Saturday, October 11, 2014

Larry Espe: Building a Sonex in basement • Home was built to accommodate construction

Larry Espe is building a plane in the basement of his Clinton home.
 Samantha Pidde/Clinton Herald

CLINTON — Larry Espe grew up flying with his father. Now the 65-year-old Clinton man is spending his free time building a plane in his basement.

Larry has flown off and on since he was 17. Raising three children and working at Nestle Purina, he did not have a chance to fly much.

“Of course raising a family, you can’t afford a hobby like this,” Larry said. “It fell to the way side till the kids grew up.”

Several years ago, Larry built a Challenger aircraft, with an aluminum tubing frame and a fabric cover. When he and his wife decided to build a new home in 2005, he sold his plane, with the plan of building another.

Larry built his home with a design that would allow him to build a plane in his basement and easily move it into his garage. His basement stairs can collapse and a pulley system enables him to hoist the plane into the garage.

In 2009, he began working on his current plane, a two-person, side-by-side Sonex plane. He said building a plane from scratch takes a long time.

“When you start from scratch, you have to buy the material and make and shape everything by hand,” Larry said. “It helps keep the cost down.”

He would save up funds to buy some of the material to make some of the parts, before saving up again for the next materials.

“It’s been awhile, but it’s been worth it. I really enjoyed putting it together. It’s been a challenge,” Larry said.

- Story and Photos

This photo shows the plane currently being built by Larry Espe in his garage.

M-B Companies keeps the runways cleared for takeoff

An MB5 plow/broom combo unit dwarfs Steve Karlin, senior vice president of airport maintenance products at M-B Companies Inc. in Chilton. M-B Companies makes snow removal equipment used in airports. - Michael Sears

Chilton — In case you ever need to move 7,500 tons of snow, M-B Companies Inc. has a machine that will do the job in an hour. 

 With about 100 people working in a couple of nondescript buildings in Chilton — population 3,944 — M-B Companies' airport snow removal division makes equipment that is used from Alaska to Inner Mongolia.

It's an example of a small manufacturing company in Wisconsin that designs and manufactures specialized equipment in competition with companies across the globe.

The company is preparing now for the approaching winter.

The equipment it makes must perform in harsh conditions under intense time pressure to keep transportation systems running in snowy regions of the world.

"They have so many minutes to get that snow off (the runway), and if the equipment is broken down, they've got a problem," said Steve Karlin, senior vice president of airport maintenance products at M-B. "Flights are canceled and you have a lot of unhappy people at an airport.

"If you've tried to fly out of an airport in snowstorm, and you can't, you know what that's like."

In the United States, federal regulations require that once an inch of snow falls, runways have to be cleared.

The focus is on something known as coefficient of friction. That's a fancy term for the tires on an aircraft being able to grip the pavement on a runway.

The best way to achieve that is with plows and rotating brooms. The plows have to be made of plastic or fiberglass because steel blades can damage navigation equipment embedded in the runways.

Road salt can't be used because it is highly corrosive to aircraft.
Acres of snow

The rotating brooms — think of long, horizontal versions of the spinning brushes in a carwash — use steel and plastic bristles spinning at 800 revolutions per minute along with blowers to fling snow off runways.

"It's creating a windrow (of snow) just like haying equipment," said Doug Blada, operations manager for M-B's airport snow removal products.

"A broom will get right down to the pavement and give you a better coefficient of friction than anything there is," Karlin said.

This isn't like shoveling your driveway.

Consider that the longest runway at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee is nearly 2 miles long and 200 feet wide.

An inch of snow on a runway that size equates to about 166,000 cubic feet of snow — nearly 4 acres — that must be moved, Karlin said. "It's astronomical the amount of snow that comes off a runway," he said.

All airports located anywhere it snows must have equipment to remove it.

"Every airport has its own snow plan. Within that, they decide what kind of equipment they need to carry out that plan," said Melissa Sabatine, senior vice president for regulatory affairs for the American Association of Airport Executives. Sabatine oversees the group's annual winter operations conference.

"It's absolutely critical to have the right tools to safely clear the runway and keep operations moving during the winter season."
Competitive bidding

Competition in the airport snow removal sector is intense.

In Wisconsin alone, Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, and Wausau-Everest, the Brookfield division of Texas-based Alamo Group, also make airport snow removal equipment. There are also European competitors.

Virtually all of the equipment is sold through a bidding process to publicly owned airports. With a few exceptions, the low bid wins.

That means quality, reliability, service, parts sourcing — a lot of bids specify a high percentage of American-made parts in the equipment — along with the ability to control production costs make for a constant balancing act for companies competing in the sector.

"If you're not the low bid, you've got a problem," Karlin said.

But if you cut costs and the product is diminished as a result, you have an even bigger problem.

"It's a pretty close, tight-knit group in the industry," Blada said. "It doesn't take long for your problems to be spread like wildfire."

The company declined to share revenue figures, citing competitive reasons.

As far as the shortage of skilled labor that manufacturers are experiencing across Wisconsin, M-B has been able to attract and retain the welders, machinists and engineers it needs, Blada said.

The company employs engineers from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Platteville and Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula, Blada said.

Workers at the M-B airport snow removal division take the work they do personally.

"We have a record for every part," Blada said, as he gestured to a worker checking transmission housings. "He's signing his name to it. If we have a problem with that part, his signature is on it."

Karlin has a large video screen in his office, and when winter storms are moving across the country or a nor'easter is hammering the coast, workers on the production floor are watching the situation carefully.

"You know what these folks (airport snow removal crews) are doing with your equipment," Karlin said. "You're on the edge of your seat."

When a snowstorm was hammering the Midwest last winter, snow removal crews at the airport in Indianapolis needed a part for a piece of M-B equipment. A worker in Chilton loaded the part into a pickup truck, then drove all night in a snowstorm to Indianapolis, delivered the part and helped crews install it, Karlin said.

"There's value to a Midwestern work ethic," Blada said.

There's also value in Wisconsin-made products, they said.

Walk through the company's production floor and you'll see equipment being built and readied for shipment to China, Canada and U.S. military installations across the world, as well as airports in places such as Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.

"We have a customer in Alaska who couldn't get a product they needed," Karlin said. "We said, 'We'll do that for you.'"

The customer was seeking snow removal equipment with a small turning radius that could work in tight spaces.

"This is a leap of faith on our part," Karlin said. "The first unit is very, very expensive to make. We engineered it. We built it. Then you have to take it apart and change it to make that first one work."

European manufacturers are also making similar equipment, he said.

"It's a big gamble, with no guarantee of future business," Karlin said. "But we looked at it and said, 'We think there's a market for this and we don't want the Europeans in the United States.' So it's a blocking move on our part."

"If it was easy, anybody could do it," Blada added.


■ Privately owned by Terrence Cosgrove, chairman

■ Founded in New Holstein in 1907 by brothers Otto and Fred Meili and Paul Blumberg, who built agricultural implements.

■ Built its first broom — a horse-drawn model — in 1922.

■ Operates five manufacturing divisions: airport snow removal products in Chilton; pavement marking and striping in Montgomery, Pa., and Salem, Ore.; corporate office, attachment and multi-service vehicles in New Holstein; and replacement brushes in Chilton.

■ Total employment: 250

Britain warned to expect ‘a handful’ of Ebola cases in coming months • Virus specialists are critical of government plans to try to keep virus out of UK by monitoring airports and ports

The first Ebola cases will soon emerge in the UK according to the government’s chief medical officer, who said the country should expect “a handful” of people to fall ill with the disease in coming months.

Dame Sally Davies issued her warning on Saturday following a national exercise to test Britain’s readiness for an Ebola outbreak amid growing criticism that government priorities for dealing with the threat are seriously misplaced.

Davies said: “It will not be surprising if we have spillover into this country so I would expect a handful of cases in the next few months. This vitally important exercise gave a very realistic test of how prepared the system is to deal with a case of Ebola. Today has included a variety of scenarios involving personnel from hospitals, ambulance services and local authorities around the country.”

While the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced – after chairing a simulated meeting of the emergency Cobra committee as part of the test – that the exercise had been reassuring and “extremely useful”, other politicians and scientists described government plans as futile.

The eight-hour exercise involved actors simulating symptoms of Ebola with one person “collapsing” in a Gateshead shopping centre and being placed in isolation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was held as a preamble to the introduction of screening for the virus at large airports and terminals. But many experts have voiced serious misgivings about the introduction of screening, ordered by David Cameron as part of the UK’s contingency plan against Ebola, which has killed more than 4,000 people in west Africa.

Professor David Mabey, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said screening would be futile. “There won’t be anyone coming from these [west African] countries because all direct flights have been cancelled,” he said. “Are they going to screen everyone from Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam? That would lead to a lot of delays and disruption.”

This point was supported by virologist Dr Ben Neuman of Reading University, who said there was no “strong scientific case that airport screening will help keep Ebola out of the UK”. Similarly Professor Tom Solomon, Liverpool University’s head of infection and global health, said evidence “suggests such measures won’t make a large difference”.

An even more trenchant criticism of the government’s emphasis on spotting Ebola victims as they entered Britain was provided from Sierra Leone by Andrew Gleadle, programme director for the International Medical Corps. “I’d like to see is a little less hysteria in the US and the UK,” he said. “We may get a few isolated cases [in the west] but we’re not going to get an epidemic. We need more focus on west Africa, where the real problem is.”

Children’s charity Plan UK, said the only “truly effective” way of preventing Ebola reaching Britain was to tackle the crisis in west Africa. “As the government introduces more measures to try to prevent the arrival of Ebola in this country, it would be fatal to forget that the best way to help the UK is to help west Africa,” said chief executive Tanya Barron. “This is an outbreak that needs tackling at source, and to change the course of the crisis, we mustn’t simply hunker down in developed nations. We must break the chain of infection.”

Others raised doubts about the arrangements for screening at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar rail terminals. A spokesman for Gatwick said the airport had not received any instructions on how screening should be carried out. Labour MP Keith Vaz said a lack of precise information available about the screening was “shambolic”.

The US has begun screening travellers from the three west African countries most affected by Ebola infections – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – at JFK airport in New York and were expecting to expand this to Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta later this week.

It was also confirmed that more than 750 UK military personnel and the medical ship RFA Argus were being sent to west Africa to help in the efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak.

“What we are focusing on as a country is taking action right across the board to deal with this problem at source,” the prime minister said on Saturday. “What we do is listen to the medical advice and we act on that advice, and that’s why we are introducing the screening processes at the appropriate ports and airports.”

Meanwhile, doctors in Macedonia have ruled out the Ebola virus as the cause of death of a British man in the Balkan country on Thursday. “We have just received the results from the lab in Hamburg and they are negative for Ebola, which means that the patient did not have the Ebola virus,” said Dr Jovanka Kostovska of the Macedonian health ministry’s commission for infectious diseases.

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Cessna 180B Skywagon, N180CT, Performance Paradise LLC: Accident occurred October 11, 2014 in Coloma, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN15CA016
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 11, 2014 in Coloma, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 180B, registration: N180CT
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot departed a land-based airport and flew to a nearby lake. Being a short and direct flight, the pilot said he did not use the departure checklist and forgot to retract the wheels on the pontoons. Immediately upon touching down in the water, the airplane nosed over. Post-accident examination revealed the firewall had been buckled by impact. There were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane or its systems that would have precluded normal operations.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot did not use the departure checklist, resulting in an inadvertent landing with the pontoon wheels extended.

According to the pilot's written statement, he departed a land-based airport and flew to a nearby lake. Being a short and direct flight, he did not use the departure checklist and forgot to retract the wheels on the pontoons. Immediately upon touching down in the water, the airplane nosed over. Post-accident examination revealed the firewall had been buckled by impact. There were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane or its systems that would have precluded normal operations.

WATERVLIET, Mich. -- A plane crashed in Paw Paw Lake Saturday afternoon around 1 p.m.

 A Cessna 180 took a nose dive into glassy waters shortly after 1 p.m.

The Watervliet Fire Department responded within minutes.

The pilot was able to escape without obvious injuries, but they had to do a little leg work to get the plane upright.

Emergency crews across Berrien County worked together to help the pilot.

And so did two cranes, normally used to install piers.

It's took a team effort and more than four hours to recover the Cessna.

Eyewitnesses say the plane crash came amid a quiet day on Paw Paw Lake.

The Watervliet Fire Department has not been able to confirm the pilot's name or the cause of the crash.

A small plane crashed into Paw Paw Lake in Watervliet, Mich., Saturday afternoon, Oct. 11, our news partner WNDU reported.

The pilot of the Cessna 180 was rescued by first responders, WNDU reported. 

Photos from the scene show the seaplane flipped upside down in the lake, with its landing gear peaking above the water.


Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India: State plane, two choppers to go up for sale

Lucknow: Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to sell off the state plane that skidded and nosedived with his uncle and cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav on board in New Delhi's IGI airport two years ago.

Sources said the state civil aviation department has invited bids to sell out the aircraft, Beechcraft Premier IA, which remains grounded since September 22, 2012 when PWD minister Shivpal Yadav had a close shave after the plane skidded off runway 27 at IGI airport while landing at a high speed. He, along with SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, were on their way to Masuri in Ghaziabad where six persons were killed following a riot. The impact was so high the nose-wheel of the aircraft broke. The runway was closed and a probe was ordered by the DGCA.

Interestingly, the eight-seat aircraft, manufactured in 2008, was bought by former chief minister Mayawati. With over 730 flying hours, the aircraft was regularly in use during the previous BSP government. Sources, however, said the plane had been dismantled and put in the hangar after it met with an accident in 2012, soon after Akhilesh Yadav government stormed to power.

According to sources, the department has asked parties interested to inspect the aircraft, along with its spare parts, at the latest by November 5 when the tenders would be opened.

Along with the said aircraft, the state government has also decided to sell out two choppers—Chetak and Bell 230 helicopters. Chetak helicopter was assembled in 1994 by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). With over 3,000 flying hours, the chopper was in use during the previous Mayawati regime. It was only after 2009 that the helicopter got parked in the hangar.

The Bell helicopter on the other hand was last flown until June. The seven-seat chopper was, in fact, in use by the Akhilesh Yadav government until the Lok Sabha elections. Sources said the chopper is still in serviceable condition.

Selling of the aircraft and two choppers comes close on the heels of Akhilesh Yadav government decision to buy a brand new chopper and an aircraft. In July, the civil aviation department had floated a global tender for purchase of two flying machines to be used for VIP operations.

According to sources in the civil aviation department, both the chopper and the aircraft will have twin turbine engines for better safety. Costing around Rs 45 crore each, the two will be used for traveling by the Chief Minister, cabinet/state ministers and state officials.

- Source

Rockwell 690 Turbo Commander, Iranian Police: Fatal accident occurred in Sabzpushan Heights near Zahedan - Iran.

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (KUNA) -- At least seven Iranian police members were killed when their plane crashed in the mountains outside of the provincial capital of Zahedan, eastern Iran late Saturday.

 According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), three passengers and four staff members of the Turbo Commander airplane were killed in the incident. The airplane was heading from Tehran to Zahedan to investigate an incident involving the killing of four Iranian police members in the area, the Agency added.

Iran had accused Pakistan in the murder of the police members last Wednesday in Saravan County in Sistan and Baluchistan near the Pakistani borders


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian police airplane flying to the country's southeast crashed late Saturday, killing all seven people aboard, including a top police officer, the country's official news agency reported.

The propeller Turbo Commander airplane crashed in the mountains outside of the provincial capital of Zahedan and searchers later found the wreckage, IRNA reported. The agency said the flight carried four passengers and three crew members.

Among those killed was Gen. Mahmoud Sadeqi, a senior police officer in charge of investigations, IRNA reported.

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency says the plane took off from Tehran to head to southeastern Iran to investigate an incident involving an attack on police there, without elaborating.

Authorities offered no immediate explanation for the crash, though Iranian airlines, including those run by the state, are chronically strapped for cash, rely on aging planes and have a spotty maintenance record.

While some operate Boeing and Airbus models, spare parts for Western-made planes are often hard to come by — largely because of sanctions aimed at Iran's nuclear program. Some sanctions have eased in recent months, however, due to an interim nuclear deal with world powers.

Those difficulties have left Iranian airlines increasingly reliant on planes developed by the Soviet Union and its successor states, though parts for aging Soviet-era planes can also be tough to get. That's caused the country to be hit by a series of deadly crashes.

In August, a commercially flown IrAn-140, a twin-engine turboprop plane built with Ukranian technology off an old Soviet-era design, crashed after takeoff from Tehran, killing 39 people.

The last major airliner crash in Iran happened in January 2011, when an Iran Air Boeing 727 broke to pieces on impact while trying an emergency landing in a snowstorm in northwestern Iran, killing at least 77 people.

In July 2009, a Russian-made jetliner crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board. A Russian-made Ilyushin 76 carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard crashed in the mountains of southeastern Iran in February 2003, killing 302 people aboard.

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Wartburg College names science hall wings for Dr. Ralph Otto


WAVERLY | Wartburg College will celebrate the naming of Otto Science Hall at a public ceremony Oct. 16 at 4 p.m., in the Science Center Courtyard.

The Wartburg College Board of Regents approved the naming of the north and east wings of the Science Center after Dr. Ralph E. Otto, a 1963 graduate, and his wife, Diane.

Otto was a cardiothoracic surgeon in the Chicago area and served on the Wartburg College Board of Regents from 1992 until his death in 2008.

“Ralph and Diane were champions for academic excellence throughout the college, particularly in the disciplines of chemistry and biology,” said President Darrel Colson. “Their endowed gifts help maximize teaching and learning and facilitate life-changing mentoring relationships between professors and students.”

The Ottos supported Wartburg throughout their lives. In 1983, they created an endowed scholarship named for Dr. A.W. Swensen, the Wartburg chemistry professor he credited for much of his academic and professional success.

Signage commemorating Otto Science Hall will be displayed next to a portrait of Swensen. In 1995, Otto established the Ralph E. Otto Endowed Professorship in Chemistry.

“The Otto Endowed Professorship has afforded me the support necessary to establish a productive laboratory, a place where Wartburg students produce original research that often is presented at scientific conferences across the country and published in well-respected cancer and biochemistry journals,” said Shawn Ellerbroek, associate professor of chemistry/biochemistry and holder of the endowed professorship.

Otto and Diane Davis were married in 1966. Diane earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1965. Otto completed a medical degree at Northwestern in 1967 and trained as a cardiac surgeon. They lived in Germany from 1974 to 1977, where he served in the U.S. Air Force as chief of cardiothoracic surgery for the Western European Theater. After returning to the Chicago area, they raised three sons, and Diane earned a law degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983.

“My father believed Wartburg was the reason he was so successful,” said Bill Otto. “He felt he never would have excelled had it not been for his experience at Wartburg and his relationship with Dr. Swensen.”

Diane died in December 2007. Otto, an avid pilot, died in a plane crash in August 2008.

Becker Science Hall, the south and west wings of the Science Center, is named in honor of the late Dr. Conrad H. Becker, the college's 12th president.

- Source

NTSB Identification: LAX08FA265A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 10, 2008 in Rock Springs, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA R172K, registration: N758NH
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB Identification: LAX08FA265B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 10, 2008 in Rock Springs, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, registration: N8341
Injuries: 3 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 Cessna was on a local solo instructional flight while the Cirrus was on an instrument-flight-rules flight plan and clearance to the airport. The Cessna was maneuvering northwest of the airport, and the Cirrus was descending toward the airport from the northwest. The air traffic controller working the flight cleared the Cirrus for a visual approach and advised the pilot to switch to the common traffic advisory frequency. About 2 minutes and 30 seconds before the collision, the controller advised the Cirrus of an aircraft (the Cessna) at his one o'clock position and 10 miles at 9500 feet mean sea level (msl). The Cirrus pilot responded, "thank you," and there was no further contact with the Cirrus. Radar data indicates that for the next 2 minutes, the Cessna maintained a northeasterly heading and climbed to 9,800 feet msl. About 30 seconds before the collision, the Cessna turned approximately 20 to 30 degrees right and continued on that heading, level at 9,800 feet msl. During this same 2 minute and 30 second period, the Cirrus was descending on a heading of about 130 degrees magnetic. The data depict the two airplanes converging perpendicular to one another and colliding about 5 nautical miles northwest of the airport at an altitude of about 9,800 feet msl, or 3,300 feet above the ground. The wreckage of the two airplanes was intermingled and scattered over an area of about 1,400 feet by 1,500 feet. During examination of the wreckage, transfer marks were identified consistent with the radar-derived collision angle. The Cirrus was equipped with a TCAS-like traffic advisory system that would alert the pilot of transponder equipped aircraft that pose a collision threat within a 0.55-mile radius. Based on the radar data, the system, if turned on, should have generated both an oral and visual traffic advisory starting about 30 seconds before and continuing until impact. It could not be determined whether the unit generated an advisory. It is possible that the geometry between the the system's antenna on top of the Cirrus and the transponder antenna on the bottom of the Cessna prevented the system from generating an advisory, but this could not be confirmed. Both airplanes were operating under visual conditions when they collided.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of both pilots to see and avoid each other's aircraft.

Aruba Airport Authority N.V. celebrated in honor of 9 employees who together have a total of 140 years in service at the Airport

ORANJESTAD – Recently Aruba Airport Authority N.V. had reason to celebrate: a total of 140 years of service of 9 colleagues.

Myrna Lioe-A-Tjam celebrated her 25th year, Rigoberto Dirksz, Martino Tromp, Henery Christiaans, Alfredo Oduber, Jacqueline Angela, Dixiane Arends and Sharitsa Henriquez each celebrated their 15th year in service, while Cynthia Smith celebrated her 10th anniversary at the airport.

During a ceremony in the airport’s VIP-Room Myrna, Rigoberto, Martino, Henery, Alfredo, Jacqueline, Dixiane, Sharitsa and Cynthia celebrated their anniversary together with their colleagues, Management Team, Board of Directors and families. CEO of AAA N.V. Mr. James Fazio congratulated the guests of honor and thanked them for all the years of service, dedication and cooperation. Congratulations!

- Source

Southwest to test nonstop Tucson-Houston flights

Southwest Airlines will test a non-stop flight from Tucson to Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport for five Saturdays in November and December, the Tucson Airport Authority said.

Southwest will operate the flight from Tucson International Airport to Hobby on Nov. 8, 15 and 22, and Dec. 6 and 13. The flights leave Tucson at 6:50 a.m. and depart Houston at 5:45 p.m., with one-way fares starting at $143.

United Airlines is the only carrier offering regular non-stop service to Houston, with several daily nonstops to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

In addition to connecting the two airports, the new Southwest flight offers one-stop round-trip connections between Tucson and Dallas Love Field, Washington Reagan National Airport, New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Orlando International Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Pittsburgh International Airport.

- Source ►

Airport strategic plan up for public review • Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal (KFNL), Colorado

The public is invited to give feedback on the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport’s strategic plan.

Airport Director Jason Licon will present the plan and allow time for public comment at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the airport terminal, 4825 Earhart Road, Loveland.

The plan has been developed during the past year in a coordinated effort by regional business leaders, airport stakeholders and staff members from the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins.

- Story

Ebola Screenings Begin at New York’s JFK Airport • Four Other U.S. Airports Begin Screening for Virus Next Week

The Wall Street Journal
By Joseph De Avila

Updated Oct. 11, 2014 12:14 p.m. ET

Ebola screenings began on Saturday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for travelers coming from the most-affected West African countries, in an effort to curb the spread of the disease in the U.S.

About two dozen flights with some passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were expected to land at JFK on Saturday, according to officials with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. Each of those flights is expected to have about three or four passengers from the affected areas, officials said.

No direct flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were arriving at JFK on Saturday, Port Authority officials said. All the passengers from those countries had connected on flights through European airports, including those in Paris and Brussels.

“No matter how many of these procedures are put into place, we can’t get the risk to zero,” said Martin Cetron, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, at a news conference at the airport. He said these new measures wouldn’t necessarily have detected Ebola in the now-deceased patient who recently arrived in Dallas.

Nonetheless, he said, “this additional layer should add a measure of security and assurance to the American public.”

JFK airport is the first U.S. airport to begin screenings for Ebola. Washington Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield—Jackson Atlanta International Airport will begin screenings next week.

Those five airports account for 94% of all the 150 travelers who on average arrive daily from those most affected countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past 12 months, JFK received about half the passengers from those countries entering into the U.S., according to the CDC.

In its latest update, the World Health Organization said 4,033 people had died of confirmed, suspected or probable cases of Ebola.

Each of the most-heavily affected countries screen outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms before they fly. About 36,000 people have been screened over the past three months, according to the CDC. Of those, 77 people weren’t allowed to fly, but none was ultimately diagnosed with Ebola. Many actually had malaria, the CDC said.

Passengers arriving at JFK from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will be taken to an area of the airport designated for the screenings. Officials will question each passenger to find out if they have possibly been exposed to Ebola. Staff will take the passengers’ body temperature and check for other symptoms of the disease.

If a traveler exhibits symptoms of Ebola or has been exposed to the disease, the CDC will determine whether that person will be allowed to continue their travel, be taken to a hospital for evaluation or referred to local health department for monitoring.

Health officials say air travelers have a very low risk of contracting the disease. Only individuals who exhibit symptoms can transmit the disease to others. Infections happen when there is direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions with a person who has the disease.

- Source

County, airport clash in court over airport commission expansion • Martha's Vineyard (KMVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

In a courtroom watched closely by members of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission and the Dukes County Commission, on Wednesday Dukes County Superior Court Associate Justice Richard J. Chin heard arguments in two separate but related lawsuits that have kept the two public bodies embroiled in controversy for much of the year.

In the first hearing, airport commission attorney David Mackey, of the Cambridge law firm Anderson and Kreiger, asked Judge Chin to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the county commission from expanding the size of the airport commission from seven to nine members.

Mr. Mackey repeatedly cited legal documents known as grant assurances, which severely limit the county’s role in airport operations as a condition of receiving millions of dollars in state and federal grants. Characterizing the country’s attitude toward the grant assurances as “highly schizophrenic,” Mr. Mackey argued that the documents specifically prevent the county commission from reorganizing the airport commission.

“The grant assurances say that, because they foresaw this scenario,” Mr. Mackey said, “Confusion in the chain of command at an airport is a dangerous thing. Right now, my client [the airport commission] can’t meet because of uncertainty about who the commissioners are.”

Attorney Robert Troy, of the Bourne firm Troy Wall Associates, represented the county commission. He argued that the airport is a department of Dukes County, and has no standing to sue the county commission, or prevent it from adding two new airport commissioners. He said the only agency with authority to sue the county is the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division.

Last week, in a letter dated Sept. 25, Christopher Willenborg, MassDOT Aeronautics Division administrator, demanded an immediate explanation from the county commission chairman of the rationale behind the vote.

“Let’s see how these two airport commissioners do,” Mr. Troy said. “If there is a problem, the Aeronautics Division will step up to the plate. It doesn’t become a reorganization just because you call it a reorganization.”

Before the attorneys got far into their arguments, Judge Chin aggressively questioned both sides about the legal basis for the county commission’s vote to expand the airport commission.

“I read the statute to say they can establish a commission,” Judge Chin said. “There is no statutory authority to increase or decrease it. There is no authority after that to change it.”

Judge Chin said he understood the urgency of the matter. He took the matter under advisement, and he promised to issue a written ruling as soon as possible.

Also Wednesday, Judge Chin heard arguments in connection with a protracted legal dispute between the airport commission and Beth Tessmer, an employee who was fired and later filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit.

The court has already issued a preliminary injunction against the county commission on all other issues in the original lawsuit. On August 7, Judge Chin ruled for the airport commission on every point in its request for a preliminary injunction against the county commission, county treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders, and county manager Martina Thornton, based on his view that the airport commission has shown “a likelihood of success on the merits.” Judge Chin said the county commission is enjoined from appointing the county manager to the airport commission as an ex-officio, nonvoting member; the county manager is enjoined from serving in such a capacity; and the county treasurer is enjoined from refusing to pay invoices duly approved for payment by the airport commission, from obtaining privileged or confidential communications between the airport commission and its attorneys without notice to, or the consent of, the airport commission, and from releasing those communications between the airport commission and its attorneys to the public.

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Advisory board vacancy set to be filled by the year’s end • Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field (KRYY), Kennesaw, Georgia

KENNESAW — The board advising the Cobb Board of Commissioners on the needs and operations of Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field has a vacancy and is looking to fill the post by the end of the year.

The Airport Advisory Board, created by the county commissioners in 2008, is composed of nine members representing the county, the airport’s fixed-base operator, Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, the city of Kennesaw and pilots based at the airport, according to Karl Von Hagel, airport manager.

“We greatly appreciate their efforts,” he said. “They’re very instrumental in providing us guidance, and I can say they were very instrumental in helping get the customs facility moving forward.”

Von Hagel is referring to the new $800,000 customs facility being built at the airport by Atlanta-based YLH Construction Company, which will allow for international flights to arrive at McCollum Field without making a stop at a different airport for customs inspection beforehand. The facility is being financed by Hawthorne Global.

Members serve two-year terms, Von Hagel said, and the term for its chairman, William Campbell, who represents the pilots based at the airport, expired Oct. 6. Von Hagel said Williams, a pilot and small business owner who owns a plane based out of McCollum, is still a member of the board at present, but because the board only meets every other month, there will likely be a new member before its next meeting Dec. 1.

Von Hagel said as airport manager, he accepts nominations from the public to find a candidate to fill Campbell’s seat on the board.

“Anybody can nominate themselves and send me their information,” he said.

There is no requirement stating the member representing the pilots must be pilots themselves, Von Hagel said, although that is traditionally the case.

“I think intuitively since you’re representing the pilots on this airport about this airport, it would be advantageous that they are a pilot at this airport,” he said.

Up to three candidates are presented to the Board of Commissioners, which makes the final decision on the appointment. Von Hagel said if he receives more than three nominations, he polls the pilots based at the airport and chooses the three candidates receiving the most votes to present to the county commissioners.

The board helps with future planning of the airport by giving suggestions to the county commissioners regarding future planning and improvements to the airport, Von Hagel said. It also helps with marketing the airport and reviews noise and aviation ordinance issues, he added.

“At the meetings, we also review the traffic statistics for the state, how our activity compares to either the growth or decline of other airports of the state,” Von Hagel said.

Commissioner Helen Goreham, a member of the AAB who represents the area, said she was a driving force in creating the board in 2008.

“I noted that this major asset for Cobb County did not have an advisory board,” Goreham said, adding other major assets for the county — parks and libraries, for example — had advisory organizations.

Goreham said the board is working on updating the master plan for the airport to make sure McCollum Field is ready to handle any new developments in the county.

“One is now that the new Braves stadium is going to be in Cobb County, will that potentially have an effect on the airport?” she said.

Goreham said the airport is not equipped to handle the large charter planes visiting teams will use to fly into the area for games, but there is potential for fans with smaller planes to use McCollum on their way to the new SunTrust Park in Cumberland.

Other developments the board will be taking into account are the growth of Kennesaw State University, the effect the new customs facility may have on air traffic, the new LakePoint sports facility in Emerson — which is about 14 miles from McCollum Field in Bartow County — as well as the county’s burgeoning film industry, Goreham said.

The airport has an economic impact of about $112 million each year and supports more than 800 nearby jobs in hospitality and restaurant industries, according to county  officials.

The board can only provide advice to the commissioners about the airport and has no unilateral power to make decisions, Von Hagel said. Any action based on the board’s recommendations must be approved by the county commissioners, he said.

The board is composed of a county commissioner, three members appointed by the Board of Commissioners — one by Cobb Chairman Tim Lee, one jointly appointed by Commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell and one jointly appointed by Commissioners Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid — one member representing the FBO, Hawthorne Global, one member representing Kennesaw, one representing the Town Center Community Improvement District, one representing the Cobb County Development Authority and the member representing pilots.

Members of the board include Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews; Butch Thompson, appointed by Ott and Cupid; Carter Chapman, appointed by Goreham and Birrell; Sean King, appointed by Lee; Tom Auten, representing the FBO; Goreham; Vice Chairman Kelly Keappler, representing the Town Center CID; and Clark Hungerford, representing the Development Authority.

The terms for Chapman, Keappler and Hungerford also expired Oct. 6, Von Hagel said, so the groups they represent will likely appoint new members before the board’s next meeting.

Von Hagel said first bricks for the walls of the new customs facility were laid Friday. The facility is expected to open next summer. Additionally, he said the first set of walls for the airport’s new 78-foot, $2.9 million control tower should be going up Monday. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Moss & Associates Inc. is handling construction of the tower, expected to be in operation in January.

► The Marietta Daily Journal - Advisory board vacancy set to be filled by the year s end

New flights from Idaho Falls to Boise underway

IDAHO FALLS — New flights from Idaho Falls to Boise that were delayed a week are now underway, said Craig Davis, director of aviation at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

“They were scheduled to start last week on Oct. 1, but due to low ticket sales, it was postponed one week,” he said, adding that the first scheduled flight was on Wednesday.

Gem Air, an air charter company based in Salmon, can operate four scheduled flights a week, Davis said.

"Although early ticket sales are low, we do believe there is a need for this route and are urging the local communities to step up and book tickets,” he said.

Davis said the flights, which cost $149 each way for advanced bookings, are specifically meant to accommodate business travelers, and he hopes those who need to go to Boise within the next 12 months will go ahead and book flights to show their support.

And there are advantages to using the service, he said.

“They will operate out of the local fixed-base operator Aero Mark and not out of the main airport terminal,” he said. “This will allow passengers free parking and (there’s) no TSA screening.”

He encourages people to use the flights so that Gem Air will continue offering the service.

“The Idaho Falls Regional Airport continues efforts to get the word out with an ongoing marketing, advertising and social media campaign in both Idaho Falls and Boise. We have also recently began working with the Boise airport management as well,” he said. “However, as with any airline route, it is only viable as long as the community supports it. It’s truly a ‘use it or lose it’ situation.”

For more information about the flights, visit


Eurocopter AS 350 B2, N229LA • Los Angeles Police Department Chopper Makes Emergency Landing In South Los Angeles, California

(Photo credit: CBS)

SOUTH LOS ANGELES ( — An LAPD helicopter had to make an emergency landing in South Los Angeles on Friday evening. 

The helicopter landed in Harvard Park under its own power, near Western and Gage avenues.

Officers responded to a call for assistance as the chopper made the unscheduled landing.

The chopper reportedly showed a warning light, prompting the landing as a precaution.

There were no injuries to anyone in the rotorcraft or on the ground.

Authorities were investigating the circumstances of the landing, as it was not clear what mechanical issue the vehicle may have experienced.

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Flight Attendants Fight to Reinstate Ban on Fliers’ Devices • Lawyers for Union Argue in Court That Federal Aviation Administration Notice Violates Rule on Stowing Items

The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas

Updated Oct. 10, 2014 5:38 p.m. ET

Lawyers for the nation’s largest flight-attendant union argued in federal court Friday to effectively reinstate a government ban on the use of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is suing the Federal Aviation Administration, saying the agency notice last year that paved the way for fliers to use their devices throughout flights violated federal regulations that require passengers to stow all items during takeoffs and landings.

Justice Department lawyers representing the FAA say the agency’s guidance, which permitted fliers to keep smaller devices in their hands during all phases of flight, doesn’t violate the stowage rule because small devices aren’t governed by it. The two sides argued the case Friday to a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In October 2013, the FAA made it easier for airlines to prove that the in-flight use of electronics is safe for their aircraft. Within months, the FAA approved virtually all big U.S. airlines to allow passengers to use mobile phones, tablets and e-readers—with the cellular signal switched off—during takeoffs and landings.

Attorney Amanda Duré, who is representing the attendants union, said that since the policy change, many fliers have stopped listening to attendants’ emergency announcements and, in at least one incident, a tablet became a projectile during turbulence. The union also is concerned the devices could impede passengers’ exit from an aircraft during an emergency.

“Essentially we want to set the reset button to the way personal electronic devices were handled prior to October 2013,” Ms. Duré said. Takeoffs and landings “are the two most critical phases of flight with the most chance of turbulence and accidents.” Ms. Duré added that the union would be comfortable with a policy that allows devices to remain turned on during takeoffs and landings—as long as they are stowed away.

The union filed its lawsuit in late December, but the petition didn’t become public until an Associated Press report Friday.

The FAA declined to comment.

The flight attendants’ legal argument hinges partly on how the FAA’s policy change was enacted. The union says the change required a formal rule-making process, while Justice Department lawyers say the agency only needed to issue guidance, as it did.

The FAA recommended that during takeoffs and landings, airlines require passengers to generally stow larger devices, while allowing them to hold smaller devices. That guidance doesn’t violate federal rules on luggage stowage, the Justice Department lawyers said. “Not every single item carried onto a plane (e.g., a cell phone, a book, a pack of gum) necessarily constitutes an ‘article of baggage’ that must be ‘stowed’ under the seat or in an overhead compartment,” they said in a court filing.


In United States, Man Risks 20 Years in Jail Over Plane Seat Row

Boston:  It was dubbed the legroom wars and now a Haitian man risks up to 20 years in a US prison for losing his cool when a passenger reclined a seat on a flight from Miami to Paris.

Edmond Alexandre, 60, was indicted Thursday in a federal court in Boston for interfering with crew members, which forced the diversion of the August 27 flight to the northeastern city.

Approximately two hours into American Airlines flight 62 from Miami to Paris, Alexandre allegedly argued with the passenger in front, who wanted to recline in the cramped confines of economy class.

When a crew member intervened, Alexandre is accused of chasing the attendant down the aisle and grabbing his arm, before being handcuffed by marshals.

The pilot diverted the plane to Boston's Logan International Airport where Alexandre was arrested.

Although he is expected to receive a lighter sentence if found guilty, the crime is punishable under US law by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and three years supervised release.

His was the second of three cases within a nine-day period in August and September when passengers lost their temper over a reclining seat in economy class, forcing US passenger planes to divert.

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Flight for justice • From high-speed pursuits to domestic assault, helicopter gives police an advantage

 Then Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill at the unveiling Air 1 in December 2010. -Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files

In the lead-up to the last civic vote four years ago, it was one of Mayor Sam Katz's bigger re-election goodies.

A spiffy police helicopter. Outfitted with the latest surveillance technology and quiet enough it wouldn't rile Winnipeggers when it flew over their houses in the middle of the night.

"I am satisfied this will be a phenomenal tool for keeping our citizens safe and also make sure members of the Winnipeg Police Service do not get hurt," Katz said in late 2009 after city council's executive policy committee allocated $3.5 million toward the purchase the helicopter.

But there was a "but" built into that: The purchase would not go ahead unless the Manitoba government agreed to cover the helicopter's annual operating costs, estimated at the time at $1 million to $1.3 million a year.

The Selinger government, facing its own re-election campaign in 2011, reluctantly agreed, including paying the inflationary costs of flying and maintaining the helicopter for as long as there was a city police-helicopter program.

Katz had pushed the province into a corner and won. His only concession -- because the province was paying the program's annual costs, the helicopter could be used by police services outside the city when necessary, such as for a missing-person search.

Four years later, the helicopter has become a familiar sight over Winnipeg -- when it's available.

It only flew 986.2 hours in 2013, or 41 days out of 365.

Obviously, weather plays a big role, but so does pilot staffing and maintenance. Air 1 spent 61 days in the hangar last year. It was also grounded 32 days because of bad weather and 20 because of staff shortages.

Pilot Sgt. Jeff Quail, a police officer since the late 1980s, is the first city officer to be trained to fly Air 1, but he is set to retire soon. A police constable is currently in training to replace Quail. The service also employs two experienced civilian pilots. Four city police officers are trained as technical flight officers. They operate the special thermal imaging camera that allows police to see at night and work its powerful spotlight. They also stay in contact with police on the ground because the pilot is in contact with air traffic control at Winnipeg's airport.

The pair works in tandem, like a married couple, but without bickering over directions.

On patrol over Winnipeg, there's just not enough time for that.

There are no church services on a Tuesday night. No bingos or perogy sales either.

So it stood out in the darkness in an otherwise empty parking lot at the rear of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral at Main Street and Redwood Avenue.

High above, Air 1's heat-seeking, nighttime infrared camera picked it out like a glistening red tomato on the vine. In the grey-and-white images on the helicopter's camera monitor, its tires and engine were warm, a sign it had recently parked.

Quail and tactical flight officer Const. Clayton Wood say over the headset it's odd the sedan is parked where it is so late at night. It could there for any reason, but at 2 a.m. on a weekday morning, it's worth checking out.

No patrol cars are available to do a spot check, so the Winnipeg Police Service helicopter circles above the church, with Wood keeping the camera fixed on the car to see if its occupants realize they're being watched.

They don't. Not a clue. So Wood activates the helicopter's searchlight. A bright, narrow bluish beam lights up the car. Its headlights switch on immediately. Wood keeps the searchlight on the car as it pulls out of the parking lot and into traffic on Main Street.

The lesson? No one was arrested, but the presence of the helicopter over the city shows if there was something illegal going on, the chance of them getting caught was that much greater because of the helicopter. By how much is difficult to measure, but it's there just the same.

In other words, police say they are more effective at increasing the likelihood of capturing and arresting suspects with a helicopter than without. If you're a bad guy and the helicopter's thermal imaging camera sees you, you're toast.

Police also say some research has shown a helicopter can be equivalent to 12 ground units in the amount of calls it can attend.

"By capturing somebody at scene, it saves tons of money and time in investigative hours to complete that call," flight operations unit Insp. Mike Herman says. "People probably wouldn't appreciate the man-hours to close a call-out and to later locate all the parties. If the helicopter is there and catches somebody fleeing and can track it just to isolate them to be interviewed, sometimes that saves a lot of investigative hours on the back end."

Herman says that's due in part to the ever-increasing familiarity and co-ordination between officers on the ground and the helicopter crews.

The helicopter is also handling more incidents. Last year, the helicopter saw 2,793 calls, up from 1,780 in 2011, leading to the capture or arrest of about 200 people. "It really changes the game," Wood said of the helicopter's increasing use, now well into its fourth year of operations. "I think the more that we're out there, general patrol officers will see the benefits."

Air 1 has had an impact on the further decline of high-speed police pursuits in the city, the stolen-car capital of Canada a decade ago.

The province brought in mandatory ignition immobilizers in 2007 in an effort to reduce the high number of vehicle thefts and police chases. That and tougher enforcement, such as more stringent curfews, saw car thefts plummet. In 2006, police reported 8,999 vehicle thefts. That number dropped to 2,136 in 2013.

Now, if a patrol unit calls in a chase, the helicopter -- if it's airborne -- responds in seconds. Once it has the chased vehicle in sight, the camera locks on. Police on the ground can then follow at a safer, slower speed. The camera and spotlight are both operated by the flight officer while the pilot focuses on keeping the helicopter in the air.

"We take it (the chase) over," Wood says. "We direct the cruiser cars on the ground to stop pursuing and then we begin observing the vehicle."

In a perfect world, the driver would no longer see any flashing lights behind him and slow down. In the real world, that rarely happens, and the chased vehicle heads to where it can be dumped and the driver and any occupants can flee on foot. Still, because the helicopter is now watching them, their chance of escape is slim.

"They won't necessarily know that we're watching them do all this," Wood says. "We're able to direct (officers) to come into the area and arrest that person."

What the helicopter crew can also do is direct officers to get in front of the chased car, where they can put a device on the road to puncture its tires.

"Every time that there's a pursuit being voiced, and we have enough fuel to get to that area, we're going," Wood said. "It's a main priority. And we like catching bad guys."

In the same vein, the helicopter also watches from above when officers pull over a car for a vehicle check, or when a lone officer and a police service dog are tracking down a suspect. It provides another set of eyes in what could quickly turn to a volatile situation.

"Just the mere fact of putting the spotlight down, people in the vehicle below change their behavior right away because they realize the police are above them," Herman says.

What sometimes gets overlooked is the role of the helicopter in domestic calls, the most frequent call to police.

Last year, police handled 14,617 domestic-violence events out of a total of 185,837 calls for service.

Domestic calls are also the most unpredictable for police. Emotions run high, and the threat of violence is never far. Many domestic calls involve alcohol.

When it's in the air and because of its speed, Air 1 is now usually the first unit on the scene, albeit above, as it can cross the city in about three minutes. Air 1 doesn't just respond to calls when a helicopter is needed -- it responds to all calls just like a police car, just like it was intended when Katz went cup-in-hand to the province.

With its night infrared camera, the helicopter unit can watch to see if anyone leaves the scene, and direct officers on the ground as they close in on the suspect. The camera is so accurate, it can pick out a guy casually walking down a street smoking a cigarette.

"We hold that address until general patrol arrive," Wood says. "But usually, when police are called, people don't want to stick around. If we're there and we see him, we got him. He's not going to get away from us."

Besides increasing the chance of an arrest, the helicopter saves valuable time for officers on the ground. They don't have to conduct a search themselves or tie up other units. They also don't have get a warrant for that suspect's arrest if a search comes up empty. That frees up court resources.

"At the end of the day, we're saving some money and some time," Wood says.

When comparing Air 1's performance against Edmonton and Calgary -- both fly two police helicopters -- Winnipeg comes out favorably with its 2,793 calls for service in 2013, Herman said.

"It can't be divided by two, but we're not far behind their combined units," he says.

The Calgary police service's helicopter unit responded to 4,887 calls, and the Edmonton helicopter unit handled a similar number.

From the church, Quail takes the helicopter to its next call, a woman apparently in distress on the south Perimeter Highway at Pembina. It arrives in less than a minute. Despite a wide sweep or circle of the area -- police call it an "orbit"-- there's no trace of the woman, or anyone else walking on the highway.

Other calls include a report of gun in the city's North End and vehicles racing in a parking lot. Police on the ground responded to both.

After refueling at the airport, Quail and Wood help in a search over Point Douglas for a man who stabbed someone for their cellphone. The injury was not serious.

Officers on the ground are doing a search for the culprit along the Red River south of the Redwood Bridge. The helicopter's infrared camera scans a park and the riverbank for any signs of body heat and detects something under some bushes.

Turns out it was a couple of guys sleeping.

Quail suddenly calls off the search when a creeping fog bank is spotted just west of the airport, where Air 1 is based.

"We gotta go," Quail says, adding any more time in the air means Air 1 won't be able to land where it's supposed to, as the fog will soon envelope the airport.

Within minutes Air 1 is on the ground. A 12-hour overnight shift is grounded because of bad weather.

High-speed pursuits

The number of potentially dangerous police vehicle pursuits has dropped from a high of 160 in 2006 to 30 last year. A number of factors have contributed to the decline, the most critical being the introduction of mandatory car ignition immobilizers in 2007 in vehicles most at risk of being stolen.

Police say the presence of Air 1 since 2011 has further reduced the number of high-speed chases, as its presence acts as deterrence. Police do not advertise when the helicopter is flying but by now most Winnipeggers, including criminals, are aware of its capabilities. When the helicopter is flying, it can take over a ground pursuit and reduce the chance of an offender escaping arrest. It also means if a ground chase is called off because of dangerous driving conditions and a risk to the public, the helicopter can continue to follow the vehicle.


In May 2013, city police got a report of vehicle that had been stolen from Regent Avenue West.

Later, officers on patrol spotted the stolen vehicle being driven near River Road and St. Mary's Road.

When an attempt was made to stop the vehicle, the driver sped off and led officers on a pursuit lasting several minutes.

Air 1 tracked the vehicle, which allowed officers on the ground to fall back and follow at a safer speed.

The helicopter directed officers to Pembina Highway and Turnbull Drive, where, after realizing further evasive manoeuvres were useless, the driver had stopped, got out of the vehicle and allowed officers to arrest him. He was charged with four offenses.

Year - Pursuits

2000:  98

2001:  99

2002:   69

2003:  132

2004:  122

2005:  102

2006:  160

2007:   96

(Mandatory ignition  immobilizers introduced)

Year -  Pursuits

2008:  52

2009:   58


(Air 1 begins patrols over Winnipeg)

2011:  29

(Police helicopter involved in two chases; 39 pursuits prevented)

2012:   37

(Police helicopter involved in seven chases; 40 pursuits prevented)

2013:  30

(Police helicopter involved in nine chases; 44 pursuits prevented)

The book on Air 1:


Engine: Turbomeca Arrius 2F-504 hp

Maximum speed: 225 km/h

Maximum altitude: 20,000 ft.

Maximum seating: five (Minimum operational "flight crew" consists of one tactical flight officer and one pilot).

Camera system: FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared) that can transmit images to ground. It tracks people or evidence by heat signatures.

Moving ground map: GPS-based mapping system to immediately pinpoint location.

High-powered spotlight: Nightsun SX-16/30-million candle power.

Average response time: 90 seconds.

Public address/siren system: Loudspeaker to address people on the ground above noise of helicopter's engine and rotors.

Helicopter's original cost: $3.5 million paid by the City of Winnipeg.

Helicopter's insurance: US$2,640,000.

2013 flight operational costs: $1,518,211.97, paid by Manitoba government under a 2009 agreement with city to fund annual operating costs.

(To compare, the STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) air ambulance costs $10 million a year under a 10-year service-purchases agreement contract the province signed with STARS in February 2012.)


Do unmanned aerial drone have a place in policing?

Many police agencies across Canada, including RCMP, are using the remote control drones to take photos and video over serious car crashes to get an overhead perspective for collision reconstruction investigations.

The drones, generally about the same diameter as an extra large pizza, can also provide police with live intelligence at crime scenes, such as hostage takings, and supply support in search and rescue operations.

Manitoba RCMP got money to buy their first drone in July through their share of funding under the province's Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.

Winnipeg police are studying getting their own aerial drone, but have no immediate plan to buy one.

Police are also quick to point out a drone would not replace a helicopter as drones have limited capabilities. Simply, they can't criss-cross high above the city jumping from call to call like a helicopter can.

The use of drones is also strictly regulated by Transport Canada and can't fly higher than 120 metres and must stay within the operator's line of sight.

They also cannot fly over people not involved in incidents, meaning their use by police cannot secretly intrude into people's lives for surveillance purposes.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says Canadians are protected from unreasonable search and seizure, a search without a warrant, by Section Eight of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So for the time being, Canadian police drones can only look at areas that would likely be considered public by the courts.

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Air 1 has become a familiar sight over Winnipeg — when it's available. It only flew 896. 2 hours in 2013. -TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files 

New community hangar still needed • Newton City/County Airport (KEWK), Newton, Kansas

Newton, Kan.

The Newton City/County Airport is experiencing a problem — although it is the kind of problem airport manager Brian Palmer is glad to have.

As the airport continues to grow, it is running out of room. Now that a recently constructed community hangar will be leased and possibly sold to a local business, the airport may have to look at constructing a new community hangar.

"Obviously we need the hangar space," Palmer said.

The airport is developing a plan and looking at constructing a new community hangar to meet needs.

This week Harvey County Commissioners and Newton City Commissioners approved a lease agreement with Newton-based Palomino Petroleum Inc. for what was originally constructed as a community hangar.

Although Palomino wanted to purchase the hangar, the city and county could not do a direct sale since the project was bond financed. The year 2020 is the earliest the bonds can be redeemed. Palomino will start out by leasing the facility and will have an option to purchase it later, in August 2020.

This is Palomino's first time to lease property at the airport. Previously, the company had borrowed space from other tenants.

Palmer said it is possible some transient aircraft could park in the Palomino hangar, if needed. It would be on a case by case basis, but the airport has a good working relationship with Palomino.

Palmer is excited to watch the airport expand, despite times of economic downturn.

"It's a true testament to the businesses that are here," he said.

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Allegheny County Airport Authority to cut rates • Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT), Pennsylvania

Airlines flying out of Pittsburgh International Airport will get a price break next year.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority’s Board of Directors announced Friday that the 2015 budget will cut airline rates, thanks to an anticipated increase in fliers. The authority is forecasting an increase in passengers from 4.1 million this year to 4.15 million next year.

JoAnn Jenny, director of communications, said the projected increase is the result of airlines making more trips to Pittsburgh.

“Airlines have been increasing the number of flights at Pittsburgh, they’ve been starting new routes and they’ve been increasing the size of the aircraft on some routes,” she said.

Starting January, enplaned passenger rates — the rate per passenger that airlines pay airports — will drop from $13.92 to $12.90 at Pittsburgh International, the lowest rate since 2008.

Airlines also will see landing fees, ramp fees and terminal lease rates decrease, according to the airport authority.

The authority approved a $97.9 million operating budget to cover expenses for Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport.

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Why JetGo expects Gladstone route to work

They are twice as fast and a lot quieter than a turbo prop jet, and that's why the new Gladstone to Sydney service will work the second time around.

That's the reasoning of JetGo's decision, and confirmation yesterday, for a direct jet service that will begin on December 1.

JetGo managing director airlines Paul Bredereck was confident in the product.

"Jets cut the flying time by the best part of an hour," he said.

"They're quieter, faster, more comfortable and it's the right size for the market."

He and JetGo CEO Jason Ryder had been looking at Gladstone for two years and would have begun the program in the first half of 2015, but circumstances such as Qantas pulling its direct route spurred them to bring the timing forward.

"Gladstone was always on our list but never at the top of our list, Jason being from Yeppoon and me from Tamworth they were up top…but recent events and the support from the council meant it kept coming back to the top of the list."

Mr Bredereck said the idea was that people could do a full day's business in either city.

"The people from Delaware resorts got in contact with us and we adjusted our timetable by half an hour to allow for a better connection with the launch services to Heron Island, so there's been a lot of interaction with the business community," he said.

"We believe there's great support there, on our Facebook there's been over 3000 shares, and we're humbled by the community's support."

Gladstone Airport Corporation CEO Phillip Cash said it was great for Gladstone and the whole region.

"It offers everybody around here the direct flight from here straight to Sydney," he said.

Mayor Gail Sellers added, "plus those in Rockhampton, Banana Shire, and the Central Highlands".

Mr Cash said it was recognition of Gladstone being progressive, "and that we can offer a feeder for other people".

"Also, JetGo will obviously interface with other airlines so there'll be a straight through jet service," he said.

Graham Caven and his mates were waiting to fly back to Sydney yesterday via Brisbane.

"When we first looked at the trip I thought they flew direct but it turned out we had to go through Brisbane," he said.

He had further worries that the delayed flight he was waiting for would cause worries about the connecting flight.

The Canadian, who was in Gladstone for work, said it would be great to have the direct flight to Sydney back.

"That would be great," he said. "The time it takes to get there is a massive improvement.

"I know a lot of people who would use it."

Jamie and Tash Chinery, two of Gladstone's resident plane spotters, got an up-close look at the new 36-seat Embraer 135 regional jet.

"It's very good for Gladstone, it's what Gladstone does need," Mr Chinery said.

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