Sunday, September 21, 2014

Incident occurred September 21, 2014 at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP), San Luis Obispo, California

An aircraft performed an emergency landing at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport on Sunday, following reports of smoke in the aircraft and pressure issues in the cabin, Cal Fire said.

The aircraft, which had approximately 30 people on board, landed safely at shortly after 5 p.m. on the runway.

Cal Fire crews checked the plane and reported that everything seemed OK, a Cal Fire spokesperson said, though crews were still on scene.

Crews are looking into the cause of the smoke.

- Source:

Brupbacher CB2000, N5002E: Fatal accident occurred September 21, 2014 in Reserve, Louisiana

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA508
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 21, 2014 in Reserve, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2015
Aircraft: BRUPBACHER CHRIS CB2000, registration: N5002E
Injuries: 2 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.

Witnesses reported observing the gyroplane take off from the runway, turn left onto the crosswind leg, and climb to about 200 ft. They then saw something fall off the gyroplane before it crashed into an adjacent canal and sank. Postaccident examination revealed that the flight control rod bearing stud exhibited extensive corrosion, consistent with the crack being present before impact. When the rod bearing failed, the main rotor blades went to full pitch, which placed an excessive load on the rotor mast. The rotor mast then folded, which allowed the pusher propeller to strike and sever the tail. The pilot had owned the airplane for 3 years; no records for the gyroplane were located.

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

The failure of the flight control rod bearing due to an undetected preexisting corrosion-induced crack, which resulted in the main rotor blades going to full pitch and the rotor mast folding; this allowed the pusher propeller to strike and sever the tail. 


On September 21, 2014, about 1720 central daylight time (2220 UTC), a Brupbacher CB2000 gyroplane, N5002E, impacted a canal in Reserve, Louisiana, after an unknown item was observed separating from the gyroplane. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The gyroplane was destroyed. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight had just originated from St. John the Baptist Parish Airport (1L0), Reserve, Louisiana.

Witnesses reported seeing the gyroplane take off on runway 35, turn left onto the crosswind leg, and climb to about 200 feet. They "saw something fall" off the gyroplane, then the rotor blades folded, and the gyroplane crashed into a canal and sank.


The wreckage was recovered from the canal the next day


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the 47-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He was not gyroplane rated. He also held a third class airman medical certificate, dated January 22, 2014, with no restrictions or limitations. According to his application for medical certification, the pilot estimated he had accumulated 260 total flight hours, 40 hours of which were accrued in the previous six months. Since his logbook was not recovered, his flight time in the gyroplane could not be determined. However, records show the pilot had owned the gyroplane for three months.


According to FAA records, N5002E (serial number H2-02-13-546), a model CB2000 was an amateur homebuilt gyroplane constructed by a Chris Brupbacher in 2003. A certificate of airworthiness was issued to the pilot on June 16, 2014. The gyroplane was powered by Subaru 2200 cc, 4-cycle, liquid cooled automotive engine, rated at 130 horsepower.

Some aircraft paperwork was recovered from the canal. After being dried out, no useful information was obtained.


The following weather observations were recorded at the Louis Armstrong-New Orleans International Airport, located 18 miles east of, and nearest to, the accident location:

1653: Wind, 050 degrees at 5 knots; visibility, 10 miles; sky condition, 4000 feet scattered; temperature, 31 degrees Centigrade (C.); dew point, 19 degrees C.; altimeter setting, 29.97 inches of mercury

1753: Wind, 050 degrees at 6 knots; visibility, 10 miles,; sky condition, clear; temperature, 30 degrees C.; dew point, 18 degrees C; altimeter, 29.97 inches of mercury.


St. John the Baptist Parish Airport (1L0) is located 2 miles northwest of Reserve, Louisiana, and 18 miles west of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is situated 7 feet above sea level and is equipped with two runways, 17-35: 3,999 feet x 75 feet, asphalt.


Airworthiness and operations inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Baton Rouge Flight Standards District Office went to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The gyrocopter impacted in standing water. Once removed, the main rotor mast was observed in a folded position. The rudder was separated from the wreckage and exhibited damage consistent with contact from the pusher propeller. The tail boom and vertical stabilizer were separated from the main wreckage. Examination of the flight control linkage revealed one flight control rod bearing stud fractured. The fracture surface contained corrosion, consistent with the crack being present prior to impact. An additional control rod bearing had surface corrosion similar to the corrosion present on the fractured bearing stud.


An autopsy was conducted by the New Orleans, Louisiana, Forensic Center. The autopsy report did not state a cause of death. The autopsy report was reviewed by FAA's research medical officer, who cited the cause of death to be "multiple traumatic injuries."

According to the toxicology report, diphenhydramine was detected in the pilot's urine, and 0.027 (ug/ml, ug/g) diphenhydramine was detected in blood (cavity). No carbon monoxide or ethanol was detected.

According to FAA's medical officer's review, diphenhydramine (Benadryl®, Unisom®) is an antihistamine used for treating allergic reactions, and is also used as a sedative because it causes drowsiness.

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA508 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 21, 2014 in Reserve, LA
Aircraft: BRUPBACHER CHRIS CB2000, registration: N5002E
Injuries: 2 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 21, 2014, about 1720 central daylight time, a Brupbacher CB2000 gyroplane, N5002E, impacted water in Reserve, Louisiana, after an unknown item was observed separating from the gyroplane. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The gyroplane was destroyed. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight had just originated from St. John the Baptist Parish Airport (1L0), Reserve, Louisiana.

Witnesses reported seeing the gyroplane take off on runway 35, turn left onto the crosswind leg, and climb to about 200 feet. They saw "something fall off" the gyroplane, then the rotor blades folded, and the gyroplane crashed into a canal and submerged.

This undated file photo shows the homebuilt gyrocopter that crashed in Reserve, killing two people. The aircraft was sold and painted red after this photo was made. 
(Photo courtesy of Rommel Dorado.)

A preliminary report by the FAA into a fatal crash of a gyrocopter at the St. John the Baptist Parish airport on Sunday indicates that corroded flight control rod bearings caused the aircraft's rotor blades to break shortly after takeoff, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator said Tuesday (Sept. 23). After the blades broke, the aircraft plunged into a water-filled canal, killing two people. 

The rod bearings, according to aviation experts, hold the rotor blades in place and allow the pilot to control the aircraft.

The pilot, 47-year-old Darren Mahler of Metairie, and his passenger, 13-year-old Payton Wilt, a family friend and neighbor, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Gyrocopters are slim, light aircraft that are similar to helicopters. They are equipped with a both propeller and a rotary blade. They are classified as experimental because they often are built by amateurs from kits, and the FAA does not certify either the kit or the builder.

Mahler's aircraft was, according to the FAA registry, built from a kit and certified airworthy in 2003. It was registered to Mahler in June.

Federal Aviation Administration and airport officials spent much of Monday recovering the wreckage from the canal and examining it for clues.

"They examined all of the wreckage, that's what they found," NTSB investigator Arnold Scott said.

The tail boom, or rudder, of the aircraft also was sheared off when it came into contact with the push propeller blades, Scott said.

Scott said he doesn't know if the corroded bearings would have been visible during a pre-flight inspection by the pilot, and said he didn't know when the gyrocopter received its last maintenance inspection by the FAA.

"The maintenance records were in the water," Scott said. "We're drying them out."

The investigation is ongoing, and Scott said he was still waiting on an autopsy and toxicology report on the pilot.

While it may be weeks before a final report on the cause of the crash is filed, the preliminary findings are consistent with the mechanical problems described by Joey Murray, a Port of South Louisiana Commissioner and chairman of the Aviation Committee, who witnessed the takeoff and the crash.

Murray has said that the aircraft made it about 300 feet down the runway before taking off about 30 feet into the air, where it flew for about 1,000 feet.

The aircraft then rose to 300 feet as it crossed the end of the runway and took a westward turn. As the plane shifted direction, its top blades "folded upward" and the plane quickly descended into a canal where it was submerged, Murray said.

Authorities say that Mahler, who housed the aircraft at the Reserve airport, had taken several flights earlier in the day.


Federal Aviation Administration -  Flight Standards District Office


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

Fatal crash victims at St. John airport: Metairie pilot, 47, and 13-year-old neighbor 

 The aircraft pilot and passenger who were killed Sunday night after their helicopter-like craft crashed at the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport are being identified as 48-year-old Darren Mahler, of Metairie, and his neighbor Payton Wilt, 13, according to the St. John Sheriff's Office.

Authorities say Wilt was a family friend of Mahler and the two lived in the same neighborhood. The two were flying in what authorities describe as a gyrocopter, a small rotary-wing aircraft that looks like a helicopter.

Mahler housed the aircraft at the airport in Reserve, authorities said.

Autopsies were scheduled for today to determine a cause of death, St. John Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Greg Baker said Monday.

The FAA is also expected at the airport in Reserve today to investigate and oversee the recovery of the aircraft, which crashed into a nearby water-filled canal shortly after taking off around 5:18 p.m.

The canal is about 40 yards or less from the runway and the water was about waist deep, Baker said.

Joey Murray, a Port of South Louisiana Commissioner and chairman of the Aviation Committee, witnessed the takeoff and the crash and said it appeared that the gyrocopter had mechanical problems.

Murray told a reporter on Sunday that he didn't think it was pilot error.

He said the aircraft made it about 300 feet down the runway before taking off about 30 feet into the air, where it flew for about 1,000 feet.

The aircraft rose to 300 feet as it crossed the end of the runway and took a westward turn. As the plane shifted direction, its top blades "folded upward" and the plane quickly descended into a canal where it was submerged, Murray said.

 Darren Mahler, 47, was piloting the gyrocopter when it crashed Sunday, Sept. 21.
 (Photo from Mahler's Facebook page)

Payton Wilt, 13, of Metairie, with his younger sister. 
Photo provided by Lindsey King

Payton Wilt, 13, of Metairie with a cousin on her wedding day. 
Photo provided by Lindsey King

 Payton Wilt, 13, of Metairie, died in the gyrocopter crash in St. John the Baptist airport Sunday, Sept. 21. 2014. 
Photo provided by Lindsey King

 These photographs, taken Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, show the crash site and recovery of a gyrocopter that went down at the St. John the Baptist Regional Airport on Sunday, Sept. 21, killing the 47-year-old pilot and a 13-year-old passenger. 
(Alex Hernandez/Port of South Louisiana)

Parents of boy killed in St. John gyrocopter crash don't blame pilot

Payton Wilt, 13, was always curious and ready to try anything. That may have been why he liked to go flying with Darren Mahler, a family friend and neighbor who lived around the corner from Wilt's home in Metairie.

The two were killed on Sunday evening when the gyrocopter Mahler was piloting crashed into a canal shortly after taking off at St. John the Baptist Parish Airport, authorities said.

Mahler would take Wilt on regular trips to the St. John airport, where Mahler would fly Wilt and his own son, Nicholas Mahler, on small Cessna airplanes, said Wilt's mother, Lindsey King.

Wilt's stepfather, Stephen Costanza, said that neither he nor King knew that Mahler was flying their son around in an experimental gyrocopter - a brand of small, light rotary aircraft that is often built in a kit.

"I'm not putting blame on anyone," said Lindsey King. "I just didn't know it was an experimental aircraft. I would never have let him go."

Wilt's stepfather, Stephen Costanza, said that he had seen Mahler building the gyrocopter from a kit in his garage. Costanza said that he thought that Mahler didn't have enough experience flying the gyrocopter. "If he wasn't familiar with that plane, he shouldn't have taken my son up," Costanza said. "I wish he would have asked about going...I would have said no."

A sixth grader at John Quincy Adams Middle School in Metairie, Wilt was a talented artist who loved to draw and paint and sculpt, his mother said. He was curious, always interested in knowing more about the world. When a pastor speaking to the congregation at the Bridgedale Baptist Church spoke of a mission trip to Israel, Wilt approached him afterward to ask about what life in Israel was like, King recalled.

"He was very outgoing, excited about everything, and curious," King said. "He was a people person.

"He was just the greatest little person," she added. "He would give you the shirt off his back...He cared about everyone, and he loved everyone."

Wilt sparred with his siblings -- two older brothers and a younger sister -- but would always make up, said King. The boy texted the siblings to say sorry even while he was fighting. Friendly with all the neighbors, Wilt played with Nicholas Mahler while his stepfather socialized with Darren Mahler, his stepfather's old friend.

But King and Costanza had not spoken to Maher's family since Sunday, when a relative of Darren Mahler informed King that her son was dead, she said.

"I don't blame them," said Costanza. "They're going through the same thing we are."

Relatives Darren Mahler declined to comment for this article.

Gyrocopter in St. John crash may be 'experimental' but not necessarily unsafe, expert says
The aircraft that crashed Sunday in St. John the Baptist Parish, killing both occupants, was identified by authorities as a gyrocopter: a slim, light helicopter equipped with a propeller and a rotary blade with a cabin smaller than a Smart car.

Gyroplanes are still classified by the Federal Aviation Authority as experimental aircraft, but that does not mean that they are necessarily more dangerous, said Brent Drake, a board member at the Popular Rotorcraft Association, who specializes in gyroplanes.

"It's one of the safest flying machines out there," said Drake, who said that he has logged 1,500 hours flying the aircrafts since 1974. 

Rather, gyroplanes are classified as experimental because they are often built by amateurs from kits and the FAA does not certify either the kit or the person who puts it together, said a spokesperson for the agency.

That may very well have been the case with the aircraft that crashed outside of St. John the Baptist Parish Airport on Sunday, killing pilot Darren Mahler, 47, and Payton Wilt, 13. (Learn more about the crash here.)

Records at the FAA show that the aircraft was "amateur built" and first registered under the name of metro area resident Chris Brupbacher under a singular model number that carried Brupbacher's initials: a CB2000. The aircraft was first registered as flight worthy in 2003 but only recently registered under Mahler's name, in June 2014. Brupbacher was not immediately available for comment.

Wilt's stepfather, Stephen Costanza, said Monday that he had seen Mahler building the gyrocopter from a kit in his garage in Metairie. 

Drake said that the aircraft are relatively safe because if their motor fails, the rotor that gives the craft its lift will continue to turn so that the aircraft hovers down to the ground at the "speed of a parachute," Drake said.

"The top rotor blade is always in auto rotation so that if something fails, the motor quits or something like that it will just come straight down like a maple speed comes down, at the speed of a parachute," Drake said. "But it's just like any machine: There's always a risk."
Mahler would have been well prepared to fly the aircraft if he had a private pilot license, which covers the flight of rotorcraft including gyroplanes, Drake said. The Flight Academy of New Orleans LLC listed Mahler as a graduate of its program, having received a private pilot license. 

Drake said that gyroplanes have become increasingly popular since invented in the 1920s and that several sheriff's departments, including one in Alabama, have used the aircraft for patrols. "They will do about anything a helicopter will do except for hover and they will do it for about a fraction of the cost," Drake said. 

- Source:

A small helicopter-like aircraft crashed into a canal Sunday afternoon (Sept. 21) at St. John the Baptist Parish Airport in Reserve, killing it's pilot and passenger.

The pilot, a unidentified man in his late 30s to early 40s, and an unidentified young teenage boy died in the crash. Authorities did not know whether the two were related.

Around 5:18 p.m., Port of South Louisiana Commissioner and Chairman of the Aviation Committee Joey Murray said he watched the men take off in a gyrocopter, a small aircraft with a helicopter-like lift rotor and fixed-wing aircraft-type thrusting propeller.

The aircraft made it about 300 feet down the runway before taking off about 30 feet in into the air, where it flew for about 1,000 feet, Murray said.

"He was probably getting a feel for the aircraft," he said.

Then the aircraft soared higher to about 300 feet as it crossed the end of the runway and took a westward turn.

As the plane shifted direction, its top blades "folded upward" and the plane quickly descended into a canal where it was submerged, Murray said.

"It probably wasn't pilot error," Murray said. "It looked liked a mechanical malfunction."

Murray called police at 5:23 p.m. and shut the airport down at 5:34 p.m.

The airport will reopen tomorrow after airport personnel are able to check the runway for debris and do a safety inspection, Murray said.

- Source:

RESERVE, La. —Two people are dead Sunday evening after a small aircraft crashed near an airport in St. John Parish.

Officials with the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office were notified just before 5:30 p.m. that a small aircraft went down near the airport in Reserve.

Upon their arrival, deputies found that the aircraft was a gyrocopter that crashed into a canal after taking off.    Authorities were told that the pilot and one other passenger were on board.

Both individuals were pronounced dead. Their identities were not released at this time.

Investigators are now working to determine what caused the aircraft to crash. Deputies are still on scene evaluating the scene.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation  Safety Board are en route to join the investigation. Records indicate that the aircraft is registered to a Metairie resident.

Further details are expected this evening.

- Source:

Kenmore Air: Incident occurred September 20, 2014 - Victoria Harbour

Passengers on a Victoria-bound seaplane that had filled with smoke endured a tense but safe landing shortly after noon today.

The Kenmore Air pilot was forced to turn off some of the plane’s electronics 18 kilometres from Victoria Harbour due to a smoking generator relay.

Pilot Dan Millar, inbound from Seattle, notified the Victoria Harbour air traffic controller, who called 911. The call came through to the fire department at 12:14 p.m., said Doug Carey, acting battalion chief for Victoria Fire Rescue.

“The pilot did everything he could and should have done,” Carey said. “He was able to keep the engine running the whole time because it was on a separate circuit.”

Three police officers in a police boat escorted the de Havilland Single Otter as it taxied in under its own power to the Harbour Air Seaplane Terminal at 1000 Wharf St., Carey said.

Although the cockpit and cabin were filled with smoke, there were no flames. The smoke was emitted by a small component in the electrical control box behind the right front seat.

“When the passengers disembarked, one said, ‘All of us just took up smoking,’ ” said Carey, who was at the scene. “They were all in good spirits and grateful to be on land.”

There were six or seven people on board including the pilot. The plane seats 10 plus a pilot. Firefighters checked the passengers’ well-being and found none was in need of assistance.

Carey said he has never encountered a similar situation in his 22 years on duty, but noted that firefighters are trained to respond on water.

The fire department had two engines, a rescue truck and a command vehicle, along with nine firefighters at the scene. The fire department boat was mobilized but not needed.

The plane was taken out of service and tied up at the dock pending an inspection and repairs by Kenmore Air.

Ten passengers scheduled to be on the return flight to Seattle were briefly delayed while another aircraft was procured.

Kenmore Air could not be reached for comment.

Story and Comments:

Ugandans celebrate crash-landing planes as farmers sue for compensation

If something happens once, that is an incident.

Should there be a repeat of the same, it becomes a coincidence; third time, it becomes a trend.

Currently, in Uganda there is a growing trend of planes crash-landing.

It’s amazing how Ugandans are milking this trend for all it’s worth.

First, the US Marines treated villagers in Mityana (Central region) to an interesting drama when their plane crash landed on a highway on the outskirts of Kampala.

They were headed to South Sudan when they encountered a fierce storm which forced them back to Entebbe.

Enroute, they ran out of fuel, and an emergency landing had to be made.

I think the pilot must have been a former matatu driver, and had only fueled enough to reach the destination with no contingency measures to cater for “jam”.

The plane stunned locals and many took ‘selfies’ while leaning on it.

And the local cameraman also made a lot of money out of the accident as villagers posed next to the plane to take photos.

However, things started to go awry when school girls started skipping class for illicit rendezvous behind the plane.

Illicit rendezvous

However, things started to go awry when school girls started skipping class for illicit rendezvous behind the plane.

It had become a lovers’ lane or ‘green lodge’ of sorts with the lone guard making a killing from renting out the haven of love.

After about 2 weeks, the plane was towed to a local airstrip, where it was fueled before it took off for Entebbe.

Barely a month later in July, a small aircraft had just taken off from Kabarole district heading for Arua when it nose-dived into a forest in Kyaka (Western region).

Villagers stampeded Villagers celebrated that an aircraft had finally made its way to their inaccessible location and stampeded the crash site.

However, police cordoned off the scene and school trips that had been arranged to take pupils to see the plane were cancelled.

Villagers are still cursing the police for denying them a chance to make a few extra shillings to supplement their farming income.

The third incident occurred just recently when a Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) airplane crashed and burned in Lira (Northern region).

It crashed into a pit latrine, splashing and spreading fecal matter far and wide.

The trainee pilot who was on his maiden solo flight had parachuted out to safety after he lost control of the plane.

Villagers rushed to the scene, leaving neighboring farms looking like a scene after an elephant dance.

We are no longer ignorant and unaware of our rights.

Mr. Omara, owner of some of the land, is suing the Government to the tune of Sh1M for destruction of property and another Sh1M for causing trauma to his children!

He claims that he was hoping to harvest the peas, simsim and potatoes growing in his garden next month and the orange trees have been destroyed for good.

His neighbor Mr. Odab in true keeping with the spirit of “dubbing” as his name suggests has copied his neighbor.

His suit for Sh250,000 is for the damage done to part of his land.

He claims that his crops were damaged by flying debris and unknown chemicals have probably leeched into the soil and could cause future unknown damage.

I am sure all the herbalists and medicine men to the North and South of Central Uganda are imploring the Gods to send them an airplane so that they too can milk the cash cow.


Xtreme 3000, D-EYKS: Fatal accident occurred September 21, 2014 in Venice, Italy

Aereo da acrobazie cade al Lido di Venezia, muore il campione mondiale di Francesco Fornabaio

L’incidente durante la manifestazione “Fly Venice”, davanti a più di 5 mila spettatori


Lo hanno visto spegnere il motore, avvitarsi in una delle manovre acrobatiche più classiche, e poi precipitare a candela al suolo. È morto così questo pomeriggio, davanti agli occhi dei 5000 spettatori del «Fly Venice» al Lido di Venezia, Francesco Fornabaio, campione italiano e mondiale la cui fama di aviatore da anni aveva varcato i confini nazionali, tanto da fargli meritare 

L’ultima magia è però finita sulla spiaggia di San Nicolò, a fianco delle capanne balneari e di una striscia d’asfalto. Saranno ora la magistratura e i tecnici inviati dall’Agenzia nazionale per la sicurezza del volo a cercare di capire cosa possa essere accaduto, dopo i primi rilievi effettuati da Carabinieri e vigili del fuoco. Sia l’aereo, un modernissimo Breitling Xtreme 3000, che l’area in cui è avvenuto l’incidente, proprio a ridosso del mare, sono stati posti sotto sequestro, mentre per il cadavere è stata disposta l’autopsia. 

Fornabaio, 57 anni, padre di tre figli, era nato a Stigliano (Matera) e risiedeva a Milano, ma si allenava spesso in provincia di Udine, a Campoformido. Aveva totalizzato oltre 2000 ore di volo, di cui la metà da pilota acrobatico. Dai colleghi veniva considerato molto esperto, un simbolo della scuola italiana. Campione della categoria nel 2014 e campione iridato, era membro dal 2002 della nazionale di acrobazia aerea.  

La commozione su Facebook per la morte del campione  

Sulla pagina Facebook di Fornaboio sono stati immediatamente postati tanti messaggi increduli, di saluto e cordoglio, da parte di amici e ammiratori. Eletto Campione italiano della massima categoria 2014, oltre ad essere salito sul gradino più alto del podio nella categoria illimitata, ha dominato in tutti i programmi del Campionato di Acrobazia Aerea 2014 di Caorle. Atleta professionista di Acrobazia Aerea e Airshowman, membro della Nazionale Italiana (categoria Unlimited) di acrobazia aerea dal 2002, ha partecipato negli anni a diversi campionati, nazionali e internazionali,che presenta negli airshows. Proprio per le sue abilità e per l’affetto riscosso tra il pubblico, nel 2010 Fornabaio è stato scelto come pilota sportivo da Breitling per rappresentare, sia nelle competizioni che negli airshows internazionali, la casa orologiera che dal 1884 lega il proprio nome al mondo dell’aeronautica. 

L’ennesimo incidente di una settimana tragica  

Domenica scorsa a Spinetta Marengo, nella zona della Ventolina due persone sono morte durante un volo partito dalla pista di San Giuliano. Vittime un tortonese di 48 anni, Gaspare «Rino» Campanella, agente della Siae, che era ai comandi del velivolo, e un lombardo di 49, Paolo Coltelli, originario di Genova e abitante ad Arese. Altre due morti ieri in un altro incidente aereo avvenuto nella zona di Vigevano. Su una pista alla periferia della città si è schiantato un ultraleggero. Il pilota, Emanuele Vialardi, 49 anni, biellese, è morto sul colpo. Uno spettatore, l’avvocato Gianni Ciucci, 56 anni di Corsico, che insieme a altre persone era a bordo pista e stava assistendo all’atterraggio, è rimasto ferito molto gravemente ed è morto dopo essere stato portato in ospedale. Sempre ieri pomeriggio, un altro velivolo è precipitato durante una sessione di volo pratico in un campo di granoturco a Trezzo sull’Adda, nel Milanese. Il pilota, 55 anni di Segrate, è rimasto ferito ed è ricoverato in prognosi riservata all’ospedale San Gerardo di Monza. Dramma sfiorato oggi anche a Varallo Sesia (Vercelli) per il brusco atterraggio, per motivi da chiarire, di un elicottero turistico di una società privata. Cinque persone, fra cui il pilota, sono rimaste ferite. L’incidente è avvenuto nell’aviosuperficie di Roccapietra, vicino alla zona industriale di Varallo, durante l’annuale “Festa dell’aria”. L’elicottero è piombato a terra, da un’altezza di circa due metri, per un’avaria al rotore di coda.

Who thinks like that? Cruelty to wildlife is baffling

By David Horst 
September 20, 2014 

Driving west on State 96 short of Medina recently, I saw an impressive turtle sitting just across the centerline.

Based on its size and the height of its rounded shell, I'd guess it was a Blanding's, a threatened species in Wisconsin.

I watched in the rearview mirror as a pickup truck bore down on it and then edged over to avoid the turtle. Once I shed the traffic around me, I turned around and went back to do the Boy Scout routine and help the turtle across the highway.

When I got to the spot, the turtle was gone, apparently already helped to the shoulder by someone else. Faith in humanity restored.

My opinion of some of my fellow Wisconsinites had been flagging after reading about two instances of interaction with wildlife.

One incident was reported in July. Someone went out to a nesting area at Terrell's Island in Lake Butte des Morts and crushed 25 common tern chicks that were 21 days old at most. The common tern is an endangered species in Wisconsin.

It is a sick mind that looks at helpless baby birds and says: Let's see what the bottom of my boot can do to you so I can prove I'm stronger than something.

The culprit has not been identified. The maximum fine is $5,000, plus nine months in jail.

The effect on the Terrell's Island common tern population is serious. The effect on the people who hike the area and enjoy the rare bird species there is a little hole in their souls and a lower opinion of humanity.

Incident No. 2 was the sentencing of a young New London man. He said he saw what he believed to be a white sandhill crane near Ogdensburg. His first reaction, of course, was to get a rifle and shoot it.

Who thinks like that?

As he tells it, he bragged to a friend about the rare bird he had bagged. The friend informed him that it wasn't a white sandhill but an endangered whooping crane. Wisconsin is home to the grand experiment teaching whoopers to migrate to Florida by following ultralight aircraft or by following older birds trained in prior years.

As an aside, the news release from the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on this case stated that there is no such thing as a white sandhill. Not true. I've seen one. It was in early December 2005 when my wife and I helped Pat Fisher catch a white sandhill that had trouble flying and had been left behind by the migrating flock. She took it to her New London-area bird rehabilitation center, The Feather. It was nearly all white but still had the red cap of a sandhill, making it not albino but rather a condition called leucistic. Unfortunately, it didn't survive for long.

The New London shooter was caught and given a $500 slap on the wrist by a magistrate in Green Bay. Perhaps more meaningful to him, his hunting rights were suspended — nationwide. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $1,500 to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo.

A spokesperson for Operation Migration — the folks who fly the ultralights — put the cost of getting one of these special whoopers into the wild at more like $100,000. Add to that the cost to the chain of life of whooping cranes being one bird closer to extinction.

DNR Warden Ted Dremel investigated the case with a federal warden. He said he saw the depth of the man's regret and knows he wouldn't have been able to pay a much higher fine. The man told investigators he was going to "do a farmer a favor." Given that he didn't shoot just any sandhill, I suspect he was looking for a trophy.

Dremel is not without emotion in this case either. He followed the whooping crane sightings around Waupaca County and knew its name — Scootcharoo. It was released in 2011, put in with older whooping cranes to learn the migration route. Dremel had taken his kids and nieces and nephews to see it. After all that, he had to see it lying dead in a wheat field.

"It's easy to say it's not enough," Dremel said of the fine. "I'm still very comfortable with our decision."

He stressed the importance of knowing whooping cranes have been spotted in Waupaca and Waushara counties on a regular basis. Whoopers are white, taller than sandhills and have black wing patches visible only in flight.

Dremel had no explanation for how seeing a rare bird would lead someone to want to shoot it. The man, he said, "had a very bad idea."

Thank you, whoever got the turtle across the road. Your act balances the scales, at least a little.

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Ultralights are used to help whooping cranes migrate to Florida. It’s a grand experiment to help save the species.
 (Photo Courtesy: David Horst,  Post-Crescent Media )

Business Interview: Craig McLeod founder and director of Annitsford-based Naljets

Swapping comfortably between the quiet confines of the boardroom and being struck by lightning at 40,000 ft is all in a day's work for Craig McLeod, as Tom Keighley discovers

Craig McLeod 

43 year-old Craig McLeod is the founder and director of Annitsford-based Naljets - one of the North East business community’s best kept secrets.

His private jet travel and aircraft management company has ferried some of the world’s most high profile people to all corners of the globe.

A passion for flying, which initially started as a hobby for Craig, has since blossomed into a 24/7 worldwide service which provides the link for top-level international businesspeople to broker deals of worldwide importance.

Byker-born Craig, the son of a salesman and record shop owner, is brimming with a quality essential to all go-getting entrepreneurs - self assurance. And it has been with him since childhood.

Speaking with his soft Geordie accent, Craig explained: “I left school thinking I could do absolutely anything. Everything was a dream. I struggled with some aspects of school, but there wasn’t anything I couldn’t overcome.

“Looking back you always wish you’d worked a lot harder at school. I always enjoyed school but in reality I was having far too much fun with my friends. I didn’t really understand how important it is to educate yourself until I hit my early twenties.”

Fresh out of school, and by this time used to hard work helping his father restore the family home he “couldn’t really afford”, Craig found himself an apprenticeship with a firm of Newcastle jewelers, which he completed in 1989.

Craig took his skills and launched his own design and manufacturing business which included a shops in Thirsk, Whitley Bay and Newcastle - a business he successfully grew for nearly 15 years.

Meanwhile, an 18th birthday present from his mother had set Craig on what is now his current trajectory. A flying lesson would spark a life-long passion for aviation.

Craig explained: “I didn’t know a thing about flying - didn’t even know it was an option. It wasn’t until a friend of mine at school went into the RAF and eventually became a Red Arrow. That was really exciting. My mother bought me a lesson at Newcastle Aeroclub.”

Now smitten with the idea of flying aircraft, and not one to do things by halves - Craig would later become a director at the Aeroclub - he built his flying hours throughout the early 1990s and achieved his Private Pilot’s License.

“I was reasonably good at it. I quickly realized that hiring planes for fun was far too expensive, so I convinced myself I need one for business. My plan was to fly to Glasgow and Birmingham - to jewellery fairs I was still attending at the time,” he added.

He bought £40,000 aircraft with the help of an angel investor who he would fly around the country as he struck deals with various businesses.

Gradually the jewellery business was beginning to take a backseat and Craig was beginning to buy more aircraft with his business partner. The arrival of a £235,000 Golden Eagle Cessna heralded the formation of a new company - Northern Aviation Ltd.

Craig explained: “We set up Northern Aviation at Teesside Airport, and pretty quickly we got approached by all the flying schools down there who asked us to buy their businesses. We bought Cleveland Flying School, and another called Teesside Aeroclub - and it took off from there.”

It took two years for Craig to write an Air Operator Certificate - a mammoth work required by the Civil Aviation Authority which lays out every detail of a commercial aircraft operators procedures - from the refueling procedure right down to when the pilots will sleep.

“It’s like climbing your underpants in Everest three times,” quipped Craig.

By now Craig was flying customers like Ian Botham and Kieron Dyer. In addition he would fly car parts to manufacturers when there were production line crises, and overnight work would see him delivering blood and organs to hospitals overnight.

When the recession hit in 2008 Craig quickly adapted the company - remodelling it to provide discreet acquisition and aircraft management services for business jet owners and companies, including management and consulting on all aspects from purchase to parking, flight operations, journey management, flight and ground crew training and provision.

Now rebranded as Naljets, Craig has moved on to the bigger and better jets he now flies all over the world.

“We’ve got six, worldwide capable, jets all over the world,” he explained. “They can be anything in the order of $20m to $60m to buy. We’ve now proven ourselves after all these years as a safe and reliable operator - one that multinational companies can trust to fly their top executives around.”

These days Craig and his team, including pilots, cabin crew and ground staff, are working for major energy trading firms, subsea construction businesses and banks.

The job sees Craig leave home at the drop of a hat, often flying into remote locations, and unstable, politically volatile countries. A 24/7 operation could take its toll on any family situation, but luckily Craig’s wife, 16 year-old daughter and 14 year-old twins are all accustomed to the situation.

Craig explained: “I’m very lucky because my wife has supported the business totally. She’s used to the lifestyle now. My daughter’s even flying now - and she’ll do her test when she’s 17.

“My wife is very important, and without her understanding I couldn’t do it. I can be in any part of the world with less than 24 hours notice. We tend to live our lives in the gaps - it has to be that way and we’ve just accepted it. This is a lifestyle business, without a doubt.”

The recent Malaysian Airlines tragedies only serve to compound any worries at home, but, ever the can-do man, Craig has the utmost confidence in his own abilities and those of his pilots.

Asked if he’s ever encountered a hairy moment in the cockpit, Craig shakes his head.

He said: “We’ve been stuck by lightning before, which was an odd experience. It was pitch black outside the windscreen and all of a sudden there was a flash, just like someone had taken a picture.

“It blew out two radios, but there’s a third for situations like that. When we landed and I inspected the plane you could see the radio antenna was all twisted and charred.”

He also recalls a time when he took off from Islamabad in front of a Boeing 737 which crashed in bad weather, killing all on board.

Everyday Craig and his team face the multitude of challenges that flying presents, from jostling for position in the crowded airspace above New York to negotiating enormous weather systems in Africa.

“I’m still learning to fly - 15 years on from when I first started. The journey of learning is from your first lesson until you retire. There is no end to the process,” Craig explained.

It’s a labor of love for Craig, who exudes enthusiasm in the role his business plays in the global aviation industry.

He added: “It’s a fantastic time in aviation right now, but there are still many challenges to overcome. For instance, one of my pet hates is the way the aviation industry has failed to invest in youth.

“Older pilots and industry people have so much passion and experience - that needs to be passed on in the next five years or so, otherwise it will be lost altogether. In the next five years United Airlines are expected to lose 60% to 70% of their captains, and there is nobody coming through to replace them. We can change that - and that’s what I’d like to concentrate on next.”

Story and Photos:

Grumman AA-5A Cheetah, N26676: Accident occurred September 21, 2014 in Homosassa, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA451
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 21, 2014 in Homosassa, FL
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA-5A, registration: N26676
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 21, 2014, about 1205 eastern daylight time, a Grumman American AA-5A, N26676, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a partial loss of engine power during cruise flight near Homosassa, Florida. The private pilot was not injured and a pilot-rated-passenger incurred minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed South Lakeland Airport (X49), Lakeland, Florida, about 1130. No flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Harris County Airport (PIM), Pine Mountain, Georgia.

The pilot reported that during cruise flight, about 1,500 feet mean sea level, the engine began to intermittently run rough. The engine power loss became more consistent and the pilot was unable to maintain altitude. He attempted to divert to a nearby airport while the pilot-rated-passenger tried to restore engine power; however, the airport was 5 miles away and the airplane would not glide that far at its altitude. The pilot then attempted to perform a forced landing into a field. During the approach, the pilot-rated-passenger took control of the airplane. The airplane collided with powerlines and impacted the field, before coming to rest upright.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed damage to the wing spars. Th
e inspector planned to further examine the engine following its recovery from the field.


Citrus County, Florida -- A small plane heading to Indiana from Lakeland crashed in Citrus County on September 21.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office posed pictures of a plane crash on their Facebook page on Sunday afternoon to report the crash.

The plane crashed just after noon in a field off Country Club Drive in Homosassa.

No injuries reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.



Reports of plane crash a false alarm: North of Fredericton, New Brunswick

Reports of a possible plane crash north of Fredericton Saturday morning turned out to be a false alarm.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center says they received a call from a resident in the Kingsley Rd. area reporting a possible plane crash.

Lt.-Navy Len Hickey, a spokesperson with the JRCC, says an ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but there was no sign of any type of incident.

Neil La Croix with the Keswick Valley Fire Department says the false alarm could have been the result of an engine being shut off during a training exercise.

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What’s in your hangar? Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD) hangars 'not storage sheds'

A sign posted at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport warns users not to bring certain items onto airport...

OGDEN — What’s in your hangar?

That’s the question the Federal Aviation Administration and Ogden City will apparently begin asking with more urgency as the FAA is in the midst of reexamining its policy on the use of airport hangars.

Under federal law, airport operators that have accepted federal grants, like those at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, may use airport property only for aviation-related purposes unless otherwise approved by the FAA.

But according to the FAA, staff compliance inspections and audits by the Government Accountability Office have revealed that many hangars across the nation that are intended for aircraft storage are frequently being used to store non-aeronautical items like vehicles and other large household items. The FAA says that in some cases, that type of storage interferes with, or entirely displaces, aeronautical use of the hangar.

The FAA also says that many airports have a waiting list for hangar space, and improper use of a hangar prevents aircraft owners from having access to hangar storage on an airport.

The administration is updating its hangar usage policy to clarify compliance requirements for airport sponsors, managers and tenants, as well as state aviation officials and FAA compliance staff. The updates are lengthy, but essentially disallow any usage of an airport hangar that isn’t directly related to aviation. The new rules even prohibit certain types of aircraft construction and repair.

The administration is accepting public comment on the policy updates until early October.

 Ogden-Hinckley Airport Manager Jon Greiner said improper use of aircraft hangars has been a problem at the Ogden airport for years. Greiner said the FAA’s updates are meant not only to provide clearer guidance on hangar usage, but also to reinforce regulations that have been on the books for years.

“(Improper hangar) usage has been a perpetual problem for the (Ogden) airport,” Greiner said. “The FAA has had a lot of these regulations in place for over 20 years and Ogden City has made ordinances about the same thing, but it’s been difficult to enforce.”

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Jeremy "Bear" Taylor served as Ogden’s airport manager from 1994 to 2002 and agreed with Greiner.

“The rules have always been broken,” he said. “But during my time, they were almost impossible to enforce. But now I think with this latest news, the FAA is going to really start cracking down.”

Taylor said hangar users at the airport stored motor vehicles in hangars, furniture and many other items not remotely related to aviation.

“Sometimes you would have an airplane in there,” Taylor said. “But it would be so buried by other storage items it was basically useless.”

Ogden resident and pilot Dave Deis said he’s heard many similar stories.

“People will get rid of their aircraft and then rent out their hangar,” he said. “In a lot of cases it’s become cheap rental space, but people need to realize it’s an aircraft hangar, not a storage shed.”

As the FAA continues to accept public comment, some in the general aviation community have said the new policies and plans for increased enforcement is an example of government overreach.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a non-profit organization representing general aviation interests of pilots and aircraft owners across the nation, has told the FAA that its policies banning certain types of aircraft construction and repair has gone too far.

“Building an aircraft, next to actual flight, is possibly the quintessential aeronautical experience,” said James Coon, vice president of the AOPA’s Government Affairs and Advocacy division, in a letter to the FAA. “Many AOPA members displayed disbelief that the FAA takes the position that building an aircraft is not an aeronautical use.”

Russell Whetton has owned a hangar at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport for nearly 20 years. He said the new FAA rules are a hot topic around the airport and he’s not alone in thinking the new rules and enforcement of them is too much.

“It just seems like at the airport, we’re losing more and more rights every day,” he said. “That’s the feeling of a lot of people out there.”

Taylor said he empathizes with those like Whetton, but also sees a definite need to curb improper usage.

“You negotiate for as much freedom as you can get, but the (hangar) users are also going to have to bend with the wind a little bit,” he said.

To see the FAA’s hangar policy or submit comment, go to

- Source:

Captain Doron: RV7 Test Flight - Stalls

Published on September 21, 2014

Beech 77, N3846U: Incident occurred September 21, 2014 in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri


LIBERTY, Mo. - A pilot was forced to land a small plane on a road near Liberty Hospital on Sunday morning. 

 Liberty police said the aircraft ran out of fuel, forcing the landing near on Heartland Drive. No one was hurt.

The pilot, who is from Carrollton, Mo., said he left the downtown airport Sunday morning while the fueling stations were still closed.

He planned on making a stop for fuel along the way, but that didn't work out.

When he got to Liberty, the plane was sputtering and he knew he had to put it down.

He landed the plane on 69 Highway and taxied it to Heartland Drive and called authorities.

A mobile gas truck refueled the plane, and he took off on southbound 69 Highway as police blocked traffic.

Police said there are no reports of damage from the emergency landing.

The pilot did not want to talk on camera but said his more than 20 years of experience helped him safely landed the plane on the highway.

Story, Comments and Photo Gallery:

LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) - A pilot was forced to land North of I-35 on 69 highway Sunday morning.

Police say the plane made the emergency landing because it ran out of fuel.

No injuries or damages were reported.

Highway 69 will shut down momentarily after the plane refuels and will be allowed to take off.

Singapore-bound Tiger Airways flight diverted to Batam due to bad weather

A Tigerair flight from Hong Kong touched down in Singapore four hours after it was due to land, after it landed in Batam reportedly amidst bad weather.

SINGAPORE: A Singapore-bound Tigerair flight from Hong Kong landed unexpectedly in Batam, according to a woman whose mother was on board the plane. The airline said that a windshear had forced it to make the diversion.

Ms Serena Ng said flight TR2067 was due to land in Singapore at 10.30pm on Saturday night (Sep 20), but a check on Changi Airport's website shows it only arrived at 2.41am.

Ms Ng managed to contact her mother on the phone, and learnt that the plane had landed in "an airfield in Batam." "My mum told me TR2067 attempted to land in Singapore twice, but failed, and she heard loud vibrating sounds from the engine and thunder," Ms Ng said.

Air traffic tracker Flight Radar 24 listed the A320 plane as having landed in Batam at 11.36pm.

Mr Sim Leong Chin, who had waited for his friend at Terminal 2 since 10.30pm, said he did not find it out of the ordinary for the delay. He added he was not worried although he had no information of the plane’s whereabouts until near midnight, when a staff at the airport said the plane was delayed due to bad weather.

But another lady – whose daughter was on board TR2067 - told Channel NewsAsia she was very worried. Speaking in Mandarin, she said: “The information on the arrival timings showed the plane was ‘confirmed’ at around 10.30pm.

“But shortly after that, the information under the ‘status’ column changed to ‘ask airline’. I became worried after that. What if the plane went missing?”

Despite the four-hour delay, passengers Channel NewsAsia spoke with appeared calm, and said they were relieved the plane had landed safely in Singapore.

Tigerair meanwhile, issued a statement saying that at no point during the diversion were the safety and security of passengers and crew compromised.

"Flight TR2067 was delayed due to inclement weather and the presence of windshear - a rapid change of wind speed and direction over short distances - while attempting to land in Singapore," said the airline in a statement. "After making two landing attempts, the flight was diverted to Batam to refuel and await better landing conditions as part of Tigerair's standard operating procedures."

The statement added: "The loud engine noise heard by passengers was due to the plane making a go-around which involved the powering up of the aircraft engine, which was operating optimally. At no point was the safety of our crew and passengers compromised, and the flight landed safely in Singapore at 2.41am today."

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