Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Barnstorming Seaplane Offers Rides From Coronado

Photo by Joe Ditler
 Captain Michael Steel and two passengers enjoy the afternoon sun, just off the Coronado Golf Course beach, and minutes before take off and an exciting whale watching tour from the air.

Seaplanes lifting off from San Diego bay were once a common sight. Many remember car-carrying ferryboats slowing to a crawl to allow a bulky, gravity-defying PBY to pass - groaning under full power to obtain lift off as it drove into the wind.

Now, more than 30 years later, the seaplanes are back. Well, at least one seaplane. San Diego Seaplanes is operating out of Coronado, offering a variety of packages to their customers.

The little plane can be frequently seen along the Coronado Golf Course beach, just south of the bridge. Here customers eager to experience a seaplane flight step off the beach and climb aboard one of the pontoons in preparation for aerial, barnstorming adventure.

The business is owned and operated by Michael Steel. His seaplane tours of the San Diego coast are packaged in between a thrilling takeoff and landing from the water. Flight options are available in 20, 30, and 60-minute packages. Guests are treated to a bird’s eye view of the Hotel del Coronado, the Coronado Bridge, or spectacular coastal overviews of La Jolla, Sunset Cliffs and Point Loma.

“No runway, no problem,” says Steel, who has been flying seaplanes for more than 30 years and obtained his solo Pilot’s Certificate at the age of 16. He can maneuver his aircraft up to the beach, to your dock (such as at the Coronado Cays), to your yacht club, or even alongside an anchored boat in the bay.

“Currently we are the only seaplane operation in Southern California,” said Steel. “I figure we’ve conducted more than 800 water takeoffs and landings in the last six months alone.” His plane can carry six passengers at a time. Charter prices are extremely affordable and the seaplane is available seven days a week by appointment.

Steel has provided pilots and seaplanes for numerous Hollywood movies and TV productions. He has personally worked for Universal Studios, Fox Studios, HBO, Disney TV and the BBC, among others. He designed, built and flew the seaplane for “Waterworld,” a film starring Kevin Costner, and more recently flew a replica of the 100-year-old A-1 Triad seaplane for the 2012 US Navy celebration of a Century of Naval Aviation.

In fact, the actual birthplace of naval aviation took place in the Spanish Bight, a waterway that once separated North and South Coronado Island – an area Steel flies his passengers over every day. The history of his profession is not lost on him, nor on his passengers.

Currently whale watching along our coastline is the most popular option, but other choices include a kayak/flight experience, sunset flights, romantic beach picnics, birthday flights and corporate events, and even honeymoon or full moon flights.

The entrepreneurial Steel is already building sponsorship packages to expand his seaplane business to Los Angeles (Catalina) and Hawaii.

For Steel it’s a family affair. His wife Andrea runs the office, and frequently one or all of their five children are involved in one project or another concerning the business, even if it’s just keeping the windshield clean on the seaplane. On Coronado itself, Steel’s mother, Sue Steel, can be seen standing on the lawn near her condo at Centennial Park waving at him as he flies over.

For more information call 800-732-7526, or visit


Diamond DA 20-C1 Eclipse, Doss Aviation Inc, N959DA: Accident occurred January 29, 2014 in Fort Carson, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN14TA126
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 29, 2014 in Fort Carson, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/2014
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA20-C1, registration: N959DA
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

**This report was modified on 1/22/2015. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.**

According to air traffic control (ATC) audio recordings, a tower controller cleared an airplane for takeoff about 23 seconds after a UH-60 helicopter was cleared for takeoff from a midfield location. The tower controller ensured that a runway separation standard of 3,000 feet was present and did not give a wake turbulence advisory. The flight instructor reported that she was aware of the helicopter's takeoff and that she perceived adequate separation from the helicopter. The flight instructor incorrectly identified the helicopter as a Bell UH-1, which weighs less than the UH-60. Shortly after takeoff, the airplane encountered the wake vortex of the helicopter and entered a steep left bank. The flight instructor attempted to counteract the left roll with full right aileron inputs, but she was unable to maintain control. The airplane impacted terrain near midfield and came to rest inverted. A review of ATC audio recordings and airplane performance data revealed that the airplane trailed the helicopter by about 48 to 63 seconds at the midfield location and was about 150 to 200 feet above ground level when it encountered the helicopter's wake vortex.

Current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ATC guidance does not require specific wake turbulence separation criteria for a small airplane following a helicopter nor does it require a controller to give a wake turbulence advisory for a small airplane following a helicopter. Current FAA pilot guidance, including the Airman's Information Manual and an advisory circular on aircraft wake turbulence, also do not recommend separation criteria for a small airplane following a helicopter.

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

The flight instructor's loss of control after takeoff following a wake turbulence encounter from a preceding helicopter. Contributing to the accident were the flight instructor's misidentification of the helicopter type and a lack of Federal Aviation Administration wake turbulence separation criteria for a small airplane following a helicopter.


On January 29, 2014, at 1432 mountain standard time, a single engine Diamond DA20-C1 airplane, N959DA, was substantially damaged after impact with terrain at Butts Army Airfield (KFCS), Fort Carson, Colorado. The flight instructor (CFI) and student suffered minor injuries. The airplane was owned by Doss Aviation Incorporated and operated under contract for the United States Air Force (USAF). The airplane was departing on a training flight for Pueblo Memorial Airport (KPUB), Pueblo, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 public use flight.

According to air traffic control (ATC) audio recordings, the KFCS tower controller cleared the DA20 for takeoff from the approach end of Runway 13 about 23 seconds after a Sikorsky UH-60 helicopter was cleared for takeoff from a midfield location. The tower controller ensured a runway separation standard of 3,000 feet was present, as required by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ATC guidance. The controller did not give a wake turbulence advisory, which was not specifically required by FAA ATC guidance.

According to the CFI and student, the airplane entered into a steep left bank soon after liftoff. The flight instructor attempted to counteract the left roll with full right aileron inputs, but was unable to maintain control. The airplane impacted terrain near midfield and came to rest inverted.


Flight Instructor

The CFI, age 59, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single and multiengine land, airplane instrument ratings. The CFI's flight instructor certificate included airplane single and multiengine land ratings. She had flown 17,047 hours, including 823 hours as a flight instructor in the DA20 and 22 hours of rotary wing hours early in her career.

The CFI stated with certainty that she perceived the preceding helicopter to be a Bell UH-1, which weighs less than a UH-60. Interviews with tower controllers and other helicopter pilots operating in the KFCS pattern at the time of the accident confirmed the departing helicopter was a UH-60.


The student was a USAF officer with limited flying experience. His previous flight time included about 15 hours in the T-53A (a Cirrus SR-20 variant) at the USAF Academy's Powered Flight Program. The student progressed normally through the initial flight screening (IFS) syllabus-directed program and had flown about 14 hours in the DA20 previous to the mishap sortie.


The accident airplane was manufactured by Diamond Aircraft Industries, Inc. in 2007 and equipped with a Continental IO-240-B engine. The last annual and 100-hour inspections were completed on December 18, 2013. During the postaccident examination, no anomalies were noted with the engine, flight controls, or other airplane systems. The CFI and student did not observe any anomalies with the airplane.


The weather observation station at KFCS reported the following conditions at 1458: wind 170 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 17,000 feet above ground level (AGL), temperature 5 degrees Celsius (C), dew point negative 8 degrees C, and altimeter setting 29.76.


The left wingtip of the aircraft struck the terrain 118 feet left of the runway centerline. The airplane cartwheeled and the main cockpit/fuselage came to rest inverted 2,511 feet from the approach end and 285 feet left of runway centerline, with the aft fuselage fractured.


When cockpit structure came to rest inverted, the CFI and student found they were unable to egress from the airplane, as only a few inches of space existed between them and the terrain. Because of this, the CFI and student had difficulty accomplishing post-accident actions to minimize the risk of fire. On-scene witnesses and rescue personnel considered 'flipping' the airplane, but re-considered after confirming the airplane's electrical system was de-energized, the fuel system was not compromised, and a lack of injuries of the crewmembers. On-scene personnel waited for airfield crash/fire/rescue, who utilized pneumatic pillows to effectively extract the CFI and student.


Utilizing DA20-C1 performance data, the accident airplane would have reached the midfield location about 25-40 seconds after the ATC takeoff clearance, having climbed to about 150-200 feet AGL. Based on this estimate and ATC audio tapes, the DA-20 trailed the UH-60 about 48-63 seconds at the midfield location.


Doss Aviation Inc., owner of the accident airplane and employer of the CFI, has operated the IFS program under contract with the USAF since 2006. In September 2008, a Doss Aviation DA20 encountered the wake turbulence of a C-130 during final approach to Doss Aviation's home airfield. Flying 56 to 62 seconds behind the C-130's flight path, the crew was unable to recover from the effects of the wake turbulence vortices. Following that accident, Doss Aviation had placed additional emphasis on the inherent risks of the DA20's very lightweight design and the avoidance of wake turbulence.

In the months leading up to this accident, an Army Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) had started to arrive at KFCS. About three weeks prior to the accident, increased exposure to helicopters was briefed as a safety topic during a Doss Aviation continuation training (CT) meeting. The briefing focused on risks associated with rotorwash/wake turbulence and the different types of helicopters expected to be located at KFCS as part of the CAB. The briefing provided 'rules-of-thumb, to include a 2 minute wake turbulence spacing in trail from helicopters, although Doss did not make this mandatory. The accident CFI attended the CT briefing on helicopter hazards.

At the time of the accident, a warning in the IFS In-Flight Guide for operations at KFCS read as follows: "WARNING: Use extreme caution operating in the vicinity of helicopters. Do not takeoff or land with helicopters hovering or taxiing within 500 feet of the runway. Consider wind direction to predict wake vortex movement, and use greater than 500 feet separation if required. Make an early go-around decision when required to avoid wake turbulence."

Following the accident, Doss Aviation released guidance requiring their pilots to maintain a wake turbulence separation of 2 minutes behind 'small plus' aircraft, which included UH-60 and AH-64 helicopters, two of the primary aircraft assigned to the CAB. Also since the accident, the USAF operations group overseeing the IFS program regenerated the Southern Colorado (SOCO) Front Range Airspace Working Group (FRAWG), which had been more active when IFS was initially stood up, but had waned recently. The charter of the FRAWG, comprised of SOCO military/civilian flying and ATC organizations, is to reduce congestion risks and optimize efficient use of the available airspace.


FAA Flight Test Report

In February 1996, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Center released a flight test report (DOT/FAA/CT-94/117) on the hazards of rotorcraft wake vortices in forward flight. The flight test utilized a laser Doppler velocimeter (LDV) to measure helicopter wake vortices. Four helicopters, with weights ranging from 7,600 to 70,000 pounds, were utilized as the wake vortex generating aircraft. The maximum duration for vortex life, as measured by the LDV, was 75 seconds for the UH-60. The FAA flight test report made the following conclusions:

--Medium weight helicopters, such as the S-76A and UH-1….can leave active, potentially hazardous vortices for up to 90 seconds. Separations for small aircraft behind these rotorcraft should therefore be in the 90-second range.

--Larger helicopters, such as the CH-47D and CH-53E ….were observed to have longer hazard times. A 120-second separation should be adequate for operations behind these rotorcraft.

--Information on the wake vortex hazard behind these rotorcraft, including delineation by class, should be included in the Airman's Information Manual and the Wake Vortex Advisory Circular.

FAA ATC guidance

Current FAA ATC guidance published in FAA order 7110.65M places all helicopters in the same wake turbulence category as small aircraft. Based on this, FAA ATC wake turbulence guidance does not require an in-trail distance or timing separation for a small airplane following a helicopter, nor is a controller specifically required to give a wake turbulence advisory for a small airplane following a helicopter. Current FAA ATC guidance states: "issue cautionary information to any aircraft if in your opinion, wake turbulence may have an adverse effect on it".

FAA Pilot guidance

Similarly for FAA pilot guidance, the current FAA airman information manual (AIM) and advisory circular (AC) 90-23G on aircraft wake turbulence do not recommend an in-trail distance or timing separation for an airplane following a helicopter. The AC contains a general wake turbulence statement: "pilots should avoid helicopter vortices since helicopter forward flight airspeeds are often very low, which generate strong wake turbulence."


NTSB Identification: CEN14TA126
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 29, 2014 in Fort Carson, CO
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA 20 C1, registration: N959DA
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 public aircraft accident report.

On January 29, 2014, at 1432 mountain standard time, a single engine Diamond DA-20-C1 airplane, N959DA, was substantially damaged upon impact with terrain at Butts Army Airfield (KFCS), Fort Carson, Colorado. The flight instructor and student pilot suffered minor injuries. The airplane was owned by Doss Aviation Incorporated and operated under contract for the United States Air Force (USAF). The airplane was departing on a training flight for Pueblo Memorial Airport (KPUB), Pueblo, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 public use flight.

According to the flight instructor and student pilot, while departing from Runway 13, the airplane entered into a steep left bank. The flight instructor was unable to maintain control and the airplane impacted terrain near midfield, coming to rest inverted. Less than a minute prior to commencing their takeoff roll, the flight instructor and student observed a helicopter depart from Runway 13.

The weather observation station at KFCS reported the following conditions at 1458: wind 170 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 17,000 feet above ground level (AGL), temperature 5 degrees Celsius, dew point negative 8 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting 29.76.

A member of the Doss Aviation flight program pilots a plane at Pueblo Memorial Airport.

FORT CARSON, CO --  A Doss Aviation training aircraft crashed at Fort Carson’s Butts Army Airfield about 2:30 p.m. today, officials announced.

The two crew members were taken to Memorial Hospital, according to Army officials. At 5:55 p.m., the men were reported to be in good condition. The Diamond DA20  was part of the Air Force flight screening program based at Pueblo Memorial Airport.

Fort Carson officials said the crash occurred during a routine training flight from Pueblo. The crash is under investigation.

On private planes happiness isn't an amenity

Written by  Sally Quinn

I keep thinking that if only I had a private plane, I would be really happy. Seriously. I can’t think of any greater luxury. You decide when you want to go. Your chauffeur pulls up to the plane on the tarmac, the stewards and pilots welcome you and carry your bags in. You settle into deep wide leather seats. You are served anything you want when you want it. If the weather is really bad, you can tell the pilot not to take off or to land. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, customs officials get on the plane to check your passport.

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RV rally not returning to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport next year

BROOKSVILLE - When the last RV rolls out of the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport rally Sunday, it will mark the end of a 16-year partnership that pumped millions into the local economy.

The board of directors of the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) voted 46-0 Tuesday morning not to sign a new lease with the airport. Instead, the board announced it has signed a tentative agreement with Sarasota to hold the annual rally at an inside venue.

In the end, it came down to money.

"We just cannot afford to keep putting money in these tents," said Jim Duncan, president of the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association. "We need to have permanent structures to put this rally on."

FMCA paid about $70,000 to erect tents for the event this year.

Duncan said he blames the Aviation Authority for not providing a building and for failing to negotiate.

"We kept asking them that's what we needed," Duncan said. "You need to step up to the plate and they never did that."

Duncan said his board wanted to stay in Brooksville and this is no slam against the area merchants who he called hospitable and friendly.

But putting on a rally this size is a business and Sarasota is offering the use of a 500-seat indoor arena for $20,000, Duncan said.

Gary Schraut, chairman of the Aviation Authority, said he did reach out to the FMCA about a long-term solution but was met with resistance.

"It's a two-way street," Schraut said. "No one reached out to us. We reached out to them."

Schraut said the FMCA's request for a permanent structure was untenable because of Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

"It's very difficult for the airport to build permanent facilities on the airport side that are not aviation-related," Schraut said.

Schraut said he will be sorry to see the RVers leave but there's nothing he or his advisory board could do because of the lack of communication from the FMCA board.

Conrad Kleinpeter, an FMCA regional vice president, said it was hoped the county could provide the RVers with a permanent indoor building to hold the annual vendor booths, trade shows and other amenities for the rally.

Instead, participants - who gather from throughout the nation - had to meet in tents, he said.

"We're going to lose $40,000 this year and we have $100,000 in the bank," Kleinpeter said.

The FMCA had already reduced costs as much as possible, he said, by cutting the number of on-site tents and reducing the cost from $120,000 to $70,000.

But it's not enough to salvage the rally, he said.

Kleinpeter said the declining number of RV participants doesn't help.

"We had 3,000 coaches a few years ago," Kleinpeter said. "This year, we had 600. It's just a dollars and cents thing."

Kleinpeter said he got the impression the RVers were no longer welcome here because nobody tried to address their concerns.

"I think these airport people want us out of here," he said.

The annual RV rally is one of the largest tourism events in Hernando County which, during its height, injected up to $10 million into the economy, according to earlier reports from the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce.

But rally organizers have been losing money due to a fall-off in members, the bad economy and the escalating costs of putting on the event.

Sarasota and other counties had been making overtures to FMCA officials about moving the rally to their area.

The county came close to losing the RV rally last year but the FMCA agreed to a one-year lease to see if conditions could be improved at the airport.

The agreement contained several money-saving options, the biggest of which was a reduction in the license fee from an annual flat rate of $6,500 to $4 per motor coach.

There would be no charge for additional coaches should attendance exceed 700, which would provide an annual savings of $3,700 or more over the current agreement. The airport also assumed responsibility for the mowing and maintenance of the rally area, reducing FMCA costs by some $8,000.

But efforts to secure an indoor, permanent facility didn't occur and that proved to be a deal breaker for the FMCA.

Duncan said the board plans to sign a one-year lease with Sarasota. After that, it's up to the board where it will hold the rally. If Hernando County wants to continue to negotiate for future RV rallies, then it will listen, he said.

"We can always come back," Duncan said.


Clutha helicopter tragedy: Lawyers representing victims of crash call for public inquiry into safety of commercial flights

Lawyers representing some of the victims of the Clutha helicopter crash have called for a public inquiry into the safety of all commercial flights in the UK.

Ten people died and more than 30 were taken to hospital after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of the packed Clutha pub in Glasgow on November 29.

Legal firm Irwin Mitchell has written to transport ministers at Westminster and Holyrood calling for a public inquiry into helicopter safety.

It comes after helicopter operators Bond started making interim payments to the victims of the crash.

It has not yet been established why the helicopter fell from the sky, although investigators said initial evidence rules out engine or gearbox failure.

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee set up an inquiry into the safety of offshore flights in the wake of last year's fatal Super Puma crash off Shetland which claimed the lives of four people.

MPs on the committee questioned representatives from helicopter operators, manufacturers, trade unions and industry bodies in Aberdeen earlier this week.

Irwin Mitchell said the investigation should be extended as there have been 20 helicopter accidents in UK airspace, with at least 40 fatalities, since 2009.

Clive Garner, head of Irwin Mitchell's aviation law team, said: "The tragedy in Glasgow has put a spotlight on the issue of helicopter safety, but the unfortunate truth is that it is just the latest in a string of tragedies and urgent action is now needed to ensure that helicopter safety standards are reviewed and improvements made where necessary.

"Our clients rightly want answers and reassurances that no-one else will have to go through the ordeals that they have been through.

"Because of our concerns, we have written to transport ministers in both the UK and Scottish parliaments demanding that they do what is right in these circumstances and launch a full public inquiry into the safety of helicopters operating within UK airspace with the aim of improving helicopter safety.

"While the review into the safety of offshore helicopter operations is certainly necessary, there are wider and more fundamental issues which need to be investigated."

The firm is asking for an investigation into the UK's helicopter safety record compared to other countries, the effectiveness of current regulation and what legislation could be used to address concerns.

Irwin Mitchell is also calling for all commercial helicopters in the UK to be installed with a black box. Helicopters weighing less than 3,175kg are currently exempt from carrying recording equipment.

Mr Garner said: "In the Clutha Vaults tragedy, we have a sophisticated twin engine helicopter that crashed in a city but there is no black box evidence to assist the investigators and quickly identify the cause of this astonishing accident.

"In our letter to the transport ministers, we have suggested that the exemption weight limits be significantly reduced to ensure more aircraft are fitted with this equipment, which would provide vital information at the early stages of an air accident investigation."

The three crew on the police helicopter who were killed were pilot David Traill, 51, Pc Tony Collins, 43, and Pc Kirsty Nelis, 36.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, 57, Mark O'Prey, 44, Gary Arthur, 48, Colin Gibson, 33, Robert Jenkins, 61, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

Customer Joe Cusker, 59, was pulled from the wreckage alive but died in hospital from his injuries almost two weeks later.

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Eurocopter EC135 T2+,  G-SPAO,  Bond Air Services Ltd. for Police Scotland

Kuwait International Airport, Farwaniyah, Kuwait

A Saudi airplane carrying 103 passengers became bogged in sand at Kuwait International Airport after the pilot accidentally attempted to use a taxiway under construction, Kuwait state media has said.

The airport’s operations director, Essam Al Zamel, said the pilot ignored numerous warning signs and visibility was clear when the National Air Services (NAS) plane entered the taxiway.

None of the passengers on board were hurt but they were forced to disembark from the plane and return to the airport while the aircraft was removed from the sand.

Another plane was sent from Saudi Arabia to fly the passengers to their destination, Jeddah.

A Saudi aircraft with 103 passengers on board was stuck in sand at Kuwait International Airport after it entered the wrong lane while heading for the airport terminal.

Airport officials said the Nas Air plane has just landed and taxied towards the terminal when it mistakenly entered a construction area despite warning boards installed there.

“It entered an area where we are carrying out maintenance and construction work despite the many warning boards installed there,” Isam Al Zamil, director of the Kuwait airport operations, told the official news agency Kuna.

“I don’t know how the pilot got into that area as the boards were clearly visible and weather conditions were good…the plane got stuck in sand there and we have to wait for another Nas aircraft to come and take the transit passengers to Saudi Arabia.”

Mesa Airlines Canadair CRJ-700, United Express, N506MJ, Flight YV-3759/UA-3759: Incident occurred January 29, 2014 in Wilmington, Delaware

United Express jet makes emergency landing at New Castle Airport 

A United Express passenger jet en route to Boston had to made an emergency landing this morning at New Castle Airport after the plane experienced problems with an on-board oxygen generator, officials said. 

 The regional jet, operated by Mesa Airlines, was transporting 61 passengers and a crew of four from Washington-Dulles Airport to Boston-Logan when the problems began, said Jim Salmon, spokesman for the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which owns the airport.

The jet was a Bombardier CRJ 700, which can carry up to 70 passengers.

About 9:46 a.m., the jet landed safely on Runway 1 and turned off onto Taxiway K, where it was met by firefighters from the Delaware Air National Guard base as well as volunteers from Wilmington Manor, Newport and Good Will of New Castle fire companies.

The air base also supplied two buses to evacuate the passengers and transfer them and crew members to the airport terminal building, according to Salmon and the 166th Airlift Wing Base Operations.

United and Mesa Airlines are making alternative arrangements for the passengers to complete their trip to Boston, Salmon said.

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A Mesa Airlines -United Express - Canadair CRJ-700 sits on the runway at New Castle Airport this morning after an emergency landing.

Oxygen masks deployed inside the jet during the emergency landing. 
(Photo courtesy: SaraBTweets)

Passengers walked off the jet in Delaware.
 (Photo courtesy: SaraBTweets) 

Passengers stood near the jet after the emergency landing in Delaware.
 (Photo courtesy: SaraBTweets) 

Boston-Bound Flight Makes Emergency Landing In Delaware

BOSTON (CBS) — A flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport to Boston made an emergency landing at a county airport in Delaware, Wednesday morning.

According to a passenger on the flight, the plane began losing altitude rapidly, the oxygen masks came down and the cabin filled with smoke.

That passenger described the experience as “terrifying.”

The flight was a United Express CRJ 700, operated by Mesa Airlines.

According to Delaware River and Bay Authority, the problems were caused by the onboard oxygen generator.

Sixty-one passengers and four crew members were onboard.

“At approximately 9:50 a.m. EST, Mesa Airlines, flight 3759, a Canadian Regional Jet, diverted to the New Castle Airport, Wilmington, DE after the pilot reported smoke in the aircraft. The aircraft landed safely. The flight originated at Washington-Dulles International Airport and was enroute to Boston Logan International Airport,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

A new plane is expected to arrive at the county airport later this afternoon to complete the trip to Boston.

No injuries were reported.


Boeing Profit Improves on Higher Deliveries: Aerospace Giant Offers Tepid Outlook for 2014

The Wall Street Journal

By Jon Ostrower

Updated Jan. 29, 2014 10:11 a.m. ET

Boeing Co. easily beat forecasted earnings growth in the fourth quarter on continued strong demand for its jetliners, but tempered its outlook for 2014, despite another planned record year for commercial aircraft production.

The aerospace and defense giant delivered a record 648 commercial aircraft in 2013 and expects to best that in 2014, planning for 715 to 725 deliveries, driven by increasing production of single-aisle 737s and long-range 787 Dreamliners.

But Boeing's guidance for 2014 was lighter than analysts' expectations, and while its commercial backlog reached a record $374 billion for 5,080 jets at the end of 2013, year-end defense orders were down to $70 billion from $71 billion a year earlier, with a dip expected in profit margins in 2014.

Boeing's forecast for earnings per share of $7 to $7.20 in 2014 also missed analysts' expectations, according to those polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected per-share profit of $7.57. Revenue is forecast to climb again from the record $86.6 billion in 2013—to $87.5 billion to $90.5 billion in 2014—but that too missed expectations of $92.72 billion.

Analysts cautioned Boeing's initial forecasts tend to be more conservative at the beginning of the year.

Revenue at its commercial division edged up 3.7%, while operating earnings rose 19% in the quarter, having delivered 172 jets.

"Our commercial airplanes business accelerated delivery of its record backlog by successfully increasing production rates while also achieving important development milestones on the 737 MAX and 787-9 and launching the new 787-10 and 777X models with an unprecedented customer response," Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said.

Boeing's defense, space and security division also turned stronger results despite tight defense budgets. Revenue improved 6.1%, and operating earnings rose 27%. Mr. McNerney said the unit continues to persist through "a tough operating environment."

Overall, Boeing reported a quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.61 a share, up from $978 million, or $1.28 a share, a year earlier on increasing jetliner deliveries driving revenue up 7% to $23.8 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share profit of $1.57 and revenue of $22.74 billion.

—Tess Stynes and Doug Cameron contributed to this article.


Toronto's waterfront is for people, not planes

Paul Bedford, David Crombie, Jack Diamond, Anne Golden and Ken Greenberg 

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Jan. 29 2014, 7:48 AM EST

Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 29 2014, 7:52 AM EST

Toronto City Council is about to decide the future of Toronto’s waterfront. What is being proposed is nothing less than the transformation of a small, inner city airport to a major international one. This decision is not about Porter Airlines, whose service and convenience are widely appreciated by many. It is not about a little airport. It is not about a limited expansion.

Porter is seeking approval to grow the annual passenger volume from the current 2.3-million travellers to 4.8-million. That is about the same passenger volume as the Ottawa International Airport – Canada’s sixth-largest. If council chooses to permit the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to allow jet service, a series of negative consequences will be unleashed that will change the waterfront forever. Here’s why:

First, jet service to the airport requires an extension of the runway by up to 200 metres in each direction into the harbour and into Lake Ontario. The existing marine buoys at either end of the runway may need to be extended to accommodate safety requirements. We will be left with a smaller, more congested harbour. To minimize the jet blast on small boats, a high and obtrusive jet blast deflector wall would be constructed across the entire width of the runway at both ends. On the west side, the new Ontario Place water’s edge park would be a mere 300 metres from the end of the runway.

Second, traffic congestion will intensify. Adding more cars and taxis – the predominant travel option – to Lower Bathurst St., Queen’s Quay and Lakeshore Blvd. will only add more chaos to an area that is already on the edge of failure during peak periods.

Traffic consultants retained by the city have concluded that there is no way the current road network could handle the proposed expansion of passenger volume. It is not clear how the $100-million sought from the federal and provincial governments for ground infrastructure improvements would address this problem.

The expansion would cater to the vacation traveller, instead of the commuter business community. This will result in totally different and escalating demands for longer-term parking, luggage and ground support operations. Conflicts between vehicular traffic and the safety of elementary school children have already resulted in suggestions to consider relocating the existing Waterfront School and Harbourfront Community Centre.

Third, Torontonians currently enjoy a range of waterfront activities, including recreation and culture. This is a core issue. If the airport doubles in passenger volume with the planned runway expansions, it could mean, over time, a gradual increase of up to 30-36 aircraft movements per peak hour. This means a jet could land or take off every two minutes. Air Canada and WestJet have already indicated their desire to operate jet service out of an expanded Island Airport, and Continental Airlines has expressed interest. Such continued growth would choke the neighbourhood and its services. Offering jet service to such distant destinations as Vancouver, California, Florida and the Caribbean would tip the balance. The airport would dominate the waterfront rather than being part of a range of human-scale activities for citizens and tourists.

The effects of airport growth to this point on the Bathurst Quay community are already considerable, and would worsen under an expansion. In warmer months, residents have experienced a residue from aircraft fuel on their windows, balconies and furniture.

The Toronto Medical Officer of Health has documented the health impact of the airport and its expansion. This led to the unanimous rejection of the proposed airport expansion by the Board of Health.

In 1999, the people of Toronto celebrated when the federal, provincial and municipal governments came together to establish Waterfront Toronto. This corporation has invested more than $1.5-billion of public money in the visible revitalization of our entire waterfront, 47 kilometres spanning the amalgamated City of Toronto from Scarborough to Etobicoke. This civic renewal has improved the quality of life for a public who now have access to their waterfront. Toronto’s Official Plan also requires that airport operations comply with the 1983 Tripartite Agreement and that improvements to the airport’s facilities have no adverse impacts on the surrounding community.

The scale and scope of the airport expansion and introduction of jets are simply not compatible with this vision – and council policies. There is no such thing as a “little big airline” or a “little big airport.” Those are clever words masking private gain and public loss. We cannot allow it to replace a highly valued public vision for our waterfront. We only have one waterfront and it belongs to everyone.

Paul Bedford was the chief planner of Toronto from 1996-2004; David Crombie is a former mayor of Toronto; Jack Diamond is Toronto-based international architect; Anne Golden is the chair of the Transit Investment Advisory Panel; Ken Greenberg is the former head of urban design in the Toronto planning department.

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India to appoint 75 officers after Federal Aviation Administration audit of aviation regulator

Government Approves Creation of 75 Posts in FSA:

New Delhi: Under pressure to avoid a downgrade by US aviation regulator FAA, the Union government has approved creation of 75 crucial posts in DGCA to carry out safety inspection of airlines and private charter companies.

All these positions, like Chief Flight Operation Inspector (FOIs), Deputy and Senior FOIs, would be created in the Flight Standards Directorate (FSD) of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The 75 posts have been created on the basis of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards meant for aircraft and helicopter operations, an official spokesperson said, adding it has also been decided to pay salaries to the new recruits as per industry standards to attract talent.

Among the concerns raised by Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) over 33 issues were filling up of several senior positions including those of full-time FOIs, beefing up of aviation safety training programs and preparation of manuals and documentation on safety issues.

The FAA could downgrade DGCA on aviation safety count --from the top Category I to a lower ranking, if the concerns raised by it were not addressed.

The FAA is scheduled to give its final report any time now on the audits it carried out in September and December, official sources said. On the basis of this report, FAA would decide whether to downgrade India's aviation safety status or retain it on the top-most category.

The FS Division of DGCA carries out, among other things, safety oversight functions, training programs of airlines, standardization of trainee of captains, airline certification, examination of operational documents and other examinations.

The FOIs carry out surveillance checks involving cockpit en-route inspections, cabin inspections, ramp inspections, station facility inspections, proficiency checks, simulator evaluation and main base inspections.


Piper PA-23-250, N5977Y: Incident occurred January 28, 2014 in Camarillo, California

RED STATE LLC:     http://registry.faa.govN5977Y

NTSB Identification: WPR14CA105 
Incident occurred Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in Camarillo, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-250, registration: N5977Y

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Emergency personnel respond to Camarillo Airport on Tuesday when a small plane crash landed on the runway. No injuries were reported. 01/28/14 Camarillo, CA

No one was hurt after a twin-engine airplane was forced to land on its belly at the Camarillo airport on Tuesday because of a landing gear failure.

The Ventura County Fire Department said fuel leaked from the aircraft, although there was no fire.

The plane landed about 3:15 p.m. with two people on board.


South Bend Airport (KSBN), Indiana

Flight makes unscheduled landing at South Bend Airport 

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A flight from Milwaukee had to make an unscheduled landing at the South Bend Airport Tuesday afternoon.

The aircraft was on its way to Baltimore when passengers smelled smoke and pilots discovered there was a pressurization problem.

"They started smelling smoke in the cabin. The pilots decided to make a precautionary landing at the airport. We were the closest airport," said Timothy O'Donnell, South Bend Airport Director of Operations and Maintenance.

None of the 65 passengers were injured, but O'Donnell says close to a dozen emergency responders were called in just in case.

"It's not unusual for this type of landing to occur and for it to happen without incident -- hey, we're just happy we could help Southwest Airlines out," said O'Donnell.

Now they have to figure out what to do with the grounded plane.

"They're going to have to take a look at the mechanical systems of the aircraft to see what it's going to take. The airlines will assess to see how long it will take to make those repairs, if they have the resources to be able to do so in a short time-frame," said O'Donnell.

No other flights in South Bend were impacted by the unscheduled landing.