Sunday, March 09, 2014

Attitude Indicator / Artificial Horizon

Plane guided into landing after equipment failure 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — A North Texas flying instructor and his student had to get some help landing their plane after one of their instruments malfunctioned.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the instructor and his student had taken off in a single engine plane from an airport in Addison Sunday morning on a training flight to College Station.

Before arriving, the instructor discovered his attitude indicator — a gyroscope needed when landing through clouds and bad weather— wasn't working.

Stewart Pearcy, a Houston flight controller, talked the instructor through the landing.

Pearcy says he had the instructor fly 30 miles away from the airport and come in on a straight path through the clouds, guided in by a beacon that is part of an airport's landing system.

The plane landed safely.

Nepal Airlines Corporation to halt domestic flights for at least a month

KATHMANDU, March 9: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) won't fly in domestic skies at least for a month as it doesn't have any aircraft for domestic flights.

Until about a month ago, NAC was operating two Twin Otter aircraft. But one of them crashed at Argakhanchi district last month, and the other with call sign 9N-ABU has been grounded at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) after its engine caught fire on Friday. Though NAC has three other Twin Otters, they have been grounded for many years and cannot be brought into operation immediately.

“Domestic flights will be halted for some time as we don´t have any aircraft,” Ram Hari Sharma, spokesperson of NAC, told Republica on Sunday. “It can be for a month or even more.”

Sharma said the national flag carrier was not sure when the engine of 9N-ABU will be repaired. “We don´t have engineers who could repair the engine. We probably will have to take it abroad for maintenance,” said Sharma. “We have to follow certain procedures to repair the engine which is time consuming. It takes time to make the aircraft ready for flight.”

He said an eligible foreign company will have to be selected to repair the engine by announcing a tender notice at the earliest. “Maintenance time depends on the problem seen in the engine,” said Sharma.

He said the national flag carrier would issue the tender notice soon.

Meanwhile, NAC is planning to operate its grounded Twin Otter with call sign 9N-ABT by mid-April. The aircraft has been grounded since one and half years ago after its engine life expired.

“We announced a tender notice a month ago for replacement of the engine and maintenance of the aircraft,” Sharma said, adding that he was hopeful that the aircraft will be ready for operation by mid-April.

At present, NAC only has two Boeing 757 aircraft for international operation. It, however, has placed orders for eight aircraft - two Airbus A320-200 for international operation and six small aircraft for international operation.

NAC is acquiring two MA 60s and four Harbin Y12e aircraft from China.


Aerotechnik Sportstar, C-IWAK: Near Elmvale Jungle Zoo, Ontario - Canada

Close call after plane goes down near Elmvale 

Nobody was injured when a small plane went down near the Elmvale Zoo on Saturday morning.

OPP say it happened just before 11 a.m. near Floss Road 7 and Highway 27.

Police say the two-seater plane belonged to a local resident and suffered damage to its wings and propeller.

An investigation is underway to determine why the plane went down.

Drones: Law firms are taking notice

From surveying sugar cane fields in Hawaii to scanning the bottom of the Arctic Ocean for marine mammals, the use of unmanned aircraft systems — more commonly known as drones — is taking off. And law firms are taking notice.

Banking on the fact that drones will become more mainstream in commercial and private use, two major U.S. law firms announced last week that they are starting drone practice groups — Richmond-based LeClairRyan and Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge.

LeClairRyan’s drone group, based in Annapolis, is led by Tim Adelman and Doug McQueen, a flight instructor and United Airlines pilot, respectively, in addition to being aviation attorneys. McKenna Long’s practice is headed by Mark Dombroff, a partner in the firm’s McLean office and a former in-house lawyer at the Federal Aviation Administration.

The announcements follow recent indications by the FAA that the agency plans to issue proposed rules regulating small civil unmanned aircraft later this year. In 2013, the FAA authorized the first commercial flight by an unmanned aircraft, a research vessel chartered by ConocoPhillips that was launched over the skies of Alaska to scan the sea floor to survey marine mammals and ice before drilling. The FAA estimates there could be as many as 7,500 small commercial drones in use in the United States by 2018.

 “We want to help [companies] shape rulemaking and get a seat at the table, then actually operate in a world they had a hand in creating,” Dombroff said. 

There are thousands of companies building drones and trying to market and sell them, but they are running into hurdles because the federal government has yet to create regulations to govern them, Adelman said.

“They’re they’re having a hard time expanding their business,” said Adelman, who has advised drone manufacturers AirCover and Leptron, and has worked with universities and law enforcement agencies on the legal implications of using drones. “But as we see these new rules come out in next year or two, you’ll see an explosion of manufacturers and end users.”

LeClairRyan and McKenna Long are looking to expand their work representing companies that design, manufacture and operate drones in shaping the upcoming FAA regulations, as well as guiding companies through the FAA certification process. The FAA must certify any aircraft, manned or unmanned, that goes into the sky, and anyone who wants to operate a vehicle has to go through an application process.

The drone practice groups at both firms will not bring in new lawyers, but rather include attorneys already at the firms who specialize in aviation, intellectual property, employment, government contracting and general business law.

“We figured putting it all into a package would be helpful,” Adelman said.

While Amazon’s package-delivery octocopter drone may not become a reality for years, there are many uses for drones in agriculture and real estate that could be on the cusp of becoming more commonplace, he said.

“If someone stole my tractor and it’s on a 1,500-acre farm, if you were to get 20 patrolmen to walk all over the farm, it would take all day,” Adelman said. “I could fly a [drone] in half an hour and scan the area quickly.

“If real estate agents wanted to take a picture of a house, they could pay a pilot and it could cost $500, whereas if I had a [drone], it would cost cents.”

Police and sheriffs departments in Queens Anne’s County, Md.; Arlington, Tex.; Mesa County, Colo.; and Miami-Dade County, Fla., have already started experimenting with unmanned aircraft for fire fighting, photography and other uses. Facebook is reportedly in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, a drone production company that is developing solar-powered atmospheric satellites that could bring Web access to parts of the world with limited Internet connections.

Story and photo:

Surrounded by protypes, Drone America founder Mike Richards, center, talks with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and local business representatives during a Cabinet Business Visit Day stop, in Reno on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. A leading Las Vegas law firm has launched a first-of-its-kind practice in Nevada, focusing on legal issues related to the development and commercial use of drones. 

A leading Las Vegas law firm has launched a first-of-its-kind practice in Nevada, focusing on legal issues related to the development and commercial use of remotely piloted aerial vehicles, or drones. 

Joe Brown and Richard Jost first approached their firm, Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas, about creating the new working group some years ago, but the state’s recent selection as a drone development hot spot made it a priority for the firm, the lawyers said. 

 Jost will lead the Aviation, Aerospace and Autonomous Systems practice at Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas.

Althogh a first in Nevada, the legal practice follows on the heels of Kramer Levin Naftalis &Frankel LLP in New York, which became the nation’s first to offer legal representation for the commercial or private use of drones in December.

Brendan Schulman, special counsel at the New York firm, represents Raphael Pirker, who was fined $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for using a drone in 2011 to shoot a promotional video at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The case is pending.

The FAA’s selection of Nevada in December as one of six locations for the drone development marks a collaboration of government and business leaders, Brown said.

“We were involved right from the ground floor of this effort with (Nevada),” Brown said. “When the word was out that the FAA was going to have this beauty contest among the states to see where the best sites were. … We saw the opportunity to be the go-to firm.”

Jost agreed, saying it became clear very early in the process that there was a need for legal services in this emerging industry. He said it is also about representing business interests in developing technology, not just litigation.

Spending on unmanned aerial vehicles is expected to total $89 billion in the next 10 years, more than doubling from $5.2 billion to $11.6 billion annually now, according to the Fairfax, Va.-based consulting company the Teal Group Corp.

Jost’s unmanned aircraft systems practice is based in downtown Las Vegas and will involve attorneys from several existing groups, including regulatory, government relations, business and finance, environmental and intellectual property.

The FAA, however, has yet to develop regulations for commercial use of drones. Although the agency allows recreational use of airspace by model aircraft, it prohibits individuals or companies flying them for business purposes.

Jost said model aircraft are limited to operating below 400 feet.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed by Congress in 2012, requires the agency to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace by Sept. 30, 2015.

Any discussion about drones sparks a debate over whether their use crosses a line of privacy, a line Jost called “fuzzy at best.”

“Obviously, the courts have struggled with that right now and have said, ‘We are still trying to figure out what a right to privacy really means,’ ” Jost said. “We understand it in the criminal context, unlawful search and seizure, but there are some fairly easy-to-spot lines that you can’t cross.”

Jost said it’s about what negatively affects a person’s right to privacy and if people are willing to put up with it.

“If you think about it, right now in the Valley you can go outside and enjoy your swimming pool in the backyard and you hear the Metro police helicopters go by,” Jost said. “I think most of us assume that when they go by, even if we are in our swimming pools, that it’s OK because we want them to be patrolling in our neighborhoods.”

Jost said when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles, the question does change the equation.

“Are we all going to be happy if Metro grounds their manned helicopters and puts up 10 times as many unmanned aircraft?” Jost said.

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CTC Aviation expands Diamond Aircraft fleet

World leading airline pilot training company, CTC Aviation has announced that it will equip its newest flight training centre in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States, with a fleet of brand new, Garmin1000 glass cockpit-equipped, Diamond Aircraft with Austro engines.

This investment in state-of-the-art technology will see CTC Aviation’s international training fleet grow to a total of 56 aircraft distributed between the company’s Crew Training Centres in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the USA. The order includes single-engine DA40 and twin-engine DA42 (NG) aircraft.

The first two DA40 aircraft will be delivered to CTC Aviation’s Phoenix (USA) facilities during March 2014. A further five DA40’s and three DA42’s are scheduled to arrive before the end of 2014.

"We were one of the first flight training providers to select the DA42 aircraft and have been operating a fleet of Diamond single- and twin-engine aircraft out of our New Zealand flight training facilities for almost ten years. We have found their safety record, efficiency and economics, state-of-the-art avionics and outstanding flight characteristics to be unbeatable," commented Rob Clarke, Group CEO of CTC Aviation.

"CTC Aviation’s philosophy is to deliver airline-focussed training to our cadets so that our CTC Partner Airlines receive new entrant pilots that are fully prepared for the airline environment and today’s new generation jet aircraft.

"We are committed to investing wisely in technology and selecting training resources that befit our specific needs. In this particular field of our business - our cadet airline pilot training activity - our need is to ensure that the transition through the various phases of flight and simulator training - whether as part of the traditional Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) or the new Multi-crew Pilot Licence (MPL) route - is as safe and seamless as possible. Diamond Aircraft offers the most complete solution: A modern fleet of piston aircraft with the best flight training performance characteristics and safety record in the industry."

Bernhard Gruber, Sales Director Diamond Aircraft adds: "CTC Aviation has been a very valuable and important ATO customer for Diamond Aircraft over the past years, operating a huge fleet of single- and multi-engine aircraft. Being part of their expansion makes us proud to be able to contribute to their success with our complete training solutions. The commitment to quality and safety, and the success of the student, is to the benefit of the airline he or she will ultimately be flying for and is what unites CTC Aviation and Diamond in our target to support the aviation industry with the right approach in order to meet the global pilot demand ahead of the whole industry. We believe in their strategy and will support them in their continuous growth with our full forces, and we are looking forward to seeing the New Generation Diamonds flying on jet fuel as well in Phoenix, Arizona."

CTC Aviation annually trains approximately 2,000 new and experienced pilots for 50 major airlines globally. Its world-renowned cadet pilot training programme "CTC WINGS" currently trains 300 new pilots annually for the CTC Partner Airlines which include easyJet, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Dragonair and the Jetstar Group. The company recently announced its expansion into the United States and their latest Crew Training Centre in Phoenix, Arizona (US) has capacity for up to a further 200 trainee airline pilots per annum. This Diamond Aircraft order forms part of the US$7 million investment CTC Aviation is making to equip their new facility in readiness for the first trainees who are due to commence training in April 2014.


Pilot makes emergency landing in Ward County, North Dakota

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A small plane flying from Minot to Dickinson had to make an emergency landing in a farm field after the engine failed.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said 66-year-old Gordon Pavlicek was flying the 1971 Piper Cherokee 140 about 5:30 p.m. Saturday when he had to land in the Ward County field.

Pavlicek was not injured and the plane suffered just mechanical damage.

Rans S-10 Sakota, N108DM, Windsock Inc: New Tazewell Municipal Airport (3A2), Tazewell, Tennessee

NEW TAZEWELL (WATE) - Officials say high winds are to blame for a plane crash Sunday morning at an airport in Claiborne County, and they say the pilot of that aircraft is lucky to be alive.

The plane crashed just after 10:30 a.m. at the New Tazewell Municipal Airport.

The Tazewell-New Tazewell Fire Department says pilot Gregory Stone of Jonesborough had landed safely at the airport earlier in the day, but crashed his plane as he was preparing to takeoff again.

They say a strong crosswind caught his single-engine, experimental plane as he was moving down the runway.

"He was taxiing up the runway when he actually lost control of the plane, still on the ground, taxiing on the runway," said Fire Chief Bill Davidson, of the Tazewell-New Tazewell Fire Department.

His plane was swept off the runway and into the grass.

The propeller caught the ground and send the aircraft spinning onto it's side.

It finally came to a stop after about 30 yards.

Stone was able to make it out of the plane before emergency crews arrived and reported no serious injuries.

The plane is badly damaged.

Davidson says the pilot is lucky the plane stopped where it did, or this situation could have been much worse.

A retaining wall alongside the runway helped bring the plane to a stop, just inches from a 30 foot drop.

"Had the plane continued over that embankment, of course he would have been trapped in the plane and would have had no way to get out of the plane. I'm sure he would have been severely injured if not killed had he gone over the embankment," said Davidson. "He's very lucky that he got stopped in time and I'm sure that's one ride he'll never forget."

The runway was shut down for a few hours while emergency crews responded to the crash.

It has since reopened.

Officials have reported the crash to the FAA and the NTSB, but have been told no further investigation is needed.

The pilot of an experimental aircraft was not injured when the plane veered off course while taxing toward a runway in Claiborne County on Sunday morning, authorities said.

The crash was reported about 10:30 a.m. at the New Tazewell Municipal Airport, according to New Tazewell Police Department Sgt. Jerry Short.

The single-engine aircraft was not airborne at the time of the crash, but still sustained significant damage, he said.

The pilot, who was the only occupant onboard, refused medical treatment at the scene, Short said.

The incident was referred to the Federal Aviation Administration for investigation.

F-16s intercept two aircraft in temporary no-fly zone in North Key Largo where the Obamas are vacationing

F-16 fighter jets under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two general-aviation aircraft Saturday in the area of North Key Largo where President Obama and his family were vacationing, the command said in a prepared statement.

Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration declared a no-fly zone through Sunday for the Homestead area and Key Largo because the Obamas were vacationing in the posh Ocean Reef Club.

The command said the first aircraft was out of radio communication initially but once communication was established, it turned around and flew out of the restricted area.  There was no communication with the second aircraft, prompting the F-16s to intercept it and escort it out of the no-fly zone.

The White House rented several houses in Ocean Reef and security in the community was tight. Ocean Reef has two 18-hole golf courses. Vice President Joseph Biden stayed at Ocean Reef in 2013.

According to the Associated Press, the president golfed Saturday with Ahmad Rashad, Cyrus Walker and Alonzo Mourning. Rashad is a sportscaster and former NFL wide receiver. Mourning is a former center for the NBA's Miami Heat who has helped raised money for Obama's campaigns. Walker is a cousin of Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The Keys have long been a destination for presidents, among them Carter, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, FDR, Kennedy and Truman.

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Medical helicopter makes precautionary landing: Port Bucyrus-Crawford County Airport (17G), Bucyrus, Ohio

BUCYRUS — A Cleveland Clinic Air Ambulance made a precautionary landing at Port Bucyrus-Crawford County Airport Friday night.

According to Bucyrus Police Chief David Koepke, there were three members of the flight crew on board, along with the pilot, and no one was injured.

Koepke said Capt. Gordon Grove of the Bucyrus Fire Department reported that approximately 5 miles east of the Bucyrus airport, an alarm light came on in the helicopter, requiring it to land.

Although the Bucyrus Fire Department initially reported discoloration was spotted on the fuselage and that a fire broke out in the helicopter’s engine compartment, Brad Deutser with PHI Air Medical in Houston said there was no fire on the aircraft at any point.

“There was no damage to the helicopter at all. It was not an emergency landing, but what we call an unscheduled precautionary landing. The helicopter made a safe landing that was uneventful. We’re not sure why the light was illuminated,” Deutser said.

The air ambulance was heading to Mansfield when the incident happened, and no passenger was aboard. Deutser said the aircraft was bound for a hospital in Richland County, but said he didn’t have the specifics. He said he believed a second helicopter completed the flight.

There were no vehicular crashes resulting in injury overnight Friday in Richland County. OhioHealth Medcentral Mansfield Hospital was unavailable for comment Saturday.

“In rural areas, we are fortunate to have emergency flight service for critical patients from a variety of major hospitals. When they fly over loud and fast it is easy to take for granted the intensity, stress and danger that the med flight crews and pilots face. We are thankful for their service,” Koepke said.

Deutser said maintenance workers from the company were en route early Saturday morning to Port Bucyrus to investigate the cause of the precautionary landing.

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Opinion/Commentary: Business aviation is an American asset

Re "Top House Republican proposes tax overhaul," Feb. 27

Your article misleadingly labeled the depreciation schedule for business aircraft as "special treatment."

The depreciation system that applies to the purchase of a business aircraft has been on the books for decades, and also applies to the purchase of delivery vehicles, trucks and forklifts.

Unfortunately, each time someone mischaracterizes business aviation, they are really taking aim at an industry that generates more than 1 million American jobs and is responsible for more than $150 billion in economic impact.

Not only that, the use of these aircraft support a host of important services, including disaster relief, medical care and law enforcement.

This kind of mischaracterization of business aviation tax policy may score political points, but it comes at the expense of Main Street. We should support this vital asset.

Ed Bolen


The writer is the president and chief executive of the National Business Aviation Assn.


Transport union protests Qatar Airways' anti-women policies

Qatar Airways and Emirates Airline have defended their policies on pregnancy and marriage for cabin crew after the Qatar carrier came under fire over its working conditions.

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is running a campaign against Qatar Airways over its monitoring of staff and rules preventing women from becoming pregnant and getting married.

It has called on women across the globe to speak out against the airline on Saturday, International Women's Day.

"The treatment of workers at Qatar Airways goes further than cultural differences. They are the worst for women's rights among airlines," Gabriel Mocho, civil aviation secretary at the international grouping of transport unions, told Reuters.

A Swedish newspaper last year published a report entitled "The truth about the luxury of Qatar Airways," which described restrictions imposed on cabin crew.

At the ITB travel fair in Berlin, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker reacted furiously to questions about the article and said people were attacking Qatar because it had won the right to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Qatar has been criticized for its treatment of migrant workers helping build facilities for the World Cup.

"All this was a big sensational (effort) to target my country because of 2022, saying people have no human rights. It is not true," he told reporters.

Qatar Airways contracts forbid any member of the cabin crew, the vast majority of whom are female, from marrying during the first five years of their employment with the firm.

"You know they have come there to do a job and we make sure that they are doing a job, that they give us a good return on our investment," Baker said.

He said because local regulations prevented pregnant cabin crew from flying and the company did not have many ground jobs available for them, pregnant women must often leave.

"We are not in the business where we can guarantee ground jobs or let people stay away ... and don't do anything for the airline," he said.

Cabin crew across the world may not work on board airplanes once pregnant due to health concerns, although some countries allow them to work for up to three months into the pregnancy.

Most airlines then find them work on the ground or put them on maternity leave. In Europe, pregnant women are protected from being fired or made redundant.

Emirates said it has a policy whereby female cabin crew that become pregnant in the first three years have to leave.

"If you are hired by Emirates as a cabin crew, during the first three years we expect from you to fly," Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori said.

Cabin crew who have been employed for more than three years have the option of taking paid maternity leave.

Aviation charter school set to land near Detroit Metropolitan Airport

A grass-roots organization in Taylor is preparing to launch a middle school for 235 students near Detroit Metropolitan Airport that will emphasize a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum based on the aviation and aerospace industries.

If the proposed Taylor Academy of Aviation and Aerospace -- or TA3 for short -- grows as expected, the school most likely will expand into high school grades -- similar to West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids, said Lorilyn Coggins, president of American Charter Education Services Inc. in Fenton.

"We really do want to replicate what they're doing in curriculum and program activities," Coggins said.

Coggins said she has been working with Detroit-area supporters for the past 18 months to launch the academy, proposed to be built on a 2.5-acre vacant and improved parcel owned by businessman Djamel Tiguert near the southwest corner of Goddard and Telegraph roads.

"This project is ready to go for 2014 opening," said Coggins, who has been involved in the formation of 10 charter schools during the past 19 years. "If we have a green light by first of April, the modular classrooms could be in place and installed in time for a fall 2014 opening."

The academy would be using two modular buildings similar to the units used for The Dearborn Academy in Dearborn.

The school, which would employ about 15 full- and part-time staff members initially, is less than three miles from Metro Airport in Romulus.

Metro could serve as a training opportunity for field trips, Coggins said. In addition, school organizers envision the construction of a civilian airstrip for the academy in Belleville that students could use as the program grows.

The group -- made up of Tiguert, businesspeople from Taylor and two aircraft pilots -- has asked Bay Mills Community College in the Upper Peninsula town of Brimley to issue a charter to form TA3.

If it issues a charter, the college would appoint a board of Taylor-area residents to oversee administration of the academy and enter into contracts to launch the school.

Bay Mills is also the authorizer for West Michigan Aviation Academy. "We are hoping since they authorized West Michigan, we can have our foot in the door, since we are replicating one of their existing schools," Coggins said.

The Taylor group already has cleared some hurdles. It received a federal planning grant from the Michigan Department of Education to create the academy, and it will be eligible for two years of federal implementation grant money administered by the state.

That money can be used for expenses such as educational furniture and books, provided the school receives a charter.

Coggins said the group already has proposed arrangements with the company that would lease the modular classrooms and a company that would become the employer of record to fund salaries for the school's staff until state per-pupil payments could be made after October.

Coggins' company, established in 2009, would act as the back-office support to help the school meet its reporting requirements to the board and perform professional development of staff.

"We learned a little bit by what West Michigan did," said Coggins, who has visited WMAA with members of the Taylor group.

"They opened with a ninth grade, and it's a little more difficult if you bring in ninth-graders and you haven't trained them up. So we are going to open with grades six through eight to instill in the kids the motivation to be the best that they can be."

Falcon Flight Academy valuable asset for China

As China continues to reign supreme as the world's top exporter, the “Made in China” label has become a begrudgingly accepted fact of life in the world of business.

However, one entrepreneur with a location in Coweta County has quietly turned the tables and now has become one of China’s most valuable assets.

As president of Falcon Flight Academy, Ray Sluk has spearheaded the small flight academy into a destination point for future pilots from around the world. Falcon has schools in small Georgia airports, including Peachtree City, Athens and the Newnan-Coweta Airport — Whitlock Field.

Sluk originally left Peachtree City for China in 1991 and spent the next 12 years overseas as FedEx Vice President for China, Japan and Central America before returning home in 2003.

“I walked into Falcon Flight Academy in September 2004 and asked about learning to fly,” Sluk said. “The instructor said he could take me up tomorrow.”

However, Sluk didn’t feel like waiting.

“It was 4 in the afternoon so I looked outside at the planes and asked him, ‘Can we go today?’ and he said, ‘Sure, let’s go.’”

From that point forward, Sluk has never looked back — acquiring his private license by that December, his instrument rating the following March, and then his commercial license.

Sluk then invested in the Falcon Aviation Academy, purchasing a 20 percent stake in their stock.

As he became further involved with the company, he suggested that the academy could become an international flight school through the use of the contacts he had made over the years. The company allowed Sluk to spearhead the expansion, and, in 2006, they received their first students from India. Two years later, China followed.

“The FAA certifies us as a 141 flight school,” Sluk said. “There are about 3,000 flight schools in the U.S. and 10 percent are TSA SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) certified. Now, out of those, there are only 10 that are Chinese CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) 141 certified. We’re the only one in Georgia.”

Once Falcon acquired their Chinese certification in December 2008, their first students finally arrived the following November.

“The CAAC limited the amount of students we had at first,” Sluk said. “The CAAC has taken our quota from 30 to 60 to now 120 students and I’m about to make a trip to China this week with a request to go to 150 students and should happen by June or July. However, we’ll have to cap out at 150 due to constraints of the airport.”

So why China? It comes down to supply and demand.

“There is a huge need for pilots. When I left in 2000, FedEx had 660 aircraft in its fleet. That was more than all the aircraft combined in China at that time,” Sluk said. “Today, there are around 5,000 aircraft and they demand 10 -12 pilots per plane.”

However, training in their home country is problematic for the students. Since the Chinese military controls the airspace, students can expect less than one hour of training per day, per plane because of the airspace.

And there aren’t a lot of good flying days because of the air pollution, according to Sluk.

“If you look at the total student base, they make up about 40 percent,” Sluk said. “Most of the domestic students are part-time and are only here a few days a week. The Chinese are here all day, five days a week because it’s a 12-month program. We have approximately 60 instructors and the Chinese require a 2 to 1 ratio for a full-time instructor.”

There are four certified flying schools in China and only 20 approved flight schools outside of China. The majority of training is done outside of the country in places like the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, France and New Zealand due to the restrictions they face back home and the road to becoming approved by the Chinese government in a long one.

“They want to see prior records and then start with your 141 certification,” Sluk said. “There were 32 foreign schools at one point but it has shrunk to 20. Some schools have up to 360 Chinese students. The smaller ones are around 30-60. Right now, we don’t want to get much bigger.”

So what is the financial impact of the program in terms of the local economy?

Each student ultimately ends up bringing more than $100,000 dollars to the area and that’s a conservative figure, according to Sluk.

“The contract we have with them includes two meals a day, transportation and flight training, which includes books, headsets and uniforms. Then they need TSA approval approximately three times and it costs $130 each time,” said Sluk. “It’s pretty expensive.”

All the Chinese students are recruited by airlines after completion of two years of undergraduate studies. The airlines require a 99-year commitment. The student then signs with the airline that will fund the majority of the training.

And with 110 of their students currently residing in more than 20 multi-room apartments at the Columns at White Oak, they’ll be expanding on that in June.

“They do a good job for the local economy. White Oak likes it, the restaurants like it and these guys shop like crazy,” Sluk laughed. “It’s a big boom for local industry. The flight school employs mechanics and instructors so our total number of employees is currently around 100.”

Students come in at different times of the year and the academy currently has 10 different Chinese airlines that are represented, including China Eastern — one of the largest three airlines in China.

However, one of the largest challenges the Academy faces is recruiting and maintaining quality instructors on staff.

Matt Bowley was hired by Falcon Aviation Academy in September as head of sales and marketing, in an effort to help advance recruitment.

“The U.S. passed a regulation last August that requires first officers to have 1,500 hours of flight time. The instructor can work here and gain 100 a month, so 12 months later, you do the math,” Bowley said. “In such a short amount of time, an instructor can have the required number of hours to go to an airline. Most other schools can’t offer 100 hours a month. That’s what’s exciting about what we’re doing. It’s a fast track.”

“Most want to go to the airlines,” Sluk said. “We’ve been talking about a pilot shortage for 10 years now. Six years ago, regulation was passed that took the retirement age from 60 to 65. Now, that time frame has passed so all the baby boomers are retiring out.”

“It used to be a glamorous thing, being a pilot, but now people question spending all this money to go to flight school, only going to work at an airline for three years at minimum wage before they can see any kind of bump,” Sluk said.

Starting salary for a commercial airline pilot is between $20,000 to $24,000 for their initial three years, according to Sluk.

“It doesn’t pay well at first so you’ll have major student loans looming,” said Sluk. “If you’re going to a four-year program, you’ll have six figures worth of debt. However, we can do the same thing for less than half that.”

“China is like we were 50 years ago,” Sluk said. “Guys that leave here and go back to fly in China are making more money in China than our instructors can make at a regional airline in the U.S., and that’s in an economy where the average wage is one-tenth of the salary.”

The Chinese pilots are now in a position where they can change their entire family’s income.

“Some of these guys are coming from absolutely nothing,” Bowley said. “When a pilot walks down a hallway in China, everyone moves. That’s how much respect is given to them in their homeland.”

While the surge for Chinese pilots has proven to be a lucrative stream of revenue for Falcon Flight Academy, Sluk is looking to build and diversify.

“The current pilot shortage in China should last another 10 years. But we would like to make it so when the boom is over, we’ll have other things to replace it with,” Sluk said. “We’re looking into domestic, European and South American markets.”

Falcon has also recently hired a new financial analyst and is currently focusing on restructuring.

“We’re going from one chief flight instructor to setting up an assistant chief for every 20 students,” said Sluk. “Once we get that in place, we can then expand the market once we have the infrastructure.”

With the purchase our their second King Air twin-turboprop aircraft just a few weeks ago, it would appear that the sky is the proverbial limit for Falcon Aviation.

Story and photo:

Air traffic controller abandons post as Caribbean Airlines flight prepares to land

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is investigating the circumstances surrounding an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) abandoning his post at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) control tower last Friday while a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) aircraft was getting ready to land.

Reports are that around midnight last Friday the ATC attached to the GCAA left the control tower just before the flight which originated from Trinidad was preparing to touchdown. Head of the Aviation Authority Zulphicar Mohamed told Kaieteur News yesterday that an investigation has to be conducted as part of protocol for any irregularity.

Mohamed mentioned however that nothing unusual manifested since his understanding of the situation is that the ATC was in contact with his seniors and his departure was made known. He added that another staffer was immediately able to take over.

A senior official from the CJIA told Kaieteur News yesterday that no report was made to the airport authority about what occurred, since flights were not disrupted. The official said that, “there were no delayed or postponed flights.”

Reports indicate however that the controller was feeling ill and was not relieved when he was supposed to. After informing his colleagues that he could not work through the night, the ATC reportedly left the building.

When asked about the CAL flight having to circle the airport before landing, Mohamed said that it is undetermined whether the absent ATC was the cause of this.

It is however alleged that the CAL flight landed a few minutes late because of the absent tower staff.

In a press release, the Ministry of Public Works and the GCAA said they “have launched an investigation into an incident that allegedly occurred at the Control Tower, Timehri a little after midnight – March 8, 2014.”

“The investigation will focus on the operational procedures and code of conduct as it relates Air Traffic Control Services being provided by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.” 


Waterloo Regional (KALO), Iowa: New airport director working to see traffic take off

WATERLOO | Mike Wilson wants Waterloo to fly with the bigger airports. 

Never mind that the airlines have shown a distinct predilection over the last 20 years or so toward using bigger facilities in the name of cost efficiencies.

Wilson, the new director of Waterloo Regional Airport, said the local airfield can get a bigger slice of the commercial travel business.

The local airport has all the right ingredients in place to make such a move, said Wilson, who started his new job Feb. 18.

“The facility is beautiful, the terminal is very nice,” said Wilson, 33, who came to Waterloo after three years as director of Aberdeen Regional Airport in South Dakota.

Wilson was hired to replace Brad Hagen, who left the post in summer 2013 after an 11-year stint to become the supervisor of airport projects and operations at Mesa Falcon Field Airport, a larger airfield in the Phoenix area.

For several months after Hagen’s departure, the airport was run on an interim basis by Austin, Texas-based Trillion Aviation.

Perhaps Waterloo’s biggest ticket to more traffic is its runway, Wilson said.

“We have a the longest runway in the state, which is a huge asset,” he said, noting that the 150-foot-wide runway can accommodate larger aircraft than the 50-seat jets that jump in and out of Waterloo twice a day.

He said Allegiant Air, for example, could be interested in a facility like Waterloo.

“The 150-foot-wide runway is typically something Allegiant looks at,” he said. “It really helps in trying to attract airlines.”

Currently, American Airlines services Waterloo Regional with twice-daily connections to and from Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Wilson said he’s looking into more flights with American.

“Now, I’m trying to work with American and see what we can do to increase service with them,” Wilson said.

In 2013, the local airport had 20,957 passengers embarking from Waterloo and 21,613 travelers arriving.

Wilson said those numbers are considerably lower than they should be. He said it’s not unreasonable to expect a passenger count approaching 60,000 in and out.

“This metro area has about 180,000 people. the community I was in had a metro area of about 36,000, and we were running about 20,000 passengers,” he said.

Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark, part of the search committee that hired Wilson, said he liked the energy he saw.

“I know we did a pretty thorough search and came down to two qualified candidates,” Clark said. “I had the opportunity to speak with both of them and I much preferred Mike over the other candidate. With just a week under his belt with Waterloo, I’m convinced we made a good choice. He has hit the ground running, seems very knowledgeable and is anxious to get to work on some projects he thinks will make a positive impact in Waterloo.”

Wilson said the potential of Waterloo’s airport, and its location in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Central Region, drew him to the position.

“This region helps airports a little more, especially when it comes to being self-sufficient,” said Wilson, who had been in the FAA’s Great Lakes Region in his last job. “This airport does not take a tax subsidy. A lot of (revenue) comes from the cropland around it.”

The cropland Waterloo Regional leases generates about $350,000 a year, Wilson said.

Prior to running Aberdeen’s airport, Wilson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aviation management at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, managed the airport in Brookings, S.D., for 3 1/2 years.

Wilson said he is convinced Waterloo Regional Airport can compete strongly for traffic against regional rivals in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, and he said he plans an aggressive marketing campaign for the local facility.

“I did a similar campaign in Aberdeen, and our emplanements went up about 25-30 percent,” Wilson said.

The campaign involved radio ads as well as a billboard set up near a competing airport.

The airline serving Aberdeen added a third daily flight, and that’s a goal in Waterloo, Wilson said. There may be some opportunities to add flights, at least during peak travel months.

“I talked to American, and they said they were looking at adding capacity last year, but that was pushed back due to the merger" with US Airways, Wilson said. ”Hopefully we can get some additional flights.”

A daily schedule of only two flights in and out is not enough, Wilson said.

“Two flights a day are difficult, especially for business travelers, to make connections,” he said. “Ideally, I’d like to see a midday flight to the mix.”

Story and photos:

Cape Air wants passengers to park for free Provincetown Municipal Airport (KPVC), Massachusetts

A proposal to charge for parking at the Provincetown Municipal Airport didn't fly with Cape Air spokesperson Michelle Haynes.


A proposal to charge for parking at the Provincetown Municipal Airport didn’t fly with Cape Air spokesperson Michelle Haynes.

"It has come up before; it is something we’re very concerned about,” she told the finance committee last week. “Our request to you … is that you look at this very closely and what this may do to us as a business.”

The problem, Haynes said, is that the small airline operates at a deficit seven months a year and faces stiff competition from fast ferries and cars. Free parking is a perk of landing in Provincetown, she said, adding that 80 percent of the vehicles parked there sport resident parking permits on their windshields.

Mike Valenti, chair of the airport commission, said Monday that the airline relies on — in fact it needs — 10,000 paid passengers to fly out of Provincetown to receive about $1 million in federal grants a year. The $95,000 that the town has budgeted for the airport doesn’t cover big projects required to keep it up and running, he added. Thus, a dip in passenger numbers could kill its funding and possibly the airline’s operation here.

Mike Canizales, chair of the FinCom, said that his committee is looking to “moderately raise” embarkation rates for everyone and feels that those who can afford to fly can afford to park.

But, Haynes responded, there’s got to be perks to flying out of Provincetown because landing in Logan International Airport is a hassle.

“We are here today [through winter] at six passengers a day,” she said. “We are here year-round. … That’s a major difference.”

 And yet FinCom members were adamant that a $5 or $10 parking charge wouldn’t hurt people who can afford to fly.

  “You’re getting into a chunk of money that can help with a lot of priorities,” Canizales said, and seemed surprised to find that Cape Air rents parking spaces to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “So we give you parking for free and you rent it out?”

 Haynes said that she’d return with relevant financial and passenger numbers. Meanwhile Clarence Walker, another FinCom member, would like those who park at the airport for two or three months for free while they vacation in the winter to pay up. Haynes agreed that something should be done about that. 

Story and photo:

Fledgling general aviation market in China already overcooked

Though investors are interested in China's general aviation industry, many observers feel that capital has not been used properly for the development of the sector, according to the Shanghai-based National Business Daily.

Economies of scale have not really been achieved in any of the general aviation industrial parks in China and companies in the sector have been surviving with the help of government subsidies, said an industry researcher.

According to the Daily, market observers are concerned that the construction of industrial parks has grown rapidly before general aviation firms have had a chance to become profitable,

Figures from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China (AOPA) show the country had 116 cities at county level and above that are constructing or are planning to build industrial parks for use by the general aviation industry. In the 56 disclosed projects, investment in each park stood at an average of 11.23 billion yuan (US$1.84 billion).

Several cities in Sichuan province in southwestern China plan to build such industrial parks, as does the neighboring municipality of Chongqing. In one project there, construction began in August 2012 on a site covering 790 acres and involving investment of 600 million yuan (US$98 million).

Baotou in Inner Mongolia and Kunming in Yunnan both have similar plans, with Baotou constructing a more than 2,000-acre aviation production base.

However, a market observer notes that the domestic production capacity for general aviation industrial parks in China are already enough to meet global demand for a couple of years at just over 1,000 small-size aircraft a year. A single industrial park in China can turn out 500 small aircraft a year. They warned investors to watch out for these possible traps before investing their money.

As of 2013, China had 178 general aviation operators and an additional 110 were in the course of being established. The majority of them have made losses as their business model has been too simple.

A securities firm stated that the general aviation sector in China mainly covers agricultural use, while the complete activities for the sector could run to 34 categories.


Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd - A conversation with Ed and Carolee Smith

Ed and Carolee Smith speak about the features of the Pilatus PC-12 and the advantage of having such a spacious cabin. 

Pilatus Aircraft: A conversation with Greg Hodgen, Groendyke Transport

Greg Hodgen explains why the Pilatus PC-12 is an efficient business tool and why it was the right decision to buy a Pilatus aircraft. 

Partenavia P-68 Observer, Affordable Casket Outlet LLC, N947MZ: Accident occurred February 27, 2014 in Molokai, Hawaii

NTSB Identification: WPR14CA129
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 27, 2014 in Molokai, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/2014
Aircraft: PARTENAVIA S.P.A. P 68 OBSERVER, registration: N947MZ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot stated that the flight was conducted at night and he used his GPS track to align with the runway. When the pilot activated the runway lights, the airplane was about 1/4 mile to the left of the runway and 1/2 mile from the approach end. The pilot made an aggressive right turn then hard left turn to make the runway for landing. While maneuvering on short final, at 50 feet above ground level (agl), the airplane's right wing impacted the tops of a number of trees that lined the southeast side of the runway. The airplane descended rapidly and landed hard, collapsing the landing gear and spinning the airplane around 180 degrees laterally, where it came to rest against some trees. The right wing's impact with trees and the hard landing resulted in substantial damage.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate decision to continue an unstable approach in dark night conditions, which resulted in a collision with trees and hard landing.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.


Authorities identified the pilot of a small plane that crashed on a private Molo­kai ranch last week as John Wei­ser Jr., whose tour company was fined $50,000 in 2007 by the Federal Aviation Administration for running uncertified air tours.

Weiser had his pilot license revoked in 2009 by the FAA for various violations, FAA spokes­man Ian Gregor said in an email, after he crash-landed on Molo­kai and made a hard landing in Hono­lulu while piloting small planes earlier that year. The FAA found Wei­ser had operated an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another and failed to accomplish a flight review. The agency also found Wei­ser had falsified, reproduced or altered applications, certificates, logbooks, reports or records.

MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -A small plane crashed on Molokai last week Thursday, February 27, but no one -- including emergency responders -- learned about it until this week.

Police and fire departments did not respond to the scene because the pilot, who asked to remain anonymous, didn't think it was a big deal.  He tells Hawaii News Now that he hit a strong gust of wind, which pushed the twin-engine Partenavia into some trees.

The pilot was then forced to make a hard landing near the remote Panda Airport off Pohakuloa Road.

Fortunately, he walked away unharmed and says the damage is easily fixed.

Story, photo and comments/reaction:

Mystery Deepens Over Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight: Two Passengers Appear to Have Boarded Using Stolen Passports

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, 9M-MRO, Flight MH-370: Accident occurred March 08, 2014 -  Gulf of Thailand 

NTSB positioning team to offer assistance in investigation of Malaysia Airlines 777 event:  

The Wall Street Journal 
By Jason Ng, Gaurav Raghuvanshi and Jake Maxwell Watts

Updated March 9, 2014 8:27 a.m. ET

KUALA LUMPUR—The mystery over what happened to a missing Malaysian airliner deepened Sunday as rescue teams continued their search for the jet, and military radar indicated the flight might have turned back toward Kuala Lumpur before vanishing.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, suddenly disappeared just under an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours Saturday. The disappearance triggered a search and rescue operation across portions of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea, involving the armed forces of several nations, including the United States, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Vietnam's search and rescue officials said Sunday that they were investigating a report about a suspected piece of debris seen floating in waters where the flight was thought to have disappeared.

The yellow object was spotted by a Singaporean aircraft about 100 kilometers south-southwest of Vietnam's Tho Chu island about 2:30 p.m. local time, the officials said, without giving a description of the object.

Three Vietnamese vessels have been dispatched to the location, and were expected to arrive Sunday evening local time.

Singapore's defense ministry declined to comment on the reported discovery. The city-state has deployed two C-130 military airlifters and three naval vessels to join the search for missing jet, which was carrying 239 people when it vanished early Saturday en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The investigation into the fate of the plane has been complicated further by revelations that two passengers appeared to have boarded the plane with stolen passports, prompting airline executives and aviation officials to say that foul play can't be ruled out.

Malaysia's police chief, Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar, told reporters in Terengganu on the country's South China Sea coast that while police investigators "don't dismiss the possibility" of terrorism, they weren't considering it the most likely cause for the disappearance of MH370.

Rescuers are looking at the possibility that the plane could have attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur, "which could mean that the aircraft could be elsewhere," acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, who also serves as Malaysia's defense minister, said at a press briefing.

Military radar readings indicate the plane may have reversed course, the country's air force chief said. Gen. Rodzali Duad said the military is still studying the radar data, and added that it is corroborated by some civilian radar data.

The flight included passengers from more than a dozen nationalities, with just over half of them Chinese. A Malaysian aviation official said at the briefing that the aviation regulator is investigating video recordings of two passengers carrying stolen passports, from check-in to departure. Two people—an Austrian and an Italian—listed as being on the missing jet weren't on the flight. Their passports had been stolen in Thailand.

A 30-year-old Austrian whose name was on the passenger list for the flight wasn't on board. His passport was stolen in Thailand in 2012, an Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Another passenger on the list, Luigi Maraldi, an Italian citizen, wasn't on the plane either, Italy's Foreign Ministry said Saturday. Mr. Maraldi's passport was stolen in Thailand a year and a half ago, his father said.

An Austrian and Italian whose names were on the passenger list of flight MH370 but not on the flight both lost their passports in Thailand. The WSJ's Deborah Kan speaks to security consultant Steve Vickers about the thriving trade of selling fake identification in Thailand.

A European security official said it wasn't uncommon for passengers to board flights using stolen passports. In addition, Beijing has emerged as a bustling transit hub in recent years, providing connecting flights to Europe and elsewhere from other parts of Asia, buoyed in part by a 72-hour visa-on-arrival program.

A massive, multinational search and rescue operation to locate flight MH370, meanwhile, continues in the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Until the plane is located, there is little prospect of figuring out what really caused it to vanish. And the longer the search takes, the less likely it is to find any survivors.

At a news conference in Beijing Sunday afternoon, a member of the airline's crisis-management team, said the airline has told family members of passengers to "expect the worst." Ignatius Ong said Malaysia Airlines would make travel arrangements for Chinese family members who wished to fly to Kuala Lumpur to await more news.

Meanwhile, many relatives in Beijing were overcome with grief as they awaited news. Sounds of weeping poured out of rooms of the Metropark Lido Hotel, about 20 minutes from Beijing Capital International Airport where the airline had set up a help center for friends and relatives of the passengers. Some of the family members crouched in the stairwells, their cries echoing into the hallways.

Zhang Zhiliang, from Tianjin, and his family huddled in a stairwell in the hotel, crying, "I don't understand." His cousin, 26 and also from Tianjin, was on the flight.

Late Saturday, Vietnam reported that one of its search aircraft had spotted two oil slicks some 140 kilometers, or 87 miles, from Vietnam's coast. The slicks could be a sign that the missing plane had crashed, authorities in Hanoi said.

"I can confirm that there was an oil slick, no debris," Mr. Hishamuddin said, adding that Vietnamese authorities are on site to verify whether there is any jet fuel on the sea surface.

A team of American aviation accident investigators, led by National Transportation Safety Board experts, is en route to Asia to provide assistance regarding the missing jetliner.

China's navy said Sunday that it had sent two warships to help with the search. Beijing had already sent at least one coast guard vessel and two search and rescue ships toward the area, according to state media.

"Once the aircraft location is identified," international accident rules will determine what country will formally lead the probe, the safety board said. The board's announcement is the latest sign of the intense international interest in trying to quickly determine what caused the Boeing 777 to disappear from the sky in good weather.

 The team, including technical advisers from Boeing Co. and the Federal Aviation Administration, left the U.S. Saturday and would "be positioned to offer U.S. assistance," the board said. The NTSB is unlikely to head up what is bound to be a complex and extensive probe, but the board's expertise is likely to play a big role in establishing the chain of events.

The NTSB's decision, according to air-safety officials, indicates that at least at this point, U.S. aviation regulators and safety watchdogs are treating the plane's disappearance and presumed crash as an accident rather than an act of terrorism.

The officials stressed that could change as more details surface. For now, though, it is the NTSB investigators, rather than law-enforcement or antiterrorism officials, who are leading Washington's public response.

—Vu Trong Khanh, Chuin-Wei Yap, Laurie Burkitt and Celine Fernandez contributed to this article. 


Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N4335T, Julep Arbor Flying LLC: Accident occurred March 08, 2014 at Rowan County Airport (KRUQ), Salisbury, North Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA150 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Salisbury, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N4335T
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

At the time of the accident, simultaneous operations were being conducted at the airport. Airplanes were in left traffic for landing on runway 20, and military helicopters were in right traffic landing to a midfield helipad on the west (right) side of the runway. According to the flight instructor (CFI) in the accident airplane, the student pilot completed three touch-and-go landings and proceeded around the pattern for a fourth landing. During the landing the airplane approached the runway as a helicopter "suddenly lifted to a hover." Several witness statements and security video revealed that the 2,150-pound airplane followed behind an airplane that landed on the runway, and passed abeam an 18,000-pound Army utility helicopter on final approach to the helipad, before it banked sharply to the right and impacted terrain. Post-accident examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed partial separation of the right wing and substantial damage to the fuselage. The CFI reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

According to the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual, section 7-3-7:

In a slow hover taxi or stationary hover near the surface, helicopter main rotor(s) generate down wash producing high velocity outwash vortices to a distance approximately three times the diameter of the rotor. When rotor downwash hits the surface, the resulting outwash vortices have behavioral characteristics similar to wing tip vortices produced by fixed wing aircraft. However, the vortex circulation is outward, upward, around, and away from the main rotor(s) in all directions. Pilots of small aircraft should avoid operating within three rotor diameters of any helicopter in a slow hover taxi or stationary hover. In forward flight, departing or landing helicopters produce a pair of strong, high-speed trailing vortices similar to wing tip vortices of larger fixed wing aircraft. Pilots of small aircraft should use caution when operating behind or crossing behind landing and departing helicopters.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight instructor's decision to continue the landing in close proximity to a landing helicopter, resulting in an encounter with rotor vortices, loss of airplane control, and collision with terrain.

At the time of the accident, simultaneous operations were being conducted at the airport. Airplanes were in left traffic for landing on runway 20, and military helicopters were in right traffic landing to a midfield helipad on the west (right) side of the runway. According to the flight instructor (CFI) in the accident airplane, the student pilot completed three touch-and-go landings and proceeded around the pattern for a fourth landing. During the landing the airplane approached the runway as a helicopter "suddenly lifted to a hover." Several witness statements and security video revealed that the 2,150-pound airplane followed behind an airplane that landed on the runway, and passed abeam an 18,000-pound Army utility helicopter on final approach to the helipad, before it banked sharply to the right and impacted terrain. Post-accident examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed partial separation of the right wing and substantial damage to the fuselage. The CFI reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

According to the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual, section 7-3-7:

In a slow hover taxi or stationary hover near the surface, helicopter main rotor(s) generate down wash producing high velocity outwash vortices to a distance approximately three times the diameter of the rotor. When rotor downwash hits the surface, the resulting outwash vortices have behavioral characteristics similar to wing tip vortices produced by fixed wing aircraft. However, the vortex circulation is outward, upward, around, and away from the main rotor(s) in all directions. Pilots of small aircraft should avoid operating within three rotor diameters of any helicopter in a slow hover taxi or stationary hover. In forward flight, departing or landing helicopters produce a pair of strong, high-speed trailing vortices similar to wing tip vortices of larger fixed wing aircraft. Pilots of small aircraft should use caution when operating behind or crossing behind landing and departing helicopters.

A flight instructor and student pilot wree injured when 1971 Piper 140 aircraft crashed during landing at the Rowan County Airport around noon today.
“The plane was in the process of landing. Something occurred that caused the plane to veer off the runway, and once it veered off the runway – off the pavement – it crashed,” said Rowan County Emergency Services Director Frank Thomason.

The crash happened adjacent to the main airport runway.

“The information just isn’t conclusive at this point to say exactly what caused the crash,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of factors.”

Both the instructor, Randy Fleming, and student, Vibra Chanera, sustained non-critical, non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center by EMS, then transferred to N.C. Baptist Hospital for precautionary measures, according to Thomason.

The aircraft belongs to Richard Franklin of Salisbury.

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -  Officials on scene confirm two people were taken to hospital after a small plane crash at the Rowan County Airport.

The crash happened just after 12:30 p.m. at the far end of the runway, north of Red Acres Road.

Officials say the two people are expected to be okay.

Rowan County EMS Director Frank Thomason said the pair were in the process of landing when they veered off the runway and into the grass, causing the plan to crash.

The people involved in the crash were taken to Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem.

The two were identified as instructor Randy Fleming and student Vibra Chanera.  The plane is registered to Richard Franklin.

Officials say a trainer and a student were in the plane.

The plane is a Piper PA28-140.

The Locke Fire Department, as well as firefighters from Salisbury, police and sheriff's deputies, Rowan County EMS, and the Rowan Rescue Squad were observed at the site.

SALISBURY, N.C. – Paramedics transported two people to the hospital following a small plane crash at Rowan County Airport, emergency officials say.  

It happened around noon Saturday at the field in Salisbury.

Officials say an instructor and trainee were close to landing when the plane diverged from the route and crashed into nearby grass.

The plane is a Piper PA-28-140.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Paramedics first took the victims to Rowan Medical Center but they have been transported to NC Baptist in Winston-Salem. Their injuries are said to be non-life-threatening. 

Airline warns pilots about runway after UPS crash

Airbus A300F4-622R, United Parcel Service (UPS), N155UP: Accident occurred August 14, 2013 in Birmingham, Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The nation’s largest regional passenger airline told pilots to avoid landing on the runway where a UPS cargo jet crashed in Birmingham because an internal review following the accident concluded planes come “dangerously close” to nearby hills if even a few feet too low.

The Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines, in a company alert obtained by The Associated Press, said its pilots should use the primary runway at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport when possible rather than the shorter Runway 18, where a UPS A300 jet struck trees before slamming into a hill short of the runway in August. The two pilots died, but no one on the ground was hurt.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to determine the probable cause of the UPS accident, and a hearing last month focused on pilot fatigue as the cause of the crash, not any possible problems with the runway. An aviation safety expert said the runway is “absolutely” safe.

But the ExpressJet report, based on both an analysis of the UPS crash and ExpressJet landings in Birmingham, said a nonstandard flight path to the runway combined the “significant threat of terrain” meant its pilots should always land on Birmingham’s main runway if it is available.

Dated about one month after the UPS crash, the ExpressJet review said the study was meant to illustrate the “tight constraints” of Runway 18, “not to instill fear” in pilots.

ExpressJet spokeswoman Samantha Harrison declined comment on the safety analysis. The company operates 14 flights daily through Birmingham as Delta or United Express, airport records show.

A spokeswoman for the Birmingham airport, Toni Herrera-Bast, wouldn’t answer questions about the ExpressJet report, including whether the authority that oversees the airport is considering any changes to the runway.

Birmingham’s main, 12,000-foot-long runway was temporarily closed for repairs the morning of the crash, and the pilot of the UPS jet decided to land on Runway 18, which is 7,000 feet long and has less guidance equipment than the longer runway.

The airplane’s path took it across several large hills at the northern end of the runway. Apparently unaware how close the aircraft was to the ground, the pilot flew into the tops of tall trees beside two homes before dawn on an overcast, drizzly morning. After impact, the aircraft plunged into the side of a hill more than a half-mile from the end of the runway, scattering wreckage across a wide area.

ExpressJet’s safety department reviewed both the UPS crash and 11 landings made by its own pilots last year on Runway 18, the analysis shows. While none of the ExpressJet flights crashed, the study found that two ExpressJet planes that were only a few feet below an ideal flight path came within 65 feet of a hilltop.

“Due to the significant threat of terrain on approach to runway 18 and the non-standard glide-path angle, all landings should be made to runway 6/24, if available,” the study concludes. “Flying ‘low’ or ‘slightly low’ ... puts the aircraft dangerously close to terrain.”

Veteran airline pilot-turned-safety consultant John Cox, who grew up in Birmingham and learned to fly on Runway 18, said the runway “absolutely” is safe.

“How many hundreds and thousands of people have landed using that approach?” said Cox.

But, he said, the ExpressJet analysis highlights the difficulty pilots face when landing on Runway 18 and other runways with difficult approaches over hills or buildings. The Birmingham runway is also tricky during takeoffs because of surrounding hills, Cox said.

“It’s an appropriate step for the company to say to the crews, ‘This runway has some issues with it. If you can, use the other one,’” said Cox, who flew for commercial carriers and now is chief executive of the Washington-based Safety Operating Systems, a consulting company.

Testimony during the NTSB hearing indicated commercial jets seldom use Birmingham’s shorter runway, but investigators could not determine whether the UPS pilot, Cerea Beal Jr., ever had attempted landing on Runway 18 during 175 previous flights into Birmingham.

The co-pilot, Shanda Fanning, was making only her second flight to the Birmingham airport.

ExpressJet, a subsidiary of SkyWest Inc., calls itself the world’s largest regional airline with more than 2,100 flights daily on average. It operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.


NTSB Identification: DCA13MA133
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of UNITED PARCEL SERVICE CO
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 14, 2013 in Birmingham, AL
Aircraft: AIRBUS A300 F4-622R, registration: N155UP
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August, 14, 2013, at about 0447 central daylight time (CDT), United Parcel Service flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, N155UP, crashed short of runway 18 while on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (KBHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The two flight crew members were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The cargo flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 121 supplemental and originated from Louisville International Airport, Louisville, Kentucky.

Fisher Celebrity, 19-7592: Accident occurred March 09, 2014 at Tyabb Airport, Australia

Tyabb Air Show:

 An experienced pilot accidentally landed his plane on a popular coastal road after misjudging the runway during the Tyabb Airshow.

Police were called to Tyabb Airport just after 930am when the plane overshot the runway and stopped alone Mornington-Tyabb Rd.

Police spokesman David Wallis said no spectators or road users were injured.

The pilot, a man aged in his 60s, was treated for shock at the scene.

The road has now been reopened and the Airshow has recommenced.

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Minister accused of spending N10bn on private jet

A serving minister in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan has been accused of maintaining a jet in the private hangers of the nation’s airports with a whopping sum of N10 billion in two years.

Of this amount, the cost of stationing the jet in private hangers of the airports had cost N3.120 billion within the period.

This allegation was contained in a petition forwarded to President Jonathan by some workers at the nation’s airports, under the aegis of Concerned Aviation Professionals (CAP) at the weekend.

The petition, also copied to the Senate President, David mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; Senate Committee on Public Petitions, House Committee on Public Petitions, all political parties with members in the National Assembly and civil society organisations, has it that CAP is in possession of details of operation of the jet, a Challenger 850 with registration number 0E-ILA.

It was signed by both the coordinating chairman and coordinating secretary of CAP, Abdul Malik Masaya and John Obande Anihinru, respectively.

“We have details and impeccable records which confirm that the ‘Super Minister’ has been frittering away scarce Nigerian resources in maintaining the Challenger 850 aircraft at one of the private hangers in Nigerian airports in the last two years.

“The incontrovertible evidence we have is that the minister has been committing 500,000 euros (N130 million), monthly, to maintaining the aircraft in the last two years. Thus, in two years, the minister has committed the sum of N3.120 billion to keeping the jet, which is for personal and family use alone,” the professionals said.

They alleged further that the cost of flying the jet around the world was what cumulated to the said N10 billion, boasting that records of the many trips, solely on vacation and personal ventures, that the jet had been on were available.

They said, “We make bold to say the amount above is just a tip of the iceberg. Many other billions have been wasted in flying the jet around the world, obviously for leisure, by the minister and solely members of the immediate family.

“Our records show that the amount already wasted by this minister and members of the family on trips that are, in no way, beneficial to Nigeria runs into not less than N10 billion.

“The worst of all, Sir, is the fact that an agency of government is paying the billions used to maintain this jet. We are aware of a war that is now brewing in the lucrative government agency when some directors got wind of the huge funds being channeled into maintaining the minister’s private jet.”

Members of CAP challenged the president to investigate not only their allegation, but also the contractor involved in the maintenance of the aircraft so as to ascertain whether or not the services were being paid for by Nigeria.

“We want you to investigate who entered into the contract for maintaining the Challenger jet on behalf of Nigeria. Is it a formal or informal contract? Why is Nigeria paying for the jet? We cannot comprehend the sense in keeping a plane solely for the use of a minister, especially when the plane is not part of the presidential fleet.

“Sir, we are not speculating. We know the implication of details contained in this letter for your government, but we are concerned that this is no longer something to be kept under the table.

“Details in our possession include the series of flights the minister had engaged in with the plane in the last two years. The details also include the different locations, time and date of the flights, as well as dates the plane returned to Nigeria at each instance.

“In fact, we can confirm to you that the plane has been in use since July 2002.we are concerned that the waste has continued even in the face of dwindling national budget,” CAP said.

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