Sunday, February 9, 2014

Not geared to land in low visibility, three (3) Air India Dreamliners diverted to Mumbai

MUMBAI: Air India had trouble of a different kind with its Dreamliner aircraft on Sunday morning. Three of its international flights bound for Delhi had to be diverted to the city as the Boeing 787 aircraft have not yet been deemed compliant by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for landing in low visibility.

Though none of the Air India Dreamliners are equipped for poor visibility landings, the airline has in its winter schedule continued to fly these aircraft to Delhi during early morning and late night hours, a time when poor visibility can stall flight operations.

So when visibility fell below 550 m on Sunday morning, the three Dreamliners operating flights from London, Dubai and Shanghai had to be diverted to the city even as domestic and international flights of many airlines - including those of Air India that had aircraft and crew with CAT III compliance, which allows an aircraft to land even when the visibility on the runway is as low as 75 m - continued to land in Delhi.

The Air India spokesperson did not comment on the Dreamliner diversion issue.

"Over 700 Air India passengers who were stranded at the Mumbai airport on Sunday morning created a ruckus and staged a protest after they learnt that other Delhi flights had been landing in Delhi despite the inclement weather," an airport insider said.

"There was much confusion, especially on the flight that came in from Dubai as it had an unruly passenger on board who misbehaved with the flight attendants and tried to open the door of the aircraft after it had landed in Mumbai. The passenger was offloaded along with his two friends and handed over to the Central Industrial Security Force," the insider said.

The source said no police complaint was filed. "Around the same time, Air India ground staff had other problems at hand because the passengers of its diverted Dreamliner flights had started sloganeering against the airline," the source said.

There is a possibility of a repeat of the problem with the Air India Dreamliner flights to Delhi.

"AI Dreamliners need to do a certain number of auto lands in clear visibility before the DGCA can deem them CAT III compliant," an Air India official said. "So the airline should have operated flights into Delhi that are prone to fog delays with its CAT III compliant Boeing 777 aircraft instead."

The DGCA on January 30 cancelling six time slots of three airlines, Jet Airways, IndiGo and Spice Jet, for failure to deploy CAT III compliant aircraft during poor visibility conditions in Delhi. Time slot cancellation means DGCA refuses to allow flights to operate and land at certain airports at their scheduled hour.

T2 to be commissioned on Wednesday

T2, the new terminal at the airport, will be commissioned on Wednesday. The first flight to be handled by the spanking new terminal will be a Jet Airways departure to London scheduled at 1.20 pm. The first arrival will be an Air India flight from Singapore scheduled for a 1.35 pm landing.


Story and comments/reaction:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg
 A Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner aircraft, operated by Air India Ltd., participates in a flying display on the first day of the Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Monday, June 17, 2013.

Paraglider dies in crash off Plum Island despite rescue effort

NEWBURYPORT — An afternoon of winter adventure ended tragically for a 49-year-old Rhode Island man late yesterday when the engine on his powered paraglider ceased, sending his pleasure craft crashing into the waters just off Plum Island.

Despite an immediate 911-emergency call from a good Samaritan who was watching and a quick response from a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River that pulled the victim from the chilling waters off Plum Island Point in about 20 minutes, the victim never regained consciousness, according to Coast Guard officials and police.

“Because of the fast work, they gave this man every chance to survive,” Brian Fleming, command duty officer for Coast Guard Sector Boston, said in an interview last night.

“He was in the water about 20 to 30 minutes from the time the engine quit till the time the Coast Guard took him out of the water and began administering CPR to him at about 5:25. We don’t know whether he was injured in the fall or whether it was from drowning or something else, like cold water shock “ Fleming said.

Cause of the man’s death remained under investigation, pending the results of an autopsy. Police did not release the name of the victim last night or his friends who had accompanied him. They were not local residents, according to police.

“I’m sure he was dressed well for air temp, but certainly wasn’t dressed for the water. When it comes to water, 38 degrees is cold,” Fleming said.

The temperature of the water near the accident scene was 38 yesterday. The air temperature was 28 degrees, according to Coast Guard officials.

The man came to Plum Island with a group of others to spend the afternoon flying on both sides of the Merrimack River in pleasure craft known as powered paragliders or paramotors.

“It’s an over-sized sports parachute with a small engine strapped to one’s back,” Fleming said.

Witnesses said the man crashed into the Merrimack River about 50 yards from the shore of Plum Island Point, the northern tip of the island, where the river meets the ocean.

Two of the man’s friends attempted to go into the water to save him, but retreated because of the cold, according to Newburyport Police Lt. Richard Siemasko.

“They had to be treated for exposure at the scene and were released,” Siemasko said.

“The water is 35 degrees. You only have three or four minutes in cold water like that before you succumb. You have very little time when the water is cold like that. It was bitterly, bitterly cold,” he said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Worobey, who was part of the rescue crew that pulled the man from the water, said efforts were initially hampered by the parachute, which entangled the man in the water.

“We circled around to make sure we weren’t going to get stuck in the lines so we could safely rescue the person,” Worobey said.

“And we also had to free him from the engine he was strapped to. He had a complicated harness system on,” he said.

Worobey credited the Early Times, a local fishing boat, with helping to take away the parachute so it no longer was an obstacle.

“He was unconscious, face down in the water and foaming in the mouth when we got to him. He was floating on top of the water,” Worobey said.

The victim was wearing jeans and a cold weather windbreaker, not enough protection from the cold waters of the Merrimack River.

 
Story and video:   http://www.eagletribune.com


Watch NewsCenter 5 report

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. —A Rhode Island man operating a powered paraglider off Plum Island Saturday afternoon died after crashing into the water, Newburyport police said.

"We don't know the particulars, if he had a mechanical problem or just went down," Newburyport Lt. Richard Thurlow said.

It was 28 degrees outside at the time, and the water off Plum Island's coast was a numbing 38 degrees. The man was wearing jeans and a winter coat but no life jacket, officials said.

Plum Island resident Dorothy Davis spotted the paraglider on her way home.

"The person in the glider came across again toward the waters and came very low," she said. "It's tragic. It's a sad, sad thing."

Newburyport police say two of the man's friends tried to go into the water to save him, but retreated because of the cold.

The crew of a 47-foot Coast Guard boat recovered the man, 49, and brought him to shore.  He was pronounced dead at Anna Jaques Hospital.

The man's name was not immediately released by officials pending the notification of relatives.

Story and video: http://www.wcvb.com/

India asks local airlines to be prepared for surprise checks: Advice  comes in wake of US downgrading safety rankings; DGCA teams to inspect planes used by international airlines

New Delhi: Domestic airlines need to be prepared to face surprise inspections on international flights, India’s aviation regulator has said, even as it readies itself to conduct checks on aircraft flown by international airlines.

The advice by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) comes after India’s flight safety rankings was downgraded by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US regulator. “In view of current decision of FAA, US, it is likely that various civil aviation authorities may subject Indian carriers to increased surveillance. It should be desirable that airlines operating to foreign destinations must comply with safety regulations, documentation and other requirements as per global standards,” joint director general Lalit Gupta wrote in a note to all airlines chief executives on 31 January. Mint has reviewed a copy of the note.

The note was sent to Air India chief Rohit Nandan, Jet Airways (India) Ltd’s Ravishankar Gopalakrishnan, IndiGo’s Aditya Ghosh and SpiceJet Ltd’s Sanjiv Kapoor.

Air India has 21 weekly flights between India and the US, Jet Airways has seven, while other airlines fly mostly to South-East Asia and the Middle East.

The note adds a checklist of over two-dozen items mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization, or Icao, that airlines must have with them when operating any foreign flights as checks could delay flights making passengers wait inside the aircraft for hours.

The US’s downgrade reduces India to a safety category that includes Ghana, Indonesia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, and means that Air India and Jet Airways—the two Indian airlines that fly to US destinations—wouldn’t be allowed to expand flights and their existing flights would be subjected to additional checks.

As a consequence of the downgrade, United Airlines has snapped its code-share agreement with Jet Airways. Singapore has said it will conduct increased ramp checks of airlines flying to Changi airport from India, according to Bloomberg.

A downgrade does not reflect on the safety of India’s airlines. The rankings measure the ability of the Indian regulator to follow safety processes.

India’s airlines that fly brand new aircraft have already started facing embarrassing situations.

Jet Airways has told its flight crew that the airline will face mounted checks from 6 February by US government arm Transport Security Administration or TSA. “Jet Airways will undergo an extensive TSA audit in EWR (Newark airport). This audit will last for approximately two weeks,” Rahul Bhave, chief pilot at Jet Airways, said in an internal note on 5 February, which was reviewed by Mint.

A Jet Airways spokesperson did not offer any comments.

Air India has already moved to nominate “a dedicated team at flight dispatch to monitor onboard documents as per regulatory requirements and ensure they are updated”, according to a 1 February internal note reviewed by Mint.

An Air India spokesman confirmed issuing strict instructions.

All ground handlers and engineering departments have been informed to keep everything in the best state possible and crew have been told to ensure all their papers and permits are freshly stamped and laminated.

One concern that still remains is pilot licenses, said a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be named. Some pilot licenses, when they are being renewed, are issued a temporary slip by DGCA till they are finally given a new permit and, so far, foreign regulators have been easy on this grey area. The worry is whether that still may continue or not, said this person.
India, a government official said, is preparing a carrot-and-stick approach in the current circumstances. He, too, declined to be identified.

Director general of civil aviation Prabhat Kumar has formed teams trained to conduct surprise checks at major airports like Delhi and Mumbai on planes used by international airlines.

The cabinet on 29 January also approved appointing 75 officers at the aviation regulator who will be paid on par with international airlines to attract the best talent.

These flight operations inspector will get a salary ranging from Rs.557,000-Rs.677,500 per month, according to information available on DGCA’s website.

“Last time (when India faced a similar US downgrade in 2010), it was taken up by the Prime Minister and we went to Washington and said we will do all the things required. We didn’t keep to our promises,” said retired aviation ministry official Sanat Kaul. “It’s like an emission test. If your car fails it, you have to go back and get your car back to acceptable emission levels. I don’t see any other motive in this downgrade.”

India may need to take help of some specialized firm to revert to normal rankings, a foreign analyst said.

“To get back to Category I, it might be helpful for DGCA to hire a consulting firm familiar with FAA audits and Icao requirements,” John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board that investigates all aircraft accidents in the US, said in an email. “Other countries have found that helpful.”

Category - I is the highest aviation safety ranking while Category-II is the next level awarded by FAA.

Source:   http://www.livemint.com

United States Embassy warns Americans against traveling on Caribbean Airlines

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Sunday February 9, 2014, CMC – The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Sunday said it would “work closely” with all authorities after the United States Embassy in Guyana warned Americans against traveling on the airline because of “unconfirmed threat information” relating to its flights destined for the United States.

"Caribbean Airlines would like to advise the traveling public that we are working closely with all authorities to ensure that security protocols are followed,’ CAL head of Corporate Communications, Clint Williams, said in a brief statement.

“All Caribbean Airlines flights will operate as scheduled and we thank the traveling public for their understanding for any inconvenience at this time and special security measure will be put in place at this period,” he added.

The United States Embassy in Guyana in a statement posted on its website Sunday said that the threats were for flights “departing on Monday, February 10, 2014.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy advises all U.S. Citizens in Guyana traveling on Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to the United States from Monday, February 10 through Wednesday, February 12, 2014, to make alternate travel arrangements.

“We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Guyana enroll in the Department of States Smart Trabeler Enrollment Programme (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy.”

The Embassy gave no details of the “unconfirmed threats information” but said it was urging Americans to regularly monitor the State Department's website, “where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution”.

It urged them to read the “Country Specific Information for Guyana”.

Source: http://www.caribbean360.com


Security Message for U.S. Citizens in Guyana  

The Embassy has received unconfirmed threat information relating to Caribbean Airlines flights destined for the United States departing on Monday, February 10, 2014.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy advises all U.S. Citizens in Guyana traveling on Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to the United States from Monday, February 10 through Wednesday, February 12, 2014, to make alternate travel arrangements.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Guyana enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Guyana. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website. 

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown is located at 100 Duke & Young Streets, Kingston, Georgetown. During regular business hours you may call (592) 225-4900/9 Ext. 4222. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (592) 623-1992.

http://georgetown.usembassy.gov/sm2914.html

Small aviation businesses say pilot shortage could drive industry into the ground

Joshua Lindsey/AP
In the past three decades, production of single-engine planes, such as this Cessna 172, has nosedived from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700.  


By J.D. Harrison, Sunday, February 9, 11:31 AM 

In the past several decades, the number of private and recreational pilots across the country has plummeted, as has the number of small aircraft being manufactured — trends that some say have been accelerated by increasingly strict federal regulations.

If the decline continues, it will spell trouble for entrepreneurs such as Austin Heffernan, who runs an aircraft maintenance and repair company in Hagerstown, Md. He was one of several small-business owners asked to testify last week during a congressional hearing on the state of the general aviation industry.

“We see many more pilots leaving general aviation than we see new pilots getting started,” Heffernan told the House Small Business Committee, later adding that those pilots “are the main market for many of the on-airport small businesses that make up the general aviation industry.”

In addition to maintenance firms such as Heffernan’s, which employs 14 people, the industry includes thousands of flight training schools, parts manufacturers and air cargo companies, the vast majority of which are small firms, according to data collected by the Small Business Administration. Those businesses depend on pilots to buy their products and services — and that has become a serious problem.

Since 1980, the number of pilots in the country has nosedived from about 827,000 in 1980 to 617,000, according to the Frederick, Md.-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. During about the same period, data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in Washington show that production of single-engine planes plunged from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700.

Some have attributed the declines to rising fuel prices, waning interest and heightened flying restrictions following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Others say the recent economic downturn has left fewer people with discretionary income, further accelerating the decline in the past few years.

But at the hearing last week, Heffernan and other employers pinned the blame largely on federal regulators, who they say have built a complex maze of red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that deter pilots from obtaining and renewing their licenses, which hurts small businesses like theirs and the broader aviation industry.

“One of the biggest problems facing us is the pilot population, and putting more requirements in front of people that stop them from flying is a real problem,” John Uczekaj, chief executive of Aspen Avionics, a small aviation electronics firm in Albuquerque, said during the hearing. Among the most onerous hurdles for pilots, he said, is the Federal Aviation Administration’s medical certification requirements.

Under the current rules, private and recreational pilots under age 40 must pass a comprehensive medical exam every five years. Once they hit 40, the renewals are good for only two years.

The requirement is “a definite detractor to business,” Heffernan told the committee. He and several lawmakers noted that the closest individuals come to a medical exam when obtaining a driver’s license is usually a vision test. Meanwhile, most boat operators do not need any medical certifications.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a pilot himself, called the rules an arbitrary intrusion into the lives of private pilots. Collins recently sponsored legislation that would allow many non-commercial pilots to use their driver’s licenses in lieu of medical exams, as long as they fly small planes, carry fewer than six passengers and stay below certain speed and altitude limits. A similar proposal was submitted directly to the FAA two years ago by aviation groups, but the agency has not issued a response.

While FAA officials did not reply to requests for comment, the agency’s administrator, Michael P. Huerta, last month apologized in a letter to AOPA for failing to take action yet on the proposal. He did not, however, set a date to address the matter, and he emphasized the importance of ensuring “that such an unprecedented change will not result in any adverse impact that could lead to degradation in safety.”

Kenneth Button, a professor and director of the Center for Transportation, Policy, Operations and Logistics at George Mason University, issued a similar safety warning during his testimony last week. He argued that an accident in the air generally leaves pilots in a more precarious position than those on the road.

“One involves two-dimensional safety, one involves three-dimensional safety,” Button said. “Have a heart attack in an airplane, and you’re coming down. Have a heart attack in a Winnebago, and you drive to the side of the road.”

Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) pushed back, arguing that he “could make the same generality the other way around — you have a heart attack in a Winnebago, you’re going to cross the line and kill somebody.” Graves later urged the FAA to do “a much better job of working with stakeholders so it can better meet the needs of those it regulates and boost the industry, rather than drag it down.”


Story:   http://www.washingtonpost.com


 

Reactions, caution trail Overland Airways plane incident

Reactions  have started trailing the incident involving an aircraft belonging to Overland Airways which was reported to have suffered had problem with one of its engines.

According to the report, the plane scheduled for Ibadan from Abuja at 4.52 pm was about to take off when it started emitting smoke from one of its engines.

The passengers on board were said to have been hurriedly evacuated without any casualty.


Reacting to the panic created by the incident, an aircraft engineer whose experience spanned over 35 years, Alhaji Lukman Animashaun cautioned against rushing to the media anytime such an incident occur saying so far aircraft continue to take off and land, there is bound to be incidents.

He however said what matters most is the ability to handle such incidents without hampering on safety.

The incident according to Animashaun should not be misconstrued to say that flying is not safe in the country.

While insisting that such incidents is not peculiar to Nigeria, the aircraft engineer cited a similar incident in London recently where smoke was detected in an aircraft engine which he said has not stop flying.

According to him, Nigeria’s airspace is safe and therefore there should be no cause for alarm but he cautioned that passengers should avoid rushing to jump into conclusion each time there is such experience.

For Captain Adebayo Araba,a pilot whose flying experience spanned over thirty years, it is not easy for passengers to sit in the cabin and claim they notice smoke from an aircraft engine.

According to him, it may be a little malfunction from the air conditioning system of the plane which can easily be put off.

Again he cautioned against insinuating that it must be the engine of the aircraft that had problem.

Araba who said people should avoid unnecessary panic when incidents occur, said there should be no cause for alarm as an engine can conveniently land an aircraft safely since the other engine stands as alternative.

Another pilot who spoke under the condition of anonymity on the excuse that his employer did not permit him to speak, lamented the manner passengers blow issues out of proportion at any slightest provocation.

This development he said is not only scaring people away from air traveling but send wrong signals to other parts of the world about the country.

He however appealed to the traveling public not to get too emotional when incidents occur saying no airline will pray for bad things to happen.

The  Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a statement issued earlier on the incident had expressed regrets about what it called “the ugly incident of fire smoke alarm raised by an onboard  passenger in a flight involving Overland enroute IBadan from Abuja airport in the evening of Friday 7th February 2014.


Source:   http://www.tribune.com

Flight out of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (KBWI) is diverted because of unruly passenger

A Delta Airlines flight that departed from BWI Thurgood Marshall airport en route to Salt Lake City Friday night was diverted to Minneapolis because of an unruly passenger, the airline said. 

Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport police removed the passenger from the plane and the flight continued to its intended destination, Delta spokesman Eric Torbenson said.

Several videos purporting to be of the incident were uploaded to YouTube, but Torbenson could not confirm whether the video was of flight No. 1189.

The videos show a woman screaming at fellow passengers, and finally police leading the woman off the plane. YouTube user who uploaded the video, Luz Dinorah Paro, wrote the woman had been drinking and raised her fist at a fellow passenger.

Story and comments/reaction: http://www.baltimoresun.com

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior, Fishe Flying Corp

MARTIN COUNTY — A pilot from overseas who crashed and vanished in the ocean off Nettles Island on Feb. 7 was here on a birthday present to himself, flying back alone to Vero Beach from the Florida Keys, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.  

And Andrei Postelnicu’s fiancé was supposed to be here with him on his Pilots Paradise adventure, but her schooling and work in the United Kingdom intervened, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Christine Christofek.

Now the grief stricken woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, is on hand as searchers continue trying to find Postelnicu and the wreckage. The small downed rental airplane is presumed to be at the bottom of the ocean in a 29-square-mile area off Nettles Island in southern St. Lucie County.

The pilot, who turned 37 on Jan. 31, was a journalist and financial analyst whose parents live in Romania, Christofek said.

His last known radio transmission placed him about 15 miles south of Fort Pierce and about 450 miles up in the air, under thick, low-lying clouds in the early evening. He was supposed to land in the Vero Beach area by 7:50 p.m. Feb. 7.

On Sunday the Martin County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on bringing in water-penetrating sonar and boats to find the wreckage. High winds and rough seas have been clouding the water, obscuring the vision of Civil Air Patrol pilots. That agency suspended its five-day search at 10 p.m. Feb. 12. The agency had about 25 people and five aircraft working on the search in the air and on the beaches.

Some wreckage has washed ashore: a backpack with the pilot’s license in it and small metal pieces of the airplane, a Piper PA-28 registered to Fishe Flying Corp.

According to the Florida Division of Corporations, that company is based at the Indian River Aerodrome, a private fly-in residential subdivision with a grass landing strip southwest of Vero Beach. The company operates as Pilots Paradise, a business that advertises online as a service that pilots may use to go on flying adventures using a company airplane and housing in Indian River County.

It primarily caters to European pilots. Postelnicu’s pilot’s license allowed him reciprocal flying privileges in the United States, according to the Civil Air Patrol.




STUART —

 The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday will help search ocean waters off Martin County for a missing plane and its pilot.

Marine units with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office continued the search Saturday but have been hampered by strong winds and rough seas, a spokeswoman said.

Authorities have been looking for United Kingdom resident Andrei Postelnicu, 37, and his rental plane since it crashed Feb. 7 off the coast of Stuart while en route to Vero Beach from the Florida Keys.

So far, they have found an 8-10-inch piece of the plane that contained part of the identification number that links it to the Piper aircraft, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Christine Christofek.

“The conditions for the search since we started have been challenging,” she said. “The winds are high. The waves are high. It has been difficult.”

On Sunday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office “will assist us with some sonar equipment, which might be the best-case scenario,” Cristofek said.

The Coast Guard suspended its search two days ago and rough seas cut short search efforts Friday. Officials have been searching 25 square nautical miles — about 29 miles — off Nettles Island between the St. Lucie Inlet and a mile north into St. Lucie County.

Postelnicu’s fiancée arrived in Stuart two days ago from the United Kingdom and has been relaying information to his parents in Romania, Cristofek said.

Strong winds across the ocean are “blowing up the muck from the bottom so it’s very hard to see,” she said. “But the sheriff has (marine units) out because he wants closure for this family.”

Martin County officials are still treating it as a missing persons case, not a plane crash, Cristofek sai
d.

Story and comments/reaction: 
http://www.palmbeachpost.com


Jurnalistul român Andrei Postelnicu a fost dat dispărut vineri, 7 februarie 2014, după ce avionul pe care-l pilota s-a prăbușit în Oceanul Pacific, în sudul statului american Florida. 

 Jurnalistul Andrei Postelnicu, originar din Câmpulung Moldovenesc, care deținea cetăţenie britanică, pilota un avion ce a dispărut în Martin County încă de vineri. Autoritățile americane au găsit rucsacul lui Postelnicu și actele de identitate, dar nici urmă de cadavru și epava avionului. Șansele ca românul să mai fie î viață, sunt minime.

Andrei Postelnicu a lucrat pentru Financial Times intre 2000 si 2006 si pentru Bloomberg intre 2006 si 2007. A fost editorialist la Evenimentul zilei și la Capital, corespondent în SUA pentru Realitatea TV și consultant al politicianului Mircea Geoana.

În prezent, Andrei Postelnicu era vicepreşedinte asistent la Financial Institutions Research at Moody’s Investors Service. În trecut a fost director de cercetare la Campden Wealth, consultant independent şi colaborator la Foreign Policy Magazine.

Andrei Postelnicu a fost consilier şef la biroul lui Mircea Geoană în perioada în care acesta a fost preşedintele Senatului.

În România a lucrat ca jurnalist la Evenimentul Zilei şi Capital, el fiind şi colaborator la BBC, RFI şi Realitatea TVC.

Demisie din TVR după numai câteva luni. Andrei Postelnicu a fost și consilier al directorului TVR Info, în 2011, însă și-a dat demisia duă doar două luni, la solicitarea directorului TVR, Alexandru Lăzescu.


 http://www.exclusivnews


 STUART, Fla. —Two small pieces of a missing plane were found on a Treasure Coast beach.
 
Martin County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christine Weiss said Tuesday the debris is believed to be from a small plane that vanished Friday evening.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol spent Tuesday afternoon in the air along the coast between Fort Pierce and Stuart searching for the missing plane. Lt. Col. David Littlefield said his team spotted some debris and asked a nearby boater to check it out.

"We called on (a boater) on the way to the Bahamas and he diverted course," Littlefield said. "We contacted the sailboat on marine frequency ... turned out to be just some cardboard, nothing related to the mission at hand."

Andrei Postelnicu, a resident of the United Kingdom, leased a Piper PA-28 single-engine plane in Vero Beach, where he was vacationing. He flew to Marathon and was scheduled to return Friday evening, but he never arrived.

Postelnicu's boot and backpack were found on a Martin County beach Sunday.

The search is expected to resume Wednesday.

"There's always hope," Maj. Joseph Tomasone said. "Everything that we find leads us to more hope."

Read more: http://www.wpbf.com



 The Civil Air Patrol has announced that they are suspending their air search for a Piper PA-28 single engine aircraft that went missing Friday night. 

 The aircraft was piloted by Andrei Postelnicu, 37, of Romania.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said it will continue searching for Postelnicu, a journalist and financial analyst who lives in the United Kingdom.

According to a sheriff’s spokeswoman, Postelnicu was in Vero Beach on vacation to utilize a flying package that he purchased for his birthday. Postelnicu turned 37 on Jan. 31.

The search for Postelnicu’s plane has been extensive and has yielded little evidence of his whereabouts, according to the sheriff’s spokeswoman. Detectives have confirmed that small pieces of metal recovered along the beach over the past few days are pieces of the missing aircraft.

A backpack containing an ID and contents related to the missing pilot were found Sunday morning.

According to authorities, Postelnicu was scheduled to land in Vero Beach on Friday at 7:50 p.m. after departing from Marathon.


Story and comments/reaction:  http://www.palmbeachpost.com



MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.-- Search crews continued for the second day looking for a plane that crashed off of the St. Lucie Inlet. 

The plane was headed from Marathon to Vero Beach Friday evening.

Authorities say the pilot, Andrei Postelnicu, of the United Kingdom, was the only person in the Piper PA-28 plane.

Authorities say Postelnicu leased the plane from a Treasure Coast company, Pilot's Paradise,  and was returning to Vero Beach.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says Postelnicu was last heard on the radio asking for some kind of instructions.

Snyder says the plane likely crashed in about 50 feet of water.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Civil Air Patrol have been searching by ground, air and in the water for the wreckage.

The debris field is about 5 miles in length along the coastline between where a shoe and book bag were found, making it difficult to pinpoint the wreckage.

If nothing is found on Sunday, Snyder says The Civil Air Patrol will use SONAR to search the ocean.

Postelnicu's significant other in England has been notified by authorities that his plane crashed.

All of the property found along the shore Sunday was discovered by beach walkers. That's why the Sheriff's Office is asking people to remain watchful.

If you see anything, you're asked to call 911.

http://www.wptv.com


STUART —A waterlogged backpack and a soaked shoe found some 20 miles apart are all authorities have to go on in their search for a Brit whose small plane vanished Friday night off the Treasure Coast.

Andrei Postelnicu, originally from Romania but now living in London, had rented a Piper PA-28 single engine aircraft from a Vero Beach outfit and had flown it down to the Keys, and was returning Friday night from Marathon to Vero Beach when the plane “went off the radar,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told The Palm Beach Post Sunday evening by telephone.

Various agencies spent Sunday searching the coast without luck for Postelnicu, who the Civil Air Patrol said was the only person on board.

Snyder said a beachgoer did find a backpack Sunday morning in front of Beachwood Villas near the 2300 block of northeast Ocean Boulevard on Hutchinson Island that contained items belonging to Postelnicu. And Sunday afternoon, he said, a person on Jupiter Island found a shoe, UK size 42 — Postelnicu’s size.

Snyder urged anyone who found anything else that might be related to the plane or Postelnicu not to touch it, but to call the Martin sheriff’s office at 772-220-7170.

Postelnicu was in contact with towers in Stuart and West Palm Beach around 8 p.m. Friday, “the last we know anyone heard from him, unless the tower tells us more,” Snyder said. He said another pilot reported hearing Postelnicu on the radio discussing the weather “and the fact that it was dark. As far as we know, that pilot did not say if he (Postelnicu) sounded like he was in distress.”

Snyder said some fog was in the area at the time. He did not know if Postelnicu was rated for instrument flying.

“For some reason, there was a 24-hour delay” in reporting Postelnicu and the plane missing, Snyder said, and the search didn’t begin until 10 or 11 Saturday night. Assisting the sheriff’s office and Civil Air Patrol were the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Air Force Auxiliary.

Snyder said Postelnicu’s foreign pilot’s license did not give his age but he believed Postelnicu to be in his early 30s. He said the man’s girlfriend was flying from England.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that he’s alive, that he’s clinging to a piece of the plane somewhere. That’s our hope,” Snyder said. “But as the time drags on, the changes of finding him alive grow more dim.”


http://www.palmbeachpost.com

READY FOR DEPARTURE: Helena Regional Airport (KHLN) Manager Ron Mercer retiring after 27 years at the controls


 Eliza Wiley,   Independent Record 
After 25 years as Helena Regional Airport manager, Ron Mercer is retiring from his job but not from his community activism. 



What do the Helena Regional Airport, Hometown Helena and the Old Glory flag on Last Chance Gulch all have in common?

The answer: Ron Mercer.

Longtime community activist Ron Mercer announced Wednesday that, after more than 25 years, he will retire from his position as airport manager in May.

“It’s a good time in my personal life to retire, and it’s a good time for the airport,” Mercer said Thursday as he gazed out over the airport’s runway strips, his face illuminated by the late afternoon sun flooding his corner office.

“I’m 70 years old, and that’s another factor,” he added.

After spending a brief stretch of time working as a ticket agent in Minneapolis for Northwest Airlines, Mercer — a Helena native — decided it was time to return to his roots.

“A job came up at the airport as the assistant manager in 1981, and I was lucky enough to get that,” he said.

When the former airport manager retired in 1987, Mercer took over, and the rest is history.

During his tenure as manager, Mercer has been instrumental in growing the economic health of the airport. He worked with local and national companies to build commercial offices on airport property, bringing in revenue to increase the small airport’s outreach.

“We remodeled it in 1994 or 1995,” Mercer said of the airport’s main terminal. “We built the regional fire training facility. That was a tough project.”

Additionally, airport property now houses a Boeing aerospace engineering facility, a National Guard hangar and an office for the U.S. Forest Service.

“I feel pretty lucky that I’ve had the chance to do some of the things I’ve done.”

But Mercer’s accomplishments extend well beyond the boundaries of the airport, and upon hearing of his retirement, community members reflected on their years working with him to make Helena a better place.

Cathy Burwell, president and CEO of the Helena Chamber of Commerce, said Mercer served a total of more than

12 years on the chamber board between 1993 and 2005.

“We gave him an award one time for attending more chamber meetings than anyone in the history of the chamber,” she said of Mercer, who served two one-year terms as board chairman.

“He seriously was the most amazing chair I’ve ever had,” she said. “He got more done, he was just a ‘git ’er done’ guy. He just gets along with everyone. He has so much respect, it’s just amazing.

“Seriously, he’s the type of guy where there are so many people in town who call him up whenever they need any type of information on anything,” Burwell said. “He’s the guy with his ear to the ground.”

Though he never ran, or considered running, for political office, Burwell said Mercer was in close touch with local politicians and used his knowledge of the community to ensure constituents were getting the best service from their elected officials.

“He’s been a mover and shaker in this community for many years, for decades,” she said. “He likes working with a lot of elected officials, and I think he influenced a lot of them.

“If he called them and needed something or wanted them to be aware of something, they took note of it,” she said. “I can’t even think of one negative thing about him ever.”

In addition to his work with the Chamber of Commerce, Mercer was also instrumental in the continuing success of another staple in the Helena community.

“Hometown Helena is pretty well known around the state of Montana,” said Jim Cottrill, co-chair of the weekly meeting. “We meet every Thursday morning at 7 on the sixth floor of the Montana Club and basically it’s just a community gathering of community leaders.”

In 1987, Mercer and Cottrill “got together just to BS” and decided to give the historic program new life.

The event, which serves as a forum for local community leaders, features a different speaker from a local organization each week. Past speakers include representatives from Special Olympics and the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock.

Despite Mercer’s retirement, Cottrill said he thinks Mercer will remain active with Hometown Helena and within the community.

“We’ll be at Hometown Helena until both of us decide to quit,” Cottrill said. “He just likes the community and does stuff a lot of people don’t know about.

“I have never run into anybody who is more honest than Ron Mercer,” he said. “When he tells you something, you can hang your hat on it.”

Helena Regional Airport Authority Chair Howard Skjervem said the airport board met Wednesday to begin the process of searching for a replacement manager.

“Our intention is to have the application process ready by the first of March,” he said. “The board will review the applications and then our hope, of course, is to have the proper person chosen so we can line it up a couple weeks before Ron leaves so there can be some overlap there.”

At this point, Assistant Airport Manager Jeff Wadekamper could be a prime candidate to be Mercer’s replacement.

“Jeff is a quality person, Ron has mentored him well,” Skjervem said. “Through the years that Jeff has been there, we are sure Jeff will be a strong candidate for the position, but we are looking at opening it up overall.”

In the meantime, Mercer will spend the next few months preparing for and looking forward to the life of retirement.

“I have some hobbies I’m pursuing,” Mercer said, referencing his love of hot rod cars, for which he recently expanded his garage to six bays.

“I’ve got a little man cave to go to,” he said.

When he’s not working on restoring his 1923 Ford Roadster, Mercer said he is looking forward to spending more time with his five daughters and 10 grandkids, all of whom live in either Helena or Bozeman.

“We get together and do a lot of things together,” he said of his family.

Mercer said his retirement from the airport will not affect his participation in community events.

“I still have business interests, I still have boards I serve on and things I’ll do in the community,” he said. “This community has come a long way. A lot of people have worked really hard.

“It’s a great town.”

Story and photos:  http://helenair.com

‘Huge plane crashes into bridge’ video is a Facebook survey scam

Users of social networking site Facebook were warned over the weekend against a new survey scam, this time pretending to be a video of a plane crashing into a bridge.
 
Technology researcher Graham Cluley said the message will appear on a user's news feed with the line, "HUGE PLANE CRASHES INTO BRIDGE!" and a link.
 
"Huge plane crashes into a bridge, watch this terrible accident! 18+ only!" Cluley, who had worked with security vendor Sophos, said in a blog post
 
He said the supposed breaking news story has hooked thousands of Facebook users.
 
Cluley advised Facebook users not to click on the link lest they be taken to a bogus Facebook page that asks them to share the video.
 
"It wants you to share the link with as many people as possible to increase the number of people ultimately visiting the page," he said.
 
Yet, he said those who follow the instructions will end up completing online surveys that promise "enormous prizes and generous offers."
 
In reality, Cluley said it is the scammers who are earning commission.
 
Worse, he said Facebook users duped into entering their personal information may get "unwanted offers and spammy messages."
 
"In other examples we have also seen malware and adware installed via this tactic of duping thousands of Facebook users into visiting a webpage," he added.
 
Cluley noted the scammers now appear to be industrializing their money-making efforts.
 
"If you visit the root of the IP address hosting the plane crash scam, you find a directory containing other scams (same modus operandi, different lure) they have set up," he said. 


 Courtesy:  Graham Cluley
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