Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Braden Airpark (N43) will stay open

Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority members Tuesday decided to keep Braden Airpark open until the authority can find someone else to take it over.

The decision, applauded by the small plane pilots who use the 80-acre Forks Township airfield, brings an end to nearly two years in which the cash-strapped authority threatened to sell the land to a developer or even mothball Braden to avoid putting more money into it.

In the end, the authority's Braden Ad Hoc Committee realized it simply can't afford to sell or close the 76-year-old community airport. The best financial option is to keep it open, even if that means losing money annually.

"We have to keep it open while exploring other options," said Marc Troutman, authority chairman. "It's time to move on without allowing this to consume the whole board."

Technically, the decision will need a final vote by the full board, but the committee's decision was unanimous. Board passage is expected to be a formality.

That's good new for pilots, who have been fighting to keep the airport open since Authority Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. told the board it should consider selling the money losing airport. Everett has said in addition to the $160,000 a year in debt payments the authority makes on Braden, it also loses $50,000 to $70,000 a year in operating expenses.

"We're thrilled that they've removed the dark cloud that's been hanging over Braden," said Robert Brown, a member of a group of pilots trying to save it. "We're still here to be their safety net. They should take advantage of our willingness to operate and improve Braden."

Pilots argue that before the authority refused to give longtime Braden operator, Moyer Aviation, a long-term lease last year, it was home to 70 pilots and brought in $55,000 a year in lease payments from Moyer. But with its future uncertain, the number of pilots has dropped to 31 and it costs the authority about $4,000 per month — beyond debt payments — to keep it open.

The decision for the authority to keep running it came after an impassioned plea by several pilots who attended the special meeting at the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

"I grew up at [Braden]. My son will be 16 next summer and he wants to take his first flight there," said Tom Fox, of Palmer Township. "Please keep this airport open."

The uncertainty over Braden rose as the authority decided in 2012 to consider selling off unnecessary assets to raise money to help it pay off a $26 million court judgment against it for seizing a developer's land in the 1990s.

Braden was deemed to be an expendable asset as the board looked for a way to avoid at least some of the more than $200,000-a-year costs of keeping it open and the $500,000 in capital improvements that need done in the next few years.

The board considered selling Braden, taking a $1.75 million bid from a pilots group that wanted to keep it open, and a $3 million bid from New Jersey developer J.G. Petrucci, who proposed closing it for business development. But the pilots' offer wasn't enough for the authority to pay off its $3 million Braden bond debt, and while the Petrucci bid would have been enough to pay off that debt, it wasn't enough to repay up to $2.9 million in state grants that would have to be returned if the airport was shut down.

That left the board with the three options. One would have the authority continue running the airfield for the 31 pilots who still use it, while paying $160,000 in debt payments.

A second option was to mothball it at an annual loss of about $179,000 a year until the authority completes its $10 million sale of airport land in Allentown, and then reinvesting in and reopening Braden later. But that was deemed not financially sound because it's unclear how soon the state would demand its grants be repaid, and whether the airport could even come back after closing.

The third option would have allowed the pilot's group to run Braden. Pilots say they have the support of Northampton County, where County Executive and County Council members have said they may be willing to help pay for the $400,000 to $500,000 worth of capital improvements that would include adding 300 feet to the 2,000-foot runway.

In the end Tuesday, because the committee could get no commitment from Northampton County for the money, authority members chose option one, while leaving out hope option three remains a possibility. Ideally, they said, they'll arrive at a deal that will allow the pilots to lease or buy it, with help from some county funding.

That may get pilots to return, making it possible for the airport to be profitable again, pilots say.

So, after 18 months of sometimes heated talks, the authority arrived where it started. Why?

"Because there is no other option," board member Bob Buesing said.

- Source:  http://www.mcall.com

U.S., Europe Differ on Real-Time Aircraft-Tracking Rules • Airbus to Put New Type of Floating ‘Black Boxes’ on Future Models

The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor

Oct. 7, 2014 3:17 p.m. ET

U.S., European and international air-safety authorities appear to be heading in different directions when it comes to requiring real-time tracking of airliners or mandating installation of video recorders in their cockpits.

The splits, which emerged during a public forum Tuesday by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, suggest that global agreement on standards and regulations affecting such key safety enhancements is likely to be difficult—and most likely will take years.

The Federal Aviation Administration, for example, isn’t currently drafting rules that would mandate enhanced tracking of planes or putting video devices inside cockpits to help investigators reconstruct the actions of pilots following a dangerous incident or accident.

Peggy Gilligan, the FAA’s top safety official, indicated these and some other long-discussed changes would be hard to justify under current federal cost-benefit trade-offs. She added that the agency already is working on dozens of other, higher-priority safety rules that offer more readily quantifiable benefits. It isn’t clear, she added, “when and if” the agency can fit real-time tracking requirements into its agenda.

A top European Aviation Safety Agency official, by contrast, said his agency is months away from proposing rules that would call for practically universal, real-time tracking of aircraft. European lawmakers could take action on the rules as soon as early next year.

And a senior safety investigator for the International Civil Aviation Organization, an arm of the United Nations, told the hearing that ICAO is committed to eventually issuing recommendations for cockpit video recorders even though the process could take years.

Efforts to ensure the position of all airliners can be tracked minute-by-minute virtually everywhere around the globe—even over oceans or polar regions not covered by ground-based radar—emerged in the spotlight after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year. The presumed crash in March of the Boeing Co 777—which still hasn’t been located--also sparked widespread discussion of how to simultaneously transmit or “stream” certain aircraft-operating data to the ground if pilots lose control of a plane, major systems fail or some other emergency occurs.

Before regulators move, though, ICAO and the International Air Transport Association, the main global airline trade group, are working to come up with voluntary recommendations for global tracking. They are expected to focus on technical standards instead of company-specific technologies.

Tuesday’s session was partly intended to influence what has turned into an industrywide debate on those topics, and partly to get companies on the record about initiatives they are pursuing to deal with the fallout from Flight 370.

“There is a future in which we [will] know the fate of every accident flight,” Christopher Hart, the acting NTSB chairman, said as he opened the forum.

At the same time, Tuesday’s session also disclosed that plane manufacturers, cockpit-equipment makers and satellite-service providers already seem to have developed a preliminary consensus and are gradually moving, on their own, to implement early steps to transmit position, speed, altitude and other data to the ground in case an airliner suffers a catastrophic failure or goes down for any reason.

In addition, Airbus Group NV disclosed new efforts designed to make it easier to locate data and voice recorders, typically referred to as “black boxes,” in the event of a crash. Pascal Andrei, a senior Airbus official, told the NTSB the European plane maker plans to install deployable black boxes on future A350 and A380 aircraft, intended to eject from the plane in the event of a crash.

In case the aircraft goes down in water, the recorders are designed to float. Mr. Andrei said “we are quite confident” in the technology and those two plane models are slated to have it installed during assembly. In response to questions about how quickly that might happen, he said “very soon after some more studies and assessments” are completed.

The Airbus official also said that in the future, all Airbus models will be able to trigger transmission of essential operating data to the ground in case of an emergency or “when we have some suspicious event on board.” Such information about aircraft-pilot interactions would be in addition to position, speed, altitude and heading data.

In light of the way communications and computer systems on Airbus planes are configured, Mr. Andrei said the changes would entail “just a software modification.”

Boeing and avionics supplier Honeywell International Inc., which also had officials giving presentations Tuesday, expressed skepticism about deployable recorders, which no longer would be located deep inside aircraft. Chris Benich, a senior Honeywell official, worried about “adding complexity to the airplane,” as well as maintenance and reliability issues.

Mark Smith, the executive representing Boeing, said the Chicago plane maker has placed deployable recorders on various aircraft it builds for the military but has no current plans for putting them on commercial jetliners. Over the years, according to Mr. Smith, the devices have provided usable data only in about three-quarters of crashes, either because they couldn’t be located or were damaged in the other instances. “We think they need study” before widespread adoption, Mr. Smith said, noting the dangers of unintended or accidental deployment.

DRS Technologies Inc., a prominent maker of deployable recorders, encourages their use to supplement traditional black boxes. Blake van den Heuvel, a DRS official, told the session that his company has put its technology on a total of 4,000 planes and helicopters. Over some 60 million flight hours, the recorders have worked as designed in every case except on jet fighters, he said.

Reflecting the sentiments of many airlines and suppliers, Mr. Smith said Boeing favors more-effective use of technology and capabilities aircraft already have, rather than mandates for new hardware. With some 69,000 airline flights daily world-wide, he stressed the dangers of “unintended consequences” from embracing new devices or procedures.

Steve Kong, business and development manager for Inmarsat PLC, a London-based satellite operator, said the company already has offered to provide every-15-minute location updates free of charge to airlines with compatible systems. Some airlines can pay to get updates as often as every minute or less.

Meanwhile, both Boeing and Inmarsat are working on enhanced systems intended to transmit more extensive data to the ground as often as every 10 seconds if there is an emergency.

Regardless of how regulations evolve, the panelists agreed that none of the projected satellite-transmission solutions are likely to entirely replace actual recorders.

Space-based technology “can get important data off the aircraft, reliably, even as it is going down,” said Richard Hayden, an executive with FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd., a Canadian provider of real-time data from aircraft systems. But even he said such alternatives won’t make black box hardware unnecessary.

- Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Elizabethton Municipal Airport (0A9) seeks to expand runway at the cost of 12 homes


Elizabethton Municipal Airport officials want to be able to use its entire runway, but can't until 12 homes close to the end of the runway are gone.

So the airport is acquiring those homes.

"We've lived here almost 16 years" Melissa Grindstaff who live on Sunrise Drive said.

Sixteen years, now in boxes on her front porch, and for her husband the memories on Sunrise Drive go back even further.

"My husband has either lived in this house or the house right across the fence, he was actually raised there. So for other than about six months when we first got married he has been on one side or the other. So for 53 years he's been on Sunrise Drive," Grindstaff said.

She said though it's tough emotionally, the airport has contracted out agencies to help them with the process, getting them a realtor and providing them with a new house. "For us, yesterday marked exactly one month from the time we signed the papers agreeing to what they were offering us, to today we signed the papers on our new house,' Grindstaff said.

The airport has the funds to buy these homes through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division.

"It's going to give us a full length use of our runway, and that would be the precursor to being able to extend our runway in the future," Elizabethton Municipal Airport Manager Dan Cogan said.

Cogan said the second part of the plan, actually extending the runway to 5,000 feet could happen within a year.

He said as of right now no other homes will need to be demolished for that extension.

Right now the runway is at 4,600 feet, but because the 12 houses are in the runway protection zone, planes can't use the entire runway.

"The state also has a desire to have all the airports in Tennessee eventually have a 5,000 foot runway, which is one of the critical numbers for safe operations," Cogan said. "It'll allow our existing customers to a much greater safety margin, better for operating in wet environments, wet runways, also allows them to take a greater fuel load when they leave."

Grindstaff said it's no doubt emotional leaving the place her family grew up in.

"I have two older kids and this is the only home that they've ever known so it's kind of hard for them because you know this has been it," Grindstaff said.

But she's looking at the bright side.

"We're excited about it though., we were able to find something that is awesome. And you know we look forward to moving forward but it's going to be hard not being here," Grindstaff said.

- Source:  http://www.wjhl.com

Federal Aviation Administration, Dallas Police Investigating Crashed Drone With Attached Camera • Dallas Love Field Airport (KDAL)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Both the Dallas Police Department and Federal Aviation Administration are talking to the owner of a five-foot drone that crashed near Dallas Love Field.

Witnesses reported to police that they watched the unmanned aircraft, described as an airplane wing with a camera attached, fall from the sky.

Dallas police took custody of the drone and talked to its owner when he came forward to claim the property. Police have not identified his name.

Police say the area where the drone crashed was inside controlled airspace, which requires the operators of all aircraft must contact air traffic controllers.

The FAA will determine if any federal laws were broken and if charges will be filed.

- Source:   http://dfw.cbslocal.com

City of Sioux Falls drone grounded until Federal Aviation Administration rules clarified

City staff thought a drone would take Sioux Falls parks and construction projects to new heights, but plans have been put on hold until the federal government issues new rules for the devices.

The city of Sioux Falls purchased a $1,200 drone this summer. It’s a lightweight, remote-controlled device with four propellers and a GoPro camera attached.

The plan was to fly over city parks and make some bird’s-eye-view promotional videos and to capture time-lapse photos of big construction projects. City staff made a few flights this summer but have since grounded the drone until they get the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“We’re still hopeful we’ll be able to use it again,” director of Central Services Sue Quanbeck Etten said.

She said city staff became interested in drones when prices came down dramatically.

“We’re always trying to keep up with the latest technology,” Quanbeck Etten said.

The done allows aerial photos without an expensive helicopter trip.

This summer, city staff flew the drone overhead as construction crews poured concrete on West 41st Street and got shots of backhoes digging a trench for a sewer line in southeast Sioux Falls.

Previously, those shots would have to come from the roof of a building or the bucket of a construction truck, which wasn’t always possible, City Planning Engineer Chad Huwe explained.

He said his department will use the drone sporadically.

“We’re not using it to monitor traffic,” he said. “It’s not replacing people.”

The University of South Dakota has grounded its drone as well.

The school bought a model costing just over $1,000 to create marketing videos. School officials filmed on campus during move-in day and hired a company to make a promotional video.

“Video is increasingly important in reaching perspective students,” USD spokeswoman Tena Haraldson said.

The FAA is behind the curve when it comes to making rules for drones, she said.

“People are nervous about them because they are a new technology,” she said. “They’re everywhere, and hopefully the federal regulations will catch up.”

Like Sioux Falls, USD is in the process of applying with the FAA for permission to fly. Under current rules, anyone flying a drone or a model airplane for anything other than a hobby needs a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.

She said the FAA plans to publish new rules later this year for all small, unmanned aircraft — those 55 pounds or fewer. The change could allow companies to use drones for profit, in certain tightly controlled, low-risk situations.

That’s what Sioux Falls pilot Chris Matson is hoping for.

He’s been a private pilot for almost 20 years, flying cargo for Landmark Aviation.

He had a plan to make a business out of drones. He bought a $400 remote-controlled airplane and added a GoPro camera, plus extra video equipment to allow him to see in real time what his plane is seeing.

His plan was to start the South Dakota Aerial Drone Service and offer to fly it for area law enforcement agencies, farmers or anyone who wanted an aerial view. He filmed a wedding video, giving an 800-foot view of wedding guests at the bride’s parents’ farm.

Matson sees all kinds of ways to put drones to use: Police could use it to find a missing child, the fire department could get a different view of a burning building, and farmers could use it find a lost cow or check on calves.

“It would be just so easy,” he said.

Now, South Dakota Aerial Drone Service is just a Facebook page while Matson waits for FAA rules.

“I’m in the same boat as everyone else,” he said. “It’s just a hobby now.”

The city’s drone

Model: DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter

Cost: $1,200

Camera: GoPro, purchased separately

Weight: 2 pounds

Length: Just under 14 inches, diagonally

Max speed: 30 mph

Flight time: 25 minutes

Source: City of Sioux Falls and DJI.com


Process under way to update master plan for Hunt Field Airport (KLND), Lander, Wyoming

The first public hearing on the update for the Hunt Field Master Plan drew an audience of airport users at Lander City Hall. 
(Ernie Over photo)

(Lander, Wyo.) – The process has started to work on a new airport master plan for Lander’s Hunt Field, the busiest general aviation airport in Wyoming.

GDA Engineers of Cody is the firm chosen to do the work, and their process was outlined at a meeting at Lander City Hall last week, attended by city officials and airport operators and users.

“This airport is important to the state system,” said GDA’s Rick Patton, “it has the most based aircraft and its the busiest GA airport in the state.” According to the 2006 master plan, the one being updated, at that time Hunt Field had 11,150 operations. “We need to update that,” Patton said, “It’s obviously more now.”

Work on the new master plan actually began this past June when GDA placed trail cameras at the airport’s holding area to capture the kind and number of aircraft using the airport. “For the master plan, we’re most interested in the kind of aircraft using the airport, not the overall number,” Patton said. “For each different kind of aircraft, we’ll know what their critical needs are, and can design the master plan with that in mind.” He said to make sure the airport is safe, the wingspans are important to know. “There’s a big different in the needs of a King Air versus a Lear Jet,” he said. “King Airs have big wingspans while Lear’s don’t. We need to determine safe taxiway routes and hanger routes so planes with larger wingspans don’t impact other aircraft and such.”

He said Lander is a genuine “B-2″ airport. “You don’t get the large business jets like Riverton does. While those jets can land here, it is rare. One goal of the new master plan is to identify hanger spots for additional aircraft to park because you have a demand here that you don’t see at other airports.”

The next step in the process, which is planned for this December, is to review the airports historical operations, categorize current traffic, complete an aviation forecast for the next 20 years, submit that forecast to the FAA for approval, and then hold a second public meeting.

A final plan should be ready by next July. He said the master plan is being funded through airport user fees and ticket fees generated at larger commercial airports. “The big airports help fund the little airports so they can feed traffic to the big airports,” he said.

-Source:  http://county10.com

Aviation experts want better tracking of planes

Seven months after the disappearance of a jetliner with 239 people on board, international aviation experts gathered in Washington on Tuesday to mull advances to better track planes in flight and locate them when they crash.

The conference called by the National Transportation Safety Board took place as trio of ships resumed the search this week for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a remote region of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

The flight took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8. Something went wrong off the coast of Malaysia, with the plane’s transponder signal and radio going silent. If, as some suspect, someone in the cockpit turned off those electronics, the solutions proposed Tuesday might be susceptible to the same flick of a switch.

Piecing together satellite data, investigators later were able to determine the plane radically changed direction and flew for more than eight hours before apparently running out of fuel over the ocean.

“When a flight cannot be located, an incredulous public asks: ‘How can they possibly lose a plane?’ ” NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart said in opening the conference.

Commercial aircraft that go down over remote land masses are quickly located by activation of emergency transmitters. But when planes crash into the ocean — and data gathered by Boeing shows that has happened about once a year since 1980 — finding the plane can be more challenging.

There have been two high-profile disappearances in recent years: the Malaysian Airlines plane in March and an Air France flight that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009. It took two years to find the black box from the French aircraft on the ocean bottom.

The potential solutions to tracking and finding airplanes presented Tuesday — some of which are being implemented and others on the horizon — addressed the challenges investigators faced in both of those crashes.

For example, the Malaysian aircraft was fitted with advanced equipment commonly known as ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance — broadcast). It allowed the plane’s movement to be tracked by land-based radio towers. But the intention is that the system soon will allow tracking by satellite as well, expanding coverage into remote areas like the Indian Ocean.

ADS-B is one of several satellite-driven options that would advance real-time tracking. The systems allow streaming of multiple types of messages, including information about fuel levels and engine status. Before the Air France plane plunged into the ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2009, it sent 29 transmissions warning of a problem.

Boeing’s Mark Smith said a simple fix could imprint a plane’s location on messages sent from the cockpit. Another option being considered would stream data currently being stored on the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the plane during the flight.

Another proposed advance would extend the duration of a cockpit voice recording to 20 hours. Currently the devices retain either one or two hours of cockpit conversation. There are concerns that if the MH370 recorder ever is recovered there will be no voice record of what happened at the time the flight went off course.

There also were several proposals to make recovery of the black box more viable when a plane crashes into the ocean. One would increase to 90 days the 30-day battery life of the pinger that begins to sound when a black box hits water.

Another available option is using a type of black box now used on some military aircraft. Those boxes separate from the plane on a water impact, floating on the surface and transmitting an emergency signal.

“This system could be deployed today,” said Richard Hayden, whose company builds the devices.

After spending four months mapping the ocean floor, searchers resumed the hunt for MH370 this week. The search area is about 23,000 square miles of ocean about 1,100 miles from the Australian coast.

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

Flybe passengers delayed waiting for glue to dry

The bizarre hold-up happened as people waited to board a Flybe flight from Edinburgh to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Ground staff told startled travelers the Saab 340 twin turboprop aircraft had developed a hole in the tail-wing - but they managed to patch it up.

But the take-off was put back by two hours to allow the glue holding it in place to dry properly.

Reverend Iver Martin, the minister of Stornoway Free Church, was among the 15 passengers caught up in last Wednesday’s delay.

He paid £127 for a one-way ticket but claimed the service was regularly hit by technical faults.

Mr Martin said: “At 4.30pm I was sitting at the gate and was told there would be a delay because there was a fault in the aircraft.

“A member of ground staff told us a hole had developed in part of the tail-wing and they were pleased to announce they had put a patch on the hole and were waiting for the glue to dry.

“You have to ask is this acceptable in this day and age? And the answer is absolutely not.”

A spokesman for Scottish airline Loganair, which operates the service for Flybe, said the hole had appeared in the plane’s de-icing system, which prevents a dangerous build-up of ice on the wings.

The system consists of pneumatic “de-ice boots”, rubber compartments on the wing and tail plane leading edges which can be inflated to break off any ice which has formed.

Ice builds up when tiny cloud droplets freeze on the leading edges of the plane wings, and can alter airflow over the wing and tail, reducing lift and causing it to stall.

A spokesman for Loganair, which runs the Flybe service, apologized for the inconvenience, but said “passenger safety must always be our primary concern.”

He added: “During a pre-flight inspection ahead of the 5pm departure of the BE6147 service from Edinburgh to Stornoway on October 1, a fault was discovered in the aircraft’s de-icing system.

“The pneumatic section of the tail needed an adhesive patch, which required the necessary curing period before the aircraft was cleared for departure at 7.23pm.”

- Source:   http://www.express.co.uk

Cuyahoga County Airport's shortcomings could hamper responses to plane crashes, fire chief says

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – City Fire Chief William Turner said Tuesday that he is concerned that the Cuyahoga County Airport neighboring his suburb lacks the staff and equipment to deal with serious plane crashes.

Turner, in a phone interview with Northeast Ohio Media Group, cited among other concerns the airport decommissioning a fire truck designed for airplane fires and radios that are unable to communicate with his firefighters.

"Having someone there inside the airport to respond immediately, that's what's critical," Turner said. "My concern is there's no one there responding now, or that there's not much of a response."

Turner concerns were among those detailed in a consultant's report commissioned by the county, and first publicly reported by Cleveland Scene earlier Tuesday.

The October 2013 release of the report came 10 months before four Case Western Reserve University students died when their Cessna model 172R plane crashed 1,000 feet after taking off from the runway.

Turner, whose department was first to respond to the Aug. 25 accident, said he didn't think any of the issues detailed in the report would have made a difference because the crash occurred off the airport's property. But, he said it raises questions over whether emergency workers might be hampered in the future by less than optimal conditions.

The county paid R.A. Widemann & Associates $77,200 in March 2013 to study the airport, shortly after the departure of two top airport managers and restructuring that moved control of the airport from the county's Economic Development Department to its Public Works Department.

Turner said his biggest concern is the inability of his firefighters to directly communicate with the airport's Air Traffic Control Tower. The Highland Heights Fire Department switched to a new radio system used by many other agencies in 2008.

But the airport's control tower did not make the switch. That means firefighters responding to an emergency at the airport have to call the tower on one of their cell phones to get clearance to enter the runway.

In addition to fire chiefs whose departments protect the airport and the surrounding area, the consultant surveyed companies that lease hangars on the airfield.

The CEO of Progressive Insurance at the time complained about the county's decision to decommission the airport's Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck in 2010, according to the county's report.

"The elimination of the ARFF truck was not well received by the company CEO. The additional response time by firefighting crews is highly objectionable," the report states.

Turner said the airport has been using an old pick-up truck with a 500-pound tank full of a dry chemical firefighting agent in place of the ARFF truck.

The truck disappeared after its decommission, only to reappear a few days after the Aug. 25 crash, Turner said.

The county had kept the vehicle in its hangar at the airport, and it was removed to make room for the charred, mangled remains of the Cessna 172R during the National Transportation Safety Board investigation, he said.

Officials in County Executive Ed FitzGerald's administration declined to comment for this story, saying they were researching questions submitted by NEOMG.

The county is working on addressing the issues highlighted in the report, said County Councilwoman Sunny Simon, whose district includes the airport.

She said the county has already followed one of the recommendations by hiring an airport manager.

"We're looking at the recommendations to see what in addition we can put into place," she said.

Turner said the county is in the process of getting a new radio system and working to repair the ARFF truck.

The report also studied the possible impact of closing the on-site air traffic control tower, a move that was discussed in March 2013 as a federal cost-cutting move, but later abandoned.

The consultant recommended that the county:

    Upgrade the equipment that's specialized to fight airplane fires.

    Install a clearly-labeled storage tank for flame-retardant foam on the airport grounds. There are no water sources on site, according to the report.

    Buy a new radio for the control tower that would allow airport staff to communicate with the radios inside firetrucks, police cars and ambulances.

    Install a device that would automatically open any of the three gated entrances to the the airfield when firetrucks approach. A basic version of the device could cost as little as $500, not counting installation fees, the report says.

At the time of the report, approaching firefighters would have to climb off the truck and manually unlock the gate, a process which can take around 30 seconds.

"In rescuing people and fighting fires, 30 seconds can make a significant difference in the outcome," the report says.

Taken together, Turner said issues raised in the report could be devastating in the event a private jet, which can carry as many as 15 people, crashes on the runway.

"At that point, it's going to become a recovery, as opposed to saving someone's life," Turner said.

Eead the report in its entirety:  http://www.cleveland.com
Emergency Response Concerns From 2013 Report on Cuyahoga County Airport (KCGF) Finally Being Addressed  

The Cuyahoga County Airport in the eastern tip of Northeast Ohio isn’t as well known or as heavily trafficked as Burke, and most folks around Cleveland would have a hard time remembering it even exists — let alone pointing out its location on a map.

It sits on 640 acres and was servicing some 185 flights a day as recently as 2010, according to the most recent numbers. Most of those are private flights, but the airport also hosts taxi and charter services and boasts a flight school.

It was the airport from which a group of Case Western Reserve University students took off in a chartered plane in August before a tragic crash that left the four students dead.

While the plane crashed off of airport property, in the ensuing months the county has finally begun addressing some emergency response concerns detailed in a 2013 review of airport operations.

R.A. Wiedemann & Associations, based out of West Virginia, compiled the October 2013 Cuyahoga County Airport Operational Review, which included interviews and suggestions from the three local fire stations (Willoughby Hills, Richmond Heights and Highland Heights) that are responsible for responding to the airport, employees of Progressive Insurance (which uses the airport for its private jets), and airport employees.

Chief among the concerns outlined were the lack of resources and training on-site to respond to crashes and accidents. Specifically, the elimination of the ARFF truck (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Truck) was cited by the CEO of Progressive and local fire chiefs as a dangerous move. (Airport employees were unable to say when the ARFF truck was eliminated.) The airport does have a pick-up truck with a 500-pound cylinder of Purple-K, a dry-chemical fire suppression agent.

“It is well below the capabilities of the specialized ARFF truck previously available on the airfield,” the report states, but “the additional response time by firefighting crews is highly objectionable.”

Highland Heights Fire Chief William Turner, who notes that the county and fire departments have begun meeting in recent weeks to address the concerns, says the ARFF truck “has been in storage at the facility. I thought it was gone several years ago, but it recently was brought back out but it’s not in services. Originally, they had said it was not a good financial decision to fix it and bring it back because it’s so old, but I found out it’s still there and might not need much work.”

In addition to supplies, the 2013 report notes that the fire chiefs “strongly advocate for ARFF training to be made available to their crews” and that the county “should investigate options for providing ARFF training program for local firefighting crews.”

This hasn’t happened yet to the full desires of Turner. There was one training at Burke Lakefront in August 2013, but “as far as specific training that’s designed for ARFF, we’ve never done it and that’s not something we’ve ever done as departments. Our role historically has been to support the initial response.”

That viewpoint — support of initial response — isn’t one shared by the county or the airport, which tends to view their responsibility not as first-responders but as support for the firefighters. “In an emergency, seconds count” the report says.

Chief Turner agrees, saying, “They need to have staff for that initial response because when we look at aviation type incidents, time is critical. Even though we’re in close proximity, there is still a delay.”

On average, local fire response times range from 1.5 minutes (Richmond Heights) to 3.5 to 5 minutes (Willoughby Hills).

Most of the suggestions are low-budget fixes for lingering problems that have hindered response times. For example, two of the three gates used by local firefighting crews require manual operation to open. A $500 or so device — the same kind used in first responder trucks to trigger traffic signal changes — could open the gates automatically and shave 30 seconds from response times.

Airport manager Dan DiGiammarino says they started getting quotes on the devices “about a month and a half ago.”

Additionally, the report called for a MARCS unit in the control tower. A MARCS unit simply allows all first responders and employees to coordinate and communicate on one channel directly . The tower didn’t have one and currently doesn’t, though DiGiammarino says they’re currently in the process of rectifying that situation.

Specific training for firefighters and airport personnel was pegged as inadequate in general, and some specific requirements for airport personnel set forth in county job descriptions, including a Hazardous Materials First Responder Certificate for the airport field supervisor, for example, haven’t been met.

A county spokesman has yet to respond to a request for comment.

- Source:  http://www.clevescene.com 

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA453 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, OH
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N4207P
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 August 25, 2014, at 2158 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N4207P, collided with the terrain in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Airport (CGF). The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by T & G Flying Club, Inc. The pilot rented the airplane and was flying it on a personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reserved the airplane from T&G Flying Club, at 2022 using an online reservation system. He reserved the airplane for 4 hours, beginning at 2030. The employees of the flying club had left for the evening by time the pilot and passengers arrived.

Two witnesses, stated that shortly after 2100, they saw 4 males walk across the ramp toward the tie-down area near hangar 7. One of the males had a carry-on type suitcase. The pilot and passengers then boarded a Cessna 172. One of the witnesses stated the airplane stayed on the ramp for about 30 minutes with the engine running. They did not see the airplane after this time.

At 2146, the pilot called ground control for a takeoff taxi clearance stating he was on the ramp south of the T&G Flight Club. The controller issued the pilot a clearance to taxi to runway 6 via the Alpha 7 taxiway to the Alpha taxiway. The controller also issued the wind condition as 140 degrees at 8 knots along with the altimeter setting. The pilot stated his radio was a little "fuzzy" and he asked the controller to repeat the clearance. The controller repeated the taxi clearance, which the pilot subsequently repeated. About 4 minutes later, the controller informed the pilot that he is taxiing to the wrong runway. After asking the controller to repeat what he said, the pilot stated "Thank you I'm sorry." The controller then issued taxi instructions back to the approach end of runway 6.

At 2156, the pilot radioed that he was ready to takeoff on runway 6. The controller asked the pilot what his direction of flight was going to be. The pilot responded that they were going to fly east to sightsee and that they would be back in a little while. The controller issued the takeoff clearance with a right turn after takeoff. At 2158, the pilot radioed that they were not climbing fast and they wanted to immediately make a left turn to turn around. The controller approved the left turn. The controller stated it appeared the airplane began a left turn when it descended to the ground. The controller reported that during the takeoff, the airplane became airborne about 100 feet past taxiway Alpha 6, which was approximately 2,000 feet down the runway.

The airplane impacted the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole prior to coming to rest about 1,000 feet on a bearing of 20 degrees from the departure end of runway 6. This location is just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway.

The wreckage path was along a 210 degree heading. The left wing tip, including the position light, was embedded in the ground at the first impact mark. This mark was east of the chain link fence. The airplane then traveled through the fence, with the left wing contacting one of the fence posts. The main impact crater was in the west side of the fence. Adjacent to the crater were two slash marks in the soft ground. Both marks were about 12 inches long. One of the slash marks was about 7 inches deep and the other was about 4 inches deep. The airplane came to rest on a heading of about 160 degrees with the left wing against the telephone pole. A postimpact fire ensued.

Airport staffing, training proves to be crucial: Sierra Blanca Regional (KSRR), Ruidoso, New Mexico

A small aircraft crash near a Las Cruces airport that killed all four on board became more intensely tragic when it came to light that with a little more experience and training it might have been avoided.

One of the contributing factors in the accident was apparently a mix-up in airplane fuel.

"What was really sad about it, there was a young man who made a mistake, but it could easily been prevented," Sierra Blanca Regional Airport Manager Dave Pearce said at a recent Ruidoso village council meeting.

A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report confirmed the airplane was given the wrong fuel, but did not state if that caused the crash. The report stated a crew member called the dispatcher to report the plane was returning, because smoke was coming from the right engine. The plane turned and still was at a low altitude when it crashed and burst into flames.

Pearce said while Albuquerque and Las Cruces use a contractor to handle fueling, Sierra Blanca's staff refuels planes.

"We are the only 139 airport in the state of New Mexico that does its own fueling," he said. "Everybody else has a private entity taking care of it. A 139 classification means you have a lot of different criteria you have to meet, training and inspection criteria. Every year the FAA comes in and spends three days and evening with us and goes item by item through training documents and everything we do from fire support through refueling and our equipment, when and how it is being inspected, and are you current on your training."

What happened in Las Cruces is why airport managers don't sleep well at night and sometimes strain relationships with their staff when they demand training and push their people hard to complete that training, Pearce said.

"You can't quantify it until you get to an incident like this," he said. "I think the lawyers are going to quantify the value of what it would be to train or not to train. In this particular case, there was a young man, 19 years old, who went out to refuel and unfortunately, put the wrong fuel in. There are a lot of things that should have (caught the error). There are colors on the handles, there are certifications on the tops of the tanks, the smell and color of the fuel. Unfortunately, he put basically diesel, jet fuel, into a 100 low lead airplane, which would be like putting diesel into your car."

As a community that relies greatly on tourism, and with airport traffic numbers continually rising, safety, training and vigilance should remain top priorities.

Village Council Lynn Crawford makes a good point when he said he's aware that Sierra Blanca receives many accolades, but, "sometimes when we're so busy patting ourself on the back is when we make a mistake."

We agree. We commend Pearce and the efforts of his airport staff and ask for continued vigilance.

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

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA462

Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Las Cruces, NM
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N51RX
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 August 27, 2014, about 1900 mountain daylight time, a Cessna Airplane Company 421C, multi-engine airplane, N51RX, was destroyed after impacting terrain during initial climb near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot, two medical crewmembers and one patient were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Elite Medical Air Transport, LLC; El Paso, Texas, and was operated by Amigos Aviation, Inc.; Harlingen, Texas. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 air ambulance flight. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing LRU for a flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona.

The airplane arrived LRU about 1834 to pickup a patient for a flight to PHX. The pilot was still seated in the cockpit when he gave the line service technician a verbal order for a total of forty gallons of fuel. The line service technician drove the fuel truck to the front of the airplane and refueled the airplane putting 20 gallons in each wing. The pilot then assisted the line service technician with replacing both fuel caps. They both walked into the office and the pilot signed the machine printed fuel ticket.

After departing LRU to the west a medical crewmember onboard the airplane called their medical dispatcher on a satellite telephone and reported they were returning to LRU because of a problem with smoke coming from the right engine. A witness driving westbound on the interstate highway reported the airplane was westbound and about 200 feet above ground level (agl) when he saw smoke begin to appear from the right engine. The airplane then began descending and started a left turn to the east. Another witness, driving eastbound on the interstate highway, reported the airplane was trailing smoke when it passed over him about 100 feet agl. He saw the descending airplane continue its left turn to the east and then lost sight of it. Several witnesses reported seeing the impact or hearing the sound of impact and they then immediately saw smoke or flames.

Evidence at the scene showed the airplane was generally eastbound and upright when it impacted terrain resulting in the separation of the left propeller and the separation of the right aileron. The airplane came to rest inverted about 100 feet from the initial impact point, and there was an immediate postimpact fire which consumed much of the airplane. Investigators who arrived at the scene on the day following the accident reported detecting the smell of jet fuel.

A postaccident review of refueling records and interviews with line service technicians showed that the airplane had been misfuelled with 40 gallons of Jet A fuel instead of the required 100LL aviation gasoline.

At 1855 the automated weather observing system at LRU, located about 3 miles northeast from the accident location, reported wind from 040 degrees at 5 knots, visibility of 10 miles, broken clouds at 6,500 feet, temperature 23 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 16 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of Mercury.

Grove Field Airport (1W1) fire: Airplanes destroyed • Official: Damage to aircraft, hangars estimated at more than $1 million

CAMAS, Wash. (KOIN 6) – A fire at the Grove Field Airport caused well over a million dollars in damage and burned upwards of a dozen planes, an official with the Port of Camas-Washougal said Tuesday. 

David Ripp, the Executive Director of the Port of Camas-Washougal, which owns the airport, said 10 to 12 planes and three to five vehicles were damaged.

Ripp said 12-14 hangars in three rows on the west end of the airport burned, destroying an estimated 10,000 square feet of the building.

The fire, reported at 10:22 p.m. Monday, started in the airport’s hangar C and quickly went to a second-alarm when firefighters arrived and found heavy flames coming from multiple hangars.

Many of the damaged airplanes have been described as small, privately owned fixed-wing crafts. The State Fire Marshals Office has not released a preliminary cause.

State Fire Marshalls are still waiting to get inside the airport, Ripp said. The airport is expected to remain closed for the next couple of days, he said.

Firefighters took a “defensive” approach while fighting the fire because of the intense heat and several explosions. A defensive approach means firefighters did not enter the hangars and used their water supplies to fight the fire from the outside.

Ripp said the airport’s manager felt an explosion at his residence about a mile away around the time of the first fire reports.

“I just got to say the fire department, they rock,” said Ripp.  The Camas Fire Department conducted a hangar mock drill, which was critical in stopping the fire, he said.

“They were hitting the ground running when they got here.”

The building, which was built to code at the time of construction, does not have sprinklers or fire walls.

“I saw heartbreak, said Frank Spencer, whose Cherokee 180 plane was destroyed. “I saw my retirement fun and games gone so that will end that.”

Spencer said he flew his plane only yesterday.

“The whole airplane, I mean you can literally pick it up with one hand.”

Ripp said the airport has 79 hangars. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week for smaller airplanes. All vehicle and pedestrian access has been disabled. Several airplane owners stopped by early Tuesday morning to check on their airplanes but were unable to access the airfield.

The fire was described as “under control” by 11 p.m. Monday, Ripp said.

Airport officials confirmed they undergo yearly fire inspections and do training with the fire department, which is the building next door.

Ripp describes Grove Field Airport as a “family atmosphere airport.” He said the pilots association holds fundraisers for students who want to study aviation.

Because of its size, Grove Field Airport does not have an air traffic control tower. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed they were aware of the fire but were unable to provide additional information.

-Source:  http://koin.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronald M. Hutchinson: http://registry.faa.gov/N930RH

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

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

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

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


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

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Ronald M. Hutchinson 

Obituary for Ronald M. Hutchinson "Hutch"

Died unexpectedly doing what he loved. 

Adoring husband of Maureen for 47 years. 

Cherished father of Cheryl Blackstone, Michelle Schofield and Patrick Hutchinson. 

Beloved father-in-law of Joe Blackstone, Dave Schofield and Stephanie Hutchinson. 

Proud Pop Pop of Meghan Molly, Abigael, Shannon, Emma, Anna Rose, Rachel, Joseph, Catherine, Mackenzie, Logan, Sean Patrick and Kyle. 

Deeply loved by his brothers and sisters from Cincinnati, OH. 

Hutch will be dearly missed by friends the world over.

Hutch lived his life's passion for 35 years at Harley Davidson and mastered his love of flying.

A gathering will be held at the Funeral Home Friday, 21600 West Capitol Drive, Brookfield, September 5, 2014 from 4-8PM. 

Additional gathering time will be held Saturday, September 6th from 9-11AM at CHRIST KING PARISH, 2604 N. Swan Blvd., Wauwatosa, WI.   A Memorial Mass will follow at 11AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to: Beyond Vision, 5316 W. State St., Milwaukee, WI 53208; or Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 324, PO Box 18631, Milwaukee, WI 53218. 

- Source:  http://www.krausefuneralhome.com/obituary

Ronald Hutchinson 

Sportfishing Boat “Tied Up” Witnessed Plane Crash; Fishermen Watched As Jets Escorted Cirrus SR-22T (N930RH) Into Ocean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Source:  http://mdcoastdispatch.com

Ron Hutchinson

On Saturday, August 30, Ronald Hutchinson, 67, lost consciousness while flying his Cirrus SR-22T plane and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the VA shore. He was the only person on board. 
Hutchinson, who lived in Brookfield, WI was on his way to Manassas, VA to visit family.

Hutchinson retired from Harley-Davidson after nearly 35 years with the company in the spring of 2009. During his time with Harley-Davidson, he rose to the position of Senior VP. He worked in many different departments within the company, where his passion for the product was only surpassed by his love of developing people. All who knew him would agree that he truly lived his life with boundless zeal.

A pilot of nearly 40 years, Hutchinson held numerous ratings for various types of aircraft, and had logged over 4,000 hours.

According to the Coast Guard press release issued Aug. 30, there were no survivors and no wreckage; the search was suspended on the morning of Aug. 31 in accordance with standard operating procedure.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Maureen Catherine, his children Cheryl (Hutchinson) Blackstone and her husband Joe, daughter Michelle Hutchinson Schofield and her husband Dave, and son Patrick and wife Stephanie. He had twelve grandchildren: Meghan, Shannon, Joseph and Logan Blackstone; Rachel, McKenzie and Kyle Schofield; Abigael, Emma, Anna Rose, Catherine and Sean Hutchinson.

The family requests and appreciates that privacy be granted them during this difficult time. 

The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday called off its search for a Brookfield man whose Cirrus SR-22T left Waukesha on Saturday before running out of fuel and crashing into the Atlantic Ocean after he mysteriously lost consciousness and contact with aviation officials.

Retired Harley-Davidson executive Ronald Hutchinson, 67, was on a personal trip, his son Patrick Hutchinson said Sunday. He said his father had been flying for 40 years and was in very good health.

“I want to applaud the efforts of the Coast Guard,” he said. “All the federal agencies involved kept us informed of every step of this.”

Only a wheel and a piece of cowling had been found, by a fisherman in the vicinity of the crash, about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island, Va., according to the Coast Guard.

As the Cirrus SR-22T entered restricted airspace near Washington, D.C., fighter jets scrambled to inspect it. Those pilots reported that the operator of the Cirrus SR-22T appeared to be unconscious. The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday the pilot had stopped responding to radio communications about 1 p.m.

The Coast Guard said an HC-130 Hercules plane MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter searched the area for the downed pilot on Saturday afternoon until dark, and that a Coast Guard ship continued the search through the night.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

The Cirrus SR-22T was registered to Hutchinson, 67, of Brookfield. It had been scheduled to land at Manassas (Va.) Regional Airport on Saturday afternoon. It left from Crites Field in Waukesha.

Hutchinson is a retired Harley-Davidson senior vice president for product design. He was among a handful of senior Harley officials who had been considered to be in the running to become the firm’s CEO until the company hired Keith Wandell from Johnson Controls in 2009.

Since retirement, Hutchinson had worked as a consultant and until just recently had served as chairman of the board of Wiscraft Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping blind people find employment in manufacturing.

Ronald Hutchinson was Senior Vice President of Product Development for Harley-Davidson Motor Company. In this role, Hutchinson was responsible for O.E. Motorcycle Engineering, including Platform Teams and Centers of Expertise; Materials Management; Logistics and Transportation; and the Parts, Accessories, Custom Vehicle and Trike Operations.  In addition to P&L responsibility for the $1.3 B PACT organization, he had accountability for the product design and development capabilities of that organization.

Hutchinson worked for Harley-Davidson more than 30 years. From 1975-1985, he held a series of engineering, manufacturing and quality positions. After a four-year period during which he was a Principal and Vice President of KW Tunnell, Hutchinson returned to Harley-Davidson as Vice President of Total Quality in 1989. He has subsequently held a number of senior leadership positions including Vice President of Customer Service; Vice President of Parts & Accessories; Vice President and Coach; and Senior Vice President of Product Development.

Ron Hutchinson

JUST ABOUT ANYBODY who’s dealt with Harley-Davidson in the past three decades has run across Ron Hutchinson, or at least some of his work.

In a career that spanned 34 years with The Motor Co., the lifelong motorcyclist (pictured at right) held a variety of engineering, education, manufacturing, quality, sales, service and marketing positions — all of them tied closely to the product — and he retired in 2009 as senior vice president of product development.

It’s hard to keep a guy away from the business who describes his entry into the two-wheeled world like this: “I started riding when I was nine on a minibike that my dad built — small, yet fast enough for a couple of great Irish cop stories.”

Hutchinson says he missed the industry and the relationships he forged with H-D’s dealer network, so after six months of retirement he started looking for a way to re-engage. He launched Accessory3, a manufacturer of aftermarket products for OEM trikes. He’s also recently signed a joint marketing agreement with Lehman/Champion and is looking at other OEM and conversion opportunities. Senior editor Dennis Johnson interviewed Hutchinson about his new venture.

Read more here: http://www.dealernews.com
Cessna 185 - Florida to New York 
Published on October 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA424
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 05, 2014 in Open Water, Jamaica
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N900KN
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On September 5, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Socata TBM700 (marketed as TBM900), N900KN, impacted open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica. The commercial pilot/owner and his passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight that originated from Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York at 0826 and destined for Naples Municipal Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) data received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after departing ROC the pilot climbed to FL280 and leveled off. About 1000 the pilot contacted ATC to report an "indication that is not correct in the plane" and to request a descent to FL180. The controller issued instructions to the pilot to descend to FL250 and subsequently, due to traffic, instructed him to turn 30 degrees to the left and then descend to FL200. During this sequence the pilot became unresponsive. An Air National Guard intercept that consisted of two fighter jets was dispatched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina and intercepted the airplane at FL250 about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The fighters were relieved by two fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida that followed the airplane to Andros Island, Bahamas, and disengaged prior to entering Cuban airspace. The airplane flew through Cuban airspace, eventually began a descent from FL250 and impacted open water northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

According to a review of preliminary radar data received from the FAA, the airplane entered a high rate of descent from FL250 prior to impacting the water. The last radar target was recorded over open water about 10,000 feet at 18.3547N, -76.44049W.

The Jamaican Defense Authority and United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. Search aircraft observed an oil slick and small pieces of debris scattered over one-quarter mile that were located near the last radar target. Both entities concluded their search on September 7, 2014.