Friday, June 06, 2014

Congratulations Nebraska taxpayers! Your new $3.5 million Beechcraft turboprop was delivered Wednesday

The state's new airplane, a King Air C90GTx, arrived at Lincoln Municipal Airport on Wednesday. 

State Department of Aeronautics Chief Pilot Rob Markise flew the King Air C90GTx to the Lincoln airport, where it touched down about 11 a.m. and then sat on the tarmac Wednesday afternoon waiting to be moved to a hangar.

The plane was accepted Monday in Wichita, Kan., and a few minor areas were addressed Tuesday before it was released to Nebraska.

The weather didn't cooperate for a flight home Tuesday afternoon.

"Hail damage on a brand new airplane is frowned upon," Markise said.

He had attended classes for a week or so to learn about the plane's instrumentation and computers, or avionics, how to fly the plane using simulators and to familiarize himself with the many switches and buttons in the cockpit.

The plane, which had been flown only 5.8 hours, including the one-hour flight from Wichita to Lincoln, is a little easier to fly than the Piper Cheyenne, Markise said. It's also more efficient in flight and more comfortable.

The cabin has eight seats -- two in the cockpit, four in the passenger compartment and two in the tail. It also has a tiny area for baggage and a toilet under one of the seats in the tail.

Gov. Dave Heineman is set to be the first to use the plane on Thursday. According to his schedule, he will be in Broken Bow and Schuyler Thursday afternoon to deliver remarks at radio station and hotel grand openings.

The cost of the plane was a little more than $3.5 million. The 2013-15 state budget set aside $3.6 million to be transferred from the state's cash reserve via a bill (LB1016) passed in this year's session of the Legislature.

Because the deal was closed before the end of April, the state got a seven-year warranty on the plane that covers parts and labor for air frame, engines and avionics, which includes electronic equipment, said Department of Aeronautics Director Ronnie Mitchell.

Getting the seven-year warranty was a great deal for the state, he said.

The plane was "born" with the number N5104H. But when it's registered, which takes about five weeks, its tail number will be N84NE. Eight seats on the plane -- potentially a pilot or two and six or seven passengers -- for Nebraska.

The King Air should be able to travel as long as three hours with a full load before refueling is necessary, Mitchell said.

Cruising speed is about 300 miles per hour -- a little less when traveling west into a head wind. That's about 40 mph faster than the Piper Cheyenne at cruise speed. It's also much quieter, said Mitchell, who will take the training to fly the plane at a later date.

The state will offer up the Piper Cheyenne in the next few weeks as state surplus property for a cost of $450,000 to $525,000, he said.

The University of Nebraska Foundation had offered to sell its 2001 King Air to the state last year for $2.5 million. The governor asked for the money for that purchase, but the Legislature delayed the decision to this year to study what the best option would be for the state. That plane was then sold to a private buyer.

A quarterly report from the Aeronautics Department that covered Jan. 1 to March 31 on state government aircraft usage showed six state agencies and the governor's office flew in the 1982 Piper Cheyenne.

The Department of Roads flew four people a total 706 miles for a business meeting; the Game and Parks Commission flew a total of nine people on three trips, 2,096 miles for two bird counts and a commission meeting; the University of Nebraska-Lincoln flew one person, a speaker at a university lecture series, 304 miles for a drop off; the Aeronautics Department did two test flights for a total of 188 miles; the Department of Health and Human Services flew five people 722 total miles for a business meeting.

Heineman took three hops around the state in the Cheyenne for a total of 1,498 miles. The purposes of his trips were a Chamber of Commerce banquet, news conferences and Agriculture Week events.

State agencies will be charged $3.58 per mile to use the plane. With seven passengers that would be about 51 cents a mile per person. The cost of flying in the Piper Cheyenne was $4.50 because of the higher cost of maintenance on the 32-year-old plane.

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El Dorado County, California: Remote Control Plane Sparks Grass Fire

El Dorado County - A grass fire Friday afternoon was started by a remote-controlled plane. 

The plane crashed into a field along White Rock Road near Placerville Road, and sparked the two acre fire.

A remote control flying club was having an event at the time. The members had fire extinguishers in case something like this happened.

“It’s mostly likely a battery that caught fire. It’s not common, it’s never happened, we’ve been here for many years and this is the first time we had this. We have very strict procedures with airplanes that have gas or batteries,” Mannie Garmy said.

The plane that crashed cost about $500, and had a wingspan of about five feet.

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Benefits of Flying out of Pocatello Regional Airport (KPIH), Idaho

Sheryl Perrine is one passenger that believes flying the friendly skies out of a local airport is the way to go.

"I just really enjoy the convenience of it.  It's so close, you can just drive over here from Pocatello, park your car,” says Pocatello passenger Sheryl Perrine.

Passenger Karen McGee flies right along the side with her on that one.

"Oh my gosh, it's so convenient.  And I am so lucky, because I do a lot of flying with my kids out of town and going on vacations,” says Pocatello passenger, Karen McGee.

Airport Manager David Allen says coming back after a long trip can make flying out of Pocatello nicer too.

"When you get home after a full day of traveling, you are only minutes away.  You are not driving for two and a half hours from Salt Lake,” says Pocatello Regional Airport Manager, David Allen.

Passengers flying out of Pocatello Regional Airport say it's not only convenient, but there are other benefits as well.

"Parking is free, it's convenient. The check in is pretty simple and easy and the security is minimal in terms of they are thorough but it doesn't take long to get through and so on,” added Perrine.

"I love it!  I love the personal out here.  I love how you are treated out here.  I love the fact that you can get dropped off at the door, come right in and get on your flight,” added McGee.

And cost, passengers say it's not as bad as some may think by the time you pay all the extras to travel to another airport.

"I think it is reasonable.  I mean it may be a little bit, but you are paying for the convenience,” says Perrine.

As a matter of fact I just got back from going to London and it was a $150 dollars cheaper for me to fly from Pocatello then it was Salt Lake,” says McGee.

"I just feel time is money too,” concluded Perrine.

Airport Manager David Allen says they just added a fourth flight to their daily schedule which will allow more frequency and more options for passengers flying out of Pocatello.


11th Annual Ada Air Expo kicks off today

ADA, OK -- The 11th annual Ada Air Expo kicks off today in Ada bringing in dozens of planes and events for the whole family. 

 Airport Manager, Terry Hall, says they expect to see nearly 5,000 people come out this weekend.

There's a full aerobatic air show Friday night and another air show Saturday.

There's also airplane and helicopter rides available to those who come out.

Those who come out will also get to see first hand many World War II aircraft being flown in for the weekend.

"We'll have a lot of war birds because that's part of what we do, we honor our veterans by displaying and flying what we call the vintage war birds from World War II and that era, and we try to get as many of those as we can," said Hall.

Hall says admission to the expo is free but there is a $10 fee for parking.

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Aviation deal could bring new jobs to Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A possible deal between Eclipse Aerospace and the Air Force could bring hundreds of jobs to Albuquerque. 

 The aviation company says it could learn by the end of the year if it will provide their new light-weight jets to the Air Force for training.

Just this week, the defense spending bill for the 2015 fiscal year was released.

The bill gives the air force 90 days to explore options for updating its more than 20-year-old fleet.

For some time both eclipse and state officials have lobbied the air force to switch to the eclipse 550 jet.

Eclipse says if the deal goes through, it could mean anywhere from 300 to 400 new production jobs.

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FARMING TAKES FLIGHT: Athena, Oregon crop dusters keeping busy before harvest season

Crop duster Seth Denton checks the controls in the cockpit of his plane while doing a pre-flight check. 

 Seth Denton is mere feet off the ground flying his bright yellow crop duster over a 150-acre wheat field east of Athena. On each pass, he pulls up in the nick of time to safely clear the power lines just across rural Pambrun Road.

Yet Denton, whose father, Larry, runs Marsh Aviation LLC serving the region’s farming community, doesn’t think about his job as being dangerous.

“It’s really as safe as you make it,” he said. “If you plan things out ahead of time, take care of the plane and yourself, it’s really not too bad.”

While more farmers are investing in ground rigs for spraying fertilizer, pesticides and fungicide on their crops, Denton said there is still a solid market for aerial application — commonly referred to as crop dusting, though guys in the business today are trying to get away from that term as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

In the old days of crop dusting, pilots flew planes converted from leftover World War II fighters and were guided by actual flagmen standing on the ground, Denton said. Now, the aircraft have become larger, more efficient and specifically designed for agricultural work.

Denton’s own plane, an Air Tractor model AT-401, is also equipped with GPS on board and a light bar attached to the nose of the aircraft that lets him know where to spray on the next pass.

“We’ve come a long way,” Denton said. “It’s a lot more precise.”

Denton, 24, is the only full-time pilot left at Marsh Aviation. Larry Denton, 80, was forced to give up his license after failing a flight physical required every year by the Federal Aviation Administration.

June and July is their busiest time of year, Seth Denton said. That’s when field peas have to be sprayed for pests, and winter wheat creeps closer to summer harvest.

On Monday, Denton was hired to spray fungicide over a wheat field about five miles down the road for local grower John Adams. Without treatment, the crop is susceptible to wheat leaf rust, a disease capable of reducing yield by as much as 20 percent.

Denton recalls a particularly bad rust infestation two years ago.

“That was a good year for us, but a bad year for farmers,” he said.

Before taking off, Denton fuels up the Air Tractor and loads 250 gallons of fungicide into the pivot tank. It will take three loads, or 750 gallons total, to complete the job.

With his tan flight suit and slicked-back hair, Denton certainly looks the part of a daring pilot. Once up in the sky, he said he takes a few minutes to circle the field and check for any obstructions such as trees, buildings and, yes, power lines.

Just as important is wind speed and direction, since chemicals can drift into other neighboring fields and potentially cause serious problems. It is even against the law to spray during an inversion, Denton said, since particles can get trapped in the air and spread for miles.

“It can put you out of business if it’s bad enough,” he said.

From there, Denton flies anywhere between one and 10 feet over the field he’s spraying — low enough to make sure the chemical penetrates to the ground while ensuring good, even coverage.

Denton began flying when he was 16, and earned his commercial pilot license in 2011. He’s been spraying ever since, and is planning to someday take over as owner and manager of Marsh Aviation.

Larry Denton bought the operation in 1980, and at the time he had four planes in his fleet. He has since sold all but one of the planes, which remains at the hangar and airstrip located along Pambrun Road, just beyond the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation boundary.

Part of the issue is declining business, and part is greater efficiency, Larry Denton said. There was a time when flying 50,000 acres was considered a bad year. Now, they’re optimistic to keep flying 30,000 acres.

Despite that, there are definite advantages to spraying from the air, as opposed to on the ground.

“(Farmers) still turn to an aerial applicator because we cover the ground more quickly,” Larry Denton said. “And if it’s too wet, they need us to (apply) because they can’t get the ground rigs out.”

Seth Denton agreed, adding they can get better coverage of the crop and avoid losses from running over plants in the trucks.

“We’re fortunate there are a lot of farmers who still value our work,” he said.

It’s the job Seth Denton grew up with, and the one he hopes to keep doing until he retires.

“It’s neat to fly every day,” he said. “We’re really passionate about what we do. We look forward going to work.”

St. Landry Parish in line to receive $500,000 in state funds: Money will be used to upgrade the St. Landry Parish Airport (KOPL), ag arena and other projects

St. Landry Parish Airport employee Travis Sam prepares to move a plane Thursday located in one of the airport's hangars. 

State Sen. Elbert Lee Guillory delivered the news that St. Landry Parish is in line to receive more than $500,000 in projects from the state.

“I’ve been gone since January trying to find some good things in Baton Rouge, and I think I have,” Guillory, R-Opelousas, told the parish council’s administrative finance committee this week.

Awaiting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature is a major bill funding projects throughout the state. The House and Senate have already passed it.

Included in that bill are about $300,000 for new hangars at the parish airport, $120,000 for upgrades to the Yambilee Ag Arena, $65,000 in upgrades to the Delta Grand and $5,000 for improvements to the Lawtell baseball field.

Guillory said the entire package totals $545,000. “I’m honored to be able to deliver this good news to you,” Guillory said.

“This is very welcome. It is coming at a good time,” said Parish President Bill Fontenot. “We have many needs, and this will help.”

Parish airport
The biggest part of the funding package will add about a dozen small hangars to Ahart Field, located just north of Opelousas off La. 749.

The airport is run by parish government. In addition to its two runways, it is already home to about 60 planes.

The parish operates two large hangars at the facility. It recently converted an unused storage building into a small, six-plane hangar.

Despite that, Fontenot said there is a waiting list of about 20 more aircraft owners who want to base their planes at the field.

Fontenot said increasing the field’s capacity will generate more revenue for the airport and foster economic growth for the parish.

The existing large hangars shelter several planes. The new ones will be one- and two-plane hangars, which the parish plans to offer at a competitive rate.

Fontenot said the goal isn’t to make money on the hangars, but on fuel sales.

“Our fuel sales have increased 400 percent since the parish took the field over,” said Jessie Bellard, the parish’s director of administration. “The addition of 12 more planes will increase that even more.”

RV hookups are always in demand.

Those hookups will also come in handy should another hurricane or other disaster strike the region. The arena is a designated livestock shelter and is often filled to capacity with animals that have to be evacuated from low lying areas when danger threatens.

Other projects

At the Delta Grand Theatre, beside Courthouse Square in downtown Opelousas, the funds will pay for a major lighting system upgrade.

“We have a lot of events that want to come to the Delta, including some major New York shows, but they require certain things and this new LED lighting system is one of them,” Fontenot said.

The smallest project, at the Lawtell ballpark, will have a big impact.

“They held their first ball game there this week in over 10 years,” Bellard said. “They have more than 200 kids signed up. They are really hustling.”

He said $5,000 isn’t much, but it is enough to purchase materials and parish workers will then supply the labor to add a pavilion and an upgraded concession area.

The ball field is a joint project between parish government, the parish council and the St. Landry Parish School Board.

The field got a major shot in the arm this past year when it was chosen as one of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way’s Make a Difference Day projects. Scores of volunteers cleared away debris, restored the bleachers and fences and repainted everything in site.

If the governor signs the bill, the money is expected to become available with the state’s new budget year that beings July 1.


Michael Gillispie: Teen Helicopter Pilot Buzzes High School Before He Graduates

KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) - What were you doing at 17-years-old? 

Most of us were just starting to feel comfortable behind the wheel of a car, but not for pilot Michael Gillispie.

He says, "I've been flying since I was 13, this is what I want to do and I just thought it would be really cool to take my future career right over where I graduated."

Gillispie loves being in the air and with just days before receives his high school diploma, he had one more thing to accomplish.

He wanted to buzz his high school, Central West High just west of Fresno.

So with his friends looking on, plus getting the okay from Central Unified and with his dad filming it Gillispie fulfilled a dream that's come true.

He says, "I was just thinking these are my final days in high school and this is the beginning of my career."

So just how exactly does Gillispie plan to use his pilot experience in the future?

Gillispie says, "I'm thinking about joining the Department of Forestry. Like putting out fires I think that would be really cool and maybe search and rescue as well."

He adds his once in a lifetime dream would not have happened, without his flight trainer, and help from American Helicopters in Fresno.

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Wings and Wheels for Sight is Saturday: Bay Bridge Airport (W29), Stevensville, Maryland

STEVENSVILLE — The 17th annual Wings and Wheels for Sight will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Bay Bridge Airport.

There will be antique and classic cars, motorcycles, airplanes, a model rocket display, and remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters. 

Airplane and helicopter rides, children’s games and rides also will be available, as will food. 

One of the new Maryland State Police Medevac helicopters its scheduled to attend, we well.

The event will benefit the Lions Vision Research Foundation at Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and other sight-related charities. 

Admission is $10 per car. 

The event is sponsored by the Kent Island and Queenstown Lions Clubs. 

For more information, call 410-643-4364.


New wrongful-death trial ordered - Justices find fault with report in wrongful-death suit: Mooney M20M Bravo, RKJ Aero LLC, N429RM

Friday, June 6, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 1:39 am, Fri Jun 6, 2014. 
BY FRANK GREEN Richmond Times-Dispatch  

A unanimous Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial in a Chesterfield County wrongful-death case stemming from a fiery airplane crash that killed two people and destroyed a house six years ago. 

The justices found that a report admitted into evidence during the 2012 trial was hearsay. The case was prompted by the April 27, 2008, crash that happened shortly after the Mooney M20M airplane took off from the Chesterfield County Airport.

The pilot, Joseph Anthony Grana III, 40, of Florham Park, N.J., and his father, Joseph E. Grana Sr., 73, of Richmond, died on impact. A woman in a house the airplane struck was seriously burned.

Roger Creager, lead counsel on the appeal for the two estates, said Thursday: “We are very pleased not only that we will now have a new trial of these two wrongful-death cases, but also that the Supreme Court of Virginia has issued a thorough, carefully considered opinion.”

The pilot was flying with instruments because of poor weather and cloud cover. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the accident to be improper pilot control caused by disorientation in 2010.

However, the administrators of the estates of the two men filed wrongful-death suits against Honeywell International Inc., the manufacturer of the airplane’s autopilot system, alleging it was defectively designed and led to the crash.

The suits sought a total of $30 million in compensatory damages and $700,000 in punitive damages, Creager said.

Honeywell denied any defective design and argued the crash was the result of an inexperienced pilot becoming disoriented while flying in clouds.

After a nine-day trial, the jury returned a verdict for Honeywell on Nov. 14, 2012. Circuit Judge Herbert C. Gill Jr. turned down a request to set aside the verdict, and the case was appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Among other things, the administrators argued that the judge should not have allowed an accident investigation report by the Mooney Airplane Co. to be admitted as a “learned treatise” exception to the hearsay rule.

But the justices held the report was not “a learned treatise” — something sufficiently trustworthy because the authors have no bias and are aware their work will be read and evaluated by others in their field.

The report, noted the justices who also found other errors in the trial, was repeatedly brought to the attention of the jury by Honeywell’s lawyers and was serious enough to require a new trial.

The NTSB said that shortly after takeoff, it appeared the pilot had difficulty controlling the plane. Radar records indicated Grana made several turns to the left and right after ascending in a northwesterly direction for about one minute and climbing to 1,100 feet.

The plane flew over U.S. 360, turned left and traveled in a south-southwesterly direction and climbed to 1,400 feet. The plane then turned to the right, first flying west at 1,800 feet, then to the left, the report says.

The plane then turned to the right and descended.

The plane hit the ground before sliding into the house in the 3100 block of Woodsong Drive in Chesterfield, the NTSB said.


Families lose plane crash lawsuit 
Posted 11:58 pm, November 14, 2012, by Mark Holmberg
Updated at 06:54am, November 15, 2012  

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) — Inside the Chesterfield County home was 22-year-old Melissa Bowen, who was visiting her sister and helping with a litter of puppies.

The home literally exploded into flames around her at about 10:19 a.m. that day, April 27, 2008. She managed to run outside, suffering severe burns on her extremities.

Her sister, Christine, had just left the house to get something for a litter of 10 puppies. All those puppies and the mother were consumed by the raging fire.

The pilot, Joseph Anthony Grana III or Florham Park, N.J, and his father, Joseph Grana Jr. of Richmond, died at impact.

The home has been rebuilt. Melissa Bowen’s burns have largely healed.

The complex suits were brought by the Bowens for $10 million and the administrator for the Grana family for another $20 million in damages. It drew in a number of firms responsible for owning, building, maintaining, selling and certifying the prop driven aircraft, which some witnesses at the time reported being stalled or sputtering before the crash that April morning shortly after takeoff from the Chesterfield County Airport.

But another witness stated the engine was roaring and the plane flew straight into the house, with no apparent attempt to pull up from the dive.

A detailed description of the aircraft and crash by the NTSB can be read here:

The long jury trial that ended Wednesday largely boiled down to minute parts that make up the autopilot-flight direction system manufactured by Honeywell.

Evidence presented at the trial indicated the autopilot system on the aircraft had failed previously.

According to transcripts, the case was heavy with testimony about gears and servo units that control flight.

It was also heavy with jury instructions. Among the many given was one that said the mere happening of an accident does not indicate a  product is dangerous. If the cause of injury if left to guessing, the plaintiffs can’t recover, according to court filings.

Another laid out seven clear failures of the design and function of the autopilot system that the plaintiffs must prove against Honeywell in order to win their settlements.

The jury deliberated about an hour and a half before finding in favor of Honeywell.

Melissa and Christine Bowen and their local attorney could not be reached Wednesday evening. A person at the rebuilt home came to the door and declined to comment.

The case can be appealed to a higher court.

NTSB Identification: MIA08FA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 27, 2008 in Midlothian, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: MOONEY M20M, registration: N429RM
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

The instrument-rated private pilot departed with an instrument flight rules clearance and encountered instrument meteorological conditions shortly after takeoff. He did not establish contact with air traffic control at any time during the flight, nor did he enter controlled airspace on the assigned heading of 180 degrees. According to the NTSB Air Traffic Control (ATC) Radar Study, the flight climbed to approximately 1,800 feet msl, and continued in a direction northwest of the departure airport while turning left, right, and then left with slight changes in altitude. The airplane then began a right descending turn with the bank angle and turn rate increasing beyond the standard rates and angles, and the load factor reached close to maximum limits. At some point near the end of the flight, during the right descending turn, the lower fuselage panel separated and the left rear window separated. The airplane impacted the ground then a house and both were destroyed by impact and postcrash fire.

The pilot's wife reported a previous concern with a stuck flap. Although the impact and fire destroyed sections of the flight control push/pull tubes and components of the flap system, changes in direction to the left and right were consistent with the pilot controlling the airplane. Examination of the wreckage, including the flight control, flap, and speedbrake systems, did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Additionally, Mooney Flight Test personnel reported that the airplane is controllable with one flap fully extended and the other flap fully retracted. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction was noted to the engine or engine accessories.

Risk factors for spatial disorientation were present at the time of the accident, including instrument meteorological conditions and maneuvering flight. The airplane’s sequence of turns during the departure and its subsequent spiral dive were conducive to vestibular illusions. Analysis of the radar data in the airplane performance study showed evidence of a flight path and associated increased g-loading that were consistent with the effects of spatial disorientation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper control inputs resulting from spatial disorientation.

NTSB Attributes Fatal Crash to Pilot Error: de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, Pacific Wings, N616W

Pilot error was the ultimate cause of a sightseeing plane’s crash just over a year ago near Petersburg which left a New Mexico man on board dead, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A probable cause report on the June 2, 2013 crash of the deHavilland DHC-2 Beaver seaplane, operated by Pacific Wings LLC, was released Monday by the NTSB. The plane had seven people on board and was flying from Petersburg’s Lloyd R. Roundtree Seaplane Facility just before 3:20 p.m. to a sightseeing trip over the LeConte Glacier via the Horn Cliffs.

One of the plane’s six passengers, Santa Fe, N.M. resident Thomas Rising, 66, was killed in the crash, while Pennsylvania Rev. Frank Allen and his family survived. Allen’s wife Amy and son Ben were treated for serious injuries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but the other four survivors on board received only minor injuries.

In the report, the NTSB cites the unnamed pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed both above trees and while subsequently maneuvering to avoid them, “which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall/spin and an uncontrolled descent.”

According to the pilot, who had told the NTSB he was flying his third tour and fourth flight of the day, the aircraft was traveling at 80 knots and climbing at about 200 feet per minute shortly before the crash.

“The pilot said that when approaching a mountain pass, he initiated a climb by adding a ‘little bit’ of flap (about 1 pump of the flap handle actuator) but did not adjust the engine power from the cruise power setting,” NTSB officials wrote.

According to the pilot the crash occurred suddenly, in weather a passenger described as consisting of occasional low clouds and good visibility.

“(The pilot) was having difficulty seeing over the cowling due to the nose-high attitude, when he suddenly noticed trees in his flight path,” NTSB officials wrote. “He initiated an immediate left turn; the airplane stalled, and began to drop, impacting the mountainous, tree-covered terrain.”

Both the pilot and a post-crash investigation found that the aircraft had no mechanical issues which would have prevented its normal operation. The passenger who spoke with the NTSB also concurred with that assessment, based on his experience of the crash.

“He reported that the airplane made a left turn, stalled, and then made a sharp left turn right before impact,” NTSB officials wrote. “The airplane seemed to be operating fine, and he heard no unusual sounds, other than the engine speed seemed to increase significantly right before impact.” 

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NTSB Identification: ANC13FA054 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 04, 2013 in Petersburg, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2014
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND BEAVER DHC-2 MK.1, registration: N616W
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious,4 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that the accident flight was his fourth flight and the third tour flight of the day in a float-equipped airplane. The weather had deteriorated throughout the day with lowering ceilings, light rain, and fog on the mountain ridges. The pilot said that when approaching a mountain pass, he initiated a climb by adding a “little bit” of flap (about 1 pump of the flap handle actuator) but did not adjust the engine power from the cruise power setting. He noted his airspeed at 80 knots, with a 200-feet-per-minute climb on the vertical speed indicator. He was having difficulty seeing over the cowling due to the nose-high attitude, when he suddenly noticed trees in his flight path. He initiated an immediate left turn; the airplane stalled, and began to drop, impacting the mountainous, tree-covered terrain.

A passenger reported that the weather conditions at the time of the accident consisted of tufts of low clouds, and good visibility. They did not enter the clouds at any time during the flight. He reported that the airplane made a left turn, stalled, and then made a sharp left turn right before impact. The airplane seemed to be operating fine, and he heard no unusual sounds, other than the engine speed seemed to increase significantly right before impact.  

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and the postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate altitude above the trees, and his subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering to avoid the trees, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall/spin and an uncontrolled descent.

Bucks County, Pennsylvania: Airport opponents give update to Yardley Borough Council on lawsuit against Frontier Airlines, Mercer County, Trenton-Mercer Airport and Federal Aviation Administration

YARDLEY BOROUGH – A leader of Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management (BRRAM) gave a summary of its legal action regarding the Trenton-Mercer Airport at the June 3 borough council meeting.

Holly Bussey, BRRAM spokesperson, gave legal complaint forms to the council to be collected and used to file an injunction by BRRAM with the courts that Frontier Airlines cease growth/expansion.

BRRAM filed a the legal complaint in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J. on April 29 against Frontier, the County of Mercer, Trenton-Mercer Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jordan Yeager, borough council solicitor, explained BRRAM’S issues with the airport.

“The basic problem they have is the airport has expanded and has planned to expand further without complying with federal law which required an environmental impact of expansion,” Yeager said after the council meeting on June 3,

In her report, Bussey said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has 60 days to respond to the filing.

“That deadline is fast approaching,” said Bussey, a resident of Lower Makefield Township and a longtime BRRAM member. BRRAM has about 200 members who reside in Yardley Borough, Lower Makefield, Upper Makefield and communities in New Jersey.

She said BRRAM is on a “tight deadline” and advised that BRRAM needed the complaints by Saturday, June 7 or in its lawyer’s Princeton office by Monday, June 9. William Potter is BRRAM’s attorney.

Bussey said to date, BRRAM has heard from Frontier, which has hired five lawyers for this case to oppose BRRAM.

“We have heard nothing from Mercer County or Mercer Airport,” she said. Bussey said BRRAM is gathering certification that “exemplifies how people are impacted with the current service and concerns we have. These certifications in layman’s terms are the legal way to ‘complain’”.

Bussey told the council members that “an injunction is the legal way to have a court order someone to do something or stop doing something. The goal is to require the FAA to perform an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and noise determination review.”

She said the purpose of the certification is “to allow anyone who is concerned or impacted to let the court know how this is occurring. Litigants are required to complete this. It’s something that can be done easily and in your own words. The handouts we have here tonight can be filled out and there are instructions.”

Yardley Borough Council pledged to support BRRAM and the community’s concerns earlier this year about airplanes flying over their homes.

Borough council previously voted to authorize Yeager to file a “friend of court” brief.

Friend of the court allows interested parties who are not part of litigation to file legal briefs with the court to help educate the court about their concerns and their view of legal issues in the court.

“We are going to be filing a Friend of the Court brief in support of BRRAM’s position,” Yeager noted.

BRRAM’s attorney said the lawsuit relates to the “vast expansion of commercial jet passenger service at the airport” that has occurred without the airport conducting environmental studies which are mandated by federal law.

He said the “key aspect is mitigation of harm. We have met with and heard from numerous residents on the impact low level flights are having in their lives: noise vibration, they can’t open windows and can’t get a good night’s sleep.”

Potter said the FAA previously approved Frontier to fly in and out of the airport at a time when there were minimum flights. However, he said, the usage of the airport has expanded.

“There is more passenger service and more overflies over Yardley Borough and Lower Makefield,” Potter said. “The Bucks County area is an extension of the airport.”

Councilmember Rich Wayne said after the meeting that he invited BRRAM to give an update to council at its June 3 meeting.

“They got an update last night from their attorney about their lawsuit,” he said.

Wayne said at election time last fall residents were complaining about air traffic over their homes. “We’re doing what residents told us,” he said.

He took some of BRRAM’s forms to distribute. “Some of my neighbors would be interested,” he said.

Meanwhile, one resident who is not a BRRAM member, voiced his concern.

Ron Harland said officials should do more about the problems caused by the airport.

“This is going to be one of the major issues for this town and it will destroy the town,” Harland said.

He criticized the borough council. “Yardley right now is not prioritizing this,” he said.

Joe Hunter, council president, said the borough is trying, but has “limited resources”.

Hunter said he understands how residents feel about the airplanes. “They have been flying over our house for 40 years,” he said.

Borough council is working with local, state and federal legislators to address the situation. 


Association to give free airplane rides in Kingman, Kansas: Clyde Cessna Field (9K8)

KINGMAN – The Experimental Aircraft Association will host free airplane rides for children ages 8-17 on Saturday as part of an airshow and fly in at Clyde Cessna Airfield on Saturday.

Young Eagle ride sessions will be given from 8 to 9:15 a.m., 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. and noon to 12:45 p.m.

Bob Crow, city of Kingman Airport manager, said the purpose of the flights is to get children interested in aviation at an early age.

In addition to the Young Eagle rides there will be two airshow displays featuring homebuilt aircraft and a World War II advanced trainer plane.

For more information contact the Kingman Airport at (620) 532-1279


Stevensville Airport (32S) to host open house fly-in Saturday

STEVENSVILLE - In an age of passenger aircraft that carry hundreds of passengers for thousands of miles, it’s easy to forget that there are still people building aircraft in their garages.

It’s also easy to forget what a local airport can mean to a community, and that’s why the Stevensville Airport is holding its second annual fly-in and open house this Saturday, June 7, showcasing airport facilities and giving people a chance to “kick the tires” on some unusual homebuilt aircraft.

To get things started out right, Chapter 517 of the Experimental Aircraft Association will host a free pancake breakfast from 8-11 a.m. at their Stevensville Airport hangar. Chapter President Sherry Rossiter said they consider it their chance to give back to the community, and to remind people that their local airport produces revenue for the community.

The Stevensville airport is one of a few city-owned airports in Montana, according to Airport Manager Steve Knopp, but the general operating costs are funded by local airport users, hangar rents, and grants from the FAA and the Montana Aeronautics Division.

Knopp would like to see more people aware of what the airport has to offer, and of what it contributes to the community. He’s hoping to arrange some activities for the day, but currently it’s just a chance to visit with local pilots, and to admire the aircraft on display.

Those aircraft may include some surprises. Local EAA members keep numerous classic and homebuilt aircraft in Stevensville hangars, and many of those will be on display, along with more aircraft expected to fly in for the open house. Some are single-seaters, others may carry up to four persons; some are sleek speedsters, and others are improbable eye-catchers, but all are capable of taking to the sky to satisfy mankind’s dream of flight.

According to Knopp, about 70 aircraft are based in Stevensville, and last year another 40 flew in for the event. Knopp gets inquiries from pilots all over the U.S. interested in basing their aircraft in Stevensville, and a taxiway expansion last year provided access to more hangars to meet that demand.

The airport is also used for flight training by student pilots from Missoula and Hamilton, wanting practice landing at a small airstrip with a moderately challenging location atop a bluff.

The EAA Chapter, with 45 current members, serves much of western Montana, providing technical resources to those who want to build their own aircraft, but also providing free “Young Eagle” flights and aviation education for kids aged 8-17, according to Rossiter.

For more information about the fly-in, call Knopp at the Stevensville Airport, (406) 777-5271; Rossiter can be reached at (406) 777-3705, with a website at that lists members and the aircraft they have built.


Letter: Neighbors Gather in Opposition to Saratoga County Airport (5B2) Expansion Proposal

TO: The Editor
FROM: Molly Rosenthal of Milton, NY

As you may be aware, the Saratoga County Airport has proposed three options for expanding the airport. This expansion has serious oppositions from the surrounding neighborhoods due to hundreds of people who will lose their homes and financial security.  One proposal, put forth as a “compromise” also seizes family homes, destroys even more acres of wildlife habitat. Finally, the “No Build” proposal includes the acquisition for several acres of homeowner property and is telling the newly renovated non-profit Gateway House of Peace (Hospice) they have to move.

A group of neighbors, from about 6 surrounding neighborhoods, have joined forces to stop this expansion. The goal is to make all neighbors aware of the potential devastating loss. We are trying to get as many neighbors together to attend the June 9, Building and Grounds Committee meeting at the County level to show our support in opposition to this expansion. The Town of Milton Supervisor, Dan Lewa is in strong opposition to this expansion as well.

We ask you to help us get our concerns published and in front of those who can make a difference.

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