Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pakistan International Airlines plane ‘fired’ upon at Peshawar airport

PESHAWAR: Unknown miscreants opened fire at a landing flight at Bacha Khan International Airport in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Saturday night, however, the aircraft and passengers remained safe, official sources said. 

Unidentified gunmen had attacked another passenger aircraft earlier in June as it came in to land at the same airport, killing a woman and injuring two flight stewards on board.

Official sources said that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-756 form Riyadh was fired upon by unknown miscreants between Sulemankhel and Mashokhel of Peshawar’s Badhber area tonight. 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials said that they have reports of firing but the flight landed safely without any injuries to the passengers. They said that they cannot officially confirm the attack. 

Badhber Police said that they have heard and seen the gunfire and were investigating if the plane was attacked or it was a routine celebratory fire, common in the area.

Another security source in the area told Dawn.com that light and short range weapons were used and the fire came from Sulemankhel area and it continued for about a minute. The security forces in the area targeted the firing spot and the attackers were silenced, the source added. 

Security forces were dispatched to the area and launched a search operation.

It may be mentioned that Dara Adamkhel Taliban were planning to target military helicopters and war planes besides passenger aircraft in Peshawar, according to a report by DawnNews. 

Security was put on high alert on Friday night after the threat alert and besides FC and police, army troops also patrolled the area near the tribal areas specially Adezai, Badhber and Mattani.

- Source:  http://www.dawn.com

Deputies: Physician’s assistant blocked helicopter landing at vehicle crash scene

Volusia County certified physician’s assistant who told deputies “I always go around firetrucks” was taken to jail after refusing to move his car to allow a sheriff’s helicopter to land at the scene of a fatal vehicle crash, according to his arrest report.

James Allen, 52 — who works at Urgent Care in Ormond Beach — was charged Thursday with failure to obey police/fire department and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors, court records show. After spending the night at the Volusia County Branch Jail, he was released Friday morning on his own recognizance. Allen could not be reached for comment Friday.

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies and later the Florida Highway Patrol responded to State Road 40 and Church Street in Barberville early Thursday after 26-year-old Tessa George of Pierson had struck a tree after losing control of her sport utility vehicle. George had been traveling west on S.R. 40 and failed to negotiate a curve just east of Pine Street, FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said. She over-corrected her Hyundai Santa Fe, and that prompted the vehicle into a clockwise rotation, sending the SUV into a tree off the north shoulder of the highway.

Deputies on scene had called for the sheriff’s helicopter because they thought they had an injured driver who might need to be airlifted to the hospital.

Deputy Steven Eisen blocked traffic on S.R. 40 at Church Street and emergency vehicles were lined up in the eastbound lanes, the crash report states. Traffic was backed up in that area.

But Allen, as noted in Eisen’s report, drove his 2007 Toyota around the emergency vehicles for about 200 feet off the paved highway. Deputies and emergency personnel yelled at Allen to stop his car, to no avail, the report states. Allen was ordered three times to park his car east of the emergency vehicles and out of the way of the helicopter, but refused, deputies said, instead stopping on S.R. 40.

Allen then rolled into the open space on S.R. 40 that had been cleared for the helicopter’s landing, the report states. That’s when he almost struck Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Sawicki with his Toyota, deputies said. As Allen passed Sawicki, the sergeant began yelling at him to stop. Allen was in the helicopter’s landing zone and the chopper was just above, 50 to 100 feet from the ground, the report states. Sawicki then told the pilot to abort the landing to avoid another accident.

Allen, of Port Orange, told deputies he had no idea the road was being blocked and then said, “I always go around firetrucks and never have had a problem before,” the report shows.

But deputies say Allen did have a tough time hearing several people yell at him as he drove around eight fire and emergency vehicles parked in the east lanes of S.R. 40 early Thursday just after midnight.

After the helicopter landing was aborted, Deputy Eisen asked Allen for his driver’s license. Allen refused and Eisen reached into the suspect’s car and grabbed his driver’s license, the report states. Eisen then told Allen to move his car away from the landing zone and then the helicopter did land. When it was determined that George had died at the scene, the helicopter left and Sawicki and Eisen turned their attention back to Allen.

When Allen was handcuffed, he asked, “What’s this all about?” then blurted out that he passes emergency vehicles routinely.

- Source:  http://www.news-journalonline.com

 
James Allen

Cebu Pacific adding more flights to points in Visayas

Cebu Pacific Air, the country’s biggest budget airline, is increasing flight frequencies to the Visayas, the company said Friday in a statement.

Specifically, it will add more flights to Bacolod, Cebu and Roxas by the fourth quarter of 2014.

From Oct. 9 to Dec. 3, passengers may choose from 13 weekly flights (up from 7) between Manila and Roxas, and from 128 weekly flights (up from 114) between Manila and Cebu.

Those with plans to travel between Manila and Bacolod can choose from 49 weekly flights (up from 42), from Oct. 26 to Dec. 3.

Cebu Pacific continues to study “opportunities to stimulate travel to and from the Visayas,” said Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution. “We believe that air travel brings convenient accessibility not just for the tourism sector, but also for the business sector.”

Aside from Bacolod, Cebu and Roxas, the budget airline operates flights to 31 other domestic and 28 international destinations. In the Visayas, it also flies to Caticlan, Dumaguete, Kalibo, Iloilo, Tacloban and Tagbilaran.

Cebu Pacific’s 51-strong fleet is comprised of 10 Airbus A319, 28 Airbus A320, five Airbus A330 and eight ATR-72 500 aircraft.

Between 2014 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 11 more brand new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo and one Airbus A330 aircraft. 

- Source:  http://business.inquirer.net

Virgin Australia play flyover alarms some fans at AFL Grand Final

PR stunt backfires as fly-by by Virgin jet sparks security scare at AFL Grand Final... and even Julie Bishop's bodyguard 'reached for his gun' 

 A fly-by by a Virgin passenger jet sparked a security scare at Saturday's AFL Grand Final, even prompting Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's bodyguard to 'reach for his gun'.

The PR stunt backfired just before the first bounce when the A330 flew low just above the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the showpiece game was about to get underway.

Fans tweeted their shock and Collingwood president and TV host Eddie McGuire told how the AFP assigned to Ms Bishop feared the venue was under attack.

McGuire told Fox Footy, 'I was sitting about 10 metres away from the foreign defense minister Julie Bishop and can I tell you, when the Virgin plane flew over the top of the MCG, I looked around and the secret service bloke from the federal police reached for the gun because no one had told him,' reported the Daily Telegraph.

'This bloke, he went for the gun. I’m serious, mate. I don’t know what he was going to do with it, pop it out of the sky,' he said.

The low-altitude A330 Airbus caused an uproar on social media, with many AFL fan's taking to tweeting about the stunt instead of the game.

One Twitter user said, 'Hey @AFL and @VirginAustralia - really appreciated the plane flying 20m over my house after weeks of political scaremongering... #AFLGF'.

Another commented, 'omg @ virgin airlines flying a plane close to the ground for a promotional stunt at the afl grand final during a high terrorism alert'.

The stunt come after weeks of heightened tension within Australia, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott announcing an increase in the terror alert to 'high' for the nation.

Following 'terror raids' on homes of suspected terrorists, some in the community have questioned the appropriateness of the timing for such a stunt.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said:  'Virgin Australia is the official airline of the AFL and as a show of support for the game we operate a special flight over the MCG on Grand Final day each year.'

The flight was apparently operated in strict accordance with Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements, and flown by three senior pilots with no passengers aboard the plane.

Some football fans come out and called for followers to calm down, poking fun at those who were scared by the stunt.

'Those Melbourne football fans are a bunch of cowardly pants-wetters, aren’t they?'

Virgin, the official airline partner of the AFL, gave warning of the pre-game entertainment. The airline posted on their Facebook page at midday, 'Are you in Melbourne today? Look up in the sky just after 2pm for our MCG flyover.'

One Facebook user backed up the decision, commenting on the post, 'Great display ...don't listen to the drama queens trying to drum up sensationalism in relation to the aircraft flying low over the MCG and causing fear.'

Another said, 'Inappropriate? You're kidding. This is Australia, this is how we do things.'

- Source:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk


Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says he saw an AFP officer reach for a gun when a Virgin Australia plane flew low over the MCG as part of the Grand Final celebrations.

Footy fans and Melburnians have slammed Virgin Australia for the hair-raising sponsorship stunt which formed part of the pre-match entertainment.

McGuire says the incident spooked an AFP officer he was seated near.

“I was sitting about 10 metres away from the foreign defense minister Julie Bishop and can I tell you, when the Virgin plane flew over the top of the MCG, I looked around and the secret service bloke from the federal police reached for the gun because no one had told him,” McGuire told Fox Footy.

“This bloke, he went for the gun. I’m serious, mate. I don’t know what he was going to do with it, pop it out of the sky,” he added.

The colorful media personality's comments come in the wake of the Twitter storm that erupted after an A330 airbus flew over the stadium at low altitude before the first bounce.

Crowds outside gasped when the plane roared over the top of the stadium.

AFL fan Nicole said she was scared by the low-flying plane.

“That was really low. Pretty crazy.”

Mark from Melbourne tweeted: “We are in a state of high terror alert. All for the sake of  sponsorship with no warning to the city. STUPID.”

“GEE @virginaustralia stupid time to fly over the MCG. You know, because terrorism.”

However other fans were delighted with the stunt.

“I love a good flyover nonetheless! what a good spectacle at the ground,” tweeted Riley Toms.


Fans at the ground cheered at the jet as commentators confirmed it was as a pre-organized marketing stunt.

Virgin Australia quickly moved to stem fears by tweeting to worried Melburnians online that the flight path had be prearranged.

Virgin Australia spokeswoman Emma King said the flight is operated in strict accordance with Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements by three senior pilots.

“Virgin Australia is the official airline of the AFL and as a show of support for the game we operate a special flight over the MCG on Grand Final day each year,” she said.

There were no passengers on board.

- Source:  http://www.heraldsun.com.au

 

Low-cost airlines struggling to gain altitude in battle for Asian skies

Alongside the runway at Alice Springs Airport sits one of the world's newest aircraft "boneyards".

Since the first small plane arrived at the storage yard in June, a Qantas Boeing 767, four Tigerair Singapore aircraft and a Boeing 737 from another small airline have parked up.

From the air, the planes sit on their hard stands like mosquitoes in the desert.

The arrival of the Qantas jet at Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage's 110-hectare site in the parched land of central Australia over the last week fits with the airline's plan to retire its fleet of Boeing 767s by the end of the year. The white kangaroo on the tail of the 767 has been painted over.

Once the centerpiece of Qantas' domestic fleet, the last 767s will end up at Alice Springs or Victorville, the world's largest plane parking yard at the edge of the Mojave Desert in California. They are likely to find new owners, a better fate than many 747 jumbos. Once dubbed the "Queen of the Skies", many 747s will be broken up for scrap because of a weak second-hand market for the aircraft.

While the Qantas planes are at the end of their working lives for a full-service airline, the four Tigerair Singapore planes – two 180-seat Airbus A320s and two smaller A319s – are relatively young in aviation terms.

A further eight could be lined up alongside them over the coming months, depending on whether Tigerair can sub-lease the surplus planes to another airline.

Until they were parked at Alice, they shuttled passengers between cities in South-East Asia. Some are from Tigerair's offshoot in the Philippines, which was recently sold to that country's largest airline, Cebu Pacific.

Tigerair's decision to ground planes in the red centre serves as a stark reminder of the battle under way in South-East Asia between budget airlines. Qantas's budget offshoot in Singapore, Jetstar Asia, is among scores of low-cost carriers in the region bleeding red ink.

Put simply, there are too many airlines flying in South-East Asia to meet demand, even in a region boasting some of the fastest-growing economies on the planet. Seat capacity on routes in South-East Asia has increased by a third in just three years, according to analysts at investment bank CIMB.

Asian airlines have endured tough periods before, usually because of external events such as the Asian financial crisis in 1997 or the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003.

"But this is different because it seems this time what has precipitated the problem is a lot of carriers buying a lot of aircraft and putting them into the market at the same time, particularly no-frills carriers," says Rod Eddington, a former chief executive of British Airways and Hong Kong's flag carrier, Cathay Pacific. "This is clearly a tough time and the operating numbers for the airlines reflect that."

When Geoff Dixon unveiled Jetstar Asia in Singapore in September 2004, the then Qantas chief executive declared that "this is going to be a very, very substantial airline".

A decade later, Qantas has put the brakes on the expansion of the Singapore airline, the first of four Jetstar-branded carriers it has set up in Asia as part of joint ventures with local investors.

Jetstar Asia's fleet has increased by only one plane a year for the past two years, leaving it with 18 single-aisle A320s – the same size as Jetstar Japan which began flying just two years ago. The Singapore-based airline's losses blew out to $40 million last financial year, from a $2.2 million profit previously, due to what Jetstar Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka described as an "unprecedented level of capacity".

While budget airlines and their shareholders are nursing their wounds, travelers have benefited from the surplus flights. Airlines are having to discount fares heavily to fill their planes.

Flight Center estimates fares from Australia to destinations such as Phuket in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are about 5 per cent cheaper than this time last year. "From an affordability perspective, it is fair to say that they have never been cheaper," a spokesman said.

The glut in flights has left budget airlines such as Tigerair Singapore little choice but to ground planes in far-flung corners of the globe – or to slow or cancel orders for new aircraft from manufacturers – while they await a pick-up in demand. Tiger's losses doubled in the first quarter to $S65 million ($58 million), part of which was due to the shutdown of a budget airline in Indonesia that bore its name.

The grounding of planes for any length of time runs contrary to a low-cost airline's business model. With them reaping less from their passengers, they need to sweat their assets more than their full-service counterparts. That means budget airlines need to turn planes around quickly at airports to ensure they spend as many hours as possible flying their lower-yielding travelers between cities.

Planes also need to be at least 80 per cent full, or they can quickly be tipped into loss-making territory. After all, an airline's biggest expense – jet fuel – is no cheaper for a budget carrier than their full-service equivalent.

In the rush to break into Asia's markets to tap an apparent gold mine, budget carriers have broken what many full-service airline executives once believed was a cardinal rule. That was to do their utmost to ensure they did not take delivery of new planes until they had secured air-traffic rights and landing slots at airports. Otherwise, airlines end up taking delivery of expensive assets without the ability to generate revenue from them.

Further north, Jetstar Hong Kong serves as a reminder of the consequences of breaking that rule. The joint venture between Qantas, China Eastern and Pansy Ho's Shun Tak has been forced to sell six of its nine-strong fleet because it is still to gain regulatory approval more than a year after it had planned to launch flights.

In South-East Asia, the development of many airports such as those in Jakarta and Manila has also failed to keep pace with the rapid increase in flights, leaving airlines fighting for landing slots, especially at peak times.

The big question remains how long it will take before the supply-demand imbalance ends. The concern is that a number of airlines such as Indonesia's privately owned Lion Air and Malaysia's AirAsia have a huge number of planes on order. Between them, Lion Air and AirAsia have ordered more than 800 aircraft.

Andrew Orchard, an aviation analyst in Hong Kong for CIMB, says low-cost carriers have indicated they will reduce capacity by leasing aircraft they are due to take delivery of to other airlines.

"But any measure that they make will be quite temporary and I'm not convinced they have altered their mindset. They are taking a wait-and-see approach," he says.

Azran Osman-Rani, the chief executive of Malaysia's AirAsia X, agrees competition is the most intense it has been in South-East Asia but remains predictably optimistic about the long-term outlook.

"It is a short term, one to three-year crunch, before demand catches up to capacity," he says.

"When you look at in the context of population and economic development, then demand will very quickly catch up to this excess capacity."

As budget airlines in South-East Asia fight for survival, the former cable television executive highlights the importance of remaining number one or two in the market.

"Once you start to get to a point of industry maturity, where you have [low-cost carriers] reaching 50 percent of the total market, it becomes very, very difficult for people who have a much lower market share – for people who are number three, four or five," Osman-Rani says.

"That's why when you look at some of the South-East Asian airlines, or affiliates of airlines that have closed down, it has typically been at least number three or one-third the size of the incumbents."

Smaller players such as Tigerair Mandala in Indonesia have raised the white flag because they have been unable to close the gap with market leaders such as Lion Air in a capital-intensive business.

Like other industries such as retail banking, an airline that has a wider footprint in the market than its competitors has a large economic advantage over its rivals.

Osman-Rani says airlines need to hold their nerve during the capacity crunch because the the size of the population in Asia with disposable incomes is growing fast and demand for flying will catch up with supply.

Regulatory barriers have long limited airlines' ability to spread their wings in Asia. Airlines such as Qantas, Tigerair and AirAsia have circumvented the ownership restrictions in countries by teaming up with investors to launch low-cost airlines such as Jetstar Asia.

South-East Asian governments have long targeted next year for a relaxation of the restrictions on airlines flying on routes within the region. However, the test will be whether all countries who are members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations – or at least the major nations – ratify, sign and implement what is known as "open skies". It promises much but many within the aviation industry remain cautious.

"There is not going to be an overnight wave of the wand for an open market but the framework is there with the ASEAN open skies," Osman-Rani says. "Once you have access to the routes, then that is the main way the market can really become a lot more efficient provided we address the problem of airport bottlenecks. Until the infrastructure bottle necks are addressed, the market is going to be very imperfect."

South-East Asia has seen phenomenal growth in budget airlines over the last decade. For every passenger flying on a full-service airline within South-East Asia, another flies on a low-cost carrier.

In comparison, only about one out of every four passengers flies from the region to destinations elsewhere in the world such as Australia on budget airlines. It is this segment of the market – long-haul flying to and from South-East Asia– that airlines such as AirAsia X and Singapore Airline's Scoot are targeting for growth as they eat into the underbellies of full-service airlines on the routes.

After several years of growth on routes to Australia, AirAsia X will focus on digesting the capacity between its hub in Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast before it boosts capacity further. However, its affiliates such as Indonesia AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X are set to lead the expansion of services on routes to and from Australia. 

"Where the expansion is probably going to come from is probably our other hubs. We have invested in Indonesia AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X – they could be the ones where we continue our expansion into Australia from those hubs rather than KL," Osman-Rani says.

In the wrestle for market share, it may in fact be full-service airlines that give more ground as they have in Europe over the past decade to budget airlines on short-haul routes.

CIMB expects Malaysia Airlines, which had expanded aggressively in recent years, to cut flights throughout Asia as it seeks to turn its fortunes around following the loss of two Boeing 777 aircraft this year. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines' flight 370 in March resulted in Chinese tourists avoiding traveling to South-East Asian countries  such as Malaysia and Singapore in droves.

Orchard agrees low-cost carriers recognize they need scale to survive. "They are all trying to be one of the few survivors, and the only way you can do that is build up your network. It is a case where the biggest and fittest survive, and it will be a case where a few guys pull back or go under.

"I don't think you will see it play out right away – it will happen over a number of years. The market has expanded very, very quickly."

Others remain optimistic about the outlook in Asia.

"There will be casualties but it will be just the weak ones that are weeded out," an executive at an Asian aircraft leasing company says. "The averages can be deceptive and I don't paint the airlines all with the same brush. We have got population on our side, we have rising disposable incomes and a number of countries are crossing the threshold in moving more into consumption-driven markets."

However, Eddington has a note of caution for airlines searching for a rich new vein of revenue in Asia.

"People are mesmerized by the size of the market and the growing middle class but that doesn't mean that airlines that get started are going to be profitable. There are a lot of airlines that have got started and most of them have lost a substantial amount of money," he says.

"Your passengers can disappear quite quickly. The low-cost carrier market basically targets people who are discretionary spenders. Those who follow [the dominant players] thinking it's an easy game are often doomed for disappointment."

A slight wobble in an economy can lead to risk-averse consumers closing their wallets. The Tigerair Singapore planes sitting idle in the red center of Australia serve as a reminder that the road to riches in Asia is full of hidden dangers.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au

Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame to induct new members

Seven men will be inducted into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame Saturday night at the organization’s annual Honors Banquet, its biggest fundraiser of the year. The dinner will be held at 6 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall, with cocktails beginning at 5.

This year’s inductees are:

• Gordon R. Farquhar, a highly decorated Vietnam War helicopter pilot and one of the original full-time flight instructors for the Delaware Army National Guard’s aviation program. He is a Bronze Star recipient with more than 1,100 combat hours and 16,000 total hours. He’s also a retired corporate pilot qualified in 19 different aircraft.

• Robert L. Farris Jr., a Vietnam War helicopter pilot and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient. He was a fixed wing National Guard fighter pilot who flew five aircraft types during a 35-year US Airways career.

• Harry Griffith, owner and operator of Horizon Helicopters. With nearly 25,000 accident-free flight hours, he has instructed a wide range of students including area State Police helicopter pilots. He taught the first deaf person in the U.S. to receive a private helicopter certificate.

• Daniel T. Kirk, who is known as the “Balloon Guy.” A retired Army lieutenant colonel, he spent more than 30 years competing, mentoring and training the young and old in balloon airmanship. He was Delaware’s Hot Air Balloon Champion five years in a row and is an active member of several aviation groups and a mentor to many.

• James A. LeNoir, a B-24 Liberator gunner during World War II, who earned six Air Medals in 35 combat missions. He saved the life of a fellow crew member during a combat mission over Europe. After the war, he developed munitions for Hercules and continues to serve with veterans organizations.

• William F. Nutter, a World War II aircraft electrical specialist. He won the Bronze Star for correcting a B-17 malfunction that could have cost many lives. After the war, he earned a civilian commercial pilot certificate and was a Civil Air Patrol pilot and operations officer.

• Herman R. Richardson, a decorated Army helicopter pilot with 31 years of service and two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying 375 combat hours. He was the brigade maintenance officer responsible for more than 160 aircraft and their delivery overseas during Desert Storm. He also was a Boeing acceptance test pilot in the CH-47 Chinook.

For more information, go to www.dahf.org.

- Source:  http://www.delawareonline.com

Vietnamese Navy pilots train in Canada

Vietnamese Navy personnel and Canadian instructors 
(Photo courtesy Viking)


In 2013, an initial group of 26 students from the Vietnam People’s Navy completed the first phase of a multi‐year flight and maintenance training program in British Columbia.

On Sept. 22 an additional 10 trainees joined the ranks as certified Twin Otter Series 400 pilots, completing a 20‐month intensive flight training program at Pacific Sky Aviation.
 

The program, offered by Pacific Sky in support of a six‐aircraft deal between the Vietnam Navy and Pacific Sky’s sister company, Viking Air Limited of Sidney, BC, is timed to coincide with production and delivery of the sixth Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft.

More details from Viking’s news release:


As five of the six Series 400 Twin Otters on order from Viking have already been delivered to Vietnam, and the sixth aircraft is scheduled to arrive in‐country in early October, the timing of the graduation if the additional pilots is ideal.

All the Vietnam Twin Otter pilots completed the specialized training program developed in cooperation with the Vietnam Navy, which included: 

  • 6 months of Aviation English Language training
  • Transport Canada Private Pilot and Commercial Licenses
  • 6,000 total hours of flight training
  • Float and Night Ratings on C172, C182 and DHC‐2 Beaver aircraft
  • Over 1,000 total flight hours of Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft training, including 650 hours and 2,100 take‐offs and landings on the coastal waters and lakes of British Columbia.
The graduating students will return to Vietnam where they will be supported in additional on‐the‐job training by a Pacific Sky Twin Otter pilot and a Viking Field Service representative. This team will assist the Vietnam Navy in the further development of Twin Otter capabilities to meet the critical missions performed by the Vietnam Navy.

- Source:  http://ottawacitizen.com

Captain Steve Allright: British Airways pilot eases passengers through flight experience

British Airways pilot and trainer Steve Allright 
Sarah Dea / The National 



Captain Steve Allright, 48, is a British Airways pilot and training captain. He also teaches courses designed to help people conquer a fear of flying. His next “Flying with Confidence” course in the UAE is on October 20 at the Capital Club, Dubai. Here, he talks about a recent day when he flew to New York.

5.30am

I shower and eat a banana on the go. I live in a village 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport, near London. When I moved house a few years ago, I found my project books in our old attic from when I was nine; one on airplanes and the other on birds. So I must have had a fascination with flying even then.

6.45am

I get to the crew car park, jump on the crew bus, then it’s a five-minute journey to terminal 5. It’s there I meet the co-pilot. There are about 500 British Airways co-pilots and 300 captains on our 47 747s, so I’ve never met him before. He’s in training to swap seats from co-pilot to captain pilot. So he still sits in the right-hand seat on the plane, but I let him act as the captain and make all the decisions under my supervision.

7.30am

We’re given paperwork covering the flight time, fuel needed, the weather at our destination and en route any forecast turbulence and defense issues we should know about. Then we do a 15-minute briefing with the 14 cabin crew. We leave the crew report area and go through the same random security checks that passengers go through. We abide by the same rules on how to store liquids, creams and gels, and walk with the passengers to the plane.

8am

The other pilot walks around the outside of the aircraft to check for any obvious issues, meets the dispatcher organizing the departure and the loaders. I set up the navigation computers on board and make sure all those knobs and switches are in the right places. On a long-haul flight, there’s always a tray of sandwiches and chocolate biscuits that cabin crew provide for us when we get on board, which is a treat for us.

8.30am

We depart on time, spend 20 minutes taxiing on the ground before taking off towards the Welsh Hills, and over Ireland. We get our oceanic clearance from the Shanwick Air Traffic Control Center and start flying across the Atlantic. The closest we get to other planes horizontally is 10 minutes apart, but in terms of altitude, we’re only separated by about 1,000 feet. Because airplanes use GPS computers they fly very accurately at all times. We’re on the North Atlantic track and would certainly see other aircraft over or under us. You tend to overtake other planes in a 747.

10.30am

My favorite meal is served; tilapia fish with minted peas and potatoes. We eat different food to passengers. What I love most about flying is looking out of the window. On the way back from New York at nighttime, we see the Northern Lights, which are like an eerie moving green curtain when you’re at altitude, with a few purples sometimes. They’re tens of thousands of miles away in the atmosphere, and change quite rapidly in brightness and shape.

2pm

We do a brief for an hour or so about what we’re expecting for the landing approach. We have to be aware that there are lots of airplanes around us flying into New York, the air traffic controllers speak quickly and the runways there can be quite short. We discuss what speed and altitude we’ll be flying in at. I don’t ever get bored of the fantastic view from Cape Cod down to Long Island, coming into New York.

10.30am NY time (3.30pm UK time)

We land at JFK, taxi to terminal 7 and park the plane. Quite often we have to get towed on to the gate as it’s a very tight stand there. We shut down the engines and do secure checks for the next crew to board. I head through traffic for an hour-and-a-half to the Concorde Hotel in Manhattan, which is operated solely for British Airways staff. I take a shower and relax.

3pm NY time (8pm UK time)

Back to work, this time at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel to run a “Flying with Confidence” course for 12 people. One in four people have a fear of flying, and one in 10 have significant difficulties. There are always business travelers on our courses, people who have to fly every week for business but for whom the fear gets gradually worse each time they fly. For some execs, their fear may be holding back their career. On these courses we discuss issues such as pilot training and how jet streams and storms cause turbulence, but it’s never dangerous. I explain that wings cannot fall off airplanes, and it’s actually the wings that make the airplane fly. So if the engine stops, you can still glide for about 100 miles. I had an engine failure once on a 767 leaving Philadelphia — I diverted to Boston, and the passengers were kept aware of it. That’s the only dangerous thing that’s happened to me in 25 years of flying. My message is: “trust the professionals – we’re the most regulated profession on the planet”. I also teach relaxation techniques people can practice before flying. The Dubai course is five hours; the first took place in February and it was fully booked. One gentleman flew in from Saudi Arabia to attend and there was a Danish lady desperate to visit her family in Denmark.

6pm (11pm UK time)

I finish teaching, grab a slice of pizza and talk to my wife and two kids. FaceTime has changed my life. If I’m away for five days, not only is it lovely to see their faces but it’s lovely to see my garden. It just connects you with home, and when you’re stuck in a hotel room for 50 hours that’s wonderful. My youngest, Adam, has just started university so when I’m going to bed he’s normally just going out. My daughter Holly is 20, she’s on a year out working at British Airways HQ.

7pm (midnight UK time)

I never get jet lag. My wife says I could sleep on a washing line.

- Source: http://www.thenational.ae

Frequent flyer mile programs vary ... Consumer Reports compares deals

Who doesn't want to fly for free?

But can you really get where you want to go using your frequent flyer miles?

To find out, Consumer Reports asked staffers to try booking round-trip tickets using their frequent flyer miles with nine programs: Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue, Southwest, Spirit, United and US Airways.

The staffers searched for a seat on the five most popular U.S. routes Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to New York, Chicago to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to San Francisco, and Atlanta to New York for flights that departed in three days, one month and three months.

The results were just a snapshot in time, but the options were often limited. Staffers had the most choices on Delta, followed by Southwest and US Airways.

The deals also varied widely. Spirit required the most miles for the routes staffers checked, followed by US Airways. And they both charged the highest booking fees: more than $100 for last-minute travel.

The best mileage deals were with Alaska Airlines, followed by JetBlue, American and Delta.

Consumer Reports found that you are usually far better off booking early. For example, on Southwest's Chicago to New York route, a round trip ticket went from around 17,000 miles a month before departure to more than 77,000 for a flight three days away.

On short notice United was the only airline that sometimes lowered the number of miles needed to book a seat.

Whatever you do, Consumer Reports says don't hoard frequent flyer miles. You run the risk that they'll expire.

Consumer Reports says that if you can't book a seat using miles, try calling the frequent-flyer service desk. Agents can sometimes find seats that you can't.

Story and Video:   http://www.ksat.com

Hidden camera found in Honolulu International Airport (PHNL) women's locker room

Concerns about privacy are being raised after a hidden camera was found at Honolulu International Airport. 

 The Department of Public Safety says it is investigating a hidden camera found in a women’s locker room at the airport.

The department said they could not confirm which airline is involved.

KHON2 checked with Hawaiian Airlines who say they understand there is an open investigation into this incident.

KHON2 wanted to know if there was a way to detect these cameras.

“They’re getting smaller, They’re getting less expensive,” said Matt Lau.

They’re even becoming more discreet. Lau works for Cam Security, a company that sells all types of cameras for security purposes.

“They’re primarily for protection that’s the bottom line to protect your property,” said Lau.

While most cameras do remain visible and are used for the security of businesses and homes. These days you can find cameras with a lens as small as a pin hole and even ones that fit in watches.

These little cameras can cause some to worry, but KHON2 News spoke with Lau about a few ways to detect these cameras if you do feel they are being used for the wrong reasons.

“If it’s a wireless camera then you would need an RF signal or radio frequency detector,” said Lau.

But what if it isn’t sending off an RF signal?

Well, that can be a little tricky, but there is still a way.

“You can take a tube and look through it while flashing a light around the room,” said Lau. “Most cameras have a lens, even if they are small, so the light from the flash light should reflect no matter how small it is.”

Finally if the camera has night vision simply turn out the lights in the room and point the camera on your smart phone at the hidden camera. The infrared light from the camera should show up on your smart phone camera.

“The quality is getting a lot better,” said Lau. ” It’s going to be a point where you really want to think before you do anything illegal.”

Story, video and comments:   http://khon2.com

Friday, September 26, 2014

Why PEOPLExpress Closed

By Douglas A. McIntyre 

In an era in which almost all U.S. airlines flourish, a new one, PEOPLExpress, could not make it. The company announced it has suspended service. Like many business enterprises that halt operations, PEOPLExpress said it would be back. In a world crowded by carriers, that is not a good bet.

PEOPLExpress management wrote:

PEOPLExpress today announced that it is temporarily suspending service effective immediately and plans to resume service on or about Oct. 16.

Recent aircraft and crew availability and maintenance issues, including an aircraft recently damaged by a vendor’s truck, an engine change and a lack of a planned spare aircraft, have made it challenging to operate a full schedule, preventing us from delivering the passenger experience we are striving for.

We are currently processing refunds for passengers for flights booked through Oct. 15, which will take five to seven business days. For reservations beyond Oct. 15, passengers will receive a notification by e-mail as soon as our service resumption plans are in place.

PEOPLExpress has successfully served 55,000 passengers on 817 flights since launching service on June 30, demonstrating the need for additional non-stop air service to underserved markets as a result of airline industry consolidation.

Our customers have been very receptive and supportive of our service from the beginning but not being able to complete all of our scheduled flights has been inconsistent with our brand promise to provide a fun, creative and innovative approach to air travel. This difficult business decision affects thousands of loyal customers, and we apologize for the sudden nature of our temporary suspension and thank people for their understanding and support.

We are still committed to restoring the concepts of respect, value and excitement to the air travel experience but to do so successfully we need to enhance our platform to operate aircraft not just safely but also with the ability to provide consistently outstanding schedule integrity.


Among the headwinds the company faces are its size and route systems

It flew from Newport News into extremely competitive markets, which include Boston, New York/Newark, Atlanta, West Palm Beach and Tampa. Each of these is a large destination for at least one the country’s four largest airlines: Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co.

Although there are a few upstart airlines like JetBlue Airways Corp., which has taken a piece of some regions across the country, the industry is too entrenched for such a move to be more than a long shot.

Why PEOPLExpress Suspended Service - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com

Three months after PEOPLExpress Airlines got up in the air, the company has suspended service, effective immediately. 

The setback is temporary, the company said, in a statement. It aims to relaunch "on or about Oct. 16."

"Recent aircraft and crew availability and maintenance issues, including an aircraft recently damaged by a vendor's truck, an engine change and a lack of a promised spare aircraft, have made it challenging to operate a full schedule, preventing us from delivering the passenger experience we are striving for," the company said.

A few minutes after the company issued its statement, it sent a revised release changing the term "promised" aircraft to "planned" aircraft.

 The airline said it is processing refunds for passengers for flights booked through Oct.15. For reservations beyond that time, PEOPLExpress said its passengers will receive a notification as soon as our resumption plans are finalized.

In August, the airline stranded more than 80 passengers when its captain and first officer were unable to fly and there was no back-up crew available. The airline called the scheduling situation a "perfect storm" and said it was working on agreements with other airlines to provide emergency back-ups.

PEOPLExpress started service June 30 on a handful of routes from its headquarters at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia. Base fares for tickets started at $59, with extra fees for checked luggage, use of overhead bin space and even in-flight beverages such as coffee, tea or water.

 The company said 55,000 passengers have so far flown on it 817 flights.

The airline has been flying to Newark, New Jersey; Boston; Pittsburgh; West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta; New Orleans and St. Petersburg, Florida.

On Sept. 3, the company announced it planned to start service between Charleston's Yeager Airport and Orlando International Airport as of Oct. 16. The company said today it still plans to start flying that route as of Oct. 16.

The airline shares its name with a low-cost airline that still stirs fond nostalgia from former passengers. The old PEOPLExpress was based at Newark until it was acquired by Continental, which was then acquired by United. "Other than the name there is no affiliation, however a number of our employees previously worked for the old PEOPLEexpress," CEO Jeff Erickson told CNBC in May.

PEOPLExpress wasn't the only new airline to launch this summer. La Compagnie, an all-business class airline flying between Paris and Newark, started service July 21.

Story and Comments:  http://www.cnbc.com

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, Cougar Aviation LLC, N9103K: Accident occurred July 31, 2014 in Helena, Alabama

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA369
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 31, 2014 in Helena, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-300, registration: N9103K
Injuries: 4 Serious.

NTSB investigators may 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 had the airplane completely fueled before departing on a cross-country flight. The departure was uneventful, and the airplane was cruising about 2,500 ft above ground level and was about 2 hours into the planned 3 hour 30 minute flight when the pilot noted that the engine power did not seem correct despite all of the gauges indicating normal. He chose to divert to a nearby airport; however, the engine began to lose power at that point, and it then lost all power as the airplane was descending toward the airport. The airplane subsequently impacted trees about 1 mile south of the airport, and a postcrash fire consumed the wreckage. A witness near the accident site reported observing the engine sputtering and black smoke emanating from the right side of the airplane as it flew overhead. Examination of the engine revealed that one propeller blade was bent aft and exhibited chordwise scratches. The other blade exhibited an outward bend at the tip. The top spark plugs were removed; all of their electrodes were intact and gray or oil-soaked in color, except for the No. 6 spark plug, which exhibited dark soot. Further examination of the No. 6 cylinder did not reveal any other anomalies. The valve covers were removed, and oil was noted throughout the engine. When the propeller was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section, and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The magnetos, engine-driven fuel pump, vacuum pump, and fuel injector exhibited thermal damage from the postcrash fire and could not be tested. The postcrash fire damage precluded a determination of the cause of the loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined due to postcrash fire damage. 

On July 31, 2014, about 1352 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N9103K, operated by a private individual, was destroyed during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Helena, Alabama. The private pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Dickson Municipal Airport (M02), Dickson, Tennessee. The flight originated from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), Panama City, Florida, about 1142. 

The pilot reported that the airplane was completely fueled prior to departure. The departure was uneventful and the airplane was cruising at 2,500 feet mean sea level. About 2 hours into the flight, the pilot noted that the engine power did not seem correct, despite all the gauges indicating normal. He elected to divert to Bessemer Airport (EKY), Bessemer, Alabama; however, the engine began to lose power at that point and then lost all power as the airplane was descending toward EKY. The propeller continued to windmill as the pilot glided the airplane toward EKY. The pilot also switched fuel tanks and activated the electric fuel pump in effort to restore engine power, but was unsuccessful. The airplane impacted trees about 1 mile south of EKY. During the impact with trees, the airplane rolled inverted and then impacted the ground. All four occupants were able to egress before the airplane was consumed by a postcrash fire. 

A witness, who was a firefighter standing outside a fire station near the accident site, observed the accident airplane flying northwest. The witness stated that the engine was sputtering and black smoke was emanating from the right side of the airplane. The smoke seemed to darken as the airplane flew further away from his view. He was then dispatched to the airplane accident about 5 minutes later. 

A handheld Garmin 496 GPS was recovered from the cockpit and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, DC. Data were successfully downloaded and plots were created of the accident flight. 

The airplane was manufactured in 1978 and equipped with a Lycoming IO-540, 300-horsepower engine. A factory rebuild was completed on the engine in 2002. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on July 3, 2014. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 2,888 total hours and the engine had accumulated 866 hours since the factory rebuild.

Post-accident examination by an NTSB investigator revealed a majority of the airplane was consumed by postcrash fire and the engine was partially separated from the airframe. One propeller blade was bent aft and exhibited chordwise scratches. The other blade exhibited an outward bend at the tip. The top spark plugs were removed; their electrodes were intact and gray or oil soaked in color, except for the No. 6 spark plug, which exhibited dark soot. A borescope examination of the No. 6 cylinder did not reveal any other anomalies. The valve covers were removed and oil was noted throughout the engine. When the propeller was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The magnetos, engine driven fuel pump, vacuum pump, and fuel injector exhibited thermal damage from the postcrash fire and could not be tested. The oil filter and fuel flow divider also exhibited thermal damage. The fuel injector valve was open. The propeller governor oil screen and oil sump screen were absent of debris. The fuel injector nozzles were also absent of debris.

http://registry.faa.gov/N9103K

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA369
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 31, 2014 in Helena, AL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-300, registration: N9103K
Injuries: 4 Serious.

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 have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 31, 2014, about 1400 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N9103K, operated by a private individual, was destroyed during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Helena, Alabama. The private pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Dickson Municipal Airport (M02), Dickson, Tennessee. The flight originated from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), Panama City, Florida, about 1230.

During an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot reported that the airplane was completely fueled prior to departure. The departure was uneventful and the airplane was cruising at 2,500 feet mean sea level. About 205 nautical miles into the trip, the engine suddenly lost all power without any prior indication or anomalies. The propeller continued to windmill as the pilot glided the airplane toward Bessemer Airport (EKY), Bessemer, Alabama. The airplane impacted trees about 1 mile south of EKY. During the impact with trees, the airplane rolled inverted and then impacted the ground. All four occupants were able to egress before the airplane was consumed by a postcrash fire.

A handheld Garmin 496 GPS was recovered from the cockpit and retained for further examination. The engine was also retained for further examination.





 
Katey Hargrove 
(from Facebook)


Just two months after being seriously injured in a plane crash in Alabama, Dickson County High School senior Katey Hargrove will be crowned 2014 Homecoming queen Friday night.

DCHS students elected Hargrove to be queen earlier this month following her return to school.

The 17-year-old daughter of Joyce Norman and Vince Hargrove, Katey suffered a broken back when her boyfriend’s family’s plane crashed July 31 in Alabama.

Dan and Sharon Smith, son Andy and Hargrove were returning to Dickson from Panama City, Florida, when the plane developed engine trouble and crashed near Helena, Alabama, while trying to reach the Bessemer Airport.

All four suffered numerous injuries including broken bones and were assisted by witnesses in getting away from the  Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six before it was engulfed in flames.

Hargrove underwent surgery in Birmingham for a fractured vertebra in the days immediately after the wreck and managed to walk wearing a back brace with a walker in the days following. She was the first victim to be released from the hospital and returned to Dickson but was still unable to begin her senior year at DCHS for several weeks.

Hargrove and her court will ride in the parade through Dickson starting at 1 pm Friday and then celebrate the coronation ceremony in Dickson County Stadium at 6:30 pm prior to the game between the Cougars and Wilson Central.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have not released the results of their investigation into the crash.


- Source:  http://wdkn.com

(L-R) Andy Smith, Katey Hargrove, Dan Smith and Sharon Smith. 











Cessna 525A CitationJet CJ2, CREX-MML LLC, N194SJ: Fatal accident occurred September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA430 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 525A, registration: N194SJ
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

The private pilot was returning to his home airport; the approach was normal, and the airplane landed within the runway touchdown zone markings and on the runway centerline. About midfield, the airplane started to drift to the right side of the runway, and during the landing roll, the nose pitched up suddenly and dropped back down. The airplane veered off the runway and impacted the 1,000-ft runway distance remaining sign and continued to travel in a right-hand turn until it impacted a hangar. The airplane came to rest inside the hangar, and the damage to the structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A postaccident fire quickly ensued. The subsequent wreckage examination did not reveal any mechanical anomalies with the airplane's engines, flight controls, steering, or braking system. 

A video study was conducted using security surveillance video from a fixed-base operator located midfield, and the study established that the airplane was not decelerating as it passed through midfield. Deceleration was detected after the airplane had veered off the runway and onto the parking apron in front of the rows of hangars it eventually impacted. Additionally, video images could not definitively establish that the flaps were deployed during the landing roll. However, the flaps were deployed as the airplane veered off the runway and into the hangar, but it could not be determined to what degree. To obtain maximum braking performance, the flaps should be placed in the ”ground flap” position immediately after touchdown. The wreckage examination determined that the flaps were in the ”ground flap” position at the time the airplane impacted the hangar. 

Numerous personal electronic devices that had been onboard the airplane provided images of the passengers and unrestrained pets, including a large dog, with access to the cockpit during the accident flight. Although the unrestrained animals had the potential to create a distraction during the landing roll, there was insufficient information to determine their role in the accident sequence or what caused the delay in the pilot’s application of the brakes.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to adequately decrease the airplane’s ground speed or maintain directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with an airport sign and structure and a subsequent postcrash fire.

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On September 29, 2013, at 1820 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 525A Citation, N194SJ, veered off the right side of runway 21 and collided with a hangar at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, California. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to CREX-MML LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Hailey, Idaho, about 1614.

Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing, on centerline and within the runway touchdown zone markings. The airplane started to drift to the right side of the runway during the roll out, the nose pitched up suddenly and dropped back down, then the airplane veered off the runway, and impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign. It continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing. The airplane came to rest inside the hangar, and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued.

On-scene examination of the wreckage and runway revealed that there was no airplane debris on the runway. The three landing gear tires were inflated and exhibited no unusual wear patterns. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower local controller reported that the pilot did not express over the radio any problems prior to or during the landing.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 63, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single & multiengine land, and instrument airplane, issued March 27, 2004, and a third-class medical certificate issued May 21, 2012, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's current logbook was not located. An examination of copies from the pilot's previous logbook showed the last entry was dated June 5-7, 2009, and totaled his flight time as 3,463.1 hours, with 1,236.2 hours in the Cessna 525A. On the pilot's May 21, 2012, application for his FAA medical certificate he reported 3,500 hours total time, and 125 hours within the previous 6 months. The pilot had logbook endorsements from Flight Safety International, Orlando, Florida, for flight reviews and proficiency checks dated January 19, 2002, November 2, 2002, November, 15, 2003, June 4, 2004, March 2, 2005, March 22, 2006, March 21, 2007, and March 31, 2008. Training records provided by Flight Safety showed that he had completed the Citation Jet (CE525) 61.58 Recurrent PIC training on February, 27, 2013.

The person occupying the right seat in the cockpit was a non-pilot rated passenger.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low wing, six-seat, retractable landing gear, business jet, serial number 525A0194, was manufactured in 2003, and was based at the Santa Monica Airport. It was powered by two Williams International FJ44-2C engines, each capable of producing 2,400 pounds of static thrust at sea level. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent maintenance was performed on September 7, 2013, and included hydrostatic test of the fire extinguisher bottles, battery functional check, pitot-static system check, transponder calibration check, visual corrosion inspections on the landing gear and horizontal/vertical stabilizer spars, and a generator control unit wire bundle service bulletin. The records showed that as of September 7, the total airframe hours were 1,932.8. Total time on the number one engine (SN 126257) was 1,932.8 hours with 1,561 cycles, and the total time on the number two engine (SN 126256) was 1,932.8 hours with 1,561 cycles. Total landings were 1,561. The aircraft was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.


Flap Position & Speed Brakes

The flap system description from the Cessna 525 Operating Manual states: "The trailing edge flaps are electrically controlled and hydraulically actuated by the main hydraulic system. Normal flap travel is from 0 to 35 degrees and any intermediate position can be selected. A mechanical detent is installed at the takeoff and approach (15 degrees) position of the flap lever. The full flap position (35 degrees) is reached by pushing down on the flap lever when passing through the takeoff and approach detent."

"The flaps have an additional position called GROUND FLAPS (60 degrees) which provides additional drag during the landing roll."

The speed brake system description from the Operating Manual states: "The speed brakes are installed on the upper and lower surfaces of each wing to permit rapid rates of descent, rapid deceleration, and to spoil lift during landing roll. The speed brakes are electrically controlled and hydraulically actuated by a switch located on the throttle quadrant and may be selected to the fully extended or fully retracted positions. When the speed brakes are fully extended a white SPD BRK EXTEND annunciator will illuminate to remind the pilot of the deployed status of the speed brakes. The angular travel for the upper speed brake panels is 49 degrees, +2 or -2 degrees and the lower panels travel 68 degrees, +2 or -2 degrees. The lower speed brake panels close with the upper panel. The speed brakes will also automatically deploy when GROUND FLAPS position or selected on the flap handle."

Brake System

The brake system description from the Operating Manual states: "An independent power brake and anti-skid system is used for wheel braking. The closed center hydraulic system is comprised of an independent power pack assembly (pump, electric motor, and filter), accumulator and reservoir which provides pressurized hydraulic fluid to the brake metering valve and anti-skid valve. A hand-controllable pneumatic emergency brake valve is provided in the event of a power brake failure. Pneumatic pressure is transmitted to the brakes though a shuttle valve integral to each brake assembly."

"The brake metering valve regulated a maximum of 1,000 psi +50/-20 psi to the brakes based upon pilot/copilot input to the left and right rudder pedals. RPM transducers at each wheel sense the onset of a skid and transmit information to the anti-skid control box. The anti-skid control box reduces brake pressure by sending electronic inputs to the anti-skid valve. Pressure to the brake metering valve is controlled by mechanical input through a bellcrank and push-rod system from either the pilot or the copilot's rudder pedals. A manually operated parking brake valve allows the pilot to increase the brake pressure while the brake is set, and provide thermal relief at 1,200 psi. After thermal relief, pressure will drop to no less than 600 psi, and the pilot or copilot must restore full brake pressure prior to advancing both engines to take-off power."

"Pneumatic pressure from the emergency air bottle is available as a backup to the normal system."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Recorded weather data from the Santa Monica Airport automated surface observation system (ASOS elevation 177 feet) at 1824 showed the wind was from 240 degrees at 4 knots, visibility was 10 statute miles with clear sky, temperature was 21 degrees C and dew point 12 degrees C, and the altimeter was 29.97 inHg.

Sun position was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) solar position calculator. The Los Angeles location of 34 degrees, 3 minutes, 0 seconds latitude, and 118 degrees, 13 minutes, 59 seconds longitude was used for the solar position calculation on September 29, 2013, at 1820 PDT. The solar azimuth was calculated to be 264.33 degrees, and solar elevation was 3.59 degrees above the horizon. This position placed the Sun near horizon level, about 54 degrees to the right of the centerline of runway 21.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), is at an elevation of 177 feet msl. The airport consists of a single 4,973 by 150-foot asphalt/grooved runway oriented southwest to northeast (03/21), with a downhill gradient to the west of 1.2%. There are no overrun areas for either runway, and the departure end of runway 21 terminates in an approximately 50-foot drop off into residential housing to the west and south (residential homes are located approximately 220 feet from the departure end of both runways). Along the last 3rd of the northern side of runway 21 are privately-owned hangars with an approximately 30-foot rising embankment behind the hangars. The runway physical condition was good with no evidence of broken asphalt, debris, pot holes, or water on the runway at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE & IMPACT INFORMATION

Visible tire track marks from the right main landing gear tire on the runway started at 2,840 feet from the threshold of runway 21; the airplane veered right, colliding with the 1,000-foot runway remaining sign, crossing over the tarmac between taxiway A2 and A1, and finally colliding with the last row of hangars on the northwest corner of the airport. The tire marks on the runway consisted of light scuff marks from the right main landing gear tire and became dark black transfer marks of all three landing gear tires after the airplane had veered off the runway and impacted the 1,000-foot remaining sign. The collision with the hangar resulted in the hangar collapsing over the airplane. A post-accident fire erupted, damaging adjacent hangars.

The collapsed hangar structure was lifted using cranes and shored up using wood timbers. The wreckage was removed by attaching chains to the airframe structure and pulling it out of the hangar with a forklift loader. The fuselage had separated from the wing structure in scissor fashion. The fuselage had rotated counter clockwise about 60 degrees around the longitudinal axis so that the cabin door was pointed towards the ground. The pilot was located in the left front seat, an adult female passenger was in the right front seat, an adult female was located with her back against the cabin door, and an adult male was sitting in a right-hand seat mid cabin. The remains of two cats and a dog were also located within the cabin. The tail section aft of the pressure bulkhead was exposed to extreme heat/fire. The nose landing gear was extended with the wheel and tire attached to the mount. The continuity between the nose wheel steering linkage up to the cockpit rudder pedals was verified. The tire was inflated and exhibited no usual wear.

The right wing had separated from the fuselage at the attach points. The wing spar had broken outboard of the wheel well rib, and a semicircular leading edge indentation was evident at the fuel filler cap location. Aileron and flaps were attached to the wing, and the speed brake/spoiler was deployed. The aileron control cable was attached to the aileron bell crank and the cables were traced to the center fuselage. The right main landing gear was extended with the wheel and tire attached. The tire was inflated and did not exhibit any unusual bald or flat spots.

The tail section aft of the pressure bulkhead separated from the airframe due to extreme fire damage, and was the only part of the airplane that remained outside of the collapsed hangar structure. The horizontal stabilizer was present with both elevators attached. The vertical stabilizer was present with the rudder attached. Both engines remained attached to their respective engine mounts. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT), manufactured by ACR Electronics, was located in the tail section, exhibited minor heat damage and was transmitting during the time immediately following the accident.

The left wing exhibited extreme fire damage at the wing root, and the wing extending outboard of the root was discolored gray/black. There was slight denting along the leading edge of the wing. The flap and aileron were attached to the wing, and the speed brake/spoiler was deployed. The aileron control cables were traced from the aileron bell crank to the center fuselage section.

The fuel control cables were attached to both engines fuel control units; both engine's bleed valves were movable. The left engine N1 section had seized and the visible fan blades were free of dirt or soot. The right engine N1 section could be rotated by hand, and the intake fan blades were evenly coated with black soot. Borescope examination of the high pressure compressor of both engines showed soot and small particulate matter within the compressor section, consistent with the engines operating while ingesting smoke, soot, and ash.


MEDICAL & PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 3, 2013, by the Los Angeles County Coroner. The cause of death was ascribed to the combined effects of inhalation of combustion products and thermal burns.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology on specimen from the pilot with negative results for ethanol, and positive results for 10 ug acetaminophen detected in urine, and Rosuvastatin detected in urine.

An autopsy was performed on the passenger, who was in the cockpit's right seat, on October 3, 2013, by the Los Angeles County Coroner. The cause of death was ascribed to the combined effects of inhalation of combustion products and thermal burns.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology on specimen from the passenger with negative results for ethanol, and positive results for 0.077 ug/ml diazepam detected in liver, 0.042 ug/ml diazepam detected in blood, 0.524 ug/ml dihydrocodeine detected in liver, 0.109 ug/ml dihydrocodenine detected in blood, 0.659 ug/ml hydrocodone detected in liver, 0.258 ug/ml hydrocodone detected in blood, 0.132 ug/ml nordiazepam detected liver, and 0.064 ug/ml nordiazepam detected in blood.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Brake System Examinations

The following airplane brake system components were removed from the wreckage; skid control unit fault display, left and right wheel transducers, brake control valve assembly, and the skid control box. The components were examined at Crane Aerospace, Burbank, California, on January 22, 2014, under the oversight of the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC). Each component was examined and tested per Crane Aerospace acceptance testing procedures. No discrepancies or anomalies were identified that would have precluded normal operation of the components. The complete examination report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Both the left and right main brake assemblies were examined at UTC Aerospace Systems, Troy, Ohio, under the oversight of the NTSB IIC, on February 11, 2014. A hydraulic fitting was placed on the primary port of the shuttle valve and pressurized to 100 psi. No leakage was observed, piston movement was observed on all 5 pistons, and the rotors could not be moved by hand. Hydraulic pressure was released and adjuster assemblies were observed to return to their normal position. The system was pressurized to 850 psi, no leaks were observed and the rotors could not be moved by hand. The wear pins extensions indicated about 2/3 wear on both brake assemblies. The system held pressure at 850 psi for 5 minutes. The system was depressurized to 9 psi. The pistons retracted and a feeler gauge measured a gap between rotor and stator disks. The hydraulic fitting was removed from the primary port and placed on the pneumatic port (emergency system). When pressurized to 100 psi the shuttle valve could be heard to move from primary to emergency, indicating the last actuation was via the normal (primary) brake system. The system was pressurized to 850 psi, no leaks were observed, and piston movement was evident. The complete examination factual report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

The parking brake valve assembly had been exposed to extreme thermal heat and was deformed in such a way that disassembly by normal means was impossible. To determine the parking brake internal configuration and condition, the parking brake valve was subjected to x-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning. The scanning was conducted from April 29-30, 2014. The scans were performed by Varian Medical Systems, Inc., under the direction of the NTSB using the Varian Actis 500/225 microfocus CT system CT system. The components were scanned using a total of 1,522 slices. The images were examined for any signs of missing or damaged parts, contamination, or any other anomalies. Nothing was identified in the scan images that would have precluded normal operation of the parking brake. The complete examination factual report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) Data

The EGPWS was removed from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for further examination. The accident flight was identified as flight leg 1592. Only warning data pertaining to the event flight The data in the warning file for flight leg 1592 began recording at operational time 2614:08:08. The event that triggered this recording was an excessive bank angle warning that occurred at 2614:08:28 operational time, when the aircraft was at about 15,000 feet about 3 minutes after takeoff. There were no other warnings on the accident flight. The landing time was recorded as 2616:08:04. The complete examination factual report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

The complete EGPWS Factual Report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Airplane Performance Study

Available information for the accident flight included the radar track, ground marks from the aircraft's tires, and airport security camera footage.

Radar data was used to describe the accident airplane's ground track, altitude, speed, and estimated attitude on approach to the airport. Radar data was obtained from the Los Angeles, California, LAXA ASR-9 (airport surveillance radar), and sampled at 4.5-second intervals. The radar is approximately 5.5 nautical miles (NM) from the aircraft's final location. The aircraft approached Santa Monica from the northeast. The last radar return was recorded at 18:20:26 PDT, about 1,500 ft before the airport threshold. The aircraft's groundspeed final groundspeed was about 115 kts. Wind was 4 kts from 240°, which would have added a slight headwind when landing on runway 21. The approach speed (VAPP) for the 525A for 15° of flaps is between 98 kts indicated airspeed (for 8,000 lbs landing weight) and 122 kts (for 12,375 lbs landing weight). The aircraft's glide slope during the approach was 3.9°. Runway 21 at Santa Monica has a four light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) for a 4.00° glide slope.

The rubber tire marks left by the aircraft on the runway and other paved surfaces were photographed and their locations recorded. The first tire mark was found about 2,800 ft from the threshold of runway 21 and 35 ft right of the centerline. The aircraft's path was determined by connecting the recorded tire marks. Aircraft braking causes rubber from the tires to be deposited onto the runway. The tire marks consist of light scuff while on the runway, but become heavy and dark once the airplane departs the runway veering off to the right.

Six security cameras at the airport recorded the accident sequence. The airplane was first recorded on the ground and approximately 2,000 ft from the runway 21 approach threshold. Additional configuration information, such as flap or spoiler settings or thrust reverser deployment could not be determined from the video due to low resolution. However, the average speed of the aircraft was estimated for each camera recording. The calculated speeds do not uniformly decrease between camera views partially due to the uncertainty of estimating the speed from video. The calculated ground speeds as the airplane passed through mid field varied between 82 knots and 68 knots, with a calculated average of 75 knots. The details of the speed calculations can be found in the NTSB Video Study.

Cessna Aircraft Company provided data from two exemplar landings and ground rolls for a Citation 525A. The data included distance along the runway, calibrated airspeed, GPS speed, left and right brake pressures, brake pedal inputs, and flaps. To compare the exemplar and the accident aircraft landings and ground rolls, it was assumed that all aircraft touched down at the 1,000 ft mark. Assuming a 1,000 ft touchdown point, the first speed estimate is about 10 kts faster than the exemplar ground rolls at the same location. This may indicate that during the first 1,000 ft of the ground roll, the accident aircraft was decelerating near as expected. The exemplar aircraft slowed to a stop more than 1,700 ft before the accident aircraft impacted the hanger.

The aircraft's flight path, altitude, and calculated speeds during the approach were consistent with the standard approach for a Citation 525A into SMO. The aircraft's ground roll was longer and faster than exemplar landings. Tire marks indicate braking occurred late in the ground roll. The aircraft's flap and spoiler settings and thrust reverser deployment are unknown. A reason for the lack of normal deceleration could not be determined using the available data.

The complete Aircraft Performance Factual Report is available in the public docket of this investigation.

Personal Electronic Devices (PED)

Five PED's were recovered from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for examination. The laboratory was unable to recover data from three of the devices, however, data was recovered from the remaining two devices.

An Apple iPhone 4 contained text messages and photo activity just before and during the accident flight. A text message "Leaving the Valley" and a photo showing a woman in the right cockpit seat of the airplane before departure. A video captured the takeoff from Hailey, Idaho. The phone contained 14 in-flight photos. A photo of the instrument panel showed a climb through 37,300 feet, airspeed was 251 knots, and the anti-skid switch was in the up (ON) position. One photo was oriented aft into the cabin. In the foreground was a large, red/brown-haired dog in the aisle with its head towards the camera and torso forward of the rearward-facing seats; and in the background were two people seated (each with a cat in their lap) in the forward-facing seats. Another photo showed the dog further forward and both cats were now on the lap of one of the occupants. None of the animals were restrained or caged. Most of the remaining photos were pointed outside the airplane.

None of the content on the iPad 2 was from the accident flight, however, it did contain pertinent photos and video related to N194SJ. The iPad contained a low resolution, 52-second, video of the airplane taking off from the Santa Monica Airport on an undetermined date. The video was taken from a position consistent with the right cockpit seat and began as the airplane started its takeoff roll. About 10 seconds into the video, the camera panned left showing the interior of the cockpit. A red/brown-haired dog (same as was seen in the iPhone 4's images), was positioned facing forward with its nose about 18 inches aft of the throttle quadrant. As the airplane rotated, 19 seconds into the video, a person in the cockpit said "…you want to be up front too, huh?" The video then panned outside to show a row of hangers on the right, then the ocean, and generally clear skies. The video ended with Santa Monica Tower directing N194SJ to contact "SoCal departure."

The full PED Factual Report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

Surveillance Video

The NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division's Image Laboratory received two files containing images from 9 unique security camera feeds from a Bosch DIVAR 700 Series recorder. The recording contained six camera streams and captured the accident sequence and subsequent Airport Rescue Firefighting (ARFF). The six camera streams contained images from cameras 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 17, each of which captured the accident aircraft at some portion during its landing roll and subsequent impact with the hangar structure. The recording provided was 1 hour 40 minutes and 5 seconds in length. The beginning portion of the recording showed the landing roll and impact and the remainder of the recordings showed subsequent ARFF activities related to the accident The video file was provided by a local Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and the majority of the cameras (3, 4, 7, 8, and 9) were recorded from a cluster of locations near the FBO ramp entrance area. Camera 17 was mounted remotely on a different area of the airport property.

Images from the collection of cameras in this feed showed view of portions of runway 03/21 and the ramp area of the fixed base operator. Cameras 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 were oriented toward the southeast and showed the ramp area and the center portion of runway 03/21. Camera 17 faced southwest toward an aircraft parking area and a distant group of hangar structures on the boundary of the airport's property. The camera locations were evaluated in chronological order of the aircraft's appearance in each camera's field of view. The aircraft was first captured by camera 7 as it moved toward the departure end of runway 21, and last captured in camera 17 as it impacted the hangar structure. The aircraft was assumed to be on the centerline of runway 03/21 until it is out of view of camera 4.

Camera 7 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown behind an open hangar structure. Calculated average speed of the airplane was 82.5 knots.

Camera 8 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of an open hangar door on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 75.2 knots.

Camera 3 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of the corner of a large hangar structure on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 68.1 knots.

Camera 4 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left corner of the frame as the cockpit area of the fuselage is shown in front of the three chimney structure on the far side of runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 70.7 knots.

Camera 9 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left-hand corner of the recording as the fuselage is shown traveling down runway 03/21. Calculated average groundspeed was 79.0 knots.

Camera 17 - The aircraft first appears in the upper left-hand corner of the recording as the nose of the aircraft is shown veering towards a tarmac area between runway 03/21 and the intersection of Taxiway A1 and Taxiway A. A trajectory was estimated using photographs from the on-scene portion of the investigation which showed witness marks from the aircraft's tires as it moved toward the impact location. This trajectory was used to calculate the overall distance the aircraft traveled through the measurable segment. Calculated average groundspeed was 50.5 knots.

The accident aircraft's speed can be averaged throughout a portion of runway 03/21 that is not covered by security camera footage. An image from camera 9 in which the aircraft is shown passing behind a hangar structure near the FBO's ramp area at a recorded common timestamp and the nose of the accident aircraft appears 9.75 seconds later on camera 17. The calculated distance the airplane traveled was approximately 1,040 feet, providing an estimated average groundspeed of 63.2 knots.

The calculated average groundspeed for the airplane as it passed through the field of view of each camera in sequential order is summarized in the following table.

Camera 7 82.5 kts
Camera 8 75.2 kts
Camera 3 68.1 kts
Camera 4 70.7 kts
Camera 9 79.0 kts
Between 9 – 17 63.2 kts
Camera 17 50.5 kts



Exported still images from each camera position were examined to attempt to make a determination of the accident aircraft's flap position. The still images selected were the best examples of potential flap position recognition. Still images from cameras 7, 8, 3, 4, and 9, provided inconclusive results as to flap position. Camera 17 provided an image that showed the flaps deployed, however, the extent of flap deployment could not be quantified.

The complete Video Study Factual Report is available in the official docket of this investigation.

CREX-MML LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N194SJ
 
NTSB Identification: WPR13FA430
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 525A, registration: N194SJ
Injuries: 4 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 29, 2013, at 1820 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 525A Citation, N194SJ, veered off the right side of runway 21 and collided with a hangar at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California.  The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to CREX-MML LLC, and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91 flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated at Hailey, Idaho, about 1614.

Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing.  The airplane traveled down the right side of the runway, eventually veered off the runway, impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign, continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing.  The airplane came to rest inside the hangar and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued.

On-scene examination of the wreckage and runway revealed that there was no airplane debris on the runway. The three landing gear tires were inflated and exhibited no unusual wear patterns. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower local controller reported that the pilot did not express over the radio any problems prior to or during the landing.



The city of Santa Monica has filed a negligence suit against the heirs of the pilot of a small plane that crashed into the local airport and killed four people on  September 29, 2013.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the estate of Mark Benjamin as well as the Cessna 525A Citation’s owner, CREX-MML LLC. 

The suit seeks more than $54,000 in cleanup costs stemming from the crash.

According to the lawsuit, the city’s expenses related to the accident included removing plane debris from the runway, securing the site until the Santa Monica Fire Department finished its investigation and the conducting of testing to see whether hydrocarbons from the plane and chemicals from the fire suppressant foam seeped into the soil.

The suit alleges Benjamin negligently landed the aircraft by veering to the right side of the runway and striking some objects before hitting a hangar.

The complaint further alleges that the estate did not respond to a creditor’s claim filed April 17.

Robert Given, the personal representative of the Benjamin estate, could not be immediately reached.

Killed in the Sept. 29, 2013, crash were Benjamin, 63, the president of a Santa Monica-based construction company; his son Lucas, 28; Lucas Benjamin’s girlfriend, 28-year-old Lauren Winkler; and Kyla Dupont, 53.

A report released last year by the National Transportation Safety Board found that all of the tires were inflated and there was no debris on the runway when the plane slammed into the hangar and burst into flames. 


The hangar collapsed onto the plane, which had taken off from Hailey, Idaho.

Last Nov. 4, three sons of Dupont also sued the Benjamin estate. Charles Dupont, Elliot Dupont and Jackson Dupont allege Benjamin failed to maintain  proper control over the plane, did not act “reasonably in the ownership of the plane,” did not undertake the necessary actions to accomplish a safe flight, did not act reasonably in landing the plane and failed to keep it in good repair.


- Source:   http://westsidetoday.com


November 2013:  Wrongful-Death Lawsuit Filed In Santa Monica Plane Crash
 
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Three sons who lost their mother in a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the estate of the aircraft’s pilot, alleging negligence.

Kyla Dupont, 53, was killed aboard a Cessna 525A CitationJet CJ2 aircraft that went off the runway Sept. 29 before colliding with a runway sign and crashing into a hangar. The hangar collapsed on the plane, which then caught on fire. Authorities said the blaze, which spread to two nearby hangars, burned at unusually high temperatures due to jet fuel.

Kyla Dupont’s sons Charles Dupont, Elliot Dupont and Jackson Dupont brought the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the pilot failed to maintain proper control over the plane, did not undertake the necessary actions to achieve a safe flight, acted unreasonably in the landing of the plane and failed to maintain the aircraft with proper repairs.

Mark Benjamin, the 63-year-old president of Santa Monica-based construction company Morley Builders, was believed to be at the controls at the time of the crash. The passengers were returning from a trip to Hailey, Idaho.

Benjamin’s 28-year-old son Lucas and 28-year-old Lauren Winkler, Lucas’ girlfriend,  were also killed in the crash.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from the estate of Mark Benjamin and Malibu-based MML Investments LLC, a real estate and aircraft management company. A representative for the Benjamin estate could not be reached for comment.

The cause of the crash remains unclear. A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation found no debris on the runway at the time of the crash and said all four of the aircraft’s tires were inflated upon landing.

At the time of the crash, NTSB officials said the pilot never contacted authorities stating there was a problem.

Source:   http://losangeles.cbslocal.com


Pilot and three passengers were killed in a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport Sept. 29, 2013: Lauren Winkler, 28, top left; Mark Benjamin, 63, top right; Luke Benjamin, bottom left; Kyla Dupont, 53, bottom right.


 


Engines and wings are part of two loads of damaged aircraft hauled away from Santa Monica Airport.  Santa Monica Airport Operations Administrator Stelios Makrides said the trucks contained the Cessna jet that crashed Sunday and a prop plane that was burned when the jet hit a storage hangar at the airport.