Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Open House Held At Magic Valley Regional Airport (KTWF) To Show Possible Expansion Plans

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) An open house was held Tuesday in the lobby of the Magic Valley Regional Airport to show plans for a possible remodel and expansion.

The changes will help provide a better experience for passengers utilizing the airport.

With the expansion, it will provide additional area in the hold-room to include restrooms, provide areas for behind-the-wall baggage screening and bag sorting, and improve the efficient flow of passengers in the terminal/ticket areas.

The projects correct current inefficiencies at the airport and allow for expanded future opportunities.

"We're hoping that if we move through this process with the city and county agree with the project, we will start designing this summer and fall, begin construction in 2015 and hopefully have the project completed by the end of 2015," explains Bill Carberry, airport manager.

If you would like more information about the expansion, you can visit the Magic Valley Regional Airport page at tfid.org.

Story and Photo:   http://www.kmvt.com

Mike Barron will remain the manager of Hannibal Regional Airport (KHAE), Missouri

HANNIBAL  -    Mike Barron will remain the manager of Hannibal Regional Airport.

During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, a contract between the city and Barron Aviation Private Flight Services for fixed base operator services was approved. The contract is for $50,000 annually.

Barron Aviation has overseen the airport for the city since May 2008 when the Council approved an initial three-year contract. The contract was extended for three more years in August 2011. The new contract will be for five years.

In another airport related issue, the Council gave first reading an ordinance to accept an amendment of $50,574 to the original Missouri Department of Transportation Aviation grant to pay for cracksealing at the airport. The local match will increase to $2,662.

According to Mark Rees, director of public works, the cracksealing has begun and is about half done.

Story and photo:  http://www.hannibal.net

Now feds do gunpoint searches of private planes: Senator draws up plan to rein in Homeland Security, SWAT teams

A U.S. senator is joining a fight against federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security who have been harassing small-time aviators who fly from one U.S. city to another – without ever venturing near an international border.

Documented abuses that have been reported include tracking pilots with military jets, detaining them at small airports for hours and searching their planes without a warrant.

The searches typically are conducted by armed agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol but the TSA and even local police SWAT teams working under the orders of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also have been involved.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., author of the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights in 2012, posted a draft of a proposed bill to his website on June 30 that would update that law with new protections against overzealous law-enforcement agencies.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has documented more than 50 cases of abuse – often involving heavily armed SWAT units conducting secret raids against independent pilots flying small planes from one city to another well within the nation’s interior.

Inhofe, a pilot and certified instructor with more than 11,000 hours of flight time, said he is working with the AOPA to solve the problem by updating the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which was signed into law by President Obama in August 2012.

“This wasn’t even an issue in 2012, that we knew of,” said Ken Mead, general counsel for the APOA, which is based in Frederick, Maryland.

Of the 50 cases documented by the AOPA, Mead said not one resulted in an arrest.

“If someone has a planeload full of drugs we’re all for that. Go after them,” Mead told WND. “But you can’t just randomly stop someone. You have to have reasonable suspicion of a crime to stop someone and then you need probable cause to get a search warrant.”

But that’s not what happened in October 2012, when the association received the first call from a pilot, clearly shaken by his experience with Border Patrol.

“When that first pilot called in and told us what happened we looked at ourselves and asked ‘is this guy even telling the truth?’ Because it sounded so bizarre, cops surrounding his plane with dogs and ordering him out of the cockpit,” Mead said.

Then other reports started to trickle in that were just as disturbing.

“We started getting very isolated reports at first so you didn’t know what to make of them,” Mead said. “People would be landing and there would sometimes be a government plane coming in behind them, and other times no plane would follow behind them but they would be surrounded on the ground by police from all kinds of agencies, they would jump out of their SUVs with full body armor on, guns drawn, they approach the pilot, who at this point is scared to death, and they start asking questions.”

The AOPA soon realized that these were not isolated incidents. Something new was happening, a new policy was clearly put in place treating independent pilots with suspicion even if they were law-abiding citizens playing by all of the federal rules.

Craig Spence, vice president of operations and international affairs for AOPA, said once the organization started seeking out information from its members, it discovered that the random raids began around 2005 or 2006. They were rare at first, but started increasing in frequency in 2012.

After his initial investigation for AOPA, Spence discovered 45 member pilots had been targeted for the aggressive government searches, with the majority occurring after January 2012. The group started filing Freedom of Information requests to find out what was going on. The federal agencies were very uncooperative, stalling for up to six months and then responding with very little information that Spence said was vague and heavily redacted.

But local law enforcement agencies doing the bidding of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were more cooperative.

“What we found was that about 76 percent of these searches were done but SWAT units of predominantly local law enforcement upon the request by Border Patrol,” Spence said. “In one incident there was a total of 40 officers and 26 vehicles responding, all for a four-seater plane about the size of a Honda Civic.”

In another case, a man was flying en route to a Florida vacation with his family and he was met on the ground by a SWAT team.

“They ordered his kids out and surrounded them with dogs,” Mead said.

In most of the FOIA requests filed with local law enforcement agencies, the local sheriffs and police chiefs said they received a call from Customs and Border Patrol, which operates under Homeland Security, requesting assistance in searching an aircraft.

“They said they were acting on a request from Homeland Security and not knowing what they are up against,” Spence said. “Is it excessive? Yes. Is it egregious? Yes.”

The DHS did not immediately respond to WND requests for comment.

So the AOPA, which has 400,000 members, realized it was facing a serious threat to pilots’ freedom to fly. It aggressively started lobbying Congress and the Obama administration for changes.

Inhofe, a veteran pilot, was quick to respond. The jury is still out on the administration. Gil Kerlikowske took over as the new commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol about four months ago and met with AOPA officials on April 30, at which time Spence said he agreed to conduct a “top-down review” of the program. He’s agreed to hold off on any further raids until that study is completed, according to the AOPA’s assessment of the meeting.

“It was scaring the dickens out of our people and we felt it was intimidating and interfering with their freedom to fly, so we made a big deal out of it,” Mead said. “Under the new pilot Bill of Rights we have under consideration a provision that simply stated that you cannot stop these aircraft and sometimes detain people unless you have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.”

The agencies conducting the searches typically give no reason to the pilot as to why his or her plane is being targeted.

Richard Rosenthal, a New York pilot and a civil rights attorney, said the legislation proposed by Inhofe is long overdue as the problem has been festering for years.

“They descend like a SWAT team, 15 to 20 agents, often from multiple agencies, and the waste of assets is remarkable, from all of the manpower to the F-16s and all the fuel they burn,” Rosenthal said. “It’s illegal, it’s a violation of civil rights, you’re not authorized to make the stop, you have no probable cause to make the search and it violates the Constitution.”

He said Border Patrol has claimed the right to conduct these searches and that they are lawfully conducted either with warrants or after consent is given to search without a warrant. But when agents approach with guns drawn, your inclination as a pilot is to give “consent” to whatever they “ask,” Rosenthal said.

“It’s intimidation. They detain the people, and realistically, 20 federal agents coming with guns drawn and saying we want to search your plane, is not exactly a voluntary request,” Rosenthal said. “There is no search warrant and in some cases there is no probable cause.”

Rosenthal said the raids have largely targeted small planes that fly between small airports, often called “pleasure planes.”

“You can fly for hours in the Midwest without talking to anybody, literally, you’re not near major airports. They’re targeting from my understanding pleasure planes. Pilots who didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t file a flight plan, because there’s no requirement to. I just get in my plane and go, so the government says we’re going to stop and search you, the only thing is there is no legal basis for it. These are pilots who were not violating any laws or doing anything they weren’t supposed to be doing. They got in their planes and flew.”

None of the 50 cases documented by AOPA from 2006 through early 2014 resulted in any arrests. But the Border Patrol told the AOPA that in the most recent one-year period they stopped 12 planes for searches and found evidence of laws being violated in four of those 12 cases. It provided no documents to prove those arrests nor did it say exactly what the charges were for.

Even if the charges were legitimate, four out of 12 is still not a very good record for a program based on dubious constitutional principles, in Rosenthal’s opinion.

“If they made 50 stops and in 48 of them they found major amounts of drugs and contraband, maybe you ask is there a way to do this legally, but to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars and find nothing, but hey, we trashed the Constitution, that is not a record I would be proud of,” he said.

He said ultimately Obama is responsible for what has become an abusive program, even though it was started under former the Republican administration of George W. Bush. Obama came in as a constitutional lawyer promising to clean up the abuses that occurred under Bush, but instead he expanded them.

“Bottom line is, the buck stops there,” Rosenthal said. “If Obama came out clearly and said ‘you’re wasting money on illegal searches and somebody’s going to lose their job if it doesn’t stop,’ then guess what? Somebody would get the message that this is unacceptable.”

Spence said he is cautiously optimistic that between the new legislation sponsored by Inhofe and the new commissioner at Border Patrol who is at least willing to study the issue, the problem can be solved.

“We’re not even close to saying ‘mission accomplished,’” he said.

Rosenthal is equally cautious. Even if the raids slow down, they have a “chilling effect” on pilots exercising their freedom to fly, he said.

“It would be one thing if these were planes coming over the border or flying near the border, but they’re in the middle of the country traveling between two U.S. cities and there’s no probable cause whatsoever. A few times I have landed and seen black SUVs, not knowing if it’s the government, and the first thing that pops into my mind is ‘Oh boy, am I going to be detained?’ I don’t know of a pilot who doesn’t now have a fear of that sort of thing, because there is no way to protect yourself from it.”

AOPA has an entire section on its website titled, “What to do if stopped by law enforcement,” under which it cites “a growing number of reports from law-abiding pilots stopped by armed federal agents on the ramp, AOPA has prepared a kneeboard checklist on how to handle the situation.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee, N8814W: Fatal accident occurred June 30, 2014 in Georgetown, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA328
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 30, 2014 in Georgetown, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/12/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-235, registration: N8814W
Injuries: 3 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.

A customer service manager at the fixed-base operator (FBO) reported that the pilot, who was preparing for the cross-country flight, was looking for information on how to fly over the mountains. At that time, there was no one at the FBO who could provide him information on mountain flying, and no posted information was available. She later heard that the pilot planned to take off under visual flight rules and fly through the mountains along the interstate. 

Radar data showed that the airplane took off to the west, turned south, and then climbed to about 10,400 ft mean sea level (msl). Once the airplane reached the interstate, it turned west toward the mountains and followed the interstate. About 25 minutes after taking off, when the airplane was at 10,200 ft msl, radar contact with the airplane was lost. Witnesses near the accident site were consistent with their accounts, which indicated that the airplane was flying between about 11,000 and 11,500 ft msl (200 to 300 ft above the ground) with the engine producing power. The airplane was in a nose-high attitude when it started turning left away from rising terrain. The airplane then turned about 180 degrees, rolled over to the left, and entered a steep dive before impacting trees and terrain. One of the witnesses indicated that, before the left turn, the airplane’s path seemed pretty flat with little gain in altitude. A postimpact fire ensued, which consumed most of the airplane.

A postaccident examination confirmed flight control continuity and revealed no preimpact anomalies with the engine or airplane systems that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot did not use any weather or flight planning services. No evidence was found that the pilot had obtained training in mountain flying. A weather model determined that, at the time of the accident, the density altitude was about 12,850 ft, which would have reduced the airplane's climb rate by more than 90 percent. It is likely that, as the pilot attempted to cross over the mountainous terrain, he raised the airplane's nose such that the airplane was beyond its critical angle-of-attack, which, combined with the airplane's decreased climb performance, led to an aerodynamic stall and loss of control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inability to maintain a climb while maneuvering the airplane in high-density altitude conditions that degraded the airplane’s climb performance and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle-of-attack, which led to an aerodynamic stall and loss of control. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight planning and his decision to fly into mountainous terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 30, 2014 about 0849 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28-235, N8814W, impacted mountainous terrain at the Loveland Ski Area near Georgetown, Colorado. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed, and a postimpact fire occurred. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC), Broomfield, Colorado, at 0810 and was en route to Moab, Utah.

A customer service manager at the fixed base operator (FBO) reported the pilot in preparing for the flight was looking for information on how to get over the mountains. At that time, there was no one at the FBO who could provide him information on mountain flying, and there was no posted information available. She later heard that the pilot planned to takeoff VFR and fly through the mountains along the interstate.

A line technician reported that he met the airplane when it arrived at BJC on June 27. The line technician helped the pilot and his family with their luggage and drove them to an awaiting family car. Before they left, the pilot did a walk-around inspection of the airplane. When the line technician arrived at the airport on June 30, the pilot had already loaded the airplane. The pilot said they were going to Moab, Utah and planned to stay there a couple of days. Then they were going to fly to the Grand Canyon and spend a couple of days there before continuing to Los Angeles. The line technician said the pilot and his family were in good spirits and were not in a rush to take off. The line technician said he did not see the pilot do a preflight of the airplane but did watch him start the airplane and taxi it to the self-serve pumps. A fuel receipt from the fixed-base operator showed that the pilot loaded the airplane with 57.86 gallons of fuel. The line technician said he had indirectly heard that the pilot intended to take off and fly through the mountains along Interstate 70 to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Radar data showed the airplane departed BJC to the west. At 0814:36 the airplane was at 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl) and transmitting a transponder code of 1200. The airplane then turned south and continued to climb to about 10,400 ft. Once the airplane reached Interstate 70 at Golden, Colorado, it turned west into the mountains. At 0837:25, the airplane passed over Idaho Springs, Colorado, at an altitude of 10,400 ft msl. Radar contact was lost at 0839:35 when the airplane was 9 miles west of Idaho Springs at an altitude of 10,200 ft msl.

Several witnesses saw the airplane as it approached the Loveland Ski Area near Georgetown, Colorado, which is about 20 miles west of Idaho Springs. One witness said he was coming out of the Eisenhower Tunnel heading east when he saw the airplane banking hard left about 200 ft above Interstate 70. He said the airplane then "just fell out of the air and crashed." The witness said that other than the low altitude, he did not notice anything before the crash that indicated a problem. 

Another witness had been hiking and was taking a break at 0845 on the west ridge of a mountain north of Interstate 70 and a few miles east of the accident site. He was at 11,700 ft msl, and had a good view of the valley looking west toward Interstate 70 and the Loveland Ski Area. He said he saw an airplane coming in low and heading west toward Mount Trelease, which is just north of Interstate 70 before the Eisenhower Tunnel. The witness said the airplane was about 300 ft below his location, was going pretty fast, and was quite loud. He estimated the airplane was flying at an altitude between 11,300 ft and 11,500 ft msl. He said the airplane's path seemed pretty flat with very little gain in altitude. The witness expected the airplane to pull up as it approached Mount Trelease but the airplane did not gain any altitude. He thought the airplane would crash into the mountain, but then the airplane banked left, made a 180-degree turn east and then dropped below the ridge of Mount Sniktau south of Interstate 70. He then saw a big plume of smoke. He estimated that everything he saw took place in about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

Another witness, who was driving on a switchback road in the Loveland Ski Area saw the airplane flying west along the mountains. The airplane was at an altitude of 11,000 to 11,200 ft msl and in a high nose-up pitch attitude. The witness said he saw the airplane "break" into a left turn and enter a spin. The airplane was in a steep left bank and "deep" nose-down attitude. He watched the airplane descend rapidly and go out of view behind the trees. He rolled down his window to hear if there was a crash. When he didn't hear anything, the witness thought maybe the pilot recovered safely from the rapid descent. However, as he came to a horseshoe bend in the road, he saw the smoke from the post-impact fire. The witness said he did not hear any engine sounds before the accident because he had his car windows rolled up.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 42, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. According to the pilot's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical records, on April 30, 2014, he reported having 278 total flying hours and having flown 60 hours in the 6 months before the examination. 

The pilot was issued a limited third-class medical certificate dated April 30, 2014. The certificate showed that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. 

In spite of repeated efforts, no other pilot records were obtained to substantiate his training and experience beyond what was reported to the FAA. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Piper Aircraft Corporation model PA-28-235 Cherokee. The four-place single-engine airplane, serial number 28-10360, was manufactured in 1964 and had an airworthiness certificate classifying its operation in the normal category.

The airplane was powered by one Lycoming IO-540-B4B5 carbureted engine rated at 250 horsepower at 2,800 rpm.

The facility that maintained the airplane provided all records for maintenance performed on it. According to those records, the airplane underwent an annual inspection on July 5, 2013, at airframe total time 5,425.05 hours. The last maintenance was performed on April 9, 2014, at an airframe total time of 5,533.73 hours. The facility's mechanics replaced the exhaust gas temperature probe in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and performed a satisfactory operations check. The total airframe time at the accident could not be determined because of the extensive thermal damage to the airplane's tachometer and Hobbs meter.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

At 0853, the routine aviation weather report for Centennial Airport, about 47 miles east of the accident site, was wind 120 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,300 ft, temperature 78 degrees F, dew point 39 degrees F, and altimeter 30.03 inches of mercury.

At 0851, the weather station for Keystone and Last Chance, Colorado, 4 miles southwest of the accident site, reported winds from the southwest at 1 mph, gusts to 7 mph, temperature 59 degrees F, dew point 32 degrees F, humidity 36 percent, and altimeter 29.78 inches of mercury.

A weather model that produces estimates of the atmosphere was used for the accident area to determine density altitude, potential turbulence, and updrafts and downdrafts. Based on model temperature and dew point, and surface pressure for the surface location of the accident, 11,645 ft msl, the density altitude would be approximately 12,850 ft msl. Surface observations for wind at the accident site were approximately 15 knots. However, about 2,000 ft above the mountain peaks in the Loveland Pass area, the wind velocity increased to 30 to 40 knots. Aircraft-scale turbulence existed in the area within 2,000 ft of the terrain, and maximum updraft speeds of 300 to 500 ft per minute and maximum downdraft speeds of 300 to 400 ft per minute existed near the accident site. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located on the side of a mountain slope at an elevation of 11,645 ft msl. The airplane wreckage was spread along a 186 ft-long down-sloping path through a forest of Subalpine fir trees on a 246-degree magnetic heading. The elevation where the main wreckage was at was 10,960 ft.

The first point of impact was a Subalpine fir tree that was broken off about 69 ft above the ground. The airplane's left wing tip, two sections of the left outboard wing, and the left aileron were found about 45 ft west-southwest of the first impact point resting on the ground, and they were crushed and broken aft at mid-span. Pieces of cut wood, broken branches, Fiberglas, and paint chips were scattered across the ground beginning at the first point of impact and running along the accident site heading for about 147 ft. Several pieces of cut wood showed a cut angle of 45 degrees with black paint transfer in the wood fibers along the cut edge. 

The terrain from the first point of impact to where the airplane's main wreckage came to rest was down-sloping at an angle of about 18 degrees. The main wreckage, which consisted of the airplane's engine, propeller, cabin, right wing, left inboard wing, both main landing gear, baggage compartment, aft fuselage, and empennage rested inverted at the base of four Subalpine fir trees. These components were charred, melted, and consumed by fire. A burned area about 75 ft long and 54 ft wide surrounded the main wreckage. Several trees knocked down by the airplane were also located in the burned area.

Continuity from the control yokes and rudder pedals to the aileron bellcranks, stabilator crosstube, and rudder horns was confirmed at the accident site. The right aileron control surface was charred and melted. The rudder and stabilator surfaces were consumed by fire.

The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The results of an autopsy performed on the pilot on July 3, 2014 by the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, Golden, Colorado, showed cause of death due to loss of blood secondary to laceration-transection of the aorta related to blunt force trauma sustained in the accident.

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

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The airplane wreckage, engine, and propeller were examined at Greeley, Colorado, on July 14, 2014. An examination of the airframe wreckage confirmed continuity from the flap handle to the flaps; however, the position of the flaps could not be determined. An examination of the elevator trim cable determined the trim was at the neutral position. The fuel selector handle and valve were examined; however, the tank position selection could not be determined due to the extensive thermal damage.

The engine crankshaft and camshaft rotated freely. All valves and pistons moved freely. All cylinders showed good compression. A borescope examination of the cylinders showed no anomalies. Both magnetos were removed and examined. The magnetos' couplers could not be tested due to the extensive thermal damage. The oil screen was removed and examined and was clean. The fuel pump, air filter, and vacuum pump showed extensive thermal damage. The carburetor body showed extensive thermal damage, and the floats were bent and broken. 

The propeller was removed from the engine's flange and disassembled. Blade A showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches, and leading edge gouges. The outer 4 inches of the blade tip was broken in overload. The blade pitch knob was sheared off. Blade B was straight and showed nicks along the leading edge. The outer 9 inches of the blade was bent aft 90 degrees. 

On July 2, 2014, Lockheed Martin flight service (LMFS) was contacted to determine if the pilot received any services or filed a flight plan. LMFS responded that neither it nor the Data Transformation Corporation Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) provided any services to the accident pilot. Further, the Computer Science Corporation DUATS did not provide weather information to the pilot.

Fuel Testing

A fuel sample from the BJC fixed-base operator self-serve pump from which the pilot fueled his airplane just before the flight was secured and tested. The test results indicated the fuel was good and showed no presence of water or contaminants.

Density Altitude

FAA Pamphlet FAA-P-8740-2 (2008) "Density Altitude" defines density altitude as "pressure altitude corrected for non-standard temperature variations." Density altitude can affect aircraft performance. As density altitude increases, air density decreases, which results in decreased aircraft performance. According to the Koch chart on page 3 of the pamphlet, based on the conditions at the time of the accident, 59 degrees F and pressure altitude of about 11,645 ft, the airplane's climb rate would have been reduced by more than 90 percent.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA328
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 30, 2014 in Georgetown, CO
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-235, registration: N8814W
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

On June 30, 2014 about 0849 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Piper PA-28-235, N8814W, owned and operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain at the Loveland Ski Area near Georgetown, Colorado. A post-impact fire ensued. The pilot and the two passengers on board were fatally injured in the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight which was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The flight originated at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC), Broomfield, Colorado, at 0730 MDT, and was en route to Moab, Utah.

A witness who was driving on a switchback road on the Loveland Ski Area saw the airplane flying westbound along the mountains. The airplane was at an altitude of 11,000 to 11,200 feet MSL and in a high nose up pitch attitude. The witness said he saw the airplane "break" into a left turn and enter a spin. The airplane was in a steep left bank and "deep" nose down attitude. He watched the airplane descend rapidly and go out of view behind trees. He rolled down his window to hear if there was a crash. When he didn't hear anything, the witness thought maybe the pilot recovered safely from the rapid descent. However, as he came to a horseshoe bend in the road, he saw the smoke from the post-impact fire. The witness said he did not hear any engine sounds prior to the accident because he had his car windows rolled up.

The accident site was located on the side of a mountain slope at an elevation of 10,960 feet MSL. The airplane wreckage was spread along a 186 foot long path through Subalpine fir trees along a 246-degree magnetic heading. The first point of impact was a Subalpine fir that was broken off approximately 69 feet up from the ground. About 45 feet west-southwest of the first impact point were the airplane's left wing tip, two sections of the left outboard wing, and left aileron. They rested on the ground and were crushed and broken aft. The terrain from the first point of impact to where the airplane's main wreckage came to rest was down-sloping at an angle of approximately 18 degrees. The main wreckage, which consisted of the airplane's engine, propeller, cabin, right wing, left inboard wing, both main landing gear, baggage compartment, aft fuselage, and empennage rested inverted at the base of four Subalpine fir trees. These components were charred, melted, and consumed by fire. A burned area approximately 75 feet long and 54 feet wide surrounded the main wreckage. Several trees knocked down by the airplane were also in the burned area.

Continuity from the control yokes and rudder pedals to the aileron bellcranks, stabilator crosstube, and rudder horns was confirmed at the accident site. The right aileron control surface was charred and melted. The rudder and stabilator surfaces were consumed by fire.

The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.


James E. Kerker:    http://registry.faa.gov/N8814W

UNKNOWN REGISTRATION UNKNOWN MAKE AND MODEL AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN AND CAUGHT FIRE AT LOVELAND VALLEY SKI AREA, 3 CONFIRMED PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, LOVELAND, CO

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03 



BROOMFIELD - The family killed in the single engine plane crash on Monday was from Raymond, Ohio. Experts say the pilot, 43-year-old James Kerker, may not have had the mountain flying experience necessary to navigate the pass he was attempting to fly over.

Howard McClure, flight instructor for Western Air Flight Academy at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport says people come to Colorado from all over the world to get mountain flying lessons.

"People come here because our mountains are some of the most treacherous in the world," McClure said.

If you can fly in these mountains, you can fly anywhere. McClure spends eight hours with students in the classroom before jumping in the cockpit. They cover the effects weather and air density can have on a trip this high up.

"We always say you've got to have at least 1,000 feet above in calm conditions and 2,000 feet above a pass in windy conditions," McClure said.

Part of his lesson includes making sure students are high enough in elevation to maneuver a full turn back to where they were coming from in case of an emergency. This was clearly not the case in Monday's accident.

"It sounds like the pilot may have been flying very low over Interstate 70, realized that he wasn't going to be able to fly through the tunnel, as well as over the tunnel or around the tunnel and tried to make a retreating turn," said aviation expert Greg Feith.

It's apparently common for out-of-state pilots to arrive in Colorado not knowing the danger of the mountains.

They're used to flying point to point, at 3,000 to 4,000 feet, and they come up here and all of a sudden they've got a big mountain. They have a tendency to fly into them," McClure said.

Experts agree warm weather may have contributed to the crash. High temperatures at high altitudes reduce the density of the air, making it difficult for planes to climb efficiently. That accident raised aircraft fatalities to 25 in the last 12 months in Colorado.

Story, photo gallery and video: http://www.9news.com

Project provides home for pilots, planes: Developers could break ground this month on aerovillas near West Houston Airport (KIWS), according to official

One of the most unique neighborhoods in the greater Houston area is expected to break ground this month at the West Houston Airport.

The concept, known as aerovillas, was the idea of Woody Lesikar, general manager of the West Houston Airport, and a fixture there since 1966.

Lesikar, who was a charter pilot before becoming the general manager, has flown into small general aviation airports all over the United States.

On one of those flights into Spruce Creek Airport, located in Port Orange, Florida, Lesikar noticed the nice homes along taxiways leading to the main runway.

"They had 1,200 home sites, and 600 of them have airplanes," he said.

The West Houston Airport, which opened in 1962, is located at 18000 Groschke Road, in Houston.

The airport, which has a 4,000-foot runway, is home to more than 300 aircraft, and in the near future about 40 new homes that will have access to the taxiway.

The aerovilla communities are hardly new, and often are known by other names, such as fly-in communities or residential airparks.

Most aerovillas aren't the standard 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-car garage variety home, but a multi-level home between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet that includes an attached 1,600- to-3,600 -square-foot aircraft hangar.

While the average home might cost between $150,000 and $250,000, the aerovillas have a starting prices of about $1.2 million, and include a host of amenities.

"They don't have to do anything on the outside. All the maintenance is taken care of in the subdivision, so they can get in their airplane and fly off without having to worry about it," Lesikar said. "That's what is good about this. People want to get out there and mess with the toys they've worked hard to acquire, and fly off somewhere."

Like in other subdivisions, there is a homeowners association and there are dues that must be collected to maintain the area landscaping, as well as the lighting for the taxiways and the valet fuel service that will be available to residents.

There are also requirements in this community.

"The deed restrictions call for them to have an airplane in the hangar," Lesikar said. "I think this (community) is going to do well. I think this is going to be a unique and fun community, and I think these aerovillas will sell out fast, once people see what they are getting."

Courtney Saldivar, who with her husband, Mark, is designing the aerovillas, said the growth in the west Houston area and the expansion of the Energy Corridor fostered the concept.

"This has really become one of the closest private airports (to the Energy Corridor) in Houston for private planes," Saldivar said.

Lesikar said that the next closest airport to them is in Sugar Land.

He said pilots decide to land at an airport depending on the type of aircraft, the length of the runway, and where their passengers, if they are ferrying any, need to go.

"The more we looked at this, the more we thought that this was just a really great idea," Saldivar said.

"Now that we have started to market this, we are seeing that people are really interested in this."

Saldivar and West Houston Airport are in the process of platting the property, which still has to be approved by the city of Houston.

Simultaneously, the Saldivars are working on the design of the homes - they are partners in the Allen Guerra Architecture firm - that will be part of the first phase of development.

Saldivar said that 13 aerovillas are planned in the first phase, and each will have a different floor plan.

The first plan already is designed and will hopefully be built this year.

"We have two others who are waiting until the platting is done, and one other who is trying to decide if this is the situation they want," Saldivar said.

Jolynn Johnston, who has had her private pilot's license for four years, plans to be the first resident at West Houston Airport.

"This is a pilot's dream," she said.

"This is a really cool idea. I really like the idea and the layout of the aerovillas. My plan was to live in a hangar anyway, so I like the idea of the aerovillas. My office, my home and my plane will all be in one place.

"I don't have to go into Houston at all."

To learn more about the aerovillas, go to www.westhoustonairport.com/newsletters/2013/News2013-06.pdf or contact Lesikar at 281-492-2130 or email him at woody@westhoustonairport.com


Story and Photos:  http://www.chron.com

Senator Begich Speaks to Federal Aviation Administration on Alaska Air Traffic

There’s a new plan being proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration that would add eight Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast ground stations to Alaska’s 33.

US Senator Mark Begich spoke at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security in Washington DC last week.  He pushed for the federal government to speed up the use of technology to make flying in Alaska safer for small aircraft.

“Whenever we talk to FAA they always say ‘we’ve covered Alaska,’ and that’s true 13,000 feet and up.  But because of our general aviation capacity which is 16 times more pilots licensed in Alaska than any other place in the country, the 3-5 thousand doesn’t really get covered as aggressively as it could be.”

Begich says Alaska considers a lot of small planes as commercial planes because it’s the only way to get around the state.  The senator was speaking primarily to FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker.  He offered testimony in favor of implementing the Next Generation Air Traffic System, or NextGen.

“When we are dealing with the NextGen advisory committee, it’s really commercial need and where the benefits are going to come from.  The safety and risk factors are cooked into the underlying plan that we have.”

The NextGen technology, Begich says, is a satellite-based surveillance system that’s more precise than the current radar-based Air Traffic Control system and was tested in Alaska.

Read more and audio:  http://kdlg.org

Drones’ access to skies stuck on runway

WASHINGTON – The federal effort to provide civilian drones regular access to U.S. skies faces significant hurdles and won’t meet a September 2015 deadline set by Congress, a government watchdog said Monday.

Despite years of research, the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t figured out what kind of technology unmanned aircraft should use to avoid crashing into other planes, or how to prevent lost links with ground control stations, Matthew Hampton, the Transportation Department’s assistant inspector general for aviation, said in a report.

The FAA also hasn’t set standards for certifying the safety of drone designs and manufacture like those that exist for manned aircraft, the report said. Nor has the agency developed standard procedures for air traffic controllers to guide drones, partly because the FAA’s air traffic control equipment wasn’t developed with unmanned aircraft in mind. There is no adequate program for training controllers how to manage drones. And criteria for training “pilots” who remotely control drones from the ground have yet to be developed.

The agency also isn’t effectively collecting and analyzing data on safety risks associated with unmanned aircraft operations, the report said. But the FAA also isn’t getting cooperation from the Defense Department, which has a wealth of data on drone accidents and incidents, the report said.

The Defense Department sends the FAA annual summaries on mishaps, but the information is so lacking in detail that FAA staff say it’s not useful, the report said. FAA officials requested more detailed data from the Pentagon more than two years ago, but defense officials have been reluctant to provide it “due to concerns regarding the release of sensitive information and uncertainty over who would bear the cost of retrieving the information,” the report said.

Until the FAA resolves these problems, the effort to integrate drones into the national airspace “will continue to move at a slow pace, and safety risks will remain,” the report said.

FAA officials, defending the agency’s record, said in a statement that the FAA “has made significant progress” toward giving drones wider access to U.S. skies “even as it dealt with disruptions” due to automatic, government-wide spending cuts and a three-week partial government shutdown.

The report makes 11 recommendations to FAA for improvement, all of which agency officials said they agree with and are working on.

A bill passed by Congress more than two years ago directed the FAA to set regulations for the safe “integration” of civilian drones into the national airspace by September 2015. There were 16 other deadlines along the way for the FAA to meet, of which nine were implemented late. Deadlines for the others have not yet passed.

Story and Photo:  http://www.abqjournal.com

Lafayette Regional Airport (KLFT) appears to be understaffed

Opinion
 
8:11 p.m. CDT June 30, 2014

Arriving home from a recent trip, I had a chance to see how the Lafayette airport operates.

We arrived with a drizzle in the air. Our plane pulled up to the terminal and did not park at one of the jetways. I assumed they were all full with other flights and we were let out on the tarmac.

My friend, who has some walking issues, had to depart on very steep stairs and then again walk up stairs back into the terminal. Looking over at the other gates there was not another plane in sight.

I was told that there was no operator to run the jetways available; therefore, the gates that Lafayette has are not even being used. Why do we need more gates if we don't have personnel to man the ones we do have?

Also, it took 30 minutes for baggage claim. Is anyone working at the airport that we do have?

Carol Baker

Lafayette


Source:    http://www.theadvertiser.com/opinion

VIDEO: What does a Royal Flying Doctor Service pilot of 20 years get in a send off?

A pilot who has committed the past 20 years of his flying career to transporting the sick has been sent off in an unusual manner. 

Captain Neville Wilson and his plane were 'hosed' by a water arch by the Rockhampton Airport firefighters yesterday. 

Neville started flying in November 1973 while still working as a plumber to support his wife and three children. 

In 1979 he achieved his commercial pilots license in Mackay and in 1980 he began flying with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Arnhem Land for nine years. 

He was transferred to Ballarat as an instructor for a year before transferring to Alice Springs for five years. 

He took to the skies for the last time yesterday after clocking more than 20,000 flying hours. 

The Royal Flying Doctors of Australia posted a video of the send on their Facebook page, attracting 136 comments in 24 hours. See some comments below 

Neville returned to Queensland to work in Bundaberg for the Queensland Aerial Ambulance for six months. 

 Neville joined the RFDS in Charleville in July 1995 and transferred to the Rockhampton base two years later. In May 1996 he attained his Air Transport Pilot licence.

The highlight of his career with RFDS was the birth of a premature baby in mid-air during one of his MED 1 flights. His most challenging flight was a burns patient on life support into Brisbane in extremely poor weather.

He compared it to flying in a washing machine.

Neville considers his job with RFDS as the most privileged flying position around and his motto has always been, "We make a difference".

He said his appointment with the RFDS in Charleville had been a good introduction to the work of the RFDS, especially to the needs of people who required medical care in remote areas.

"When I first moved to Rockhampton we operated one Super King Air and also accessed two piston engine aircraft," he said.

"Over the years the piston engine aircraft were phased out and we now operate two new Beechcraft Super King Airs equipped with state-of-the-art flight management and satellite navigation systems."

These pressurised turbo prop aircraft are capable of speeds over 500km an hour and are able to keep patients at a sea level cabin pressure while flying at 15,000 feet altitude.

"Our flight time to Brisbane can be as low as 63 minutes. Very important in emergencies," Neville said.

Neville had the privilege of being one of the ferry pilots who took delivery of these new aircraft in 2004 in the USA and flew them back to Australia.

Here are some of the comments people have left on the RFDS Facebook page:

Yvette Luckock - Thank you Captain Neville for the many lives you have saved and the families you have cared for in your career.

Kirk Koschel - Somebody give that man an OAM pronto!!!

Wesley Wilson - Well done Dad, you've had one Excellent Adventure over your flying career, ive shared your joy in it. You've been able to help a lot of people doing something you love. You'll have to resort to low level flying in the 350Z from now on

Graham Willett - Nev your a national treasure .Enjoy your years ahead and I hope they are many .

Ric Buddy Scott -
Congratulations Neville my goal is to be where you are in my future I'm working at it now I hope someday I'm as successful as you are, congratulations sir

Kathy Stevens- It's lovely to see the long term pilots being appreciated for their service.

John Morris - This is 20 years of pure dedication to his job, that equals 20years of having to come to terms to pushing the boundaries if required, each flight different. That is equal to a very high recognition. From Me "Thank you for being a very special Australia."

Story, photo and video:   http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au


Phil Knight gets a new hangar for his private jet: Portland-Hillsboro Airport (KHIO), Oregon

Phil Knight's portfolio has a new asset type: private jet hangar.

The Nike co-founder is building a $7.6 million hangar at Hillsboro Airport for his personal aircraft, a Gulfstream G650. Knight currently parks the jet in an adjacent hangar owned by Nike Inc.

The new 29,000-square-foot hangar is listed in public records as the Ochoco Private Hangar. It appears to be within a few months of completion.

The Port of Portland, which owns the land under the hangar, leased 133,317 square feet to Ochoco in September for 30 years. The lease has 15 years in options.

Ochoco paid $177,143 for the lease and will pay $53,327 in annual rent, which the port considers "fair market" terms.

Nike and Knight spokeswoman Del Hudson on Monday said the hangar is for Knight's personal use, not Nike business.

The Gulfstream G650, which is also known as the GVI, is the airplane-maker's top-of-the-line private jet. First available in 2013, it has a $64.5 million base price.

The aircraft is coveted among the super-rich and can travel 7,000 miles at speeds reaching Mach 0.925.

Knight appears to own the jet through Hum-Air Too LLC, a company he formed in 2013. Knight also appears to own a Gulfstream GV through Hum-Air LLC.

Knight ranked No. 43 on Fortune's most recent list of the world's wealthiest individuals with a fortune estimated at $19.1 billion. While the jet and the hangar are extravagances, Knight isn't known for flaunting his wealth like other billionaires who buy islands and yachts big enough for two helicopters.

Knight is more known for his philanthropy, including a recent $500 million pledge to Oregon Health & Science University for cancer research. He ranked No. 3 this year on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the country's most generous donors. Knight and wife Penny have likely given more than $1 billion to various causes, including Stanford and the University of Oregon.

Nike executives appear to have the use of three jets, including Knight's Gulfstream G650.

In its most recent proxy statement, Nike said it operates and maintains Knight's jet and he makes it available to the company for business use at no charge. It also said Knight reimbursed the company $960,015 in the most recent annual reporting period for its maintenance of the aircraft.

In 2011 the Business Journal took advantage of the brief availability of flight records to track how Nike executives use corporate aircraft. At the time, Nike executives had access to three jets, including two Gulfstream GVs and a Dassault Falcon.

Records of private air travel are no longer available for public inspection.

Nike now directly owns a Gulfstream GV but no longer appears to have a Dassault Falcon.

Read more and view photos:   http://www.bizjournals.com

John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA) prepares to change runway designations

For nearly half a century, John Wayne Airport (JWA) has operated two runways, a commercial runway – one left and one nine right (1L-19R), and a general aviation runway – one right and one nine left (1R-19L). Runways can be used in both directions, and therefore have opposite 180 degree headings at each end (e.g. 1L-19R, 1R-19L). The two numbers always differ by 18 (= 180°).

Effective July 24, 2014, due to a gradual shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles, JWA’s runways will get new number designations. JWA’s commercial runway will become two left and two zero right (2L-20R), and the general aviation runway will become two right and two zero left (2R-20L).

While there is no impact to the general public, the change will require revision of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications, runway markings and pilot charts.

Per the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, a runway number is the whole number nearest one-tenth the magnetic bearing of the centerline of the runway, measured clockwise from the magnetic north. The magnetic north rotates about one degree every 12 years or five degrees every 60 years.

New signage and runway markings will be installed overnight on July 23, 2014, with the new designation in place on Thursday, July 24, 2014.

The preceding article was released by John Wayne Airport.


Source:   http://www.oc-breeze.com