Saturday, January 18, 2014

Great Lakes Airlines paring back operations: Clovis Municipal Airport (KCVN), New Mexico

Great Lakes Airlines is significantly paring back operations at the Clovis Municipal Airport. And it might be giving two weeks notice.

The airline, which has been operating for Clovis since 2005 as part of a federally funded program to provide air service to rural areas, will only operate a midday flight Monday through Friday starting next week, Airport Manager Gene Bieker said.

Bieker said Friday morning that he had a conversation with Great Lakes CEO Chuck Howell, who told him the airline may not be able to serve the city after Jan. 31, and that the airline is down to about 100 pilots, about one-third of the amount it carried one year ago.

Attempts to contact Great Lakes representatives on Friday were unsuccessful.

No flights are listed as available on Great Lakes’ website,, beginning in February.

The Cheyenne, Wyo.-based airline sent a termination letter to Clovis last month, requesting the Department of Transportation help the city in its mission to find a carrier that would provide service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Under terms of Essential Air Service, a carrier that chooses termination must continue service to a community until a new air service is in place. But there’s a lot of gray area in what constitutes continued service.

“The understanding I have is because of the way EAS is structured, they only get paid for the flights they make,” City Manager Joe Thomas said.

The airline began operations with Clovis in April 2005 with flights to and from Albuquerque Sunport, and operated under that agreement until it decided to move operations to Denver International Airport in late 2012.

The change was made in an attempt to drive up passenger numbers, due to the larger number of connecting flights at DIA. But the service only had about four passengers per flight before the termination notice was sent, and Bieker said he wasn’t surprised when the termination notice was delivered.

The Department of Transportation currently has asked for bids on service to Clovis, with requests for proposal accepted until Feb. 12.


Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, 8R-GHS, Trans Guyana Airways: Accident occurred January 18, 2014 - Olive Creek, Marazuni, Guyana

The downed Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

 Left to right: Trans Guyana Airways Chief Pilot, Andre Farinha; Chief Finance Officer Nicole Correia and CEO Michael Correia at a press conference yesterday

 The body of Canadian pilot Blake Slater comes in to the Olive Creek airstrip

Blake Slater

 The body of cargo loader, Dwayne Jacobs Newton is wrapped at the Olive Creek airstrip before being flown to Ogle

 Roslyn Jacobs, the mother of dead cargo loader, Dwayne Jacobs Newton, arrives at the Ogle Airport

The Trans-Guyana crash…  

The bodies of pilot, cargo loader flown to Ogle Airport
…officials say pilot did not report any problems with the aircraft which had done several shuttle flights on Saturday.

THE bodies of Canadian pilot, Blake Slater and Guyanese cargo loader, Dwayne Jacobs Newton were taken out of the jungle late Tuesday morning and taken to funeral homes in the city.The Trans-Guyana Cessna aircraft went down with the pilot and cargo loader on board last Saturday.

TGA’s Chief Finance Officer, Nicole Correia said it would take less than one year before insurance benefits are paid to surviving beneficiaries. That time period, airline officials said, would allow for investigations to be conducted and for international accident assessors to complete their work.

Officials said the pilot did not report any problems with the aircraft which had already done several shuttle flights for Saturday. The downed plane underwent complete maintenance on December 31, 2013 and was inspected by the GCAA on January 7, 2014, TGA officials said.

TGA pledged to cooperate fully with the GCAA and said it would encourage experts from the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) and the plane’s engine manufacturer to come to Guyana to assist in the investigation.

Special Forces personnel on Monday cleared a location close to the wreckage which enabled the GDF chopper to land and collect the bodies for transport to the Olive Creek airstrip, from where they were placed in an aircraft and flown to the Ogle Airport.


A Canadian pilot is likely dead after a plane crash in the jungle of Guyana, and the search has been suspended. 

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in a press release the Trans Guyana Airways 700, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan on a shuttle operation between Olive Creek and Imbaimadai was seen going down by air traffic control and a search was launched.

A spokesman for Trans Guyana Aviation identified the pilot as Canadian Blake Slater, AFP reported. The passenger was Dwayne Newton of Guyana, a cargo loader.

The GCAA said the plane crashed near an area called Olive Creek, in the Marazuni area of the Amazon forest. The search was suspended at 6 p.m. local time because of poor lighting and was set to resume at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, the GCAA said.

The plane was fitted with a locator beacon, but U.S. Mission Control Center hadn't received a signal from the downed aircraft, the GCAA said.


Search suspended for missing Trans Guyana plane, no signal picked up by US control center.
The Rescue Coordination Center has suspended the search for a Trans Guyana plane that went missing this afternoon over the Mazaruni.

The search will resume tomorrow.

The GCAA press release follows:

At the end of the day, following ground and air search based on information received, there has been no sighting of 8R-GHS Trans Guyana
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan that went missing earlier today. The air search for the aircraft has been terminated for the day at 1800hrs due the poor lighting, but will resume tomorrow morning at 0630hrs.

The aircraft is fitted with all of the appropriate emergency equipment including an Emergency Locator Beacon, 406Mhz. A check with the US Mission Control Center (USMCC) from which information concerning aircraft ELT signals is transmitted, has informed that they have not received any signal from the aircraft beacon.

The Rescue Coordination Center will continue its operation.

An aircraft will be deployed to overfly the area of interest tonight to look for any signs of the missing aircraft.

Search and Rescue Units, two helicopters and an Islander and a Cessna Caravan and the GDF Special Force Officers will continue with the search operation tomorrow commencing from an area identified as the area of interest. Additional personnel will also be deployed from coast to assist with the search.


Aircraft hit by technical fault

Solomon Airlines says its Airbus A320 services to Brisbane and return for Wednesday 15th January and Thursday 16th January 2014 were disrupted after an attempted take off on Wednesday was aborted due to some technical issues with its avionics system.

The General Manager of Commercial and Operations, Gus Kraus stated that as a standard safety procedure and following their training, “our flight crew aborted the take-off roll and returned to the parking bay on Wednesday”.

“The Pilot in Command then alerted the airlines executive that the flight had to be aborted prior to take off purely due to a technical glitch on  the display reading of one of the screens on the Captain’s display and that there was no immediate danger posed to the aircraft and most especially the passengers on board.”

Mr Kraus said spare parts had to be sourced from Australia on the same day which did arrive on Thursday morning, 16th January.

“And with our engineers working around the clock to try and rectify the situation, unfortunately, the replacement Avionics box continued to persist with problems in the reading which then rendered the aircraft unserviceable.

“The Thursday flight was then cancelled as well.

“Arrangements have been finalised for an alternative aircraft to cater for Friday for most of the delayed/disrupted passengers and whilst the issue is being addressed, our disrupted passengers are taken care of under our disruption policy.

“All passengers were advised to contact the airline today for further updates of their onward flights and a revised departure time from Honiara was given as of yesterday and Solomon Airlines confirmed it had chartered a Our Airline aircraft that should cater for most, if not all the passengers involved.

“The airline apologized to its valuable travelers for a matter beyond its control and that at no stage was there any danger to the passengers and crew.

“Solomon Airlines is now turning to the weekend to make further charters of other airlines and will notify its intending passengers on the weekend services to Vila and Nadi on proposed alternatives and flights.

“The airline feels for those involved and has indicated that as a single aircraft operator, it has had a good run with its current BUS and is looking at the future when it can support its own future with added aircraft support.”


Wounded Warrior Project gets cut of air show tickets: Westmoreland County Air Show at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE), Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport executive director Gabe Monzo announced $1 from every ticket sold for the Westmoreland County Air Show will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The show is scheduled June 7-8 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity Township

Monzo made the announcement Saturday during a 3-ball pool tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project held at the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Department social hall.

An estimated crowd of about 75,000 watched the Navy's precision jet team the Blue Angels during the two-day air show in 2012.



Coast Guard scrambles to save fisherman off Martha’s Vineyard

U.S. Coast Guard rescue crew evacuated a fisherman who was having epileptic seizures this morning aboard a vessel about 35 nautical miles south of Martha's Vineyard.

The fishing crew contacted the Coast Guard by marine radio at 8:12 am, and a flight crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod arrived on the scene at 9:35 am, according to the Coast Guard.

The 25 year old man, whose name was not released, was hoisted aboard the rescue helicopter from the deck of the fishing vessel.

"The time window that our flight surgeon gave us to possibly save this man was 90 minutes," said Donald Blankenship, a Coast Guard search and rescue controller. "Our crews responded immediately and were able to safely get him hoisted in just over an hour so he could get help."

The man suffering from seizures was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence. His condition is unknown.

The name of the fishing vessel is Argo, but the Coast Guard did not identify the vessel's home port.

Story and comments/reaction:

Johanns, Fischer send letter to Federal Aviation Administration regarding canceled flights

Our two U.S. Senators are working together to address FAA issues that have recently been plaguing smaller regional airports.

Senator Mike Johanns says he and Senator Deb Fischer sent a letter to the FAA administrator this week,to discuss recent rule changes that are making it difficult for smaller airports –like the one in Scottsbluff – to meet demand.

In Scottsbluff, the Western Nebraska Regional airport has canceled hundreds of flights since the new FAA regulations went into effect.

"In Scottsbluff, which is just an example, the airport was averaging four flights a day. Wonderful airport. Now following FAA rules regarding training and flight hours, the airport is struggling to complete a single flight because of pilot shortages," Johanns said.

Johanns says he understands safety of crews and airline passengers is a top priority, but the new regulations on pilot flight hours are making it difficult for regional airports to operate at all.

"Unfortunately what is happening is we're having flights canceled because we cant get a pilot, and I just worry that near the end of the year we're going to see that we don't have enough enplanements at the airports, which has real serious financial consequences."

Johanns says he has also been approached by people from Alliance and McCook who have complained about similar issues at their regional airports.


Huntland, Franklin County, Tennessee: Emergency Landing

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) — The Public Information Officer for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says a private plane made an emergency landing Saturday afternoon.

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder confirms a small plane made an emergency landing in a bean field off White’s Gap Road near Huntland, TN.

WHNT News 19 is told that the plane’s engine failed and that the two people on board are okay.


Honduras approves shooting down suspected drug planes

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran lawmakers on Friday approved legislation allowing the government to shoot down planes suspected of trafficking illegal drugs through the poor nation that has been hit by deepening gang violence.

The legislation authorizes progressive use of force to make unidentified aircraft land. Only the country's defense minister can order that a plane be shot down, the legislation said.

Most of the cocaine destined for the United States moves though Honduras, where Mexican drug gangs have moved in as they take increasing control over the drug trade from Colombian traffickers.

The Honduran military shot down two small planes in 2012 that were suspected of carrying drugs. The incident pushed the United States to suspend anti-drug radar support to Honduran authorities for about three months.

Conservative Juan Hernandez was elected president last November after promising a tough militarized response to drug gang violence that has driven Honduras' murder rate to the world's highest.

Honduras has said it will buy three radar systems from Israel that it can use to track planes suspected of carrying illegal drugs.


Over Priming a Cessna 210

 Video by Fly high with Mike 
Published on January 17, 2014
"Just by chance I was filming the start up of this particular Cessna 210. This is what can happen when you over prime your Cessna 210. Enjoy!"

Private jet offers wonderful - if fleeting - moments

For 30 glorious minutes last week I was a member of the 1 percent, flying over the Golden Gate Bridge, up the Northern California coastline and back over the East Bay hills in a $20 million Citation X - a jet of choice among CEOs, financiers, celebrities and others of the ultra rich with places to go and people to see. And no time to waste.

The all-too-brief experience came courtesy of San Francisco's XOJet, the third largest private jet company in the nation, which, like its competitors at SFO, was having an especially busy week with top executives flying in for the JPMorgan health conference in town, and deep-pocketed locals heading to the 49ers-Seahawks game in Seattle in comfort and privacy.

"It's just nuts," said an XO Jet pilot, surveying the dozens of private jets on the tarmac at SFO's Signature Aviation Terminal the day the JPMorgan conference opened at the Westin St. Francis.

Business in the $14 billion market is certainly a whole lot better than the dark days of what XOJet CEO Bradford Stewart called "the Lehman bust," referring to the collapse of Lehman Bros. in 2008, after which numerous private carriers went under or fell into the hands of better-financed players. XO Jet, then a small, 2-year-old startup, escaped that fate largely thanks to infusions from TPG Capital and IPIC, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. "Our business really started, or restarted, in 2010," said Stewart.

Last year, the Brisbane company recorded $350 million in revenue, and has tripled its net profit over the past two years (the private company wouldn't disclose the figure). Over 5,000 clients, many of them heavy users, have flown one of XOJet's approximately 50 owned and operated jets from its hubs at SFO, Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Respecting privacy

No names disclosed - "we need to respect our clients' desire for a private experience," the company said - but increasing numbers come from the San Francisco-Silicon Valley corridor, and they all have at least one thing in common.

"They need to have at least $40-$50 million in assets before consuming our product," said Stewart, 37, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant and a senior investment executive at Parthenon Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in San Francisco and Boston.

There are more than 17,000 private jets worldwide, 70 percent of them in North America, according to a 2012 report by Corporate Jet Investor. Business customers account for close to half of the industry's revenue, mostly from U.S. routes. XOJet's clients are 70 percent business customers, said Stewart. The six- to eight-seat jets ferry at high speeds "CEOs and his or her team," entertainers and their entourages - who aren't always on their best behavior - and families wealthy enough to fly by private plane to vacation destinations.

It goes without saying, it's not for everyone.

"To be honest, you have to be ultra-high-net worth to consistently fly private," Stewart said.

Not so, say recent entrants who are pitching private jet travel for the price of standard first class. Like BlackJet, which offered individual seats purchased via mobile app for $3,500, in addition to a $2,500 membership fee. Lead investor: Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, out to do for private aviation what he's done for private taxis. Unfortunately BlackJet, whose other investors include A-list Hollywood celebs such as Jay Z and Ashton Kutcher, fired most of its staff late last year. No mention of BlackJet on Camp's LinkedIn page when I checked Thursday.

Other would-be "jet sharing" enterprises haven't done much better breaking out of the box. "You can't fly somebody for $3,500 coast-to-coast and guarantee them a seat when it costs you $20,000 to fly the plane, which were often empty, an anonymous former BlackJet employee told Valleywag. "And if you had eight people on the flight, nobody was happy and it was crowded."


XOJet CEO Brad Stewart walks to one of his company's Citation X jets at San Francisco International Airport. 
Photo: Sarah Rice
 The Chronicle

Friday, January 17, 2014

Malindi Airport, Kenya

A luxurious jet owned by Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore veered into a trench at Malindi Airport.

The jet registered as OE 1FB was parked at the apron when it suddenly slipped, skidded and landed into the trench.

Malindi Airport Manager Walter Agong said it took his officers at least two hours to retrieve it.

Mr Agong suspects the pilot forgot to pull up the hand brake. 

No one was inside the jet when the incident occurred.

The officer, said the jet suffered slight damage as it moved slightly before landing in the trench.

Delay departure 

Flavio who owns the luxurious Lion In the Sun and the Billionaire resort has been in Kenya since the Christmas and New Year holiday accompanied by his wife and friends.

He was set to jet out of Kenya this week and the incident might delay his departure.

In 2009 six tourists among them Formula One driver Alonso Fernado narrowly escaped death after their luxurious jet hit a wall as they were leaving the Malindi airport.

The tourists had just completed their holiday when they boarded Alonso’s jet heading to Madrid in Spain before the incident occurred.


Italian bilionaire Flavio Biatore’s jet that veered into a trench at the Malindi airport yesterday. It took at least two hours to retrieve it. 

AutoGyro MTOsport, Tomball Police Department, N250TX: Incident occurred January 16, 2014 at David Wayne Hooks Airport (KDWH), Houston, Texas

Emergency responders say no one was hurt when a gyro-plane crashed Thursday morning in northwest Harris County, officials said. 

Cypress-Creek EMS responded to the scene after the small aircraft belonging to the Tomball Police Department went down around 11:30 a.m. in the 20800 block of Stuebner Airline near Hooks Airport.

A gyro-plane is a small aircraft with a small engine that typically seats one or two people.

The Tomball police said the accident happened after the aircraft, referred to a "Michael One," landed following a patrol mission. While the gyro-plane was taxiing, a gusting crosswind hit the aircraft causing it to veer off the runway.

The aircraft suffered significant damage, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating the incident.

MTOsport AutoGyro:


No Traces of Explosives on Kaczynski Plane – Poland: Tupolev 154M, Polish Air Force

WARSAW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) – Polish experts found no traces of explosives in the wreckage of a plane that crashed in Russia in 2010, killing Poland’s president and nearly 100 others, Polish military prosecutors said Friday.

The analyzed samples were taken by Polish analysts from the crash site in autumn 2012 and summer 2013.

Forensics experts from the Central Forensics Laboratory reported that analysis of the samples, which were obtained from exhumed bodies, soil at the crash site and parts of the aircraft, did not reveal any traces of explosives or their decay substances, prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors said, however, that the forensics report was not conclusive and asked the experts to provide explanatory notes on their findings by this spring.

The Russian-made Tu-154 jet carrying President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and a host of other top officials crashed in heavy fog as it attempted to land at an airfield near Smolensk on April 10, 2010. The delegation was flying to Smolensk to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police. All 96 people aboard the plane died.

In the fall of 2012, the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita claimed that traces of explosives had been discovered in the plane’s debris. Military prosecutors denied the claims, saying the final results of chemical tests would be made public in six months. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief resigned following the publication.

Russian and Polish investigators carried out a joint investigation from February to March last year in response to speculation that the late Polish president could have been the victim of a conspiracy to blow up his plane with a bomb.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in December that the investigation had been extended until April 2014 and the wreckage of the plane would be handed over to Poland upon its completion.


Let It Snow: The Makers of De-Icing Fluid Are Having a Superb Winter


 Few people are as important in winter air travel as the crews that spray de-icing fluid onto departing airplanes. Without the fluid, there’s a good chance there won’t be a flight. More weekend snow across the Midwest—the forecast for the region predicts up to 5 inches and has airlines gearing up for more de-icing—promises to be a boon for the chemicals’ manufacturers.

“For the North America market, it’s going to be a a blistering good year,” says Gary Lydiate, chief executive of London’s Kilfrost, one of three big players in the de-icing fluid industry, along with Dow Chemical and Swiss company Clariant. Lydiate says Kilfrost has already shipped about 70 percent of the de-icing fluid it expected to sell this winter, with two-thirds of the season remaining. Come May, once most airport de-icing ends, Kilfrost says volume will total about 20 percent more than during the 2012-13 season.

In recent weeks the company has shipped more than 544,000 gallons of de-icing fluid to Illinois, most of it to Chicago’s O’Hare International, where Kilfrost customers American and United both have hubs. Airlines at O’Hare have used 1.06 million gallons through Jan. 15, compared with 1.1 million gallons for all of the 2012-13 season, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Aviation said in an e-mail. Most airports deal with multiple suppliers, given that carriers generally procure and apply their own de-icing fluid or outsource the job.

U.S. airlines spray more than 25 million gallons of de-icing fluid each year, according to a 2009 study of the industry by the Environmental Protection Agency. In Denver, where a May snowstorm isn’t terribly unusual, airlines used 1.9 million gallons of de-icing fluid last winter and are on pace to go through the same volume this winter, says Scott Morrissey, director of environmental programs.

Most de-icing is performed with propylene glycol, called Type 1, a pinkish-orange fluid you may see washing across your plane window. When weather is more severe—or when a plane must wait in a queue for takeoff—a thicker green liquid, akin to a gel, is applied to coat the airplane for longer periods. Both types of fluid are formulated much like other competitive products, be it motor oil, laundry detergent, or the top-secret syrup Coca-Cola blends with water and sugar, Lydiate says. “It looks like a simple thing on the surface, but underneath there’s a hell of a lot of technology to make it work,” he says of de-icing fluids. “This is not a commodity industry.”

The 3 to 5 inches of snow predicted for the Midwest and Great Lakes this weekend is likely to be followed by a second, frigid taste of the polar vortex, which earlier this month sent temperatures plunging as low as 25 below zero in parts of the Midwest and to single-digit temperatures as far south as Texas. Overnight temperatures could drop as much as 25 degrees below normal later next week, according to forecasts, as the jet stream takes a deeper dip south.

“There is the chance the cold may rival that of early January in some areas,” AccuWeather said in a Jan. 16 client note. The next time you’re on a delayed flight, as the plane is hosed ahead of takeoff, consider the positive: Nasty weather means nice profits for some companies.


Dog attacks at Tauranga airport

Police dogs were set loose on a pretend ‘hijacker’ at Tauranga airport yesterday in a rehearsal for the Classics of the Sky – Tauranga City Airshow on Anniversary Weekend.

The practice display attack took place out of the public eye between hangar rows and involved the capture of an aircraft hijacker.

It involved only police dog handlers, with Jason Carswell being the bad guy taken down by handler Mark Chapman’s dog Nitro and Dave Robison’s dog Ice.

Three times Jason was taken down in the heavily padded arms by the dogs, and held until their handlers arrived to secure the dogs, and pull him to the ground to be captured.

The ‘armed hijacking scenario’ will be spiced up on the day – Sunday, January 26 – at the airshow with the addition of weapons and the Armed Offenders’ Squad, says the hijackee, Tauranga detective Ian Chapman.

With just more than a week to go, tickets sales to the airshow are starting to move quite quickly, says Classic Flyers CEO Andrew Gormley.

Four WW1 fighter aircraft will be on display at the airshow, and are scheduled to arrive in town by road next week.

Andrew says lots of aircraft rides have been sold. “There is a huge uptake; Kittyhawk, Mustang, Spitfire and Strikemaster jet rides are all selling well.

“We have about 17 rides; it’s almost unheard of,” says Andrew. “If you look out in the skies just prior to the show you will see a whole lot of fighter planes just doing their thing.”

A Rotary club raffle, selling tickets, $5 for a Stearman ride and $15 for a ride in a jet, will mean some airshow-goers will get free sky-high jaunts.

“Twenty dollars buys an option in each; a chance in a jet and a chance in a Stearman; a pretty easy way to begin to connect. Those will get drawn on the weekend.”

Trade sites are also ramping up and organizing staff will start putting in some long days to get the event ready during the next week.


Constable Jason Carswell working with a police dog.

Amended suit accuses former Hernando airport manager of protecting friend's business

BROOKSVILLE — Airplane management company Jet Concepts has filed an amended complaint against former Hernando airport director Don Silvernell, claiming Silvernell damaged the business in order to ensure a monopoly on fixed-base operator services for a close personal friend.

Jet Concepts and its president, Robert Rey, accuse Silvernell of violations of the Florida Antitrust Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Act and of interference with a business relationship.

Last August, Rey filed a lawsuit against Silvernell, accusing him of defamation and interference with a business relationship. A judge dismissed that case, but allowed Rey to file an amended complaint.

In the new complaint, Rey describes how he began to have problems with Silvernell as soon as he moved his business from American Aviation, which for decades had been the only fixed-base operator at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport. American Aviation is owned by John Petrick, a longtime friend of Silvernell. Rey made the move to the Brooksville Air Center when it opened as a second fixed-base operator in 2009, mostly because it had cheaper fuel.

In the months that followed, Rey says, he heard that potential business partners were being told that he was operating illegally at the airport. When he questioned Silvernell, he was told he needed an operator's permit, which became a challenge to obtain.

After Rey took over management of the Brooksville Air Center as the business struggled financially, Silvernell ordered fueling and other airplane services halted there, according to Rey. He also contacted a website where the air center had placed an advertisement and ordered it be taken down.

Brooksville Air Center ended up in foreclosure, and Hernando County purchased the facility. Rey started talking to another business about opening a new fixed-base operation, but that business walked away after Silvernell discouraged the partnership, Rey says.

"Silvernell attempted to thwart the efforts of Jet Concepts to operate a viable business at the Brooksville airport because he viewed Rey and Jet Concepts as threats to American Aviation,'' according to the complaint.

"Silvernell acted outside the scope of his employment when he sought to protect the virtual monopoly on fixed-base operator services offered by American Aviation,'' it states.

Silvernell's attorney, Joseph Flood, did not immediately respond to a request from the Times for comments.


Suddenly famous: M. Graham Clark Downtown (KPLK), Branson, Missouri

When a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 landed Jan. 12 at the M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, rather than the Branson Airport seven miles south, the little facility next to College of the Ozarks became the most famous airport in the country until the plane departed the next day.

While it might not normally attract that sort of attention, the general aviation airport has been a part of the community for more than 40 years.

Airport Manager Mark Parent stresses that the county-owned airport belongs to, and benefits, everyone in Taney County.

“It’s the taxpayers’ airport,” Parent said. “It belongs to them.”


The facility is a general aviation airport, which means it is used for a wide variety of air service, such as corporate flights, personal aircraft, military, Department of Conservation, organ-donation deliveries and more. The types of planes that use the airport range from jets, turboprops and piston-driven light aircraft.

The facility has anywhere from 6,000 to 11,000 landings each year, according to Parent.

Unlike most general aviation airports, however, this one is self-sufficient, something Parent is extremely proud of. He said most communities that have a municipal or county airport have to subsidize them. But this airport has been turning a small profit every year since it was turned over to the county by its original owner, College of the Ozarks.

The Taney County 2014 budget, approved earlier this month, shows the airport is projected to have a surplus of $41,000 for the year.

Parent, who has worked at the facility for 25 years, said he does not know how many general aviation airports are self-supporting, but he said “it is unusual.”

He said most people don’t realize the full benefits of a general aviation airport. Although he would not give a specific name, he said there are some large employers in the area who would not be here if not for an airport to keep its corporate leaders connected.

“There are businesses, with gobs of employees, that wouldn’t be here if this airport weren’t here,” he said. “It allows corporate officers to come to town and open a business.”

That, he said, is why so many communities are willing to subsidize airports.

According to a recent economic impact study from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport has a total of 46 jobs (including employees of other businesses that operate at the airport) with a payroll of $1.35 million and a direct economic output of $4.7 million, which Parent said is the highest amount the airport has seen in a decade. Parent said that translates to an annual economic impact in excess of $36 million.


The airport was built in 1970 by College of the Ozarks, whose president, M. Graham Clark, had a passion for flying. Although it was a private airport that served the school’s aviation program, it was also open to the public. Parent said the airport had an immediate impact on the Branson area.

“It was a catalyst for growth in the Branson area,” he said.

The facility became the county’s airport in 2005. Parent said the city of Branson pays the airport $10,000 a year for services, Hollister supports the airport with water and sewer services, and the county provides benefits for the airport’s six county employees, including Parent. Otherwise, the airport supports itself.

“It continues to pay its own operating expenses,” Parent said.

He said the annual payment from Branson allows the airport to not charge a landing fee. (So no, Southwest Airlines did not have to pay for its errant landing.)


The airport is able to pay its bills through a variety of venues. The airport receives lease fees from businesses that operate at the venue, including Avis, Chopper Charter and Metro Aviation, which provides maintenance services to Mercy Life Line helicopters.

The airport also provides monthly service for 63 private aircraft. And the airport charges for fuel.

A hanger, built by the county for $660,000 in 2009, makes $48,000 a year in hanger rentals, according to Parent.

The airport also takes advantage of several grants. For instance, Parent said the airport will be able to take advantage of a Missouri Department of Transportation grant to replace the runway lights. The grant is a 90 percent match, meaning the county would normally have to pay 10 percent of the costs. But Parent said the airport generates enough funds to pay the 10 percent, meaning the county will pay nothing.


It hasn’t always been easy, according to Parent. When the county first took over the airport, it generated a profit of about $130,000 a year. Then in 2009, the Branson Airport, a large commercial facility, opened and took the business of many jets that had previously flown into the county airport, Parent said. That same year, the Branson West Municipal Airport, another general aviation airport, opened the same distance to the west and created even more competition.

Combined with a downturn in the economy, the county airport’s annual surplus dropped to about $30,000, Parent said. Today that number is between $40,000 and $50,000, he said.

But, the airport still pays for itself every year and that’s something Parent and the other airport employees are proud of.

“We’re always walking around on top of the world,” he said.


Mark Parent, manager of the M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, stands in front of a typical aircraft serviced by the facility. 
 Cliff Sain | Branson Tri-Lakes News

Search begins for 1965 Folsom Lake plane wreckage


GRANITE BAY, Calif. - An Idaho-based husband and wife sonar search team that has recovered more than 80 bodies from under water has begun looking for the wreckage of a plane that plunged into Folsom Lake on New Year's Day 1965, killing four people.

Gene and Sandy Ralston launched their boat from the Granite Bay lake access Thursday afternoon, less than a week after their sonar gear located the body of a woman in the Delta who was presumed drowned in a Thanksgiving weekend fishing accident.

But Gene Ralston said despite the lake's clarity, the search would be much more difficult than the one in the muddy Delta.

"Oh gosh, the Delta is a piece of cake," Gene Ralston said. "The bottom is flat like a road. [At Folsom Lake], we've got 50- and 60-foot-tall still standing trees on the bottom."

Gene Ralston said they must carefully "fly" their towed sonar device above the trees so the equipment won't become entangled.

The search effort came together following a News10 story in late December about Frank Wilcox, a Shingle Springs man who was hoping the dramatic drop in the level of Folsom Lake would finally reveal the wreckage of the Piper Comanche that went to the bottom following a mid-air collision, killing Wilcox's older brother and three other people. Only one body was recovered.

The other plane returned safely to Sacramento Municipal (now Executive) Airport.

Previous story: Family hopes Folsom Lake drop reveals plane wreckage

Although Folsom Lake covers three counties, witnesses at the time placed the crash over El Dorado County.

El Dorado County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Dan Johnson made search arrangements with the Ralstons to search the lake based on their success in the Delta.

"We would like to recover the three individuals and give their family the opportunity to lay them to rest properly," Johnson said.

Thursday's search ended at dusk without success, but Gene Ralston said they would continue Friday morning.

As the boat returned to shore, Wilcox said he remained optimistic.

"I've never seen such an outpouring of help and these folks here, this is what they do," he said. "I think something good will come of this."

The Ralstons, both in their 60's, generally ask for nothing more than reimbursement for their expenses.

 NTSB Identification: OAK65A0047 
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Aircraft: BEECHCRAFT 35-33, registration: N996T

 FILE    DATE          LOCATION          AIRCRAFT DATA       INJURIES       FLIGHT                        PILOT DATA
                                                               F  S M/N     PURPOSE
2-0001   65/1/1    FOLSOM LAKE CALIF   BEECHCRAFT 35-33    CR-  0  0  1  NONCOMMERCIAL             ATP,FLIGHT INSTR., AGE
        TIME - 1230                    N996T               PX-  0  0  2  PLEASURE/PERSONAL TRANSP  45, 15000 TOTAL HOURS,
                                       DAMAGE-SUBSTANTIAL  OT-  4  0  0                            500 IN TYPE, NOT
                                                                                                   INSTRUMENT RATED.
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION

Jamestown Regional Airport (KJMS), North Dakota: Feds question decision to switch airline provider

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - The Jamestown Airport Authority may have to send a delegation to Washington, D.C., later this month to answer questions about the bid from SkyWest Airlines to provide commercial passenger service to the airport.

The Airport Authority approved Wednesday covering the expenses of sending Chairman Jim Boyd, Jamestown Regional Airport Manager Matt Leitner and Mayor Katie Andersen to Washington toward the end of January. Boyd said he and Leitner had a conference call with members of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s, D-N.D., office about the bids submitted by SkyWest Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines to provide passenger service to Jamestown Regional Airport starting April 1.

An airline provides passenger service to Jamestown Regional Airport under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Essential Air Service program. Under the EAS program the airline receives a subsidy to cover the expense of providing passenger service to small airports around the country. Airports in the EAS program seek bids every two years, and interested airlines bid to provide passenger service.

The bids are advertised, reviewed and awarded by the United States Department of Transportation for the FAA. Boyd said DOT officials have some concerns about the SkyWest Airlines bid.

Great Lakes Airlines, which currently provides service to Jamestown Regional Airport, submitted a bid to continue providing service to JRA with three roundtrip flights daily from Devils Lake/Jamestown to Minneapolis, using 19-seat turboprop airplanes. According to Leitner, this bid meets the DOT’s minimum bid requirement for turboprop airplanes.

The SkyWest Airlines bid is a one flight daily roundtrip from Denver to Jamestown using a 50-seat jet airplane. The DOT minimum bid for a 50-seat jet airplane service to Jamestown is two daily flights.

Boyd said another potential problem with the SkyWest bid is the airline would require a higher subsidy from the federal government because its airplane would be traveling a greater distance.

On Jan. 6 the Airport Authority recommended the SkyWest Airlines bid to the DOT. The Airport Authority’s commercial air service committee, made up of Boyd, Vice Chairman Jeff Wilhelm and member Brent Harris, solicited letters of support for the SkyWest bid from local government, business and community groups.

Boyd said he hopes the state’s congressional representatives, including Heitkamp, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., will be able to answer questions from DOT officials about the SkyWest bid.

“We may not need to go,” he said.

Leitner said service from Great Lakes Airlines continues to be a problem, as the airline has announced it will be eliminating weekend flights starting in February. The airline will continue to offer two flights daily Monday through Friday, but will not have any flights on Saturdays and only one late-night flight coming in on Sundays.

Great Lakes Airlines continues to have problems getting full flight crews for its flights due to changes in FAA requirements for co-pilots. In July the FAA increased the minimum number of flight hours a co-pilot must have in order to be part of a flight crew for a passenger flight from 250 hours to 1,500 hours. The change has put qualified co-pilots in high demand for all airlines.


‘Ride the Sky’ investigates Montana death

Published on Jan 16, 2014 
This is the official trailer for "Ride The Sky", a documentary directed by Paul Gorman. This film explores the life, times and mysterious death of pioneering skydiver Joan Carson. The film reconstructs Carson's life and explores her passion for skydiving, as well as the passion of her  skydiving buddies, in the early years of the Northwest Montana skydiving scene.

 For those who have always wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving without having to jump out of a plane, this film is not to be missed.

POLSON – “Ride the Sky,” about a young woman who died in a skydiving accident in northwest Montana more than 30 years ago, will not be the best documentary film you’ve ever seen, even if you’ve only seen a handful.

But by the time its one hour and 14 minutes are up, it will have done what any documentary sets out to do – tell you things you probably didn’t know about something – along with what it specifically hopes to accomplish.

Namely, figure out what drove Joan Carson, a former high school cheerleader, to jump out of airplanes.

The latter won’t happen until the final few minutes, when director Paul Gorman finally interviews Carson’s brother and sister.

Until then, you’ll have to be satisfied with learning that at least some of the skydiving crowd of the 1970s was a passionate, free-wheeling, party-hard, jump-out-of-airplanes-buck-naked bunch.

That you’re watching people, some of them approaching the age of 70, re-live those exhilarating times of their lives is the one thing that can get you through sections of the film that clearly needed an editor.


“Ride the Sky” makes its world premiere Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest in Polson.

Gorman, a former high school classmate of Carson’s in Redmond, Wash., re-connected with her later in San Francisco, although the nature of the relationship isn’t made clear.

Several years after that, on Memorial Day 1981 at the Lost Prairie skydiving center west of Kalispell Carson co-founded, both her main and reserve parachutes failed her and she fell thousands of feet to her death.

Carson hit the ground traveling 120 mph, according to one of the people at Lost Prairie that day. She was 30 years old.

Gorman made two trips to Montana to interview several skydivers at Lost Prairie who knew Carson well. He also traveled to Medford, Ore., where she had flung herself into skydiving full-heartedly before moving to Kalispell, to interview several more.

There are poignant moments, like when one skydiver, who lost a young son two years before he took up the sport, explaining that “Every time you pull the ripcord, you prove you don’t want to die.”


Finally, Gorman returned to the San Francisco area where he had last known Joan Carson. There he interviewed her brother Barrie (and, in Sammamish, Wash., her sister Janet Bequette).

And there, he finally got to the heart of what likely drove Joan Carson to jump out of airplanes. If you want specifics, you’ll have to see “Ride the Sky.”

But, in addition to what they reveal, we can tell you that Barrie Carson offered up a general theory of why some are attracted to skydiving.

He jumped once with his sister, he said, and “loved it on one level, but feared it mostly.”

“What I walked away from is that divers were willing to roll the dice every time they got in an airplane, and that’s how they lived their life” he says.

That can easily be construed into having a death wish, Barrie says, “but I ended up understanding it as a life wish – that you’re so passionate about what you do that you’re willing to risk everything for it.”

Something Joan Carson wrote, that appears on screen at the end of “Ride the Sky,” backs that up.

“What can I say about something I love so much,” she wrote of skydiving. “It’s the love of my life, the beat of my heart. It cleanses my soul. The freedom of flight can do more to change one’s perspective on life than any earthbound freedom.”

Joan Carson
Photo Courtesy/Credit:   Paul Gorman


The world premiere of “Ride the Sky,” is Saturday, Jan. 25, during the 10 a.m. block of films at the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest at the Showboat Cinema on Polson’s Main Street. Tickets are $5 (more information on festival passes can be found with the story previewing the festival).

US Sport Aviation Expo offers unique aircraft: Sebring Regional Airport (KSEF), Florida

SEBRING -- A few planes took to the sky, but most of the action was on the ground as pilots and aviation enthusiasts braved the chilly, windy morning Thursday for the first day of the 10th annual US Sport Aviation Expo at the Sebring Regional Airport.

Visitors and patrons made their way through hundreds of informational and vendor booths, checking out everything from GPS navigation devices to airplanes for sale.

One of the most interesting parts of the expo is the Maverick Flying Car. The Dunellon company produces and manufactures a flying vehicle that is good for both the road and air, according to design engineer and test pilot Troy Townsend.

The Maverick team is in its third year as part of the expo vendors and has had some success with its unique vehicle.

"We've sold some since we were certified in 2010. We custom build every Maverick in Dunellon and I fly every one of them before the owner gets it," Townsend said Thursday.

The Maverick was initially built as part of mission work. The company's founder was raised in Ecuador where his family did mission work. The Maverick can be used to make a path to those in need in frontier areas were there are little to no roads or can be used as a recreational aircraft in the state of Florida for anyone looking for a unique flight.

Key Largo resident and first-time Expo attendee Mike Dann looked over a Continental Motors Inc. engine at the indoor exhibit area just after the start of the Expo Thursday.

The longtime pilot was enthusiastic about his first visit to the Expo and a project he recently started.

"I'm building an airplane, that's why I'm here. It's going to be a replica of a World War I German airplane. This is my first time, so I'm here just checking out parts and things I might need. It's lots of fun," Dann said.

Though Dann has been a pilot since the age of 15, he's never owned his own plane.

"I've always just flown other people's planes. It's cheaper that way," Dann said with a chuckle. "But I'm doing it now, so I'm excited."

Ron Humphrey, sales and service representative of Continental, explained the ins and outs of the company's only light sport airplane engine, which is manufactured and produced in Mobile, Ala.

"This is the 0200D. It's a lighter version of an old engine and it's built specifically for these light planes you see here at the expo," Humphrey said.

Outdoors, friends Jack Fehling and Skip Barnes, of Jupiter, wandered through the aisles of planes and vehicles.

Both Fehling and Barnes are retired commercial airline pilots. Barnes worked for Delta Airlines for just over 30 years while Fehling served in the United States Air Force for 20 years before working for American Airlines for 14 years.

"We flew in from Jupiter this morning. I do it pretty often. I come over to eat breakfast here. I like the restaurant here a lot; it's pretty good. It normally takes about 35 minutes. It took longer than that today, though, because of the weather," Fehling said.

The two men both own their own airplanes and homes at an airplane park in Jupiter.

"We weren't really looking for anything, just came out to see what was new and enjoy the event," Barnes said.

The US Sport Aviation Expo will continue through the weekend. A full list of vendors, demonstrations, products and schedule can be found by logging onto Tickets may also be purchased online for event entry and other activities during the expo.

 Story and Photo Gallery:

Katara Simmons/News-Sun 
A plane comes in for a landing Thursday during the Aviation Expo in Sebring. The event featured gliders, homebuilts, ultralights, seaplanes and a variety of experimental aircraft.

Airport mascot memorializing bird dog attempts journey across US, 10 countries: Augusta Regional (KAGS), Georgia

A border collie that chased birds off the runway at Augusta Regional Airport for 10 years will be memorialized in an attempt to send a plush dog on a journey around the world.

In tribute to Mayday, a traveling dog mascot will try to visit all 50 states and 10 countries with pilots and passengers on private aircraft. A second mascot, Little Miss Mayday, will accompany families departing the airport for family vacations.

“Together, these two travelers will help promote the love of aviation in the hearts of the young and old alike,” the airport’s communications manager, Lauren Smith, said in a news release.

Mayday, a rescue dog, was added to the airport staff in 2001 to chase birds and other wildlife off airport property. She was trained at Dover Air Force Base’s Bird Strike Control Program to respond to whistles and commands given by her handler, Tina Rhodes.

During her tenure, Mayday recovered from a snake bite and surgery to remove a benign tumor from her leg. Mayday retired in December 2010 at age 14 and died in October 2011.

Children in grades one through eight interested in temporarily adopting Little Miss Mayday should write a one-page essay explaining why the stuffed dog should go on their family vacation. Four students, who must be departing the airport, will be selected each year.

Essays must include vacation destination, departure and arrival dates, and contact information for a parent or legal guardian. The first deadline for submissions is Jan. 29.

E-mail essays to or to 1501 Aviation Way, Augusta, GA 30906, Attention: Lauren Smith.

For more information and traveling mascot program guidelines, visit


Mayday rests in her owners backyard. The dog used to chase birds away at the Augusta airport.

$7.2 Million in Cash Found at Panama Airport: 3 Arrested, 25 Officers Suspended Over Drug Money

$7.2 million in cash was found at a Panama airport stuffed into eight suitcases this week. Panamanian police described it as their biggest bust ever, and while three men have been arrested so far, their investigation is ongoing.

The $7.2 million in cash found belonged to a well-known drug cartel, according to police. The suitcases were brought from Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to Tocumen International Aiport in Panama by three Honduran men aged 41, 39, and 32.

After the men got off of the flight, police managed to catch them smuggling the money in once they discovered a second, hidden compartment in all of their luggage bags. The fake bottoms were removed and police found huge bundles of cash in $100 bills.

Authorities had been tipped off by intelligence that was gathered pointing to drug money coming through Tocumen Airport, chief drug prosecutor Javier Caraballo told local news.

Now the investigation has turned to Honduras, as police try to find out how such a large amount of money slipped by airport authorities, drug police and special investigators at Toncontin airport.

So far 32 people have been suspended or fired, with 25 of them being police officers, Reuben Martel, director of the National Bureau of Special Investigation, told Five airport x-ray technicians were fired, and two officers from the Directorate for Combating Drug Trafficking were also let go.


A policeman guards $7.2 million USD in bundles during a news conference in Panama.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

American Champion 8KCAB Decathlon, N469J, American Champion Aircraft Corporation: Accident occurred January 15, 2014 in Holland, New Jersey

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA093
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Holland, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/27/2015
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 8KCAB, registration: N469J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The pilot had recently purchased the newly-manufactured airplane from the factory and was returning to his home airport when the accident occurred. The weather conditions initially forecast in the vicinity of the destination airport before the pilot's departure generally were consistent with visual meteorological conditions; however, by the time the pilot was within 50 miles of the destination airport, the forecast and actual weather conditions had deteriorated to instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Shortly before the accident, a witness observed the airplane as it flew low above the ground in visibilities of about 150 yards in dense fog. The airplane subsequently impacted the tops of trees located near the peak of rising terrain before impacting the ground. The orientation and length of the wreckage path were consistent with a controlled flight into terrain impact sequence. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

The accident airplane was not equipped for flight IMC, nor did the pilot hold an instrument rating. A handheld tablet computer along with a device capable of receiving in-flight weather updates was recovered from the wreckage. It could not be determined if the pilot had used the device to observe the changing weather conditions during the accident flight; however, the pilot also could have used outside visual references and could have tuned the onboard communications radio to weather reporting stations located along the route of flight and noted that weather conditions ahead had deteriorated to IMC. Upon encountering IMC, the pilot could have diverted the flight to allow weather conditions to improve rather than continuing to the planned destination.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's continued visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, resulting in controlled flight into trees and terrain.


On January 15, 2014, at 1607 eastern standard time, an American Champion Aircraft 8KCAB, N469J, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight, which departed New Castle Municipal Airport (UCP), New Castle, Pennsylvania, and was destined for Alexandria Airport (N85), Pittstown, New Jersey, was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to representatives of the airframe manufacturer, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane, and had departed from their factory in Rochester, Wisconsin, on the morning of the accident to return to his home airport of N85. A handheld GPS device was recovered from the wreckage and its contents downloaded. Review of the data showed that the pilot departed from Fox River Airport (96C), Fox River, Wisconsin about 1004, and arrived at De Kalb County Airport (GWB), Auburn, Indiana about 1129. A fuel receipt recovered from the wreckage noted that the pilot serviced the airplane with 21 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel at GWB at 1143. 

The pilot subsequently departed GWB about 1203 and landed at UCP about 1335. The pilot then departed UCP about 1352 on the accident flight. The airplane's final GPS-recorded position was logged at 1607:24, in the vicinity of the accident site. 

About that time, a witness reported that while working on a tractor at her dairy farm, she was startled by the sound of a low-flying airplane. She stated that despite the noise of the operating tractor, she heard the airplane overfly her position directly, heading to the east. The airplane sounded "very loud," and the engine sound was smooth and continuous. She looked up and saw the silhouette of an airplane, but due to the dense fog in the area, she could not discern its type or configuration. She believed that the airplane was flying at an altitude above the ground that was less than the height of the nearby high voltage transmission towers, which she estimated to be about 150 feet tall. The elevation at the point where the witness observed the airplane was 232 feet.

After losing sight of the airplane, she dismounted her tractor and attempted look for the it, but again could not see farther than about 125 yards due to the fog. Several seconds later she smelled a unique odor, that she later realized was likely aviation fuel, after having heard reports that an airplane was missing in the area. She subsequently contacted local authorities and advised them that she believed that the airplane may have crashed somewhere near her farm.

The accident site was subsequently located about 2,800 feet east of where the witness last observed the airplane. 


The accident airplane was certificated in both the normal and acrobatic categories, and manufactured in December 2013. It was equipped with basic flight instrumentation including an altimeter, vertical speed indicator, airspeed indicator, and turn coordinator. It was not equipped for instrument flight, and no attitude or heading indicators were installed. The airplane was equipped with a single communications radio as well as a transponder, but no navigation radios were installed. A handheld GPS and a tablet computer running aviation flight planning/navigation software were recovered from the accident site. A handheld automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast receiver was also recovered, which among other features, was capable of providing textual and graphic weather products in-flight.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with numerous ratings, including airplane single engine land. He did not hold an instrument rating. The pilot's personal flight logs were not recovered. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 6, 2012, and on that date he reported 4,000 total hours of flight experience.


The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1600 depicted a cold front extending from eastern New York and Pennsylvania, and into western New Jersey, Maryland, and southward into Virginia. The accident site was located in the immediate vicinity of the cold front. Numerous station models depicted light winds, overcast clouds, with visibility restricted in fog, temperatures around 5 degrees Celsus (C), with temperature-dew point spreads several degrees C or less. The general route of flight from Indiana to New Jersey was characterized by overcast clouds with scattered snow showers.

The NWS Weather Depiction Chart for 1400 showed a large area of marginal VFR conditions over Illinois, Indiana, into Ohio and then into Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, with IFR conditions over eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey in the vicinity of the accident site due to fog.

The national radar mosaic for 1615 depicted a small band of very light intensity echoes along the Appalachian mountains in the vicinity of the accident site associated with stratiform clouds and potential drizzle, and an area of light reflectivity further west stretching from New York southwestward into West Virginia.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 13, infrared and visible images at 1615 depicted an area of low to mid-level stratiform clouds and fog over eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey, which extended over the accident site. The radiative cloud top temperature over the accident site was 265 degrees Kelvin or -8.16 degrees C, which corresponded to cloud tops near 10,000 feet.

The area forecast encompassing the accident site was updated at 1345, and for the area of New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, forecast broken clouds at 5,000 feet with cloud tops at 7,000 feet. Through 1600, occasional periods of visibilities between 3 and 5 statute miles in mist were forecast, and at 1600, a broken ceiling at 6,000 feet. The outlook advised of visual meteorological conditions. The area forecast was amended by an AIRMET issued at 1436, and for the area encompassing the accident site, included ceilings below 1,000 feet, visibilities below 3 statute miles in mist and fog, with those conditions forecast to end by 1600. An updated AIRMET was issued at 1545 which advised of ceilings below 1,000 feet, visibilities below 3 statute miles in precipitation and mist, continuing beyond 2200.

Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), Allentown, PA, was located approximately 15 miles west of the accident site at an elevation of 394 feet. The weather conditions reported at 1551 included winds from 320 degrees true at 4 knots, 1/4 statute mile visibility in fog, vertical visibility 300 feet, temperature and dew point of 3 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of mercury. At 1724, the reported weather conditions at ABE improved to a visibility of 2 statute miles in mist, and a broken ceiling at 1,600 feet. 

ABE was located 20 nautical miles west of the destination airport, and issued several updated terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAF) throughout the accident day, which forecast local weather conditions around the time of the accident. The TAF issued at 0900 anticipated that conditions between 1300 and 1900 would include winds from 230 degrees true at 6 knots, greater than 6 statute miles visibility, and broken clouds at 3,500 feet. An amended TAF issued at 1233 anticipated that those same conditions would predominate between 1500 and 1900.

The 1255 TAF included current conditions of variable winds at 2 knots, 1/4 statute mile visibility in fog, a vertical visibility of 200 feet, and that temporarily between 1500 and 1700, the conditions would improve to a visibility of 2 statute miles in mist and an overcast ceiling of 200 feet. Current and forecast conditions did not improve during subsequent hourly issuances of the forecast. The 1456 TAF included current conditions of winds from 340 degrees at 4 knots, 1/4 statute mile visibility in fog, and a vertical visibility of 200 feet. Temporarily between 1500 and 1700, the forecast conditions included 1 statute mile visibility in mist, and an overcast ceiling at 200 feet. Beyond 1700, the forecast called for winds from 270 degrees at 4 knots, greater than 6 statute miles visibility, and an overcast ceiling at 3,500 feet.

Quakertown Airport (UKT), Quakertown, Pennsylvania, was located 20 nautical miles southwest of the destination airport at an elevation of 525 feet, and the airplane passed about 2 nautical miles north of the airport at 1602. The weather conditions reported at 1555 included calm winds, 3/4 statute mile visibility, an overcast ceiling at 100 feet, temperature and dew point of 4 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of mercury.


N85 was located at an elevation of 480 feet, and was served by a single, non-precision instrument approach procedure. The airport was comprised of two crossing runways oriented in a 08/26 and 13/31 configuration. The closest airports with official weather reporting capabilities were located between 16 and 20 nautical miles away. 


The initial impact point (IIP) was identified as an area of tree strikes near the crest of a hill, at an elevation of 417 feet. The tree strikes were about 50 feet above ground level. A wreckage path extended beyond the initial tree strikes on a magnetic heading of 100 degrees for about 460 feet. Broken tree branches, broken windscreen and side window pieces, pieces of the airplane's fabric covering, and inspection covers were distributed along the wreckage path. A ground scar was located about 300 feet beyond the IIP, and was about 5 feet long and 2 feet wide. 

The main portion of the wreckage came to rest beyond an embankment, on a ledge. Both of the wings were largely separated from the fuselage, but remained attached by the aileron control cable and one wing strut on the right side. The forward portion of the fuselage and firewall were deformed and displaced aft. The portion of the fuselage aft of the instrument panel remained largely intact. The empennage and tail control surfaces remained relatively intact with the exception of the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator, which were bent downward at a near 90-degree angle. 

Control continuity was traced from both cockpit control sticks to the elevator and aileron control horns, and from the rudder pedals to the rudder control horn. The altimeter was found set to 29.70 inches of mercury.

The pilot was discovered by first responders seated in the front seat. Examination of the installed five-point restraint system showed two cuts made by first responders to the lap belt and groin strap, with the system otherwise intact. The lap belt and groin strap latch were found fastened together; however the shoulder harnesses were not fastened and found hanging from their mount point. 

The engine remained attached to its mounts and displayed significant impact-related damage to the number one cylinder and exhaust system, while the number two and four cylinders displayed relatively less impact damage. Both of the wooden propeller blades were broken off at the propeller hub. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand via the propeller hub, and thumb compression and suction were obtained on cylinders number one and three. Movement was observed at all rocker arms except the number four cylinder intake arm, which was impact-damaged. Crankshaft and camshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory gears.

The spark plugs were removed and appeared unremarkable. Both magnetos were secure on their mounts. They were subsequently removed and rotated by an electric drill motor, which produced spark at all terminal leads. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed from its mount and when actuated by hand, it produced suction and compression. The fuel flow divider was removed and dismantled, with no defects were observed. The oil suction screen was removed and was found absent of debris.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Forensic Pathology Services, LLC at the Hunterdon County Medical Examiner's Office, Flemington, New Jersey. The stated cause of death was, "multiple blunt force trauma."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. No carbon monoxide, ethanol, or drugs were detected in the samples submitted.


Handheld GPS Data

A Garmin GPSMAP 496 handheld GPS device was recovered from the wreckage and found to be in good condition. The portable GPS receiver was capable of storing date, route-of-flight, and flight-time information for up to 50 flights. A detailed tracklog – including latitude, longitude, date, time, and groundspeed information – was stored within the unit whenever the receiver had a lock on the GPS navigation signal. All recorded data was stored in non-volatile memory. The unit contained hardware and software permitting the download of recorded waypoint, route, and tracklog information to a PC via a built-in serial port. Power was applied to the unit using NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory equipment, and device startup was consistent with normal operation. GPS data was downloaded using normal methods and Garmin's Mapsource software. The data extracted included 32 sessions from August 24, 2013 through January 15, 2014.

A three-dimensional plot of the accident flight was prepared overlaying the GPS data onto an orthographically projected terrain map. Review of the plot showed that the airplane generally maintained a GPS altitude of between 2,000 and 3,000 feet for the enroute portion of the flight. About 1604, the airplane began descending from its previously established altitude of 3,000 feet, and for a period of 32 seconds between 1604:46 and 1605:18, descended at an average rate of about 1,600 feet per minute. 

By 1605:58, the airplane had descended to a GPS altitude of about 1,100 feet, which calculated to be about 600 feet above the terrain in that area. At the point where the airplane overflew the witness's farm, it was about 375 feet above the terrain, and when the airplane's final GPS position was recorded at 1607:24, it was about 270 feet above the terrain. The airplane's final recorded track was oriented roughly toward the destination airport, which was located about 5.6 nautical miles east of the accident site. 

FAA Advisory Circular 61-134

In April 2003, the FAA published Advisory Circular 61-134, General Aviation Controlled Flight into Terrain Awareness. The circular stated in part:

"Operating in marginal VFR [visual flight rules]/IMC conditions is more commonly known as scud running. According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA data, one of the leading causes of GA accidents is continued VFR flight into IMC. As defined in 14 CFR part 91, ceiling, cloud, or visibility conditions less than that specified for VFR or Special VFR is IMC and IFR [instrument flight rules] applies. However, some pilots, including some with instrument ratings, continue to fly VFR in conditions less than that specified for VFR. The result is often a CFIT [controlled flight into terrain] accident when the pilot tries to continue flying or maneuvering beneath a lowering ceiling and hits an obstacle or terrain or impacts water. The accident may or may not be a result of a loss of control before the aircraft impacts the obstacle or surface. The importance of complete weather information, understanding the significance of the weather information, and being able to correlate the pilot's skills and training, aircraft capabilities, and operating environment with an accurate forecast cannot be emphasized enough."

The circular concludes with several recommendations to avoid CFIT-type accidents which in part included:
"(1) Noninstrument rated VFR pilots should not attempt to fly in IMC.
(2) Know and fly above minimum published safe altitudes. VFR: Fly a minimum of 1,000 feet above the highest terrain in your immediate operating area in nonmountainous areas. Fly a minimum of 2,000 feet in mountainous areas."

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA093
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Holland, NJ
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 8KCAB, registration: N469J
Injuries: 1 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 January 15, 2014, about 1615 eastern standard time, an American Champion Aircraft 8KCAB, N469J, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near Holland, New Jersey. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight, which departed De Kalb County Airport (GWB), Auburn, Indiana, and was destined for Alexandria Airport (N85), Pittstown, New Jersey, was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to representatives of the airframe manufacturer, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane, and had departed from their factory in Rochester, Wisconsin, on the morning of the accident to return to his home airport of N85. A fuel receipt recovered from the wreckage noted that the pilot serviced the airplane with 21 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel at GWB at 1143.

A witness reported that while working on a tractor at her dairy farm, she was startled by the sound of a low-flying airplane. She stated that despite the noise of the operating tractor, she heard the airplane overfly her position directly, heading to the east. The airplane sounded "very loud," and the engine sound was smooth and continuous. She looked up and saw the silhouette of an airplane, but due to the dense fog in the area, she could not discern its type or configuration. She believed that the airplane was flying at an altitude above the ground that was less than the nearby high voltage transmission towers, which were estimated to be about 150 feet tall. The elevation at the point where the witness observed the accident airplane was 232 feet mean sea level (msl).

After losing sight of the airplane, she dismounted her tractor and attempted look for the airplane, but again could not see farther than about 125 yards due to the fog. Several seconds later she smelled a unique odor, that she later realized was likely aviation fuel, after having heard reports that an airplane was missing in the area. She subsequently contacted local authorities and advised them that she believed that the airplane may have crashed somewhere near her farm.

The accident site was subsequently located about 2,800 feet east of where the witness last observed the airplane.

The initial impact point (IIP) was identified as an area of tree strikes near the crest of a hill, at an elevation of 417 feet msl. The tree strikes were about 50 feet above ground level. A wreckage path extended beyond the initial tree strikes on a magnetic heading of 100 degrees for about 460 feet.

An examination of the airframe and engine were scheduled for a later date.

Joseph “Joe” Borin

Joseph “Joe” Borin, of Whitehouse Station, NJ, died on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, in a tragic airplane accident. He was 71 years old. Joe was born on March 14, 1942, and raised in Middlesex Borough, NJ. He graduated from Bound Brook High School in 1960. 

Joe was a loving and generous Dad and Pop Pop, while still working and enjoying life to the fullest every day. He was the successful business owner of Superior Custom Kitchens in Warren, NJ for over fifty years with his long-time business partner and friend, Jack Barna. He enabled and encouraged his family and friends to adventure with him around the globe, scuba diving, snorkeling, exploring by motorcycle, and enjoying nature. He was a great friend to so many and rallied around his Tuesday night dinner crew, “The Romeos.” He volunteered his time with students at Mane Stream, participated in many air shows, and always jumped at the chance to take someone new up to feel the magic of flying.

Joe’s thirty-year flying history included owning and flying hang-gliders, gyrocopters, a rebuilt “Mash” helicopter, a Glassair, Super Decathlon, BT-13, Stearman PT-17, Breezy, hot air balloons, and countless homebuilt ultralights and weedhoppers. He has been described by his friends and family as a pilot’s pilot, a true aviator, a man who represents the spirit and essence of flying, and a wondrous adventurer. He volunteered his time introducing youth to the love of flying at Alexandria airport camps and flew in many ceremonies celebrating veterans using his many World War II airplanes, complete with smoke and acrobatics. His “second home” was Alexandria Field where he owned and flew several airplanes with an incredible community of dedicated aviators.

He is predeceased by his loving father and mother, Eugene and Sabina Borin. He is survived by his true companion and best friend, Donna Greves of Whitehouse Station; his three daughters, Kimberly Borin of Lebanon, Heidi Schumann and her husband Christopher of Lebanon, and Gabrielle Borin and her husband Joe Shellhammer of Fort Collins, CO; his former wife, Barbara Borin; his beloved cousin, Anne Pellegrin of Lancaster, PA; his dear sister, Mary Palazzi of Middlesex; his adored grandchildren, Hunter James and Annie Rose Schumann, and Alexandria Rose Shellhammer; along with his niece Linda and nephews David and Paul Palazzi.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2014, from 12:00-4:00PM at the Kearns Funeral Home, 103 Old Hwy 28, Whitehouse, NJ 08888. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mane Stream, Inc, PO Box 305, 83 Old Turnpike Rd, Oldwick, NJ 08858; or to sponsor a Young Aviator at Alexandria Field Summer Camp, please email Linda at


When Jack Barna wanted to start a custom kitchen business in 1961, the first person he called was his high school classmate, Joe Borin.

The two men grew up together in Middlesex and graduated from Bound Brook High School. They started Superior Custom Kitchens in Warren.

On Wednesday night, Borin, 71, of the Whitehouse Station section of Readington, died when the single-engine Citabria plane he was flying crashed in a remote part of Hunterdon County in Holland Township off Route 627. Authorities said he was the only person on the plane.

Barna said Borin recently purchased the plane and was flying it back from Wisconsin. Authorities couldn’t confirm or deny that.

“He loved flying,” Barna said. “That was his passion. He was a very good pilot.”

Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III said it took search teams almost five hours to find the plane because of weather conditions and the remote location of the crash site. The crash occurred at about 5 p.m.

“We believe Mr. Borin was attempting to reach Alexandria Field in dense fog and rain,” Kearns said. “The crash investigation is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.”

According to Kearns, witnesses called Hunterdon County Communications reporting that they heard what sounded like a small plane crash in a remote location off Route 627.

Borin was remembered at Alexandria Field as a pilot who enjoyed mentoring young people.

“He (Borin) took a great deal of pride working with young kids when we had camps here,” said the airport’s co-woner, Linda Castner. “He has a long history of aviation. There will be a big hole in aviation because he’s not here.”

Castner said Borin had been flying for more than 30 years. When the weather was suitable, Borin would fly twice a day, she said.

“He was a beloved advocate of general aviation,” Castner said.

Borin enjoyed showing off his vintage Stearman plane to young people during Solberg-Hunterdon Airport’s open house in Readington and often led flyovers with other pilots in World War II planes during events in Central Jersey honoring veterans.

“He started with hang gliders and worked his way into airplanes,” Barna said. “He used to do stunt flying.

“He was a hard and diligent worker. He was a good partner.”

Anyone with information about the crash should contact the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-788-1129.

Joe Borin, standing next to a plane during one of Alexandria Field's summer camps, was a mentor to young people interested in aviation. He died Wednesday night when his plane crashed in a rural part of Hunterdon County.
 / Photo courtesy Alexandria Field 

Joe Borin, seen here with his granddaughter Annie Rose, was an avid pilot. The Readington Township resident died Wednesday night when his small plane crashed in Holland Township in Hunterdon County 
Courtesy Superior Custom Kitchens

Updated Friday, January 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM  

HOLLAND TWP. — Township police this morning closed a section of Route 627 (Riegelsville-Milford Road), apparently related to the small plane crash Wednesday evening which claimed the life of the pilot, a Readington Township man.

A piece of the road in the area called “The Narrows” between Spring Garden and Crab Apple roads was closed around 8:30 “until further notice,” according to an alert issued by HART Commuter Information Services. A spokesman for the county Road Department said the police had requested barricades to close the road, and no other information was available from the county.

The closing may be for the planned removal of the plane, which will be done by a company hired by an insurance company, according to an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. The plane was a new, American Champion Super Decathlon, which purchaser Joseph Borin was flying back from Wisconsin.

The federal probe was to continue today, so personnel could gather evidence that is destroyed when the plane is removed, including how it came to rest. The investigators also want to hear from anybody who heard or saw anything that could help them determined why the plane crashed.

The Hunterdon Prosecutor held a press conference at the municipal building in Holland Township on Jan. 16, following a pilot that died in a plane crash.
(Photos by Renee Kiriluk-Hill) 

Dennis Diaz, air safety inspector for the National Transportation Safety Board, discusses Wednesday’s plane crash in Holland Township in the township municipal building. 

HOLLAND TWP. — A National Transportation Safety Board investigator said this afternoon that a preliminary report into yesterday's plane crash, in which Readington Township resident Joseph Borin died, should be issued within two weeks but won't say why the accident happened. 

Air safety investigator Dennis Diaz said that the initial report will say "when and where" the crash happened, but the "why and how" could take a year.

He said it appears that Borin's plane crashed at about 4 p.m. on Jan. 15, and is asking any "eye or ear" witnesses to reach out to the NTSB.

Today and tomorrow, Diaz said, his agency is gathering "perishable evidence," that is destroyed when the plane is removed, including how it "came to rest" and the environmental conditions.
A recovery company "hired by the insurance company" will remove the wreckage, he said. The plane did not catch fire and did not break up when it crashed, Diaz said.

He praised searchers who found the plane at about 10 p.m. yesterday, calling the terrain around the crash site "difficult ... steep, muddy, wet."

The wreckage is down an embankment, according to Diaz, which "can make re covery more difficult."

The plane will be moved to a facility in Delaware for the follow-up investigation, which will involve records related to the weather, airplane and Borin, 71, including the pilot's medical records filed with the FAA.

According to Diaz, a portable GPS and personal tablet have been recovered from the downed plane.

Borin was co-owner of Superior Custom Kitchens in Warren and a pilot for about 30 years. His destination yesterday was Alexandria Field. Airport co-owner Linda Castner said that he was returning from Wisconsin with his new airplane.

Story and pictures show the press conference and surrounding area in Holland Township:

 (Photos by Renee Kiriluk-Hill) 

 The Hunterdon Prosecutor held a press conference at the municipal building in Holland Township on Jan. 16, following a pilot that died in a plane crash.