Friday, August 22, 2014

Cessna R172E Skyhawk, Reg. Victory Equity Construction Inc DBA, N516MA: Accident occurred August 20, 2013 in Meeteetse, Wyoming

The story of how Billings teenager McKenzie Morgan walked away from a plane crash in the remote mountains of Wyoming will be featured during a segment on Sunday night's episode of "Dateline," NBC's long-running television newsmagazine series.

"It's kind of unreal," said Morgan, 18. "It's such a big thing to be a part of, and I never imagined my life would take that kind of turn. It doesn't happen to people where I'm from. It's crazy."

In the segment, titled "Into the Wild," correspondent Keith Morrison details how on Aug. 20, 2013, Morgan crashed high in the rugged Absaroka Range near Meeteetse, 

Wyo., during her first solo airplane flight and walked away with minor injuries before hunters scouting the area found her several hours later.

"I was tremendously impressed with her," Morrison said in a telephone interview with the Gazette. "She’s an intrepid young woman."

Morgan, a 2014 Billings Senior High graduate who recently moved into the dorms for her freshman year at the University of Montana, was 17 and working to earn her private pilot's license — a goal she's since accomplished — when she became disoriented during her multistop training flight that started out of Laurel earlier in the day.

The plane crashed on Franc's Peak and flipped onto its roof. Morgan managed to scramble out but didn't have any way to call for help.

Two area men — Nathan Coil, of Casper, Wyo., and Joshua Alexander, of Douglas — were scouting the area for the upcoming hunting season and saw the plane crash. They later helped to rescue Morgan.

Morrison said that the unlikely "two needles in a haystack" circumstances that led to the crash and the hunters happening to be in the area combined with Morgan's determination to become a pilot and the rugged wilderness make for a compelling story.

"Everything in it was just way outside the boundaries of normalcy, and it happens to be an absolutely stunning part of the globe," he said.

He also noted "the lingering respect I have for this young woman" after doing the story.

Morgan said that crews from Dateline started working on the story in November, conducting numerous interviews and eventually getting footage of her flying again and eventually earning her pilot's license in March.

"I was up in the air two days later, fighting to get my license, which is what I wanted," she said. "In March, they filmed my solo cross-country flight. I had to do another one, since my first one didn't go so well."

Subjects in the piece also include Gazette photographer Larry Mayer, an experienced pilot who helped to organize the search for Morgan immediately after the crash.

Morgan said she plans to watch the piece on Sunday at her grandparents' house outside of Missoula with friends, family and her flight instructor.

Two days after the one-year anniversary of the crash, she said it changed her for the better, giving her a new outlook on life.

"Looking back, it's brought me closer to my family," she said. "It's taught me to value every day more because anything can happen."

Story, photos and video:   

NTSB Identification: WPR13CA381
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 20, 2013 in Meeteetse, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172E, registration: N516MA
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot reported that while on a solo cross-country flight she was using dead reckoning  through the mountains. The pilot was unsure of her location and as she proceeded to the west, the mountainous terrain became steeper, which required her to ascend from 7,500 feet mean sea level (msl) to 8,500 feet msl. The student stated that being unable to clear the rising terrain in her flight path and unable to turn the airplane around, she elected to make a landing. During the approach a gust of wind hit the right wing, which resulted in the nose landing gear impacting the rocky terrain. The airplane nosed over and  sustained substantial damage to both wings and the empennage. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or the engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The student pilot's inadequate preflight planning and failure to maintain clearance from rising terrain, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of situational awareness.


Agency to help fight bird-hit menace at Chennai Airport

Chennai: With rainy days just ahead, the number of birds lurking around the airport for prey is bound to increase. Pilots have already reported to air traffic controllers in the last two months about as many as 10 bird-hit cases. To overcome this problem, the authorities have now decided to commence a study and take precautionary measures.

“We are in the final stage of appointing an agency, which will study the various aspects for eradication of the hazard of birds over Chennai airport.  This will include new technologies of sound and waves of special nature for scaring away the birds. At present, crackers and apron jeeps are used for this purpose,” said Chennai airport assistant general manager (PR) Harbhajan Singh.

According to him, the proposed agency would also study the behavior of big birds that are generally attracted to open areas like the runways and so on. “We will take effective remedial action with an aim to get 100 percent results,” Mr Singh added. It is natural for insects to come out after rain thereby attracting birds, which are potential threat when found in the path of the aircraft.

“Birds like kites are seen in Chennai and they are getting smart these days. They can sense aircraft movement. The rare ones are the white owls, which are a threat nowadays in airports. They are migratory birds and their manoeuvring capability is not good compared to the kites. So they become a threat to flight safety,” said a senior pilot, who frequently flies in and out of the city airport.

Currently, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) deploys bird scarers at vantage points inside the operational area from dawn to dusk and chases away the birds by bursting crackers. Airport director H. S. Suresh said that an area of about 10 km in radius around the airport needs to be free from garbage and other things that attract birds. “Only then can we control the bird menace,” he added.

- Source:

Public asked to weigh in on future of Eastern Sierra Regional Airport (KBIH), Bishop, California

Inyo County Public Works and Wadell Engineering Corporation are inviting residents to a series of public meetings next week designed to help shape the future of the Eastern Sierra regional Airport in Bishop.

On Aug. 25 and 26, Public Works will present the details of the Bishop Airport Layout Plan to interested community members.

Read the full story in the Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 edition of The Inyo Register.

Rand-Robinson KR-2, G-BVIA: Accident occurred May 03, 2014 near Sleaford, Lincolnshire - UK

Rand KR-2, G-BVIA
Location: Temple Bruer Airfield, Lincolnshire
Date of occurrence: 03 May 2014

The pilot had taken off in fine weather to conduct a test flight. The aircraft had been refuelled to full prior to flight, but after takeoff the pilot noticed the fuel gauge was reading less than half-full. He decided to make an immediate return to the airfield but, on approach to land, the engine stopped. The pilot attempted to make the runway but the mainwheels caught a hedge before the threshold and the aircraft overturned. The pilot, who was wearing a full safety harness, sustained only minor injury.

Investigation into aircraft crash near Sleaford leaves questions unanswered

A probe into an aeroplane crash at an airfield near Sleaford has been unable to discover why its engine failed.

The light aircraft was being flown by an 81-year-old pilot when it crashed at Temple Bruer Airfield, near RAF Cranwell, in May.

It landed on its roof and was left badly damaged but the pilot escaped from the wreckage with only minor injuries.

An investigation into the crash was launched by the Air Accident Investigation Branch and has now been completed.

The report says the 2003 built Rand KR-2 – reg G BVIA – owned by Michael Thomas Taylor of Main Street, Boothby Graffoe, had taken off in fine weather.

It says the intention of the pilot, who had 792 hours flying experience, was to conduct a flight test.

The report says: “The aircraft had been refuelled to full prior to flight, but after take-off the pilot noticed the fuel gauge was reading less than half-full. He decided to make an immediate return to the airfield but, on approach to land, the engine stopped.

“The pilot attempted to make the runway but the main wheels caught a hedge before the threshold and the aircraft overturned.”

The report adds that the pilot, who was wearing a full safety harness, sustained only minor injuries, but that the aircraft suffered “considerable damage.”

The small airfield near RAF Cranwell was designated as a satellite airfield during the Second World War when it was used for emergency landings.

After the war, the site became temporary living quarters for 1,000 Ukranian and German former prisoners of war.

The site returned to farmland in 1951 but is now used as a small private airfield.

Beech A36TC Bonanza 36, N800G LLC, N678DR: Accident occurred August 15, 2012 in Clifton Park, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA508
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in Clifton Park, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2013
Aircraft: BEECH A36TC, registration: N678DR
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The pilot and passenger were departing on an instrument flight rules business flight. During the initial climb, at an altitude of about 800 feet above the ground, the pilot advised air traffic control that the airplane had lost engine power. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing; however, the airplane struck several trees about 1,000 feet short of an open field. Examination of the airframe revealed no deficiencies of the fuel or fuel system, and a test run of the engine showed that it was capable of producing power. However, during the test run, the right magneto was found to be non-functional, and further disassembly of the component revealed that its contact points were corroded. Once the corrosion was cleaned away, the magneto functioned normally on a test bench.

The investigation was unable to determine a definitive cause for the reported total loss of engine power, although a non-functional right magneto could result in a partial loss of power and/or perceived rough engine operation. According to the airframe manufacturer’s procedure for a loss of engine power immediately after liftoff, the auxiliary fuel pump should only be placed in the “HI” position in the event of an engine-driven fuel pump failure. With the engine-driven fuel pump operating, the engine would “run rich and may quit depending on throttle setting, temperature and altitude.” Due to the extent of the damage surrounding the auxiliary fuel pump switch, its preimpact position could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during the postaccident investigation and testing.

On August 15, 2012, at 0727 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36TC, N678DR, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing nearClifton Park, New York. The certificated airline transport pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Albany International Airport (ALB), Albany, New York at 0724, and was destined for Plattsburg Airport (PBG), Plattsburg, New York. The business flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Review of air traffic control (ATC) information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot contacted ATC about 0720 and requested clearance to taxi for departure. The controller initially advised the pilot to taxi to runway 1 via taxiway D and A. The pilot subsequently advised the controller that he could accept an intersection departure from runway 1 at D, and was subsequently issued that clearance. At 0722, the pilot requested to depart from runway 1 at D, but was advised that there would be a 3 minute delay due to wake turbulence from a previously departed Boeing 737. The pilot then requested to “waive” the delay, and was issued a takeoff clearance about 1 minute later. In addition to a warning of wake turbulence, the pilot was issued a departure heading of 040 degrees.

The airplane departed from runway 1 at 0724, turned northeast, and continued to climb. At 0725, at an altitude of 1,100 feet msl, the pilot advised ATC, “eight delta romeo just lost our engine”. No further transmissions were received from the pilot, and radar contact was lost about 30 seconds later at an altitude of 300 feet msl.


The pilot, age 68, held an airline transport pilot certificate with numerous ratings, including airplane single engine land, as well as a flight instructor certificate with numerous ratings including airplane single engine. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 1, 2012 with the limitation, “must have available glasses for near vision.” A review of the pilot’s flight logs showed that he had accumulated 11,008 total hours of flight experience, 1,110 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model. During the 90 days preceding the accident, the pilot had accumulated 143 hours of flight experience, 34 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

According to the pilot’s son, the pilot was a friend of the accident airplane’s owners, and was allowed to utilize the airplane anytime he needed. He further described that the pilot flew very often, and had previously flown many people in the accident airplane. While the passenger did hold a pilot certificate, he had not flown a great deal in the recent past. The purpose of the flight was for the pilot and passenger to attend a business meeting in Plattsburg, New York.


According to airworthiness records maintained by the FAA, the airplane was manufactured in 1981 and was equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-520-UB turbo-supercharged, fuel injected engine. Review of maintenance records showed that a factory rebuilt engine was installed on the airplane in May 1996, at an aircraft total time of 1,591 flight hours. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on October 15, 2011 at 3,190 total aircraft hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated 3,364 total flight hours, and the engine had accumulated 1,773 total flight hours since its installation.


The ALB airport was comprised of two intersecting runways oriented in a 1/19 and 10/28 configuration, at an elevation of 285 feet. Runway 1 was 8,500 feet long by 150 feet wide. Taxiway A ran parallel to runway 1 and was located to the west of the runway. Taxiway D intersected runway 1 about 3,250 feet beyond the runway approach threshold. From that intersection, about 5,250 feet of runway was available for a departure.

The airplane was most recently serviced with 85 gallons of 100LL fuel by a fixed base operator at ALB on the day preceding the accident. Following the accident, a fuel quality assurance review was conducted by the fixed based operator, and no deficiencies were noted during the inspection.


The 0753 weather observation at ALB included calm winds, 10 statute miles visibility with patches of fog present to the west and southwest, few clouds at 100 feet, scattered clouds at 8,000 feet, a broken ceiling at 13,000 feet, and a broken ceiling at 25,000 feet. The temperature was 19 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.90 inches of mercury.


The airplane was not equipped with any flight data recording devices, nor was it required to be; however, a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) receiver was recovered from the wreckage, and found to contain data pertaining to the accident flight. The initial data point was recorded at 0721, as the airplane taxied toward runway 1 at ALB via taxiway D. The airplane subsequently taxied onto runway 1 at 0723, at the point where the runway intersected taxiway D.

The airplane accelerated down the runway and began climbing at 0724:26, and 8 seconds later had climbed to a GPS-derived altitude of 341 feet, at a GPS groundspeed of 88 knots. At that point, the airplane began a right turn about 1,600 feet prior to reaching the runway departure end. The airplane continued to climb while on an approximate 40-degree magnetic track. At 0725:50, the airplane reached a maximum altitude of 1,115 feet, at a GPS groundspeed of 111 knots, about 2 nautical miles northeast of the runway 1 departure end.

Over the next 30 seconds, the airplane turned about 90 degrees left as it descended and slowed. By 0726:24, the airplane had established a heading of 305 degrees, descended to 627 feet, and slowed to a GPS groundspeed of 85 knots. About 25 seconds later, the airplane’s final position was recorded at an altitude of 302 feet and a GPS groundspeed of 76 knots.

A plot of the airplane’s position for the final moments of the flight showed that an open field about 1,000 feet long, and aligned with the airplane’s final approach path, was located about 1,000 feet west of its final GPS-recorded position. Additionally, a two-lane asphalt road paralleled the airplane’s final approach path; however utility wires paralleled and crossed the road at numerous points in the vicinity of the accident site.


The accident site was located in a residential area approximately 3 miles northeast of ALB, at an elevation of 260 feet. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified by several damaged tree limbs, at a height of about 30 feet, and was located about 45 feet west of the airplane’s final GPS-recorded position. The wreckage path about was about 150 feet long, and oriented approximately 320 degrees magnetic. A ground scar, along with the outboard portion of the right wing and aileron, were located about 95 feet beyond the IIP, along the wreckage path. The main portion of the wreckage consisted of the fuselage and inboard portions of both wings, and was located about 45 feet from the ground scar. The fuselage remained upright, and was oriented on a 280-degree magnetic heading. The outboard portion of the left wing was located about 10 feet beyond the main wreckage.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage by all four of its attachment bolts. The outboard portion of the wing separated in the vicinity of the landing gear, and the left main landing gear remained stowed in its well. The right wing also remained attached to the fuselage by its attachment bolts, with the outboard portion separating near the outer portion of the flap. The right main landing gear remained stowed within its well. The landing gear actuator was in the retracted position.

Control continuity was confirmed from the control column to the elevator and left aileron, and through a fracture of the right aileron bellcrank to the right aileron, and rudder control continuity was confirmed from both rudder pedals to the rudder. Measurement of the left and right elevator trim tab actuators revealed extensions corresponding to a 10-degree tab-down position (nose up trim). Measurement of both flap actuator rods corresponded to a flaps retracted position.

The fuel selector was found in the left tank position. Examination of the fuel system revealed that it remained continuous from the firewall, through the selector valve, to both fuel tanks, with no breaches or obstructions noted. Residual fuel was observed in both main and both auxiliary wingtip fuel tanks. The color and odor of the fuel appeared consistent with 100LL aviation fuel, and all samples taken were absent of water or debris. The auxiliary fuel pump switch was found in the HIGH position, though the structure surrounding the switch was deformed consistent with impact.

The pilot and copilot seats remained attached to the seat rails with no deformation noted. The mounting points and buckles for both the pilot and copilot restraints appeared intact and undamaged, and first responders reported that the pilot and passenger were wearing both lap and shoulder restraints upon arriving at the accident scene.

The engine remained attached to the fuselage, and 2 of the 3 propeller blades exhibited impact-related damage. One blade was bent aft about 45 degrees near the mid-span point and the other blade was bent aft about 90 degrees near the mid-span point. None of the blades exhibited chordwise scratching or leading edge gouging.

The engine was separated from the airframe and shipped to the manufacturer for a test run. The impact-related damage was generally concentrated near the aft portion of the engine. The induction system riser to the number one cylinder, the induction system “Y” pipe, and oil cooler, along with several fuel system fittings, were replaced to facilitate the test run. During preparation for the test run, a red clay/dirt-like substance was found at an impact-damaged port of the fuel metering unit. The fuel manifold valve screen, located downstream of the fuel metering unit within the fuel system, was examined and found to be absent of debris or contamination.

The engine was subsequently placed in a test cell and started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling. The engine rpm was advanced in steps to 1,200, 1,600, and 2,450 rpm for a period of 5 minutes per step to allow for warm-up. The throttle was then advanced to full power for 5 minutes before the throttle was rapidly advanced from idle to full power 6 times. The engine performed normally throughout each of the tests without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption of power; however, testing of the magnetos showed that the right magneto was inoperative.

Following the test run, the right magneto was removed from the engine and examined. The points of the magneto exhibited corrosion. The corrosion was subsequently cleaned from the points, and the magneto was then run on a test stand. The magneto operated normally, and further disassembly revealed no anomalies.


The pilot sustained serious injuries during the accident and subsequently succumbed to those injuries on August 28, 2013. An autopsy and toxicological testing were not performed.


The airframe manufacturer published an emergency procedure detailing the actions pilots should take following a loss of engine power immediately after lift-off. After eliminating the possibility of fuel exhaustion, the procedure advised the pilot:

“2. Auxiliary Fuel Pump – LOW If a Failed Engine-Driven Fuel Pump is Suspected (Indicated by zero fuel flow):

3. Auxiliary Fuel Pump – HI”

A warning was noted below that stated:

“The only reason for the high (HI) boost position is to supply fuel for priming prior to starting and to supply fuel to the engine if the engine-driven fuel pump fails. DO NOT USE THIS POSITION FOR ANY OTHER REASON. If high (HI) boost is selected when the engine-driven pump is operating, the engine will run rich and may quit depending on throttle setting, temperature and altitude.”

The checklist advised that if an ignition problem was suspected, the pilot should verify that the magnetos were selected to the “BOTH” position.

The first step of the procedure for a rough running engine immediately after lift-off stated, “Ensure auxiliary fuel pump is not on HI.”

ALBANY — The family of a developer killed in a private plane crash in Clifton Park in 2012 is suing the company he owned and the owners of the aircraft for $10 million. 

The children of the late Walter Uccellini are suing The United Group of Companies Inc., the company that Uccellini founded, as well as the Albany-based Hildt Aviation and several other defendants, according to a summons filed Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Albany.

At the time of his death on Aug. 15, 2012, Uccellini , 67, was the president of the The United Group. The vice-president, fellow developer James Quinn, 68, who was piloting the plane, died from his injuries two weeks after the crash.

The single-engine Beechcraft, headed for Plattsburgh, crashed shortly after takeoff from Albany International Airport at 7:27 a.m.

Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the crash to be "total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during the post-accident investigation and testing."

The NTSB also said a corroded magneto found in the wreckage could have contributed to "a partial loss of power and/or perceived rough engine operation."

Uccellini's son and daughter, Michael J. Uccellini and Jessica F. Steffensen, executors of his estate, are suing for negligence that they allege caused personal injury and wrongful death to Uccellini. The summons alleges Quinn was negligent and that the plane had negligent servicing and maintenance.

The suit was filed by attorney John P. Calareso, who could not be reached Friday.

The defendants could not be immediately reached.

- Source:

James F. Quinn

State Police Capt. John McCarthy speaks to reporters at the scene of the place crash on August 15, 2012.

Cape May County Airport (KWWD) and Eagles Nest Airport (31E) to be test sites for drones

Two South Jersey airports have been selected as drone test sites, allowing them to capitalize on an emerging technology that promises to create new jobs and serve as a catalyst for economic development.

Cape May Airport in Lower Township, Cape May County, and Eagles Nest Airport in Eagleswood Township, Ocean County, will be part of testing conducted by a coalition of universities, government agencies and the aviation industry in New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.

The group, known as the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, estimates drone flights could be operational at both airports within two months, pending final approvals by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We could fly in New Jersey as early as 2 to 2½ months from now, so we’re working on it,” said Rose Mooney, executive director of the partnership.

In December, the New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland consortium was named by the FAA as one of six drone test sites nationwide. However, the selection of the Cape May and Eagles Nest airports as New Jersey’s test areas was not revealed by the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership until this week.

Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey, an advocate of drone technology, believes the test flights will help Cape May Airport and the surrounding area become a magnet for commercial development.

A study published in March by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems predicts drone technology could add 70,000 jobs and $13.6 billion in economic activity nationwide between 2015 and 2018. The study also predicts 1,353 jobs added in New Jersey by 2017, with $263 million in economic impact.

“It is a great opportunity,” Morey said of the benefits of drone testing for the Cape May Airport. “It’s an emerging technology, not only for research and development, but also for maintenance and repair companies. With that comes good-quality jobs.”

Peter Weidhorn, owner of Eagles Nest, said he originally pitched his airport as a possible drone test site about two years ago, but was unaware that it had been formally selected.

“I haven’t heard a word.” he said in an interview Thursday. “Nobody has gotten back to us with details in terms of when, where and how.”

Weidhorn , though, welcomed the chance to be involved with a project he hopes will continue the development of his small airport, located in the Pine Barrens about three miles from the coast.

“I think it’s going to give an economic boost to the community,” he said. “It will bring more employees here and give us greater recognition.”

Since taking over the airport six years ago, Weidhorn has invested $4 million in its development. New runway lights and an instrument landing system are being added to attract more aircraft and aviation-related companies.

“Over the last three years, we have gotten a parachute operator and three banner-towing aircraft companies. We now have 40 aircraft based here, compared to zero three years ago,” Weidhorn said. “We’re a thriving, growing airport. We’ve come a long way, and this would be another feather in our cap.”

Eagles Nest’s proximity to the coast as well as the Warren Grove bombing range in Ocean County could optimize the airport’s use as a drone test site. Drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems, are expected to fly out over the ocean for tests.

Warren Grove, used as a bombing site for the New Jersey Air National Guard, has already been experimenting with military drones and may be incorporated with the civilian tests conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Mooney said.

Talks are planned with the U.S. Department of Defense and FAA to determine whether Warren Grove and the coastal waters near Eagles Nest could be integrated with the airport’s test flights, Mooney added.

Similarly, Cape May Airport’s proximity to the coast has worked in its favor. Before the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership disclosed Cape May’s selection this week, talks had already begun about using the airport for a separate series of drone tests scheduled this fall by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT also plans to launch drone flights from the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May. The university has approvals to conduct drone tests as far out as 14.5 nautical miles over the ocean.

Morey, who has been working with NJIT, said Cape May County is eager for tests to begin this fall, but acknowledged “there’s a lot of hard work to be done.”

“Our goal is to be flying out of Cape May County in October,” Morey said. “It’s an aggressive goal, but our goal nonetheless. We look forward to achieving that.”

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, during a stop last week in New Jersey, said his agency is pushing to complete the approvals for testing to begin “very, very soon.”

“We feel very, very good about the New Jersey test site,” Huerta said. “It’s a great team. They’ve got a great research agenda, so we’re looking forward to getting them launched very quickly.”

Testing under the New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland partnership will focus on the technology’s potential benefits for agriculture, including using drones to spray crops.

Drone testing nationwide is vital to the FAA’s plans to begin safely integrating the technology into U.S. commercial airspace. The FAA hopes to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015, a timetable some critics say is unlikely because of the complexities of the effort.

The FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, the aviation research and development facility in Egg Harbor Township, will analyze data collected from all six drone test sites nationwide.

Although drones are more closely associated with military use, the technology’s potential commercial applications are thought to be huge. Photography, law enforcement, border patrol, emergency communications, farming and weather tracking are often mentioned as civilian uses.

The FAA has banned virtually all commercial operation of drones until it develops formal guidelines.


Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), California


August 22, 2014 in Letters

Santa Monica Airport

Airport arguments


Let me see if I understand the arguments for closing the airport

1) I bought property near the airport and will get a huge increase in my property value if the airport is closed.

2) I bought property in line with the flight paths to the airport and will get a huge increase in my property value if the airport is closed.

3) I want to be rewarded because I made a bad decision years ago and can now see that I might greatly benefit from it if the airport closes.

4) I don’t care if the loss of tax revenues from closing the airport will reduce services. Generally the services reduced are to the less fortunate among us so why should I care?

5) I don’t know anyone who might loose their jobs if the airport closes and even if I did, so what, their tough luck for being so stupid as to work at an airport so close to a city.

6) I recognize that I might have to donate money to fight against any development on the airport grounds, but that is a very small price to pay for the huge increase in my property values without the airport.

7) I also recognize that I may have to fight some battles over noise and parking should the airport property be made into parkland, but again, that is a small price to pay for the huge increase in my property values without the airport.

8) I also recognize that I may have to fight some battles and donate some money to fight those who live near freeways and object to all that noise and pollution. They may want to use what we did here with the airport to make their case for closing those freeways.

Some background on me:

I worked at Douglas Aircraft that is where the airport is now located, building large planes which flew out of that airport. So that airport noise has always been part of what has been there, no surprise.

Jerry Schneir
Santa Monica

Our airport?

Congratulations to Walt Nickelson – “News Flash,” – the most erudite and sensible piece I’ve read about the Airport issue so far, unlike a correspondent at the start of the week, who displayed the sort of blinkered arrogance held by many Santa Monican residents, i.e it is our airport – Let Them Eat Cake!

Well done Walt.

Murray Gallant
Santa Monica

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Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (KMBT) hangar fire

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- An early morning fire closed down The Murfreesboro Airport for several hours on Friday.

Officials say that when firefighters arrived on the scene just after 9 a.m. they found heavy smoke and flames billowing out of an airport hangar.

Initial reports suggested a propane tank inside the hangar may have exploded. Firefighters now report the tank contributed to the blaze, but doesn’t appear to have caused the fire.

The hangar reportedly contained two airplanes, a trailer, boat, and other pieces of equipment. One of the airplanes will likely be a total loss due to heat damage.

There were no injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown. The Fire Marshall will investigate.


A hangar fire at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport this morning was extinguished quickly when firefighters arrived at the scene. 

Reports of the fire came in to the Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department around 9 a.m. Friday, MFRD spokeswoman Ashley McDonald said while on the scene.

"They put it out pretty quickly and checked for extensions in the fire," she said, adding District 6 and District 8 responded with Engines 4 and 1.

When firefighters arrived, smoke and flames were visible. Crews were able to contain the blaze to a small area, McDonald said.

While no one was injured in the blaze, a two-seat Cessna, a boat and trailer, and other items stored in the hangar received indeterminate damage. The metal exterior of the hanger was damaged by the fire, she said.

"There was very minimal damage considering the types of fuel stored in there," McDonald said.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and is under investigation.

McDonald said a propane tank that was stored in the hangar was extinguished but it is not known at this time whether is was the cause or a causality of the fire.

- Source:

MFRD responds to hangar fire at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport

Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department’s Districts 6 and 8 and Engines 1 and 4 responded to a hangar fire at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (1930 Memorial Blvd.) around 9 Friday morning.

When crews arrived on scene they discovered smoke and flames coming from the northwest side of the hangar. 

When the first crews entered the structure, they located a propane tank approximately three feet inside the structure. 

Initially there were reports that the propane tank exploded. However, the propane tank actually self vented through a relief valve and added to the intensity of the fire.

Crews quickly extinguished the fire and checked for extensions. Damage was contained to the front northwest corner and exterior of the building. 

A Cessna 150 or 152 plane was inside the structure, as well as a boat, trailer, lawnmower, and other motorized vehicles. The Cessna will most likely be a total loss due to heat exposure.

The actual cause of the fire is unknown. The MFRD Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting a routine investigation. According to Assistant Fire Marshal Carl Peas, it appears to be accidental. 

Fortunately there were no injuries.

“This could have been much worse,” said Peas. “With all the combustible materials such as oil, fuel, and propane, there could have been an explosion.”

Sands Bethlehem Lehigh Valley Air Show 2014: Six things to know if you plan on going this weekend

The Sands Bethlehem Lehigh Valley Air Show returns Saturday and Sunday to Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Here are six things you should know if you plan on trekking out to Hanover Township, Lehigh County, this weekend:

Where should I park? 

There will be a total of five entrances, including three on Race Street. Reserved or Americans with Disabilities Act parking pass holders should enter through Fashion Drive. There will be general parking spots available in the lots east and west of Fashion Drive accessible off Race Street or from Airport Road. All parking will be on site.

How much does it cost?

 Advance tickets cost $15, $9 for children (ages 4-11); $18 and $12, respectively, at the gate. Admission is free for children under 4. Preview day tickets are available for $100 a pop, the price of which includes weekend admission to the air show and today's practice session.

Where can I sit?

 The spectator area has been shifted to include areas on both sides of the static display area allowing for better viewing and additional space, organizers say.

Reserved seating costs an additional $10 (at the show center). Price includes a seat and access throughout the day to the show. Outside chairs will be permitted for those who do not purchase reserved seating.

What will be in the sky?  

 The Sands Bethlehem Lehigh Valley Air Show does not skimp on aerial excitement and entertainment. This year's event will feature flights by a retired British Sea Harrier, known for its short takeoffs and vertical landings and takeoffs as well as The T-28 Demo Team warbird (boasting a 1425 HP engine), static aircraft displays, a jet team, flight performances and sky-diving demonstrations.

What is on the ground?

In between craning their necks toward the sky, visitors will be treated to a classic car show and the NASA Explorations System Development/Space Launch Exhibit.

The exhibit will allow visitors to familiarize themselves with launch system and flight hardware, according to the release. Scale models of NASA's next rocket, the Space Launch System, and Orion, a multipurpose crew vehicle, will also be displayed as part of the exhibit.

Will there be something to eat? 
The air show will be home to more than 25 food vendors, including popular Lehigh Valley festival staples Aw Shucks Roasted Corn and Take a Taco. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is also scheduled to be in attendance.

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Schumer And Gillibrand Announce Nearly $1.6M for Westchester County Airport (KHPN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a $1,687,500 federal grant to the Westchester County Airport for important infrastructure improvements. Specifically, Westchester County Airport will acquire updated snow removal and deicing equipment, which will keep the airport and aircrafts serviceable during snow periods and enhance the efficiency and safety of operations. Furthermore, funding will allow for Westchester County to conduct an environmental assessment in order to evaluate environmental issues associated with a proposed obstruction removal project.

“It is never too early to start planning for winter, when our airports need the right snow removal equipment to keep their runways safe and clear for takeoff,” said Senator Schumer. “Removing snow from airport runways safely and efficiently so flights can continue to operate on time is important for travelers, for Westchester County Airport, and for our economy overall.”

“New equipment for the Westchester County Airport is vital to ensuring that the airport runs efficiently and effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Westchester County Airport’s snow removal and deicing equipment were out of date and needed to be replaced. With this new equipment, more passengers can travel through Westchester on time without snow delays.”

The Airport Improvement Program, through the Federal Aviation Administration, provides grants to public agencies — and, in some cases, to private owners and entities - for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). The NPIAS, which is prepared and published every 2 years, identifies public-use airports that are important to public transportation and contribute to the needs of civil aviation, national defense, and the Postal service.

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was established by the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982. Since then, the AIP has been amended several times, most recently with the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Funds obligated for the AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.

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Federal report: Most accusations of air traffic controller violations at Westchester County Airport (KHPN) untrue or unproven (with video)

 WHITE PLAINS - A federal report reveals most accusations of air traffic controller violations at Westchester County Airport were untrue or unproven.

Air traffic controllers at the airport had been accused of using their personal cellphones and sleeping on the job between 2011 and 2012.

The report, obtained by News 12, showed most of the allegations were either false or unproven.

However, the investigation did uncover two instances where air traffic controllers were texting or using their cellphone while on duty.

The investigation also found most of the cellphone use reported was inside a temporary break room in the tower, thanks to a broken elevator.

Calls seeking comment from the union representing air traffic controllers were not returned.The office of special counsel says it is working with the FAA to determine disciplinary action for the controllers who were found violating the rules.

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Group asks Westchester County Airport (KHPN) to stop killing birds

Westchester County Airport will consider new methods of scaring off birds and other wildlife without killing them, after meeting with animal advocates, an official said.

Officials from the county, which owns the airport, met Wednesday afternoon with Kiley Blackman, founder of Westchester 4 Geese and several other residents and experts who sought to convince the county that killing is not necessary to keep birds and animals from striking or being struck by airplanes landing and taking off.

"We have been able to stop geese slaughters all over Westchester, which is wonderful. But this is like the last bastion," Blackman said earlier this week.

Patricia Chemka, deputy commissioner of the department of public works and transportation, said county officials work to keep the killing to a minimum.

Completely eliminating wildlife deaths is "one of our goals also," she said Thursday. "But we kept emphasizing that we really have to make sure that the number one priority is the safety of the aircraft that are coming in and the people on board."

She said officials will consider methods the advocates recommended, including drones and a fake predator bird from a Long Island company called Geesebusters.

Since 2000, Westchester County Airport has seen 338 reports of airplanes striking or being struck by birds and other wildlife, including seven reported strikes so far this year, according to a Federal Aviation Administration database. Strike reporting is voluntary.

Many of the hits have little or no effect on the aircraft, but they can create dangers and even bring down planes. In March, a JetBlue flight leaving Westchester for Florida took a precautionary detour to Kennedy Airport after the Airbus A320 struck a gull shortly after taking off.

Attention to the problem heightened after the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson" in 2009, when Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger piloted a US Airways flight onto the river, saving all on board, after the jetliner had been struck by a flock of geese after take-off from LaGuardia Airport.

Westchester airport manager Peter Scherrer said fewer than a quarter of one percent of the encounters airport employees and a federal wildlife biologist have with potentially disruptive creatures end up in killings.

He said 181 geese have been killed over the past two years in the airport and surrounding areas included in the federally required wildlife management plan. He said other measures, such as stronger fences, and those that extend underground to bar entry from burrowing animals, have reduced the need to kill creatures.

Scherrer said the airport has tried many methods of scaring off birds and animals, including, for instance, a fake coyote designed to move in the wind, creating the appearance of being alive. It scared off birds, but not for long.

"It works maybe for a day," Scherrer said. "And then they sit on top of it."

Blackman said newer methods could work better.

"The fact that they're using some humane dispersal methods is very appreciated," Blackman said Thursday. "But it's time to upgrade."

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Unruly Air India flyer tied to seat from Australia to Delhi

NEW DELHI: It could have been a replay of Uruguay forward Luis Suarez chomping down on a hapless defender. Or a rerun of the famous scene from 'The Wolf of Wall Street' in which Leonardo DiCaprio went berserk on a plane. An Indian passenger on Air India's Melbourne-Delhi flight on Wednesday reportedly got so unruly after a few drinks that he allegedly tore the clothes of two flight pursers and tried to beat up and bite some fellow passengers.

Finally, the pilot sent a message to the airline command center in Delhi that he wanted to divert the plane to Singapore to offload the passenger. But since the long diversion would have meant a delay of several hours for other passengers on board, the airline instead took a bold decision.

It asked the crew on board to firmly tie down the unruly passenger to his seat using ropes, wires and whatever material was on board so that he could not harm other passengers or jeopardize safety of the aircraft. The crew did just that and much like DiCaprio in the film, the passenger flew to Delhi firmly tied to his seat with a few strong flyers keeping a watchful eye on him. He was handed over to security agencies on arrival in Delhi.

"Once we confirmed that the passenger can be securely tied to his seat, the aircraft was asked to fly directly to Delhi. One person's unruly act would have meant a delay by several hours for the other passengers," said an official.

This latest act of unruly passenger behavior could strengthen some Indian airlines' long-standing demand to have plastic handcuffs on board.

"Unruly flyers are a safety menace to both fellow flyers and the aircraft itself. Indian carriers have witnessed scores of such acts either by inebriated passengers or other perfectly fine people who suddenly acted strange. While strict action is taken once such people are handed over to security agencies on ground, the critical issue is keeping them in check when the plane is in air," said a senior pilot.

Looking for stuff to tie down such passengers is not an easy task as most aircraft do not carry any such stuff. Luckily for other flyers, AI's Australia-Delhi flight had some ropes and wires on board that could keep the flyer firmly in his seat.

"Crew of Indian airlines on international flights has to be firm in serving drinks to passengers and ensure that no one gets more than a certain number of drinks. Foreign airlines are very strict. Try asking for a third or fourth drink on any western airline and the crew will firmly warn that you will be reported on arrival if you ask for more. Our hospitality, however, makes our crew more lenient which they should not be," said a pilot.

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Vietnam private carrier to offer Ha Long Bay seaplane tours in September

August 21, 2014 

A privately-owned carrier is slated to offer services between Hanoi and the northern city of Ha Long in September using seaplanes, allowing passengers to have an aerial view over Vietnam’s iconic Ha Long Bay.

Hai Au Aviation expects to inaugurate the service on September 9, CEO Luong Hoai Nam said Thursday, after receiving two 12-seat Cessna Grand Caravan seaplanes shipped from the U.S.

The Vietnamese carrier ordered three such seaplanes to serve the Ha Long Bay tourism route this year, at a total cost of US$10 million, Nam said.

“In September, we will fly passengers on sightseeing tours to the coves and islands in Ha Long Bay,” the CEO said, adding his seaplanes are available for charter flights as well.

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination located in the northern province of Quang Ninh, a 153-km and 2.5-hour drive from the capital city of Hanoi.

Service between Hanoi and Ha Long, Quang Ninh’s capital city, costs more than VND5 million ($235) per ticket.

An aerial tour above Ha Long Bay costs more than VND5 million for 25 minutes, and more than VND7 million ($329) for a 40-minute trip.

A 50 percent discount is applied for the aerial tour from its inauguration to the end of November, according to the carrier.

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