Monday, June 16, 2014

Plane, Roof Damaged at Port Columbus International Airport (KCMH) From High Winds

EAST COLUMBUS (James Jackson) -- High winds caused damage at Port Columbus International Airport, scaring some people at the airport in the process.

Both a plane and a hangar were damaged from the weather Monday afternoon.

Officials with Lane Aviation say high winds tore off part of the roof. Insulation from the facility blew all over the parking lot and rooftop. Officials say the building was back up and running within five minutes. Workers spent the afternoon picking up insulation.

Witnesses say the high winds struck fast. Maintenance workers we talked to say it was a scary sight.

Airport officials say the wing and propeller of a small, private aircraft were also damaged from the weather. That plane was on a taxiway.

No one was injured and no passenger flights were affected.

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Controller saves ORNGE chopper from potential collision at Ottawa airport

OTTAWA—A quick-thinking air traffic controller saved an ORNGE air ambulance helicopter from taxiing into the path of a landing Federal Express cargo jet at Ottawa airport.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has launched a formal investigation after the helicopter ignored a controller’s instruction and taxied into the protected area of a runway at Ottawa airport as the jet was preparing to land.
It was only a second instruction from the air traffic controller that stopped the ORNGE helicopter, callsign “Lifeflight 4,” in time, according to a preliminary report into the June 5 incident.
The incident is known as a runway incursion, a growing problem at Canadian airports and one that is on the safety board’s watchlist of serious transportation risks.
A Star analysis last year of Transport Canada data revealed that on average, there are almost 400 runway incursions by aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians each year at Canadian airports. A search of a Transport Canada database that logs aviation incidents shows there have been 175 runway incursions so far this year.
The Ottawa incident unfolded when the AW139 helicopter, preparing to depart to Pembroke, Ont., was told by air traffic control to stop its taxi before crossing Runway 25. However, the helicopter continued past the stop line and entered the runway’s protected area as the Federal Express Airbus A300 twin-engine jet was landing.
There was a “risk of collision” when the helicopter crossed the runway stop line without authorization and into the potential path of the arriving jet, according to a preliminary Transport Canada report into the accident.
“ATC (air traffic control) had to stop LF4 Medevac before it entered the runway,” the report says.
Chris Krepski, a spokesperson for the safety board, confirmed that an investigation is underway. He did not know how close the two aircraft got, saying that information would be sought as part of the investigation.
A spokesperson for ORNGE said the helicopter’s pilots reported the incident to the agency’s own safety team.
“We are conducting our own internal investigation in cooperation with Nav Canada, Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board. There was no damage or injury resulting from this occurrence,” Laurelle Knox told the Star in an email.

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Mountain Goat STOL: Incident occurred June 16, 2014 in Wolcott, Eagle County, Colorado

Plane lands on Wolcott golf course

WOLCOTT — Usually you want to keep goats off your golf course, but a Front Range pilot and his passenger walked away from an emergency landing in high winds on a local golf course.

The pilot didn’t injure himself, his plane or the Eagle Springs golf course when engine failure forced him to land his 1994 experimental private plane, known as a “Goat", on the golf course’s second fairway - a 547-yard par 5.

Just after 11 a.m. Monday, the pilot radioed that his engine was losing oil pressure and he would have to make an emergency landing.

He was flying over the valley when the call came in. The plane had originated in Golden and was headed back to Boulder County when the engine began to fail, said investigators with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

As he was scouring the valley looking for a place to land, he spotted the Eagle Springs golf course in Wolcott. He set the plane down on Eagle Springs’ second fairway, perhaps the best approach ever on that par 5.

The pilot and his passenger both walked away from the incident unharmed.

Witnesses said it was a brilliant bit of flying, that the pilot came in slowly and smoothly, and the oversize tires left very few marks on the fairway. After it was on the ground and everyone was safe, the plane was damaged when high winds pushed it onto one wing tip.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident, said the Sheriff’s Office report.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle County Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Eagle River Fire Protection District and Eagle County Paramedic Services worked collaboratively on this incident.


Fire-fighting planes needed in Ruidoso; Village is ranked on top for danger of catastrophic wildfire

Some aerial fire-fighting equipment should be stationed at Ruidoso's municipal airport during fire season, not 75 miles away in Roswell, village officials contend.

Fire Chief Harlan Vincent will participate in a conference call today with officials from the Bureau of Land Management and possibly the U.S. Forest Service to discuss reassigning one or more single engine air tankers to Sierra Blanca Regional Airport.

"There may be a cost associated with transferring them here," Vincent said Monday. "The BLM owns the assets, but they are stationed based on a national-level assignment with contracts. We're working real hard to see some based here, including Mayor (Tom) Battin and (U.S. Rep.) Steve Pearce."

At a Ruidoso Village Council meeting last week, Battin pointed out that the village has been fortunate a month into the fire season not to have seen a major wildfire spring up or threaten homes,

"One of things you've expressed concern about is the absence of fire-fighting aircraft at Sierra Blanca, and we have raised the issue with the state," the mayor told councilors. "When I look out there and don't see one of those planes, it really concerns me, but I think we're OK."

Vincent reported to the council that the fire-fighting planes are based in Roswell.

"Since the village of Ruidoso is ranked number one for (catastrophic wildfire risk) in New Mexico, it seems like we would take precedence over some place like Roswell," he said. He's been discussing the situation with the head fire dispatcher and the BLM's fire management officer in Roswell, asking that one or more planes be transferred to Ruidoso, "instead of having all the assets there."

Another reason for the transfer would be to allow proficiency training between firefighters and the pilots, Vincent said.

"It's not very often we get to do proficiency training with aircraft," he said. "We take our command and control supervisors out, then contact the airport and have the aircraft lift off. We make sure the air and ground frequencies correlate with each other and then we start talking to them. We give them our longitude and latitude, put bright pieces of plastic down and then see how proficient they are in locating us. We talk to them from the ground and see if they can hit some of that plastic. Last year we did some of that. It's nice to be able to train with then. Even if you don't use them for fire fighting, it's good for training."

Councilor Joseph Eby asked if officials from Mescalero paid any of the cost related to a SEAT being at the local airport last year. Vincent said they did not.

"I believe it was the county and the village, and the state picked up the remainder, the majority," Vincent said. The cost is about $2,000 a day whether or not a plane flies.

Vincent said the single-engine air tanker is called, "the little plane on steroids. They can fly a couple hundred miles an hour. It's about 75 miles from Roswell and they can be here in 15 minutes. I'd like to see the reverse, have them here and if they need them in Roswell, they could be there in just 15 minutes. But then I'm a little biased.


Fond du Lac County Airport (KFLD) to get $1.4 million upgrade; Federal funds will help pay for work

Federal, state and local sources will fund new construction at the Fond du Lac County Airport starting in July.

Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced in a news release Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration, along with state and local backers will pledge a combined $1,441,785 for airport construction.

The project includes new security gates, a cul-de-sac and revamped lanes for taxis.

The FAA will pledge $1,298,037 and the state of Wisconsin will pitch in another $71,874 toward the project.

Calls to Fond du Lac County and state officials regarding the project were not returned by deadline Monday.

The project is expected to begin in July and be completed this fall.

Fond du Lac County Airport is one of 98 facilities included in the Wisconsin State Airport System Plan, a long-term blueprint for state airport upgrades.

Airport improvement projects are administered through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics.

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Construction on Tucson International Airport (KTUS) replacement control tower begins this week

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Federal Aviation Administration is breaking ground on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to construct a new air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport, according to Viki Matthews, FAA public relations administrator.

The new tower will be 252 feet tall and will replace the airport's existing tower of 115 feet that was opened in 1958. The project is estimated to be completed in 2016.

The new tower will be positioned to give air traffic controllers a better view of the airfield and make room for a second parallel main runway in the future.

The site will be located on 1865 E. Aero Park Blvd. on the opposite side of the airfield from the existing control tower. 


Bombardier Industrial Revenue Bonds contract lacked layoff safeguard

WICHITA, Kansas – KSN continues to investigate how and why Bombardier Learjet can layoff 170 workers exactly one week after the Wichita City Council unanimously voted to provide the company with $52.7 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds, or IRBs.

KSN is questioning the city of Wichita about the safeguards it put in place with Bombardier, in the same contract that promised 450 jobs by 2018.

In light of this week’s layoffs, KSN wants to know why the Bombardier agreement does not have similar safeguards to the Hawker-Beechcraft agreement finalized in 2011. Mayor Carl Brewer explained the system of checks and balances that were in place.

“The rule was is if they dropped below, then we would prorate and we would pull dollars back if they fell below that particular number,” explained Mayor Brewer. “In this particular case, we’re talking primarily of just one program, a new program,” he continued.

KSN requested the 2011 contract. It clearly states: “If at the end of any year during the five-year pay-out period, HBC employs fewer than 4,000 workers, the subsequent incentive payment will be reduced proportionally.”

KSN also analyzed the agreement established in the council agenda last week between Wichita and Bombardier. In that agreement, the company has to bring in a set number of jobs, however, it does not specify how many employees the company has to have to keep the taxpayer money.

Mayor Brewer told KSN Wednesday that the agreement regarding Bombardier jobs specifically was made with the state of Kansas, not the city of Wichita. From there, we reached out to the Kansas Department of Commerce and asked to receive a copy of the contract.

On Thursday, we received an email response from KDOC that states that representatives will do their best to provide the documentation to KSN sometime on Friday, June 13.

The latest round of aviation layoffs were announced Tuesday. They will reportedly impact 100 permanent employees, as well as 70 contracted employees at Wichita’s Bombardier Learjet.

Bombardier confirmed that the layoffs are a result of delays in the new Lear 85 program.

Attitudes, regardless of the situation, remain optimistic.

“Production will happen and it’s not uncommon,” Brewer said. “We’re going to be delayed and we’re just making a readjustment in our business model… The jobs are not permanently gone.”

Richard Aboulafia, the Vice President of Analysis for Teal Group Aviation Corporation talked with KSN concerning the layoffs.

“It could very well be that in a few years, you do have a ramp up on jobs, it’s just that in the short run, they have to find every possible place to save money because of the company’s position,” said Aboulafia.

Bombardier insists the layoffs are due to delays in launching the Learjet 85.

Representatives tell KSN that production continues as scheduled, some of those jobs will return to Wichita.

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Bombardier lays off staff as new Learjet flight testing delayed

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc said on Monday that it has laid off more than 100 staff and let go 110 contract workers in the United States and Mexico due to delays in the flight test program for its all-new Learjet 85 business jet.

In the latest setback for its aircraft development program, which includes the behind-schedule and over-budget CSeries jetliner, Bombardier said a "few things" had affected the Learjet 85 development.

"Given that this was a real clean sheet design, using innovative technologies, we've had a learning curve and we've had some challenges," said Bombardier spokeswoman Isabelle Gauthier. "We're not where we expected to be in the program."

The Montreal-based company has not said when it expects the Learjet 85 to enter service, following a postponement last year of its projected service date, or how much it will cost.

Last week, Bombardier laid off 100 permanent employees and let go 40 contractors working on the Learjet 85 at its Wichita, Kansas, site, Gauthier said. Forty other Learjet 85 staff at the facility, which has about 2,800 employees, were reassigned to different aircraft programs.

The company also let go 40 contractors and reassigned 200 permanent staff working on the Learjet 85 at its Queretaro, Mexico facility, which employs 1,800 people, she said.

The affected employees, in production and operations, will be called back after Bombardier makes more progress with flight testing, she said.

Flight tests continue on the Learjet 85, Bombardier's largest business plane, but Gauthier would not say how many hours the aircraft has flown or when other test planes would begin flight.

The Learjet 85 was originally to enter service in late 2013, but early last year Bombardier postponed it to the summer of 2014.

The company has also been struggling with its CSeries commercial jet program. After an engine failed on May 29, ground testing resumed last week, but flight testing remains suspended.

The cost of the narrow-body CSeries, which will compete with the smallest jets made by industry leaders Boeing Co and Airbus, has ballooned to $4.4 billion, some $1.05 billion over original estimates. The service target has been pushed into the second half of 2015 from an initial target of late 2013.

In January, Bombardier cut 1,700 jobs across its aerospace unit in Canada and the United States to preserve cash.


Akron-Canton Regional Airport (KCAK) adds customs & border patrol facility: New facility is a part of the airport's 10-year capital improvement plan

Business travelers arriving on international flights at the Akron-Canton Airport now have an easier entry into the country.

The airport last month opened the new $3.65 million customs & border patrol facility that will act as its own terminal for overseas passengers.

CEO Rick McQueen says the service makes it easier for local companies to do business internationally.

“Any business that may be working with a facility that’s in Canada, Mexico or from a foreign country, they can land here, they can go conduct their business, they can come back and then they can head home. So, I think it’s nice for the whole Northeast Ohio region.”

McQueen says the new terminal will serve Fortune 500 companies that rent space at Akron-Canton.

The U.S. customs facility is the airport’s latest addition to the $110 million CAK 2018 capital improvement plan.


Beechcraft Baron shows best of old and new

June 16, 2014 5:40 pm

By Rohit Jaggi

Rohit Jaggi test drives a Barron Aircraft for FT Wealth.

Taking off from the long runway of North Weald airfield in southeast England, I catch a glimpse of a tarnished old aircraft languishing on the grass. The 1940s Twin Beech is from much earlier days of aviation, yet it is actually not that distant a relative of the aircraft I am flying.

It stands as a reminder of how much technological progress has been made in aviation. And how little.

Electric aircraft, as discussed in my last column, promise to be the shape of the future. That future may be approaching, but for now it remains tantalizingly over the horizon. And while the infrastructure is not yet in place for electric flying vehicles, the fueling and servicing infrastructure is more than adequate to cater for the fleet currently flying with internal combustion engines.

Servicing the lower end of aviation, in altitude as much as price, are the piston-engined aircraft that can provide transport with an ease that the combination of electric motors and batteries will not be able to usurp for some time.

Aircraft, such as the six-seat, twin-engine Beechcraft Baron G58 I am flying, are part of a small coterie of machines that have enough capability to be usable as business tools for short hops. The Baron has two engines for safety but is without the higher cost and fuel burn of turbines driving its propellers.

This sleek aircraft is a direct descendant of a design that first took to the air more than 50 years ago. But while the Baron’s basic architecture remains – broadly – the same, it has changed significantly in many areas.

As has the company that makes it. Beechcraft, its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, dates back to 1932, almost as early in the age of aviation as its one-time rival maker of light aircraft Cessna, which is also based in Wichita.

But over the course of its history, Beechcraft was purchased by Raytheon, bought out, nearly sold to China and, just a few months ago, taken under Cessna-owning Textron’s wing to become part of the new Textron Aviation.

For the Baron, the inside of the cockpit shows off perhaps the most radical change made during its life span. A pair of large display screens takes the place of all individual instruments, gauges and radios that used to be in front of the pilot. They bring the half-century-old airframe bang up to date, giving the sort of control and navigation assistance that pilots at the front end of today’s generation of business jets enjoy.

Such avionics are also easily updated, as new or improved autopilots and navigation equipment come on to the market, making current versions more future-friendly. But the Baron already has enough gadgets, gizmos and safety aids to operate in all-weather conditions and thus to ensure that a trip can be completed as planned most of the time.

The sophistication of the instrumentation makes a flight to north Wales, for example, simple, as does the capability of the autopilot and the benign handling characteristics of the aircraft. It is fast, too, capable of more than 200 knots (kts), or 230 statute (ordinary) miles per hour.

And it has a huge range of up to roughly 1,500 nautical miles – about 1,700 ordinary miles. But, as with most things flying, one has to choose between payload, range and speed. Full fuel tanks mean the plane cannot take six people, and flying at 200kts would eat into the range.

The trip to Wales, while just a short hop for the Baron, highlights the utility of a piston twin – the cross-country journey takes about a third of the time that could be achieved using ground transport. The Baron also needs little in the way of runway space for landing or taking off so, even though my destination has a long, hard-surface runway, plenty of short grass strips could be used, enlarging the options for landing close to your final destination.

Beechcraft delivered 35 of the $1.4m Barons in 2013 – not a huge number but large in the context of the 933 piston-engined aircraft deliveries that were made worldwide last year.

But military and government needs for observation platforms have driven a diversification into a surveillance version – something the company knows a great deal about through its experience of converting its bigger, turboprop King Air planes for such missions.

There are few direct rivals for the accomplished Baron – the Seneca V from Florida-based Piper is the closest. Another six-seater, whose history is only a decade shorter than the Baron’s, it also has engines that burn aviation gasoline. That is one of the looming problems for this type of aircraft, however. AVgas is expensive, and not available everywhere. Diamond of Austria makes the Twin Star, which has two diesel piston engines that burn the more widely available and much cheaper jet fuel, but it only has four seats.

Piper and Beechcraft’s stablemate Cessna are putting diesel engines into smaller aircraft. They could be a part of the formula that can draw much-required new blood and a fresh buzz into the lighter end of private aviation – which the industry needs if it is to generate both pilots and passengers for the heavy end. At least until electric aircraft become reality and appear this side of the horizon.


Pilots to stop flying if Pakistan International Airline implements ‘unfair unjust’ taxation policy

KARACHI: Pilots working for Pakistan International Airline (PIA) have unanimously announced they would stop flying if the national airline’s management continued to implement ‘unfair and unjust’ taxation policy on their salaries.

The country’s national airline has been in the doldrums due to management, administrative and financial issues and this move by the pilots was the latest blow to the already troubled organization.

ike most of its current problems, this particular move was also of PIA management’s own doing.

Pilots have complained they were charged inflated amount of taxes on their salaries so much that in most cases their ‘take home’ amount was much less than the tax they have to return to the organization.

The situation is a stark contrast to some of the private airlines of the country. For instance, according to sources, two other private airlines pilots only pay Rs 19,000 to Rs 30,000 per month on their salaries whereas a PIA pilot pays a remarkable average of Rs 200,000 to Rs 350,000 per month tax on a similar salary scale i.e 10 times more than private airline’s pilots.

One of PIA’S pilot said, “These are our jobs. We do not work hard to pay back the government only. We have families to run, kids to look after. If more than half of our hard earned salaries, which we earn staying away from home goes down in tax, what will we take home.”
We will not fly until the taxation system is made fair and justifiable, when we try to leave airline, they do not release us at the same time.

In response to the situation, President Air Line Pilots’ Association (PALPA) Captain Amir Hashmi said, “I am trying to solve this situation amicably by talking to my colleagues and convincing them to continue flying but PIA management is not interested in finding a fair solution to this”.

They have failed to clarify the taxation policy and have created a lot of confusion among the pilots.

We need a fair solution to the matter immediately by either returning the over taxed money or charging the same from private airline’s pilots, so we do not feel the step brotherly treatment from government and management.

To make matters worse, the board of directors has given a go ahead to issue contracts to those pilots who have contacts and are in the good books of high officials against PALPA’S agreement with management.

Internationally, pilots are either given term contracts or hired permanently. Only one system is followed in contrast to PIA where both are being done based on favoritism.

Captain Hashmi said despite PIA’s frailties, PALPA has continued to offer their support to the airline. The association plans to offer the management to reduce their principal office bearers’ and management pilots’ allowances by 25 percent. We planned this goodwill gesture only to show to the upper management that despite their unfair and unjust stances against us, we still care for the organization, which used to be a matter of pride for us.

Unfortunately, the top management does not bother reciprocating the goodwill and continues to create problems not just for the pilots but also for the airline as a whole.

According to reports, PIA has suffered accumulative losses of more than Rs 200 billion owing to several operational and administrative deficiencies. Very recently, the national carrier had to return four of its aircraft after their lease ended, but interestingly immediately after releasing the wet leased aircraft, the national airline brought three of its technically grounded aircraft on line. 

This move was very strange as, if this was possible in the first place, then why did PIA lease the foreign aircraft as ‘wet lease’ is unviable for any established airline, said Hashmi.

Also despite the national airline’s woeful financial health, it hired two additional general managers adding to its already over staffed management of 16 directors, 44 general managers and 92 deputies. It is reported the average salaries of these general managers are up to Rs 1.80 million to Rs 2.20 million. The rules designed by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PEPRA), the body that legislates public hiring, stated no openings could be filled without an advertisement.

The hiring of the general managers was done against the rules and only to appease those who were in the good books of the top management of the PIA. The hiring was not done on the basis of merit while planes are running empty on once the most lucrative routes, mainly due to cost cutting measures on account of revenue paying customers only, said Hashmi.


Habersham County Airport (KAJR), Cornelia, Georgia: Airport authority to discuss lease applicants

CLARKESVILLE - The Habersham County Airport Authority will hold a called meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, to discuss new lease applicants for the Habersham County Airport FBO.

The meeting will be held at the Habersham County Courthouse Annex, 555 Monroe St., Clarkesville.

Rob Ginn, vice chairman of the authority, announced the meeting just before noon Monday.

An agenda for Wednesday night's meeting, released just after 1 p.m. Monday, shows the meeting will call to order, the authority will enter closed session to discuss applicants for FBO, then exit closed session, discussion and possible vote on FBO operator, and adjourn the open meeting.

The issue of fixed base operator for the airport has resulted in standing-room-only crowds at the past few airport authority meetings in the commissioners' conference room at the annex.

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Historic restored WW2 Corsair fighter debuts at the Olympic Air Show

At the 2014 Olympic Flight Museum's Air Show June 14th pilots Bud Granley and Brian Reynolds compare aerial notes after returning from their demonstration flight featuring the museum's new acquisition, a World War 2-era FG-1D Corsair fighter plane and their replica Mitsubishi Zero aircraft.

After an over 11-year restoration requiring approximately 38,000 hours of labor the Corsair was introduced Saturday June 14th as it took to the South Sound skies as part of rhe museum's 2014 air show program.

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Peter Scherrer: Westchester County Airport (KHPN), White Plains, New York

Peter Scherrer doesn't treat his 9-to-5 job like a 9-to-5 job.

"I usually get into work at 6:30 or 7:30," says the 59-year-old airport operations administrator at Westchester County Airport. "It's a time when I can get paperwork done and answer emails before the day really starts."

The day never really ends at the airport, which sees 46 planes depart and 46 planes arrive each day. And Scherrer has a hand in pretty much every aspect of the operation.

"People run airports, and I'm fortunate to work with 1,300 good people at the airport who make me look good," he says. "I always tell people, 'Paperwork can get done later, even if I have to come in on the weekend to do it. People are what makes the airport run.' "
Scherrer is one of the busiest people at the county airport. He oversees everything from negotiating leases and contracts to safety and security, customer service, interacting with airlines and tenants, maintenance, construction, aircraft rescue and firefighting and emergency response.

The emergency response aspect of the job got a workout on on June 13, when Richard Rockefeller's single-engine Piper Meridian crashed shortly after takeoff from Westchester, costing the Maine doctor, a member of the Rockefeller dynasty, his life at 65. The plane came to rest not far from the airport, in a Purchase neighborhood. No one on the ground was injured.

Scherrer's responsibilities technically end at the perimeter of the 700-acre airport property, but he was called to the June 13 scene by the Harrison Police.

Related: Crashes and incidents at the Westchester County Airport

"Responders know their community and what to do and the more people who show up at the scene, they just get in the way," Scherrer says. "But if requested, we'll go to the site."

Scherrer ended up handling media requests and answering questions about the incident.

Airport teams don't need to be at the scene of a crash to be useful. The point person at an air crash can contact Scherrer's team to get answers to questions ranging from the kind of airplane to the type of fuel it was carrying.

Scherrer's team trains regularly to prepare for something they hope doesn't happen: a crash at the airport.

"We do a lot of meetings, once a month, which are important," he says. "We do training exercises with the local community. The most important thing about emergency response is that you can recognize someone's face and know what their job is, so there's instant interaction and you save a little time when you respond to an emergency. Everybody knows what they have to do because you have a relationship. That's always been most important to me, that you know everybody by their first name." 

Scherrer tells his team that emergency responses demand precision. 

"I say 'Your role sometimes is very short. Sometimes, it's very long. But know your role so you don't get beyond what you're supposed to do. Make sure you do that little role perfectly.'"

Sherrer, a Hawthorne native, knows his way around a cockpit. He was on the flight team at Western Michigan University, and went to the national competitions three straight years competing against top schools such as the Air Force Academy.

But he never wanted to fly for a living. He wanted the kind of job he has right now.

He and his wife, Debbie, live in Yorktown Heights and have six grown children, ages 26 to 36, and two grandchildren.

"A lot of people think it's a sleepy little airport, but we're a busy little airport, the second largest corporate airport in the country, probably the world," he says.

See a disaster drill

Watch the team at Westchester County Airport perform a disaster drill, with the help of dozens of volunteers playing injured passengers, at

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Vintage warbird soars at New Garden Flying Field (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania

Military aviation history buffs had a Fathers’ Day treat waiting for them at the New Garden Flying Field.

Sitting on the tarmac, with it’s bright yellow nose and four bladed prop glistening in the bright, mid-June sun, sat a P-51 Mustang, one of the most iconic fighter aircraft of WWII.

While the plane on hand was built during the war, it never saw combat. But it was modified to include a passenger. The originally installed auxiliary gas tank had been removed and a second seat put in behind the pilot. Enthusiasts took advantage by getting rides in the plane, much to their delight.

Bruce Roberts, an aircraft mechanic at New Garden was all grins when he alighted from the craft.

“It was a blast,” he said.

Roberts previously went up in another fighter, the P-38 Lightening, but this was more enjoyable for him. He actually had the opportunity to operate the craft from the backseat controls.

Carl Spirito, whose father flew B-17s during the war, is a private pilot from Philadelphia. He called his ride “fantastic.”

“I’ve got more than 3,700 hours in the air and this was my best flight. I’ve flown about 30 different aircraft, [but] this is an honest airplane,” Spirito said.

He explained that the plane responds immediately to whatever the pilot does to the controls. With many other craft, he said, there’s a delay of up to two or three seconds, not so with the Mustang.

“This is a real nice airplane. If I had the money, I’d try to buy it,” he added.

The day was made possible through the efforts of sponsor Jim Rudolph and aircraft owner Dave Murphy and his son Mark who was the pilot.

Rudolph said he likes making people’s dreams come true. For some though, “this wasn’t even on their bucket list,’ he said. “I wanted them to experience flying something that has more than 1,000 horse-power.”

Rudolph became fascinated with aircraft as an 18-year-old naval reservist assigned to submarine duty in 1951. When the Korean War broke out, he requested a transfer to aviation. He got the transfer, but was not allowed to attend flight school in Pensacola because he was already married. Instead, he worked on the ground with aircraft ordnance.

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Federal Aviation Administration exams bring hundreds to Grove, Oklahoma

At the intersection of U.S.S. Independence and U.S.S. Midway, safe flying is a must.

That's the crossroads which mark the location for Aviation Medical Examiner Dennis Deakins office.

Deakins, who is semi-retired, resides with in Grove with his wife Shannon. From his office, he conducts just enough pilot exams to keep himself busy.

“My job is to keep people flying and doing it safely,” Deakins said. “I’ll do 30 to 40 aviation exams a week and last year, I did just under 1,500 exams.”

During the exams, Deakins tests blood pressure, eyesight and how well a pilot can hear. Almost always, Deakins is able to certify the students.

“The Federal Aviation Administration is able to certify 99.9 percent of these pilots,” Deakins said. “The others don’t get certified because they don’t complete their paperwork or other random scenarios.”

The oldest pilot Deakins has certified in his career was a 102.

Before aviation medicine, Deakins was pre-med at Oklahoma University in 1960. He received a bachelor of science, master of science and his doctorate in zoology.

Deakins was a general surgeon at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. In 1984, he joined the U.S. Navy to serve as a flight surgeon and for aerospace medicine.

“I used to deliver babies, work in the ER, do surgery, and work 100 hour weeks,” Deakins said. "I tend to work 20 to 30 hour weeks now and at 71 and a half years old, I enjoy slowing down somewhat.”

Deakins said he’s been blessed with a lot of experiences, including examining his third group of Chinese students in the past month.

“There were two groups of 12 students and one group of eight,” Deakins said. “I have been told to expect similar groups of 30 to 34 students about every other month, which will also be broken down into groups of no more than 12 students probably.”

Deakins loves having his home office a few feet from his home. He will occasionally do some traveling on the job even though his work usually comes to him.

“One time, a helicopter landed on my front lawn,” Deakins said. “I often pick up and deliver pilots at the airport when they fly.”

His office is not only convenient but provides all of the supplies he needs to perform his medical exams.

“The office is fully equipped with electrocardiogram, a PC, and the necessary testing equipment but no special benefits accrue to having it except convenience,” Deakins said.

Deakins used to fly his own plane, a Cessna 177, before he joined the Navy. He still flies but is mostly too busy to fly because of his schedule and commitments.

“I would like a two place helicopter or gyrocopter but I also like sailing,” Deakins said. “I would like to get back to golfing and fishing, kayaking, and do a lot of gardening.”

Deakins preaches and advises safe flying above all else to student pilots.

“Stay in the middle of the envelope (away from the edges and corners), be safe and keep your head on a swivel; aviate, navigate, communicate and fly safe,” he said.

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ERCO Ercoupe 415-C, CF-KSH: Accident occurred June 16, 2014 at Rockcliffe Airport, Ottawa, Ontario -Canada

RAW Plane crash at Rockcliffe Airport:

A small single-engine plane had a rough landing at the airport Monday. The pilot suffered only minor injuries.
A 73-year-old man was taken to hospital with minor injuries after a small, single-engine plane crashed while landing at Rockcliffe Airport Monday morning.

The crash occurred near the west edge of the runway shortly after 11 a.m. The pilot, the only person on board, was out of the aircraft when emergency crews arrived.

Paramedics said the man was suffering from back pain and minor lacerations.

Firefighters said they also on scene trying to contain a fuel spill from the plane. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. It identified the aircraft as a Ercoupe 415-c.

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Scary moments for a senior citizen pilot at Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Airport.

Ottawa Paramedics received a call at 11:08am Monday June 16, 2014, of a small engine plane crashing into the airport fence.  Upon arrival emergency crews found a 73-year old man suffering from back pain and a minor laceration to his forehead.

The pilot is in stable condition at the Ottawa Hospital.

Reports suggest the plane had a fuel leak.

The Ottawa Police and Transport Safety Board are now investigating the crash.


Congressman Gardner Releases Inspector General Report on Federal Aviation Administration Failings

June 16, 2014  

Washington, DC – Friday, Congressman Cory Gardner (CO-04) released an audit report conducted by the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General, which found that applications submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Denver Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) faced some of the longest wait times in the country. The audit request came after Gardner sent multiple letters to the FAA starting in July of 2011 after learning of constituents facing extremely long wait times. Reforming FAA processes and procedures have been a priority since the Congressman was elected to represent the 4th Congressional District.   

In 2009, sick of the uncertainty that came with inconsistent contract work, Tom McCarthy, a constituent in Colorado’s fourth Congressional district, decided to apply for an Air Taxi Certification so that he could work for himself.  In order to apply for a certification with the FAA, Mr. McCarthy was required to complete a precertification- which included proof of operational authority of an acceptable aircraft. Confident in his business plan, Mr. McCarthy invested $145,000 in purchasing an aircraft and bringing it up to code. Four years later, he was still without the proper certification and was forced to sell his aircraft at a sizeable loss.

“The most frustrating thing for me was that I was never told if there was even a chance of my application being approved,” said McCarthy. “I was operating under complete uncertainty. In 2012, after years of paying for the upkeep of the aircraft I had purchased, I sent multiple letters requesting more information about where my application was in the queue. It turns out that my application had actually been dropped off the waiting list, and no one could tell me why. As a small business owner, I do not believe the FAA has been acting in good faith. Sadly, this report proves that to be true.”

“This report highlighted the many problems in the FAA permit approval process,” said Gardner. “Unfortunately, stories like Mr. McCarthy’s are more common than not, which is why I began investigating this issue when I was elected to Congress. We must hold the FAA accountable for their negligence and ensure that a new system is put in place so that those who follow the rules are not punished for it. I’m glad to see that this report highlights four recommended reforms, and I would encourage the Denver FSDO to work with the FAA to implement these fixes. However, if the FAA does not make significant improvement on their own, I will explore legislative options to prevent this type of backlog in the future.”
Congressman Gardner is a member in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Colorado's 4th Congressional District. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy and Power, and Oversight and Investigations. 


Woman, 92, who helped build P-47s takes front stage at air show

92-year-old Geraldine “Gerry” McFadin had a front-row view of Sunday’s ShrinersFest final air show where a pair of Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft soared over the Ohio River. 

McFadin, for 16 months in the 1940s, worked on the assembly line of the old Republic Aviation plant in Evansville, building thousands of Thunderbolts for the war effort.

Seventy years off the assembly line, it was the first time she’d seen the planes gliding in real life.

“I felt very small when I saw the beautiful planes,” McFadin said.

She was a real life Rosie the Riveter, only instead of doing the riveting, she did the “bucking,” because she was a “scrawny” and her long arms could reach places others couldn’t.

America’s involvement war, indirectly, led her to the temporary job at the plane factory.

After graduating high school, she landed a scholarship for an art academy in Indianapolis. While upstate, however, the owner of the academy, a major in the National Guard, was called to action, leaving her without school.

“So I came home, nothing to do,” she said. Her grandparents lived in Evansville, where she learned of an opportunity to work at the Republic Aviation plant, the site of the former Whirlpool Corp. factory.

She worked ten hours a day, earning 60 cents an hour — which adjusted for inflation is roughly $8.70 now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

McFadin hadn’t planned to come to ShrinersFest Sunday, but a fellow churchgoer, Don Viviano, helped arrange for to see the P-47s in action. And festival organizers made sure she had a front and center view for the air show.

She brought along with her, her first and last pay stubs from Republic, a tax form, a certificate from Republic and a single cherry rivet used in the production of the fuselage of the planes.

She intends to donate her materials to the Freedom Heritage Museum when it comes to full fruition.

Rob Reider, the announcer for the ShrinersFest air show, repeatedly thanked McFadin during the afternoon demonstrations. Throughout the event, people came up and thanked her for her part in the war effort.

“People are so just wonderful. I love them ... It makes me feel wonderful, like I really did something,” she said.

Sunday’s air show, chock full of skilled aviators, brought a larger than normal closing day, said ShrinersFest spokesman Dale Thomas.

For the weekend, organizers estimate 70,000 people came to the festival, with an estimated 30,000 people on Saturday alone.

The cool, storm-free weather and the high-profile D-Day re-enactment and air shows bolstered attendance, Thomas said.

“Mother nature, if I can giver her a shout out, she gave us a great weekend. She wasn’t so good to us last year,” Thomas said.

Last year, storms effectively shutdown half of the festival’s weekend. The P-47 Thunderbolts couldn’t even manage to get through the storm, forcing them to cancel.

“I think this is great for Evansville,” Thomas said of the air show and re-enactment. “Evansville’s role in the war effort was huge.”

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Charleston, South Carolina: Airport board makes no decision, 'can mediate in good faith' on ex-director's gender discrimination complaint

Charleston County Aviation Authority made no decision Monday on the gender discrimination complaint filed by the former director of the county's three airports, but the director said mediation is a possibility.

"We can certainly mediate in good faith," said Airports Director Paul Campbell. "We want something that allows us to run the airport in a cost-effective manner."

Aviation Authority Chairman Andy Savage added the resolution to the nearly year-old dispute with ex-airports director Sue Stevens does not have to involve money entirely. He did not elaborate.

The nearly two-hour, closed-door meeting came one week ahead of scheduled mediation between the two parties and could signal a resolution is in the works.

Stevens resigned in July, not mincing words about some board members and how they treated her.

No financial amount has been put on the table by either side, according to Savage and Stevens' attorney, Nancy Bloodgood. That probably won't occur until the day of mediation June 23, they said.

Savage, a defense attorney who has been involved in mediation cases before, said immediately after the meeting, "We really are where we started this morning. ... I sense that there is goodwill to do what's in the best interest of the Aviation Authority. There are a lot of missing pieces."

He declined to say what those pieces are.

The next step Savage said is to follow the advice of their attorneys.

When asked what that was, outside attorney Jenny Horne, a state lawmaker from Summerville hired to represent the agency in the Stevens' matter, responded, "Confidential."

Campbell added that the resolution is it up to Stevens and her attorney.

Eleven of the 13 airport board members were present, including Rep. Chip Limehouse,

who butted heads with Stevens on several occasions. It was his first time attending a meeting since he stepped down as chairman in January 2013. Limehouse is still a member of the board because he is chairman of the Charleston County legislative delegation, but he has sent someone else to sit in for him for the past 18 months.

Limehouse did not comment, and a call to him after the meeting was not immediately returned.

Absent were area tourism head, Helen Hill, and businessman Mallory Factor. He is not seeking reappointment to the board because of commitments to teach in England during the next year.

In a prior interview, Savage said several of the board members do not want to compromise, but the he believes it's time to put the case to rest.

"I think it's in all of our best interests to get it resolved," Savage said. "We need to move on. There is a great incentive on my part to bring this case to closure without violating any principles of the Aviation Authority."

The sudden movement to move toward mediation comes as the prospect of a federal lawsuit looms. The 180-day period ended in early June since the authority was first served last fall with the complaint filed with the S.C. Human Affairs Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That opens the door for Stevens' attorney to move forward with a federal lawsuit. Bloodgood said she has not filed the suit, but is prepared if mediation fails.

The Aviation Authority realizes a protracted public legal battle would continue to dredge up and prolong the internal turbulence that has rocked the agency over the past two years.

Stevens alleges that because she's a woman, she was belittled and talked down to by some authority members of what was at the time an all-male board. While her complaint for now isn't public, her letter of departure in July gave a glimpse of her grievance.

"They believe I am an incompetent woman," Stevens wrote of some board members. "Several male members ... belittle me due to my gender. No man would be treated in this way."

Bloodgood said the original goal, including a fair settlement, was to compel changes in what some have called a "dysfunctional board" that would have benefited the policy-making process of the agency and the community.

The goal now is to settle the case.

"It looks like we are making progress," Bloodgood said last week. 

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What if the pilot and crew actually told the passengers what was on their minds on an Indian flight?

Warning: This video contains offensive language:    There are a few typical things you will notice on every Indian flight. Annoying loud mouthed passengers, cranky babies, and a pilot who speaks in a fake American accent, we've seen it all while traveling by air. What would happen if that ever smiling air hostess started speaking her mind one day? Or the pilot started telling you how he hated waking up at odd hours to fly you to your destination?

YouTube channel All India Bakchod shows what would happen if the air hostess and pilots started speaking their minds out loud on a flight. The air hostess knows you're flirting with her and she'll say that on your face and the pilot will tell you why he's faking an accent while making the announcements. Watch this hilarious honest Indian flight video to see what they really think of you.

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Bailey-Moyes Dragonfly A, N286A, Shore Aviation: Accident occurred June 16, 2014 at Accomack County Airport (KMFV), Melfa, Virginia

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Shore Aviation:

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA302
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 2014 in Melfa, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/12/2015
Aircraft: BAILEY ROBERT MOYES DRAGONFLY, registration: N286A
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 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.

The pilot reported that he initiated the takeoff and that, as soon as the airplane lifted off, it banked sharply left and then impacted the edge of the runway in a “slightly nose-down, left banking attitude.” Opposite flight control inputs had no effect. Wind conditions were variable at less than 4 knots. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. An attachment tube for the right aileron was found broken, and an examination of the tube revealed evidence of overstress, likely as a result of the crash. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that the passenger did not have hearing protection with her, so the pilot initiated the takeoff with about 2/3 of power applied. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain roll control during the initial takeoff and his decision to take off with only partial power applied.

On June 16, 2014, about 0900 eastern daylight time, a Bailey Moyes Dragonfly, N286A, collided with terrain after a loss of aircraft control during takeoff at Melfa, Virginia (MFV). The commercial pilot was not injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The experimental, amateur-built airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local, personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported the following. He was preparing to depart with a passenger to observe upper air conditions prior to commencing glider operations. After performing engine checks, he initiated the takeoff roll on runway 3. As soon as the airplane lifted off, it banked sharply to the left and impacted the edge of the runway "slightly nose-down, left banking attitude." Opposite flight control inputs had no effect. He reported that wind conditions were variable at less than 4 knots. 

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He confirmed structural damage to the right wing and fuselage. There were scrapes on the surfaces of the left wing. An attachment tube for the right aileron was broken, and the inspector retained the section that did not remain attached to the aileron. The inspector reported that the passenger did not have hearing protection with her, so the pilot initiated the takeoff with about 2/3 of full power applied. 

Both broken aileron tube sections were subsequently examined by the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The fracture surfaces showed no evidence of corrosion or fatigue. The tube was bent at the location of the fracture with signatures of overstress. The fracture surface was clean with 45-degree shear lips present.

The pilot later submitted the required NTSB Form 6120.1, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, and reported that there was no mechanical malfunction or failure associated with the accident.

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA302
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 2014 in Melfa, VA
Aircraft: BAILEY ROBERT MOYES DRAGONFLY, registration: N286A
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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 16, 2014, about 1030 eastern daylight time, a Bailey Moyes Dragonfly, N286A, collided with terrain after a momentary loss of roll control during takeoff at Melfa, Virginia (MFV). The commercial pilot was not injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The experimental, light sport airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local, personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Reportedly, a loss of aileron control occurred shortly after takeoff, while at slow speed and low altitude. The right wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage. The tubular frame comprising the cockpit and passenger seating areas also received structural damage.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He confirmed structural damage to the right wing and fuselage. An attachment bracket for the right aileron was broken, and the inspector retained the section that did not remain attached to the aileron. The broken aileron parts will be submitted to the NTSB for subsequent examination.

There were no reported injuries following a rough aircraft landing at Accomack County Airport at about 10:30 a.m. Monday.

“A gust of wind grabbed the wing, and she just rolled off to the side,” said William McCarter, pilot and owner of Virginia Hang Gliding and the damaged plane. The company is based in at the airport.

The small yellow and white aircraft is used to tow hang gliders up several thousand feet, but there was no glider in tow because McCarter was conducting a routine test flight when the incident occurred.

One female passenger was on board, but McCarter said neither he nor the passenger was injured. Melfa EMS and Virginia State Police responded to the scene.

“They checked her (for injuries), just to be sure,” McCarter said.

Three individuals held up the plane’s damaged wing as is was towed on a trailer behind a pickup back to the corner of the airport occupied by Virginia Hang Gliding.

Dario Lewis of Pittsburgh drove up from Virginia Beach, Virginia, arriving shortly after the crash. Lewis had booked a hang gliding session at 10 a.m. to celebrate his June 20 birthday, but was running late, and arrived about 10:45 a.m.

“It could have been me,” he said, relieved, but disappointed his birthday flight wasn’t going to happen.

McCarter said he expects to be back in business within a couple of days.

Central Oregon takes to the skies

The wind kicked up by the B-25 bomber’s twin propellers nearly knocked Joey Pavlich off his feet.

 But the 5-year-old Bend resident quickly recovered, and watched the World War II-era plane taxi down the runway at Bend Municipal Airport on Sunday.

The bomber, nicknamed “Grumpy,” was getting ready to take off for good after three days of tours and rides at the airport, part of the Wings & Wheels event that ran from Friday through Sunday.

When Joey’s dad, John Pavlich, asked what he thought, Joey’s one-word answer summed it up nicely.


Several hundred people gathered at the airport Sunday to take in a collection of old and new planes, helicopters, even a few classic cars and motorcycles.

Grumpy was the headliner. The plane tours the country, part of the national Historic Flight Foundation’s collection spanning from the 1920s to 1950s.

But Bend airport businesses also got a chance to show off some of their planes. Outside of Advanced Aviation’s airport hangar, a pilot showed 11-year-old Mariah Tuck how a plane’s rudders help it steer through the sky.

“I might want to be a pilot when I grow up,” the Bend resident said.

Planes weren’t the only vehicles on display. Several classic cars and motorcycles, including a blue, 1957 Harley Davidson, lined the tarmac.

Despite it being Father’s Day, several dads said making the trip was about giving their kids a chance for an up-close look at some powerful pieces of machinery.

Rick Hormel brought his sons, 7-year-old Micah and 4-year-old Thomas, for just that reason.

“Thomas goes nuts when he sees a plane on TV,” Rick said, as Thomas sat on his shoulders. “I’ve brought him out here before to watch planes take off, but this is the closest he’s been to one.”

At that moment, a member of the local Experimental Aircraft Association, the “High Desert Flyers,” announced over a microphone that Grumpy was due for another air show in Washington state.

Thomas watched as the B-25’s two rows of seven-cylinder engines roared to life and kicked up a huge gust of wind — so much that it practically toppled the High Desert Flyers booth 100 feet away.

Grumpy taxied down the runway, then all went quiet. Two or three minutes later, the sound of its engines returned as it zoomed back into view and took off.

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Con Air: Luxury jets ferry prisoners to court, and New South Wales taxpayers foot the $1 million bill (With Video)

Prisoners are traveling like movie stars in private jets with NSW taxpayers footing the $1 million bill.

Police spend up to $4000 an hour to charter the Cessna Citation jets — the type of aircraft normally associated with corporate high-flyers and millionaire rock stars — to shuttle prisoners between courts.

In a report aired last night by Channel 9’s A Current Affair, it was revealed the NSW Police and the Department of Corrective Services do not list the prisoner air charters in their annual reports.

But one female prisoner was filmed being flown from Bankstown Airport, where the jets are based, to the south coast so she could appeal a drink-driving sentence.

The program reported all female inmates and juveniles are flown if they are required to travel more than 250km. It showed film of inmates flying into Bankstown from Queanbeyan — just a three-hour, 265km drive away.

The jets are used to ensure prisoner welfare is not compromised, especially on long potentially hot drives.

In a submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry in 2009, police said prisoner transportation services “are not considered police core business and yet consume significant police time and resources when no other options are available”.

Howard Brown, of the Victims of Crime Assistance league, described the jet charters as a waste of money. 

Video:   Con Air - Taxpayers pay for prisoners' private jets


It's a perk that most people can only dream of. 

On A Current Affair, we show you how some of our worst prisoners are flying high in luxury jets – and you're footing the bill.

Jacksonville, Florida: Local businesses show trend of favoring AirShare programs to charter flights

Rising interest in flight sharing is helping a Jacksonville plane company increase its revenue while attracting more customers to it private jets.

About half of the customers of ASI Aviation who fly to the Bahamas have switched from charters to an airshare programs, in which customers pay a fee based on the type of plane they would like to lease and then pay for a set number of hours.

For 45 hours, the price ranges from about $35,000 to $101,000, depending on the plane.

While still pricy, the air share programs are cheaper than chartering a plane because the client is only paying a fee based on the hours used, not simply renting the aircraft for a trip.

ASI, which has a hub in Jacksonville, is riding a trend across the industry, in which the cost-effectiveness of the programs is attracting more customers. The company has doubled amount of flights by moving customers away from charters, said Elliot Mintzer, a pilot and Southeast sales director for ASI.

Revenue has increased by 13 percent in the past year as time in the air went from from 205 flight hours last year to 275 flight hours this year.

In an airshare program, a company pays for, say, 45 flight hours for the year. The company, its members and affiliates can use those flight hours to fly anywhere they need to, and only use their flight time when they are actually in the plane. This compares to a charter flight, where flyers must pay for the plane to fly to their destination and then back to the home airport.

Cheaper than charters, sharing programs are also more convenient than commercial flights.

"If someone is driving from here to Atlanta, that guy is probably worth about $300 to $400 bucks an hour," Mintzer said. "The nonproductive time [to drive to Atlanta] is about 5 hours, so that's $1,500 bucks in unproductive time, plus hotel and meals, so about two grand. Plus another $1,500 nonproductive on way back. You're looking at about $3,500."

Instead, four people can rent a plane for about $600, fly there in half the time and use the time on the plane to have a meeting, turning non-productive time into productive time. He said a three-day trip can be cut down to hours.

"With the amount of small local businesses that are utilizing private flights to further their company, that to me says it's the right way to use business," he said.

For Brian Soleil, president of Guana Partners -- a subsidiary of Guana Marina Management, which does development in the Bahamas -- and a customer of ASI Aviation, the savings were were worth it for the company to give up its private Learjet in favor of splitting 100 hours.

"It was more cost-effective even at 100 hours a year to participate in Elliot's share program," Soleil said. "It didn't have the outrageous costs of owning and operating a private airplane or airplanes."


Rapid City Regional Airport (KRAP) needs volunteers for crash simulation

Rapid City Regional Airport will conduct a mock plane crash training exercise Saturday and is looking for up to 50 volunteers to portray accident victims and distraught family members.

The simulated accident will take place on Longview Road. Firefighters, emergency medical personnel, airport staff, law enforcement, emergency management, airline officials, Rapid City Regional Hospital, the American Red Cross and others will participate.

The exercise will begin about 6 a.m. and be finished by 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided for all volunteers. If the weather is bad, the exercise will be rescheduled to Saturday, June 28.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires the training every three years to operate a public-use airport with passenger service.

To participate, contact Airport Operations and Security Officer Gary English at 605-391-9515.