Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bahamas Press: What could have been on that aircraft that would cause nothing to be said?

Plane crash on Stella Maris, Long Island went unreported by local officials  

Plane lands on its belly, and no one was injured – YET – Bahamian authorities made no mention of the incident to the press almost two weeks ago…

Stella Maris, Long Island – More news went unreported in the Bahamas and only BP will bring it to you! A plane crash-lands on Long Island a day after Valentines Day (Feb 15th, 2014)…

This breaking story confirmed to BP following TSB Report#A14F0027 was issued by the Canadian Transport Department.

The report confirmed in the communication that a Cessna Citation 501SP, registration C-GKPC, was on a flight from KFXE Fort Lauderdale Executive, Florida to MYNA Stella Maris Airport, Bahamas.

It confirmed that on the downswing leg for landing runway 31, the checklist was interrupted, and the aircraft landed with the gear retracted.

BP can confirm that, according to the official report, during that flight the aircraft sustained “substantial damage” to the underside and the flaps. No one was injured.

Interestingly, it appears that
BP agents in the aviation department of the Bahamas are still in the dark on the issue up to press time and, simply, no one knows what in the hell happened in Long Island. What in the hell is this? It appears that everyone in this town – INCLUDING THE WUTLESS MEDIA – are sleeping!

BP investigations – without the help of the Aviation Department here in the capital – says the plane is owned by Kelly Panteluk Construction Ltd which is located in the Canadian city of Estevan in the Province of Saskatchewan

We believe the plane was piloted Kelly Panteluk, but we aren’t sure. We know three passengers were on-board. Our concern here is simple. What was on the plane that causes officials in the Bahamas to not report this incident to the public, and think a major news gathering source like Bahamas Press will not find out?

This is the second unreported air incident in the country, which occurred almost two weeks ago.

Just yesterday Bahamas Press reported how on Sunday a plane crashed into a police vehicle at the Treasure Cay Airport. The plane had illegal nationals onboard and had no landing clearance in the Bahamas. That incident was never reported to the media until BP made public the incident.

What else is happening in the Bahamas yinner don’t know? Major news is breaking and only VAT is sucking up all the national pages.

We report yinner decide!

Story and Photo:   http://bahamaspress.com

Pontotoc County Airport (22M), Mississippi: Aiming to receive larger grants

PONTOTOC COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) — With more than 20 tenant aircraft, all is quiet at the Pontotoc County Airport, but if plans come to fruition, there may soon be more planes there.

It's seeking more money to pay for enhancements that would boost the number of arrivals and departures.

"More aircraft based here, the better your chances are of receiving grants from the government and the higher the grants can be," said Ted McVay, secretary/treasuer of the airport board.

Through larger grants, old hangars could be replaced with state of art hangars.

Not only would the airport benefit. So would the county with more business.

A key asset that board members of the Pontotoc County Airport feel that they have in their favor is a new fueling system.

Pilots of piston engine aircraft can come in and fuel up the plane and take off, and that time is around 30 minutes as opposed to going to a larger airport where commercial aviation pilots may encounter delays after refueling their plane.

"Here, there is no wait for fuel unless there is somebody in line ahead of you," said Michael Tallant, airport board member. "Basically, just pull up, swipe your credit card and do the transaction and get your fuel."

The airport also features a maintenance facility on the field that services and repairs aircraft, which would be appealing to some pilots.

"There are a lot of private pilots that don't like to go in the higher traffic area airports with towers that they're just not comfortable with," said Tallant. "So we hope to get some of that traffic in here."

The airport recently got a grant that paid for the new fueling system, overlay work at each end of the runway and a new security gate around sections of the airport.

Story, photo and video:   http://www.wtva.com

Gulf’s private jet operators throttle up for expansion

Private charter operators in the region are looking to expand their fleet as they aim to cash in on the rebounding economy. Niche players such as Falcon Aviation Services, Rotana Jet, Royal Jet and Qatar Executive, the Qatar Airways subsidiary, are exploring aircraft orders that could potentially be more than US$1.5 billion.

The Abu Dhabi-based Falcon also said yesterday that it would order two CSeries 300 aircraft from Bombardier worth $150m, giving a much needed boost to the Canadian manufacturer’s narrow-body jet.

“We are signing a firm order for two CSeries 300 corporate jets with Bombardier. This is going to be the first corporate CSeries 300 in the Middle East,” said Mahmoud Ismael, the Falcon chief executive, at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo yesterday. “They represent a $150 million deal. This is a very big thing for us because we are changing slightly the beat by going with this aircraft rather than the traditional Airbus [or] Boeing.”

Earlier this month, Falcon ordered two Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft from Bombardier worth $61m, which are expected to be delivered as early as November. 

In addition, Falcon is waiting for two helicopters that will be delivered in the first quarter of next year, which will take their overall fleet size to 28.

Royal Jet, also based in the capital, is set to place a $750m order to replace its existing fleet by 2020. 

Shane O’Hare, the president and chief executive, said a decision should come by the second quarter. The potential replacements could include the Bombardier CSeries, the Boeing Business Jet line or the Airbus Corporate Jet. The first planes are expected to arrive in 2016, the company said. 

“The current fleet is still young, but we need to work in advance as the interior is custom-built. We are also looking at various funding options,” Mr O’Hare said.
Another regional heavyweight, Qatar Executive, is also looking to bulk up its fleet. 

“Qatar Executive is a very important part of our business,” said Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, on the sidelines of the expo. “We are growing this business steadily. We started with just one aircraft a few years ago and now we have eight.” The carrier had ordered a Global 5000 jet from Bombardier and was considering additional purchases from the company, as well as from Gulfstream, he added. 

It was not just the airlines that were upbeat about business prospects. The French manufacturer Dassault Aviation expects to grow its business in the Arabian Gulf as demand picks up for business jets. 

The company last year sold nine of its Falcon business jets, including four of the long-range Falcon 7X, in the Middle East. The first of these orders will be delivered this year. 

“The Dassault Falcon aircraft sales [this year] are expected to grow the overall Dassault Falcon regional fleet by a further 10 per cent, with the Falcon 7X and new Falcon 5X accounting for most of these new sales orders,” said Renaud Cloatre, the company’s sales director for the Middle East. “With the gradual recovery of the worldwide economy, [the Middle East] is once again showing signs of sustained growth.”

The number of business jets operating in the region will double by the end of the decade, according to the Dubai-based Middle East Business Aviation Association (Mebaa). 

In the past five years, Dassault has delivered 30 Falcon aircraft in the region, Mr Cloatre said. 

The Middle East and Africa region has a relatively small share in global business aviation market, accounting for 3 per cent to 4 per cent of the global total, with the average age of the business jets at 15 years, according to Mebaa. The market has grown by about 7 per cent each year over the past five years.

The Middle East is expected to contribute 4 per cent of the global demand for business jets over next five years, the group said.

Ex-Foothills Regional Airport (KMRN) manager Nelson sentenced to 3 years

ASHEVILLE — Former Foothills Regional Airport Manager Alex Nelson will spend three years in jail for conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering.

But he walked out of the federal courthouse in Asheville on Tuesday. He will be able to self-report to prison.

Kurt Meyers, the federal prosecutor in the case, said when someone is allowed to self-report to prison it generally happens within two to three months of sentencing. He said Nelson will get a letter from the Federal Bureau of Prisons about reporting to prison.

Nelson is one of three airport officials who have pleaded guilty in wrongdoing at the airport. Brad Adkins, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and embezzlement on the same day — Sept. 24, 2012 — as Nelson was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. However, a sealed motion to continue his sentencing was granted on Monday, according to federal court records. So far, a rescheduled date for Adkins’ sentencing has not been set.

Nelson was facing a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. In addition to three years and one month — 37 months — in prison, Nelson will have three years of supervised release after he gets out, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Reidinger decided. Nelson also will pay $179,781.51 in restitution, with $129,781.51 going to the airport and $50,000 going to the N.C. League of Municipalities, Reidinger said.

Reidinger said a sentence should be deterrence from criminal conduct, not just for the defendant but for others as well. He said the taxpayers’ trust was abused and a substantial part of it was done knowingly.

Nelsons’s attorney Jack Stewart told the judge the case has taken a terrible toll on Nelson. He said Nelson got in way over his head and that corruption was happening at the airport before he took the job there and he thought that was the way business was done.

“I think Alex Nelson is a good man and I think he’s contrite,” Stewart said.

Stewart said Nelson is not a sophisticated businessman.

Meyers said there is no evidence the wrongdoing was going on at the airport before Nelson started working there. He called Nelson’s theft a really high degree of deception.

Meyers said the theft wasn’t just a one-way scheme or just one loophole.

A federal affidavit said Nelson and Adkins used side business accounts to deposit airport checks made out to a bogus company. One example in the affidavit is from June 2009 to September 2011, around 21 checks were deposited into Adkins’ business accounts at Community One Bank or converted into cash.

Of the checks totaling $49,000 deposited into the “Foothills Maintenance” account, $26,000 was withdrawn as cash and $22,000 was made payable to a conspirator, the affidavit says. The affidavit doesn’t name the conspirator.

The affidavit also said Nelson and Adkins used other conspirators to defraud the airport authority by awarding numerous contracts to conspirators at grossly inflated prices for work completed or for no work at all. Federal documents said Nelson also used the airport credit card for personal use.

Meyers told the judge the theft that was going on at the airport is very difficult to catch.

“In this country, we take corruption very seriously,” Meyers said.

Nelson was allowed to speak during the hearing and said he was said he lacked experience and technical expertise to do the job when he was hired. He said he told former airport board Chair Randy Hullette that he had no background in finance when Hullette asked him to take the job. Nelson has said he did not receive financial reports like he was supposed to, saying the bookkeeper never got them to him.

Nelson said he was sorry and he accepted responsibility for what happened on his watch.

Reidinger said, however, that Nelson was treading awfully close to denying his part in the crimes that occurred at the airport.

Reidinger said theft has to be punished effectively.

“Theft of this nature cannot be tolerated,” Reidinger said.

Nelson has the right to appeal his sentence within 14 days, Reidinger told him.

The federal government revoked the bond of Brad Adkins and he has been held at the McDowell County jail. Adkins faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Source:   http://www.morganton.com

Aviation careers focus of fly-in: Cactus organizers want kids to learn about the air industry

Organizers of the 56th annual Cactus Fly-In hope this year’s aircraft show, set for this weekend, inspires young people to think about careers in aviation. 

Hundreds of airplanes, including antique military and privately owned aircraft, will be on display during the show and pilots will be on hand to answer questions.
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“The pilots will describe the function and history of the airplanes,” said Arv Schultz, president of the Classic Airplane Association of Arizona, organizers of the show.

The Cactus Fly-In is a primary fundraiser for CAAA. It is part a social event for pilots and part a judged airplane show in which people who build, restore, maintain or fly aircraft compete for awards. Judging categories range from pre-1945 general aviation to best military plane post-1946 and home-built planes.

Awards are given for youngest and most experienced pilots and people traveling the longest distance in an antique or classic aircraft.

Like its fall counterpart, the Copperstate Fly-In, the Cactus Fly-in is open to the public and is a perfect time for anyone curious about aircraft  — kids or adults — to visit the airport, look at airplanes and talk with pilots, said Stephen Bass, Cactus Fly-In manager.

“The Cactus Fly-In is a smaller event than the Copperstate Fly-In, so it’s a good time to focus on aviation careers,” Bass said.

He hopes young people visit the event and leave thinking about becoming an airplane mechanic, airport administrator, helicopter or airplane pilot or an air traffic controller.

“There are so many different careers in aviation,” Bass said. “Pilots are always in demand and we’re facing a pilot shortage, so it’s important to plant the seeds of aviation early in future pilots and get them thinking about possible careers.”

At least one school group is scheduled to visit the show on Friday to learn about the different planes on display. He hopes others attend after school or on Saturday.

In previous years, the Cactus Fly-In has offered free admission to kids 12 and younger. This year, free admission is offered to anyone under age 18 in hopes that teens and children will visit the show and talk with pilots.

Schultz said pilots and owners of aircraft from across Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico are expected to bring a variety of vintage airplanes, including a plane made by Ford Motor Co. in the 1920s or ’30s, a Travelair, steamers and some military trainers and other commemorative aircraft that have been restored.

“Most of them look better now than when they came out of the factory,” Schultz said.

Forums and seminars are offered throughout the day Saturday on topics such as airplane insurance, camping and airplane maintenance.

“Most of the topics pertain to pilots, but they cover a lot of issues,” Bass said.

Some activities are specifically geared for children.

As well as inspiring the next generation of pilots, Bass wants to encourage potential aviation hobbyists to become more involved in those activities. Restoring, maintaining or flying aircraft is a fun, social hobby, he said.

“I learned to fly in my 40s and 50s when I was financially able to do so, as a hobby,” he said. “There are groups that fly all over to meet for breakfast or to attend shows.”

If you go

    What: Cactus Fly-In

    Where: Casa Grande Municipal Airport

    When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday

    Cost: $10 donation for adults, free for kids 18 and younger, free parking

    Hungry: Food vendors on site

    More info: www.cactusflyin.org

Source:   http://www.trivalleycentral.com

Outagamie County will wait a year before airport gets Appleton moniker

APPLETON — It’ll take a year or more before Outagamie County Regional Airport receives its new name, but when it does, Appleton will take the top billing.

The Outagamie County Board on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution to change the airport’s name to either Appleton Airport or Appleton International Airport. The change will happen after county officials learn whether the airport is granted U.S. Customs service, thereby obtaining international status. Officials expect to learn whether Customs will set up in Outagamie County in early to mid-2015.

County Executive Thomas Nelson said the transition period will afford the county time to determine how to meet the projected $140,000 to $200,000 expense that would include signage changes. He praised the board for a decision that allows the airport to better market itself and extend its already strong value toward economic development.

“It’s a small change, but it could be a big deal,” he said.

The county organized a committee last year to determine the feasibility of a name change and whether a switch made sense. They determined current name of the Greenville-based airport doesn’t resonate with those outside the region.

Members determined a name change could aid in drawing customers who are currently flying into Green Bay or Milwaukee for the purpose of conducting business in the Fox Valley. Business travelers make up 80 percent of the airport’s commercial traffic. The airport relies on commercial flights for more than half of its revenue.

Pam Seidl, executive director of the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, supported the change and noted its similar experience when reaching out beyond the region. People don’t recognize the Fox Valley or the Fox Cities. They see the region in terms of its biggest city.

The bureau has since included “Greater Appleton Wisconsin” in its marketing efforts.

“We had to put the pin in the map for them,” Seidl said.

The committee noted a nationwide trend in tying airport names to the key destinations bringing in its travelers. Illinois’ Rockford Airport, for instance, was renamed Chicago-Rockford Airport.

Supervisor Tanya Rabec, who led the name change committee, said there’s tight competition with other airports and it makes good business sense to better reach out to those ultimately destined for the Fox Valley.

“They’ll be renting our cars, using our gas stations, staying at our hotels,” Rabec said.

The county board passed the measure by a 25-6 vote after only brief discussion.

Supervisor Jim Duncan said he made 600 phone calls to gauge the community’s opinion on making the change. He said 70 percent of those he spoke with were in favor of a switch to Appleton.

The change has been long in the works.

The county board in 1983 defeated a proposal to change the name to Fox Cities Metro Airport. Another three name change efforts failed between 2003 and 2011.

Char Stankowski, general manager for Little Chute’s Country Inn & Suites, relayed her career experience through several Fox Valley hotels in support for the change. As far as guests are concerned, they’re not staying in Little Chute or Grand Chute.

“They come to the Appleton area,” she said.

Source:  http://www.postcrescent.com

At Nordic Airports, Defying the Snow is Good Sport: In Nordic Countries, Skill at Keeping Airports Open Through Blizzards Is a Point of Pride

The Wall Street Journal
By  Daniel Michaels
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 10:35 p.m. ET

Airports in much of the world get occasional snow, and North America has taken a beating this season. But in Nordic countries, where winter can last six months and airplane deicing starts in August, skill at operating through sleet, snow and frost is vital for business and is a point of pride.

Stockholm's Arlanda Airport sets a goal of never succumbing to winter. "That's also the sport of it," says Arlanda operations head Lena Rökaas.

Her team spends months conducting off-season drills. But when her squad's big day came in December, the Swedish manager worried she and her colleagues wouldn't be able to handle what was coming at them.

Undaunted, her crew headed out in tight formation as if "getting ready for battle," Ms. Rökaas says. They plowed relentlessly ahead and protected a perfect 50-year record: Arlanda stayed open despite getting socked by more than a foot of snow.

Swedish crews wax nostalgic about a 1968 blizzard when Arlanda was the only Western European airport operating and arriving planes parked on one of its two runways. "It's a lovely story," says Arlanda spokeswoman Susanne Rundström.

Nordics call it "snowhow," a mix of massive machines, finely honed plowing patterns and constant practice.

"We consider ourselves almost world champions," says Heini Noronen-Juhola, vice president for aviation and safety at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Helsinki has developed more than 20 clearing routines, each linked to specific weather conditions. Ms. Noronen-Juhola considers the playbook "our big secret."

As at other Nordic airports, Helsinki's 120 maintenance people spend summers choreographing equipment. They usually clean tarmacs with diagonal rows of vehicles, sometimes referred to as a conga line. Each machine shoves snow to the vehicle behind it and ultimately off the edge of the runway. Drivers follow their maneuvers precisely so air controllers, who also know the routines, can time arriving and departing flights down to the minute.

"It's like dancing," says Ms. Noronen-Juhola.

In winter, her crews work round-the-clock shifts, like firefighters, and hustle at the first sight of snow. Helsinki airport last closed in 2003, for 30 minutes, because of snow and air-traffic-control problems. Like other Nordic airports, it frequently cuts capacity and cancels some flights.

Another Nordic secret: pushing producers for absurdly powerful equipment. Oslo Airport runs two of the world's largest self-propelled snowblowers, built by Norwegian airport-equipment maker Øveraasen AS. Only two other of the TV2000 units operate at airports; they, too, are in Norway.

The 2,000-horsepower machines can shoot 10,000 tons of snow an hour more than 150 feet from the tarmac. "It's like throwing a car every second," says Henning Bråtebæk, operations director at Oslo Airport.

Helsinki Airport pushed Finnish snow specialist Vammas in the 1990s to develop some of the first machines able to plow, sweep and blow snow simultaneously. Several of these machines can clear a runway in about 10 minutes, a job that a generation ago took half an hour.

Back then, runway clearing required many different machines. Opening scenes of the 1970 disaster film "Airport" show assorted tractor-size vehicles tackling a blizzard, including some that spit fire to melt ice.

Today, all-in-one cleaners are about as long as a locomotive. Most have two mighty engines, one for motion and the other to sweep and blow. They can run for hours without stopping—and Nordics keep going.

"They don't go for breaks—there's big pride in that," says Ms. Rökaas in Stockholm of her drivers, who mainly use Swiss snow equipment from Aebi Schmidt Holding AG. "Someone goes out and gives them coffee."

The machines can run for so long that producers have to worry about drivers' comfort. Vammas boasts that its cabs are so cozy, with their heated seats, frost-resistant windows, stereo speakers and vibration-free suspension, that operators are comfortable in T-shirts.

Over the past decade, combination machines have caught on at airports across Canada and the U.S. After a crippling winter storm in 2011, frequently sweltering Dallas-Fort Worth Airport bought 10 Vammas machines for about $1 million each. Vammas was acquired by Fortbrand Services Inc. of Plainview, N.Y., in 2010. It manufactures Vammas machines in Finland and in the U.S.

"They look very cool," says airport spokesman David Magaña.

When snow was forecast in December, the airport prepared to unleash its yellow monsters. Unfortunately, what arrived was sleet that landed and froze, creating "a hockey rink from here to Tennessee," says Mr. Magaña. With snowplows offering little help against ice, nearly 90% of flights were canceled for a day.

Still, versatile Nordic machines have been so popular that other big vehicle makers have jumped in. American truck maker Oshkosh Corp , based in wintry Wisconsin, touts its new multifunction machine as "a rolling 81,000-pound Swiss Army Knife." Product manager Les Crook boasts that its joystick control, covered in buttons for each function, "is just like a Game Boy."

Not to be outdone, Øveraasen last year unveiled a new product line with the curvy lines of a sports car and cabs that rise like a cherry-picker to give drivers greater visibility. "The futuristic design is a real eye-catcher," says an Øveraasen brochure. Bård Eker, whose industrial-design firm Øveraasen hired for the new line, says his company refrained from making the look too futuristic for fear of scaring off customers.

While big equipment helps get the job done, veterans say quality snow time is critical. Oslo Airport, for example, gets hit on average 60 days each winter. "We get a lot of practice," says Mr. Bråtebæk.

But this year, as the U.S. has experienced a Nordic winter, Northern Europe has been unusually warm. That worries Ms. Rökaas in Stockholm. "The worst thing for these people is when there is no snow," she says of drivers, who she fears might get bored and quit.

As for the future, officials are counting on snow and dreaming up new ways to prepare.

"We would love to have a roof on the airport," says Ms. Noronen-Juhola in Helsinki. "It's a great idea."

Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Cloud-seeding captain aims to ‘make this desert green’

Although dwarfed by the other planes, the eight-seater Beechcraft King Air C90 commands a central role in the weather patterns of the UAE.

“When it rained two or three weeks ago we made it rain even more,” said Capt Brendon Allen, 38, who pilots one of the six cloud-seeding Beechcraft operated by the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

The eight-seater propeller plane had been modified by the centre to shoot rain-inducing flares into clouds on the edge of releasing their moisture, and it was on show at the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Air Expo.

The airport opened its gates and landing strips to the public on Tuesday as it hosted the third annual expo.

The three-day outdoor aviation exhibition features 175 aviation manufacturers displaying the latest trends and innovations in aircraft manufacturing.

Leading private aviation companies, including Boeing, Airbus and Gulfstream, displayed over 100 planes on the airport’s tarmac.

Flying out of Al Ain and Al Bateen airports the modified aircraft used for cloud-seeding are sent into rough weather at a moment’s notice.

“We just give the clouds a nudge,” said Capt Allen, a former South African air force pilot who began flying in the UAE more than six years ago.

Capt Allen, who worked for more than five years as a flight instructor in Al Ain, said the weather airlines usually avoid were the conditions he and his fellow pilots flew toward.

“People who fly into hurricanes, they’re crazy.

“As we fly straight into thunderstorms, we’re just a bit disturbed.”

He added that the design of the sturdy design Beechcraft was ideal for flying into turbulent weather.

“When you fly into clouds that are 50,000 feet high that contain billions of gallons of water, you learn to respect weather.”

In the UAE’s arid climate, cloud-seeding is essential to increase the water table and provide farmers with much-needed water.

“Sometimes people ask me if I can make it rain on their farm or house,” said Capt Allen, adding that weather patterns where too unpredictable to control the areas it rained over.

But he said projects such as cloud-seeding provided valuable data which were the building blocks for controlling weather in the future.

“There are places it rains too much and people die, and there are places where it doesn’t rain at all and people starve,” said Capt Allen, who believes the long-term goal should be to move weather where it wasn’t wanted to where it was.

“I believe one day we’ll be able to make this desert green.”

While displaying the aircraft Capt Allen was asked by 10 year-old visitor Sammy Zain whether creating more rain would prove to be a problem on the roads of the UAE.

“I don’t think for one moment I’m endangering anybody. We don’t control the weather, and the benefit to the country as a whole far outweighs the tiny bit of risk.”

The other aircraft on display featured ultralight business jets to weightier planes, such as Gulfstream’s G650. Priced at more than $US64.5 million (Dh237 million), it will take you from Abu Dhabi to the company’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia in 14 hours in fine style.

On the larger end of the business jet spectrum came the Boeing corporate jet, a modified 737 seating between 25 and 50 passengers with the original design seating up to 215, and the largest narrow body corporate jet, the Airbus ACJ231.

Visitors were also treated to an aeronautical display by the UAE’s Al Fursan Aerobatic team and Emirates Sky Diving team while having the opportunity to view the “Paper Planes” Art Exhibition by Sheikha Al Yazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan at the Gulf Centre for Aviation Studies.

“The private aviation market is witnessing tremendous growth in Abu Dhabi and the wider region,” said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

“Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a regional leader in the aviation industry, and we are very pleased to once again host a first-class general aviation exhibition in the capital.”
Story and photo: http://www.thenational.ae

Sacramento International Airport (KSMF), California: Planes rerouted, roads closed during afternoon bomb scare in Yolo County

 Sacramento International Airport rerouted planes to alternate runways and some rural Yolo County roads were closed as a precaution Tuesday afternoon after sheriff’s deputies discovered a possible explosive device in a pickup truck.

Deputies responded about 12:30 p.m. to a medical aid call in the area of County Road 124, north of County Road 126 in the rural unincorporated area of Yolo County, west of West Sacramento. West Sacramento fire crews found a man lying in the roadway. While they were trying to treat him, he became combative and they requested an emergency response from deputies, according to a Yolo County Sheriff’s Office news release.

A deputy arriving at the scene spotted a black pickup truck on County Road 124 with one end of an electrical cord sticking into the fuel tank and the other end leading into the bed of the truck.

After the firefighters and the deputy got the man calmed down, the deputy took a closer look at the truck and found that the wiring protruding from the fuel tank was connected to a homemade device in the bed of the truck. Believing it might be an explosive device, authorities set up a quarter-mile perimeter around the vehicle, and the Yolo County Bomb Squad was requested.

The man was taken by ambulance to an area hospital, where he continued to be uncooperative with investigators, sheriff’s officials said.

While waiting for the bomb squad, investigators made contact with a woman who said she had been with the man a short time before the medical aid call. She told investigators that the man had been acting strangely for the past three days, and for some reason on Tuesday he became incoherent and enraged while the two were in the truck on County Road 124.

The woman said the man began shooting a handgun into and out of the vehicle. He also reportedly made statements about explosives.

The woman said she went to Old River Road, where she got a ride to her home in West Sacramento.

As a precaution, authorities advised the Sacramento International Airport control tower of the situation and airport officials chose to reroute flights to another runway. Deputies also checked area residences, looking for anyone who witnessed the shooting incident or was hurt by the gunfire. No injuries were reported.

About 3 p.m., the bomb squad determined that the device in the pickup was not an explosive. Roadways were reopened to traffic and the airport resumed normal operations.

Sheriff’s officials said they are continuing to investigate the incident.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com

U.S. Navy Orders More of Boeing's Poseidon Jets: Additional Order Marks Move to Full-Rate Production

The Wall Street Journal
By  Doug Cameron
Feb. 25, 2014 9:21 p.m. ET

The U.S.Navy agreed to buy 16 more Boeing Co. P-8A Poseidon jets as part of a $2.1 billion deal that marks a move to full-rate production for the surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft.

The deal announced by the Pentagon Tuesday increases the Navy's order to 53 jets as it exercised options as part of a broader agreement that would see the service take up to 117 of the aircraft, a heavily-modified version of its best-selling 737-800 passenger plane.

Boeing's development of military versions of its commercial aircraft has proved successful at stimulating sales at a time when orders for its specialized fighters are drying up. In addition to the P-8A, the company won a multibillion-dollar contract to make the new KC-46 aerial refueling tankers—recently renamed the Pegasus—for the U.S. Air Force, based on its 767 twin-aisle jet.

The switch in U.S. military strategy toward the Pacific from central Asia has fueled demand for the Poseidon and other equipment that has offered the Navy with more protection from budget cuts than other branches of the military. The latest P-8 buy comes from the Navy's fiscal 2014 budget.

The move to full-rate output marks a milestone for the P-8 program after four sets of initial production that has seen 13 planes delivered so far to the Navy, though their capabilities have attracted criticism from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, notably over its ability to provide surveillance over large areas

The defense department's acquisition chief countered a report last month from the tester, and said the P-8 was meant to develop in stages, with its full capabilities emerging in later models.

Boeing has also won orders from Australia and India for the P-8.

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Internal review of Collier airports reveals tenant lease violations, unpaid rent and inadequate insurance

Collier County airport tenants have been regularly violating the terms of their leases, falling short on rent and failing to provide adequate insurance documentation for years, an internal review released Tuesday shows.

The new overseers of the three county airports found that 54 of the 97 tenants were either in violation of their contracts or operating on expired ones. In addition to the lease violations, a circuit clerk audit found that the county could be liable to pay back up to $500,000 in federal grant money that two tenants received, but didn’t live up to funding requirements. In both cases, the county didn’t keep proper track of how the grant money was being used, the audit found.

The shortcomings, canceled projects and missing documents likely are the result of high turnover at the airports, which have cycled through seven executive and interim executive directors since 2000, said Commissioner Fred Coyle.

“These problems are no surprise to me,” Coyle said. “Seven directors over 14 years is ridiculous.”

The violations could prove costly.

The county might be on the hook for $250,000 in U.S. Department of Commerce grant money to build a campground that closed in less than a year.

The project was approved under the promise the campsite would have a useful life of 20 years, said Megan Gaillard, an auditor for Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock’s office.

It will ultimately be up to the commerce department if it wants the county to reimburse the funds, Gaillard said.

“We suggest the county work with the department to resolve the issue,” she said.

Another tenant, Global Manufacturing Technology, received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a powder coating system. Much of the heavy machinery and equipment was bought and installed, but the system never was completed, Gaillard said. Some of the equipment couldn’t be found by auditors and the county hasn’t kept the proper records to show how the money was spent.

The county needs to notify the USDA that the project never was completed and work with them to refund the money, Gaillard said.

The tenants’ lease violations varied in severity.

One tenant owed $70,000 in rent, having not paid since the most recent airport executive director was let go five months ago, the review found.

Another built several structures outside a go-kart-track and raceway without building permits including a two-story operations center. The tenant, Immokalee Regional Raceway, didn’t have insurance for the go-kart-track, operated a concession stand without notifying the health department and allowed RVs to camp overnight without a permit, the review found.

The raceway also didn’t get permission from the county to build part of the go-kart-track, which crosses into an area that’s specifically zoned for flight. A $96,000 restroom, built by the now defunct campground and funded with the federal grant money, was lifted and hauled across the airport without a permit and is now located just outside the dragway, according to the report.

The violations show why commissioners want to run the airports through the county manager rather than an executive director, Commissioner Georgia Hiller said.

“We have to take whatever remedial action we can to straighten all this up,” Hiller said.

County commissioners narrowly ousted Chris Curry, their former airport director, in September. They then turned control of the airports to Collier’s growth management division — a department that deals in a wide swath of county services and ultimately reports to Leo Ochs, county manager. Curry sued the county in January, saying commissioners breached his contract by terminating him early. He has since been hired to run the Tallahassee Regional Airport.

When Curry started at the airports in 2010, the compliance issues were significant, he said. Not just among tenants, but the runways themselves were dangerously close to being unusable.

“When you come into a new environment you try to fix the most serious problems first,” he said.

More than half of the lease violations the county uncovered in its review 37 of the 54 were solely because the tenant’s insurance documentation wasn’t on file. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have adequate insurance, Curry said.

“Most of the tenants did have their insurance documents,” he said. “The question is whether the airport had the hard copy on file, because the requirements were just to provide an annual copy to the airport.”

County inspectors won’t shut any businesses down over the violations, said Nick Casalanguida, administrator of the growth management division.

“Every tenant that didn’t have insurance documentation has been contacted and that will be wrapped up in a month,” he said. “Situations where tenants are significantly delinquent in rent, we’re coming up with a reasonable payment plan. We’re taking the approach to work with these folks to get it resolved, instead of just laying the hammer down.”

Many have already gotten back on track, Casalanguida said.

Salazar Machine and Steel, which is the furthest behind in rent, will have paid $54,000 of the $70,000 it owes by Friday, he said. The company’s owners are trying to work with the county to lessen or forgive the other $16,000 it owes in late fees. 

Story and photos:    http://www.naplesnews.com

Stinson Municipal Airport (KSSF), San Antonio, Texas: Lone Restaurant At Stinson Closing

The lone restaurant at Stinson Airport is shutting its doors.

It opened just one year ago with the goal of making Stinson a destination airport for business travel.

Now, the restaurant's owner announced he's relocating to Pica Pica Plaza.

Bernard McGraw will open his new location on Fat Tuesday for Mardi Gras.

He says Stinson was a great location, but he didn't have control over his pricing and hours which cost him thousands of dollars.

"It really came down to the numbers," said McGraw.

He fell behind on his state taxes and rent.

When the state came in, the Katrina evacuee decided it was best for his Creole kitchen to move.

"We needed to have more control of our daily operation and be able to make decisions in real time versus getting approval and waiting for things to come through," he said.

This is the 2nd restaurant in recent years to close it's doors at the airport that's trying to expand.

Last year, we reported the city spent close to $10 million dollars developing the property, expanding the runway and terminals to handle more traffic.

However, Mcgraw says the city didn't do enough to promote San Antonio's smaller, lesser known airport.

"If you go down Loop 410 and Southwest Military, there's no signage, there's nothing that says Stinson is back here," said Mcgraw.

"I was pretty disappointed when I heard his kitchen was closed," said Rebecca Viagran, District 3 City Council.

Viagran says Stinson is in her district and something she's making a priority.

"I've asked the city manager to take a look at the contract that is there with whatever restaurant goes into that take a look at it to see what we can do better," she said.

"We wish Stinson the best, that's why I've been in talks with the council-member giving my story about my experience here, what can the city do to make it work for the next vendor that comes in," said McGraw.     

The city says it does want to bring another restaurant in and they are taking proposals.

Meanwhile, Bernard's will host its grand opening at Pica Pica at 11 a.m. next Tuesday.

Source:   http://www.foxsanantonio.com

Cities’ call for firefighting aircraft may be answered by Russian air tanker

A company with access to three Russian-made amphibious air tankers has responded to a call put out by cities in Los Angeles County concerned about inadequate air support for fighting frequent wildfires.

Santa Maria-based International Emergency Services has sent a proposal to a local city council member offering to lease a twin-engine turbo-jet plane that holds nearly twice as much water as the Canadian-made Super Scooper, the CL-415.

The Russian BE-200 similarly scoops water out of a reservoir or the ocean without landing but can release water all at once or in four to eight bursts. In particular, it works in tandem with other water- and retardant-dropping aircraft and therefore increases drop volumes, company officials said.

“This is the future of fire fighting,” said Adrian Butash, marketing director for IES, which holds the exclusive rights to import the BE-200. The plane was made by Beriev Aircraft Co., a manufacturer based in Taganrog, a city located on the Black Sea about 600 kilometers from Sochi, the host of the recent 2014 Winter Olympics.

The plane, originally built for the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, was flight-tested by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent demonstration in Russia. The water-scooping planes were used to battle forest fires in Russia, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Indonesia and Israel but not yet in the United States.

The company is in the process of getting clearance to fly the planes in the United States from the Federal Aviation Administration, company officials said. One official said it may be only a few weeks away from getting FAA clearance.

IES officials have contacted Azusa City Councilman Angel Carrillo, who is leading the effort along with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and Los Angeles County Fire Department to supplement the air attack used to fight wildfires.

Carrillo has said the Super Scoopers’ performance in the Colby Fire, which blackened nearly 2,000 acres and destroyed five homes in Glendora in January, was instrumental in containing the damage. But he said they are only leased from September through November and were here on a fluke.

“We can provide our aircraft to an entity like the San Gabriel Valley COG or Los Angeles County at a very affordable price,” said James Bagnard, IES program manager.

The cost of leasing one plane for a year would be about $16 million, he said. Leasing it for a 180-day fire season would be $8 million. Exact figures were not included in the proposal IES sent Carrillo. Bagnard had not heard back from the Azusa councilman.

However, at the San Gabriel Valley COG meeting Thursday, Carrillo said the cost of saving lives and preventing millions of dollars in property loss would be worth it. “If we can have an additional tool, why wouldn’t we want to have it?” he said.

Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp told the COG members the fire department can extend the lease of the Super Scoopers when red flag conditions persist. In fact, the Super Scooper lease had already been extended through the end of February.

On Tuesday, county Supervisor Mike Antonovich announced the lease will be extended until March 15.

“Although Los Angeles County is expected to receive some significant rainfall later this week, our region is still in a drought and fire danger remains high,” Antonovich said in a prepared statement.

Carrillo had asked the county to look into keeping a Super Scooper-type plane in Southern California 12 months a year. He said the state, the federal government and other Southern California counties could share the cost.

Bagnard, who grew up in Pasadena, said he has seen the San Gabriel Mountains on fire and believes his company’s plane can save lives and property. He said his company has many options to house the plane because the region has many airports.

It’s perfect for California since it can scoop 3,167 gallons of water in 18 seconds without landing, putting “more water on a fire per hour,” he said.

IES is talking with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CalFire, and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara about leasing a BE-200.

“The BE-200 has worked well with the CL-415s in Greece. They make a good team,” Bagnard said.

Using water-dropping aircraft in combination — especially at the beginning of the fire — could make a huge difference, according to the Wildfire Research Network in Tujunga.

The county used two Canadian 415 Super Scoopers on the Colby Fire, each dropping 1,600 gallons. In recent wildfires in Europe, planes are used in greater numbers at once. For example, Italy teamed up four in tandem to get a 6,400-gallon drop, according to the group’s 2011 report delivered to a conference in Washington, D.C.

Multiple aircraft tactics is just one of the improvements suggested by the group. The group also suggested pre-designating an incident commander for each geographic area before a fire breaks out. Another idea — night-flying helicopters — was added to the Forest Service fleet for the first time this year after a bill by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, required the extra service. Los Angeles County Fire and L.A. City Fire have flown helicopters at night for many years.

Large, fixed-wing aircraft, such as the 415s, BE-200 or the C-130s, a military plane, can’t fly after what firefighters call “pumpkin time,” when the sun begins to set and turn orange, fire officials said.

Tripp told the COG the Super Scooper planes were not the key to containing the Colby Fire, but rather, it was a combination of air attacks and firefighters on the ground, plus good preparation from hillside homeowners who cleared brush and removed leaves from their roofs and gutters ahead of time.

Story and photos:   http://www.presstelegram.com

Debris from January plane crash recovered off Oceano coast: Morrisey 2150, N5102V

Wreckage believed to be that of the airplane that crashed off the coast of Oceano on Jan. 14, was located Monday by divers with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Underwater Search and Recovery Team.

Working off the dive boat “Magic,” divers used information gathered from witnesses, radar, sonar and depth finders to locate the debris field near the area they had been searching since the plane crashed, according to a release from the SLO Sheriff’s Office today.

Divers found what appears to be the wing, fuselage and other parts of the 2150 Morrisey.

Los Angeles resident Alan George Gaynor, 52, a pilot for SkyWest Airlines, and David Brian Casey, 63, of Friday Harbor, Wash., were killed in the crash after taking off from the Santa Maria Public Airport.

Two small pieces recovered Monday are believed to be from the plane, including a carburetor and part of the manifold, as well as a metal tube.

No human remains were found.

The Sheriff’s Office is now working with the National Transportation Safety Board to recover the wreckage, according to the release.

The search for any remains is continuing with the recovery effort.

Story and photo:   http://www.lompocrecord.com


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

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

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

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

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

Problems Linger For Boeing's Flagship 787 Airliner

Despite more than a decade to work out problems and an estimated $20 billion to build it, Boeing's 787 aircraft is still plagued by issues.

The high-tech, fuel-efficient airplane was supposed to be a game changer in the aviation industry — and it still may be — but it keeps making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Ever since 787s finally began flying in 2011, there have been technical and mechanical problems, from software bugs and engine defects to faulty wiring, trouble with hydraulics and fuel tank leaks.

"The lingering problems run the gamut from insignificant to highly significant. And it's a roll of the dice at this point what the next one's going to be," says aviation writer Christine Negroni, who has covered the issues on her blog, Flying Lessons.

The biggest problem was with the planes' lithium ion batteries, which caught fire on two of the aircraft a year ago, leading regulators to ground the entire 787 fleet worldwide for more than three months.

Made largely from carbon fiber and other composites, the 787 is lighter, more fuel-efficient and has a greater range than aluminum planes. It also has a new engine design and gives passengers larger windows and more comfort. The 787 fills a void for many airlines, giving them a long-haul, wide-body airplane with a lower operating cost, Negroni says. 

The 787's problems date to the concept's introduction more than a decade ago. Design flaws, kinks in the supply chain and manufacturing troubles delayed its production by years.

"People defend the airplane by saying it's just teething problems," Negroni says. "I don't know of another airplane that was grounded for 3 1/2 months because they were concerned about fire in flight."

The plane went back into service even though critics say Boeing never fixed the problem. Instead, it just built a box around the battery to better contain any fire, added a system to ventilate smoke and fumes, and spaced the battery cells farther apart.

And sure enough, last month, another battery overheated, sending smoke outside the plane.

In addition to the chronic reliability problems, Negroni says some of the airlines flying the plane, including LOT in Poland, are finding the 787, known as the Dreamliner, to be a publicity nightmare.

"The CEO of LOT said to me, 'Flying the Dreamliner is like dating Paris Hilton. Everything you do makes news,' " Negroni says. "Even if it's a minor issue on the Dreamliner, it's a headline."

In an emailed statement, a Boeing spokesman acknowledges problems but says that improving dependability of the 787 "is at the top of our priorities and we're making good progress at reducing those reliability issues."

The aerospace giant says that after years of delays, the company is "on track to meet all delivery commitments in 2014," now producing 787s at a record rate of 10 per month.

But the ramped-up production pace apparently comes with a cost.

Union machinists on the 787 assembly line in Everett, Wash., say they're getting incomplete fuselage sections of the plane from Boeing's new nonunion plant in South Carolina. Some of the plane sections have bad wiring or poorly installed hydraulics lines, they say.

"There's no question that Boeing management underestimated the difficulty of this approach to building the 787," says Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group.

Aboulafia says Boeing made a mistake when it fired hundreds of experienced contract employees last year to cut costs. Now, the company is hiring some of them back and adding new contract workers to address the production problems in South Carolina.

A handful of airlines, including Air India and Norwegian Air, want compensation from Boeing for problems. Still, at a list price of over $200 million each, orders are still strong, Aboulafia says.

"You've still got over 800 planes on order. That's pretty impressive," he says.

Among the happy customers is United Airlines, which has nine of the airplanes in service and has ordered dozens more.

"It is by far the most popular aircraft in our fleet for both customers and employees," says United spokeswoman Christen David. The airplane allows United to add new direct routes to China, Australia and Nigeria, David says.

So how's this for confidence in the plane? After signing a $155 million contract to play for the Yankees a few weeks ago, Japanese baseball star Masahiro Tanaka spent nearly $200,000 to charter a 787 to New York.

Story, photo, audio and comments/reaction:   http://www.npr.org

DeLand, Florida, son helps mother 'slip the surly bonds of Earth' on final flight

Finding just the right way to pay final tribute to a beloved parent isn't always easy. In the case of Grace McElvy Whitecar of DeLand, who died in 2011 at the age of 87, just the right tribute came nearly three years after her death. 

 Her son, Michael Boyd of DeLand, took Whitecar's cremains for a Valentine's Day flight Feb. 14, and scattered her ashes over the Atlantic Ocean.

Boyd qualified as an aircraft-carrier pilot 50 years ago, flying over the Gulf of Mexico from the USS Lexington. Whitecar, who loved adventure, shared his love of the skies, and became a licensed pilot. She was also an avid boater who loved the water, so scattering her ashes at 1,300 feet above the ocean off the coast of Canaveral National Seashore combined both of her passions.

Boyd had planned a Jan. 30 "Ultimate Barnstormer" flight in History Flight's North American AT-6, a two-seat trainer, to mark the 50th anniversary of his carrier qualification. When bad weather postponed that flight, Boyd's wife, Jeannie, suggested the Valentine’s Day tribute to Boyd’s mother.

For nearly three years, they had been undecided about where to scatter Whitecar's remains. 

The Valentine Day's flight was the perfect solution, Boyd said. The flight "grew into something more noteworthy and much more poignant" than he had anticipated, he said.

Boyd met History Flight pilot John Makinson at the DeLand Municipal Airport, and they took to the skies.

Makinson had arranged a surprise for Boyd: a two-plane honor escort for Whitecar's final flight — another Texan and a T-34.

The planes flew over Brandywine twice so Jeannie could see them, and then they headed for the coast south of New Smyrna Beach.

The escort planes broke off, and Boyd and Makinson went through some rolls and loops in the high-performance trainer. Boyd performed some of them himself, a strangely familiar feeling after more than 50 years since his Navy flying days, Boyd said.

Boyd piloted the craft back to DeLand, after a 1.2-hour flight. Makinson wrote in Whitecar’s flight log: "Left up in the sky @ 1300' soaring with the angels."

Whitecar lived at Good Samaritan Florida Lutheran for the last seven years or so of her life. She had also lived in Leesburg, Tampa and Arcadia.

In addition to Boyd and his wife, Jeannie Boyd, she is survived by daughter Julia Jennings of Tampa, husband David F. Desmond of DeLand, and four grandchildren.

See more photos and a video of the Valentine's Day flight at Michael Boyd's blog, Confessions of a Canine Couch Potato, which Boyd helps his dog, Buddy, write.

Read Buddy's story, "A DeLand dog goes from life on the lam to the lap of luxury" online at here at The Beacon.

NOTE: Beacon staff writer Pat Hatfield Andrews also went on a barnstorming flight in a vintage Texan with History Flight pilot John Makinson in April 2008. Watch the video of that flight at here at The Beacon

Story and photo gallery:   http://beacononlinenews.com

'I thought I was going to die': Grandfather John Lord suffered a heart attack while flying near Wickhambrook

A grandfather has told how he cheated death when he suffered a heart attack - 1,500ft in the air in his microlight aircraft.

John Lord, 64, who had always been in perfect health, was 20 minutes into a solo flight on Saturday afternoon when he was gripped by crippling chest pains.

He immediately turned round and struggled the ten miles back to his friend’s field near Wickhambrook where he had taken off.

Despite being in agony, grandfather John - a microlight pilot for 24 years - managed a “text book landing” before getting his friend to call an ambulance.

Within minutes of touching down he announced “I think I’m going to die” before he collapsed.

Paramedics frantically performed CPR and managed to revive him before rushing him to West Suffolk Hospital.

John, a dad-of-one, was due to be transferred to the specialist heart unit at Papworth Hospital yesterday.

Speaking from his hospital bed yesterday he said: “It was a beautiful day and the wind was in the right direction so I thought I would go for a fly.

“The chest pains started to get more intense but I didn’t think it was anything serious.

“I thought they were down to being extremely hot so I was being optimistic at one point but then I thought to myself ‘I must get back on the ground’.

“I knew when I was sitting in the car on the ground that something was seriously wrong.

“I said ‘I think I’m going to die’ and the next thing I know the paramedic was doing CPR on me.

“It is fortunate I didn’t carry on flying and that I decided to come back when I did because if I hadn’t done that it could have been a very different story.”

He added: “That’s my flying days over. I’ve flown for over 23 years and it was a very close call. I wouldn’t want to put the stress on my wife.

“Somebody was looking after me on Saturday, that’s for sure.”

John, of Bury St Edmunds, is due to retire from his post as a technical consultant at mobile phone giants EE.

He first got his pilot’s license in 1989 and immediately got hooked on the buzz of being alone in the sky and planned to spend much of his retirement flying.

But since his near-miss he has also been forced to cancel his first retirement plan of a holiday to Florida next month as he faces up to eight weeks rehabilitation.

Instead of flying he plans to pursue his other hobby of photography from the safety of the ground - but he admits nothing will beat the thrill of getting into a cockpit.

John, who is married to wife Angela, 61, added: “I’ve never been in hospital in my life before this. I’ve never broken anything.

“I am so thankful to the ambulance service or everything that was done on Saturday. Without them it would have been so very different.”

Paramedic Dale Boulston, who saved John’s life, said: “While we were assessing the patient he went into cardiac arrest.

“We worked to resuscitate him and were fortunately able to get a return of spontaneous circulation which means his heart started beating normally again.

“We took him to West Suffolk General for further treatment and I was able to visit him in hospital on Sunday.”

An ambulance service spokesman said: “We’re really pleased to hear that Mr Lord is doing so well following his incident just a few days ago.

“It’s lucky for everyone involved that John was able to land the plane safely and fortunately our hard working crew was then on hand to give immediate lifesaving treatment.

“People who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital have less than a 20 per cent chance of survival: the sooner they receive CPR and access to a defibrillator the better, and in this case our crews were able to carry out chest compressions and give a shock from the defibrillator as soon as John went into cardiac arrest.

“This undoubtedly made a real difference to John surviving and making such a good recovery.

“We wish him all the best with the recovery process and hope he has a happy and healthy future ahead of him.”

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk

Legislator tries again to get special deal for Evergreen International Aviation nonprofits, which owe $1 million in taxes

A backer of legislation to expand property-tax exemptions for Evergreen International Aviation Inc.’s nonprofits is trying for a third time to bail out the McMinnville organizations, which are behind on more than $1 million in taxes and interest.

In the latest attempt, Oregon State Sen. Larry George, R-Sherwood, circulated a proposed amendment Monday custom-tailored to exempt portions of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and other entities.

But lawmakers remained skeptical of the special-interest bid, which might have died already if not for the possibility that George could use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations over other legislation.
One problem is that the amendment is so broadly written that it could exempt the Wings & Waves Waterpark and any other Evergreen facilities from property taxes, according to John Phillips, an Oregon Revenue Department legislative liaison.

“The language … is so broad that there would appear to be no property that they could build or use on that site that would not qualify for this exemption,” Phillips wrote in a memo to legislators. “This issue is being litigated,” he added. “Now is not the time to preempt the court’s ruling on the current law.”

The Legislature usually avoids legislation tailored to specific companies, although recent counter examples include Nike and Intel, which received tax deals in exchange for promises of major expansions. The proposed Evergreen exemptions are more complicated in several respects.
For one thing, Evergreen’s commercial companies, once located across Oregon 18 from the museums, water park and theater, have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For another, an Oregon Justice Department investigation continues into allegations of commingled funds between the for-profit and nonprofit entities.

And as Phillips noted, legal challenges continue as Evergreen nonprofits appeal tax-exemption denials issued by Yamhill County assessors.

Sen. George did not respond to calls for comment Monday. But his mother, Yamhill County Commissioner Kathy George, wrote a letter with Allen Springer, a fellow commissioner, urging legislators to find a solution to the aviation museum’s tax impasse.

“This incredible, nationally and internationally acclaimed facility is in imminent danger of closing forever, and we are asking for your immediate help in averting this potential tragedy,” the commissioners wrote Thursday to Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, chairwoman of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee, and Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, chairman of the House Revenue Committee.

Legislative backers initially presented an Evergreen tax-exemption bill to the House Revenue Committee. After a cold reception there, they filed an amendment to House Bill 4003, which concerns federal tax law. The latest attempt would amend House Bill 4005, which would increase enterprise zones for electronic commerce.

– Richard Read

Story, photo and comments/reaction:   http://www.oregonlive.com

Airbus faces tough battles over A330 longevity plan

(Reuters) - As Airbus races through flight testing of its newest plane, the next-generation A350, Europe's planemaker faces growing battles to secure a future for the A330, until now its only truly lucrative wide-body jet.

Twenty years after it entered service, the 250 to 300-seat jet has repeatedly been pronounced dead by rival Boeing but refuses to lie down, outliving its A340 sibling and surviving for now the arrival of lighter new jets like Boeing's 787 and the A350.

But analysts say time is finally ticking on Airbus's most profitable wide-body jet, despite a steady series of changes aimed at prolonging the end of its production cycle and with over 1,000 still in service.

Without a fresh burst of sales or a slowdown from current record production levels, they say, Airbus faces a sharp drop in deliveries from 2016 onwards, with the visible backlog of undelivered aircraft now worth just 26 months of production.

"The A330 had an amazing past five years, not only because of its merits, but because Boeing's 787 was delayed," said industry analyst Richard Aboulafia at Teal Group.

"But with the 787 hitting (its targeted) production of 10 aircraft per month, that is going to crowd the A330 out of the market space pretty quickly," he added.

That leaves Airbus with a two-fold challenge. It must decide

how best to maintain a foothold in the 200 to 300-seat market, where it first developed jets more than 40 years ago and which Boeing later targeted in part with its 787 family.

The version of the A350 that Airbus originally hoped would defend that spot, the 270-seat A350-800, has sold poorly and is likely to remain sidelined compared to the 314-seat A350-900.

And with the A350 only gradually building up output until 2018, experts say Airbus faces a hole in revenue and cash flow as a gap opens between peak output of the A330 and that of the A350 -just as it also wrestles with a complex transition between versions of its other main cash cow, the A320.

Even though orders may not be as bleak as they appear, with some countries still to approve deals, Airbus has already started looking at ways of heading off any output gaps.

Last year it broke from a pattern of beefing up the A330 to fly further with more payload and announced a leaner Regional version to compete in the key Chinese domestic market.

Ostensibly the aircraft is the same, but its performance will be artificially capped to help save airlines save on maintenance and statutory bills like landing fees.

Such an aircraft would be a niche product aimed at countries with congested domestic markets like China and India.

Morphing the plane in a different direction, Airbus is also looking at the possibility of new engines to boost performance in its core activity of flying medium- and long-haul routes.

It has given itself until the end of the year to make a decision but could make a move at Farnborough Airshow in July.


But industry sources say Airbus has already raised the stakes by offering to increase its industrial presence in China with an A330 cabin center. It already assembles small jets there.

"We have always been open to additional industrial co-operation when the market supports it," Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier said at the recent Singapore Airshow, asked about the first report of such a proposal in Aviation Week.

In response, market watchers say Boeing has launched a counter-offensive to halt the A330's latest assault on China.

Officials with the U.S. firm acknowledge that Airbus's A330 Regional would save just over 10 percent in operating costs.

But they argue this would not compensate for the extra fuel needed for a heavy aircraft like the A330 when it is operating on short routes instead of the long ones it was designed for.

Adapting the industry playbook, they say it would be more profitable to fly two smaller Boeing 737s instead, because the Airbus would burn 12 percent more fuel than both combined.

Airbus officials argue that China's crowded skies and airport congestion rule out adding flights, so the only option is to boost capacity. About 80 percent of China's airspace is under military control, leaving scarce room for traffic development.

That could be changing as China seeks to boost the low-cost airline sector but there is no clear-cut rule on whether more flights are the right marketing tool, said Ascend analyst Rob Morris.


But critics of Airbus's plans have a fallback argument.

Boeing, they say, is likely to try to persuade Chinese airlines that even if they want to put A330s on domestic routes to ease congestion it would be better for their balance sheets and more practical to redeploy them from international ones, rather than buy even more A330s with declining resale values.

Airbus officials counter that it would cost millions of dollars to reconfigure jets in that way.

China is one of the most strategic markets for both companies but analysts say they are also behaving tactically.

Both have gambled on lighter weight carbon-fiber technology but are unable to deliver as quickly as airlines would like, and are meanwhile carving out sales pitches playing up their existing products.

The battle looks set to revive tensions between the two dominant planemakers in the $100 billion annual jetliner market that last erupted in an advertising war in 2012.

Taking aim at Airbus's flexibility over pricing of the A330, whose development was paid for long ago, a Boeing executive said it would be a "losing proposition" against the smaller 737 in China, even if Airbus gave up any gap in price.

An Airbus official retorted curtly, saying Boeing's own data was "veracity-challenged".

Source:  http://www.reuters.com

Pilot Used Plane As A Weapon Against Police To Allow Escape

A pilot intentionally rammed his plane into a police vehicle to avoid capture as he attempted to smuggle a group of immigrants into Abaco on Sunday night.

Superintendent Noel Curry, officer in Charge of the Abaco District, said the officers were lucky to be alive after the head-on collision with the nine-seater plane around 6:45pm. A wanted notice was last night issued for 30-year-old Owen George Johnson as part of the investigation.

According to information received by this newspaper, when the wing of the plane hit the police vehicle, the plane spun, angling the propeller toward the officers who were at that time pinned in the jeep as the propeller chopped its way through the vehicle towards them.

Taking advantage of that moment, the pilot got out of the aircraft and escaped into nearby bushes. However, the seven illegal migrants onboard the nine-seater aircraft were taken into custody.

Supt Curry: “Acting on information police in Abaco went to the Sandy Point Airport where they observed an aircraft attempting to land. Officers went on the runway to quickly apprehend the passengers, in the twin engine nine-seater plane, however the pilot turned the plane in the direction of the officers. The plane’s wing as well as the propeller hit the police vehicle shattering the windshield, the back glass and causing extensive front end damage,” he said.

“The pilot jumped from the plane before it came to a complete stop and ran into nearby bushes. The passengers, seven illegal immigrants, were taken into custody. They include two female Haitians, one male Haitian, and four male Dominicans. There was also a two-year-old toddler on the plane.”

Supt Curry said two of the three officers were injured during the collision, and were treated and discharged at a nearby clinic. The illegals are expected to be flown to the capital and turned over to immigration officers.

Police in Abaco are hunting for Owen George Johnson, who is 30, born in New Providence and a pilot by profession. He is 6ft 6in, has a low haircut, is heavy built and with a light brown complexion. Police warn not to approach him if he is seen, as he is considered dangerous.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Grand Bahama at 350-3107/8, in Abaco at 367-3437 or 911 or 919.

Source:   http://www.tribune242.com

Air Canada sex act case heard in Dartmouth court: Jason George Chase pleads guilty, Alicia Elizabeth Lander's trial starts after 2014 arrest in Halifax

One of two people accused of committing a sex act on an Air Canada plane that landed at the Halifax airport has pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act. 

The trial for the other began with some graphic testimony.

Court records say Jason George Chase, 39, and Alicia Elizabeth Lander, 25, are alleged to have participated in an indecent act in a public place on Jan. 24, 2014.

Last year, both pleaded not guilty.

However, on Wednesday, Chase changed his plea to guilty. He's scheduled to appear back in court on March 27 for sentencing and is asking for a conditional discharge.

Lander's lawyer, Laura McCarthy, said the guilty plea will not affect her client's ability to get a fair hearing. She admits the case is unusual.

"The circumstances are unique. I would say the charge isn't necessarily unique," she said. "People are charged with forms of indecent exposure not necessarily regularly but often enough. So I wouldn't say it's a completely unique charge in that people aren't charged with it, the circumstances are unique."

The trial for Lander went ahead, with court hearing from two Mounties and three Air Canada employees.

The first witness was an Air Canada employee who identified Lander and testified she was belligerent the night of the incident as police tried to question her at Halifax Stanfield International Airport once the flight from Toronto arrived.

The employee said Lander's cursing was vulgar and made people in the arrival area uncomfortable.

RCMP Const. James Curran testified he was one of the responding Mounties on Jan. 24 and could smell liquor on Lander's breath.

He said he warned Lander to keep her voice down or she would be charged with creating a disturbance.
Kicked holes in wall

Curran said that as Mounties were escorting her through the airport, Lander kicked a sliding glass door and knocked it off its track. The kicking continued, according to Curran. He said Lander started mule kicking and hit an officer.

After being dragged into an interview room at the airport, Curran said Lander kicked holes in the wall.

Also testifying was Air Canada flight service director John Dunn, who said the woman asked if she could sit next to her friend at the start of the flight.

Dunn said another passenger warned flight attendants to watch them because they wanted to become members of the "mile high club."

Dunn said he went to the seat and found the woman with her pants pulled down and the man's hand in her lap. He said the man was penetrating her. Dunn said he told the woman it was inappropriate and ordered her to get dressed.

He said he could see her thong and told the woman to put her breasts back in her bra.

It was at that time Dunn said he separated the pair and the woman slept the rest of the flight.

The incident was reported to the captain, who arranged to have police meet the plane.

Dunn said his concern was for some children who were a few rows back from where Lander was sitting. His testimony ended by saying it appeared Lander was fondling Chase under a coat on his lap, but he couldn't be sure.

After a short recess, Lander's lawyer, Laura McCarthy, said her client wanted to testify, but there was no time on Wednesday.

"She's just going to give her version of events from what she recalls. That's all I can really say about her evidence. I have to let her have her opportunity to give it first," she said.

The case will conclude March 3.

Story and comments:  http://www.cbc.ca

 Two people accused of committing a sexual act on an Air Canada plane in January are scheduled to go to trial next year after pleading not guilty to committing an indecent act.

Court records say Jason George Chase, 39, and Alicia Elizabeth Lander, 25, are alleged to have participated in an indecent act in a public place on Jan. 24.

They were arrested by police after arriving at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on a flight from Toronto.

The accused were not in Dartmouth provincial court on Tuesday but their defence lawyers entered the pleas on their behalf.

The trial has been set for Jan. 21, 2015.

In addition to the indecent act charge, Lander is also charged with causing a disturbance, assaulting a police officer and mischief. Police told CBC News that after Lander was arrested, she was verbally abusive and kicked officers.

Lyle Howe, Lander's lawyer, said his client decided to plead not guilty to those charges as well after receiving disclosure from the Crown.

"We've reviewed the paperwork and we've decided that that's what we were going to enter as our plea," he told reporters.

"Any time somebody is alleged to have committed a criminal offence is a difficult ordeal."


The two people accused of committing a sexual act on an Air Canada plane did not show up for their scheduled court appearance in Dartmouth on Tuesday.

Jason Chase, 38, and Alicia Lander, 24, are both facing a charge of committing an indecent act.

The sexual act allegedly happened during a January flight. They were stopped by officers after arriving at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

In addition, Lander is facing charges of causing a disturbance, assaulting a police officer and mischief. The RCMP told CBC that after Lander was arrested, she was verbally abusive and kicked officers.

They're scheduled to be back in court for a plea on April 1.

Source:    http://www.cbc.ca