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.

Story and comments/reaction:

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.


IRMA/Britten-Norman BN-2A-27 Islander, Scoala Superioara de Aviatie Civila, YR-BNP

Adrian Iovan
Trupul neînsufleţit al lui Adrian Iovan a fost dus la morga spitalului din Cîmpeni 

 Adrian Iovan

BUCHAREST, Romania — A small plane crash on a remote mountain wouldn’t normally be enough to anger an entire country or threaten the government. Romania, however, is dealing with just this scenario.

So far, four senior officials including the interior minister have resigned or been fired after all those onboard a medical flight initially survived Monday’s crash in thick fog. One of the pilots and a medical student later died of hypothermia among other causes after waiting for hours in deep snow to be saved.

Romanians reacted with fury, taking to social media and talk shows to accuse the government of incompetence and complacency after it emerged the least injured of the survivors called emergency services six times.

It took 4 ½ hours for local villagers and a woodcutter to locate the plane in Transylvania after it lost altitude and crashed at 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) above sea level. But medical teams arrived hours later and were reportedly ill-equipped. The plane, carrying two pilots and five medical workers, was on its way to pick up a liver for a transplant.

“The government generally does nothing, and in this case they did nothing to locate the plane. A woodcutter had to find them,” aviation professor Nicolae Serban Tomescu said. “The rescue operation was like Swiss cheese. There were holes everywhere.”

But some officials have defended the government’s response to the crash, saying rescuers were working in difficult weather conditions and in darkness.

Nonetheless, public ire has reached a crescendo because many believe the government was unable to muster up-to-date equipment to rescue the crash victims, but is willing to invest its resources heavily on surveillance. Romania, a country of 19 million with no foreign enemies, has seven intelligence agencies, including the main domestic and foreign spying agencies. Democracy activists claim that those in power use intelligence to gain unfair advantages over opponents and dig up compromising data.

A political cartoon on the front page of Romanian daily Jurnalul National on Wednesday suggested the crash victims would have been found sooner if someone on the flight had been under surveillance. The caricature had two well-equipped secret agents joking, “How the hell can we locate the crashed airplane? Hmm, had there been a journalist, a deputy or a Senator on it, well . !!!”

There is also anger because the elite telecommunications agency — one of the seven intelligence agencies — invested 40 million euros in the country’s national emergency number, and the six calls one of the survivors made didn’t appear to be enough to get help there quickly enough.

The blowback has taken its toll on the government, which is vying to win a presidential election in November. Interior Minister Radu Stroe handed in his resignation to the prime minister Thursday to become the highest-ranking government official to leave his post in the scandal. The country’s air traffic control chief, the head of the emergency services and another senior Interior Ministry official have also lost their jobs.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta fired two of those officials and called for the resignations of others not under his authority. Addressing the national mood Thursday, he used his strongest language to date pointing to “serious errors in the rescue operation ... particularly the techniques used for identifying the wreckage.” He promised that in the future authorities would be “much more efficient.”

Ponta is also trying to save face because it was he who went on a talk show Monday evening to initially say all seven people on the flight had survived. Romanians had been glued to TV news bulletins, and the story was at first presented by the government as one with a happy ending.

“The pilot did everything he could to save their lives but the authorities were negligent,” said Iuliana Popescu, a security guard. “Why did it take them so many hours? Even if they got lost, they should have got their earlier. Nobody had to die.”

But former emergency services chief Ion Burlui, who resigned Wednesday, said authorities had done their job properly in difficult conditions, including deep snow, dense fog and darkness.

“Winter is not like summer and the mountain is not like the plains,” he said. “These people intervened ... risking their lives to save other people.”

The pilot who was killed, Adrian Iovan, had 30 years of experience and was well known in Romania as an aviation expert who went on TV whenever there was an accident. He died of hypothermia and from numerous fractures. Aurelia Ion, a 23-year-old volunteer medical student in her fifth year, died from hypothermia and multiple injuries. No official has said that their lives could have been saved if rescuers had arrived earlier, but many blame the slow response on their deaths.

Cristian Tudorica, a 36-year-old bank clerk, summed up the public mood.

“Those doctors were on the flight to save others,” he said. “It is right that the (interior) minister resigned. These people should not have died.”

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Dozer the Therapy Dog helps out at Northwest Florida Regional Airport


Jittery fliers were greeted with a little Dozer-style therapy at Northwest Florida Regional Airport on Thursday. Dozier, and his trainer, Angie Nousiainen, were on hand to help travelers relieve their stress. See photos and videos of Dozer:

Opinion: Pitts keeps on ticking in political arena - Grand Junction Regional Airport (KGJT), Colorado

Well, I guess we will have Bill Pitts to kick around for a bit longer.

Pitts has been defeated for re-election to City Council, removed from the Planning Commission and replaced on the Airport Authority board. Like those Timex watches of old, it seems he takes a beating but keeps on ticking.

He now has his sights set on a seat on the County Commission. Steve Aquafresca is term-limited and unable to run for re-election, Pitts hopes to take his place. This will pit him against political powerhouse Scott McInnis and ex-Mayor Greg Palmer. Each of his opponents has some baggage that may inhibit their campaigns.

McInnis was forced to quit his last run for political office, that being the Colorado governorship. At that time he was accused of publishing articles under his name that were plagiarized from other sources. While he was quick to blame others, the charges were sufficiently damaging; he found it necessary to quit the campaign trail.

While Palmer’s character has not been similarly tarnished, his tenure on the Airport Authority board may soon become a detriment to his race. Previous board members may be shown to be less than vigilant and allowing risky decisions that may now harm airport operations.

Pitts has vowed to run without expenditures and will refuse contributions. While admirable in an age of over expenditure in even the most minor of political campaigns, this hardly seems like the strategy of winning but rather one of grand political gesture.

Pitts and I have disagreed on many of his political stances. Among those are the allocation of $3 million bucks to the Avalon and taking White (Elephant) Hall off the hands of Home Savings. We have agreed on other points including his concerns on what has become a crisis at the Grand Junction Regional Airport. Should he win a commission seat, we will surely find ourselves on different sides of political topics once again.

While we have disagreed, we have managed to maintain a cordial relationship. Pitts is mature enough and wise enough to understand that disagreement does not require hatred. In today’s political atmosphere, there are many who could learn from Pitts’ acceptance of opposing views and engaging those in opposition in dialogue, not vitriol.


That “other shoe” that dropped out at the airport, beginning with the forced resignation of Denny Granum, hit the floor with a loud and resounding thud.

Granum has now been directly tied to those rumors of impropriety by board members via the confiscation of his personal truck by the FBI. The following day, ex-airport head honcho Rex Tippetts suffered embarrassment as the FBI also seized his truck. We await disclosure of the disposition of other trucks which may have been disposed of in questionable fashion.

Heads up for Tippetts: We hear that the Front Range Airport in Adams County is looking for a visionary director who can grow their airport much the same way you have grown Grand Junction Regional Airport in recent years.

While the county has stepped up and acknowledged their responsibility to the airport, the City of Grand Junction seemingly remains clueless. Mayor Sam Susuras has yet to grasp the breadth of the problems occurring as a result of misrepresentation to federal agencies. He fails to comprehend that falsifying the intended use of new buildings to qualify for federal funds that otherwise would be unavailable is, indeed, fraud. Some grant funds are already being returned and there is a very real possibility funds already spent may require repayment. While Mayor Sam accuses the current board of possibly bankrupting the airport, he fails to understand that any looming economic hardship lies at the feet of prior boards.

It is time for the leaders of our city to step up to the plate and face up to their responsibilities at the airport. The first step of that journey would be to replace Susuras with a representative with the capacity to understand the severity of the airport situation. The city and county working cooperatively can hopefully chart a course out of the fiscal wilderness the airport has become.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at


Cessna 414A Chancellor, N414CJ: Accident occurred January 23, 2014 in Ashland, Missouri

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA120 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 23, 2014 in Ashland, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N414CJ
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, during the descent to the destination airport, the airplane’s left engine experienced a partial loss of power and that he attempted to troubleshoot the issue. Unable to restore the engine power, he secured the left engine, feathered the propeller, and advised air traffic control of the situation. Shortly after, the right engine experienced a partial loss of power and eventually only produced idle power. Unable to reach the destination airport, the pilot conducted a forced landing to a field. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed ice buildup in the fuel manifold valves, the fuel strainer bowls, and the fuel strainer screens. The left fuel strainer bowl contained a 1 3/8-inch thick piece of ice. Fuel samples from both of the airplane’s fuel tanks and from the fuel supplier at the airport used to the fuel the airplane earlier in the day were tested, and no water contamination was found; the source of the water contamination could not be determined. It is likely that the loss of engine power resulted from water contamination and subsequent ice buildup in the fuel system.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The in-flight failure of both engines due to water contamination.

On January 23, 2014, about 1430 central standard time, a Cessna 414A airplane, N414CJ, experienced a loss of engine power near Ashland, Missouri. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Alelco, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (KCBF), Council Bluffs, Iowa, at 1326 and was destined for the Jefferson City Memorial Airport (KJEF), Jefferson City, Missouri. 

The pilot report, at 0700 on the morning of the accident flight the pilot completed a preflight inspection. During the inspection no anomalies were noted and no water was observed in the fuel sumps. The pilot flew from KJEF to KCBF at 6,000 feet mean sea level (msl) where the outside air temperature (OAT) was about negative 11 degrees Celsius (C). No anomalies were noted during the flight. 

While on the ground at KCBF about 1030, the airplane was filled with 74 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The OAT at KCBF was negative 4 degrees C. At 1130 the pilot stared both engines and let them run for about 10 minutes to prevent cold soaking. This process was repeated again at 1300. With the absence of another preflight inspection, the pilot and two passengers departed for KJEF about 1330. 

During cruise flight at 15,000 feet msl, where the OAT was negative 19 degrees C, the pilot noticed "a very quick/short miss" in one of the engines but could not identify a specific problem. This happened again during the initial descent. 

During the descent to KJEF, about 7,000 feet msl, the pilot noted that engines got out of sync and the airplane yawed as if an engine had lost power. The left engine then began to lose power so the pilot attempted to troubleshoot the issue. When he was unable to remedy the issue, he secured the left engine, feathered the propeller, and advised air traffic control (ATC) of the situation. Then the right engine began to lose power and eventually would only produce idle power. Unable to maintain altitude and reach the intended airport, the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing into a field. 

A postaccident examination was conducted by the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and representatives from the engine and airframe manufacturers. The examination revealed substantial damage to the fuselage. The fuel manifold valves on both engines contained pieces of ice. The fuel strainers bowls both contained significant amounts of ice. The ice in the left fuel strainer bowl measured 1 3/8 inches thick. Also, the fuel strainer screen contained ice. The fuel from both fuel tanks was sampled and tested and was negative for water contamination. Fuel samples taken from the fuel supply at KCBF were negative for water contamination.

Engine failure forced a twin-engine prop plane to make an emergency landing in a field west of Ashland on Thursday afternoon.

The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District, Columbia Fire Department and a University Hospital ambulance responded to the scene near routes DD and M at about 2:30 p.m.

The plane, a 1979 Cessna 414A, according to FAA records, landed in a soybean field. A passenger said three passengers were on board the aircraft. No one was injured, said Southern Boone County Fire Protection District Lt. Corey Sapp.

A landing gear wheel could be seen lying about 100 yards from the aircraft, with another wheel about 50 yards from where the aircraft came to a stop.

The plane is registered to Alelco Inc. of New Bloomfield, according to FAA records. The company designs, installs and maintains "Electrical, Cathodic Protection and Instrumentation systems" for the water tank industry, according to its website.

A passenger who didn't want to be named said one of the craft's two engines failed, then the other engine failed.

The plane's flight plan showed it left Council Bluffs, Iowa at 1:26 p.m. on its way to Jefferson City.

A man reached at Alelco said the company didn't want to comment about the incident.

Story, photo gallery, comments/reaction: 

Radio station apologizes to St Vincent PM for saying he owns LIAT planes

 KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) -- The manager of a St Vincent radio station which last year paid Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves EC$206,000 for defamation, has apologized to him for a news item aired on the station on January 17.

Manager of NICE Radio, Douglas De Frietas, wrote Gonsalves Tuesday, saying that out of ignorance, two broadcasters inadvertently aired news stating that the Prime Minister owned two LIAT planes.

“This information has no basis of truth. I have spoken to both broadcasters and they have asked to convey that they are truly sorry for their grave error,” De Freitas wrote.

De Freitas said that he apologized to Gonsalves on January 20, offered the apology on air, and will do so via local newspapers.

In a statement on Tuesday, LIAT said that the report was erroneous.

“These statements are reckless and mischievous. Such reports negatively impact the traveling public, our Caribbean community constituents, and the staff of our airline. LIAT distances itself from these unverified reports and remains committed to channeling our energies into our modernization program and to putting LIAT on a profitable footing,” acting CEO of LIAT, Julie Reifer-Jones, said in the statement.


Hub City Aviation: Flight simulator trains student pilots

Before pilots soar through the skies, they hone their skills as students in training school.

Hub City Aviation offers a flight simulator for a life-like flying experience.

The Redbird Simulator mimics a Cessna Aircraft cockpit with computer-generated images that replicate the pilot's view.

The entire structure moves in imitation of an aircraft's motion.

The simulator actually costs about the same as two real training aircrafts but Chief Flight Instructor, Louie Hilliard, said the tool is invaluable for training.

Hilliard said using the Instructor Station he can cause emergencies and obstacles, like broken circuits or severe weather, and analyze how the student pilot reacts.

Fox 34's Brittany Price takes the Redbird Simulator for a first-time test run.

Story and video:

Lincoln Airport (KLNK), Nebraska: Director to retire

John Wood
For only the second time in the past 30 years, the Lincoln Airport will be looking for a new chief.
Airport Executive Director John Wood announced at Thursday's Airport Authority board meeting that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Wood, who has been at the helm of the airport since September 1996, is 65 and will turn 66 this year.

"It is just time," he said.

Wood said he and his wife have some things they want to do while they are both still healthy and active. One of those things involves moving to Santa Fe, N.M., once he retires.

However, Wood said he has grandchildren in Papillion, so he and his wife will still spend significant time in Nebraska after retirement.

Wood was the director of operations at Eppley Airfield in Omaha when he was chosen from among more than 80 candidates to succeed Wayne Andersen, who had been airport director since 1983.

Before landing in Omaha, where he spent eight years, Wood was the director of the airport in Cheyenne, Wyo., and before that he held the same post at the airport in Winslow, Ariz.

Before going into airport management, Wood, a native of Houston, spent eight years as a Marine Corps pilot.

To find Wood's successor, the Airport Authority is turning to a consulting firm that specializes in recruiting high-ranking officials for non-hub airports.

The board on Thursday approved a contract with ADK Executive Search of Atlantic Beach, Fla. The firm will be paid about $33,000 plus expenses.

According to ADK's website, it has worked to find airport managers or directors for airports in many cities similar in size to Lincoln, including Providence, R.I., Reno, Nev., Spokane, Wash., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Columbus, Ga.

Doug Kuelpman, president of ADK, said the entire process of recruiting candidates, interviewing and vetting them, hiring someone and then giving that person time to move to Lincoln could take up to six months.

Wood said that there would likely be some overlap between him and the new director, but if someone is hired by summer or early fall, he likely will retire earlier.

Prescott, Arizona: Council debates 10-year lease, replacement of kitchen equipment for airport restaurant

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
 Susie’s Skyway Restaurant has had to operate for the past eight months without a hood, grill or deep fryer as the owners awaited lease renewal negotiations. The City of Prescott owns the space, and some members of the city council are leery of a 10-year lease because of future plans to replace the terminal.

PRESCOTT - A "red tag" on much of the essential kitchen equipment at Susie's Skyway Restaurant has had a significant impact on the airport eatery. 

For the past eight months, restaurant lessee Susan Sullivan says the establishment, which is located inside the airport terminal, has had to function without core kitchen elements - a hood, a grill, and a deep fryer.

That, in turn, has caused Susie's to dramatically scale back its menu, leading to a nearly 70 percent reduction in business, Sullivan said.

This week, Prescott City Council members discussed a lease renewal agreement that would include the replacement of the aging kitchen equipment in the city-owned space.

During a nearly hour-long discussion, however, the proposed length of the lease, as well as pending city plans for a new airport terminal, generated debate among the council.

Airport Manager Jeff Tripp led off the discussion by explaining that the red-tag situation stemmed from the discovery of a gas leak in the kitchen in June 2013.

During the leak repairs, the city's building and fire departments determined that the 1957-era kitchen equipment needed to be replaced with code-compliant equipment, and issued a red tag that made the equipment unavailable for use.

Meanwhile, Sullivan said the restaurant has remained open, but has had to make do with a small griddle. Many of the items that drew patrons had to be temporarily removed from the menu.

Tripp explained that while the current lease calls for the lessee to maintain and, if necessary, replace kitchen equipment, he said the timing of the lease brought that requirement into question.

"Since the current lease is about to expire (on May 31, 2014) is not reasonable to expect the tenant to expend the monies necessary to bring the kitchen into compliance at this time," a city memo stated.

That raised a concern from Councilwoman Jean Wilcox, who maintained that city replacement of the kitchen equipment - at a cost of nearly $25,000 - would be a gift to the lessee, and would violate the state's gift clause.

City Attorney Jon Paladini responded that because replacement of the equipment was negotiated as part of the new lease, it would not be considered a gift to the lessee. "It's a business decision, but I don't think it violates the gift clause," he said.

Councilman Steve Blair added that the city should take responsibility for repairing the kitchen, despite the original lease. "To me, it's irresponsible not to do this as a city," he said.

Under the new lease, the lessees - George and Susan Sullivan - would see their rate rise from the current $331 per month to $850 per month. That rate would apply for the first two years, after which the rate would go up to $1,186 per month.

Wilcox also questioned the 10-year term of the lease. "A 10-year term is a long time," she said. "A lot can happen."

Other council members also had questions about the length of the lease, noting that the city has long considered the possibility of building a new terminal at the airport.

With the prospect of a new terminal on the horizon, Councilman Chris Kuknyo said, "I get heartburn every time we spend money on this (existing terminal) building."

In 2001 and 2002, the council held a number of discussions on the need for a new terminal to replace the 1948 building, and the issue has come up regularly through the years. Meanwhile, the plans for the new airport terminal have been largely on hold.

This week, Mayor Marlin Kuykendall cautioned that the new airport terminal could still be years off. "I don't think in 10 years, we'll see a lot of dirt moved," he said. "Just because of the way we do business and the way the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) does business."

The council made no decisions at Tuesday's study session, and the item will be back on the agenda for the council's Jan. 28 voting session.

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American Airlines promises monthly bonuses for operations goals

American Airlines unveiled a new employee incentive plan that will pay workers up to $150 a month if operations at the airline are better than its competitors.

The program, called Ops Olympics, will measure American's on-time arrival, baggage performance and customer satisfaction against its three largest competitors: Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

If American ranks first in the Department of Transportation monthly reports in those categories, employees will earn $50 for each category win, up to a maximum payment of $150 per month. If the carrier does not place first in any of the categories, workers could still get a $50 bonus if the airline's departure times, known as D-zero, are over 70 percent.

"D-zero will be at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery," Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom said in a message sent to employees on Thursday. "But in order to excel at D-zero, we must be ready. That means no matter your job, you're there on time, in position, in uniform, with your tools and equipment, trained, rested and ready to go out there and excel. In doing so, we'll be safe, reliable and well on the road to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world."

The program is similar to US Airways' "Triple Play" program, which offered incentives to the airline's employees for consistent operational performance.


Ecuadorean Airline Halts Flights to Venezuela

The Ecuadorean airline Tame says it is suspending its once-daily flights to and from Venezuela until that country's government pays it $43 million owed for ticket sales.

Tame General Manager Fernando Guerrero says the flights are halted effective Thursday.

Venezuela's airlines association chief Humberto Figuera told The Associated Press that the government owes carriers a total of $3.3 billion for January alone.

The airlines are victims of Venezuela's rigid currency controls that prevent carriers from repatriating earnings.

At the same time, the bolivar has plunged to a tenth of its official value on the flourishing black market, making tickets sold in Venezuela some of the cheapest in the world.

Venezuela owes bigger airlines such as Colombia's Avianca tens of millions of dollars.


Private plane with engine trouble lands safely at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport

A private plane that reported engine trouble landed safely Thursday afternoon at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Four people were aboard the Jetstream aircraft, which appeared to have last taken off from Lawrence municipal airport, said Brian O'Neill, Deputy Airport Director for Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

The pilot reported trouble with the aircraft's left engine.

Per safety protocols, fire alarm crews were activated and prepared response for the landing at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.


Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team Award presented to Carson Valley man

Courtesy of the Minden-Tahoe Airport  

Bill Schroeder, a Minden-Tahoe Airport tenant, a designated pilot examiner and lead Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team (FAASTeam) representative for the Reno Flight Service District Office (FSDO), received an award for his ongoing efforts to improve safety for general aviation.

Bill specializes in mountain flight training and is the check pilot for the Reno Civil Air Patrol. Bill has put together an extensive day long safety seminar presented it at several Nevada and California airports where he provided attendees with specific instruction on operations at airports experiencing high accident rates in mountain terrain. In addition, Bill has coordinated with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association on a program to increase the use of Federal Aviation Administration Flight Plans by pilots flying in remote areas.

“We are very fortunate to have Bill as a tenant at our airport and are pleased that he has received this award for the second time in three years,” says Bobbi Thompson, Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager.

FAASTeam Representatives are individuals dedicated to the promotion of aviation safety. They provide their community with advice, counsel, technical knowledge, aviation experience and a communication link with the local FAA facility. FAASTeam Representatives act as advisors to the aviation community in support of aviation safety. Representatives are selected for their interest in aviation safety, their professional knowledge, their personal reputation in the community, and their ability to donate freely of their time and talents.

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Apopka airport targeted as future aviation center

The dogfight over the Orlando North Airpark has ended.

After objections from bird enthusiasts, neighbors and some government leaders, the West Orange Airport Authority has decided against trying to turn the small airfield on Jones Road into an aviation center comparable to Orlando Executive Airport or Leesburg International Airport.

"Too many issues," authority Chairman Guy Haggard said after Wednesday's board meeting.

Haggard said the aviation authority, created by the Legislature to develop a public-use airport in west Orange County, will refocus its attention at Orlando Apopka Airport, which is located adjacent to U.S. Highway 441 and is likely to present fewer development challenges.

"I think it's a better location overall for what we want to accomplish," he said.

Haggard, an attorney with the law firm of GrayRobinson in Orlando, envisions the airport becoming a catalyst for economic development in the region and becoming a transportation hub with easy access to the Wekiva Parkway and a future commuter rail spur that hooks up with Sunrail.

Civic leaders in west Orange and east Lake counties, as well as environmental groups, had lined up to oppose Orlando North Airpark as the future site of the Central Florida Business and Aviation Center, one of the suggested names for an airport that could accommodate small business jets.

Foes feared that flying small jets so close to the north shore of Lake Apopka would harm not only the thousands of birds that visit or nest in the marshes, but could also imperil budding efforts to develop the area into an eco-friendly tourist attraction that draws big-spending bird watchers.

As the crow flies, the Apopka airport is 3.8 miles east of the air park.

The Apopka airport likely will face opposition from environmentalists for the same reasons as the authority's previously preferred site, said Jim Thomas of the Friends of Lake Apopka.

"Whereas the Orlando Apopka Airport may be a little further away, may be slightly better [than the air park], it's still going to have a problem...Your problem's going to be large soaring birds in huge flocks," Thomas told the authority. "You don't have to be a scientist to realize that putting an airport with small jets adjacent to one of the largest migratory [bird] flight patterns in the country, if not the world, is just not good common sense."

Haggard said the environmental issues are not as challenging at Orlando Apopka, which has been in existence since the 1940's and is used by propeller aircraft. He said the airport, when developed into a business airport, would not likely handle the same load of corporate jets as Orlando Executive Airport, a concern of its critics.

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Super Bowl Air Boss Wrangles Swarms of High-Dollar Fliers: Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey

Wayne Boggs, 2008 Arctic Thunder air boss, keeps a keen eye skyward during an air show performance.   
 Photographer: Tech. Sgt. Alan Port/U.S Air Force photo via Bloomberg  

Shortly after the last confetti rains down at the National Football League’s championship game, Wayne Boggs and his team will take the field in the annual Super Bowl of luxury private aviation. 

New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, one of the nation’s busiest for business aviation, will be jammed with about half the 1,200 private and charter planes coming in for the Feb. 2 game. Almost all will be looking to enter the world’s most-delayed airspace that night and the next day. 

Boggs’s job at Teterboro will be to prevent the postgame gridlock that’s sometimes ensnared corporate chiefs and celebrities used to being whisked around on a whim. In his third Super Bowl as the so-called air boss, Boggs has the last word on who gets out and when. 

“It’s air-traffic control on steroids,” said Boggs, 67, of Tampa, Florida, who specializes in choreographing air shows. 

There won’t be as many flight operations around the big game as the New York area has during normal summer periods, even with the influx of private planes, according to a Federal Aviation Administration analysis obtained by Bloomberg News. 

That makes Boggs’s task about logistics on the ground. One stalled plane can block dozens of others from reaching the runways, slowing departures to a crawl. 

Then there’s this year’s wild card for aircraft operators as well as for the two teams in the first Super Bowl played outdoors in northern climes -- the weather. 

Ground Control  

Boggs won’t replace the FAA employees at Teterboro’s tower, who will be working at full capacity. His team of 11 will be responsible for wrangling aircraft on the tarmac and some taxiways, which during the game will resemble the MetLife Stadium parking lot less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) away, he said in an interview. 

He’ll set up a shadow control facility from an unused tower at the airport. Team members, most of them former air-traffic controllers like Boggs, will be stationed at each of the five airport locations that service the planes. Another will be roving in an airport vehicle. Those in the tower will keep tabs on which planes can depart first, radioing taxi instructions on a frequency temporarily assigned to them. 

Boggs said he won’t allow a plane to move at Teterboro until all passengers are aboard and it’s been fueled. Clearance to taxi will be first-come, first-served. That prevents pilots from trying to outrun others to the runways and gives the tower’s controllers an orderly flow, he said. 

Teterboro’s airport is taking reservations for as many as 600 aircraft to park there. They will include models built by General Dynamics Corp. (GD)’s Gulfstream, Bombardier Inc. (BDRBF) and Dassault Aviation SA (AM)’s Falcon. 

“You have a tremendous amount of heavy iron attending,” Boggs said, using industry jargon for the largest business jets.

Airplane Choreographer

Just as his lookalike younger brother, Wade Boggs, hit the toughest pitchers during his Hall of Fame baseball career with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, Wayne Boggs’s skills are distinctive enough to have inspired a reality-TV miniseries called “Air Boss.” It’s scheduled to debut in June on affiliates of Discovery International, according to the show’s website

One occupational hazard is that “high-dollar people,” as the air boss calls them, can get impatient if they have to wait. 

After the 2008 Super Bowl, held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, private and charter planes trying to leave the following day were delayed at least six hours. 

A storm blew across the Phoenix region on the Monday after the game and limited departures, Arthur Rosen, who was chairman of the Scottsdale Airport’s advisory commission, said in an interview.

2008 Meltdown

Compounding the delays were that some plane owners and operators reserved departure slots and then failed to leave on time, Rosen said. 

Robert Kraft, owner of the losing New England Patriots, was stuck in the backup and called officials in an attempt to reach the airport manager, according to Rosen. 

The gridlock didn’t just ensnare the losing team. A plane carrying quarterback Eli Manning of the victorious New York Giants and his older brother, Peyton Manning, who will lead the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s game, also was stuck, Rosen said. 

“That can be a challenge,” Boggs said, “keeping them as happy as we can until they are able to get out.” 

After last year’s Super Bowl, a former football player Boggs declined to identify became irate after the air boss made him wait in a departure queue at New Orleans’s Lakefront Airport. 

“The reason he couldn’t go was all his people weren’t there,” he said.

Keeping Happy

Such confrontations have been rare, Boggs said. Most often he eases anger by acting as a referee and providing information if delays occur, he said. When tensions persist, he dispatches a member of his staff to mollify passengers. 

Boggs’s work after last year’s Super Bowl prevented a recurrence of the much-worse delays seen in New Orleans after the men’s college basketball championship game in 2012, when Boggs wasn’t on duty, Louis Capo, executive director of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority, which manages Lakefront Airport, said in an interview. 

The FAA, local airport authorities in New York and New Jersey, and aviation businesses have spent months preparing for what’s the biggest annual event for business-jet travelers, according to Argus International Inc., a Cincinnati-based aviation research firm.

Reservations Required

Mindful of previous traffic jams, the FAA has required private and charter planes flying to airports near MetLife Stadium to obtain a reservation and a parking space. 

The cost of chartering a plane to the Super Bowl varies by distance traveled, aircraft size and other factors. Hiring a plane capable of flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Teterboro, and staying four days, would cost $65,000, said Andrew Ladouceur, vice president of charter sales and client services at Meridian Teterboro, one of the five bases for private aircraft at the airport. 

Airports are laying in extra fuel and deicing fluid, making special parking arrangements for vans and limousines and calling on hundreds of volunteers to assist visitors. 

At Meridian, reservations for plane parking during the Super Bowl filled up before Christmas, Betsy Wines, the company’s vice president of customer service and human resources, said in an interview.

‘More Planes’

Carlyle Group LP (CG)’s Landmark Aviation is bringing in more than 20 employees from bases around the U.S. to supplement its staff of 120 at Teterboro, Mario Diaz, the facility’s manager, said in an interview. It expects to handle at least 150 planes, Diaz said. 

Both facilities are hosting a viewing party for the pilots and crew who must tend to aircraft during the game. 

Interest is also brisk for private flights at Newark Liberty International Airport, which can handle the private planes too big for Teterboro, such as Boeing Co.’s BBJ line including 737s and the double-decker 747-8 modified for private use. 

The concrete tarmac at the northern tip of Newark will hold planes worth more than $1 billion on game day. 

“We’re going to have more planes during the Super Bowl than we’ve ever had before,” said Eric Richardson, general manager at BBA Aviation Plc (BBA)’s Signature Flight Support at Newark.

‘Dead Crawl’

Super Bowl attendees more into making appearances than staying until the game’s end must use Newark as well. While FAA security rules ban flights at Teterboro from 4 p.m. the day of the game until an hour after the contest ends, Newark is just outside the FAA’s no-flight ring around the stadium and has no restrictions. 

The crush at Teterboro won’t begin until the FAA lifts its flight restrictions at about midnight after the game, Boggs said. 

He expects a rush from midnight until about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, with traffic picking up again around 7 a.m. “We don’t quit or take a break until we end around 3 p.m. Monday,” he said. 

There’s only one thing Boggs is dreading: the weather. There may be little he can do if freezing rain, snow or high winds reduce flight capacity or temporarily shut an airport. 

A winter storm like the one that hit New York and New Jersey Jan. 21 “will throw everything into a dead crawl,” he said.

“In that case, you’d want everyone to take a vacation and go into Manhattan to see a show,” he said.

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Help track down driver of BMW 5 Series: Police Seeking Tips In Hit-And-Run Crash Betwen Car, Plane At Auburn Municipal Airport (KAUN), California

AUBURN- Auburn Police are asking the public for help in finding a reckless driver that crashed into a parked airplane Dec. 7 at the Auburn Airport.   Investigators say the four-door BMW 5 Series sedan was driving around on the snow shortly after midnight before losing control and hitting the plane. The plane is said to have sustained serious damage.  Surveillance video shows the car fleeing the airport.

Little else is known about the incident, but officers are hoping anyone with any information will contact Detective Sergeant Dale Hutchins at (530) 823-4237 ext. 207.


Image Credit: Auburn Airport

AUBURN (CBS13) – Auburn police are asking for the public’s help to track down the driver responsible for a bizarre hit-and-run incident that severely damaged an aircraft.

On December 7, 2013 at around 1 a.m., surveillance video at the Auburn Airport recorded a four-door BMW 5 Series sedan that had been driven recklessly in the snow, say police. The driver lost control of the car and smashed into a parked airplane, causing severe damage to the plane.

The car does not appear to have any distinguishing features; however police hope someone who watches the video will recognize it and call them.

Police ask anyone with tips to call 530-823-4237, extension 207, and ask for Detective Sergeant Dale Hutchins.