Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All Navy aircraft grounded Friday after Texas crash

Cancellation of this past Friday's touch-and-go practices at Outlying Field Coupeville was the result of a "tactical pause" ordered Navy wide after a crash off the coast of Texas. 

All Navy aircraft were grounded for a few hours after a Beech T-34C Turbo Mentor crashed into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday. Though the pilots were unharmed, the accident marked the Navy's eighth Class A Mishap to occur since January and the third in the previous 18 days, Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for Naval Air Forces, said Tuesday.

Vice Adm. David Buss, head of Naval Air Forces, issued a message Thursday grounding all planes and squadrons except those deployed or underway. Though commanders were given latitude as to the length of the pause, most flights were expected to stay grounded for at least a few hours, Stephens said.

At Ault Field on North Whidbey, each individual squadron paused operations and conducted a safety stand down after which they resumed air operations, according Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding.

During the pause, squadrons were expected to review incident reports and other relevant information to ensure that all safety measures are being followed.

"Given the trend, we want to make sure we're not making the same mistakes that we have in the past and mitigating further accidents," Stephens said.

There were 10 total mishaps since this fiscal year began Oct. 1, Stephens said. Among them was a  Class A Mishap involving an NAS Whidbey-based EA-6B Prowler that crashed in Eastern Washington in March 2012. Class A Mishaps are the most serious category of accident, involving loss of an aircraft, any fatality or permanent disability or more than $2 million in damages."

Among the 10, there is roughly an even split between human causal factors in our cockpits and during maintenance in our hangar bays and we can all learn from the information in the (safety investigation reports)," Buss said.In total, the incidents resulted in more than $250 million in damage, according to the Navy Times.


Story, photo and comments/reaction:    http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com


KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Federal Aviation Administration gives Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority 120-Day Deadline

The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration has given the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority 120 days to come up with an action plan to correct the deficiencies discovered in the nation’s aviation sector, according to findings by our correspondent.

The US FAA had audited the Nigerian aviation sector between March 31 and April 3.

A successful outcome of the audit will enable the country to retain the US FAA’s Category One certification, which will make Nigerian airlines to continue to operate direct flights to the US.

The Category One safety status was awarded to Nigeria in 2010 by the US after it was satisfied that the country had met the International Aviation Safety Assessment standards.

Ministry of Aviation sources said a few deficiencies were noticed in the process of auditing the nation’s aviation sector by the FAA.

According to the sources, the FAA has subsequently given the NCAA 120 days to come up with the corrective actions that will lead to the correction of the deficiencies.

One of the sources, who pleaded anonymity said, “The US FAA has debriefed us after the audit. A few deficiencies were noticed. They have given Nigeria 120 days to come up with an action plan that we will use to correct the deficiencies noticed. The deficiencies, which we call open items, are insignificant. They are things we can overcome; we are already trying to overcome them.

“A major one among them bothered on the training of NCAA pilots. The World Bank was to sponsor the training some months ago but because of a few disagreements on the part of Nigeria, the money was diverted to other items. Now, the NCAA is trying to make a new arrangement to get the funds for the training.”

It was learnt that as soon Nigeria completed the action plan, the FAA might choose to come back to determine what had been done, or invite officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to the US.

The US FAA, it was learnt, decided to re-audit Nigeria because of negative reports about the country’s aviation sector.

The Category One certification audit, also known as International Aviation Safety Assessment, is a program established by the FAA, with the purpose of ensuring that all aircraft operators registered outside the US and operating to or from the country are properly licensed and are subject to safety oversight provided by a competent civil aviation authority in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

The objective of the assessment is to ensure that Nigeria still maintains the safety standard in air transport, which enabled the US to award it the certificate in the first place.

The benefits of the FAA Category One Safety Status is that the Nigerian aviation sector has been accorded a high rating in the global aviation industry, with  its airlines having easy access to credit facilities from international financiers as well as insurance premium for Nigerian registered aircraft becoming relatively low.


Source:  http://www.punchng.com

Aviation Consultants Inc: A company that soars


Bill Borgsmiller is president and chief executive officer of Aviation Consultants Inc.


Aviation Consultants Inc. brings business to local airports, and takes business people all around the world

It’s late morning at the San Luis Jet Center, and several airplanes gleam under bright hangar lights as the maintenance crew tends to them like spoiled children.

Nothing is left to chance. Jets are checked, and double- and triple-checked. Engines are tuned. Fine upholstery for seats is mended in-house or replaced if necessary, and the planes, shiny as white patent leather, are stocked with passengers’ favorite snacks. 

“Quality is everything,” said Bill Borgsmiller, president and chief executive officer of Aviation Consultants Inc., which operates San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles jet centers and a self-serve fuel facility at the Oceano County Airport. 

Attention to detail, focus on safety and anticipating client needs has paid off for Borgsmiller, who established the global aviation company at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport after noticing the area did not have a thriving corporate aviation market. 

“Monterey had one and Santa Barbara had one,” he recalled. “I looked at SLO, and we had everything they had and were just as appealing as the other two places. I said, ‘Why can’t we have it?’ ”

A pilot who fell in love with flying as a child, Borgsmiller earned a degree in aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, and he started the jet charter service in 1999 after moving to San Luis Obispo.

In the beginning, it was Borgsmiller and one airplane, and he launched the business with financial help from family and credit cards.

“There was no money,” he said. “I was just starting cold turkey and had no real resources. I had to keep expenses to a bare minimum. You can go a long way on $500 a month if you live in your office.”

And live in his office he did. During the day, his futon served as a love seat in the reception area. At night, it was his bed. 

“It has been little steps at a time,” said Borgsmiller, noting that those early years living on the west side of the airport made him “appreciate what I have.” 

During that time, he never lost sight of the goal of “building a world-class aviation organization.”

Borgsmiller believes he’s accomplished that and more.

“We fly planes all over the world, and we have good relationships with aviation businesses and professionals all over the world,” he said. “And I think we have an excellent reputation.”  

Under his watch, and that of Andrew Robillard, vice president of FBOs and facilities, the privately-held company has seen significant growth in recent years, expanding its workforce, space and services.

Five years ago, ACI had 46 employees. Now, it boasts 85, with the majority of new hires in highly skilled positions such as pilots, mechanics and line-service specialists (employees who perform a range of tasks from refueling planes to towing them), Robillard said. 

The company declined to disclose financial data but noted that revenues have grown more than 50 percent since 2009. Its growth facilitated the need to build a 36,000-square-foot hangar and maintenance facility, which opened in December 2012. The company spent $7 million on the maintenance hangar and site M ramp — the concrete parking area for planes in front of the hangar — and invested an additional $500,000 on maintenance equipment and tooling.

At the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, it operates the Paso Robles Jet Center, which provides fuel from trucks or from a self-service island. The center, located inside the terminal building, is staffed daily and available 24 hours a day, year round. The company took over operations there in 2009 after it was brought in on an emergency basis because the airport ran out of fuel.

“We were the nearest company that could provide it, and they asked us,” Borgsmiller said. “We had fuel there the same day. We put a couple of trucks on a trailer from SLO and sent them up there.” 

The firm operated on an interim basis in Paso Robles for 10 months to a year before it won the bid to operate at the airport.
 
Since 2012, Paso Robles Jet Center revenues have grown 25 percent.

In addition, the company operates Oceano Fuel Service at the Oceano County Airport, which has a self-serve fuel island. The company plans to add a weather and flight planning computer by the end of April.

The company continues to grow despite the rising cost of doing business in California, which Borgsmiller said has discouraged some business owners.

“A lot of customers that have corporate jets have left the state as the tax climate has gotten worse,” he said. “Fidelity National Title, for example, left the state and moved to Tennessee. Some companies that we’re doing business with right now are saying they are going to relocate. As a business, it’s tough to argue against it.”

The good news, though, is that many up-and-coming firms are starting to use aircraft, Borgsmiller added.

For many firms, chartering an airplane is a more efficient option than flying commercial, he said, particularly when a team of employees needs to get to a destination quickly or fly to a remote location.

“It’s not necessarily about luxury,” Borgsmiller said of business clients. “In most cases, they are paying for time. Some business owners are the most frugal, practical people.”
Whether clients insist on luxury or not, ACI’s fleet consists of sophisticated, 
well-appointed aircraft. It operates the Citation CJ2, a light jet that can accommodate six passengers for hops around the West Coast; a Citation Excel, with seating for up to nine passengers; and the Citation X, which seats nine and is the “fastest corporate jet in the world,” Robillard said. The Citation Excel and X typically travel to destinations in North America. 

Other company aircraft include the 10-seat Challenger 604, capable of reaching Iceland to refuel before traveling on to Europe and even Africa. The Gulfstream GIV-SP seats up to 12 and has also flown many times to Europe and South America, Robillard added.

The company averages about three flights daily on its own airplanes; another three business jets that are not based out of the county travel through San Luis Obispo each day. That’s on top of small, private pleasure aircraft stopping over, service on commercial airlines and military traffic.

“If you arrive in a private aircraft, you come through our facility,” Robillard said.
Clients, most of whom are business owners and teams of middle to upper management, are willing to pay thousands for private aviation services. 

Although prices vary depending on the type of aircraft, destination and duration of the trip, a flight to Los Angeles for the day on the company’s smallest jet costs $5,500. A weeklong trip to London on its largest jet runs about $185,000.

The average trip cost that its customers pay is around $20,000.

“A lot of it is demand charter,” Robillard said. “Someone could call us today and say, 'We want to go to Chile,' and we make it happen.”

The success of Borgsmiller’s company is in many ways tied to the success of the county as a whole.

Michael Manchak, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Vitality Corp. of San Luis Obispo County, said ACI helps the county’s economy by providing head-of-household jobs, contributing taxes to cities and the county, and helping to spread the word to business people outside the area that “San Luis Obispo County is a great place to do business.”

“Through its operations at the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles airports as the fixed-base operator (FBO), as well as providing services at the Oceano Airport, its founder and CEO Bill Borgsmiller empowers his team of professionals to be ambassadors to visitors who may want to invest in our community, and provides planes for local travelers to conduct business in faraway places,” Manchak said. 

The firm has a shared interest with the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, said Kevin Bumen, airport manager. San Luis Jet Center provides fuel for commercial aircraft, does ground handling for some flights and performs a variety of maintenance services.

“They need our facility to be in business, and we need their services to provide a high level of quality at our facility,” he said. 

There may be bigger players in the private aviation market, but Bumen called ACI a “quality player.” 

“Like in other industries, there’s always someone bigger,” he said. “In the aviation industry, service and quality is a huge piece of the success of a business.”

Meg Williamson, Paso Robles assistant city manager, had high praise for ACI’s operation at the Paso Robles airport. Airport services had been languishing until Borgsmiller’s team came on board in 2009, she said.

“They have started providing a level of service to general aviation visitors that matches the experience that they give to their jet customers,” Williamson said. 

Moreover, the firm’s performance is good, prices are stable, and supplies and service reliable for high volume needs, she said. Annual fuel volumes have doubled in the past three years, she said. They have been as low as 300,000 gallons before 2010 and are trending upwards of 600,000 gallons.

The city has a commitment from ACI for a 10-year lease, and now, after its first three-year lease that expires in June, it is negotiating with the company on its next three-year lease option. Williamson anticipates that lease being extended. 

“They have been a great partner, and they are really working hard to build a solid business platform out there that is general aviation related but diversified,” she said. “They are catering to the military community trying to support their exercise operations, which helps with fuel sales, and they take it on themselves to attend national conferences to get exposure to the aviation industry and for Paso Robles in general.” 

Borgsmiller is determined to keep the company’s horizon bright.

He still aspires to grow his business. He would like to expand maintenance, streamline the fleet and build a new office at the San Luis Obispo airport. 

Still, he said, quality is a greater priority than size.

“We’re large enough to have the capabilities of a huge company, but we’re small enough that it’s more personalized,” he said. “It’s like a family organization.” 

♥♡ Amore ♥♡

A Love ♥♡ Letter to Dallas Love Field Airport (KDAL), Dallas 

 


Sealed with a kiss: Richard Branson writes Love letter to woo airport 

Sir Richard Branson really wants to feel the love at Dallas Love Field.

Jazz music and purple mood lighting set the mood as he expresses his true feelings in an open love letter posted on YouTube.

The video is chock full of double entendre and sexual innuendo from the billionaire who founded the Virgin Group and is a minority investor in Virgin America.

It quickly garnered more than 300 page views shortly after being posted on Wednesday.

“From the moment I knew I had a shot at you, you were all I could think of,” Branson says in his proper British accent. “No one should have a monopoly on your love.”

It’s a fun way for Branson to promote Virgin America’s campaign for the two available gates at Dallas Love Field. The monopoly refers to Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), which already occupies 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field. Both airlines are going after the gates.

When I met with Branson Thursday, he said he wants the two gates, or 10 percent of the Love. Virgin America started selling tickets for the flights after securing a sublease from American Airlines and reaching agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The video shows Branson hand writing the love letter wearing a white button-up shirt, the top few buttons undone, and a black sport coat.

“My virile, young planes are yearning for your runways,” says Branson as he strokes a model of an Airbus A320 on his obsidian-colored desk. “It’s time to let our love take flight, no matter how hard they try to keep us apart.”

He seals it with a kiss, saying, “Your sweetheart, Richard.”

The Dallas City Council provided City Manager A.C. Gonzalez with direction in a lengthy closed session Wednesday morning.

Gonzalez says he expects to make a final decision by the end of the week.


 The mighty Pilatus PC-12: “Glorious, rugged, yet comfortable bird …. I Love ♥♡ her so much!”

Pilot who landed in Vernal, Utah, with planeload of marijuana enters guilty plea

SALT LAKE CITY — An Idaho man pleaded guilty Wednesday to flying planeloads of marijuana around the country for at least three years before his November arrest at Vernal Regional Airport.

Randall Patrick Watson, of Meridian, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana during a brief court appearance before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Brooke C. Wells.

In court documents filed as part of his plea, Watson admitted that he transported marijuana from a farm in California to distribution points in Utah and other states.

Watson, 56, was arrested Nov. 12 after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents tipped off authorities in Uintah County about a "suspicious aircraft" that was expected to land at the airport in Vernal, court records show.

A sheriff's deputy made contact with Watson when he landed and a police K-9 was called in. The dog indicated that drugs were in the plane, court records state. Uintah Basin Narcotics Strike Force agents later found about 180 pounds of marijuana in four duffel bags stowed inside Watson's Cessna 182E Skylane.

Federal charging documents indicate that Watson was working with "others known or unknown" to distribute marijuana. Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah, confirmed Wednesday that only Watson has been named publicly as a defendant in the case.

As part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Watson forfeited his interest in the plane he was flying. Prosecutors told the judge they would recommend a sentence at lower end of the federal guidelines based on Watson's continued willingness to accept responsibility for his actions.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to distribute marijuana is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine; however, federal prosecutors said, it's unlikely Watson will receive such a severe penalty when he is sentenced July 21.

Story, photo gallery and comments/reaction:   http://www.deseretnews.com










Federal prosecutors in Utah have charged Randall Watson, of Meridian, Idaho, with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Watson was arrested Nov. 12, 2013, after police in Vernal found 180 pounds of marijuana in his plane at Vernal Regional Airport 
(Uintah County Jail)

Gloucestershire, UK: Cotswold Airport Fire crew given award for pilot rescue

Courageous firefighters from Cotswold Airport have been given an award by a leading fire training center for saving the life of a pilot after his a plane crashed and exploded in a ball of fire. 

They have received an International Fire Training Centre Special Achievement award for pulling Belgian stunt pilot Tony De Bruyn from the burning wreckage of his plane. He was practicing a loop-the-loop in July 2012 when his plane hit the ground and skidded 1,000ft across the runway.

Paul Coomber, senior airfield fire officer, who helped pulled Tony from the plane, said: “It is nice to be recognized for a job well done by everybody, really. It was all hands to the pumps. Everyone had a part to play.”

The award is given as recognition to an individual or organization within the aviation fire-fighting community.

Dennis Perkins, director of training at the IFTC, said: “The International Fire Training Center wanted to commend their quick thinking and professional response to a potentially dangerous situation; their swift action no doubt saved the life of Mr De Bruyn.” 


Source:   http://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk

 
Cotswold Airport Fire crew stood infront of a fire vehicle that was used in rescue

Mr.  De Bruyn (right) spent two months in Frenchay Hospital's burns unit after the crash 


North American OV-10B Bronco,  Bronco Demo Team,  G-BZGK 

http://www.broncodemoteam.com

http://www.aaib.gov.uk

Location: Cotswold (Kemble) Airport, Gloucestershire
Date of occurrence: 10 July 2012

 Summary:
The pilot was performing a display practice during which he attempted a barrel roll. Approaching the inverted position, at the top of the manoeuvre, the nose of the aircraft dropped below the horizon and the aircraft entered a steep descent. The pilot had reduced the rate of roll, thinking that it was too fast, but the aircraft continued to pitch through the vertical. The aircraft struck the ground in an approximately wings level, upright attitude with a high rate of descent. There was an immediate post-impact fire but the RFFS were on standby and reached the aircraft rapidly. The pilot was assisted from the aircraft having suffered serious injuries.

The investigation identified areas of concern in the granting of regulatory approvals and authorisations, and subsequent related audits. Four Safety Recommendations are made.

EasyJet to use unmanned drones

Unmanned flying drones are to be used by a low-fare airline to inspect its fleet of Airbus aircraft.

 EasyJet hopes to introduce the drones as early as next year following trials in the next few months.

The drones will be programmed to scan and assess the carrier's fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 planes, reporting back to engineers on any damage which may require further inspection or maintenance work.

EasyJet is working with the Coptercraft and Measurement Solutions companies as well as Bristol Robotics Laboratory on modifying existing technology so it can bring in the drones.

EasyJet's engineering head Ian Davies said: "Drone technology could be used extremely effectively to help us perform aircraft checks.

"Checks that would usually take more than a day could be performed in a couple of hours and potentially with greater accuracy."

Dr Arthur Richards, head of aerial robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of West England, said: "Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones. Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places.

"We look forward to working with easyJet to develop safe, effective and efficient drone systems for this challenge."

EasyJet also announced today that it was looking at deploying new technology to enable a remote engineering team to see exactly what a pilot or engineer is seeing using virtual reality glasses.

The glasses use the world's first high definition see-through display system, providing augmented reality to help easyJet remotely diagnose a technical issue.

This technology will be especially useful in some of the airline's more remote airports across its network. The airline currently flies to 138 airports with some as far away as the Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and Tel Aviv in Israel.

In addition, the carrier is bringing in special apps designed to aid engineers and pilots in key tasks and is also making its flights paperless.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "We have examined and assessed cutting edge technology across many different industries and are now applying a range of new technologies to the aviation sector for the first time to help us run our fleet of aircraft more effectively, efficiently and safely." 


Source:   http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Roofing company uses drones for job estimates

LINCOLN, Neb. —The military uses drone aircraft to take out terrorists and for surveillance, but one local roofing company is using a drone to help its business domestically.

Luke Hansen, of White Castle Roofing, believes getting a birds-eye view for roofing estimates means an easier, safer job.

He uses an unmanned aircraft, commonly called a drone. The high-resolution video he gets tells him all he needs to know in a matter of minutes instead of hours.

“The other day there was an apartment complex -- 11 buildings four stories tall -- that we blocked off six hours to see how many shingles had blown off. We flew over all the buildings, took a little quick video and it saved us five hours,” Hansen said.

-- Video: Local roofing company uses drone for job estimates


Hansen believes he can use a drone, despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban on commercial use. He referenced a video from Virginia where the pilot who shot it took the FAA to court and got a $10,000 fine dismissed.

“What the judge said was these have been and are legal right now,” Hansen said.

The FAA is appealing in the Virginia case, but it might not make any difference.

“People are really starting to leave the FAA behind,” said Matt Waite, with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln Drone Lab.

Waite said the technology is so much better and cheaper than it used to be and that people have stopped waiting for the FAA to come up with specific regulations.

“The FAA does not have enough people to enforce this policy. There are illegal, or what they call illegal, uses going all the time,” Waite said.

An FAA spokesperson said the way they monitor what they call "unauthorized unmanned flights" is by getting calls from the public, competitors, or seeing them on YouTube or in news stories. The FAA won’t say how many times it has told people to stop, but it has only issued 12 cease and desist orders and fines in two cases.

As for Hansen, he believes he's following the law.

“We just feel this has been a big benefit for us,” he said.

An FAA spokesperson said the draft regulations on domestic unmanned aircraft are expected to come out later this year.

“We are trying to write safety regulations for the busiest, most complex airspace in the world. It's a major challenge to write regulations that ensure the safety and  property on the ground while not placing an undue burden to an emerging industry."


Story, video and comments/reaction:    http://www.ketv.com

Media Companies Say Federal Aviation Administration Drone Rule Violates First Amendment; Group Contends 'Overly Broad Policy' Has a 'Chilling Effect'

The Wall Street Journal

By  Jack Nicas


Updated May 6, 2014 6:16 p.m. ET

Some of the largest U.S. news organizations are accusing the Federal Aviation Administration of infringing on their First Amendment rights by effectively prohibiting them from using drones for reporting in the country.

Fourteen news organizations, including the Associated Press, New York Times Co.,  and Tribune Co., filed a joint brief in a high-profile legal case that is testing the FAA's legal authority to regulate drones.

In the brief, the media groups criticized the FAA's "overly broad policy" that restricts use of commercial drones in the U.S., saying it violates the First Amendment right of newsgathering and has already had "an impermissible chilling effect" on some journalists' reporting.

The so-called friend-of-the-court brief was filed in opposition to the FAA's appeal of a recent ruling that overturned the agency's first fine against a drone pilot. In that decision, National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled that drones are "model aircraft" and thus not subject to the FAA's rules on manned aircraft.

The FAA has rejected that interpretation, saying it can pursue penalties against model aircraft that endanger air safety. The agency appealed the ruling to the full NTSB.

The FAA fined Austrian videographer Raphael Pirker in 2012 for allegedly flying his drone recklessly while filming the University of Virginia.

The media groups' brief reports instances of when journalists opted not to publish footage shot by a drone because of warnings from the FAA.

The FAA said Tuesday that it is concerned that the judge's ruling "could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground." In an email last week the agency said it regulates the use of drones, not "how footage obtained using a [drone] is used." The agency added that it "can and does take enforcement action against careless and reckless operation of an aircraft, whether manned or unmanned."

In the brief, the news organizations urged the NTSB to affirm Judge Geraghty's ruling and, "for a broad range of important societal interests, to dismiss similar enforcement actions until the FAA has properly enacted" a rule for small drones.

The FAA is expected to propose a rule for small drones in November, which would likely take one to two years to become final.

Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal, wasn't among the media groups involved in the brief.


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Financing Delays Impact Kestrel Project in Superior, Wisconsin



Updated: 05/06/2014 10:40 PM 
Created: 05/06/2014 4:23 PM

WDIO.com

Securing the funding to build their project in Superior has been slower than expected for Kestrel Aircraft, but they are working with the state to change the structure of their loans, according to the company's CEO.

Kestrel CEO Alan Klapmeier said delays in financing are affecting the project.

"We're obviously still very excited about the program. We've made a lot of progress on the design, what we expect to build, what we expect to do with the FAA, but there are other frustrations. Certainly financing the project has been slower than we had hoped and expected," said Klapmeier.

He said, in terms of the design, they're still in the engineering phase.

Kestrel did secure public funding by taking out two $2 million loans with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a state agency.

WEDC CEO Reed Hall said Kestrel's payments are $6,600 monthly, but Hall said after a visit to Superior in January, he was convinced Kestrel needs more time to make their payments.

"There's no reason for us to force the company to pay something they've told us they cannot pay. We want to preserve the company, we want to make sure the company is successful in the long term," said Hall.

Hall said WEDC and Kestrel have agreed upon new terms, but haven't signed on the dotted line yet. When they do, Hall said payments will be deferred until November 2014.

Klapmeier said they've been working on this agreement with the WEDC for months, but they are finally close to signing the agreement.

The delay in financing has also impacted hiring. Last January, the company had 65 employees in Superior. Klapmeier said they are not hiring right now and have had to reduce, but he declined to say how much.


Story and video:  http://www.wdio.com