we're not exactly sure," said instructor Steve Haseman.

Haseman is one of many now working to put all the pieces together.

"Folks need to know that we do everything we can to be safe, accidents happen no matter what we're doing," he said.

Bragg, a recent graduate of Southern Polytechnic State University, leaves behind his 1-month-old son Rowan, while Teague takes comfort knowing her boyfriend died doing something he loved

"So even if I don't know the exact details, I still find closure in him passing,” she said.

Sutherland suffered several broken bones and is recovering a hospital in Rome.

 http://www.wsbtv.com


Donnie Bragg

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Federal Aviation Administration leaves drone industry in limbo

 

Thousands of commercial drone operators nationwide are cashing in on flying small, camera-equipped aircraft in defiance of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has barred such businesses from operating while it develops rules for the industry. 

Horizon Aerial Media Services of Glen Park is a participant in the legal tug-of-war between commercial operators and the FAA. The business, launched in April by Jason R. and Amanda N. DesJardins, has used its drones to shoot video featuring virtual tours of homes for sale, weddings, a commercial for Davidson Automotive Group and the Jefferson County Fair, among other things.

So far the FAA has sporadically cracked down on the banned commercial use of drones, also called unmanned aerial systems. It has issued fines and cease-and-desist letters in some cases. But commercial operators contend the FAA has taken a contradictory stance by allowing hobbyists to use drones while barring commercial operations. The FAA has permitted hobbyists to use drones as long as they keep them within sight of the remote-controlling operator at all times, fly them under 400 feet and keep them away from airports. The FAA, meanwhile, has been working on specific rules since 2009 to govern the commercial use of drones but hasn’t yet enacted anything — leaving the industry in limbo. It has barred those uses until new rules are in place. The FAA has said it hopes to propose regulations later this year permitting the use of commercial drones that weigh 55 pounds or less. But industry experts say it’s unclear what those rules will entail and how they would be enforced. Congress, meanwhile, has ordered the FAA to develop a comprehensive plan to safely integrate drones by September 2015.

The DesJardins demonstrated their trade for the Times on Thursday as they shot a real estate video of a home for sale off County Route 193 in Theresa with one of their small drones with four rotors, a Phantom 2 Vision+ manufactured by DJI Innovations. The drone, which shoots high definition video with 1080 megapixels, was bought online by Horizon for about $1,300.

On Thursday, Mrs. DesJardins operated the drone’s camera using her Samsung tablet, giving her husband directions while he navigated the 3-pound drone with a remote controller over the 25-acre property. The outdoor filming was done in about 10 minutes. While inside the house, the drone was carried by the couple from room-to-room to shoot the video.

The couple charges $150 to do real estate videos, which are made available for owners to post online, Mrs. DesJardins said. Outdoor weddings and other special events typically cost $300.

“Everyone thinks we’re getting rich, but we’re not,” she said. “These real estate videos are worth over two times what we’re charging, but our business plan this year is just to get people involved.”

Mrs. DesJardins argued the FAA, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to Horizon this summer, has a problem on its hands because it hasn’t developed rules to keep pace with the rising demand for drones to be used for commercial purposes.

“I think the barn door is open, and everyone is out there with them,” she said. “The FAA should have done this years ago, when it knew this was up-and-coming, instead of waiting until now.”

BEGGING TO BE REGULATED


Mario D. Mairena, government relations manger for Washington, D.C.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said the industry has been left in limbo by the FAA. Unlike other industries, the drone community is begging to be regulated, he said.

“We are in limbo, and we want to be a regulated community,” he said. “Safety is paramount, and we do not support the unsafe and reckless use for those that are attracted to flying UAS for commercial purposes. There are so many variables that a lot of these supposed commercial users aren’t aware of. What kind of standards they will need to follow remains to be seen, and we hope that training will be required.”

Mr. Mairena said the nonprofit global organization, which is devoted to advancing interests of the drone community, is opposed to businesses operating drones until rules are in place for a good reason. If a major accident were to occur while the FAA is developing rules, he said, it could set back the industry in a major way. “Unfortunately, we can’t control the temperament of a lot of users that are choosing to break the law,” he said. “If there was an accident caused by a user who is recklessly using a UAS, it could set the industry back tremendously. It would trigger more of a reaction from the legislative body that could enforce greater restrictions.”

Patience will be required, however, among would-be commercial users who are awaiting the FAA’s green light.

Mr. Mairena said the FAA is expected to take a “piecemeal approach” for allowing commercial operations to use drones. In Washington, the FAA is now considering about 20 petitions for exemption from its ban on commercial drone-flying. Exceptions for pipeline and smokestack inspectors, movie-makers and agriculture uses are being considered. Amazon.com is seeking permission to test drones for its delivery service.

Earlier this month, the FAA announced Griffis airport in Rome as its fifth test site for small drones. The agency said researchers at the Oneida County airport will focus on testing the use of drones for agriculture applications.

“The safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace is our number one priority, but the agricultural research performed in Rome also may have far-reaching benefits to farmers in New York and across the nation,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a prepared statement.

FAA is authorizing six locations to test how small, low-flying drones can safely operate as it continues to develop comprehensive rules. Other sites announced so far are in Alaska, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.

FUTURE OF INDUSTRY


The future economic impact of the commercial drone industry, meanwhile, will be held back until the FAA officially integrates rules, Mr. Mairena said. In March 2013, the AUVSI released an economic study that determined the industry has the potential to create 100,000 jobs and generate an $82 billion economic impact in the first decade after FAA rules are integrated. The organization identified an array of commercial applications that would benefit, such as crop dusting, mining, port security and powerline surveying.

“And each day that the integration is delayed, that’s a $27 million loss in economic impact,” Mr. Mairena said.

The FAA’s multi-year process for implementing those regulations has had a direct impact on students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. That’s because the FAA bars small drones from being used for educational purposes unless they are tethered to a stake in the ground, said Daniel Macchiarella, chair and professor of the university’s Aeronautical Science Department.

Even so, FAA rules haven’t stopped students from enrolling in a science degree program for unmanned aircraft systems, Mr. Macchiarella said. The program had only 11 students when it was launched in 2011. Today, 220 students are enrolled in classes.

Professors across the country have complained about FAA restrictions, which hamper students from learning how to pilot the drones. When a drone is tethered to the ground with a cord, the FAA no longer defines it as an unmanned aircraft.

Students at Embry-Riddle are compelled to fly drones attached to 90-pound parachute cords that are several hundred feet long. That extra weight makes the drones challenging to fly, said Mr. Macchiarella, who hopes the FAA will soon announce rules for small drones this fall that will allow them to be used for educational purposes.

“It’s really a major limitation, he said. But this fall, “I think the FAA will set up some conditions for us to fly untethered.”

Those who graduate with degrees in UAS science usually start out making about $50,000 a year, he said. In the U.S., they are typically hired by governmental contractors and agencies that allow drones. But if they later advance to work for companies overseas, their salaries could be two to four times higher, he said.

Right now, drones are known for doing jobs that are “dull, dirty and dangerous,” such as powerline monitoring, sweeping over agriculture land and for law enforcement, Mr. Macchiarella said. But applications are expected to be greatly expanded in the private sector after the FAA integrates rules, he said.

“I think within 50 to 60 years, we’ll produce as many unmanned pilots as we do manned,” he said. “It’s going to be the future for aircraft systems, and now it will just depend on what happens with the regulatory environment.”

LEGAL UNCERTAINTY

Model-aircraft hobbyists, commercial drone pilots and university researchers asked a federal court Aug. 22 to overturn a FAA rule that groups consider too restrictive. The controversial rule, which took effect June 23, defines in more detail who qualifies as a hobbyists and what precautions they need to take when flying drones.

The three lawsuits, which were filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, contend restrictions in the new definition of hobbyists are arbitrary and an abuse of discretion, said attorney Peter Sachs, who launched an advocacy group called the Drone Pilots Association this summer.

The DPA joined three other groups to file one of the lawsuits. Other groups involved in the lawsuit include the UAS America Fund, SkyPan and FPV manuals. Mr. Sachs, a petitioner in the lawsuit, called the FAA’s passage of interpretive rules an attempt to “add teeth” to its ban on commercial operations.

In effect, “compensation of any kind for the use of drones is banned,” Mr. Sachs said. “That would include receiving money for a demo show at a model aircraft event, using a drone video for a news broadcast, using a photo taken with a drone in a real estate listing, or determining whether one’s crops need to be watered on a farm with a drone.”

Mr. Sachs said the DPA, which has about 1,500 members who use drones for commercial and non-hobby purposes, has argued in the lawsuit that the FAA’s new rule is a direct violation of what Congress forbade in 2012 when it approved the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. That legislation included a provision that stated the FAA is not allowed to create any new laws with respect to model aircraft not approved by Congress.

“They basically did what Congress specifically said they could not do,” Mr. Sachs said.

Mr. Sachs contended that meaningful legislation crafted by the FAA to regulate commercial drones isn’t likely to be approved for years.

“It’s highly unlikely that anything is going to happen for many, many years unless something changes legally,” he said. “They’re so far behind and are spending way too much time trying to enforce laws that don’t exist. Regulations that are safety oriented should be in place, but it could be 10 years before we see them.”

In the meantime, Rep. William L. Owens said he is concerned the unregulated use of commercial drones creates “chaos in the sky” with dangerous flight encounters.

“You have people getting into flight patterns,” said Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburg. “We’ve got helicopters that are moving out of Fort Drum. Do you suddenly want a drone popping up that they can’t see and their radar doesn’t pick up? I don’t think that’s a place we want to be until we have a control system in place that allows that to happen safely.”

Video of a virtual real estate tour shot with a drone by Horizon can be viewed at http://wdt.me/drone-tour.

by the numbers

• Commercial drone operations in the U.S.: about 10,000*

• Average cost of drone with built-in camera: about $1,000

• Cost for drone to film wedding: $300

• Projected economic impact of industry: $82 billion through 2025*

*Drone Pilots Association and Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

Story, photo gallery and video:  http://www.ogd.com

Sarah Renee Rhoads: Skydiving event in memory of worker killed in propeller accident - Start Skydiving at Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field (KMWO), Ohio

Sarah Renee Rhoads, long-time airport employee who died during an accident at the airport earlier this year, was remembered during the StartSkydiving sixth annual Work Stinks! Boogie held at Middletown Regional Airport, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.


Greg Lynch Guest Organizer Guy Wright, from Skydive the Ranch in New York helps skydivers plan a jump during the StartSkydiving sixth annual Work Stinks! Boogie held at Middletown Regional Airport, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.


MIDDLETOWN — Start Skydiving’s sixth annual Work Stinks Boogie event at Hook Field was dedicated to a former employee who died tragically earlier this year in an accident at the airport.

Sarah Rhoads, 24, of Miamisburg, died after being critically injured when she accidentally walked into an operating airplane propeller this past June. Rhoads was an office manager for more than three years at Start Skydiving Dropzone at 1711 Runway Drive in Middletown.

“She loved the evening when it was over and the fireworks, that was her thing. She wanted to go out and enjoy it,” said John Hart, owner of Start Skydiving. “So to be stuck behind a desk, oh, she’d say works stinks; so it was great to name it after her.”

“Everybody expected to see her when they walked into the main office building, and it’s hard she’s not here,” said Emilee Langenkamp, a local skydiver who knew Rhoads.

“I’d walk in(to the office) in the morning a little sleep,y and she would have a nice smile for me,” said Josh Globac, a local skydiver. “Sarah was an awesome girl, we’ll never forget her. We all love Sarah. We all miss her.”

Rhoads, as she frequently did, walked out of the hangar to the plane on the tarmac to ask the pilot if he wanted any food. But for some reason, she walked into one of the propellers on the Nouvel Air airplane that was idle on the tarmac.

This year’s event began on Aug. 27 and ends on Sept. 1. Last Friday, there was a lantern launch in memory of Rhoads.

“About a 100 lanterns (were launched), and it was absolutely stunning to watch, to see people having fun thinking about her,” said Hart. “You never forget somebody that has a radiant smile that Sarah had.”

On Saturday night, Hart said they had a painting commissioned of Rhoads, “and we’re going to present it to her father, brother and sister; it’s going to be hanging there in the airport. We wanted to have something special that’s here all the time just to see Sarah smile with us.”

Hart predicts approximately 1,000 skydivers will participate in this year’s six-day event. He said skydivers will jump non-stop from three aircrafts this holiday weekend.

“You accelerate to 120 to 130 mph,” said Hart. “It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else, and then that parachute opens up, it’s all of a sudden quiet, you get this breathtaking view. There’s nothing greater than the experience of skydiving.”

A five dollar donation, which goes to charity, is the admission fee. Money raised will be donated to the Sgt. James Robinson Memorial Scholarship fund. In addition to skydiving, there’s live music, food and a dunk tank, which Hart knows all too well.

“You got to pay to put somebody in the dunk tank cause everything’s going to charity. I was in it last night quite a few times. I don’t know if people like me or hate me,” Hart said with a laugh.

A huge fireworks show lit up the sky Saturday night around 10 p.m. Hart called it the biggest fireworks show in Butler County this holiday weekend.

“Jumping from the sky with pyrotechnic on our legs to kick it off, and the fireworks display is going to last a good 35 minutes,” said Hart.

Hart said Saturday afternoon that he expected thousands to be on hand for the fireworks show.

Longenkamp and Globac have each been skydiving for three years, and attended this event last year.

“I absolutely love it here, this is my second home, my home away from home,” said Globac. “The energy here is awesome.”

“Great time to be able to be with people you consider your second family and hang out. We get to have fun doing the sport during the day and then hang out and party at night,” said Longenkamp.


Story and Photos:   http://www.journal-news.com

Sarah Renee  Rhoads
Photo/Start Skydiving 

Sarah Renee  Rhoads
Start Skydiving 


14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 01, 2014 in Middletown, OH
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC 6 200, registration: N223AL
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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

On June 1, 2014, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a propeller from a DeHavilland DHC-6-200 airplane, N223AL, struck an employee from the skydiving operator as she walked toward the cockpit while the airplane was standing with the engines operating on a ramp at the Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field (MWO), near Middletown, Ohio. The employee received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Win Win Aviation Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a skydiving flight. Day visual flight rules conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the flight was not operating on a flight plan. The local skydiving flight was standing on the MWO ramp while waiting for passengers to board when the accident occurred.

The local MWO skydiving operator, Start Skydiving LLC, contracted with the airplane operator, Win Win Aviation Inc., to supply the airplane and pilot to support skydiving operations at MWO. The skydiving operator operated single-engine airplanes with the propeller located in front of the cockpit; however, the contracted airplane was a twin-engine airplane with its propellers located under each wing.

According to the pilot's report, he asked a skydiving operator's employee if he could order something to eat for lunch as they had talked about earlier in the day. The employee responded that she had time to come see the pilot at the airplane because she was expecting a small delay before the next flight. The pilot thought the delay was not long enough to justify shutting down the engines.

The pilot observed the employee running with a piece of paper once she exited the manifest office, which was about 100 feet in front of the airplane. He reached between two seats to get a pen ready while the employee had to go around a fence to the loading area before entering the airplane parking area. The skydiving operator's employee subsequently walked into the operating propeller under the airplane's left wing.

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 01, 2014 in Middletown, OH
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC 6 200, registration: N223AL
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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

On June 1, 2014, about 1400 eastern daylight time, an employee from the fixed base operator responding to a DeHavilland DHC-6-200 airplane, N223AL, received fatal injuries when she was struck by an operating propeller blade as she walked toward the cockpit while the airplane was standing on a ramp at the Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field (MWO), near Middletown, Ohio. The airplane sustained minor propeller damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Win Win Aviation Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a skydiving flight. Day visual flight rules conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the flight was not operating on a flight plan. The local skydiving flight was standing on the MWO ramp while waiting for passengers to board when the accident occurred.

At 1355, the recorded weather at MWO was: Wind 240 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 28 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C; altimeter 30.14 inches of mercury.

 

Sunwing Flight 656: 2nd woman charged, Melana Muzikante, released on bail - Two disruptive passengers may be on the hook for more than just criminal charges

 

The second Ontario woman charged with multiple offenses after a Cuba-bound flight she was on turned back to Toronto's Pearson International Airport is out of jail.

Both women accused of the disruptive behavior were granted release on $2,500 bail Thursday. Lilia Ratmanski, 25, of Whitby, was released the same day, but Melana Muzikante, 26, of Vaughan, was held overnight until someone could sign for her release.

The two are faced with charges of smoking on board an aircraft, endangering the safety of an aircraft, mischief endangering life, mischief over $5,000 and uttering threats during the incident Wednesday night.

Police allege the women aboard the afternoon flight from Toronto to Varadero drank alcohol, got into a fight with each other and activated a smoke alarm by lighting a cigarette in the lavatory.

The pilot of the 737 described the two women as disruptive "in a serious manner," and reported to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) while the plane was in U.S. airspace that the aircraft was "under threat."

Officials with NORAD's Canadian sector in Winnipeg told CBC News that they sent two Canadian Forces CF-18 fighters from CFB Bagotville in Quebec to intercept Sunwing Flight 656 and escort it back to Pearson.

The women were arrested when the plane landed, said Const. George Tudos of Peel Regional Police.

The two may be on the hook for more than just the criminal charges, as well.


'The captain just had enough'


Scrambling CF-18s isn't cheap. It costs $45,000 to put a Canadian CF-18 in the air for one hour.

Airline analyst Karl Moore says it seems excessive to call in the military to escort the commercial flight over something like this, but that it is the pilot's responsibility to ensure everyone's safety.

"At a certain point the captain just had enough, and felt like this was something which was causing a very bad scene on board," Moore said.

The airline said the threat the women made was considered non-credible, but that they had to follow procedure, which meant turning around and getting a military escort.

Sunwing says it is a major cost setback to divert a plane, and in this instance they estimate that cost to be about $50,000. The airline is considering seeking restitution from the two women.

Ratmanski is to appear in court again on Sept. 29. It is unclear when Muzikante is scheduled to next appear.

Story, Photos, Videos and Comments:  http://www.cbc.ca

  
Melana Muzikante, 26, of Vaughan, right, was released from jail on Friday. Lilia Ratmanski, 25, of Whitby was released Thursday. (Facebook)

Monterey Regional Airport (KMRY) chief Greer readies for retirement

Thomas Greer
MONTEREY  -  Monterey Regional Airport's manager Thomas Greer said he hoped the news of his retirement would slip by with little fanfare after it was noted in a special meeting agenda last week.

"Our agendas usually do not cause peoples' heart to flutter," he said in his characteristic Alabama lilt.

Greer, 71, has served as the airport's general manager since 2003, taking the helm a year after he was hired as assistant general manager.

"It was sort of the pinnacle to be able to finish a career in Monterey," he said. "The cherry on top of my ice cream sundae."

Greer is one of those rare, fortunate people who've always loved their work.

"I've been doing this for 45 years next April. I'm no spring chicken," he said. "It's all I've ever done."

Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Greer had an inkling he wanted to work in aviation from a young age.

It helped that the family lived next door to an airport.

"My dad, when he got back from the war, he would turn me loose in the hangar and he'd go flying," Greer said. "I never could afford to take flying lessons, but when I went out to school, I was going to be an engineer."

While readying for that career, he took a summer job where he "saw the managers of the engineers, and saw what I wanted to do."

Before that could happen, he spent "four or five years" flying with the U.S. Marine Corps, a job that included flying more than 300 combat missions in Phantom F4-Bs.

"People do that every day," he said. "You just do what you're trained to do."

Later, when he'd just gotten out of the Marines and "had a young wife and little baby," he saw an opening for an airport manager near Columbus, Mississippi.

"I just drove over there. It was raining on a muddy road in Mississippi. There was nothing but about 20 pieces of equipment stuck in the mud," he said. "It wasn't really what I had in mind."

The job, it turned out, was to build an airport.

And so he did.

"It's smaller than Monterey," he said. "We built everything. We had to build the sewer treatment, the water well."

The Golden Triangle Regional Airport is still in business today.

When he later managed Burbank's airport, it was still owned by the Lockheed Corp.

Part of the airport was off-limits, he said, and became known as the famous Skunk Works, where aircraft such as the U-2, SR-71 Blackbird and "Stealth Fighter" were developed.

"You knew not to ask," he said. "They'd tell us, 'If we catch fire, don't respond. Don't come over here.' "

In Monterey, Greer has most recently overseen a drawn-out environmental lawsuit that delayed a planned runway safety project and finally settled last August.

Attorneys had argued the district did not properly explain plans for a new access road, extension of a runway plateau or movement of more than 140,000 cubic yards of dirt.

The entire project has a budget of about $49 million.

Airport board member Carl Miller said the runway safety component, mandated for all commercial airports by Congress, will barely meet the deadline when it's completed at the end of 2015.

Although many people think of the project as a runway "extension," Miller said that in Monterey's case a unique technology is being used so the runway does not have to be lengthened.

It involves laying down an "engineered materials arrestor system" — EMAS — which is basically "crushable cement," Miller said. "It starts off thin and gets very thick. You can drive a car over it, but a plane will be slowed."

That allows the airport to avoid extending the runway 1,000 feet as other facilities have done, he said.

Greer plans to step down from his post in June, but announced it now to allow the board time to find a replacement.

Miller said Greer will be tough to replace.

"He's been an excellent airport manager and we're sorry to see him leave," Miller said. "His experience and stature in the aviation industry made him ideal."

Greer and Miller both note that while every city has lots of lawyers, doctors and other professions, it has only one airport director.

The field is small, Greer said, and "you have to be a gypsy."

District board members at an Aug. 20 special meeting were set to consider hiring ADK Executive Search to find a replacement. The firm specializes in airport executive searches.

According to a staff report submitted to the board, ADK's $33,000 fee would includes field interviews with potential candidates. Without field interviews, the fee would be $28,000. Travel expenses could run $8,000.

The matter comes back before the board Sept. 17.

"We're extremely lucky to have Greer. Selecting his replacement is critical for the future success of this airport," Miller said. "This, and our new master plan, are the most important decisions our board will make in recent history."

Until June, Greer plans to keep going at the job he loves, while staying "low key."

"I have a lot of things to do here. I gotta keep the toilets flushing," he said. "It's all part of the job."

But he's pleased the runway safety project and the airport's master plan will be completed next year.

The airport, he said, "is a multimillion-dollar asset to this community. It has 2,000 employees. It's an asset that elected officials should be proud of."

He says he plans to stay in the Monterey area.

"How can you not like Monterey?" he says — and besides, his kids in Southern California can always fly in for a visit.


- Source:  http://www.montereyherald.com

Monroe still hopeful for Denver flight

Monroe officials hope to meet with United Airlines representatives soon to continue discussions about the possibility of a direct flight from Monroe to Denver.

Story Highlights

  • About 6,500 passengers fly from Monroe to Denver each year.
  • United, American and Delta currently offer service to Denver, but none offer direct flights.
  • City officials also are also discussing the possibility of a flight to Las Vegas.

Monroe city officials expect to meet soon with United Airlines to continue negotiations to secure a direct flight between Monroe Regional Airport and Denver International Airport.

The direct flight would be a critical connection for Monroe-based CenturyLink, which also has a large regional headquarters in Denver, while Colorado's capital is also a prime destination for the general traveling public in the market.

After the first meeting last month, United Airlines requested additional information and analysis about potential customers who would choose a direct flight to Denver from Monroe, and Monroe Airport Director Ron Phillips said city officials will provide that information at the next meeting.

About 6,500 passengers fly from Monroe to Denver each year, tied with Los Angeles for the fifth-most visited destination from Monroe Regional Airport, Phillips said.

Monroe applied for a $500,000 small-community-development air service grant with the Department of Transportation that would go toward the development of air services and “hopefully the flight to Denver,” Phillips said.

If Monroe receives grant funding in the fall, it would be used for air service development, including marketing and incentives for flights. The money can be used to offset the costs of operating the flight and market the service throughout the region.

“We are still working on this. It’s not an overnight process, but we’re still in constant contact with the people at United and we’re looking at all of our options. We are talking to other airlines about that particular flight,” Phillips said.

City officials also are also discussing the possibility of a flight to Las Vegas.

“We’ve had a number of people inquire about that flight, and we feel it would be good for this area as well,” Phillips said.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said city officials have engaged the business community to spark interest in the proposed flight.

“When we go back we will present an even stronger case, and we’re optimistic we have a good case,” Mayo said.

A time frame was not disclosed when city officials would meet with United Airlines, but both Mayo and Phillips said it would be soon.

United, American and Delta currently offer service to Denver, but none offer direct flights. United operates a direct flight to Denver from Shreveport and Lafayette.

Many residents and business officials travel to Shreveport to fly directly to Denver, Mayo said.

CenturyLink, in addition to using commercial air service, also sends one of its own corporate jets to Denver and back each week as a shuttle.


-Source: http://www.thenewsstar.com

MARYLAND: Chesapeake City aims to ban helicopter landings

Matt Stuart, of Liberty Aviation, lands his helicopter on the pier at Schaefer’s Restaurant and Canal Bar. Chesapeake City officials seek a ban on commercial helicopters in town.


CHESAPEAKE CITY — Visitors to Schaefer’s Restaurant and Canal Bar may no longer get to see helicopter arrivals if a new town proposal is approved.

“It’s just a disaster waiting to happen,” said Bill Miners, a Chesapeake City town councilman, late last month. “We think it is our responsibility to ensure public safety.”

Miners introduced a bill at the council’s Monday, Aug. 25 to prohibit the landing of aircraft in town except under certain circumstances. While helicopter landings at the popular canal-side restaurant were the focal point of the legislation, the bill also calls for the prohibiting of flying unmanned aircraft, such as increasingly popular drones, below 400 feet within town limits.

Those exempt under the proposed ordinance include the U.S. Coast Guard or other federal government aircraft, Maryland State Police Medevac helicopters or licensed aircraft used solely for the purpose of agricultural crop maintenance.

Violation of the ordinance would be a municipal infraction punishable by a formal notification filed with the Federal Aviation Administration and a fine. A first offense would be $1,000, while second offenses increase to $2,000 and then $10,000 for all subsequent offenses.

Miners said the bill is a precautionary measure designed to protect the public, as helicopters are currently landing in close proximity to fuel docks at the restaurant.

“If that helicopter hits the fuel dock or the bridge, who knows,” he said.

Matt Stuart, of Liberty Aviation in West Chester, Pa., brings clients to Schaefer’s by helicopter. He was a bit baffled by the proposed ordinance.

“I bring clients for dinner at Schaefer’s about once a week or once every other week in the season, which is April to September, and maybe five times during the off season,” he said. “I also go to the Kitty Knight House a little further south and land there too. I had not heard of such an ordinance before this.”

Stuart said he has “one of the quietist helicopters out there.” He said it would be difficult to overshoot a helicopter landing and hit a fuel dock.

“I land on another dock that is separate from the one with the fuel,” Stuart said. “I follow the standard approach when landing and taking off at Schaefer’s, and that is to head toward Cecil County Airport. I follow the waterway and try not to fly over houses. My clients enjoy coming to Chesapeake City, it brings in some tourism.”

John Giordano, owner of Schaefer’s Restaurant, said he was not sure of the intent of the proposal.

“Schaefer’s has had a heliport for as long as I can remember. They used to bring Santa in and land there,” Giordano said. “It won’t effect our business, but I am not sure where this is coming from.”


Story and Photo:  http://www.myeasternshoremd.com

Liberty Aviation:   http://www.libertyaviation.com

Schaefer's Restaurant and Canal Bar:  http://www.schaeferscanalhouse.com

Spirit Airlines winds down seasonal flights serving Atlantic City, New Jersey

Spirit Airlines is wrapping up seasonal flights to Boston, Chicago and Detroit that helped make Atlantic City International one of the fastest-growing regional airports in the country during the summer holidays.

Service to Boston, Chicago and Detroit ends Tuesday, while another seasonal route to Atlanta stops Nov. 1. Spirit serves all four cities during the spring and summer months to capitalize on Atlantic City’s peak tourist season.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that manages Atlantic City International, is in talks with Spirit and other unnamed airlines about possibly converting the seasonal routes into year-round service that could support the convention industry.

“There are certain markets we believe have year-round viability with the right schedule and support from the community, considering the added convention lift and the overall economic impact that they could bring to the region,” said E.J. Mullins, the Port Authority program director for Atlantic City International. “Discussions with Spirit and other carriers regarding year-round service on certain seasonal routes are ongoing.”

Atlantic City hopes to lure more conventions to offset the spate of casino closings this year, including the planned shutdown of Showboat Casino Hotel on Sunday, Revel Casino Hotel on Tuesday and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino on Sept. 16. Air service is regarded as key for transporting conventioneers and other business travelers to town for multi-night stays.

Atlanta is viewed as a potential feeder market for Atlantic City conventions. Mullins noted that Spirit’s seasonal Atlanta route might be a candidate for year-round service as part of the carrier’s ongoing fleet expansion.

“This particular route has considerable year-round demand both outbound and inbound,” he said. “In addition to ACY’s brand recognition in the Atlanta market as a convenient low-cost alternative to the region through Spirit’s seasonal service, there is a strong history and positive trend started with service by Delta and AirTran and other low-cost operators within ACY’s market area.”

Both Delta and AirTran flew between Atlanta and Atlantic City in recent years, but halted service after complaining that the route was unprofitable. Continental and US Airways were among other big-name airlines that experimented with Atlantic City flights over the years, but ultimately pulled out. Some of them were given millions of dollars in public subsidies to support their service, but left after those financial incentives ended.

Airport officials are encouraged by this year’s results. Passenger traffic has climbed 11 percent through the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same span last year. The airport is recovering from an 18 percent decline in traffic in 2013 blamed on the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy on the travel industry.

A jump in summer travel allowed Atlantic City International to post some of the biggest increases in passenger volume among the nation’s regional airports during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays, Mullins said.

Spirit’s seasonal flights to Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta contributed to the growth. Mullins said there were “positive expectations” for those flights heading into the summer, although final figures are not yet available. A Spirit representative could not be reached for comment Friday.

In addition to its seasonal flights, Spirit has succeeded in the Atlantic City market by flying local travelers to Florida vacation spots year-round. United Airlines entered the Atlantic City market in April, launching nonstop flights from its Chicago and Houston hubs.

The Port Authority continues to talk with other airlines about the possibility of starting new service to Atlantic City within the next year, Mullins said. It has lined up about a dozen meetings with airlines at the World Routes industry conference in mid-September in Chicago, he noted.

Story and Comments:  http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, T & G Flying Club, Inc., N4207P: Fatal accident occurred August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, Ohio

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA453
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, OH
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N4207P
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 25, 2014, at 2158 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N4207P, collided with terrain in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Airport (CGF). The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by T&G Flying Club, Inc. The pilot rented the airplane and was flying it on a personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. 

At 2022, the pilot reserved the airplane from T&G Flying Club using an online reservation system. He reserved the airplane for 4 hours, beginning at 2030. The employees of the flying club had left for the evening by time the pilot and passengers arrived at their facility.

Two witnesses, stated that shortly after 2100, they saw 4 males walk across the ramp toward the tie-down area near hangar 7. One of the males had a carry-on type suitcase. It was later determined that the "suitcase" was most likely the roller-type flight bag that the pilot used. The pilot and passengers then boarded the accident airplane. One of the witnesses stated the airplane stayed on the ramp for about 30 minutes with the engine running. They did not see the airplane after this time. A security camera mounted on one of the buildings near the ramp captured four individuals walking on the ramp at 2107.

At 2146, the pilot called ground control for a takeoff taxi clearance stating he was on the ramp south of the T&G Flight Club. The controller issued the pilot a clearance to taxi to runway 6 via the Alpha 7 taxiway to the Alpha taxiway. The controller issued the wind condition as 140 degrees at 8 knots along with the altimeter setting. The pilot stated his radio was a little "fuzzy" and he asked the controller to repeat the clearance. The controller repeated the taxi clearance, which the pilot subsequently repeated correctly. About four minutes later, the controller informed the pilot that he is taxiing to the wrong runway. After asking the controller to repeat what he said, the pilot stated "Thank you I'm sorry." The controller then issued taxi instructions to the approach end of runway 6.

At 2156, the pilot radioed that he was ready to takeoff on runway 6. The controller asked the pilot what his direction of flight was going to be. The pilot responded that they were going to fly east to sightsee and that they would be back in a little while. The controller issued the takeoff clearance with a right turn after takeoff. At 2158, the pilot radioed that they were not "…climbing fast…" and they wanted to immediately make a left turn to turn around. The controller approved the left turn. The controller stated it appeared the airplane began a left turn when it descended to the ground. The controller reported that during the takeoff, the airplane became airborne about 100 feet past taxiway Alpha 6, which was approximately 2,000 down the runway.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating which was issued on August 8, 2013. The pilot also held a third-class medical certificate issued on November 10, 2011. The medical certificate did not contain any limitations. 

The pilot's logbook records were not located during this investigation. The pilot completed a membership application for the T&G Flying Club on October 1, 2013. On that form, the pilot reported having 104.3 hours of flight time in Cessna fixed gear airplane models 150-177. A reconstruction of flight times that the pilot flew at both T&G Flying Club and at the Jack Barstow Airport, Midland, Michigan, indicate the pilot had flown 12 hours since his private pilot flight test, resulting in a total flight time of about 116.3 hours. Most if not all of the pilot's flight time was in Cessna 172 airplanes. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a Cessna 172R, serial number 17280798. It was a four-place, high-wing, single-engine airplane with fixed landing gear. The owner of T&G Flying Club purchased the airplane on November 29, 2005. 

Maintenance records indicate the last annual inspection on the airframe was completed on August 1, 2014, at a total aircraft time of 5,957.6 hours. The last logbook entry was dated August 19, 2014, which noted the vacuum pump was replaced at a total aircraft time of 5,969 hours. According to the operator's rental records, the airplane had been flown 18.8 hours since the annual inspection which would have resulted in an aircraft total time of 5,976.4 hours at the beginning of the accident flight. 

The airplane was equipped with a 180-horsepower, Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, serial number L-25996-51A. The last annual inspection of the engine was completed on August 1, 2014. The engine total time at the last annual inspection was listed as 3,679.4 hours and the time since the factory overhaul was listed as 2,061.7 hours. 

The airplane was equipped with a McCauley propeller model 1C235/LFA7570, serial number TG025. The last propeller annual inspection was completed on August 1, 2014. 

The airplane's total useable fuel capacity was 53 gallons. The airplane was last fueled on August 21, 2015, with 25.1 gallons of 100LL which filled the tanks. The airplane was flown 1.9 hours between the last fueling and the accident flight. An average fuel burn for the airplane was approximately 9 gallons per hour which would have resulted in approximately 36 gallons of fuel on board at the accident takeoff. First responders reported that fuel was leaking from the airplane at the accident site and they were able to capture approximately 18 gallons of fuel from the fuel tanks. 

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The weather conditions reported at CGF at 2200 were wind from 140 at 10 knots; visibility 10 miles; clouds 3,500 ft. scattered; ceiling 20,000 ft. broken; temperature 24 degrees Celsius; dew point 20 degree Celsius, and altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.

Records indicate that there were three computerized weather briefing requests from N4207P on the day of the accident. All three were for flights from CGF to 89D (Kelleys Island Land Field Airport, Kelleys Island, Ohio). The first two briefings were logged at 1609:04 and 1609:19. Those briefings had a proposed departure time of 2030. The third briefing was at 2024:06 with a proposed departure time of 2100. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole before coming to rest about 1,000 feet from the departure end of runway 6 on a bearing of 20 degrees. This location is just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway. 

The wreckage path was along a 210 degree heading. The left wing tip, including the position light, was embedded in the ground at the first impact mark east of the chain link fence. The airplane then traveled through the fence, with the left wing contacting one of the fence posts. The main impact ground scar was on the west side of the fence. Adjacent to the main impact mark were two slash marks in the soft ground. Both marks were about 12 inches long. One of the slash marks was about 7 inches deep and the other was about 4 inches deep. The airplane came to rest on a heading of about 160 degrees with the left wing against the telephone pole. A postimpact fire ensued.

The left wing tip was the first part of the airplane to impact the terrain. The wing tip light assembly was embedded in the ground. A concave impact mark along with paint and rust transfers on the left wing aileron indicate that it contacted a metal fence post. The inboard six feet of the aileron was accordioned and crushed toward the outboard section of the aileron which remained attached to the wing. A three foot section long outboard section of the flap remained attached to the wing. The inboard section of the wing and flap were burned. The wing was separated from the fuselage. The wing strut remained attached to the wing. The leading edge of the wing was crushed aft.

The outboard section of the right wing was bent upward about 30 degrees starting near the strut attach point. The right wing was separated from the fuselage. The strut remained attached to the wing. The flap and aileron remained attached to the wing. The inboard section of the wing sustained fire damage. The outboard section of the wing was crushed aft. 

The flap actuator showed the flaps were in the retracted position.

The empennage remained intact with the rudder and elevator attached to their respective stabilizers. The outboard section of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were crushed. The elevator trim was measured and the measurement equated to a 9 to 10 degree nose-up trim setting. 

The cabin area and instrument panel were destroyed by the post impact fire. The fuel selector was on the "Both" position and the fuel shutoff valve was in the open position. 

Flight control continuity was established from all of the flight controls to their respective cockpit controls. 

Engine

The engine was located with the main wreckage. The engine mounts were separated from the firewall due to thermal damage. The propeller remained attached to the engine. The exhaust system sustained impact damage. The rear accessory case and the accessories sustained thermal damage. 

The accessories and cylinder valve covers were removed. Thumb compression and engine continuity from the propeller to the accessory section was established when the propeller was rotated by hand. The cylinders and pistons were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted. 

The left magneto could not be turned by hand. The magneto cap was removed and the internal components of the magneto were melted. The right magneto turned by hand, but no spark was visible on the ignition leads. The ignition cap was removed and the inside of the magneto was found melted. 

The engine was equipped with two vacuum pumps. The pump with the longer shaft was mounted lower on the accessory case. The pump frangible shaft couplings were melted on both pumps and therefore they could not be turned by hand. Both pumps were opened. The vanes and rotor inside both pumps were intact. 

All fuel lines from the flow divider to fuel nozzles were intact. The fuel nozzles were removed. Nozzle No. 1 was not obstructed, nozzle No 2. was inadvertently dropped in oil during removal, nozzle No 3. was separated in two pieces neither of which were obstructed, and nozzle No. 4 was 80% obstructed with the insert not obstructed. The fuel flow divider was opened and examined. The rubber diaphragm was intact. 

The engine driven diaphragm fuel pump housing was burned; however, the pump plunger was intact. 

The throttle arm on the fuel servo was connected and moved the throttle plate. The mixture control arm was separated from impact. The finger screen was clean.

The ignition leads sustained thermal damage, but they remained attached to all of the spark plugs. The spark plugs were slightly worn and showed normal operating signatures. The No. 1 bottom plug was wet with oil.

Propeller

The propeller spinner was fractured and separated from the propeller. Both propeller blades were straight. One propeller blade contained a ¾ to 1-inch deep gouge near the tip of the blade. Chordwise scratches and leading edge polishing were visible on this blade. The other blade contained light chordwise scratches. 

There were no anomalies identified with the airframe, engine, or propeller which would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office on August 28, 2014. The death of the pilot was attributed to blunt trauma and thermal injuries sustained in the accident. 

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot with negative results for drugs and alcohol. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

Weight and Balance

Two sets of weight and balance calculations, using different variables, were performed for the airplane. The airplane's weight and balance paperwork showed the maximum gross weight for the airplane was 2,457 pounds, the maximum useful load was 787.4 pounds, and the maximum aft center of gravity (CG) was 116 inches aft of datum. 

The occupant weights provided by the medical examiner were: pilot - 130 pounds; right front passenger - 200 pounds; left rear passenger - 172 pounds; and right rear passenger - 166 pounds.

The first calculation used the occupant weights that were provided by the medical examiner's office, 10 pound of baggage, and 35 gallons of fuel. These calculations showed the airplane had a takeoff weight of 2,550.6 pounds with a CG of 112.957 inches.

The second calculation increased the occupant's body weights by 10% to account for the weight lost by the thermal injuries and increased the baggage to 15 pounds. These calculations resulted in the airplane at a gross weight of 2,622.6 pounds, which is 165.6 pounds over gross weight and with a CG of 117.127 inches. 

Witnesses who were with the pilot and passengers before the flight stated the pilot asked two of the passengers how much they weighed. One witness recalled that the passenger who would become the right front seat passenger stated he weighed 200 pounds. The witness stated the pilot performed some calculations in his head and indicated that he believed they would be below the weight limit for the airplane. 

Personal Electronic Device

Three iPhones were located in the wreckage. One of the iPhones was able to be accessed and it was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for examination. The iPhone was owned by one of the passengers. At 20:33:01, a text message first referenced the flight. Text messages continued with the same recipient until 21:37. The messages discussed a destination of Kelley's Island; a half hour flight each way for a total flight time of one hour; and the possibility of further communication about the flight using Snapchat.

At 21:49, a 10-second video was taken from the back right passenger seat while the aircraft was taxiing. The video panned from the right exterior of the airplane to the forward interior. Persons were in both the left and right front seats. The person in the right front seat was not touching the flight controls. The person in the left front seat had both hands on the yoke. The flap handle was visible in the full up position.


http://registry.faa.gov/N4207P

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA453
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, OH
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N4207P
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On August 25, 2014, at 2158 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N4207P, collided with the terrain in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Airport (CGF). The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by T & G Flying Club, Inc. The pilot rented the airplane and was flying it on a personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reserved the airplane from T&G Flying Club, at 2022 using an online reservation system. He reserved the airplane for 4 hours, beginning at 2030. The employees of the flying club had left for the evening by time the pilot and passengers arrived.

Two witnesses, stated that shortly after 2100, they saw 4 males walk across the ramp toward the tie-down area near hangar 7. One of the males had a carry-on type suitcase. The pilot and passengers then boarded a Cessna 172. One of the witnesses stated the airplane stayed on the ramp for about 30 minutes with the engine running. They did not see the airplane after this time.

At 2146, the pilot called ground control for a takeoff taxi clearance stating he was on the ramp south of the T&G Flight Club. The controller issued the pilot a clearance to taxi to runway 6 via the Alpha 7 taxiway to the Alpha taxiway. The controller also issued the wind condition as 140 degrees at 8 knots along with the altimeter setting. The pilot stated his radio was a little "fuzzy" and he asked the controller to repeat the clearance. The controller repeated the taxi clearance, which the pilot subsequently repeated. About 4 minutes later, the controller informed the pilot that he is taxiing to the wrong runway. After asking the controller to repeat what he said, the pilot stated "Thank you I'm sorry." The controller then issued taxi instructions back to the approach end of runway 6.

At 2156, the pilot radioed that he was ready to takeoff on runway 6. The controller asked the pilot what his direction of flight was going to be. The pilot responded that they were going to fly east to sightsee and that they would be back in a little while. The controller issued the takeoff clearance with a right turn after takeoff. At 2158, the pilot radioed that they were not climbing fast and they wanted to immediately make a left turn to turn around. The controller approved the left turn. The controller stated it appeared the airplane began a left turn when it descended to the ground. The controller reported that during the takeoff, the airplane became airborne about 100 feet past taxiway Alpha 6, which was approximately 2,000 feet down the runway.

The airplane impacted the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole prior to coming to rest about 1,000 feet on a bearing of 20 degrees from the departure end of runway 6. This location is just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway.

The wreckage path was along a 210 degree heading. The left wing tip, including the position light, was embedded in the ground at the first impact mark. This mark was east of the chain link fence. The airplane then traveled through the fence, with the left wing contacting one of the fence posts. The main impact crater was in the west side of the fence. Adjacent to the crater were two slash marks in the soft ground. Both marks were about 12 inches long. One of the slash marks was about 7 inches deep and the other was about 4 inches deep. The airplane came to rest on a heading of about 160 degrees with the left wing against the telephone pole. A postimpact fire ensued.


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Cleveland FSDO-25



CLEVELAND-- The parents of a Case Western Reserve University student who was killed in a plane crash last year have filed a wrongful death suit in the case. 

Abraham Pishevar II, 18, from Rockville, Maryland, died on the first day of classes in August 2014 when the plane he was in with three other students crashed while taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport.

The other students who died were the pilot, William Felten, 19, of Michigan; John Hill, 18, of Georgia; and Lucas Marcelli, 20, of Massillon.

Investigators say the students were on a sightseeing tour and two, including Pishevar, were trying to get into the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by Pishevar’s parents, Afshin Pishevar and Zahra Mohebbi, both of Maryland.  It names the fraternity, the T & G Flying Club, the pilot and the plane’s owner as defendants.

The Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity released the following statement:



“The Fraternity continues to mourn the tragic loss of life resulting from this accident.  However, the claims made against the Fraternity in this lawsuit are wholly meritless and the Fraternity intends to vigorously defend those claims. Out of respect for the victims and due to the pending litigation, the Fraternity will have no further comment on this matter."


MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) -

Friends and family gathered to say goodbye to a young man who's adult life was cut short at the age of 20.

On Saturday, August 30, Lucas Marcelli was laid to rest at St. Mary's Church in Massillon.

His loved ones have created the Lucas Marcelli Memorial Fund and are accepting monetary donations at any First Merit branch.

Marcelli, along with three other Case Western University students, William Felten, John Hill and Abraham Pishevar, were killed in a Monday night plane crash shortly after take off.

The deadly accident occurred near the Cuyahoga County Airport, at the intersection of  Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway.


-Source:  http://www.19actionnews.com

Funeral arrangements set for Lucas Marcelli.
 (Source: Facebook) 

Loved ones gather to say goodbye to Lucas Marcelli
 (WOIO) 

Victims killed in plane crash, William Felten, Lucas Marcelli, Abraham Pishevar, John Hill.


Loved ones gather to say goodbye to Lucas Marcelli 


Loved ones gather to say goodbye to Lucas Marcelli