Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nanchang CJ-6A, Haywards Aviation, N594T: Fatal accident occurred April 19, 2014 in Flushing, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA202
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 19, 2014 in Flushing, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/16/2016
Aircraft: NANCHANG CJ6 - A, registration: N594T
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The private pilot was conducting a personal cross-country flight with a pilot-rated passenger on board. A witness reported hearing the engine “sputter” and seeing the propeller slow as the airplane began descending toward an open field with the landing gear extended. Another witness, who was watching the airplane fly eastbound at low altitude, reported that it suddenly pitched down and impacted terrain in an approximate 45-degree, nose-down attitude, indicative of a stall. Based on the evidence, it is likely that the pilot was conducting a forced landing to the field due to a loss of engine power and subsequently failed to maintain adequate airspeed and exceeded the airplane’s angle-of-attack, which resulted in the aerodynamic stall. An examination of the dry, flat field showed that it was an adequate emergency forced landing area. A postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to carburetor icing at glide and cruise power. Although the carburetor heat control was found in the “on” position, it is possible that the pilot delayed the application of carburetor heat, which likely resulted in the formation of carburetor ice and the loss of engine power. An examination of damage to the airplane’s structure showed that both the front seat and rear seat cockpit areas remained substantially intact and had provided a protective shell around both occupants during the crash sequence. Both pilot seats were equipped with a five-point lap belt and shoulder harness system. Evidence at the scene showed that the front seat pilot had been ejected from his seat during the crash sequence and had impacted the front cockpit instrument panel; however, he remained inside the cabin area. Examination of the front seat’s lap belt and shoulder harness system latch, which was found unfastened, did not allow for a determination of whether the latch was unfastened, was fastened and failed, or whether it separated at the time of impact. The passenger in the rear seat remained restrained by his lap belt during the crash sequence; however, he impacted the rear cockpit instrument panel due to the failure and complete separation of his shoulder harness fitting. It is likely that the lack of adequate restraint for both occupants contributed to the severity of their injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during an off-airport forced landing after a loss of engine power due to carburetor icing and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle-of-attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s delayed application of carburetor heat while operating in conditions conducive to carburetor icing. Contributing to the severity of both occupants’ injuries was the lack of adequate restraint.


On April 19, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time, a Nanchang CJ-6A single-engine airplane, N594T, was substantially damaged during an off-airport forced landing near Flushing, Michigan. The pilot and the pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Haywards Aviation; Vassar, Michigan, and was being operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan had not been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The airplane had departed Tuscola Area Airport (CFS), Caro, Michigan, about 1350 and was destined for Maple Grove Airport (65G), Fowlerville, Michigan.

A witness reported hearing the engine sputter and saw the propeller slow as the airplane began descending toward an open field with the landing gear extended. Another witness was watching the airplane flying eastbound at low altitude when it suddenly dropped and impacted terrain in a nose down attitude of about 45 degrees.

Evidence at the accident scene showed the airplane came to rest upright about 19 feet from the initial ground scar. Witnesses called 9-1-1 emergency and several persons immediately responded to render aid to the two occupants.



The pilot, age 63, seated in the front seat, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate, most recently issued on March 29, 2010, with a rating in only airplane single engine land. He also held a restricted FAA third-class aviation medical certificate, which was issued on May 24, 2013, with a limitation "must wear lenses".

Based on a review of copies of partial pilot logbook entries, partial aircraft logbook entries, FAA documents, and other sources, the pilot's total flight experience on April 19, 2014, was estimated as a total of 1,525 hours in all aircraft, which included about 145 hours of pilot experience in Nanchang CJ-6A airplanes. His pilot experience in the previous 90 days was estimated as about 13 hours, with all of that experience in the accident airplane.

Pilot Rated Passenger

The pilot rated passenger, age 49, seated in the rear seat, held an FAA private pilot certificate most recently issued on July 15, 2000, with ratings in only airplane single engine land and rotorcraft helicopter. He also held a restricted FAA third-class aviation medical certificate, which was issued on February 28, 2013, with a limitation "must wear lenses for distant, have glasses for near vision".

The pilot rated passenger's personal logbooks were not available for examination by the NTSB during the course of the investigation. Based on a review of FAA documents, the pilot rated passenger's flight experience on February 28, 2013, was estimated as a total of 300 hours in all aircraft. No record was found which indicated that the pilot rated passenger had any previous pilot experience in the accident airplane or in any similar airplane.


The low-wing, retractable tricycle landing gear, single-engine airplane, manufacturer's serial number (s/n) 3632009, was built in China, in 1983, by Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. It was built as a military pilot training airplane and had provisions for two pilots seated in two tandem cockpits, each with its own sliding canopy.

The airplane was powered by a 285 horsepower Zhuzhou Huosai HS6A 9-cylinder carbureted radial engine, which drove a Huosai JD61 two-blade aluminum alloy controllable pitch propeller. It had a maximum takeoff weight of 3,087 pounds and a listed maximum speed of 230 miles per hour.

The airplane was imported from China to the United States and in 2002 the airplane was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate in the experimental exhibition category.

Based on a review of copies of selected pages of the aircraft maintenance records, the accident airplane had completed a satisfactory annual condition inspection on February 13, 2014. The flight times on that date were estimated as an aircraft total time of 2,737 hours and a total time since engine overhaul of 572 hours. The engine total time and the propeller total time could not be determined.


The closest official weather reporting station was at KFNT, Flint, Michigan; located 10 miles southeast from the accident location, At 1353 the automated surface observation system at KFNT reported wind from 080 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear of clouds, temperature 12 degrees Celsius (C), dew point - 1 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.43 inches of mercury.

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


No record was found that showed N594T had made any radio contact with FAA air traffic control (ATC).

No witnesses reported hearing any radio transmissions from N594T during the time of the accident.

A postaccident review of FAA ATC radar data showed a primary only target which first appeared southwest of CFS at 1353:15.6. There was no transponder reply and no Mode-C altitude information. The radar track was not very consistent and dropped off three times. The last primary radar target was seen at 1409:35.7 near the accident location.


FAA inspectors who responded to the scene reported that the airplane impacted an agricultural field on a generally easterly heading with the initial impact ground scars about 200 feet west of the north-south boundary road, and about 400 feet south of the east-west boundary road.

The dimension of the field was estimated as about 3,000 feet from the boundary road on the north side of the field to the distant south edge of the field which was bordered by a tree line. The east to west dimension of the field was estimated as about 2,500 feet. There were no power lines, fences, trees, bushes, or other obstructions in the field, and there were no power lines, fences or other obstructions on either side of the road on the north side, or on either side of the road on the east side of the field. The FAA inspectors also reported that the dry flat cultivated agricultural field was an adequate emergency forced landing area.

There was evidence of adequate fuel onboard, and there was a slight postimpact fuel spill, however there was no postimpact fire.

The airplane came to rest with the nose of the airplane oriented about 30 degrees to the right of the eastbound direction of the main landing gear ground scars. The eastbound ground scars corresponding to the main landing gear were 10 feet 4 inches apart, were about 3 to 4 inches deep, and measured about 19 feet from the first point of impact.

A 15 foot long crater corresponding to impacts from the nose gear, propeller, and engine cowing was about 24 inches wide at an initial depth of about 7 inches and ended about 11 inches deep.

All portions of the accident airplane remained attached or partially attached and were observed at the scene. The rudder and elevator remained attached to their fittings and flight control continuity was confirmed. The empennage sustained substantial damage.

The ailerons remained attached to their fittings and flight control continuity was confirmed. The nose gear was observed to be extended, but collapsed aft. The engine and engine mount were impact displaced down and displaced slightly left. The flap surfaces were observed in the retracted position.

Both propeller blades showed evidence of some chordwise smearing in the soft dirt, however there was only a slight amount of impact damage on leading edges of both propeller blades. One propeller blade was bent aft about 45 degrees, and the other propeller blade had only a slight amount of bending damage. No twist damage to either propeller blade was observed. Damage to the propeller blades was consistent with some rotation at the moment of impact, but there was no indication of significant engine power at impact.

A VFR Sectional chart was observed in the cockpit by the front seat pilot's left knee, and the chart was opened to the area of flight.

The propeller control was observed in the mid-range position. The fuel valve control in the cockpit was observed in the ON, or full forward, position. The carburetor heat control in the cockpit was observed in the ON, or full forward, position. The throttle control in the cockpit was observed in the full forward position. The mixture control in the cockpit was observed in a position consistent with a lean setting. The magneto switch in the cockpit was observed in the "1-2", or BOTH, position. The flap control in the cockpit was observed in the UP position. The in-line fuel screen was clean with no evidence of contamination. The spark plugs showed normal wear and a gray color. Oil was present throughout the engine and no metal contamination was observed in the oil or the oil system. Both main landing gear were partially separated and displaced aft, and the main landing gear attach fittings were displaced aft and twisting up.

The Garmin GTX320A transponder had some minor impact damage. The power switch on the transponder was observed in the ALT position. When removed from the aircraft the transponder was not fully inserted into its mounting tray and fell out when the tray was moved. The lock tab on the transponder was in the "latch" position.

The examination of the fuel system showed the header tank contained approximately 1.5 pints of fuel. The left and right fuel lines were tight and safety wired to fittings in header tank. The left and right fuel feed line "flapper" valves were free to operate and showed normal wear marks from vibration of the brass valve on the fitting. The header tank fuel screen had debris from rivet pieces, drill shavings and paper on the fuel tank side. The engine feed side of the screen was clean. The carburetor and engine driven fuel pump sustained impact damage and could not be further examined. There was no fuel in the line running from the fuselage to the impact damaged fuel pump or the impact damaged carburetor.

The FAA inspectors reported that their examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


The front seat was equipped with a five-point lap belt and shoulder harness system. Evidence at the scene showed that the latch for the front seat belt system was not fastened at the time of impact. The front seat pilot was observed ejected from his seat and had impacted the front cockpit instrument panel, however he remained inside the cabin area.

Evidence at the scene also showed that the rear seat five-point lap belt and shoulder harness system and latch was fastened at the time of impact, however the metal shoulder harness fitting for the rear seat was fractured and had completely separated on impact. The pilot rated passenger in the rear seat remained restrained by his lap belt during the crash sequence, however he impacted the rear cockpit instrument panel as a result of the complete separation of his shoulder harness fitting.

The FAA inspectors noted that crash impact damage to the surrounding structure in both the front seat and the rear seat cockpit area remained substantially intact and without serious collapse, failure, or deformation to the extent that the airframe structure in those areas had provided a protective shell around both occupants during the crash sequence.



An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Sparrow Forensic Pathology in Lansing, Michigan.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that carbon monoxide was not detected in blood, tests for cyanide were not performed, and ethanol was not detected in vitreous. Citalopram was detected in blood and urine, N-desmethycitalopram was detected in blood and urine, and oxymetazoline was detected in blood and urine.

The pilot had a history of treatment for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which he had reported to the FAA. Although the pilot had not reported to the FAA his history of depression and PTSD or his ongoing treatment with citalopram, there was nothing to suggest his psychiatric disease played a role in the accident.

Pilot Rated Passenger

An autopsy was performed on the pilot rated passenger by Sparrow Forensic Pathology in Lansing, Michigan.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot rated passenger by CAMI, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that carbon monoxide was not detected in blood, tests for cyanide were not performed, ethanol was not detected in vitreous, and no listed drugs were detected in blood.


Seat Belt and Shoulder Harness Systems

The seat belt and shoulder harness systems for both the front and rear cockpits were removed from the wreckage and sent for further examination to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

An examination showed bending of several metal components from the rear seat harness system when compared with similar components from the front seat harness system which did not exhibit similar bending. The examination of the latch for the belt and shoulder harness system in the front seat showed there were small nicks and gouges attributed to normal wear, however the components of the latch mechanism were intact and it operated correctly. All other restraint system hardware (3-bar adjusters, tilt-lock adjusters and anchor mounting brackets) exhibited no significant deformation or bending.

It could not be determined whether the latch for lap belt and shoulder harness system in the front seat was unfastened, or was fastened and failed, or whether it separated at the time of impact.

The front seat shoulder harness anchor plate mounting bracket was examined and compared with the corresponding mounting bracket from the rear seat shoulder harness. The front seat shoulder harness bracket was relatively undamaged and the rear seat shoulder harness bracket had fractured and separated and exhibited a load bending inward. Further examination using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) showed that the fracture surfaces on the rear seat shoulder harness anchor plate mounting bracket had failed due to tensile overloading.

The manufacturer of the restraint systems, Racers Choice, Incorporated (RCI), reported that they had discontinued manufacture of this system in 1999, and thus the components were at least 15 years old or older. RCI also reported that (SFI 16.1) required a recertification every two years. No record could be found showing that recertification had been accomplished.

Devices Containing Non-Volatile Memory

Several electronic devices containing non-volatile memory were removed from the wreckage and sent for further examination to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

A Garmin Aera 560 GPS was examined and the data extracted included 58 sessions and 10,001 total data points from June 5, 2013, through April 19, 2014. Three sessions were located with the recorded accident event date of April 19, 2014; however, the accident event was not captured on this device.

A Lowrance AIRMAP 2000 GPS was examined and data was downloaded normally. Multiple different flights were observed, however the accident flight was not captured.

A Shadin Microflo Fuel Flow Indicator was examined. The unit did not directly interface with the airplane's fuel quantity system. Instead, the design of the system required the flight crew to manually enter the initial fuel on board the airplane. Data was downloaded from the unit which showed fuel used, fuel remaining, and total fuel. No other useful information was available.


The FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge states that when conditions are conductive to carburetor icing that carburetor heat should be applied immediately and should be left on until the pilot is certain all the ice has been removed. Additionally, if ice is present the application of partial carburetor heat or leaving heat on for an insufficient time might aggravate the situation.

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA202 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 19, 2014 in Flushing, MI
Aircraft: NANCHANG CJ6 - A, registration: N594T
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 19, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time, a Nanchang CJ-6A single-engine airplane, N594T, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Flushing, Michigan. The two pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Haywards Aviation; Vassar, Michigan, and was being operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan had not been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness reported hearing the engine sputter and saw the propeller slow as the airplane began descending toward an open field with the landing gear extended. Another witness was watching the airplane flying at low altitude when it suddenly dropped and impacted terrain in a nose down attitude of about 45 degrees.

Evidence at the accident scene showed the airplane came to rest upright about 19 feet from the initial ground scar. There was no fuel spill and no postimpact fire. The engine was partially impact separated and displaced up and slightly left. The nose gear and the main landing gear collapsed aft.

At 1353, the closest official surface weather observation site at Bishop International Airport (FNT), Flint, Michigan, reported an east wind at 10 knots, visibility of 10 miles, and a clear sky with no clouds reported.

Richard Hayward was flying his Nanchang CJ-6A plane when it went down near the intersection of M-13 and Cronk Road, his youngest daughter, Susan Doran, said. 
Courtesy | Susan Doran 

Mark Kozan  

Richard Hayward, right, with his youngest daughter, Susan Doran, during a recent plane ride. 
Courtesy | Susan Doran

An American Flag flown during a combat mission in 2004 was presented to Master Sergeant Richard Hayward. 
Courtesy | Susan Doran

Richard Hayward with his wife, Lynn Hayward, pictured at a wedding in 2004.
 Courtesy | Susan Doran

Richard Hayward poses on the wing of a plane parked inside a hangar.
 Courtesy | Susan Doran 

Photo Courtesy/Credit:   Sally York,  Argus-Press

Firefighters are shown on the scene of a small plane crash near the corner of Cronk Road and M-13 in Venice Township. The single-engine propeller plane crashed in a farm field this afternoon, killing the two men on board. 

Photo Courtesy/Credit:   Sally York,  Argus-Press
Rescue workers are shown on the scene of a small plane crash near the corner of Cronk Road and M-13 in Venice Township. The single-engine propeller plane crashed into a farm field this afternoon, killing the two men on board. 

Police, firemen, and medical personnel respond to a plane crash where two males were fatally injured on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the intersection of M13 and Cronk Road on the border of Clayton and Venice Township.  

Flight Design CTSW, N298AB: Accident occurred April 19, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana

NTSB Identification: CEN14CA207
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 19, 2014 in Bloomington, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/05/2014
Aircraft: FLIGHT DESIGN GMBH CTSW, registration: N298AB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot stated that the winds were gusting from 14 to 19 knots when he was cleared to land on runway 17. As the pilot reduced the airspeed, the airplane "lost lift and began to drop rapidly." The pilot added full power; however, the airplane landed hard, bounced, and porpoised. The nosewheel landing gear bent aft resulting in substantial damage to the firewall. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. Wind at the time of the accident was recorded as 090 degrees at 9 knots, gusting to 14 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot did not maintain control of the airplane while landing.

Air Tattoo makes aviation history

Aviation history will be made in the UK this summer when, in a major airshow ‘first’, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, makes its much-anticipated European debut.

This hugely important multi-role combat aircraft, which has never before been seen outside of the US, will display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 11-13.

Three examples of the F-35B, the short take-off/vertical landing version of the Lightning II optimized for operation from austere bases and smaller ships, will be based at RAF Fairford: two from the US Marine Corps and one destined for the UK. The flying displays on all three days of the airshow, will see participation by one aircraft.

The aircraft’s appearance at Fairford will allow a whole new audience to see at close quarters this highly advanced multi-role platform, which, in F-35B form, will demonstrate the ‘hover’ capability required for operation from, for example, Britain’s forthcoming new aircraft carriers.

Its appearance at RAF Fairford in July will be the latest in a long list of legendary military aircraft that have made their UK debut at the Air Tattoo. These have included the F-14 Tomcat in 1976, the MiG-23 in 1991, the Typhoon in 1995 and the V-22 Osprey in 2006.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Designate, Andy Armstrong said: “Not only will people witness aviation history being made at the Air Tattoo this summer but they will also see a breath-taking demonstration of the future of combat aviation. Those people who, like me, enjoyed seeing the legendary Harrier display its hovering capabilities in the past will relish the opportunity to see its state-of-the-art successor.”

In the words of Lockheed Martin, the F-35B combines for the first time ‘the most lethal fighter characteristics: supersonic speed, radar-evading stealth, extreme agility and short take-off/vertical landing capability.’ The stealthy Lightning II is a vital aircraft for the air arms of the nine countries who have, thus far, signed up to become part of the programme: apart from the US and UK, also involved are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.

The type is rapidly entering service with the US Air Force in CTOL (conventional take-off and landing) F-35A guise, and with the US Marine Corps in F-35B form. The UK plans to procure 138 F-35Bs for joint operation by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and has begun pilot and maintainer training on the aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The F-35 will, in future, become a common sight in our skies – but it will perform its first international display at this summer’s Air Tattoo.

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are only available in advance. Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for this summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until May 31 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.



Glider crashes in Gloucestershire, UK

A glider crashed in Gloucestershire on Saturday afternoon.

The pilot of the glider was uninjured in the crash, which happened in the Haw Bridge area of Tirley at around 4pm.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service sent crews from Cheltenham West and Tewkesbury to the scene.

They arrived to find the pilot was unhurt and was free of the glider.


Cessna A185E, Rgd. Olde North Church LLC, N2219T: Incident occurred April 19, 2014 at Somerset Airport (KSMQ), New Jersey


BEDMINSTER — A small aircraft overturned while it was landing at the Somerset Airport Saturday morning when a gust of wind caused it to veer off the runway, police said.

Police responded to the airport at 11:30 a.m. after receiving a report of a plane crash, and, upon arriving, found a Cessna 185 overturned in the grass about 20 feet off of runway 30, police said in a news release.

Richard Skevington, the pilot, and his wife, Mary Skevington, both of Saratoga Spring, N.Y., were uninjured in the crash, and had exited the plane by the time officers arrived on the scene, police said.

Richard Skevington told officers that the plane was blown by a strong gust of wind while touching down, and ran off the left side of the runway into the soft grass, causing it to overturn, police said.

The Far Hills-Bedminister Fire Department and First Aid Squad responded to the scene, and a New Jersey State Police NorthStar helicopter was already on the scene when township police arrived, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and will investigate the crash, police said.

Story and comments/reaction:

July 21, 2012:  Cessna A185E (N2219T) capsizes in north end of Saratoga Lake

Richard Skevington (in the Yellow Submarine-themed boat), speaks with a state Department of Conservation police officer after the 1968 plane with floats which he owns capsized in Saratoga Lake Saturday, July 21, 2012 

Only the pontoons of this plane are visible after the vessel capsized in Saratoga Lake Saturday, July 21, 2012.


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- As many enjoyed the second day of the track season, there was much ado about a capsized personal plane on Saratoga Lake just a few miles away.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Richard Skevington, 59, of nearby Crescent Avenue, noticed that one of the pontoons on his 1968 seaplane was filling with water. While it was parked on the water, Skevington shut the engine off and exited the plane, explained Sgt. Luke Splittgerber with the New York State Police.

As he tried to fix the pontoon, the plane capsized. Skevington and his 61-year-old passenger, Paul Forde of Rhode Island, were not injured. Forde was able to exit easily since the plane capsized slowly and the passenger's door was open, police said.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have been contacted. The State Police hope to get advice from the FAA about how to get the upside down plane out of the water.

Police said there was no fuel leaking and the owner estimated there was about 40 gallons inside the plane.

It was estimated from an unofficial source that the plane is worth about $110,000. It is unclear if it was insured.

Both the Saratoga Springs and Quaker Springs fire departments responded along with the State Police.

Plenty of curious boaters on Saratoga Lake stopped to look at the capsized vessel.

The incident occurred near the Tropic Hut on the north end of the lake near Route 9P.  


21 July 2012 

Floatplane Capsizes in Saratoga Lake

No one injured when plane capsizes
The New York State Police, Saratoga Springs City Police, NYS DEC, and Saratoga Springs Fire responded to a report of a capsized floatplane on Saratoga Lake just south of the State Route 9P bridge at about 1:20PM on Saturday, July 21, 2012.  The 1968 Cessna 185, piloted by its owner Richard Skevington, 58, was being taxied across the surface of the lake when the pilot noted that the floats were low in the water indicative of water having gotten into the floats.  After shutting down the engine, the pilot exited the aircraft and began pumping the excess water out of the floats.  During this process, the aircraft nosed over and capsized leaving only the bottom of the floats above the surface of the lake.  Both the pilot and his passenger, Paul Forde ,56, escaped without injury and were transported to the shore by passing boaters.  Any water contamination from the planes fuel appears to be minimum.  The F.A.A. will be conducting an investigation into the incident.  


Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, Rig Enterprises Inc., N38240 Incident occurred April 19, 2014 in Kalamazoo, Michigan


NTSB Identification: CEN14CA203
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 19, 2014 in Kalamazoo, MI
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28, registration: N38240
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The pilot said he was attempting to land on runway 18 "in variable crosswinds with gusty conditions. [There] may have been wind shear or tailwinds involved." He told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that the airplane stalled at low altitude (5 to 8 feet above the runway) and landed hard on the overrun for runway 36. The pilot reported no mechanical issues with the airplane. The FAA inspector reported the fuselage was buckled, the empennage was bent down, and the left wing upper skin was deformed


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — One person had to be taken to the hospital after a small plane crashed at a private airstrip.

The crash happened in the 10000 block of West Main Street in Kalamazoo around 1 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities on scene tell 24 Hour News 8 that it appears the plane landed too hard.

The pilot told police he didn’t think were any problems, but when the plane landed it hit hard, snapping the landing gear off.

A neighbor said he heard the plane fly over and it sounded like it was in trouble.

The person taken to the hospital suffered minor injuries.


 Photo Courtesy/Credit: Oshtemo Township Fire Department

Photo Courtesy/Credit: Oshtemo Township Fire Department 

Photo Courtesy/Credit: Oshtemo Township Fire Department 

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (April 19, 2014)- The Federal Aviation Administration and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department are investigating a single-engine plane crash in Oshtemo Township Saturday afternoon.

According to the Oshtemo Township Fire Department the single engine prop plane crashed Saturday at a private airstrip in the 10000 block of West Main Street in Oshtemo Township.

There were two people on board, one person did go to a local Kalamazoo hospital to be evaluated while the other person did not need medical care.

Kalamazoo Sheriff Deputies say that the plane dropped about 10 feet before it crashed on to the grass airstrip.

The cause of the drop and crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Department.


 OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - One person is taken to the hospital after a small plane crashes.

It happened before 1 p.m., on a private airstrip in the 10000 block of West Main St.

Police say a single-propeller plane crash-landed. They say two people were on board, suffering minor injuries. One person was taken to the hospital for evaluation, the second person declined treatment.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department are investigating.


Yeager Airport (KCRW) hilltop removal project flying high

While Confucius believed that the best way to take down a mountain is to “begin by carrying away small stones,” the contracting crew working on a runway-obstruction removal project for Yeager Airport is taking a different approach — one that involves drilling, blasting, dozing, excavating, loading and hauling stones of all sizes.

“They’re really getting after it,” Tim Murnahan, the Charleston airport’s assistant director, said of St. Albans-based Central Contracting’s earth-moving crew. “Even though it wasn’t until early March that they really started moving dirt, they’re already ahead of schedule. They think they’ll have all the material moved off the hill sometime this winter.”

The project involves removing nearly 1.3 million cubic yards of earth from the top of a knoll that lies about 4,000 feet beyond the end of Yeager’s main runway nearest to downtown Charleston. Some parts of the knoll will be reduced in elevation by up to 120 feet, while 50 feet will be the average elevation loss for the rest of the property.

The 14-acre tract on which the excavating and soil-disposal work is taking place lies on land acquired from the developer of Northgate office park, and from 40 owners of small properties in the Coal Branch Heights-area, including seven homeowners who negotiated buyouts with the airport.

By reducing the elevation of the knoll, the Federal Aviation Administration will be able to reduce rules that now require airplanes leaving the southern end of the main runway to climb faster than usual. With the top of the knoll gone, departing aircraft will not have to gain elevation as rapidly and steeply as they now do, allowing airlines to save fuel. In summer months, when high heat and humidity make aircraft engines operate less efficiently, the lowered knoll will allow airlines to avoid weight penalties for departing aircraft on Yeager’s longer, nonstop flights, meaning fewer passengers get bumped and less baggage gets left behind.

The $16 million obstruction-removal project was recommended and approved by the FAA, which also provides most of the project’s funding.

The obstruction removal also will reduce restrictions on arriving aircraft using the airport’s instrument-landing system.

In addition to saving airlines an estimated $2 million and reducing the number of bumped passengers, the obstruction-removal project will make Yeager a more attractive place to operate for airlines considering opening or expanding service here, Murnahan said.

Four solar-powered seismographs are operating in the construction zone, and in nearby Coal Branch Heights, to make sure the effects of blasting don’t produce property damage or exceed state regulations.

“If something registers 1 [on the Richter scale] or above, the seismographs automatically call it in” using cellphone technology, Murnahan said.

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East Devon, UK: Pilot killed and young son injured in microlight accident

A microlight  pilot has been killed and his son badly injured when the aircraft they were in crashed in a Devon field.

The accident is one of two Easter tragedies to hit the county after a kayaker lost his life when his vessel capsized.

Police and ambulances were called to the microlight accident, near Colyton, by a member of the public who witnessed the aircraft crash as it came into land at a private airfield.

Despite the efforts of three members of the public who were first on scene, who tried to resuscitate a casualty, the man was declared dead at the scene.

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The second person on board - believed to be the pilot's nine-year-old son - was rushed to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The extent of their injuries is not known. The Devon & Cornwall Police helicopter was used to fly the boy's mother to his side.

Detective Sergeant Angus Cottey said: “Police were informed at about 10am on Friday of a possible aircraft crash off Seaton Road, near Colyton in East Devon.

“Police units attended and met with ambulance personnel at the scene. A microlight appears to have crashed into a field where one fatality was confirmed.

“The injured person was airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where they are currently receiving treatment.

“The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been informed and are attending the scene to carry out further investigation.

“Our primary role is to secure the scene for the AAIB. We have recovered some potential exhibits and the scene has been made safe by the fire service.”

Seaton Road was closed for most of the day as police awaited the arrival of air crash investigators.

South West Ambulance Service said it sent paramedics and an air ambulance to the scene after being called at 9.46am.

Meanwhile, one person died and a second was taken to hospital after a boat capsized in a river estuary in North Devon.

The 16ft boat overturned at Bideford Bar, a treacherous sandbank about two miles off Bideford.   Coastguards said the sea conditions at the time of the SOS just after 11am on Friday were good with light winds and an ebbing tide.

Two local vessels responded and pulled two people from the water. The casualties were then transferred to Appledore RNLI lifeboat and brought ashore.

One of the two men, who are described as in their 30s, was confirmed as deceased at the scene. Two dogs were also recovered from the vessel, one of which was dead.

Swansea Coastguard watch manager David Hughes said: “Unfortunately both of these men were found in the water without lifejackets on. Lifejackets are useless unless worn because when the unexpected happens there is no time to put one on.”

The injured man has been taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital with injuries described by police as “not believed to be serious”.

A police spokesman said: “We are not releasing details of the deceased yet as we are still advising next of kin.”

A spokesperson for Appledore RNLI Lifeboat Station said they responded “within minutes” following an alert from the coastguard.

Central Illinois Regional Airport (KBMI) looks to develop 700 acres

BLOOMINGTON — The Central Illinois Regional Airport's long-term plan to develop about 700 acres includes property along East Empire Street and Towanda Barnes Road and open ground south of the airport along Ireland Grove Road.

CIRA has hired Springfield consulting firm Crawford Murphy & Tilly to analyze 11 spots on the airport's 2,000-acre property for possible development. The airport is paying Crawford $26,000 for the study.

Carl Olson, CIRA executive director, said Friday the airport authority expects to get an initial report in about 60 days.

The purpose, he said, is to find ways to generate additional revenue for the airport that doesn't come directly from CIRA operations.

“The airport needs to operate like a business, and just like any business, we need to identify new revenue streams,” Olson said.

Developments could include retail, light industrial or commercial businesses. Olson said the airport authority has not determined how much additional revenue it hopes to generate.

“This will take years and years. It is not like we're going to snap our fingers and something is going to be there. This is a long-term initiative,” he said.

Part of the process includes review by the Federal Aviation Administration. All of the projects would have to abide by FAA regulations and would include environmental assessments, Olson said.

“For example, you wouldn't want to put a cellular tower or a wind turbine on airport property,” he said.

The development plans do not include the Prairie City Soccer League fields on the airport's property. The 60 acre-soccer fields will be turned into farmland when the league's lease ends in 2018. Olson said the FAA asked the airport not to renew the league's lease and noted that the 700 acres for potential development would not include similar recreation activities.

Airport leaders hope the study will identify areas that could be leased to developers and businesses. Some of the 700 acres includes farmland, Olson noted.

“The reason for farming is it makes use of the property while it is sitting there not being used for something else and it generates revenue for the airport,” he said, adding that any developments proposed for farmland would have to generate more revenue than farming.

The increased revenue would allow the airport to continue to be competitive with other airports and help maintain air service.

“The less money we have to charge airlines to operate here, the easier it is for them to be profitable,” Olson said.

Ken Springer, vice president of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, said the land would be appealing to developers because it is flat, is close to CIRA, and has access to utilities and nearby interstate highways and rail lines.

“The land around CIRA is straight-up good development ground, any way you look at it,” Springer said.

The development plans are part of the airport's master plan, which was completed in 2006, and officially approved by the FAA in 2009. Olson said initial discussions to develop the 700 acres started in 2006, but they were put on hold when the recession hit.

“We could just construct something, but if there isn't a market for it and it doesn't complement the community, then it will not be successful. That's why it is important to do proper planning and research ahead of time to identify the best uses,” he said.

Locations that could be developed include land west of the airport's main runway along Streid Drive; land directly west of the airport terminal along East Empire Street; land north of East 1300 North Road and west of south Towanda Barnes Road; and land north of Ireland Grove Road and east of Streid Drive.

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Spirit Airlines thanks customers who didn't complain

Spirit Airlines, poking fun at a new consumer report that characterizes it as the nation’s most complained-about carrier, is thanking the “99.99 percent” of its customers who haven’t been griping.

At the same time, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza said that most of the customers who filed complaints just don’t understand the discount airline’s a la carte pricing strategy.

Baldanza, in a statement to the media in markets where Spirit flies, said there is “more to the story” than simply looking at the number of complaints lodged against Spirit with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Over the past five years, Spirit has generated the highest level of complaints of any major airline, according to a report released last week by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.

Responding to the report, Baldanza said the number of complaints against Spirit has fallen 30 percent in recent months and is small to begin with — an average of eight per every 100,000 passengers. Spirit generates about three times as many complaints than any other airline, the figures show.

Baldanza said most of the customer complaints against Spirit stem from its low-cost business model. Spirit, the dominant airline at Atlantic City International Airport, touts its no-frills atmosphere and a pricing structure that it says keeps its base fares lower than other carriers.

“Offering our low fares requires doing some things that some people complain about — more seats on our planes with a little less legroom, no Wi-Fi or video screens, and no refunds without insurance; however, these reduce costs, which gives our customers the lowest fares in the industry,” Baldanza said in his statement. “Judging by the number of customers on our planes and repeat customer rate, most people like this trade-off.”

Although it offers bargain fares, Spirit charges extra for such things as seat selection, baggage, food and even a bottle of water. Spirit says it gives passengers the option of not paying for things if they don’t want them, while other airlines “bake” extra costs into their ticket prices.

Baldanza said Spirit is working to reduce complaints by helping customers to better understand its pricing practices.

“We know some customers are surprised by our unbundled, a la carte model, and that creates some complaints,” he said. “That’s why we’ve committed Spirit to two key objectives: helping all of our customers learn how to fly on Spirit while keeping more money in their pockets and sustaining our great safety record, while we continue to improve our operational reliability, which is already competitive with other airlines.”

Baldanza insisted Spirit will not overhaul its pricing strategy “just to reduce the complaints of a few customers.”

“Doing that would raise prices for everyone, compromising our commitment to what our customers have continuously told us they truly value — the lowest possible price,” he said. “We will continue to work in every way we can to help our customers get where they want to go, safely and reliably, for less money.”

Meanwhile, Spirit has launched an irreverent fare promotion to thank the customers who haven’t filed complaints against it. The deal offers a $24 discount on ticket prices for travel this fall.

“Spirit is celebrating the 99.99 percent!” the airline proclaimed in a press release. “That’s right, over 99.99 percent of our customers did not file a complaint with the Department of Transportation in 2013. To the 0.01 percent — that’s OK, we know we aren’t the airline for everybody (though we’d love for you to save by flying with us again!).”

Spirit has long been known for its edgy promotions and advertising. Recently, its ads spoofed Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and the troubled website for the national Affordable Care Act.

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Boeing 777 fire sale haunts Air India

After having sold its five new Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft at a throwaway price, Air India (AI) does not expect to do any better with the sale of next three similar widebodied jets. A top AI official told Mail Today on Friday, "We are not very sure on how the bids will fare. There are not many airlines using these planes. We are also largely hoping on leasing aviation companies to participate in the global bidding for our planes.'' AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan said, "I hope this time we do not face problems like we did during the sale of these planes earlier." Last October, AI worked out a deal with Etihad Airways to sell the five Boeing,  which have an average age of six years, for Rs  2,135 crore, which worked out to a meagre Rs  427 crore per plane.

The Maharaja had ordered these jets for Rs 1,300 crore each in 2005.

While AI is determined to discard these planes claiming that they are fuel guzzlers, there are as many as nine international airlines, including Japan Airlines and Etihad, which use them. Etihad flies the five planes bought from AI to Europe and the US. The competitive global bidding, released on April 17, will close on May 12 and opened a day later. While commercial bids for these three five-year-old planes would be opened on May 13, technical bids would be opened at a later date.

The announcement of the sale comes at a time when the country is in the midst of the Lok Sabha elections and the next government will take over in a month's time.

Interestingly, these Boeing were meant to fly for the next 25 years, then-civil aviation minister Praful Patel had told the government in August 2004, when the deal for ordering 111 Boeings and Airbus for the national carrier was finalized.

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Seabed Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Be Finished in Five to Seven Days: Search Area a 10 Kilometer Radius Around Second Ping Detected

The Wall Street Journal
By Lucy Craymer And Richard C. Paddock 

Updated  April 19, 2014 6:03 a.m. ET 

PERTH, Australia—The initial underwater search of a remote stretch of southern Indian Ocean seabed in what is thought to be the most likely spot for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is expected to be completed within seven days, Australian authorities said Saturday.

In Kuala Lumpur, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the next few days of the search would be crucial in directing the search for the missing airplane.

"Whatever is the outcome of the next two days, we need to regroup and consider the operations," he told reporters. "The narrowing of the search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical juncture so I appeal to everybody around the world to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days."

Search crews are focusing on an area within about a 6.2 mile radius of an electronic signal detected on April 8 that investigators believe may have come from the missing jet's "black box" flight recorders, the Australian authority leading the recovery operation told The Wall Street Journal Saturday. Acoustic analysis of a series of signals picked up by a U.S. Navy black box locater between April 5 and April 8 led authorities to significantly tighten the area where an undersea vehicle was deployed Monday to scan the seabed for wreckage, in a search that U.S. Navy officials had originally predicted would take up to two months.

The U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous vehicle—which moves at a walking pace—has so far completed six separate underwater missions over the previous five days covering more than 50 square miles but has found nothing of interest. Data from the sixth mission has yet to be analyzed and a seventh mission is under way.

"We are satisfied with progress so far, although there have been some planning adjustments caused by weather, unserviceability and other unforeseen circumstances," Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre said, without providing specifics. "We should complete the search of the focused underwater area in five to seven days."

Mr. Hishammuddin didn't say why the next two days would be critical when leaders of the search in Australia have indicated the next five to seven days will be key.

"With regards to the location, today and tomorrow it's imperative that we focus because the JACC and all the experts have narrowed the area of search to what we are looking at today and tomorrow," the minister said.

If the search by the Bluefin turns up nothing, he said, it may be necessary to re-evaluate the satellite and radar data once again to see if the vessel is looking in the right location. But he said the search would continue even if nothing is found by Monday.

"It does not mean we are going to stop the operations," he said. "By Monday we will be in a better position to see what needs to be done and this is at the very highest level," he said.

So far, a monthlong search of the southern Indian Ocean hasn't recovered a single piece of physical evidence of the jet. The search effort's primary goal remains recovering the Boeing 777's black-box flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders. That task has been made more difficult, however, as the batteries powering emergency locaters on the black boxes have long passed their estimated 30-day expiration date and it is unlikely they are still emitting signals that would help search crews find them.

The Malaysian plane veered sharply off course March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 passengers and crew. Authorities believe the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean, far from the western coast of Australia, after running out of fuel.

A separate air-and-sea search of the ocean surface for plane debris continued Saturday, with 11 military aircraft and 12 ships searching about 20,000 square miles of ocean.

Authorities have several options available if the current underwater search by Bluefin turns up nothing. They could order a second sweep of the seabed in a tight area where the first signals believed to have come from Flight 370's black boxes were detected. The search could also be expanded to a wider area around a series of transmissions heard on four occasions.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Director General of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation, told reporters that Malaysia and Australia are negotiating an agreement over how the two countries would handle the wreckage, the black boxes and human remains, should any of these be recovered.

Mr. Azharruddin declined to provide any details of the agreement, including which agency or experts would be called on to open and analyze the all-important data recorders, if they are found.

"We are unable to tell you in detail because this will be a discussion, agreement, to be agreed upon and signed between the two states," he said.

Australian officials also declined to discuss details of the agreement, saying in a statement: "Malaysia and Australia are now developing a comprehensive and detailed Memorandum of Understanding to include all aspects of prolonged and extensive search and recovery activities."

Other organizations are also ready to provide submersibles that can go deeper, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which helped recover the black boxes from an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. In that crash, however, authorities were much more certain about the point of impact, having recovered debris within days of the accident.

"We've got some promising leads that we are going to pursue. And after we pursue those leads if we have not found a debris field or any other indications that's when you step back and look at these other assets and you get into this long term search plan," U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews told reporters earlier in the week.

—Celine Fernandez in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this article.


Federal Aviation Administration administrator coming to North Dakota

WASHINGTON -- The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is coming to North Dakota, the state’s senators announced Thursday.

FAA Administrator Michael Hueta will visit Grand Forks and Williston on Monday with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., according to a press release.

“In North Dakota, aviation is drastically growing -- whether at our groundbreaking UAS (unmanned aerial systems) facilities or at our airports in western North Dakota,” the senators wrote in the release.

“We’re excited to show off the great work being done in North Dakota and hope to reinforce why our state needs more support for infrastructure to keep up with demand.”

The group will visit the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks at approximately 10:15 a.m. CDT to tour the unmanned aerial systems facilities in Grand Forks. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and university administrators will join Heitkamp, Hoeven and Huerta for a roundtable discussion.

The group will then travel to Williston to tour the city’s airport at 2 p.m. Officials from Dickinson, Williston, Minot and Bismarck will join them for a roundtable discussion on the growth in western North Dakota and its impacts on airports.


Fayette County business as usual? Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport (KVVS), Connellsville, Pennsylvania

By The Tribune-Review

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

These Fayette issues are getting the attention of the public. Here is my perspective as your county commissioner.

• Referendum for ballot question: Once the petitions bearing the 3,700 signatures were filed at the election bureau, the Pennsylvania Referendum Handbook, Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, court cases and our own unanimously approved August 2012 resolutions mandated an election board hearing. Deliberations of the election board in accepting or rejecting petitions are subject to the requirements of the Sunshine Law and must be conducted at a public meeting. That's the law. I followed our commissioner-approved resolutions and the law by calling for an election board hearing, but fellow commissioners refused. It is now up to the referendum group or any interested party to take legal action if they believe their rights were infringed.

• Fellow commissioners complain about lengthy meetings so restricting public comment is being proposed: When you attempt to slide a $1.25 million land purchase by the taxpayers by giving minimal public notice and conducting the meeting at 8:30 a.m. in a small conference room, forcing citizens to stand in the hallway, should we really expect a short meeting? When you embark on a $30 million construction project that the county's bond representative estimated would be a $60 million payoff, should we expect short meetings? Meetings are one time a month, and we cannot give citizens this time?

Bailing out the county airport: The airport authority has asked us to allow it to use the $50,000 we designated for a hangar project to instead be used for the authority's operating costs and payment of delinquent airplane fuel bills. County dollars should not be used for those purposes. I need one commissioner to agree with me.

Angela Zimmerlink


The writer is a Republican Fayette County commissioner.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Nigeria: Unemployed Pilots - The Inevitable Glut

Capt. Daniel Omale

— April 19, 2014

For the past three years, this column has remained constant in forecasting the potential unemployment plague that would be facing the aviation sector in Nigeria. But as usual, no one in government, not even the ministry of labor and productivity appears bothered about the scourge, and the possible repercussion that comes with youth idleness that usually leads to restiveness.

It is estimated that over 60% of Nigeria’s workforce is unemployed. The definition of a workforce is: total number of a country’s population employed in the armed forces and civilian jobs, plus those unemployed people who are actually seeking paying work. Sadly, the majority of Nigeria’s population seeking paying work is below the age of 40.

Job creation is a fundamental responsibility of the government in power, and, the government must visibly be worried if more than 70 million able/ active people in the country, who are qualified for gainful employment, are without income. It’s needless to reemphasize the looming danger as a result of the state of hopelessness and despondency.

In every psychological and sociological study of crime rate in most societies, the fundamental reason for rising crime wave lies with the economic disposition of the community in question.

The rate of unemployment among newly trained Nigerian pilots has been on the rise for the past three years, although the latent failure began with the demise of Nigeria Airways, the single, largest employer of airline pilots in Nigeria’s history.

Why the issue of unemployment amongst Nigeria’s pilots is almost incurable are as the result of the following problems:

First, there  are fewer airlines in Nigeria today than before, although the number of trained commercial pilots has tripled; second, the five currently active airlines in Nigeria are heavily indebted to the Asset Management Company (AMCON) of Nigeria; three, the majority of the corporate jets operating in Nigeria are financed from abroad, with stringent financing terms, which include keeping the aircraft’s registration in the country of the lending institution and, for European banks, the aircraft must be registered in Europe. Few Nigerian pilots have European commercial pilot’s certificate.

Another major issue is that no Nigerian bank can lend to a potential airline investor below interest rate of 25%, which is a glaring doom even before the business starts.

The number of commercial pilots without jobs in Nigeria as of today stands at about 300. The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, has nearly 100 student pilots that will graduate and join the unemployment scheme in less than 12 months from now. The International flying school in Ilorin, Kwara state, has about 30 students or more, while those sponsored abroad by the Kano and Niger Delta states exceed 150 students.

Airline business is generally expensive with very low profit margin. The illusion that airline business is worth  investing in, has led a number of investors into bankruptcy.

Professional commercial pilots are trained to acquire a linear skill which limits their versatility in other economic sectors; therefore, they suffer from structural unemployment.

Structural unemployment, one of the main unemployment types, is the mismatch between job openings and job seekers in an economy. For example, local job seekers may be generally skilled, but lack the specific skills required for available job openings. This type of unemployment can also result if sufficiently skilled workers are seeking employment, but available jobs are in another part of the country or the world. Any disparity between the abilities of available workers and the requirements for open positions can be considered structural unemployment.

The dynamics of the labor market tend to give rise to this type of unemployment. Shifting market conditions, such as changing technology, continuously alter the demand for labor. Training can become a major issue as workers try to predict the future job market. Training for specialized skills requires a significant amount of time and resources. The resulting lag between the actual demand for labor and the current skill set of available workers is one major cause of structural unemployment.

Last week, the minister of finance enthusiastically announced to Nigerians that our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has become the highest in Africa. But the question on everyone’s mind, including one of the unemployed pilots who was in my office was: what does this mean to us? Well, my definition of GDP got him even more confused: the value of a country’s overall output of goods and services (typically during one fiscal year) at market prices, excluding net income from abroad.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be estimated in three ways which, in theory, should yield identical figures. They are (1) Expenditure basis: how much money was spent, (2) Output basis: how many goods and services were sold, and (3) Income basis: how much income (profit) was earned.

The core reason why Nigerians are unhappy or not enthusiastic with the finance minister’s announcement is that life is becoming harder everyday for the majority of Nigerians, not the unemployed pilots alone. But it is even harder if your parents spend N10m to train you with the hope that one day, you will be able to take care of yourself and, that is far from happening. Improvement in our GDP without corresponding improvement in livelihood is mere economic jargon.

This is the case of the unemployed commercial pilots in Nigeria: their parents have spent millions of Naira to train them either abroad or in Nigeria, but jobs are not forthcoming.

Arik air, the largest airline in Nigeria, has in theory, employed 80 of the idle pilots, but it will take approximately five years for the airline to actively engage all of them, because, Arik can only send three pilots for simulator training every three months. Therefore, in one year, only twelve out of the 80 newly recruited pilots will effectively be absorbed in the company to earn income. So, this translates to one pilot per month.

There is no government legislation that can force private aircraft owners to employ any of the unemployed, but government can support the airlines in this country through subsidized operational costs to boost revenue, and invariably more aircraft for airline operators.

The more aircraft we have in this country, the better the chances of those out of job to gain employment.

Government policies should gear towards encouraging those who are interested in acquiring aircraft for the purpose of operating in our national airspace. A contrary policy will continue to hurt the economy with more unemployment news in the polity; obviously, an ambiguity exists: supply is more than demand.