Saturday, April 26, 2014

Silent Wings Museum hosts book signing

The Silent Wings Museum is pleased to announce the arrival of the new book, Images of Aviation: South Plains Army Airfield by published author Donald R. Abbe, PhD.

South Plains Army Airfield in Lubbock, Texas, was a major training base for U.S. Army Air Force's glider pilots during World War II. Approximately 80 percent of the roughly 6,000 pilots trained to fly the combat cargo glider received their advanced training and were awarded their "G" wings at SPAAF, as it was known.

The base was conceived, built, used, and then closed in a short five-year period during World War II. Today, little remains to remind one of the feverish and important military training programs that once took place on the flat, featureless South Plains of Texas.

The Images of Aviation series celebrates the history of flight – from the early experimental, lighter-than-air craft to modern commercial, military and private air machines. Donald R. Abbe, PhD, serves as the Curator at the Silent Wings Museum. He has coauthored several books on the history of Lubbock and the South Plains of Texas.

Abbe will be signing his book, Images of Aviation: South Plains Army Airfield on May 17th at 3 p.m. at the Silent Wings Museum. The Book Signing will be FREE and open to the public.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the Silent Wings Museum.


Rep. Boehner Visits Piqua’s Hartzell Propeller

PIQUA — It is all about the economy and jobs, says Speaker of the House John Boehner, of his whirlwind visit to Hartzell Propeller Wednesday morning. While work continued as usual for employees, their special guest toured the facility alongside Joseph Brown, president. The Speaker stating he was spending time with employers in the district to discuss the issues they face, while emphasizing companies such as Hartzell are doing very well and adding jobs. 

However, there are concerns about the, “policies coming out of the federal government,” said Boehner, a subject he believes will likely be repeated over the next two days of a total three-day visit. One that included a breakfast speech to the Darke County Chamber of Commerce in Greenville earlier that morning.

Boehner’s visit was fitting not only due to his current congressional run, but his recognition of a Hartzell propeller on a military plane in Afghanistan earlier this month. Also, support of Piqua city leaders who approached his office in regards to their pursuit of National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems or NPIAS designation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so as to apply for federal aid.

Should the airport receive NPIAS designation, monies can be used for capital improvement project and annual maintenance to Hartzell Field/Piqua Municipal Airport. Since early 70 corporations utilize the airport so as to take advantage of the services provided by Hartzell Propeller Inc., including manufacturing, conversions and/or certification. Some of those companies include the Ohio State Highway Patrol, American Champion Aircraft, Blackhawk Engine Conversions, Corning Glass, Menards Home Improvement, Sunset Meats, J Crane, and C & C Aviation.

In March, Gary Huff, city manager, sent a letter to the FAA listing the national significance of the Piqua airport, the many businesses it serves and requested a waiver for entry into NPIAS. Hartzell Propeller Inc. backed the letter as a partner in the city’s pursuit, as did speaker Boehner’s office.


Aerial Footage Of Beaufort County Tornado Damage


There is a different perspective of Friday's tornado that tore through parts of Beaufort County.

Walter O’Neal of Tideland EMC sent in this video of the damage shot he from an airplane.

The National Weather Service says an EF2 tornado touched down Friday night in Chocowinity, with winds between 111 and 135 miles per hour.

Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack says there are no reported fatalities at the this time but his crews are going door to door in a search and rescue effort.

The county is asking travel Saturday night after 10:00 p.m. be limited to emergency situations until Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m.

Story, photo, video and comments/reaction:

Cessna 525B CitationJet CJ3, N300ET: Incident occurred April 26, 2014 in Port Orange, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Incident Final Report: 

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Incident Data Summary:

NTSB Identification: ERA14IA237
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Port Orange, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 525, registration: N300ET
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that he performed a visual approach to land on the 4,000-ft-long, asphalt runway in the turbine-powered multiengine airplane. He added that the landing was “a little long” and that he then realized that he was not going to be able to stop the airplane on the remaining runway. One of the passengers, who was type-rated in the airplane, reported that the airplane remained airborne as it flew past “the numbers” and that it touched down about one-third of the way down the runway. The airplane subsequently rolled off the runway end through grass and then came to rest in a freshwater pond. The airplane sustained minor damage to the landing gear, wings, and flaps. The pilot reported that that there were no mechanical malfunctions with the airplane. He further reported that the incident could have been prevented if he had made a longer final approach, was more familiar with the airport, and had rejected the landing attempt at a safe stage of the approach.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
The pilot's failure to attain a proper touchdown point during landing and his failure to go around when he recognized that he would not be able to stop the airplane on the runway, which resulted in a runway excursion.

On April 26, 2014, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 525B (Citation CJ3), N300ET, operated by a private individual, sustained minor damage during a runway excursion, while landing at the Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Port Orange, Florida. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Opa-Locka Executive Airport (OPF), Miami, Florida, about 1040. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was owned by the pilot through a limited-liability-company.

The pilot reported that he performed a visual approach to runway 23, a 4,000-foot-long, 176-foot-wide, asphalt runway. He further reported that he landed "a little long" and then realized that he was not going to be able to stop the airplane on the remaining runway. The pilot considered performing a go-around; however, he believed that a go-around would have posed a greater hazard at that point in the landing. The airplane subsequently rolled off the end of the runway, through grass, and came to rest in a freshwater pond, about 600 feet from the end of the runway.

One of the passengers, who was seated in the copilot's seat, was a private pilot who held a type rating for Cessna 525s with second-in-command privileges. He reported that the airplane remained airborne as it flew past "the numbers," and touched down about one-third down the runway.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector, after recovery from the pond revealed minor damage to the landing gear, wings, and flaps.

The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild FA2100 series cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which was forwarded to the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Division, Washington, DC, for readout. The CVR recorded the last 2 hours of airplane operation. A summary report of the recording revealed:

About 1055, while en route to 7FL6, the pilot and front seated passenger discussed landing performance as they utilized the flight management system. The discussion noted runway 23 was expected and concluded that 3,000 feet was required for landing.

At 1126:40, the pilot reported the airplane was about 3 miles from 7FL6.

At 1128:13, the pilot reported that airplane was at 2,000 feet on an extended left downwind for runway 23.

At 1129:17, the front seated passenger reported that the airplane was on final approach for runway 23 over the airport common traffic advisor frequency, which was followed by an automatic "500 feet" call-out, 6 seconds later.

At 1129:55, the passenger said "better get it down," which was followed by sounds consistent with touchdown about 4 seconds later.

At 1130:01, an unidentified voiced stated, "get on the brakes."

At 1130:12, the sound of deep rumbling, similar to the airplane exiting a paved surface was recorded, which was followed by sounds consistent with airplane movement ceasing, about 6 seconds later. [Additional information can be found in the Cockpit Voice Recorder Factual Report located in the public docket.]

The pilot reported that he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane. He further reported that the incident could have been prevented if he had made a longer final approach, was more familiar with the airport, and if he would have rejected the landing attempt at a safe stage of the approach.

The pilot reported about 2,900 hours of total flight experience, which included about 900 hours accumulated in the same make and model as the accident airplane, and about 70 and 20 hours flown in the accident airplane, during the 90 and 30 days that preceded the accident.

A weather observation taken at the airport at 1155 included winds from 030 degrees at 4 knots

NTSB Identification: ERA14IA237

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Port Orange, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 525B, registration: N300ET
Injuries: 3 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 April 26, 2014, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 525B (Citation CJ3), N300ET, operated by a private individual, sustained minor damage during a runway overrun, while landing at the Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Port Orange, Florida. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Opa-Locka Executive Airport (OPF), Miami, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was owned by the pilot through a limited-liability-company.

According to an FAA inspector, the pilot performed a visual approach to runway 23, a 4,000-foot-long, 176-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The pilot reported that he landed "long" and then realized that he was not going to be able to stop on the remaining runway. He considered performing a go-around; however, he believed that a go-around would have posed a greater hazard at that point in the landing. The airplane subsequently rolled off the end of the runway, through grass, and came to rest in a freshwater pond, about 600 feet from the end of the runway.

One of the passengers, who was also a private pilot, reported that the airplane remained airborne as it flew past "the numbers," and touched down about one-third down the runway.

Initial examination of the airplane revealed minor damage to the landing gear, wings, and flaps. The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild FA2100 series cockpit voice recorder, which was forwarded to the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Division, Washington, DC.

A weather observation taken at the airport at 1155 included winds from 030 degrees at 4 knots.


PORT ORANGE --  No one was injured after a Cessna 525B CitationJet CJ3 overshot a Volusia County runway and ended up in a pond on Saturday, officials said.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to Spruce Creek Fly-in, a residential airpark located in Port Orange, around 11:31 a.m.

The plane ran off the runway and ended up in a retention pond. There were three people on board, and all three got out safely, according to Gary Davidson, public information officer for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

The plane is worth about $3 million, Davidson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the incident.

PORT ORANGE, Fla. —    A jet rolled into a pond in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community near Port Orange around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, according to deputies.

They said the three passengers on board were able to get out safely.

The Cessna 525B apparently ran off the runway and ended up in a nearby pond, officials said.

Officials floated the plane with airbags and let it drain on the bank.

No one was injured when a plane overshot the runway at the Spruce Creek Fly-In and wound up in a retention pond late Saturday morning, officials said. 
Emergency crews received the call about 11:30 a.m. when the 2005 Cessna Citation, with room for approximately eight passengers, ended up in the water near Port Orange, Mike Inglett, a battalion commander with Volusia County Fire Services, said.

Inglett said there were three people on board and none were injured.

A hazmat team was called to clean up a minor fuel leak, and the plane was removed from the pond about 2:30 p.m., Inglett said.

Airport authority backs Silver Airways proposal

REYNOLDSVILLE - Citing job retention and familiarity for the traveling public, members of Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority, at yesterday's meeting, approved backing a proposal from Silver Airways to serve as DuBois Regional Airport's essential air service provider.

The authority also denounced rumors the airport is closing.

"Regardless of what happens with the essential air service contract, the airport is not closing. We will continue to operate, as will the other airports served by Silver Airways," said Loren Bishop, authority chairman.

Silver announced in mid-February it was withdrawing, no later than May 15, from providing federally subsidized flights from DRA as well as airports at Jamestown, N.Y., Bradford, Franklin and Parkersburg, W.Va. Its notice to the authority said the company wanted to strengthen its operations, build its fleet, increase revenue, reduce costs and better position itself for future growth and new markets.

The company's two-year EAS contract to provide flights from DuBois to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport would have expired Aug. 30. The company has provided EAS at DRA since September 2008.

Silver was one of four companies that provided proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation's recent advertisement for bids to provide EAS to a host of airports in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Others were received from City Link Air, Boutique and Sun airlines. City Link Air had the lowest total package offer to service seven airports, including DRA.

Silver's offer said three flights would be provided daily from DuBois to Washington-Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Va. The airport services the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia metropolitan area. It also wants to retain the aircraft maintenance facility located at DRA.

Silver Airways, whose offer was the third lowest of the four received, is the only company that wants to use the maintenance facility, although the authority said yesterday that in a recent conversation with City Lake Air's owner, he said that he would "be open to conversation" about using the facility. The authority said yesterday 24 jobs would be lost if the repair operation closes.

The authority also said yesterday that Silver Airways meets criteria established by its executive committee for an EAS provider in that it provides a seamless transition for checked luggage from DRA to the traveler's destination, an ease in purchasing tickets and is affiliated with a national airline, United Airways.

Members said yesterday Silver has not been perfect in the past and has had some issues with canceling flights because it did not have available crews, but has a new incentive program in place to retain pilots it believes can be successful in avoiding future staffing problems.

Comments on the proposals for EAS will be accepted by the federal Department of Transportation through May 28. The agency will then make a decision on the proposals.

Bob Shaffer, DRA manager, said the federal DOT will make the decision based on cost and "whatever attributes it uses in the selection process."

The authority said yesterday it hopes to also secure support for Silver Airways from the Clearfield and Jefferson counties boards of commissioners, local chambers of commerce, and other economic development groups and the airport's frequent users.

Also yesterday, the authority approved a three-year contract with Western Pennsylvania Gas Leasing Consultants LLC of Meadville to obtain and negotiate a natural gas exploration lease for an approximately 400-acre parcel, pending a review of the contract and concurrence by its solicitor.

The company will take 10 percent of the land value as its fee with the remainder and all royalties for gas being the property of the authority.

The authority said they have tried in the past to market the parcel for leasing but were unsuccessful largely because of the timing.

In other business, the authority:

• approved GIA Consultants, DuBois, proceeding with the design and advertising for proposals for a project to widen, adjust the grade and resurface a portion of the taxiway leading to its rental hangar.

The authority plans to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aviation for a portion of the cost. Applications for FAA funding are due July 15.

• extending terms and provisions of the current contract with Hertz on a month-by-month basis until a new EAS provider is chosen. A new contract will be negotiated after an airline is named, Shaffer said.

• revised a rental contract with Jessup Seal Coating for space in its rental hangar. Previously, the company had rented both hangar and land space.

• gave permission to Shaffer to negotiate the terms and fee for agreement with an adjacent landowner to harvest timber. The landowner, who is a logger, Shaffer said, wants to use a road to transport the logs and a small section of land for staging. Both are located on the airport's property.

• heard a commemorative flight for the 75th anniversary of Air Mail Route 1001 will be held May 17. Included in the celebration is a special presentation at noon that day on the outdoor pavilion of The Flight Deck restaurant at DRA. The festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. at Clearfield-Lawrence Township Airport with the special cancellation of a 75th anniversary envelope.  The flight, known as Adam's Pickup Experimental Air Route 1001 from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh picked up mail at cities and towns including Clearfield, with a refueling stop at DuBois. It lasted 10 years as AM Route 49E and was the start of All American Aviation, which later became USAir.    The authority's next meeting is May 23 at 8:30 a.m. at DRA's conference room. 


Champion 7ECA Citabria, N9122E: Accident occurred April 26, 2014 at Taylorsville Airport (NC2), North Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA212
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Taylorsville, NC
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7ECA, registration: N9122E
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 26, 2014, about 1239 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7ECA, N9122E was substantially damaged when it struck a riding mower during landing roll, shortly after landing at Taylorsville Airport (NC2), Taylorsville, North Carolina. The private pilot was uninjured. The mower operator was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed from for Crossville Memorial Airport (CSV), Crossville, Tennessee.

According to the pilot, he departed CSV about 2 hours and 45 minutes prior to the accident and upon arriving at NC2, entered the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 08, and announced his position on Unicom. He did not however see the riding mower. After touch down on runway 08, "he lowered the tailwheel onto the ground" and then "saw" the riding mower about 150 feet in front of him. He then "slammed on the brakes" and the airplane's nose hit the ground and then slid with its nose on the ground until it "hit him." The airplane then nosed over, and came to rest on top of the riding mower. After the airplane came to rest, the pilot egressed out of "a window." The pilot could hear the mower operator "yelling" observed that the mower operator's left hand had been severed, and "called 911."

Examination of the riding mower revealed, that the riding mower was traveling east, parallel to the grass runway. Indicating that the mower operator would have been facing away from the airplane landing behind him, when he was struck by the airplane.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent application for a FAA third-class medical certificate was dated February 5, 2013. The pilot reported that he had accrued 824 total hours of flight experience on that date.


A single-engine plane ran over a man mowing the grass landing strip in Taylorsville, North Carolina, Saturday. The victim, who has been mowing the grass at the airport for about 40 years, lost a hand in the accident. The pilot was not injured. The landing strip has no radio communication.  

Watch video:

A plane landing at the Taylorsville Airport Saturday morning hit and seriously injured a man who was mowing the grass landing strip, authorities said. 

The accident severed 74-year-old John Rufty’s left hand, said Sgt. Brian Owenby of the N.C. State Highway Patrol, who said the pilot of the single-engine plane was not hurt.

The victim was taken by helicopter to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, according to Russell Greene, director of Alexander County Emergency Services.

The pilot was taxiing eastbound, said Owenby; Rufty was mowing in the same direction, with his back to the plane. The pilot had circled the airport before coming in, but didn’t see the mower until the last second, Owenby said, and the impact flipped the plane over onto its top. Greene said the mower also flipped over.

Greene said the pilot was from Tennessee. The pilot has not been identified yet by authorities.

Greene said the National Transportation Safety Board had been notified about the accident.

 TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board was contacted after a plane hit a man on his lawn mower at the Taylorsville Airport, according to police.

The accident happened on the airport's grass landing strip.

The pilot told Channel 9 Eyewitness reporter Alexa Ashwell he was attempting to land and didn't see the man on the lawn mower until it was too late.

Alexander Emergency Services Director Russell Greene said the victim's hand was severed in the accident.

He was taken by medical helicopter to North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

The investigation is ongoing.
Return to and watch Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. for more on this developing story.

TAYLORSVILLE NC - A man mowing grass at Taylorsville Airport was hit by a landing single-engine plane Saturday afternoon.

The man was airlifted from the grass field to the hospital. 

Unconfirmed reports state the man's hand was severed

The man was struck while mowing on a riding lawnmower.

The right wing of the plane struck the man. 

The plane flipped end over end and came to a a stop on its roof.

The pilot walked away from the crash uninjured.

This story will be updated when more information is available

Defenders of Liberty Air Show under way at Barksdale Air Force Base

KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather  

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The Defenders of Liberty Air Show is under way at Barksdale Air Force Base. 

Friday, planes were soaring through the skies all day in preparation for this year's show. One of the big draws in the return of the show this year is the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Along with the Thunderbirds, the F22's have stopped at Barksdale for the first time ever to show off what they've got. There are only 187 F22s in existence.

Safety is the number one priority this weekend. Those attending the air show are asked not to bring any weapons, alcohol, large coolers or big bags. You are allowed to bring your folding chairs, food and drinks, and parents can bring strollers for their small children.

The air show started at 11 Saturday morning at Barksdale and admission is free to the public. Gates opened at 9AM, west and north gates are open to the public.

On both days, all static displays will be accessible and the dynamic displays will be the same. The schedule is as follows*:

Story, photos and video:

Ronson Aviation's parent company sold to Houston-based firm

EWING — Ronson Aviation, a general aviation facility based at Trenton-Mercer Airport, will soon have a new owner when its parent company, Ross Aviation, is bought by rapidly expanding Landmark Aviation.

The Houston-based company announced this week it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ross Aviation, whose network includes Ronson Aviation and more than a dozen other fixed-based operations.

Ross acquired Ronson in October 2010.

Terms of the deal, which is slated to close in the second half of the year, were not disclosed.

The acquisition will increase Landmark’s footprint to 60 locations in the United States and 76 worldwide.

“We are very excited about this acquisition, as the high quality Ross network is complementary to ours and will extend the Landmark network to key U.S. airports, allowing us to better serve our customers,” Landmark CEO and President Dan Bucaro said in a statement. “We are also looking forward to working with the various airport authorities and becoming active members in each of those communities.”

Wolcott Blair, general manager of Ronson, said he did not yet know what the acquisition would mean for the company, which supplies fuel, service, hangar and office space for private planes.

“They’ve acquired the entire organization and all the facilities, so I suspect we’ll be rebranded,” he said. “As they do integration plans and transfer plans, they’ll figure everything out.”

Landmark already has a presence in New Jersey at Teterboro Airport and most recently, Atlantic City International Airport, after it acquired Midlantic Jet Aviation in March.


Cloverdale Municipal Airport (O60), California

Airport Open House, sponsored by Quality Sport Planes, the Cloverdale Pilots Association and the City of Cloverdale, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 3 at the Cloverdale Municipal Airport.

Take the Dutcher Creek offramp from Highway 101, turn east to Asti Rd. and follow the signs. 

This will be the largest annual gathering of Zenith kitplanes in the west. 

In addition, jump instructors from NorCal Skydiving will be on hand to answer questions about skydiving and the Cloverdale Lions Club will have their BBQ grill heated up and ready to go. 

This free event is fun for the whole family and open to all. For more information call 894-4084 or email


Quality Sport Planes, located at the Cloverdale Municipal Airport, will host a Western Regional Zenith fly-in, the largest gathering of Zenith kitplanes in the west, at this week’s Airport Open House

No jeans, chappals while flying Jet: airline to staff

Jet Airways's decision to implement a travel dress code for employees and their families to help it maintain an "image that exhibits professionalism and dignity" has irked employees. Now, while traveling by Jet, attire such as jeans, outfits that are figure-hugging or made of transparent material are out. Instead, they are expected to stick to smart business casuals and formal footwear.

The circular signed by Samar B Srivastava, vice-president, Human Resources came into effect from Friday. "With a view to maintain an image that exhibits professionalism and dignity, all employees are required to be dressed in appropriate attire at all times. This will be applicable to employee and dependent travel, except children below 12," the circular read.

Employees and their families are expected to be dressed formally, which would include full uniform where applicable. While smart business casuals, collared shirts, polo tees and trousers, sarees, salwar kameez and knee length skirts are allowed, the circular does not allow jeans.

Also, only formal footwear is allowed, which includes flats for women. Sport shoes, slippers, floaters and Kolhapuri chappals are not permitted. The dress code covers both the premiere and economy sections.

While a Jet Airways spokesperson termed it as an industry practice followed internationally, pilots and cabin crew members expressed disappointment over the dress code being extended to cover their families as well. "It is for those employees travelling on vacation with their families," a spokesperson said.

Senior pilots from the National Aviators Guild (NAG), which has 910 pilots from Jet Airways as members, too said it was disappointed with the circular.

"On a vacation, my family and I would surely be dressed casually. Can I be expected to don formals on a Goa flight?" a pilot asked. NAG members said the circular did not specify if it would also cover expat pilots, who mostly fly wearing t-shirts.

An Air India spokesperson said the national carrier had a policy where staff and their families would be presentable, but is applicable only when they are flying business class. "The airline has the right to deny boarding to non-revenue passengers whose dress or behavior might be objectionable to revenue passengers. Proper attire is important and the guidelines should be followed," a senior HR professional with Jet Airways said.

Vasuki Prasad, a freelance aviation author, said, "This is so funny. A dress code is unheard of and cannot be enforced in this manner. I don't think the other airlines flying in India enforce anything of this sort when crew and their families are headed for, say, a vacation."


Split-second decision expected of pilots as airport tries new system

MUMBAI: A new landing-takeoff procedure will be launched at Mumbai airport on May 5. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has instructed it to be followed on a trial basis for three months, said an ATC official.

If successful in Mumbai, the procedure, which entails landings and takeoffs in quicker succession, may be replicated in other congested airports like Delhi and Bangalore. While Mumbai may be the first airport to carry out the trial in India, airports like London's Heathrow and New York's JFK, and the one in Newark have been following the practice for more than a decade. In the UK, it is called 'land-after procedure'. In Mumbai, it is being called 'landing clearance based on anticipated separation'.

The idea is to pack in more landings and takeoffs per hour, especially during the morning peak hours of 9-11.30am and evening peak hours of 5-8pm. That in turn would mean less time spent circling in the sky waiting to land, eventually resulting in a reduction in the quantum of delay.

In Mumbai, the 12,000-feet main runway, called 09-27, handles a major chunk of flight operations. The new procedure will be practiced only during day time and initially only on the main runway. Also, in the initial weeks, the procedure will be undertaken only for a few hours; as confidence builds, it will be spread out throughout the day, the ATC official said. The procedure would be a bit demanding for pilots, especially those who fly only on domestic routes, as it will involve a shift in perception.

To land an aircraft on a runway, a pilot has to get mandatory "landing clearance" from ATC. Currently, that comes in the form of three words: 'Cleared to land'. Before this instruction is given to the pilot of a descending aircraft, the controller ensures that what lies ahead in front of the aircraft is a clear, unobstructed runway, waiting for the aircraft to touch down.

"Under the new procedure, though, when the landing instruction is given, the runway will be anything but clear of aircraft," said a senior commander who has done such landings at Heathrow. For, even as an aircraft is rolling for takeoff, the controller would have given landing clearance to a descending aircraft. Or, there may be aircraft waiting in sequence to land and the second or third aircraft would have already received landing clearance. In short, it is left for the landing pilot to ensure that the aircraft that is taking off has lifted and has cleared the runway before the landing aircraft crosses the runway's threshold to touch down. If that is not the case, the landing pilot has to do a go-around.

In the end, the procedure is one of many that congested airports the world over are forced to follow. As aircraft in the sky increase, they need to be bunched tighter.

Currently, about 11 km of horizontal separation is maintained between landing and takeoff aircraft. With the new procedure, the separation will be reduced to 9.5-10km. A horizontal separation of 7.5km is maintained between two arriving aircraft, which would be reduced to about 5.5km.


The story behind the air service dilemma

MASON CITY | On Feb. 12, 2009, a Colgan Air 347 commuter plane crashed into a house in Buffalo, N.Y., killing all 49 people aboard as well as one person in the house.

That accident, which occurred more than five years ago and a half a continent away, is a major reason why Mason City Municipal Airport and small airports all over the country are struggling to provide commercial air service today.

Here is how the dots connect.

When the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the Buffalo crash, it determined that the pilot and co-pilot were woefully inexperienced and poorly trained. Colgan Air, now out of business, was a regional carrier operated by Pinnacle Airlines.

In July 2013, as a result of the NTSB findings, the Federal Aviation Administration instituted new rules for pilots of small commercial planes.

Airline captains are now required to have at least 1,000 hours of   second in command or co-pilot experience. While there is a grandfather clause in the rule exempting current pilots, the 1,000-hour requirement is an entirely new measure.

Also, co-pilots are now required to be at least 23 years old, hold an Airline Transport Certificate and have 1,500 hours of flight experience. The previous rules required lesser certification, a minimum age of 18 and 250 hours of flight experience.

The new rules affected smaller airlines because their pilots now need more experience -- and that means more schooling and more expense for relatively low wages.

One result is Great Lakes Airlines, which served Mason City Municipal Airport for about two years, experienced a pilot shortage that forced the airline to suspend operations in Mason City and Fort Dodge and at least four other airports in the Midwest.

Mason City Airport commissioners acknowledge there were problems with the service Great Lakes was providing before, but the lack of service now is, at least in part, due to prospective pilots and active pilots choosing other professions because of the new requirements and the associated costs.

"It's a huge concern, an industry problem and we're not the only ones affected," said Tom Hovland, businessman, airport commissioner and private pilot.

"When you look at the situation you understand both sides of the story. You understand the importance of experience and training and you understand why the National Transportation Safety Board increased the standards.

"I always thought the program that was in place gave young pilots a chance -- and 99.9 percent of those guys are good pilots. But if you're the Safety Board, if you're going to error, you error on the side of safety. I understand that."


LETTER: Bee die-off cause and effect

Mark Balys says there shouldn't be any confusion as to what caused bee colonies to die during the almond bloom. He says he has witnessed crop duster planes spraying the almond groves with the bee colonies inside. He says this is what most likely caused the colonies to die off.

April 26, 2014; 05:00 AM

Several weeks ago my wife and I were returning from Northern California. As we drove down I-5 we noticed the almond groves and the beehives that were situated at the ends of the rows of trees for pollination “Bee colonies damaged after bloom” (Local, April 21). We also saw a crop duster plane spraying the groves and thought that common sense would indicate that these would be mutually exclusive activities.

It mystifies me why there is any mystery over the cause of the bee die-off.

Mark Balys



Businesses say air service problems began before shutdown

MASON CITY | North Iowa businesses have been inconvenienced but otherwise not greatly affected by the shutdown of commercial air service at Mason City Municipal Airport.

A bigger inconvenience, according to some of them, was the unreliability of the airport's most recent carrier, Great Lakes Airlines.

"We always tried our best to support the local airport," said Jim Hasty, general manager of Iowa Mold Tooling in Garner.

He said the company made use of the airport for sales people, clients, distributors and corporate people flying in and out.

"Now we have to drive to Minneapolis, Des Moines or Rochester for flights. So there's definitely been a lack of convenience for us," he said.

Jodi Ball, a spokeswoman for Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, also said lack of commercial air service into Mason City has been an inconvenience.

"It has taken away the option of having employee candidates, including physicians, flying directly into Mason City," she said.

The shutdown has not affected Metalcraft, according to Steve Doerfler, company president and chief executive officer. "We do almost everything through FedEx and UPS. And there hasn't been any impact on our customers."

Shaun Arneson, interim president of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp., said he is not aware of any businesses hurt by the commercial air shutdown.

Hasty and other business people said their experience using Great Lakes was not ideal.

"They were not reliable," he said. "Sometimes with their delays it was quicker to drive to Minneapolis.

"We need frequency, we need dependability and we need the ability to make connections. Great Lakes didn't connect to anything," said Hasty.

Other business people also said they had already stopped flying in and out of Mason City because of Great Lakes' unreliability, so the lack of commercial air service hasn't been much of an adjustment for them.

Airport Commissioner Tom Hovland, a business person who is also a private pilot, said the lack of commercial air service in Mason City is a huge concern.

"It's so important to our community," he said. "And the Great Lakes experience was costly. We had a good record when they came in. We never had any trouble reaching 10,000," he said, referring to the number of passengers needed annually for the airport to receive a $1 million grant from the FAA.

The airport reached the 10,000 passenger level every year for nearly 30 years until Great Lakes took over. The level dipped under 10,000 in 2012 and fell below 5,000 last year.

Airport officials fielded many complaints about Great Lakes. The main problems, particularly early on, were flight delays and cancellations, according to Airport Manager Pam Osgood.

"The public lost trust," she said.

Hovland put it bluntly. "They promised us everything but delivered us nothing," he said.

Fnding an airline to serve Mason City is not easy. When the Airport Commission solicited proposals after Great Lakes pulled out, only two airlines responded -- and one of those was Great Lakes. The other, Air Choice One, offered nine-passenger planes and flights to Chicago or St. Louis.

"It takes a lot of flights on a nine-passenger plane to reach 10,000," said Joni Dunn, chairwoman of the Airport Commission. She pointed out the planes actually handle a maximum of eight passengers plus the pilot.

"A flight from here to Chicago on that small a plane is not very comfortable," she said.

The commission turned down both proposals and has now received FAA approval to seek new offers.

"It's not easy finding another airline," said Hovland. "Even if someone expresses interest, there are a lot of moving parts. Are they big enough, are they on time, are there connecting points? There's a lot to consider."

Great Lakes Airlines, which served Mason City for nearly two years, suspended service in February because of a pilot shortage.

The Airport Commission has been working since then to find a suitable replacement but has come up empty so far.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized the requesting of proposals from airlines interested in providing service to Mason City and Fort Dodge, using the Essential Air Service federal subsidy program.

Deadline for proposals is June 2. The DOT will forward the proposals to Mason City for Airport Commission members to assess them and make a recommendation. The process will take several weeks.

Meanwhile, North Iowa Air Service, which operates out of the airport, provides air service, but there are some conditions.

"We are geared more for the business traveler than for family vacations," said Todd Kyle, vice president and operations manager.

"It's important for the public to know when you fly with us you're not purchasing a seat, you're purchasing a plane, and it's expensive." said Kyle.

A charter flight to Minneapolis is $1,200; to Chicago it's $2,500. "But if there's five of you dividing the cost, it's $500 apiece," he said.

Kyle said North Iowa Air Service recently provided transportation for eight to Annapolis, Md., and back.

"I don't want anyone to misunderstand," he said. "I am a strong supporter of commercial air service returning at the airport. I want to see it back. It's important for the community."  


Shoals’ Essential Air Service status in jeopardy

MUSCLE SHOALS — Northwest Alabama Regional Airport Director Barry Griffith is optimistic the Shoals will retain its eligibility in the Essential Air Service Program, despite receiving a termination notice from the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday.

The notice has been anticipated for some time.

Passenger traffic has dropped significantly since Silver Airways began serving the Shoals on Oct. 1, 2012. The airline provides 12 weekly flights to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The Shoals must maintain an average of 10 passengers per day to be in compliance with its EAS contract. Griffith said the airport is averaging only 6.3 passengers per day.

The airport director said the Shoals has 20 days to “show cause” why the Transportation Department should not terminate its EAS eligibility.

“We’re going to challenge the termination notice,” Griffith said. “We will be asking for a waiver.”


Belizean pilot mysteriously killed in Melchor

In January, Edwin Chan’s mother, Maria Domitilia Perez, 41, was found hacked to death on the Green Gold Banana Farm in Stann Creek

A Belizean pilot and resident of Benque Viejo Del Carmen was killed for unknown reasons in neighboring Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, sometime either late last Friday night or early Holy Saturday morning.

Edwin Chan – who worked with Tropic Air at their San Ignacio branch – was reportedly found by Guatemalan police who were alerted by residents Saturday morning around 8:00 a.m. after he had been found badly beaten, lying face-down in what was described as a remote area near the Auto Hotel in the Barrio Campito area of Melchor with apparent gunshot wounds to the left side of his head.

Since they cannot enter that jurisdiction to investigate, Benque police have been forced to rely on their Guatemalan counterparts for relevant information, but so far, they do not believe the intent behind the murder was robbery, because at the time Chan’s body was discovered, his personal belongings – with the exception of his cellular phone – were all intact.

When Amandala contacted the Officer-in-Charge of the Benque Viejo Police Formation, ASP Dinsdale Thompson, he stated that Chan seemed to have been beaten with a blunt object. Thompson said that after Chan’s body was discovered, they coordinated with Guatemalan authorities so that it could have been returned to Belize. Edwin Chan was buried this past Monday, April 21.

Thompson informed us, however, that their investigation is presently at a standstill due to poor, second-hand information which they have gotten, as well as limited cooperation from Guatemalan authorities, who have only provided them with a death certificate thus far.

Nevertheless, investigators plan to interview at least two other individuals who were allegedly with Chan in Melchor before he was found murdered, in an effort to find out what led to his death.

According to his friends, Chan left for Melchor at 4:30 Friday afternoon and they left him there at around 9:30 later that night.

His passport reportedly has an exit stamp from Melchor dated Friday, April 18, which is interestingly the same day he entered the country – and which suggests that on Friday night, he reached the Guatemalan side of the border, but did not reach back over the border to Belize.

Since his passport had no re-entry stamp to Belize, it is believed that Chan was likely called back over to that side before crossing back into Belize, but at this point, the incident is shrouded in mystery.

What is known is that around 4:00 last Saturday morning, shots were heard in the area where the victim’s body was discovered. Melchor is known to be a dangerous municipality in which gun violence is commonplace, and based on the pace of the investigations, nothing much is expected to come out of the investigation into the assassination of Chan, who had no police record and was not known as a troublemaker.

In January, Chan’s mother – Maria Domitilia Perez, 41, a naturalized Belizean businesswoman of Benque Viejo Town – was found hacked to death on the Green Gold Banana Farm in Stann Creek.

Chan’s case is in the hands of the police in Melchor, but in October 2012, Belizean Benqueño Miguel Gonzalez, 23, was similarly killed in Melchor, but no one has since been arrested.

Story and photo:

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College instructor Marc Poole's artwork accepted in international exhibit

GAUTIER, Mississippi -- The work of Biloxi artist Marc Poole, visual art instructor and Fine Art Gallery director at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jackson County Campus, will be featured in the ASAA 2014 International Aerospace Art Exhibition at the San Diego Air & Space Museum gallery.

He is one of 45 artists from around the world whose work was selected from more than 140 entries. The display opens Monday and runs through July 28. His work, "Homeward Bound," depicts Jerry O'Keefe, World War II Marine Corps fighter ace and Gulf Coast native, returning from a mission in 1945.

Poole, a member of the American Society of Aviation Artists since 1992, said, "I've had a lifelong interest in aviation history, and I like to use my art as a vehicle for the preservation of the stories that have always fascinated me. My graduate research at Mississippi State University was based on the visualization of several different individual stories of World War II veterans, and it remains something I am very passionate about."

Poole said he had heard of O'Keefe's war exploits as a child and knew he wanted to do a project featuring him.

"The chance to talk with Mr. O'Keefe personally about his experience was enlightening," he said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for his generation. To have my painting of his Corsair accepted in to the ASAA exhibit in San Diego is an honor and will give me the opportunity to showcase one of our own Coast heroes on an international stage."

The American Society of Aviation Artists was formed in 1986 to bring together, in one professional body, artists who are acknowledged leaders in the field for the purpose of recognizing and promoting interest in aviation art as a fine art form. Artist members are selected by a group of their peers on the basis of their demonstrated abilities and experience. Membership currently numbers more than 250 artists and associate members representing all corners of the United States. Foreign affiliates are also welcomed, with members hailing from a number of countries around the globe.

The ASAA holds annual forums that cover a variety of subjects and valuable information for artists, collectors and aviation enthusiasts alike. This year's forum opens its six-day program in San Diego on Monday.

Story, photo, comments/reaction:

Aeronautics Commission raises concerns over Air Force training space expansion

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission said the expansion of an Air Force bomber training facility over the southwest corner of the state could affect aviation operations.

“We didn’t actually say we oppose it but we have our concerns,” said Kyle Wanner, commission director.

If the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex is approved, eight southwestern North Dakota counties could have air traffic interruptions as the Air Force uses 28,000 square miles of air space for bomber training runs.

“The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission understands the need for military operations areas and the continual training of airmen within the Air Force,” the commission said in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration. “The overall goal of the Commission is to work towards the prevention of any negative impacts to the North Dakota aviation community.”

The current space can accommodate one or two bombers at a time. Because of this, B-1B Lancers from South Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force Base and B-52 Stratofortress bombers from North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base have had to fly to Utah or Nevada for their combat exercises.

The Air Force would use the space a minimum of three hours and up to six hours daily, 240 days a year. Planes flown by visual-certified rather than instrument-certified pilots would be under restrictions during those hours.

At the same time, local air traffic is now busier than ever in western North Dakota because of oil activity and is only expected to increase.

The complex is centered just northwest of where South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana meet, and spans about 8,300 square miles. The expansion would add airspace over Bowman, Slope, Grant, Adams and Hettinger counties and the southern portions of Stark, Golden Valley and Billings counties in North Dakota.

The Bowman Airport likely will be most affected. The new $14 million airport would be in an area where bombers could fly at an altitude from 500 feet up to 12,000 feet. Besides its normal air traffic, the airport has medical flights.

“These outreach life-saving medical services are vitally needed in this rural area and the dependability of air access is important to the city of Bowman and the outlying communities in the area,” the commission letter reads.

Bowman’s weather modification cloud seeding program also could be affected. Cloud seeding attempts to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls in an area by dispersing substances into the air that help water transition from a vapor to a liquid, encouraging more rain for farming use.

Because the program needs to be able to operate at all times, it could be affected by bomber flight hours. Program pilots also need to fly close to clouds and sometimes need instrumental flight rules clearance, which is not permitted in the training area during bomber flight hours.

If the expansion were allowed to go through the commission requested raising the airspace to a minimum altitude to 8,000 feet.

Other concerns brought up by the commission include: lack of low altitude radar coverage in the state, insufficient communication of when the training area is active, affects on air traffic in and out of Dickinson’s airport, and affects on aerial crop sprayers when they must move into a higher altitude flying between fields.

Though the recently designated North Dakota Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site is in Grand Forks, the commission also raised concerns any research proposed in the southwest could be affected.


Proposed Merger Of Aviation Agencies Will Not Work – Aviation Expert

The National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Benjamin Okewu, says the proposed merger of three different aviation parastatals into a single entity by the Federal Government will not work.

He explained that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is purely a regulator, while Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is a service provider that provides navigational services that will ensure that aircraft in the air are separated to prevent accident and Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) provides services for the maritime, construction, agriculture, environment and other sectors of the economy.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast program, Sunrise, Mr Okewu said NCAA was still struggling with political interferences and that merging them with service provider would water the regulatory responsibility bestowed on it.

He emphasized that all over the world, nations that combine their regulatory agencies with one or two service aviation industry do so because most of them have small airports. “Nigeria has large airports and should not concern itself with merging agencies,” he stressed.



The CEO Who Sold His Drone Company To Google Was Responsible For 'One Of The Largest Financial Disasters In Aviation History'

Vern Raburn’s 40-year high-tech career hasn’t lacked thrills. He opened one of the first computer stores in Los Angeles in 1976 and then became the 18th employee of a little startup called Microsoft. Enriched, he founded in the late 1990s a company, Eclipse Aviation, whose goal was to create a new kind of cheap, lightweight private jet. Backers included Bill Gates. Over the next decade, Eclipse burned through more than a billion dollars in capital and went bankrupt in 2009 amid the grip of the financial crisis. It’s now considered one of the largest financial disasters in aviation history.

Six months ago, Raburn, 64, became chief executive officer of a year-old startup called Titan Aerospace. Its young engineers are attempting to make unmanned, solar-powered airplanes that can fly for years in the upper atmosphere without landing. Raburn’s vision for the drone maker was modest: a few years of research, then selling out to an aerospace conglomerate with deep pockets. “I thought it would take three, four, or five years and would be accompanied by initials like B, L, or N, for Boeing, Lockheed, or Northrop Grumman, ” he says.

Yet just a few months into Raburn’s tenure, Facebook  and Google began a highly publicized mating dance for Titan. Facebook opted to buy another drone maker, the U.K.-based Ascenta, for $20 million, while Google acquired Titan for an undisclosed amount on April 14. Both Facebook and Google envision using high-altitude drones to deliver wireless Internet access to populations that aren’t yet online. “The idea that Google would come in on this had never even crossed my mind,” says Raburn.

What Raburn didn’t foresee is that the search king and social media leader would include drones in their ambitious plans to preserve their positions in the tech industry. Both are inking deals that reflect a practical interest in branching into other markets and an exuberant desire to forge a sweeping new future. In the last few months, Google has acquired startups pioneering robotics, artificial intelligence, and Internet-connected devices for homes. Meanwhile, Facebook has furthered its foray into applications for smartphones and bought a company trying to revive the idea of virtual reality, a concept that was once the province of sci-fi films. “We’re in one of those moments in time when things that seemed unthinkable and crazy suddenly become more realistic,” says Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, a technology book publisher. Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg “have a lot of confidence but also a lot of ego and pride. They are not going to let someone else pioneer the future.”

Page and Zuckerberg have embarked on a shopping spree of eight companies since last December, in part, because they can. Despite the recent dips in their share price, Google and Facebook still have mounds of cash and are among the companies with the highest market value in global techdom. “These are nontraditional businesses primarily creating software,” says Michael Cusumano, a professor of management at MIT Sloan School of Management. “It’s not like they are General Motors  or even Intel, where each new product costs a billion dollars or more. They don’t have those kinds of expenses, so what else are they going to do with their cash?”

Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, a maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors, will allow it to take the lead in defining a long-heralded concept called the connected home, where devices collect new kinds of consumer data and can be controlled via the Internet. Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of the popular texting tool WhatsApp boggled the mind for its atmospheric price and the fact that it employed all of 32 engineers. Yet the move directly strengthens Facebook’s position on smartphones and gives it inroads to WhatsApp’s 500 million regular users who are primarily based overseas.

Behind these deals is a certain kind of youthful insouciance as well. Zuckerberg and Page (along with Google co-founder Sergey Brin) control large percentages of stock in their companies. Despite the fact that previous acquisitions haven’t worked out so well (exhibit A: Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola’s handset business and sold it 22 months later for $2.9 billion, though it retained its patent portfolio), they don’t have to ask their boards for anything other than cursory permission to make big bets. The founders also know that moving boldly into exciting markets can inspire rank-and-file engineers who may otherwise be demoralized by the prospect of building better ways to sell ads. “Facebook buying Oculus makes it more possible to hire engineers into the ads group,” says Hunter Walk, a former Google executive turned venture capitalist. “They know that if they do a great job, there’s a chance to go work on other advanced technologies that may be even more interesting.”

Story and comments/reaction:

Rev. Keith Lewis takes flight he bid on during 2013 ARC of Walker County’s dinner/auction

Despite gloomy skies over Walker County early Friday morning, the Rev. Keith Lewis of Jasper got in the plane flight he bid on and won during the Arc of Walker County’s annual Fiesta Fundraiser Dinner and Auction held last year in Jasper.

Earyl Friday, Lewis climbed into Big Red, a stunt/racing plane owned by Joey Sanders of Sanders Aviation, for a little flying fun. The pair was in the air for about 30 minutes, and while in the sky, Sanders showed Lewis a few of the stunts he does during aerial shows across the country.

They completed several loops and barrel rolls over the airport before they came back in for a landing.

“It was a perfect day for flying, and I loved it,” Lewis said. “I won the bid during last year’s Arc Dinner Auction and have been looking forward to going up.”

Lewis is no stranger to flying. He served as a pilot for the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, and was held as a prisoner of war for six months after being shot down in October 1972.

Lou Vick, executive director of the Arc of Walker County, was also on hand to watch Lewis’ flight, said Sanders donated the flight for the ARC to auction off during last year’s event.

“Lou and all the folks over at the Arc do a wonderful job. They’re our neighbors, and we try to help them in anyway we can,” Sanders said. “When they needed to raise money for their programs, we knew this was one of the ways we could help.”

Sanders said he was also donating a flight this year.

“Folks will be able to bid on the flight and help the ARC at the same time,” Sanders said. “We hope everyone will come out and join in the fun.”

Vick said auction items are still needed and are tax deductible.

The annual Fiesta Fundraiser dinner and auction benefitting the Arc of Walker County will be held Friday, May 9, at Los Reyes Grill. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with the auction beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 each and include a buffet meal and T-shirt.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 205-387-0562.

Read more: Daily Mountain Eagle - Lewis takes flight he bid on during 2013 ARC of Walker County s dinner auction

The Rev. Keith Lewis of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church gives a thumbs up just before taking off in Big Red, the stunt/racing plane owned by Joey Sanders of Sanders Aviation.