Saturday, April 12, 2014

Strong winds ground the Thunderbirds at Davis-Monthan air show

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Strong winds whipping through Tucson today grounded the Air Force Thunderbirds at the Davis-Monthan air show Saturday.

Tens of thousands waited anxiously in anticipation of the headline show but the show could not go on for safety reasons.

At the base, pilots and the maintenance teams were all set to go and take off down the runway, but winds were blowing more than 25 knotts.

The Thunderbirds said that's the absolute maximum they can fly in because the planes travel as close as 18 inches from each other.

The grounded planes left a lot of fans disappointed.

"A lot of waiting and not seeing them," Jaromir Kubias said. "I feel that they could at least show us something: Make a few booms; blow our eardrums."

"We certainly want nothing better than to perform but when you're looking at those windsocks and they're standing straight out at high winds, we'd rather make sure the crowd has a safe and enjoyable day without any mishaps," said Thunderbirds Major Darrick Lee.

"If it's not the best conditions -- that's ok -- we'll come back again tomorrow!" Michelle Doyle said.

The Air Force is hopeful the winds will not be as strong Sunday so they can still put on a show for Tucson at 2 p.m.

Story and video:

Wings Over Houston Airshow accepting scholarship applications

The Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow is accepting scholarship applications for its 2014-2015 scholarship program. The organization will award up to five scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each to selected college students. 

The scholarships, which are intended to assist and reward students who have demonstrated academic potential, leadership and extracurricular involvement, are available for students pursuing degrees associated with a career in aviation, aeronautics or aerospace. The selection will be made by the Wings Over Houston Scholarship Committee in July 2014 with winners being notified by the end of August 2014.

“With our scholarship program, we try to encourage youth to pursue careers that will impact the field of aerospace and aviation for years to come,” said Steve Sehnert, Wings Over Houston Airshow Scholarship Committee Chairman. “Wings Over Houston Airshow is proud to support aviation education throughout the Greater Houston area.”

The scholarships are available to students from the Greater Houston area currently enrolled at an accredited college or university and have completed two academic years of full-time college work or 50 semester hours of credit. Graduate students are also eligible. Applicants must have a minimum college grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester during the year of the awarded scholarship. As Wings Over Houston supports local communities, applicants must have legal residence in Harris County or one of the contiguous surrounding counties including Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Montgomery, Liberty and Chambers. The residency requirement is waived for members of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets. All applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

In addition to the completed application, applicants must submit a written essay describing his or her career objectives as well as three letters of recommendation. Financial need of the applicants will be considered by the selection committee.

Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than July 1, 2014. For more information or to download the Wings Over Houston Airshow scholarship application, visit

About Wings Over Houston

Wings Over Houston is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community event produced by a volunteer effort of the Gulf Coast Wing and Houston wing, Tora! Tora! Tora! of the Commemorative Air Force, with support from the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. The annual event is dedicated to showcasing vintage military aircraft, along with the thrills of modern aviation. One of the top air shows in the United States in its category, the Wings Over Houston Airshow attracts more than 80,000 visitors from across the Houston area as well as from around the globe. The 2014 Airshow benefits the Wings Over Houston Airshow Scholarship Program, TSU Aviation Career Academy, Exchange Club of Sugar Land, and the Commemorative Air Force aircraft restoration and flying historical programs, in addition to numerous other nonprofit organizations.


Quickie Q200, Tools & Toys Inc., N479E: Incident occurred 12, 2014 at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), Trenton, New Jersey



EWING — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident in which a fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft veered off the runway after landing at Trenton-Mercer Airport last night, an official said.

An 1995 Quickie Q200 amateur-built aircraft veered off Runway 24 and into the grass at 6:25 p.m., FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

Only the pilot was on board and no injuries were reported. The aircraft was being towed off the grass.

The aircraft is registered to Tools & Toys Inc. of Lewes, Del., according to FAA records.

Story, photo and comments/reaction:

A fixed wing, single-engine aircraft veered off the runway after landing at Trenton-Mercer Airport April 12, 2014.

Redlands City Council to consider fee waiver for Airfest

REDLANDS >> Despite the banners displayed across Cajon Street promoting the 2014 Airfest, a decision of go or no-go still needs to be made by the City Council.

On Tuesday, the council will consider applications from the event’s organizers, Hangar 24 Charities, to waive $70,666.80 in fees and to sell alcohol at the city-owned Redlands Municipal Airport.

The Airport Advisory Board on April 2 voted to recommend the approval of the fee waiver and the permit to sell alcohol at the Hangar 24 Airfest & 6th Anniversary Celebration on May 16 and 17.

Hangar 24 Charities expects a crowd of 25,000 people and to raise $525,000 from the event, according to a city staff report.

The fees the council will consider waiving include the costs to the city to provide police and fire personnel, street sweeping, parking lot preparation, barricade rental and a show mobile rental deposit, according to the staff report.

Several meetings were held with the event organizers and the Airport Advisory Board, which were attended by tenants and business owners at the airport.

Several voiced concerns about the potential impact the show could have on them.

Last year’s show was hosted by Hangar 24, a brewery that operates at the airport, to raise money for its charity that aims to protect agriculture in the area.


Opinion: About that missing plane ... Give it a rest!

By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Dear CNN:

Enough, already.

Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN . . . enough. Put your hands up and step away from the story.

I’m in the doctor’s office the other day, right? I’m waiting for my missus and the TV is on and I’m half watching, half reading and you’re covering the plane. And time passes. And you’re covering the plane. And commercials intervene and you come back and you’re covering the plane. And my wife comes out and it’s time to go and it’s been a solid hour and you’re still covering the plane. Nothing but the plane.

I’m on your website maybe six times a day, CNN, grazing for news. Have you had another lead story in the last month? Has nothing else of importance happened to any of 7.1 billion people on this planet?

I look at you and I want to start screaming like Tattoo on Fantasy Island : “ De plane! De plane! De plane!”

And CNN, is it really true your “coverage” includes asking whether aliens abducted Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Or whether it was swallowed by the Bermuda Triangle? Did you actually wonder aloud if it had flown into a black hole?


You know what, CNN? I don’t even watch cable news anymore. Haven’t for years. Not interested in imbibing MSNBC’s perennially aggrieved liberalism nor Fox’s angry-all-the-time conservatism. Not interested in watching you play with your holograms, either

But there are days when you’ve got no choice. There’s been a school shooting, a terrorist attack, a national election. On those days, CNN, I always turn to you on the theory — or maybe just the faint hope — that there still flickers within you some faint, vestigial notion of what news is — some last bit of fealty to the ideal of getting the facts and telling the story, giving people information they need to understand their world and make decisions about their lives.

Yes, you’re right. That’s so 1978 of me.

Look, CNN, I know that before this happened your numbers were in the tank and you were down to your last dozen viewers or so. I’m not without sympathy. Still, there’s something sadly . . . whorish in the way you chase the ratings bump this story has given you. One struggles to imagine the aforementioned Cronkite, much less the sainted Edward R. Murrow — peace be upon him — selling their newsmen’s souls so nakedly just so their network might charge a little more for toilet paper commercials.

But then, Ed and Uncle Walter have left the building, haven’t they? And yes, maybe they had the luxury of regarding the news as a public service, a sacred trust, consonant with Thomas Jefferson’s belief that an informed electorate was vital to a self-governing nation. But you have no such luxury. What you have is a 24/7 news cycle and the need to fill it — if not with news, then speculation, if not speculation, then controversy, if not controversy then opinion, if not opinion, then froth.

Fine. But this is not a trend without impact, CNN. We are becoming a stupider people. You see it in test scores, but you see it more viscerally in the way some of us equate higher volume with sounder logic, wear party as identity, refuse new information that challenges old beliefs, act as if everything must entertain us. Even the news.

It seems like somebody ought to take a stand against that. Just saying.

Granted, the missing jetliner is not an unimportant story. But neither is it a story deserving of the kind of round-the-clock-man-on-the-moon-war-is-over-presidential-assassination coverage you have given it.

CNN, that jet isn’t the only thing lost. Have you seen your credibility lately?


Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee


Wilson County, TN--An Ultralight  crashed in southwest Wilson county around 11 A.M today.

 Wilson County Sheriff Office responded and found one person dead. 

The victim's name is David "Bucky" Carter. 

Will Clegg, 10-years-old, and his friend, Ethan were playing outside their homes on Edwards Road near Salem Drive, when they saw Carter in the ultralight. 

Clegg says, "Sounded just regular, like flying around and all we just heard was 'kaboom'... really loud." 

The boys say they ran to the flight vehicle to see if they could help in any way.

Clegg explained, "We went over there and and checked and he wasn't moving so we checked his pulse and he didn't move." 

Despite their efforts, the pilot and owner of the ultralight passed away.

Sheriff Robert Bryan says the victim of the crash is 61-year-old David S. Carter, who took off from Lawicki Field nearby. 

Sheriff Robert Bryan said," The information that we are getting is that he is an experienced pilot of this type of ultralight and flies a lot for several years

You never know what could've happened while he was up in the air." 

Carter served as the secretary of the Middle Tennessee Ultralight Group, according to their website. 

Family and friends called Carter, "Bucky." Friend, Anyta McDonald described Carter as a, "Very smart guy, very funny guy. Very friendly, very personable." Fox 17 employee, Anyta McDonald met Carter 20 years ago when they both worked at Opryland, doing audio visual work. She says Carter loved to fly, and she is shocked. What saddens McDonald and many other friends is... Anyta McDonald said, "My heart goes out to his new family. I never got to tell Bucky congratulations, because he just got married, he's got a new bride and a family and my heart breaks for them." Bucky Carter married his wife just a couple of months ago, according to friends. 

The crash is under investigation. Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the accident, and also responded to the scene. The FAA says that because ultralight vehicles are not categorized as an aircraft, the investigation will remain under the sheriff's office.

An unidentified pilot was killed Saturday morning when his Ultralight aircraft crashed in a field off Edward Drive near the Norene community in Wilson County.

Sheriff Robert Bryan said a call came into dispatch at about 10:45 a.m. concerning the crash near Salem Drive in southwest Wilson County. Emergency officials arrived to find the pilot dead at the scene.

Bryan said Federal Aviation Administration officials were assisting sheriff’s investigators in determining what caused the crash.

“The plane apparently had some type of problem, but we don’t know what that was yet,” Bryan said. “We will determine if there was any type of medical condition that could have happened while he was in the air. It doesn’t appear there was any type of mechanical issue with the plane.”

Bryan said he expected to release the pilot’s identity later Saturday or Sunday morning once all family members were notified. He said the pilot was well known in the community and owned the aircraft he kept at a nearby airstrip.

After interviewing several witnesses, Bryan described the pilot as experienced.

“The information we are getting is that he was an experienced pilot with these type of Ultralight aircraft,” Bryan said. “He’d been flying for several years.”

Ethan Brown, 7 and a second grader at Watertown Elementary School, said he heard the plane go down while he and neighbor Will Clegg, 10, were playing in Brown’s backyard next to the field where the aircraft crashed.

“We were playing when we heard the plane go down,” Brown said.

Ethan’s father, Luke Brown, said Ultralight aircraft are a common sight around their home.

“You can see them flying all the time around here, but they hardly ever fly when it’s windy,” Luke Brown said. “It’s pretty neat.”

Luke Brown said the airstrip is called Lawicki Field, and is home to a chapter of the Middle Tennessee Ultralight Group, according to the group’s website.

Thomas Woodard, who lives nearby on Simmons Bluff, said the group is often seen flying.

“They are usually, during the summer, out here about every weekend,” Woodard said. “I know there are about four or five planes out here. They fly over here all the time during the summer.”

Wilson County authorities are wrapping up their initial investigation into a fatal ultralight aircraft crash south of Lebanon on Saturday morning. 
One person was killed after the single-person aircraft crashed on Edwards Road around 10:45 a.m., said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan.

Responders found the pilot dead at the scene. No one else was on the plane when it crashed, Bryan said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials were sent to the crash and confirmed it was an ultralight plane.

Local authorities will investigate the cause of the crash because the FAA does consider them to be aircraft, said spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. Ultralight flyers do not have to be licensed pilots or register with the FAA.

A preliminary investigation by Wilson County officials did not indicate an obvious cause of the crash, Bryan said.

The identity of the pilot has not yet been released. The victim’s body will be sent to Nashville for an autopsy.


LEBANON, Tenn. – One person has been killed after an ultralight aircraft crashed in Wilson County.

The incident happened Saturday morning in a field near 425 Edwards Road in Lebanon. There is a privately owned air strip not far from the crash site.

Officials said one person was killed in the crash. The victim's name has not yet been released.

Several law enforcement and emergency medical crews responded to the scene.

Seven-year-old Ethan Brown and his friend, 10-year-old Will Clegg, were playing in a nearby field when the plane crashed.

Brown said he heard the plane's engine cut out shortly before impact.

"We heard the plane crash and we ran over there," Brown said. "We ran like as fast as we could."

Clegg said he tried to help the pilot who was underneath the plane.

"We just saw somebody laying there not moving and I checked his pulse and he didn't move," he said. "I wanted to save the guy's life but he didn't have a chance to save."

Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration said investigators were working to confirm the size and type of the aircraft. She said the FAA does not investigate ultralight crashes because they are not officially classified as aircraft.

If the aircraft s determined to be a light sport, the FAA would continue investigating.

30-Day TFR: Mysterious Flight Restrictions - Federal Aviation Administration Designates Bundy Ranch a No-Fly Zone - ALERT! Get BLM wounded AWAY from Bundy Ranch -- FAA total lock down

By Kit Daniels
Global Research
April 12, 2014 

Yesterday afternoon the Federal Aviation Administration designated the airspace above Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada a “no-fly zone” with altitude restrictions that effectively ban news helicopters.

The temporary flight restrictions,” revealed by a contributor to the Free Republic, bans all air traffic under an altitude of 3,000 feet in the vicinity of the ranch except for aircraft operating under the direction of the Bureau of Land Management.

The restrictions in full:


A map of the no-fly zone is available here.

Undoubtedly these flight restrictions are in response to the intense media presence now surrounding Bundy Ranch.

“Keeps the media choppers away so the BLM can do what it wants,” a contributor named SkyDancer pointed out on the Free Republic.

It’s quite obvious that this is the case considering that news helicopters routinely fly at an altitude under 3,000 feet in order to capture the best footage.
Recently, cowboys who are supportive of Cliven Bundy have been successful at rounding up Bundy’s cattle before the BLM could impound them, so it certainly appears that the agency is using the flight restrictions as a cover to target these cowboys without any fear of potential brutality being leaked to the media.

BLM agents have already assaulted several protestors, including a pregnant woman and a cancer victim, which was fortunately caught on tape.

The feds are attempting to regain control of the narrative surrounding the standoff, especially since it is now known that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is behind the land grab for the future development of solar farms with Chinese energy companies.

It is also concerning that by interpreting the no-fly zone to the letter, the BLM could even delay medical helicopters from flying into the area to evacuate individuals who are severely injured.

Although air ambulances are typically exempt from temporary flight restrictions, pilots are still supposed to gain clearance before taking off, which in the past has kept medical pilots grounded until permission was granted.

This scenario is especially frightening considering Clark Co. Commissioner Tom Collins’ recent statement that those traveling to Bunkerville to support Bundy in his standoff against the feds better have funeral plans.”


Avid Mark V: Stillmeadow Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio

A single-engine plane closed the 17th hole at the Stillmeadow Country Club on Saturday afternoon after it made a crash landing and came to rest on the green. 

"It was one of the strangest sights I have ever seen," said Mark Denton, who was golfing on the course at the time of the emergency landing. "I am just happy to see the pilot and the passenger standing on the green."

The pilot and passenger are husband and wife. Both declined to comment. Neither was harmed. The country club is south of Batavia.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Nelson Holden said the pilot told him that "he just followed his training and did what he needed to do. He told me he wasn't shaken up at all."

Nelson said the plane took off from the Clermont County Airport at 10:45 a.m. and experienced engine failure 10 to 15 minutes after take off. The pilot then spotted the 17th hole.

"He came over the tip of the trees at the end of the fairway and started on down the fairway," Nelson said.

"It then came to a coast onto the green."

Nelson said the engine shut off and the pilot couldn't get it to re-start. He said the what caused the engine failure is still being investigated.

Deaton said he was on the third hole when he learned the No. 17 hole was closed.

"We said, 'We hope somebody didn't do a yard job on the fairway,' and (the pro) said, 'No, a little worse than that: There is an airplane on the green,'" Deaton said. "Thank God no one is hurt in this."

There wasn't a golfer on the 17th hole when the plane made its unscheduled landing.

David Acree, whose backyard faces the 17th green, was in his home reading and didn't hear it.

"My neighbor to the left of me said his boy was out playing, went in for a drink of water and came back out and there was the plane," Acree said. "It happened very, very quickly."

Story, video and photo gallery:

Grand Junction Regional Airport (KGJT), Colorado: “Security Fence”

Photo credit: Anonymous,
Photo taken on  Monday,  April 7, 2014
The Grand Junction Regional Airport’s multi-million dollar, electrified, super-secure, biometric-access-only “Security Fence” crumples to its end in the desert north of the airport. The fence surrounds the airport on three sides, with the remaining side fenced with a decrepit three-strand barbed-wire fence. The “security fence” was originally billed as a “wildlife fence,” but wildlife coming down from the Bookcliffs (seen in the distance) just stroll around it. 

Letter: Cut Blue Angels From Show

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:25 a.m.

I live in South Lakeland, near Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The Sun 'n Fun event is always something we put up with. It creates traffic issues and, above all, noise.

Living near an airport is just part of the deal when you purchase a home. There will be noise and congestion, and you accept it or don't live there.

The absence of the Blue Angels last year was not a bad thing for us, and we enjoyed the small experimental planes, the ultralights and antique military craft.

The return of the Blue Angels put things back to unbearable once again. They are not only extremely loud, but fly extremely low over a very heavily populated area.

God forbid there were to be an accident with these superfast jet aircraft flying only inches apart. An entire section of Lakeland could be wiped out.

I feel they should not be included in the event for safety and noise issues. If these planes are to continue their shows, then do it elsewhere.

I am not alone in this opinion. My neighbors have the same concerns.

There are plenty of other aircraft at the show to pull a crowd.

As usual, it's all about money in the end.

The Blue Angels boost attendance, but does the extra revenue help Lakeland's economy? I doubt it.



Article and comments/reaction:

With 5 open National Transportation Safety Board investigations, Ravn Alaska operators under microscope

Colleen Mondor

April 11, 2014

The fatal crash Tuesday of a Cessna Caravan near Bethel is the latest in a string of accidents by longtime air taxi operator Hageland Aviation Services. Hageland -- which now operates as Ravn Connect and is part of the Ravn Alaska “family of airlines” -- has been involved in 29 accidents resulting in 23 deaths over the past 20 years. The latest accident is one of five ongoing National Transportation Safety Board investigations into commercial flights operated under the Ravn Alaska banner. 

In another recent accident, an aircraft operated by Hageland crashed outside of St. Marys in late November, killing the pilot and three passengers and leaving six other passengers with serious injuries.

The latest crash joins three other accidents and an incident -- the difference between an accident and an incident is determined by NTSB regulations and involves levels of damage and injury as determined by investigators -- involving Ravn Alaska air group members that are under active investigation by the NTSB. When reviewed as a group, they reveal a pattern of mishaps dating back more than 18 months, which have cumulatively resulted in six deaths.

A series of accidents

According to a preliminary NTSB report, the first of these mishaps occurred in September 2012 when an Era Aviation de Havilland DHC-8 departing Anchorage International Airport experienced “an uncommanded left roll and uncontrolled descent during climb at about 12,000 feet." The flight crew regained control at about 7,000 feet and returned to land. None of the 12 passengers or three crew members were injured.

Due to the size of the aircraft and the nature of the operation -- Era Aviation operates under the more-stringent Part 121 section of the Federal Aviation Regulations due to the size of its aircraft and passenger loads -- this incident was turned over to Washington, D.C.-based NTSB officials for investigation.

Then, in October 2013, an Era Aviation Beechcraft 1900 suffered a collapse of the nose and main landing gear while landing in Homer. The flight crew and 13 passengers were uninjured but the aircraft received substantial damage.

In discussing the events at Anchorage and Homer in a recent phone conversation, Washington D.C.-based NTSB public affairs officer Eric Weiss explained that the investigations will extend as far as possible to understand not only what happened, but why. This could include moving the investigation beyond the individual events and into the overall management of the air group. "If answering the question of why extends to management and the overall safety culture, we will look at that," said Weiss. "We will go wherever the investigation takes us."

On Nov. 22, another Beechcraft 1900, this one operated by Hageland Aviation, hit the elevated edge of the runway surface while landing at Badami Airport near Deadhorse. According to the preliminary report, the right main landing gear separated and the airplane slid along the runway surface, causing substantial damage. Weather in Badami at the time of the accident included heavy blowing snow and broken clouds at 1,000 feet, with a half-mile of visibility.

Five days later, Era Alaska Flight 1453 -- operated by Hageland Aviation -- departed Bethel and crashed within 40 minutes near St. Marys, resulting in those four fatalities and six injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at St. Marys when the flight was dispatched, with a ceiling of 300 feet and an overcast sky at the time of the crash. Despite conditions requiring instrument navigation, flight 1453 was operating under visual flight rules. The Badami, St. Marys and recent Bethel accident are all under investigation by the Anchorage NTSB office.

According to investigator Clint Johnson, those accidents are all in the fact-gathering stage. Once analysis of those facts has taken place, the NTSB will look at the carrier as a whole to consider, for example, if there are overall concerns with pilot training, maintenance, oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration or other factors.

"At this point we are working on a case-by-case basis," Johnson said.

The FAA has increased surveillance of the Hageland operation in Bethel since the St. Marys accident. While officials could not confirm any possible enforcement action against the company in the wake of the most recent fatal crash, the FAA asserted that its policy is to “explore all options to address our enforcement responsibilities."

Both Hageland Aviation and Era Aviation are cooperating with all the investigations.

Alaska Airlines 'unwinding' from Hageland

Ownership and operational control of the three air carriers under the Ravn Alaska umbrella is complex and deeply rooted in the companies' history. The first combining of resources between two members of the group came in 2008. The owners of Hageland Aviation Services -- Mike Hageland and Jim Tweto -- and the owner of Frontier Flying Service -- John Hajdukovich -- established a parent company named HoTh Inc. This company was formed to create a self-described “airgroup” where, according to the company website, “the parent company could acquire companies that have synergies with each other (to) market the combined services under a common brand.” State records show that presently HoTh Inc. is owned by Tweto (11 percent), Hageland (39 percent) and Robert Hajdukovich (50 percent).

HoTH Inc. owns Frontier Flying Service, Hageland Aviation Services and Era Aviation, the latter of which was purchased in 2009.

Each of the three companies have separate directors of operation and chief pilots, though Frontier and Era share a CEO in Robert Hajdukovich. The CEO of Hageland Aviation is James Dickerson. The FAA has also assigned individual Certificate Management Teams to each company with specific principal operations and maintenance inspectors and separate annual inspections.

Alaska Airlines currently partners with Era Alaska in a “code-sharing” relationship. This allows passengers to purchase tickets from a point of departure with Alaska Airlines all the way through to a destination operated by one of the Era Alaska air group members. This will likely change to Ravn Alaska soon as part of the Era Alaska rebranding effort.

  This seamless scheduling and travel is part of the Alaska Airlines/Era Alaska relationship and based upon “consistent passenger service standards and procedures” for the duration of transport. 
Hageland, however, will soon be removed from that equation. In an email, Alaska Airlines spokesperson Bobbie Egan wrote:

"Alaska Air Group maintains a comprehensive safety oversight program of all of our alliance partners. This includes operational safety focused assessments, regular monitoring, and meetings with these partner airlines. As part of this program, Alaska Air Group made the policy decision in December 2013 to begin unwinding our business partnership with Hageland Aviation, Inc. ... This business partnership will fully terminate this month."

Egan said that Hageland is the only Ravn Alaska member Alaska Airlines is terminating its relationship with.

Going forward

Hageland Aviation recently opened a new centralized operation center in Palmer that will weigh 25-30 risk factors prior to each flight as part of a new and enhanced risk management approach. Dispatchers at the center are in constant contact with pilots during their flights. This is unusual for a smaller operator -- referred to as Part 135 under Federal Aviation Regulations -- like Hageland. The center mirrors the one utilized by Era Aviation in Anchorage, and similar to those required of all Part 121 airlines.

As the five investigations continue, the operation and training standards of all of Ravn Alaska member airlines will likely receive more scrutiny from FAA and NTSB investigators. With Ravn Alaska's common ownership, common management and common reservation and scheduling systems, it presents a unique and complicated situation for accident investigators and enforcement officials.

Although Hageland Aviation aircraft may present in different livery or colors and the pilots may or may not wear uniforms to match those of Anchorage-based flight crews, the airline itself is owned and operated by the same group of individuals that owns and operates its sister companies. Since the 2008 combination of resources, there have been six Hageland Aviation accidents in addition to two fatality crashes, five of which occurred in the Bethel region. In fact, accidents involving Bethel-based aircraft have long dominated Hageland’s accident history, which includes crashes in such villages as Marshall, Scammon Bay, Kongiganak, Kwigillingok and Bethel itself. As an integral part of the group, that accident history has belonged first to Frontier Alaska and then Era Alaska and now, through the rebranding, Ravn Alaska.

As owners, the open accident and incident investigations are the collective responsibility of the HoTH board of directors. Ultimately, the current fatality crash, and the one in St. Marys, are just as much a part of Ravn Alaska’s future as they are of Hageland Aviation’s.

The probable cause report for the 2012 incident should be released later this year. The reports for 2013 accidents may extend into early 2015. All of the Ravn Alaska flights continue to operate as scheduled and the Hageland Aviation base in Bethel remains open.

The author of this article briefly worked for Frontier Flying Service in 1998, and leased aircraft to the company until 2010. Contact Colleen Mondor at colleen(at)

Story and comments/reaction:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lake Bastrop, Texas: Crews scour lake bed for missing plane during exercise


BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — As the world continues to watch the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, search and rescue crews closer to home are preparing for a similar scenario.

But large jets crashing into the ocean are fairly rare. Much more likely are small planes crash-landing in fields, creeks or lakes. First responders spent Friday simulating that scenario at Lake Bastrop.

“What we’ve learned is that we need to do it more often, because…everything doesn’t always go right,” said Cmdr. Brian Smallwood with the Texas Maritime Unit. “Sometimes we think if we put it on paper it’s going to go just as it was written, but that doesn’t always happen.”

Using information from witnesses, three divers from the Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water using sonar equipment. The lake runs just 13 feet deep, a far cry from the depths crews are encountering in their search for the Malaysian Airlines plane.

But the key to the this round of training involving more than 100 rescue workers is to make sure everyone meshes well, and knows each other’s strengths.

“We exercise together, we train together, so that when an incident occurs, we’re not all meeting each other for the first time,” said Greg Pyles with Texas Search and Rescue.

But making sure the search effort is successful requires the right people.

“It takes a person with a lot of commitment to achieve the skill level,” Pyles said, “(and to) commit to the training and the time away from family, and their paying jobs.”

That rescue training involves several agencies and will continue through Sunday.


Plane carrying ballots skids off runway in Yahukimo, Papua

A light aircraft carrying ballots and other election materials skidded off the runway in Yahukimo regency in Papua on Friday, hindering the distribution of materials for 10 districts in the regency.

Flying from Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo regency, the Cessna 208 Caravan, which was also carrying four passengers and a pilot, including two members of the District Election Committee (PPD), skidded off the runway and into a trench while landing at Kwelamdua Airport on Friday.

Though 4,077 ballots for 12 polling stations in Kwelamdua district were secured, the aircraft belonging to Dinomin Air could not continue its journey to deliver more ballots for other districts in the regency.

"Although the aircraft has been pulled out of [the trench] and logistics have been secured, the aircraft was still unable to continue its journey due to bad weather," Yahukimo General Elections Commission (KPUD) secretary Ambekmi Kobak told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Voting in 37 districts in Yahukimo had been moved to Saturday as ballot delivery was delayed.

"There are 10 districts that did receive materials. However, I cannot confirm whether voting in the 10 districts will be postponed pending a meeting," Ambekmi added.

Before delivering ballots for Kwelamdua district, the plane delivered ballots for Sumo district.


Southwest Co-Pilot Retires After Wrong Airport Landing

Southwest Airlines Co. said one of the pilots of a plane that landed at the wrong Missouri airport in January has retired and the other has returned to duty.

While confirming the captain of the flight was back at work and the first officer had elected to retire, Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the airline, declined to say which pilot was in control when the Boeing Co. 737 touched down.

Dallas-based Southwest has now concluded its investigation into the incident and continues to work with the National Transportation Safety Board on its probe, King said by e-mail today.

Southwest put the two pilots on paid leave pending the outcome of the carrier’s inquiry and investigations by U.S. regulators. Flight 4013 from Chicago landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Branson, which is 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the main airfield served by Southwest and has a runway only about half as long.

The captain of the flight is a 14-year Southwest employee, while the first officer has been with the airline for 12 years, according to Southwest.

It was the second such incident involving a U.S. commercial plane in two months. The Southwest flight was carrying 124 passengers and five crew members. 


NTSB Identification: DCA14IA037 
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Incident occurred Sunday, January 12, 2014 in Branson, MO
Aircraft: BOEING 737 7H4, registration: N272WN
Injuries: 131 Uninjured.

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

On January 12, 2014, about 1810 local time, Southwest Airlines flight 4013, a Boeing 737-7H4, registration N272WN, mistakenly landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri, which was 6 miles north of the intended destination, Branson Airport (KBBG), Branson, Missouri. The flight had been cleared to land on runway 14 at KBBG, which was 7,140 feet long, however, landed on runway 12 at KPLK, which was 3,738 feet long. There were no injuries to the 124 passengers and 7 crewmembers and the aircraft was not damaged. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Chicago Midway International Airport (KMDW), Chicago, Illinois. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.

Hector International (KFAR), Fargo, North Dakota: Airport sees record numbers, new hangars

Fargo -- March was the busiest month in history for Hector International Airport.

According to airport statistics, a total of 89,100 passengers boarded or got off a plane at Hector last month, making it the busiest month ever at the airport. March marked the 18th time in the last 19 months that a new monthly record for traffic was set at the airport.

In other airport developments, the Airport Authority has given preliminary approval to a hangar project being pursued by JP Development, parent company of the Jet Center.

Preliminary approval was also given to a hangar project proposed by Dakota Air Parts.

The new Jet Center hangar requires an apron expansion the Airport Authority would construct at an estimated cost of $885,000. The authority is applying for a state grant that could cover half of that cost, said Shawn Dobberstein, Airport Authority executive director.

The Jet Center project also anticipates a parking lot expansion of 15 to 20 parking spaces.

In addition to the Jet Center work, Dobberstein said another business, Dakota Air Parts, is looking to add one or two new hangars to its existing hangar complex.

The Airport Authority is looking for feedback from public to help it decide how much parking space should be built and when. An online survey can be found at


Saturday, April 12th: Full-scale disaster exercise at the Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE) in Allentown, Pennsylvania

2014 Triennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise

What is the Emergency Preparedness Exercise

A full-scale disaster exercise of the Lehigh Valley International Airport Emergency Plan will take place Saturday, April 12, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  The purpose of the exercise is for local emergency organizations to gain practice and preparedness for a mutual aid response in the event of a major aircraft disaster.

The exercise will test the airport’s emergency response while providing hands-on training to airport personnel, local jurisdictions and other emergency personnel.  During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond as in a real emergency, including the use of sirens, firefighting and rescue equipment.

The exercise will be held in the secure airfield operations area and will not affect normal airport operations or flights, however it will involve a certain amount of smoke.  As a result, vehicle drivers traveling on Airport Road between Race Street and City Line Road may see smoke rising from the airfield.  In addition, there will be multiple emergency vehicles in and around the Airport as part of the exercise.

This full-scale emergency preparedness exercise, which is the culmination of months of planning and coordination across multiple jurisdictions and disciplines, is mandated by the FAA to ensure airports are prepared for real-life aircraft emergencies.  Airports are required by the FAA to conduct these exercises every 3 years.

Read more here:

Nigeria: It’s Time To Privatize Our Airports -Capt. Daniel Omale

Capt. Daniel Omale

— April 12, 2014

It is needless to reemphasize the economic role of airports in a country. The huge issue about airport development, improvement and management is: who should bear the burden of continued operation of the airport?

While the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has been saddled with operating and managing the 22 airports in the country, the most efficiently operated and managed airport in Nigeria still remains the MM2, which is part of the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Aviation Services (BASL).

BASL has constantly kept the airport clean and serviceable with less government-type bureaucracy and inefficiency.

FAAN’s main revenues come from Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The ever-relegated Aminu Kano Airport, which has huge growth potential, is virtually underutilized. Therefore, at this point, it is more important to relieve FAAN of its burden by leasing out most of the airports in the country.

The core problem of airport improvement program in Nigeria is government’s interference with what FAAN generates internally, and as long as the airports authority is tied directly to government’s overbearing directive, there is no way Nigeria’s airports will function to international standards.

The Federal Airports Authority, if necessary, should select a few airports to manage and operate, with little or no government subvention. Private investors must be encouraged to take control of the other airports in other parts of the country with a view to increasing air traffic into the fields for more revenue generation to sustain the investment.

Some states like Jigawa, Gombe and Delta have created the structure for air link into their state capitals, but failed to manage the airports on their own. Handing such investments to FAAN will surely limit air traffic growth into the field.

Private investors will scan for business from foreign and domestic airlines. FAAN won’t.

Transportation is basic to the economy of any region, but little credit is given to the vital role it plays in linking suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers into a productive and efficient pattern of distribution. This is especially true from the aviation standpoint.

Everyone is aware of the contribution of highways to the road transportation system because almost everyone drives a car.

Aviation is a key element in the transportation network but this fact is not publicized as well. The airlines do a fairly good job of letting the public know the importance of scheduled service at primary airports, but the public is usually unaware of the benefits derived from the general aviation industry.

The local airport is the principal gateway to the nation’s transportation system. A community’s lack of an airport can be as detrimental to its development as being bypassed by a major road network. Gombe, the capital of Gombe State, has witnessed this development since the government of Danjuma Goje established an active airport there.

Communities that are not readily accessible to the airways may suffer economic penalties that can affect every local citizen whether they fly in a general aviation aircraft, use the airline, or never have occasion to travel at all.

The airlines provide excellent service to many major metropolitan areas of the country Abuja-Lagos, Portharcourt, and Kano but thousands of smaller cities, towns, and villages also need air transportation service. There are close to 1000 incorporated communities in the 36 states of Nigeria and an additional 500 unincorporated communities. Since scheduled airlines serve fewer than 5 per cent of the nation’s 22 airports with approximately 40 aircraft, there are a large number of communities and their citizens without immediate access to the fine airline system.

By having air access to all the nation’s airports, general aviation aircraft can bring the benefits and value of air transportation to the entire country.

Cities and towns that years ago decided not to build an airport have learned that lack of an airport jeopardizes community progress. Time and again, the lack of an airport has proved to be the chief reason why a community has been bypassed as a location for a new plant or a new industry.

The airport has become vital to the growth of business and industry in a community by providing air access for companies that must meet the demands of supply, competition, and expanding marketing areas. There is little doubt that communities without airports place limitations on their capacity for economic growth.

Obviously, FAAN should not be the sole operator of our airports, although, it is acceptable for FAAN to play active role in airports’ security in the nation.

Airports and related aviation and non-aviation businesses located on the airport represent a major source of employment for many communities around the country. The wages and salaries paid by airport-related businesses can have a significant effect on the local economy by providing the means to purchase goods and services while generating tax revenues as well. But local payrolls are not the only measure of an airport’s economic benefit to the community. Indirectly, the employee expenditures generate successive waves of additional employment and purchases which are more difficult to measure but nevertheless substantial.

In recent years, a number of issues have arisen concerning airport system development where the interests of several parties have come into sharp conflict. One such group of issues relates to the strategic policy of the federal government in development of the airport system. Some have suggested that past federal policy has placed too much emphasis on capital investment in new facilities and not enough on methods to make more effective use of existing facilities.

A second set of issues involves funding. Some observers have suggested that the federal role has become too large and pervasive and that responsibility for airport development should devolve either on the airports and their local sponsors or the federal government.

Other issues arise from the legal and contractual arrangements traditionally concluded between airports, airlines and other concessionaires.

Finally, there are issues surrounding the planning of future airport development, particularly the timing and location of demand growth and the role that the federal government will play in defining and meeting airport needs.

But since Nigeria is gearing towards privatization of most economic sectors, it’s best for government to allow private hands in airports’ operation in the country. Of course, security at the airport must remain with FAAN and  other law enforcement agencies.


National Transportation Safety Board Renews Call for MD-11 Jet Safety: Board Wants New Cockpit Aids, Looks at Pilot Landing Experience

The Wall Street Journal

By Andy Pasztor

April 11, 2014 6:46 p.m. ET

Almost two decades after U.S. air-safety officials addressed some dangerous handling characteristics of MD-11 jetliners, there is a renewed call to take further action.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that regulators require installation of new cockpit aids and cues to help MD-11 pilots avoid botched landings that have resulted in a history of hazardous bounces, wing fractures and even some aircraft rolling over on the runway.

The board said the widebody jet, which suffered 13 hard landings between 1994 and 2010, has the highest rate of such dangerous touchdowns among 27 Western-built jet models, based on the number of flights.

More than 140 of the jets remain in service with cargo carriers, though passenger airlines have essentially phased them out. McDonnell Douglas Corp. introduced the plane 24 years ago and in 1997 Boeing Co. bought the company.

In addition to calling for installation of additional safety systems, the NTSB this month said it wants the Federal Aviation Administration to consider imposing more-stringent experience requirements on MD-11 pilots than those flying other big Boeing or Airbus jets. To maintain proficiency and comply with federal rules, U.S. airline pilots operating scheduled flights typically must make at least three landings every 90 days or they won't be considered "current" to fly passengers or cargo. In its letter, the board said the plane's accident history means that MD-11 pilots could benefit from "additional landing experience beyond the current requirement."

Such a recommendation is unusual, because implementing it could upset airline training and scheduling systems. Since MD-11s typically are used on medium- to long-haul routes, their pilots have relatively few chances to execute landings compared with pilots flying shorter routes. As a result, the safety board said such crews may lack "sufficient opportunities to maintain their skills" when it comes to "making appropriate control inputs" just before touchdown.

A spokesman for Boeing said the company is reviewing the recommendations and will submit comments by the beginning of July.

An FAA spokeswoman said the agency will "carefully consider all recommendations" from the NTSB and since 1993 has worked with the board to implement 44 of 47 previous recommendations related to the MD-11. "We look forward to working with the board on these new recommendations to improve the safety of the MD-11 fleet," the spokeswoman said.

The board's letter highlights the continuing safety controversy over the three-engine plane 24 years after McDonnell Douglas introduced it into service, promising that computerized flight controls would offer a big safety advance.

Instead, the MD-11 was beset by a series of problems, including particularly sensitive controls at low and high altitudes; a tendency for pilots to smack the plane's tail on the runway during takeoffs; and persistent landing accidents.

Boeing has implemented a number of software upgrades and pilot manual changes since it bought McDonnell Douglas. Starting in the late 1990s, the MD-11 gained a reputation as an unforgiving airplane with finicky handling that can make it particularly hard to land.

In 2011, the NTSB urged improved recurrent training and operational guidance for MD-11 pilots. The latest recommendations are intended to provide "longer term solutions for further reducing the risk of MD-11 landing accidents," according to the board.

In its letter, the safety board referred to a FedEx Corp. MD-11 that bounced repeatedly while trying to land in 2009 at Narita International Airport in Japan. The left wing broke, both pilots were killed and the cargo plane burned up. A year later, a Deutsche Lufthansa AG MD-11 cargo plane made a hard landing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, causing the rear of the fuselage to rupture and the nose gear to collapse. One pilot was seriously injured and the plane was destroyed.

A spokesman for FedEx said the company is still reviewing the recommendations, which were released in early April.

According to the NTSB, MD-11 hard landings frequently involve failures by the pilots to pull up the nose of the plane just before touchdown and in some instances stem from "mismanagement of bounced landings," which can cause the airplane to "porpoise," or exhibit a series of upward and downward motions close to the ground.

Other factors the board cited were the MD-11's high landing speed and cockpit placement that reduces pilot awareness of the landing gear's contact with the ground. The board said "it is important to reduce the possibility" of excessive flight command by pilots close to the ground, which could result in a bounced landing.


Bowers Fly Baby 1A, N6054Q: Accident occurred April 11, 2014 in Mariposa, California

DONALD G. CORN: http://registry.faa.govN6054Q

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA165 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 2014 in Mariposa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/20/2015
Aircraft: WILLIAMS MYRON G BOWERS FLY BABY 1A, registration: N6054Q
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The plans-built single-seat airplane had been constructed about 8 years before the accident by another individual, who had flown it about 30 hours before it was purchased by the current owner/pilot. In the year since the purchase, due to the low build-quality of the airplane, the pilot had made several modifications and repairs to the airplane. The accident flight was the pilot’s fifth flight in the airplane. Review of the pilot’s flight logbook indicated that his most recent flight review occurred about 7 years before the accident and that he had flown only 15 hours in the 2 years before the accident. A witness reported that shortly after takeoff, when the airplane was about 3 miles from the airport, the engine began making a sound as if power was intermittently being interrupted. The nose of the airplane began to pitch up aggressively as it flew out of view. The wreckage location, wreckage distribution, and impact signatures indicated that the airplane struck the ground in a steep nose-low attitude, consistent with an aerodynamic stall event. Postaccident examination of the carburetor revealed multiple maintenance-related discrepancies, any one of which could have resulted in the loss of engine power. Additionally, before the accident, the pilot reported to a friend that the airspeed indicator was not reliable and that the airplane exhibited roll control anomalies. Both of these conditions would have hindered the pilot’s ability to safely operate the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The partial loss of engine power due to an improperly maintained carburetor and the pilot's subsequent failure to maintain aircraft control.


On April 11, 2014, at 1007 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Bowers (Williams Myron G) Fly Baby 1A, N6054Q, collided with wooded terrain near Mariposa, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, Mariposa, about 0950. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A witness located about 3 miles northwest of Mariposa Airport, was outside and observed an airplane approaching from the southeast flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). The airplane began a left turn as it approached, and appeared to be descending. He described the engine as making a "missing" sound, as if power was intermittently being interrupted. The airplane then began a right turn, arcing around his location, and by the time it had passed behind him, it had descended to an altitude of about 300 feet agl. It then gradually rolled out of the turn and proceeded to fly towards the hills to the northeast. By then, the engine sound appeared muffled, and the airplane appeared to have slowed down considerably. The nose began to pitch up to about 30 degrees, almost parallel with the slope of the hill, as the airplane disappeared out of the witness's view behind trees. He did not hear any other sounds, but assumed the airplane had crashed. He then asked a family member to call 911; dispatch records from the Mariposa County Sheriff department revealed that the call was made at 1008.


The 80-year-old-pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane issued in 1972. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued in October 2007, with limitations that he possess glasses that correct for near vision. At the time of his last medical application, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,800 hours.

An entry in the pilot's flight logbook dated June 22, 2013, indicated that he had received 0.6 hours of flight training with an instructor in a Cessna 152, practicing "maneuvers, stalls, slow flight"; however, the most recent documented flight review was completed in November 2007. According to the logbook, his total flight experience in the two year period preceding the accident was 15.1 hours. His total experience in the accident airplane was 3.1 hours, all of which occurred during 4 flights in the month leading up to the accident.


The plans-built, single-seat, low-wing airplane's primary structure was comprised of wood covered in fabric, with the wings and landing gear braced by steel wires. The airplane was powered by a four-cylinder Continental A65-8 engine, and equipped with a wooden two-blade propeller.

The airplane was issued its special airworthiness certificate on October 20, 2006, and that same day, was involved in an accident after losing power on its maiden flight. The pilot/builder self-reported that the loss of power was most likely caused by his failure to use carburetor heat, and the NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be, "a loss of engine power due to the pilot's failure to use carburetor heat during conditions that were conducive to carburetor icing."

The airplane was sold to the accident pilot in December 2012, with maintenance logbooks indicating that it had accrued a total of 29 flight hours. The logbooks indicated that over the next 3 months the pilot performed a series of repairs to the brakes, control surfaces, and flying cables, as well as replacing the propeller and right magneto cap. The pilot reported to a friend that the build quality of the airplane was "crude," and that he intended to progressively restore the airplane to an airworthy condition.

The airplane subsequently underwent a series of taxi tests in March 2013, but was not flown for the remainder of the year. On March 3, 2014, an annual inspection was completed by an FAA certified airframe and powerplant mechanic, who held an inspection authorization rating. The mechanic stated that prior to his examination the engine was backfiring, and the pilot had not been able to successfully resolve the problem. The mechanic subsequently discovered that the magneto leads to two cylinders had been transposed.

The first flight followed shortly thereafter, and according to the pilot's friend, was an accidental flight when the airplane broke ground during a high speed taxi test. About 2 weeks prior to the accident, the pilot performed an intentional flight test. During that flight he experienced flight control difficulties in roll. He also stated that the airplane's airspeed indicator was not performing consistently, and that he planned to move the Pitot tube further outboard on the wing, away from the propeller slipstream.


The closest weather reporting station at an elevation similar to the accident site was located at Columbia Airport, Columbia, California; this was situated about 36 miles north-northwest of the accident location. The 1015 Columbia automated report indicated calm wind, sky clear, temperature of 23 degrees C, dew point 06 degrees F, and an altimeter setting at 29.93 inches of mercury. 


The airplane came to rest at the base of an oak tree, within densely wooded terrain at an elevation of 2,250 feet mean sea level (msl), about 3 miles northwest of Mariposa Airport. The terrain surrounding the accident site was comprised of grass and poison oak, interspersed with rocky outcroppings and various oak trees ranging in height from saplings to 20 feet tall. The airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of about 60 degrees, facing uphill on a 20-degree slope. A freshly cut swath through the tree branches was located directly above the airplane; the swath was nearly vertical. Although the airplane was surrounded by trees, no other damage to limbs or branches was noted.

The wings came to rest inverted, with the forward fuselage and engine located underneath the wing root. The tailcone and empennage structure had separated aft of the seat, and was resting undamaged on its right side. Both wings sustained aft crush damage to their leading edges. The entire cabin structure forward of the tailcone was fragmented, and the firewall was compressed against the rear of the engine. All cockpit flight controls exhibited varying degrees of bending damage, but remained functionally intact. The fuel tank sustained multiple breaches, and was detached but still located within the center section of the wreckage.

The airframe and engine did not display any indications of bird strike or fire.

The engine remained attached to its mount, which remained attached to the firewall. Both magnetos (Eisemann, Model AM-4) remained firmly attached to the engine, however, their plug caps had both fragmented, crushing and exposing the timing gears, points, and coils, as well as detaching all ignition wires and both P-leads.

The carburetor had broken away from the inlet manifold, and the inlet air filter assembly exhibited crush damage. The throttle cable was attached and continuous from the cockpit to the butterfly valve; the cable was in the full-forward position at the cockpit control. The carburetor heat control cable was continuous from the cockpit control to the heat box. The control was in the aft (carburetor heat on) position. The fuel primer was in the forward and locked position.

The top spark plugs were removed and examined. They were of the three-prong type, with the electrodes covered in grey deposits and exhibiting minimal wear. The inner surfaces of the exhaust pipes exhibited light grey deposits, and were free of oil residue. The crankshaft turned smoothly when rotated by hand utilizing the propeller hub, and compression was noted on all cylinders. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the rotating group, valve train, and accessory section. Visual inspection of the combustion chambers was accomplished through the spark plug bores utilizing a borescope; there was no evidence of catastrophic internal damage, and all combustion surfaces exhibited light grey deposits.

The hub of the wooden propeller remained attached to the crankshaft, and was embedded in the soil below the engine. The blades were fragmented, and multiple fragments were located resting in trees branches and on the ground east of the wreckage. The furthest propeller fragments were located about 40 feet from the main wreckage.

The on-scene examination did not reveal any pre-impact airframe or engine anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and all airframe components were accounted for within the immediate vicinity of the accident. A detailed report is contained within the public docket.


An autopsy was conducted by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Coroners Division, on behalf of the Mariposa County Coroner's Office. The cause of death was reported as the effect of blunt injuries, with no other contributing conditions.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from the pilot were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). Analysis revealed negative findings for carbon monoxide and ethanol with the following positive drug findings:

>> Warfarin detected in Urine
>> Warfarin detected in Blood (Cavity)

Refer to the toxicology report included in the public docket for specific test parameters and results. According to CAMI, Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication, with no specific warnings pertinent to flight.



The Stromberg NA-S3B carburetor was examined at the facilities of Uni-Tech Air Management Systems, Kankakee, Illinois in the presence of the NTSB investigator-in-charge.

The carburetor serial, "Continental", and model numbers correlated to the gravity fuel-feed application for use with a Continental A-50 or A-65 engine. The carburetor was of the "low-altitude" fixed mixture control type, and was therefore not configured with a cockpit adjustable mixture control arm.

The carburetor sustained minimal damage and was externally examined. No obvious fuel leaks were observed, and according to the Uni-Tech representative, the fuel inlet hose was of the automotive type. No safety wire was present on the venturi retainer or the throttle valve lock adjustment screws.

The idle screw mixture appeared to be set at 3/4 of a turn back from fully closed, rather than the typical 3 turns. The Uni-Tech representative stated that it was not common to see an idle mixture screw set so low.

The throttle control arm moved smoothly when manipulated by hand. The arm was moved to the fully closed position, and the throttle valve completely obscured the venturi orifice. No gap was observed between the valve and the throat in this position, indicative of an incorrectly adjusted valve stop screw. According to the Uni-Tech representative, a valve without a gap at the venturi intersection results in an almost completely closed air inlet, and would inhibit or limit the engine's ability to operate at idle speed. The control lever was then moved to the full-open position, and the valve appeared to open beyond its center position by about 5 degrees.

The fuel bowl was separated from the upper casing, and internal components were examined. An undamaged Delrin float needle had been installed, with the appropriate rounded valve seat; however, no accompanying brass float balance weight had been installed as required by Bendix (Stromberg) Service Bulletin Number 84. Examination of the engine maintenance logbooks revealed an unattributed entry dated March 10, 2006 (before the first accident), stating, "Installed delron needle in carburetor". The entry did not indicate the installation of the accompanying float weight.

The main metering jet body appeared to be touching the float base, preventing full travel of the float. The float drop was then measured at the valve needle and exhibited 0.019 inches of travel as opposed to the minimum specified in Stromberg documentation of 0.048 inches.

The bowl assembly was mounted and leveled on a flow gauge test assembly, and fuel was applied to the inlet at a pressure of 1 psi. The float moved upwards, and fuel immediately overflowed out of the bowl consistent with binding of either the float or float assembly. The operation was tried again, and this time the fuel flow stopped once it had reached within 1/16th of an inch from the bowl seam. According to Stromberg specifications, the fluid level (float level) should be 13/32nds of an inch from the seam.

The float and float pin assembly was removed and examined. An indentation was observed on the lower portion of the float adjacent to the chafe strip, in an area corresponding to the main metering jet.

The valve was reinserted within the seat, and would not seal when low air pressure was applied. The needle seat assembly was removed, and two level-adjustment gaskets were present. The gaskets were 0.03 and 0.062 inches thick, respectively. According to the Uni-Tech representative, the maximum allowable combined gasket thickness was 0.05 inches.

The fuel inlet screen plug appeared to have been tightened with excessive force, and required considerable force to remove. Furthermore, the fuel inlet screen had been installed upside down, such that fuel would have flowed around the screen seat thereby limiting the screen's ability to capture debris.


Fueling records from Mariposa Airport indicated that the pilot purchased 5.12 gallons of 100 octane low-lead aviation gasoline about 1 hour prior to the accident. Daily records provided by Shell Aviation revealed that the fuel in the airport's tanks was clean and clear during the week leading up to the accident. Three other aircraft were serviced with fuel from the same tank on that day, and none reported problems.

The airplane met the FAA criteria for the light sport aircraft category, and the pilot's stated medical status along with his commercial pilot rating allowed him to operate with sport pilot privileges. As such, he was not required to hold a current FAA medical certificate.

The carburetor icing probability chart from FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, dated June 30, 2009, shows a probability of "icing at glide power" at the temperature and dew point reported at the time of the accident.


MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — Officials say a pilot has been killed after a small plane crashed at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says that the single-engine amateur-built Bowers Fly Baby 1A plane crashed shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.

Gregor says the plane went down about three miles north of the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport.

Gregor says the pilot was the lone passenger inside the plane. The name of the pilot has not been released.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will both investigate the cause of the crash.


 MARIPOSA COUNTY –A Friday morning plane crash in Mariposa County has taken the life of one person.

Around 10:10 a.m. Mariposa County Sheriff deputies received word of a plane down near the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport off Highway 49. A Sheriff’s Office plane and a CHP helicopter were sent to investigate.

The officers eventually found the small private plane off northbound Hwy. 49.

Mariposa deputies and Search and Rescue personnel came to the crash site at about 11:45 a.m. Personnel confirmed there had been at least one death in the crash.

This scene is active and under investigation.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office said one person was found dead after a small plane crashed in a rugged area just east of the Mariposa-Yosemite airport.

The Mariposa Sheriff's Office says investigators responded to a report of a possible plane crash near the Mariposa-Yosemite airport just after 10am Friday morning. Authorities were able to locate a small private plane that had crashed in a rugged area off Highway 49. They said one person died in the crash.