Sunday, June 08, 2014

‘Lost Aircraft’ Could Have Been Chinese Lantern

Police and other emergency services have now concluded their search of wooded areas following reports of a bright, smoking light that was seen to fall to ground in the vicinity of Dunster Lodge.

An initial eye-witness account described seeing a helicopter come down, but later changed their account to a bright smoking light in the sky.

All other reports in the area suggest some form of flare, bright light or Chinese lantern style item that was seen to float to ground near Dunster Lodge.

Air Traffic Control state there was no air traffic in the area at the time, and no distress calls received; but Police and Exmoor Search and Rescue teams, assisted by the Devon & Cornwall based Police Helicopter still carried out a search of woods and open ground in the area of the sightings to ensure there was no one in need of help.

Chief Inspector Paul Mogg, the Police Incident Commander said, "we are confident that the light seen by numerous members of the public is not related to an aircraft. There are no known aircraft listed as missing, no Air Traffic Control concerns, and no evidence to suggest an aircraft has come down".

"We would like to thank the numerous members of the public who both offered help with the search operation and assisted in our enquiries to ascertain just what was seen by a number of local community members"

A search has begun in the Minehead area after we received a report of an aircraft coming down.

We received the report at 8.15pm this evening (Sunday June 8) from someone reporting that they had seen an aircraft come down in the Minehead area - and possible near woodland in Dunster. A search has begun which includes the police helicopter and a local search and rescue team but so far nothing has been found.

We're taking the search seriously and looking to see whether there is anything so support the report made to us and we're also looking at suggestions people may have been setting of flares in the area.

If you have information which can help us please call our non-emergency number 101. 

Police are investigating an unconfirmed report that an aircraft has crashed in Somerset. 

Avon and Somerset Police said that “someone” had reported seeing an aircraft crash in the Minehead area at 8.15pm on Sunday.

“A search has begun which includes the police helicopter and a local search and rescue team but so far nothing has been found,” the force said in a statement.

“We're taking the search seriously and looking to see whether there is anything so support the report made to us.”

It added that officers were also investigating suggestions that “people may have been setting of flares in the area”.

Powell P-70 Acey Deucy, Brining Air LLC, N567CM: Fatal accident occurred June 08, 2014 in Great Bend, Kansas

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

National Transportation Safety Board  - Docket And Docket Items:

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Data Summary:

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 08, 2014 in Great Bend, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/16/2016
Aircraft: SCHRIEBER ROBERT L P 70, registration: N567CM
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.

The private pilot was conducting a local personal flight. An employee of the fixed-based operator reported that, before takeoff, the pilot topped off the airplane's 18-gallon fuel tank. A witness reported hearing the airplane approach his residence from the north about 2 hours later. The witness said he saw the airplane come out of a cloud bank and that it looked like it was trying to climb at a 45-degree angle. He subsequently saw it in a 45-degree, nose-down pitch angle descending toward the ground. The airplane impacted in a corn field located 6 miles north of pilot's home airport. The witness said the engine sounded "weak as if it had no power" and that, as the airplane was descending, the pilot "was trying to pull up."

An examination of the airplane at the accident site showed that the airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down, steep descent. Flight control continuity was confirmed. Both of the propeller blades were broken at the hub and showed no signs of driving power. An examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have prevented it from producing power.

The airplane's fuel tank could hold 18.06 gallons of fuel. The engine manufacturer estimated that the engine's fuel consumption rate at a normal power setting was between 10.5 and 11 gallons per hour; therefore, the airplane would have been able to fly for 1 hour 42 minutes. It is likely that the pilot did not properly plan for the flight, which was longer than allowed by the airplane's total fuel quantity and resulted in loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. During the subsequent forced landing to the field, the pilot lost airplane control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's improper preflight planning, which led to a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's loss of airplane control during the forced landing.


On June 8, 2014, about 1130 central daylight time, a Robert L. Schrieber P70 Acey Deucy experimental amateur-built airplane, N567CM, owned and operated by Brining Air LLC and being flown by a private pilot, impacted terrain near Great Bend, Kansas. The private pilot and passenger on board sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The local, personal flight was being conducted without a flight plan under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident. The flight originated at the Great Bend Municipal Airport (GBD), Great Bend, Kansas about 0930.

A line worker for the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) on the airport said she received a call from the pilot at 0846 requesting fuel for the airplane. She drove the fuel truck to the pilot's hangar and put in 4.7 gallons of fuel, which topped the tank. She said the pilot was in a "cheery, joking" mood. She didn't ask where the pilot was going as the ceiling was 800 feet and she didn't think he would be going very far. Later, at the FBO, the line worker received a radio call from the pilot asking to put him on the maintenance list to change his right tire, that as he was taxiing out he noticed he had a small area of chords showing. She told him they had the tire in stock and would put him on the list. He then made a departure call over the radio frequency that he was departing GBD.

According to the pilot's family, the pilot sent a text message at 1004 stating that he and the passenger had arrived in Lucas, Kansas, about 46 nm north-northeast of GBD. The pilot's wife received another text message at 1013 stating the pilot wanted to meet for lunch after church. At 1223, she texted the pilot about their meeting for lunch and received no response.

A witness reported about 1130 hearing an airplane north of him. He stepped out of the shed he was cleaning at the time and saw the airplane about a mile to his east flying at 200 to 300 ft above the ground. It had come out of a cloud bank and looked as if the airplane was trying to climb at a 45 degree angle. The witness said he thought nothing of it and went back to work. As he heard the airplane get closer to his house, he went out to see it fly over. As he looked for the airplane, he saw it in a 45-degree nose down pitch angle descending and impacting the ground. He immediately called 9-1-1. The witness said the engine sounded "weak as if it had no power" and that as the airplane was descending the pilot "was trying to pull up."


The pilot, age 49, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. According to the pilot's flight logs he had 1,528 total flying hours and 153 hours in the accident airplane. He had flown 30 hours in the 90 days preceding the accident; 22 of those hours being flown in the 30 days prior to the accident.

The pilot held a valid second-class medical certificate dated October 11, 2012. The certificate showed the limitation, Must wear corrective lenses.

The pilot successfully completed a flight review on February 4, 2013.


The amateur-built, tandem two-place, high wing, single-engine airplane, serial number 045, was originally certificated in the experimental category by the original owner in 1997. It was registered to the owner on June 8, 2010.

The airplane was powered by one Lycoming O-290-G carbureted; 4-cylinder horizontally opposed reciprocating engine, rated at 125 horsepower at 2,450 rpm. According to the manufacturer, the estimated fuel consumption of the engine at a normal cruise power setting was between 10.5 to 11 gallons per hour.

A review of the available engine logbooks showed the airplane had completed an annual condition inspection on May 2, 2009. The tachometer time at the inspection was 392.8 hours. Other logbooks that might have contained the airplane's most recent condition inspection were not located.

The tachometer time on the airplane at the accident site was 492.64 hours.


At 1135, the automated weather observation facility at GBD, located 6 miles south from the accident location, reported wind from 120 degrees at 8 knots, overcast clouds at 1,200 ft, visibility 9 miles, temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 57 degrees F, and altimeter 30.06 inches of mercury.


The airplane impacted in a windrowed corn stubble field about 6 miles north of the GBD. The accident site began with a 16-inch deep impact scar. Impressions in the ground that emanated out from the deepest part of the impact scar corresponded to impacts from the airplane's top wing and main landing gear. Pieces of the airplane's wing, cowling, and forward fuselage were located in the impact scar. Airplane pieces spanned outward from the impact scar about 122 feet to the airplane main wreckage.

The airplane main wreckage consisted of the top wing, the tandem cockpit area, main landing gear, engine, propeller, aft fuselage, empennage, and tailwheel. The airplane rested upright and was oriented 160 degrees from the initial impact scar. The top wing was broken at the wing struts and crushed aft. The ailerons remained attached. The cowling and cockpit area were broken downward and aft. The main landing gear were bent and broken aft. The engine was broken downward and aft. A fuel tank behind the engine was crushed and broken. No physical signs or smell of fuel were present. Both blades of the two-bladed wood propeller were broken aft and showed no signs of rotational rubs or scratches. The front and rear seat windscreens were broken out and fragmented. The fuselage aft of the rear cockpit seat, empennage, and tailwheel were intact.

Flight control continuity was confirmed. The engine and fuel tank were retained for further examination.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on June 8, 2014, by the Barton County, Kansas Coroner, at Hays, Kansas.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for all tests conducted.


An examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have prevented the engine from producing power. A reconstruction of the metal fuel tank confirmed airplane drawings that showed the fuel tank's volume as 4,172 cubic inches, therefore capable of holding 18.06 gallons of fuel. Based on the engine's fuel consumption rate of 10.5 gallons per hour, the airplane would have been able to fly for 1 hour and 42 minutes.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 08, 2014 in Great Bend, KS
Aircraft: SCHRIEBER ROBERT L P 70, registration: N567CM
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 June 8, 2014, about 1130 central daylight time, am experimental P70 airplane, N567CM, registered to Brining Air LLC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in the vicinity of Great Bend, Kansas. The private pilot and one passenger sustained fatal injuries. The local personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident.

A witness saw the airplane approach over a plowed field and he thought that the airplane was going to land when the nose pitched upward. The airplane then descended rapidly to the ground.

Courtesy photo
An undated photo of pilot Roger Brining.

Friends remember Roger Brining, one of two people who passed away in a plane wreck Sunday afternoon in Barton County, as a prominent and active member of the community. He was a farmer, former computer store and Internet service owner, Air Force veteran, and pilot. The other victim of the accident was 24-year-old Daniel Bishop of Clearfield, Utah, who was described as the boyfriend of Brining’s daughter, Rebecca Brining.

“Roger was very active at the Great Bend Municipal Airport, and was an enthusiastic supporter of all the airport’s activities and events,” said friend Martin Miller, Great Bend airport manager. “He was serving on the Airport Advisory Committee for the City of Great Bend, and was a past president of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1134 based at the airport. He always demonstrated a positive attitude towards this airport and its operations, and contributed both time and money to broaden interest in aviation, the historical impact of the airport on the community. He never hesitated to volunteer when it came to exposing others to the experience of flying.”

The 1997 kit built aircraft crashed at 11:33 a.m. Sunday near the Boyd Blacktop in a corn stubble field, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper James Robinson. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

The single-engine aircraft departed from the Great Bend airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the FAA will gather information and report to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for releasing information to the public. A preliminary report usually takes about a week, with a detailed factual report typically coming weeks later.

Records show the two-seat LP-70 airplane was manufactured by Robert Schrieber. It was one of four private planes in Great Bend registered to Brining Air LLC.
Robinson said there was an eyewitness to the crash. The aircraft was flying south following NW 30 Ave. at 200-300 feet angling upward to gain altitude. The eyewitness said he heard the aircraft coming toward him and then a few moments later, it crashed.

The cause of the crash has not been determined.

It marks the third fatal plane crash in four months that involved area residents.

The two other plane crashes that have occurred in the past four months include Glenn and Elaine Mull, daughter Amy Harter and granddaughter Sami Harter. They were flying to Tennessee in  a twin-engine Gulfstream Commander 690C aircraft that crashed Feb. 3. The pilot, Glenn Mull, was the owner of Mid-Kansas Agri Co. and Mull’s Farms and Feeding, a feed yard near Pawnee Rock.

On April 22, Barton County Commissioner Don Cates died piloting an agricultural plane near Garfield.

Brining, 49, was remembered Monday morning is the prayer before the Barton County Commission meeting, offered by commissioner Don Davis. Jan Peters, president of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development, also commented on the loss when she delivered a report to the commission later that morning. “Three times in four months ... this is just so sad,” she said. Brining’s widow Erika is on the chamber’s board of directors, and another daughter, Rachel Mawhirter is marketing director at the chamber.

Brining’s obituary appears on the Great Bend Tribune website.

 GREAT BEND, Kan. - Kansas highway patrol says two men died on impact, after a plane crash near Great Bend Sunday.

The victims have been identified as 49-year-old Roger Brining and 24-year-old Daniel Bishop.

"He will be missed, just his presence here at the airport and his energy," said Brining's friend Chrissy Genova. "Roger was a big aviation junkie, he loved people and everything with aviation."

The NTSB said the experimental plane was a Powell P-70 Acey Deucy, it crashed shortly after take off in a field near Great Bend.

Kansas Highway Patrol said the crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning near the intersection of NW 40 Rd and NW 30 Ave in Barton Co.

"The witness reported seeing the aircraft following what he believed was Boyd blacktop, which is also NW 30 Ave, about 200 to 300 feet above the ground," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper James Robinson. "H turned around to see the aircraft coming directly towards where he lives and in a few moments the plane went down in the field."

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

GREAT BEND, Kansas – A small plane crashed in Barton County Sunday morning.

Kansas Highway Patrol reports that two people died when the single-engine plane went down around 11:30 a.m.

The Powell P-70 Acey Deucy crashed in a field near the intersection of NW 40 Road and NW 30 Avenue just north of Great Bend.

The victims have been identified as 49-year-old Roger Brining and 24-year-old Daniel Bishop.

The Federal Aviation Administration  has been notified. There is no word yet on what caused the plane to crash.

After nearly 1 year, remains of 2nd pilot of crashed OV-10 found

Nearly a year after a Philippine Air Force North American Rockwell OV-10A-15-NH Bronco plane crashed into the waters off Palawan, the remains of its missing co-pilot were finally found. 
The finding of the skeletal remains of 1Lt. Abner Trust Nacion put to a close the search for the pilots of the crashed plane, RGMA Palawan's James Viernes reported on dzBB radio Monday.
RGMA's Viernes reported Nacion's skeletal remains were found at a site near where the remains of Maj. Jonathan Ybañez were located last December.
Nacion's remains were to be flown to the mortuary of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base.
Last December, the remains of Ybañez were retrieved following the crash of the North American Rockwell OV-10A-15-NH Bronco plane off Puerto Princesa on June 23 last year.
Ybañez and Nacion had gone missing after the Bronco plane crashed off Puerto Princesa City following a night proficiency test flight.


McDonnell Douglas 369E, N504MP, City of Mesa: Accident occurred June 08, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR14TA236 
 14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Sunday, June 08, 2014 in Mesa, AZ
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER 369E, registration: N504MP
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

On June 8, 2014, at 0056 mountain standard time, a McDonnell Douglas Helicopters 369E, N504MP, landed hard following a loss of engine power during cruise flight in Mesa, Arizona. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the City of Mesa (Police Department) as a public-use flight. The commercial pilot and commercial pilot rated tactical flight officer (TFO) were not injured. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Falcon Field Airport, Mesa, Arizona at 2315 the night prior. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The flight was a routine patrol, and after flying for about 1.4 hours, the pilot performed a series of flight checks in the vicinity of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Once complete, they flew to the north and a short time later while travelling 60-70 knots, about 700 feet above ground level, the pilot heard an uncharacteristic change in engine tone accompanied by a decrease in engine speed. The pilot began to diagnose the problem, during which time a series of caution warnings lights illuminated followed by the engine-out tone.

The pilot immediately initiated an autorotation, aiming for a tree-lined field to the north. The helicopter cleared the trees, and prior to initiating the flare the pilot realized he needed to turn on the landing lights in order to properly see the ground. He was unable to turn them on in time, and he initiated the flare, landing the helicopter level on the skids. The main rotor blades subsequently struck and severed the tailboom just aft of the tail fairing.


GILBERT, Ariz. -- A Mesa Police Department helicopter crashed after its engine failed on Sunday morning, according to Sgt. Tony Landato with the Mesa Police Dept.

The two pilot police officers who were on board were not injured.

The MD500 went down at approximately 12:55 in a field in Gilbert near Baseline Road and Stapley Drive.

The tail section of the helicopter snapped off during impact.

Sgt. Landato said the officers had 10 to 15 seconds from the time the engine failed to when the helicopter hit the ground.

During that short time, they were able to navigate between structures to a small alfalfa field on some farming property.

No people on the ground were injured and no structures were damaged.


Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N5589E, American Aviation Inc: Accident occurred June 07, 2014 in Page, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA235
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, June 07, 2014 in Page, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5589E
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On June 7, 2014, about 1731 mountain standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5589E, was substantially damaged when it impacted a tree and terrain during an aborted landing at the Page Municipal Airport (KPGA), Page, Arizona. The airplane was being operated by American Aviation Inc., Page, as a visual flight rules (VFR), local area scenic flight, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, the pilot and the two passengers were not injured. The flight departed Page about 1650.

The airport's automated weather reporting station was reporting wind at 190 degrees true, at 13 knots with gusts to 23 knots.

Due to the wind conditions, the pilot elected to use runway 25, a short cross runway that is 2,201 feet long and 75 feet wide for landing, as opposed to the main runway that is 5,950 feet long and 150 feet wide.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) dated June 17, the pilot reported that he entered a 3 mile straight-in approach for runway 25. He approached the runway at 60 knots airspeed in gusting wind conditions, and that when he flared, the airplane started to drift toward the side of the runway. When the main landing gear touched down, a gust of wind lifted the airplane off the runway. He reported that he first touched down near runway 25's intersection with runway 15/33, which is about 700 feet from the threshold of runway 25. When the airplane touched down again, it bounced back into the air, this time too high to continue the landing, and the pilot initiated a go-around. He reported that the airplane engine was at full power, the airplane was in a level attitude, with the wings level, and the airspeed was indicating less than 43 knots. He did not raise the flaps or bank the airplane, for fear of the airplane sinking. The airplane started a slow descent, and he attempted to dodge houses and trees. With the stall warning horn sounding, the airplane struck a small tree, and then the ground. 

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He reported that he thought the failure to climb was due to the local wind conditions. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA235
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, June 07, 2014 in Page, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5589E
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 7, 2014, about 1850 Mountain standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5589E, sustained substantial damage when it impacted a residential block wall during an aborted landing at the Page Municipal Airport (KPGA), Page, Arizona. The airplane was being operated by American Aviation Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, as a visual flight rules, local area scenic flight, under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the pilot and the two passengers were not injured. The flight departed Page about 1750.

The pilot reported that during landing the wind got "squirrely." When he pulled back the power just before the flare, the airplane unexpectedly climbed. Fearing a porpoise, he applied full engine power and the airplane climbed to about 30-40 feet above the runway, but no higher. He reported he flew the airplane around the trees and houses at the end of the runway. Unable to climb, he pushed the nose down, but the airspeed remained just above stall. The airplane impacted a block wall.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He stated that he thought the failure to climb was due to the local wind conditions. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

PAGE, AZ (CBS5) -  A small plane crashed into a family's backyard in Page on Saturday night, just feet from where people were sitting.

Page police said the aircraft was trying to land when the left wing clipped the awning of someone's patio.

Three people were on board the plane. All of them walked away uninjured, officers said.

The company that owns the aircraft, American Aviation, was involved in another plane crash just weeks ago. It also happened in Page.

In that incident, the plane was on a sightseeing tour when the engine lost power and went down, killing one person.

Another passenger had to be taken to the hospital.


NTSB Identification: WPR14FA186 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 10, 2014 in Page, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA T207A, registration: N7311U
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious,5 Minor.

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 10, 2014, about 1545 Mountain standard time, a Cessna T207A, N7311U, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during landing at the Page Municipal Airport (PGA), Page, Arizona. The airplane was registered to and operated by American Aviation, Page, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries, one passenger sustained serious injuries, and one passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the local sightseeing fight. The flight originated from PGA about 20 minutes prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that about half way into a 40-minute sightseeing flight, he noticed reduction in engine power. Despite the pilot's attempts, he was unable to correct the power reduction and initiated a turn towards the airport. The pilot stated that he entered the airport traffic pattern for runway 15 about 1,000 feet above ground level, and applied 10-degrees of flaps just prior to turning base. After turning onto final for the runway, the airplane suddenly descended abruptly, impacted terrain, and nosed over. The pilot reported that he thought the airplane experienced a downdraft on final prior to impact with the ground.

Multiple witnesses located adjacent to the accident site reported observing the accident airplane on final for runway 15 and suddenly descend rapidly into terrain in a normal approach to landing attitude.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted soft terrain about 390 feet short of the approach end of runway 15, slightly left of the runway. All major structural components of the airplane were located within about 30 feet of the main wreckage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Dutchess County Airport (KPOU), Poughkeepsie, New York: 3rd Annual Open house

Dutchess County Airport 3rd Annual Open house
Date: Sat, Jun 14, 2014 - Sat, Jun 14, 2014

Time: 9:00am- 6:00pm


Location: Dutchess County Airport

Address: 263 New Hackensack Rd

City: Wappingers Falls

State: NY

Zip: 12590

Phone: 845-463-6000

Fun for the whole family! Featuring wings n wheels car and bike show, aircraft displays, helicopter and plane rides and great food! s-76 Hellicopter, Airport equipment, Angel flight network, PAWS program, Crate escape, antique fire trucks, face painting, bounce house, Dutchess county sheriff k-9 department, Home depot kids workshop and more! 

Donations of non perishable food will be collected for local castle point veterans.

- Source:

Meet Johnny Stinson, president of Platinum Aviation in West Palm Beach, Florida

Johnny Stinson (center), president of Platinum Aviation, with his wife Laura (VP of administration) and son John (VP of operations) in front of a Cessna Grand Caravan. 

Name: Johnny Stinson

Distinction: President of Platinum Aviation

City: West Palm Beach

Johnny Stinson seems to have been born to fly, or least born to run an airport business.

“If you like airplanes, it’s great to be at an airport every day,” Stinson, a pilot for 38 years and a West Palm Beach native, said. “People come here to have fun. They usually have a smile on their faces.”

An A&P (airframe and/or powerplant) mechanic with inspection authorization, Stinson is also a commercial pilot with airplane and helicopter ratings. He started flying in high school and began working at Pahokee Airport (Palm Beach County Glades) in 1974. A few years later, he worked on Boeing 727s at Palm Beach International Airport.

In 1989, he and his wife, Laura, started their first business, Aircraft Maintenance Specialists, at the Lantana Airport.

Twenty years ago, the business moved to its current location at the North Palm Beach County Airport. His business was one of the first to open at that airport.

Four years ago, the Stinsons added a second business, the North County Flight Training, which offers training from professional flight instructors.

Recently, the two companies merged to become Platinum Aviation (

“Our top priority has always been to provide our clients with excellent service, whether they’re a first-time flyer or avid pilot,” said Stinson, Platinum’s president. “We can now offer a more comprehensive experience to our clients, while growing the quality and breadth of services the aviation community has come to expect from us.”

To continue the expansion of service, Platinum Aviation, which is owned by Index Aviation, plans to add charter and aircraft sales to its list of services in the coming months.

Stinson and his wife, Laura, a Florida native and vice president of operations for platinum, have been married for 33 years and have worked together for most of them.

Working with his spouse has been a good thing, he said. “It’s been wonderful.”

One secret to keeping their marriage strong, he said, is making time for each other regularly. “We have date nights on Tuesday and devote the night to each other. We turn off our cell phones and don’t talk business.”

Their son John, also a pilot, is vice president of operations at Platinum.

Age: 60.

Education: Palm Beach High School.

Married to Laura, vice president of Platinum Aviation. They have four children, nine grandchildren. Lives in West Palm Beach.

“My hobby is the grandchildren, spending time with them. We have a pool and playground at our house and take the kids to DisneyWorld.

Career highlight:
“This merger. When we started out first business we didn’t even have a week’s pay in the bank. The business 100 percent doubled every year.”

Favorite quote: “Life is something that happens while you’re making plans.” – from John Lennon’s song (Just Like) Starting Over


Test pilot to describe X49A experimental helicopter


Rich Jackson, retired Coast Guard commander, chief pilot for Avwatch Inc., and test pilot for Piasecki Aircraft, will describe the special features of the X49A Speedhawk experimental compound helicopter at the Lexington Veterans Association on Monday, June 9 at 1:15 p.m. at the Cary Memorial Library, 1725 Massachusetts Ave., lower level meeting room. The public is welcome.

The X49A combines the best qualities of an airplane -- greater speed and longer-range travel -- with the best qualities of a helicopter -- vertical takeoff and landing.

Jackson first became aware of the X49A Speedhawk in 1986 when he was completing his master’s degree in aeronautical science. Intrigued with the design, he wrote to the president of the company and co-designer of the aircraft, Frank Piasecki and the two started a 20-year relationship. In 2007, Piasecki needed a second test pilot for the X49A and offered Jackson the job. He has worked continually as test pilot and consultant since then.

In his 32 years of flying experience, Jackson has flown 10 different aircraft. He spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force before transferring to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1988 because he liked taking off and landing aircraft from ships. After 14 years in the Coast Guard, which included a Navy exchange program, five years in the Polar Operations Division, and a stint as operations department head of a Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) for the MH-68 system, he retired at the rank of commander in 2004.

Two weeks into retirement, Jackson received an offer from AirScan Inc. to conduct aerial reconnaissance in Kosovo flying their MC-337 helicopter as part of the NATO peacekeeping activity. His next assignment was with the builder of the MA-68 helicopter, working with prospective buyers of the aircraft, mainly foreign governments, in training, engineering, testing and sales capacities.

With Operation Iraqi Freedom now underway, Jackson wanted to be involved. He spent six years in Iraq as pilot and theatre manager for Reconnaissance/ Surveillance/Target Acquisition (RSTA), flying the MC-337 and the PA-31 for AirScan.

Jackson is currently the chief pilot for Avwatch, based in Plymouth. Using the highly sophisticated C41SR aircraft with full motion video and integrated aircraft, sensors, and downlink systems, Avwatch provides an array of critical services that include disaster assistance, scientific research, and public safety.

The public is invited to gather at 12:45 for coffee and conversation. Coffee is provided compliments of Starbucks in Lexington Center. Baked goods are donated by volunteers and the Veterans’ Association is grateful to all those who bake or bring these items.


Muscle Shoals, Alabama: Three airlines bidding for service

MUSCLE SHOALS — It appears the days of 34-seat turboprop planes or regional jets flying passengers from the Shoals to Atlanta have ended.

The three airlines that submitted bids to provide subsidized commercial air service at Northwest Alabama Regional Airport under the Essential Air Service program would utilize eight-passenger aircraft and fly passengers to either Memphis International Airport or Nashville International Airport.

Silver Airways, which provides daily flights to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, will leave the area once a new carrier can begin providing service. The airline's contract expires Sept. 30.

Silver provides commercial air service on 34-passenger Saab 340B Plus turboprop aircraft, which were also used by Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlink.

The airline notified the airport it was leaving in July, but the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a "hold in" notice requiring Silver to remain in the Shoals until a new air carrier is selected.

Shoals Chamber of Commerce President Steve Holt is pleased to see airlines willing to serve the Shoals under the Essential Air Service program.

"That's very good news for us," Holt said. "The regional airline market is changing rapidly. This is what the regional airline market is going to look like."

The airlines that submitted proposals are Sun Air of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; SeaPort Airlines of Portland, Oregon; and Air Choice One of St. Louis.

Nashville flights

Air Choice One is offering packages with 18 or 24 weekly flights to Nashville on either a Cessna Grand Caravan or Piper Navaho aircraft. The Grand Caravan is a single-engine turboprop plane while the Navaho is a twin-engine prop plane.

The airline's proposal indicates the annual EAS subsidy amount would be $2,283,993 for 18 weekly flights to Nashville.

The amount would decrease to $2,160,268 the second through fourth years.

Another option involves 18 weekly fights the first year, then 24 weekly flights the second through fourth years. The annual subsidy amount would be $2,283,993 the first year and $2,428,932 the second through fourth years.

The airline also offers a package deal that includes the Shoals, Tupelo and Greenville. In that option, the Shoals would have 18 weekly flights. The subsidy amount would be $7,063,494 annually.

SeaPort Airlines is offering a two-year proposal that includes 24-weekly round trip flights to Nashville on Cessna Caravans.

The annual subsidy amount is $1,739,308.

SeaPort's Executive Vice President Timothy Sieber states in the proposal that the contract will be for two years, but added the airline would agree to a four-year contract with no increase in the annual subsidy.

According to a tentative schedule, there would be four weekday flights with two flights on Saturday and Sunday.

The earliest departure would be 6:30 a.m., but Sieber indicates in the proposal that flight schedules could be affected on whether or not the Tupelo and Greenville, Mississippi, airports also accept the airline's proposal.

"If awarded less than all three communities, schedules would need to be slightly modified from those presented above in order to rotate aircraft in our Memphis maintenance base," Sieber stated in the proposal.

He stated the airline would solicit comments from each community on the proposed flight schedule.

Sun Air is offering a three-year package that includes 21-weekly round trip flights to the Memphis International Airport on an eight-passenger Piper Chieftain, which is similar to the Piper Navaho.

The airline is also offering proposals to Greenville, Tupelo and Laurel-Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

There is one caveat in the airline's proposal.

"Sun Air's proposals to provide service to Muscle Shoals and Greenville are contingent upon its proposal to provide service to Tupelo being selected," airline CEO David Hackett wrote in the proposal.

The proposal did not include flight schedules, but Hackett stated that Sun Air's operating plans are based on having multiple backup aircraft and each community would have at least one overnight aircraft to enable an early morning departure and evening arrival.

Holt, who has been involved in the airline selection process, said the key to gaining passengers will involve affordable, reliable air service.

"We've done really well until Silver came along," Holt said.

Silver Airways' flights were frequently delayed or canceled, which led to a severe decrease in boardings.

Morning flights

The airline also refused to offer an early morning flight that is attractive to business travelers, Holt said.

"We critically need that early morning and late evening (return) flight," Holt said. "For the business traveler, that's very, very important."

Holt said he thinks the traveling public in the Shoals and surrounding areas will respond to quality airline service that provides on-time departures and arrivals.

Airport Director Barry Griffith said a committee composed of himself, members of the Air Services Committee, the airport board of directors, and other civic leaders, will evaluate the proposals and select an airline.

He said the committee would also work closely with the directors of the two Mississippi airports.

"Once we've made a selection we'll enter into a whole new marketing and advertising effort to promote the service," Griffith said.

Griffith said he recently met with SeaPort and Air Choice One officials at a airports convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Because of the severe decrease in boardings, the Department of Transportation has threatened to terminate to strip the Shoals of its Essential Air Service status.

Griffith has said he plans to challenge the termination and use past data to show passenger traffic decreased after the arrival of Silver Airways. He will also provide records of the airline's poor on-time performance.


DANA CRASH: ‘How 153 Passengers Died In The Burning Plane’


The atmosphere was tense. Residents of Olaniye Street and  environs were busy trying to find a place to watch  a  match  involving the Nigerian national team in the suburb of Iju- Ishaga in Akande Community Development Area, CDA, of Lagos State when the Dana ill-fatal air crash occurred in the densely populated area,  killing 153 passengers on-board and 10 persons on ground.

The incident happened June 3, 2012. Two years after, a  resident, Mr. Emmanuel Adekola, recounted that the air crash happened around  4:00pm when residents heard a loud noise which many mistook for an attack by Boko Haram.

Adekola explained that, immediately, people started rushing to the scene  to rescue the passengers on- board the plane and  occupants of the building into which  the aircraft crashed.

He narrated: “That day, I was at the other side of the street.  All of a sudden, we heard a loud noise. Some people were shouting that it could be Boko Haram attack. The next thing we noticed was that it was a plane crash. There was smoke everywhere.

The plane had not burned totally; it landed with the nose where the pilot was sitting. People started calling for emergency and we could see some victims in the plane struggling to come out but were trapped because of the smoke and fire.

It was then that the first respondents started coming; they were now checking if they could see some people they could help. Unfortunately the passengers they had all died due to the heat of the fire because the plane exploded some minutes after it crashed.”

Another resident, Mr. Jimmy Bala, who lives at Akande Street, opposite Olaniye Street where the Dana  plane crashed, said the incident happened as the match involving Super Eagles was  about to kick off, noting that residents heard a bang as the  plane crashed  into the three-storey building.

Bala stated that one of the ground victims of the crash had  sent his son to his compound at No. 23 Akande to call an electrician to fix his television set so that he could watch the match, stressing that no sooner than his son and his two other children left the house that the plane crashed into the building, killing him, his wife and eight others.

He said: “You know it  happened on  a  Sunday, precisely around 4:00pm. Nigeria was to play a match that day. So, everybody was around. All of a sudden, we saw the plane hovering in the sky. Before  we knew it, we heard a loud noise only to find that it was a plane that came down. Everybody rushed there. There was nothing anybody could do. We saw the pilot and his passengers struggling to come out but nobody could rescue them.

People were confused on what to do, they were just running up and down. It was later that  emergency people came in”.
He pointed out that if help had come earlier, the passengers could have survived, stressing that it took about  20  minutes before the aircraft exploded and went into flames after crashing.

On  what has happened in the last two years since the crash occurred, Bala noted that the government had taken time out to develop the area through the construction of accessible roads to the crash site but pointed out that the development was one sided.

He said  residents of Akande Street were suffering from the effect of the construction of Olaniye Street and  environs as whenever it rains erosion from Ayinla junction, through Idowu-Williams and the neighbouring streets will come to Akande and, because there are no drainage systems, flood would be entering houses. Bala pleaded with government to construct  Akande Street road  so that residents could be saved from flood.

When contacted, the Chairman of the Akande Community Development Area, CDA, Mr. Adewale Oriowo, said government was responding to the plight of Akande Street residents  as he was sure that by the end of this month, construction work on Akande Street would have started.

Investigation into the cause of the crash

Since the Dana plane crash, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the agency responsible for investigating air crashes in the country, has released two interim reports on the incident.

The first preliminary report was released on  July 12, 2012, about six weeks after the mishap. The  report blamed the crash on the failure of the two engines of the aircraft.

According to the report, the Captain tried re-starting the two  engines mid-air. After several failed attempts “the Captain informed the Flight Officer FO, ‘ we just lost everything, we lost an engine. I lost both engines.”

The report added, “the airplane was on the fourth flight segment of the day consisting of two round trips between Lagos and Abuja. The accident occurred during the return leg of the second trip. Dana Air Flight 992 was on final approach to runway 18R at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos when the crew reported  total loss of power and the plane crashed landed”.

The second interim report, just  released on June 3, the agency said the  purpose of the investigation was to prevent aviation  accidents and incidents and not to apportion blame or liability.

On compensation

Many of the victims of the Dana  crash are yet to be fully compensated, especially the ground victims who have not  received a dine from the airline. The leader  of the ground victims, Pastor Fredrick Akhigbe, told Sunday Vanguard the victims had gone to court and a notice had been served on Dana airline to response within 42 days.

Akhigbe disclosed  that the ground victims were classified into categories, noting that those whose Certificates of Occupancy were revoked by Lagos State government were duly compensated but added that there are some victims yet to collect any compensation for the destruction of their properties.

His words: “We have gone to court. We  filed a  suit against Dana Air and they have given them 42 days to respond. There are  categories of victims, I cannot say much about those in the aircraft but I can comment on the ground victims. The ground victims are in categories. One, the premises where the crashed happened.

Two, are those whose houses were demolished on account of the crash and Lagos State government compensated them because they revoked their certificates of occupancy. Dana itself as a company has not compensated  the victims whose houses were destroyed.

For example, one Pastor Daniel has about six plots of land, he has houses and a factory, he has not been compensated; he has as well gone to court. There is another Mr. Adoroja who has a two-storey building. I was aware that Mr. Adoroja took some money from Dana, but apart from Adoroja, no other ground victim has been compensated in that area.”

“Other categories include landlords who houses were destroyed, whose roofing sheets were damaged, among other things. This category, nobody has been compensated, even N1:00 has not been given to them.

My church, my house were destroyed; that is the situation. The court has served them notice; they have given them 42 days to make their defence”.

Meanwhile, as at May 2013, Dana  Air said  it had fully compensated 11 families of the victims of the crash to the tune of $100,000 while 95 families had gotten partial compensation to the tune of $30,000 each.

Mr. Tony Usidiamen, the airline’s former spokesman, disclosed this at a news conference to commemorate the first anniversary of the crash. According to Usidiamen, 11 families received full compensation of $100,000 (N15 million) each while 95 others received an initial $30,000 (N4.5 million).

On those who lost properties to the crash, the Dana former spokesman said they had been paid the initial $30,000 by Prestige Insurance.
He said the  claims submitted by them had been sent to estate valuers for evaluation.

“Their claims are being evaluated because the law did not stipulate what should be paid to those who lost their properties on ground,” Usidiamen.

Short URL:

NTSB Identification: DCA12RA084

Accident occurred Sunday, June 03, 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria
Aircraft: BOEING MD-83, registration:
Injuries: 153 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On June 3, 2012 about 1545 hours local time, 5N-RAM, a Boeing MD-83, operated by Dana Airlines Limited as flight 992 (DAN 992), crashed into a densely populated area during a forced landing following a total loss of power in both engines while on approach to Muhammed Murtala Airport (LOS), Lagos, Nigeria. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and the airplane was on an instrument flight rules flight plan. All 153 persons aboard the airplane, including the 6 crew members, were fatally injured. There were 10 confirmed ground fatalities. The airplane was destroyed, and there was a post impact fire. The domestic scheduled commercial flight was operating from Abuja International Airport(ABV), Abuja, Nigeria to LOS.

The Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has instituted an investigation. As the State of manufacture of the airplane and engines, a U.S. Accredited Representative has been appointed with technical advisors from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, The Boeing Company, and Pratt & Whitney Engines. Inquires about the investigation should be directed to the AIB at the following address:

Accident Investigation Bureau
P.M.B. 016
Murtala Muhammed Airport
Ikeja, Lagos

Logan County (6L4), West Virginia: Airport receives much needed funding

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded $1.3 million to enhance airfield infrastructure at three airports in southern West Virginia according to an announcement by Congressman Nick Rahall on Friday.

“If we fail to invest in maintaining our airport’s physical infrastructure or in acquiring the latest technology, we fail to insure the safety of those who travel and staff our nation’s aviation network,” Rahall, is recognized as the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said. “By making sound investments like Greenbrier’s new apron, Logan’s guidance system and lighting and clearing the approaches for Summersville Airport we not only insure safety, we keep our national aviation network stronger and more competitive.”

According to Rahall, Logan County Airport will receive $150,000 to acquire a new runway visual guidance system, which will make the airport more accessible to pilots by providing improved approaches to the runway ends.

Greenbrier Valley Airport has been awarded $1 million and Summersville Airport will receive nearly $130,000 for airport-specific projects.

“Investing in our region’s airports and air transportation infrastructure creates jobs and grows our economy,” Rahall said. “I intend to keep on working with our airport managers and fighting to bolster air infrastructure funding that fuels engines of economic development for our local economies and links our communities with other cities and towns across the country and around the world.”


Pilot admits role in contrail formation

Pensacola News Journal
11:11 p.m. CDT June 7, 2014

Letter to Editor

In the past year or so, the PNJ has published several letters by Charlie Butts.

Mr. Butts has been trying to expose a secret government program to poison our skies with chemicals mixed in the contrails of high-flying aircraft. As a Naval aviator for 30 years, I confess that I was part of this program.

Whenever we were flying between 25,000 and 40,000 feet, the laws of physics allowed sharp-eyed patriots like Charlie to spot our nefarious activities. That, of course, is the region where contrails often form from jet engine exhaust. We would take in large amounts of air and compress it to gain the most oxidizer possible; then mix it with highly refined kerosene and put a match to it. Voila! Thrust out the back making the aircraft go fast.

But what were we putting out in that exhaust plume? Well, what goes in is what comes out – same atoms, but different molecular combinations. Lots of carbon dioxide, some oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, and – wait for it – the "evil" chemical that makes the contrails: dihydrogen oxide.

Think I'll go have a glass of it.

– William DuBois



Rusk County Airport (KRFI), Henderson, Texas: Air Show and Fly-In

(KETK) - Tyler, Tx — The Rusk County Airport held its first ever Fly-In and Air Show Saturday drawing thousands of people from all across the state to Henderson.

The Air Show was more than a spectacle of skill, it was a tribute to the men and women who have fought for our country; as many of the planes featured were flown overseas.

"It's very special to me, because I've met 26 guys who have flown my plane," said Karen Adams Brinkley, pilot and performer at Saturday's Air Show.

When Adams Brinkley soars through the sky, she is flying not just for herself, but for the brave soldiers who flew her plane in Vietnam.

"This is to say thank you to them," Adams Brinkley said.

Adams Brinkley flies an O-2, a plane designed for use in forward control missions. The model she flies is one of just 25 still being flown in the U.S.

"It made me realize that what I had is a treasure," Adams Brinkley said.

For every pilot that graced the Rusk County runways Saturday, their performance was more than a display of skill, it was a way to honor the brave soldiers who flew these war birds many years ago.

"These airplanes have seen a lot of action for the most part," said Airport Manager, Ron Franks. "Some of them were used in the chain of command like the T-6's for instance and others were actually used in the war itself in the Pacific like the B-25. These airplanes have got a lot of history to them, a lot of great history."

Saturday's show featured 20 planes of a wide variety and included everything from trick planes to agriculture planes.

The event took place at the Rusk County Airport and admission was free.


PHOTOS: Rusk County Airport's Air Show and Fly-In was held Saturday

John Black, Smyrna Airport (KMQY): Air show helps to increase interest in flying

SMYRNA — The Great Tennessee Air Show is expected to draw in 50,000 people and more than $1 million in revenue next weekend in Smyrna, but an organizer said he is more interested another resource the event often entices: future pilots.

“There are countless people across the industry who make the comment to me that they wouldn’t have gotten into the business if it hadn’t been for this air show,” said John Black, executive director of the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority, in a recent telephone interview.

The two-day event has drastically expanded since it began in Nashville in 1970, Black said. This year, the Blue Angels, a team of elite pilots with the U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron, will be joined by more than a dozen civilian performers. Among them will be be Skip Stewart, a pilot who discovered his love for aviation while in Smyrna.

“My grandfather was a crop duster, so I was already into aviation,” Stewart said during a recent interview. “But Smyrna was the first airshow I went to, so I got inspired then for the first time... That was the moment that started my whole aviation career.”

Stewart studied aviation at Middle Tennessee State University and now flies cargo planes for a shipping company, he said. He is also a technical pilot who performs complex maneuvers at air shows around the region.

Such stories are not rare, Black said. A major roll of the air show is to expose a new generation to aviation. Smyrna is an ideal place to do it, Black added, as it is close to MTSU in Murfreesboro, where he teaches in the university’s popular aerospace program.

Recruiting pilots and maintaining the viability of the airport is essential to Rutherford County’s economic health, Black said. Approximately 80,000 flights took off or landed at the site last year, and the number of operations at the airport increases by an average of 4 percent every year. Many of the newer clients are large national corporations that have been attracted to the county due to the the local economy’s resiliency during economic downturn.

The air show should offer plenty of sights for future pilots and other aviation enthusiasts, Black said. A variety of prop planes and jets will be flown through maneuvers like low, high-speed passes. One of the attractions is even earthbound: a Shockwave semi truck loaded with a jet engine will race planes at speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour.

Crowds are eager to see the technical feats on display, Black said. Last year, the MTSU College of Business did an economic impact study that indicated the air show was responsible for $1.1 million in revenue in 2012.

This blast of income included ticket sales for the weekend event, and since most people only attend one day of the event, the air show also contributes to revenue for hotels, restaurants and other businesses, Black said. The performers alone will be responsible for as many as 300 hotel rooms booked between Friday and Monday.

Additionally, many of those who attend the event come from out of state, ensuring that outside revenue is spent within the county, Black said. Part of the attraction is due to the fame of the Blue Angels, who perform at a limited number of events every year. The squadron is famous for flying at high speeds while the craft are in close proximity.

“It says a lot about the community and the air show in general to be able to host the Blue Angels time and time again,” Black said.


Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN) tower funding could be saved

Mercer County officials learned Friday that the Trenton-Mercer Airport might get $149 million for its air traffic control tower.

The funding is in the federal DOT/FAA appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2015 that was approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

"This is a big victory for contracted towers nationwide, and an enormous step toward securing what will hopefully become permanent funding for the contracted air traffic control tower at Trenton-Mercer Airport," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.

The air traffic control tower at the airport was among the 189 contracted towers funded by the FAA that were facing elimination or reduced tower operations last year due to budget cuts, said county spokeswoman Julie Willmot.

When told funding would be cut, Hughes aggressively appealed to the FAA and to other federal officials to continue funding for the tower.

The airport has 85,000 takeoffs/landings annually and has received perfect marks, known as "zero deficiencies" from the FAA, Hughes said.


Shannon Ferry: Flight instructor always soaring toward goals

Shannon Ferry is a top flight instructor at FIT Aviation and a member of the Zonta Club. She's also a mom of a 9-year-old and 3-year-old twins.

Shannon Ferry, chief instructor at Florida Institute of Technology Aviation LLC., is at the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research in Melbourne. 

Shannon Ferry says everyone remembers their first flight.

But being a passenger is nothing compared to piloting the plane.

Ferry was 12 when her uncle, Donald Latterell, asked her if she wanted to take flying lessons.

“We went up and did maneuvers that we all have to learn, and steep turns,” Ferry says of the trip. “So you’re doing circles and you’ve got those updrafts from the heat because it’s the summertime. I just remember coming back and being so nauseous.”

But that didn’t matter. “That was it,” she says.

Today, Ferry is still hooked. The Melbourne woman, 36, is a year into serving as chief instructor at Florida Institute of Technology Aviation.

“This is her passion,” managing director Jaimie King says. “She’s kind of a pioneer here. ... She’s growing into the role in remarkable fashion in a heavily male-dominated industry. She’s holding her own pretty well.”

Flying in the family

Ferry was born Shannon Coutan on July 1, 1977, to Joanne Clement and James Coutan. The family lived in Bennington, Vermont, then Queensbury, New York. Her parents divorced when she was 5, and her brother, 1. They went with their dad; their older half-sister ended up in foster care.

“We moved around a lot because Dad was kind of bouncing around from job to job,” Ferry says. He worked in construction.

Ferry was at a cousin’s birthday party when her dad called. “(He) basically said, ‘You have to head home. You have to pack. We have to move,’ ” Ferry says.

Ferry’s aunt and uncle asked her to move in with them. She stayed through high school.

“My uncle’s a pilot,” says Ferry. “I used to go with him on weekends, even before I moved in with them. Jump in, go fly somewhere. Land at a grass strip, have breakfast, $3 pancakes, all you can eat.”

And so it began.

“Every time I’d go someplace or every time I’d take the airplane out, she’d want to go with me,” says Latterell, 63, of Queensbury. “When she was able to take the controls, she fell right in love with it.”

Ferry soloed on her 16th birthday, Latterell says. He remembers one of her other treks alone.

“It was a pretty breezy day when she left,” Latterell says. “The kid’s 16 years old out flying by herself, you know? And she had to go like 150 miles away.”

Ferry’s flight took longer than Latterell expected.

“I was pretty nervous,” he says. “So when she finally got back, it was really no big deal. She got a little bit lost. She ended up at the wrong airport.”

Ferry got a tour of the tower there, and they sent her in the right direction. “It was no big deal to her, but it got everybody else a little nervous,” Latterell says.

Ferry was a senior in high school when she earned her private pilot’s license. After she finished high school, she received a bachelor of science degree in health sciences from State University of New York at Potsdam in 1999.

She had avoided aviation after someone’s advice. “One of my uncle’s friends said, ‘Don’t turn your hobby into a career, because you’ll end up disliking it,’ ” Ferry says. “I thought, ‘There’s no way I want to hate flying.’ ”

So Ferry kept it as a hobby. She landed a physical therapy job in Las Vegas. She decided to work on her instrument rating, but it was difficult while holding down a full-time job.

Ferry realized, “the current job I have is OK, but I still want to fly all the time.” She set her sights on becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Six months later, she moved to Indialantic, where another aunt and uncle lived. She ended up at Airline Training Academy at Orlando Executive Airport in April 2002, where she earned her instrument rating, then commercial multi-engine rating in October 2002.

Around that time, Ferry’s aunt and uncle were doing major renovations to their home. It was a three-month process with construction crews there the bulk of the day.

Her aunt spied a potential suitor for her niece. “Every time I’d come home, she’d be like, ‘Have you met Allen yet? Oh, I think you’d like him,’ ” Ferry says. “(She’d say,) ‘You’ve got to meet him. You guys are going to get married someday.’ I just kind of blew her off.”

But, as it turns out, her aunt was right. The two went out on their first date about a month later.

Entering career

Professionally, all Ferry had left was flight training. She took out a loan and started building up her time. She was about 50 hours shy in February 2003 when her school shut its doors.

“At that point, it was kind of like hitting a brick wall,” Ferry says.

She did what she had to do, working part-time odd jobs.

And she kept flying. She recalls the first time she took Allen up. “He’d never been in a small plane. We were walking out and just turning dark. I turned to him and said, ‘You excited?’ He said, ‘I’m a little nervous.’ I said, ‘Me, too!’ ”

Ferry remembers Allen exclaiming, “ ‘What? You’re not supposed to be nervous!’”

It didn’t scare him away, though. He proposed to her Feb. 15, 2004. They married that December in Las Vegas.

In February 2004, Ferry was hired as a flight attendant with the regional then-Chautauqua Airlines. “It was OK,” she says of the role. “It’s a job. It’s insurance, but the whole time you want to be up front. It’s a good way to check out the lifestyle, to see if it was something I could handle.”

There, she met Heather Warrington, a captain with the airline. Warrington, 38, of Satellite Beach, says she was impressed that Ferry was able to focus on career and a fledgling family life at such a young age.

“She definitely burns the candle at both ends, but she does it really well,” Warrington says.

Ferry is also incredibly down to earth, her friend says.

“One thing that sticks out in my mind with Shannon is her humility and her quiet confidence,” Warrington says. “She’s a confident person, but she’s never one to boast.”

Ferry finished her flight instructor rating at Florida Institute of Technology in December 2004. Daughter Skyler was born in June 2005. That winter, Ferry left her job and went back to Florida Tech to work on her certified flight instructor instrument rating in spring 2006.

She started part-time in May 2006, working with retail students. She attained her multi-engine instructor rating, then was promoted to retail manager. In that role, she started and oversaw summer and other flight camps. Ferry loves being a part of that. “It’s just a rewarding feeling. Give them the experience that I had at that young age.”

In December 2009, Ferry became assistant chief instructor.

Tragedy close to home

Ferry’s also had some tough times. Nov. 11, 2010, was one of those.

“I was on Facebook and a coworker messaged me and said, ‘Oh, it’s not you. I know that,’ ” Ferry says.

There was a link to a news story attached. A Piper PA-44 Seminole with four people aboard crashed during takeoff at Palm Beach International Airport. It was a training flight operated by FIT Aviation.

“That was ugly,” Ferry says. “We all came into work that night, to try to figure out who was it, what happened.”

Three students and a flight instructor were killed. They were headed back to Melbourne after a training flight to the Bahamas.

It was a horrific tragedy. But it didn’t make Ferry rethink her career choice.

“No, not at all,” Ferry says as she walks across the tarmac, the hum of the propeller planes buzzing in the background. “I had some students who, I think it hit them a little bit harder, to try to get them back in the groove. It was tough because they knew them, too.”

Two months later, Ferry’s mother was killed in an icy car accident in Vermont.

Family and philanthropy

In the wake of that terrible time came some good. In April 2011, twins Dylan and Jolee were born.

In May 2013, she became chief instructor. Now, she’s working on getting her master’s degree in business administration.

She attributes being able to juggle it all to her support at home. “I have to credit that to my husband,” Ferry says. He still works in his family’s construction business. “He stays home and works around my schedule. If it weren’t for that, it would be tough.”

In whatever free time she has left over, Ferry is a fan of CrossFit and traveling.

“The twins being 3, they’re pretty demanding,” Ferry says. “But we do the Disney thing. We have seasonal passes. I like to spend time outdoors. I love hiking. I miss the mountains upstate.”

Ferry still allows time for Toastmasters at Florida Tech, the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association and the Zonta Club of Melbourne, which works to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

“My mother, my sister and most of my aunts have been raised through the foster care system, and their experiences haven’t been so great,” Ferry says. “I just feel very fortunate that it wasn’t me, but those kind of things really make you angry. I just want to find a way to try to do my part, to try to help whoever it is from those things from happening.”

Zonta president Trudi Ciccoricco, 59, of Micco is thrilled with what Ferry’s brought to the group.

“She’s definitely a go-getter,” Ciccoricco says. “She has, in a sense, injected our club with this enthusiasm that’s unmistakable.”

Ferry suggested a 5K as a fundraiser, then spearheaded Zonta’s Zero Tolerance for Violence 5K Walk/Run on May 24 in Viera.

Ciccoricco describes Ferry as kind, compassionate, willing and able. “I don’t have any girls, and I said to Shannon, ‘Man, if I could have a daughter, I’d want her to be just like you.’ ”

Learn more

The Zonta Club of Melbourne and Zonta International are focused on advancing the status of women globally, nationally and locally. In Brevard, the nonprofit has projects with the Sue M. Pridmore Center for Homeless Woman and Children, Human Trafficking Awareness and Serene Harbor. Learn more by calling 321-729-0755 or visit