Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Federal Aviation Administration announces temporary flight restrictions in Palm Springs, California


The Federal Aviation Administration has issued temporary flight restrictions in and around Palm Springs over the weekend.

The restrictions are in effect from Friday, June 13 to Monday, June 16. The restrictions will also be in effect around Anaheim, but only on Saturday.

Private pilots will be unable to fly in certain areas and at certain airports while the restrictions are in place. Any pilot who violates the restrictions can face federal criminal charges as well as sanctions from the FAA, according to the administration's advisory.

Full List of Restrictions

Summary of restrictions: (June 13th from 5:30 p.m. -June 14th at 8:30 a.m.)

  • Only airlines, law enforcement aircraft and air ambulance aircraft will be able to fly within an 11-nautical mile radius of Palm Springs International Airport
  • Private pilots will be able to operate within the airspace between 11 nautical miles and 30 nautical miles from PSP, and into and out of airports under that airspace. However, they must have filed flight plans, must be talking to air traffic controllers and must be using transponders that broadcast a code that is unique to their aircraft
  • Certain operations will not be allowed within the 30-nautical mile ring during the entire time the restrictions are in place. These include but are not limited to: flight training, practice instrument approaches, aerobatic flight, glider, seaplane and parachute operations, banner towing, sightseeing, balloon and crop dusting operations

Summary of restrictions: (June 14 from 1:45 p.m. -June 16 at 12:30 p.m.)

Restrictions will be the same as those in effect from 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13 until 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 14 with the following exception:

  • The Transportation Security Administration has created "gateway security screening" procedures at Ontario International Airport (ONT) to accommodate general aviation operators who want to fly into PSP, and at PSP to accommodate general aviation operators who want to depart from that airport
  • Gateway screening will be available from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday
  • General aviation aircraft operators must register with the TSA for gateway screening at least 24 hours prior to their scheduled departure time by calling 909-472-0140
  • Pilots, crew and passengers must provide valid government-issued photo identification to the TSA at the airport prior to departure.

- Source:

Charlotte Douglas airport bill clears Senate, on to House

A new bill that could end the controversy surrounding who will run Charlotte Douglas International Airport passed the North Carolina Senate on Wednesday and moved to the state House for final approval.

Supporters say the bill will bring clarity to a dispute that has festered for more than a year. Opponents called it a “sneak attack” to steal Charlotte Douglas from the city’s oversight.
For months, the Federal Aviation Administration, the city, the new airport commission created last year and a North Carolina Superior Court judge have been locked in a standoff. 

The FAA said it needs to know whether the commission is part of the city government or a separate entity before it will decide whether to let the commission run the airport. At the same time, a judge has said he needs the FAA to make a decision before moving forward in the city’s lawsuit to block the commission.

The new bill aims to resolve that issue by definitively stating the airport commission is an agency of the city government. That could help force the FAA to decide, and move the commission one step closer to running the airport. 

“Once answered, the FAA can make their decision, one way or the other, and the judge can resolve the lawsuit,” state Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg County, said Wednesday.
In one of the more controversial sections, the bill says the city would have to “obtain a determination from the FAA that the Commission may operate the airport” under the existing operating certificate or under a new certificate.

Rucho assured the Senate that this was not redebating the issue but simply answering the FAA’s questions. “What we’re trying to do is find a point of closure in this case so that we can end the discord and move forward.”

“All this does is show that the city of Charlotte owns the airport,” he said.

But Democratic Sens. Malcolm Graham and Jeff Jackson said that wasn’t true. They said the bill attempts to subvert the lawsuit and circumvent city officials, including Mayor Dan Clodfelter, who was a state senator until his recent mayoral appointment.

“You have a good-faith partner in Mayor Clodfelter,” Jackson said. “He’s ready to work. Let’s work with him.”

Graham read a letter from Clodfelter asking the General Assembly to “stand down.”
“This is a local issue that should be decided by the local people in Charlotte,” Graham said. He said local bills taken up in legislative short sessions are supposed to be noncontroversial. “This piece of legislation right from the takeoff never had everyone aboard,” he said. “Since its departure it has experienced turbulence every step of the way.”
Sen. Josh Stein, a Wake County Democrat, challenged the process. “This is the definition of controversial,” he said.

The Senate moved ahead, and the bill passed 31-18.

Although the legislature created the commission in July to run the airport instead of City Council, the commission remains barred from exercising any power. The city sued, and a judge issued an injunction blocking the group.

Despite the injunction, the commission has continued to meet monthly for informational sessions. The court case has languished, with no hearings scheduled.

Robert Stolz, chairman of the 13-member Charlotte Airport Commission, could not be reached Wednesday.

When lawmakers created the commission last year, Republicans from Mecklenburg led the charge. They said the measure was needed to protect Charlotte Douglas from political meddling by the City Council.

Officials in Charlotte, however, said the state was overreaching and called the move a power grab and an infringement on local government.

The commission has seven members appointed by City Council and Charlotte’s mayor, and six appointed by Mecklenburg and the five surrounding counties.

In a sign of how tangled the situation has become, Brent Cagle is both interim executive director of the commission and interim aviation director for the city. For now, the airport remains an independently funded city department, reporting to City Manager Ron Carlee and the council. 


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FAA's 2020 NextGen Mandate: Benefits and Challenges for General Aviation

Before the Committee on Small Business
United States House of Representatives
Statement of Bob Hepp
Owner, Aviation Adventures
Representing the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
June 11, 2014

Chairman Graves and Members of the Committee:

I am Bob Hepp, Owner of Aviation Adventures. Aviation Adventures is a highly regarded flight school with locations in Manassas, Warrenton, Stafford, and Leesburg, Virginia. Our staff of 41 employees provides flight instruction at all levels from initial training through the Airline Transport Pilot certificate. We also provide rental aircraft to certificated pilots. I started Aviation Adventures in 1989 with one aircraft and myself as the only instructor. Today we have 39 aircraft and are known as the premier flight school in Virginia and the leader in providing training in Technologically Advanced Aircraft.

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Gulfstream donates business jet to Savannah Technical College

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has donated a Gulfstream G100 aircraft and several other items to Savannah Technical College.

The aircraft, which was retired from the company fleet in May 2013, will be used as a training tool in the college’s aviation programs.

The donated G100, which does not include its engines and some components, entered service on Sept. 14, 1994. More than half of its 8,472 flight hours and 5,406 landings came during the nearly nine years it flew missions for Gulfstream support teams or transported company personnel.

“We are proud to contribute to the growth of Savannah Tech and the development of tomorrow’s aviation technicians,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream Product Support. “Our 15-year-old partnership has resulted in more than 400 Savannah Tech students becoming Gulfstream employees. These donations will help us and other aerospace companies continue to hire well-trained and highly skilled employees from right here in Savannah.”

Savannah Tech President Kathy S. Love said the college appreciates Gulfstream’s continued support.

“Gulfstream’s commitment to education and shared vision with Savannah Technical College ensures our graduates are ready to work in the aviation industry,” Love said.

Along with the aircraft, Gulfstream donated fly-by-wire components, including manifolds and actuators from the company’s flagship G650 and a flap assembly and fuselage panel assembly from the G450.

“Classroom training is important, but there is no substitute for hands-on training,” said Tal Loos, Savannah Tech’s dean of aviation. “This aircraft will provide unique real-world experience for our students and help them acquire skills and knowledge that will better prepare them for a career in aviation.”

Savannah Tech’s aviation technology division offers degree, diploma and certificate programs in aviation maintenance and diploma and certificate programs in aircraft structural technology. The nearly 30,000-square-foot Aviation Training Center at the school’s Crossroads campus includes labs, classrooms and a 5,000-square-foot/464.5-square-meter hangar.

Savannah Tech will offer a new airframe and powerplant program this summer after earning certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Bell 206L-4 LongRanger IV, N207MY, Westwind Helicopters: Fatal accident occurred June 11, 2014 in South Tim Bailier Platform, Gulf of Mexico

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA286
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in South Tim Bailier Platform, GM
Aircraft: BELL 206 L4, registration: N207MY
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 11, 2014, about 1430 central daylight time, a Bell 206L4 helicopter, N207MY, impacted the waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was registered to Coy Leasing LLC and operated by Westwind Helicopters, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The commercial- rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and company flight following was in effect. The flight departed an oil platform at 1409, and was en route to the South Tim Bailier 317 platform.

A witness who was located on the oil platform reported that he heard the helicopter approach the platform. The helicopter was on a straight in approach to the platform, when the helicopter started to spin in a clockwise direction. The witness added that the helicopter spun 8-10 times, before the helicopter went silent and then dropped to the water.

The helicopter sank and was recovered from about a depth of 380 feet of water. Examination of the helicopter showed extensive damage to the cabin. The tail boom had separated from the main fuselage and was recovered from the surface of the water. One of the main rotor blades, which had separated about four feet from the mast was not recovered. Several sections of the helicopter were not recovered, and included the landing skids, cabin door, and floor.

The wreckage was retrained for further examination.

Rory Bourgeois, 48, of Thibodaux, was on the chopper as part of his job as an air-conditioning technician for BNA Marine Services. 

It will take 12-18 months to determine the cause of the helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday that killed a Thibodaux man and the pilot, federal investigators said. 

The victims were identified as Rory Bourgeois, 48, of Thibodaux, and pilot George LeLoup, whose hometown wasn’t released, National Transportation Safety Board officials said.

The bodies of the victims were found Thursday by divers for Epic Divers & Marine of Belle Chasse and the Coast Guard, authorities said. They had been working aboard an oil industry support boat owned by Bahrain-based Adams Offshore Services.

Investigators have determined the helicopter crashed off an oil rig landing platform about 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay and sank into the Gulf, said Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the transportation agency. It was unclear where the helicopter had taken off, and the rig’s owner wasn’t identified.

This is the only helicopter crash in the Gulf this year, Weiss said.

Bourgeois was flying in the Bell 206-L4 as part of his job as an air-conditioning technician for BNA Marine Services, an Amelia company that handles mechanical and repair needs for the marine industry.

“Rory was a great man and a great technician,” said Jay Schexnayder, BNA Marine Services chief financial officer.

BNA Marine Service officials declined to comment on the investigation.

Weiss said data from the crash will be analyzed to determine why it happened.

“Our investigator will document the wreckage and accident scene, interview witnesses and look at radar data and the history of the flight,” Weiss said.

Autopsies and toxicology tests will be performed on the two victims, and investigators will try to determine their activities in the 72 hours leading to the crash, he said.

A preliminary report with a hypothesized cause of the crash will be released in about a week, he said.


FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03

Bell 206-L4, N207MY: Rotorcraft struck a parked aircraft – Incident occurred November 19, 2012 in Austin, Texas 

  Regis#: 207MY        Make/Model: B206      Description: BELL 206B HELICOPTER
  Date: 11/19/2012     Time: 1630

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Minor

  City: AUSTIN   State: TX   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Taxi      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SAN ANTONIO, TX  (SW17)               Entry date: 11/20/2012

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Westwind Helicopters Inc. has released the names of the two victims killed in a Wednesday afternoon helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The company identified the dead as George LeLoup, the pilot, and Rory Bourgeois, an HVAC Technician with BNA Marine Services.

Westwind said the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Ron T. Capehart, Westwind’s attorney, said in a statement received by The Advertiser the company is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine what caused the aircraft to go down as it approached a rig about 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay.


The owner of the helicopter that crashed in the US Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday said it is investigating the cause of the accident that killed two people.

Texas-based Westwind Helicopters said in a statement on Thursday that is working alongside the US National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash of the Bell 206-L4 aircraft.

The aircraft went down on Wednesday afternoon as it was approaching a platform in South Timbalier Block 317 owned by Renaissance Offshore and operated by Wood Group, which had contracted out transportation duties to Westwind.

The helicopter sunk between 150 and 200 yards from the production platform. The bodies of the pilot and a passenger were recovered. Both "sustained fatal injuries", Westwind said.

"The deceased have been recovered thanks to the tireless efforts of US Coast Guard first responders and others on the scene," the company said in a statement. "Everyone at Westwind offers their deepest condolences to the families and friends of our pilot and the passenger, and we are keeping those affected in our prayers during this difficult time."

The incident occurred about 90 miles south of Houma, Louisiana.

It was the second time a Westwind-owned helicopter hit the water in as many weeks. On 30 May, one of the company's aircraft made a "hard landing" on a platform about 45 miles south-east of Marsh Island, Louisiana, and subsequently fell off.

Six people were aboard but none were injured. All were safely evacuated.


A dive team assisting the U.S. Coast Guard with the search for two people on board a helicopter that went down in the Gulf found two bodies this morning.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said he cannot confirm yet whether the bodies are the two missing from the helicopter crash. The search began yesterday after a helicopter crashed in the South Timbalier Block 317 area of the Gulf of Mexico, about 60 miles south of Terrebonne Parish.

Oil rig workers who reported the crash said they deployed a life raft, but the chopper sank before the life raft could get there.

The dive team was on board the Adam Challenger vessel, one of several Good Samaritan boats that was helping the U.S. Coast Guard in its search. Divers found the bodies between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Westwind Helicopters, the owner of the helicopter, has not responded to requests for comment.


Coast Guard continues through night search for downed helicopter 

GULF OF MEXICO -- The Coast Guard is still searching for two people on a helicopter that crashed and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

It happened about 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay.

The crew of a nearby rig reported the crash Wednesday afternoon. The aircraft reportedly sank before the rig crew could get to it.

The aerial search for the missing men has been suspended because of darkness, but an ocean vessel will continue to search through the night.


The US Coast Guard is responding to a downed helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico that had two people on board and was contracted to Wood Group.

The Bell model 206-L4 ditched about 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay in Louisiana, in South Timbalier Block 317, the Coast Guard said.

"Crew members on the rig deployed a life raft and reported the aircraft sank below the water," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

It was not clear whether the life raft was deployed from a drilling rig or a production platform.

The incident was reported to the Coast Guard at 2:40 pm local time.

A Wood Group spokesperson confirmed to Upstream that the helicopter had been contracted by the company and had gone down as it approached the South Timbalier 317 platform.

"Two people, the pilot and a passenger, were on board and a vessel with divers and medical personnel is currently searching the area for them," she said, adding no Wood Group personnel were onboard the downed helicopter.

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NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard is responding to a downed civilian helicopter with two people aboard, 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay, Wednesday. 

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received the report at 2:40 p.m. of a downed helicopter, Bell model 206-L4, containing two people aboard near South Timbalier Block 317. Crewmembers on the rig deployed a life raft and reported the aircraft sank below the water.

Sector watchstanders launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, a HC-130 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Grand Isle, Louisiana, to assist in the search.

Two Good Samaritan vessels are aiding with the search.

Incident occurred June 11, 2014 at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP), California

Plane's landing gear malfunctions at SLO airport  

Firefighters helped remove an aircraft from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport on Wednesday afternoon after the plane’s landing gear at the nose of the craft collapsed after landing, according to Cal Fire.

No one was injured in the incident, which happened just after 3 p.m. The main runway was closed for about an hour, airport General Manager Kevin Bumen said Wednesday afternoon.

The twin-engine aircraft “touched down on the runway, was in rollout and the gear collapsed,” Bumen said. “It went off the edge of the runway but stayed close by.”

Airport officials notified the National Transportation Safety Board and issued a notice of the runway closure for other aircraft. The plane was removed just after 4 p.m., and the runway was reopened.

It was unknown how many people were on board.

Bumen said the runway closure may have delayed at least one commercial flight but he hadn’t had yet a chance to check with the airlines. 

Story and photo:

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Transportation Security Administration: Some folks still don’t get it. Firearms are not carry-on items.

The Transportation Security Administration has a problem.

Certain people — people educated enough to learn how to shoot a weapon, drive a vehicle to the airport and travel by plane — are getting caught attempting to bring along a firearm in their carry-on baggage.

On Wednesday, the TSA released some alarming figures about the state of our country: In 2013, more than 1,800 firearms were detected at airport checkpoints across the country, up from more than 1,500 in 2012 and 1,300 in 2011. Already this year, the TSA has found more than 900. In the Washington region, so far 10 have been found at Reagan National, seven at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall and four at Dulles International.

The TSA is so piqued by the rising number of people trying to bring their weapons through security checkpoints — rather than legally declaring them at ticket counters — that the agency held a brief news conference Wednesday morning to vent. And, to demonstrate how to properly declare and pack firearms.

“This many years after the September 11th attacks, you’d think people would know the rules. It’d be natural,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman. “They’re telling us they forget. You need to know where your firearm is.”

The TSA can fine people up to $11,000 if they’re caught trying to secret a weapon through a checkpoint. Additionally, airport police can arrest them. Some people do properly check their weapons at the ticket counter, Farbstein said, but still get in trouble: They forget that they don’t have a permit to carry a weapon in the state to which they’re flying.

The TSA even maintains a blog — “The TSA Blog” — which chronicles the tragi­comic discoveries that routinely occur at our nation’s airports. “TSA Week in Review: 18 Firearms Discovered in One Day” was the lead headline as of Wednesday.

And just below that headline was this uplifting item: “Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc.” Apparently, travelers on U.S. airlines haven’t quite grasped that, unlike iPhones, these objects do not have “Airplane Mode” settings. (Two inert grenades were recently found in checked bags at airports in Houston and Palm Beach, Fla.) Then, the TSA Blog made the earnest suggestion to any hobbyist grenade-keepers: “When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must resolve the alarm to determine the level of threat. Even if they are novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.”

The TSA said that most people claim they forgot the weapons were in their bags. In October, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell was cited by the TSA for having a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol in his carry-on bag. “Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag,” Russell said in a statement, according to ESPN. “I apologize and truly regret the mistake.”

In August, Clarence K. Shearer of Millersville, Pa., was charged with illegally carrying a Kel-Tec .380 handgun through a BWI security checkpoint, according to the Lancaster (Pa.) Newspapers’ Web site. Also found in his bag: a spare magazine loaded with six rounds. Maryland court papers indicated that he received probation in a plea hearing in January, the Web site reported. A message left at a phone number listed for Shearer was not returned.

In many cases, law enforcement authorities do not release the names of those charged. But for people who get caught, there is a certain amount of public shaming.

“This is Kathryn Spiropoulos, a 53-year-old woman from Ewing, New Jersey,” is the first sentence of a story published in May on Philadelphia magazine’s Web site, next to Spiropoulos’s mug shot. “On Wednesday morning at 6:50 a.m., say police, Spiropoulos showed up at Philadelphia International Airport carrying a loaded gun and knife.”
A message left at a phone number listed for her was not returned.

In most cases at National and Dulles airports, people caught with guns at security checkpoints are quickly interviewed, cited, charged with a misdemeanor and allowed to continue onto their flight, said Stephen L. Holl, chief of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department. Only after their court cases are adjudicated do the scofflaws get their weapons returned.

At Wednesday’s news conference, in a Dulles conference room, outside Baggage Claim 1 on the lower level, Farbstein took the time to demonstrate how one should properly transport their weapon through the skies.

First, gun owners should purchase a hard case and put the gun in the case.

“See, you put it in a case. A hard-sided case,” Farbstein explained, opening and closing a couple of cases. “This one costs $30, but this one costs $13. They can be inexpensive, and you can get a really nice sleek one. I’d call it a gun metal black color. And this has a built-in lock.”

(Farbstein deflected a reporter’s question about whether she was interested in pursuing a career in the gun-case industry.)

After the gun gets locked in the case, here is the second and final — and very, very uncomplicated — step: Take the case to the airline ticket counter. Declare it. Fill out some paperwork. Watch airport police inspect the case. And, finally, watch the case be taken away with everyone else’s checked luggage.

But even if everyone got the TSA’s message about locking up guns and checking them at the ticket counter, there is another rising problem, according to Holl. “We see multiple cases of people carrying ammunition — live ammunition,” he said.

The bad news for those caught with live ammo? The ammo gets confiscated. The good news? “Generally, we don’t charge them,” the MWAA police chief said.


Airport worker charged after 35kg of heroin seized at Vancouver International Airport

A Vancouver International Airport employee and another man have been charged after police found 35 kilograms of heroin secreted away in shipped goods.

The charges followed an 18-month investigation into the movement of drugs from South Asia into Canada via YVR, RCMP Asst. Commander Wayne Rideout said.

“We know that organized crime groups have vast resources and they work to penetrate legitimate systems to transport illegal commodities,” Rideout said.

Airport worker Randy Norman Per, 42, and Tenny Guon Lim, 34, were arrested and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Per has since been released while Lim remains in custody.

“We allege these individuals worked to actively circumvent the security measures at the airport,” Rideout said.

The CBSA said officers first suspected an airport warehouse employee of using his access to smuggle drugs, and partnered with the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department to investigate.

CBSA Enforcement and Intelligence Division Director Yvette-Monique Gray described the resulting heroin seizure as a major break for law enforcement.

“This is a significant seizure not only because it is one of the largest heroin seizures by the CBSA, but also because it is an organized internal conspiracy that has been disrupted,” said Gray.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Per and Lim are scheduled to appear in court next on July 8 in Richmond.

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Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal assigns '9N-AKQ' call sign to Nepal Airlines new aircraft: Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority extends commercial operation launch deadline to June 29

KATHMANDU: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the civil aviation regulatory body, today handed over a call sign of 9N-AKQ to Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC)’s new aircraft, formally completing the registration process of the China-made airplane.

The call sign was extended amidst push made by the anti-corruption watchdog to expedite the process of launching the commercial operation of MA60, an aircraft manufactured by China-based Avic International Holding.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had first summoned high-ranking officials of NAC, CAAN and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) on May 30 and sought clarification on the delay in commercial operation of the aircraft, which had landed in Nepal on April 27.

Then on June 4 it warned to take action against concerned NAC officials if they fail to start the operation within June 15. However, following request made by MoCTCA Secretary Sushil Ghimire and top brass of CAAN and NAC to postpone the maiden commercial flight date to June 29, the CIAA today issued a notice saying the deadline for commercial operation of MA60 has been extended to June 29.

“This is the last time we are extending the deadline. Action will be taken against concerned NAC officials, if they fail to start commercial operation by then,” says the statement.

NAC Spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma said that the company is all set to meet the deadline, as the ‘tedious process of registering the aircraft in the country has finally been completed’.

NAC was trying to attain the call sign ever since the aircraft was brought to Nepal. However, it had failed to do so due to delay in the process of de-registering the aircraft in China and submission of other documents.

“We have finally crossed one of the hurdles by obtaining the call sign,” Sharma said.

NAC will now focus on obtaining the air worthiness certificate.

During this process, the operation and maintenance manuals, coupled with evacuation plans, of the new aircraft would be scrutinized by CAAN.

“Test flights would also be conducted during this phase using two instructor pilots who have arrived from China,” Sharma said. Also, engineers who are certified in maintaining MA60 will start providing training to Nepali engineers.

Once the air-worthiness certificate is issued, NAC will start the process of acquiring radio mobile licence.

Finally, NAC will apply to upgrade the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) — a process under which the name of the new aircraft will be added to NAC’s existing AOC. Once the AOC is upgraded, the state-owned airline company will finally be able to start commercial operation of MA60.

WWI Flying Ace Crash Lands In A Tree

A WWI plane enthusiast nicknamed 'Biggles' by his pals has walked away unscathed after his replica biplane crashed into a tree.

Pawel Stanislowsky, 54, from Stara Wies, a village in southern Poland, had lovingly built the French WWI classic Nieuport 11 fighter plane for the centenary of the Great War which falls in August this year.

But when he took it up to give it a test flight, the engine stalled and began to lose height.

As he tried to land it in a field he struck the top of a tree and was left hanging with the tail of the plane stuck in the branches.

The pilot escaped unharmed and now has no choice but to sell the parts for scrap.

He said: "It is an ignominious end for a fine machine. I have been an amateur of the Great War for all my life, particularly the war in the air which was the only place amid the slaughter that elan and chivalry had a place.

"I was booked to go to air shows in France and the UK in the summer but that is all a dream now. Biggles is grounded!

"I don't know what the problem was but it was in the engine. Any heavier and the thing would have dropped like a stone, but because it is such a featherweight contraption I was able to float down into the trees.

"The damage is too great to repair."

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Moore County Airport (KSOP) prepared to welcome the golf world

Pinehurst, N.C. — The Moore County Airport is putting its best foot forward to welcome the world of golf for the back-to-back U.S. Open Championships being held at Pinehurst Resort.

“We lengthened our runway,” said Steve Borden, the Moore Country Airport director. “We used to have a 5,500-foot runway. We now have a 6,500-foot runway. That has increased our ability to accept larger airplanes and enhance the safety of the operations of the airport.”

A two-year, multi-million dollar expansion, preparing for an onslaught of golfers, their families and corporate sponsors at the U.S. Open, the renovations are completed in time for the big event.

“It’s incredibly valuable to the players, the fans and also the residents of Moore County because it represents a destination gateway to the Pinehurst Resort which is only five and a half miles from the airport,” Borden explained.

The changes aren't just outside the airport.

“We did some terminal upgrades and reclaimed some underutilized space,” he said. “Walking through the terminal, you’ll notice we’ve really pulled out all the stops, and we’ve got some local companies to help dress up the terminal even more so for the U.S. Open event.”

This airport typically handles between 400 and 600 flights a month. They could see from 2,000 to 4,000 in the next two weeks.

“We brought on a temporary air traffic control tower,” said Borden. “It’s actually a contract company, Air Boss Incorporated.”

As busy as they've been over the last three years to get ready, the real crush starts now.

When will everyone at the airport be able to breathe normally after what is sure to be a hectic two weeks?

“I’m thinking about January of next year,” said Borden through laughter.

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Roseland Spitfire set to earn its wings

It's been in Comox for more than 10 years, and it won't be much longer until the Roseland (Y2-K) Spitfire will take flight.

Wednesday, representative Terry Chester and Jon Ambler, program manager and volunteer co-ordinator of the Comox Air Force Museum, announced the Second World War plane could take to the skies in late 2015 with help from Vintage Wings of Canada, a non-profit organization based in Gatineau, QC. which collects and restores historically significant aircraft.

"We're in an exciting transition stage for this aircraft," said Chester.

The wings for the iconic plane were built in the United Kingdom, and the plane, which has taken residence for years in a hanger on the far side of the Comox Airport, will be moved to the Gatineau facility, explained Ambler.

"The victories were made by the people inside these airplanes. The people don't last forever, but you can make the airplane last longer, and that's why it's being rebuilt. It's a symbol of what those young men did during the Second World War," he added.

The reconstruction of the Spitfire has been a popular exhibit at the Comox Air Force Museum since 2000, when the museum used a Heritage Grant to begin the project.

"…With volunteers, with fundraising and we hired an engineer from time to time, (volunteers) worked away. They took those pieces of wreckage …. and gradually started to build the airplane," said Ambler, and added an analysis was done in 2008 which highlighted the resources were not in Comox to complete the project.

"It was found that the best possible option was to turn the project over to a like-minded organization."

The project was then assumed by Vintage Wings, and recently, Col. Jim Benninger, 19 Wing Commander, signed an update to the original contract allowing the plane to be moved to Gatineau.

The move will allow technicians to attach the wings, complete test flights, ensure airworthiness and paint the aircraft in its distinctive 442 Squadron colours, featuring the Y2-K call letters, noted Chester.

He explained more than 2.4 million dollars has been spent on the restoration.

"When finished, it will be the best built spitfire in the world, and only one of two in North America," he said.

"There will be a fly across — it was promised it would return. There will be a celebratory flight; it will come back to the home where it started."

Story and photo:

Man on Texas death row 3 decades loses appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — An Arlington man on death row 30 years for the shooting deaths of four people at an airplane hangar on a North Texas ranch lost an appeal Wednesday before Texas' highest criminal court.

A Grayson County judge had said jurors who sentenced Lester Bower should have been given a way to consider mitigating evidence of his good behavior and non-violent past. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused, saying Bower "was not constitutionally entitled" to a separate jury instruction focused on the mitigating evidence.

The appeals court also rejected arguments that Bower was innocent, that prosecutors improperly withheld evidence from his trial lawyers, and that executing the now 66-year-old inmate after holding him for so long on death row would be unconstitutionally cruel.

Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said he would soon as for an execution date.

"We think all issues have been litigated and appeals are exhausted, but we also know Mr. Bower's attorneys have continued to file appeals over 30 years," he said.

Melissa Hensley, listed in court documents as Bower's attorney, referred questions to a legal team in Washington. Peter Buscemi, a Washington attorney also listed on the documents, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

Bower long has maintained his innocence in the October 1983 shooting deaths of Bob Tate, 51, a Denison building contractor; Ronald Mayes, 39, a former Sherman police officer; Philip Good, 29, a Grayson County sheriff's deputy; and Jerry Mac Brown, 52, a Sherman interior designer.

The bodies were discovered at the hangar on Tate's ranch, where Good stored his ultralight plane. Parts of the missing aircraft were later found in Bower's garage in Arlington.

Bower, then 36, initially lied to authorities about being at the hangar, but he later recanted. But he insisted that when he left, the men at the ranch were alive.

"In life you make decisions sometimes you wish you could take back," he told the AP from prison in 2008.

Prosecutors built a circumstantial case against Bower, a college graduate and father of two daughters who worked as a chemical salesman. Investigators alleged that he killed the men while stealing the plane and connected Bower to the case after finding he had made three phone calls to Good on his company credit card.

Bower is among the longest-serving Texas death row inmates because his case has slowly moved through the state and federal courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case in April 2008, and Bower was set to die three months later, but a judge in Grayson County withdrew the execution date to allow for DNA testing.

Five years after his trial, a woman implicated four other men in the case, saying the shootings were the result of a drug deal gone bad. Then at the 2012 hearing, Bower's attorneys produced witnesses who said other men were responsible for the four slayings. Prosecutors challenged the information.


Bahamasair: Engine Fire


Bahamasair is conducting an internal review of the circumstances that led to an engine fire on board a commercial flight to Eleuthera last week.

According to reports, the right engine of a Bahamasair Dash 8 aircraft caught fire during an early morning flight from Nassau to Rock Sound International Airport on Thursday.

The pilot was reportedly 25 miles away from the airport when the incident occurred.

A statement from the Ministry of Transport and Aviation read: “The plane landed safely with 46 passengers and three crew members on board, and the captain was able to extinguish the fire, utilizing the engine’s internal extinguishing system.

Portable fire extinguishers and water were also utilized to cool the tires.

The airport manager, Mr Phillip McPhee, has informed that the passengers and crew were able to exit the aircraft safely and swiftly.

“The public is informed that the principal maintenance inspector, and the principal operations inspector of the Flight Standards Unit of the Civil Aviation Department have commenced an immediate investigation into this incident, to determine the circumstances which led to the fire.”

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Civil Aviation Manager Hubert Adderley said the nation’s flagship carrier will conduct its own investigation as the incident did not result in an accident.

Mr Adderley said an accident, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization occurs when a person is fatally or seriously injured; the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure; or if the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible.

He said Bahamasair officials have indicated that the company will be doing an internal review of the incident.

Calls placed to Bahamasair Managing Director Henry Woods were not returned up to press time.


Accidental death verdicts returned in Cork air crash inquest

Six people died, including both the pilot and co-pilot, while six passengers survived when the Fairchild Metroliner crashed on its third attempt to land in thick fog on February 10 2011.

 Coroner Frank O'Connell said it was not the job of the seven-member jury to apportion blame for the tragedy.

Mr O'Connell described it as an horrific tragedy and said he hoped he never again had to handle an inquest involving six deaths.

The verdict was returned after Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) senior inspector, Leo Murray, said the pilot and co-pilot were not equipped with the tools such as bad weather experience to handle the situation they found themselves in that day.

Poor decisions were compounded by fatigue and the pressure the pilots placed on themselves to land at Cork.

He said the prudent option would have been to divert to another airport after the Belfast flight had been forced to abort its second landing attempt at Cork due to poor visibility.

Air Traffic Control supervisor, Sean Patrick, confirmed that the pilots were informed in the minutes before the crash that while visibility at Cork was just 300m the visibility at Kerry Airport was around 10km.

Mr O'Connell confirmed the accidental death verdicts for all six deceased as he extended his deepest sympathies to the bereaved families.

Passengers who survived the crash landing at 9.48 am admitted that they initially feared they would be burned alive at the wrecked plane caught fire.

Survivors paid tribute to Cork Airport fire brigade units who were at the crash site within seconds and had the two engine blazes successfully extinguished before they could spread to the fuel-soaked fuselage.

Survivor Heather Elliot (57) said passengers feared the spread of fire in the seconds after the wrecked plane came to a standstill lying upside down.

"I was so terrified that we had survived the crash only to be burned alive," she said.

Passengers smelled smoke and aviation fuel as the shattered plane lay on its roof half filled with mud.

Ms Elliot and another trapped passenger, Laurence Wilson (58), held hands and prayed.

Another passenger, Peter Cowley (35), revealed he saw Shannon and Farranfore Airports on the plane’s SatNav system for possible diversions but the pilots opted to attempt a third landing in fog at Cork.

Cork fire brigade crews led by Kevin Dunne and John McCarthy had the aircraft fire doused in seconds - and all survivors removed from the wreckage in 30 minutes.

The fog was so thick rescue personnel initially couldn’t see the plane crash and only spotted its burning engines across Runway 17.

Cork triggered its major emergency plan with Supt Charlie Barry confirming 191 emergency personnel were involved backed by 54 fire appliances and ambulances.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the six fatalities suffered multiple blunt trauma injuries ranging from fractured skulls to ruptured aortas as well as severe internal organ damage.

All died virtually instantly.

However, Dr Bolster also found that the co-pilot, Andrew Cantle, had suffered a broken wrist and arm.

Such injuries are indicative of being at the controls at the time of impact.

The pilot, Jordi Sola Lopez from Spain, had a fractured skull and ribs.

The inquest evidence and verdicts, combined with the hard-hitting AAIU report published last January, will now be central to the civil claims.

The AAIU ruled the tragedy was caused by a disastrous loss of control during an attempted ‘go‐around’ by the aircraft in heavy fog.

The co-pilot was handling the plane aerodynamics while the pilot was manning its engine operations.

The report found that poor decisions by the air crew combined with lack of oversight of the Spanish airline operators were factors in the tragedy. – which is based in the Isle of Man and is now in liquidation – did not own its own aircraft and did not directly employ its own aircrew.

Civil claims are now being brought against Spanish firms Air Lada and Flightline BCN from whom contracted the plane and aircrew.

The legal actions were planned for Ireland but will now be pursued in Chicago in Cook County, Illinois in the US.

The 240 page AAIU report took almost three years to prepare.

The six dead included Brendan McAleese, a cousin of President Mary McAleese’s husband, Martin; Pat Cullinan, a partner in KPMG’s Belfast office; Michael Evans, Belfast Deputy Harbour Commissioner; pilot Jordi Sola Lopez; co-pilot Andrew Cantle from England and businessman Richard Noble from Belfast.

Widow Ann-Marie McAleese attended the inquest together with Rose Cullinan, mother of Pat Cullinan, and the parents of co-pilot Andrew Cantle, John and Ann.

The parents of the pilot, Jordi Sola Lopez, were represented by the Spanish Consul, Cathy Goode.

Angela Rankin represented the Evans family.

Other bereaved families including widow Alison Noble were too upset to attend.

The six passengers who survived were Heather Elliot, Peter Cowley, Brendan Mallon, Mark Dickens, Donal Walsh and Laurence Wilson.

 Verdicts of accidental death have been returned by the jury at the inquest into the deaths of six people in a plane crash at Cork Airport three years ago.

Prior to the verdict being reached, Coroner Frank O'Connell told the jury of six men and one woman that they were entitled to conclude that fog at the airport at the time of the crash was a significant factor.

Mr O'Connell also told the jury it was entitled to conclude from the evidence that the pilots were doing their level best to land the plane safely.

He told the jury members that, if they agreed with that, then a verdict of accidental death was possibly the only one open to them.

The Manx2 commuter flight from Belfast had ten passengers and two crew on board when it crashed.

The 18-seater light turboprop aircraft overturned and caught fire while making a third attempt to land in heavy fog at Cork Airport.

The flight's captain, co-pilot and four passengers died; six other passengers survived.

Yesterday, the inquest heard from survivors of the crash.

One of the survivors said, having survived the impact, she felt she was then going to be burnt alive.

Heather Elliott was traveling from Belfast to visit her mother in Kinsale.

She described the plane descending into thick fog and said she was concerned that the pilot could not see.

The plane then crashed and went on fire.

Ms Elliott said she held the hand of fellow passenger Laurence Wilson and they both prayed.

Mr Wilson said mud which filled the aircraft was suffocating him.

Both he and Ms Elliott were rescued soon afterwards.

Cork's major accident and emergency plan was activated to deal with the crash.

Superintendent Charlie Barry, who oversaw the plan, described the crash as a terrible tragedy.

John McCarthy of the Cork Airport Police told the inquest about the efforts that he and other emergency services personnel made to rescue people from the aircraft.

He said cutting equipment had to be used to get several of the passengers out of their seats.

Mr McCarthy told the inquest that most of the fatalities were seated toward the front of the aircraft.

NTSB Identification: DCA11RA025
 Accident occurred Thursday, February 10, 2011 in Cork, Ireland
Aircraft: SWEARINGEN SA227, registration:
Injuries: 6 Fatal,6 Serious.

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

On February 10, 2010, at 0950 local time, a Swearingen SA-227 Metroliner, Spanish registration EC-ITP, operated by Flightline/Manx2 Air as flight 7100, crashed after attempting a landing on runway 17 at the Cork Airport, Cork, Ireland. The flight was a scheduled passenger flight from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The two pilots and four of the ten passengers were fatally injured, six of the ten passengers were seriously injured. The airplane was destroyed.

The accident is being investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of Ireland. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of design and manufacture of the airplane and engines.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to the AAIU of Ireland at:

Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU)
Department of Transport
44 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, N9454L: Accident occurred June 09, 2014 in El Mirage, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA239
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 09, 2014 in El Mirage, CA
Aircraft: AMERICAN AVIATION AA-1A, registration: N9454L
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 9, 2014, about 1115 Pacific daylight time, an American Aviation AA-1A, N9454L, collided with the dry surface of El Mirage Lake, in El Mirage, California. The airplane was co-owned, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence. The local personal flight departed from the El Mirage Lakebed, about 1100. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) had organized an off-duty recreation day at the lakebed. The group was comprised of about 12 people, and included family and friends. A combination of activities was planned, including camping, along with flying both the accident airplane and powered paragliders. The accident pilot was a fire helicopter pilot, assigned to the air operations division of the LAFD.

About 0930, the pilot departed with one of his daughters in the accident airplane to perform a sightseeing flight in the local area. The flight departed from the lakebed in a southerly direction in light and variable winds, and lasted about 15 minutes. A short time later he flew his second daughter on a similar flight, for a similar amount of time.

For the third, and accident flight, the group requested that the pilot perform a "low-pass" over the north shore of the lakebed, where everyone had assembled.

According to witnesses, the flight departed again to the south, but this time the wind had picked up such that a left crosswind existed during takeoff. The flight progressed as before, and after about 15 minutes the airplane approached the group from the northwest, at a low altitude for what was presumed to be the low-pass. The airplane flew over the group about 100 feet agl, and after passing initiated a climbing right crosswind turn to the south. Witnesses reported that as the airplane turned from crosswind to downwind, the bank angle became "excessive," with some witnesses assuming the pilot was either positioning the airplane to land, or returning for a second low-pass. The airplane did not level after the bank. The nose then pitched down, and the airplane descended into the ground at a 45-degree nose-down angle.

The accident site was located on the western side of the lakebed, at an elevation of 2,841 feet msl.

The lakebed was comprised of smooth, hard-packed soil, with the first identified point of impact including a series of 2-inch-deep ground disruptions. Ground scars continued 10-feet further, on a bearing of 320 degrees magnetic, and included debris consisting of green wingtip navigation lens fragments and the nose landing gear strut. The engine starter ring and alternator belt were located adjacent to the scars. The propeller, nose landing gear, shards of red wing tip navigation lens, along with the pitot tube (mounted at the left wingtip, underside) were a further 30-feet down range.

The main wreckage came to rest about 160 feet beyond the first impact point. The cabin area rested upright on a bearing of 170 degrees and sustained crush damage from the firewall through to the passenger seat bulkhead. The flight controls were fragmented, and all flight instruments were detached from the panel. The tail section was intact, upright, and undamaged. The engine mount had detached from the airframe, with the engine remaining partially attached to the firewall via control cables and hoses.

Both wings had separated from the center spar, and remained loosely oriented perpendicular to the main cabin. The right wing was inverted, with the outboard section of the leading edge crushed at a 45-degree angle towards the trailing edge of the wing tip. The left wing came to rest leading edge up, and sustained leading edge crush damage along its entire length. Both wing spar fuel tanks were breached, and the odor of automotive gasoline was present at the site. The magneto switch was observed in the both position; additionally, the fuel selector valve was in the right wing tank position. The carburetor heat, throttle, and fuel mixture controls were in the full forward position. The flap actuator was set to the fully retracted flap position.

All major components of airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and the airframe was free of any indications of bird strike.


FAA Riverside FSDO-21

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, Jeffery K. Moir, N9454L: 

Sebastian Joshua Grewal

Veteran LAFD helicopter pilot Brian Lee, shown in a photo provided by the department, died in an off-duty plane crash on June 9, 2014.

An 8-year-old Hesperia boy died Friday night from injuries he suffered in a plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake, according to his family.

Despite the efforts of doctors and the prayers of many in the community, Sebastian Joshua Grewal died at Loma Linda University Medical Center at approximately 10 p.m. Friday, his father Joshua Grewal said.

"Sebastian passed away peacefully last night in my arms, surrounded by family," Joshua Grewal said Saturday morning by phone. "I am humbled and touched by all the love and support from the High Desert community and I am forever thankful."

Sebastian, who loved planes and dreamed of becoming a pilot, was critically injured in the crash late Monday morning and was airlifted to Loma Linda where physicians treated him for severe brain injuries, according to his father.

During his stay, doctors performed multiple surgeries on the boy, including one to relieve pressure to the brain, Joshua Grewal said.

As his son was being treated, Joshua Grewal, the owner of Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop in Hesperia, asked the community to lift his son up in prayer and at times wished the he could exchange places with his little boy who also loved cars, golfing and dirt bikes.

Joshua Grewal said Sebastian was “fighting very hard to live” and that “it’s a miracle that he is still alive” after seeing the wreckage of the single-engine Grumman AA-1A aircraft.

 Brian Lee, 47, a family friend and pilot of the aircraft, was pronounced dead Monday night at a Palmdale hospital after being airlifted there. Lee was a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic.

According to the LAFD, Lee was a 25-year veteran of the department and was not on duty when the plane experienced problems and crashed.

Joshua Grewal said Lee had taken the plane out to give Sebastian a plane ride during a camping trip. Grewal said Lee left behind twin girls.

Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Eric Schmidt said the High Desert community, and Hesperia in particular, mourns the loss of Sebastian.

"Our support and prayers go out to Josh and the rest of the family and friends impacted by this tragic accident," Schmidt said.

Hesperia Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith reached out to Joshua Grewal soon after the crash and said he'll continue to pray for the family and to make himself available to them.

"It breaks my heart that another father has lost his child," Smith said Saturday morning. "I lost my son, Brandon, seven years ago and the pain is still there. … This is a tragic and sad day. Father's Day will never be the same for Josh."

Sebastian Joshua Grewal

 Sebastian Joshua Grewal

HESPERIA • Sebastian Joshua Grewal, 8, of Hesperia, is clinging to life at Loma Linda University Medical Center after he was critically injured late Monday morning in a plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake.

“He wants to be a pilot when he grows up,” said Sebastian’s father, Josh Grewal, on Tuesday morning by phone. “He is fighting very hard to live as we speak. Looking at the wreckage of the plane, it’s a miracle that he is still alive.”

Josh Grewal, who is the owner of Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop in Hesperia, said doctors at Loma Linda were performing a second surgery to relieve pressure on Sebastian’s brain on Tuesday.

“Sebastian just turned eight in March, and he loves airplanes, cars, golfing and dirt bikes,” Grewal said. “The community can just keep him in their prayers.”

In a Monday night Facebook post, Josh Grewal said, “... a father's heart is reaching out to whoever is in charge. Please save my son.”

According to authorities, the pilot of the aircraft was off-duty Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic Brian Lee, 47, who was pronounced dead Monday night at a Palmdale hospital after being airlifted there.

“My heart is also breaking for Brian (Lee), the pilot and a friend,” said Grewal, who lives in Hesperia. “He has two little twin girls.”

According to the LAFD, Lee was a 25-year veteran of the department and was not on duty when the plane experienced problems and crashed.

What exactly caused the plane to go down is unclear, but San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Randy Naquin said the plane did a nosedive after experiencing "some sort of mechanical issue."

Lee could not regain control of the small plane and it crashed in the northwest end of the lake bed.

Lee had taken the plane out to the dry lake to give Sebastian a plane ride during a camping trip.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, identified the single-engine plane as a Grumman AA-1A. Lee had taken off in the plane from the lakebed and planned to land there as well, Gregor said.

Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.

Story and photos:

 The plane crashed in a dry lake bed after doing several barrel rolls, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said. 
(Credit: Newspro)

An off-duty Los Angeles firefighter was killed and a boy passenger was in critical condition after a small, private plane crashed near El Mirage Lake in the Mojave Desert on Monday, according to authorities. 

The crash occurred at the northwest end of the dry lake bed (map) around 11:10 a.m, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
Brian Lee, a helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department, was killed, LAFD announced Monday evening.

His civilian passenger was in critical condition, the department stated in a news release.

Off-duty LAFD colleagues witnessed the crash and “rushed to render aid,” the release said.

Both patients were airlifted to local trauma centers, but Lee died. He had just turned 47 and had served more than 25 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

When first responders arrived, firefighters who had been camping at the lake bed were giving CPR to the two people who had been in the plane, sheriff’s Cpl. Randy Naquin.

The firefighters had been taking turns flying the plane when some kind of trouble caused it to nosedive, Naquin said. The pilot attempted to recover and land the aircraft, but it did several barrel rolls, he said.

The passenger, a male juvenile, was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Naquin said. The pilot had been taken to Palmdale trauma center.

The wreckage lay twisted on the sand, video from the scene showed.

The aircraft had taken off from the dry lake bed and planned to land there as well, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, who said the plane was a single-engine Grumman AA-1A.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate, Gregor said.

The lake bed is in a remote area that is popular for camping about 33 miles east of Lancaster and 55 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

A pilot who died in a small plane crash in San Bernardino County on Monday was a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, officials said.

Brian Lee, an LAFD helicopter pilot and firefighter paramedic, was flying with a young passenger when the private plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake.

Lee and a 7- to 8-year-old boy were airlifted to hospitals following the crash, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department Spokeswoman Tracy Martinez.

Lee died at the hospital, officials said. The boy was in critical condition.

The plane was flying over El Mirage Dry Lake bed about 11 a.m. when it struck the ground and flipped several times, leaving a trail of debris more than 30 yards long.

"There was something that caused the aircraft to nosedive," San Bernardino Sheriff's Cpl. Randy Naquin said. "The pilot attempted to regain control of the aircraft, tried to land it, and the aircraft ended up doing a couple of barrel rolls."

The American Aviation AA-1A Trainer was severely damaged in the crash, authorities said. The initial call reporting the crash came in as a helicopter crash.

The crash was reportedly near the northwest end of the lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the crash.

A pilot was killed and a boy injured after a private plane crashed at El Mirage Dry Lake in San Bernardino County on Monday, June 9, 2014. 

Drone crash prompts Vancouver to review film industry use

Unmanned aerial vehicle crashed while filming a commercial in downtown Vancouver last month 


A drone crash in downtown Vancouver last month has triggered a review by the city on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the film industry.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was being used to shoot a commercial near the intersection of Hastings and Hornby streets when it hit a building and crashed to the ground.

No one was injured and Transport Canada says no one will be charged.

The City of Vancouver confirmed that immediately after the incident, staff imposed a moratorium on UAV filming while Transport Canada conducted a review. That moratorium has been lifted and City of Vancouver staff plan to meet next week to review the city's policies to see if they need to be updated.

City engineer Peter Judd says the main objective is to ensure no one gets injured by a drone.

"We want to make sure it's safe for the public. Obviously we want to facilitate filming as well. It's an important industry in this city."

Judd says one advantage of drones is that they are less intrusive than helicopters for residents.

"Drones are an extension of work that's been going on for a long time in the film industry. Typically shots are achieved with helicopters which frankly are noisy and disruptive to residents. Drones provide an alternative that is a lot less intrusive."

Andy Horka, the owner of Big Sky Cam, which does mostly real estate shots, says everyone in the industry is aware of the crash, but argues drones are much safer than normal helicopters.

"Comparatively if you're using a full copter for aerial photography, your risk goes up exponentially — because if it comes down, it's a colossal disaster," says Horka.

The use of drones is controlled by Transport Canada, which issues Special Flight Operating Certificates for approved operations.

The number of drone permits issued in B.C. annually has risen from just six in 2007 to 178 last year. 

Story and video:

Emirates Cancels Airbus A350 Order: Jets Deal Valued at $21.6 Billion at Current List Prices

The Wall Street Journal
By Robert Wall
Updated June 11, 2014 5:46 a.m. ET

Airbus Group NV on Wednesday suffered one of the industry's largest plane cancellations when Emirates Airline decided to walk away from a deal for 70 A350 long-range jets as the carrier reviews fleet plans.

Emirates, the second largest buyer of the jet, won't take 50 A350-900s, the model currently in flight testing, and 20 larger A350-1000s, Airbus said in a statement. The move represents a 9% hit to Airbus's order backlog for its newest plane.

The deal with Emirates, whose stamp of approval for long-range jets carries weight across the industry, has a combined value of $21.6 billion at current list prices. When the order was placed in 2007 it had a list price value of $16 billion, though plane makers typically offer particularly large discounts to launch customers.

"The contract which we signed in 2007 for 70 A350 aircraft has lapsed. We are reviewing our fleet requirements," a spokesman for Emirates said. Emirates increasingly is focused on fielding larger planes as it worries Dubai airport capacity could be an impediment to growth.

"It is not good news commercially, but it certainly has no impact financially," said Airbus' chief commercial plane salesman John Leahy. Production slots vacated by Emirates would be filled, he said, with "already a queue of people who have expressed interest."

The market for additional twin-aisle planes tops 4,000 aircraft over the next two decades. "There is a very big market going forward," Mr. Leahy said.

Emirates President Tim Clark had said previously the A350 would likely be a good airplane for many airlines, though it would only have a niche role in his fleet.

"Although a cancellation by a blue chip airline is hardly a positive, when put in perspective versus the remaining A350 backlog and the aggregate Airbus backlog it's not the end of the world," said RBC Capital analyst Robert Stallard.

Emirates, the largest airline by international traffic, is the biggest buyer of Boeing Co. 777s and Airbus A380 superjumbos. The airline in November agreed to boost its A380 order commitment to 140 jets.

Airbus had booked 812 A350 orders through May, including the deal from Emirates. Emirates was the second-largest customer for the A350 along with Singapore Airlines. Only Qatar Airways Ltd., the lead customer for the plane, has bought more. Qatar, which is buying 80 A350s, is due to receive its first this year.

Emirates and Qatar have pursued almost identical strategies in building their networks around their respective hubs in Dubai and Doha. But the two biggest Middle Eastern airlines have started to diverge on strategy as Emirates builds its fleet around the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 and Qatar opts for the smaller 787 and A350.

Emirates' A350s were due for delivery from 2019, giving Airbus time to fill the slots. Demand for the A350 has been strong so prices the Toulouse-based plane maker can achieve from a new buyer may be higher than Emirates committed to pay.

Pricing for the A350 has been improving, Mr. Leahy said. "It is obviously higher than our launch pricing."

The order cancellation also impacts engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings  PLC, which said Wednesday its order book would fall by about 3.5% or £2.6 billion ($4.4 billion) as a result of the Emirates news.

"While disappointed with this decision, we are confident that the delivery slots which start towards the end of this decade vacated by Emirates will be taken up by other airlines," the company said in a statement.

The cancellation means Rolls-Royce has no engines on order with one of the world's biggest buyers of jets. That could change if Airbus heeds Mr. Clark's call to re-engine its A380 superjumbo. The Emirates boss has said he would buy the plane, or A380neo, as it should deliver double-digit efficiency gains with Rolls-Royce engines.

"At the present time we are not planning to do it," Mr. Leahy said of the A380 upgrade. The request by its largest A380 customer does cause the plane maker to study the option, though, he said.

—Rory Jones and Rory Gallivan contributed to this article.