Monday, January 13, 2014

Ex-Pratt Worker Allegedly Tried To Ship F-35 Files To Iran: Company Says It Is Cooperating With Authorities

Pratt & Whitney said Monday it is cooperating with authorities after federal agents arrested a former employee for trying to ship documents to Iran related to the U.S. military's Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The East Hartford defense contractor, the sole manufacturer of the aircraft's engine, declined to comment on how Mozaffar Khazaee, 59, slipped thousands of pages of documents, diagrams, blueprints and technical manuals out the door before he was laid off in August along with hundreds of other employees.

Federal authorities arrested Khazaee at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Thursday before he could board a plane bound for Frankfurt, Germany, to meet a connecting flight to Tehran, Iran, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut.

Pratt and the Pentagon are highly sensitive about compliance and security issues after the company paid $75 million to settle charges that it violated arms control laws and made false statements about exporting software to China for military helicopters.

Company spokesman Ray Hernandez said in an emailed statement that the company "has been fully cooperating with the government on this matter and will continue to do so."

The evidence against Khazaee — filed in an affidavit that was unsealed by a federal judge in Bridgeport after the arrest was made — shows how authorities learned of his plan to ship dozens of boxes, labeled as household goods, to western Iran on a large container ship. Documents filed by federal agents do not address a motive.

In October, Khazaee hired a company to ship the boxes from his apartment on Oakland Street in Manchester to the port in Long Beach, Calif., where they were to be loaded onto the NYK Libra, according to court documents.

In late November, customs agents at the port inspected the shipment and found the documents, and days later identified them as belonging to three separate companies. Documents obtained by federal authorities indicated that the ultimate recipient of the shipment would be Khazaee's brother-in-law, Mohammad Payendah in Hamadan, Iran, the affidavit said.

Khazaee became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991, according to the affidavit. He holds U.S. and Iranian passports and has traveled to Iran five times in the past seven years.

The shipment mainly contained documents related to military aircraft engines, including the F-35 Lightning II built by Lockheed Martin and what federal agents referred to as the J136 engine, which could refer to the F136 engine designed, though ultimately not built, by General Electric and Rolls-Royce for the F-35.

The shipment also included cookware, dishes, an English-Persian dictionary, medicine bottles, college documents, printed emails, an expired Iranian passport and credit card bills addressed to Khazaee's Manchester residence, according to the affidavit.

The bills and medicine bottles identified Khazaee, but so did his fingerprints found on the packaging tape on three of the boxes, according to authorities.

Khazaee worked on a team at Pratt, a division of United Technologies Corp., which conducted strength and durability evaluations for components in all of the company's engines, the F119 engine for the military's F-22 Raptor engine, the affidavit said. He was laid off in August, when Pratt cut about 400 positions throughout the company.

Months later Khazaee left his Manchester apartment and moved to Indianapolis.

Khazaee lived in Indianapolis in 2005, when he filed for bankruptcy after amassing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. According to court documents, he had $69 in cash and owed $53,681.46 when he filed for bankruptcy.

At the time, he was a contractor for Volt Services, a large, technical staffing and job placement company. He listed his place of employment as Rolls-Royce Avenue in Indianapolis.


Federal authorities arrested Mozaffar Khazaee at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Thursday before he could board a plane bound for Frankfurt, Germany, to meet a connecting flight to Tehran, Iran, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut.
 (January 13, 2014)

Ancient DC-3s deliver hope in Colombia, and seat belts are optional



For Colombians who live in isolated jungle villages, flying often involves climbing aboard an American aircraft that made its mark way back in World War II: the twin-engine Douglas DC-3

There aren’t many of these vintage models still in use, but Colombia has its share.

Capt. John Acero and his co-pilot run through the pre-takeoff checklist in the cockpit of one of these DC-3s. This particular one was built in 1944 — and it shows. The compass is held in place with bungee cords; there's no autopilot; and if we go down, the survival kit includes a flare gun and a machete. 

 Fortunately, our flight, departing from the southern Colombian town of San Jose del Guaviare, is smooth. Soon, we touch down in the jungle hamlet of Miraflores, a former cocaine boomtown that was once controlled by Marxist guerrillas.

As we exit the DC-3, its virtues become clear. The dirt airstrip at Miraflores is too short and bumpy for commercial aircraft, but the DC-3 has sturdy landing gear and balloon tires. And its slow speed allows it to put down on runways as short as 600 yards.

Capt. Acero has been flying DC-3s for 27 years, with only a few mishaps. Once the tail of his plane was hit by rebel gunfire, but he managed to bring her in safely.

"These are all-terrain airplanes, the tractors of the skies," Acero tells me. "It doesn't matter if the runway is full of mud or water. This plane is very trustworthy and maneuverable."

In the 1930s and ’40s, the Douglas Aircraft Company built about 16,000 DC-3s. Back then, their speed and range helped reduce the time of coast-to-coast air travel. They transported troops during World War II and supplies during the 1949 Berlin Airlift. Since then, most of the planes have been mothballed. But about a dozen DC-3s provide a lifeline for Miraflores and other remote Colombian villages.

Out here, there are few roads, and in the dry season, rivers are often un-navigable. So, the DC-3 is the only practical way in and out. They haul people, groceries, livestock, even small vehicles. On this flight, our DC-3 is delivering 1,000 gallons of helicopter fuel to the Colombian Army in Miraflores.

As troops transfer the gas to a storage tank, passengers for the return flight rest in the shade under the wings. One of them is Francisco Nieto, a Catholic bishop, who says this vintage aircraft makes people in forgotten outposts like Miraflores feel more connected to modern Colombia.

"These airplanes don't just deliver food and supplies. More than anything, they deliver hope," he says.

While the plane can carry 20 passengers, today, there are only 10. There are no frills here, such as seat-back trays or toilets. Seatbelts are optional. And with no barrier between the pilots and passengers, some wander up to the cockpit for a look.

After we land, mechanics spot brake fluid leaking from the DC-3's left wheel, so they replace a faulty seal. These specialists are a big reason these 70-year-old birds are still flying.

But there are only a few mechanics left in Colombia familiar with the aircraft, and spare parts are getting harder to find. Once the last DC-3 is grounded here, Capt. Acero predicts hard times for places like Miraflores.

"The day they stop flying, it will mean hunger and poverty for these people because no other plane will fly in here," Acero says. "Nothing can replace the DC-3."

Story, Photos, Video:

 Credit: John Otis
Pilot John Acero looks out the window of a DC-3.

 Credit: John Otis
The co pilot looks out the DC-3 window at a jungle river. You can see the compass held in place by bungee cord

 Credit: John Otis
Our DC-3's survival kit, with machete and flare gun.

 Credit: John Otis
Pilot John Acero with hands on the wheel of a DC-3 built in 1944.

Credit: John Otis 
Pilots stand in the shade of the wing of a DC-3 in the hamlet of Miraflores in the Colombian jungle. 

 Credit: John Otis
Flying "no frills": a passenger looks out the window of a DC-3.

Raw Video: Light aircraft in beach drama

A light plane made a successful emergency landing at Martins Bay beach on the Mahurangi Peninsula on Friday but crashed when it tried to take off again.

No-one was hurt when the six-cylinder, 120-horsepower Jabiru landed about 11.30am.

Pilot Dennis Horne of Howick was flying from Ardmore to Whangarei when the plane's new engine cut out about five kilometres off Martins Bay.

He landed on the beach's empty south end.

Luckily, about 500 children on the beach were clustered together at a sandcastle competition at the northern end, Martins Bay Holiday Park manager Linda Brickland says.

Mr Horne says he and passenger Manfred Scherbius transferred fuel from one wing to the other, but when they tried to take off again they made contact with the water, causing the plane to "nosedive" into the sand, breaking its propeller.

The men were not hurt and had to remove the wings so a truck could take the aircraft away. 

Watch Video:

Pilot Dennis Horne, left, and engineer Manfred Scherbius had a lucky escape on Martins Bay beach. 

Pilot forced to land aircraft near Buntingford after propeller fell off during flight

A pilot who was forced to land a microlight plane because the propeller “departed from the aircraft” is no closer to the cause of his mid-air drama.

The 68-year-old pilot of the aircraft, which is owned by a Welwyn man, had to make an emergency landing on land at Westmill near Buntingford, after hearing a loud bang in mid flight.

He then experienced a loss of thrust and landed the aircraft in an “uneventful forced landing”.

Upon landing he discovered that the propeller had flown off during his flight.

A report into the incident, which occurred on the morning of July 26, 2013, failed to determine the cause of the mechanical failure.

The microlight was a 2007 built Kolb Firefly and the pilot had more than 4,985 hours of flying experience.


US downgrade may hurt Air India, Jet alliances: The airlines will have to snap ties with American counterparts

New Delhi: India’s two biggest airlines, state-run Air India Ltd and Jet Airways (India) Ltd, could be worse hit than previously thought and may lose their code-sharing privilege on US routes if the US aviation regulator downgrades India’s air safety ranking over the coming fortnight.

The airlines will have to snap ties with American counterparts—a move that may have an impact on Air India’s entry into the prestigious Star Alliance and Jet Airways’ plan to integrate its network with that of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC, which has bought a stake in it.

As known earlier, Air India and Jet Airways would be barred from increasing flights to the US if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgrades India’s air safety ranking to so-called Category II. The FAA in December inspected the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to determine if it had taken action to correct 33 deficiencies that came to light in a September audit.

The two airlines’ existing flights would also be subjected to additional checks at American airports.

Air India announced last year that it would be joining Star Alliance, the biggest club of world airlines. Jet, which sold a 24% stake to Etihad Airways for $379 million, plans to align its network with that of Etihad, especially for passenger traffic to the US and Europe.

While a downgrade, if at all it happens, does not reflect on the safety of India’s airlines—the rankings measure the ability of the Indian regulator to follow safety procedures and not that of the airlines—India risks being perceived in a negative light.

A Category II safety rating means the civil aviation authority does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel and record-keeping or inspection procedures, according to FAA.

“It is true that US airlines can’t have code share with Category 2 country,” John Goglia, a former member of the US’ accident investigation board, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said in an email. Goglia said he wasn’t aware of the most recent views of the FAA on the audit.
Code-sharing is an agreement between two airlines by which both can sell seats to customers on the same flight.

Air India does not have a code-share agreement with any US carrier. It flies non-stop to New York and Chicago but places its code on Deutsche Lufthansa AG flights to US cities like Detroit.

Star Alliance has United Airlines as a member and airlines in the grouping have to typically sign code share agreements with fellow members. Jet Airways already has a code share agreement with United Airlines for flights to many US cities.

Air India said it had not received any information on the subject and therefore cannot make any comments.

Jet and United Airlines declined to comment for this story.

Star Alliance said code-share agreements can only be allowed between two airlines when the respective governments approve them.

“Whilst code-sharing is one of the benefits provided through Alliance membership, entering into such code-share relationships is always subject to the necessary government approval. Hence the Air India integration process can proceed even if in some cases code-sharing is not possible due to government restrictions,” Star Alliance spokesman Markus Ruediger said in an email from Frankfurt, Germany.

German airline Lufthansa is the mentor for Air India’s induction into Star Alliance, which has to be completed in 2014.

“We have no comment at this time,” an FAA spokeswoman said in an email from Washington. In November, the Prime Minister’s Office intervened in the matter with the Prime Minister’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterji, foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and then aviation secretary K.N. Srivastava and other top civil servants reviewing the issue.

The Indian government expects a communication from the FAA within a fortnight.

“We are expecting the communication within this week or fortnight. Meanwhile we continue to supply updates to FAA on whatever improvements we are doing on some of the points they made,” said a government official who declined to be named

Jet Airways’ former chief executive Steve Forte, who is based in New York, said FAA needs to stop short of a downgrade, given India’s safety record.

“If there are still unresolved issues (I believe there are) I would prefer to see a “non-downgrade” decision..,” said Forte, “in other words recognition on the part of the FAA that work is being done towards the satisfactory resolution of outstanding issues and, as such, a mutual agreement between the local DGCA and the FAA with an official timeline to complete the work within reasonable parameters.”


Glider’s emergency landing posed no danger to the public

A glider forced into an emergency landing metres away from a busy beach posed no danger to the public.

The aircraft came down on Saturday morning at Salterns open space near to Hill Head Beach.

It had been supposed to land at Daedalus Airfield following a training exercise.

But the chief flying instructor at the Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre said the emergency landing posed no risk to those on the beach.

However, David Cousins, who was on the beach at the time the glider came down, insisted he and others had to take action.

He said: ‘It was probably more of a lucky escape for the people on the beach than the pilot.

‘I had to dive on my front and shout at another lady to duck down. It was really that bad. I’m amazed this will not be investigated.’

Mr World, chief flying instructor at the Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre, based in Lee-on-the-Solent, said: ‘The problem with gliders is they are engineless. You are very reliant upon the air currents and any lift you get.

‘She was coming back and she got into areas of sink where you get pockets of sinking air.

‘Gliders end up landing in fields at some time or other.

‘Around the airfield there are fields that we know we can get into as part of training,’ he said.

‘If there were people walking their dogs on it then there’s a field further on that she could have landed on.

‘She has to be low over the beach to get into the park. She was much higher than people on the beach.

‘I have spoken to the pilot and she was always going to land in Salterns Park. She identified there was nobody in the park from a long way out.

‘We train for this all the time. It doesn’t happen very often.

‘Landing outside the airfield might happen once or twice a year.’

Hampshire police contacted the Air Traffic Investigation Branch but they declined carrying out an investigation.

Story, Photos and Comments/Reaction:

A glider is forced to make an emergency landing metres away from Hill Head beach. 
Picture: Richard Berridge

Police appeal after fuel stolen from Shobdon Airfield

Police in Herefordshire are appealing for information in connection with the theft of waste fuel from Shobdon Airfield, near Leominster.

The 50-litres of fuel – a mixture of aviation gasoline and kerosene – was stored in two black plastic drums in a concrete shed at the airfield.

Sometime between 4.30pm on December 28 and 9am on December 29, burglars prised off a padlock securing the shed door.

The two drums and contents – belonging to Herefordshire Aero Club Ltd with a value of £50 – were stolen along with the padlock, valued at £10.

The bolt mechanism, valued at £15, was also damaged.

Police officers, who made their appeal today, would like to hear from anyone who has been offered cheap fuel or has overheard anyone bragging about running their vehicle on “jet fuel”.

The stolen waste fuel will cause any vehicle to run poorly.

Anyone with information can call Herefordshire police on 101 with incident number 307s 030114 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


New book examines plane crash that killed Hollywood star, Fort Wayne native Carole Lombard

A coin toss. Weather delays. A clear but moonless night. An unplanned refueling stop. 

 All factored into the Jan. 16, 1942, plane crash that killed Fort Wayne native and Hollywood star Carole Lombard, her mother and 20 others on board.

But author Robert Matzen believes the biggest factor likely was the co-pilot filing the wrong flight plan, which sent them toward Mount Potosi southwest of Las Vegas.

“The aircraft hit a vertical cliff at perfectly level flight,” Matzen, author of the new book “Fireball: Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3” (GoodKnight Books, $26.95), said during a phone interview. “They had almost reached what they thought was the right cruising altitude, but they were 300 feet too low.”

The book, which will be released Thursday, delves into Lombard's life, the crash and the background of the plane's crew and other passengers. A limited number of copies also were released in December for the Christmas shopping season.

Read more here:

By omgleafs

By Bobbysoxer2

On January 16, 1942, the United States was only a month or so into World War II. Carole Lombard, famous Hollywood actress originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, was returning to southern California from a War Bond drive in Indianapolis.

Trans Continental and Western Air (TWA) flight 3, a DC-3 (tail number NC1946) from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, had landed at Las Vegas at 6:30 pm, refueled, and climbed into a clear winter sky at 7:07 PM on a flight plan that would take it to 8,000 feet across the deserts and mountains of the southwestern USA.

Fifteen minutes later and 32 miles SW of Las Vegas, at an altitude of a little more than 6,000 feet and 6.7 miles off course, the plane hit 8,700 foot Table Mountain (AKA Double Up Peak) in the Mount Potosi range southwest of Las Vegas. All 22 souls on board, including Carole Lombard, her mother, and 15 soldiers perished.

This flight should have been routine and safe, but the new war conditions required that certain radio beacons be blacked out.

Clark Gable, her husband, immediately flew to the crash site. Despite the clear weather, rescuers found it difficult to climb to the crash site. The ensuing fire was still visible in the night sky, and the worst fears of all were confirmed when all were found dead.

This is one of those inexplicable accidents that should never have happened. The plane had been serviced and checked and was in good condition. The crew was experienced over this route. The weather was clear with no storms, and enough navigational aids were functioning to allow for a safe flight.

This simulation is set a couple of hours earlier than the actual time of the crash so that a glow is still in the sky and the mountain can be seen against the setting sun. At the actual time of the crash, the sky would have been dark.

Too early to say what caused plane crash - – Guyana Civil Aviation Authority removes Cessna 206 from site

Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Director Zulficar Mohammed on Sunday confirmed that the Cessna 206 aircraft that crashed during takeoff at the Ogle International Airport (OIA) on Saturday has been removed from the site and is being stored at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) hangar.

He said the aircraft was examined by GCAA officials on Saturday, but it is too early to disclose what might have been the reason for the crash. He said investigations will resume early today.

The plane, he noted, will again be inspected and once all the questions would have been answered, a report will be made known to the public. As of now, with the little information at their disposal, no pronouncement will be made as to who have erred.

Mohammed said his team of investigators will meet with the pilot of the aircraft today as they have not had the opportunity to speak with him.

Guyana Times understands that the Cessna 206 registered to Fenix Airways was given clearance by the OAI control tower to take off, but failed in its bid.

This publication was also told that investigators are exploring the possibility that the aircraft might have been overladen when it took off.

According to the airline’s Administration and Finance Manager Eddie Soolal, the pilot Raul Seecharran and passenger Zorena Alli were discharged from the Dr Balwant Singh Hospital, and pregnant Shenika Munroe remains a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Soolal added that the company is making sure that the patient received the best medical attention, pointing out that her health has not deteriorated. He explained that she is expected to be discharged today. 


The official added that the company has not decided on compensation just yet, reiterating that the passengers involved did not receive serious injuries.

However, he noted that with the aircraft now down, the company’s services to the interior will be affected.

He also confirmed that the aircraft was fully insured by an insurance company in England and is also covered by Caricom Insurance Company in Guyana.

Soolal said once the local insurance company investigates and sends its findings to the overseas company, it will in turn refund the airline.

The finance manager also told Guyana Times that he did not speak with the pilot to get a firsthand insight as to what might have went wrong.

“He was hospitalised so we didn’t want to push the issue… we know that he is traumatized.”

The accident occurred about 09:30h while the aircraft, with registration number 8-RMML, was taking off from the western end of the runway.

Soon after takeoff, the vehicle landed obliquely opposite the control tower, veered off the runway, flipped and ended up on its back.

This is the first plane crash for 2014, but the GCAA has been conducting investigations into a number of mishaps during 2013.

In April last, the founder of Angiel Enviro Safe Incorporated, Pierre Angiel, 71, of Miami, Florida, U.S.A. and crew member Nick Dmitriev, 54, of Toronto, Canada, met their demise after a Piper Aztec twin-engine aircraft crashed into a house at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara and exploded minutes after it took off from the OIA.

It was reported that prior to the crash, the pilot had reported to the air traffic control tower at Ogle that he had “lost an engine” and was encountering difficulties.

Moments later, a loud explosion was heard in the East Coast Demerara village as the aircraft crashed into  the  three-bedroom wooden house that subsequently went up in flames.

Mechanical problems

From all indications, the plane may have encountered mechanical problems upon taking off, resulting in the pilot losing control of the aircraft.

In July, an Air Services Limited Cessna Caravan plane crashed in the vicinity of the manganese company in Matthews Ridge, North West District, leaving at least eight people hospitalized.

The injured persons, including the pilot of the aircraft, Feriel Ally, were air-dashed to the city by a Trans Guyana aircraft and taken to several private medical institutions in the city.

The accident occurred in proximity to the Matthews Ridge airstrip. Initial reports stated that bad weather might have been responsible for the crash.

Also in July, heavy wind flipped a single-engine aircraft at the OIA. The winds were recorded travelling at a speed of 35 knots per hour, a very unusual occurrence.

The hydrometeorological office after the incident confirmed that the maximum wind speed recorded thus far is 43 knots per hour.

The last time Guyana experienced such heavy winds was four years ago at Timehri, when the wind speed was clocked at 32 knots per hour.

In August, five persons were injured after an aircraft crash landed at the Aishalton runway in Region Nine after its front wheel came off.

The six-seater American- operated Cessna came to a halt after it hit the runway fence. No one was injured in the incident. The aircraft was under the control of an American pilot at the time.

In addition, another Air Services Limited aircraft suffered wing damage after swerving to avoid hitting someone as it was about to land at the Kwakwani airstrip, Region 10.

This occurred in November 2013. It was reported that a young man allegedly ran across the airstrip just as the pilot, who was conducting a training flight, was about to land. As a result, the right wing tip of the 8RA55 aircraft was damaged.

Meanwhile, on July 30, 2011, a Caribbean Airlines plane crashed and broke in two on landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The Boeing 737-800 from New York had 163 people aboard.

During the incident, a few passengers sustained bruises, with one suffering a broken leg. The plane halted near a 61-metre (200 feet) ravine that could have resulted in dozens of deaths.

The final report has dismissed allegations made by Trinidadian officials that the airport was the root cause of the accident.


Cessna 206, Fenix Airways Inc., 8R-MML


Penalty for cash-strapped Liat

ST JOHN’S—The cash-strapped regional airline, Liat, said Friday it would hold talks with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) after it had been slapped with a notice of penalty in connection with an incident that occurred on November 2 last year. Liat gave no details regarding the incident, but said it was reviewing the findings with its advisors and would engage ECCAA in discussions.

“Liat is committed to a fair resolution of the matter based on full and frank disclosure by all parties. The safety and security of our passengers remains Liat’s top priority and Liat continues to operate in full and strict compliance with the Civil Aviation Regulations and its operating procedures and manuals.” The airline said that these matters remain under review by LIAT and discussion with ECCAA, noting “it would therefore be inappropriate to make further public comment at this time”.


Plane takes flight despite the red tape

The pain of dealing with glacial-paced bureaucracy when buying an airplane in Greece was matched by many beautiful sights when flying it back to Queenstown, co-pilot Antony Sproull says.

After flying 20,000 kilometres in 10 days Mr Sproull and 84-year-old Australian ferry pilot Jim Hazelton touched down in the $2 million Cessna Caravan at about 8pm on Friday. They were joined for the final leg of the journey by aviator friends, and other Milford Air planes.

After sleeping till noon yesterday Mr Sproull kicked straight back into operations manager mode of Milford Air, explaining that no time would be wasted on getting the new plane certified for New Zealand, and in the air.

"We're in the peak of our tourist season, and Dad [Air Milford owner and aircraft engineer Hank Sproull] will be heading up getting everything up to New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority standards, starting straight away," he said.

"Hopefully we'll have the CAA inspection on Wednesday, get certified by Friday, and have the plane in the air by Saturday. We were initially going to do the ferry flight in 15 days, but cut that down to 10 because it is so important to get this plane working - so we won't be wasting any time now that it's arrived."

Flying over the Nile River delta at 10,000 feet and seeing the sun set over Abu Dhabi at 5000 feet were breathtaking experiences, even for a veteran pilot, and were two highlights of too many to count, Mr Sproull said.

"There were just so many high points in getting the plane here, but it was also a huge honor to fly a 20,000km journey with Jim. He's been doing these long-haul ferry flights for 50 years now and has so much experience."

Buying the plane in Greece was a "sale of the century" situation, after a group of American investors walked away from previous negotiations because of the amount of bureaucracy slowing the deal, but getting through the same bureaucracy took extreme patience, Mr Sproull said.

"This plane was the only one available in the world in 2013 with its spec range. A lot of the newer Caravans have added technology, but that adds weight and slows flying speed, so what we got was perfect for us, but took a lot of time and a huge amount of patience."


Air Milford owner Hank Sproull, right, and his operations manager son Antony in front of the new $2 million Cessna Caravan Antony co-piloted 20,000km back from Greece. The plane touched down about 8pm on Friday after 10 days of flying.

Survival school

Rob Elek of Kalispell and Bobbie Munger of Stevensville use the fuselage of an old Beechcraft airplane to fashion a survival shelter during the annual Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division’s winter survival clinic geared toward pilots, law enforcement and rescue personnel being held Saturday at Homestake Lodge east of Butte.


Walter Hinick / The Montana Standard

Airbus Posts Record Jet Orders, Deliveries in 2013: WSJ

Airbus Tops Boeing's Annual Order Intake  

The Wall Street Journal

By  Marietta Cauchi

Jan. 13, 2014 5:05 a.m. ET

TOULOUSE, France— Airbus, the commercial arm of aerospace and defense company Airbus Group NV, Monday said it landed orders for 1,619 planes in 2013, setting a new industry record and topping U.S. rival Boeing Co.'s annual order intake.

The commercial jet maker broke another industry-wide record ending the year with an unfilled backlog of 5,559 aircraft, valued at $809 billion at list prices, or eight years production.

Toulouse-based Airbus said it delivered 626 commercial jets in 2013, a company record, beating its previous record of 588 planes last year.

The tally was dominated by smaller models including 493 of its single-aisle A320 family. It delivered 180 of its A330 intermediate jets and 25 A380s, the world's largest passenger plane.

Airbus expects to deliver its first A350, which competes with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, in the fourth quarter of this year. "We expect to produce around 10 a month by the end of 2018 and break-even on the program by the end of the decade," said Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier at the jet-maker's annual news conference.

There have been suggestions that Airbus will replace the A350-800 by putting a more powerful engine in its intermediate A330 model. Company executives said that they were considering all options and that most customers were converting to A350-900s or were willing to wait until production of the A350-800 became less constrained.

"This is not a priority—we are considering all ideas including whether there will be an A350-900 reduced in size," said Mr. Brégier. "The A350-800 with improvements will remain very competitive," he said.

Airbus said it would also start producing the A320neo from the fourth quarter and that it has enough orders for a monthly production rate of 42 between 2015 and 2018.

"We have now secured transition [from the A320neo] at a rate of 42 neos a month and if the market remains steady there is an opportunity to go higher before 2018 but that's an 'if' and no decision has been made," Mr. Brégier said.

Mr. Brégier said that the supply chain had improved a lot last year justifying a "gentle ramp-up" over the next couple of years "if we plan properly and there are no problems in series programs."

Airbus reiterated earlier guidance that it would break even on the A380 superjumbo by 2015 based on 30 annual deliveries.

John Leahy, Airbus global sales chief, said that he expected to finalize a firm order for A380s from Doric Lease Corp. during the first quarter following a memorandum of understanding signed at the Paris Air Show in June.

Last week Boeing reported gross orders of 1,531 new commercial jets for last year and, subtracting canceled orders, Boeing added 1,355 net orders. This compares with Airbus' 1,503 net orders.

The U.S. manufacturer delivered 648 jets during 2013, making it the world's largest jet maker for the second year running. 


 An Airbus A380  
Bloomberg News