Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Plane crash survivor sues: Lawsuit targets Keystone Air, dead pilot's estate

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, C-GOSU, Keystone Air Service Ltd:  Accident occurred January 10, 2012  near North Spirit Lake Airport, Ontario

The sole survivor of a 2012 plane crash that killed four people, including the pilot, is suing Keystone Air Service and the pilot's estate for damages.

In a statement of claim filed last week, Brian Shead is suing Keystone Air Service and the estate of pilot Fariborz Abasabady for damages he suffered in the crash on Jan. 10, 2012, which killed Abasabady and three passengers.

Shead claims he received numerous injuries in the crash, including facial cuts with permanent scarring, multiple nose fractures, five chipped teeth and multiple left foot and ankle fractures resulting in a permanent reduction in range of motion.

Shead could not be reached for comment.

Anthony Lafontaine Guerra, Shead's lawyer, said his client was not commenting.

"Our condolences and sympathy go out to those whose lives were forever changed by the incident of Jan. 10, 2012," Guerra said on Monday.

According to court documents, Shead was able to get out of the plane, which caught fire after slamming into the frozen lake, and pull out the pilot, but wasn't able to get anyone else out before the flames consumed the wreckage.

Shead is suing for several items, including pain and suffering, the 30 days of wages he lost, future cost of care, and his personal belongings that were destroyed in the crash, including his laptop, glasses, jeans and winter jacket.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its crash-investigation report in November concluding pilot inexperience, icing conditions and a blizzard were some of the factors that caused the twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain to crash two kilometres shy of the runway.

The TSB's Peter Hildebrand said the flight, which left Winnipeg at 7:51 a.m., bound for Deer Lake, Ont. with a stop at North Spirit Lake, was routine until the pilot found an airport worker was still clearing snow off the runway from an overnight blizzard.

Hildebrand said the pilot decided to circle in conditions that led to icing on the wing instead of going to another destination or flying above the clouds.

Hildebrand said despite the fire after the crash, investigators still found ice on part of the wing.

"The pilot, anxious to complete the flight successfully, likely did not appreciate the extent of the aircraft's limitations in icing conditions and believed that the best option was to continue to (North Spirit Lake) and hold once the runway was clear," he said.

An official at Keystone could not be reached for comment.

No statement of defence has been filed and the allegations have not been proven in court. 

Source:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com

Brian Shead, the sole survivor of the crash, is suing for pain and suffering, among other things. 

Beechcraft B200GT King Air, N510LD: Accident occurred June 07, 2013 in Baker, Louisiana

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA326
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 07, 2013 in Baker, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/15/2014
Aircraft: HAWKER BEECHCRAFT B200GT, registration: N510LD
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 accident pilot and two passengers had just completed a ferry flight on the recently purchased airplane. A review of the airplane’s cockpit voice recorder audio information revealed that, during the ferry flight, one of the passengers, who was also a pilot, was pointing out features of the new airplane, including the avionics suite, to the accident pilot. The pilot had previously flown another similar model airplane, but it was slightly older and had a different avionics package; the new airplane’s avionics and flight management system were new to the pilot.

After completing the ferry flight and dropping off the passengers, the pilot departed for a short cross-country flight in the airplane. According to air traffic control recordings, shortly after takeoff, an air traffic controller assigned the pilot a heading and altitude. The pilot acknowledged the transmission and indicated that he would turn to a 045 heading. The radio transmission sounded routine, and no concern was noted in the pilot’s voice. However, an audio tone consistent with the airplane’s stall warning horn was heard in the background of the pilot’s radio transmission. The pilot then made a radio transmission stating that he was going to crash. The audio tone was again heard in the background, and distress was noted in the pilot’s voice. The airplane impacted homes in a residential neighborhood; a postcrash fire ensued. A review of radar data revealed that the airplane made a climbing right turn after departure and then slowed and descended. The final radar return showed the airplane at a ground speed of 102 knots and an altitude of 400 feet. Examination of the engines and propellers indicated that the engines were rotating at the time of impact; however, the amount of power the engines were producing could not be determined. The examination of the airplane did not reveal any abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the accident pilot failed to maintain adequate airspeed during departure, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with terrain, and that his lack of specific knowledge of the airplane’s avionics contributed to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during departure, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of specific knowledge of the airplane’s avionics.


On June 7, 2013 about 1310, central daylight time, a Beechcraft, KingAir, B200GT, airplane, N510LD,impacted terrain shortly after departure in a residential neighborhood near Baker, Louisiana. The airline transport rated pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Osage Air LLC, Wilmington, Delaware. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Ryan Field (BTR), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, en route to (Pike County) John E Lewis Field Airport (KMCB), McComb, Mississippi.

The accident pilot and two passengers flew to Georgetown, Texas, in a B200 KingAir the day prior to the accident. The B200 airplane was being used as a trade-in, on N510LD. On the day of the accident and after the sale was finalized, the three people returned to BTR in N510LD, with the accident pilot as pilot in command. After dropping off the two passengers at BTR, the accident pilot planned to fly to McComb, with the recently purchased airplane.

Several witnesses reported that the airplane heading north and was low; the airplane then dropped and impacted the roof of a house. The airplane subsequently impacted a tree and two neighboring houses before erupting into flames.


The pilot was employed as a corporate pilot, and held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and multiengine land, and instrument-airplane. The pilot also held several type ratings for jet airplanes. The pilot held a first class medical certificate that was issued on June 4, 2013, with the restriction, "must have available glasses for near vision". At the time of the exam the pilot reported 15,150 total flight hours and 75 hours in last six months. The pilot also reported to the insurance company that he had 5,075 in BE20 (KingAir 200) and had annual training at FSI, Simuflight, or SimCom depending on type of aircraft. The accident airplane was a B200GT and was equipped with Rockwell Collins Proline 21 avionics including an FMS-3000 (Flight Management System) suite. The amount of flight time the pilot had with the Proline 21 system was unknown; however, during delivery of the airplane another pilot noted that the B200GT's avionics were new to the accident pilot.


The Beechcraft B200GT King Air is a twin-turboprop airplane powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-52 engines. The airplane was maintained under the manufacturer's maintenance program. The airplane's maintenance records were located among the wreckage and were fire and water damaged. A review of the records revealed that the airframe's phase 1- 4 inspections were completed on March 18, 2013. At the time of the inspection, the airframe had a total time of 974.2 hours; the left and right engines had also accumulated 974.2 total hours.


At 1353, the automated weather observation facility located at BTR, reported wind from 280 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,300 and 7,500 feet, temperature 84 Fahrenheit (F), dew point 67 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.88 inches of mercury.


According to air traffic control communications, the airplane departed BTR runway 31. Just after takeoff, the controller assigned the pilot a heading and altitude to MCB. The pilot acknowledged the transmission and indicated he would turn to a 045 heading. The radio transmission appeared normal, with no concern in the pilot's voice. However, an audio tone was present in the background of the pilot's radio transmission. Shortly thereafter, the pilot made a radio transmission stating that he was going to crash. The same audio tone was heard in the background, along with distress noted in the pilot's voice. The tone was consistent with the airplane's stall warning horn. There was no further communications with the pilot.

Review of radar data revealed the airplane departed BTR, and tracked in a right arc away from the airport. After airborne, as the airplane started to turn right, radar data showed the ground speed as 124 knots and increased to about 128 knots; the first altitude started at 700 feet and increased to 1,200 feet, as the airplane started its turn. The radar track then depicted a northeasterly heading as the airplane appeared to proceed on course. Before the airplane disappeared from radar, the airspeed decreased to 102 knots and the altitude decreased to 400 feet.


The accident site was located about 3.5 miles northeast of BTR, in a residential area. The first impact point was the roof of one home; the airplane then impacted a tree and shed in the backyard of neighboring homes. The airplane came to rest in an upright position, in the corner of a house. The impact with the tree, split the fuselage in two, with the empennage and about an 8-10 foot fuselage section coming to rest in the yard of the neighboring home. All major components were accounted for on site. A postcrash fire consumed most of the airplane; fire, smoke/water also damaged the two homes. The left propeller was separated from the engine and was just left of the main wreckage. The propeller blades were twisted and had cord wise marks near the tips. The right propeller remained attached to the engine; the two top, exposed blades were consumed by the fire, the two bottom blades were covered by the wreckage/debris.


The Office of the Coroner, East Baton Rouge Parish, Paton Rouge, Louisiana, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death on was determined to be, "blunt force, thermal, and inhalational injures".

The FAA Toxicology Accident Research Library, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on pilot. The test was negative for ethanol and cyanide; however, the test was positive for carbon monoxide in the blood at 21%. Acetaminophen was detected in the urine (15 ug/ml, ug/g), diltiazem was detected in the blood and urine, and ibuprofen was detected in the urine.

Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen are non-prescription pain medicine and are commonly marketed under the trade name Tylenol and Motrin, respectively. Diltiazem is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders.


After initial documentation of the wreckage site, the wreckage was recovered for further examination. The airplane's cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was located and shipped to the vehicle recorder lab in Washington, DC for download.

A CVR group was convened. The recording was audited by the CVR group Laboratory and a summary report prepared. The CVR Specialist Factual Report is located in the official docket for this investigation.

The CVR captured part of the previous flight, in which the accident pilot received help from another pilot, in explaining the operation of the new airplane. The accident pilot also received instruction, prior to his departure on the accident flight.

The NTSB along with technical representatives from the airframe, engine, and propeller manufacturer conducted a follow up exam. The left hand, four bladed propeller and front section of the reduction gearbox had separated from the engine due to a fractured engine shaft. The 2nd stage planetary gears and bolt screws, displayed rotational scoring from contact with adjacent components during separation. Rotational scoring was noted on the compressor turbine and power turbine discs from contact with adjacent components. The 1st and 2nd stage power turbine blades exhibited rubs from localized contact regions of their respective shrouds.

The left engine propeller blades rotated freely in the hub, due to the blade knobs fracturing off during impact. All blades showed some rotational scoring and slight twisting at the tips. The propeller experienced severe thermal damage. Half of the spinner was missing due to melting away.

The right hand engine displayed light torsional bending aft of the exhaust duct. The compressor turbine disc exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the adjacent component. The 1st stage power turbine blades exhibited a 360 degree rub from contact with its respective shroud.

Two of the four propeller blades on the right engine were consumed by the post-crash fire, leaving about 10 inches of blades, from the hub assembly. The propeller was still attached to the engine. The blades rotated freely in the hub, due to the blade knobs fracturing off during impact. The spinner dome, bulkhead, three counterweights were missing.

Both engines and the left propeller displayed signatures consistent with some power being generated at impact; however, the amount of power could not be determined.

The fire damage to the right propeller and absence of signatures prevented any conclusion about power setting before impact.

The engines and propellers examination did not reveal any discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation.

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Seven months after a deadly plane took the life of pilot John Fowler of Mississippi, residents on Rue Jennifer in Baker are still waiting to see what happens with one of the homes demolished by the crash.

Nearly a year after deadly plane crash into Baker neighborhood residents frustrated with unrepaired property

"It's coming up on a year and it doesn't make sense for a property to sit blighted for a year in such a great neighborhood and we the residents suffer, the person that owns the house doesn't live here anymore so they could really care less," said Denise Williams.

The owner of the property according to the city of Baker is Michael Smith, a pastor at two churches in the area. WAFB tried to track Smith down at one of the churches but were unable to find him.

Baker Mayor Harold Rideau says he sympathizes with neighbors and says Smith was sent a letter asking him to be present for a condemnation report at the city council meeting.

"Hey look you've had basically seven months what are you going to do? Tell us what you're going to do that's all we ask, you come in and tell council what are you going to do," said Rideau.

According to Rideau, Smith claims the house was still under control of the Baton Rouge Airport which is why he hasn't made repairs but Rideau says he has emails with the National Transportation Safety Board that say otherwise and adds it's now up to council members to decide what to do next.

"The council has to answer to the neighbors over there an elected councilman over there is going to have to come up with some answers if he's not moving on trying to get this resolved," said Rideau.

A resolution is all Williams and other residents on Rue Jennifer are hoping to get as well.

"I want to be proud about where I live and I am proud about living in Baker and I really have confidence in the city of Baker but how much can the city take or how much can they expect the residents on Rue Jennifer to take before you actually do something with the owner of the that property?" said Williams.

Story, photos and video:  http://www.wafb.com

John Cary Fowler

To all of us who knew and loved John, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and a friend. John was a corporate pilot, a resident of Brookhaven, MS, and a native of Oak Grove, Louisiana. He passed away June 7, 2013.

See more at: http://www.legacy.com/Obituary


NTSB Identification: CEN13FA326
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 07, 2013 in Baker, LA
Aircraft: HAWKER BEECHCRAFT B200GT, registration: N510LD
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 June 7, 2013 about 1310, central daylight time, a Beechcraft, B200GT, KingAir airplane, N510LD, impacted terrain in a residential neighborhood near Baker, Louisiana, shortly after departure. The airline transport pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Cloudscape, Inc. Wilmington, Delaware, and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Ryan Field (KBTR), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, en route to (Pike County) John E Lewis Field Airport (KMCB), McComb, Mississippi.

Several witnesses reported that the airplane was heading north and was low, the airplane then dropped and impacted the roof a house before erupting into flames.

According to preliminary air traffic control communications and radar data, the airplane departed KBTR runway 31. Just after takeoff, the controller assigned the pilot a heading and altitude to MCB. A review of the radar track revealed that the airplane turned northeast, on course, and reached an altitude of 1,200 feet. The radar track data then showed the airplane in a slow descent and slowing down; the airplane then disappeared from radar, prior to the accident site. The last radio transmission from the pilot was that he was going to crash.

The accident site was about 3.5 miles northeast of KBTR, located among homes. The first impact point was the roof of one home. The airplane then impacted a tree and shed located in the backyard of neighboring homes. The airplane came to rest in an upright position, in the corner of two houses. A postcrash fire consumed most of the airplane; fire, smoke/water also damaged the two homes.

After initial documentation of the wreckage site, the wreckage was recovered for further examination. The airplane’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was located and shipped to the vehicle recorder lab in Washington, DC for download.

Japan Airlines Reports Malfunction in Boeing 787 Battery: Cause Isn't Determined for Smoke Seen at Parked Jet in Tokyo

The Wall Street Journal 

By  Jon Ostrower and Phred Dvorak

Updated Jan. 14, 2014 7:27 p.m. ET

Japan Airlines Co. reported a battery malfunction on a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner parked at Narita Airport in Tokyo, a year after the advanced jetliner was grounded world-wide for battery problems.

JAL said white smoke was detected Tuesday at around 4:15 p.m. Tokyo time by a mechanic who was checking the cockpit before the plane was to depart for Bangkok that evening. The mechanic saw the smoke just outside the window and it was gone by the time the person went outside to check.

A check of cockpit displays soon after showed signs of problems in the main battery and its charger, JAL said. When the battery was checked, the mechanic found that a relief port had vented on one of the eight lithium-ion cells that are contained in each battery and that liquid had sprayed inside the battery container.

JAL and Boeing said they were looking into the cause of the incident. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was working with Boeing and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau to investigate. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it was ready to assist Japanese authorities.

Boeing said it had notified other airlines that operate the 787 but hadn't advised them to take any action. Other carriers, including United Continental Holdings Inc., the only U.S. operator of the aircraft, continued to fly their Dreamliners on Tuesday.

Tuesday's incident came almost a year after the Jan. 16, 2013, grounding of the 787 fleet in response to burning lithium-ion batteries on two 787s, one operated by JAL and the other by ANA Holdings Inc.  The Japanese carriers are the biggest operators of the Dreamliner.The global 787 fleet was cleared to return to service 3½ months later, after Boeing designed modifications to the jet's battery systems, including developing a containment box and a venting system in case batteries fail.

While the cause of the latest incident wasn't clear, Boeing said the "improvements made to the 787 battery system last year appear to have worked as designed." The company didn't elaborate.

Investors reacted with relative calm. Boeing's shares fell 69 cents to close Tuesday at $140.01 each. The shares still traded near record highs after gaining more than 80% last year. JAL shares rose slightly in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The number of 787s in operation world-wide has more than doubled from the 50 in service when the plane was grounded. Tuesday's incident was the first known failure of the jet's electrical-system batteries since the 787 returned to service.

Hans Weber, president of consulting firm Tecop International Inc., which has worked for Boeing and Airbus Group, said Tuesday's incident was unlikely to spur significant new regulatory action.

Mr. Weber said all components on an aircraft have the possibility of failure during operation, and the key point was that measures put in place by Boeing appeared to have contained the battery failure.Investigators are likely to focus in part on whether the suspect battery on Tuesday was newly manufactured or simply refurbished after last year's grounding, air-safety experts said. Since Tuesday's incident happened relatively soon after fixes to the fleet were completed, the event also could affect FAA conclusions about the likelihood of additional battery-cell failures.

In last year's incidents, failures in individual cells cascaded across the others inside the batteries. As part of its modifications, Boeing and battery maker GS Yuasa Corp.  increased the separation between the cells to limit the propagation of cell failures.

Investigators still haven't pinpointed exactly what caused last year's incidents. The NTSB said last week that it would wrap up its investigation in March and expected to have a complete report by autumn.

A spokesman for JAL in Tokyo said that it had removed the affected battery unit early Wednesday and was in the process of replacing it. He said that "if no problems are found, we will consider resuming service on the affected aircraft." He said that all of the other Boeing 787s were operating normally. JAL has 13 of the aircraft overall.

A spokesman for All Nippon Airways said that it was operating its fleet of 23 Boeing 787s now in service normally. He said there were no plans to perform any special checks because of the JAL incident, noting that checks on the batteries are conducted before each flight. He said the carrier had not received any special directions for new procedures from Boeing or Japan's safety regulators.

A spokeswoman at GS Yuasa said it was cooperating with Boeing and JAL to determine the cause of the problem in the latest incident and couldn't comment further.

Boeing said it regretted any impact to the airline and was working to return the jet to service.

—Andy Pasztor and Hiroyuki Kachi contributed to this article. 

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Admirers Join Forces to Save ‘Warthog’ Jet: Battle to Save Plane Show Difficulties in Paring Defense Budget

The Wall Street Journal

By Dion Nissenbaum

Jan. 14, 2014 7:33 p.m. ET

The Air Force's budget-cutting plan to retire hundreds of jets that have provided invaluable protection for U.S. troops is creating strange bedfellows, as influential lawmakers and longtime critics of Pentagon bloat rally to save the A-10 "Warthog." 

 For more than two decades, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has provided aerial protection to ground troops, a task it has performed from Iraq's "Highway of Death" in the first Gulf War to the Taliban strongholds of eastern Afghanistan. Few people at the Pentagon challenge the plane's reputation for providing forces with the best support possible.

Eliminating the Warthog—so named because of its ugly, snub-nosed design—is one way the Air Force is looking to deal with its need to trim more than $50 billion from its budget over the next five years as part of a broader congressional mandate that the Pentagon cut $500 billion over the next decade. Air Force officials say retiring the entire fleet of about 300 A-10s by 2020 would save a total of $3.7 billion.

The Air Force's plans for the A-10 have brought together an unusual alliance of interests looking to protect the planes from Pentagon budget cutters. Opposition to the Air Force proposal is being led by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), whose husband was an A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq. Joining Ms. Ayotte and more than two dozen other lawmakers is the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based nonprofit group that typically is a forceful advocate for defense cuts.

Ms. Ayotte temporarily blocked confirmation hearings for the administration's nominee to be Air Force secretary late last year until the Pentagon addressed some of her questions. She also ensured that the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that outlines defense policies, contained language preventing the Air Force from severely paring the A-10 fleet this year.

The emerging battle over the proposal to begin a five-year plan to phase out the A-10s in 2015 is a reminder of how difficult it is for the Pentagon to slash billions in spending as required by Congress and President Barack Obama. Virtually every proposed defense spending cut—from trimming benefits for veterans and closing bases to phasing out armored vehicles and eliminating aging surveillance drones— faces stiff opposition.

Effective resistance in Washington to substantive cuts restricts Pentagon options as defense officials search for ways to trim their budget as the U.S. tries to shift its focus from costly ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to emerging challenges across the globe.

In the case of the A-10, the usual opponents of defense cuts are joined by military reformers who argue the Air Force is sacrificing a proven plane to save money for expensive but more exciting fighter jets. Critics of the plan say the Air Force has never fully embraced the A-10 or its mission of providing air support for ground troops, and that mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration are merely providing the Pentagon was a convenient way to get rid of the plane.

"The Air Force is simply using sequestration and sensible budget constraints as an excuse to kill a system it never wanted in favor of the overpriced, behind-schedule, less-capable boondoggle that is the F-35" fighter jet, said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. The F-35, the most expensive Pentagon weapons program in history, has faced cost-overruns and questions about its role for the military. The Pentagon is investing hundreds of billions in developing the F-35 to be its most advanced jet fighter. Opponents of the F-35 say the Pentagon's focus on protecting the expensive jet comes at the expense of more reliable existing Pentagon programs, like the A-10.

Top Air Force officials say they don't want to get rid of the A-10s, whose unique asset is a tank-stopping cannon in its nose that can fire nearly 4,000 rounds a minute. But, officials argue, there are few alternatives to come up with the necessary savings.

"Is the A-10 the best airplane to perform close air support? Absolutely," said Maj. Gen. Paul T. Johnson, the Air Force director of Operational Capability Requirements who has flown more hours in the A-10—about 3,000—than many other pilots working at the Pentagon. "Do we want to get rid of the A-10 performing close air support? No. But it's a measure of where we are fiscally."

The A-10 may be the best at what it does, he argued, but "in the age of austerity we can't afford that." Other planes and helicopters are still able to provide the same kind of protection as the A-10, he said, even if they aren't as effective. Warthog pilots are the only ones in the Air Force specifically tasked to provide air support for troops on the ground.

Air Force officials acknowledge that getting rid of the A-10 could lead to higher deaths, longer battles and even defeat on the battlefield. "There's a risk that attrition will be higher than it should be—that's a clever way of saying more people will get hurt and die—and extreme risk is that you might not win," Gen. Johnson said.

That is an intolerable option for the Warthog's supporters. "If they kill the A-10, the Air Force should be able to explain to families of fallen troops why they died," said Winslow Wheeler, director of the Project on Government Oversight's Straus Military Reform Project.

Source: http://online.wsj.com

Helicopter to fly at low altitudes over Baltimore for study: Repeated flyovers, including on Wednesday and Thursday, part of radiation survey

Bye bye, blimp. Hello, helicopter.

For the second time in recent months, Baltimore residents will see an unfamiliar aircraft flying above the city as part of surveying work by the federal government.

Last time it was a blimp. This time a helicopter will be flying a lot closer, a lot louder and a lot faster.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a helicopter performing an aerial survey of “naturally occurring background radiation” will repeatedly fly over Baltimore at low altitudes and at a speed of about 80 mph, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In recent months, a 178-foot Navy blimp on a mission to test aerial mapping sensors for the Army made some residents curious after it began flying slowly and repeatedly over Baltimore.

The blimp flew at high altitudes, at times just a speck of white above the city, and was silent from the ground.

This time, a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System out of Joint Base Andrews will fly “over various portions of the city at multiple altitudes,” the NNSA said.

The helicopter will operate between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and fly mostly between 150 feet and 300 feet above Northeast Baltimore, between the Inner Harbor and Dundalk and as far as three miles inland, said Johanna Turk, an NNSA aerial mapping manager.

“Flying that low, people will definitely notice it,” she said.

The helicopter will return periodically for similar flyovers for “the next few years” under a project sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the NNSA said.

The Homeland Security office will use data collected by radiation sensing technology on the helicopter “to improve aerial radiation measurement capabilities used by local, state and federal entities,” according to the NNSA.

“Everything that comes out of the earth has some radiation,” Turk said. “It’s perfectly safe and not harmful, but it is variable depending on where you are, so the purpose is to measure the variations.”

Source:  http://www.baltimoresun.com

Alva Regional (KAVK), Oklahoma: Airport Board January 2014 Meeting

The Alva Airport Board once again discussed the usual things: 
problems with the instrument approach submission to the Federal Aviation Administration, costs of a potential large carport, and being drawn into the Alva City limits.

North Big Horn County Airport (U68), Wyoming: Powell Business Relocates to Big Horn County

A Powell business is making the move to Big Horn County.

At last week's County Commissioner's meeting, Big Horn County Commissioners accepted the bid from Orville Moore to move his flight business into a hangar at the North Big Horn County Airport just outside of Cowley.

Moore has operated Moore Quality Flying out of the Powell airport for ten years.

“I came to Powell as airport manager. That was in 2004. I quit being the manager two, two and a half years ago. The only thing I miss about being manager is I had a 60 by 60 shop that belonged to the City of Powell that I could do my maintenance work in.”

Since resigning as Powell's airport manager, Moore moved his operation into a little one-airplane hangar that proved too small for his flight school, crop spraying and airplane repair service. Options at the Powell airport have been limited. Moore soon found himself dividing-up his operation between three separate hangars.

“There are two hangars that are for sale – they're larger – in Powell. They're brand-spanking-new and they're really expensive, so they're beyond what I could afford to my maintenance in.”

Moore began exploring his options and that's when he found the hangar at the North Big Horn County Airport.

The seventy five by seventy five square foot hangar is plenty of room for Moore's flight operation.

Currently, Moore is teaching four students four students to fly, during the growing season he spray crops for growers from Meeteetse and Cody, to Powell and Lovell, on down to Worland and Thermopolis. He also brings-in pilots from around the Basin but also from Sheridan and Montana.

The Big Horn County Commissioners granted Moore the ground lease on the airport hangar. His bid came-in nearly 20 thousand dollars higher than the second bidder.

Moore has been given a twenty year ground lease with an option of another twenty year lease after that. His son works with him now. Moore says the option for another twenty years means his son will be busy on into retirement.

Overall, Moore is positive about the move.

“I'm just really tickled with it. I really think it's going to work-out really well, not only for me but for Big Horn County and the Cowley Airport.

Source:   http://www.mybighornbasin.com

Norfolk Regional Airport (KOFK), Nebraska: Aiming for more hangars

More hangars for aircraft are being planned at the Norfolk Regional Airport.

The Norfolk Airport Authority recently voted to proceed with preliminary paperwork to add eight T-hangars. They’re to be part of the budget for 2015.

It’s proposed because the hangar space at the airport is full, said airport manager Terri Wachter, who in December was elected chairperson of the Nebraska Aeronautics Commission.

“We have 46 private aircraft here, and we have 36 T-hangars and three individual privately-owned hangars,’’ Wachter said. “Aviation is growing, and we are not prepared to accommodate that.’’

The Nebraska Aeronautics Commission has voted to forward Norfolk’s request and data sheet to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Estimated cost is just over $1 million. The FAA provides funds for projects as they become available. An interest-free loan through the state and some local funds would be involved as well, Wachter said.

Construction of a taxi lane is included in the project so there would be access to all the hangar doors of the building.

In other action, board members voted to allow the City of Norfolk to construct a sewage lift station, collection lines and main on the south airport property. It would be for the city’s extension of sewer service to properties south of the Elkhorn River along Highway 81.

Another wind farm?

The Norfolk Airport Authority is being advised of a plan for a 147-turbine wind farm about 17 miles northwest of the airport.

  An application reviewed by the FAA has determined the 427-foot-tall turbines wouldn’t pose a hazard to air navigation given the distance from the airport.

The wind farm would be located north of Tilden and Oakdale in the area of a new high-voltage line being planned by the Nebraska Public Power District between Hoskins and Neligh.

The project is proposed by Invenergy of Chicago, which already is building the 118-turbine Prairie Breeze wind farm about 30 miles southwest of Norfolk.

In November, the airport authority concurred with another FAA determination that an array of 23 turbines, planned about 16 miles southwest of the Norfolk airport, also wouldn’t impact air navigation.

Source:   http://norfolkdailynews.com

Grand Junction Regional (KGJT), Colorado: Former airport official’s truck seized by feds - Figure in fraud investigation insists he bought vehicle legally

Federal officials on Monday seized a truck belonging to a former Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority board member, presumably as part of its investigation into alleged fraudulent activities at the airport.

Denny Granum, who resigned early this month from the airport board, said he purchased the truck from a dealership and insisted he had done nothing wrong.

He obtained the vehicle, which had been owned by the Airport Authority, through a dealership, Granum said.

“There was no behind-the-doors dealing whatsoever,” Granum said Monday. “The board was well aware of it.”

The Airport Authority sold “a whole fleet of vehicles” to dealerships over the last five or six years, Granum said.

“I just happened to be the only board member who bought one,” he said.

The seizure “came as a total shock to me,” Granum said.

Granum left the board at the behest of the Mesa County Commission after the board suspended, then fired Rex Tippetts, the director of aviation.

The actions followed on the heels of an FBI raid on the airport offices on Nov. 6 and the filing of a civil lawsuit by a former airport employee who claims she was demoted, then fired by Tippetts as retaliation for refusing to participate in the alleged fraudulent activities.

No charges have been filed in the case and warrants and other documents remain sealed. Federal officials have declined to discuss the case other than to say the investigation relates to allegations of fraud within the airport administration.

Granum could contest the asset forfeiture, if he files an objection to the seizure within 10 days, according to the Department of Justice website.

If the forfeiture goes unchallenged, the truck will become the permanent property of the federal government.

The airport board is to meet today to discuss how to proceed on a building under construction next to the terminal at the airport.

The amount of federal funding for the building is an issue for the authority, which had relied on an airport-improvement grant to pay for much of the three-level building, which was presented to the Federal Aviation Administration as a terminal building.

Airport officials, however, say it is better described as an administrative and fire department building. 

Story and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.gjsentinel.com

Denny Granum

Philippi/Barbour County Regional (79D), West Virginia: Federal Aviation Administration representative addresses airport issues

PHILIPPI - A Federal Aviation Administration representative from Beckley attended Monday's Barbour County Commission meeting to answer questions from local officials as the Philippi/Barbour County Regional Airport experiences a transition in management.

Matthew DiGiulian, the manager of the Beckley Airports Field Office, was invited to the meeting by the commission following the resignation of six of the Philippi/Barbour County Airport Authority members, including the president, Dean Springer.

Prior to the meeting, DiGiulian said he could not issue a statement to the press and would not release his name because he was not authorized to do so. However, DiGiulian was introduced by name and he spoke publicly at the meeting.

"My purpose for coming up here today was primarily to just help with the transition of management with Dean Springer stepping down as president," DiGiulian said. "There are going to have to be some assignments that the county/Authority and the city of Philippi are going to have to take over."

DiGiulian explained some of the major agreements that were made when the Airport Authority received federal funding for recent projects.

"Part of what I'm here to do is just educate you guys on what your responsibilities are," DiGiulian said. Every signed agreement through which the Airport Authority obtained federal funding had certain terms attached to it, he said.

Barbour County Administrator Chuck Foley asked if the sponsors of the agreement given to the Commission were the city of Philippi and the Airport Authority.

"It really doesn't require the signature of the County Commission," DiGiulian said. "I haven't read the charter for the Airport Authority, so I assume there's a county commissioner who sits on the Airport Authority. There would be an elected president of the Airport Authority that would sign that on behalf of the Airport Authority, not the county official.

"But I appreciate that you guys have taken an interest," he added. "I think that's great. The more people who are interested in what's going on up at the airport the better. Hey, there's a lot to learn."

DiGiulian addressed parts of the agreement, including one fund-generating idea suggested by Commissioner Jedd Schola that has been challenged by Springer and was later questioned by Philippi City Council.

In recent months, Schola announced an idea that he said he believed would help generate funds for the Airport Authority: hosting a drag race on the airport property, which would require closing the runway.

"Sometimes an Authority or an airport sponsor can violate one of these assurances (terms) without realizing it," DiGiulian said.

Federal funding regulations prevent the closure of an airport runway for non-aeronautical purposes unless otherwise approved by the FAA for 20 years after the last date that airport received federal funding.

"Anytime you want to do something on the airport that would require you to close the runway you need our permission to do so," DiGiulian said, "and there has to be a really good reason to close the runway. I know it's been discussed about hosting a non-aeronautical event like drag racing or a car show or anything you would want to do like that.

"We participate in the airport for it to be open as an airport. Stuff like that is generally not allowed. If you had a big field off to the side that was not needed, you might be able to host a non-aeronautical event there because it doesn't impact keeping the runway open, keeping it available."

DiGiulian said that anytime the Airport Authority wants to host an event that involves or supports flying airplanes, they may call him and he will help them through the process of applying for that event.

In related business, commissioners reappointed Lemuel Jones to the Airport Authority to begin a new term after the expiration of a term he has been serving. Current Airport Authority members include Schola, Jeff Allen, Karen Weaver, Lemuel Jones and John Prusha.

Schola announced that the Airport Authority bylaws have now reduced the available board appointments from 12 members to seven members. Three members each will be appointed by the county and the city, respectively. The other appointment will be made at large, Schola said. Philippi City Council has already appointed three members. The commission now has two members on the board.

After four Airport Authority members tendered resignations on Oct. 17, members Eric Cutright and Eric Lawrence also resigned last month, Schola said.

The other members who resigned are the former secretary/treasurer Alice McDonald, 20-year member Craig Bolton and eight-year member Mike Johnson.

Schola said that member Lemuel Jones is now serving as the interim president of the authority, following Springer's official resignation on Dec. 31.

Source:  http://www.theintermountain.com