Saturday, January 25, 2014

Judge denies Readington motion in Solberg Airport case

READINGTON TWP.— A Superior Court judge has denied a township motion to compel Solberg Airport to provide discovery related to a suit filed years earlier.

The decision by Judge Yolanda Ciccone in Flemington was filed on Jan. 23. It continues a string of rulings against the township in it's efforts to gain control of Solberg Airport and surrounding land owned by the Solberg family.

In November and the day after about 500 people attended a hearing on the issue. Judge Yolanda Ciccone denied the township's second amended complaint, in which the township wanted to change its lawsuit to allow Readington to buy the 102 acres used for airport operations — and then operate it as a public airport — rather that purchase the development rights only.

Ciccone in November further lifted a stay on a suit filed by the Solbergs in 2006 against the then-members of the Township Committee, saying that Readington officials failed to comply with state law and zone for an airport safety zone and re-zone the existing airport to a conforming use.

The 2006 suit accuses the township, former Mayor Gerry Shamey and elected officials Julia Allen, Frank Gatti, Beatrice Muir and Tom Auriemma with misconduct.

This suit claims that Readington taxpayers have been harmed by the "misuse of" township "monies and resources," including the "indiscriminate use of public monies for public relations specialist to further their illegal and unauthorized actions."

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 About 500 people attend a public hearing and final vote at Readington Middle School on a township ordinance allowing the township to buy Soberg Airport and convert it to a municipal operation. The meeting was held on Nov. 6, 2013.

Killer crash puzzles gliding folk

Miller's glider crashed last week in circumstances still under investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Glider pilot Trent Miller died aged 36 doing what he loved - but he shouldn't have. 

Miller's glider crashed near Drury, South Auckland, on January 19 in circumstances still under investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority.

His top-of-the-line single-seat glider had been flown without incident the day before and there was no excessive wind on the day, said a witness at the Auckland Gliding Club.

Friend Kenneth Ng described Miller as his wingman. "He excelled in gliding."

Miller, a geographic and information system specialist, was buried yesterday in Henderson.

Tributes on Facebook gliding pages have come from as far as the United Kingdom.

Gliding expert Iggy Wood said gliders rarely spin out of control.

"We try at all stages to avoid it, through good instruction, teaching people how to avoid a spin. We do maintenance checks every year and sub-inspections every 50 flying hours."

Miller's glider was 20 years old, Wood said. "While it's not a young glider by any means, it's a well-proven design and model."


Schleicher ASW 20L, ZK-GDF

Belize Airport Authority Checks Are a Mixed Bag, About 30% Tied To Hon. Edmund Castro

Last night we laid out 76 checks from the Belize Airport Authority from a whistle-blower who alleges that all 76 were issued at the request of Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport Edmund Castro. But, two sides to every story, and we today spoke to a board member who preferred to remain anonymous.

First to the checks - 10 of them issued to Jafari Castro - Edmund Castro's son. They were issued in amounts of less than 300 dollars between February and April, 2013 and total $2,240 dollars. Well, 7News managed to speak with a BAA board member today who told us that Jafari Castro worked at the Airports Authority before he left for school and those were his paychecks.

And what about the check for Norman Middleton - Edmund Castro's driver? Well, the board member says he was paid 300 dollars to clean off the Belize City Municipal runway when it was flooded over.

UDP soldier Omar Burns had also been contracted to keep the runways clean, but when that contract was given to Castro's friend Cutbert Bailey, Burns was paid a termination fee of six thousand dollars. The paper trail shows Bailey is paid a regular fee to maintain the runways of about two thousand per month.

And that other UDP soldier, Allan Kelly? He got paid three hundred dollars - the board member says to sponsor a basketball team. The check for Ordonez Bike Shop was also a BAA donation - but this one for Castro's Cycling team, the Board member explains. The checks  for CDS Gas company - the board member says those are for the Airports Authority - which purchases fuel there and did not involve Castro.

The Airports Authority is also claiming responsibility for the checks  for Bowen and Bowen and Caribbean Chicken - which total some 13 thousand dollars. Those were, we are told, for evens that the BAA hosted.

Same for the checks to a travel agency and a car dealership - BAA expenses in their own right according to the board member. And the 4,200 dollars paid to Cellular Plus - that was for a laptop computer the Airports authority bought, again in its own right - apparently a very expensive one - like two times the price of what we'd call a higher end model on the local market.

The BAA - in its dubious discretion - also undertook - again in its own right - to pay the dentist's bill - two thousand dollars plus for a board member's child.

Same for a long list of names who received small amounts - a few hundred dollars - all those were - we are told "underprivileged children" who needed educational assistance. They were, the board member insists, not recommended to the BAA by Castro.

There are also checks  to schools - again educational assistance which the BAA gave - according to the board member - in its own right. There are a total of 17 checks for what the board members tell us are educational assistance paid to individuals or to schools - a few of them at Castro's request.

The largest check is for sixteen thsoqaund dollars, and the board member says that was the mobilization fee for the fence built at the PG Airstrip.

We could continue, but you get the idea - the Board member is saying that of the 76 checks - about 27 are directly related to Castro - three of them paid out directly to him to a total of 10,156 dollars.


Oklahoma State University remembers 10 who died in plane crash

AP Photo Sue Ogrocki 
Flowers are displayed at the memorial to the 10 men killed in the Jan. 27, 2001 Oklahoma State plane crash before the start of an NCAA college basketball game between West Virginia and Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State honored the lives of the 10 men affiliated with the school who died in a plane crash 13 years ago with a moment of silence before tip-off of the 11th-ranked Cowboys' game against West Virginia on Saturday.

Denver Mills, Nate Fleming, Dan Lawson, Jared Weiberg, Pat Noyes, Bill Teegins, Will Hancock, Brian Luinstra, Kendall Durfey and Bjorn Fahlstrom died in a crash on Jan. 27, 2001, about 40 miles east of Denver as the plane was returning to Stillwater from a game against Colorado. Eight of the 10 families were represented at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday.

The Memorial Lobby at Gallagher-Iba was opened 90 minutes before tip-off. At halftime, organizers of the annual "Remember The 10 Run" planned to donate race proceeds to OSU Counseling Services.

Story and photos:

Beechcraft 200 Super King Air,  Jet Express Services,  N81PF

NTSB Identification: DCA01MA017.

The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, January 27, 2001 in Strasburg, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/2003
Aircraft: Beech 200, registration: N81PF
Injuries: 10 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Board's full report is available at

On January 27, 2001, about 1737 mountain standard time, a Raytheon (Beechcraft) Super King Air 200, N81PF, owned by North Bay Charter, LLC, and operated by Jet Express Services, crashed into rolling terrain near Strasburg, Colorado. The flight was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight departed about 1718 from Jefferson County Airport (BJC), Broomfield, Colorado, with two pilots and eight passengers aboard. The pilot who occupied the left seat in the cockpit was solely responsible for the flight. The pilot who occupied the right seat in the cockpit, referred to in this report as the "second pilot," was not a required flight crewmember. N81PF was one of three airplanes transporting members of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) basketball team and associated team personnel to Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO), Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a game at the University of Colorado at Boulder that afternoon. All 10 occupants aboard N81PF were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s spatial disorientation resulting from his failure to maintain positive manual control of the airplane with the available flight instrumentation. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the loss of a.c. electrical power during instrument meteorological conditions.

GoPro footage belonging to tragic BASE jumper Ashley Cosgriff turns up in New South Wales

Police have uncovered GoPro camera footage which could hold the key to explaining a fatal BASE jump in Gippsland last weekend.

Officers were called to the 432m Omega Tower - the tallest structure in Australia - on Saturday, January 25, and discovered the body of 23-year-old Ashley Cosgriff.

The camera, believed to be a GoPro, was attached to Mr Cosgriff's helmet and taken from the scene.

This week Sale detectives travelled to Queensland and interviewed a 32-year-old Gold Coast man.

Police then recovered the footage from an address in New South Wales.

The Gold Coast man is expected to be charged on summons with offences including failing to report a death.

It was believed the man was at the Omega Tower with Mr Cosgriff.

Experienced BASE jumper Gary Cunningham said if the thrillseeker had jumped from the top of the tower he would have had about 10 seconds of freefalling before he needed to pull the parachute.

Mr Cunningham, who has performed 3000 jumps both in Australia and overseas, said the tower's height meant BASE jumpers had time to get themselves out of trouble.

"It should be a safe jump.

"There would have to be some sort of malfunction or jumper error for it to go wrong.

"It could be that the parachute opened too late or did not open or he performed a hard turn near the bottom of the jump and he has dove into the ground."

Mr Cosgriff had performed hundreds of dives from planes at his skydiving club in NSW.

He had also posted videos of his previous perilous stunts on YouTube, including a video of him jumping off a bridge in the US.

The Omega tower at Giffard - some 220km southeast of Melbourne - has been known to attract BASE jumpers from all over the world.

BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span (bridge), Earth and most jumps are done without authorities permission.

Police are still searching for the culprits of one of the more daring jumps off the Rialto Tower in March 2012.

The four men were dressed in suits and ordered cocktails from a restaurant near the top of the 243m skyscraper, before flinging themselves from a balcony.

They had been drinking at the prestigious Vue de Monde restaurant - on Level 55 of the 56-floor building - before the jump.

Restaurant owner Shannon Bennett said the four men walked into the venue's Lui Bar with travel suitcases and ordered Negroni cocktails before throwing themselves off the building.

Mr Bennett said the men locked the balcony doors behind them so staff couldn't catch them before they made the plunge.


Cosgriff had performed hundreds of jumps from planes. 
Source: Supplied  

A young  man killed while BASE jumping off the nation's tallest structure in country Victoria will always be remembered for his deep love of adventure. 

Ashley Cosgriff, 23, died when it is believed he leapt off the 432m-tall Omega transmitter tower - more than 100m taller than Melbourne's Eureka Skydeck - near Woodside in the state's west on Saturday.

Police are investigating what happened and whether a parachute mishap was to blame.

With hundreds of jumps under his belt, including a whirlwind trip to America last year to tackle its biggest and most famous buildings and bridges, "Cossie", as he is affectionately known by his mates, knew the dangers of the sport.

So did his family and friends.

But it did not stop the hard-core adventurer - and it certainly did not make it any easier when those who loved him heard the news he had died doing what he loved.

"I just can't believe he is gone," friend Cliff Gallagher told the Herald Sun.

"We spent a lot of time together, going fishing and camping. He's just the happiest bloke who would do anything for you.

"I'm going to miss him so much. I'll never forget him."

Mr Gallagher, 24, lived and worked with Mr Cosgriff in Muswellbrook, NSW, and said his mate would want to be remembered for living life to the full.

"Even though it was a short life, it was a good life," he said.

"He's done a lot of travel and was planning a trip to Europe this year.

"He was absolutely obsessed with base jumping. He knew the risks involved. He had shown me a few videos of his friends who had close calls.

"But it never put him off. He just wanted to go out and enjoy life.

"He was always looking for bigger and better tricks and new things to jump off."

The scaffolder grew up in Queensland on the Gold Coast before moving to Muswellbrook, where he worked in the local mines.

His adrenalin-pumped manner began from an early age atop his BMX, where he would be seen doing flips, whips and 360s in the half-pipes at every chance he could.

But when the rush started to fade, he wanted to scale new heights, and turned his hand at skydiving.

When that proved an expensive hobby, he started base jumping.

The Omega tower - some 220km southeast from Melbourne - has become a popular spot for base jumpers, with many travelling from around the world to make the illegal jump.

Some have spoken on online blogs how it is a treacherous climb of at least an hour to the top of the old transmitter tower, but the view and thrill is worth it.

Mr Cosgriff was understood to be in Victoria for a base jumping trip over the long weekend, but it is not known who he was travelling with.

Police believe he was with at least one other person, who has fled the scene, possibly taking the GoPro camera attached to his helmet, following the tragedy.

Detective Sergeant Ian Marr said they would like to speak with the person who anonymously called in the incident from Stratford, some 60km away, and anyone else who may have been with him that day.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 33 000 or visit

Story, video and photos:

 Ashley Cosgriff  died at the Omega Tower near Woodside in Victoria. 
Source: Supplied 

Ashley Cosgriff free-falling during a jump.
 Source: Supplied

 A BASE jumper who plunged to his death from Australia's tallest structure had his helmet removed after dying, police say.  

Emergency services were called to an accident near the Omega tower, a 432m structure at Giffard, about 200km east of Melbourne, just before 2.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday.

Police believe a helmet was removed from the body of the 23-year-old NSW man before emergency services arrived and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

A mount for a camera was attached to the helmet but the camera was not located at the scene, police said.

Police say the deceased man may have been with other people before he died, however there was no one else at the scene when they arrived.

‘‘If a camera was used, investigators are keen to locate it as it may have information critical to the investigation,’’ a police spokesperson said.

The Omega tower is a well known site for illegal BASE jumping, an activity where people jump from fixed objects and use a parachute to break their fall.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullens said ground crews and a helicopter were dispatched but the man was difficult to access.

‘‘It came through as a base jump man in his 20s believed to be deceased,’’ he said.

Emergency services workers had to be directed to the site by people who had been with the man, Mr Mullens said.

‘‘It took a little while to get in,’’ he said. ‘‘He was deceased.’’

Police described the death as a ‘‘parachute incident’’.

The Omega tower, a steel lattice transmitter, is the tallest structure in Australia, more than 100m higher than the Q1 Tower on the Gold Coast and Sydney Tower.

BASE is an acronym for building, antenna, span (bridge), and earth (cliffs) - the four places where jumpers launch from.


A NSW man has died in Victoria in what appears to be a BASE jump gone wrong.

Emergency services were called to an accident near the Omega tower, a 432m structure at Gifford, about 200km east of Melbourne, just before 2.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday.

The Omega tower is a well-known site for illegal BASE jumping, an activity where people jump from fixed objects and use a parachute to break their fall.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullens said ground crews and a helicopter were dispatched but the 23-year-old man was difficult to access.

"It came through as a BASE jump man in his 20s believed to be deceased," he said.

Emergency services workers had to be directed to the site by people who had been with the man, Mr Mullens told AAP.

"It took a little while to get in," he said.

"He was deceased."

Police described the death as a "parachute incident".

Mr Mullens said he believed the Omega tower, a navigation antenna and transmitter, was a BASE jump site.

The Omega tower is the tallest structure in Australia, more than 100 metres higher than the Q1 Tower on the Gold Coast and Sydney Tower.

BASE is an acronym for building, antenna, span (bridge), and earth (cliffs) - the four places where jumpers launch from.


Emergency landing by aircraft in North Lincolnshire - UK

A light  aircraft made an emergency landing in North Lincolnshire this afternoon (Saturday, January 25).

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was called to Sandtoft Airfield as a precaution shortly after 12.30pm.

The aircraft had a possible landing gear defect and firefighters stood by while the landing took place.

The fire service confirmed the aircraft landed safely and no action was taken by firefighters.


Flight Design CTSW, N359CT: Incident occurred January 25, 2014 in Colorado Springs, Colorado



 Those with the Colorado Springs Airport say a pilot scraped the wingtip of a single engine aircraft while performing touch and go landings Saturday morning. The pilot was the only person on board and was not injured.

The plane sustained light damage, and is being inspected.

 The west runway was closed while mechanics and the FAA looked at the plane.

Those with the airport tell us the incident did not impact other operations at the airport.

Watch Video:

 An airplane that scraped its wing on the runway at Colorado Springs Airport about 9 a.m. Saturday prompted an emergency response and closed some runways.

The pilot of the two-seat plane was performing touch-and-go landings when the tip of one of the plane's wings scraped the ground, causing a fuel spill, an airport official said.

The pilot, the only person on board, was uninjured, and the aircraft suffered light damage, officials said.

All runways were reopened before noon, officials said.


A minor accident at the Springs airport gave the pilot a scare Saturday morning. 
Authorities tell us a small two-seater aircraft was trying to land at the Colorado Springs Airport around 9 a.m. when its wing tipped while performing touch and go landings. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association describes touch and goes as a "technique for an emergency go-around should he or she detect a runway hazard after touching down."

CSFD says the pilot was a little shaken up, but otherwise uninjured. A spokesperson with the airport says there was some "light" damage to the plane, including a fuel leak. Peterson Air Force Base is reportedly helping with cleanup.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

No qualified flight inspector attached to Trans Guyana – Nascimento

In light of the recent call by Transport Minister Roberson Benn with respect to intensifying surveillance at the Ogle International Airport (OIA), Trans  Guyana Airways Public Relations Consultant Kit Nascimento disclosed that no qualified flight operation inspector (FOI) is attached to the airline.

He said Trans Guyana Airways has written to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Minister Benn for the past five years requesting that they engage the services of a flight operations inspector, but this was denied.


Nascimento said it was quite a surprise to have heard the minister speaking about heightening surveillance at the facility and contending that it should have been done years ago.

Currently, the Trans Guyana consultant noted that there is no inspector to overlook the regulation at Trans Guyana Airways, which is critical to its operations. He reiterated the need for a Flight Operation Inspection Unit for the GCAA to regulate the operations, noting that without this post, errors will occur.

Guyana Times understands that every company has to contract their own FOI to police the operation to ensure that the company follows all procedures and regulations at the specific site.

These inspectors report directly to the GCAA. This publication learnt that the last FOI was not given the opportunity to operate in a manner desirous of the GCAA, and as such, he was literally forced out of Trans Guyana Airways. That official is now working in Jamaica.

In correcting the situation, the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) is overlooking operations for the specific airlines.


During a press conference on Wednesday, Minister Benn said his ministry and the GCAA are concerned over the number of aircraft incidents and mishaps at OIA and interior locations.

Benn said his ministry has been discussing additional measures and oversights to improve the level of surveillance with respect to aircraft operations.

However, a team of investigators under the watch of Transport Canada has arrived at the crash site and once it removes the engine from the wreckage, it will be transported to Olive Creek by helicopter and then to OIA.  The ELT is also being extracted and will be examined shortly.

The autopsies performed on the bodies of pilot Blake Slater and cargo loader Dwayne Jacobs were completed on Wednesday. They both died as result of multiple injuries. Blake, according to a post-mortem examination would have received injuries to the head while Jacobs sustained injuries to the chest.

 Funeral on Monday

Jacobs’s brother Tobin Jacobs was not too sure about funeral arrangements, but according to information received, the pilot will be cremated in Guyana on Monday.

On Saturday last, the Cessna Caravan bearing registration number 8R-GHS crashed just after takeoff from Olive Creek, claiming the lives Slater, 25, and Jacobs, 28.

The aircraft was at the time on a shuttle operation between Olive Creek and Imbaimadai, transporting fuel. The “Mayday” emergency call was broadcast at approximately 10:56h on the day it went down; thus, an aerial search was immediately activated.

After 11 hours of search, the wreckage was located on Sunday in the Marikina Mountain by Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Special Force officers.  They were then inserted at a location some 1.2 miles from the wreckage and trekked on foot to the crash site.

They were joined by another team on Monday and managed to find both Blake and Jacobs.

The bodies were recovered on Tuesday morning and flown to the city later that day.


Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, 8R-GHS, Trans Guyana Airways

Missing Man Formation: North Carolina’s 4th Fighter Wing Salutes Risner in DC Flyover


Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC January 24, 2014 – Four F-15Es from the 336th Fighter Squadron conducted a missing man formation flyover during a funeral in honor of retired Brig. Gen. Robinson Risner, Jan. 23, at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Risner is a former member of the 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, currently known as the 336th FS.

According to Capt. Reid Thomas, a 336th FS pilot and flyover participant, Risner is an Air Force hero on many levels, having served courageously in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“All of his heroism and amazing self-sacrifice makes it an honor for our squadron to remember a true fighter pilot hero and one of the 336th’s own with a befitting missing man flyover,” said Thomas. “I personally can’t think of a better way to send a nine-foot-tall hero into the wild blue yonder.”

Risner’s list of achievements includes an assignment to the 336th FIS, 4th Fighter Wing, at Kimpo, Korea in May 1952. While with the 336th FIS, he flew more than 100 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre against Mig-15s over North Korea. He’s credited with eight enemy aircraft destroyed and became the 20th jet ace during the Korean War. While on temporary duty with the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, he was shot down over North Vietnam in April 1965 and later rescued.

Risner returned to duty, then in September 1965 he was shot down again over North Vietnam and captured. While held prisoner in Hanoi, also known as the Hanoi Hilton, Risner served first as the senior ranking officer and later as vice commander of the 4th Allied Prisoner-of-War Wing.

Past Air show photos including 4th Fighter Wing SJAFB

Story, photos and video:

Public Affairs

4th Fighter Wing

Seymour Johnson AFB 

Belize: P.M. Barrow blames both Castro and Board of Airports Authority on distasteful checks


On Wednesday, the House meeting lasted more than five hours, and a lot came out of it. We brought you the meat of the day on Wednesday, but tonight we have the gravy. Swimming in that gravy is the statutory body turned personal piggy bank, which is now the subject of intense scrutiny. At the Special Sitting of the House, Prime Minister Dean Barrow seemed reluctant to say the ‘C’ word where the issuing of checks from the Belize Airports Authority to Edmond Castro et al was concerned. He called it distasteful, an error of judgment, a bad decision, wrong and even egregiously wrong…but he would not call it corrupt. In the House PUP leader Francis Fonseca revealed that he has more than sixty checks made out to Castro, his friends, family members and political causes. That’s a massively egregious wrong, but while his Minister of State has become known for those, shall we say…errors of judgment…Barrow gave equal measure of blame to the Board of the BAA, which authorized the withdrawal of pennies from the piggy bank. Anyway…the Prime Minister says that it will never happen again, especially where Castro is concerned.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I have spoken to the members of the airport authority, and I have told them that upon pain of being fired, not another check or form of assistance must be given to the minister. How they wah pay it back? it was legitimate in terms of the authority, of the jurisdiction of the airport authority to make contributions. That’s my point there is nothing illegal about it, there was nothing corrupt, but it is in terms of appearance very, very wrong. And indeed nobody in the public wants to know that a minister goes to a statutory body under his jurisdiction and gets money for A,B,C,D,E, F including for purpose of assistance for himself and for members of his family. The first thing that surfaced was that the minister got some money in assistance of his mother’s burial. Lord man, I mean again it don’t think it should have come from the airport authority but you can’t say that there is anything illegal bout that. So please let us be clear, don’t ask me in other words to fire the minster for being the recipient of funds that was given, with every authority to him by the B.A.A. The B.A.A. should never have done it. And if you ask me, in my due, he should never have asked them. And I think it is a serious error of judgment, but call it therefore what it is. But don’t, noh treat the puppy like a dog like Finnegan would like to say. What it is, is bad enough. Don’t make it worse. There is no corruption there. There is a terrible perception, the optics are bad. Man you must, look ya, better you shut up yo noh. You know that the judges of the court of appeal want a new building because of the horrible shoddy job that you did with the court of appeal. You weh take the property on Forest Drive, you weh hustle, talk about St. George’s Caye. So Mr. Speaker I say again, the leader of the opposition was perfectly correct in raising this issue. I think he went too far in describing it as not what it is and what it is, is bad enough. And I guarantee you that it stops from this moment on.”

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Pierre Air Service Unreliable Due To New Federal Aviation Administration Regulations

Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO-AM) New federal regulations continue to make air service unreliable in South Dakota's capital city. Approximately one-fifth of all flights in and out of Pierre are being canceled due to a pilot shortage.

Last August the FAA started requiring co-pilots to log 1,500 flight hours compared to 250 hours previously required. Pilots must also pass the Air Transport exam before they can work for a commercial airline.

The new regulations have hurt Great Lakes Airlines, which provides Pierre with air service to Minneapolis and Denver. Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill says Great Lakes is working with the FAA to resolve the issue.


Norfolk International (KORF), Virginia: Driver crashes through airport fence


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A car crashed through a fence bordering Norfolk International Airport Friday evening.

Norfolk dispatchers confirm a a car went through the airport’s fence along Miller Store Road. The road was closed to traffic while crews cleared the scene.


Whereabouts of two former Direct Air partners named in bank lawsuit not known: Ellisons previously involved in similar Chapter 7 travel-related court case, records show

Two of Direct Air’s former partners are nowhere to be found. 

 Now a Utah-based bank that sued Direct Air and its former partners, saying it lost more than $25 million when the carrier folded, is turning to a local newspaper to notify the missing businesspersons.

Merrick Bank Corporation, which entered into a merchant application and agreement with Direct Air to process credit card transactions, claims former Direct Air partners Kay P. Ellison and Stanley Marshall Ellison have left South Carolina “to avoid the service of a summons,” according to recently filed federal court documents.

In an attempt to serve the Ellisons, attorneys for Merrick filed a motion seeking an order for publication of the summons and complaint in a local newspaper. A federal judge signed an order Jan. 16 approving the bank’s motion.

“Additional attempts to locate the Ellisons out of state were also unsuccessful,” the motion states. “Alternatively, the Ellisons, as residents of the State of South Carolina, have departed from this state ‘to avoid the service of a summons of keep [themselves] concealed therein with like intent.”

The Ellisons are listed individually as co-defendants in a federal lawsuit Merrick Bank filed against Direct Air’s former partners in September 2013.

The suit said Direct Air is liable for more than $25 million chargebacks that were processed shortly after Direct Air suspended all flights in March 2012.

Direct Air is now in Chapter 7 liquidation.

Also named in the suit are Robert Keilman, Judy Tull and Ed Warneck.

Keilman and Tull have filed responses, though Merrick filed a motion to strike Tull’s response and a request for entry of default on the basis that it was filed late, according court records filed Jan. 10.

“Tull filed a late answer on January 6, 2013, well outside of the time prescribed for her to answer,” Merrick states in court records. "Tull did not seek the consent of Plaintiff in filing this late answer, nor did she seek leave from the court.”

Tull’s attorney Reese Boyd declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. But Boyd did say a response to the Merrick motion is being prepared.

“My comment will be my response and we will respond,” Boyd said.

Warneck has not filed a response, prompting an attorney for Merrick to seek a request for entry of default against Warneck as well. Warneck couldn’t be reached.

In the earlier response Tull filed to the Merrick lawsuit, she denies executing and delivering a personal guarantee to the bank.

Tull admits that Merrick made demands for chargebacks, but denied its ability to do so on the basis that she’s “without sufficient information or belief” whether the bank had the right to make such demands, or whether the same demands were made of the other defendants.

Tull asks the court to dismiss the case. Her response also seeks a judgment in her favor and court costs.

In his response, Keilman admits Merrick Bank made demands for chargebacks, but “is without sufficient information and knowledge to form a belief as to whether it had the right to make such demands,” according to a Nov. 29 filing.

Keilman’s response also denies the defendants breached its contract and assertions that they are in default.

Ellisons faced similar suit

According to an affidavit filed by Merrick, the bank tried to serve the Ellisons with the suit at their last known address in Myrtle Beach and at another home in The Villages, Fla.

“At both addresses, the occupants reported that the Defendants Kay P. Ellison and Stanley Marshall Ellison no longer resided at the property,” the affidavit states.

Multiple attempts by the Carolina Forest Chronicle to reach the Ellisons by telephone have also been unsuccessful.

A telephone number registered to the Ellisons’ home on Waterford Drive in Myrtle Beach has been disconnected or is no longer in service, an automated message recording states.

The Ellisons were involved in similar Chapter 7 proceedings when they worked for Sovereign World Travel, a West Virginia corporation that functioned similarly to Direct Air’s business model.

In 2002, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a West Virginia judge’s ruling that ordered the Ellisons to repay $575,000 in losses to Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), which first filed adversarial proceedings in 1994, court records show.

Similarities between the two cases and their connections to the Ellisons were alluded to in an April 11 filing by David Haber, an attorney for Chemoil Corporation, a Florida-based fuel company and Direct Air’s largest creditor at more than $3.2 million.

“It is amazing how similar the two defalcations are to one another – both involve trust or escrow funds, both involve airline operations and both involve the Ellisons,” Haber said in the filing.

Merrick has requested a jury trial. Jury selection for the case is not scheduled until January 2015, according to court filings.

Merrick files second suit

In related matters, Merrick also sued Valley National Bank (VNB), which according to court papers, managed money market and demand deposit accounts for Direct Air.

It’s from these accounts money was supposed to be held in escrow to cover costs associated with any chargebacks from travelers seeking refunds, court records state.

The suit was filed Jan. 15 as part of the ongoing Direct Air bankruptcy proceedings. A response had not been filed as of press time.

Merrick said the accounts were supposed to hold about $30 million, but the balance had dwindled to about $1.02 million when Direct Air suspended flights.

The suit says about $3.7 million is tied to American Express transactions. The rest, Merrick says in court documents, represents the bank’s chargeback losses.

“The massive shortfall could not have occurred were it not for the systemic failure of [Valley National Bank] to follow the proper procedures with respect to the escrow,” the suit states.

According to the suit, VNB failed to segregate funds by charter group, flight or rotation. These funds were placed into an “unallocated” sub-account, which were then transferred to Direct Air upon request, the suit states.

“VNB never attempted to match up the receipts claimed by Direct air in its disbursement requests against the actual receipts into the depository account,” the suit states. “VNB never, even as a spot audit, sought to verify the receipts claimed by Direct Air.”

In September 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined VNB $125,000 for failing to properly oversee the escrow, the suit continues.

“In short, VNB allowed Direct Air to operate the depository account as, effectively, a checking or demand account, disbursing funds at times, and in amounts, completely as directed by Direct Air,” the suit said.


Piper PA-42 Cheyenne, N395DR: Incident occurred January 24, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky

A private plane made an emergency landing at the Bluegrass Airport shortly after noon Friday after an engine fail.

Officials say the pilot had full control of the plane and it landed without a problem. The pilot stopped for fuel in Richmond, but shortly after take-off, the engine failed.

The owner of the small plane was flying from Minnesota to Florida on a business trip.

There were seven people on board and no injuries were reported

The plane will stay in Lexington for repairs.

Cirrus SR22-G3, N434MM: Incident occurred January 24, 2014 in Sylvester, Georgia


Registration pending:

Plane makes emergency landing in Worth County


Officials say a plane had to make an emergency landing in a field along a road in Worth County Friday afternoon. Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby confirmed the emergency landing happened on Story Road.

According to authorities at the scene, the plane landed without incident and no one was injured.

The cause of the emergency landing is under investigation. 



Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Oakfield 

The Worth County Sheriff’s Office reports a pilot of the Cirrus private plane pictured and his passenger are uninjured after making an emergency landing in an Oakfield, Worth County corn field. 

Worth emergency units were dispatched to the area around 3:45 P.M. Friday but fortunately the landing was smooth and passengers did not require any EMS treatment or transport.

Another view on situation at Tracy Municipal Airport (KTCY), California

Richard Ortenheim operates SkyView Aviation, which is the largest tenant at city-owned Tracy Municipal Airport. His firm has been in business here since 2007.
Sam Matthews/Tracy Press

Richard Ortenheim looked out the window of SkyView Aviation’s reception area in the main hangar at Tracy Municipal Airport, shook his head and said: “What we see out there is costing me money.” 

What he saw were the aviation-fuel pumps standing alone on the airport’s tarmac. There were no private aircraft being filled with fuel, and there hadn’t been any for most of the day.

“This is the way it is nearly all of the time; very few planes buy fuel here any more,” said the native of Sweden who is president of SkyView, the city of Tracy’s main tenant at the airport.

The reason, Ortenheim said, echoing comments by local pilots, is that aviation fuel at Tracy’s airport costs far more than at most airports in the region.

The diminished sales of fuel at the airport in the past two years is costing him in two ways, explained Ortenheim, who has been in business here since 2007.

“Firstly, I had a number of aircraft owners from the Bay Area who would fly here to have maintenance performed on their planes. And while they were here, they would fill up with fuel, which was cheaper than in the Bay Area,” he said. “Most of the customers no longer come here because of the high price for fuel has eliminated one of the incentives.”

And secondly, Ortenheim continued, the fuel situation is stopping him from making any long-range plans to expand his operation here and instead is forcing him to consider moving his company elsewhere.

“When I say this, I’m not trying to make any threats or play games, but this is just the way the situation is,” he said.

SkyView Aviation, which at one time had manufactured aerobatic planes here, now concentrates on selling and delivering aircraft to destinations around the world. The firm has contracts for deliveries with Beechcraft and Cirrus. Providing maintenance for private planes and operating a flight school for pilots are other phases of the business, which has 11 employees, including two inspectors.

“I’m probably the best customer at the fuel pumps, since local refueling planes used in our flight school is the only feasible option,” the SkyView president said. “But believe me, I don’t like paying a high price for fuel. Again, it’s costing me money.”

Ortenheim, who has 25 years of experience in aviation, said he was asked by the city to bid on a contract to provide fueling service at the airport, but he didn’t consider the city’s requirement to pay a $50,000 minimum annual upfront payment to the city to be reasonable — something he believes is not included in any standard agreement for a fixed-base operator that he knows.

The fact that Steve Stuhmer, owner of Turlock Air Center, which operates the fuel service at the airport, paid his 2013 fee with a $50,000 check from Surland Cos., which is developing a residential subdivision northwest of the airport, confirmed his decision not to make a bid, Otenheimer pointed out.

Stuhmer, who reported last week that the higher fuel costs at the airport reflect wholesale prices he must pay for fuel, is facing an April 1 deadline to pay this year’s fee under the terms of a revised contract that was approved by the City Council last June.

The revised contract is a long-term one, to say the least. It continues for 25 years, from Jan. 1, 2012, to Jan. 1, 2037, and has three 10-year renewal options, bringing the possible duration to 55 years — until 2066.

Why the city would want to enter into a contract of that duration is one of the puzzlements that I and other people have about the airport situation. Ortenheim just shakes his head, and I bet any number of people reading this would have the same reaction.

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SkyView Aviation:

Read more: Tracy Press - High fuel prices a puzzlement at airport

Fuel price for 100 low lead aviation fuel is $6.57 a gallon at Tracy Municipal Airport, among the highest in the region. Customers are few and far between.

FAA reimburses city for airport expansion: Frederick Municipal (KFDK), Maryland

The Frederick Municipal Airport runway extension project will keep moving forward with further reimbursements from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The city of Frederick spent $13.65 million to buy properties near the planned expansion, with the understanding that the FAA would reimburse the costs. Airport manager Chris Lawler said the FAA has reimbursed everything apart from the Bowman Farm property.

“We received everything we have invoices for. We’re not getting any money back for Bowman Farm,” Lawler said.

While he did not have exact figures with him at an airport commission meeting Thursday to discuss the project and other items, he estimated that the city would be left on the hook for a few million dollars for the property.

Richard Griffin, director of economic development for the city, noted that the property could be developed for other purposes or sold.

“It’s not as though there’s no value to it,” he said.

Frederick plans to lengthen the runway so larger aircraft can use it, in the hopes that doing so will attract more businesses to the airport area.

It would also allow for aircraft to take off with full fuel tanks to travel farther, which officials have said could boost fuel sales.

The airport has also enlisted Delta as the project’s on-call engineering consultant to oversee construction.

Campbell and Paris held that job for about a decade, but Lawler said he thought Delta would be able to provide better service.

“Delta came in and looked to me like they were forward moving,” he said, noting that Campbell and Paris was one of the finalists on the bid.

The contract is still in negotiations, Lawler said, so it is not clear yet how much Delta will be awarded.

Demolition of obstructions on Bailes Lane will begin in earnest in fall 2015. The demolition is estimated to cost $8 million, according to Lawler, so it will take place in stages, to spread costs over time.

The airport usually receives $5 million annually from the FAA, so the sites will be demolished with several $2 million projects.


Cox Field (KPRX), Paris, Texas: New members join sub-committee for airport development

PARIS, TX-- The Paris Economic Development Corporation and the Airport Advisory Board have selected new members for a joint-sub committee.

Rebecca Clifford and Stephen Grubbs from the PEDC will join Chris Fitzgerald, Jack Ashmore and Gary Tolleson from the Airport Advisory Board, as well as Paris Engineering Director Shawn Napier.

They form a sub-committee that will look into developing the area around Cox Field Airport. The joint group will try to entice industries and businesses to open around the airport.

The committee is seeking a seventh member from the City Council at Monday's meeting.

The committee's first meeting is scheduled for February 6th.


Relatives of Russian hockey team perished in air crash demand $3 million

Yakovlev 42D, YAK Service, RA-42434: Accident occurred September 07, 2011 near Yaroslavl Airport - Russia

10:52 24/01/2014 

MOSCOW, January 24 (RAPSI) – Relatives of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team members who died in a airplane crash in 2011 filed a class action lawsuit demanding 104,8 million rubles ($3 million) in compensation, according to the notification posted on attorney Igor Trunov’s website.

According to the statement, Trunov represents relatives of six perished athletes.

The Yak-42 carrying the ice hockey team crashed 2.5 kilometers away from the Yaroslavl airport on September 7.  Of the 45 people on board, only one crew member survived. Among the killed in the disaster, blamed on pilot error, were Canadian head coach Brad McCrimmon and a host of former NHL stars and future draft prospects.

The statement names Yak Service, Etalon, Leksgarant, Sogaz insurance group and UralSib insurance group as defendants. The total amount of the claim was compiled of moral damagaes, insurance payments, burial expenses, property damage and the loss of provider compensation.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, founded in 1949 as the team of the Railways Ministry, is one of Russia's leading hockey teams and came runner up in the nascent KHL in 2008 and 2009. In 1997 it took the Russian Superleague title and won back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003


LITH Seeks Airport And Fueling Manager: Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), Illinois

There are about two weeks left for applications to become Lake in the Hills' new Airport Manager.  The latest Village budget made the position a full-time one so LITH's Public Works Director doesn't have to wear two hats at the same time.  That's been the case since former Manager and Assistant Public Works Director Manny Gomez left for a spot in the private sector last Spring.

Besides the regular airport management duties of overseeing safe operations, timely maintenance, lease management and enforcement of the Airport Rules and Regulations,  LITH's new Airport Manager will operate the new (construction to start in March or April) self-service fuel operation at the airport and oversee full service fueling and maintenance technicians.

The position requirements include a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation or Airport Management, Public Administration or a related field or a minimum of four years of aviation management experience including personnel supervision.  Applications start here:  The deadline is February. 2. 

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City Council rejects mayor's food concession plan for Pensacola International Airpor

The Pensacola City Council tonight rejected awarding a concessions contract for Pensacola International Airport to Missouri-based OHM Foods.

The contract — delayed for months by procedural and political wrangling — finally appeared on the council agenda tonight.

Collier Merrill along with fellow restaurateurs Robert De Varona and Rob Mackey — joined forces last year with Creative Food Group of New York to offer well-known Pensacola brands, including The Fish House, as dining options at the airport.

Their proposal was ranked second by a five-member selection committee — narrowly outscored by Missouri-based OHM Foods. Mayor Ashton Hayward’s administration supported the OHM Foods contract.

OHM has offered to invest $1.8 million into establishing nationally branded franchises in the airport: Chick-fil-A, Corona Beach House, Surf City Squeeze and two Einstein Bros. Bagels shops.

The company also has guaranteed the city a minimum annual fee of $397,460 — though it would pay $460,000 if its projected annual sales goals were met.

Creative has proposed paying Merrill for the rights to open and operate a Fish House restaurant.

After debate, the council voted 4-4 with Councilmember Brian Spencer abstaining. The tie vote dashed Hayward’s plan to bring OHM to the airport.

'The council next debated whether to extend the current airport concession contract with de Varona for a year. That motion failed.

The current airport concession contract expires in March.


Airport restaurant closing: Kacy J's will close by the end of the month, the operator says - Delaware County Regional (KMIE), Muncie, Indiana

MUNCIE — The restaurant at the Delaware County Airport is closing — again.

“We’ve decided to make Jan. 31 our last day,” said Jay Mealy, who opened Kacy J’s at the airport in late 2009.

Mealy and his son, Chris, a chef, had owned and operated Kacy J’s until recent months, Jay Mealy said, when the restaurant was sold to Robin Gulley, the former manager. Jay Mealy continued to help operate the restaurant and was reached there Thursday morning.

“We have really taken a hit because of the weather,” Mealy said. “We’re not wanting to put any more money into it. We’re going to close.”

Mealy urged anyone with Kacy J’s gift certificates to be sure to use them before the Jan. 31 closing.

Muncie Aviation Company owns the liquor license and has made an effort to keep an eatery at the airport in the past, but Mealy said he didn’t believe that was the case this time. According to members of the county airport authority board, as recently as December 2012 the airport had 1,500 monthly take-offs, landings and radio communications with planes passing through Delaware County airspace.

Kacy J’s opened at the end of 2009 and operated longer than some of its predecessors. Although Vince’s at the airport was in business for several years, a string of closings followed. Between 2006 and 2009, Vince’s, Kimbler’s Landing and Nick’s at the Airport closed.

“I know what that track record was,” Mealy said Thursday. “I didn’t want to make a big deal of this. But I didn’t want to close the doors and disappear.”

Mealy repeated the same sentiments voiced by previous owner/operators of the restaurant space at the airport: It’s tough to draw customers away from McGalliard Road and well-known restaurants.

“People don’t appreciate the treasure they have out here,” Mealy said. “It’s difficult to get people off McGalliard, not just for the restaurant but for appreciation of the airport.”

Elkhart Municipal Airport (KEKM), Indiana

Plane lands safely in Elkhart after landing gear concerns

A small aircraft made it safely to the ground in Elkhart after concerns that its landing gear was not working properly.

The Elkhart Police Department and several fire departments responded to the Elkhart Municipal Airport around 5 p.m.

The pilot contacted the control tower saying his landing gear would not deploy.

It took five passes, and about an hour, before air traffic controllers were able to confirm that the landing gear had come out and locked.

The pilot and his four passengers were not hurt.

Airport employees checked the runway for any parts that could have fallen off the Challenger aircraft, but none were found.


Yuma Air Show in need of volunteers

The 2014 Yuma Air Show is looking for a few good men and women to help in several areas throughout the daylong event.

Volunteers need to be available for a minimum of 8 hours.
Meyer Optical 19547 300 x 250 FREE Single Vision Bifocal or Progressive

The Yuma Air Show is scheduled for March 15. Areas where volunteers are needed include:

• Chalet Areas: Directing patrons and serving in chalet areas.

• Wristbands: Handing out wristbands to patrons who have purchased tickets to VIP and Chalet areas.

• Special Services: Assisting volunteer coordinator with volunteer registration and serving lunches.

• T-shirts: Selling T-shirts at tables and tents.

• Grandstands: Assisting grandstand seating and patron directing.

• Fun Zone: Monitoring bouncers and kids area.

To sign up, go to and fill out the online application form in its entirety.

In addition to providing information such as their names, address, phone number and email on the online application, potential volunteers are also asked whether they are first-time or returning volunteers and their first and second preference as to which area they would like to be assigned to. Free parking and entry into the air show, lunch, beverages, and T-shirt will be provided to volunteers.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Palm Copter Crash: Female pilot in ICU; UAE General Civil Aviation Authority probe on; Tours halted

Helicopter tours from Atlantis, Jumeirah Palm, are not taking off, after a private helicopter crashed on Wednesday while taking off from the hotel at the Palm Island in Dubai.

The tours have been suspended until January 27, the hotel confirmed. The helicopter ride was operated by Alpha Tours, the travel agent which offers commercial helicopter tours in cooperation with Atlantis, the Palm from the premises of the hotel.

Alpha Tours has confirmed with Emirates 24|7 that it was a female pilot manning the controls at the time of the crash. A Rashid Hospital staff confirmed the crash victims had been brought to the emergency yesterday, adding: “Of the two injured, the female victim has been moved to the ICU ward now, while the Indian man is still in the emergency unit undergoing treatment.

“It is too soon for us to comment on their conditions as yet, but the female had to be moved to the ICU following her condition.”

At the point of the crash, the helicopter was occupied by the pilot and the assistant, both of whom are undergoing treatment for their injuries in hospital at the moment, Alpha Tours told Emirates 24|7. The helicopter was not carrying any tourists, and it was taking off from the hotel base when the accident happened, the tour operator confirmed.

When Atlantis was contacted by Emirates 24|7 as a customer asking about the helicopter tour, we were told that there are currently no helicopter rides taking off because there is no available aircraft. When asked whether this had anything to do with the accident that took place yesterday, no further information could be provided. The same reply was given when asked about the involvement of the hotel in the crash.

“We can confirm that an accident happened on the Palm Jumeirah. An investigation is in progress to determine the circumstances and causes relating to the accident this afternoon (yesterday). No civil passengers were on-board the helicopter. The pilot and his assistant are being treated for injuries,” reads the Alpha Tours statement.

The private helicopter crashed on Wednesday, and Police moved the two injured persons by rescue helicopter  to Rashid Hospital. Concerned authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the accident. Their nationalities are not yet known.

"A private helicopter with two people on board has crashed while taking off from Palm Jumeirah, they sustained moderate to critical injuries," Dubai Media Office tweeted just after 6pm on Wednesday.

"Police rescue helicopters moved the two injured persons to Rashid Hospital & the concerned authorities are investigating the incident," it tweeted after a few minutes.

Ambulances, fire trucks and helicopters were seen rushing to the scene of the accident while traffic issues on roads were reported by Twitter users.

Eyewitnesses who were at Atlantis, The Palm during the crash took to social media to comment, with one saying the incident occurred shortly after the helicopter took off, around 4pm.

The helicopter crashed into a parking lot near the helipad where it had taken off, creating a loud bang that had onlookers rushing to the crash site.

It is being reported that the pilot sustained serious head injuries, while the other passenger appeared shaken, but unharmed as per accounts.

In a statement, the General Civil Aviation Authority has said: “The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) initiated the investigation in the air accident crash that occurred yesterday at The Palm Island Jumeirah, Dubai.

“The helicopter was reported to have crashed shortly after takeoff.

“GCAA’s preliminary report indicates that the helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff with two persons on board, one with critical injury. Both persons were transferred to Rashid Hospital for immediate medical aid. GCAA’s investigators are currently investigating the reasons behind the crash.”

The statement further added that Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, GCAA Director General, said the causes of the accident are still unknown. The full report will be made public once the investigation is over.

Al Suwaidi added that GCAA acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience in dealing with air accident investigation over the past years and it will utilise all this experience to secure UAE’s skies.

On the website of Alpha Tours, the operating heli pilots are featured in a special section about the helicopter tours. On one of the pages, the travel agent elaborates:

“Although highly experienced, all helidubai pilots undergo regular training. Helicopter manufacturers as well as well as commercial companies provide the courses.”

A training manager and instructor at Alpha Tours writes: “Instructors simulate emergencies with various scenarios to test our abilities in adverse situations. These sessions are important. It gives all of us an opportunity to really test the helicopters away from the passengers.

 “These extra skills then translate into every day situations, should we be required to draw on them.”

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Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania: Alert canceled following reported flap trouble on aircraft

An aircraft carrying 47 people had a problem with its wing flaps before landing, apparently safely, tonight at Lehigh Valley International Airport, according to emergency radio broadcasts. 

Lehigh County 911 just before 6:50 p.m. broadcast an Alert Two, meaning a potentially major problem at the 3311 Airport Road facility outside Allentown, in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

The 911 center recalled all responders just after 7 p.m. Asked whether the plane had landed safely, a dispatcher would only say everyone dispatched had been recalled. A call for comment to an airport representative was not immediately returned.

The alert indicated the aircraft was coming from the northeast on runway 24 with 47 people on board and 3,000 gallons of fuel.

Initial reports were that it was "coming in fast" without flaps, according to emergency broadcasts.


Bhoja Air crash: Revelations from the Civil Aviation Authority report

KARACHI: The evening flight was a routine affair for Captain Noorullah Khan, 58, even if there was a thunderstorm warning for the city where the plane headed. A former Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilot, he had 10,158 hours of flying experience behind him. 

It was a Friday on April 20, 2012. The Bhoja Air flight BHO-213 took off from Karachi for Islamabad at 5:05pm with 127 people onboard including six crew members.

It was the first evening flight in 11 years since Bhoja suspended operations in 1999. The airline had resumed service a couple of months back under the new ownership of Arshad Jalil, a former Managing Director of Shaheen Air International.

The plane was one of the four Boeing 737 inducted in the fleet. It was a 737-236a – an advanced version of the 737-200 – manufactured in 1985 and purchased by British Airways, which used it till 1999. Then it served in South Africa’s Comair till the end of 2010 when it was grounded as the airline switched to another model.

All relevant checks and approvals were obtained when Bhoja bought it in January 2012. On the 12th of that month, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority’s inspectors Shaukat Hameed and Javed Afzal undertook a detailed inspection of the aircraft at Johannesburg.

They pointed out 28 discrepancies, which ranged from peeled-off paint to a fan blade of one engine sporting a cut. They also examined the waviness of the blade. All defects were removed in following weeks.

And so at 6:09pm the plane was in the air somewhere above Lahore. Inside the cockpit, Khan was assisted by 53-year-old first officer (FO) Javaid Ahmed Malik who was also ex-PAF pilot.

The two men were considered very close. They had worked in Shaheen and then moved to Bhoja together. As a matter fact, out of 23 flights the Captain took at Bhoja, the FO was his co-pilot in 16 of them.

Khan was a fatherly figure for Malik, who had performed very well in PAF as a cadet. But during his initial flying experience, he suffered airsickness, which scarred his confidence for the rest of his career.

The captain left Shaheen after he was dropped from a ground training program for B 737-400 aircraft as the management felt he won’t be able to manage the automated flight deck system efficiently.

The automated flight deck system is slightly more advanced than the semi-automated ones and needs different treatment, especially when the aircraft encounters adverse weather condition.

Captain Khan was not properly trained to handle the situation on such systems whereas his first officer never received simulator training for the B 737-236a variant, which has an automated deck.

At 6:17pm, the captain sang a few lines of traditional Punjabi song ‘Sanoo nahar wali pul tay bula kay’  while the FO laughed.

Exactly at 6:18:17, the FO asked Khan if he should take the weather forecast for Peshawar. The captain said there was no need. Every flight has two alternate cities marked in case the plane needs a diversion. In this instance, they were Lahore and Peshawar. But the pilot seemed to have made up his mind to land at Islamabad.

There was thunderstorm activity over Islamabad with wind speeds between 20 and 34 knots. The environment was rife for downburst and wind-shear, which causes drastic changes in wind speed and direction over a short distance and altitude.

The captain realized how bad the weather was at 6:19. At 6:24, the captain explains to the FO about the squall line, which basically means bad weather. Over the next few minutes the cabin crew discussed the situation outside.

The radar controller told them at 6:28 that there was a gap between radials 160 to 220. That meant there was small space for the aircraft to pass through the stormy clouds.

At 6:31:08, the FO asked the captain to take a right to avoid the bad weather. “No, no we don’t have to go there, we have to land here,” replies Captain Khan who was determined to land.

After that the crew became relaxed for a while.

The tower clears the flight to descend at 6:33. Autopilot and auto throttle are engaged at 6:35. At 6:37 the captain commented on the darkness. They knew they were near bad weather but did not change course, which they should had done as per the flying manual.

By 6:38:10, the landing gear was down and the aircraft was arranging itself with the localizer, an imaginary line which helps guide it towards runway.

Flight BHO-123 had entered the last two minutes of its life.

At 6:38:24pm, the FO told the captain that the speed is 220 knots.

“What?” the captain shouted. The information is repeated. “220…oh shit what has happened?”

The captain knows that the auto throttle speed should not have exceeded 190 knots. He couldn’t correlate this variation with the presence of wind shear.

Precipitation, rain or hail lashing the aircraft frame, started at 6:38:37pm. The aircraft was taking the final approach.

By 6:39:16pm, a descending air mass had pushed the plane in downdraft, a rapid downward push of air. The speed being maintained by auto throttle was not enough to get out of the situation. In this situation pilots are trained to do just one thing: apply full throttle manually and get out.

“Wind shear- wind shear-wind shear,” said the Ground Proximity Warning System at 6:39:25. Within four seconds the plane fell from 1900 feet to 900 feet.

According to a senior pilot this is the time when passengers were exposed to havoc. “Everything must be flying inside.”

It was 6:39:28 when Captain Khan was yelling, “No, no.”

A second later the FO shouted, “Go around, go around.”

From then onwards the plane was flown manually but auto throttle still controlled the thurst.

The Terrain Awareness Warning System blared ‘whoop’ sounds. The FO was busy contacting the control tower. That is when he should have taken over control from the Captain as they are trained to do under Crew Resource Management courses.

At 6:39:54pm FO Malik shouted in desperation, “Stall warning, let’s get out.”

Three seconds later he said his last words: “Go around, go around sir, go around.”

The Bhoja aircraft crashed 4.5 nautical miles from the Islamabad airport near Hussainabad village. No one survived.

The cockpit crew conversation and findings are part of a 78-page investigation report which was spearheaded by CAA. It ruled out any sort of technical failure in the aircraft. Possibility of sabotage or bird hit was also discounted.

The radar controller has also been declared innocent. It has been found there was no way he could have known that there was wind shear.

One reason for the cockpit crew’s failure was the wrong induction of pilots for B 737-236a aircraft, it said. Bhoja’ management did not have a cockpit crew monitoring system at all.

The most astonishing part of the report is how CAA exempted its Flight Standard Directorate from any responsibility. CAA never objected to the pilots because it was never told by Bhoja that they would be flying advance version of B 737-200.

How these two inspectors overlooked what kind of an aircraft it was before clearing it remains a mystery.

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NTSB Identification: DCA12RA065

Accident occurred Friday, April 20, 2012 in Islamabad, Pakistan
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 127 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 20, 2012, at about 1840 local time, Bhoja Air flight BH0213, a Boeing 737-236, registration AP-BKC, crashed about 3.7 miles short of runway 30 during an approach to landing at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, Pakistan. The flight originated from Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan. All 127 people on board were fatally injured, and the aircraft was destroyed. Heavy rain and thunderstorms were reported at the time of the accident.

The Government of Pakistan is investigating the accident and has appointed an Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) along with investigators from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Pakistan Air Force. As the state of design and manufacture of the airplane and engines, the NTSB has designated a U.S. accredited representative to assist the Pakistan Government in their investigation under the provisions of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Headquarters, Civil Aviation Authority
Terminal-1, JIAP

Air crash experts raise safety fear

Air accident experts investigating a North Sea helicopter crash which claimed four lives have highlighted a concern about pre-flight safety briefings on emergency equipment.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has asked helicopter operators to amend the briefing material about emergency breathing systems (EBS) given to passengers before they fly.

Four oil workers died when their Super Puma helicopter plunged into the sea off Shetland on August 23 last year with 18 people on board.

As part of its ongoing investigation, the AAIB published a special bulletin about EBS, which allow passengers and crew to breathe underwater for a short period of time after a helicopter has capsized.

One of the three types of EBS commonly used is a hybrid system which contains its own air supply and allows the user to breathe even if they have not taken a breath before they are submerged.

The AAIB said pre-flight safety material does not include "fully representative information" about the EBS and does not highlight that it might be a hybrid system, which might influence a passenger's decision on whether to use it.

One model widely used by operators of North Sea offshore helicopter flights is the Lifejacket Airpocket Plus (LAP) combined lifejacket and hybrid rebreather.

In its bulletin the AAIB said: "Incomplete information in the pre-flight safety briefing material may give passengers the false impression that hybrid rebreathers such as the widely used LAP system are only of benefit if the user has taken a breath prior to becoming submerged.

"Knowledge that hybrid rebreathers contain their own supply of air may therefore influence a passenger's decision on whether or not to use the EBS in an emergency situation."

The AAIB has asked helicopter operators which use the hybrid EBS to make it clear that hybrid systems contain their own air supply.

It said: "Whilst operation of the hybrid EBS should be covered in initial and recurrent training, it is not explicitly described in the pre-flight safety briefing.

"The operators have undertaken to amend their pre-flight briefing material to include information that the hybrid system contains its own air supply which is discharged automatically, making the system usable even if the wearer has not taken a breath before becoming submerged."

The crash claimed the lives of Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland in County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Moray;, and Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness.

The Super Puma was returning from the Borgsten Dolphin support vessel to Sumburgh Airport.

An investigation into the crash is continuing. The AAIB says it has found no evidence of technical failure in the helicopter, which was carrying 16 passengers and two crew.