Monday, January 20, 2014

Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT -- She was never told the city built a $400,000 driveway at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, so now a key councilwoman wants to put the brakes on Tuesday's scheduled vote to settle a lawsuit over the project.

"The airport decision in the past has created mistrust among our constituents," Councilwoman Michelle Lyons, D-134, wrote in an email Sunday to her council colleagues. "We need to be aware of all the facts and be responsible representatives for our districts and city."

Lyons is the senior chairwoman of the council's public safety and transportation committee, which two weeks ago received a behind-closed-doors briefing from the city's lawyers on a deal allowing the city to keep the driveway at Sikorsky.

The full 20-person council is scheduled to vote on the matter Tuesday. Lyons doesn't think they're ready.

A court judge last summer ruled the project -- installed in the spring by developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho without the council's knowledge to his waterfront mansion -- should never have been permitted by Stratford.

Sikorsky is owned by Bridgeport but located in Stratford.

That lawsuit had been filed by Breakwater Key, a condominium complex adjacent to the driveway whose residents were furious it was built through wetlands.

Mayor Bill Finch's administration has argued the driveway -- which they call an "access road" -- replaces an older one used by Moutinho and three neighbors that will be eliminated for a $40 million, mostly federally funded runway safety project.

City officials have said if the runway work is not completed by 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration will shutter Sikorsky.

The settlement details have not been made public, but sources have said the roughly $60,000 deal with Breakwater includes a plan to install fencing and plantings to shield the condos from the driveway.

In her email, Lyons gave several reasons why the council's vote Tuesday should be tabled.

She cited a one-page, alternative summary of the expenses, anonymously compiled and circulated in recent weeks, that claims the driveway installation cost taxpayers $481,900 and the subsequent legal expenses and settlement total $117,000.

"There was discussion on a settlement but no paperwork was given to us on the detailed, specific costs," Lyons said.

Meanwhile Lyons said she has also not received a cost-benefit analysis of the city's continuing to own Sikorsky that she requested at the public safety committee meeting.

Lyons also wants more information about the overarching deal between Bridgeport and Stratford that allowed the runway safety work to move forward, including a provision transferring about 40 acres of airport property in the Long Beach vicinity to Stratford.

And, Lyons said in her email, the city has not set aside time for her council colleagues to visit the city attorneys office to review the proposed settlement.

"Public Safety Committee members could not take the document given to us ... home to review because it is under litigation," Lyons said. "I was told that the council would be notified that they could set up times to review this document ... before the next council meeting."

Council President Thomas McCarthy, D-133, said he will recommend sticking to Tuesday's plan. He wants council members to receiving a private briefing on the settlement, have a public discussion, then vote on whether to proceed or delay the deal.

"At the end of that if the council is not satisfied, of course we have the ability to table it and send it back to committee," McCarthy said.

He added the council meeting may be canceled due to an expected snowstorm, anyway.

Freshman Councilman Rick Torres, R-130, the lone Republican member, was elected in November in part after his constituents in highly taxed Black Rock were angered over the driveway deal.

He said Lyons' email gave him a "warm, fuzzy feeling."

"The key is to get everyone the information," Torres said. "No one is saying we're not going to ultimately vote for this. But don't embarrass us by not giving us the information we need to make the right vote."

Story and Photos:

Harbour Air rolls out back-up flight service during poor weather

Harbour Air is adding land-based flights to transport passengers in the event of poor weather.

The back-up flight service, which began last week, will use the company's newly acquired Pilatus PC-12, an eight-seat plane that flies under the branding Tantalus Air, as well as a chartered 30-seat aircraft when necessary.

"If there's a weather problem, we'll get people a boarding pass then just shuttle them out to the airport on either side," said Randy Wright, executive vice president of business and corporate development.

Security checks will be expedited at the airport as well, Wright said.

Last week, Harbour Air flew 264 passengers between Victoria International Airport and the mainland using the new service during poor weather. Visibility flight rules mean seaplanes are grounded if visibility is less than two miles in the air and 300 feet at destination or departure point, or if wind speeds are above 25 knots.

Until last week, grounded seaplanes meant customers could choose to delay their flight or shuttle to ferry terminals.

"There will be some cost to us, but using these aircraft we're able to deliver a more consistent winter travel experience to our customers," Wright said. "We want to keep our people moving and this is an opportunity to do that."


Federal Aviation Administration Sets New Rules at Busiest Airports: WSJ

Federal air-safety regulators have ordered changes in landing and takeoff procedures at more than a dozen big airports—including seven of the 10 busiest U.S. fields—to reduce the hazards of airborne collisions.

Pilots and air-safety experts support the changes, recommended last summer by the National Transportation Safety Board, but said they could worsen delays at peak times or in bad weather.

Spelled out in Federal Aviation Administration instructions to controllers in the past few weeks, the aim is to stagger takeoffs and landings to ensure safe separations between aircraft simultaneously cleared for takeoff on one runway and those planes arriving on another.

Such aircraft can end up flying intersecting routes if the crew of the landing plane abandons its approach and proceeds to climb away from the strip.

So-called "missed approaches" or "go-arounds" occur for many reasons and are practically impossible to predict, but experts say on average they happen roughly once in every 1,000 flights.

After investigating a total of five such near-midair collisions over the years at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport and Charlotte International Airport, the safety board in July 2013 found the old rules resulted in "hazardous conflicts" and "unnecessary collision risk" because pilots were left without guidance from controllers.

Some of the planes came within 100 feet vertically and 1,000 feet horizontally of each other. Under the new procedures, tower controllers will have to delay issuing takeoff clearances regardless of weather conditions to make sure landing aircraft have touched down or taxied away from any potential conflict.

In addition to those three locations, the FAA orders apply to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the major airports in Denver, Houston, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and a handful of other locations.

Many of the 16 affected airports already have instituted the changes, while others have until February or April to comply.

The FAA's notice to controllers notes that additional airports will come under the revised rules in July. The changes apply to runways that don't actually cross but that are oriented so that the extended centerline of one strip intersects with the other.

The resulting airborne collision hazards weren't "explicitly addressed" by the agency's previous controller safeguards and posed a "hazard to the safe conduct of arrival-departure operations," according to a 2013 report prepared for the FAA by experts from Mitre Corp., a federally-supported research organization.

Last week, the union representing pilots at United Continental Holdings Inc. told its members that FAA controllers are implementing the concept of "an arrival and departure window" to provide adequate separation between planes. While wind direction and other factors could impact their use, "the bottom line is that we can occasionally expect both departure and arrival delays," the bulletin said. It noted that as many as 30 airports are on "the watch list" and ultimately may be impacted. 

Ercoupe 415-C, N2076H: Accident occurred January 20, 2014 in Poulsbo, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 20, 2014 in Poulsbo, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/08/2015
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415 C, registration: N2076H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

During the approach for an attempted forced landing into a clearing, the airplane struck trees and then collided with the ground in a nose-down attitude. The pilot sustained serious injuries during the impact but was able to call 911 on his cell phone. He subsequently died from complications related to his injuries about 2 weeks later. Postaccident examination revealed that the engine oil filler cap had not been secured. The oil filler neck and cap were intact and undamaged. Due to the engine’s design, the engine oil filler cap was located at a low point on the engine; therefore, failure to secure the cap would have resulted in a rapid expulsion of engine oil and a subsequent engine seizure. Engine examination found damage consistent with oil exhaustion and engine seizure, and the aft section of the engine compartment was coated with oil, which extended out of the cowling and onto the airplane’s belly. The pilot was operating without a valid medical certificate; the Federal Aviation Administration had denied his medical application 3 years before the accident due to a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome. Although no evidence was found indicating that this medical condition was casual to the accident, it likely contributed to the pilot’s death because it hindered his recovery from otherwise nonlife-threatening injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to confirm that the engine oil filler cap was secured before flight, which resulted in oil exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power during cruise flight.


On January 20, 2014, about 1540 Pacific standard time, an Ercoupe 415 C, N2076H, collided with trees near Poulsbo, Washington, following a loss of engine power. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the commercial pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot died 16 days later due to complications from injuries incurred during the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. The local flight departed Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Washington, about 1440. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Kitsap County Central Communications Center received a 911 call from the pilot about 1545, stating that he had been involved in an airplane accident. Emergency response personnel responded to the accident site, and located the pilot, who was seated outside and adjacent to the airplane. Due to the nature of his injuries, he could not recall the circumstances of the accident, and reported only that he had left Auburn earlier in the day.

The airplane came to rest inverted, and was located at the edge of a clearing, bound by 50-foot-tall trees. It sustained crush damage to the upper fuselage from the firewall through to the aft cabin. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage; the left wing sustained leading edge crush damage and was folded aft about 45 degrees. The airplane's belly was coated in a layer of brown-colored oil that extended from the louvered lower lip of the engine cowling, through to the tailcone.

Examination revealed that the combination engine oil filler cap/dipstick was not installed in the filler neck. The cap was subsequently located loose within the engine compartment, against the cowling. The cap appeared undamaged, with both its gasket and locking tabs in place. The filler neck remained attached to the engine sump, and its locking lugs were intact. The aft section of the engine compartment was coated in oil, which continued along the lower firewall, and out of the left side of the cowling and onto the airplane's belly. The oil coating was in an area that was obscured from the pilot's view while in flight.


The 70-year-old-pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in August 2008, with limitations that he must have glasses available for near vision.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot; however, at the time of his last medical application he reported a total flight experience of 1,837 hours with 28 logged in the last 6 months.


FAA Medical History

The pilot first obtained a third-class aviation medical certificate in 1964, and routinely renewed it in the second or third class with the only limitation being the need to wear corrective lenses. In 1998 he reported a diagnosis of hypertension, which was being treated with blood pressure medication. Subsequent to that, the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), who was also the pilot's treating physician, issued him a third-class medical certificate, which was confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The pilot continued to report his hypertension and its treatment, and continued to receive third-class medical certificates.

In 2006 and 2008, the pilot reported additional medications for the treatment of high cholesterol, and was awarded a third-class medical certificate on both occasions.

In August 2010, the pilot applied for another third-class medical certificate and continued to report hypertension. In addition, he reported "low platelet count, no symptoms"; the AME noted the low platelet count was the result of myelodysplastic syndrome and deferred the certification decision to the FAA. In September 2010, the FAA asked for additional information regarding the condition, along with records regarding the diagnosis and care. The pilot was referred to a hematologist and further testing was performed. After it assessed the results, the FAA, in October 2010, denied the pilot a medical certificate because of his myelodysplastic syndrome and low platelet count.

The FAA medical certification file contained a letter from the pilot to the FAA requesting reconsideration. In the letter, the pilot stated "Although I have flight instructor and commercial pilots licenses, I no longer give any instruction and of course since I am requesting a third-class medical, I do no commercial flying. I have over 1,800 hours and own part of a Beechcraft Bonanza, which I only fly for the pleasure of it." He went on to say, "I have no symptoms of anything wrong with me. I exercise daily and eat a balanced diet. If not for the blood tests I would consider myself to be the picture of health."

The pilot included a letter from his hematology/oncologist that described his condition and stated that the pilot "should be competent as a recreational pilot."

The FAA responded on November 22, 2010, that the pilot's request for reconsideration was denied, and asked that if the pilot again requested a reconsideration he supply evidence that his platelet count had improved. There were no further documents in the FAA medical certification file.

Postaccident Hospital Admission

Following the accident, the pilot was transported by helicopter to a nearby Level I Trauma Center. There he was diagnosed with pulmonary contusions and multiple rib fractures. He quickly developed worsening shortness of breath and was placed on a ventilator in the emergency department. Over the next 2 weeks, his bone marrow function worsened and transfusions of multiple types of blood products were required. He developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, his kidneys failed, and he had multiple infections. He died 16 days after the accident.


Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) on blood obtained from the pilot during the first portion of his hospital stay. Results identified Amlodipine, Midazolam, and Ondansetron in blood. According to the emergency department medical records, Midazolam and Ondansetron were administered as part of the pilot's initial resuscitation efforts. According to CAMI, Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker heart medication used in the treatment of hypertension.


Engine Examination

The four-cylinder normally aspirated engine was manufactured by Continental Engines. It was equipped with a 4-quart oil sump located at the bottom of the crankcase. The oil filler neck protruded from the sump to a level just below the cylinder heads.

The engine was examined and disassembled by an Aircraft Mechanic following recovery. The mechanic reported that the engine had completely seized, and exhibited damage consistent with oil exhaustion. He found fragments of metallic components in the crankcase, and reported that the camshaft, along with the connecting rod for cylinder No.1, had failed.

GPS Receiver

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GPSMap 295 GPS receiver. The unit was not damaged, and contained track data for the entire flight leading to the accident. The data revealed that the airplane departed Auburn Airport and flew directly west across Commencement Bay, just north of Tacoma. It then turned to the north, climbed to 2,300 ft msl, and flew directly to Jefferson County International Airport, Port Townsend, Washington. The pilot performed a touch-and-go landing at 1521, and on climbout initiated a left turn to the south towards Poulsbo. The airplane reached Poulsbo at 1538, and then began to descend from 1,759 ft, and reached an altitude of 876 ft about 80 seconds later. Over the next 30 seconds, the airplane made a descending 180-degree left turn to the last recorded position, at an elevation of 374 ft.

The airplane was located at an elevation of 374 ft, just north of the last recorded track position. The airplane struck the top of trees prior to reaching the clearing.

Kent O. Curtiss

Kent O. Curtiss August 1, 1943 - February 7, 2014 

Kent O. Curtiss, 70, of Kent, Washington, passed away peacefully with loved ones by his side on February 7th, 2014. Kent was born in Edmore, Michigan, August 1, 1943 to Glenn and Lucie Curtiss and lived his early life in Winn, Michigan. 

 As a young man, Kent enjoyed playing hockey with the Winn Rockets. He also played football and baseball at Shepherd High School and went on to play a year of college football at Central Michigan University. He graduated from CMU with a degree in Math and Physics.

Kent met Diana (Stricker from Laurel, Montana) while serving in the Air Force at Rapid City, South Dakota and they were married in 1967.

Kent and Diana lived in Michigan where their daughter was born, then moved to Minnesota where their son was born. The family moved to Oklahoma before moving to Renton/Kent area where they have lived since 1978. Kent was a Computer Systems Analyst at Boeing until his retirement in 2000.

In 1963, Kent received his single engine private pilot license and began his lifelong passion for flying. In the 1970’s he went on to earn his single engine commercial and flight instructor ratings and in the 1980’s his instrument rating. Wherever he lived, he became a member of an airplane partnership. His family and friends enjoyed many cross country adventures with Kent. Highlights included his flights to Cayman Islands, Alaska and Oshkosh with close pilot friends. His skill was admired.

Kent enjoyed flying, genealogy, family vacations to Florida, Michigan and Montana, providing tours for visiting family, sports, debating politics and telling stories. Kent is survived by his wife Diana, daughter Julie Johnas (Craig), grandson Jayden Johnas, son Steven (Elizabeth), granddaughter Reina and step-granddaughter Isabelle. He is preceded in death by his brother, Thomas. Kent is survived by his sister, Mary Ruth Williamson and brother, Leland (Harriet).

He had a generous spirit, kind nature and huge heart. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

A memorial celebrating Kent’s life will be held March 1st, 2pm at Edline-Yahn & Covington Funeral Chapel, 27221 156th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98042.

Kent will be interred at Tahoma National Cemetery at a later date with a private family gathering.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to Angel Flight West - or Seattle Cancer Care Alliance - 


NTSB Identification: WPR14LA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 20, 2014 in Poulsbo, WA
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415 C, registration: N2076H
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

On January 20, 2014, about 1540 Pacific standard time, an Ercoupe 415 C, N2076H, collided with trees near Poulsbo, Washington, under unknown circumstances. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. The local flight departed Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Washington, at an unknown time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Kitsap County Central Communications Center received a 911 call from the pilot about 1545, stating that he had been involved in an airplane accident. Emergency response personnel responded to the accident site, and located the pilot outside of the airplane sitting by the cabin window. Due to the nature of his injuries, he could not recall the circumstances of the accident, reporting only that he had left Auburn earlier in the day.

The airplane came to rest inverted, and was located within a small clearing, surrounded in all directions by 50-foot-tall trees. It sustained crush damage to the upper fuselage from the firewall through to the tailcone forward bulkhead. The right wing remained attached at the root; the left wing sustained leading edge crush damage and was folded back about 45 degrees. The airplane's belly was coated in a layer of brown-colored oil from the louvered lower lip of the engine cowling, through to the tailcone.


POULSBO, Wash. —

 A 70-year-old pilot who had just crashed his small plane on the Kitsap Peninsula sounded calm but shaken as he used a cellphone to call 911 for help.

“This is Kent Curtis, I just crashed my airplane,” Curtis told a 911 dispatcher.

Curtis had flown out of Auburn late Monday afternoon when he went down east of Poulsbo. The dispatcher worked with him to get his location.

“Are you injured?” asked the operator. “Well there’s a little blood but, I don’t know,” Curtis responded.

“Did you lose consciousness or anything like that?” the operator asked.

“Uh, I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t really know what happened,” Curtis said.

“One second (thought) I’m going to stay on the line with you. We’re getting the fire department and law enforcement dispatched, OK?” the operator asked.  “OK," Curtis responded, “I’m just, according to my GPS east of Poulsbo.”

Curtis also described the condition of his plane, a 1946 fixed-wing, single-engine Ercoupe, saying he didn’t know why he crashed.

“I can’t recollect immediately prior to the crash, I don’t know what happened but my plane is upside down,” Curtis told her adding, “and it’s a mess.”

Curtis was taken by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As of Wednesday he remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Photo Courtesy/Credit: Kitsap FD 18 Poulsbo Fire Department 


A small plane crashed in a field near Poulsbo on Monday afternoon. 

The Kitsap Fire Dept. said the pilot regained consciousness and was able to call 911 after his airplane crashed just before 4 p.m.

The pilot was able to give his GPS coordinates over the phone while the Poulsbo Fire Department, North Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Poulsbo Police and the Kitsap County Sheriff's office all responded to search the area east of Poulsbo.

Firefighters were able to locate the man in a clearing east of Noll Road. They found him sitting near the upside down plane.

He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition.  His identity was not released.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.


POULSBO — Mark Freiboth was at his sister’s farm on Noll Road midway between Lincoln and Mesford roads when he saw the plane making small turns over an adjacent clearcut area about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 20.  

“I thought, what a cool little plane,” Freiboth said. “It was flying a little low — it was higher than [nearby] trees, but I could see that it was a neat little silver plane.”

About a half-hour later, emergency personnel drove up his sister’s long driveway. Neighbors didn’t hear the plane crash in the clearcut area. The pilot, still in the plane, called 9-1-1 on his cell phone when he awakened from being unconscious.

The unidentified pilot was taken to a hospital with injuries.

The single-engine, fixed-wing plane crashed in a clearcut area near Noll and Lincoln roads. Poulsbo Fire Battalion Chief Jim Gillard didn’t know how much time had elapsed between the time the plane crashed and when the pilot called 9-1-1. Freiboth said he saw the plane fly over about 3:30 p.m. The engine was cool to the touch by the time emergency personnel arrived at the scene, at 4 p.m.

There were no passengers in the plane.

Poulsbo Fire Department was dispatched to the scene, along with Poulsbo Police and Kitsap County Sheriff's Office deputies. A crew from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue's Suquamish station also went to the scene, NKF&R spokeswoman Michele Laboda said.

Emergency personnel removed the pilot from the plane and fitted him with a neck brace. He was sitting up and answering questions from medics before they placed him on a litter and took him to the ambulance.

According to the FAA’s online registry, the aircraft was a single-engine Ercoupe, model 415-C, manufactured in 1946. The pilot was heard telling emergency personnel that he had taken off from Auburn.


A small fixed-wing, single engine airplane crashed in a clear cut field off of Noll Road in Poulsbo. 
Image credit: Kipp Robertson / North Kitsap Herald 

 Emergency personnel navigated a terrain made rough by clearcutting to get the pilot of a crashed plane from the crash scene to a nearby ambulance, Jan. 20.
Image Credit:   Richard Walker / Herald

Plane in landing scare at airport

A light plane with an undercarriage problem was able to land at Nelson Airport this morning.

Fire, police and ambulance services were on standby at 8am during the alert.

The Beech Super King Air plane is privately owned.

Nelson Airport manager Kaye McNabb said the aircraft landed as planned and had moved off the runway.


January seems to be a bad time for planes

'Any landing you can walk away from...'  


I had just parked my car at the Pathmark on River Road in Edgewater on Jan. 15, 2009 and was walking into the store when a loud plane passing overhead made me look up. And I saw US Airways Flight 1549 coming in for a landing.

"But there's no runway behind Pathmark," I thought.

Of course, I had just seen the "Miracle on the Hudson" plane as it made an emergency landing on the Hudson River.

A plane also crashed into the Potomac River in Washington D.C. on Jan. 13, 1982, except that time instead of everybody being all right like in the 2009 incident, 74 of the 79 onboard died and four on the ground were killed. And on Jan. 18, 1979, a pilot survived after crashing his plane into a swamp in West Milford.

January seems to be a bad time for planes.

"I'm thankful to be alive," said 22-year-old pilot Roy T. Ruh, who walked away from the crash of his single-engine Piper Cherokee in the swamp on that Thursday morning.

Ruh was flying out of Sussex Airport when the engine stalled, forcing him to crash land in a swamp near Wawayanda State Park.

5-mile hike

Ruh escaped from the crash without any injuries, but had to hike more than five miles through the swamp and heavy underbrush before he could reach a house to notify police and the airport of the crash.

According to Ruh, he left Sussex Airport at 9 a.m., on a business trip to Long Island City. He was in the air about 20 minutes when the engine failed. He called a mayday to Teterboro Airport, which then notified the West Milford Police Department. The mayday was also heard by Aeroflex Airport near Newton, Lincoln Park Airport, and a helicopter flying in the area.

According to Ruh, he was about 2,700 feet in the air when the engine trouble developed. He said he switched tanks and was able to get the engine started again but by that time was only 100 feet above ground.

"My first reaction was to find a place to land that was not near any houses or buildings," Ruh said.

He noted the Wawayanda tract, thinking it was a field. He said he brought the plane down in a crash landing, killing the engine before he hit the ground to prevent a fire. The isolated area where the plane crashed is not too far from Greenwood Lake, and Ruh said he hiked more than an hour before he reached the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schmoyer of Henderson Road.

The Schmoyers called a neighbor, John Egan of 169 Henderson Road, a pilot and former medical student, who checked Ruh for injuries and cold exposure.

Luck was with him

"All I can say, that young man lived under a lucky star," Egan said. "He proved he was a good pilot."

According to West Milford police, they received a call at about 9:45 a.m. from Teterboro Airport about the missing plane. Patrolmen Richard Brizell and Clayton Morley investigated, but could not find the downed plane. A second call was received about 11:05 from Schmoyer notifying the police of the crash and Ruh's safety.

The call was received as Brizell and Morley were searching the wooded area near Greenwood Lake. The officers said that unless the plane was seen actually going down, "no one could have found the crash from the ground."

Paul Styger, owner of Sussex Airport and the plane, said it was in excellent mechanical condition and indicated the engine failure could have been attributed to ice that had lodged in the carburetor.

He said this can happen occasionally in cold weather.

Styger said the weather was excellent, but cold and windy, when Ruh took off from the airport.

"I was sure glad to get that telephone call from Ruh," Styger said. "I am just thankful that he was not injured."

He said Ruh had been flying out of the airport for more than a year and was an experienced pilot, flying at least twice a week.

Styger said he hiked into the area to examine the plane. He said the wings were damaged, but the fuselage and engine were all right. He expected to take the plane within a few days, "when the snow and ice melts a little, so we can have access to the area."

Jan. 25, 1984 – Plane crash in Pequannock

A small, twin-engine airplane crashed into a home in Pequannock Township on Sunday, Jan. 22, 1984, killing the pilot and his three passengers.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Eugene A. Carroll Jr. said that an official report on the crash would probably take months, and that his team and a team from the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the crash of the Cessna 310 plane into the roof of the home at 6 Schuyler Ave. – not far from Lincoln Park airport where it had taken off.

The plane crashed from an altitude of about 850 feet into the roof of the home and then into a 23-foot-tall tree next to the house.

Killed in the crash were pilot Richard Cohen, 35, and three women in their 20s – all were from New York.

"We didn't even hear it coming, just one loud roar of the engine and it hit our house, shaking the foundation," Joni Vansant recalled.

Vansant, her husband, Steven, their two small children, and Steven's brother Jerry were in the living room of their split-level frame home on Schuyler Avenue when the airplane crashed on their property, taking part of the house down with it.

Amazed at how close her family had come to being killed, Vansant said, "We were sitting on the living-room couch, which is on the wall right next to where the plane hit."

The plane struck the left rear corner of the house, smashing into the roof and caving in the wall on two floors. Several windows and a wall air conditioner were blown out in the process.

A mad dash

According to Vansant, the smell of gas immediately became apparent and what followed was a "mad dash" to get out of the house in case the plane exploded. Although the plane had crashed between the telephone lines, the phone still worked and Jerry Vansant quickly called the police and followed his family out.

Joni Vansant said, "Steven and I only stopped to grab a coat for our 6-month-old and boots for our 4-year-old.''

The Vansants rushed across the street to neighbors Lenore and Tony Mauro. Watching from the Mauro's front window, Joni Vansant was surprised to see how fast the police and a crowd gathered.

She said, "All of a sudden the street was full of people, I saw people (from the block) I didn't even know."

Police, four first-aid squad teams, including the disaster van, and Volunteer Fire Companies 1 and 2 reported to the scene. Mark Konecke, 13, was at the scene before the police. He and his father were in their car on Comly Road when he saw the plane "was kind of low but going straight for a while. Then it moved from side to side and went straight down."

"Dad said it must have crashed. We're used to seeing planes disappear behind the trees but that plane went nose down," said Konecke.

"I walked right up to the plane and walked around to the left side of the compartment where no one was standing. I looked in the plane and saw the pilot. There was no sound, nobody moving. They were dead," said Konecke.

Joni Vansant said she didn't think that a crash like that would happen "in a million years," but that her mother-in-law always feared it would happen because of Schuyler Avenue's proximity to Lincoln Park Airport.

"I can't wait until everything is over, until that plane is gone, and the last person is off our front lawn. I'll tell you it's really strange to see a plane in your front yard," she said.

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Furious French Ryanair passengers launch revolt and steal from the booze trolley after being faced with 24-hour delay following emergency landing

  • Police were called when they abused staff of the low-cost airline 
  • Rebellion said to have taken place on a flight from Rabat, Morocco
  • It is believed to have started when a passenger became seriously ill

Furious French Ryanair passengers launched a 'barbaric' revolt against plane crew because of anger over a delay, it was claimed today.

Police were called when they abused staff of the low-cost airline, refused to accept instructions, and stole duty free products including alcoholic drinks and perfume from trollies.

The angry rebellion is said to have taken place on a flight which took off from Rabat, in Morocco, to Paris's Beauvais airport last Saturday week.

France's Metronews today reports that it all started when a passenger among the 170 people on board became seriously ill.

The crew had to divert to Madrid to deal with the medical emergency, meaning that by the time they took off from Spain again it was too late to head for Paris, where airports have night time noise restrictions.

Instead, the plane landed in Nantes, western France, where everyone was told they would have to spend the night.

The flight from Rabat to Paris should have been just two-and-a-half hours long, but was rapidly turning into a 24 hour saga - meaning tensions were high.

It was at Nantes airport that the trouble really started, with one baggage handler saying passengers displayed 'almost animal and barbaric behavior towards the plane, the crew and the ground staff.'

Police arrived to keep the peace, but they could do little to stop the passengers' disgraceful behavior continuing on the plane.

Cigarettes, food, drinks, perfume and 'anything else of value' was stolen, says Metronews, while 'uhappy' and 'especially disrespectful passengers' effectively took their crew hostage.

One passenger told the paper: 'I have nothing to reproach the airport staff or the police for, they were very professional.

'I am neither a robber nor a hostage taker. We were tired and annoyed by a mismanaged situation. We were thirsty, hungry, and had no information on our fate.

'We compensated ourselves by taking some drinks and food. After seven hours stuck in the plane, instead of two and a half, people needed to eat.'

Following a few hours in a hotel, Ryanair eventually provided coaches to Paris, where the passengers arrived on Sunday morning.

A Ryanair spokesman said that a 'flight from Rabat to Paris Beauvais diverted into Madrid after a passenger became ill on board.

'On arrival in Madrid, the passenger disembarked and was assisted by local medical services and the aircraft continued onwards to Paris a short time later.

'However, due to an airport curfew at Paris Beauvais the aircraft diverted to Nantes Airport. Passengers were provided with overnight hotel accommodation and were transferred to Paris Beauvais by coach the following morning.'

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Stolen Plaque Honoring Crash Victims to Be Replaced

A plaque honoring the victims of the 1985 Galaxy Airlines crash has been stolen from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. 
Marilyn Newton/RGJ 

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Washoe County parks officials say they plan to replace a stolen plaque honoring 70 people who died in a Reno airliner crash in 1985.

The brass plaque for victims of the Galaxy Airlines crash was stolen at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno in November.

Parks officials say the 2-foot-by-2-foot plaque was removed from a large rock, and they're considering options to avoid another theft.

They say one option is an engraved boulder and they're hoping to replace the plaque in the couple of months.

Officials have said brass has value and the plaque might have been stolen for scrap metal.

The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from the Reno airport on Jan. 21, 1985, killing all but one person aboard. It was returning to Minneapolis from a Super Bowl trip sponsored by Caesars Tahoe.


Washoe County officials investigate stolen plaque honoring 1985 Galaxy crash victims  

NTSB Identification: DCA85AA010. 
 The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 26931.
Nonscheduled 14 CFR operation of GALAXY AIRLINES, INC.
Accident occurred Monday, January 21, 1985 in RENO, NV
Aircraft: LOCKHEED 188C, registration: N5532
Injuries: 70 Fatal,1 Serious.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Contributing Factors

Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors

Contributing Factors


Cayman Airways: Boeing investigates aircraft malfunction

Experts from aircraft manufacturer Boeing are involved in an official analysis of the problem that caused a jet bound for Cayman Brac to be turned around mid-flight over the Christmas holidays.

Flight KX 105 from Grand Cayman to the Brac was turned back 10 minutes after take-off on Dec. 28 because of an issue with one of the aircraft’s flight control systems.

An inquiry has been launched.

Cayman Airways praised the pilot for his handling of the situation and characterized the decision to return to Grand Cayman as a “cautionary measure.” Emergency crews were on standby at the airport but they were not required and the plane landed safely.

An incident report, filed with the Civil Aviation Authority and seen by the Caymanian Compass, identifies the exact cause of the issue as a loose or snapped control cable which prevented the left side aileron from being used.

Ailerons are hinged movable surfaces located on the end of each wing and are normally used when the aircraft turns in flight.

An aviation expert who examined the details of the incident for the Compass, described the issues as “a serious problem but not insurmountable.”

David Kaminski-Morrow, Air Transport Editor at Flight International, said, “If the control cable to an aileron fails – perhaps because it has been stressed and frayed – it clearly presents a control difficulty to the pilot, one which might not immediately be understood.”

He said the aircraft would be unbalanced with a tendency to roll and the pilot would be required to compensate, using the rudder and the aileron on the opposite wing, to maintain level flight.

He said such incidents were “rare but not unheard of in older aircraft-types.” It is the first time a Cayman Airways flight has experienced an issue of this nature.

A spokesman for the airline said its pilots were trained to handle any abnormal situations that arose and that the pilot had maintained full control of the plane and had followed standard procedures by exercising “maximum caution” and returning to Grand Cayman.

He said the cable problem was fixed and the aircraft back in service within 24 hours. He said “preventative actions” had been implemented to ensure there was no recurrence of the issue on the entire fleet.

“Cayman Airways is currently working with the Civil Aviation Authority and Boeing Corporation to conduct a full analysis of the cause,” he added.

The spokesman acknowledged that the left aileron had become inoperative during the flight but said this had “minimal impact” on the aircraft’s controllability.

“Whilst the left aileron became inoperative, the remaining roll control devices and rudder were fully functional, ensuring that the pilots were able to maintain complete control over the aircraft. This is actually a design feature from the manufacturer to ensure built in redundancy …

“Our pilot’s proficiency, combined with the aircraft’s built-in redundancies ensured the complete safety of our passengers and operations.”

The incident report indicates that the plane was approaching 11,000 feet when a “bang and jolt” was heard by the captain.

It states that the aircraft started to turn to the left, forcing the captain to disconnect the autopilot and use the right aileron to maintain level flight.

It says the crew were unable to positively identify the exact cause of the problem and declared an emergency and returned to Grand Cayman. An inspection of the plane later identified the cause.

“The left aileron down cable was found to have failed and was hanging loosely. This condition rendered the left aileron inoperative with the system tension removed on the side,” the report states.

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Morrisey 2150, N5102V: Accident occurred January 14, 2014 in Pismo Beach, California

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office finalized the identification of a passenger in the Jan. 14 single-engine airplane crash off the coast of Oceano as Alan George Gaynor, 52, of Los Angeles.

Gaynor had previously been identified as a probable victim in the crash that killed him and pilot David Brian Casey, 63, of Friday Harbor, Wash., but a California Department of Justice DNA test recently confirmed the identity based on remains found in the water.

Local officials and others from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI are still waiting for ocean swells to subside to continue the recovery effort for the sunken aircraft, which they expect to resume next week.

  NTSB Identification: WPR14FA096
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 14, 2014 in Pismo Beach, CA
Aircraft: MORRISEY 2150, registration: N5102V
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On January 14, 2014 at 1352 Pacific standard time, a Morrisey 2150, N5102V, was destroyed after it impacted the Pacific Ocean near Pismo Beach, California. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which had originated from the Santa Maria Public Airport, Santa Maria, California, approximately 20 minutes before the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

Witnesses said they saw a "white streak" descending towards the ocean, which was followed by a "loud boom" noise.

Radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration tracked the airplane's flight path from takeoff at Santa Maria to the accident site.


David Casey, the pilot of the plane that went down in the ocean off Oceano, is shown in this undated photo.

 Local authorities have identified the second person aboard the aircraft that crashed off the coast of Oceano on Jan. 14.

 The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office has reason to believe the passenger of the Morrisey 2150 that crashed roughly a mile from the Pier Avenue ramp to be Alan George Gaynor, 52, of Los Angeles.

The Sheriff’s Office previously confirmed the identity of the pilot to be David Brian Casey, 63, of Friday Harbor, Washington.

However, authorities cannot be certain of both identities since no bodies have been discovered as of Wednesday afternoon. The search-and-recovery operation by the Sheriff’s Dive Team and Marine Enforcement Unit has been suspended since Friday because of large swells that have created a dangerous situation for divers in the roughly 70-foot-deep waters.

In a news release Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office said those conditions are expected to last through Friday, when Sheriff Ian Parkinson will re-evaluate the situation.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing to work with State Parks on a ground search for plane debris along the coastline from Grover Beach to Guadalupe.

“The Sheriff's Office is in contact with the families of both the pilot and passenger and our deepest concerns remain with them,” the release reads. “It is the Sheriff's desire to do whatever is reasonable to continue recovery efforts based on the mission's probability of success as well as the safety of the divers.”

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 Sheriff's officials release preliminary ID of passenger in Oceano plane crash

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office Wednesday announced it believes the second person on board the plane that crashed off the coast of Oceano last week was Alan George Gaynor, 52, of Los Angeles.

The small plane crashed into the water last Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators previously identified David Casey, 63, as one of the victims.

Search crews have so far only been able to find bits and pieces of the plane, along with some human remains.

They've been unable to search for the past few days because of rough seas.

They now plan to search the beach from Guadalupe to Grover Beach in case any debris has washed ashore.

They'll re-evaluate going back in the water at the end of the week.


The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s dive team is contemplating abandoning the search for a missing plane that went down off the coast of Oceano last Tuesday with two people aboard.

For the past six days, the department utilized sonar and underwater cameras in the search for the wreckage and the remains of those aboard. Divers have found human remains, a wallet, and most recently a thin piece of fiberglass consistent with the makeup of the plane. A body has not been recovered, according to sheriff’s officials.

Conditions on the ocean floor have become increasingly unsafe for divers, said sheriff’s department spokesperson Tony Cipolla in a press release. On Wednesday, the department will reassess the conditions, the probability of success and dangers to divers in determining whether or not to abandon the search.

The man killed Tuesday when his two-seater Morrisey 2150 plunged into the ocean about a mile offshore near Pier Avenue in Oceano had a passenger and flew commercial jumbo jets for American Airlines for more than three decades. 

David Brian Casey, 63, departed from the Santa Maria Public Airport, where he had a hangar, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. About 30 minutes later, a 911 call reported an aircraft engine sputtering over the ocean and then a crash,  although the caller didn’t see a plane hit the water.

Casey, a part-time resident of Friday Harbor, Wash., who also reportedly owned property in Avila Beach, had a passenger onboard the small plane. The identity of that person hasn’t been released.

“American Airlines is saddened to learn of the death of Capt. Dave Casey, who had been a pilot with American for 34 years,” Matt Miller, American Airlines media representative, said Friday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Casey’s family and the others affected by this tragedy.”

Emergency rescue personnel recovered airplane debris, a wallet and human remains near the reported crash site Tuesday, however, neither the plane, Casey or his passenger have been located since the fixed-wing aircraft went down.

The sheriff’s dive team re-entered the water Friday to search several areas that sonar equipment indicated the previous day could be plane wreckage or a body, said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Tony Cipolla.

“It could be rocks or fishing gear, or it could be parts of a plane,” Cipolla said prior to the dive team entering the water. “We won’t know until we get done there.”

Friday’s search-and-recovery efforts didn’t locate the downed plane or any bodies, and the search will continue today and Sunday, Cipolla said. Additional sonar and scanning equipment will be utilized.

After the plane is located, the Sheriff’s Department will hand the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Casey was an avid flier, who also raced planes he built during the yearly Reno Championship Air Races, where he flew his RV-3 in 2012, while finishing work on a RV-8, according to Bob Mills, a fellow Reno racer.

“Dave was a friend,” Mills wrote in a thread about Casey that’s posted on the VansAirForce website. “Dave was a true gent ... really good guy. Gonna miss him.”

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Piper PA-46 Malibu Meridian: Richard L. Jones, Jr. Airport (KRVS), Jenks, Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Plane at Jones Riverside Airport runs off runway 

 JENKS, Okla. - A scare at Tulsa's Jones Riverside Airport on Sunday when a single-engine plane ran off the runway after landing.

The Piper PA-26 Meridian was flying from Colorado, according to

The pilot and an unknown amount of passengers were not harmed in the incident. Officials say they are continuing to investigate why the plane ran off the tarmac.

The damage cost to the plane is not known.

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Beechcraft 200 Super King Air, N501RH: Accident occurred October 24, 2004 in Stuart, Virginia

NTSB Identification: IAD05MA006.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, October 24, 2004 in Stuart, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/07/2006
Aircraft: Beech 200, registration: N501RH
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 October 24, 2004, about 1235 eastern daylight time (all times in this brief are eastern daylight time based on a 24-hour clock), a Beech King Air 200, N501RH, operated by Hendrick Motorsports, Inc., crashed into mountainous terrain in Stuart, Virginia, during a missed approach to Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport (MTV), Martinsville, Virginia. The flight was transporting Hendrick Motorsports employees and others to an automobile race in Martinsville, Virginia. The two flight crewmembers and eight passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. 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 flight crew's failure to properly execute the published instrument approach procedure, including the published missed approach procedure, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the flight crew's failure to use all available navigational aids to confirm and monitor the airplane's position during the approach.

The Board's full report is available at

On October 24, 2004, about 1235 eastern daylight time (all times in this brief are eastern daylight time based on a 24-hour clock), a Beech King Air 200, N501RH, operated by Hendrick Motorsports, Inc., crashed into mountainous terrain in Stuart, Virginia, during a missed approach to Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport (MTV), Martinsville, Virginia. The flight was transporting Hendrick Motorsports employees and others to an automobile race in Martinsville, Virginia. The two flight crewmembers and eight passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.

The flight departed from Concord Regional Airport (JQF), Concord, North Carolina, about 1156. An examination of radar data and voice communications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that, during the en route portion of the flight, a radar target identified as the accident airplane maintained all assigned altitudes and headings.

As the airplane approached MTV, an air traffic controller advised the flight crew that the airplane was second in line for the localizer runway 30 approach. The controller instructed the pilots to hold "as published" on the localizer course at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl) (all altitudes and elevations in this brief are expressed as msl unless otherwise noted) and to expect a 28-minute delay in the holding pattern. The flight crew requested 5-mile legs in the holding pattern, and the controller approved 5- or 10-mile legs at the crew's discretion.

The localizer runway 30 approach procedure included an inbound course with a magnetic heading of 305 degrees. The minimum descent altitude for the intermediate section of the approach and the holding pattern southeast of the BALES locator outer marker (LOM) was 2,600 feet. The BALES LOM is located at 6 distance measuring equipment (DME) (1 DME equals 1 nautical mile) on the approach course. After crossing the BALES LOM on the inbound course, the minimum descent altitude on the final segment of the approach, for an airplane equipped with DME, was 1,340 feet. The missed approach point (MAP) was at 1 DME and near the approach end of the runway. The distance from the BALES LOM to the MAP was 5 nautical miles (nm). The published missed approach procedure instructed the pilot to make a "climbing right turn to 2,600 feet and proceed direct to BALES LOM and hold."

The accident airplane approached the BALES LOM from the south, crossed BALES at 4,000 feet, and turned right toward the outbound leg of the holding pattern. About that time, the flight crewmembers of the airplane that preceded the accident airplane on the approach announced that that they were canceling their IFR clearance after breaking out of the clouds during the approach and then proceeded to land at MTV.

At 1224:19, while the accident airplane was still turning right to the outbound leg of the holding pattern, the controller asked the flight crew if the airplane was established in the holding pattern, and the crew confirmed, "we're established." At 1224:26, the controller cleared the airplane for the localizer runway 30 approach and requested that the flight crew advise him when the airplane was inbound on the approach. The airplane then completed a continuous right turn toward the inbound course and crossed the BALES LOM at an altitude of 3,900 feet.

At 1226:53, the flight crew advised the controller that the airplane was "established inbound" on the approach. At 1227:04, the controller cleared the airplane for the approach and approved a radio frequency change from the approach control frequency to the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). (According to FAA Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," paragraph 5-1-13, after a controller issues a frequency change to the CTAF, radar services are automatically terminated.) At 4 DME, or 2 nm after crossing the BALES LOM on the inbound course, the airplane started to descend from 4,000 feet. The airplane leveled off at 2,600 feet as it passed the MAP. About 1 nm past the MAP and over the runway, the airplane began a descent to 1,400 feet and continued on an approximate heading of 305 degrees.

The airplane leveled at 1,400 feet, about 4 nm beyond MTV and 5 nm beyond the MAP. The airplane maintained level flight between 1,400 and 1,500 feet for the next 1 minute 13 seconds. At 1232:13, about 8 nm beyond MTV, the airplane initiated a straight-ahead climb.

At 1233:08, the flight crew informed the controller, "we're going missed at this time." The controller asked the flight crew to repeat the radio transmission. The flight crew repeated the information, and the controller acknowledged the radio transmission. The controller received no further radio transmissions from the flight crew.

At 1233:21, the controller advised the flight crew to climb and maintain 4,400 feet. At 1233:24, the radar target was lost. The accident occurred on Bull Mountain in Stuart, Virginia, at an elevation of about 2,400 feet and near the extended centerline of the runway.

Witnesses at MTV said that they heard the airplane pass overhead but did not see it because of the cloud cover. They stated that the engine sound was smooth and continuous with no interruption. One witness said that the engines sounded as though they were at idle. Two witnesses stated that they heard no increase in engine sound at the time they perceived the airplane to be at a position that coincided with the MAP.

Two witnesses who were about 3 to 4 miles southeast of Bull Mountain saw an airplane fly past them at a low altitude. One of the witnesses said that the airplane was flying "flat and level" about 60 to 70 feet above ground level and was heading northwest. This witness also stated that, other than flying "very low," the airplane did not appear to be in distress, and the landing gear appeared to be up. The witness further stated that the speed of the airplane "wasn't extremely fast." In addition, the witness noted that the fog level was low but could not tell how much lower the airplane was from the fog.

A trooper with the Virginia State Police stated that, at the time of the accident and throughout the search and recovery efforts (which spanned throughout the day and evening), Bull Mountain was completely obscured by clouds and fog. The trooper stated that the visibility was between 0 and 0.25 mile.

January 19, 2014
 Standing with a photo of her late husband and twin daughters Cathy Hendrick, talks with members of the Chapel by the Sea Baptist Church in Little River about how her faith helped her get through the tragedy of losing them in a 2004 plane crash. 

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Cathy Hendrick reflected after a morning of sharing with a full church in Cherry Grove the tragic story of the day her husband – then the president of Hendrick Motorsports – and their twin 22-year-old daughters died in a plane crash.

“It was a very warm reception,” she said of the congregants at Chapel By The Sea Baptist Church in North Myrtle Beach’s Cherry Grove Beach community Sunday morning. “I heard a lot of sniffles [while speaking]. You can tell when it gets working on people’s hearts.”

Hendrick shared her story, speaking about “Faith In The Midst Of Tragedy” taking those in the room through the day her husband and daughters died almost 10 years ago.

Kissing her daughters and husband goodbye Oct. 24, 2004, as they went to board a plane and fly 35 minutes from Concord, N.C., to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

“My God could not have given me a more precious memory,” she said. “That memory has helped to heal my heart.”

She recalled going to church that morning. Returning home to find her oldest daughter frantic because the plane disappeared on its way to Virginia. The fog on the mountain that made it difficult for search and rescue to find where the plane crashed. And then the difficult words she heard from her brother-in-law, Rick Hendrick.

“There are no survivors,” she remembered Rick Hendrick telling her.

The Hendrick team, fielding four Chevrolet drivers in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series drivers – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne, was founded in 1984 by Rick Hendrick, whose 24-year-old son, Ricky Hendrick, also perished in the plane crash.

For Ray and Rebecca Jones, visiting North Myrtle Beach from Madison, Wis., Cathy Hendrick’s words hit close to home. They first visited Chapel By The Sea two weeks prior and made sure to return once they saw who would be speaking.

“We had a plane tragedy in the family,” Rebecca Jones said, saying her family had experienced similar feelings as the ones Cathy Hendrick described. “It’s always encouraging to hear how God can bring his light in through a tragedy.”

Ray Jones said he agreed.

“It was a very powerful service,” he said.

Hendrick said she began her healing process by going on mission trips overseas and in the United States. After about four years had passed, she said God called her to share her story.

“For years I couldn’t get through without crying,” she said. “But everybody has gone through something. … We all deal with things that are hard.”

Hendrick said there were times when she questioned why things happened the way they did, but urged those at Chapel By The Sea to trust God and be ready for God’s plan.

“Scripture tells us his ways are not our ways,” she said. “Our days on earth were numbered by God himself even before we were born.”

Hendrick said she’s found solace in knowing that her husband and daughters are in heaven because they knew God. She said four days before her husband died he taught a Bible study lesson titled “Are you ready?”

Her husband was, she said, and she hopes her story helps prepare others.

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Air crash investigations: Probe body still running under Civil Aviation Authority control

PESHAWAR:   Despite recommendations of foreign experts, the federal government has failed to make Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Safety Investigation Board (SIB) an independent body.

During a hearing in the 2012 Airblue crash, the federal government had assured the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that the SIB would be made an independent entity and a summary had been sent to the prime minister for this purpose. However, SIB’s status is the same and it continues to be run by officials on deputation, revealed a senior CAA official on condition of anonymity.

“The board was separated from the Ministry of Defence and is now being supervised by the prime minister as the summary proposing its independence has been put into the cold storage,” he said, adding that the Civil Aviation Ordinance 1982 was also a hurdle for the SIB to gain independence and needed amendments.

The official said that the bureaucracy would never give up SIB’s control, adding that unless the organization became independent, air crashes would never be probed in a transparent manner.

Head of the families’ association of the 2010 Airblue crash victims, Junaid Hamid, who lost his wife in the incident, said such investigation bodies were independent of the bureaucratic control across the globe.

On November 9, 2012, investigators of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) completed their probe into the crash which revealed that the incident occurred after the pilot lost control of the aircraft. The ICAO report also termed the CAA investigation report, available on its website, as incomplete and lacking vital information.

The reinvestigation, carried out by ICAO Technical Officer Dr Andre Dekok and Standards and Procedure Officer Thormodur Thormodsson, claimed the SIB was not an independent and impartial organization and could not investigate air crash incidents in a transparent manner. They had recommended that the SIB be turned into an independent entity to avoid misinformation and bureaucratic influences.

“At the ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal a few months back, we advised the ICAO to exert pressure on the Pakistani government to declare the SIB an independent entity,” Hamid said, adding that unless it became an autonomous body, the SIB would not be able to reveal errors of its parent organization (CAA).

Airblue Flight ED202, which had taken off from Karachi on July 28, 2010, crashed into Islamabad’s Margalla Hills, killing all 152 people on board. In October last year, the PHC disposed of the Airblue crash case and declared the flight’s captain and the air traffic control responsible for the incident.

The CAA, when contacted for its version on the story, failed to give a reply till this report was filed.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2014.

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Family of East Dorset plane crash victim Orlando Rogers launch appeal


The mother and sister of a former Royal Marine, who was killed while flying in an antique aircraft in East Dorset, have taken their battle for compensation to London’s Appeal Court.

Lawyers say that the test case, following the death of Orlando Rogers, will have a far-ranging impact on claims brought by victims of aviation disasters in the UK, including those injured and killed in the recent Glasgow helicopter crash.

Mr Rogers was just 26 when he was killed on May 15, 2011, while taking a private flight in a vintage Tiger Moth aircraft near Witchampton.

His mother, Julia, and sister, Jade, from Newton Abbot, Devon, are suing the pilot of the aircraft, Scott Hoyle, claiming his negligence was to blame for the crash after the plane took off from Compton Abbas airfield.

The family, which is seeking six-figure damages, scored a High Court success last year when Mr Justice Leggatt granted them permission to rely upon a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in their bid for a payout.

The family’s lawyers say the report is central to their case and supports their claim that Mr Hoyle, a businessman from Broadstone, had been attempting a loop when the plane came to grief.

Mr Hoyle denies any responsibility for the tragedy, blaming a technical fault for the crash, in which he was also severely injured.

His lawyers are now asking the Court of Appeal to rule that the AAIB report should be excluded from the case, arguing that it is ‘replete with findings of fact and opinion evidence which do not meet the criteria for admissibility’ in an English civil court.

Robert Lawson QC, for Mr Hoyle, told appeal judges, Lady Justice Arden and Lords Justice Treacy and Christopher Clarke, that the function of the AAIB was to improve safety, not to apportion blame for accidents.

“Mr Hoyle does take serious issue with a number of matters in the AAIB report in this particular case if it is to be deployed for the purpose of attributing blame or liability,” Mr Lawson added.

Michael Crane QC, for Mr Rogers’ family, replied that the report contained ‘material which is highly relevant’, adding that there was no common law rule that prevented it from being admitted as evidence.

The Appeal Court hearing continues.

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