Friday, September 19, 2014

Accident occurred September 18, 2014 in Harmony Township, Warren County, New Jeresy

A pilot whose single-engine plane experienced electrical problems safely landed the aircraft in a Warren County soybean field, authorities said Friday.

It happened about 3:30 p.m. Thursday off Belvidere Road in Harmony Township, New Jersey State Police said.

State police identified the pilot as 75-year-old Yuval Binur of New York City.

Binur notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the incident immediately, but state police weren't alerted until around 7 p.m., when the property owner discovered the empty plane in the field, said state police Lt. Brian Polite.

"We were able to make phone contact with the pilot," Polite said. "He was having engine and electrical problems during the flight. He made an emergency landing in the field, and there was minimal damage to the plane or the field."

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the agency's Allentown district office is investigating the incident. That will involve examining the plane and speaking with the pilot, Peters said.

The plane is a CubCrafters CC11-160 Carbon Cub SS that had only the pilot aboard, Peters said. Where the flight originated and where it was headed wasn't immediately available, Peters said.

Binur is managing partner of Orchestra Medical Ventures, a New York City firm that invests in medical technologies companies, according to the company's website. A message left with his office Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.

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NEW JERSEY: Chopper 4 Captures Fighter Jets Flyover at Teterboro Airport (KTEB)

Chopper 4 captured three fighter jets flying in formation in a practice exercise over Teterboro Airport in New Jersey Friday evening.

The F/A-18 Hornet jets were going into Teterboro Airport at about 5:30 p.m.

Officials at Teterboro Airport said the jets were practicing maneuvers and will be in the area over the weekend.

Dignitaries attending the General Assembly at the United Nations have also landed planes at the airport.

The fighter jets may be part of an increased security presence in the area for the event.

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NEW JERSEY: Airplane is dusting crops in Hunterdon and Somerset, but not with chemicals

A bright yellow plane flying low over Hunterdon and Somerset county fields this week is spreading seed, not spraying chemicals.

The seed dispersion is part of a soil conservation and improvement practice that was last done in this area in the 1980s, Christian Bench, a soil conservation technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

On Sept. 18 Downstown Aero Crop Services chief pilot Ed Carter dropped seed over designated West Amwell, East Amwell, Hillsborough and Branchburg township farms, said Bench.

That afternoon there were still about 150 acres to complete coverage of the 1,141 acres in the program this year in three Central Jersey counties. Almost all of the land is in Hunterdon and Somerset counties; one 50-acre field is in Warren County.

Planting a winter cover crop such as rye has long been a farming practice. What's different this time is that a mix of four seeds is being dispersed over soybean and corn fields that will be harvested next month through early November.

Program coordinators said that multiple seed species mimics nature, where a variety of plants contribute to soil microbiology to make it healthier.

The four-seed winter cover is expected to reduce soil erosion, act as a natural tiller to loosen soil, increase soil nutrient levels and allow soils to better retain water.

Bench said the hope is that the seeds will germinate and seedlings will be one-two inches tall before the harvest begins. The speed that combines move through fields, along with their large "flotation" tires, ensure that the seedlings aren't damaged, said Bench.

And once that cash crop is removed, more sunlight will reach the seedlings and "then they'll really start growing."

NRCS soil scientists will monitor the soil quality in these fields for the next three years, while the program contract is in force, to assess changes in the soil conditions as a means of measuring benefits from the conservation practice.

The plane has been reloading seed at Alexandria Field, aided by equipment from Clucas Farms of Tewksbury Township.

A program spokesperson said that many residents were aware of the seed dispersion plane because of a press release seen on She said that municipalities were also notified in advance of the Soil Health Initiative seed "spraying."

Some concerned residents, particularly in Somerset County, still called authorities, worried that chemicals were being sprayed, Bench said. He understood the confusion, saying it's not easy to tell that the plane is dusting seeds over crops.

The North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council is implementing watershed restoration plans for the Neshanic and Musconetcong watersheds, using state Department of Environmental Protection grants.

As a result, farmers within those targeted watersheds did not pay toward the cost of the seed dispersal, said Bench, and others paid a small portion of the cost.

Next year, the targeted watersheds could change, he added.

Farmers interested in joining the program next year should inquire at the NRCS office on Pittstown Road in Franklin Township.

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Editorial: Limit impact of Saratoga County Airport (5B2), Saratoga Springs, New York

The expansion of the Saratoga County Airport has been kind of like a lava flow.

It moves quietly and slowly and seems like it’s no threat. Then suddenly one day, you look up and it’s in your backyard ready to swallow your house.

Saratoga County officials need to get a handle on how much farther the airport spreads before it swallows up any more private property rights.

The airport in Milton definitely is a positive attribute for the community. It brings in revenue for the county. And it complements the region’s tourism, entertainment and equine industries by providing a convenient location for visiting musicians, horse-buyers and Saratoga celebrities to land their private planes.

But the airport has also been a growing burden on the people who live around it, particularly those who have been forced to give up privacy and aesthetics so that tall trees wouldn’t interfere with takeoffs and landings at the airfield.

One could argue that the residents knew they were living next to an airport when they bought their houses, and that removing or trimming large trees is one of the inconveniences they tacitly agreed to when they moved there.

On the other hand, just because they live near the airport doesn’t mean they agreed to be subjected to unlimited inconveniences due to the increased demand for larger planes and more frequent use.

The county rightly backed off plans to expand the airport. But it now wants to limit tree heights on up to 30 private properties, essentially expanding the area directly impacted by the airport.

The trees need to be trimmed because of safety. A private jet nipped some treetops during a landing at the airport six years ago, renewing concerns about aviation disasters. We’re sure residents would rather have shorter trees than have a jet crash in flames into their neighborhoods, potentially killing passengers and people on the ground.

But why should neighbors always be the ones making the compromises? The Albany County Airport is 30 miles to the south, and the Warren County airport is 31 miles to the north. Both can handle the types of planes that want to land in Saratoga.

Would it really hurt the county that much to direct the larger planes and jets to those airports, rather than have them skim the treetops in Milton? Would Brad Paisley really cancel this stop on his tour if his plane had to land a few ticks down the Northway instead? Would people buying million-dollar horses forego the opportunity over a 20-minute limo ride?

The safety of pilots, their passengers and residents living near the airport should indeed be paramount. But there are other ways to ensure that without letting the airport encroach any more into residents’ lives.

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Congressman Dan Lipinski Takes Action on Student Air Traffic Controllers Issue

The College Training Initiative was a group working in conjunction with the Air Traffic Advisory Committee to hire prospective college students as air traffic controllers; but a change in the hiring practice left many qualified college graduates disqualified as a possible candidate seemingly without reason. Congressman Dan Lipinski found this recent development troubling.

Lipinski says the FAA had inserted an 'exam' that included 'very odd questions' to determine who they would hire.

The Congressman said that, for example, air traffic students at Lewis University suddenly found that their college training did not matter when they went out searching for jobs.

Congressman Lipinski decided, with some help from Congressman Randy Hultgren, to introduce a bill to change this hiring practice. 

Students having gone through a program at Lewis, or Veterans with air traffic control experience, would get first chance at these type of jobs.

The Congressman also said that the FAA has yet to officially state why the change in hiring practices was made, and restated that the old policy was working so no change was need.

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With Federal Aviation Administration grant, airport terminal construction to begin in October: Central Nebraska Regional (KGRI), Grand Island, Nebraska

A $9.8 million Federal Aviation Administration grant has been awarded to the Central Nebraska Regional Airport for its new $14.1 million passenger terminal, airport Executive Director Mike Olson said on Thursday.

Groundbreaking will be in late October, and the project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

The current administration office and covered parking area will be demolished next month to make room for the new terminal.

“This project is the biggest project the airport has ever done,” said Lynn Werner, airport board chairwoman. “It is such a big focus for all of the Central Nebraska region. We have had a tenfold increase in passengers that will continue to increase once people know the beautiful facility that we have here.”

Hausmann Construction of Lincoln was awarded the bid in July to construct the 33,725-square-foot passenger terminal, but the project was contingent upon federal funding, Olson said. The base bid was $12.8 million, but the airport board decided to add some extras, such as a passenger boarding bridge, exterior wayfinding signs and a front-entrance drop-off canopy.

Olson said he was pleased that the FAA is providing the additional resources for the project, which will accommodate passengers for the next 20 years.

The noted the congressional delegation was instrumental in helping the airport secure $7.5 million more federal funding than it would normally receive.

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith said the Central Nebraska Regional Airport is a model of success for regional airports across the nation.

“This funding is an important component in continuing to provide excellent services to the residents of Nebraska,” Smith said. “I commend the airport staff, the board of directors and local officials for their forward planning and leadership in securing this competitive grant. This success is a result of the community using the service.”

The current terminal was built 60 years ago, with a number of additions over the years. The new terminal will serve the growing number of people using the airport, as well as accommodating future growth.

In recent years, the airport has added Allegiant flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa, Ariz., along with American Eagle flights to Dallas. Those flights have drawn travelers from throughout Nebraska and neighboring states such as Kansas and South Dakota.

Ten years ago, annual boardings were at 6,200. By 2013, boardings had hit a record 56,902. That change has resulted in the airport’s annual economic impact increasing from $21.1 million in 2003 to $158 million last year.

The airport is on target to serve 60,000 passengers by year’s end, Olson said.

Projections show the number of boardings at the airport will grow to more than 100,000 per year by 2040.

“We are growing, and we need these facilities for our future growth,” Olson said. “We are getting grassroots support from the fine folks in Grand Island and this region.”

The new terminal will be more than triple the size of the current one. A project to double the amount of airport parking to accommodate the growing number of travelers was completed earlier this year.

Plans for the airport expansion started five years ago, and Olson said many FAA requirements had to be met before work could begin on a new terminal.

The design was done by Mead & Hunt architects and reflects the community and region, along with the people who use it. The terminal space will be enlarged to improve traffic flow and relieve the overcrowding the airport is currently experiencing, especially with flights averaging between 80 percent and 90 percent full.

Parts of the terminal will be designed to allow for expanding the space when the need arises as the airport grows, without much disruption to service.

The new design will also allow for easy drop-off of people at the terminal door.

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Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR) runway repairs nearing end

NEWARK — Repairs to a major runway at Newark Liberty International Airport could be more of an annoyance to residents of two New Jersey cities than to air travelers.

Runway 4L-22R will close Saturday for ten days to complete grooving and the installation of pavement lights.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the airport’s other runways will be available to handle flights. But that means more planes will be flying over Jersey City and Bayonne.

The agency says it’s working with the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines to try to lessen the impact on customers.

The initial phase of the $97 million project was finished ahead of schedule this spring. The work included improving taxiways to get planes on and off the runway faster.

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Boeing Faces a Future Without Fighter Jets: As Orders for F/A-18 Dry Up, Executives Shift Focus to Bombers, Drones and Trainers

The Wall Street Journal

By Doug Cameron and Robert Wall

Updated Sept. 18, 2014 5:55 p.m. ET

Boeing Co., which has built military planes for almost a century, is preparing for the prospect of a fighter-less future.

The steadfast commitment of the U.S. and many allies to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program made by Lockheed Martin Corp. is drying up funding for Boeing's fighters. Now, the head of Boeing's defense unit is preparing a road map that would concede the fighter market to Lockheed and pin the business's future on other aircraft, including military versions of its commercial jetliners.

"You have to face reality," Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing, Defense, Space & Security, said of the company's shifting focus in an interview in July.

Boeing's fighters are still heavily used today—its F/A-18 jets have been leading U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq. But it faces a dearth of new orders. Production of the F/A-18 could end in 2017, while the last batch of F-15s bound for Saudi Arabia are due to roll off the production line in 2019.

The company is considering slowing production to keep the F/A-18 line running a little longer in the hope it can persuade the Pentagon to fund some additional purchases for the Navy. This could also buy time for a handful of potential international customers—notably Canada and Denmark—to decide on planned fighter buys

Boeing has said it may decide by April whether to end F/A-18 production at the St. Louis, Mo., plant that makes both fighters. "We're still solidly behind them," Mr. Chadwick said in an interview Thursday following an earlier report by The Wall Street Journal. He believes the F/A-18 can be sustained through the end of the decade.

Mr. Chadwick, who became chief executive of the defense and space unit on Dec. 31, has unveiled cost-cutting and efficiency measures to adapt to tighter military budgets. Boeing reduced the defense unit's spending by $4 billion annually over the past three years, shedding thousands of jobs, and he is targeting another $2 billion in savings as militaries in the U.S. and elsewhere place more emphasis on the affordability—rather than capability—of weapons systems.

Mr. Chadwick, 54 years old, presented his strategic review to Boeing's board in late August, and is expected to roll it out to staff in early October, according to people familiar with the plan.

He plans to move responsibilities and products around within the defense unit's three core divisions—Military Aircraft, Networks and Space, and Services and Support—and target higher services revenues to keep annual sales above $30 billion. The defense unit last year accounted for $33 billion of Boeing's $86.6 billion in total revenue.

Mr. Chadwick, in a video for employees this month, flagged the need for tough choices. "These decisions may include how we shape our business and where we choose to locate resources," he said.

People briefed on the plan said that while most of the changes involve internal staff roles and targets, Mr. Chadwick is prepared to shed programs such as the fighters. Even Boeing's long-standing role in manned spaceflight was in question before it won a $4.2 billion contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to build and operate a new manned space taxi.

The seeds of Boeing's fighter woes were sown in October 2001 when Lockheed Martin was picked to build the Joint Strike Fighter, a $400 billion program designed to replace most of the U.S. military's tactical fighters.

Boeing lobbied furiously to win new orders for its F/A-18 jets, but after losing a series of contests in India, South Korea and Brazil it faces a dwindling number of available deals, notably Canada's long-delayed fighter replacement program.

Boeing also is closing the Long Beach, Calif., plant that makes C-17 military cargo jets next year. Combined with the end of F/A-18 and F-15 production, the moves will cut 50% of the revenue from the existing military aircraft unit. The business also produces helicopters and some munitions.

"Boeing is kind of at a crossroads," said Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at aerospace consultancy G2 Solutions LLC. "They sit between their legacy portfolio, and a reshaping portfolio."

Boeing sold its first military plane to the U.S. Navy in 1917, a twin-pontoon biplane called the Model C. The PW-9/FB, its first fighter, followed in 1923. The company produced iconic aircraft during World War II, including the B-29 Superfortress bomber, which dropped the atomic bombs over Japan. Boeing's B-52s remain in service with the U.S. Air Force more than 60 years after their first flight.

Boeing's 1996 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas Corp. revitalized a defense business that five years earlier generated only 10% of group sales, ranking it 10th in the world, trailing General Electric Co.  and even General Motors Co. 

For most of the past decade or so Boeing ranked second after Lockheed. The defense and space unit generated more than half of Boeing's revenue, before the boom in commercial airplane sales over the past three years reversed the equation.

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney told investors in July that keeping defense and space revenue around $30 billion a year requires replacing the lost fighter revenue by winning contracts such as a new long-range strike bomber, a proposed Air Force trainer jet and the Navy's UCLASS carrier-based drone program.

"Our opportunity to win those [new contracts]—a couple of those—is good, which would mitigate risk on the fighter side as the F/A-18 and the F-15 over the next decade face some sunsetting," Mr. McNerney said.

Mr. Chadwick said Thursday that winning the trainer contract and potential new sales of the F-15 would keep its design teams in St. Louis active. While the F-35 is designed to have a 50-year life, the Air Force has started discussing what kind of fighter might follow it.

But Boeing faces steep challenges for all three contracts. With the bomber program, the largest, Boeing and Lockheed are bidding together against Northrop Grumman Corp., which some analysts believe is further ahead in its development work.

Boeing is one of four companies competing for the next stage of the Navy drone program, a field that could be narrowed this month. It has teamed up with Sweden's Saab AB to develop a new trainer, though no government funding has been spent on the program.

Mr. Chadwick previously headed the military jet business before taking over the defense unit. He said just winning new programs to replace fading ones isn't enough. Boeing wants to build more software products, emulating the technology industry's effort to balance sales of hardware.

But exactly what that software business would look like isn't clear. It would seek to address growing demand for data analytics among military and intelligence agency customers, Mr. Chadwick said, but "we are still defining it."

Mr. Chadwick's ambition is to make Boeing stand out from its rivals.

"If you look at the commercial world there are clear differences between an Apple and a Microsoft, between a Google and a Facebook," he said. "If you look at the defense industry it is not that clear. So our focus is: how do we break from the pack?"