Friday, March 14, 2014

New Orleans flight instructor targets business travelers with small aircraft booking service

The recent addition of direct flights from New Orleans to Austin and San Diego has made traveling to those cities less burdensome for local businesspeople. But for those who regularly travel to regional cities like Shreveport and Jackson, Miss., easy options are limited.

A round-trip drive from New Orleans to Shreveport takes around 10 hours, and chartering a small private jet for the trip can cost upward of $5,000, not including possible fuel surcharges and airport fees.

David Cusimano, 36, started Day Flier to make life easier for the New Orleans businessperson who would rather not waste a day traveling by car or shell out thousands of dollars for a two-hour business meeting.

By consolidating the offerings of small aircraft operators, Day Flier acts as a kind of for light aircraft flights that lie outside the major airline industry.  

"Private air charter companies like Beech and Cirrus exist in a pretty fragmented market, which can make it tough to book flights quickly or compare prices," Cusimano said in a phone interview. "Day Flier puts all the available options and information in one place."

A New Orleans native, Cusimano used to run a flight school called Gulf Coast Aviation, based out of New Orleans Lakefront Airport. A few years ago he helped found a small air charter company by the same name.

Booking the company's four-seat Cirrus SR22 for an hour costs around $500, Cusimano said, far more than the cost of a road trip to Shreveport. But many busy local businesspeople preferred the extra cost to the lost day of travel. He created Day Flier to meet the demand.

When booking a flight online, the site compares the total travel time of Day Flier charters with those of a car or a commercial plane. For now, operators help expedite the online booking process over the phone. Within six months, Cusimano said, the company intends to launch an "instant-booking" option, allowing people to book flights as easily as they might on major travel websites.

"We're trying to highlight the value of your time," Cusimano said.

Day Flier officially launched on Monday (March 10.) It is now available in the New Orleans and Houston markets, but Cusimano plans to expand the service to 10 other cities by the end of the 2014.  

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Northern Command boss worried by cut to aerial firefighting wing

U.S. Northern Command boss Gen. Chuck Jacoby said he's concerned that proposed cuts at Peterson Air Force Base could hurt aerial firefighting efforts.

Quizzed by Colorado's Democratic Sen. Mark Udall at a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Jacoby said he's worried that pulling a squadron from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson could leave too few flight crews to drop retardant ahead of future fires.

"My biggest concern would be crews," Jacoby said. "Those are terrific crews, fearless men and women. It's as tough flying as any flying."

Under an Air Force budget plan, the wing would lose 200 airmen and four of its 12 C-130 aircraft. The cut would eliminate the 52nd Airlift Squadron, the reserve wing's lone squadron of full-time airmen.

Planes from the wing helped battle the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire and the 2013 Black Forest fire, the most destructive wildfires in Colorado's history.

Jacoby said while the wing would retain the same number of aerial firefighting systems - devices inserted into the cargo bay of the C-130s to disperse retardant - the unit could lose airmen crucial to making them work.

"I want to make sure that squadrons aren't disadvantaged by loss of folks that form those crews," Jacoby said. "So, I will be talking to the Air Force about this one as soon as I get the chance."

How the cuts would impact aerial firefighting is far from clear.

The 302nd is responsible for about 40 percent of the Air Force's firefighting effort in recent years. But firefighting is a small part of the 302nd's total job, which is mainly focused on hauling cargo and passengers.

With C-130-equipped airlift wings flying an average of about 4,000 hours per year, firefighting represents a small percentage of their work. In its busiest year, 2012, the 302nd made 400 drops to control fires in 10 states, using 334 hours of flight time.

The impact of the cuts on aerial firefighting crews also is unclear. The bulk of the firefighting is carried out by squadrons in the wing that aren't on the block for cuts. The wing has said a handful of airmen in the 52nd are trained in aerial firefighting.

But those full-time airmen in the 52nd conduct most of the wing's transport and cargo missions, which could put a squeeze on its sister squadrons that do more of the firefighting.

Congress, which hasn't begun to consider the 2015 defense spending plan, must sign off on the cuts.

Udall said he'll twist arms to keep the planes and crews in Colorado Springs.

During the hearing Udall credited the air crews and other military efforts against fires and floods in the state with limiting damage and saving lives.

"Colorado owes you a great debt," Udall told Jacoby.

Jacoby said troops did a good job assisting during Colorado disasters for Northern Command, which coordinates Defense Department response to natural disasters and defends the nation from terrorist and other threats. The military had Fort Carson helicopters over the Black Forest fire shortly after it started.

But it could have been better.

"Senator we felt really good about being up in the air in an hour, but if you lost your home in that hour, that's not fast enough," Jacoby told Udall. "We to continue to refine the process."

The command plans changes in 2014 as fire season approaches. The general said he's seeking closer coordination with the federal National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

He also wants to assign Northern Command officers to fire incident command teams so firefighters have a better understanding of available military resources and faster access to them.

The military resources available will change, too, with Northern Command bringing drones to the fight in 2014.

"The old-fashioned 5,000 infantrymen with shovels and boots, we're going to add to that with bulldozers, UAVs with infrared sensors and other capabilities," Jacoby said.

With the ability to loiter above fires for long periods of time, staring down with cameras that include heat-sensing infrared capabilities, drones could help fire commanders examine the situation in real time and devise better plans to stop advancing flames.

"It's all about being to identify a requirement and answer the call of our partners as quickly as possible," Jacoby said.

District Attorney investigating Open Meetings Violation with airport name change

WICHITA, Kansas — The city has asked district attorney, Marc Bennett, to investigate a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act by its airport renaming committee. 

KSN spoke to one of those committee members tonight, who says of the two meetings he attended as part of the naming committee, no public notice was given for either one. That is the violation that D.A. Marc Bennett has been asked to investigate.

John Hennessy was on the airport’s renaming committee and was the only member who voted against the recommendation to rename Mid-Continent Airport after Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hennessy told KSN that he knew something was wrong when the committee first met.

“There was no advertisement done. It was a meeting that was not publicized in the public as far as I’m concerned, I don’t believe it was anywhere,” said Hennessy.

Hennessy says the committee met twice, once in December and once in January.

Despite his concerns about a lack of public notice for those meetings, he says he did not file a complaint with city staff.

“I was there, so I was aware of it when it was being done, and I did voice an objection but there was a 6-1 consensus already in the room about everything that we were doing so it was a waste of my time to go any further. So I thought to just let it go on,” said Hennessy.

But the city’s legal department eventually caught wind of the concern. How they did is unknown but the committee self-reported a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law.

Now the D.A. will have to investigate just how serious the violation was and whether the name change process would have to be done again.

“Certain things can be done. We can ask them to have the hearing again, but if it’s already done and action has been take, sometimes it’s too late,” said Sedgwick County District Attorney, Marc Bennett. “I’ll give you the straight lawyer’s answer: ‘It depends, depends on how things were handled.’”

It is unclear whether the city staff or the committee itself would be responsible for issuing public notice for meetings. Most of KSN’s attempts to reach city officials today went unanswered and Mayor Carl Brewer declined to comment on the situation.

Bennett’s office says there is no timetable on how long their investigation will take.

“People want to know what their government is up to,” said Bennett. “Old smoky back rooms where decisions are made, that’s not how people want their government to run.”

Another interesting piece of information is that the city council is also the airport authority in Wichita and they have to give the final approval on the name change.

As for what the D.A. can do, some of the possible consequences include up to a $500 fine for the city and training sessions for committee members or city staff.

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Etihad Regional hiring cabin crew, pilots: Airline announces leasing four ATR 72-500 aircraft

Etihad Regional on Thursday announced an agreement to lease four ATR 72-500 aircraft, which will see the carrier boost its regional fleet to 12 and support its rapidly expanding network.

Etihad Regional has already commenced crew recruitment for the four ATR 72-500s, and expects to hire a total of 40 cabin crew members to operate the new fleet type. The airline is also hiring 16 captains and 16 first-officers, bringing the airline’s total pilot count to 115.

All four aircraft are scheduled for delivery between April and June 2014, with the first touching down at Geneva International Airport on 1 April.  The airline currently operates a fleet of eight 50-seat Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft.

Etihad Regional will configure each aircraft with 68 seats. Passenger comfort will be second to none thanks to a well-designed cabin and large overhead bins.

The lease of the aircraft was arranged by Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), the world’s largest turboprop leasing company headquartered in Billund, Denmark.

The fleet announcement was made at a joint Etihad Regional-ATR media conference this morning in Lugano, and comes after the Swiss-based airline’s recent announcement of a number of new routes, several of which have already been launched.

Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Regional said: “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of our new fleet expansion program. It is part of our strategy of matching our growing network and frequency requirements with the right aircraft.

“Choosing ATR for this transaction is a logical step.  The ATR aircraft have the lowest seat-mile costs in their class, are ideally suited for regional operations, can operate in all-weather types, and have relatively low engine and airframe maintenance costs.  The ATR 72-500s are not only known for their reliability and technology but are also the top-selling turboprop aircraft on the market.”

Peter Baumgartner, Vice Chairman of Etihad Regional said: “The comfort and configuration of the new aircraft will help rejuvenate Etihad Regional’s fleet and further boost its product quality, while enabling the expansion of regional operations.

“These aircraft will allow Etihad Regional to expand the number of routes it operates, as they link key European regional towns and cities with the rest of our network, and with the hubs of Etihad Airways and its equity partners, thus being a key enabler in improving access for travellers throughout Europe.”

Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR said: “We are delighted that Etihad Regional has chosen ATR and we are excited to help support the carrier’s growth plans. With ATR 72-500, Etihad Regional will operate modern aircraft which not only offer high economic efficiency and exceptional passenger comfort, but also have minimal impact on the environment.”

Martin Møller, Chairman of NAC said: “We are delighted to be working with Etihad Regional in this period of growth for the airline and look forward to a very productive and long-term relationship.  Our large portfolio of regional aircraft combined with our knowledge and experience enabled us to quickly respond and deliver a high-quality fleet leasing solution uniquely tailored to meet the needs of Etihad Regional.”


Mozambique: Airline Crew Members Robbed At Gunpoint

Maputo — Unknown assailants on Wednesday morning attacked and robbed at gunpoint members of the crew of a Mozambique Airlines (LAM) plane as they were on their way to Maputo International Airport to begin their day's work.

Eyewitnesses cited in Thursday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said the robbery occurred at about 05.30 at a set of traffic lights on the road from the center of the city to the airport.

The Nissan Urvan, in which the LAM crew members were traveling, stopped at a red light, and was then attacked by six men armed with pistols. Two of them immobilized the driver and took the keys from the ignition. The rest of the gang took all the bags of the crew members out of the boot of the vehicle, and then made good their escape.

This is the second such incident involving airline pilots so far this year. On 15 January, an attack was reported against two pilots of the Portuguese airline TAP.

They were traveling in a taxi, which was stopped by five armed men using a pick-up truck. One of the gang entered the taxi, and forced the driver to drive to a more remote part of the city. The thieves then obliged the two pilots to hand over all the money in their wallets.

No-one has yet been arrested in connection with these thefts.


Great Bend Municipal Airport (KGBD) Kansas: Great Lakes to end air service a month early

Fate of next Essential Air Service provider remains unknown

 Cheyenne, Wyo.,-based Great Lakes Airlines notified the city this week that all of its air service at Great Bend Municipal Airport will cease at the end of this month, Airport Manager Martin Miller announced Thursday. This is one month shy of its original contract with the United States Department of Transportation. 

So, effective April 1, Great Bend will be without airline service until the next Essential Air Service order takes effect, in May of this year, Miller said. Great Lakes will, however, continue its flights from Hays to Denver. 

Both Hays and Great Bend have experienced substantial decreases in scheduled flights over the last several months. 

“We will be in a transition period with a new type of service,” Miller said. “The City Council has recommended that DOT accept a bid from SeaPort Airlines for Great Bend and we are excited about working to get more reliable air service to our area.”

But, as of now, DOT has not yet issued its order for Essential Air Service for the next two-year period, commencing May 1. The DOT’s selection of SeaPort Airlines of Portland, Ore., for Great Bend is anticipated, though not official as of yet. SeaPort will provide twice daily service to Wichita, and  once daily service to Kansas City through Salina.

The fact that the order has not been issued could delay the start of the probable SeaPort service beyond the first of May, Miller said. “We are in contact with both SeaPort and DOT.”

Under the next contracts, Hays will retain Denver service.  This allows area residents to choose either an east-bound destinations through Great Bend, or a west-bound destinations through Hays. 

This allows area residents to choose either an east-bound destination through Great Bend, or a west-bound destination through Hays, Miller said. “The City of Great Bend looks forward to sharing efforts with Hays, so that area residents have the option to fly east out of Great Bend, or west out of Hays.”

At its Jan. 6 meeting, the Great Bend City Council accepted its Essential Air Service Committee recommendation to pick SeaPort as the EAS provider. This recommendation was forwarded to the DOT which has the final say in the matter.

The USDOT sent the two proposals the city. The federal agency administers the program and will make the ultimate decision, but wanted local input first.

At the January meeting, it was noted that SeaPort offers 18 round-trip flights to Wichita each week via a nine-passenger aircraft. There is also a chance some of the flights could be through Kansas City.

The other bid came from Great Lakes. Its plan, which is similar to the current one, called for 12 round-trip flights per week to Denver via a 19-passenger plane.

Every two years, the USDOT solicits bids for EAS carriers.

There were several factors that went into the committee’s decision.

First, the current carrier wasn’t meeting city expectations. The airline canceled 22 of 48 flights in November, canceled 18 in December and has only flown limited flights so far this year.

There were other stories of poor service, passengers being stranded in airports and lost luggage.

But, some on the council supported Great Lakes and said the Federal Aviation Administration changed pilot hour requirements. This has lead to a pilot shortage for Great Lakes.

A Great Bend resident who flies out of Great Bend to Denver often spoke at the meeting as well. The frequent passenger said a flight to Wichita is “pointless” and Denver is a major hub, making for fewer layovers.

 However, during the EAS selection two years ago when Great Lakes was selected, there were also bad reports about Great Lakes. At that time, there were no FAA changes.

A city’s EAS status depends on the number of passengers and its distance from a hub. However, passenger count is the big factor, and should people stop flying Great Lakes due to the service, the city runs the risk of losing EAS.

The SeaPort bid was lower than Great Lake’s bid. It came in at $1.4 million and was $541,000 lower than Great Lakes, and the feds might look favorably on that.

Also, SeaPort uses Cessna Caravan planes which are still in production. Great Lakes flies Beechcraft 1900s which are not being made anymore, causing problems getting parts.

Other considerations were the Transportation Security Administration screening process and the proximity to other airports in the area.

Up until two years ago, Great Bend worked with four other western Kansas cities as sort of a rural air coalition  – Dodge City, Garden City, Hays and Liberal. Garden City has since sort of broken away and sought a different carrier, and Hays is doing the same thing this year.

 The city learned of the two competing proposals sort of at the last minute in late December. Mayor Mike Allison and Miller quickly formed a committee to study the matter. The goal is to have the panel in place by the end of the year and a proposal before the council this meeting.

The committee was made up of Miller, city administrators and staff members, council members, airport users and other interested individuals.

 City officials forwarded comments to the DOT by the Jan. 13 deadline.

According to the DOT, the Airline Deregulation Act, passed in 1978, gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. The EAS program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers.

This is done by subsidizing two to four round trips a day to a major hub airport. The department currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 163 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.

For more information contact Miller at 620-793-4168.


Dublin-based Star Fly takes action to recover aircraft: Austrian Globeair failed to deliver five aircraft worth more than $9m, it is claimed

A Dublin-based company has brought a legal action aimed at recovering five Cessna Citation Mustang aircraft valued at more than US$9 million leased by it to an Austrian company. 

Star Fly CJM 1 Ltd, with registered offices at Ballsbridge, Dublin, claims its lease agreements with Globeair AG, of Hoersching, Austria, which provides air charters, were validly terminated last November arising from alleged breaches by Globeair of those agreements.

Following the alleged termination, Globeair was asked to deliver up the five aircraft but has failed to do so, it is claimed.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly this week granted an application by Rossa Fanning BL, for Star Fly, to fast-track the proceedings in the Commercial Court.

In its action, Star Fly wants to recover all five aircraft, each valued at about $1.8 million, and also claims it is due sums of about €500,000 and US$400,000 under the lease agreements.


Former aviation company trustees file $7M claim

City Manager Tony O’Rourke 

 For now, officials with the city of Yakima and Yakima County are not sweating a $7 million claim filed for a wrongful eviction by Yakima Air Terminal in March 2010.  

The Langdon Family Revocable Trust, a trustee of the assets for the now-defunct M.A. West Rockies Corp., filed the claim Thursday against the two governmental entities, which co-owned the airport at the time of the lease termination.

City Manager Tony O’Rourke said he’s “not going to lose any sleep” over the claim.

“We know there is some damages involved, but they’re not $7 million,” O’Rourke said Friday.

In its claim, the trust states the $7 million in damages accounts for several wrongful actions by the airport.

The trust also states it could seek triple damages for statutory trespass, or wrongful injury or interference with the M.A. West Rockies property. With those damages, plus attorneys fees and other legal costs, the total amount could be much higher than $7 million.

Aaron Okrent, a Seattle attorney representing the Langdon Family Revocable Trust, could not be reached for comment Friday.

A claim is required before a lawsuit can be filed, but there is a case now pending in Yakima County Superior Court in which a judgment could be issued regarding damages. That one was filed by a creditor.

In December, the state Court of Appeals sent the case back to Yakima County Superior Court after it ruled that the airport improperly evicted M.A. West Rockies Corp.

The appeals court determined that the company, which operated as Noland Decoto Flying Service, paid sufficient rent for airfield access when the airport evicted the company.

The ruling reversed a June 2010 decision by now-retired Superior Court Judge James Lust that affirmed the eviction, which M.A. West Rockies appealed two months later.

The appeals court recommended payment of legal fees and financial losses that resulted from the eviction.

In January, a creditor for M.A. West Rockies filed a $3.4 million claim against the city and county.

The city of Yakima now has sole ownership of the airport, but there is an agreement with Yakima County that both entities would be responsible for paying any potential damages because they co-owned the airport at the time.

Yakima County Commissioner Rand Elliott said the city and county are working jointly with local attorney Ken Harper on the case.

“The two legal departments will look over the claim and decide a course of action,” he said.

Like O’Rourke, Elliott expressed skepticism about the claim amount.

“I think most rational folks would think that was high,” he said.

O’Rourke was more blunt.

“Anyone can claim anything,” he said. “Show me the business operating losses during that operating period. Then we’ll take it seriously.” 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

FAA considers rules to require alcohol and drug testing of foreign aircraft-repair workers

DALLAS — Aviation regulators say they're considering rules that would require alcohol and drug testing for people who work on U.S. airline planes in foreign maintenance and repair shops.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it is seeking public comments. The agency wants to know which countries allow random drug testing and which ban it, and which drugs are most abused in other countries.

Transportation workers in the U.S. are subject to drug and alcohol testing, and Congress voted in 2012 to extend the rules to foreign aircraft repair shops.

However, the FAA could run into a patchwork of international laws about drug testing, which can range from bans to greater privacy protections. In 2000, the FAA abandoned an effort to require drug testing for employees of foreign airlines that operate in the U.S.

The FAA said extending drug-testing laws overseas "presents complex practical and legal issues and could impose potentially significant costs on industry."

In recent years, U.S. airlines have shifted more maintenance work overseas. Labor unions have complained, saying that the foreign shops aren't regulated as closely as ones in the U.S.

There are about 120 foreign repair stations that work on planes flown by U.S.-based airlines, the FAA said in a Federal Register posting.

Some of those foreign facilities are represented by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, which defends the quality of foreign shops and favors an international approach to preventing drug and alcohol use among their workers.

The trade group "is not for people using drugs and alcohol when they work on aircraft," executive director Sarah MacLeod said in an interview, "but it's also not for expending resources that can be focused in other areas such as training and other more important aspects to civil aviation safety."

At a recent congressional hearing, an AFL-CIO official said that the U.S. should curb outsourcing of aircraft-repair work and provide safeguards when outsourcing is allowed.

"If you're going to repair aircraft overseas under FAA regulations, then the same rules will apply to those workers that apply here in the United States," said the union official, Edward Wytkind.


Birds Eye View Brought to Masses


Evan Anderman understood the land around him differently than most growing up. He was after all, the son of a geologist. Years later, his perspective has grown increasingly distinct and separate from the ground.

That's because he's an aerial photographer.

“I love how the cattle are just little dots like that,” said Anderman in his Cessna Turbo 206 high above the Northern Colorado landscape.

Surrounded by the majestic, and often photographed, Rocky Mountains Anderman chooses instead to focus on those ‘little dots’ and the myriad other shapes that only distance affords.

“I decided I could go up to the mountains like everybody else and take pictures up there but I kind of like solitude anyway and I like getting away from people and this is more subtle,” he said.

Anderman, like his father, became a geologist. In 2005, after nearly two decades in the field, he took that deep connection to the land and shifted course, pursuing his passion for photography. Anderman has worked full-time as an artist since.

“Yep sometimes I'll just cruise along with my elbow out the window just checking things out,” said Anderman.

His inner Sunday driver embraced, Anderman has the luxury of traveling at more than 100 miles an hour with little regard for what’s in front of him - er, below him.

“It’s hard to find any place out here that hasn't been influenced in some way by man,” Anderman said.

From Springfield, Colorado to the Pawnee Buttes, Anderman’s most recent three-part photography series focused on farmland, energy and feedlots. The aerial images collected while soaring above more than a dozen cities or towns.

“What I've been focusing on out here is that land use and what we're doing and how that might affect the land on a more permanent basis,” he said.

A cacophony of shapes and array of colors – linear, circular, serpentine, browns, blacks, and even green are the result of humankind’s overlap of the natural landscape.

Once he has identified a subject, Anderman puts the plane on autopilot seizes the camera hanging from his neck, opens the window, leans out and clicks.

That birds-eye view is something others might not experience. He said there is a definitive difference between terrestrial and aerial vantage points.

“It feels more significant when you are on the ground because [an object] is sticking up in front of the horizon where as from the air it feels like a little spot and more of the land patterns become important around it,” muses Anderman.

The result of all those shapes and spots, he said, is “a subtle beauty.”

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Federal Aviation Administration says it will increase NextGen funding in Fiscal 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration says it is increasing funding in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal for the NextGen air traffic control system, not cutting funding, as some advocates of the system have warned.

The FAA will spend just over $1 billion on NextGen in the coming fiscal year, up from $901 million in 2014, the agency said today.

NextGen will replace the current radar-based system put in place after World War II with a satellite-based tracking system akin to those on mobile phones and automobile dashboards, which will trace plane movements more precisely. While NextGen is estimated to cost at least $40 billion and take more than a decade to implement, proponents say it will improve safety, reduce delays, increase airport capacity, and cut emissions and save money by reducing fuel consumption.

A Congressional panel chaired by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (D-2nd District) held a hearing Tuesday at the FAA's Hughes Technical Center, a national testing site at Atlantic City International Airport, which touched on NextGen's implementation.

Some advocates of the system, including those who believe it will help Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports meet the region's increasing demand for air travel, used the occasion to protest what they saw as a proposed 7-percent cut in NextGen funding, from $901 million in the current fiscal year to $836 million for 2015.

But the FAA said today that was an incomplete picture of NextGen's total proposed funding, which the agency said failed to take into account additional spending on the system proposed under other FAA programs.

"The budget proposal funds Next Gen at $836 million, with an additional $186 million from the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative," the FAA stated. "This budget continues to support NextGen programs that deliver benefits to users in the near term and aligns with recent recommendations made by aviation stakeholders on the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC). The agency's new NextGen leadership has been working closely with the NAC to identify and prioritize initiatives that will accelerate delivery of benefits to users."


Cape May County (KWWD) and Millville Municipal (KMIV): Airports want to be part of drone testing

Both the Cape May Airport and Millville Airport are interested in being part of a project to test unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, over the skies of southern New Jersey.

Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey announced the county’s interest after the freeholder meeting Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, Morey attended a congressional hearing in Egg Harbor Township, where the project was discussed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a joint application by New Jersey and Virginia to be one of six national test sites chosen to integrate drones into national airspace plans. An FAA official at the hearing mentioned possible uses, including firefighting, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, border security, military training, and testing and evaluation.

“We will pursue unmanned aircraft systems for the Cape May Airport,” Morey said while giving a report on several new developments at the airport.

Although owned by the county, the airport is leased to the Delaware River & Bay Authority, and that agency also is interested in the initiative. DRBA Executive Director Scott Green said Wednesday he has been discussing the idea with Morey and U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, who chairs the House Aviation Subcommittee that held Tuesday’s hearing.

Green said it’s still “very early in the game.” The DRBA, known locally for running the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, also operates the Millville Airport as well as airports in Delaware.

Green said the airfield in Millville and the Cape May Airport, which is actually in Lower Township, could be used for testing of drones, office space, to maintain or store equipment or other aspects of the operation.

“We are always on the lookout for economic development at all our airports, especially economic development that is aviation related. It’s exactly the kind of opportunity we’re looking for,” Green said.

Green said any such project would have to meet two litmus tests: It can’t interfere with general aviation and it must be compatible with communities surrounding the airports.

Jason Galanes, a spokesman for LoBiondo, said the congressman is exploring the possibilities with Morey and the DRBA. Galanes said the first test site will be chosen in June. He noted the partnership is with Virginia, and it is a joint project with Rutgers University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. A lot of people are involved in such decisions.

“We don’t know who’s going first. We keep looking at areas in New Jersey that would want to be part of this. We’re encouraged Cape May County wants to be part of this,” Galanes said.

There could be multiple sites. Galanes said the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township is one site, with the Warren Grove area expected to be used since it already hosts military training and has restricted airspace.

Other national sites were chosen by the FAA to present different testing environments. Galanes said Alaska was chosen for its extreme terrain issues. Alaska is lumped with Hawaii and Oregon. The other sites are Nevada, North Dakota, Texas and New York.

Galanes said Cape May’s proximity to water — the ocean and Delaware Bay — could be a strong point. The Cape May Airport was a naval air station in World War II that trained torpedo bombers who practiced on dummy targets on the water. Green agreed the configuration of the Cape could help. The airport covers almost 1,000 acres and has water on three sides.

“They know our facilities are here and we’re ready to handle their business. Anybody interested in the future of airports knows new aviation businesses don’t come along very often,” Green said.

LoBiondo said the testing could provide “significant economic opportunities” for the aviation field, particularly in southern New Jersey.

“A years-long effort has been spent on putting forth the strongest application — including forming a solid working partnership with Virginia — to ensure the FAA recognized our existing assets for this project. I appreciate Governor (Chris) Christie’s unwavering support throughout the process as well as the efforts of my congressional colleagues and those working on the ground in South Jersey on our proposal,” LoBiondo said.

The first test site is expected to be operational within 180 days. The sites are scheduled to operate until February 2017.

The Hughes center will be a central clearinghouse to collect data from each of the six test sites and work to integrate drones into national airspace plans. This was mandated by the 2012 FAA Authorization Act that LoBiondo pushed for.

LoBiondo said there will be measures to protect the privacy of surrounding residents and commercial businesses. He also noted Congress continues to evaluate “further legislative options” to address civil liberty questions. Some are concerned about the potential misuses of drones. The FAA still needs to develop regulations to control commercial uses of drones.


Explorers head to S. Pacific to confirm Earhart's plane wreck

Experts say the rivets and their pattern on this plane fuselage discovered on the island match the repair records of Earhart's Lockheed Electra.

WASHINGTON - Amelia Earhart's plane disappeared in 1937 and it remains one of the world's enduring mysteries. Now, explorers are excited about new evidence that could confirm that artifacts found on a remote South Pacific island are from the wreckage of her plane.

The National Group for Historic Aircraft Recovering is making its 11th trip this coming fall to the island of Nikumaroro where increasingly, evidence of a plane crash there points to the Earhart wreck.

The TIGHAR team of archaeologists and plane crash recovery experts are going back yet again to connect the dots they know of, and experiment with new technology which could help them uncover more.

"My personal goal is to find out for sure what happened to Amelia Earhart. If there's a whole chapter of her life surviving as a castaway on a waterless Pacific atoll. We should know that," says TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie.

The collected details thus far are these: Human remains were found on the island three years after Earhart's plane disappeared that are believed to be a woman's. There is a piece of plane fuselage that the team's director believes washed up on shore many years ago which has rivet marks that match repair records of Earhart's Lockheed Electra. Finally, campsite artifacts recovered on the island date to the 1930's and were manufactured in America.

Some of those items were a women's compact and freckle-cream jar manufactured in the U.S. around that decade.

"The fact that we have artifacts from the '30s from America on this island doesn't mean they were Earhart's, but if they're not Earhart's we've got to ask, 'Whose were they?'," says archaeologist Thomas King.

He is concerned with preserving whatever the team finds on the island or around its reef slope. He pointed specifically to any remnants of the plane, which was aluminum, submerged for this long would be particularly difficult to bring back for lab testing.

"I've seen aluminum come out of salt water after 40, 50 years and practically explode. It just has a very dramatic oxidation. So you really want to be very careful and anything we find is going to have to be either left down there or brought into a controlled environment very quickly," King says.

The island of Nikumaroro is uninhabited, very hot and full of wildlife, Gillespie says. The group is looking for sponsorship and funding, even reserving four spots for individuals who want to pay to experience the exploration first-hand.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fire destroys small plane, car kept in Aloha barn - Oregon

A car and single engine plane were among the items torched when the barn they were stored inside caught on fire Monday, according to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters responded about 2:20 p.m. to the  21700 block of Southwest Murphy Lane and found the barn engulfed, said Pete Scott, a Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue spokesman. No one was injured and the flames were soon extinguished.

The barn was heavily damaged and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Cape Girardeau Airport Advisory Board has an air show to organize and little time to do it

Organizing for the upcoming air festival -- which is back on after a cancellation just weeks ago -- became the chief topic of conversation Tuesday night at the Cape Girardeau Airport Advisory Board meeting.

In February, the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport announced it had canceled the annual air show after the headlining act, the Canadian Snowbirds, backed out because of budget cuts.

Last week, airport manager Bruce Loy announced the show was back on after a representative for the act called and informed him they would be able to perform.

At the meeting, board members expressed concern that making the announcement a little more than two months before the show might leave them short on sponsors and volunteers.

Loy told the board he had to make a quick decision after receiving the phone call, and said he agreed to the Snowbirds' offer because he felt confident the airport still could put on a quality show.

"It was going to be very difficult to turn down what I believe to be such a great opportunity for the community," he told the board. "Of course, we have to be levelheaded [about scheduling]."

Loy said the event lost one act that committed to another show after the cancellation. However, they still have about 10 acts booked for the two-day festival. Some are returning from last year; others are new acts Loy said expressed interest in performing in the past. He said the whole show is expected to last 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

All of the "primary volunteers" that played large roles in organizing last year's event also agreed to return, he said, but the event still hopes to recruit more help.

The main issues that concerned Loy and the board were attendance and sponsorships. They expect attendance numbers to slightly decline this year.

Because the show will be hosted in May, rather than June, it could conflict with graduations. Coupled with the limited time to advertise and the confusion about the sudden return of the event, Loy said he "scaled back" his estimates for attendance this year.

Board members suggested making special appearances at other local events hosted in early May to help spread the word. Loy said he hoped to organize a "flyover" when the Snowbirds arrived in Cape Girardeau so the town could catch a glimpse of what they could expect at the show.

The Snowbirds will practice the day before the show, which Loy said will allow people to see them practice their routines of tight formations and close-encounter crossovers.

Those interested in volunteering for the event may call 334-6230. The first volunteer meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday at Sandy's Place restaurant in the airport terminal. The air festival will be May 17 and 18. 


Aviators battle president's user fee tax proposal

Wichita, Kan. -- At a time when Wichita's general aviation industry struggles to regain its former altitude, aviators are concerned the Obama administration wants to saddle it with a $100 per flight user fee tax. 

Aviation support organizations including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association are working to keep the user fee from becoming law.

AOPA President Mark Baker speaking at the Wichita Aero Club Tuesday says, "User fees, once again. I don't know if this will ever go away." Baker has seen it come up in previous budgets only to be defeated.

The proposal would levy a $100 fee for each take-off.

Baker asks, "Why do you want to go put more burden on a really distressed industry?"

Baker is concerned another tax will make it even more difficult to get more people interested in general aviation flying.

Aviators ask why fix what they say isn't broken.

Walter Berry, President of Berry Companies and owner of a Cessna Citation Mustang says, "We have a user fee. It's in the fuel prices. It's a system that works well."

The aviation fuel tax supports government aviation programs similar to the gasoline tax motorists pay to help fund highways.

Jeffrey Peier, an attorney with Klenda Austerman, arranges airplane financing for airplane buyers.

Peier says, "I think it would be a big drag on the industry if we had user fees come into play. Much of the cost is built into fuel pricing."

Berry says, "We're paying for the system now and I think that system is working well. And if it's not working then maybe we should be talking about what should be the proper tax per gallon."

Baker believes it will be defeated again saying, "The user fee will be fought back into its proper box, put the lid on it one more time."

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Tax-free zone could lift Colorado Springs Airport

The owner of Rampart Aviation could bring 60 jobs to the Colorado Springs Airport this year.

Or he could take those jobs to the Pueblo Airport, or Centennial Airport in Denver or a number of other airports throughout the country.

On Monday, Rampart owner Tony Porterfield stood between the wings of the WWII B-25 Mitchell bomber and a Grumman Avenger fighter plane inside the city's National Museum of World War II Aviation, telling his audience that whether he moves those jobs to the Springs Airport will depend largely on the City Council's decision to create, or not create, a Commercial Aeronautical Zone around the airport.

The zone would eliminate all city sales and use taxes on airplanes, aviation equipment, supplies, tools and other items used to maintain, service and rebuild or repair general aviation aircraft.

Porterfield came to Colorado Springs with the Army in 1997. He moved his first company, NEK Advanced Securities Group, to the Springs from New Mexico in 2006. Porterfield started Rampart Aviation outside Raleigh, N.C., in 2008.

Now, he wants to bring his company home instead of operating it from 2,000 miles away. But other airports are competing for Porterfield's company, which performs oil exploration and military flight services.

"I live here. It's my home," Porterfield said. "But just because I live here doesn't mean I can bring my business here if it doesn't make financial sense."

Porterfield's thoughts were echoed by Britt Ham, president and chief executive officer of Trine Aerospace & Defense Co.

Trine is an aircraft engineering and modification subcontractor for Boeing, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, and others. The company rents 35,000 square feet of hangar and office space inside the Colorado Springs Business Air Park off Taxi Way.

Trine officials want to add 80 to 100 employees who would work in a 60,000-square-foot building that the company wants to construct on the airport's west side.

Creating the tax-free zone around the airport would help Trine accomplish that goal by saving them a significant amount just in the first year. Ham said eliminating the city's sales and use tax around the airport would help Trine "become serious about the expansion."

"The extra space will enable them to expand their current business and fulfill their goal of building a new, world-class Fixed Base Operator on the airport," wrote Roy Clenna, who heads the investor group that brought Trine to Colorado Springs. A Fixed Based Operator provides fuel, maintenance and other services to aircraft.

Colorado Springs is one of few cities left in the nation that charges a sales and use tax at its midsize airport, city aviation officials have said. The tax has been on the books quite a while, but the city only began to enforce it in 2009, said Dick Janitell, who operates the J.H.W. hangar complex that houses and stores aircraft. He said the city's sudden enforcement drove away 20 percent of his hangar business when pilots began to store their aircraft elsewhere.

"We lost a flight school, and avionics shop and two maintenance shops," he said. "In all, we lost around $190,000 in rents from 2010 to 2012."

City Council President Keith King hopes he can attract some of those lost businesses as well as new businesses to the Springs as he works to persuade council members to pass an ordinance to create the airport's tax-free zone. King introduced the proposal to council members at their informal meeting Monday. A final vote on the measure could come in early April.

"This (ordinance) will make us competitive again," King said, "and give us the opportunity to do something with airport that we have not been able to do."

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Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field (KAGS), Augusta, Georgia

Augusta is looking for a new airport director  

Augusta, Ga (WRDW)----The search is on to find a new airport director for Augusta Regional. The current one says he wants to let his contract run out. 

The Aviation Commission is already looking for his replacement. Augusta Commissioners are getting involved.

"It's hard for me to understand why anyone would get a $10,000 raise at one time," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.

Airport Director Gary Letellier is the highest paid in Augusta Richmond County. He makes around $160,000 after a $10,000 raise last month.

"If you want to be progressive and move forward. You have to have someone with the skill set that Gary has and then you have to pay them," said Aviation Commission Member Cedric Johnson.

Just last year, commissioners stopped just short of giving city employees a $1,500 raise. "The message to the other 2700 employees is damaging," said Smith.

Commissioner Donnie Smith wants to do something about it. Lettier is retiring soon and the Aviation Commission is looking for his replacement. smith wants the Augusta Commission to have the last word over the new contract which always has belonged to the Aviation Commission.

"The Airport Commission will recommend that and the Augusta Commission will have the final sat because we own the airport," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.

"The main thing is since we concentrate really on the airport. We have a better hands on feel of what needs to be done and how it needs to be done," said Johnson.

The Aviation Commission is made up of 12 members who are all appointed. They manage the airport on an enterprise fund that receives no local tax dollars. Meaning they generate what they spend. Their budget is between $40 to $45 million.

"Simply because you have money in the enterprise fund doesn't necessarily mean it's right," said

Reports show since Letellier took over airport ridership and revenue has increased. We're told he brought in more parking and a new runway ramp. Regardless his flight is heading out of town while some commissioners continue to chart the course on how to give other employees a raise as well.

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Helicopter Rule Changes Concern East Hampton

The Federal Aviation Administration has published a new helicopter rule that could have serious implications on the air traffic approaching and leaving East Hampton airport.

On March 4, the FAA issued a new final rule, effective May 5, that would add a new category of helicopters, classified as “Stage 3,” which meet certain noise standards. Helicopters that are currently certified as Stage 1 or Stage 2 helicopters could be reclassified as Stage 3 helicopters if they are upgraded with quieter components.

According to the FAA, “these more stringent noise certification standards adopted into U.S. regulations will reduce noise exposure from helicopters certified in the United States and are consistent with the FAA’s goal of harmonizing U.S. regulations with international standards.”

While this at first blush may sound promising, East Hampton residents are concerned because, once helicopters are classified as Stage 3, the town will no longer have local control in regulating those helicopters’ use of the airport, unless the town decides to stop taking grant money from the FAA.

“This new rule is enormously significant for the Town of East Hampton,”  said Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the town board liaison to the airport, in a press release issued Monday. “For years, the town has been advised that it could restrict operations on Stage 1 and 2 helicopters without FAA approval…. Under the Airport Noise and Capacity Act and Part 161 of the FAA regulations, grant obligated airports can restrict operations by Stage 3 aircraft or helicopters only with FAA approval. With this new rule, the FAA has now imposed an additional hurdle for grant-obligated airports.”

Advocates for local control of the airport have long been pushing the town to not take any more FAA money for upgrades to the airport, since money the airport has taken from the FAA in the past dictates whether the town has control over limiting the aircraft that can fly into East Hampton. If the town opts to not take any more FAA money, these so-called “grant assurances” are slated to expire at the end of this year.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said the two recently appointed sub-committees of the Airport Planning Committee, comprised of noise abatement advocates and members of the aviation community,  are embarking on a study of the airport’s operations, noise data and complaints ”so that the town can narrowly define the noise problem for the purpose of identifying potential methods to address it.”

“Upon completion of the proposed noise analysis, the town will be considering a range of options related to possible restrictions on helicopters as well as fixed-wing aircraft,” she said. “As the town considers whether to remain grant obligated after December 31, 2014…. the latest FAA rule will be a significant consideration.”

Kathy Cunningham of Quiet Skies Long Island warned the town board last November that the changes to the helicopter regulations were afoot, but then-airport liaison and councilman Dominick Stanzione asked her to wait until the new board took office in January to deal with it.

“This makes it ever more urgent that we not accept FAA funding,” she said at the time.

At last Thursday’s town board meeting, Ms. Cunningham praised the new board’s efforts.

“I’d like to thank Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez for taking control with both hands and doing great work. I’m very happy to be a part of it,” she said.

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Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field (KHUF), Indiana

Possible bookkeeping 'abnormalities' under scrutiny at TH airport 

TERRE HAUTE — State authorities are investigating possible “bookkeeping abnormalities” at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

Airport officials found evidence of “what looks like some, inappropriate bookkeeping” and immediately contacted the Indiana State Board of Accounts and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office, stated Bill Foraker, interim director of the airport.

The SBA then contacted the Indiana State Police and an investigation is currently under way, Foraker told the Tribune-Star when contacted today. The investigation, which involves the use of a state forensic accountant, is likely to last a month or two, he said.

Forensic accounting uses investigative techniques, the results of which can be utilized in court.

“The matter has been turned over to investigators at the federal, state and local levels for in-depth investigation and audit of all [Terre Haute International Airport] funds,” the airport said in a written statement issued later today.

When asked whether anyone at the airport was on suspension as a result of the investigation, Foraker said one employee in the financial management section of the airport is no longer employed at the facility.

The possible irregulatories were uncovered on Feb. 19, the airport said in its statement.

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Airport Finances Being Looked At

Financial records at the Terre Haute Airport are being scrutinized by state authorities.

The Trib Star reports that airport officials found evidence on February 19th of “what looks like some, inappropriate bookkeeping” and now the Indiana State Board of Accounts and Indiana State Police are investigating.

The investigation could take up to two months.

One employee in the financial department of the airport is no longer employed at the facility.


Retired police helicopter captain gets a special airborne tour of Kansas City

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A retired Kansas City police officer got a pretty cool homecoming, and a chance to fly in a state-of-the-art police chopper. 

Back in 1968 Captain Jack Brady was on the cutting edge when he dreamed that Kansas City police should add a helicopter to the force, and back then he had his detractors.

He was the first to suggest that the department buy several Hughes Helicopters from a company in California. At the time one commanding officer told him it would never work.

Now, police departments in most metro cities have choppers. In fact Kansas City bought three last year.

One month before he turns 88 years old, Captain Brady came back to the city’s helicopter hangar for a special flight.

Captain Brady could likely talk about helicopters all day and night since they’ve been such a big part of his life. And the year 1968 doesn’t seem so long ago to him. Pilots with the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department credit the captain for helping start its helicopter unit, long before some of them were even alive.

Captain Brady finished his 28 years with the department back in 1980, and on Monday he re-introduced himself to the flying force by driving up to the hangar and asking for a tour.

“I’m ready, and I can fly one of ‘em too,” said Captain Brady.

Police did him one better. They took him for a ride as a passenger and flew high over the metro.

“Several cities had fixed wing. But helicopters were comparatively new. Some cities had helicopters, but they cost so much money. Kansas City, or anybody like that, couldn’t afford them,” said Captain Brady.

Captain Brady scouted choppers in California and helped fly the department’s first series of choppers home to Kansas City. By late 1960′s standards $300,000 for each helicopter was considered a big expense, but the bird he flew in on Monday?

“These are about three million dollars apiece,” said Captain Kevin O’Sullivan with the KCPD’s helicopter unit.

Captain Brady’s 20 minute flight took him all around the city. Current officers and family members say it served as a reward for a life’s work dedicated to innovation in police work.

“He loved the idea of it. Kansas City had none, but larger cities were starting to get them. He wanted to get them, and he loved flying anyway,” said Kelly Summers, Captain Brady’s daughter.

“It eventually would have happened, but for Kansas City to be on the forefront of it is a pretty exciting thing,” said Captain O’Sullivan.

“I have a lot of pride in the police department,” said Captain Brady. “I’ll straighten some of you young guys out once in a while too.”

Kansas City police say Captain Brady worked with the military to get the city its choppers back in 1968. He also played a key role in starting the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, which now has more than 3,000 members across the country.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Pilots from around the country enjoy Alton Bay ice: Alton Bay Seaplane Base (B18), New Hampshire

ALTON — Every winter, when the surface of Alton Bay freezes into thick ice, an airport is reborn.

The Alton Bay Airport, an airstrip on the ice of Lake Winnipesaukee, is owned and operated by the state. Airport Manager Paul Larochelle and his staff maintain the 2,600-foot runway, keeping it plowed and smooth for single-engine planes, the largest planes (aside from seaplanes) allowed to land.

There are very few local people using the airport, which has quietly been operating on the lower end of Lake Winnipesaukee since the late 1960s, Larochelle said.

It's mostly used by aviation enthusiasts from the region and around the country, most of whom enjoy landing on the ice and wandering around the Alton Bay ice, where two dozen or so airplanes park on any given weekend day.

"The airport is a novelty," Larochelle said. "It's the only airport like this in the country, and people really enjoy landing here."

On Saturday afternoon, planes were landing at the rate of about five an hour, which is not unusual, he said.

The airport aids the local economy by bringing new customers to town. Residents and the aviation enthusiast community know the airport well, but most people in the area and in the state don't know much about it, airport workers said.

On Saturday, the ice at the airport was busy with pilots and locals milling about, enjoying the parade of planes coming and going. The ice was almost as busy as it had been on the north end of the lake in Meredith in February, when thousands flocked to a fishing derby and a pond hockey tournament.

"A lot of people in the area don't know about (the airport)," Larochelle said. "But everyone here loves it."

"It's a really nice little airport, and landing on the ice is really fun," said Kim Brown of Hampton Falls, whose plane crashed at the airport Saturday.

Chris Clayton of Emerson Aviation in Gilford said the airport is a favorite for pilots.

"It's really beautiful here, everyone loves flying here," he said.

The airport is a registered seaplane base, Larochelle said.

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Cirrus SR22, N883JP: Alton Bay Ice Runway/Alton Bay Seaplane Base (B18), New Hampshire

Small plane skids off runway on Alton Bay: Pane landing on ice runway veers into snowbank

ALTON, N.H. —A small plane crashed into a snowbank Monday on Alton Bay, but no one was injured. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Cirrus aircraft veered off the end of the runway on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee.

The FAA said there were three people on board, and no injuries were reported.

The aircraft left from Lawrence Municipal Airport in Massachusetts.

Another small plane crashed on the runway over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, the wing of a single-engine experimental plane clipped a snowbank and spun out of control.   The pilot was the only person on board and was uninjured.

The Alton Bay Ice Runway is operational in the winter when the lake is frozen over.

 Officials said the runway is safe for planes to land.

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Chicago-bound Air India flight suffers snag, back to Delhi 6 hours after take-off

NEW DELHI: A Chicago-bound Boeing 777 of Air India on Monday returned to Delhi six hours after taking off from IGI airport as the aircraft suffered a transponder failure just when it was about to cross Afghanistan. The flight, AI 127 with 313 passengers and 16 crew members, had flown for about three hours out of India when the transponder failed.

The pilot then had to return to Delhi as an aircraft cannot enter Europe without a working transponder. The aircraft was a Boeing 777-300 ER (extended range).

"The plane returned to Delhi safely. Passengers will be sent to Chicago after a while as the crew duty time limitation kicked in. We are trying to make alternate arrangements at the earliest," said an AI official.

Transponder plays several crucial roles: it gives a collision warning to the pilot if another aircraft gets too close for comfort; pilots can use it to send distress signal discreetly to ATC and finally, it gives all details of the aircraft on the blips that appear on ATC radars. The emergency situations that transponders are used to warn ground controllers about are communication failure, hijack and any other emergency.

Transponder is the primary means for ground radar to identify an aircraft so that radar controller knows the position, altitude and speed of an aircraft. Apart from safety issues, failure of transponder means that in a busy airport an unidentified blip causes confusion and ATCs have to contact the aircraft.

In the past few months, Boeing's Dreamliners have been suffering transponder failures and AI has taken this issue up with the US aircraft major.

Before Monday's transponder failure, an AI Dreamliner too had suffered the same problem over Afghanistan about a fortnight back. 

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Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (KCGI), Missouri

Cape air show back on after team commits to participate

Cape Girardeau will have an air show this year after all.

In February, Cape Girardeau Regional Airport manager Bruce Loy announced the airport had canceled its annual air show after the headliner, the Canadian Snowbirds, pulled out, citing budget cuts.

On Friday, he announced the show is back on, thanks to a call from the Snowbirds.

The Royal Canadian Forces' demonstration jet team had canceled all U.S. appearances this year, but Loy said Friday a Snowbirds representative had contacted him to ask whether he still would be interested in having the show if the team committed to be there.

"I said, 'Of course I'm interested. I've just got to see if my performers are still there and my volunteers are still there,'" Loy said.

He said he is eager for the community to see the Canadian Snowbirds, which fly formations using nine aircraft.

"I really did not want to turn them down, particularly because they're just a fantastic show," Loy said.

The hiccup cost organizers several weeks of planning, but Loy said they should make up for lost time.

"We lost a month and a half of some of the preplanning. We were pretty far ahead, so that did help," he said.

Loy could use more help. He said he is seeking additional sponsors for the show, and he would appreciate more volunteers as well.

Loy said anyone who would like to volunteer can attend the first meeting, set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Sandy's Place restaurant in the airport terminal.

Those interested in sponsoring the show or serving as volunteers can call 334-6230 for more information.

The air show is set for May 17 and 18.


Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), New Jersey

Officials: Cargo carriers could boost jobs at Atlantic City Airport 

Atlantic City International Airport’s growth strategy has focused primarily on attracting more airline service, but a new element is emerging — packages, as well as passengers.

There are no cargo carriers serving the airport; UPS, FedEx, DHL and other air-freight companies simply don’t fly here. And the prospects of having them land at Atlantic City International any time soon are unclear.

But cargo carriers are highly coveted. Airport supporters argue that cargo operators may be just as prized as passenger airlines because of the jobs and economic development they could bring to the region.

“I don’t think there is anything more important to the county and the region than the expansion of the airport and the creation of jobs,” said Absecon Mayor John Armstrong, one of the area’s leading proponents of air-cargo operations.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which took over operation of Atlantic City International in July, said it is in talks with cargo carriers and related companies, but did not name them. Those discussions are going on simultaneously with the authority’s efforts to draw new passenger air service.

“The Port Authority’s mission at Atlantic City International Airport is primarily to increase the number of commercial-passenger air carriers. Such efforts, however, also boost cargo operations, since the majority of air cargo currently moves in the holds of passenger aircraft,” agency spokesman Ron Marsico said in a statement.

Marsico said the talks include not just the possibility of cargo operators flying here but having shipping companies develop new facilities on the airport grounds.

Airport backers assert that cargo carriers and shipping companies are absolutely key to Atlantic City International’s growth. They believe the region’s casino-dominated economy could be diversified if cargo carriers establish a home base here.

Armstrong maintained that thousands of job losses in the casino industry in recent years have created an economic crisis. He sees the airport’s development as offering the greatest chance for a turnaround.

“We are in a depression in this area — not a recession, a depression,” he said. “It’s independent of the national economy. I think that the best and perhaps only realistic opportunity to generate new jobs, reasonably good-paying jobs, is through the utilization of the airport.”

Some planning has begun. An updated version of the airport’s 2010 master plan envisions a 20-acre site on the airfield to accommodate cargo carriers and a freight-handling facility. The area would handle as many as five large cargo planes, such as the ones used by the major freight carriers. But the project remains on the drawing board while Atlantic City International awaits the arrival of the cargo companies.

Industrial parks in Absecon and other Atlantic County communities surrounding the airport — located 10 miles west of Atlantic City in Egg Harbor Township — could provide the land and infrastructure to support cargo operations, Armstrong said.

Also working in the airport’s favor is a centralized location and a well-developed highway network that would serve the cargo companies well once their planes land and packages are transferred to trucks for final shipment, one state lawmaker said.

“The cargo capitalizes on the location of the airport, sort of in the center of the East Coast megalopolis,” said Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. “If you fly to Atlantic City, you’re in the middle of New York, Washington, D.C., and Philly.”

Whelan encouraged the Port Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the airport’s owner, to aggressively pursue cargo carriers instead of spending too much time and energy on courting passenger airlines.

“I think you have a better chance of landing cargo carriers than the traditional passenger ones,” Whelan said. “I’d love to be wrong about domestic flights coming, but I don’t see anything showing me success there.”

Prior to taking over Atlantic City International’s operations last year, the Port Authority commissioned a $3 million consulting study to gauge the potential for new air service and cargo operations. QED Airport & Aviation Consultants, in a 58-page report, recommended air cargo as a new source of airport revenue, although most of its findings focused on the benefits of more airline service.

Spirit Airlines is currently the airport’s only scheduled carrier. However, the Port Authority has signed up United Airlines for daily service to Atlantic City from its Chicago and Houston hubs beginning April 1.

The airport’s growth is a crucial part of Gov. Chris Christie’s five-year initiative to boost Atlantic City tourism. The governor wants to revive the casino industry by attracting more conventioneers and overnight visitors. Under the plan, the day-tripping gamblers who have been lost to competing casino markets in surrounding states would be replaced by visitors who fly to Atlantic City and stay a few nights.

While debate continues on the likelihood of that strategy succeeding in coming years, some are pushing for an immediate lift to the local economy. Armstrong bluntly said, “We’re desperate here.”

“We don’t have a lot of time,” he continued. “We need more jobs. It’s got to be related to that airport. That’s all we’ve got, and it’s a lot.”

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Cessna 120, N76856: Fatal accident occurred March 09, 2014 in Carson City, Nevada

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Carson City, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N76856
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

The owner/pilot regularly made roundtrip flights between his home airport and another airport located about 25 miles to the northwest. A north-south mountain range, with peaks ranging between 8,300 and 9,400 ft above mean sea level (msl), separated the two airports. Due to the limited climb capability of the airplane, on each leg, the pilot would climb parallel to the mountain range until he gained sufficient altitude and then turn to cross the range. Thus, the pilot’s normal westbound (outbound) crossing segment was situated well north of his eastbound (return) crossing segment. The pilot typically crossed the mountain range at an altitude of 8,500 to 9,000 ft msl, which provided limited terrain clearance.

After successfully completing the outbound trip in the morning, the pilot departed on the 30-minute return trip in the late afternoon likely about 1 hour before sunset. The pilot did not return home, and the airplane was reported missing on the following day about the same time that another pilot who was overflying the mountain range spotted the wreckage. The accident site was located at an elevation of about 6,200 ft msl about 7 miles north of the pilot’s normal return trip crossing location, likely indicating that the pilot had turned early to cross the mountain range. Examination of the accident site indicated that the airplane impacted a hillside in a steep descent with a nose-down attitude. The airplane heading at the time of impact was about opposite of that required for the intended flight. 

The impact trajectory and attitude, airplane heading, and accident location are consistent with the airplane exceeding the critical angle of attack and entering an aerodynamic stall during the pilot’s execution of a course reversal turn. It is unknown why the pilot attempted to cross the mountain range at a different location than the one he normally used. It is possible that he turned early in order to cross before nightfall. Because he made the attempt to cross significantly closer to the departure airport than normal, there was a reduced amount of time and distance for the airplane to climb to an altitude sufficient to clear the mountain range. 

Propeller damage signatures indicated that the engine was developing power at the time of impact. Except for the engine primer handle, which was found in the unlocked and partially extended position, no pre-impact mechanical anomalies or deficiencies were noted with the engine or airframe. If the engine primer was unlocked during the flight, the engine would likely have been running rich, possibly resulting in reduced power and climb capability. However, the investigation was unable to determine whether the engine primer was unlocked during the flight or became unlocked during the accident sequence. A pilot report from earlier in the day indicated turbulence and downdrafts in the vicinity, which, if present during the accident flight, could have reduced the airplane’s ability to clear rising terrain.

The premature eastbound turn, possibly in combination with reduced climb capability due to reduced engine power, downdrafts, or both, placed the airplane in a situation that prevented a successful crossing and that the pilot failed to respond to until it was too late to escape. The pilot’s decision to reverse course may have been delayed because he had made many previous successful crossings and had a habit of crossing the range with limited terrain clearance. The delayed decision resulted in the pilot attempting the course-reversal turn without sufficient airplane performance capability to successfully complete it.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s delayed decision to initiate a course-reversal turn when the airplane was unable to attain sufficient altitude to cross a mountain range, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and entering an aerodynamic stall during the turn. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s selection, for undetermined reasons, of a route different than his normal route.

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Carson City, NV
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N76856
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 March 9, 2014, about 1500 Pacific daylight time, the wreckage of a Cessna 120, N76856, was noticed by a pilot overflying mountainous terrain about 6 miles southeast of Carson City airport (CXP), Carson City, Nevada. The pilot notified the Carson City Sheriffs Office, and a ground team accessed the wreckage about 1600 that same day. They determined the identity of the airplane, and that the sole person on board had received fatal injuries. That person was subsequently identified as a private pilot who was the registered owner of the airplane. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight. Neither the day or time of the departure, nor the day or time of the accident, were able to be determined with certainty. 

According to the pilot's girlfriend, the airplane was based at Farias Wheel airport (NV33) Smith Valley, Nevada, and the pilot had flown to CXP on March 8 for some shopping errands. The girlfriend's last communication from the pilot was a text message from him at 1538 on March 8. Because the pilot occasionally remained overnight at CXP, his girlfriend did not report the airplane missing until the next day, March 9, at about the same time that the overflying pilot spotted the wreckage.

On scene and subsequent examination of the wreckage revealed that airplane damage and ground scars were consistent with a steeply-descending flight path in a steep nose-down attitude, and that the engine was developing power at the time of impact.


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot, age 59, held a flight instructor certificate with single and multi-engine, instrument airplane, ratings. His most recent flight review was completed in April 2013, and his most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in November 2013. His most recent pilot logbook entry was dated March 2, 2014. Review of his logbook entries indicated that as of that date, the pilot had accumulated a total flight experience of 4,907.2 hours, including about 3,150 hours in single-engine airplanes.


According to FAA information, the high-wing, taildragger-configuration airplane was manufactured in 1946. It was equipped with a Continental Motors C-85 series engine with a rated output of 85 horsepower. The airplane was purchased by the pilot in June 2012.

The maintenance records indicated that the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 2, 2013, when the airplane had a total time (TT) in service of 5,492.27 hours and an unspecified hour meter indicated 3,599.66 hours. Review of the available records did not indicate any unusual or uncorrected items.

The airplane was not equipped with a stall warning system or any navigation radios. A partially completed FAA Form 337, filed with the FAA records division in Oklahoma City, indicated that seats from a Cessna 150 were installed in the airplane in 1987, but that installation was not properly approved by the FAA. There was no evidence consistent with those seats adversely affecting either the flight, or the survivability aspects of the accident.

At the time of the accident, the pilot had the airplane for sale, and several advertisement postings for the airplane were located in the airplane and on the internet.


The date and time of the accident were not able to be positively established. The CXP conditions from local noon to sunset on March 8 included clear skies, with winds from the east at 10 knots or below. Temperatures during that period ranged between 10 and 17 degrees C.

A Pilatus PC-7 pilot reported that about 1245 on March 8, while inbound to CXP in the vicinity of the accident site, and at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground, he encountered turbulence conditions that were "really bumpy," as well as a significant up- and down- draft.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, sunset at the accident site occurred at 1759 on March 8.


Review of advertisement information for the airplane, and discussions with the pilot's girlfriend, indicated that the airplane was not equipped with any navigation aids except a compass. Two closed, expired San Francisco sectional navigation charts, whose coverage area includes CXP and NV33, were recovered in the wreckage.


There were no known radio communications to or from the airplane during the accident flight.


According to FAA Airport/Facilities Directory information, the departure airport (CXP) was equipped with a single paved runway, designated 9/27, and airport elevation was 4,705 feet above mean sea level (msl). The airport was not equipped with an air traffic control tower (ATCT). A dedicated Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) was specified for radio communications use by arriving and departing aircraft. The CTAF communications were not recorded.

NV33 was situated at an elevation of 4,848 feet msl. The airport was not equipped with an ATCT.

CXP was located about 25 miles northwest of NV33. A north-south mountain range, with peaks ranging between approximately 8,300 and 9,400 feet msl, was situated between, and separated, the two airports. That range extended continuously from south of NV33 to north of CXP.


The impact site was at an elevation of about 6,200 feet msl, 6 miles, on a magnetic bearing of 131 degrees, from CXP. The site was near the eastern (higher, narrower) end of an approximately east-west valley in the mountain range that separated the origin and destination airports; the valley widened and descended to the west. Terrain to the north, east, and south of the accident site was all higher than the impact site. The surrounding terrain was mostly covered by vegetation, with a mix of trees and low scrub. The wreckage was situated on a partially-vegetated sandy slope, with an incline of about 30 degrees, and a downslope direction of 160 degrees magnetic.

The wreckage was tightly contained, and the airplane orientation was right side up. The fuselage was aligned on a magnetic heading of about 312 degrees, which was essentially opposite the heading required for a flight directly to the pilot's home airport, his presumed destination. All major components were accounted for at accident site.

The airplane was constructed with an all-metal fuselage, with fabric-covered wings and empennage. The fuselage was extensively crushed in the up and aft direction until just aft of cabin. The engine intruded aft into the cabin/cockpit, and the instrument panel was severely deformed. The occupiable volume of the forward cockpit had been reduced to about 40 percent of its original value. First responders reported that the pilot had to be cut out of his four-point restraint system; all buckles/ends were secured. There was no evidence of airplane rotation (spin) at impact. There was no structural damage to the tailcone/aft fuselage or the empennage.

Both wings remained partially attached to the fuselage. Although still attached to the airplane, the left wing was also entangled in a tree that remained standing, and which was only slightly damaged. The tree damage signatures were consistent with a 50- to 70-degree airplane descent trajectory. The right wing leading edge was crushed aft along its full span. All flight controls remained fully attached to their respective airfoils, except for a portion of the right aileron; that separation was consistent with impact damage. Exclusive of impact damage, flight control continuity was confirmed for each control surface. The elevator trim tab was found in the neutral/faired position

The cockpit fuel/engine primer handle was found in its unlocked and partially extended position, and the FAA inspector who conducted the initial on-scene survey indicated that he had observed it in that condition prior to the recovery of the pilot. The investigation was unable to determine whether the primer was unlocked during the flight, or had become unlocked during the impact sequence. The primer handle was free to move, and could be stowed in its locked position. The primer line was routed to a single jet in the intake manifold, immediately downstream of the carburetor.

Both fuel tanks contained fuel, and both fuel caps were found securely installed. The fuel tested negative for water. The fuel selector valve was found set to the left tank, and found to be unobstructed. Airplane damage precluded full assessment of the fuel system integrity, but no evidence of any pre-impact leaks or other mechanical abnormalities was observed.

Examination of the engine did not reveal any non-impact related evidence of catastrophic failure or other anomalies. The crankshaft was able to be rotated by hand; thumb compression was observed on all four cylinders, and continuity of the valve train was verified. Magneto impulse coupling activation was audible when the crankshaft was rotated, and sparks were observed on all eight ignition leads.

The all-metal, two-blade propeller remained attached to the engine, and the engine remained attached to the airframe. The propeller was almost completely buried in the sandy slope, and bore significant chordwise scouring of its paint. One blade exhibited aft bending and twisting, and the other blade exhibited light "S" bending from mid-span to the tip. All propeller signatures were consistent with powered rotation when the propeller contacted the sand.


The Washoe County (NV) Medical Examiner's Office conducted the autopsy on the pilot, and determined that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) conducted forensic toxicology examinations on specimens from the pilot, and reported that no carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol was detected. The only screened drug that was detected was Doxylamine, in the liver and blood. Doxylamine is an over-the-counter antihistamine marketed as NyQuil, and is used in the treatment of the common cold and hay fever. It is also marketed as Unisom, as a sleep aid. The medication is sold with warnings that it may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or "operating heavy machinery."

The medication has a half life of about 6 to 12 hours, and therapeutic levels are considered to be between 0.05 and 0.15 percent. The level of drug detected in the liver was not reported; the reported level in the blood was 0.14 percent. CAMI reported that post-mortem blood levels were not necessarily indicative of ante-mortem values, which could be lower or higher.

According to the pilot's girlfriend, it was possible that he took a particular brand of 50mg sleep aid containing Doxylamine about 2100 or 2200 on the evening of March 7. She reported that he preferred that brand because it "didn't make him groggy the following morning."


Date and Time of Accident

Several information sources were utilized in an unsuccessful attempt to positively establish the date and time of the accident. Searches of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radio communications and radar data did not reveal any evidence of the accident flight. A non-NTSB examination of Fallon Naval Air Station (NFL) Fallon, Nevada, radar target data did not yield any targets that could be associated with the accident flight.

A receipt from the Carson City Home Depot store was located in the wreckage. That receipt bore a date/time stamp of March 8, 2014, at 2:12 pm.

Two different witnesses at CXP, both of whom were pilots, reported that they observed the airplane depart CXP on the afternoon of March 8.

One witness observed an airplane that matched the description of the accident airplane depart runway 9 about 1400 on Saturday, March 8. He observed the airplane from his hangar, which was situated about 4,000 feet down, and on the south side of, runway 9. He reported that the engine sounded "awful," and that when the airplane was abeam his hangar, it was about the height of his hangar, and "just was not climbing."

Another witness, who owned and operated a maintenance facility at CXP, observed an airplane that matched the description of the accident airplane land earlier in the day, and watched it depart from runway 9 about 1700 on Saturday, March 8. He noted that the airplane departed prior to sunset, but he did not note the departure direction after takeoff.

Those two CXP witness reports each appeared internally consistent and credible, but the investigation was unable to reconcile the apparent discrepancy regarding the departure time between the two reports. The reported departure time (1400) of the first report was inconsistent with the time and date stamp on the Home Depot receipt.

Review of the available March 8 text and email messages to or from the pilot indicated that the pilot's last message was sent to his girlfriend at 1538. The pilot was known to text while in flight, but the topic of the 1538 text (product selection assistance for the shopping errands in Carson City) was inconsistent with the text being sent after the pilot was airborne, when he was on his way home after the shopping was completed.

The pilot's girlfriend was not certain whether the pilot planned to return on March 8 or on the morning of March 9. On the morning of March 9, when the pilot had not returned, and the girlfriend had not heard from him despite a texted query, she initiated an unsuccessful telephone search among their friends. Subsequent to that effort, she conducted an aerial search of his normal routes, which was also unsuccessful. She then filed a missing persons report sometime in the mid afternoon of March 9.

Pilot's Flight Routes and Habits

The pilot's girlfriend, who was also a certificated pilot, reported that they owned two other airplanes, a Cessna 150 and a Piper Seneca. She stated that he made the round trip flights from NV33 to CXP approximately once every week, usually in one of the Cessna airplanes, and that when she accompanied him, they typically flew in the Cessna 150. She reported that he was familiar enough with the route that he did not need or use navigation charts.

The pilot's girlfriend stated that the pilot normally navigated the trip legs by visual means. However, she stated that when he conducted the flight at night, he took the C-150 because of its greater engine power, and the fact that it was equipped with a VOR navigation receiver, in order to avoid the need to rely solely on visual navigation. She reported that when he crossed the mountains at night, he climbed higher than normal to ensure sufficient terrain clearance.

According to the pilot's girlfriend, the accident site was not along the pilot's normal route of flight between the two airports. She explained that due to the north-south mountain range that separated NV33 from CXP, the route that the pilot followed to CXP was different from the route that he followed on the return trip. The rationale was that the pilot would climb parallel to the mountain range until he gained sufficient altitude, and then he would turn to cross the range.

Because CXP was northwest of NV33, on the outbound (NV33 to CXP) leg, the pilot's typical westbound range-crossing segment was north of his typical eastbound, return trip crossing segment. The pilot's girlfriend reported that the pilot's normal return trip crossing segment was located east of Minden, Nevada. Minden was located about 12 miles to the south of CXP. In contrast, the impact site was located about 5 miles to the south of CXP, which was approximately 7 miles north of (prior to) the point where the pilot normally conducted his eastbound crossing of the mountain range.

An interview with the pilot's daughter, who was not a pilot, revealed that she had flown with the pilot in both the C-150 and the Piper Seneca. She had seen the C-120, but told the pilot that she would not fly in that airplane with him.

The pilot's daughter stated that she had flown in the C-150 with the pilot. It was her opinion that he flew "uncomfortably close" to the terrain when he was crossing the mountains between CXP and NV33, and estimated that the terrain clearance was "hundreds of feet." When she expressed concern to him about the terrain proximity, he informed her that "we're catching the lift."

The pilot's daughter also reported that the pilot would text from his cell phone while flying/airborne. She witnessed him texting while she was in the airplane with him, and she also received text messages from him when he was airborne and inbound to meet her.

Engine Primer Information

The engine primer was a manually-powered pump system, which provides unmetered fuel to the engine cylinders to facilitate engine start. The primer handle was designed to lock in the closed position; for engine start it was to be unlocked, pumped a specified number of times, and then stowed and re-locked for the remainder of the flight. According to the airplane manufacturer's Operation Manual (OM) recovered from the wreckage, "The primer is not required except at winter temperatures."

FAA Advisory Circular AC 20-105B (Reciprocating Engine Power-Loss Accident Prevention and Trend Monitoring) stated the following, "if the primer pump handle is not locked in the closed position, raw fuel will continue to be drawn into the cylinders by the suction created in the affected cylinders during the intake cycle. The engine will run rough at low RPM, mimicking magneto problems, but will smooth out above 1700 RPM."

Chapter 10 of the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8081-3A) stated the following related to an engine failure, "Check to determine the cause of the engine malfunction, such as position of the fuel selectors, magneto switch, or primer. If possible, the cause of the malfunction should be corrected immediately and the engine restarted."

Engine Fuel Mixture/Control Information

The airplane was equipped with an engine fuel mixture control. Wreckage documentation indicated that the cockpit mixture control was found in its full rich position. Due to impact damage, the carburetor mixture setting was not able to be determined.

The Cessna OM did not contain any references to engine mixture during climb. The "Cruising" subsection of the "Operating Check List" section stated "above 5000 ft. lean mixture as required to obtain maximum r.p.m." The "Mixture Control" subsection of the "Operating Details" section stated that the mixture control was to always be set at full rich "for starting and take-off purposes." It also stated that "The mixture control should be used cautiously to lean mixtures to give maximum engine r.p.m. when flying above 5000 feet pressure altitude." The manual did not contain any additional information regarding which flight phases (climb, cruise, and descent) the leaning guidance was applicable to, or whether the engine should not be leaned in certain flight phases. The investigation was unable to determine the fuel mixture procedures that were used to determine the airplane climb performance values that were published in the Cessna OM.

In contrast, the Continental Motors Operator's Manual (OM) for the C-85 engine, which was not observed in the wreckage, stated that "Climb must be done at "FULL RICH" mixture setting." The Continental OM also contained a caveat which stated that the engine "must be operated in accordance with the instructions" in the manual, and that "failure to comply will be deemed as engine misuse, thus relieving the engine manufacturer of any responsibility."

Neither manual contained any statements as to which guidance takes precedence in the event of a conflict between the two. In response to an NTSB question regarding which manual guidance should take precedence, the FAA inspector stated that because the CAA Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) is specifically cited as a required item in the Cessna 120 Type Certificate Data Sheet, while the two OMs are not, the AFM takes precedence. However, the AFM did not address the subject of engine leaning/fuel mixture. According to the FAA inspector, in that case, the Cessna OM guidance takes precedence, because the engine can be installed in several different aircraft, and therefore the engine manufacturer's guidance is not installation- or aircraft-specific.

The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25) stated that "Since the process of adjusting the mixture can vary from one aircraft to another, it is important to refer to the airplane flight manual (AFM) or the pilot's operating handbook (POH) to determine the specific procedures for a given aircraft."

A document entitled "Engine Operation for Pilots (P-8740-13)" located on the FAA website, and attributed jointly to "Teledyne Continental and AVCO Lycoming" stated that pilots should "Lean the mixture during climb to the specified fuel flow or for smooth operation above a density altitude of 5000 feet."

Weight and Balance, Airplane Performance

Investigation computations indicated that the airplane was about 130 lbs below its maximum certificated gross weight of 1,450 lbs, and was within its center of gravity envelope.

The airplane manufacturer's OM contained a chart of climb performance data for the airplane at its maximum gross weight. The chart stated rates of climb, in feet per minute, of 450, 360, and 260 for altitudes of 5,000, 7,500, and 10,000 feet, respectively. The maximum altitude in that chart for which performance data was provided was 15,000 feet.

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA132 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 09, 2014 in Carson City, NV
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N76856
Injuries: 1 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 March 9, 2014, about 1500 Pacific daylight time, the wreckage of a Cessna 120, N76856, was observed by a pilot overflying mountainous terrain about 6 miles southeast of Carson City airport (CXP), Carson City, Nevada. The pilot notified the Carson City Sheriff's Office, and a ground team accessed the wreckage about 1600 that same day. They determined the identity of the airplane, and that the sole person on board had received fatal injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the girlfriend of the pilot, the airplane was based at Farias Wheel airport (NV33) Smith Valley, Nevada, and the pilot had flown to CXP on March 8 for some shopping errands. The girlfriend's last communication with the pilot was a text message from him at 1538 on March 8, asking whether she was planning to be home for dinner. She therefore expected him to return either later that day, or possibly on the morning of the following day, since occasionally he did remain overnight at CXP. She did not become concerned until mid-day March 9, and reported the airplane missing about the same time that the overflying pilot had noticed it.

Two different witnesses at CXP reported that they observed the airplane depart CXP on the afternoon of March 8. However, their two reported departure times differed by 3 hours, and that difference could not be readily reconciled. CXP was not equipped with an air traffic control tower, and preliminary searches of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radio communications and radar data did not reveal any evidence of the accident flight. An initial query of Fallon Naval Air Station (NFL) Fallon, Nevada, radar data did not yield any data that could be associated with the accident flight.

The airplane impacted terrain in a nose-down attitude, at an elevation of about 6,200 feet above mean se level, near the eastern end of an approximately east-west valley which opened to the west. The wreckage was aligned on a magnetic heading of about 312 degrees. The engine data plate indicated that the airplane was equipped with an 85 hp Continental Aircraft Engines C-85 engine. The fixed-pitch all-metal propeller remained attached to the engine, and was nearly buried in the sandy soil. The propeller bore significant chordwise scouring on both blades. There was no fire. Initial examination of the wreckage did not detect any pre-impact mechanical deficiencies or failures.

According to FAA information, the airplane was manufactured in 1946. The pilot held a flight instructor certificate for single and multi-engine instrument airplanes. He held a second-class FAA medical certificate, and reported that he had a total flight experience of approximately 4,900 hours.


The pilot found dead Sunday in an airplane crash southeast of Carson City has been identified as Joseph James Miceli, 59, of Wellington. 

Carson City Sheriff Kenneth Furlong said Miceli left Wellington late Saturday afternoon in his Cessna 120.

On Sunday afternoon, about the same time a member of the Carson City Aero Squadron spotted the aircraft in the Pine Nut range 7.5 miles southeast of the Carson City Airport, Miceli’s family was reporting him missing, Furlong said.

It’s not clear of Miceli made it to the Carson City Airport and was returning or crashed on the way to the Carson City Airport, Furlong said.

An autopsy will be performed at the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office. The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the investigation into the crash.

The Cessna 120 was built in 1946. The NTSB lists one other crash for this plane, in 1995 in College Station, Texas. The plane landing gear got stuck in soft mud and the plane flipped, causing substantial damage to the nose and fuselage.

Story and photo:

Wellington pilot Joseph James Miceli identified as victim of plane crash near Carson City 

The pilot of a 1946 Cessna 120 found crashed east of Carson City on Sunday has been identified as Joseph James Miceli, 59, of Wellington, according to the Carson City Sheriff's Office.

On Sunday, shortly before 2 p.m., the Carson City Sheriff’s Office was notified of a suspected aircraft crash site located in the pine nut range several miles east of Sierra Vista (Carson River) in southern Carson City. By nightfall, Search and Rescue crews, along with detectives were able to access the site and confirm the information. The assistance of FAA and NTSB was requested, said Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong.

Monday morning, rescue crews from the FAA, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, and Carson City Fire Department accessed the crash site. Crews were able to remove the sole occupant of the aircraft. The aircraft has been identified as one of several owned by Miceli, a 1946 Cessna 120.
Don Gibson for Sheriff

Early information received suggested that Miceli left from Wellington in his aircraft during the afternoon hours Saturday. On Sunday, at approximately the same time as the discovery of the aircraft, Miceli was being reported missing to Lyon County authorities. It is not known at this time if Miceli ever arrived at the Carson City Airport, or if he was returning to Wellington. Exact time of the crash has not been determined.

The NTSB has jurisdictional authority on the investigation. Miceli’s body was removed and transported to the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy will be performed.


NTSB Identification: FTW95LA223. 
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, June 01, 1995 in COLLEGE STATION, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/23/1995
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N76856
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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


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

On June 1, 1995, at 1355 central daylight time, a Cessna 120, N76856, sustained substantial damage during landing near College Station, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.

According to witnesses at the airport, the airplane was executing a touch and go landing on Runway 10 at the Easterwood Airport (CLL). The pilot made a wheel landing and was rolling on the main tires when control was lost and the airplane departed the runway to the left. The main gear tires stuck in the soft mud at the edge of the runway and the airplane nosed over coming to rest in the inverted position, resulting in damage to the wings and fuselage.

The pilot stated that he was cleared to follow a Saab 340 airplane to land on runway 10. The pilot estimated that he had a two mile separation behind the landing regional airliner. The pilot stated that directional control could not be maintained after encountering the wing vortex wake turbulence from the landing aircraft. He further stated that the light quartering tailwind prevailing at the time of the accident contributed to the accident. Wind was from 200 degrees at 4 knots.