Saturday, June 28, 2014

EAA 5K Run/Walk to benefit Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services

To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything. Otto Lilienthal said those words in the late 1800’s but people still feel the same respect when they attend EAA Airventure Oshkosh.

Every year EAA partners with a local non-profit agency for the Runway 5k, and this year Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. was chosen as the partner for the run that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 2, during the final weekend of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014. Being chosen as EAA’s community beneficiary will propel Christine Ann into its 30 year anniversary of service in September 2014. With this honor, Christine Ann will utilize funds raised for the Youth Advocacy and Prevention Programs.

By participating in the Runway 5k run/walk, individuals and families will be able to spread their wings as all registrations include free admission to AirVenture on Saturday, August 2, an official 5k event T-shirt, and post-race refreshments. While on the grounds, you could enjoy the USAF Thunderbirds, daily and night airshow, and 1964: The Tribute playing your favorite hits of The Beatles throughout the day on Saturday.

Interested runners and walkers can sign-up online or registration can be completed at one of the following: Monday, July 28 through Friday, Aug.1, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Welcome Center located on EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds. Thursday, July 31 through Friday, Aug. 1, between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. 206 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI, 54901. To register online, go to EAA’s Web site:

Christine Ann is thankful for the generous support of our local race sponsors: Northwestern Financial Network, Oshkosh Corporation, Grant Thornton, Wihlm Dental, Basler Turbo and WVBO. 
Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc., a United Way Agency, is a nonprofit organization launched in 1984 and has been empowering individuals and families in the Winnebago and Green Lake Counties impacted by domestic violence through education, safety and support for the past 30 years. Christine Ann is supported by grants, generous donations, and the passion of volunteers. Visit Christine Ann online at


Geisinger's LifeFlight helicopter a hit at Saturday event

Marieda Joyner and her best friend went to Nay Aug Park Saturday night to hear the music and watch the fireworks. 

When she saw the Geisinger LifeFlight helicopter on display on the helipad, she had one more thing to do: say thank you.

The 51-year-old Taylor resident totaled her car in a crash and was flown to Geisinger Community Medical Center in 2007.

“I thought I was going to die, but the people inside (the helicopter) comforted me,” she said. “I knew that I was going to be OK.”

The helicopter was on display as part of an Emergency Education Symposium, presented by GCMC and other emergency crews, including Pennsylvania Ambulance. Before United Polka Artists with Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra played and before fireworks lit up the skies, crews advised park-goers about fireworks and summer safety. At the helipad, visitors were able to sit inside the helicopter and ask the crew questions about their work.

In Ms. Joyner’s case, she gave hugs and got her photo taken with her friend, Debra London, as well as LifeFlight medic Robert F. Sembrat and LifeFlight nurse Bryan Shepard.

“This Life Flight saved me,” Ms. Joyner said.

Mr. Shepard said the LifeFlight provides service to most of Wayne, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.

Pointing to the equipment strapped to the walls of the helicopter’s interior, he explained that crews in the air are “pretty much ready for everything” with cardiac monitors, IV infusion pumps and even an intensive care unit quality ventilator.

LifeFlight pilot Michael Carson said he closely monitors the weather, conditions and determines whether a flight is possible, even calculating the maximum weight of the patient or patients the chopper can transport. The helicopter’s maximum speed is about 165 mph, but it usually travels at about 135 mph, he said.

Before he joined the LifeFlight team, Mr. Carson spent 15 years as a medevac pilot in the military.

“We’ve got the best medics and nurses I’ve flown with in a long time,” he said of the other men in uniform, talking to the families who stopped by.

In all, about 60 people checked out the helicopter, many with small children who grinned as they climbed into the passenger seat and posed for pictures.

Michael McCormick of Pennsylvania Ambulance said events like Saturday’s help take some of the fear out of medical transports, whether they are by helicopter or ambulance.

“I think it’s important that the public is aware what goes on in an ambulance,” he said. “Though it may be scary, we’re going to help them.”

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Vintage aircraft on display in Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE — At 70, Doug Kindred says he’s the junior member of the Oregon Aviation Historical Society’s board of directors.

So it pleased him greatly to see youngsters roaming the grounds of Jim Wright Field at Cottage Grove’s airport this morning, checking out vintage aircraft and automobiles during the historical society’s first-ever Wings & Wheels event.

“We’re always trying to get younger people interested,” Kindred said.

The historical society formed in 1983, and has since collected Oregon-related aviation artifacts that highlight the history of flight in the state.

The group, which is headquartered at the airport, has also been involved in the restoration of a number of airplanes built in the first half of the 20th century. Proceeds from today’s event will be applied to three restoration projects already in progress.

The event continues until 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for children ages 16 and younger.

Story and photo gallery:

Dayton Air Show wows thousands


Michael Nadaud has aspirations to become a pilot.

The 30-year-old computer programmer got a little inspiration Saturday from the Blue Angels.

“They’re awesome,” said Nadaud, wearing a NASA t-shirt as the six F/A-18 jets thundered over the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Nadaud and his wife, Julie, were part of a crowd of thousands who spilled through the gates of the air show at Dayton International Airport to watch the Navy’s jet team and acrobatic performers like Sean D. Tucker and Patty Wagstaff. The air show takes to the skies again today.

The couple drove from their Cincinnati home to last year’s show, but never saw any performances because they arrived just after a biplane crash June 22, 2013 killed a wing walker and pilot and canceled remaining performances that day, Michael Nadaud said.

Saturday’s show went smoothly, fending off occasional rain drops and a gray overcast before making way for the sun just in time for the Blue Angels take-off.

Air show officials will not release attendance numbers until Monday, but they were pleased with the first day’s turnout which may easily exceed the 23,000 who attended over two days last year. “This tells me that Daytonians want their air show and they want their jet team,” said Dayton Air Show spokesman Timothy Gaffney.

Tyler Mitchell, 47, of Vandalia, brought his 7-year-old son, Jayden, already a young veteran of three air shows.

“He loves planes,” his father said. “Everything about them.”

Not surprisingly, Jayden picked the fast and loud acrobatic jets of the Blue Angels as his favorite performers.

“Because they do some awesome stuff,” Jayden said.

Air show attendees roamed dozens of vintage aircraft on the ground, too.

Tony DeSantis, a retired airline pilot, answered questions about the historic American Airlines DC-3 “Flagship Detroit” while Judy, his wife, sang tunes from the Big Band era to those waiting in line to tour the passenger cabin.

“I didn’t want to be left home and I am a professional singer,” she said.

Tony Desantis, 66, flew the stick and rudder plane to Dayton.

“It’s like you’re sitting in a piece of history and actually getting to fly it,” said DeSantis, of Palm City, Fla.

Normally accustomed to flying large, state-of-the-art airliners like the Boeing 767, DeSantis literally had his hands full manually controlling the world’s oldest flying DC-3 without the aid of modern fly-by-wire computers. The plane first flown in 1937 was restored after it was found as a crop duster in a field in Virginia about a decade ago.

“For me having 15,000 hours of flying time, when I started flying this thing, it was challenging,” said DeSantis, a former Air Force pilot who described flying the DC-3 as “seat of the pants.”

“I love it,” he said. “It’s more fun flying this thing than anything else I’d say.”

History also found a spot under a Tuskegee Airmen tent, where Army Air Corps veteran Harold J. Wesley, 90, of Springfield, remembered the fighter plane protection the pioneering black airmen gave his B-24 Liberator crew over Europe.

“When you see a German airplane coming at you, you need all the help you can get,” he said.

Donald E. Elder, 85, of Columbus, trained with the Tuskegee Airmen, but never deployed overseas.

“It’s impressive,” he said, “to come back and see the people recognize history.”

Story and photo gallery:

Vintage planes gather in Idaho Falls

Plane: $500,000.

Fuel: $5.50 a gallon. 

Maintenance: Endless.

The camaraderie tied to owning one of fewer than 100 Beechcraft Staggerwing planes: Priceless.

“The airplane originally brought us together, and we are all still passionate about the airplane, but over 40-plus years, the airplane has played a second role to the friendships you make all over the country,” John Parish said. “Really, the glue now is the friendships.”

Parish flew his Beechcraft King Air C90 from Tullahoma, Tenn., to visit his friend, Bob Hoff, and Hoff’s sons, Thomas and James,, at the Aero Mark Inc. hanger for the fourth annual Round-Engine Round-Up. The event pulls in enthusiasts of 1920s and 1930s planes from around the country.

The most popular plane among the group is the Beechcraft Staggerwing, a vintage round-engine biplane where the top wing is farther back on the plane than the bottom wing — a rarity for aircraft. Thomas Hoff, vice president of Aero Mark, said the planes range in value from $250,000 to more than $500,000. There are fewer than 100 in existence.

The Round-Up is one of two events per year where the group of 30 to 40 pilots get together. Parish hosts the other one in October at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tennessee. He is the museum’s co-founder and chairman of the board.

“The people that own them get together talk about flying them and maintaining them; there’s just a lot of friendship. Kind of like car clubs,” Thomas Hoff said. “It’s a very interesting group of people. It’s everyone from CEOs to Joe Blow, so it’s pretty interesting.”

The group left Idaho Falls this morning to fly to Smiley Creek for brunch and were to return to Idaho Falls later today for a gathering at the Hoff ranch, south of town.

Bob Siegfried flew his Beechcraft V35B from Chicago. He and Bob Hoff are on the Tennessee museum’s board of directors.

“It’s just people that like airplanes,” Siegfried said. “Good personalities. I’ve been flying for 68 years and loved every minute of it. It’s a ball.”

Pat Napolitano is western regional service representative for Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics in Wichita, Kan. He was at the round up for the second time — flying his boss’ Staggerwing. He’s also the plane’s mechanic.

Napolitano, a pilot for 27 years, flies the Staggerwing as a business plane.

“This is the only corporate-flying Staggerwing in the country,” Napolitano said. “This is my company car, I use it to go visit customers.”

While a select few have the honor of owning such rare planes, everyone can admire them.

Kirk Lindholm is a photographer for the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg. He is a self-proclaimed “airport rat” and has a love for vintage planes. For Lindholm, nothing compares to the Staggerwing.

“It’s kind of like some women you see on the street. They take your breath away,” he said.

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Experimental Aircraft Association campground opens 31 days ahead of AirVenture

OSHKOSH – Terry Brokaw’s been attending AirVenture since the 1950′s.

“I’ve been here every year except 1974,” he told FOX 11.

Brokaw and his wife Susie have attended together since 1971.

They were some of the first in line at EAA Friday for Camp Scholler’s opening.

“We’ve been in this area, or within 50 yards of it for the last 20 years. So we come over a month ahead of it to get MY spot,” Terry Brokaw explained.

The Brokaws aren’t alone, many campers have that one perfect place to set up.

“They want sites next to their friends they’ve been with through the years and so they’ll do whatever it takes to get those sites,” said EAA employee Amy Wenig.

“Some will set their camper right away, others will just stake out their positions, put their credential there and then be back shortly before AirVenture,” explained EAA spokesperson Dick Knapinski.

A lot of AirVenture visitors come early, claim their spots and then go back home, but some stay and volunteer.

“They’re planting flowers, building picnic tables, moving things around. Just getting the grounds ready to go,” said Knapinski.

So how are the grounds? They’re a little mushy because of recent rain, but not too bad thanks to drainage improvements EAA did in 2011 and 2012.

“You’ll see those drain tiles, those rain-moving ditches, storm water ditches. They’re all doing exactly what they’re supposed to do,” explained Knapinski.

Seeing it all come together is why Susie Brokaw likes to get here early.

“We get to watch everything happen and come in. I love to watch this little city build. It’s just amazing,” she said.

That, and seeing their friends.

“Originally, we came for the airplanes, but now it’s more for the social aspect, because there’s a while bunch of people we never see except for here,” explained Terry Brokaw.

AirVenture runs from July 28th to August 3rd this year.

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Grand jury: Stanislaus County sheriff’s helicopter can be used for community events

A civil grand jury Friday released a report that found that it’s OK for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to use its helicopter in community events, such as efforts to help at-risk youths or charitable organizations.

The grand jury, however, noted that county policies do not allow for the sheriff’s helicopter to be used for such non-law enforcement purposes. The grand jurors recommended that a policy be created with a procedure on how to gain approval before the helicopter is used for something other than a public safety response.

Complaints about the helicopter usage came from a resident who alleged a helicopter ride was used as an auction item to benefit a local hospice organization. Concerns about the helicopter appeared in several articles in a local newspaper, according to the grand jury’s report.

A Stanislaus County sheriff’s helicopter took part in the Make Dreams Real event May 15, 2013, at Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis, Calaveras County, which raised money to send schoolchildren to sixth-grade camp and other outdoor education programs, according to a Modesto Bee news story published a year ago.

The helicopter’s use for a golf ball drop over the course was intended to benefit the charity organization, designed to help Stanislaus County children.

No specific event was mentioned in the grand jury’s report. As part of their inquiry, jurors reviewed the sheriff’s helicopter flight records from July 2008 through August 2013 to identify activities that might not be considered a law enforcement purpose.

The county CEO’s policy indicates that the sheriff’s helicopter shall be used only for law enforcement or emergency-related purposes, or for other county government purposes with prior approval from the county’s chief executive officer or a designee.

The sheriff’s policies list several proper uses for the helicopter, which include assisting other public safety agencies, assisting sheriff’s personnel on the ground, capturing suspects or inmates who present a danger, finding a missing person, conducting vehicle pursuits and rescuing a stranded person in a remote area.

The grand jury found that neither policy has specific language or procedure that allows usage of sheriff’s vehicles in non-law enforcement activities, no matter how charitable or beneficial. Yet sheriff’s vehicles, particularly helicopters, have been used in community events numerous times in the past several years.

Participating in activities to support at-risk youth and charitable groups provides a positive impression of the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement in the county, according to the report. The grand jury also said the department is especially supportive of activities that focus on the positive role of law enforcement, as opposed to the more apparent conflict that occurs in criminal investigations.

The grand jury recommended that a specific policy be written defining the use of sheriff’s resources such as helicopters for non-law enforcement activities. The jurors also recommended that such usage be approved in advance of the event by two senior managers at the Sheriff’s Department, or one senior manager each from the Sheriff’s Department and the CEO’s Office.

The report indicates that the elected sheriff is in a unique position in relation to the authority of the county’s CEO and the Board of Supervisors. While the board maintains approval authority of the department’s budget, the sheriff is directly accountable to the voters.

The grand jury says neither the Board of Supervisors nor the county CEO has direct supervisory authority over Sheriff Adam Christianson or his department.

The grand jury, which is a watchdog group, is appointed by the presiding judge of the Superior Court to serve a one-year term. Its recommendations are not legally binding, but officials have 90 days to respond in writing to the findings.

Story, photos and comments:

No trains, but there are planes and automobiles: Aitkin Municipal Airport, (KAIT), Minnesota

Fly in, drive in, or walk into the annual event this Sunday at the Aitkin Municipal Airport.

The Fly-in/Drive-in and Auto Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 29. There’s no admission and the public can come before 9 a.m. as breakfast is served beginning at 7 a.m. Lunch is served later through 3 p.m.

There will be antique and specialty aircraft on display and a silent auction. A worship service is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The auto entrance fee is $5. Awards will be given to the top 20 entrants.  There will be street rods, sports cars, custom cars, unrestored classics and more. Planes will be coming and going all day, weather permitting.

The event is sponsored by Country Road Classics and the Aitkin Flyers Club. Free root beer floats will be available, sponsored by Peoples National Bank.

For more information on the auto show, contact Mike Macioch at 320-684-2170 and for the aircraft display, contact Dale Johnson 218-838-0390 or Jim Larson, 218-820-8898.

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North Pole man pleads guilty to shooting fireworks at Army helicopters

FAIRBANKS—A North Pole man who shot fireworks at Army helicopters flying over his house and shined a spotlight at them pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor count of assaulting U.S. military personnel performing official duties.

Federal Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec accepted Daniel Lee Slayden's guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks.

Court documents say Slayden bought a home in a residential area near North Pole in March 2013 and became irritated at helicopters from nearby Fort Wainwright performing night flights around 1,000 feet above ground. There was no mention of interference from low-flying aircraft in the legally required disclosure statement when Slayden bought the house, and the sellers refused Slayden's request to rescind the purchase.

Slayden, according to a recorded conversation, complained to the Public Affairs Office on Fort Wainwright, after which some helicopters appeared to have shifted south. Some helicopters, however, were still flying over Slayden's house and at an altitude that Slayden estimated as below 500 feet.

Slayden goes on to say in the recorded statement that friends of his who worked on Fort Wainwright told him helicopter pilots knew who he was and that their flights irritated him and that they continued deliberately flying over his house. Slayden declined an offer to have the allegation followed-up by providing the names of his friends.

Slayden admits that, starting last fall, he began to shoot fireworks and shine a spotlight at helicopters flying over his house. He said the helicopters' bright lights shined into his windows and that he wanted to "give it back to them," according to statements.

Slayden said he shot mortar-based fireworks or aimed a spotlight at helicopters on roughly 12 occasions but did not necessarily aim the mortar tubes at the aircraft. He estimates the fireworks reached 100 feet into the air.

The court document states uniformed Army pilots confirmed fireworks exploded about 300 feet below their aircraft and that a spotlight interfered with their operations — including causing blackouts to night-vision goggles — during the reported time frame.

A search of the Slayden's home resulted in the seizure of several fireworks, four cardboard mortars for launching fireworks and a 12-volt spotlight.

Under a plea agreement, Slayden would be sentenced to three years probation, fined $12,500 and would forfeit for destruction any instruments used in the offense. The maximum penalty is a one-year prison sentence and $100,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 2.


Incident occurred June 27, 2014 in Mayhill, Otero County, New Mexico

Helicopter accident southwest of Mayhill:   Hard landing due to weather conditions

Two people were transported to an area hospital after a privately owned helicopter made a hard landing due to weather condition in the area southwest of Mayhill Friday evening, a New Mexico State Police spokesman said.

Lt. Emmanuel T. Gutierrez said four people were on board the helicopter at the time of the hard landing.

Gutierrez said a man and woman were transported to an area hospital complaining of non-life threatening injuries.

He said NMSP officers were notified by an Otero County Sheriff's Office dispatcher of the helicopter accident around 6 p.m. Friday.

Otero County Sheriff's Office deputies and area volunteer fire department emergency personnel initially responded to the accident.

Gutierrez said the accident happened at 58 Mule Canyon Road near New Mexico State Route 130 and Miller Flats Road southwest of Mayhill.

He said no one was killed in the accident.

Gutierrez said the privately owned helicopter is owned by Jay Arabians.


I-Team investigates Maryland State Police helicopter transition

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Norman Perry relinquishes chairmanship of Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY) commission

Under fire by the Dukes County commissioners, Mr. Perry stepped back from a lead role, but will remain on the airport commission.

Norman Perry, chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission since April, relinquished the chairman’s post at a meeting of the airport commission Friday morning. Mr. Perry notified his fellow commissioners of his decision to step down from the leadership post but remain on the commission in an email late Thursday night.

“I have assumed his position as chair,” vice chairman Constance Teixeira, said at the beginning of the airport commission’s regular monthly meeting.

Ms. Teixeira set a stern tone. “The meeting today will be governed by Roberts Rules of Order, which gives the chair custody of who is allowed to speak,” Ms. Teixeira said. “Anyone not acknowledged by the chair will not be able to speak at this meeting. There will be some changes in committees. At this time I’m not ready to make those changes.”

Newly appointed airport commissioner Christine Todd, who is also a county commissioner, questioned the process. The airport commission has no bylaws spelling out the process of succession.

“I was under the impression that we would elect a new chair,” Ms. Todd said. “I’m just wondering what the process is.”

“The process is, the vice-chair steps up, and we elect a new vice-chair,” Ms. Teixeira said.

The meeting was tense at times, but less confrontational than meetings held earlier this year, which drew widespread criticism of airport commissioners by members of the county commission.

Members of the county commission have been highly critical of the airport commission for its handling of several public disciplinary hearings involving an airport employee.

At a meeting on June 18, Dukes County Commission chairman Leonard Jason Jr. asked the seven appointed members of the airport commission to resign. The longtime county commissioner modified his call in a letter dated June 19 addressed to the airport commission in which he suggested that commissioners find something else to do. Mr. Jason asked for a response by July 1.

County manager Martina Thornton, county treasurer Noreen Mavro-Flanders, and Mr. Jason attended the Friday morning meeting.

After attending to routine airport business, commissioners approved a response to Mr. Jason’s June 19 letter in which he asked the  airport commissioners to consider another line of civic duty.  Commissioners did not discuss the text of the letter or read it aloud.

Ms. Teixeira, Mr. Perry, Peter Bettencourt, Denys Wortman, and James Coyne voted in favor of the response. Ms. Todd voted against sending the response, and newly appointed airport commissioner Richard Michelson abstained.

Ms. Todd said she has already sent her response. Mr. Michelson, a former airport employee, said he intended to send his own response.

Following the meeting, assistant airport manager Deborah Potter refused to respond to an oral request for the letter. She asked that all requests for public documents be submitted in writing. She did not responded to a written request from The Times by the end of the day Friday. The Times also requested a copy of the letter from the county manager. That request was also not met by the end of the day Friday.

The airport commission also distributed a draft of an airport employee policies and procedures handbook for discussion. Airport policies and procedures have been a sharp point of contention during recent disciplinary hearings and meetings. Beth Tessmer, a nine-year airport employee who was twice suspended and then fired earlier this year, has contended in a workplace discrimination lawsuit, that the airport commission did not follow disciplinary procedures established for Dukes County employees.

Airport commission attorney Susan Whalen, speaking by conference call, advised commissioners to keep the document confidential, not to distribute it electronically, and not to share copies with outside advisors. Though distributed at a public meeting in open session, she maintained it is not a public record, because it falls under an exception to the Massachusetts Public Records Act concerning formulation of public policy.

“I would recommend that the commissioners keep their copy privileged and confidential,” Ms. Whalen said. “You’re obligated to maintain the confidential record of the public body.”

“I don’t see anything that is so secret, secret, that no one else in the world can look at it,” said Mr. Michelson, who has spoken forcefully in recent meetings about the need for a policies and procedures manual.

The commissioners agreed to review the document, and send comments to Ms. Potter by email.

The meeting was not without its lighter moments.

The commissioners agreed, at the suggestion of Mr. Michelson, to send an electronic survey to all airport stakeholders, including tenants, employees, pilots, and others, to gauge what they think about airport operations. Ms. Potter suggested using the popular Internet based survey software known as Survey Monkey.

“I can see the headline,” said Mr. Coyne. “‘Commission creates monkey committee.’”

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Fairborn volunteer information for Dayton Air Show

FAIRBORN — Skyhawk Athletic Club parents and students volunteering for the Vectren Dayton Air Show June 28-29 should remember these items:

The morning shifts are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the evening shifts are 1-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A Fairborn City Schools bus will transport volunteers from Fairborn High School to the air show promptly at 7:30 p.m. Please be at FHS by 7 a.m. The bus will pick up afternoon shift volunteers at FHS, leaving at 12:30 p.m. so please be at FHS by 12 p.m.

Adults are asked to wear their “Hawk Pride” T-shirts. Extras will be available at the main volunteer tent. Students will have bright yellow program shirts provided to them on the bus. They will also be available at the main volunteer tent.

Volunteers must have their pass to enter the air show and also to park in volunteer parking area. Instructions and maps will be provided immediately upon arrival.


As Marshfield Municipal Airport (KGHG) expands, couple agree to sell their home

MARSHFIELD – With barbed-wire fencing and a taxiway buffer creeping toward their backyard, a Woodbine Road family said the $15.34 million improvement project at Marshfield Municipal Airport left them with little choice but to sell their home.

Thomas and Pamela Scott this month agreed to sell their home at 23 Woodbine Road to the airport commission for $315,000, most of which was funded with federal money.

The home is one of three properties at the end of Woodbine Road and Old Colony Lane that were identified in 2005 for possible acquisition. It’s the second to be purchased for the expansion project.

The Federal Aviation Administration provided an $11.34 million grant for improvements to the town-owned airport, which is managed by Shoreline Aviation. The state pitched in $1.4 million, and voters at a special town meeting in 2011 approved $200,000.

The newly reopened runway was shifted 190 feet west of the previous surface, widened by 25 feet and extended 300 feet. An additional 300 feet of paved safety buffer was added at each end, providing 3,600 feet for takeoffs and 3,900 feet for emergency landings.

Airport manager David Dinneen acknowledged that the fence enclosing the airport and taxiway protection zone are “very close” to the Scott home, which will be demolished.

“We went through the process and offered to purchase the home, and they accepted,” he said. “We struck a good deal with them. They’re happy with the decision, and we’re happy to be able to use the property to create a buffer.”

While Thomas Scott said he’s glad his family received fair market value for the home, he’s disappointed that officials put them in that position to begin with.

“We’re leaving under duress. We’ve been told by medical professionals that the dangers and the risks outweigh the attempt to tolerate or adjust to the situation,” he said Thursday. “You can’t argue with noise levels that exceed federal guidelines and toxic fumes 50 feet away. … And to think airport commissioners, who are my own neighbors, denied that there would be a problem.”

Airport officials have said the project is necessary because improvements will bring the airport into compliance with FAA safety and design standards.

The zoning board in 2011 granted a special permit for relocating and widening the runway. Town Counsel Robert Galvin said part of the airport property already existed in a residential zone prior to the expansion.

 “All they did was change the nature of use, and that was through a special permit,” he said. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that there has been no further incursion than what (the board) approved.”

Galvin said no neighbors appealed the board’s approval of the permit at the time. “They should have taken issue with it in 2011,” he said. “They had a legal obligation to do that.”

Scott said none of the plans as presented included the adverse details his family is experiencing.

I'm not anti-transportation and I’m certainly not anti-business, but some serious negligence existed here,” he said. “Perhaps the consultants involved presented the decision-makers with a very different description of what would happen compared to what has happened.”

Scott did credit Dinneen for his handling of the situation, calling him a “professional who took a different approach” from other airport officials.

“He was proactive and made it possible for us to exercise our option to relocate,” Scott said. “If it weren’t for him, I don’t think we would have had any options other than to file for injunction.”

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Mexican law enforcement chopper fires in Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Mexican law enforcement on Thursday crossed into Arizona by helicopter and fired two shots at U.S. border agents, a border patrol union leader says.

A Mexican law enforcement chopper crossed about 100 yards north into the Arizona desert, the U.S. Border Patrol said in a statement. The helicopter then fired two shots on the Tohono O'Odham Indian Nation, which sits on the border. Border patrol union leaders say the Mexicans fired at agents but that none of them were hurt.

However, Mexican authorities have denied shooting at agents and say they were under attack during a mission to find smugglers on the border.

Tomás Zerón, the director of the Mexican attorney general's office investigative office, said that Mexican military and federal police who were conducting an operation on a ranch in Altar, Sonora, were shot at by criminals. Mexican authorities never fired any weapons and in fact never crossed into the U.S. side of the border, he said.

Art del Cueto, president of the local border patrol union, said four agents were in a marked patrol vehicle when they were shot at.

"They could say they didn't fire at the agents intentionally. But for them to say that they were no shots fired within the United States, toward the United States Border Patrol, is a lie. They got in contact with our managers and apologized for the incident," del Cueto said.

The Mexican helicopter was 15 yards from the border agents when they were came under fire, Del Cueto said. He's also concerned that Tucson sector officials didn't notify the next shift of border agents that there had been a shooting, he said.

"... I think our managers within the area should have definitely informed the oncoming shift this had happened. We're always on high alert, but I think it would raise a fear level for our agents," del Cueto said.

Sebastián Galván, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, said the office was gathering information but did not have any details yet.

This incident was not the first one in which the Mexican military has veered across the international boundary.

In January, U.S. border agents confronted two heavily armed Mexican soldiers who crossed 50 yards inside Arizona, the Los Angeles Times reported. A standoff ensued, but nobody was hurt.

In 2011, more than 30 uniformed Mexican soldiers in military vehicles crossed the Rio Grande without authorization in an incident that was believed to be inadvertent.

The FBI is investigating the incident.


Slow medevacs transition into Maryland State Police prompts buy offer: Era Helicopters wants to buy fleet, lease it back

BALTIMORE —The 11 News I-Team has learned that the slow transition of new medevacs into the Maryland State Police fleet has prompted an offer to buy them and lease the aircraft back to the state.

The transition of AW 139 custom-built medevacs into the state police aging fleet is so slow, it inspired a rescue offer from competitor Era Helicopters of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

David Oglesbee, vice president of contract leasing for Era, reached out to Anne Arundel County Sen. John Astle to help broker the offer “to actually purchasing the aircraft from the state and leasing those aircraft back for operations by or for the Maryland State Police."

Reached by phone, Oglesbee said the offer stands, but he has not heard back from the senator or any state official.

Only four of the 10 AW 139 helicopters have been put into service.

They are flying out of the Frederick Municipal Airport, the Easton Airport, St. Mary's County Regional Airport and the Salisbury/Wicomico Airport.

Maryland State Police announced Friday that an AW139 Medevac will be put into service in a fifth helicopter base on Saturday. Police officials said nine of the new Medevacs are ready for duty and a 10th one will be delivered next month.

State police told legislators that they expected the transition to take two years and they are still on schedule to complete it within that time frame.

The target retirement date for the Dauphin Fleet is by the end of October this year.

Training has been a challenge for pilots. Some have had to repeat testing and there's been no budget to meet the new two-pilot requirement. The new fiscal year begins next month and the budget authorizes 10 additional pilot positions.

The new helicopters have to undergo more inspections than expected.

An airworthiness directive for example, highlights an issue of cracks in the subfloor of the aircraft -- a condition if not detected, could lead to a loss of control of the helicopter.

Meanwhile, the current aging fleet of Dauphins must be maintained until the transition into the AW 139s is complete and the cost of maintaining a duel fleet is growing.

Since December 2012, the State Board of Public Works has authorized $2.3 million in repairs to as many as five Dauphins. Repairs include engine and main gear box overhauls.

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Glasair Aviation, Arlington, Washington: Plane project sends high school students to new heights

ARLINGTON, Wash. - After beating 79 other high schools from 33 states and Washington, D.C, four students from Las Vegas are living their prize: getting to build a small single engine plane at Arlington’s Glasair Aviation.

But what makes this story compelling is that the winning entry is a sign of a turnaround for Sunrise Mountain High School, where only about a third of the students even graduate.

The team’s winning entry: a plane designed on a school computer with longer wings carrying a bigger payload using software powered by X-Plane. The X-Plane software was used by all entries allowing the students to design and fly virtual aircraft.  In this case, it was a winning entry from kids who never thought of a career as aerospace engineers - before now.

One of the students had never been on a plane before flying to Seattle.

“They don’t have internet, they don’t have a computer at home,” said Reza Karamooz, president of the Nevada Business Aviation Association. Karamooz established an aviation club at the school and volunteers his time along with John Kanuch, an F-16 pilot with the U.S. Air Force.

Working to design a virtual airplane is one thing; actually spending two weeks all expenses paid at Glasair Aviation is life changing.

The contest is only a few years old, sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) along with Build A Plane, a non-profit organization that helps students learn how to build aircraft.

The mission; to encourage more high school students to think more about education and careers in STEM related fields. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Students can become tomorrow’s engineers and scientists.

“They’re going to be running aerospace businesses, and they’ll be able to tell you what they were doing this week,” said Capt. Stephen Taylor, who chairs GAMA’s board of directors.  “They’re going to learn engineering principles.”

“Before I came here, I never thought it would be an opportunity for me. Now that I’m here, it’s definitely something I’m not going to let pass by. I’m going to check it out,”  said student Kenny Ellis.

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Federal Aviation Administration Can't Dodge $45M Deadly Bagram Crash Coverage Suit

Law360, New York (June 27, 2014, 7:50 PM ET) -- A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge said on Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration can’t escape an American International Group Inc. unit’s $45 million lawsuit demanding insurance coverage for a cargo plane crash in Afghanistan that killed seven Americans.

The lawsuit accuses the FAA of breaching an insurance contract with U.S. Department of Defense contractor National Air Cargo Group Inc. by refusing to cover the April 2013 crash. AIG unit Commerce and Industry Insurance Co. ultimately paid about $42 million in insurance for the accident... 

Read more:

NTSB Identification: DCA13RA081 
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Bagram, Afghanistan
Aircraft: BOEING 747-428, registration: N949CA
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

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

On April 29, 2013, at about 1056 local time, a National Air Cargo B747-400, registration N949CA, crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base (OAIX), Afghanistan. According to news reports, witnesses observed the airplane attain a very steep nose-up attitude shortly after takeoff before descending into the ground near the end of the runway. All seven crewmembers onboard were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed from impact forces and post-crash fire. All seven crew members were American citizens. The 14 CFR Part 121 Supplemental cargo flight was destined for Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The investigation is being conducted by the Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation of Afghanistan (MoTCA). The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of the Operator, Manufacturer, and Registry of the airplane. All investigation information will be released by the MoTCA.

Eddie Andreini, Boeing E75 Super Stearman, N68828: Fatal accident occurred May 04, 2014 in Fairfield, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA182 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 04, 2014 in Fairfield, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/17/2015
Aircraft: BOEING E75, registration: N68828
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The highly experienced air show pilot was attempting to cut, with the vertical stabilizer of his biplane, a ribbon that was suspended about 20 feet above and across the runway. He was performing the maneuver on the third day of an open house at a United States Air Force (USAF) base and had successfully accomplished the maneuver on the two previous days, as well as at many previous air shows. After the pilot rolled the airplane inverted for the pass, witnesses observed it descend smoothly to the runway and slide to a stop. As the airplane came to a stop, a fire erupted, and the airplane was completely engulfed in flames within about 90 seconds of the fire’s start. The first fire suppression vehicle did not reach the airplane until more than 4 minutes after the fire began, and the fire was extinguished soon thereafter. The investigation did not identify any preimpact mechanical deficiencies or failures of the airplane or any adverse weather conditions that contributed to the abnormal runway contact. Toxicology analysis detected therapeutic amounts of diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine, in the pilot’s blood, which likely impaired his ability to safely complete the maneuver and resulted in the abnormal runway contact. The pilot was found lying on the upper panel of the cockpit canopy, and the canopy was found unlatched but in its closed position, indicating that when the airplane came to a stop, the pilot was likely conscious and attempted to exit the airplane; however, he was unsuccessful. The investigation was unable to determine when the pilot released his harness restraint system. If he released his harness before attempting to open the canopy, he would have fallen onto the canopy, which would have significantly increased the difficulty of opening the canopy. Even if the pilot did not release his harness before attempting to open the canopy, airframe damage and the canopy opening geometry would have prevented the full opening of the canopy, limiting the pilot’s ability to exit. Further, the canopy was not equipped with any emergency egress provisions, such as quick-release hinge pins. Finally, the pilot’s lack of a helmet or any fire protection garments increased his susceptibility to thermal injury and reduced his useful time to effect an exit, particularly given the rapidity of the fire’s spread. Although initially a survivable accident, the combination of pilot egress difficulties, the rapid fire growth, and the more than 4-minute firefighting response time altered the final outcome. The USAF primarily based its Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) plan for the air show on Department of Defense (DoD) and USAF guidance. In preparation for the open house, the USAF show director had attended an International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) trade show and briefing, where he was provided with ICAS guidance material that advocated the highest state of readiness for the ARFF teams. This entailed prepositioning the ARFF equipment, with the ARFF personnel fully suited in their protective gear, ready for immediate travel to and engagement in the rescue and firefighting efforts. For undetermined reasons, either that information was not communicated to the show organizers and ARFF planners or the responsible personnel and departments elected to disregard it. The organizers and planners made the decision to maintain the facility’s ARFF readiness state at the DoD-defined “unannounced emergency” level during the air show, instead of the highest state of ARFF readiness advocated by ICAS. Based on the available evidence, if the ARFF teams had been at the highest state of ARFF readiness, the pilot’s likelihood of survival would have been significantly increased. The hazards imposed by low-level inverted flight included inadvertent ground contact, impact damage, and fire. The pilot had multiple strategies available to manage or mitigate the hazards’ attendant risks. These included ensuring that he was in appropriate physiological and psychological condition to operate safely, wearing appropriate protective clothing, and ensuring an appropriate level of airplane crashworthiness including occupant escape provisions. The availability of ARFF services represented the final element of the risk management process, necessary only if all the other strategies failed or were otherwise ineffective. In this accident, the pilot either intentionally or unknowingly weakened, defeated, or did not implement several risk mitigation strategies: he was likely impaired by medication, he did not wear any protective clothing, and his airplane was not well-equipped from an occupant-escape perspective. The combination of these factors then resulted in the pilot being fully dependent on the timely arrival of ARFF personnel and equipment for his survival. The failure of the ARFF personnel and equipment to be at their highest level of readiness and to arrive in a timely manner was not the first, but rather the last, failed element of the overall risk-management scheme.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the runway during a low-level aerobatic maneuver due to his impairment by an over-the-counter antihistamine. Contributing to the severity of the pilot’s injuries were the pilot’s lack of fire protective clothing, his inability to egress the cockpit, the rapid spread of the fire, and the decision of the air show’s organizers not to have the airport rescue and firefighting services at their highest level of readiness, which delayed arrival of fire suppression equipment.

On May 4, 2014, about 1359 Pacific daylight time, a Boeing E75, N68828, was destroyed when it impacted runway 21R during an aerial demonstration flight at Travis Air Force Base (SUU), Fairfield, California. The commercial pilot/owner received fatal injuries. The exhibition flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The pilot was one of several civilian aerial demonstration pilots who performed at the 2-day SUU "Thunder Over Solano" open house, which included both static (ground) and aerial (flight) displays. According to United States Air Force (USAF) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information, Friday, May 2, was the practice day, while the public event took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4. The pilot flew two flight demonstration airplanes at the event; a North American P-51, and the accident airplane. All his flights preceding the accident flight were uneventful.

The accident occurred during a "ribbon-cut maneuver," whereby a ribbon was suspended transversely across the runway, between two poles held by ground crew personnel, and situated about 20 feet above the runway. The planned maneuver consisted of a total of three passes. The first two passes were to be conducted with the airplane upright, and were not planned to contact the ribbon. The final pass was to be conducted inverted, and the airplane would cut the ribbon with its vertical stabilizer. The first two passes were successful, but on the third (inverted, ribbon-cut) pass, the airplane was too high, and did not cut the ribbon. The pilot then initiated a fourth pass, and rolled the airplane inverted after aligning with the runway. The airplane contacted the runway prior to reaching the ribbon, slid inverted between the ground crew personnel holding the ribbon poles, and came to a stop a few hundred feet beyond them. A fire began as the airplane stopped. The pilot did not exit the airplane, and was fatally injured.


The 77-year-old pilot was a well known air show performer in the western United States. FAA records indicated that the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with single- and multi-engine airplane, and instrument airplane ratings, and was authorized to fly several experimental airplanes. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in June 2013; on that application the pilot indicated that he had a total civilian flight experience of 11,400 hours.


FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1944, and was first registered to the pilot in 1982. The airplane was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney R-985 series engine. The fuselage and empennage consisted of a synthetic-fabric covered steel tube structure, while the wings were primarily wood structure covered with the same type of fabric. The airplane was equipped with two tandem cockpits enclosed by a single canopy; the pilot flew the airplane from the aft cockpit.

The canopy consisted of a light metal frame (aluminum and steel) and plastic transparencies. The canopy was not part of the original airplane design or configuration. According to maintenance record information, and information provided by the pilot's family, the canopy was designed by the pilot with help from Serv Aero in Salinas, California. It was a modified version of the canopy from a "Varga" airplane, and had been installed on the accident airplane in November 1985. The canopy was intended to "improve air flow over the elevator and rudder for better flight control," and to provide additional cockpit comfort, in terms of reduced noise and wind blast.

The longitudinal section of the canopy consisted of one fixed panel (right side) and two movable panels (top and left side). The top panel was longitudinally hinged to the fixed right panel and the movable left panel, and the forward and aft bottom corners of the left panel rode in transverse tracks at the forward and aft ends of the cockpit. That design allowed cockpit entry and egress by operating the top and left canopy panels in a manner similar to a bi-fold door; which required approximately 18 inches of clearance above the canopy for the canopy to be opened.

The 47-gallon aluminum fuel tank was mounted in the center section of the upper wing, just forward of the cockpit. The main fuel tank was equipped with a central filler neck with a cap that protruded about 1.5 inches above the tank upper mold line. Four non-metallic flexible fuel lines, one near each lower corner of the main tank, enabled fuel to be supplied from the main tank.

An aluminum header fuel tank, of approximately 3 gallons capacity, was mounted in the fuselage forward of the cockpit. An oil tank for smoke generation was mounted below and slightly aft of the header tank.


The SUU 1358 automated weather observation included wind from 240 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 21, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 18,000 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.


SUU was equipped with an air traffic control tower (ATCT) that remained staffed and operational during the air show. However, during certain portions of the show, the ATCT ceded control of some of its designated airspace (and the aircraft within) to the air show "air boss." The Air Boss was defined by the FAA as the "individual who has the primary responsibility for air show operations on the active taxiways, runways, and the surrounding air show demonstration area." For this particular event, the Air Boss was a civilian who was well acquainted with the performers, performances, and overall show schedule. The Air Boss and pilots communicate directly with one another via radio. The ATCT and air boss coordinate closely to ensure continuous control of the airspace before, during, and after the show.

In response to an NTSB question, the USAF stated that the "Air Boss turned over control of the airspace to tower and RAPCON [radar approach control] once airborne traffic was assigned to designated holding area behind the crowd. Tower/ground control managed access into the controlled movement area during the emergency response period via existing protocols. This was briefed at every safety brief before each day of flight, and the actual execution after the mishap followed the briefed plan."

According to the transcript of radio communications between the ATCT, the Air Boss, and aircraft, the first indication of the accident was at 1357:56, when the Air Boss transmitted "Tower, tower, tower, we need to, emergency trucks, roll em out, roll em, roll em, roll the emergency trucks." At 1358:02, an unknown person transmitted "alright," which was followed at 1358:04 by the Air Boss transmitting that he had the "airspace closed for the fire." The transcript did not include any communications regarding that reported closure.

At 1358:14, the ATCT controller transmitted "Tower's got the airspace," followed by the Air Boss 1358:15 transmission of "you got the airspace, you got the field, they are up and moving." At 1358:18, the ATCT transmitted "Roger, we got em rolling."

At 1359:01, the Air Boss asked "tower we got the trucks rolling?" to which the ATCT responded "affirmative and they're coming out to you on the runway now." At 1359:02, an unidentified person transmitted "Air Boss we need fire immediately he is trapped in the airplane and on fire." That discussion continued almost another minute.

At 1401:41, the ATCT transmitted to the Air Boss, who was attempting to land one of the airborne performers, to have that airplane go around, because "responder vehicles just turned on [to runway] two one left." At 1401:57, the ATCT informed the Air Boss that they would advise him when the runway was clear. No further communications regarding the ARFF vehicles or their clearance of the runway were included in the transcript, which ended at 1402:53.

Based on this transcript, the first ARFF vehicles entered the runway about 3 minutes 45 seconds after the first radio transmission announcing the accident.


The airport was equipped with two primary runways. The two runways, designated 3/21R and 3R/21L were staggered such that the approach end of 3R was adjacent to the approach end of 21R. Runway 3l/21R was the primary air show performance runway, and measured 150 by 11,001 feet.

The static displays and spectator areas were situated on the northeast ramp area, northwest of runway 21R. The spectator area was situated about 1,000 feet from the northwest edge of runway 21R.

The air show "performance (or aerobatic) box" measured about 3,000 by 12,000 feet, and was situated on the northeast section of 3L/21R. Air show center was located approximately 1,200 feet beyond the threshold of runway 21R.


The airplane impacted runway 21R. Ground scars consisted of rudder/ vertical stabilizer ("tail") and upper wing contact (metal and wood scrapes, and paint transfer) with the runway, as well as propeller "slash marks" approximately perpendicular to the direction of travel. Review of image and ground scar data indicated that the airplane first contacted the runway with its right wing, followed by the tail, the left wing, and then the propeller.

The upper outboard right wing initial scar was followed about 7 feet later by the tail strike, and then a few feet later by the upper left wing. The initial tail strike was located about 45 feet right (northeast) of the runway centerline, about 380 feet beyond the runway threshold. The initial direction of travel was aligned approximately 5 degrees to the right (divergent from) the runway axis. The propeller slash marks began about 100 feet beyond the initial tail strike, and continued to the final resting location of the airplane. The slash marks described an arc, which curved to the left. The airplane slid inverted, and traveled a total distance of about 740 feet. It came to a stop near the left (southwest) edge of the runway, on a magnetic heading of about 140 degrees. Review of still and video imagery revealed that the airplane came to a stop about 13 seconds after it contacted the runway.

Examination of the wreckage indicated that most of the fabric covering on the fuselage was damaged or consumed by fire. The right wing and cockpit furnishings were almost completely consumed by fire, as were some of the aluminum flight control tubes. The left wing and rudder /vertical stabilizer sustained impact deformation, but the cockpit occupiable volume was not compromised by deformation of any surrounding structure.

The fuel lines and the main fuel tank were fire damaged, and at least two thermal penetrations of the main fuel tank were observed; both were consistent with an on-ground fire. The main tank fuel cap was found installed and latched. The cap/neck and surrounding tank skin appeared to be depressed slightly into the tank, but it could not be determined whether the cap and neck leaked fuel after the impact. No evidence of any provisions for increased crashworthiness of the fuel system, such as frangible, self-sealing line couplings, was observed in the wreckage. Due to the level of damage, the investigation was unable to determine the initial source(s) of the fuel that resulted in the rapid growth of the fire.

Still and video images of the accident sequence, combined with on-scene observations, revealed that partial collapses of both the upper wing and the vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly, due to ground contact, resulted in the clearance between the top of the canopy and the runway surface being too small to allow the canopy to be fully opened. The canopy opening geometry was such that the relationship between the vertical travel of the canopy top and the actual opening provided was not linear; a small reduction in the vertical travel capability of the canopy top would result in a significant reduction in the size of the opening it afforded for cockpit egress. The canopy was not equipped with any emergency egress provisions, such as quick-release hinge pins.

All components, with the exception those consumed by fire, were accounted for. No evidence of any pre-impact engine or flight control problems was noted, and no evidence consistent with any pre-impact abnormalities or deficiencies that would have precluded continued flight was observed.


In response to NTSB questions, the pilot's family reported that they were "not aware of any unusual or abnormal issues with either the pilot's sleep patterns before the accident or with the aircraft or the aircraft's maintenance or condition. The pilot was not ill and the family is not aware of any stressors." The family reported that his physical health and mobility was "good," and that he "was quite capable of climbing in and out of both the Stearman and the P-51." They described his mental acuity and awareness as "excellent."

In his most recent application for an FAA second-class medical certificate, the pilot reported high blood pressure, treated with amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide. The pilot was issued that certificate with unrelated limitations regarding corrective lenses for vision.

The Solano County California County Coroner determined that the cause of death was extensive thermal injury. The pathologist did not identify evidence of blunt force trauma.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute did not identify levels of carbon monoxide above 10%. Testing identified amlodipine in heart blood and liver tissue. Cetirizine was detected in the heart blood, but below quantifiable levels. Cetirizine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms, marketed under the brand name Zyrtec.

Toxicology testing also detected Diphenhydramine in the heart blood and urine. Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergies, cold symptoms, and as a sleep aid. It is available over the counter under various names such as Benadryl and Unisom. Diphenhydramine undergoes postmortem redistribution to the heart blood. As a result, postmortem heart blood diphenhydramine levels may be increased by about a factor of three. The measured diphenhydramine level, when divided by three, was still within the therapeutic range.


Review of video and still images revealed that fire became visible just as the airplane stopped moving, and some patches of fire were visible on the ground along an apparent fuel trail aft of the airplane. Once the airplane came to a stop, the fire appearance was initially consistent with a "pool fire," which is the combustion of a liquid pooled on the ground. However, the fire enlarged quickly, and within about 50 seconds, the fire encompassed most of the right (downwind) side of the airplane. The airplane was completely engulfed by the fire about 1 minute and 32 seconds after the airplane stopped.

Review of the still and video imagery, and the wreckage, indicated that at first the fire was consistent with liberated gasoline spilled on the ground, but the fire developed rapidly thereafter. It began consuming the airplane skin and structure, and damaged the fuel lines and tanks, which permitted the liberation of additional onboard flammable fluids, including gasoline and oil.

Review of photographic and other documentation indicated that the flames were no longer visible about 5 minutes and 17 seconds after impact, or about 15 seconds after truck-provided fire fighting agent began contacting the fire. USAF information indicated that the fire was "knocked down" (significantly reduced) about 6 minutes and 38 seconds after it started, and that it was extinguished about 9 minutes after it started. The fire-fighting activities are detailed in a separate section below.


Survival Aspects

According to information provided by first responders, after the fire was extinguished, the pilot was observed to be within the cockpit, lying on his back on the upper canopy frame, with his head towards the tail. The airplane fuselage had settled slightly during or subsequent to the fire, so that the top of the canopy was resting on the runway surface. Photographs taken prior to the recovery of the pilot showed that the movable left side canopy panel was unlatched, but essentially in its closed position, with at least its aft guide pins still in the canopy track.

Due to lack of evidence, the investigation was unable to determine when the pilot unfastened his restraint system. With the airplane inverted, release of the restraint system prior to an attempt to open the canopy would result in the pilot's fall onto the canopy, which would interfere with his ability to open the canopy.

The pilot was not wearing a helmet, and there was no evidence that he was wearing any garments or equipment designed for thermal/fire protection, including gloves.

National Fire Protection Association

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a trade association that develops and distributes standards for fire fighting and rescue response, including airport ARFF equipment and staffing provisions. NFPA establishes recommended airport ARFF equipment and staffing provisions ("level of protection") based on "the largest aircraft scheduled into the airport." NFPA guidance did not cite any standards specifically or exclusively for air shows, airport open houses, or other non-standard situations or events.

NFPA Standard 403 (Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Services at Airports) included the following specifics regrading ARFF vehicle siting:
- ARFF vehicles shall be garaged at one or more strategic locations as needed to meet required response times.
- Emergency equipment shall have immediate and direct access to critical aircraft movement areas and the capability of reaching all points within the rapid response area (RRA) in the time specified.
- Therefore, the location of the airport fire station shall be based on minimizing response time to aircraft accident and incidents.
- The response time of the first responding ARFF vehicle to reach any point on the operational runway and begin agent application shall be within 3 minutes of the time of the alarm.

FAA Air Show Guidance and Requirements

The USAF/SUU required FAA approval to conduct its open house and air show. FAA approval was granted in the form of FAA Form 7711-1, "Certificate of Waiver or Authorization." Chapter 6 of FAA Order 8900.1 contained the guidance for the issuance of the waiver/authorization. The USAF/SUU ("the applicant") was responsible to apply for the waiver/authorization to the responsible FAA office, which was the Sacramento Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The Order specified that the FAA inspector assigned to the event "should work closely with the responsible [event] person to develop normal and emergency plans, briefings, and checklists." The waiver for the air show was approved by the FAA on March 28, 2014.

Order 8900.1 required that the applicant "should attach current, properly marked maps, drawings, or photographs of the planned area of operation" which must include the "location of the boundaries of the air show demonstration area, the location of the primary spectator area, [and] the location of the emergency vehicles and medical facilities."

Order 8900.1 required that a pre-show briefing must occur on every day of the show, and provided guidance in both narrative and checklist form. The guidance specified that attendees should include all air show pilots, the Air Boss, air traffic control, the "fire chief/CRS" [crash/rescue services], and an FAA representative. One of the mandatory elements of the briefing was that "the fire fighting and emergency services equipment available, including their location and the access routes to be kept clear, must be discussed."

Travis Fire Emergency Services Flight

The Travis Fire Emergency Services Flight (TFES) was established to provide emergency services to Travis Air Force Base (TAFB). The Travis Fire Emergency Service Flight is assigned to the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron, 60th Mission Support Group, 60th Air Mobility Wing, 18th Numbered Air Force, Air Mobility Command.

A document entitled the Travis Fire Emergency Services Standards of Cover (SOC) was written by the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) Fire Emergency Services Flight division to "define the distribution and concentration of fixed and mobile resources available to TFES." The document introduction stated that the "SOC is a system that includes an analysis of risks and expectations to assist in making decisions on force deployment issues." The SOC contained detailed information about ARFF staffing, equipment, and facilities, as well as protocols, priorities, and performance metrics.

USAF/SUU Emergency Services Planning

The February 2014 edition of the USAF/SUU "Installation Emergency Management Plan" provided detailed guidance on that topic. Appendix 2 ("On Base Aircraft Accident/Major Accident Response") included the following guidance for specific responsibilities and duties:

Emergency Communications Center:
- Develop safe route if time/situation permits
- Dispatch the appropriate resources required for initial response
- Maintain contact with responding [incident commander] and responders
- Ensure follow-on communications are prioritized and processed

Air Traffic Control Tower:
- Activate the primary crash phone network
- Ensure taxiing and airborne aircraft are advised of emergency information
- If feasible, obtain basic overhead survey information from local flights
- Ensure [approach control] is informed

Review of the ATCT transcripts and other documentation indicated that the relevant items were complied with.

USAF and SUU ARFF Guidance and Provisions

Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 6055.06, ("Fire and Emergency Services Program"), contained the applicable ARFF response criteria pertaining to response time, fire fighting vehicle agent requirements, and minimum ARFF vehicle staffing for its facilities, including SUU.

DoDI 6055.06 delineated required response time criteria as a function of which of two categories, "announced" or "unannounced," the particular emergency event falls into. Unannounced emergencies are those that occur at the facility during normal operational activities, without any prior notification to the ARFF command that a problem is either likely or is developing. For unannounced aircraft incidents or accidents, DoDI 6055.06 requires that "ARFF apparatus will be capable of responding to any incident/accident on the runway(s) within 5 minutes." Response time begins when ARFF crews receive notification of an emergency and ends when the first ARFF vehicle that is capable of expending fire fighting agent arrives at the aircraft incident/accident. The remaining primary ARFF vehicles must arrive on scene at intervals not exceeding 30-seconds.

In contrast, "announced" emergencies are those where the ARFF command has received an indication of a problem or potential problem, such as an aircraft inbound with a mechanical problem or fire. Announced emergencies assume that ARFF equipment has been pre-positioned for that emergency. For announced emergencies, DoDI 6055.06 requires that "ARFF apparatus will be capable of responding to any incident on the runways within 1 minute."

The USAF uses Air Force Instruction (AFI) 32-2001 ("The Fire Emergency Services Program"), as the means to identify service specific requirements to implement DoDI 6055.06. Based on that guidance and DoDI 6055.06, the USAF/SUU considered the air show activities to be normal operations, and that the required response times were per unannounced emergencies (5 minutes).

The investigation did not determine whether the Air Boss or any performers were aware of those two standards, or that the "unannounced emergency" standard was the one used by the USAF/SUU for the event.

USAF Open House Guidance

Additional guidance was provided by USAF publication AFI 10-1004 ("Conducting Air Force Open Houses"), with a most recent issue date of February 2010. That document provided additional guidance, including the following:
- "The safety of the spectators is of utmost importance"
- Vehicles and aircraft that would "obstruct spectators' view of the show line" should be repositioned
- "The FAA requires that the aerobatic box be void of all people not specifically participating in the demonstration"
- Personnel in the aerobatic box "should be kept to a minimum," and those personnel are only permitted there provided they are "properly briefed, are in communication with the Air Boss, and all [show] participants are aware of them."
- "Emergency vehicles will be not to be 'trapped' behind the crowd control lines"

The document did not provide any guidance on ARFF response times or ARFF personnel readiness.

SUU Fire Station Information

The SUU ARFF rating was categorized as an NFPA Airport Category 10 airfield. NFPA Category 10 is the highest level of ARFF protection, in terms of type and amount of ARFF equipment. The USAF/SUU aircraft which resulted in the category 10 rating (and agent quantities) were significantly larger than the accident airplane. Air Force ARFF categories are consistent with NFPA-specified airport categories, agent levels, and vehicle requirements.

According to information provided by the USAF, the normal complement and stationing of SUU ARFF vehicles was:
Fire Station 1- one T-3000 (3,000 gallons, "g"), two P-23s (3,300 g each), 1 RIV[Rapid Intervention Vehicle] (400 g)
Fire Station 3- one P-23 (3,300 g)

SUU modified its normal ARFF provisions and equipment stationing for the air show. According to USAF information, SUU "FES placed additional vehicles...adjacent to the runway. SUU FES placed assets at all three flight line fire stations (1, 3, & 4) as follows:
Fire Station 1 - two P-23s, one T-3000.
Fire Station 3- one P-23, one RIV.
Fire Station 4 - one P-23, one RIV, one P-26 5,000 gallon water tender.

According to USAF/SUU documentation, there were one primary and three secondary "crash response" locations designated for the air show. The primary facility (designated "Fire Station 1", or "FS 1") was located at approximately air show center (the longitudinal center of the designated performance box), but was situated behind the spectators; the spectators were located between the facility and the flight line. That facility was located about 1,000 feet from the closest edge of the performance box. There was no pre-established clear path through the spectators to enable the FS 1 ARFF vehicles to drive directly to the nearest boundary of the flight line or performance box.

In response to an investigation query regarding the location of FS 1 ARFF vehicles and personnel behind the spectators, the USAF/SUU stated that "Prioritization discussions, for the top hazards based on credible threat, took place to identify the most hazardous conditions to anticipate. It was determined that the number one priority, for all response entities, was that of the life hazard to the anticipated 200K+ visitors over the weekend." In other words, the primary responsibility of FS 1 was the attendees, and such positioning provided FS 1 with unrestricted access to the attendees. That rationale accounted for the designation of FS 1 as the "primary" FS, even though it was not the primary FS for the flight line. Flight line response was categorized as a "backup" responsibility of FS 1.

A secondary crash facility was located at each of the northeast and southwest corners of the performance box/flight line. The station at the northeast corner was designated "FS 3," and the station at the southwest corner was designated "FS 4." No spectators, personnel, buildings, or vehicles were situated between either of those two facilities and the flight line. Hence, despite their "secondary" designation in some documents and communications, FS 3 and FS 4 were actually the two primary ARFF facilities for the flight line.

The USAF/SUU stated that FS 4 was only used for the air show, and that for the show it also housed a "Fire Command and Control vehicle/person along with Flight Medicine Ambulance with a Doctor." The USAF/SUU stated that the siting of the attendees "centralized in front of bldg. 38 (Fire Station #1) was a primary concern of the FES flight driving us to adjust our assets" by temporarily using FS 4. In this configuration for the air show days, FS 3 and FS 4 were the two stations with primary responsibility for the flight line.

The USAF/SUU stated that on May 2nd (the air show practice day) ARFF vehicles were stationed, per their normal configuration, at FS 1 and FS 3. FS 4 was not staffed that day because "there was a clear path of travel from fire station 1 to the runway," due to the fact that the spectators were not present.

The fourth facility (FS 2) was situated in a hangar within an SUU building complex, about 4,000 feet northwest of air show center. That facility was designated primarily for structural (building/facility) responses.

In its formal response to NTSB queries, the USAF/SUU stated that "Posturing of vehicles were vetted and approved via the FAA waiver process and [in accordance with] AFI 10-1004 and the FAA 8009 [sic; should be "8900"] series regulations. There were no discussions leading up to the event from any performer, FAA rep, or fire rep that indicated placement of equipment was inadequate for safety and/or response time." The USAF/SUU also noted that the 2014 "ARFF posting plan was consistent with previous shows at Travis AFB."

Ground Vehicle Access to Movement Areas

Travis Air Force Base Instruction (TAFBI) 13-213 ("Airfield Driving"), with a most recent pre-accident issue date of December 2013, prohibits any vehicles from entering the Controlled Movement Area (CMA) without specific approval from the air traffic control tower. According to TAFBI 13-213, the CMA "is comprised of both runways, the landing zone, overruns, 100 feet on either side of the runways." The guidance also stated that "Everyone must read back all ATC instructions verbatim. All vehicles will stop at the VFR hold line and request permission to enter the CMA." It continued with "All emergency response vehicles must have approval from the Tower or authorized vehicle escort, to enter the CMA" and "Vehicles responding to an emergency on the runway must NEVER assume they have blanket permission to enter the runway after an emergency aircraft lands. All vehicles MUST call tower and receive permission to enter the runway PRIOR to accessing it."

The USAF-produced transcript of the ATCT communications did not include any communications to or from any ARFF vehicles, and no ARFF vehicle communications were provided to the investigation. This absence of data precluded a determination of whether any CMA access permission issues contributed to ARFF vehicle response delays.

Ground Vehicle Speed Limit Information

TAFBI 13-213 presented the following speed limit information:
- Aircraft Parking Ramps - 15 MPH maximum for general purpose vehicles
- Taxiways - 15 MPH unless otherwise posted
- Perimeter Road - 35 MPH maximum or as posted
- "Emergency response vehicles may exceed 10 MPH above their speed limit when responding to an emergency/alert and with rotating beacon lights and/or emergency flashers. However; emergency/alert vehicles should not assume the right of way and must use the utmost safety and caution when responding."

The TEFS SOC included a study to determine the effectiveness of its normal-configuration ARFF locations, and to evaluate the expected travel times to the ends of the two runways, as compared to the 3 minute travel time objectives set forth in AFI 32-2001 ("Fire Emergency Services"). The study used a standard vehicle speed of 45 mph for consistency with NFPA Standard 403. The SOC did not explain or justify why the study used that fixed speed, when it differed significantly from some of the actual SUU speed limits. That study concluded that ARFF vehicles from FS 1 could not meet the AFI 32-2001 standard, while vehicles from FS 3 could, with a margin of 17 seconds.

Due to lack of data, the investigation was unable to determine any ARFF vehicle speeds during the response, or what effect their speeds had on their response times.

ICAS Information

According to its website, the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade and professional association intended to "protect and promote their interests in the growing North American air show marketplace." The current ICAS mission statement is that the organization is "dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS will demand its members operate their business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity."

ICAS actively produces and disseminates guidance regarding many aspects of air shows. One ICAS guidance document is the "Air Show Manual (ASM)," which was most recently revised in 2004. The manual includes information regarding pre-show performer briefings, and facility provisions for ARFF.

ICAS does not directly provide guidance or best practices on what a performer should wear at an air show. According to an ICAS representative, ICAS "strongly urge[s] performers to consider the benefits of the myriad of options they have," but makes "no official stance that performers must wear specific fire-protective clothing."

On May 16, 2014, ICAS published "OPS BULL" (operations bulletin) Volume 8, Number 4. That bulletin cited the subject accident, and then provided a nearly a two page discussion of "CFR" (crash fire rescue) guidance for air show performers and presenters. Verbatim citations included the following:

"...the response times required for these airports to meet standards are not suitable for an air show environment. It is essential to communicate the following needs to ensure that CFR response time is kept to a minimum."

"CFR Teams at the ready – Often one of the largest sources of contention between event organizers and CFR is the need for them to be ready to go instantaneously. It is expected that CFR crews are suited up (with jackets and hoods at the ready) and in the trucks with the engine running and ready to go. At no time should CFR crews have family or friends at the trucks. Folding chairs and any other items should never be positioned in front of the trucks. If enough crews are unavailable to provide breaks, then food and beverage should be brought to the trucks and a portable restroom provided at each truck."

"Placement of CFR vehicles – ARFF trucks should be tactically prepositioned to provide the shortest and most direct routes to show center. While every airport layout is different (location of connecting taxiways, terrain, etc.) a general guideline would be to have trucks located at both ends of the crowd line or at the corner markers, and another truck (preferably a fast attack vehicle) located at show center."

"Concerning Response Times, the industry standard is that rescue vehicles are expected to be on the roll within 10 seconds of impact. Understanding that no two airfields are the same, it is expected that by thoughtful prepositioning of your equipment, ARFF equipment should be at the incident site and engaged within 60 seconds." Follow-up communications with ICAS indicated that in fact there is no 10-second "industry standard," but that ICAS is actively engaged in an industry effort to modify relevant guidance and practices.

ICAS-USAF/SUU Communication and Coordination

In December 2013, in preparation for the upcoming May 2014 SUU open house, two USAF/SUU officers attended the annual ICAS tradeshow. One of those attendees was the newly-appointed Director of the 2014 SUU open house. Tradeshow workshops attended by one or both of the officers included the topics of the FAA waiver process, and an ICAS-presented session which included a brief discussion of safety-related information.

One of the documents obtained from that tradeshow by the Director was a hardcopy version of an ICAS publication entitled "Air Shows 101: Air/Ground Operations Training." One article in that document was entitled "How to Effectively Pre-Position ARFF Equipment at Your Airshow." Relevant guidance included:
- The information requested by the FAA air show waiver application document "regarding ARFF staging is very limited," and that while completion of the application document "may satisfy the FSDO's need... certainly more planning and preparation is required to be ready to meet any emergency"
- "Pre-position ARFF equipment in a location(s) to provide the most direct and quickest response time"
- "Ensure that all ARFF personnel and equipment are ready to roll immediately." ICAS cited this as "one of the biggest issues at many events," elaborating that "if [ARFF personnel] are not ready to roll immediately they might as well be back in the air-conditioned fire house," and that the personnel must be "suited up, [with] equipment at the ready." The guidance continued, stating that "these issues are far too common at airshows" and that "those few seconds could be the difference between life and death."

According to USAF/SUU information, the "Air Shows 101" document was used as guidance for some of the open house preparations, but it was not duplicated either in hardcopy or electronically. In addition, the document was not provided to any members of the USAF/SUU FES who were responsible for the open house ARFF planning. The investigation was unable to determine whether, or how much of, the guidance in that article was relayed to the FES planners.

Although the Air Boss and many performers were members of ICAS, ICAS did not and does not communicate, coordinate, or contract directly with air show host organizations. Thus, the responsibility for ensuring appropriate ARFF arrangements falls to the host organization, the Air Boss, and the individual performers. Despite several requests, the investigation was unable to obtain details of any communications between the USAF/SUU and either the Air Boss or the performers regarding ARFF provisions and arrangements, particularly any matters of ARFF personnel and vehicle stationing and states of readiness.

Daily Briefings

In accordance with FAA and ICAS guidance, pre-show briefings for the performers and other relevant personnel were held each day of the show, including the practice day. The Air Boss conducted the briefing. Performers who did not attend a briefing were prohibited from flying that day. The Powerpoint presentation that was used by the Air Boss for the briefings was provided to the investigation. That presentation contained several slides regarding safety, and two slides which depicted the locations of the ARFF stations.

According to the USAF/SUU, USAF/SUU FES personnel attended all three practice and show days of those meetings, and answered questions as asked. Those meetings were attended by the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief of Training, or the Special Operations Officer.

Air Show Performer Briefings and Comments

In accordance with FAA and ICAS guidelines, on a daily basis prior to every show, the performers attended the pre-show briefs, where, among other topics, they were advised of the ARFF provisions and arrangements, and had the opportunity to directly question ARFF representatives, the Air Boss, and other cognizant personnel.

The investigation questioned (via telephone and/or email) both the Air Boss and the performers in order to understand what each of them knew regarding the ARFF arrangements and protocols for the show. Items of note from those communications included:
- Per USAF/SUU protocols, the performers and their support personnel were prohibited from personally responding to any emergencies such as accidents or fires. The USAF/SUU position was that those types of situations were better handled by the ARFF "professionals," with the apparent underlying rationale that precluding non-ARFF personnel participation would minimize the potential for confusion, additional injuries, or other undesired outcomes.
- At least one performer was concerned about an event at another USAF base air show the week before, where the base ARFF personnel were not suited in their protective gear at the time of the event, which delayed their response time. The audience was assured that this would not be the case for the current shows at SUU; one performer noted that the USAF/SUU ARFF personnel seemed dismissive of that performer's concern.
- Other performers expressed concern that there were no plans to station ARFF personnel or equipment on the flight line near air show center, and that the primary ARFF fire station (FS 1) was separated from the flight line by the spectators, without an open, direct path to the flight line. Reportedly the Air Boss had requested that the USAF/SUU position ARFF personnel and equipment at the flight line near air show center, but the USAF/SUU refused to alter the ARFF arrangements.

Only a few performers were forthcoming with responses to NTSB queries for detailed information about their concerns and the discussions in the meetings, and far fewer were willing to provide such information for attribution. Several referred those NTSB queries to the Air Boss. Only limited information was able to be obtained from the Air Boss regarding ARFF questions and discussions.

Impact Sequence Derivation from Accident Witness Statements and Images

Because the accident occurred close to "air show center" of a well-attended event, there was a wealth of eyewitness reports, and still and moving images. The winds were somewhat gusty, and some witnesses opined that they believed that the runway contact was gust-induced. The airplane was not equipped with any location or flight control position recording devices to enable development of a flight trajectory.

The image data was evaluated to derive a partial sequence of events, and relevant timeline information. Video imagery depicted the airplane rolling inverted, then descending and initially leveling out at an altitude not low enough for the planned ribbon cut, followed by a descent which continued to the runway surface. Lack of viable reference objects in the image field precluded any trajectory analysis of the airplane from those videos.

One series of still images captured the last 2 seconds of the descent to the runway, with sufficient reference objects to yield a trajectory depiction. Evaluation of the images, in correlation with the timing of the photographs, enabled a coarse trajectory analysis. The images depicted a relatively steady descent to the runway, with no obvious gross control surface deflections or airplane attitude variations. The roll attitude was approximately 5 to 10 degrees right wing down during the end of that descent and the initial runway impact.

Another series of still images that captured the descent, impact, and slide were of sufficient detail to enable the determination that the pilot's upper body was in a position that was not consistent with loss of consciousness. Even though the airplane was inverted, the pilot's head remained in an attitude consistent with looking forward, and his left arm remained in a position consistent with him continuing to keep his hand on or near the engine and propeller controls.

First Responder Statements

The USAF/SUU provided copies of written statements from a total of 15 first responders. The statements were in narrative form, and thus somewhat inconsistent in terms of content and level of detail. The statements, in combination with eyewitness recounts and image data, assisted in developing the post accident sequence of events.

Of the 15 statements provided, only 4 contained references to personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). All four statements noted that the authors took time between notification and arrival on scene to don their PPE and/or SCBA. Those four first responders were from three different vehicles (P45, P245, and Crash 13), from the two primary flight line fire stations, FS 3 and FS 4. None of the statements provided any additional detail re the PPE, or what the first responders' required or actual states of preparedness were.

Several first responder statements made references to obtaining clearance from the air traffic control tower prior to entering the accident runway, but there was insufficient data to determine what, if any, delays that ATC clearance requirements might have caused in the response times of the ARFF vehicles.

ARFF Response Timing

Review of the photographic coverage of the accident and ARFF response enabled the development of an event timeline. The airplane came to a stop about 13 seconds after the wing first contacted the runway. Fire began just prior to the end of the ground slide, and the airplane was completely engulfed in flames 1 minute and 32 seconds after it came to a stop. The first fire suppression activity occurred about 2 minutes and 15 seconds after the fire began, in the form of an individual with a handheld fire extinguisher. Those efforts had no visible effect on the fire.

The first ARFF vehicle to put extinguishing agent on the fire arrived about 4 minutes and 13 seconds after the fire began. That vehicle was the RIV P-245 from FS 4. That agent application did not have any visible effect on the fire. The next ARFF vehicle to put extinguishing agent on the fire arrived about 49 seconds later, about 5 minutes and 2 seconds after the fire began. That vehicle was "Crash 10," also from FS 4. The visible fire diminished rapidly and significantly with that agent application. About 8 seconds later, the first vehicle from FS 1, "Crash 9," arrived and began applying extinguishing agent. That application, in combination with that from Crash 10, extinguished the visible fie. The first vehicle from FS 3 appeared to be "Ramp Patrol 45," which arrived about 5 minutes and 22 seconds after the fire began. That vehicle did not appear to apply extinguishing agent. "Crash 13," also from FS 3, arrived about 6 minutes and 44 seconds after the fire began.

According to USAF/SUU information, the ARFF personnel reported that the fire was "knocked down" (significantly reduced) about 2 minutes 25 seconds after the arrival of the first ARFF vehicle, and was extinguished about 2 minutes and 55 seconds after the arrival of that vehicle.

ARFF Response Times vs Standards

DoDI 6055.06 also defined the three time segments that comprised the overall ARFF response time, and specified the individual time limits, as "Minimum Level of Service Objectives," for each of those segments, as follows:

Dispatch Time: The point of receipt of the emergency alarm at the public safety answering point to the point where sufficient information is known to the dispatcher and applicable units are notified of the emergency.

Turnout Time: The time beginning when units are notified of the emergency to the beginning point of travel time.

Travel Time: The time that begins when units are enroute to the emergency incident and ends when units arrive at the scene.

For unannounced emergencies, the minimum level of service time objectives were:
Dispatch Time: 60 seconds
Turnout Time: 60 seconds
Travel Time: 180 seconds

The sum of those three times resulted in the 300 second (5 minute) total response time. That response time applied only to the arrival of first vehicle with fire fighting capability. Subsequent to the arrival of that vehicle, the DoDI standard then specified that additional vehicles should arrive within 30-second intervals.

In contrast, the "announced emergencies" condition presumed the full preparation (PPE and SCBA donned) and pre-positioning of the ARFF personnel and vehicles, which resulted only in the citation of a minimum objective of a 1 minute response time, with no segment breakouts.

Radio communications and image data (still and video) enabled a partial determination of ARFF response segment times. The dispatch notification occurred about 18 seconds after the airplane came to a stop, which was within the 60-second objective. The turnout times were able to be calculated for seven vehicles. None of the turnout times were within the 60-second performance objective. The minimum turnout time, which was for the first vehicle to arrive at the airplane, was 1 minute and 59 seconds, which was 59 seconds longer than the specified objective. The remainder of the calculated turnout times ranged from 2 minutes and 20 seconds to 7 minutes.

Travel times were only able to be calculated for four vehicles, all of which were from the two flight line fire stations. The first vehicle on scene had a travel time of about 1 minute and 31 seconds, and the third vehicle on scene had a travel time of about 1 minute and 40 seconds. The sixth vehicle had a travel time of about 2 minutes and 28 seconds, while the seventh vehicle exceeded the travel time objective, with a time of 3 minutes and 30 seconds, 30 seconds longer than the performance objective. The reason for the extended travel time of the seventh vehicle was not able to be determined.

Hazard and Risk Management

The following paragraphs describe the underlying concepts of hazard, risk, and risk management, and have been paraphrased from the FAA Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2).

A hazard is a condition, event, object, or circumstance that could lead to or contribute to an unplanned or undesired event such as an accident. Risk is the future impact of a hazard that is not controlled or eliminated. Risk is the product of two elements; the likelihood of the occurrence of the hazard, and the severity of the hazard.

Risk management is the method used to control, reduce, or eliminate the hazard, by reducing or eliminating the likelihood, severity, or both, of that hazard. It is a decision-making process designed to systematically identify hazards, assess the degree of risk, and determine the best course of action. Risk management must be an active, conscious, and methodical activity. Compliance with appropriately designed procedures constitutes a significant component of risk management in flight operations. Hazard identification is critical to the risk management process; if the hazard is not identified, it cannot be managed.

Post Accident Changes

The USAF Fire Chief coordinated with ICAS to revise the USAF ARFF response procedures; those revised procedures were published in September 2014 in the USAF ARFF Response Guide (AFCEC-403-14). The document contains a section entitled "Air Show Safety," and also a list of related best practices. The USAF Fire Chief is also coordinating with DoD counterparts to develop or integrate some similar modifications to DoDI 6055.06, and assisting in similar efforts to revise NFPA Standard 403.

Finally, the Fire Chief serves as the Chairman of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Crash Firefighting Rescue Panel, and the panel has agreed to add many of the same guidance modifications to the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 7048, "Crash, Fire-Fighting and Rescue (CFR) Response Readiness."

October 2, 2014
by Mike Danko

Hall of Fame Aerobatic pilot Eddie Andreini died during the "Thunder Over Solano" air show at Travis Air Force Base in May.  There was a mishap during his routine, and his Stearman biplane slid to a stop on the runway. Eddie wasn't hurt, but he was trapped in the plane.  He radio'd for help.

The Air Force had told the performers that its fire trucks would be positioned and ready to respond to Eddie Andreini such an emergency within seconds. But for some reason, the trucks were nowhere to be found during Eddie's routine. Instead of getting to Eddie in a minute or less, as they were supposed to, the trucks didn't get to Eddie for nearly five minutes. By then, Eddie's plane was engulfed in flames and it was too late. Eddie was gone. 

Read more here:


Family members announced Thursday they intend to sue the U.S. Air Force after a fiery air show crash in May killed Half Moon Bay stunt pilot Eddie Andreini.

Their planned lawsuit blames the Air Force for failing to follow its own safety protocols for the Thunder Over Solano air show May 4 at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield.

Andreini was piloting a Stearman biplane at the air show that day. The crash occurred as Andreini was attempting an aerobatic maneuver in which he inverts his plane and flies low to the ground while attempting to cut a ribbon with a knife attached to the plane.

For unknown reasons, Andreini’s plane fell from the sky and skidded to a halt on the runway. The plane began billowing smoke and soon erupted into flames.

Witnesses at the event commented at the time that fire crews seemed slow to respond as the plane continued burning on the runway. After a couple minutes, a lone man with a fire extinguisher went over to try to staunch the blaze. Andreini family attorney Mike Danko said it took more than five minutes before a fully equipped fire truck arrived at the crash site.

The lawsuit was announced Thursday immediately after a Solano County autopsy report indicated Andreini suffered no major injuries from the impact of the crash. Instead the report indicated that Andreini’s death was the result of smoke inhalation and burns.

In other words, Andreini burned to death because fire crews took too long, Danko said.

“This was a dangerous pursuit, yes. It’s one thing to accept that Eddie was flying and something went wrong.” Danko said. “It’s another thing to say that he had an accident and then needlessly perished because the fire crews were slow to respond.”

Federal protocols mandate that the Air Force’s own emergency crews were supposed to be waiting at the end of the runway during the air show, according to Danko. Those fire crews were supposed to get to the scene of a crash within one minute, he said. It is not clear exactly why the fire response took so long.

“Had the (emergency crews) been out there like they were supposed to, Eddie would still be here today,” Danko said.

The National Traffic Safety Board is investigating the crash and the emergency response, but officials don't plan to publish their findings for months.

The Andreini family must first file a claim as a prerequisite to launching a suit against the federal government. That process takes about six months, and many attorneys consider it a formality because the federal government typically rejects any claims.

Story, photo and comments:


NTSB Identification: WPR14FA182
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 04, 2014 in Fairfield, CA
Aircraft: BOEING E75, registration: N68828
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 4, 2014, about 1359 Pacific daylight time, a Boeing E75 Stearman, N68828, was destroyed when it impacted runway 21R during an aerial demonstration flight at Travis Air Force Base (SUU), Fairfield, California. The commercial pilot/owner received fatal injuries. The exhibition flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The pilot was one of several civilian aerial demonstration pilots who performed at the two-day SUU "Thunder Over Solano" open house, which included both static (ground) and aerial (flight) displays. According to United States Air Force (USAF) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information, Friday May 2 was the practice day, while the public event took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4. The pilot flew two flight demonstration airplanes at the event, a North American P-51, and the accident airplane. All his flights preceding the accident flight were uneventful.

The accident occurred during a "ribbon-cut maneuver," whereby a ribbon was suspended transversely across the runway, between two poles held by ground crew personnel, and situated about 20 feet above the runway. The planned maneuver consisted of a total of three passes. The first two passes were to be conducted with the airplane upright, and were not planned to contact the ribbon. The final pass was to be conducted inverted, and the airplane would cut the ribbon with its vertical stabilizer. The first two passes were successful, but on the third (inverted, ribbon-cut) pass, the airplane was too high, and did not cut the ribbon. The pilot came around for a fourth pass, and rolled the airplane inverted after aligning with the runway. The airplane contacted the runway prior to reaching the ribbon, slid inverted between the ground crew personnel holding the poles, and came to a stop a few hundred feet beyond them.

Ground scars consisted of rudder/ vertical stabilizer ("tail") and upper wing contact (metal and wood scrapes, and paint transfer) with the runway, as well as propeller "slash marks" approximately perpendicular to the direction of travel. Review of image and ground scar data indicated that the airplane first contacted the runway with its right wing, followed by the tail, the left wing, and then the propeller.

The upper outboard right wing initial scar was followed about 7 feet later by the tail strike, and then a few feet later by the upper left wing. The initial tail strike was located about 45 feet right (northeast) of the runway centerline, about 380 feet beyond the runway threshold. The initial direction of travel was aligned approximately 5 degrees to the right (divergent from) the runway axis. The propeller slash marks began about 100 feet beyond the initial tail strike, and continued to the final resting location of the airplane. The slash marks described an arc, which curved to the left, and which resulted in the airplane coming to rest near the left (southwest) edge of the runway, on a magnetic heading of about 140 degrees. The airplane slid a total distance of about 740 feet.

Review of still and moving images indicated that fire became visible just before the airplane came to a stop, and that the fire patterns were consistent with a pool fire of spilled fuel. Within about 50 seconds, the fire encompassed most of the right (downwind) side of the airplane. USAF rescue and firefighting vehicles and personnel arrived at the airplane about 3 to 4 minutes after the accident, and extinguished the fire.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1944, and was first registered to the pilot in 1982. The airplane was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney R-985 series engine. The fuselage and empennage consisted of a synthetic-fabric covered steel tube structure, while the wings were primarily wood structure covered with the same type of fabric. The 47-gallon fuel tank was mounted in the center section of the upper wing, just forward of the cockpit.

The cockpit was enclosed by a canopy, which consisted of a metal frame and plastic transparencies. The longitudinal section of the canopy consisted of one fixed section (right side) and two movable sections (top and left side). The top section was longitudinally hinged to the fixed right section and the movable left section, and the forward and aft bottom corners of the left section rode in transverse tracks at the forward and aft ends of the cockpit. That design allowed cockpit entry and egress by operating the top and left canopy sections in a manner similar to a bi-fold door; which required clearance above the canopy for the canopy to be opened.

Preliminary examination of the wreckage indicated that most of the fabric covering on the fuselage was damaged or consumed by fire. The right wing and cockpit furnishings were almost completely consumed by fire, as were some of the aluminum flight control tubes. The left wing and rudder /vertical stabilizer sustained impact deformation, but the cockpit occupiable volume was not compromised by deformation of any surrounding structure.

According to FAA information, the pilot held single- and multi-engine airplane, and instrument airplane ratings, and was authorized to fly several experimental airplanes. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued in June 2013.

The SUU 1358 automated weather observation included wind from 240 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 21, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 18,000 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.