Sunday, April 6, 2014

New director of Four Corners Regional (KFMN) in Farmington says airport is rich in general aviation

Mike Lewis began work March 10 as head of Four Corners Regional Airport

FARMINGTON — Four Corners Regional Airport's new manager, Mike Lewis, says Farmington is fortunate to have an airport, especially while small cities nationwide close their regional airspaces as flights are pulled to larger hubs.

"I would highly encourage people from our community to use our own, homegrown airline as much as they can," he said.

Lewis, who began work March 10, has nearly two decades of experience working with Mesa Air Group, serving in several positions, including as the Farmington regional operations manager, vice president of customer service, president of the company's largest division and senior operations director, according to a city press release.

Lewis, who has lived in Farmington since 1989, earned a bachelor's degree in aviation management from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

His salary as the new airport manager will be $83,000, according to an email from the Farmington city manager's office.

Todd Gressick was the airport's previous manager from June 2012 to October 2013, according to the email. He left to work for a private airline company in New Jersey, Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said.

Lewis said increasing the number of commercial airlines that operate from the city's airport will be difficult. To do so, he said, the airport would need to attract more commercial flights from the area's major hubs, mainly the Denver International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

But those hubs fly to the Durango-La Plata County Airport, he said.

Great Lakes Airlines is the only commercial provider at the city's airport. The airline's director of public relations, Monica Taylor-Lee, said in December the company owns 28 19-passenger planes and six 30-passenger planes and employees about 1,000 workers.

"But the other thing is what this airport offers, (which) is a service to the community," Lewis said.

General aviation — corporate or personal — is a significant component of the airport, and Lewis said he wants to expand that. He wants to decrease fuel prices, modernize hangars and attract an on-site airplane shop to boost general aviation, he said.

As the new manager, he also wants area residents to understand the resources the airport provides. He said he's read online that some people are surprised to learn a commercial airline flies from the airport.

He said there is lots of activity.

"Anybody can tell that," he said, "if they just go out on a clear day and see all the contrails in the air."

At Aztec's airport, city officials expect to select the new airport manager no later than May 13, Finance Director Kathy Lamb said. The city has three proposals and its deadline for candidates to file closed Wednesday, she said.

The former airport manager, Michael Arnold, died on May 18 when his single-engine plane crashed before takeoff.

Story and photo:   http://www.daily-times.com

Opa-Locka Executive Airport (KOPF) ascends in the jet-set market

 A new terminal for passengers of private jets at Opa-locka Executive Airport looks like something out of South Beach. The sleek interior has a white terrazzo floor, a lounge area with a bar, and a passenger service counter that resembles the front desk of a boutique hotel. Outside the entrance, an abstract red-metal sculpture is installed among freshly planted palm trees.

Opened in January by a well-funded company called Orion Jet Center, the new terminal building is part of a surge in construction at county-owned Opa-locka Executive Airport, a former military training airport that is gaining popularity as a full-service station for private jets.

After a long development drought, construction activity at the 87-year-old Opa-locka Executive began picking up six years ago, creating fresh facilities fit for the region’s jet-set crowd. The number of private jets based there has shot up to 147 from 90 five years ago and from 53 a decade ago. Now more than half of the aircraft based there are jets, up from about one-third in 2009 and one-sixth in 2004.

“Opa-locka always had this stigma of being kind of a depressed neighborhood. ... No one really wanted to go there in their private jet,” said Chris Blanchard, co-owner of Chelsea Aviation Group, a private charter-jet service based at the Opa-locka airport. But the development of fresh facilities at Opa-locka Executive in recent years has added to its list of lures for owners of private jets, including lower operating costs than at Miami International Airport.

“Private jet owners want to go to the nice, new, pretty buildings. They love that kind of stuff,” Blanchard said. “What we are seeing is a huge influx of South Americans: Venezuelans, Colombians, Brazilians ... the guys who are coming in here and dumping money into the real estate market, those cash buyers.” Miami’s growing reputation as an adult playground also has added to private jet traffic at the Opa-locka airport. “You have things like Ultra, like Art Basel, the boat shows: Miami is such an event-driven town that you pull from everywhere,” he said.

In part, the airport’s growing popularity is due to the increasing number of celebrities, hedge-fund investors and wealthy international visitors who use their own aircraft or ones from fractional-ownership companies like NetJets when they attend events like Art Basel in Miami Beach and the Sony tennis tournament, or to use new multimillion dollar condos sprouting throughout the region. Its location seven miles north of Miami International and near major highway systems makes it the most convenient of the county’s three general aviation airports to downtown, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. (The other two, Tamiami and Homestead, are far to the south.) And it offers one of the longest general aviation runways in the nation.

Credit also belongs to three companies that do business at the Opa-locka airport as so-called fixed-base operators: Fontainebleau Aviation, Miami Executive Aviation and Orion Jet Center.

Like other fixed-base operators, or FBOs, the three provide products and services to owners of private jets and propeller planes including fuel, maintenance and hangar space. But the three FBOs at Opa-locka Executive also have collectively invested more than $125 million since 2008 in terminals, hangars, offices and other new facilities that support hundreds of jobs.

Orion Jet Center, for example, already had 200,000 square feet of hangars, offices and other leasable space at the Opa-locka airport when the company opened its new 18,000-square-foot passenger terminal in January. It leases space to a mix of tenants including aircraft mechanics, corporate flight planners and an exotic car rental agency as well as private jet owners.

“Orion has over 40 employees and dozens of tenants, which have hundreds of employees of their own,” said Eric Greenwald, president of Orion Jet Center and its parent company, AA Acquisitions, whose principal investor is former banker Leonard Abess Jr. Since the parent company obtained a long-term lease at the Opa-locka airport in 2007, “our overall investment, including our lease acquisition, is in excess of $60 million.”

Greenwald said AA Acquisitions has a long-term lease on about 200 acres at the Opa-locka airport, including its 45-acre Orion Jet Center campus. Under a conceptual master plan, the parent company would arrange for other developers to put up “well over a million square feet” of new structures on the remaining 155 acres.

Greenwald said one possible use of the 155 acres would be construction of an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul for one of the world’s two leading aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, both of which have large flight-simulator training facilities in the Miami area. Other possible developments include such non-aviation facilities as a hotel or retail center. “All of our land is aviation-accessible land, but we have flexible development rights,” he said. “We can develop up to 50 percent of our land for non-aviation use.”

In 2007, when AA Acquisitions acquired a 70-year county lease on the land it controls at the Opa-locka airport, the company’s investors included Abess as well as Miami industrial real estate developer Michael Adler and the late Milton Ferrell, an attorney who died after the lease acquisition. “I eventually bought Michael out,” said Abess, a private jet owner who has been flying out of the Opa-locka airport since the mid-1990s.

Abess said he long considered the airport ripe for redevelopment and jumped at the chance to invest in AA Acquisitions when Adler and Ferrell invited him to become an investor in the company. Abess made headlines nationwide when he divided $60 million of his proceeds from the 2008 sale of City National Bank of Florida among longtime employees of the Miami-based financial institution, roughly the same amount as AA Acquisitions has invested so far in the Opa-locka airport.

Abess said his family has put a personal touch on the design of such facilities as the new Orion Jet Center passenger terminal. His daughter Ashley worked closely with the architects of the passenger terminal and hired its interior designer. In addition, “she worked on all the branding, the website, our logo; all of our material for the public,” Abess said. “I didn’t change anything. I loved everything she had done.”

He owns the red-metal sculpture outside the Orion Jet Center passenger terminal, created in 2010 by acclaimed artist Mark di Suvero. “Mark’s a friend of my wife and I,” said Abess, whose wife suggested installing the sculpture outside the terminal. In addition, Abess personally worked with Miami landscape designer Raymond Jungles to create the green scene outside the terminal and provided the palm trees from his own stock. “I own the nursery the trees came out of,” Abess said. “It’s my hobby.”

Fontainebleau Aviation, which built its first aircraft hangar at the Opa-locka airport in 2009, has built six more since then and is getting ready to break ground again. “Now we have seven hangars totaling 160,000 square feet,” said Bobby Courtney, general manager of Fontainebleau Aviation. “It’s about a $50 million investment.” And yes, that’s the same “Fontainebleau” as the celebrity-haunt hotel; both are owned by by Aventura-based Turnberry Associates, whose CEO Jeffrey Soffer is a licensed pilot.

Fontainebleau Aviation has developed about half of its 26.5-acre leasehold at the Opa-locka airport, and the company is preparing to develop the remaining 13 acres, located along the northern end of Le Jeune Road, which leads to the entrance of the airport.

“We do have plans in the works to invest another $20 million within that little [13-acre] spot,” Courtney said. “We’re looking at an additional 60,000 square feet of hangar space and an additional 25,000 square feet of retail, office and ‘FBO’ space.’’ The timetable calls for ground-breaking late this year.

Fontainebleau sub-leases the land from another company called J.P. Aviation Investments, which obtained a 50-year lease on the land about 15 years ago. James Robinson, the owner of J.P. Aviation, does business primarily as a buyer and seller of aircraft together with his sons Tony, vice president of the company, and J.T., chief of operations.

In addition, a real estate company called CPF Investment Group led by Ernesto Cambo has invested about $34 million in the development of a 178-acre, mixed-use business park called AVE Aviation and Commerce Center on the west side of the Opa-locka airport. Developments there include a 500,000-square- foot U.S. Postal Service sorting facility, and more projects are in the pipeline.

Aircraft engine service company Turbopower plans to become a tenant of a 100,000-square-foot facility at the AVE business park, which would replace the company’s current location in Miami Lakes. “From a business and strategic point of view, that makes more sense than for us to be in Miami Lakes,” said Rana Das, president of Turbopower. He said he expects his company to move to the new facility at the Opa-locka airport in about nine months: “We're looking at probably January of 2015. ... Construction should be starting in the next couple of weeks.”

Among other pending projects, CPF Investment plans to build six hangars along the airfield for Fort Lauderdale-based Banyan Air Service, which would become the fourth fixed-based operator at the Opa-locka airport.

The six-hangar development would be the first expansion for Banyan Air Service outside Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, the company's base of operations since its start-up in 1979. “Many of the company’s most valued strategic partners and customers, which include domestic and international aircraft owners, corporations and government agencies, already have a presence at the [Opa-locka] airport,” Banyan said in a press release announcing the planned expansion. Donald Campion, president of Banyan, was unavailable for comment.

Banyan will be competing with other fixed-base operators at the Opa-locka airport including Miami Executive Aviation, a partially owned subsidiary of Denver-based Ross Aviation, which last November opened a new complex with a 38,000-square-foot hangar and 5,000 square feet of office space. Miami Executive Aviation has filled about 90 percent of the hangar with aircraft based there or temporarily stored there. Tenants based there include the air ambulance service of Miami Children’s Hospital. Office tenants include a limousine service and an aircraft-interior design firm. So far, the company has invested about $16 million in construction projects at the airport, including an 80,000- square-foot hangar built in 2008.

Miami Executive’s 21-acre leasehold at Opa-locka Executive is now built out. “We’re landlocked,” said Fabio Alexander, the chief executive officer and an equity partner of Miami Executive Aviation together with Ross Aviation. He also is the chief marketing officer of Ross.

The company plans no further development at Opa-locka Executive “other than just developing the business,” particularly as a refueling station for private jets carrying business executives to and from Latin America, Alexander said. “Our target is executives of Fortune 500 companies that fly in, from American Express to Coca-Cola to DuPont. ... We provide ramp-and-hangar leasing, fuel, catering, maintenance and charter services through our sister companies and our tenants.”

For much of its history, the Opa-locka airport served as a military training airfield. Civilian airplane owners became the primary users of the Opa-locka airport after the Vietnam War ended. Like the Homestead and Tamiami general aviation airports — that, is airports with no scheduled commercial service — the 1,810-acre Opa-locka airport is a popular base for flight training schools and individual owners of propeller-driven airplanes.

But by the time Miami Executive started fueling planes there in 1996, the airport had hit a low point. “No one wanted to be here,” Alexander said. “Everything was wrong here. There was crime. There were planes being stolen.’’

By the mid-1990s, the airport also had become a dumping ground for airplanes that had reached the end of their lifespan, Opa-locka airport manager Nelson Mejias said via email. Mejias said the turnaround at the airport began when the county stepped up efforts to keep abandoned aircraft off the airfield.

The cleanup, said Mejias, helped the airport evolve “from a training airfield to a corporate airfield, with larger jet aircraft being the predominant type of traffic for the airfield.”

Finding developers who could build new facilities at the airport proved more challenging than keeping derelict airplanes off the property. It happened partly through trial and error.

Before the mid-2000s, “we had developers who were holding leases and had been holding onto those leases for ungodly amounts of time, and they weren’t performing,” said Gregory C. Owens, the assistant director of business development and retention at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, which owns and oversees MIA and the three general-aviation airports.

Under pressure from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and the board of county commissioners, the disappointing lessees eventually abandoned their planned projects at the Opa-locka airport by exiting their lease agreements. “Two of them decided to sell their leases,” Owens said, “and one, the board just took the lease away from the developer.” The long-term lease sellers included Opa-locka Aviation Group, which was headed by developer Matthew Hudson, and Renaissance Airpark, which was run by developer Charles Pasquale. The county took a third long-term lease away from Opa-locka Community Development Corp., founded by former state Rep. Willie Logan.
 
Major improvements in security cleared the way for the build-up in the number of private jets based at Opa-locka Executive. The airport is home to the helicopter operations of Miami-Dade Fire Air Rescue and the Miami-Dade Police Department as well as the South Florida station of the U.S. Coast Guard and a U.S. Customs Service office.

And then there’s the glamour crowd. In December 2013, Netjets arranged 200 flights to Opa-locka to bring a total of 800 passengers to Art Basel — up from 180 flights the previous year. EAJ, a charter service and sister company to Miami Executive Aviation, has transported celebrities including Miami-based recording artist Julio Iglesias, actress Jennifer Lopez, retired basketball star Michael Jordan — and in January this year, embattled pop star Justin Bieber. Visitors to the Opa-locka airport also include “a lot of heads of state,” said Alexander, the CEO of Miami Executive.

The growing population of resident jets has contributed to four consecutive annual increases in the total number of aircraft operations at Opa-locka in every year since they bottomed in 2009 amid an economic recession. That year, the number of landings and takeoffs was 99,718. In 2013, it hit 119,533, up 10 percent from 2012.

There’s more to the lure than location. The Opa-locka airport is especially friendly to jet traffic because one of its three runways is 8,002 feet long, one of longest at any general aviation airport in the nation. While Miami International Airport does accept private aircraft, it charges landing fees; the county’s general aviation airports do not. And because general aviation airports have substantially less traffic than commercial airports, they allow private jet owners to land and take off rapidly without getting in line behind other aircraft.

As general-aviation aircraft operations at MIA have risen each of the past four years, to 18,259 in 2013, the county-run airport system has sought to shift traffic to the general aviation airports.

“We want that G.A. [general aviation] traffic to stay at the G.A. airports, because for each minute that a commercial jet is on the ground, that’s cost to that airline. We want to keep the cost as low as possible,” said Owens, the assistant director of business development and retention at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

Some traffic gains at Opa-locka also may stem from a congestion-producing runway extension at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. A construction project that will result in two parallel runways, each more than 8,000 feet long, temporarily has left the Broward County airport with one open runway. The runway project is scheduled for completion in September.

But perhaps the most critical factor in the growth of Opa-locka airport as a haven for private jets is the county aviation department’s efforts to attract long-term investors — like Abess and the Soffer family — who can deliver on leasehold-development promises.

“Fortunately, we have people with the access to capital who can develop the airport,” Owens said, “and they’re doing it.”

Story and photo gallery:   http://www.miamiherald.com

Trego Dugan, Grand Island, Nebraska: Aviation Company Capitalizing on European Air Safety Rule

 A Grand Island company is hoping to capitalize on airplane safety changes in Europe just like they are in the United States.

Trego Dugan Aviation is getting certified to put new Federal Aviation Administration required safety equipment in smaller planes.  They say Europe is also requiring planes flying in their skies to have that same equipment.

Trego/Dugan has plans to double, and eventually triple their Grand Island workforce to keep up with the US demand.  Now they say they'll be selling how they do that work to aviation companies in Europe too.

"We come up with the solution to put it in any of these aircraft you see around, and aircraft in the US are the same as you see in Europe, there's different manufacturers and stuff, but we'll have the solution to put it in almost any smaller aircraft in Europe as well," says General Manager Zachary Thompson.

More than 200,000 planes in the US will need to have the new equipment installed by 2020, but Europe's 100,000 general aviation aircraft will need theirs by 2017.

Thompson says they're hoping their solutions will be used in about half of the European planes.  He says it will increase the company's presence abroad.

"We deal with aircraft in other countries, we import aircraft, we export aircraft, we sell to Australia and China, we sell parts to companies in China as well, but this will be a presence to try to be the solution, just like we are in the US, we want to be the solution for ADSB (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) in Europe as well," he says.

Trego/Dugan employees will leave this week for an air show in Germany where they will talk with companies about their plan.  They will also meet with Europe's version of the FAA called EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).  


Story and photo:   http://www.nebraska.tv

Van's RV-7, N57DC: Fatal accident occurred April 06, 2014 in Summerfield, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

National Transportation Safety Board   -  Docket And Docket Items:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board  -   Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


NTSB Identification: ERA14FA182 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 06, 2014 in Summerfield, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/14/2016
Aircraft: MONROE DENNIS RV-7, registration: N57DC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot, who was also the owner/builder of the experimental amateur-built airplane, was assisting with the production of a film throughout the afternoon, and the purpose of the accident flight was to record video footage from the air. After departing from the grass runway, the airplane entered a circular left orbit around a tightly clustered group of actors on the ground at an altitude just above the tops of nearby trees. The airplane had completed three circuits, and during the fourth, it appeared to witnesses to be flying slower than it had during the previous circuits. Analysis of video from onboard the airplane, video taken of the airplane from the ground, and witness statements showed that the airplane banked steeply left and began descending toward the ground at a relatively steep angle, consistent with inadvertent entry into an aerodynamic stall. As the airplane descended, the engine power rapidly increased, and the airplane began banking back toward a wings level attitude as its pitch attitude increased; these actions are consistent with the pilot recognizing and attempting to recover from the stall. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground in a nearly level and slightly nose-down pitch attitude. Signatures observed on the wreckage were indicative of high engine power at impact, and no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures were observed on the airframe and engine. Examination of damage to the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer revealed that it failed from overstress due to ground impact. The majority of the spar cracks and fracture surfaces exhibited features consistent with overstress failure. The other damage features present on the spar section were consistent with ground impact. Although some fatigue cracks were present in the spar sections, the fatigue crack sizes were small, and crack orientations were inconsistent with the stress direction of the overstress portions of the fracture. These cracks were unlikely to have resulted in an in-flight failure of the horizontal stabilizer. Even if the spar had fractured before impact, the remainder of the part was still riveted to adjacent structural components within the stabilizer.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control while maneuvering at a low airspeed, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall, and his decision to maneuver at an altitude that did not allow an adequate margin to recover from a stall.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 6, 2014, at 1936 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built RV-7, N57DC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Monroe Airpark (2FA2), Summerfield, Florida. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Witnesses reported that the pilot had been assisting with the production of a film throughout the afternoon, and that the purpose of the accident flight was to take video footage from the air. After departing from the grass runway, the airplane entered a circular orbit to the left. The airplane had completed three circuits, when during the fourth, it entered a rapid descent and impacted the ground.

One of the witnesses described the airplane's final orbit in detail, stating that it seemed to be flying at a slower speed than it had been during the previous pass. He further described that at the beginning of the pass, the airplane was at an altitude just above the tops of the trees surrounding the area, and it gradually descended to about treetop height as the orbit progressed. He diverted his gaze away from the airplane to the actors on the ground and heard the airplane's engine briefly become "quiet" before it suddenly powered back up. He could not recall any of the events that transpired after that point.

Another witness described a similar sequence of events concerning the airplane's final orbit. He recalled that the airplane orbited at a speed relatively slower than the previous passes and that the airplane was at an altitude near the tops of the adjacent trees. He estimated that the airplane was in a shallow left bank as it descended below the height of the trees. The engine sound then rapidly changed before it continued in the left turn, descended, and impacted the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. On his most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration-issued third-class medical certificate, dated August 21, 2013, the pilot reported 4,189 total hours of flight experience. No flight logs for the pilot were recovered.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The pilot owned and was the builder of the accident airplane. The airplane's airworthiness certificate was issued in August 2005. The pilot completed the most recent condition inspection on January 5, 2014, and on that date the airframe had accumulated 322 total hours of operation. Between the condition inspection and the accident, the airframe accumulated 4 additional flight hours. On February 10, 2014, the pilot made an airframe logbook entry noting compliance with two service bulletins (14-01-31 and 14-02-05) issued by the airframe kit manufacturer, and requiring inspections of structure within the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. According to the entry, "Inspected the areas described in the service bulletins. No cracks found."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1955 weather conditions reported at The Villages (VVG), Florida, located about 9 nautical miles east of the accident site included calm winds, 10 statute miles visibility, a temperature of 26 degrees C, a dew point of 16 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury. Sunset occurred at 1950, and the end of civil twilight was 2014.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest upright about 10 ft beyond the initial impact point, and both main landing gear had collapsed. The fuselage displayed significant aft crush damage in the area of the firewall, instrument panel, and cockpit. Control continuity was traced from each flight control surface to the cockpit area. The trailing edge of the electrically-actuated elevator trim tab was deflected 1/2-inch downward from the trailing edge of the elevator and the electrically-driven flap actuator was extended 3 inches, which correlated to a flap extension of 16 degrees. Both fuel tanks were ruptured at the wing root and were found absent of fuel.

Continuity of the engine's power- and valvetrain were confirmed through rotation of the propeller, and thumb compression was confirmed on all cylinders. Borescope examination of each cylinder showed no evidence of any abnormal wear or combustion deposits. Each spark plug electrode appeared gray in color and displayed normal wear. Rotation of each magneto's input shaft produced spark at all terminal leads. All four fuel injector nozzles were absent of any obstructions. Disassembly of the fuel system components revealed the presence of fluid consistent in color and odor with 100LL aviation fuel in the fuel lines between the firewall, engine driven fuel pump, and fuel servo, as well as in the fuel distributor valve. Trace carbon deposits were found in the oil suction screen; however, both the suction screen and oil filter were absent of any metallic debris. Both propeller blades displayed s-bending, chord-wise scratching, and burnishing of the blade surface.

A damaged section of the airplane's horizontal stabilizer spar was submitted to the NTSB Materials laboratory for further examination. The horizontal stabilizer front spar had fractured on the left side, perpendicular to the orientation of the part. The fracture was located along four rivet holes in the spar, all of which exhibited elongation in the part direction. There was also an "L-shaped" crack on the right side of the assembly, approximately 0.25 inches-long, which had terminated at a rivet hole.

There was out-of-plane buckling on the spar outboard of the fracture and a crack on the spar section. This buckling was located at two tears on the lower portion of the right side of spar. This was consistent with damage incurred to the part at ground impact. No indications of wear or corrosion were observed on the spar section. Small portions of the fracture and crack exhibited features consistent with progressive cracking. These thumbnail-shaped areas were generally flat perpendicular to the part direction, and they exhibited crack arrest and ratchet marks. The progressive portion of the right side crack was approximately 0.15 inch-long, and the progressive portion of the left side fracture was approximately 0.25 inch-long.

The remaining portions of the fracture and crack exhibited a rougher texture and a general 45-degree slant. These features were consistent with overstress failure. The fractures were examined using a scanning electron microscope. The remainder of the fracture surface exhibited dimple rupture, consistent with failure from overstress. The thumbnail portion of the opened crack also exhibited fatigue striations.

The chemical compositions of the part sections were inspected using energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and x-ray fluorescence. The chemical compositions were consistent with AA 2024 aluminum alloy.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, Leesburg, Florida. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute found no trace of carbon monoxide or ethanol present in the samples submitted for the pilot. Salicylate (the metabolite of asprin) was detected in samples of urine submitted in a concentration of 105.9 ug/ml.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Onboard and Ground Video Recordings

A digital video camera and its associated memory cards recovered from the wreckage, along with video and image files recovered from a video camera operated by a ground observer, were forwarded to the NTSB Vehicles Recorder Division for detailed examination. Video and image files were recovered from the onboard camera using normal and forensic methods. The timestamps associated with the creation of the files from both the onboard and ground-based cameras were correlated to local time.

An onboard recording began at 1933:09, and showed that the camera operator was seated in the right seat of the airplane, with the camera pointed outside of the airplane through the left rear of its transparent canopy. During the recording, the airplane began its takeoff roll as engine power was increased to a high setting. As airplane rolled down the turf runway, a ground-based recording began and briefly showed the airplane as it became airborne. As the onboard recording continued, the airplane entered a gradual left turn, with the camera positioned to capture events on the ground. At 1933:53, the airplane's wings leveled briefly, and the engine reduced to a lower power setting.

About 1934, the airplane re-entered the left banked turn and a group of actors on the ground came into view. About that time, another ground-based recording began showing the airplane in its gradual left bank turn, circling the group of actors. The ground and onboard recordings continued through several starts and stops and throughout showed the airplane in a left bank, slightly nose high pitch attitude. Between 1935:56 and 1936:07, neither the ground nor the onboard camera was recording.

At 1936:07, the forensically-recovered onboard video recording began, and initially showed the airplane in a left bank, that returned to a wings level attitude, before returning to the left bank as the camera became trained on a tightly-clustered group of actors on the ground. At 1936:18, the camera's motion became erratic, exhibiting an up and down shaking motion, and about that time, several muffled thumping sounds were present in the background. At 1936:19, the engine sound began changing, slightly decreasing before rapidly advancing toward a maximum over the course of about 2 seconds. Throughout this portion of the recording, the motion of the camera was suggestive that the airplane's flight attitude had become unstable.

Through the end of the onboard recording at 1936:22, the camera's motion was erratic, as ground features in the camera's field of view moved upward toward the top of the frame. During this time, the camera never panned forward and did not capture any portion of the cockpit. The movement of the ground features relative to the camera's largely unchanged field of view out of the left rear of the airplane was suggestive that the airplane had rapidly rolled into a steep left bank. Immediately prior to the end of the video a voice exclaimed an expletive phrase.

Between 1936:22 and 1936:25, no video was captured. A ground recording began at 1936:25 and captured the final 2 seconds of the flight, and depicted the airplane as it descended toward ground impact. The engine sound from the beginning of the recording through impact was smooth and continuous. Seven frames of this video were extracted and analyzed to determine the airplane's approximate bank and pitch angles for those final moments of the flight. The airplane initially appeared to be in a near 20-degree nose down pitch attitude, with a near 90-degree left wing down bank attitude. The flight path of the airplane steepened until the angle of bank began to decrease, for the first three frames examined. During the final 4 frames, the airplane's flight path angle decreased as the angle of attack increased from an initially calculated value of 5 degrees. The airplane's calculated angle of attack at the time of ground impact had increased 13 degrees, with a nearly wings-level bank attitude.

MONROE DENNIS, RV-7: http://registry.faa.gov/N57DC

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA182

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 06, 2014 in Summerfield, FL
Aircraft: MONROE DENNIS RV-7, registration: N57DC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On April 6, 2014, about 1937 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built RV-7, N57DC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Monroe Airpark (2FA2), Summerfield, Florida. The commercial pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Witnesses reported that the pilot had been assisting with the production of a film throughout the afternoon, and that the purpose of the accident flight was to take video footage from the air. After departing from the grass runway, the airplane entered a circular orbit to the left. The airplane had completed three circuits, when during the fourth, it entered a rapid descent as engine power increased. During the descent, the wings rolled nearly level before the airplane impacted the ground in a nose low, slight left bank attitude.

The final two seconds of the flight were captured on video from the ground. Review of the video footage showed a final descent and impact that coincided with the descriptions provided by witnesses. The engine sound from the beginning of the video through impact was smooth and continuous.

A video camera recovered from onboard the airplane was retained for further examination.

The airplane came to rest upright about 10 feet beyond the initial impact point, and both main landing gear had collapsed. The fuselage displayed significant aft crush damage in the area of the firewall, instrument panel, and cockpit. Control continuity was traced from each flight control surface to the cockpit area. The trailing edge of the electrically-actuated elevator trim tab was deflected 1/2-inch downward from the trailing edge of the elevator and the electrically-driven flap actuator was extended 3 inches. Both fuel tanks were ruptured at the wing root and were found absent of fuel.

Continuity of the engine's power- and valvetrain were confirmed through rotation of the propeller, and thumb compression was confirmed on all cylinders. Borescope examination of each cylinder showed no evidence of any abnormal wear or combustion deposits. Each spark plug electrode appeared gray in color and displayed normal wear. Rotation of each magnetos' input shaft produced spark at all terminal leads. All four fuel injector nozzles were absent of any obstructions. Disassembly of the fuel system components revealed the presence of fluid consistent in color and odor with 100LL aviation fuel in the fuel lines between the firewall, engine driven fuel pump, and fuel servo, as well as in the fuel distributor valve. Trace carbon deposits were found in the oil suction screen; however, both the suction screen and oil filter were absent of any metallic debris.



Zombie movie will be dedicated to 2 men killed in plane crash

 The producer of the zombie movie that was marred by the death of two men connected to the production — in a plane crash on April 6 in Summerfield — has announced that the movie will be completed and dedicated to Dennis Monroe and Joseph Sardinas.

“For me, personally, it was a decision I could not make without the blessing of the family,” said Bronson Mosley, who wrote and was directing the film, “What Tomorrow Brings.”

He said that he spoke with several family members of Sardinas, who was the head cinematographer, a few days after the accident.

“We all agreed that we had to finish this or it would be a waste of his work not to complete it,” Mosley said. “He was our rock.”

Sardinas, 70, and Monroe, 65, died instantly after the plane apparently lost power while flying low. It landed hard near where the scene was being filmed.

Monroe was piloting the RV-7 two-seater, single-engine airplane that he had built from a kit. He lived on the property where the crash occurred, at 1770 SE 140th St., which included its own runway.

Monroe was the city of Belleview's longtime director of public works.

Sardinas was filming about 30 extras who were on the ground and dressed in zombie makeup. The movie was nearing completion, and the aerial shoot was the last big sequence of the production.

“We had a day or two of shooting left. We had everything pretty much done. That day was the last big one we were going to shoot,” Mosley said.

The aerial footage shot immediately before the accident is being reviewed by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board.

On the “What Tomorrow Brings” Facebook page, it is described as “a film about a world gone zombie. In a two-day time span, the city of Ocala falls to an undead epidemic along with the rest of the globe.”

It was originally set for a May premiere, but Mosley now is hoping for a June opening, at the historic Marion Theatre in downtown Ocala.

“We want to do it in a classy way, with a red carpet and an awards ceremony. Bring Hollywood to Ocala for a night,” he said.

Sardinas, who lived in The Villages, was a retired university prof
essor and taught information systems technology. He had a lifelong passion for photography.

The new movie is a follow-up to “Only Another Day,” a zombie film by Mosley that premiered last year. Sardinas was the head cinematography for that film as well.

Mosley said they had plans for another movie, not zombie related, and other projects that Sardinas' was excited about. Those projects will also move forward, he said, but did not elaborate as to what they will involve.


Source:   http://www.ocala.com


Cinematographer Joseph Sardinas, left, with director Bronson Mosley shoot a scene during the filming for Mosley's zombie movie “What Tomorrow Brings” at the Israel Brown House in downtown Ocala on Nov. 3, 2013. Alan Youngblood/Star-Banner



Dennis Monroe
This photo of Dennis Monroe is from the city of Belleview website.




This photo of Joseph Sardinas is a profile photo from his Facebook page. Sardinas died in a plane crash in Summerfield on Sunday, April 6, 2014.

OCALA — A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board indicates an experimental plane that crashed two weeks ago in Summerfield that claimed the lives of two men did not have any major problems.

The report noted parts of the experimental amateur-built RV-7, with tail number N57DC, such as the cylinders, spark plug electrode and fuel injector nozzles, did not show any signs of damage or significant wear and tear. When the fuel system was disassembled, officials said its components revealed the fluid inside was "consistent in color and odor with 100LL aviation fuel lines between the firewall, engine-driven fuel pump, and fuel servo, as well as in the fuel distributor valve," according to the report.

The sound of the engine from the beginning of the video through impact was smooth and continuous, officials said.

Joseph Sardinas, 70, and Dennis W. Monroe, 65, died when the plane they were in crashed while filming a scene for a zombie movie on April 6. The crash was one of three aircraft mishaps during that weekend.

On Friday, Helen Helpling had just taken off from the Ocala International Airport when she crashed. She suffered burns to her hands and feet. The next day, Theodore T. "Teddy" Weiss flew out of the Dunnellon Airport in his plane and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Monroe was piloting the two-seat, single-engine airplane he had built, while Sardinas was filming several actors dressed in zombie makeup on the ground. Witnesses told authorities that the plane's engine stalled and the aircraft fell to the ground near a private runway on Monroe's property at 1770 SE 140th St.

Sardinas was a retired university professor and an avid shutterbug. A producer of zombie films, Sardinas' first zombie production and release was in 2013.

An experienced pilot, Monroe loved flying and, at the time of his death, was the city of Belleview public works director. He worked for the city for 26 years, rose through the ranks and was experienced, knowledgeable and the person many people, including city officials, would go to for advice and consultation.

Until someone is named to the post, Belleview officials have appointed veteran city employee and longtime City Clerk/Administrator Sandi McKamey as acting public works director.

The NTSB report states that the purpose of the flight was to take video footage from the air. The plane completed three circles and during the four trip, "it entered a rapid descent as engine power increased," according to the report. The aircraft then struck the ground.

Authorities said the final two seconds of the flight were captured on video from the ground. The video matched what witnesses told them, the NTSB said. A video camera recovered from the plane was taken and it would be reviewed by NTSB officials.

A final report on the crash will take months before its conclusion, the NTSB said.


  Obituary for Dennis Monroe  

Dennis William Monroe, 65

Dennis William Monroe (65) of Summerfield passed into God’s hands Sunday, April 6, 2014. Dennis was an avid hunter and loved flying his plane. He worked for the City of Belleview as Public Works Director for the past 26 years. Dennis was a life-long resident of Marion County. He was born in Ocala February 24, 1949 to Leonard and Nina Monroe who preceded him in death.

Dennis is survived by his son, Chance Morgan Monroe, one granddaughter, Aubrey Madison Monroe, one stepson, Ryan Neil Smith (wife Susan) and one grandson, Logan; one sister, Mary Delores (Bunny) (Husband Jackie); one brother, Kenneth Monroe (wife Joyce); three nieces, one nephew and five cousins. Viewing will be held Friday, April 11, 2014 from 6 – 8 PM at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, Belleview. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church of Summerfield. Interment will be at Belleview Cemetery.


http://www.hiers-baxley.com




This photo of Joseph Sardinas is a profile photo from his Facebook page. Sardinas died in a plane crash in Summerfield on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Obituary for Joseph Louis Sardinas Jr.  

 Lady Lake – Joseph Louis Sardinas, Jr., 70, passed away suddenly as the result of an accident, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Dr. Sardinas was a Professor Emeritus at The University of Massachusetts where he taught Computer Based Information Systems for 30 years. He retired to The Villages in 2007.

He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Paula Pendleton Sardinas; son, Michael Sardinas (Jessica), Putney, Vermont; daughter, Amy Navisky (Michael), Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; granddaughters, Hannah, Lilia and Aliyah; brother, Anthony Sardinas (Denise), Richmond Hill, Georgia; mother-in-law, Pauline Pendleton; nephews, Anthony Sardinas, Jr. (Jamie), Nicholas Sacco; niece, Lindsey Sacco; sister-in-law, Marcia Sacco (Vincent).

The family request memorial donations be made to New Covenant United Methodist Church, Middlefield Federated Church, Main St., Middlefield, Connecticut or The Leesburg Humane Society.

A Celebration of Joseph’s Life will be held at New Covenant United Methodist Church, The Villages at 2:30 PM Thursday, April 10, 2014 with Pastor Marilyn Annel officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the church. Interment will take place at a later date in Connecticut. Arrangements by Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, 1511 Buenos Aires Blvd., The Villages, Florida. hiers-baxley.com


http://www.hiers-baxley.com


There were tears and laughter Tuesday night during a candlelight vigil at Ocala's Citizen's Circle as more than 50 people gathered to remember the lives of the two men who died Sunday evening in a plane crash in Summerfield.

Joseph Sardinas, 70, and Dennis W. Monroe, 65, died when the plane they were in crashed while filming a scene for a zombie movie.

“I know this is really hard for a lot of you,” said Bronson Mosley, who wrote and was directing the zombie movie.

“Joe Sardinas, he touched a lot of people's lives. Dennis Monroe was an amazing man with amazing reach in the community ... It's bad. It's horrible. It's a terrible thing. I feel it very deep and dark. Joe was like a father to me,” Mosley said.

Many in the crowd -- several of them involved in the movie's production -- cried and hugged one another as they huddled against the chilly wind that whipped around the picnic tables at Citizen's Circle in front of Ocala's city hall. Earlier, a security guard had the crowd move off the stage area because they did not have a permit.

Marilyn Monroe is Dennis Monroe's cousin.

“He loved flying. He went to college for engineering and when he got out, that was the first thing he did was buy an airplane,” Marilyn Monroe said.

Dennis Monroe was 22 years old at the time, Marilyn recalled. He spent the next four decades honing his flying skills, while putting the same energy into his career with the city of Belleview, where he spent 26 years and rose to be director of public works.

“He was very experienced. He wasn't a Sunday flyer. He was a very, very conscientious and safe pilot,” Marilyn said.

Both Monroe and Sardinas were practicing their passion when they died.


Sardinas, a retired university professor, was an avid shutterbug for most of his life.

“My father taught him how to develop film in the darkroom,” said Tony Sardinas, Joseph's younger brother.

Tony Sardinas said his brother suffered from medical conditions that plagued him later in life. But when he began filming the zombie productions -- the first zombie movie was produced and released in 2013 -- he became a different person.

“All he ever wanted to talk about was the things he was doing with all of you,” Tony Sardinas told those in attendance at the vigil.

On Sunday, Monroe was piloting a two-seat, single-engine airplane he had built, while Sardinas was filming several actors dressed in zombie makeup on the ground. Witnesses told authorities that the plane's engine stalled and the aircraft fell to the ground near a private runway on Monroe's property at 1770 SE 140th St.

Tuesday's vigil included music played by some in the crowd and a lot of reflection.

“If we are ever going to get over this horrible thing, we have to realize that there is some beauty in it. There's some beauty in the memories we have of them,” Mosley said.


Source:  http://www.ocala.com





The U.S. flag flies at half-staff at Belleview City Hall on Monday, April 7, 2014, in memory of the city's public works director, Dennis Monroe, who was killed in a single-engine plane crash on April 6. 

































PHOTO: Marion County Sheriff's Office




 It was almost a wrap. The sweeping aerial shot of dozens of scary-looking zombies from a single-engine plane was to be the final scene from a low-budget movie being filmed in Marion County. 

"It was an airplane-into-the-sunset type scene," Bronson Mosley, the 31-year-old driving force behind an zombie-apocalypse movie called "What Tomorrow Brings," said Monday. "And it ended very badly."

With the zombie characters looking on in horror, the small plane's engine stalled above Summerfield and nose dived to the ground just after 7 p.m. Sunday. The crash killed pilot Dennis W. Monroe, 65, of Summerfield, and his passenger, Joseph Lewis Sardinas, 70, of The Villages, who was filming the scene.

Sardinas' wife, Paula Pendleton-Sardinas, was filming the plane from the ground as part of the husband-and-wife camera crew. She said she doesn't think she recorded the crash at Monroe Air Park, owned by Monroe and located between The Villages retirement community and Ocala.

"I'm not well," she said. "I'm still in shock."

Mosley, of Ocala, said it appeared the plane was making loops over the area that were "too tight" before it fell from the sky. The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Actors rushed toward the wreckage to see if they could help, said Craig Vessichio, 41, of Ocala, who said he had just been "killed" as part of the plot involving a getaway by one of the main characters in the airplane.

"As soon as it got out of my sight, I heard it stall and crash," Vessichio said. "I got up and sprinted as fast as I could get over there."

He said he smelled fuel and urged people to stay back, worried about a fire starting. Seeing actors with zombie makeup startled some first responders, he said.

"When medical personnel pulled up it was a little shocker to them," Vessichio said. "They didn't know what was going on."

What was to be a joyous occasion in completing the film instead left everyone connected to the movie numb about how the last scene had turned tragic. Mosley said filming started nearly a year ago and has cost about $10,000. Most of the actors are volunteers, as was Sardinas.

"For a lot of people it was just an awesome, fun thing," he said of the project.

The movie was a follow up to last year's "Only Another Day" by Mosley, who serves as producer, director and writer. The earlier movie — which "brings the zombie apocalypse to Ocala," according to a Facebook posting — was also shot by Sardinas and marketed locally.

A website for the new movie calls it "a cinematic journey to uncover the origins of the zombie virus and the heroes that fought in its undead wake!"

Anthony Sardinas, 66, of Richmond Hill, Ga., said his brother was a camera and cinematography buff who got a kick out of small-time moviemaking.

"He's been working with these 30-year-olds and just really enjoying it," he said of his brother, who moved to the giant retirement community seven years ago. Sardinas taught information systems and computer security at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was a professor emeritus. "He enjoyed people loved people and they loved him back."

Monroe, the pilot, had been public works director for the city of Belleview for 26 years, City Commissioner Gary Ernst said. Ernst said he few with Monroe a couple of times — though not in the plane that crashed, which he said Monroe built — to get a different perspective on the city of about 4,500. He said he found Monroe to be an able pilot who emphasized safety.

"It's a sad day here," Ernst said. "He was my ace in the hole if I needed something."

As for "What Tomorrow Brings," Mosley said he intends to complete the editing and dedicate the film to Sardinas and Monroe.



http://www.orlandosentinel.com


SUMMERFIELD, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) -  The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating a deadly plane crash in Summerfield.  It happened just before 8 p.m. Sunday in a field off of SE 140th Street.

"We saw the plane flying low.  All of a sudden the last pass around the sound stopped and it just dropped like a rock," said neighbor Janet Crandall.

Crandall watched the single engine experimental amateur aircraft crash into the field near her home.  Investigators say Dennis Monroe, 65, and Josepha Sardinas, 70, died on impact.  Monroe was flying the plane while Sardinas was shooting aerials of the field below for a low budget zombie movie.

"We were wrapping up.  It was the final scene," said Jackie Azis, who was working as an extra for the film.  She says she and several actors and the crew were waiting on the plane to land.  "I was watching it.  I've never seen anything like it."

Marion County sheriff's deputies interviewed dozens of people who watched the plane go down.

"Witness statements indicate that the plane took off.  It took a banking turn came over the barn and pretty much the engine just stalled out and the airplane took kind of a nose dive came down hard on its front end," Captain James Pogue.

The NTSB will be looking at those statements and following up.  NTSB investigators spent the afternoon looking at the crash scene…they're hoping footage being shot in the cockpit will provide some answers.

"Any video that may be on board we will treat like black box cock pit recorder," said Dennis Diaz.

Neighbors tell us the pilot has been flying for years and that he built the aircraft himself.  Investigators say Monroe crashed on his own property, near the area that he built as a runway.  He worked as a city official in Belleview.

Sardinas was a retired professor from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He consulted in information technologies and specialized in electronic data processing and security.  His brother tells us Sardinas was having the time of his life getting into his longtime passion, cinematography.

"He was having a ball," said Anthony Sardinas.

Sardinas' wife was on the set of the movie Sunday night.  Anthony says she watched the plane go down, then rushed out to the field to give her husband CPR, but he was too far gone.  Their entire family is still in shock and deeply saddened by the loss.

"He was a good friend, he was a wonderful brother, great father great grandfather.  You would've liked him.  He was a very good guy," said Anthony Sardinas as tears started pouring out of his eyes.  "If you have to go, going doing something you love, maybe it's not that bad," he said, trying to come to grips with is grief.  

======
Two Central Florida men were killed Sunday after their single-engine plane crashed as they were filming a low-budget zombie movie in Marion County.

The plane went down around 8 p.m. Sunday in the area of Monroe Airpark in Summerfield, south of Ocala. Witnesses told deputies that after turning back to fly over the filming, the engine stalled, and the plane went down nose-first.

The pilot, 65-year-old Dennis Monroe, was the director of public works for the city of Belleview for the last 26 years. A U.S. flag at Belleview City Hall was lowered to half-staff Monday.

“Anything to do with city government, if you wanted to go up in the air and see something Dennis would take you up," said Belleview Commissioner Gary Ernst. "We’d fly different routes and look at different things. He was an avid pilot.”

Passenger Joseph Sardinas, 70, was from The Villages.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a 3:30 p.m. press conference.

Marion County deputies said Monroe and Sardinas were with a group filming a scene involving the plane. A member of the film's cast said they were making a zombie movie called "What Tomorrow Brings."

Investigators said they believe Sardinas was filming Monroe during the flight.



Sardinas is listed as the film's cinematographer on IMDb. The movie's synpopsis on Facebook reads:

 
The Facebook page also shows an event dated Sunday inviting fans to watch the filming of the movie's finale sequence.

A member of the National Transportation Safety Board was set to examine the wreckage Monday and possibly determine the cause of the incident.

The case has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration, deputies said.

Source:  http://www.baynews9.com


The crash Sunday evening of a small plane in Summerfield during the filming of a low-budget zombie movie took the lives of a an accomplished photographer and a city of Belleview official.

Joseph Lewis Sardinas, 70, was involved in photography for 50 years and was filming the movie “What Tomorrow Brings,” a locally produced zombie film.

Dennis W. Monroe, 65, was the pilot of the plane and the city of Belleview director of public works.

Monroe lived on the property where the crash occurred, at 1770 SE 140th Street. The plane was reportedly built by Monroe, who was an accomplished pilot. The property included its own runway.

Janet Crandall, whose home overlooks the Monroe property, said she was sitting on her back porch with her husband, Warner, when she saw the plane flying low and in circles.

“We didn't know they were filming. There were like 20 cars out there, but we thought they were having a party,” Janet Crandall said. “The last time it came around, the motor quit and it just dropped.”

Crandall didn't know what to think at first.

“I was stunned. It took a moment to realize what had just happened,” she said.

The Crandall's have lived at their home seasonally for more than 20 years.

“He was a great guy,” Warner Crandall said of Monroe.

“He loved to fly. He took my grandson up when he was 4-years-old, back in 1992,” he said.

Monroe's family members did not want to talk to the media. Several television news trucks swarmed the area on Monday morning.

The movie was written by, and was being directed by, Bronson Mosely. It was a follow up to “Only Another Day,” a zombie film by Mosely that premiered last year. Sardinas also was involved in the cinematography for that film.



Updated:  The Marion County Sheriff's Office has released the identities of the two people killed in a plane crash in Summerfield Sunday. 

The pilot was Dennis W. Monroe, 65, of 1770 SE 140th St., Summerfield, according to an MCSO news release. The passenger was Joseph Lewis Sardinas, 70, of 941 Mendoza Blvd., The Villages.

Both died in the crash.

(Original article) Two people were killed Sunday night when a small plane crashed as they were filming a zombie movie over Marion County, authorities said.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office did not release the identities of the pilot and passenger pending notification of family.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., the single-engine plane stalled and crashed in a backyard in the 1700 block of Southeast 140th Street, according to the report.

Several people with the production were on the ground. Inside the plane, a cameraman was filming the pilot. The plane's seats are located one behind the other and the plane had a clear canopy. During a banking manuever, the plane stalled and dropped nose first to the ground. The plane came to rest largely intact and no fire was reported, reports state.

Both people aboard were killed instantly. The medical examiners office was working Sunday night to remove the bodies.

The blue, white and yellow plane will be left at the location where it came to rest until investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration can arrive Monday morning.

This is the second airplane crash in Marion County in less than a week. On Friday, another small canopied plane crashed moments after take off at Ocala International Airport.

The plane caught fire and caused burns to the woman piloting the aircraft. Her injuries were not believed to be life threatening. That crash is under investigation.
=======

SUMMERFIELD, Fla. —Two people aboard a small plane were killed when the amateur-built aircraft crashed Sunday night in Summerfield.  
 
Investigators said the plane, a Vans RV-7, went down at Monroe Airpark around 7:15 p.m.

Marion County fire officials said a low-budget zombie movie was being filmed at the scene and that "lots of extras" were nearby at the time of the crash.

According to officials, the passenger was filming the pilot during the flight.

Witnesses said as the plane banked over the movie shooting site the engine stalled and the plane crashed nose first.

The names of the victims have not been released.

The crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Watch video:   http://www.wesh.com

Cessna T210M, N761BT: Accident occurred April 06, 2014 near Lee's Summit Municipal Airport (KLXT), Missouri

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A FIELD IN A PARK NEAR LEE'S SUMMIT, MO 

MAR-TECH ENGINEERING LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N761BT 



A Cessna 210 airplane crashed Sunday night in Lee’s Summit, injuring two people aboard.

Around 5:45 p.m., witnesses at Legacy Park reported a low-flying airplane that appeared to be in trouble. Minutes later, emergency personnel were called to a field off Colbern and Windsor roads, just east of the park, on a report of a downed aircraft.

Chris Depue, the Lee’s Summit Police Department’s public information officer, said the plane’s pilot and a passenger were taken to a hospital. Both men are in their 20s or 30s, he said. The pilot suffered minor injuries. Depue said the passenger was seriously injured.

John Gibson of Lee’s Summit was at home at the time and spotted the troubled plane.

“I live here on Prairie Lee Lake, and we could tell he had engine problems. After he fired it up again, I said, ‘Get your phones out because he is going down,’ ” Gibson said. “The plane started going down near Woodland Shores. He was coming toward the airport, then he took a hard 90 to go toward Legacy Park. He went over Legacy Park. He did a darn good job of putting it down in a place where he wasn’t going to hurt anybody.”

Ryan Weaver of Lee’s Summit was playing soccer at Legacy Park when the plane flew overhead.

“We were playing the game, and the plane flew over the field pretty low,” Weaver said. “It just kept getting lower and lower and immediately took a right turn and hit the ground. It was pretty obvious he was in trouble. We were worried it was going to hit the house.”

The plane crashed facing southwest, with the nose nearly broken off and one wing driven into the ground. The aircraft landed 100 yards from a home on Windsor Road.

Depue said officials from the Federal Aviation Administration would be in Lee’s Summit on Monday to investigate the crash.

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


Near-collision of two planes at Zurich probed

A collision between two planes was narrowly avoided at Zurich airport last month when the pilots of the aircraft attempted to land on the same runway from opposite directions, authorities say.

The incident occurred at night on March 20th when a Hawker-800 business jet operated by NetJets and flying from Turin was approaching the runway to land at the same time as a small plane from a flying school, the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB) said.

The flying school plane, a Piper PA-28 coming from Nuremberg, Germany, was approaching the wrong runway, said the board, which has opened an investigation into the incident.

A collision was avoided thanks to the intervention of a Skyguide air traffic controller, the ATS new agency reported on Sunday.

The aircraft coming from Germany, owned by the Birrfeld flying school in the canton of Aargau and piloted by one person, turned away and ended up landing on a different runway, ATS reported.

The exact circumstances of the close encounter have yet to be clarified.

The SAIB is also investigating a close call between a day earlier (March 19th) near the Bern airport between a helicopter operated by the Swiss military and a Diamond DA20 training plane.


Source:   http://www.thelocal.ch

End of Boeing line won't damage key suppliers-US

(Reuters) - Shutting down a Boeing Co fighter jet production line in St. Louis after 2016 would not drive any key suppliers out of business, a senior U.S. defense official said, citing a recent Pentagon review.

The Defense Department decided it could skip further orders for Boeing's F/A-18 fighter jets and EA-18G electronic attack planes after concluding that a halt in their production would not jeopardize suppliers for other big weapons programs, said Elana Broitman, the Pentagon's top industrial base official.

"Nothing piqued our concern (about) a critical supplier going away entirely if ... they do indeed have to close that line," Broitman, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and industrial policy, said in an interview on Friday.

Broitman's office carefully monitors the health of the U.S. defense industrial base, and provides additional funding or other aid in select cases if the manufacturers of key components are likely to go out of business or stop making those parts.

Those pressures are mounting as U.S. military spending declines as a result of mandatory budget cuts, the end of the war in Iraq and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Current orders for the Boeing jets ensure production through the end of 2016 and possibly into mid-2017, but the company needs to decide in coming months whether to start shutting the line down or keep buying certain components from suppliers that take years to build.

The Navy's fiscal 2015 budget request did not include money for any more of the Boeing planes, but the Navy has now asked lawmakers to add $2.1 billion to the budget for 22 more EA-18G Growlers, if money becomes available. Growlers jam enemy radars so fighter jets can carry out their attack missions safely.

Congress is weighing the Pentagon's overall budget request, and $36 billion in items identified by the Navy and other services as "unfunded priorities." But lawmakers have said they intend to stick to budget caps, which means that funding for any of those items would reduce spending in other areas.

Broitman said the decision to skip further orders in the 2015 budget request reflects the mounting budget pressures, not any dissatisfaction with the Boeing plane.

"It's not that the Growler isn't a great system. It's just what could be afforded," she said, adding that the department would keep a close eye on the issue in coming years.

Rear Admiral Michael Manazir, director of the Navy's air warfare division, last month said the Navy decided to add the Boeing warplanes to its wish list after classified studies showed the planes would improve the effectiveness of the overall 44-plane strike group on a carrier.

He said adding a next-generation jamming pod being developed by Raytheon Co (RTN.N) to the Growlers would help them to assure access for U.S. fighters to enemy airspace for years to come.

Outfitting the 22 planes with Raytheon jammers would cost an extra $750 million, plus up to $140 million a year to operate the jets, said a U.S. defense official familiar with the issue.


Source:  http://www.reuters.com