Friday, August 01, 2014

Dan Wilson: Earning His Wings Under the Hood

Before Dan Wilson arrived, airport didn't have an on-Island mechanic. 
 Mark Lovewell 

Dan Wilson’s weeks are almost always split in two. For three days, he works in a World War II-era hangar at Katama Airfield. For another three days, he works out of a more modern hangar at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Sundays, he takes off, so to speak. A mechanic by trade but a pilot by passion, Mr. Wilson can be found roaming the skies when he’s not busy taking a wrench to a faulty airplane engine or completing annual inspections.

“There are beaches all over the place,” said Mr. Wilson. “It’s beautiful flying out here.”

Indeed, the scenic views are part of what brought Mr. Wilson to the Island years ago. For 15 years, he had spent summers here with his wife Jeanne DelGiudice. During those summers, Mr. Wilson spent time taking care of Waco UPF-7s and biplanes for classic aviators at Katama Airfield. But in a matter of time, what started as annual vacations to a treasured spot of Ms. DelGiudice’s young adulthood — she has been coming to the Vineyard since the 1970s, when her uncle, David Crohan, opened David’s Island House — grew into a year-round living situation.

Last May, Mr. Wilson and Ms. DelGiudice left their home in Warwick, R.I., and moved to the Island permanently. Together, husband and wife started a business, Wilson Aviation Services. He does the mechanical work on aircraft. She runs the business end of it, he said.

“The business is geared around general aviation,” said Mr. Wilson. “And just to support the public, so that if anybody has any problems here, they can be dealt with properly, so airplanes aren’t leaving with the problems, which was an issue before.”

Following a plane crash in Brewster in January 2012 that resulted in the deaths of two local pilots, Oulton Hues, a flight instructor and part-time resident of the Vineyard, and Robert Walker of East Falmouth, the Island’s lack of mechanical support for aircraft came to light. Paul Adler of West Tisbury wrote a letter to the Gazette on the issue.

“For at least 28 years, our airport has not supported a mechanical repair facility. As a result, many aircraft, both private and commercial, have departed our airport in need of repair, seeking another airport where there is a repair facility. Pilots cannot afford to bring in aviation mechanics, so sometimes safety is sacrificed due to these budgetary concerns. This is both alarming and dangerous,” Mr. Adler wrote.

Mr. Wilson and Ms. DelGiudice, who were already contemplating moving to the Vineyard at the time, took note of Mr. Adler’s concern. After Evergreen Helicopters sold their Providence, R.I., facility, where Mr. Wilson was employed, he was looking for a place to work.

“That gave us more motivation [to move],” said Ms. DelGiudice. “It propelled him.

“There was nobody out here doing anything, so it was obvious for us to move here,” she added. “In Katama, there were four or five planes landing and needing help. The signs pointed.”

Today Mr. Wilson is one of two licensed airplane mechanics working on the Island. His experience spans 35 years. After graduating high school, he entered East Coast Aero Technical School in Lexington. There, he received his Airframe and Powerplant and Inspection Authorization licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Mr. Wilson’s first job was as an engineer for a freight airline, where he maintained Convair cargo planes and seven Beech 18 aircraft in Providence and Quonset Point, R.I. The planes he worked on transported items from gold and silver bricks to horses and even a sedated dolphin that woke up mid-flight.

During his lifetime, Mr. Wilson has repaired submarines, cars, trucks, buses, electric boats and helicopters. But, he said, “I just love to work on the airplanes. I always came back to this.”

Aside from the general aircraft maintenance work he does on small planes — changing alternators, doing avionics work, making electrical modifications, doing oil changes, and, his favorite, repairing engines — Mr. Wilson also does inspections. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that general aviation aircraft must be inspected annually and that any aircraft “that carry any person (other than a crew member) for hire or that are provided by any person giving flight instruction for hire” must be inspected after every 100 hours of flight. Mr. Wilson can inspect planes on the Island so that potentially faulty aircraft do not have to fly out for inspection, and pilots do not have to spend extra time and money to fly inspectors to the Island.

Mr. Wilson also is on call for Jet Blue and US Airways at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

“If an airline like Jet Blue comes in, which is frequent, and he’s got an issue that has to be signed off or deferred, if I wasn’t here they would have to bring somebody in from Boston or New York, which takes a lot of time,” Mr. Wilson explained. “It’s good for me to be here,

on the Island, for them. Because once those people are stuck — if they miss their connections on some of those flights — they’re really stuck.”

One of his specialties is working on vintage aircraft and radial engines.

“[Radial engines] are unique. There are not too many people working on those in this part of the country,” he said. “It’s an old, lost art.”

In his hangar right now is a Piper Cub from the 1930s, an early vintage airplane built for the general public and once used by the military for observation work. It’s up for inspection, but soon it will fly.

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Proponents Of Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO) Ballot Initiative Receive Major Financial Backing

It has been no secret that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have largely backed the group identifying itself as the “Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions” (SMOHDD). Some have went so far as to allege AOPA and SMOHDD are essentially one in the same.

According to a series of forms filed in July with the City Clerk’s office, it can be confirmed AOPA is a significant backer of the SMOHDD group and its ballot initiative campaign claiming to give voters the power to decide the future of Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

According to several forms, the committee is officially labeled as “Santa Monicans for Open and Honest Development Decisions – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (Aviation) with Support from Local Businesses and Pilots.”

Also according to the filed paperwork, SMOHDD has received more than $268,000 in contributions so far this year.

The individuals listed on one of the forms include Flora Lin (treasurer) and Dana Reed (assistant treasurer). Coincidentally, both Lin and Reed are attorneys at the Century City law firm of Reed and Davidson.

According to the firm’s website, Lin is a partner who “works closely with the firm’s political compliance unit and advises clients on campaign and lobbying laws in California and other states.”

Reed is also a partner at the firm and, according to its website, has practiced election and political law since 1975.

The website adds Reed “as been involved in California state politics and government all of his adult life serving in senior government positions.”

Another individual listed on filed paperwork was Bill Dunn of Frederick, Md., where AOPA is based. Dunn, who is listed as an officer on SMOHDD paperwork, is also the vice president of airports for AOPA.

Other officers listed on the filed paperwork include Santa Monica resident John Jerabek and David Shaby of Culver City.

On the form listing monetary contributions to SMOHDD, the AOPA group is listed as one of largest donors. So far this year, AOPA has contributed $117,399.80 to SMOHDD.

Another major donor: National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), who reportedly contributed $125,000 in June to SMOHDD.

In the 30-day period between June 5 and July 4, SMOHDD reportedly paid $56,896.50 to Carlsbad-based Arno Petition Consultants for “petition circulating.” Another payment of $16,025 was made to Culver City-based Frank Wilson and Assoc. for costs associated with Internet maintenance and email.

SMOHDD reportedly has an unpaid bill of $17,142.97 to Reed and Davidson. The group has reportedly spent about $256,000 to date.

Other groups reportedly supporting the SMOHDD ballot initiative campaign include Santa Monica Air Center and Santa Monica Airport Association.

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Air New Zealand crew drunk during long delay

Air New Zealand crew assigned to fly stranded passengers home from Hawaii are understood to have been drinking and would have been unfit for duty at one stage even if their plane had been airworthy.

Although a 12-hour "bottle to throttle" stand down imposed on several crew does not appear to have prolonged the ordeal of passengers on NZ9, their behavior has prompted a stern warning from Air New Zealand managers who say that a "small group" is not living up to the airline's standards.

"You are responsible for ensuring you are rested, fit and healthy, and available to deliver the great service our customers expect and deserve," airline bosses told them in a letter today.

The airline would not comment on anonymous claims some of two crews who ended up in Honolulu were out drinking to as late as 5am and were "trashed."

The standard staffing of a Boeing 767 is three pilots and seven cabin crew. There were two crews in Honolulu during the period of the stranding earlier this week.

In a media release today the airline said the delays with flight NZ9 from Honolulu to Auckland earlier this week were "entirely related" to ongoing engineering issues and challenges securing the necessary part.

"As previously stated we have launched a comprehensive internal review of all aspects surrounding the delays and our management of the situation, both from the customer and operational perspectives. This review includes the performance of all functions involved with the disruption, including pilots and cabin crew."

It was expected preliminary outcome of the review by the end of next week.

A faulty warning light which forced the pilots of the Boeing 767 to abort a takeoff on Sunday night (NZT) led to an ordeal of up to 56 hours for the 227 passengers.

They were left waiting for taxis following the Sunday night incident, struggled to find hotels and faced several false starts after returning to the airport.

Customers complained of poor customer service and communication from the airline, and a lack of sympathy from staff on the ground and offered $1000 in compensation.

The letter from cabin crew general manager Leeanne Langridge and pilots general manager Darin Stringer says crew must remain contactable, staying rested and ensuring they are prepared for a duty when the need arises.

" I'm sure many of you share our embarrassment at the way the actions of some of our peers have impacted on the reputation of our professions both with our customers and within Air New Zealand."

The letter follows an internal memo to staff from chief executive Christopher Luxon in which he said the airline had failed failed more than 200 customers.

"As chief executive officer I am ultimately accountable for this,".

In the memo Luxon said events like the management of NZ9 had a big impact on our reputation and the trust customers placed in the airline.

He said the airline had been let down by some of its 11,000 staff and and some suppliers.

Incidents that had been in the headlines recently included a standoff between pilots over cockpit entry, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission report into a potentially dangerous landing at Christchurch, the former cabin crew member accused of importing drugs sewn into his uniform, and the bussing of passengers from Christchurch to Nelson during the storm at Easter after flight cancellations.

Read more:
Air NZ delay: 'We weren't on a beach'
Faulty indicator delays Air New Zealand flight

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Kearney Regional (KEAR), Nebraska: Forecast service boosts airport safety

KEARNEY — Kearney Regional Airport now offers a specialized forecast service for commercial and private pilots.

On July 1, the airport began offering terminal aerodrome forecast, or TAF, service. The service provides wind, visibility, cloud height, weather and wind shear information for a 24-hour period. The forecast is updated every six hours, Jeff Halblaub, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hastings, said.

“This is a specialized forecast that we issue for pilots,” Halblaub said. “Everybody who flies in or out of Kearney will benefit from it.”

The forecast helps pilots determine cloud coverage and the height of clouds so that they know the rules to fly. For example, if there are no clouds and no restrictions to visibility, pilots can fly by sight. When visibility is reduced by snow, fog or other natural elements, pilots need to rely on aircraft instrumentation.

“That’s why the TAF is so critically important,” Halblaub said.

Until last month, Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island was the only airport receiving TAF service from the NWS Hastings office. In comparing volume numbers for both airports, the NWS and Federal Aviation Administration decided it would be valuable to also have the service in Kearney.

Kearney was the busiest airport in the state without TAF service, Halblaub said. Other regional airports receiving TAF service from other NWS offices are Valentine, Chadron, Alliance, Scottsbluff, Sidney, North Platte, Lincoln, Norfolk and Omaha.

“Ironically, there are airports in western Nebraska that are less busy than Kearney, but they’ve had TAF for a much longer time frame,” Halblaub said. “It just didn’t make sense that Kearney didn’t have one. The need was there.”

In the past, private pilots probably used TAF information from the Grand Island airport, Kearney Airport Manager Jim Lynaugh said. Having TAF service for Kearney will give those pilots a better idea of conditions closer to home.

“As far as aviation, it gives us a clearer picture for our area, versus the TAF for Grand Island 40 miles away,” Lynaugh said. “It’s more dedicated to our area. It’s a good weather forecasting tool for pilots for the immediate future.”

The service is provided free of charge and produced by meteorologists in the NWS Hastings office, which gives pilots the benefit of NWS tools and knowledge, Halblaub said.

“We’re the local experts for the weather here,” Halblaub said. “We know what weather patterns result in what winds and things of that nature. We have a whole host of tools and weather information that aid us in developing this TAF.”

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Senators spent $1 million on charter flights last year

WASHINGTON — Last summer, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., embarked on what his office trumpeted as a four-day, 1,000-mile trip across his state, with press releases noting he "woke up early to hit the road," making stops at a minor league ballpark, a craft brewery and a Roanoke rail yard, among others. 

But for several hundred of those miles, Warner was not hitting the road — he was flying a chartered plane at a cost to taxpayers of $8,500.

Warner was one of two dozen U.S. senators who flew taxpayer-funded charter airplanes to, from or around their home state last year at a total cost of just under $1 million, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Senate spending records compiled by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.

Senators pay for their official duties from taxpayer-funded accounts set aside for them to cover costs of staff, travel, office supplies and the like. The rules allow them to use these accounts to pay for charter aircraft for official travel when commercial flights "are not such that reasonable schedules may be kept." Senators decide which way to travel, and some eschewed private jets in favor of flying commercial or simply driving.

Warner's 1,000-mile trip took him to the far reaches of western Virginia, which is pretty remote territory with no commercial airports. But a month earlier, Virginia's other U.S. senator, Tim Kaine, made a swing to the same corner of the state by car; his travel cost taxpayers $691. Both Warner and Kaine are Democrats representing the state that is closest to the U.S. Capitol.

"Sen. Warner is a road warrior, and he insists on a schedule that goes from dawn to dusk," said Kevin Hall, Warner's spokesman. "He spent 75 days on the road in Virginia last year, and that does not include events here in Northern Virginia."

Hall said the road trip involved 25 public events across the state. "Using a plane to get from one end of the state to the other freed-up more than 12 hours of driving time, and this allowed us to schedule several additional events and create more opportunities to meet with our Virginia constituents."

Many of the senators reporting charter flights hail from large and sparsely populated states. For instance, Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming reported charter flights totaling $83,000 in 2013, including a $3,700 trip to Cowley, Wyo., a town of fewer than 1,000 people on the state's northern border. His colleague Mike Enzi, also a Republican, spent just under $32,000 on charter flights last year. Both offices said the geography of the state required charter travel to reach constituents.

But the top two charter fliers in 2013 were Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats of New York — a large but more densely populated state with a lot of commercial transportation options.

Schumer on several occasions spent more than $5,000 from his office account to charter planes between New York City and Albany, Buffalo and Rochester, even though cheaper commercial flights and trains link the cities. Gillibrand regularly chartered flights from Washington to places in New York with multiple transportation options.

Aides to Gillibrand and Schumer said their schedules precluded them from traveling by other means. Schumer spokesman Matt House tried to dispel any notion that the senator was charging taxpayers for high-flying luxuries.

"It is not possible to keep this rigorous a schedule by flying on commercial airlines alone, so he also travels on a small, four-seat propeller plane with no bathroom that's not even big enough to stand up in," House said.

In some cases senators representing the same state split on whether to fly charters.

For instance, Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, spent $47,000 on charter flights in 2013, including a $5,500 round trip flight between New Orleans and Lake Charles, La., 200 miles to the west. Landrieu spokesman Matthew Lehner said chartering planes allowed the senator to reach more areas of the state more quickly.

"This alleviates the need for multi-day stopovers and maximizes the senator's interaction with her constituents," he said.

But Republican David Vitter, the other Louisiana senator, reported no charter flights. His spokesman, Luke Bolar, said the senator always flies commercial and drives rather than flies around Louisiana.

In Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, spent about $18,000 on charter flights around the state. "We will sometimes use a charter when there is not a commercial flight available to get him between official events scheduled in the state," Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said.

"As you know, Texas is a rather large state, and we do our best to maximize his time with constituents in different regions," Frazier said. But the Lone Star State's other senator, Republican John Cornyn, used only commercial transportation.

In West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin recorded no charter flights in 2013, while fellow Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced at the beginning of last year that he would not run for re-election, took $91,000 worth of charter flights. Rockefeller's office did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Overall, 14 Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent reported charter flights in 2013, but Democrats spent $638,000 of the $920,000 total spent on charters.

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Evansville Regional Airport (KEVV) To Reopen Runway Next Week

Planes will soon be taking off and landing on Evansville Regional Airport’s third runway. It’s expected to reopen next week after being closed for months of renovation.

The upgrade means the runway will now meet federal standards. Evansville-Vanderburgh Airport Authority Director Doug Joest said the original runway was too close to U.S. 41.

Before the construction, railroad tracks were relocated, some residential area was taken, roundabouts were built and roads were reconfigured. Community leaders say it caused complaints, but believe the pay off will be worth it.

Officials said the runway should be open next week. The Federal Aviation Administration first has to do flight tests to make sure all electronics on the runway are working properly.

Letter: Hiring airport manager won't increase passengers - Chico, California

Letters to the Editor
Chico Enterprise-Record

As I understand it the city of Chico is considering hiring a manager or contractor to "manage" our airport with hopes of United Airlines not leaving Chico like they did with Modesto, Klamath Falls, Southwest Oregon Regional Airport and Santa Rosa.

Speaking as a frequent flyer who in the past used to fly out of Chico the main reason some of us haven't been using the Chico airport (between 2010 and 2012 we saw 4,000 less passengers) is because we've been burned one too many times. After a few times I began to see flying to/from Chico as "gambling" as I had experienced cancelled at the last minute flights or long delays.

I can't see how hiring a manager for our airport will help to get us frequent fliers to fly out of Chico once again as dependability of the carrier isn't something a manager has any control over. To me, what we need isn't a manager and instead we need a new carrier and one who preferably flies to/from Los Angeles. If our city leaders insist on hiring an airport manager at least let's do it on a month-to-month basis and not with a contract where when United Airlines leaves us high and dry we won't have added expenses to our airport.

— Vic Makau, Chico

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Canary Islands: Fire-fighting plane stands by to halt danger

LA GOMERA this week received the cargo plane which will greatly help the Canary Islands in the event of major forest fires.

Government delegate Luis Molina was presented with the Air Tractor 802, which will be based on the island.

It will serve the whole archipelago, is suited to the specific conditions of the islands and has an impressive load capacity of 3,100 litres.

This new aircraft will be operational until 31st October and will spring into action at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment through the Directorate General of Rural Development and Forestry Policy.

Maria Elena Trujillo, La Gomera’s Central Government representative, and Javier Trujillo, also a Government deputy in Las Palmas, received the plane, which will be here for the next two summers.

The cargo plane is invaluable in stopping fires, especially in overcoming difficult terrain. Its technical ability allows a first water attack, or a slower extended attack on any fires, regardless of their intensity.

The plane’s high-tech spec enables it to shed water alone, or mixed with additives such as foam or retardants. This is dispersed using a state-of-the-art system on its bespoke  computer.

This aircraft joins the current fleet of firefighters deployed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment on the islands.

The fleet includes 2 SOKOL bell helicopters and other 14 specialist airborne units, including a Kamov helicopter.

This is the extinguishing type K32A 11 BC, with a discharge capacity of 4,500 litres. It is based at the Tenerife North-Los Rodeos airport.

There are also two battalions stationed on the islands, each featuring 150 highly-skilled personnel.

And among the equipment available for them to meet the fire-fighting efforts include 15 fire engines and four subsidiary vehicles.

At last, the Canary Islands appear to have the right equipment, manpower and know-how to tackle the dreadful fires which have plagued Tenerife and La Gomera, especially, throughout the years.

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Former California News Helicopter Pilot Pleads Guilty to ID Theft

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Former California News Helicopter Pilot Pleads Guilty to ID Theft

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Docket #: 2:12-cr-441 MCE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — John Michael Dial, 58, of Skaneateles, New York, pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Dial used the names of actual persons to commit violations of federal law such as false statements to the FAA and forgery of a U.S. passport.

According to the plea agreement, from December 16, 2009, to August 4, 2010, Dial was hired as a television news helicopter pilot and operated news helicopters in the Bay Area without a pilot’s license. On one occasion, flight records from Dial’s employer show him operating a news helicopter in the Eastern District of California.

In June 2011, in order to work for an air ambulance service in Susanville, Dial provided numerous false identification documents and knowingly and willfully made material false statements about his true identity. These statements concerned matters within the jurisdiction of the FAA, and were relevant because they prevented the FAA from knowing the true identity of a pilot operating an aircraft within the United States. Had the FAA known Dial’s true identity, it would have known that Dial had previously been convicted of making false statements to the FAA regarding his medical certificate and student pilot certificate. From July 3, 2011, to November 7, 2011, Dial operated a helicopter approximately 63 times, without having a valid pilot certificate.

On March 15, 2012, Dial was hired under his real name to work as a television news helicopter pilot in Sacramento. Dial submitted a fraudulent FAA Temporary Airman Certificate under his real name, and an FAA Medical Second Class Certificate under his real name. Dial flew for the television station two times without having a valid pilot certificate.

According to the plea agreement, Dial used the identity of a former co-worker to gain employment with an air ambulance service in New York. Dial also created a fraudulent United States passport using that person’s identity.

On April 8, 2012, Dial was stopped by a Cascade, Idaho police officer and gave police a fraudulent Vermont driver’s license. He was cited for driving without a license and told to not drive his vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Dial was observed driving away from the scene. When Dial was stopped again, police learned that his true name was likely John M. Dial and that he had two outstanding felony warrants in the state of Washington.

During a Mirandized statement, Dial admitted that his name was John Michael Dial, and that he obtained the Vermont driver’s license approximately 12 years ago by providing fictitious information. He said that he did this in order to avoid apprehension for the two outstanding felony warrants. During a search of Dial’s vehicle, two wallets were located. In one wallet was information relating to John M. Dial, including a California driver’s license; in the other wallet were documents relating to the identity theft victim and second fraudulent Vermont driver’s license.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, the United States Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Cascade, Idaho, and McCall, Idaho Police Departments. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.

Dial is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on August 14, 2014. Dial faces a mandatory statutory penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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A photo provided by the Ada County (Idaho) Sheriff's Department shows John Michael Dial.

Federal Aviation Administration awards nearly $3M for Ithaca, Elmira airports

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced nearly $3 million for airports serving the Ithaca and Elmira–Corning areas.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) made the announcement in a news release that Gillibrand’s office distributed on Friday.

The FAA is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport will use more than $2.1 million in federal funding to expand the terminal apron and purchase snow-removal equipment, the lawmakers said.

The facility will use more than $1.6 million of that amount to expand the apron to provide more parking for the aircraft.

The airport will increase the size of its de-icing area so it can treat several aircraft at one time, which will lead to “more efficient travel times,” according to the lawmakers’ news release.

Ithaca Tompkins will use the remaining $477,000 for snow-removal equipment, the news release said.

Its current equipment is 18 years old and reaching “the end of its lifespan,” the lawmakers said.

“Both of the grants will make travel significantly more efficient, especially during the winter,” Bob Nicholas, manager of the Ithaca Tompkins Airport, said in the news release.

Besides the funding for Ithaca Tompkins, the Elmira Corning Regional Airport will use $720,000 in federal funding to purchase an aircraft rescue and firefighting truck.

Elmira Corning Regional Airport has accommodated “dramatic” passenger growth over the last five years, Ann B. Crook, director of aviation at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport, said in the release.

“We now offer direct flights to Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando, and St. Petersburg with a nearly-all-jet fleet,” said Crook.

The federal government awards the funding through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which the FAA administers.

The AIP awards grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

The government draws funds obligated for the AIP from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources support, the senators said.

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Oakdale, California: Council Kept Out Of Loop On Federal Aviation Administration Complaint

Despite airport items on recent agendas, the Oakdale Mayor and City Council claim they were not advised of an April complaint letter from the Federal Aviation Administration and the city’s May 5 response letter. Some of the agenda items approved by the council even included a quarterly street sweeping contract and $16,000 lighting upgrade to bring the airport up to standards addressed in the complaint.

“I was aware of Mr. (William) Bradford’s concerns but not that any complaint or action had been taken by the FAA,” said Councilman Don Petersen. “It wasn’t until I saw your (Oakdale Leader July 30) article that I knew there was any sort of letter, investigation, or that the city responded.”

On Thursday, July 31, Petersen showed up at the Leader offices to inquire about the airport article. He also asked to see the documents obtained by the Leader which included the April 14 FAA letter and Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer’s three-page response to four allegations that the FAA asked for.

“I’ve never seen these and I don’t think they were ever made available to the council,” Petersen said.

Petersen was appointed as the city council’s airport liaison to the airport committee on April 21 after Councilman Mike Brennan stepped down due to agitating comments made to tenants and what were perceived as threats to airport committee members. He said at the time he assumed the duties, he would have thought he would have been apprised of the FAA’s interest.

“I want to make sure the airport functions are transparent and it is operating transparently,” Petersen said. “I’m interested in the airport and realize that it can be dangerous if things aren’t kept up.”

Part of the FAA’s letter to the city regarding the complaint alleged that the airport is poorly maintained which included worn out gates, major tarmac damage and poor patching of the asphalt, and the existence of unpaved areas. The FAA cautioned the city that if the issues existed and were not corrected, the city would be in non-compliance of the grant assurances.

“I agree that some of these things started a long time ago, but that does not alleviate the condition to fix it,” Petersen said. “Sometimes you have to get money to make it safe.”

Petersen also examined documentation obtained which showed Sierra West Airlines Vice President Kyra Robinson-Busam operating a real estate business known as O27 Properties out of the Sierra West facility.

The FAA informal complaint also had listed that the city was allowing Sierra West Airlines the use of airport facilities for non-aeronautical purposes.

“Technically, it looks like they’re in violation of FAA rules,” Petersen said. “What can be done with it will be a topic of personal involvement as I go forward.”

Other council members were just as much unaware.

“I honestly don’t remember anything about this,” said Councilman Tom Dunlop when contacted Thursday evening, July 31. “If it was mentioned it may have been in passing and not mentioned with any seriousness.”

“I didn’t know anything about it,” said Councilman Farrell Jackson. “It’s (The letters) never been bought to our attention, openly or closed session.”

“I would think maybe we would be made aware of something like this,” Mayor Pat Paul said also on Thursday evening. “I don’t know what happened or if Bryan (Whitemyer) dropped the ball.”

“It was shared with the council,” said Whitemyer on Friday, Aug. 1 who was away on vacation but contacted the Leader after messages regarding the topic were left. “I told them about it in March and that it was minor in nature.”

When informed that the FAA’s letter was dated in April, Whitemyer said he reached out to FAA Airport Compliance Specialist Robert Lee about some of Bradford’s concerns at that time and was informed about an “informal complaint” and that a letter to the city was pending. After he spoke to Lee is when Whitemyer said he advised the council.

“I mentioned the informal complaint again to the council in an activity report I sent the council in April as well,” Whitemyer stated.

Whitemyer said because the complaint to the FAA was classified as “informal” he didn’t consider it all that serious.

“This whole thing is a very minor issue in my mind,” Whitemyer said. “This is not even an ‘investigation’ as you’re calling it. You’ve done two articles now and its much ado about nothing.”

During his visit to the Leader, Petersen vocalized his commitment to the airport and making it a viable part of the community.

Petersen said he had visited Sonora’s airport and was impressed with their operation.

“With appropriate attention, there’s no reason why Oakdale can’t be as vibrant as them,” Petersen said. “With the little resources we have, we still need someone to champion for our airport.”

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Woodbine applies for $800,000 grants aimed at Woodbine Municipal Airport (KOBI), New Jersey

WOODBINE – The borough has applied for more than $800,000 in state and federal grants for capital improvement projects at the Woodbine Municipal Airport, an official said recently.

Mayor William Pikolycky said Tuesday that is seeking about $427,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration for three projects: $79,000 for the design and engineering of Taxiway A repair; $273,000 for the removal of obstructions, such as brush and stumps; and $74,000 for the design and permitting of a helicopter parking area.

In addition, the borough has applied for $400,000 from the state Department of Transportation to repair Taxiway A, once design and engineering is completed.

The mayor said his optimistic that the borough will receive the funding.

“What generally happens is that we meet with the FAA on a regular basis,” Pikolycky said. “They have a good feel for what we need, and they encourage us to make applications in the right area.”

The mayor said he expected it would take about three months for the FAA and state DOT to review the grant request.

If approved, Pikolycky said construction would begin shortly after that.

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Federal grant will fund new taxiway at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG), Ohio

VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport will build a new taxiway, thanks to a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport is slated to get more than $448,000 from the FAA for the improvements.

The 365-foot taxiway will provide access to aircraft hangars and meet federal design standards.

This comes as the Federal Aviation Administration gave the airport a good yearly review, finding no major problems.

Director of Aviation Dan Dickten said the FAA told them to fix two minor issues: They plan to re-paint faded runway markers in the fall and will remove taxiways with paving problems, after years of concern over poor design.

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Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) museum acquires rare, historic plane

 The Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) recently acquired another rare and historic aircraft to add to its collection. The new plane is an early model F-86A “Sabre” jet, manufactured by North American Aviation at its Inglewood, Calif. plant in August 1949.

The F-86 was the first American swept wing fighter to go into production. It evolved out of a straight wing U.S. Navy design and went into production in the late 1940s. At the time of its introduction it was the best American jet fighter and was assigned to protect high-priority targets such as Washington, D.C. and nuclear production facilities.

The F-86 jets were produced in the United States and under license in Japan, Italy, Australia and Canada. Eventually, 9,860 planes were produced and more than 30 nations had pilots flying them.

The last F-86 jets were retired from service in 1994 by Bolivia. 

The MAPS plane, serial number 48263, took part in the 1949 Thompson Trophy Race to Cleveland and finished first in its category. The plane’s pilot was Capt. Bruce Cunningham and he won the race despite damage to his rear tail control surfaces.

The plane was then assigned to the 2757th Air Base Squadron at Cleveland until transferred to the 4th Fighter Wing. Eventually, it was shipped to Korea when the unit deployed there in December 1950. The aircraft served for 15 months in Korea, flying numerous missions against Russian-built Mig-15’s over “Mig Alley” in Northwest Korea.

 The Mig-15 was a contemporary of the F-86 and both planes had similar characteristics. During this time frame the MAPS plane was involved in at least one combat with a Mig-15. This occurred on February 3, 1952 when Lt. W. A. Todd claimed a Mig damaged after firing 600 rounds of .50 caliber machine gun ammunition at the Russian aircraft.

Following the Korean War the F-86 was returned to the United States and assigned to a variety of Air Force and National Guard units until retired in 1956. It was then loaned to the New England Air Museum at Windsor Locks, Conn. until it returned to the Air Force Museum in Dayton in the late 1990s.

In 2014, the plane was loaned to the MAPS Museum for restoration and placement with the museum’s collection.

“The Air Force Museum wanted MAPS to take this historic aircraft,” said Kim Kovesci, MAPS Museum Director. “They saw the results of the restoration we did on the F-86D and felt we were the best museum to undertake the project. There were a lot of other museums that also wanted it but they chose us. This aircraft has a great pedigree. How appropriate it is for her to now be back in Northeastern Ohio at MAPS?” 

The F-86 will undergo restoration at the museum’s restoration facility located at the MAPS complex of Massillon Road in Green. Currently, it can be viewed, diassembled, in the outside collection. When it is restored, it will join the F-86D, an F-86D cockpit and a Mig-15 trainer in the main display hanger to form one of the more extensive “Sabre” jet displays open to the public.

At the present time it is believed that there are only six F-86A models on display in the world. One is in flyable condition at the British Imperial War Museum at Duxford. Five others are on display at various locations in the United States. With the addition of this “Sabre” jet to the MAPS collection, a rare and significant piece of aviation history will be able to be viewed by local residents.

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This rare F86A "Sabre" was recently acquired from the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton by MAPS. It will undergo restoration in the near future and join the museum's other F86D in the main display hangar.