Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hershey Flying Service: Aviation company eyeing David City location

Jared Storm of Wahoo, owner of Hershey Flying Service, speaks during the Aug. 27 David City Council meeting about his plan to add an ag aviation repair facility at David City Municipal Airport. 

DAVID CITY — It wasn’t the first time Hershey Flying Service was a major topic of discussion at a David City Council meeting, and there have been several mentions in the past few months.

But the discussion had never gone into as much detail as it did at the Aug. 27 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Company owner Jared Storm, who also operates aerial ag spraying services out of Wahoo, detailed his plans to add an aviation repair service at David City Municipal Airport. The 22,000-square-foot building would be just south of the airport entrance off Nebraska 15. Initial staffing calls for up to 10 employees.

“This is an economic boost for David City. We specialize in ag aircraft. We need to come into a community like David City that is willing to help us with some infrastructure needs, because that is going to be a $1.2 million building,” Storm said.

Hershey Flying Service has been located near Hershey, 20 miles west of North Platte, since 1949. Storm bought the company in 2011. The company specializes in the Grumman Ag Cat, an ag aerial spray plane that got its start in the 1950s. Storm’s long-range goal is to build the plane in David City, he said, but until then he said the company would continue to be involved in building ag plane parts and doing repairs.

“I’m moving back here for a lot of reasons, but one of them is to hire more people that can develop this business,” Storm said. “You’ve got Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, you have Omaha and Columbus. You have a pretty good pool of people in this area that would bode well for an aircraft manufacturing facility,” he said.

David City Mayor Alan Zavodny acknowledged that Storm's project had been part of discussions over the past three years. He said the most recent details involved moving the facility closer to the west side of the city’s airport property to reduce the cost of installing water lines. At that location, a taxiway would be needed to run parallel to the airport’s driveway entrance. One of the hangars now lining the west side of the airport would be removed.

Storm said he’d like to finalize a land lease agreement the city this month, and, at the earliest, builders could be on the site this fall. He said he would like to move company operations to David City by next summer, but there are still a list of details to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and Nebraska Department of Aeronautics.

Storm said the airport is operating far below its potential for economic impact to the city.

“This would be the beginning of trying to develop your airport,” he said, explaining that his company is an approved ag plane repair facility.

“If we have an aircraft repair station here you are going to have a lot more traffic through this airport,” Storm said. “I don’t know of another solely ag aviation facility in the country that’s a repair station.”

The key, he said, is to get other aviation entities to bring their facilities to the airport.

“To develop a new airport you want people who are going to put their own money into developing the airport. If you have to pay for all the buildings that go in out here, you are never going to have the money to do it,” Storm said.

Along those development lines, the city council also heard from Eric Johnson of Kirkham Michael, which is working on the airport development plan for the city.

Johnson explained that the city has $600,000 in FAA funds that are on a limited timeline for developing hangars and other facilities. Johnson detailed the first possible project, a six-plane hangar that would be built west of the current small hangars.

If the funds are not used for development within four years, the money must be returned or assigned to another airport in Nebraska.


Barrows Super Bearhawk, C-FBCA: Accident occurred September 04, 2014 in Sault St. Marie, Michigan

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: 

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Docket And Docket Items:

National Transportation Safety Board  - Aviation Accident Data Summary:

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA492 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 04, 2014 in Sault Ste Marie, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/10/2015
Aircraft: CAMPBELL SUPER BEARHAWK, registration: CFBCA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he was attempting to land the airplane on a lake and that he misjudged the height of the airplane above the water, which he described as “glassy.” During the touchdown, the left float “dug in,” and the airplane subsequently nosed over. It is likely that the glassy water conditions adversely affected the pilot’s depth perception, which led to his subsequent failure to judge the height above the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inadequate flare during landing on water with a glassy condition, which resulted in the airplane nosing over. 

On September 4, 2014, about 1230 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Campbell Super Bearhawk, CFBCA, nosed over during landing on Lake George near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The recreational pilot was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wing. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that was not operating on a flight plan. The flight departed from the Ste Marie River at 1145, and was destined for Lake George near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.

The pilot reported that he was attempting a landing on Lake George when he misjudged the height of the airplane above the water, which he described as glassy. During the touchdown, the left float "dug in" and the airplane nosed over.

  NTSB Identification: CEN14LA492  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 04, 2014 in Sault St. Marie, MI
Aircraft: CAMPBELL Super Bearhawk, registration: CFBCA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 8, 2014, at 1424 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Campbell Super Bearhawk, CFBCA, nosed over during landing on a river near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot was uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight.


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Grand Rapids FSDO-09


A small plane went down in St. Mary’s River near Sugar Island Thursday afternoon. OPP were dispatched to Bell’s point campground , U.S. Coast Guard and RCMP Marine assisted in the investigation. 

Mike Miceli, a near by boater witnessed the crash of a small float plane. “We saw it coming in and then flipping over, my chum and I got in the boat went over to get him, he was already sitting on the pontoon the plane was completely flipped over”

The pilot was not injured in the incident. The male pilot did not want to comment to media. He was driven away in an SUV shortly after coming to shore and talking to OPP at the scene.

- Source:

Air India to transfer 70 B777 pilots to low-cost arm

Air India (AI) has decided to transfer 70 Boeing 777 pilots to its low-cost international arm — the AI Express.

The move will help the national carrier overcome the severe shortage of pilots faced by AI Express and at the same time put to optimal use B777 pilots whose flying had been reduced to a great extent with AI selling five of its B777 aircraft to Etihad. AI has plans to lease or sell another three B777 aircraft, which is a long haul aircraft.

“AI Express has a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft and conversion from B777 to the narrow body B737 can be done easily. With this single move, we will solve two big problems,” a senior AI official, who did not wish to be named, said. The proposal, sources said, has been cleared by the airline’s board.

“Except for the ultra long-haul flights to the US, we are using the B787 Dreamliner on most international routes. All international flights are operated using the Dreamliner,” said another official, who too did not wish to be quoted. “AI Express had been facing a shortage of pilots while competition from foreign and domestic airlines for traffic to Gulf had been increasing. With more pilots, pressure should ease a bit,” the official added.

- Source:

Oshkosh makes more room for aviation businesses

OSHKOSH – Oshkosh’s Aviation Business Park is taking flight. 

 The city of Oshkosh and Winnebago County held a groundbreaking Thursday for the $4.5 million project.

The 82 acre park is meant to create and expand businesses and provide jobs related to aviation.

Elizabeth Harman, CEO of Chamco, said, “it can take a long time to develop and fill a park of this nature. But we believe with the great assets we have in this community including the presence of EAA and the great facility here at Wittman Regional Airport, that we have a lot of great assets that will be attractive to businesses in aviation and aerospace.”

They are hoping the infrastructure for the park will be done by the end of 2015.

- Source:

Feds give Oshkosh region another $1m for job development

The Department of Defense has awarded the Oshkosh region an additional $1 million to expand efforts to diversify the local economy in the wake of steep Oshkosh Corp. layoffs.

The award will allow the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to expand the scope of an industry diversification study and other planning efforts underway since last fall. A year ago, the DOD awarded the region $837,000 to map the defense industry's supply chain, invest in aviation and aerospace industry marketing and development projects, and to help affected suppliers find new streams of business.

The city of Oshkosh, Winnebago County and their state and regional development partners took a concrete step forward on diversification efforts Thursday when they officially broke ground on an 82-acre aviation business park under development at the southeast end of Wittman Regional Airport.

Oshkosh Community Development Director Allen Davis said some of the new grant money will help support development of the airport business park, a business accelerator under development by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the aviation business park's marketing study.

"On the aviation/aerospace side, we've added both Outagamie and Fond du Lac county airports to the marketing analysis to determine what segments of the industry each airport can work to attract independently and what we can work to attract together," Davis said. "This is something DOD stresses: Their history tells them a regional approach is best in dealing with these sorts of projects. They came with the mindset that this needed to be a regional response."

He said the additional funding will also allow the city hire a firm to develop covenants and manuals for the aviation business park.

"It should make it easier for prospects to develop in the business park," he said. "The aviation industry has its own set of requirements that we want to make sure we accommodate in the new park."

The Oshkosh area popped up on the Department of Defense's radar last year after Oshkosh Corp. laid off more than 1,200 workers, or more than 1 percent of the city's work force, in less than a year. The company said the cuts were necessary as a result of the wind down of major production contracts for military vehicles.

Davis said he doesn't take the supplemental grant as a warning that further layoffs could come to Oshkosh Corp. soon.

"I don't see the grant as a sign of a weak defense industry, I see it as the Department of Defense liking these projects and feeling they will benefit laid off Oshkosh Corp. workers directly," he said.

Oshkosh Corp. spokesman John Daggett said the company does not plan to lay off additional workers.

"At this point in time, we've adjusted our workforce, but we are a market-driven company. Our employment will be dictated by the markets and by the federal government spending," Daggett said.

The supplemental grant will also help the regional planning commission undertake steps to create a more collaboration among regional economic development entities and help defense industry supply chain companies re-engage other industry sectors to soften the blow of declining defense business, according to a commission press release.

- Source:

Sen. Schumer calls on FAA to reclassify Williamson-Sodus Airport (KSDC), New York

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer requested that the Federal Aviation Administration reclassify the Williamson-Sodus Airport as a local airport in its upcoming National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems report set to be released this fall.

The airport is currently “unclassified,” cutting it off from the automatic annual allotment of $150,000 it had been receiving from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, which provides funding to airports for planning and development projects.

According to Schumer, in 2012 the FAA divided general aviation airports into four categories: national, regional, local and basic, but nearly 500 airports were left unclassified, making them ineligible for FAA AIP funding.

A follow-up report reclassified more than 200 airports, but still left the Wayne County airport unclassified.

For more information, visit

- Source:

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey, N8768B, Sierra Bravo Aircraft Inc: Fatal accident occurred September 04, 2014 in Webb, New York


NTSB Identification: ERA14LA423 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 04, 2014 in Webb, NY
Aircraft: MCMURRAY DAVID C SEAREY, registration: N8768B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 4, 2014, about 1105 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built amphibious Searey, N8768B, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged while landing on the Stillwater Reservoir, Webb, New York. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated at the Boonville Airport, Boonville, New York. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to records obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was purchased by the pilot through a corporation on March 3, 2014. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912 ULS, 100-horsepower engine and originally issued an airworthiness certificate on July 1, 1997.

According to initial information obtained from an FAA inspector, the pilot was practicing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings on the reservoir. A witness observed the airplane departing from the water and flying overhead before losing sight of it behind trees. The witness stated that the airplane sounded as if it was approaching for another landing and she heard a series of engine "sputters and roars" followed by silence; however, she did not associate the sounds with an airplane accident. The airplane was subsequently located submerged in the water. The canopy was completely fractured and the airframe around the forward portion of the canopy was substantially damaged.

Initial examination of the airframe and engine by an FAA inspector did not reveal evidence of any obvious catastrophic failures. The wreckage was retained for further examination to be performed at a later date.

The pilot reported 3,100 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA second class medical certificate, which was dated July 3, 2014.


Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Albany FSDO-01

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Schiele "Bill" Brewer 

Obituary of Schiele Brewer 

Schiele "Bill" Brewer

Sherrill-Schiele "Bill" Brewer, 77 of 1005 Sherrill Road, Sherrill passed away Thursday September 4, 2014 in a tragic airplane accident.

Born in New Rochelle, NY on July 25th 1937, he was the son of James Edward and Catherine Schiele Brewer.

Dr. Brewer was a class of 1955 graduate of St Frances DeSalles High School in Utica. He attended the University of Notre Dame from which he graduated in 1958.

He completed his medical training in 1961 at Upstate Medical School in Syracuse.

Upon his graduation from medical school he was commissioned with the Air Force as a flight surgeon and performed active duty from 1962-1964.

He then returned to Upstate Medical Center in 1965 to complete his residency in Ophthalmology.

In 1968 Dr. Brewer started his medical practice in both Oneida and Rome continuing to help people preserve their vision for 30 years. In addition to his private practice he also served as a faculty member training new ophthalmology residents at the VA Hospital in Syracuse.

Dr. Brewer also served with the Air Force Reserves for over 20 years, retiring as a Colonel in 2000.

On June 18, 1960 he married Heleene Volk. The couple remained happily married for 54 years creating a family with seven children.

Bill's volunteer activities and clubs included the Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Quiet Birdmen and Madison County Medical Society. He served as a Sherrill City Commissioner from 2002 to 2011.

Bill's passions included a deep appreciation for the outdoors and a love of flying. He took his young family to the Adirondacks and soon bought a camp in Beaver River. Summers were spent in the woods and on the waters of the Stillwater Reservoir where Bill found peace and adventure in outdoor projects and pursuits. The Adirondacks always remained a haven for him, his wife and children.

The clear blue sky was a constant draw to Bill Brewer. His interest in airplanes began as a young boy. He soloed when he was 16 and maintained his pilot credentials throughout his life. He considered any time spent in the air with friends and family as preferable to being bound to the ground. He was a Certified Flight Instructor who frequently introduced young pilots to the thrill of flying and infrequently charged them for the service. He combined his medical skills and flying interests by providing area pilots with annual flight physicals. He lived each day with energy and optimism looking at the gift of 24 hours as something that should be spent learning, working and enjoying family, friends and the opportunities provided by a vigorous life.

He is survived by his wife Heleene, his seven children Christine (Roy) Regner, William (Leah), Edward (JoDean), Paul (Una), Mark (Pam), Ken (Kris), Anne (Pete Evans), and 16 grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother James (Joanna) and sister Kate (Gordon) Greer.

Friends may call on Sunday September 7th from 3:00-7:00pm. at the Malecki Funeral Home Inc. 464 Sherrill Rd., Sherrill.

Funeral services will be held Monday September 8th at 3pm at St. Helena's Catholic Church, Primo Ave. , Sherrill. A reception for friends and family will be held at the Brewer home, 1005 Sherrill Road, following the service.

In lieu of flowers donations can be directed to the VVS Educational Foundation or the Lions Club.

- See more at:

Schiele "Bill" Brewer standing next to one of his planes. Brewer, 77, died Thursday in a plane crash in Herkimer County.
 (Courtesy of Christine Regner) 

SHERRILL, N.Y. -- Compared to his decades of serving in the Air Force, Thursday's routine flight practice was supposed to be nothing for Schiele Brewer. 

The 77-year-old, who went by Bill, recently retired as an attending physician at the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center, his daughter Christine Regner said. Before that, the ophthalmologist held a private practice in Oneida and Rome for more than 30 years. He retired in 1998.

When he wasn't caring for patients, he was in the sky.

Brewer was in his 1997 Searey single-engine plane practicing touch-and-go water landings Thursday on the Stillwater Reservoir when his plane crashed. State Forest Rangers and the Lewis County sheriff's deputies found Brewer's body inside the wreckage.

State police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. The FAA said it could take weeks before the investigation is concluded.

The plane Brewer was flying Thursday was smaller than the single-engine Cessna plane Brewer was used to flying. The smaller Searey plane, considered a light-sport aircraft, is harder to maneuver and required more technical skills than the Cessna, Regner said.

Brewer got the new, smaller plane in March and saw it as a new challenge, Regner said. Thursday was not the first time Brewer had done the touch-and-go water landings and had never had any problems doing them before. He'd been flying in the area many times in the past, including over the reservoir, Regner said.

"He was a very experienced pilot," she said.

Taking advantage of the nice weather, Brewer had been out flying on Wednesday, the day before the fatal crash, Regner said.

Brewer's love of flying started in 1962, when he began service as an flight surgeon for the Air Force in Texas following his graduation from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1961. He served on active duty until 1964.

While balancing his private practice, Brewer served in the Air Force Reserve for more than 20 years, reaching the rank of colonel while based at Dover Air Force Base, Regner said. He retired in 2000.

Brewer bought property in Beaver River, on the south shore of the Stillwater Reservoir, in 1980, Regner said, where the family would often spend time.

Brewer has taken Regner, her six siblings and all of Brewer's 16 grandchildren up in the air with him, she said. They had plenty of opportunities to go, as Brewer would go flying as often as he could.

"Any time it was a nice day, blue sky, he wanted to be up there," she said.

A passion for flying runs deep in the Brewer family. Regner said her brother Edward is a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines and another brother, Mark, flies recreationally. Regner herself has a student pilot's certificate.

"He was doing what he absolutely loved to do right up until the end," she said.

Brewer served as Sherrill City Commissioner from 2002 until 2011 and was active in the Lions Club, St. Helena's Catholic Church and was a volunteer for Angel Flight, a non-profit organization that provides free flights for those needing non-emergency medical treatment.

Calling hours will be held at the Malecki Funeral Home, 464 Sherrill Road., Sherrill, on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at St. Helena's Catholic Church, 210 Primo Ave., Sherrill.


Update: State police said a 76 year old man was killed Thursday when his plane crashed at Stillwater Reservoir in a remote section of Herkimer County.

 Officials identified him as Schiele "Bill" Brewer, who had a camp at Beaver River (also known as Beaver River Station).

According to police, his small single-engine plane took off from Boonville Thursday morning.

His body was recovered and taken to Lewis County General Hospital Thursday evening.

Scott Thompson was the first to approach the plane.

"The plane had damage. It had been there a long time and we could just see sneakers and legs," he said.

It was emotional for Thompson because he lives in Beaver River, a tight community where everyone knows everyone.

He, just like everybody else who owns property there, knew Brewer, who was an experienced flyer.

"We had just had his daughter's wedding here and everybody that's been coming to town for the last 10 years came to the wedding. So it was a real family event," said Thompson.

The mood around town during last month's wedding was polar opposite of Thursday's mood.

State police spent a majority of Thursday afternoon and evening navigating the waters trying to find a way to get to the plane - not an easy task because the water levels are low.

The water is the only way to get to the plane.

Investigators still aren't sure exactly what happened over the reservoir.

Crews from the Federal Aviation Administration were expected arrive Friday to try to determine just that.

In the meantime, state police will monitor the plane, Which was moved to a dock about a mile from where it crashed.

Our report from earlier Thursday evening:

Emergency personnel from Lewis County have been called to the scene of a reported plane crash in Herkimer County.

County Emergency Services Director Jim Martin said the plane reportedly crashed in Stillwater Reservoir near the community of Beaver River Station.

He said the area is so remote that Lewis County has the only access road to transport equipment into the water.

Martin said a sheriff's department boat and the county's search and rescue squad were called to the scene.

Martin told 7 News one person was reported to still be in the plane and another person was in the water.

However, the co-owner of the Norridgewock Lodge in Beaver River (also known as Beaver River Station) said one person was dead.

Scott Thompson said the scene is about a half mile from the lodge.

"We all went to the scene and all we could see was that there was a body in the plane. It was a small amphibious home-built aircraft or a kit-built aircraft," he said.

Thompson said he had spotted the craft in the water earlier in the day, but had no idea it was a plane.

A camp owner in the area, Ronald Nearing, told 7 News he heard a plane flying overhead at around 9 a.m.

Nearing (pictured at the accident scene) said he also heard the sound of an engine dying during that same time period.

"I know what engines sound like when they're going bad. It sounded like a plane that was in trouble and I thought, 'Wow, what can that be?' And all of a sudden, I didn't hear anything more," he said.

Nearing and Thompson said state police and officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation are on the scene.

Dive teams have also responded, they said.

According to Martin, Lewis County's undersheriff and Emergency Medical Services coordinator responded.

- Source:

Sep 05, 2014 — Emergency responders expected back at the scene of a plane crash today in the remote Stillwater Reservoir, in the western Adirondacks 

 A local eyewitness interviewed by NCPR say it appears that the pilot of the small aircraft was killed in the accident, which occurred sometime on Thursday.

According to WWNY-TV, State Police have identified the victim as 76-year-old Schiele "Bill" Brewer

According to numerous sources, Brewer was a physician in central New York who owned a camp on the Stillwater.

Scott Thompson, a proprietor with the Norridgewok Inn in Beaver River, tells NCPR that he visited the scene of the crash and found the plane tail-down in roughly five feet of water.

"Because we're so remote we sort of have our own emergency procedures here," Thompson said, but he added that it appeared that the operator of the plane was already deceased beneath the water.

"Most of the wing was actually protruding from the lake," he recounted, adding that it was apparently a man who died in the crash.

According to WWNY TV, officials from neighboring Lewis County responded to the scene because they have the easiest access to the reservoir.

The crash occurred in one of the most inaccessible corners of the Adirondacks.  Beaver River is accessible only by boat, float plane, or rail.  Federal investigators are expected to reach the scene today.

- Source:

A small plane crashed Thursday afternoon on the north side of Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer County, killing the pilot, according to Robert A. Mackenzie III, Lewis County emergency medical services coordinator. 
The pilot of the plane was identified in broadcast reports as Schiele “Bill” Brewer, 76. His single-engine plane crashed after taking off in Boonville. Police were still working to remove his plane, the report said.

State police did not release details of the crash.

Lewis County Emergency Services Director James M. Martin said the crash site is 6 to 10 miles by boat from Stillwater, nearer to Beaver River Station, a Herkimer County community accessible mainly by boat.

Mr. Mackenzie and Lewis County Undersheriff James M. Monnat were among the emergency responders dispatched to the boat launch at the Stillwater Hotel. The county Search and Rescue squad was placed on standby at the hotel.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation also has boats in the area.

- Source:

Ronald Nearing surveys light plane wreckage on Stillwater Reservoir near Beaver River on Thursday.

Pilot Errors Blamed for 2013 Indonesian Jet Crash: Accident Underscores Issues Safety Experts Say Continue at Fast-Growing Asian Aviation Markets

The Wall Street Journal 
 By Andy Pasztor
Sept. 4, 2014 4:52 p.m. ET

Repeated pilot mistakes and violations of basic safety procedures led to the crash of an Indonesian jetliner on a domestic flight in April 2013, according to investigators.

Pilots of the Lion Air Boeing 737 descending to land at Bali failed to adequately communicate with each other or properly monitor their position during an approach in stormy weather, according to the final report released recently by Indonesian authorities. The crew descended much rapidly and ended up too low without seeing the airport, and then waited too long to try to climb away from the strip, the investigation concluded.

No one was killed in the crash, but four passengers were seriously injured as the aircraft, which was only two months old and had no malfunctions of any kind, broke apart after slamming into the ocean less than a quarter of a mile short of the strip.

The accident has underscored shortcomings in training and cockpit discipline, issues that safety experts say continue to surface at various carriers serving fast-growing aviation markets in parts of Asia and elsewhere.

A spokesman for the airline didn't have any immediate comment.

The report said the crew exhibited "inadequate situational awareness" and failed to properly control the plane's speed using engine adjustments and its descent by changing the angle of the nose.

Investigators concluded that the flight crew failed to adhere to "the basic principles of jet flying."

The report, among other things, notes that at an altitude of roughly 200 feet the co-pilot indicated it was "totally dark" as the plane entered an intense patch of rain and his view of the airport was completely obscured by the storm cell. But the report indicates the captain didn't try to break off the approach until the plane was about 20 feet above the ground—a point at which it is virtually impossible to rev up the engines and climb away safely. The crash occurred a second later.

Typical airline safety procedures—buttressed by landing guidelines developed by international safety groups—require a go-round hundreds of feet higher if the strip isn't in sight.

In this case, according to investigators, the cockpit-voice recorder indicates the co-pilot said he didn't see the runway starting from a height of 900 feet. The report indicates the captain opted to press on with the descent, expecting to see the strip any second.

Years before the crash, according to the report, a trainer emphasized the captain's habit of continuing to descend and land during simulator sessions even if he violated mandatory criteria for "stabilized approach."

During the accident flight, the relatively inexperienced co-pilot handed over the controls to the captain shortly before the crash. And the plane's nose was pointed slightly downward just before impact, rather than pointing slightly up as required by flight manuals.

In addition, investigators said the co-pilot mistakenly attempted to evacuate passengers using one of the cockpit windows.

The preliminary report issued in May 2013 urged the carrier to ensure its pilots are properly trained in "changeover of control at critical altitudes and critical time."

Lion Air has become Indonesia's largest airline and one of the fastest-growing carriers in the world by rapidly rolling out new low-cost service across the Indonesian archipelago.

In the wake of the crash, the carrier enhanced its training focusing particularly on manual flying skills and decision-making during landing approaches.

According to the final report, the weather was clear four minutes before the accident but changed quickly.

The report includes recommendations dealing with more-effective ways to pass on the latest weather information, along with stepped-up pilot training. It also urges enhanced training for cabin crews in evacuating an aircraft.

- Source:

 NTSB Identification: DCA13RA074
Accident occurred Saturday, April 13, 2013 in Denpasar, Indonesia
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 20 Minor,88 Uninjured.

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

On April 13, 2013, at about 1515 local time, Lionair flight JT-904, a Boeing 737-800, registration PK-LKS, crashed while on approach to Denpasar-Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport (DPS), Denpasar, Indonesia. Reports indicate that there were no fatalities; however, there were multiple injuries to the 101 passengers and 7 crew onboard. The domestic flight originated in Bandung Airport (BDO), Bandung, Indonesia. Weather reported at the time of the accident was wind 090 degrees at 6 knots, visibility greater than 10 kilometers, and ceiling broken at 1,700 feet above ground level.

The accident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) of Indonesia. In accordance with ICAO Annex 13, the NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative as the State of Manufacture and Design of the airplane.

All inquiries should be directed to the NTSC at the following:

National Transportation Safety Committee
Ministry of Transportation Building 3rd Floor
Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur No. 5

Pilot Robert Moulton 'mistook mown field for runway': Rans S-6ES Coyote II, G-BYMV

The airfield and mown grass strip were roughly parallel to each other 

A pilot crashed his light aircraft, killing himself and his wife, after mistaking a mown grass strip for a runway, an inquest heard.

Robert Moulton, 76, is thought to have lost control of the high-wing monoplane after trying to correct his error.

He and wife Lillian, 84, died instantly when the aircraft hit the ground nose-down near Stoke Golding Airfield, Leicestershire, on 14 July 2013.

Their son, Michael Moulton, said the airfield was difficult to identify.

Giving evidence, he said: "My father was an experienced pilot, and I am myself, and even with several visits, a lot of visits to Stoke Golding, at an altitude below 1,500ft it's extremely difficult to spot the field.

"So it's entirely possible he may have mistook the runway."

He had been flying in an aircraft ahead of his parents on the day they died, but managed to land safely.

Speaking after the inquest in Loughborough he said: "Yes, it was a tragic accident. However, they died together, doing something they loved."

Misidentification 'not rare'

Post-mortem examinations showed the couple, who lived in Ashby de la Zouch, both died of severe multiple injuries.

They had been flying from Measham Cottage Farm, where they stored their aircraft.

Emergency services were called at 18:44 BST and the crash was later investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Investigator Andrew Robinson found no engineering issues with the aircraft that would have caused it to crash.

Investigator Timothy Atkinson said eyesight, the setting sun or windscreen glare could have been factors in misidentifying the runway.

Mr Atkinson said: "Misidentification is not something that happens rarely.

"History has shown us even airliners landing at the wrong airport because the flight crew have misidentified from the air."

Rutland and North Leicestershire Coroner Trevor Kirkman said: "Mr Atkinson was satisfied that, in his view, it is on the balance of probability likely that Mr Moulton mistook the distinctive mowed strip in the field above Fenn Lanes, and was approaching that.

"[He] realised when he was fairly close to the ground that he was not approaching the correct runway, [which] prompted him to reassess his options at that point."

He concluded the deaths were accidental.

- Source:

As more aircraft take to the sky, new technology will allow pilots to pick their own direct routes but still avoid one another

In a windowless industrial building on the outskirts of Madrid a group of people are watching a series of colored symbols move steadily across a bank of computer screens. Each icon represents an aircraft flying over southern Europe. In an adjacent room another group are monitoring flights over part of Asia, and next door all eyes are on South America. These flights are not “live” but are simulated by Indra, a Spanish technology company, to train controllers in the operation of a new generation of air-traffic-management systems that promises to make flying more efficient by shortening flight times and reducing delays.

What is different about these virtual flights is that some are “free-routing”, which means pilots have the freedom to set their own courses instead of following one another along established flight corridors, as they presently do. Free-routing allows an aircraft to fly more directly to its destination, which for European journeys alone would knock ten minutes off average flight times, thus saving fuel and reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.

On the face of it, free-routing seems like a disaster in the making. If fast-moving jets can fly where they want the risk of collision would appear to rise. Yet the controllers in Madrid are relaxed and, apart from issuing a few course corrections to avoid a spot of bad weather, leave the aircraft to get on with it. This is made possible because the trajectory of each plane has been worked out by computers some 25 minutes in advance and the pilots have already been informed of any adjustments needed to prevent a potential conflict. Provided each aircraft sticks to its flight plan, there is no need for the controllers to intervene.

Traditionally, air-traffic controllers have played a more proactive role in keeping aircraft apart. The corridors which jets fly along function much like lanes on a motorway. They pass through sectors and each sector is monitored by air-traffic controllers with the assistance of radar. When an aircraft is about to enter a new sector, the pilot and controller communicate by radio. The controller then gives the pilot instructions to maintain a safe separation, both vertically and horizontally, from other aircraft.

It is a tried and trusted method, but one that will struggle to cope with future demand for air travel. This will be huge. In the past 40 years the number of airline passengers worldwide has grown tenfold to some 3.1 billion in 2013. By 2030 it is expected to reach over 6.4 billion.

Flight corridors frequently follow historic routes and zigzag around. Many of the routes which cross America are based on where hilltop beacons were lit to guide Charles Lindbergh’s mail flights in the 1920s. Plenty of radar systems still resemble 1940s technology and provide only a limited “view” of what is in the air. And in Europe, flights have to negotiate a labyrinth of 64 air-traffic-control areas operated by different national authorities. All this adds to journey times and puts constraints on the system because of the need to maintain the safe separation of planes.

Flying ahead

A much-needed revamp is under way. Although suffering from delays and budget constraints, America’s NextGen air-traffic-modernization program is slowly taking shape. Europe is part way through the Single European Sky initiative, which is supposed to increase co-operation between a reduced number of control centers. Japan also has a project in hand to renovate its air-traffic-control systems.

One element of this modernization involves fitting new kit to aircraft. This is a system called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). It will be compulsory for jets in Europe by 2017 and in America by 2020. ADS-B uses satellite navigation for pilots to determine their position and is generally more accurate than radar and radio-navigation aids. This allows aircraft to be safely spaced closer together, which permits more planes to be in the air at the same time. Crucially, though, it also establishes a data link to control centers and to other planes by regularly broadcasting an aircraft’s identification sign, its position and other information.

These data, when combined with the known trajectory of the aircraft, mean flight-management can now be “based on where we know the aircraft will be at any particular time,” says Gonzalo Gavin, the director of a program at Indra to install such a system at a control center in Prestwick, Scotland, run by NATS, a British company. The Prestwick centre provides en-route services across northern Britain and for flights crossing part of the busy North Atlantic. Known as iTEC (for interoperability Through European Collaboration), the trajectory-based system was developed by Indra with air-traffic providers in Spain, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands as part of the Single European Sky initiative.

In a typical flight, a pilot may climb, descend, change course at various points and speed up or slow down numerous times. But with trajectory-based management, the flight should be smoother and shorter, says Mr.  Gavin. And it is more likely to arrive on time.

The ability to predict the arrival time more accurately should mean less circling in holding patterns while planes wait to land, says Alastair Muir, operations director at Prestwick. That would allow more aircraft to use what is called a “continuous descent approach” when coming in to land. This is a procedure which involves a longer descent, more like a steady glide towards the runway. It requires less engine thrust than having to level out at various stages of the approach, so it saves fuel and is also quieter.

A wholesale switch to free-routing will not take place overnight—the aviation industry is notoriously cautious in introducing new technologies and procedures. At first pilots are likely to pick from a number of available routes before free-routing completely takes off.

It should enhance safety with an early alarm should something go wrong. Although no one knows what happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in March, the new systems would have alerted controllers that the aircraft was not keeping to its trajectory soon after it changed course.

Being highly automated, the new generation of air-traffic-management should also help with the commercial use of civilian drones. Aviation authorities are facing increasing pressure from companies to allow drones to be used for a variety of applications, ranging from aerial photography to surveying, search and rescue, delivering goods and providing temporary Wi-Fi. Guidelines are slowly emerging, but generally the operation of civil drones remains restricted in most countries, particularly the United States.

With data-driven systems like ADS-B and trajectory management, monitoring the flight path of a drone can be automated, says Benjamin Trapnell of the University of North Dakota, which was one of the first institutions to launch graduate courses in operating drones.

Test flights by BAE Systems in Britain have also shown how a drone can be made to respond to air-traffic-control instructions. This is done by having radio communications to and from the drone relayed via a “pilot in command”, who would be a drone operator on the ground. That operator might well be in charge of more than one drone. With the cost of operating a drone only a fraction of that of a helicopter or light aircraft, the civilian use of unmanned aircraft is bound to make the sky an even busier place.

This is yet another reason why the long-awaited modernization of air-traffic control is welcome, says Andrew Charlton, head of Aviation Advocacy, a Swiss-based consultancy. But he thinks it should go much further. Organizing more airspace along functional lines rather than around national borders, as much of it now is, would greatly improve efficiency—especially in Europe. And with systems based on data, he says more competition should be possible, giving pilots a choice of air-traffic-management providers.

Nevertheless, the EU gushes about the prospects. It expects trajectory-management to enhance safety by leaving less room for human error. It hopes the Single European Sky initiative will provide the ability to handle three times as many flights, cut air-traffic-control costs and produce savings for airlines worth some €9 billion ($12 billion) a year. It also says that aircraft will on average land within one minute of their scheduled arrival time. Weary air travelers will be forgiven if they think that is a bit of pie-in-the-sky.

- Source:

EDITORIAL: What’s in a longer runway?

Go figure. Not all that long ago – maybe five years – the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) was telling us a longer runway is needed so Green Airport could remain competitive and be capable of offering regularly scheduled, non-stop, coast-to-coast service and flights to Europe. It was a convincing argument, especially in view of the state’s economy, high rate of unemployment and Green’s decline of airline passenger traffic.

The mantra was about investing in the infrastructure for the future – the Interlink was part of that – which would create construction jobs now and enable growth in the future. We believe that makes sense, but the often-repeated logic that Green can’t make it without a longer runway has a hallow ring following Tuesday’s announcement Condor Airlines will start providing twice-a-week seasonal flights to Frankfurt, Germany, beginning next June.

Guess what? Condor will be using Green’s existing runways – the longest of which is 7,166 feet. Lengthening that runway to 8,700 feet – a project that will start with a ceremonial groundbreaking next week – won’t be completed until December of 2017.

While pilots will always prefer a longer runway to a shorter one, Condor’s use of Green’s existing system doesn’t mean risks are being taken to bring Rhode Island its first regularly scheduled flight to Europe. There’s no compromise of safety regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration wouldn’t allow for it.

The answer to “how can this be” lies in the type of aircraft Condor will use. It’s a 259-seat Boeing 767/300. It can operate from the existing runway when carrying a full load of passengers and reach Frankfurt. In fact, the jet stream is a big help.

For years leading up to the memorandum of understanding that ended the standoff between the city and RIAC over lengthening the runway, the city argued for no or a shorter extension, saying if the market demand was there for longer non-stop flights, airlines would find a way to fill it. That’s just what has happened.

This is not to suggest the longer runway project RIAC is about to embark upon is for naught. As we said, longer runways are preferable to shorter ones. And perhaps – and hopefully this proves to be the case – more service will follow the pioneering schedule being offered by Condor. A longer runway conceivably will play into those decisions.

But, as we know now, the market, not just the current length of Green’s runways, is a powerful factor.

- Article and Comments:

Auckland Airport's lawnmower like no other

Samantha Smith 
 The Fieldmaster Airport Express is the new mower for the grass at the Auckland Airport. 

Mowing the equivalent of 600 rugby fields in just three hours sounds like a subject for a new Tui advert.

But it is happening out at Auckland International Airport and with a machine like no other in the world.

A little bit of Kiwi ingenuity has been used to create the airport's new lawnmower, the Fieldmaster Airport Express.

It's light, easy to manoeuvre and its spread of mowing blades can cut an area three to four times faster than its predecessor. It travels at 20kmh and can cut 60,000 square metres an hour - which means it could clip your quarter acre in one minute tops.

Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says it's important to keep grass at the airport short to minimize wildlife and birds.

"As you could imagine wildlife are very attracted to seeds and grass and if we don't control it we can be in a situation where bird strikes can be a critical issue for aircraft safety," he said.

Fieldmaster innovations director Paul Ayers says planning for the mower began 18 months ago. Staff from the Pukekohe company locked themselves in a room until they had a plan.

"It was five of us that came back from City Parks at Auckland Airport understanding the extent of what they had to do. We have now delivered a machine that can do something that nothing else in the world can do."

The airport is a 24-hour a day operation and has more than 420 international and domestic flights every day.

"That means our window of opportunity to maintain the grass is very small - in fact it's only a window of 1am to 4am every Monday," Littlewood said.

Deputy prime minister Bill English, who was at the machine's launch, says New Zealand is known for creating "weird stuff".

"We think of all sorts of things that officials, bureaucrats and economists don't think of - and who would think of this? This is real innovation."

A key part of bird control at airports is keeping the grass at just the right length - long enough to deter birds from landing but short enough not to tempt them with seed or insects attracted by flowers. The soil cannot be damaged or exposed at any time because that means worms that attract birds.

The Airport Express can also cut in any weather conditions.

- Source:

Captain Doron: RV7 test flights

WestJet load factor up from year ago as traffic and capacity grows

CALGARY - WestJet Airlines Ltd.  reported fuller planes in August with a load factor of 89.3 percent, up from 87.9 percent a year ago.

The increase in the proportion of seats filled came as the airline said Thursday that traffic increased 7.4 percent compared with August 2013 and capacity increased 5.7 percent.

The Calgary-based airline said it flew 1.9 million passengers in August.

National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen said even though WestJet has added capacity, domestic demand and prices are strong.

"Notably, the August load factor was the highest for any month in WestJet's history," Doerksen said in a research note.

WestJet has been adding capacity and growing its operations including an announcement earlier this summer that it would expand its fleet to include wide-body aircraft that have longer range than its current Boeing 737s.

The airline said in July that it plans to operate four of wide-body planes initially, with their first flights going between Alberta and Hawaii during the 2015 winter season.

WestJet has said it expects to expand into overseas markets starting in the summer of 2016, but has not said if it will move beyond Europe to include Asia or other markets.

The airline began flying between St. John's, N.L., and Dublin in June.

- Source:

Federal Aviation Administration audit likely to take place in November

US's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is likely to visit India in November this year for a fresh audit of the country's aviation safety oversight mechanism.

A senior ministry official said, "The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) made a presentation before FAA on the corrective measures taken since the downgrade last week in the US. They are very satisfied with the action taken so far. A fresh audit should happen in the next 2-3 months."

While the DGCA has invited FAA officials to initiate the audit as early as next month, the US regulator may come in November. "FAA follows an August-September financial year. They have said it is more likely that they would be equipped to be in India for the audit in November", informed a senior official in the DGCA. The audit would pave the way for India to regain category I status in safety rankings of the US regulator.

FAA, in safety audits conducted in September and December last year, had expressed severe concerns over the lack of full-time flight operations inspectors (FOIs) in the DGCA and had subsequently downgraded India to category II of safety rankings, clubbing it with countries such as Zimbabwe and Indonesia. The downgraded has barred Indian airlines from expanding operations to the US and impacted code-share arrangements with American counterparts.

The DGCA, under its chief Prabhat Kumar, has been working overtime to fast-track processes and meet requirements pointed out by the FAA. The DGCA official added, "The FAA had not indicated how many FOIs we need to have on-board. The norm is to have one for every 10 aircraft. We have hired 56 FOIs, 38 of whom have already joined and are in various stages of the training scheduled. With these recruitment's we are more than equipped to carry out safety inspections on scheduled, non-scheduled, general aviation aircraft."

The Wicks Group (TWG) has been working with the DGCA under a bilateral assistance program funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency to enable India to regain category I status in safety rankings. TWG has former FAA officials on board and has previously helped countries like Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Trinidad and Tobago, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine to upgrade their air safety rankings.

Earlier, DGCA did not have any regular FOIs. Pilots and commanders were seconded from scheduled airlines to carry out these functions. These commanders and pilots were paid by the respective airlines and not by the DGCA. Due to such a practice, there were possibilities of conflict of interest, a factor which was pointed out by FAA.

The DGCA had not been able to hire full-time FOIs due to its inability to pay them market-linked salaries. To address the concerns raised by FAA, the government sanctioned the creation of 75 posts within the DGCA in January this year to recruit pilots at market-determined salaries to attract talent.

- Source: Boeing 737-300, G-GDFT, Flight LS-644

A plane was evacuated shortly after it touched down, owing to an electrical fault that caused a smell of burning in the cabin.

East Midlands airport said three other flights were diverted to Birmingham after the precautionary evacuation of an aircraft operated by the low-fare airline Jet2.

A spokeswoman for Jet2 confirmed its flight from Ibiza to East Midlands was evacuated because of a minor electrical problem.

She said: "Following a safe arrival last night at East Midlands airport, flight LS644 from Ibiza had to be evacuated once on stand as a precautionary safety measure.

"All passengers were looked after by our airport team. A full investigation is now under way." In a statement giving further details of the incident, Jet2 said the Boeing 737 was carrying 147 passengers and crew.

The airline added: "We decided to disembark passengers as quickly as possible as a precautionary safety measure because a minor electrical problem led to some smoke in the cabin."

- Source:

Cirrus SR-22T, N930RH: Fatal accident occurred August 30, 2014 in Wallops Island, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 30, 2014 in Wallops Island, VA
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22, registration: N930RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2014, at 1517 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T, N930RH, registered to and operated by a private individual, impacted the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles east of Wallops Island, Virginia, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot, who was the sole occupant. The airline transport pilot was presumed fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight, operating under instrument flight rules, originated from Waukesha County Airport (UES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1043 central daylight time, and was destined for Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Manassas, Virginia.

A review of radar data and voice transcriptions revealed that the airplane took off from the departure airport and climbed to an altitude of 21,000 feet mean sea level (msl) before leveling off. The airplane maintained this altitude for about one hour. At 1200, the pilot contacted air route traffic control center (ARTCC) and requested to descend to 17,000 feet At 1220, the pilot contacted ATC and again requested to descend to 15,000 feet, and was cleared to descend and maintain 15,000 ft. At 1228:20 the pilot contacted ATC and requested to descend to 13,000 ft., ATC advised the pilot to standby and he would get him lower shortly. At 1229:19, ATC cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 13,000 ft., and the pilot acknowledged. At 1249, the pilot contacted ATC and requested to go down to an unspecified altitude. The air traffic controller asked the pilot what altitude did he want to descend to, but for the next 2 minutes the pilot just keyed the mike with no answer. At 1251:12, the pilot advised ATC that he was having some difficulties, and was cleared to descend and maintain 9,000 feet. At 1252:35, the pilot again advised that he had a problem and ATC advised him to descend. The pilot responded that he'll try and repeated his call sign. At 1256:32, the controller asked the pilot if he had oxygen onboard in which he responded "I do", which was followed by the microphone being keyed with no speech. The air traffic controller asked the pilot if he was wearing his mask and did he have the oxygen working and the pilot responded "yes, affirmative sir." He then asked the pilot to turn his oxygen to 100 percent, and the pilot replied that "he was showing 100 percent at that time. Finally, the air traffic controller advised the pilot to descend and the pilot told the controller to "hang on a second," which was the last transmission made by the pilot.

About 1340, the airplane traveled into restricted airspace near Washington, D.C., and remained about 13,000 ft., before being intercepted by two North American Aerospace Defense Command intercept aircraft. The intercept pilots indicated that the pilot was unconscious, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The intercept aircraft continued to follow the airplane until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia.

The pilot, age 67, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and multi-engine land. His most recent FAA second class was issued August 7, 2014. The pilot reported 3,360 total hours of flight experience on that date. The pilot's logbook was not available for review; however a review of the pilot's Cirrus Training Profile May 21, 2014 revealed the pilot reported 3,330 total hours of flight experience of which 3,216 hours were as pilot in command and 2,780 hours were in single engine airplanes. The pilot declared approximately 500 hours of experience with both the Avidyne Entegra Avionics and Garmin GNS 430/530 GPS systems.

The pilot had accrued approximately 50 total hours of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model.

The pilot's wife was asked to provide a statement describing the pilot's routine during the 72 hours prior to the accident flight. She stated that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred and that the pilot had a full nights rest the night before the flight. She stated that no traumatic events or incidents had occurred that would have resulted in any stress.

The four-seat, low-wing airplane, serial number 0813, was manufactured in 2014. It was powered by a Continental model TSIO-550 series engine equipped with Hartzell PHC-J3Y1F-1N/N7605B propeller. Review of the factory logbook records showed that a fixed oxygen system was installed in accordance with STC SA01708SE, on June 14, 2014. The production test flight was completed on July 7, 2014, and an Airworthiness Certificate was issued on July 8, 2014.

The recorded weather at the Wallops Flight Facility (WAL), Wallops Island, Virginia, located approximately 59 miles from the accident site, at an elevation of 40.2 feet, at 1554, included wind from 150 degrees at 10 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a scattered ceiling at 4,800 feet above ground level (agl), temperature of 27 degrees C, dew point temperature of 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

According to the Coast Guard, they were launched on a report of a downed airplane approximately 50 miles off the shore of Wallops Island, Virginia. When they arrived on scene they noted that a fishing vessel was present at the impact location. They boarded the vessel and the occupants reported the incident from their point of view. They stated to the Coast Guard officer that they heard a loud "fighter jet" and began to scan the sky. Once they had eyes on the jet, they watched as the jet was flying in circles around a small airplane that was flying low towards the water. The witness said that the airplane got really low to the water and eventually impacted the water. He went on to say that his boat was the first to arrive on scene, and upon arrival, the tail of the airplane was still above the water. They attempted to put "lines on"; but within seconds the airplane was completely submerged. He said that they looked in the cabin and did not see any signs of a struggle. They picked up the floating debris and waited to see if more debris or fuel sheen would rise up, they found neither.

Examination of the floating debris revealed that it was a main landing gear strut with the wheel attached and the engine cowling. The rest of the airplane remained submerged and was not recovered.

The pilot's body was not recovered so neither autopsy nor toxicological testing were performed.

Ronald M. Hutchinson:

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 30, 2014 in
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22T, registration: N930RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2014, at 1517 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T, N930RH, registered to and operated by a private individual, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles east of Wallops Island, Virginia, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot, the sole occupant. The airline transport pilot is presumed fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight, operating under instrument flight rules, originated from Waukesha County Airport (UES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1043 central daylight time and was destined for Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Manassas, Virginia.

A review of preliminary radar data revealed that the airplane took off from the departure airport and climbed to an altitude of 21,000 feet msl before leveling off. The airplane maintained this altitude for approximately one hour before descending to an altitude of approximately 13,100 feet msl. According to air traffic controllers, communication was lost with the pilot at 1300 EDT. The airplane traveled into restricted airspace near Washington D.C., and was intercepted by two North American Aerospace Defense Command intercept aircraft. The intercept pilots confirmed that the pilot of the aircraft was unconscious, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The intercept aircraft continued to follow the airplane until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. Within 30 seconds after impact, the nose of the airplane submerged below the surface of the water. Nearby boaters attempted to assist the downed airplane but the airplane began to sink below the surface. Debris from the airplane was collected and turned over to the Coast Guard.


Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Richmond FSDO-21

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Ronald M. Hutchinson "Hutch" 

OCEAN CITY — The crew on an Ocean City sportfishing boat was the first on the scene last Saturday when a small private aircraft crashed into the ocean after flying across the Eastern Shore from the Washington D.C. area with an unconscious pilot and an F-16 fighter jet escort.

Shortly after 3 p.m. last Saturday, a Cirrus SR-22T crashed into the Atlantic just over 50 miles due east of Wachapreague, Va. in the Washington Canyon just south of Ocean City.

The private plane, piloted by Ronald Hutchinson, 67, was on a flight plan from Waukesha, Wis. to Manassas, Va. last Saturday when it flew into restricted airspace over Washington at about 13,000 feet.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Cirrus SR-22T plane had not been responding to radio calls since about 1 p.m. Under the protocol for an unresponsive plane flying in restricted airspace, two U.S. NORAD F-16 aircraft were sent up and came along the Cirrus SR-22T to investigate and observed the pilot to be unconscious in the cockpit. Hutchinson was the only occupant of the plane.

The two F-16 jets escorted the Cirrus SR-22T on autopilot along its course across the Eastern Shore until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean in the Washington Canyon about 50 miles or so off the coast of Wachapreague, Va. around 3:17 p.m. The Coast Guard in Portsmouth launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina and the Coast Guard cutter Beluga from Virginia Beach to respond. The Coast Guard searched the area until sundown on Saturday and resumed the search on Sunday morning before calling it off.

According to Bob Builder on the “Tied Up,” based out of Sunset Marina in Ocean City, the search was in vain because the Cirrus SR-22T went down so quickly in about 85 fathoms, or over 500 feet, in the Washington Canyon. Builder and the “Tied Up” crew were fishing in the area and the incident unfolded just about a quarter of a mile from their location.

“We were fishing in the area and we saw the fighter jet on the horizon flying slow and at a low altitude,” said Builder this week. “As the jet got closer and closer, we could see there were two of them and they appeared to be escorting a small private plane. The jets and the smaller plane kept getting lower and lower toward the ocean and we were about a quarter of a mile away. As the fighter jets got closer to us, they fired off signal flares in a synchronized pattern, maybe about five of them.”

Builder said the entire incident unfolded in a matter of a couple of minutes from when they first spotted the F-16 on the horizon until the private plane crashed into the sea.

“As the small plane got closer to the surface, the jets peeled away and went up to a higher altitude,” he said. “The Cirrus SR-22T just kind of glided into the ocean with a huge explosion of water. It crashed into the west wall of the Washington Canyon in about 85 fathoms.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” cruised over to the crash site to offer any assistance if needed or if possible, but the small plane went down quickly and there was not much anyone could do.

“We rode over to it in time to see the fuselage go under the surface and disappear in the deep water,” he said. “The entire plane went down in less than 10 minutes. There was minimal debris and it completely disappeared. The jets circled over the crash area for about five minutes and then peeled off and flew away.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” crew did not know of any of the events leading up to the crash they witnessed from just a quarter mile away or so.

“It was a very somber moment,” he said. “We weren’t sure at the time of there was one person on board or two or three or five.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” crew never felt in danger despite their close proximity to the crash. It is rather remarkable the plane traveled across the entire Eastern Shore on auto pilot with an unconscious pilot before crashing into the sea when it ran out of fuel.

“You could tell the jets were extremely well-equipped and in control of the situation,” he said. “We obviously paid close attention, but at no time did we think we were in danger. I think the jets could have controlled where and when it went down.”

- Source:

Tacloban runway now good for propeller-driven aircraft

MANILA - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has announced that operations at Daniel Romualdez Airport in Tacloban resumed on Thursday (Sept.4) but will be only be limited to propeller driven aircraft, such as the Bombardier Dash 8 Q300/400, ATR 72-500 or lower category aircraft (turbo prop) operated by inter-island carriers.

Palexpress flight 2981 was the first to land at the airport at 6:10am on Thursday.

Runway 18/36 of Tacloban airport was closed for 24 hours on Wednesday because potholes that might endanger passengers and aircraft safety during takeoffs and landings had to be repaired by CAAP with asphalt overlays.

Jet aircraft, however, line B737s and A320s types will have to wait for a few weeks until the runway is fully rehabilitated with a 5-inch thick asphalt pave-over.

The asphalt overlay is done only during night time after the airport has closed operations for the day.

PAL has increased its flights between Manila and Tacloban due to public clamor and also to make up for the reduced flights of other carriers.

As mandated by CAAP, only turboprop aircraft will be allowed to operate to and from Tacloban airport in the meantime.

This means that PAL will have to forego its A320 flights to TAC and instead utilize its smaller 76-seater turboprop Q400s.

PAL said it will continue its 'all-turbo' flights until December 2014 as it expects to resume A320 service in early January 2015.

Cebu Pacific, on the other hand, said that it cancelled six Manila-Tacloban-Manila flights Thursday and only operated its 4 round trip flights between Cebu and Tacloban.

CEB is arranging additional flights to re-accommodate affected passengers, or they may avail of any of the following options, for free:
Rebook their flight within 30 days from original departure date;
Reroute their flights to the alternate station (Cebu) within 30 days from original departure date or full refund.

Affected passengers may call +(632) 7020888 or +(6332) 2308888 for their preferred option.

Cebu Pacific will continue to provide updates as they become available.

For the latest advisory, interested parties may visit

- Source: