Friday, April 04, 2014

You're clearing for takeoffs? Norfolk International Airport (KORF) seeks 2nd runway


A consultant for Norfolk International Airport once predicted the facility would serve 144,000 flights in 2014.

That won’t happen. Last year, there were only 82,000 aircraft operations – military, cargo and private planes included. The number of arriving and departing passengers fell to 3.1 million, a 12-year low and down from a high of 3.9 million in 2005.

The plummet in activity has not stopped the airport from pursuing a second, parallel runway that could cost nearly $300 million. Officials there say the primary need is not one of demand, but of safety and redundancy in case maintenance or an unforeseen incident shuts down the primary strip.

A parallel runway has been part of plans at Norfolk International for decades and studied at various levels over the years. Airport officials fired up the engines again last year when they issued a call for a consultant to begin a federally required review of the project.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms highlighted the prospect of another runway in his State of the City speech last month. He said it would draw more investment, jobs and tourists, and he suggested it may help the airport add direct flights to the West Coast and even Europe.

A new runway doesn’t guarantee new flights, said Robert Bowen, the airport’s deputy executive director.

“That’s really a factor of passenger demand within the community,” he said.

A decade ago, officials were pushing for a parallel runway with forecasts that showed it would be necessary to meet growing demand. Those projections proved woefully off-target as airlines merged and cut flights across the industry.

Officials began recasting the need as long ago as 2006. An update to the master plan in 2008 said the addition was required to enhance the airport’s safety and reliability.

Norfolk International has a second runway that crosses its main strip, but it is too short to serve commercial jets, and the cost of lengthening it has been estimated to be greater than that of building a parallel one.

The main runway serves about 98 percent of takeoffs and landings at the airport, Bowen said. In April 2013, LeighFisher, a consultant for the airport, outlined the justification for building a parallel strip. Among the benefits would be the ability to separate different kinds of aircraft on the two runways, which would increase the efficiency of the airport and improve safety, according to an executive summary.

Airport officials also point to the problems and delays that could arise if the main runway must suddenly be taken out of service.

The primary runway was closed for 99 hours of maintenance during all of 2013, according to Bowen. All of that work was done between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., when there were no scheduled flights. Maintenance occasionally has forced a late arrival that was delayed from leaving another airport to be canceled or diverted elsewhere, according to Bowen.

The runway was also closed four hours last year for “aircraft incidents.” Bowen did not have data on the number of flights affected by those closures.

About three years of environmental review is likely before a second runway could be approved and ready for design and construction, which would take another three to four years, according to airport staff. In 2009, a consultant’s report to the airport authority pegged the cost of a parallel runway at $265 million in 2008 dollars.

Bowen said the staff is operating on an assumption that federal money would cover 50 percent of the cost, and that state money and airport revenue would cover the rest, although there are no funding commitments.

Meanwhile, the airport continues to plan for growth in other ways. It recently raised its long-term parking fees to $9 from $7 a day to pay for a parking garage. The new garage would supplant the surface spots that would be sacrificed if the airport carries through with a plan to build a third concourse and add to its aircraft parking apron.


Dakil Auctioneers, Inc: Kestrel Aircraft Co. - Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 9:00am - Equipment Located At: 1600 Westheimer Dr., Norman, OK (Westheimer Airport Hangar #307) and 518 N Indiana, Oklahoma City, OK

Auction To Be Held At:
Dakil Auctioneers, Inc.
200 NW 114th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Sale Information 

Inspection will be held on Monday, April 28th from 8:00am to 6:00pm and starting at 8:00am on the day of the auction.

Registration will begin at the Dakil Auctioneers building at 8:00am on the day of the auction.

Items To Be Sold

Krestel Aircraft Md. KL-1A Plane, All the Molds to Build These Planes, Mock Plane, Aviation Engines & Hardware & All Components to Build Planes, Surface Grinder, (2) Gardner Denver Air Compressors, (2) Large Vacuum Pumps, Large Curing/Treating Oven, Aircraft Test Equipment, Do All Band Saw, A-O Lee Tool Grinder, Brown & Sharp Surface Grinder, Duracraft Mill/Drill, Multi Sander, Pedestal Grinder, Jointer Planer, Delta Band Saw & Sander, (3) Granite Surfacing Tables, Vacuum Table, Dual Chop Saw, Platform Scales, Several Shop Fans, Table Saw, Large Lamination machine, Lincoln 225 Welder, Arbor Press, Lots of Air & Hand Tools—Snap-On & Other Brands, Several Tool Boxes, Gentry w/Hoist, Hydraulic-Electrical Unit, Ladders, Dollies, Castered Carts, Dispenser Racks, Walk-In Freezer, (5) 40’ Assembly Tables, (20+) Assembly Tables & Racks, Nut & Bolt Bins, Painting Equipment, Pallet Jack, Hydraulic Jacks, Shop Vacs, Clamps, Pedestal Lights, Heavy Duty Shelving, Blue Print Machine, (20+) Desks & Credenzas, (2) Conference Tables, Bookcases, (20+) 2- & 4-Drawer File Cabinets, Fire King Fire File, (10+) 2-, 4- & 5-Drawer Lateral File Cabinets, (50+) Chairs—Exec, Side & Stack; (30+) Pieces of Artwork, Oak 5-Drawer Plan Cabinets, Hanging Files, (50+) Computers & Printers, Drafting Tables, Chest Freezers, Tool Cage, Barrel Pumps, Table w/6 Chairs, Sofa, Office Misc. & Scrap Metals.

This is only a partial listing!
Buyers Premium will apply

Read more and photo gallery:

Boeing says US OK's sale of plane parts to Iran

Boeing Co. said Friday that it received U.S. government approval to export certain spare parts for commercial airplanes to Iran.

CHICAGO —   Boeing Co. said Friday that it received U.S. government approval to export certain spare parts for commercial airplanes to Iran.

A Boeing spokesman said that the parts were needed to ensure safe flight, but he declined to describe them further or put a dollar amount on them.

The spokesman, Marc Birtel, said Boeing's last delivery to Iran was a 747-100 jumbo jet in August 1979 -- three months before American hostages were seized at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Birtel said Boeing got a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to export the spare parts under a temporary agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry reached with the Iranians late last year.

Officials at the Treasury Department, which oversees sanctions against Iran, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. and other countries reached an interim agreement in which Iran agreed to halt progress on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions that have squeezed its economy. Iran got access to parts for civilian aircraft and cars, medical supplies and other goods, senior U.S. officials said in January. The deal would run six months while both sides negotiate a permanent agreement.

President Barack Obama has warned that if companies try to do business with Iran in violation of sanctions, the U.S. would come down on them "like a ton of bricks."


“I repeat, there’s been no plane crash” - Mike Lambert, chief deputy of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office

Despite rumors, there’s not been a plane crash

Despite rumors on social media, local law enforcement said there has been no plane crash in Escambia County.

Shortly before lunch, new feeds on Facebook were full of claims that a small aircraft had crashed at the Brewton Municipal Airport. Thankfully, they were untrue.

Mike Lambert, chief deputy of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, said this the third time in recent days he’s heard the rumor.

“I repeat, there’s been no plane crash,” Lambert said. “I don’t know who all is starting this, but it is absolutely false. We did have a high speed chase earlier this morning where we had to use the aircraft to track him, but we backed off when he entered into Florida.”

Lambert said the details of that arrest will be released later this afternoon.


Drug Enforcement Administration Arrest 3 In Fort Lauderdale Airport Drug Investigation

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — An undercover investigation led to the arrest of three men at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Thursday.

Suresh Maharaj,  Ricardo Lesmes-Noguera, and Leonardo Abramovich  were arrested after, according to the criminal complaint, the DEA found probable cause to believe the three, “conspired with each other to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.”

The investigation began with information from a DEA confidential source.

On March 27, the undercover agent contacted an individual based in Colombia who acts as an aviation broker for narcotic related sales and leases.The broker provided the source with information about a Learjet that was being stored in Fort Lauderdale then said he would send one of his associates from Bogota,Colombia to Miami in order to finalize the purchase/lease, according to the complaint.

On March 31, an undercover agent met with  Ricardo Lesmes-Noguera, who said he was sent to Miami by the broker to finalize the sale/lease of the Learjet, the complaint said.

A day later, Lesmes-Noguera, Abramovich, Maharaj met with the undercover agent at a business owned by Maharaj in Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.  During the meeting, Maharaj said he was the owner of the Learjet, according to the complaint. Abramovich and Lesmes-Noguera were at the meeting to allegedly, “broker the transaction in order to obtain a commission on the sale,” states the complaint.

During the meeting, the complaint says, the undercover agent and the confidential source discussed they were looking for an aircraft to transport shipments of cocaine. Maharaj allegedly agreed he would sell them his Learjet and lease them a 1977 Gulfstream G-11 for them to use, according to the complaint.

Shortly after the meeting, the complaint says, Abramovich, in a telephone conversation, tried to expedite the transaction by offering to fly the undercover agent to Atlanta, Georgia to pick up cash meant to be used to pay for the planes.  On the same call, Abramovich allegedly agreed to fly the agent and 50 kilograms cocaine to Atlanta, according to the complaint.

On April 3rd two agents met with the three at the airport and Maharaj had allegedly leased another aircraft to fly the cocaine to Georgia, as stated in the complaint. They allegedly planned to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta.

The agents arrived to the meeting with three suitcases containing “sham” cocaine, according to the complaint, and Ambramovich allegedly helped load the suitcases onto the plane.

Lesmes-Noguera, Abramovich, Maharaj were then arrested.

Story and photo:

Republic Airways Pilots Overwhelmingly Reject Tentative Labor Contract: Regional Airlines Are Struggling To Recruit, Keep Pilots

The Wall Street Journal 
By  Susan Carey 
April 4, 2014 4:30 p.m. ET

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. on Friday said its pilots didn't ratify a proposed four-year labor contract that it said would have significantly improved pay and work rules for the 2,200 aviators at the company's three regional airlines.

The Indianapolis company didn't disclose the vote breakdown, but said it was "extremely disappointed."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents the pilots, said the tentative agreement reached in mid-February was overwhelmingly defeated, with only 289 voting for the accord and 1,643 against. Capt. David Bourne, director of the Teamsters Airline Division, had recommended the aviators accept the deal, which was reached after nearly seven years of negotiations.

The rejection came on the heels of another regional pilot group nixing a contract proposal. In late March, 70% of the pilots at American Airlines Group Inc.'s American Eagle unit voted against a 10-year contract that would have frozen their pay scales until 2018. While the accord was seen as concessionary, it would have put the 2,700 Eagle pilots on a firmer path to jobs at American Airlines—offering the change to fly bigger jets and earn more money—and would have committed American to keep at least 170 aircraft in the Eagle fleet.

The evident pilot dissatisfaction comes at a time when regional airlines are struggling to recruit new pilots and are losing many of their experienced aviators to the major airlines, which are hiring to make up for mandatory retirements of their senior pilots. Starting regional-pilot pay is the range of $24,000 a year on average, and new federal rules now require beginner pilots to have 1,500 hours of experience before they can fly passengers, up from a minimum of 250 hours before. That extra training adds tens of thousands of dollars to the novice pilots' training expenses, so fewer candidates are interested in the career.

Some smaller regional carriers are being forced to offer large signing bonuses and retention bonuses just to keep enough pilots to satisfy the work they have contracted to provide to the major airlines. And some large airlines are finding their regional affiliates can't meet their commitments, leading to schedule cutbacks. United Continental HoldingsInc. recently announced a big pullback in its small Cleveland hub, blaming both the pilot shortage and its continuing losses in that market.

Wayne Heller, Republic Airways' chief operating officer, said in a statement Friday that the failed tentative agreement would have given his company's pilots "an industry-leading contract" at a time "when other regional airlines have been negotiation concessionary agreements for their pilots." The company said it would work with the Teamsters union to determine how to proceed.

Capt. Bourne, the Teamster official, said Friday "the membership has spoken and we will respect their wishes." Normally, after a contract rejection, the pilots are polled on why they voted no and the company and union try to hammer out a new agreement that meets more of the pilots' needs but doesn't blow the airline's budget.

In the case of the Eagle pilots, American Airlines said it would contract other regional airlines to fly new regional jets it has on order, and begin retiring some of the smaller, less efficient aircraft the Eagle pilots currently fly. That shrinkage will reduce the number of pilot positions at Eagle. But the pilot shortage should give those aviators some leverage in finding jobs at other carriers.


Low-flying crop duster planes begin season of fertilizing wheat fields

MOSCOW, ID - Spring is in the air, and so are the crop dusters. 

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin tells us what it's like to take a ride in one of those low-flying planes, and why farmers are keeping the pilots busy this time of year.

"I am a professional aerial applicator… is the politically correct term," said Aerial Applicator Kenny Meines. "However when I say that to people, they go, 'What do you do?' And I say, 'I'm a crop duster,' and they go 'Oh, okay.'"

Kenny Meines has been flying spray planes for over twenty years. He's currently based north of Palouse.

"Spray planes can cover the ground really fast, so when there's a major problem like stripe rust in the wheat, we can treat that very quickly with an aircraft," said Meines.

Meines said the rolling hills of the Palouse make it more difficult to spray or apply dry fertilizer... but you certainly won't hear him complain about this view.

"The weather is the biggest challenge, and the wind's blowing right now, which is our worst enemy," said Meines.

"This time of year, we're putting dry fertilizer on the wheat to try to raise the protein values of the wheat," said Meines.

I just spent about 20 minutes in this Thresh Aircraft. We were flying about 30 feet above the ground, going about 160 miles an hour, and I can easily say it was the bumpiest airplane ride I have ever been on.

"Low and fast, I like this kind of flying, and it's a very challenging type of flying," said Meines.

That need for speed might just run in the family because Meinus' son Michael has been flying with him for the last four years.

"There's just a lot more freedom to it," said Michael. "I mean, you're not on the radio constantly with like air traffic control."

Both Kenny and Michael Meines said they enjoy working as a father-son team, especially in the industry of agriculture.

"It's just neat to be a part of a group of guys that help try and feed the world," said Kenny.

"That's what we're here to do," said Michael. "I mean, we're here to help farmers out and get the food out there."

Kenny Meines said they generally start flying in March, and continue until early September.

Story and video:

Pakistan International Airlines fires 300 employees for having fake degrees

ISLAMABAD: More than 30,000 educational degrees of over 16,000 employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are under the process of verification in pursuance of a Supreme Court order, the management of the national flag carrier said on Friday.

So far, the verification of 6,000 employees’ educational degrees has been completed, of which 350 have been found guilty of submitting fake documents, a PIA spokesman said.

“Consequently, action has been taken against 300 employees, whereas the cases of 50 personnel are pending with the courts,” he said.

“In compliance with the instructions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the PIA has been vigorously pursuing the issue of credential verifications of its employees. This gigantic task of verification of credentials of around 16,000 employees was taken up by the PIA’s Human Resource Administration Department six months ago (in October, 2013),” Mashhood Tajwar, the PIA spokesman, told journalists.

“The verification process is going on in a very transparent manner across the board, encompassing all categories and groups of employees without any discrimination,” he claimed. It was informed that more than 30,000 degrees had so far been dispatched to the educational institutions concerned (universities and boards) for verification. “The process of dispatching the remaining 3,000 degrees will be completed by the mid of April,” he said.

“The verification result of more than 6,000 degrees has been received, and out of that 350 degrees were found fake. As per the instructions of the Supreme Court, prompt action was taken against the fake degree holders. In the light of new findings, the services of 300 employees have been terminated, whereas the remaining 50 cases are sub judice and courts’ decisions are awaited for further action,” he said.

He said that the PIA had expedited the task of verification, however, appropriate action could only be initiated once the replies from the universities or boards concerned were received.

In the backdrop of the reports that thousands of government employees were fake degree holders, the SC had ordered the government institutions, including the PIA, to have the degrees of their staff verified and submit a compliance report in the court accordingly.


Military Training Exercise Saturday at Pinnacle Mountain

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A military training exercise takes place for an hour Saturday morning at Pinnacle Mountain.

The Arkansas National Guard says it will involve soldiers and aviators from the it’s 77th Theater Aviation Brigade at Camp Robinson.

During the hour-long exercise that begins at 10 a.m., participants will conduct an aerial hoist rescue that involves an Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

The Guard says the training will incorporate the rescue of individuals simulating injured or stranded personnel in remote locations. The hoist locations will include a wooded area part way up the mountain and a location near the North Summit of Pinnacle Mountain.

The purpose of the training is to assist Army National Guard helicopter crews in attaining experience and developing expertise in the dynamics of mountainside rescue. Hovering the aircraft and managing the rescue by hoist of injured individuals in a remote location is one level of training. It is made more difficult by the wind updrafts over mountainous terrain.

The National Guard, by nature of the training and unique equipment, is frequently involved in search and rescue operations, disaster recovery operations and homeland security assistance. Training such as this helps ensure these citizen-Soldiers are trained and ready when our fellow Arkansans need assistance.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola moved Friday to alert the public about the exercise.Little Rock and

“Residents on and around Pinnacle Mountain Saturday should rest assured that the helicopter is part of an Arkansas National Guard training exercise, not a rogue incursion from a neighboring country trying to take control of Pulaski County’s tallest point,” Stodola amusingly said while looking over tactical terrain maps. “I am proud that Arkansas’s brave citizen soldiers are always training to be prepared for whatever disaster emergency to which they may be called.”

Also on Saturday, starting at noon, Guard officials say there will be live mortar fire training at its Robinson Manuever Training Center in North Little Rock.

It will involve soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The training will continue until 11 Saturday evening.

It will take place on the northeast side of Camp Robinson near Cato, and south of Arkansas Hwy. 89.

The sound of the mortar fire will likely carry outside Camp Robinson's perimeter and may potentially cause concern in the surrounding area. 

Communities in proximity to the training area which may hear or feel effects of the training beyond the borders of the post include: Cato, Mayflower, Runyon Acres, Gravel Ridge, and Oak Grove.


Orange County Sheriff's Department Helicopter Crew Tails Journalist Probing Police Corruption

By R. Scott Moxley 

April  04,  2014 at 1:30 PM

After spending hours on March 31 interviewing multiple sources knowledgeable about Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) corruption involving a jail informant program defense lawyers label dirty, a low-flying OCSD helicopter crew spent more than 40 minutes tailing me everywhere I drove in three different cities.

According to an OCSD spokesman, the crew headed by pilot Erik Baum is asserting an alibi: They were providing aerial "perimeter" support for Westminster Police Department (WPD) officers writing a routine report on a previous residential burglary call in a low-income neighborhood where there were no fleeing suspects.

Westminster is not a contract city for OCSD helicopter services, but Baum's story is that he just happened to have been flying in the region precisely when I arrived and he decided this particular burglary report, one of more than 10,000 taken in the county annually, became his priority for 48 minutes.

Asked to explain what made this burglary special enough to divert the use of a valuable public asset from the rest of the 948-square mile county, the department spokesman declined to elaborate other than to say Duke, the call name for the helicopter, was requested by WPD.

But the airborne law enforcement crew was not in Westminster or near the burglary location when they began tailing me and, though I eventually drove through that city, the helicopter continuously followed me to a third city during the time of the alleged perimeter support.

Staff ignored my request to interview to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who is seeking re-election, about the incident.

OCSD pilots, who technically aren't supposed to use public property for personal vendettas, historically operate with little or no meaningful oversight.

Taken from video of the helicopter tail, here are sample images captured at different times and different locations in three cities:

SkyWest to end flights out of Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport (KLMT) June 5

Flights out of Klamath Falls to Portland and San Francisco are set to end in early June.

Airport officials were notified April 4 by SkyWest Airlines, who provides United Express service at the Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport, that they will stop service on June 5. SkyWest has provided air service to the community since July 2008 and currently provides daily service to and from Portland and San Francisco, according to a press release.

Small communities like Klamath Falls have faced increasing challenges to maintain air service as a result of the economic recession and more stringent federal rules governing crew scheduling that has made it difficult for airlines to maintain profitability in small markets, according to the release from the airport.

John Longley, airport director, expressed his appreciation in the release to the Air Service Partnership for the concerted effort to maintain Klamath Falls United Express service.

“Along with other small communities, we learned of the cancellations today. Our intention is to seek other service for Klamath Falls,” Longley said.

Customers with reservations for flights to or from the Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport after June 5 will be contacted by United/United Express to be rescheduled.


Lakeland Linder Regional (KLAL), Florida: Commissioners Expected to OK Airport Parking Project

LAKELAND | Commissioners are expected to approve a $7 million project on Monday that would renovate a parking area for business jets at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

The project includes a $4.7 million renovation of the Southwest Ramp, which is about a two to three- acre area.

Gene Conrad, airport director, said asphalt is loose and could be sucked into engines if the pavement isn’t fixed.

A parking area in the north portion of the airport is also expected to be renovated and repaved at a cost of $2.2 million.

If commissioners approve the project on Monday during a City Commission meeting, construction is expected to begin this fall.

The airport is expected to pay about $390,000 for both projects. The Federal Aviation Administration will contribute about $6 million, while the Florida Department of Transportation plans to spend about $550,000 on the project.

Conrad said it’s a good sign that the state and federal agencies are paying.

“We need to be ready for more economic development,” Conrad said. “This provides additional capacity to handle increased activity.”


Initiative Process Sought To Alter Santa Monica Airport (KSMO) Strategy

The 2014 Election could prove to be one of the most significant votes in Santa Monica history. Voters could potentially be deciding the fates of two significant properties come Nov. 4: the Hines development at the old Papermate site at 1681 26th Street and Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

A coalition of residents gathered enough signatures in March to call for a referendum to reverse the Hines development agreement (DA) approved by the Santa Monica City Council in February.

Nearly two weeks after the coalition submitted more than 13,000 signatures to Santa Monica City Clerk Sarah Gorman, another three people visited her office March 27 to file a “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition” to begin the initiative process and challenge the City Council’s plan to potentially shut down SMO as early as next year.

Gorman confirmed the trio who visited her office last week was Lauren McCollum, Nikos Kokotakis, and Flora Yin.

Last week’s filing came less than 48 hours after the Santa Monica City Council unanimously adopted a plan to look into how SMO could either be shut down or have its operations significantly cut.

The initiative could result in a ballot measure, giving voters a chance to amend the City Charter and take the power to decide whether or not the airport land ever becomes redeveloped out of the hands of the City Council.

Accordingly, the process differs from the Hines DA referendum, where the City Council adopted a new law and residents gathered enough signatures to have that law vetoed.

In its filed Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition, the proponents stated the initiative seeks to put the decision of whether the land SMO sits on would be redeveloped in the hands of the voters because council members and special interest groups “have sought to convert the Airport to many different uses, including housing, a campus, a transit center and other schemes that would increase density and create new problems.”

“The City of Santa Monica has stated … it does not have the resources to develop and maintain such a valuable property for low-density use, like a park,” McCollum, Kokatakis, and Yin stated in their Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition. “A City report says that once closed, Airport land would likely be redeveloped for higher density uses, bringing more traffic, noise and air pollution.”

Interestingly enough, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor and Santa Monica Councilman Kevin McKeown both said at the March 25 council meeting if SMO were indeed shut down, it would remain a low-density project and the land where the airport sits would not be converted into “Century City West.”

Even more, there is a coalition of residents – – who seek to have SMO converted into a regional park.

Still, the three petitioners stated in their notice Santa Monica’s leaders could not be trusted to make the right decisions about the future of SMO, hence the City Charter should be amended in order to allow voters to decide the fate of the airport’s land.

“The City’s recent approval of a large high-density development completely disregarded the concerns of nearby residents and the people of Santa Monica,” McCollum, Kokatakis, and Yin stated. “It is clear from [the] statements and … actions [of the City Council] that the politicians can’t be trusted to maintain a low density land use.”

The three petitioners also stated SMO is an economic benefit to the City of Santa Monica. Closing the airport, the petitioner stated, would result in lost jobs and tax revenue.

“Santa Monica Airport and Business Park are low density, valuable community land uses that generate business, jobs and tax revenue for the City,” McCollum, Kokatakis, and Yin stated in their Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition. “Closing the Airport would mean a loss of significant revenue, shitting down businesses, and terminating hundreds of good family-wage jobs.”

It remains to be seen how a potential ballot initiative would be impacted by federal agreements governing SMO.

California Elections Code section 9203 governs the Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition.

With the notice of intent already on file, the next step would be for the City Attorneys office to draft a ballot title and summary. Once the language is complete, proponents of the ballot initiative must publish the notice of intent at least once in a newspaper.

Upon publication, the initiative’s proponents may begin circulating a petition for signatures.

The petitioners have a 180-day window to collect signatures equal to 15 percent of the total number of registered Santa Monica voters. By comparison, had to acquire signatures from 10 percent of registered Santa Monica voters within 30 days.

Story and comments/reaction:

Judge gives Robert de Varona 60 days to vacate Pensacola International Airport (KPNS)

A judge has given airport concessionaire Robert de Varona until May 30 to remove his property from Pensacola International Airport.

City officials last week told de Varona he would have only until April 3 to remove his belongings and make way for Missouri-based OHM Concessions to begin doing business.

De Varona, who had provided food and beverage services at the airport for more than two decades, responded by filing suit – arguing that his lease clearly gave 60 days to remove his property.

At a hearing Thursday, Circuit Judge Gary Bergosh ruled that de Varona should be given until May 30 to remove his property. Daniel Harrell, an attorney representing de Varona, said the judge had based his ruling on a Feb. 11 letter in which Airport Director Greg Donovan told de Varona he would be given 60 days to vacate the premises.

Bergosh denied de Varona’s related request for a temporary injunction against the city, Harrell said.

In a statement issued Thursday night, de Varona said he was pleased by the ruling.

“Today's ruling is a signal that private enterprise should not be bullied by government officials,” he said, “and that contracts and agreements should be respected by all parties.“

Mayor Ashton Hayward called the ruling “fair and equitable.”

“I sincerely hope that this issue is now settled to the satisfaction of all involved,” Hayward said, “and that we can focus on working together to help take our city and our airport upward.”


♥♡ I would do it for FREE . . . .

Group hired to thin deer population near Hannibal Regional Airport (KHAE) Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) - Gun shots might soon be heard around Hannibal Regional Airport.   

The city is allowing an organization affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to shoot and kill 40 deer around the airport to thin out the population.

Deer sometimes wander onto the runway and planes have even hit them while landing.

City engineer Mark Rees says this is only temporary and the city is working on a permanent solution.

"We also are starting the process of extending our runway so I understand when we have faster and heavier jets landing at our airport that might be a higher priority but it is something we want to do eventually put up a wildlife fence to keep deer on their side and the airport clear," Rees said.

Meat from the deer will be donated to the Share the Harvest campaign. The hunting group will be in Hannibal no longer than a month.

Story, video and comments/reaction:

Phoenix Fire Department's plane-fire drill frighteningly real

The screams of people in agony were as fake as the plastic mannequins that Phoenix firefighters dragged from a burning airplane fuselage in a recent drill.

But the human imagination is a powerful force that can defy reason, and it was hard not to picture a horrific scene of dozens of people burning alive.

Such an elaborate and macabre make-believe is part of federally mandated training that 127 airport-certified Phoenix firefighters go through every year. The purpose of the seven-day training course is to keep crew members mentally focused in case they ever breach a real burning plane to rescue actual burn victims.

"(It) gets your adrenaline going faster," said Joe Teixeira, who started the scream recording with the push of a button.

Teixeira, a contractor who helps stage the simulations, said the screams also force the fire crews to communicate by using hand signals. "You can't communicate because of all the screaming and the noise going on," he said.

The airplane fuselage that firefighters trained on is owned by Kellogg Community College of Battle Creek, Mich. It's shuttled around the country behind an 18-wheeler so fire departments can train their crews to fight jet-fuel blazes and extract victims, among other things. Last year, it visited 33 cities and helped train about 2,000 firefighters.

City may buy own prop

The 21-year-old fuselage prop is in high demand. This is the first year that the simulator has visited the Valley. The Phoenix Fire Department usually pays $300,000 a year to fly its airport crews out of state to practice on other departments' props.

Deputy Chief Elizabeth Hendel, who oversees fire operations at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, hopes to change that and has proposed the department buy its own fake fuselage.

"I've been wanting to get one of these props for a while," she said. "They're pretty costly ... but we spend a lot of money every year going out of state."

Crews usually fly as far as Texas or California.

"We've even gone to Arkansas and Washington," Hendel said.

The airfare, room and board and overtime that's required to replace those firefighters while they're out of town come from a tax that every airport customer is charged when he or she buys a ticket.

"So it's not the taxpayers' money that's paying for this, it's the traveling public that's paying," Hendel said.

The simulators are much more expensive than the annual cost of flying firefighters out of state, ranging from $2 million to $3 million. But the long-term savings the city would achieve, as well as the revenue from local departments that would pay Phoenix to practice on the fake fuselage, would likely pay the bill off quickly, Hendel said.

"It could be as soon as four years," she said, adding that the department could have its own fuselage prop as early as 2017.

Surging adrenaline

During the recent drill at the Fire Training Academy, 2425 W. Lower Buckeye Road, Capt. David Sanchez watched as a group of trainees prepared to extinguish the flames from a simulated fuel spill on the ground. With the words "fire up," flames shot 15 to 25 feet into the air from a circuit of pipes containing liquid propane.

A blast of heat and water mist from the responding fire hoses could be felt 30 feet away.

"They (practice) the right pattern to sequester the flames and kind of push them away from the fuselage and the occupants," Sanchez said. "Everybody on this hose line will take a turn on the nozzle so they learn how to use their (correct) pattern, how to sweep, how to push the fuel away. It's kind of like when you're sweeping leaves off your carport. It's the same principle."

This time, winds shot a rare 50-foot "fire tornado" into the air, Teixeira said.

"If they hit the pans just right, it will get it swirling and it will just take right off," he said. "The most I've seen these (go) up is about 40 feet in the air with no wind at all."

Firefighters Tim Short and Christopher Garry walked off the concourse after the drill. Short pulled off his helmet, sweating so much that he looked like he just took a shower.

"Your natural reaction is to back up," he said, talking about the intense heat from the flames. "But once your adrenaline's rushing, you just want to go in there and put out the fire any way you can."

"It kind of feels like you're out camping and you're too close to the fire," Garry said.

Both men said the adrenaline rush was exhilarating.

"There's no brief burst," Garry said. "It's the entire time."

Mobile Aircraft Fire Training Simulator

History:The fuselage prop used by Phoenix Fire Department instructors is the first mobile aircraft-fire simulator approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The simulator is a mock-up of a Beechcraft 1900. In 2013, the prop visited 33 airports and helped train about 2,000 firefighters.


Owner: Kellogg Community College's Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting program in Battle Creek, Mich.

Length:50 feet

Max temperature:2,000 degrees

Story, video, and photo gallery:

Anyone Can Fly This Stunt Plane, for a Price: Sky Combat Ace, near Las Vegas, lets you take the controls of a stunt plane, no experience necessary

The Wall Street Journal

By James Sturz

April 4, 2014 10:27 a.m. ET

As we fly southeast over the desert, I take the controls. I'm strapped into the cockpit of an Extra 330LC, a two-passenger propeller plane built for performing aerobatic tricks. I glance at the placard on the flight deck that reads "Use of headset is required. Use of parachute is recommended." My instructor, Steve "Hollywood" Helinski, tells me to pull back on the stick until we've climbed to 8,000 feet.

It hardly seems to matter that I'm unlicensed—or that my training entailed no more than a 30-minute briefing and an optional session in a flight simulator, in which I practiced crashing into the Bellagio upside-down. Before getting into the plane owned by Sky Combat Ace of Henderson, Nev., I'd signed a waiver covering every kind of hazard (lightning, rapidly changing weather, other airplanes, the ground) and physical or emotional injury, including death. I'd also been assured that we'd fly at more than twice the mandated minimum altitude for aerobatic maneuvers, so if I happened to spiral out of control, my instructor would have time and space to save our butts.

After all, the point wasn't simply getting into the air, but performing the sorts of moves normally reserved for air shows and dogfights. SCA's trio of 23-foot Extras can reach speeds of 253 miles an hour, and are FAA-approved to withstand plus- or minus-10 Gs. (The gravitational force you feel at sea level is 1 G, while that in a classic loop usually reaches 4 Gs. Negative Gs are what you feel when an amusement-park ride drops.) Richard Coe, SCA's founder and president, grew accustomed to such loads while flying F-16s for the U.S. Air Force. He came to Nellis Air Force Base on the outskirts of Las Vegas to train other pilots, realized how much civilians enjoyed the rides and opened SCA in 2011.

Once we're cruising high above the valley floor, Mr. Helinski takes back the controls and runs through a "G warm-up." This consists of a 3-G right turn, followed by a 4-G left to see how I—and what I might distantly call "my body"—respond. There are video cameras in the cockpit, and when I later watch the feed I see a grimace bloom across my face, as my upper lip curls back into my teeth as far as it will go. This is not a handsome expression.

"You feelin' good?" Mr. Helinski asks, as I peer down at the valley, dazzled and also somewhat dazed. Possible side effects from our maneuvers are nausea, vertigo, loss of vision and fainting. Over the course of our 40-minute flight, my replies range from one to four words. My most expressive responses don't involve words at all.

We move on to actual tricks, starting with a loop. Mr. Helinski, a former commercial pilot, demonstrates while I do my best to maintain my composure. As we climb, he recommends that I look out at the wing, so I can gauge where we are in relation to the horizon. But I can't resist the forward view. The Earth falls away and then ends up above my head. It's thrilling to spin, but also a relief once everything looks again as it should.

I do my best to copy, as Mr. Helinski delivers instructions into my ear: "Make sure your wings are level. All you gotta do is start pulling back… Keep pulling. Beautiful. Looking great. Right over the top… Bring the nose back up to the horizon… You feeling good?"

My face contorts. "Yeah." I believe I also make an amiable grunt.

Next comes a barrel roll, a looser loop along a helical path. On the video, I'm breathing hard as Mr. Helinski brings the nose up 45 degrees before flipping the plane clockwise. Then it's my turn to pull back on the stick, which is starting to feel like operating my own guillotine. "Up, up, up, up, up, now start rolling!" he intones. "Your stomach good? All that stuff feeling good?"

The names of the moves get worse as our session continues; next on the roster is a hammerhead.

What I soon learn about hammerheads is that the plane first goes straight up. We climb for 2,000 feet, as Mr. Helinski reminds me to keep looking out the window at the horizon. Then we run out of momentum; the aircraft stalls and begins to shake. (Some maneuvers happen so quickly there's not enough time to get nervous.) Mr. Helinski steps on the rudder, and we drop straight back down. The ground gets closer, faster and faster—until we pull out, like a ribbon unfurling. We take a break, and Mr. Helinski generously commits to flying level.

Another SCA plane took off just before we did this morning. It is still in the sky, so we "pop some smoke" to find one another. (The radio also helps.) The other Extra performs barrel rolls and tumbles overhead, and I have a full view of the buzzing, swooping, spinning, tumbling plane. It suddenly feels as if we're in a dogfight—or that an airborne Mechagodzilla is doing the lambada around us. There's a paper bag tucked into the flight deck. A few seconds too late, Mr. Helinski reminds me to move my headset's microphone out of the way before retching.

Then he asks if I want to try a tumble, too. I already know I'm never doing this again, so I figure I might as well. Also called a Lomcevak—said to be a corruption of the Czech term for "alcohol-induced spins"—it feels like cartwheeling through an undertow while dropping through the sky and also being stomped in the stomach and face. But in a very nice airplane. Like toy jacks, we spin on every possible axis; the sky and Earth are swapping places so quickly I can't focus on either. I don't try this maneuver myself. Or the flat spin, in which the Extra acts like a giant Frisbee. My airsickness bag fills.

We head back toward the runway on a simulated bombing attack, no more than 10 feet off the ground. As we tear over scrub—at this height, it's especially clear how fast we're moving—Mr. Helinski says sometimes he'll cruise past dirt bikes and four-wheelers. And then suddenly the tarmac is back in view.

I exit the aircraft with my souvenir bag in one hand. Mr. Helinski tells me we neared 5 Gs and surpassed 230 mph during our flight. But it's the high-altitude daredevil moves that stick with me as I make my way back to the Strip, where suddenly Las Vegas seems down-to-earth, slow-moving and graciously low-key.

Sky Combat Ace offers 14 different in-air packages, starting at $349. 1420 Jet Stream Dr., Henderson, Nev.,


Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Maryland: Board of Aldermen approves lease for aviation community center

Frederick could soon have a new amenity at its airport — an aviation community center.

The Board of Aldermen approved a lease at its Thursday night meeting, allowing the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to use the hangar at 296 Bucheimer Road.

A lawyer representing the nonprofit aviation advocates, Ron Golden, said the association would use the space for several purposes.

“We'd like to move some of the AOPA airplanes over there for storage,” he said. “We're going to create an aviation community center, which will be used for educational purposes, hopefully bring people in from other areas.”

The AOPA could hold its safety courses out of the hangar, and it might house a flying club, both of which would attract people to the airport and make flying more accessible, he said.

The AOPA will pay just over $109,000 annually for rent.

The initial term of the lease will be 10 years, to be followed by five-year renewal terms. Rent will increase 3 percent each term. 

The AOPA is planning on making substantial improvements to the hangar, according to the lease agreement, including sealing the floors and modernizing the plumbing and lighting. The association may spend about $270,000 improving the property.

The city agreed to reduce rent on a sliding scale depending on the investment AOPA makes improving the hangar.

City approves Maryland Aviation Administration grant    

Staff at Frederick Municipal Airport should have an easier time maintaining the property, after the approval of a grant from the Maryland Aviation Administration to buy equipment.

The grant of more than $137,000 will allow the airport to purchase a tractor and mowers.

The move should lead to an annual savings of $75,000, according to manager Rick Johnson, because the airport will no longer have to rent similar equipment and would no longer need to reimburse the Parks and Recreation Department $30,000 each year for its mowing services.

Frederick will need to match the MAA grant to the tune of nearly $46,000. However, the airport will take that required funding out of different airport departments, so there will be no new costs to the city.


Jeff Bennett: 'Angel in sky' uses own plane to save dogs on death row

 TAMPA (FOX 13) -  Jeff Bennett, a volunteer with Pilots and Paws, combines his love of flying with his love for dogs – rescuing animals all across the country.

It's a plane full of puppies all being saved from death row.

"I enjoy it," Bennett told FOX 13. "You get to have cute little faces in the plane. I get to play with them while I'm flying."

Those cute little faces come from over-populated shelters that are forced to euthanize animals. Jeff flies all across the U.S., picking up the pups and taking them to shelters throughout South Florida.

Sherry Silk of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay believes said this about him:  "They're angels in the sky saving little guys."

Jeff has rescued close to 2,300 dogs since 2008, and he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He volunteers his time and his plane, paying for his own gas and repairs from the wear and tear of travel. And he does it without asking for anything in return.

"He's the real deal. He's not doing it for notoriety. He's doing it because when he sees these puppies and sees them here, and we do follow ups with him and tell him that they get adopted, that's all the recognition that he needs" Silk said.

Jeff and his wife's love of dogs extend to his home, too. They have four of their own rescued dogs. But for the Bennett family, it's more like a love of all animals.

"I've done potbelly pigs, kinkajou, snakes, lizards, hamsters, guinea pigs," he said.

The animals go to shelters like the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where they stay until they find a forever home.

"These guys you want to take home," Jeff said. "It's hard not to take them home. There's one on almost every trip that I'd like to take."

Story, photo gallery, video and comments/reaction:

Countdown for Malaysia Airlines Black Box Search Presents Difficult Question: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal
By  Rachel Pannett in Sydney and  Robb M. Stewart in Perth

April 4, 2014 8:14 a.m. ET

SYDNEY—With the black box from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 due to fall silent any day, an already difficult search looks about to become vastly more so, presenting the eight governments involved with the thorny question of how long to continue it.

The all-out air-and-ship search for the last two weeks, since the focus shifted to the southern Indian Ocean, has been a race against time. Fueling it has been the intense hope of coming across a ping from the plane's black-box flight recorders, which would both help locate the plane as well as offer answers to one of the biggest mysteries in modern aviation.

The batteries of underwater locator beacons attached to the flight recorders are estimated to last about 30 days. Four weeks after the Beijing-bound plane is believed to have crashed into the ocean on March 8, as little as two days remain to find them.

In a last-ditch effort to locate the black boxes, the search shifted under water for the first time on Friday: Two naval vessels from Australia and the U.K. began probing the ocean depths. The Australian ship, Ocean Shield, is equipped with a U.S. device designed to detect signals from the flight recorders, thought to be sitting up to 2½ miles below the surface.

The decision to move the search under water followed urgings from Malaysian and Australian leaders to maintain the search at full intensity until all hope of locating the plane is lost. But if the weekend comes and goes without a breakthrough, some of the oxygen is likely to drain out of the multinational mission.

For three countries any kind of pullback on the search may be difficult politically and diplomatically: China, which had 153 citizens on board the plane, Malaysia, which is legally bound to investigate the disappearance as the home country of the airline and Australia, which has been leading the search since it shifted to its maritime backyard. That is likely to keep the search going.

China's Premier Li Keqiang, speaking with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott by phone on April 1, said that "although search efforts face increasing complications and difficulties, they should not be relaxed, much less abandoned," according to a brief report by China's official Xinhua news agency.

Mr. Abbott—due to visit China next week, where he hopes to advance long-stalled free-trade talks—has pledged to keep increasing the intensity of the search indefinitely. "If this mystery is solvable, we'll solve it," he said on March 31.

Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said on Friday that the hunt for debris on the ocean surface would continue for "a good deal more time."

Australia's navy has a track record of deep-sea recovery, including retrieving a body from a downed Black Hawk helicopter in about 3,000 meters of water off the island nation of Fiji in 2007, almost five months after it crashed.

For now, other countries involved in the search, including Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, have pledged ongoing support, but a protracted search with no hope of a ping from the black box will inevitably run into a different cost calculus for governments with a less direct link to the disaster.

"The cost involved could make it quite difficult to continue being part of the search, certainly for countries whose people feel they have no direct involvement," said Alan Campbell, a research fellow at Curtin University in Perth who specializes in psychology and conflict resolution.

No country will want to be seen as bailing out first, said Peter Jennings, who as executive director of defense think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, gives security advice to the government. "They will want a pre-agreed halt for all," he said.

Some defense experts say an intensive air search—the bill for which is already likely to have run into the tens of millions of dollars for each of the eight nations involved—should reasonably be called off within two weeks. Up to a dozen military aircraft scouring a vast section of the southern Indian Ocean since the search shifted to the region two weeks ago have so far found nothing but random flotsam.

Without prospects for a black-box ping, the best searchers can hope for is locating individual pieces of wreckage—in a sea of floating garbage. Chances of spotting a field of debris on the ocean surface that would help searchers backtrack to any crash site are remote, experts say.

Locating floating items such as life vests would still give searchers a better steer on the likely crash site than current information—which is based on analysis of radar data, likely aircraft performance and satellite communications by a team of international crash investigators.

"We have not searched everywhere where the aircraft might have gone," said Air Marshal Houston, who is coordinating the multinational effort.

Mr. Jennings said a natural downgrade of the search is likely to come as fierce southern weather systems bring increasingly strong winds and waves. "If nothing else that's going to put a pause in what they can do for quite a number of months."

Recovery efforts may have to be suspended until the spring since deploying even remote-controlled underwater vessels and attempting to bring objects onboard may become impossible, said Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia.

"Ultimately it comes down to the law of diminishing returns and the economic and political resolve to continue," said Bill Fry, a safety adviser and Boeing 737 captain at Express Freighters Australia. "Given the high profile of this event, I would expect that significant resources will be made available over an extended period."

"Countries do find it useful to say they're a part of an international effort," said Samina Yasmeen, professor of political science and international relations at The University of Western Australia. But, she said, "At some stage you have to draw the line."

—Ross Kelly in Perth contributed to this article.


Curt Gottshall: Laramie, Wyoming, pilot is making independent Senate run

CHEYENNE -- A Laramie commercial airline pilot wants to become Wyoming's next U.S. senator.

Curt Gottshall said Thursday he plans to run as an independent for the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

"I've been unhappy with the government and our current representation for some time," he said. "I have a young son now, and I don't want to tell him 20 years from now when we are in a bigger mess that I had a chance to do something but chose not to do so."

Gottshall, 40, is a commercial pilot who captains Boeing 737 planes on international routes.

He said he has been an independent since he first registered to vote at age 18.

“I’ve never found either party could fill all of my desires,” he said. “I guess I’m a bit of an idealist because I refuse that you have to accept the good with the bad in (choosing a party).”

This will be Gottshall’s first run for public office.

He said he has always been interested in politics. But he said last year’s government shutdown was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” in convincing him to run.

Gottshall shares many of the same views as the Republican Party, including the need to significantly shrink the size of the federal government.

He said he would favor cutting “wasteful spending” from federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, as a way to solve the country’s budgetary problems.

He is also an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that most Americans buy health coverage or face a fine.

“I don’t think forcing people to have health insurance is the right thing to do,” he said. “There are many other ways for us to make health care more affordable.”

But he also differs from mainstream conservative thinking on several other fronts.

For example, he said Congress should not cut entitlements, including Social Security and Medicaid, or raise the retirement age.

He also believes that the country should rethink its foreign policy strategy and avoid getting involved in affairs that don’t directly affect the United States.

“I think we have a lot of domestic issues to deal with before we step out and try to save the world,” he said. “We need to save ourselves first.”

But Gottshall said he wants his constituents to ultimately decide how he will vote.

He said he envisions having an online voting tool that would allow Wyomingites to tell him how they feel on a particular issue or bill.

“I’m not someone looking to be re-elected or to become a career politician,” he said. “My desire as a representative of this state is to bring the people’s vote to Washington.”

Gottshall also pledges that he will not accept corporate or special interest campaign contributions.

This will place him in a significant fundraising disadvantage against his rivals, especially Enzi.

The three-term incumbent has raised more than $2 million this election cycle and had $1.8 million available to spend as of Dec. 31, according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports.

The bulk of this fundraising came when Liz Cheney briefly entered the race last year. She bowed out in January after citing health concerns in her family.

Other candidates who have announced runs for the seat are Democrat Charlie Hardy, a retired Catholic priest, and Republican Thomas Bleming, a former solider of fortune.

Joseph Porambo, who is also running as an independent, said he plans to officially announce his campaign next week.

Independent candidates have until Aug. 25 to collect 4,833 signatures of registered Wyoming voters to make it onto the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Gottshall estimates he and his supporters have already collected nearly 1,000 signatures.

He said he is working with a small staff, which includes political science students from the University of Wyoming, to collect the rest.

He said he also plans to take an extended leave from his job in the coming months to focus on the race.

U.S. senators serve for a term of six years. They are paid an annual salary of $174,000 plus benefits.

Story and photo:

Curt Gottshall:

Airbus Orders Hurt by Cancellations: European Aircraft Maker Lost Orders on A350-800

The Wall Street Journal
By  Robert Wall

April 4, 2014 5:13 a.m. ET

LONDON—European aircraft maker Airbus Group NV's net orders plunged to 103 in the first three months of the year, only a quarter of the year-earlier figure, following cancellations for its A350-800 long-range jet.

The Toulouse, France-based company booked 158 gross orders against 55 cancellations and a full year target of around 650. Airbus shipped 141 aircraft in the first three months, three fewer than it did in the same period the year earlier.

Leasing company Aircraft Purchase Fleet canceled an order for 12 A350-800s, the smallest version of the plane maker's newest airliner. Airbus has been encouraging customers to opt for larger models of the twin-engine long-range airplane, including the A350-900 now in flight testing and due to enter service this year. The latest in a series of cancellations for the A350-800 shrinks the backlog for this type to only 34 aircraft, including from Hawaiian Airlines 
and Russia's Aeroflot.

The A350-800 is due from 2016, although Airbus officials have said they may shift the date until the end of the decade as the company focuses on fielding larger models that also carry a higher price, including the 369-seat A350-1000 scheduled to enter service in 2017.

Airbus also suffered five A330-300 cancellations in March as Chinese carriers combined to order 21 of the planes.

Airbus, the world's second-largest airliner maker, trails Boeing Co. in first-quarter order intake and deliveries. Boeing said yesterday it booked 235 net orders in the first three months and handed over 161 airliners. The Chicago-based company has had 40 cancellations so far this year.

Airbus had a backlog of 5,521 planes at the end of March. Both plane makers are increasing output for their aircraft as they seek to satisfy growing demand from airlines for more fuel-efficient jets. Airbus said in February that output for its best-selling A320 would increase to 46 aircraft a month in 2016.


Perryville Municipal Airport (K02), Missouri: Big Plans

The City of Perryville has an ambitious 10-year plan for the Perryville Municipal airport. City Administrator and Airport Manager Brent Buerck said the airport is valuable asset to the City of Perryville.

“It is essential to have a viable airport to help promote and develop industry,” Buerck said.

The Perryville Municipal Airport is located approximately nine miles north of Perryville’s central business district.  The Municipal Airport is a general aviation facility situated on a 351-acre site in the Bois Brule Bottoms on Route H. 

The Municipal Airport was originally built by the U.S. Government as a training facility in the early 1940’s.  The airport was deeded to the city of Perryville in 1947 and has been operational since that time. 

The airport has a 7,000’ x 100’ concrete runway equipped with medium intensity runway lights and runway end identifier lights, which allow various types of aircrafts, including jets, to use the facility.

“The airport runway is the longest one between St. Louis and Memphis,” Buerck said.

Fixed base operators include Sabreliner Corporation, which is engaged in modifications and overhauls to both civilian and military aircraft.

“The airport is essentially divided into two parts. One part being that it is leased by Saberliner Corporation and the other being an unmanned facility,” Buerck said.

The city recently put out a notice that they were soliciting Statements of Qualifications and experience from airport consultants for anticipated projects to be completed over the next five years. The first two projects listed have already been listed in this years’ city budget. The project list includes:

The installation of an AWOS, which is an automatic weather observation system with an estimated cost of $300,000.

Making the Airport a Fuel Facility with an estimated cost $500,000. “This is a must to promote growth at the airport. We don’t have a timeframe yet on the fuel farm but hope to have it installed by the end of our budget year, which is March 31, 2015. We are working now to select the airport consultant who will be responsible for that work.  The AWOS will ultimately be installed by the same firm and that is dependent on our acquiring the proper easements,” Buerck said.

Installation of concrete pads with aircraft tie-downs with an estimated cost $50,000.

A ramp rehabilitation with an estimated cost $2,880,000.

Installation of airport security and fencing with an estimated cost $200,000.

Airport terminal development with an estimated cost $350,000. “This will not be like LAX, we are talking the size of Cape’s terminal or even smaller,” Buerck said.

Runway obstruction removal with an estimated cost $300,000.

Development of Instrument Landing System (ILS) with an estimated cost of $3,000,000.

Perform Aeronautical Surveys for Instrument Approach Procedure nDevelopment and GIS Requirements.

Development of an Airport Layout Plan (ALP) and Narrative or Master Plan

Preparation of a Certificate of Title.

Assistance with required environmental actions and documentation.

Assistance with land acquisition for airport development, and for compliance with FAA standards and regulations.

Airport lighting/electrical or navigational aid improvements.

Airport pavement rehabilitation, maintenance, earthwork, and improvements, e.g. runway extension, crack-fill, seal-coat, overlay, grading, marking, etc. with an estimated cost $600,000.

“We received Statements of Qualifications from four companies and will be reviewing and most likely deciding on a candidate during the April 1 Perryville City Council meeting,” Buerck said. “The project list was based on our Airport Capital Improvement Plan approved by MoDOT.  It includes identified needs for the airport in the future.  We do not plan on completing every project on this list within the next five years but certainly wanted a consultant skilled and experienced enough to handle every project.”


Three warbirds in formation on Anzac Day

Three warbirds from the Biggin Hill collection at the Ohakea Air Force Base will fly past in formation during this year's Anzac Day commemorations.

The aircraft will fly past eight Manawatu/Whanganui locations this year, with three off duty air force pilots taking command of the cockpits.

Marton businessman and aircraft enthusiast Brendon Deere, who owns the Biggin Hill collection, said warbird flypasts had been part of Anzac Day commemorations for the past six years.

"This time we are going to do something a little different as all three warbirds . . . will fly in formation across Palmerston North, Feilding, Marton and Whanganui.

"This will be only the second time all three aircraft have operated together."

The first time was at last year's Marton Christmas parade.

The aircraft and the pilots on the day will be Squadron Leader Sean Perrett in the Spitfire PV270, Squadron Leader Jim Rankin in the TBM Avenger and Squadron Leader Oliver Bint in Harvard NZ1037.

The special passenger on board the Avenger 18 will be air force veteran Phil Lightband, of Whanganui, who flew Kittyhawks and Corsairs on the Pacific front.

Deere said the three aircraft represented different aspects of New Zealand's military aviation involvement in World War II.

"The Spitfire is forever associated with the Kiwi pilots who operated in RAF squadrons in the northern hemisphere whilst the TBM Avenger represents those who were involved in the Pacific campaign.

"The Harvard is synonymous with the vast training and home front effort made back in New Zealand and other Empire locations."

This year's commemorations are made even more significant as it is the anniversary of two key events in military history - the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Deere said the aircraft would be undertaking some air-to-air photography between Whanganui and Ohakea.

The aircraft will take off and form over Ohakea at 10.52am.

Other timings are:

Palmerston North City - 11am

Feilding - 11.06am

Halcombe - 11.11am

Marton - 11.16am

Aramoho Cemetery - 11.26am

Whanganui City - 11.30am

Whanganui Airport - 11.33am

Ohakea - 11.45am (approximately)

The flypasts will be subject to weather and the aircraft returning from the Warbirds over Wanaka event in time. A backup weather day has been set for April 26 with the same timings.



Fantasy of Flight closing Sunday

WHAT: Fantasy of Flight, an aviation-themed attraction in Polk County, is closing its doors to the public as of Sunday. It has showcased owner Kermit Week's collection of vintage aircraft for more than 18 years. Fantasy of Flight now will concentrate on its private-events business, but Weeks says he has a vision for an improved attraction eventually. "Think of this as a caterpillar going into its cocoon," he said when announcing the closure in March. "We expect to re-emerge as a brand-new butterfly."

WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday

WHERE: 1400 Broadway Blvd SE, Polk City

COST: $29.95 ($15.95 for ages 6-12)

CALL: 863-984-3500


Article and photo gallery: