Thursday, May 08, 2014

Passengers welcome first flights to Philadelphia Thursday at Watertown International Airport (KART), New York

DEXTER — Tony T. Walker, a Fort Drum soldier en route to Atlanta, was among the passengers who boarded the first flight to Philadelphia on Thursday at Watertown International Airport. 

 The 23-passenger flight on the 50-seat US Airways Express Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, which left about 2 p.m., signaled the end of flights to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The switch followed the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, which caused the massive airline to streamline operations at rural airports where it receives federal subsidies to offer flights.

American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, began offering flights to Chicago in the fall of 2011 at the Watertown airport, off Route 12F in the town of Hounsfield.

Mr. Walker, who has been stationed at Fort Drum for six months, booked a flight for the first time at the airport owned by Jefferson County. After talking with other soldiers about the new flight service, Mr. Walker learned that flying to Philadelphia offered him a better route home to Atlanta than going to Chicago would have. He said Fort Drum soldiers who live on the East Coast or in the South told him they will benefit from the flight switch. Flights to Philadelphia are now offered at the Watertown airport twice daily, seven days a week.

“I’ve talked to three guys about flying to Chicago, and they live in Philadelphia, Georgia and Florida,” said Mr. Walker, who is spending Mother’s Day weekend with his family in Atlanta. “They had to fly to Chicago and then come back, so this is a lot more convenient for them.”

Defending the move from Chicago, American Airlines has touted the increased reliability of flight service made possible by the closer Philadelphia hub; passengers should enjoy fewer flight cancellations, it said. The direct flight distance from Watertown to Philadelphia is 250 miles; to Chicago, the distance is 535 miles.

Even so, the convenience of the switch depends on the eye of the beholder. Chicago was a more convenient destination for Fort Drum soldiers who live in the Midwest and West, for example. And some business leaders in the community advised Jefferson County and airline officials against making Philadelphia the new hub. Michael J. Hawthorne, president of New York Air Brake, said the company’s use of the Watertown airport will be reduced by one-third to one-half, because it does much of its business in Chicago.

Jefferson County legislators responded to criticism by saying they had no choice but to accept the flight switch: it was give up the Chicago flights and take the Philadelphia route, or risk losing air service altogether. The airline receives an annual subsidy under the federal Essential Air Service to offer flights in Watertown, but it has the right to pull out of its two-year contract with Jefferson County.

On Thursday, the first inbound CJR200 plane from Philadelphia arrived about 1:20 p.m. Daniel T. Connell of Watertown was among the 12 passengers who debarked from a 50-seat plane operated by US Airways Express — an upgrade from the 44-seat Embraer 140 jets operated by American Eagle. US Airways will switch to operating a 37-seat Dash 8 turboprop at the airport in the fall, because of stricter weight restrictions during the winter for using the 50-seat planes. But the airport may use large jets year-round if the county completes its proposed 1,000-foot runway expansion.

Mr. Connell took a flight home Thursday from Chico, Calif., where he is originally from. He flew to California by making a stop in Chicago but came home via the Philadelphia hub.

“I’m used to going to Chicago at O’Hare. That has been the norm, and I had never been to Philadelphia before,” he said. “But it’s actually a nice airport, and I like it better than Chicago. It’s more upscale, and there are more places to eat.”

Visiting his friends who live in Pennsylvania and New York City also will be more convenient by flying to Philadelphia, Mr. Connell said.

“If I’m going to places in Pennsylvania I could be there with just a couple of small hops in about two hours, when I would drive there in six to eight hours,” he said. “I think this kind of opens up more options for someone living in Watertown. Some people who used Chicago will lose options, but I think having a closer hub is a good change.”

County Legislator Philip N. Reed, R-Fishers Landing, said some residents have called him to criticize the flight switch while others have praised the move. Mr. Reed is a member of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators General Services Committee, which oversees airport operations.

“Some people say they’re going to miss Chicago, while others say they want to go through Philadelphia,” he said. “You’re not going to make 100 percent of the people happy, but that is our goal with the service we offer here. Philadelphia has better reliability for getting in and out of the location, but Chicago was below average for that. It’s important that passengers get in and out on time.”

Nevertheless, a temporary reduction in passenger traffic is expected at the airport, as people become familiar with services offered by the Philadelphia hub, Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III said.

While overall passenger traffic climbed in 2013, the number of passengers affiliated with Fort Drum dropped, Mr. Hagemann said. That trend suggests that the airport, which is drawing passengers from Canada, shouldn’t be significantly hampered by troop reductions at the military base. A $25,000 market study led by the county, which is now underway, will help officials pinpoint where passengers are coming from and develop marketing plans.

“The number of Fort Drum customers went down and total number of our passengers have gone up, but we don’t know why,” Mr. Hagemann said. “But that’s something that this study is going to help us find out. We think that this is partly due to our market in southeast Ontario, where we have a strong customer base.”

Video featuring the first flight Thursday at the Watertown airport to Philadelphia can be viewed at

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Helicopter drone recovered

The Houston police dive team on Thursday recovered a heavily damaged remote-controlled helicopter drone that crashed last month into Lake Conroe, authorities said.

The $250,000 ShadowHawk, owned by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, malfunctioned April 25 during training exercises over the lake.

Choppy waves and heavy sediment have hampered the search, officials with the sheriff's office said.

The mini-helicopter weighs about 50 pounds and is equipped with a camera and infrared scanning devices.


Bill Dana dies at 83; NASA test pilot helped usher in space age


 The black sky enveloped NASA test pilot Bill Dana as his X-15 rocket plane stopped climbing at 306,900 feet and began teetering back toward the small brown stretch of Mojave Desert more than 58 miles below.

"The horizon appeared as a ring of bright blue around the shell of the earth, with darkness above," Dana later told NASA officials. "I knew I'd gotten all the altitude I needed to qualify as a space adventurer."

William Harvey Dana, the famed test pilot who helped usher in the space age in the 1960s by routinely flying rocket planes to new supersonic speeds and stratospheric heights, has died. He was 83.

Dana died Tuesday at an assisted living facility near Phoenix from complications of progressive Parkinson's disease. His death was announced Wednesday by NASA.

All military pilots are highly skilled, but test pilots have long been considered the best of the best. Like lead climbers who blaze a path up a mountain peak, test pilots help those who follow them avoid costly mistakes.

Dana was a square-jawed aviator during an age when pilots strapped into cutting-edge aircraft and blasted to the edges of the flight envelope — with little assurance they would return safely. It was the era chronicled in "The Right Stuff," Tom Wolfe's 1979 book (and later a movie) about the early days of the space program.

Over Dana's 48-year career, he flew more than 8,000 hours in more than 60 aircraft, including helicopters and wingless experimental rocket planes.

Several of the aircraft Dana piloted now hang in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. However, he is perhaps most associated with the X-15 rocket plane program, which demonstrated it was possible for a winged aircraft to fly to — and from — space. It was a feat that came 19 years before the space shuttle.

Dana was born in Pasadena on Nov. 3, 1930, and raised in Bakersfield. He received a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1952 and served four years as a pilot in the Air Force.

After earning a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from USC in 1958, he joined NASA as an aeronautical research engineer at the High-Speed Flight Station — now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center — at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.

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The ‘right fit’: Joint venture brings aviation program to Pike County, Alabama

Ben Fouts owner of Mauna Loa Helicopters, searched for a university to partner with for a new aviation program for four years. The search brought him from Hawaii, to the west coast and throughout the United States. It wasn’t until he came to Troy, that he said he found the right fit.

His partner, Kim McCabe, a 1976 Troy University graduate, led Fouts to Pike County.

“Coming here, we found the leadership, not only from the university, but from the community,” he said. “Mayor (Jason) Reeves and Mr. (Kenny) Campbell are key components of this.”

Reeves said he was excited about the new venture because it would have an impact on high school and university students. The financial impact on the county would also be significant.

“Just being the only one in this state will put us in a competitive position,” he said. “Anything that makes us unique is important. And this program is unique.”

State Representative Alan Booth said Pike County could expect an economic boost from the aviation program. “I don’t know the numbers, but from the tax on the fuel to the meals the students will be eating, there will certainly be an economic boost to Pike County.”

Trojan Aviation will be a joint venture between Mauna Loa Helicopters and the university that will offer a two-year associates degree or a minor in aviation operations.

The university will also team up with Enterprise-Ozark Community College’s Aviation Center to offer the program through Troy’s chemistry/physics department.

Because of the collaborations, the estimated annual cost of the program for the university is nothing.

Fouts said he would be investing millions of dollars in aircraft to start the program.

A minimum of 40 students are expected to initially enroll in the minor in aviation operations program. Once the initial class completes the program in two years, Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. said the school would expand the program to offer a four-year degree.

“What we don’t want to be guilty of is putting a glass ceiling on anyone’s growth,” he said. “We want to be able to grow with them. Troy University is known as an enterprising university as well as an international one.”

A Hawaii campus could also be in Troy University’s future.

“It’ll happen as soon as the student demand justifies it,” said Hawkins. “And we believe, in the long-term, Hawaii will be a great location.”

With this new aviation program, Hawkins said the school would start out by offering online programs in Hawaii.

McCabe will run the Troy operations. He said the demand for the program already exists.

“We have 150 people on a waiting list right now,” he said. “We’ll develop this with 100 students in Hawaii and 100 students at Troy.

“I can see this going international and having 300 students.”

Long before it reaches 300 students, McCabe said the program would have a significant impact on Pike County’s economy. Students will live and shop in Pike County and the operation will use plenty of fuel to train them.  “With a ratio of one airplane and one instructor to every student, it’ll impact not only tuitions, but rental properties and leases,” he said.

The program will offer three concentrations. Students can choose a helicopter flight training emphasis, one in airplane flight training or one in unmanned aerial systems.

So far, the helicopter flight training emphasis is appealing to veterans who will take the courses in Hawaii. Troy’s program has appealed to students interested in becoming commercial airplane pilots and certified flight-training instructors. Students who complete one of the flight-training emphases will be able to earn a private pilot certificate. Students will also have the opportunity to obtain private and commercial licensure.

Story and photo gallery:

From left, Kenny Campbell of Pike Aviation, Troy Mayor Jason Reeves and Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. have partnered with Mauna Loa Helicopter's Ben Fouts and Kim McCabe to offer aviation programs to Troy University and Pike County Schools students.

Airport looking to step up noise abatement: Nantucket Memorial (KACK), Massachusetts

(May 8, 2014) Most pilots flying to and from Nantucket Memorial Airport know the noise abatement rules and know they are supposed to avoid flying over houses. But there are instances when residents are woken up at 5 a.m. by an aircraft flying 500 feet over their home.

When that happens, Noah Karberg, the environmental coordinator at the airport, investigates. There are three corridors, or paths, over the island above low-density areas, that the airport asks pilots to fly within as part of its noiseabatement program, which aims to reduce noise levels heard on the island.  

To read the complete story, pick up the print edition of this week's Inquirer and Mirror or register for the I&M's online edition.



Chuck Yeager settles case over unpaid legal bills

A celebrated pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier has avoided a courtroom battle in Central California over claims he owed thousands in unpaid legal bills.

The Fresno Bee reports that 91-year-old Chuck Yeager and his 55-year-old wife, Victoria, reached a settlement on Tuesday with a Fresno law firm just as jurors were set to hear opening arguments in the case.

The terms of the settlement weren't revealed. The firm, Wild, Carter & Tipton, accused the Yeagers of skipping out on about $270,000 in bills. The Yeagers countersued for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty.

Yeager was a World War II pilot. In 1947, he became the first person to break the sound barrier.

He and his wife have been involved in numerous lawsuits.


Santa Maria Airport Main Hangar To Get Facelift - World War II building was first passenger terminal


Its an effort to breathe new life into one of the oldest parts of the Santa Maria Airport.

Airport managers want to restore the historic face of the airport.

The main hangar at the Santa Maria Airport was built by the old Army Air Corps during World War II in the early 1940’s.

The Airport District Board is considering how to restore the old hangar.

"Over the years its kind of come into a state of a little bit of disrepair", says Santa Maria Airport General Manager Chris Hastert, "but we look to do a major project, a facelift, ultimately we look to spend a little over a million dollars on that project."

The main hangar was also the original terminal building for the Santa Maria Airport.

New service from Santa Maria airport to major hubs in the West remains a top priority in a competitive national marketplace that has fewer planes in the air.

"Denver is definitely still a priority", Hastert says, "we’re also carefully watching the merger with American and USAir and looking to maybe look at Phoenix service in the future, anything that will help to bring some competition to the market we think will be good for our fares and then anything that is addition service eastbound  really helps our passengers."

Hastert says there’s growing interest in the long-planned Santa Maria Airport Business Park which he says is closer than ever to resolving long-standing permit issues and breaking ground.

The restoration of the Main Hangar is on the agenda for Thursday night's Airport District Board meeting at the Santa Maria Airport.

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Wicks Group, PLLC: India to appoint US firm to boost aviation safety ranking

DGCA may name Wicks Group to help restore safety ranking that was downgraded by the US regulator in January.
New Delhi: India plans to appoint Washington-based consulting firm Wicks Group, PLLC to help restore its aviation safety ranking that was downgraded by the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in January.

FAA’s downgrade means Air India and Jet Airways (India) Ltd—the two Indian airlines that fly to US destinations—can’t operate new flights to that country and have to suffer the humiliation of additional ramp checks on foreign soil, despite using new planes.

“It’s a firm run by former FAA officials and it will help us streamline our processes, documentation as per norms. This will be good, irrespective of a FAA downgrade or not in the long term,” said a government official who asked not to be identified, referring to the hiring of Wicks.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is finalizing terms of reference for the Wicks Group.

Wicks, the same official said, has worked with countries such as Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago and Ukraine and helped restore safety rankings after achieving compliance with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao).

Glenn Wicks, founder and managing director of Wicks, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board that investigates all aircraft accidents in the US, said in a 31 January interview that “to get back to category 1, it might be helpful for DGCA to hire a consulting firm familiar with FAA audits and Icao requirements”, and “other countries have found that helpful”.

FAA highlighted untrained DGCA officials, the absence of documented procedures for new types of aircraft being inducted into India, and a shortage of flight inspectors to monitor India’s growing airlines among the reasons it enumerated while downgrading India.

A downgrade does not reflect the safety of India’s airlines but the ability of the Indian regulator to follow safety processes.

India’s aviation regulator so far has hired 29 new flight inspectors; it was meant to hire nearly 75. Many others are not willing to join the regulator, said an airline official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

While the government organization has allowed market salaries to those willing to join, applicants do not want to miss out on perks such as free air tickets, promotions and work holidays granted to them in their airline jobs which DGCA cannot match. As a result, most people who are joining DGCA are retired or from airlines that have shut down.

Once hired, the inspectors also need to be trained and that would take time, the government official said. FAA also needs to be given a three-month notice for it to assess whether to upgrade India back to normal rankings. It is likely all this will be done by Wicks once it is on board, said a second government official who also asked not to be identified.

Restoration of the ranking is critical for airlines to expand into US and avoid unannounced checks by any foreign country.

Air India has 21 weekly flights between India and the US, Jet Airways seven, while other Indian airlines fly mostly to South-East and West Asia. New airlines AirAsia and Tata-SIA Airlines hope to launch their operations this year.

An airline pilot who flies to the US said that country’s transport security administration has been so far easy on Indian airlines and there have been no ramp checks. The pilot asked not to be named.

Skilled and well-paid people is critical to India’s air safety, an analyst said.

“Aviation is a risky business. Honesty and integrity, apart from great skills, are required to run DGCA; now with so many airlines and hundreds of aircraft, the tasks are far more onerous,” said M.R. Sivaraman, former director general of DGCA.

FAA said it is up to DGCA to work on the problems. “We do not have anything new to say at this time and would leave it to DGCA to discuss their actions,” FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette said in an email from Washington on whether hiring Wicks will help.


Cessna 150F, Above View Aviation, N8236F: Accident occurred May 07, 2014 in Santa Clara, Utah


NTSB Identification: WPR14FA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 07, 2014 in Santa Clara, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 150 - F, registration: N8236F
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

A witness reported that he observed the airplane at an altitude of between 800 to 1,000 ft above ground level about 2 miles from his location. About the same time, he also heard the airplane’s engine sputter, and he then observed the airplane in a vertical, nose-down attitude for 3 to 4 seconds before it went out of sight behind a hill. The wreckage was found about 2 hours later in remote mountainous, rocky terrain. An on-site examination of the airframe and engine revealed that the airplane impacted the terrain upright in a flat orientation on a 27-degree downslope. Based on observed impact signatures, the airplane’s forward momentum was negligible just before it impacted terrain. All of the components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site. 
Additionally, examinations of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Based on the witness’s observations and the physical evidence observed at the accident site, it is likely that the airplane was in a steep descent at a low altitude and that the flight instructor failed to pull the airplane up and out of the nose-down attitude at a sufficient altitude to preclude impact with terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight instructor’s failure to arrest the airplane’s descent and maintain clearance from mountainous terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude.


On May 7, 2014, about 0855 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 150F airplane, N8236F, sustained substantial damage following impact with remote mountainous terrain while maneuvering about 2 nautical miles (nm) west of Santa Clara, Utah. The airplane was owned and operated by Above View Aviation, Saint George, Utah. The certified flight instructor, who occupied the right cockpit seat, and the pilot receiving instruction, who occupied the left cockpit seat, were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. A flight plan was not filed. The flight had departed the Saint George Municipal Airport (SGU), Saint George, Utah, about 0800.

In an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the operator of the airplane, Above View Aviation, stated that this was the second or third orientation flight for the left seat student pilot, who had recently become interested in learning to fly. The operator stated that he thought the flight departed between 0815 and 0830, and that there was a radio call from the pilot stating that they were departing to the north, but that they could not have gone too far, as the cloud ceilings came down quickly to the north. He also stated that there were no further radio calls from the accident airplane, although a local pilot did report observing the accident airplane flying low level about 2 to 3 miles northwest of the airport at about 0915.

In a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC about one week after the accident, a witness reported that he and his brother were out for a bicycle ride on the morning of the accident, having arrived at the Rim Runner bike trail at about 0800 local time. The witness stated that at exactly 0848, he observed an airplane overhead flying from east to west; the time was exact due to the fact that he looked at his watch at this time. The witness opined that he estimated that the altitude of the airplane at this time was between 800 to 1,000 ft above ground level. The witness stated that shortly thereafter, while the airplane was still proceeding to the west and when it was about 2 miles from his location, he heard the airplane's engine sputter, and then observed the airplane in a vertical nose down attitude for between 3 to 4 seconds. The witness also recalled seeing the wings wobbling at 0853, before it went out of sight behind a hill. The witness added that at 0856, he made a 911 call, and reported that his position was at the Santa Clara River Reserve, Zone #4, at which time he looked for signs of smoke, but there was none. At 0902, the witness stated that he called Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the recording indicated that they were temporarily unavailable. At this time the witness and his brother rode up to a high bluff to see if they could identify a plane crash, but they couldn't. He concluded by saying that at 1055, after he had ridden down the Barrel Roll trail, he spotted the wreckage.

The airplane was located in rugged, remote mountainous terrain at coordinates 37 degrees 7 minutes 10 seconds north latitude, and 113 degrees 41 minutes 59 seconds west longitude, and at an elevation of about 3,540 feet mean sea level. The airplane impacted rock-covered terrain on a 27-degree downslope in an upright orientation, and on a measured magnetic heading of about 350 degrees, which coincided with the airplanes at rest heading. All components necessary for flight were accounted for at the site of the accident.


Flight Instructor

The flight instructor (CFI), age 75, held an airline transport pilot certificate, with single-engine and multiengine land ratings, and instrument airplane rating, and a flight instructor rating for airplane single-engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane. The instructor's most recent biennial flight review was conducted on October 9, 2013, and his most recent FAA first-class airman medical certificate was issued on June 11, 2013, with no limitations noted.

A review of the CFI's personal pilot logbooks by the NTSB IIC, as well as data provided by the airplane's operator, Above View Jet Center of Saint George, Utah, revealed that at the time of the accident the pilot had accumulated a total time of 14,756 hours, 10,862 hours in multiengine airplanes, 3,894 hours in single-engine airplanes, and about 11 hours in the accident airplane make and model. It was also revealed that the pilot had accumulated 9,657 hours as pilot in command, and about 3,350 hours of instruction given as a certified flight instructor. Additionally, the pilot had flown a total of 77 hours, 55 hours, 22 hours, and 1 hour in the previous 90 days, 60 days, 30 days, and 24 hours respectively. The pilot held type ratings on the following airplanes: CE-500, CE-525S, EA-500S, EMB-120, and the SA-227.

The pilot's flying experience included being a pilot in the United States Air Force from August 1965 to November 1985, pilot for a FAA Part 121 regional airline from October 1989 to December 1999, contract flying and flight instructing from January 1999 to October 2000, scenic flying in an EMB-120 airplane, Katmandu, Nepal, from October 2000 to April 2001, and general FAA Part 91 flying activities, including charters and flight instruction from May 2001 until the day of the accident.

Pilot Receiving Instruction

The pilot receiving instruction had neither a student pilot certificate nor a valid FAA airman medical certificate. According to the operator of the airplane, at the time of the accident the pilot had accumulated a total flying time of 4 hours, with 2 hours in make and model, all within the preceding 90 days, and 1 hour within the last 24 hours.


The accident airplane was a Cessna model 150F, serial number 15064336. It was a two-place, high-wing airplane, with a fixed tricycle landing gear configuration. The airplane was originally issued a utility category standard airworthiness certificate in June 1966, and was maintained in accordance with the Manufacturer's Inspection Program. Its most recent continuous airworthiness inspection was performed on March 10, 2014, at a total time 8,993 hours.

The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, serial number L44995-27A, and equipped with a McCauley fixed pitch, two-bladed propeller. It was reported that at the time of the accident the engine had accumulated a total time of 5,389 hours, 2,703 hours since it last overhaul, and 49 hours since it most recent inspection.


At 0835, the SGU Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), located 10 nm southeast of the accident site, reported wind 130 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds at 7,000 feet, temperature 12 degrees C, dew point minus 1 degree C, and an altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of mercury.


An examination of the airframe and engine was conducted at the accident site on May 8, 2014. The examination revealed that the airplane had come to rest on the side of a mountain in an upright position, oriented facing down slope on an incline of about 27 degrees. The airplane's at rest magnetic heading was 350 degrees; a relative impact heading could not be definitively determined.

Airframe Examination

All major structural components of the airplane were present at the accident site. All control surfaces were observed attached at their relative attach points. Control cable continuity was established throughout the airframe. Cables were observed pinched under the cabin floor.

The elevator trim tab was faired, and the elevator trim control was damaged. The flaps were in the retracted position; the flap actuator retracted 0.0" extension. The flap switch was spring loaded to neutral.

The throttle was closed, the mixture control was full rich, and the carburetor heat was off. The magneto switch was selected to the BOTH position.

The rudder stop Airworthiness Directive had been complied with: Left present and Right separated in the impact sequence. The rudder stop bolts were damaged.

The #1 control yoke (left pilot station) was observed to be unremarkable, and the #2 yoke (right pilot station) had separated due to impact forces.

The position of the fuel selector was undetermined. Both fuel tanks had been breached (supply line). Both tanks contained fuel, and both fuel caps were serviceable and secured.

A survey of the cockpit instrumentation revealed the following: the directional gyro read 060 degrees, the airspeed indicator read 0, and the vertical speed indicator also read 0. The transponder was observed set at squawk code 1200 (VFR). The fuel indicators read empty, and the fuel pressure read 0. The altimeter reading was 2,630 feet, and the pressure was set at 29.78 inHg. The Omni Bearing Selector read 260 degrees, the tachometer read 629.6 hours, and the Hobbs meter read 2,415.0 hours.

The examination of the airframe revealed no catastrophic failure that would have precluded normal operation.

Engine Examination

The engine remained attached to the airframe by the engine mount. The engine had sustained significant impact energy damage at the oil sump and exhaust system. Visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of pre-impact catastrophic mechanical malfunction or fire.

The vacuum pump was removed, and the crankshaft was rotated by hand through the drive pad utilizing a drive tool. The crankshaft was free and easy to rotate in both directions. Thumb compression was observed in proper order on all four cylinders.

The top spark plugs were removed and examined, with normal wear observed.

The complete valve train was observed to operate in proper order, and appeared to be free of any pre-mishap mechanical malfunction. Normal "lift action" was observed at each rocker assembly. Clean, uncontaminated oil was observed at all four rockerbox areas. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the rotating group, valve train and accessory section during hand rotation of the crankshaft.

The combustion chamber of each cylinder was examined through the spark plug holes utilizing a lighted borescope. The combustion chambers remained mechanically undamaged, and there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation. The valves were intact and undamaged. There was no evidence of valve to piston face contact observed. There was significant ductile bending of the exhaust system components.

The left and right magnetos remained securely clamped at their respective mounting pads. The ignition harness was secure at each magneto. Magneto to engine timing could not be ascertained, due to the destruction of the flywheel.

The impulse coupler equipped left magneto produced a spark at the end of each spark plug lead (B2 & 4, T1 & 3) during hand rotation of the crankshaft. The right magneto was removed and the drive was found intact and properly safetied. The magneto was observed to produce spark at all four plug leads during hand rotation of the drive.

The carburetor bowl was displaced from the carburetor due to the forces of impact. The portion of carburetor that remained attached at the mounting pad was secure. The fracture surface signatures were consistent with overload.

The internal float assembly had sustained impact energy damage and had been displaced from the mounting. There was no fuel observed in the float bowl, and no visible contaminates were observed within the carburetor bowl.

On site examination of the engine driven fuel pump, fuel lines, and carburetor controls was precluded by the positioning of the airplane and engine at the accident site.

The engine fuel system was examined further (post recovery) on July 25, 2014 at the hangar facilities of Above View, Jet Center, St George Airport, Utah.

The carburetor sustained impact energy damage, as described previously. The throttle/mixture controls were found securely attached at their respective control arms of the carburetor.

The fuel pump was attached to the engine at the mounting pad. The fuel lines remained secure at their respective fittings. The fuel pump cover was removed for examination. The fuel pump remained free of internal mechanical malfunction and obstruction to flow. The diaphragm remained intact. The foam filter element remained securely attached to the airbox bracket. The filter element remained intact and exhibited no evidence of pre-impact obstruction to airflow.

The two-bladed, fixed pitch, McCauley propeller remained attached at the crankshaft flange. The spinner was attached to the propeller. The propeller blade tips exhibited minor rotational damage signatures.

The examination of the airplane's engine failed to reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


On May 8, 2014, an autopsy of the right-seat pilot was performed at the facilities of the Office of the Medical Examiner, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah. The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was attributed to "total body blunt force injuries."

Toxicological testing was performed on the right-seat pilot by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the testingrevealed no Carbon Monoxide detected in the Blood, no Ethanol detected in the Vitreous, and testing for Cyanide not performed. Additionally, Desmethylsildenafil and Sildenafil (Viagra) was detected in the Blood and Urine.

On May 8, 2014, an autopsy of the left-seat pilot was performed at the facilities of the Office of the Medical Examiner, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah. The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was attributed to "total body blunt force injuries."

Toxicological testing was performed on the right-seat pilot by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the testing revealed no Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood, no Ethanol detected in Blood, and no testing performed for Cyanide. Additionally, all testing for drugs was negative.

 NTSB Identification: WPR14FA183
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 07, 2014 in Santa Clara, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 150 - F, registration: N8236F
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On May 7, 2014, about 0855 Mountain daylight time, a Cessna 150F airplane, N8236F, sustained substantial damage following impact with remote mountainous terrain while maneuvering about 3 nautical miles (nm) west of Santa Clara, Utah. The airplane was owned and operated by Above View Aviation, Saint George, Utah. The certified flight instructor, who occupied the right cockpit seat, and the pilot receiving instruction, who occupied the left cockpit seat, were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. A flight plan was not filed. The flight had departed the Saint George Municipal Airport (SGU), Saint George, Utah, about 0800.

In a statement provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) by local law enforcement personnel, a witness reported that he and a family member were riding the Rim Trail when they observed the airplane overhead proceeding west. The witness stated that after a few minutes he heard the airplane "sputter", and the nose diving, then lost sight of it when it went behind a hill; he didn't hear anything and couldn't confirm that it had gone down. The witness reported that about an hour and a half later while riding on the Barrel Roll Trail, he came upon the airplane wreckage, and reported it to local authorities

On the morning following the accident, the NTSB IIC, accompanied by representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, Lycoming Engines, and Cessna Aircraft, were assisted in accessing the accident site by local law enforcement personnel and search and rescue (SAR) volunteers. An examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane had come to rest on the side of a mountain in an upright position, oriented facing down slope on an incline of about 27 degrees. The airplane's at rest magnetic heading was 350 degrees; a relative impact heading could not be definitively determined. A survey of the accident site revealed that both wings had remained attached to the fuselage at all attach points, and that their respective flaps and ailerons had also remained attached to the respective trailing edge of the wings. The fuselage aft of the cockpit/cabin area was intact, but almost entirely severed from the empennage/tail section. The rudder, vertical stabilizer, left and right horizontal stabilizers, and both elevators sustained moderate impact damage. The underside of the cockpit/cabin area sustained significant deformation due to severe impact damage with the rock-laden terrain. A survey of the airplane revealed that all components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site. The airplane was recovered to a secured storage facility for further examination.

At 0835, the SGU automated weather reporting facility, located 10 nm east-southeast of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds at 8,000 feet, temperature 13 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 0 degrees C, and an altimeter reading of 29.75 inches of mercury.

Brad N. Brian

Brad N. Brian
(June 21, 1975 - May 7, 2014)
St. George, Utah - Our dear, sweet husband, father, son, brother, and friend, Brad Brian, was taken unexpectedly from this life in an airplane accident on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Brad was a dreamer, and he usually found a way to make his dreams a reality, a quality that his wife will be endeared with forever. Brad had dreamed of becoming a pilot and flying nearly his entire life, and with the encouragement of his wife, was finally living his dream. Brad was passionate about many things and had a tremendous love for learning. He loved to be adventurous and try new things. He loved business opportunities, was a natural leader and passionate about his career as an Anesthesiologist; he loved his family more than words can express. He loved Friday nights and looked forward to being together with his wife on their weekly dates. He loved to read and teach his children about the gospel of Jesus Christ, about math & physics, Ham Radio, and any topic he himself was learning. He loved to go on family bike rides and walks, thoroughly enjoyed teaching his older two children how to shoot their guns, and enjoyed many family trips to the beach while living in Florida. He loved watching his children learn and grow and develop their talents. He valued education and hard work and was such a great example to his family. He was very organized, intelligent, and goal oriented, always looking towards the future, but he also lived a simple life and lived life to the fullest each day. A favorite saying of his when people asked how he was doing was, “You know, living the dream!” He was a devoted husband and father, a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a true friend to many. He always had a smile, joke, song, quote, or idea that he wanted to share with those around him, and his kind and genuine love for others always drew people to him.

Brad grew up in Loa, Utah and loved the beauty of Wayne County, but he always knew life held adventures and opportunities in other places where he influenced many lives along the way. After graduating from Wayne High School in 1993, he attended Southern Utah University for one year before serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Brazil Salvador South Mission. After returning from Brazil, he attended SUU for one more year before transferring to Utah State University. There he continued his studies in Electrical Engineering and Business and also started dating his long time friend and the one true love of his life, Camille Torgerson, whom he later married in the Manti LDS Temple for time and eternity in May of 1999. He often reminded his wife that he had loved her since the time they were in the same first grade class together and knew that someday they would be together. Brad graduated from USU with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Business in 2001. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Bioengineering and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Utah in 2003. He loved the opportunities that came from being involved with the University Venture Fund and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Center during this time. He reached his highest goal of academic achievement when he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 2007 from the University of Utah. Upon graduation, Brad accepted a position for his medical residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He was mentored by many colleagues there and himself became a mentor to others as he filled a position as a Chief Resident during his fourth year of residency. A highlight of his time in Florida was serving on the physician team for the NASA flight crew and being able to witness the thrill of shuttle launches and landings up close. Brad and Camille cherished the four years they spent in Florida and will forever be grateful for the experiences they had there together. Brad was thrilled to have landed his dream job when he joined Mountain West Anesthesia and began working at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, in the summer of 2011.

As a family, we will cherish the memories we have of our son, brother, husband, and father. Brad will always be close in our hearts, cheering us along in life’s journey. Brad was 38 years old and leaves behind his dear wife, Camille, and their four beautiful children, Kaitlyn (12), Landon (9), Cammi (5), and Connor (4), all of St. George, who adore him and will miss him tremendously; his parents: Robert and Edra Brian of Loa; brothers: Gary and Monica Brian and their children, Heston, JaCee and Jentry; Troy and Brenda Brian and their children, Alexis and Regan; all of Loa; his father and mother-in-law: Burke and Barbara Torgerson of Lyman; and brothers and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by an infant brother, Brent Brian; and his grandparents, Reed & Marjorie Brian and Nelden and Martha May Ellett.

He will be dearly missed by his neighbors, his patients and colleagues at Dixie Regional Medical Center, and his many family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, May 16, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. in the Boulder Ridge LDS Stake Center, 1762 South River Road in St. George, where friends may call for viewing Thursday from 6 to 9 P.M. or Friday from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 prior to the services.

Burial will be Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. in the Loa Cemetery in Loa, Utah under the care of the Springer Turner Funeral Home of Richfield and Salina, Utah.

A donation fund for Brad's family has been set up at:

Plane crash - help family of Brad Brian

 ST. GEORGE — Two people were killed Wednesday in a plane crash south of Santa Clara.

It marks the first fatal crash reported in Washington County since May 26, 2012, when four men were killed after the plane they were flying crashed near the St. George Municipal Airport runway, but according to the Federal Aviation Administration, more than a dozen fatal crashes have been reported in Washington, Iron and Kane counties since 2000, including:

June 3, 2012 — An air tanker crashes in Iron County after dropping retardant on a wildfire at the Utah-Nevada state line, killing the plane’s pilot and co-pilot, both from Boise, Idaho. The incident occurred as Nevada Bureau of Land Management crews led the fight against an approximately 6,200-acre fire that was started by a lightning strike in eastern Nevada.

NTSB Identification: WPR12GA243 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Sunday, June 03, 2012 in Modena, UT
Aircraft: LOCKHEED P2V-7, registration: N14447
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

May 29, 2012 — Four Las Vegas men are killed after their Cirrus SR20 crashed while maneuvering near Duck Creek Village, north of Zion National Park. All four were tour group pilots employed by Maverick Helicopters in Las Vegas, but were not flying on a company assignment at the time of the crash.

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA235 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in Duck Creek Village, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR20, registration: N187PG
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

May 26, 2012 — Four St. George-area residents die in the crash of a small passenger plane just south of the runway at the St. George Municipal Airport. The four victims — Tanner Holt, 23, of Washington City; Alex Metzger, 22, of St. George; Colby Hafen, 28, of Santa Clara; and Christopher Jordan Chapman, 20, of Santa Clara — take off in the early morning hours, with the airplane exceeding its maximum gross weight by about 160 pounds. The pilot and all but one passenger had consumed multiple alcoholic beverage while at a party before the flight, according to the final FAA report, which states that the alcohol consumption likely contributed to the accident.

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA230
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2012 in St. George, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N953SP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

June 30, 2009 — A Las Vegas man is killed after his plane crashes east of the Beaver Dam Wash in Washington County.

NTSB Identification: WPR09FA320
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 30, 2009 in St George, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/11/2010
Aircraft: PIPER AIRCRAFT INC PA-46-350P, registration: N927GL
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

June 29, 2009 — A 65-year-old dies during a glider competition near Paragonah, reportedly falling from 1,800 feet above the ground, about three miles north of the Parowan Airport.

NTSB Identification: WPR09LA317
4 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 29, 2009 in Paragonah, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/22/2010
Aircraft: SCHEMPP-HIRTH VENTUS 2CM, registration: N68MP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

Oct. 18, 2008 — A homemade airplane crashes after taking off from the Parowan Airport, killing the pilot and leaving his wife in critical condition. The couple, who owned a cabin in Iron County, had been flying in and out of the airport regularly.

NTSB Identification: WPR09LA016 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 18, 2008 in Parowan, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: Heisler Lancair Legacy, registration: N151HT
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

Aug. 22, 2008 — Ten people from the Cedar City area are killed when their plane crashes in Grand County while traveling back from Moab. The group, a medical team of area doctors, physicians assistants and their family members, had been on a medical trip to provide cancer screenings and other services to patients around Moab, where such services weren’t available.

NTSB Identification: LAX08MA277
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 22, 2008 in Moab, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/02/2010
Aircraft: BEECH A100, registration: N601PC
Injuries: 10 Fatal.

Dec. 11, 2007 — Three people are killed after their small passenger plane crashes into the side of a mountain near Minersville. Rescue crews find the Bonanza low-wing, six-seat craft and its passengers after a six-hour search through winter cold and rugged terrain near the border between Iron and Beaver counties.

NTSB Identification: SEA08FA045
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 11, 2007 in Minersville, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/2008
Aircraft: BEECH A36TC, registration: N364KW
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

June 17, 2004 — An air tanker crashes northwest of St. George after dropping fire retardant, killing the pilot.

NTSB Identification: LAX04GA243.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, June 17, 2004 in St. George, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: WSK PZL Mielec M-18A, registration: N8214J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

Sept. 24, 2001 — A pilot dies while attempting to land at the old mesa-top St. George airport, striking power lines north of the runway and sending wreckage down onto the roadway below. The pilot, a retired FAA aviation safety inspector, reportedly lost engine power before the crash. The airplane came to rest on Bluff Street, at the intersection with Tabernacle Street.

NTSB Identification: DEN01FA162.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, September 24, 2001 in St. George, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 337B, registration: N337PM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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Lt. Nate Brooksby points toward the site of a plane crash that killed two people Wednesday near Santa Clara

The flight instructor who died with his student pilot in a small airplane crash Wednesday has been identified as a former U-2 spy plane pilot, Gary T. Hawes.

Killed when the Cessna 150F went down about 11 a.m. Wednesday, near the Cove Wash Trailhead in the mountains south of the town of Santa Clara, was 75-year-old Gary Hawes, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and flight instructor from St. George-based Above View FBO & Jet Center.

Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Crouse on Thursday confirmed that Hawes, along with 38-year-old Brad Brian, of Washington City, had been identified as the victims of the crash.

Hawes family, other than confirming he had died in the crash and had flow U-2s over Cuba and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, declined to comment on the accident Thursday.

Brian, a physician at Dixie Regional Medical Center who left behind a wife and four children, "had dreamed of becoming a pilot his entire life and was finally making that dream become a reality," according to a family statement obtained by The Spectrum.

Crouse said that the bodies of the men were recovered Wednesday afternoon after the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed upside down and come apart in impact, was located by search and rescue workers and a helicopter.

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Brad Brian, 38, of Washington, Washington County, died after a Cessna 150F crashed in an area southwest of Santa Clara on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. He is survived by his wife and four children. 
Family photo

Retired U-2 pilot Gary Hawes at his home in St. George on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 

Brad Brian, 38, of Washington, Washington County, died after a Cessna 150F crashed in an area southwest of Santa Clara on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. He is survived by his wife and four children. (Family photo) 

SANTA CLARA, Washington County — Two men who were killed in a plane crash southwest of Santa Clara Wednesday were identified Thursday. 

Pilot Gary Hawes, 75, of St. George, and student pilot Brad Brian, 38, of Washington, Washington County, died in the crash.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office was first notified of the crash about 11 a.m. Wednesday after witnesses saw the fixed-wing airplane go down near the Cove Wash trailhead. A Life Flight helicopter was used to confirm the crash before a high-angle rescue team was transported to the scene, which was in steep terrain.

A Utah Highway Patrol helicopter was used to help recover the bodies Wednesday afternoon.

The single-engine plane was registered to a flight school in the St. George area, according to police. Investigators were unaware of any radio traffic or emergency beacons indicating the aircraft was in distress prior to the crash.

Washington County sheriff's detectives met Thursday with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Cessna Aircraft Company to investigate details of the crash.

Officials were examining the condition of the plane's frame and engine, as well as the pilot's licensing and weather conditions at the time of the crash, according to Thomas Little of the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Nothing stands out at this time," Little said. "An official determination is still months away."

"We are shocked and heartbroken at Brad's sudden passing," Brian's family wrote in a statement. "Brad had dreamed of becoming a pilot his entire life and was finally making that dream become reality. … Brad leaves behind his wife and four beautiful children, who adore him and will miss him tremendously. … Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hawes family during this tragedy."

Helicopter pilot who flew over Ballinasloe horse fair fined €20,000: Businessman and quarry owner pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Irish Aviation Authority (Rules of the Air) Act 2004

A helicopter pilot has been fined €20,000 for flying dangerously low over thousands of people attending the busiest day of Ballinasloe Horse Fair three years ago. 

Imposing the fines at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Thomas O’Donnell said it was “an absolute miracle” the pilot was not killed or an appalling catastrophe had not occurred if the helicopter had crashed while flying low over 40,000 to 60,000 people attending the fair.

Businessman and quarry owner Michael Mannion (40), of Castlesampson, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Irish Aviation Authority (Rules of the Air) Act 2004.

Mannion was fined €10,000 for operating a helicopter in a public place at a height less than 1,500ft over a congested area of Ballinasloe town on October 2nd, 2011. He was fined an additional €10,000 for flying the helicopter within 150m of the radio mast at Ballinasloe Garda station.

Other charges

Three other charges relating to flying the helicopter in the vicinity of the town center at such a height which would not have permitted, in the event of engine failure, for a safe forced landing to be carried out; to flying the helicopter over the center of the town where a large crowd had assembled for the horse fair without the consent of the Irish Aviation Authority; and to flying it closer than 150m to a Ferris wheel at a funfair in the town where people had congregated were all taken into account.

Sgt Tom Horkan told the sentence hearing that numerous calls were made to gardaĆ­ and other emergency services that evening between 7.30pm and 8pm by people to complain about the low-flying helicopter.

Mannion, the court was told, had consumed a beer shandy with a meal in Athlone earlier that evening before flying home.

He then decided to fly to Ballinasloe and landed in a car park 30m from the Moycairn Lodge and Hotel near the town where he consumed almost two pints of lager.

He got back into the helicopter at 7.20pm, and took off in the direction of Ballinasloe.

The helicopter crashed in a field at 7.36pm, 10km from the town and 2km from Mannion’s home. He was found by neighbors in a shaken and disorientated state not far from the crash site, and chose to be taken home rather than seek medical advice.

Mannion told the court his license had been suspended by the Irish Aviation Authority and he had no intention of applying for a new one.

He said he knew he was lucky to be alive and he apologized for his behavior.

Weather closed in

He said the weather suddenly closed in seconds after he took off from the hotel, and he began to panic as he went into cloud and could not see the ground.

He claimed he used the lights of Ballinasloe town on several occasions to get his bearings, and that was why he flew low over the town.

At times, he said, visibility was down to zero and he was panicking. 


Presidential security buzzes the skies of the Santa Clarita Valley

The thunderous noise of fighter jets “buzzing” some Santa Clarita Valley homes Wednesday night turns out to be the byproduct of presidential protection during Barack Obama’s visit to Los Angeles.

“It sounded like lawn mowers on my roof,” said a Canyon Country resident who identified herself only as Cathy. She first heard the jets about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, she said.

“There were aerial motorized noises over my house,” she said. “(I thought,) what are these objects flying overhead? They were very loud.”

Jim Nicol of Newhall wrote to The Signal Thursday morning questioning what he thought were “Air Force jet fighter maneuvers over SCV.”

“What was that AF fighter jet doing yesterday afternoon doing mock air-to-air combat maneuvers over the SCV?” he asked.

Short answer: national security.

Fighter jets intercepted two aircraft that wandered into a no-fly area imposed because of Obama’s visit, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh, a spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command, says a small private plane and a private helicopter were spotted in the no-fly zone Wednesday, and authorities couldn’t immediately make contact with the pilots, AP said.

California Air National Guard F-15s eventually escorted the aircraft out of the restricted area.

One landed at Agua Dulce Airpark, the other at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

Cathy in Canyon Country said the same jet sounds were heard twice Thursday morning, but authorities say no planes violated restrictions during the president’s Thursday visit.

President Obama left Los Angeles for San Diego at 2:10 p.m., according to his itinerary posted on the White House website.


If you wondered why two F-15s were buzzing the Santa Clarita Valley early Wednesday evening when President Barack Obama was in Los Angeles, here’s why.  

NORAD fighters intercept two general aviation aircraft over Los Angeles

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – F-15 fighters under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two general aviation aircraft that were out of communications in the Temporary Flight Restriction Zone over Los Angeles, Calif, at approximately 6:30 p.m. PDT yesterday evening.

Once the aircraft were intercepted and had departed the Temporary Flight Restricted Zone, they landed at regional airports and were investigated by local law enforcement.

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Diamond Aircraft has called back many of the more than 200 workers it laid off one year ago: London, Ontario, Canada

What a difference one year, and a push to do business differently, has made at Diamond Aircraft.

It was about one year ago London’s aircraft manufacturer laid off more than 200 workers, cutting staff to about 40, prompting other aircraft manufacturers such as Bombardier to swoop in and hire skilled Diamond employees.

Now, slowly, steadily, Diamond has called back many of those who were cut and has 130 on staff, thanks largely to diversifying its work to manufacture and sell aviation parts, after its ambitious D-Jet program was shelved, said chief executive Peter Maurer.

“It’s a little better now. We are doing some supply work and we have been able to bring people back who were on layoff,” Maurer said. “We have been able to pick up additional work and sales have improved.”

That parts work includes electric harnesses and avionics and they’re doing more work for their Austrian parent. A diesel-power Diamond aircraft assembled in Austria has been a strong seller and that has helped London, Maurer added.

“You have to be creative, you have to be flexible. You can’t just do the same old (thing) and diversification helps,” Maurer said.

“Going through what we did, the company as a whole learned a lot. We are here and we are strengthened by it.”

As for sales, the first quarter of 2014 saw Diamond sell 60 planes compared to 34 in the first three months of 2013.

Those sales are for both London and Austrian plants.

“The order book in Austria is very good and it is good we are supplying them,” Maurer said.

The London plant also supplies other aircraft manufacturers Maurer declined to identify.

But those sales won’t include the D-Jet any time soon. Diamond plans to manufacture and sell a small, light jet here and has performed test flights, but the project is on hold.

“It’s not cancelled, it’s on hold. But we are not doing active development work,” Maurer said of the jet program.

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Dover Air Force Base lockdown lifted


A lockdown at Dover Air Force Base was lifted at 2:40 p.m. Thursday, base officials say.

Just before 3 p.m., Airman First Class William R. Johnson, a base spokesman, said more information would be released soon.

Base officials said the military premises were on lockdown since 11 a.m. due to a report of a suspicious person, but a school director whose students were touring a museum there said they were told there was a possible active shooter on the base.

"The base went into lockdown and our students were secured in a protected area," said Edward Emmett, director of Positive Outcomes Charter School in Camden. The students are safe and have been returned to the school, said Emmett, who was not at the museum at the time of the incident.

Johnson dismissed the claims.

"At this time we have no information that would lead us to believe that there is an active shooter on the base," Johnson said.

Traffic was moving normally on nearby routes, such as Del. 1 and Bay Road.

Outside the main gate, Sgt. First Class Thomas Myers was waiting to enter the base. He said he had heard from others still inside the base that a "suspicious character" had been apprehended.

Uniformed security servicemen and women could be seen wearing yellow vests or belts at base gates Thursday afternoon. They were flagging people to turn around at the main gate.

While there were short backups to get in at most gates, there appeared to be a backup inside the base waiting to get out at the south commercial gate.

There is significant retiree traffic on and off the base, for commissary and exchange trips. It was clear from U-turning traffic that a number of retirees were having their plans changed.

Johnson did not have details on the suspicious person, but said the person was seen about 11 a.m. near Building 706, where several arrival ceremonies have taken place.

As a precautionary measure, base officials implemented base lockdown procedures and instructed all personnel to shelter in place. he said.

"The safety of our people is our top priority," Col. Randy Huiss, 436th Airlift Wing vice wing commander said in a news release. "We take this report very seriously and are taking the necessary precautions to investigate this matter."

According to sources, students at Maj. George S. Welch Elementary School on the base are also on lockdown. Classes continue, but students are not allowed in the hallways.

Mike Leister, director of the Air Mobility Command Museum, said that facility was on lockdown for about 30 minutes before being allowed to reopen.

"We were given permission to reopen because we are in a separate enclave," Leister said, adding they continued routine operations, including an army change of command ceremony. "We locked the place down, we gathered everybody up and passed the information out and when we got permission to open back up everybody went about their business."

Leister said he heard someone mention there was a "possible active shooter," but he did not know where that came from.

"It wasn't from any official source that I saw," Leister said, adding he was told the lockdown was due to a report of a suspicious person. "That's all we really had."

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