Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plane formerly owned partially by Wellmont Health System traveled to St. Louis 57 times

Wellmont Health System no longer has partial ownership of a private plane, but federal flight records reveal when it did, that plane traveled to the St. Louis area at least 57 times since 2010.

Wellmont sold its share of the plane around the same time former CEO Denny DeNarvaez abruptly resigned. The health system previously said the sale and the resignation were not connected.

At our request, the Federal Aviation Administration provided us with the plane's flight records. Those public records reveal since 2010, the plane flew from Tri-Cities Regional Airport to St. Louis 57 times, with most of the flights occurring on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Those flights account for almost 12% of all of the plane's flights from the Tri-Cities during that time and the numbers do not include the 59 trips from St. Louis back to TCRA.

When reached by phone for comment Tuesday, DeNarvaez continued to maintain the plane was used efficiently and per company policy.

"I was not taking the plane for reasons that were for me," DeNarvaez said. "I was taking the plane for the reasons of company business. It's been well reviewed, audited, under compliance, you name it. The board has so fully looked into this."

Although several top executives at Wellmont had personal ties to St. Louis, DeNarvaez maintains Wellmont had business reasons to be there.

"We had several vendors in St. Louis," she said.

She continued to say on the rare occasions her husband traveled with her, she covered the taxable fringe benefit.

Wellmont was one of six owners of the plane, so there is no way to tell for sure who was on the plane when it was in the air.

The plane flew from the Tri-Cities to St. Louis more than anywhere else except for Teterboro Airport in the New York-New Jersey area. Records reveal the plane traveled there 63 times.

"Wellmont Health System has strong policies and practices in place for audit and compliance that apply to every level of our organization," the organization said in a statement. "Those policies and practices were applied to usage of the plane, in which Wellmont no longer has an ownership interest, and they are applied to every aspect of our business. These issues have been covered sufficiently, and there is nothing new to discuss. Questions being asked about our former CEO don't relate to the current business concerns of Wellmont, as she has not been employed by the health system for nearly two months now. Wellmont is keenly focused, under the leadership of our interim president and CEO, on the delivery of superior care with compassion to our patients and on the bright future of our organization."


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

Illinois Valley Airport (3S4) lease could be worth millions, add up to 200 jobs

The Josephine County Board of Commissioners is poised to approve a 30-year lease that would inject more than $18 million into the local economy and perhaps as many as 200 jobs.

The vote on Wednesday night will open the door for Manor Communities Development, which has a history of development projects in the Cave Junction area, to begin building custom facilities for several unnamed aeronautical system manufacturers on land at Illinois Valley Airport.

A majority of the $18 million will be in the form of credits for upgrades and improvements at the airport, but even if all of the credits are alloted, the county will still receive $5.5 million in revenue over the life of the lease.

"They have several major tenants that are either very interested or are verbally committed," County Airport Manager Larry Graves said.

Graves said Manor will build to suit the needs of tenants it has recruited.

All of the potential tenants will be related to the aeronautical industry, including at least one research and development company, a pilot-training company and a manufacturing company.

Between the various tenants and the requirements for maintenance, operation and repair, there could be as many as 200 jobs.

The focus will be on building unmanned aerial systems for nonmilitary and nongovernment use. Graves said the end products will be for strictly commercial sales.

"There won't be drones flying over marijuana grows," he said.

The lease, which runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2045, calls for a $174,740 payment to the county in the first year, with escalating payments up to $642,904 in the fourth year.

The annual rent will be $642,904 each year from that point through the end of the lease, but Manor can receive credits by making improvements at the airport.

In fact, Graves said two-thirds to three-quarters of the payment will be in the form of credit for infrastructure improvements such as a new water system, new electrical system, a taxi way to connect existing taxi lanes, an airport ramp area, a septic handling system and completion of an industrial park at the airport.

Those improvements are expected to lead to even more commerce at the airport.

Larry Osborn, the founder of Manor Communities, has already signed the agreement, which will provide Manor the use of nearly 74 acres at the airport.

Manor has offices in Grants Pass, Las Vegas and Lodi, Calif. Osborn has been involved in several projects in the Illinois Valley, including home developments, a medical facility and an unsuccessful attempt to buy Laurel Pines Golf Course.

The possibility of a deal surfaced in the spring, Graves said, when County Commissioner Simon Hare told him that the county had been approached about leasing property at the airport.

"Over the course of the summer and the fall, we fleshed out what they are intending to do," Graves said. "I'm very hopeful and positive and looking forward to the future."

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Anne Basker Auditorium, 604 N.W. Sixth St., Grants Pass.


- Source:  http://www.mailtribune.com

PEOPLExpress owes $100,000 in overdue fees to Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF), Newport News, Virginia

 

NEWPORT NEWS -- Newport News International Airport officials have told PEOPLExpress to pay $100,000 in overdue fees or vacate the terminal building, a spokesman told 13News Now Monday.

According to airport spokesman Ken Spirito, the airline didn't pay passenger facility charges for July, August and September. The airline was first given notice 30 days ago, he said.

The $4.50 fee, according to Spirito, is included in passenger's ticket prices and returned back to the airport for capital improvements.

Spirito called today's notice a formality because the airline isn't currently operating at the airport.

PEOPLExpress temporarily suspended flights in September due to aircraft and crew availability and maintenance issues.

PEOPLExpress told 13News Now they had no comment.

Stay with 13NewsNow.com for more on this developing story.


Airport tells PEOPLExpress to pay fees or leave: http://hamptonroads.com

As seen from the passenger cabin of the inaugural PEOPLExpress flight, from Newport News to Boston, a second PEOPLExpress aircraft waits at the gate at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on Monday, June 30, 2014. The image was made with a cellphone and an Instagram filter. (Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)

Mayday! Mayday! The distress calls from Ambani plane that shook ATC

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is probing how repeated distress calls were made from a private Airbus 319 owned by India's wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, when it was not even air-borne.

On Monday night at 8.32 pm, Mumbai Air Traffic Control's main tower received a Mayday alert. Even before the ATC officials could understand what was happening, they received another Mayday call six minutes later at 8.38 pm.

Mayday is the code used internationally to signal distress or life-threatening situation.

The first call to the Surface Movement Control of the ATC reported that the engine was on fire and that the aircraft was in rapid descent. The plane, the pilot said, was on a Delhi-Lahore-Muscat route.

By the time the ATC identified the aircraft by its unique registration number as belonging to Mukesh Ambani, came the second distress call which repeated that the engine was on fire and the Airbus was ditching into the sea. (See below).

"We contacted the air traffic controls of Delhi and Muscat if they reported an emergency. We also checked with planes flying in that zone if they could see any aircraft with its engine on fire," said a senior ATC official.

When Delhi and Muscat both reported that all operations were normal, and the other planes reported no unusual sighting, the ATC shifted its attention trying to locate the radio frequency of the Airbus from where the distress signals were coming.

To their surprise they found the source of the call pointing towards not somewhere up in the sky but the southwest of the airport where the hangars for private jets are. "We sent a team to verify the aircraft parked there," said the official. The team found the Airbus - the same aircraft that had been gifted by Mukesh Ambani to his wife Nita for her 44th birthday in 2007 - in the hanger but there was no one inside the aircraft.

The ATC team after confirming the plane to be the source of the distress calls reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation which started its investigation on Tuesday.

According to ATC officials, pilots and maintenance crew routinely check emergency radio systems but "they always notify us in advance so that there is no panic or confusion but that was not done in this case."

The entire operation took two hours before calm was restored.

"Initial investigations show the pilot was probably checking whether the emergency systems and the radio were functioning. But he forgot to inform the ATC that he was conducting these tests," said a senior DGCA official, close to the investigation.

The maintenance of the Ambani Airbus jet is done by Jet Airways with the help of in-house Reliance engineers. A Jet Airways source corroborated that the pilot was testing the emergency radio systems when the incident occurred, while the aircraft was on ground.

Reliance spokesman Tushar Pania also confirmed that the emergency systems were being tested. He, however, said that all the relevant authorities were informed. "It was a regular mock drill to test the emergency systems and the ATC and the DGCA were informed," he said.

THE AIRCRAFT


The Rs 242-crore aircraft was gifted by Mukesh Ambani to his wife Nita in 2007. It is one of the biggest private jets in the country, the other one is owned by beleaguered UB chief Vijay Mallya. The jet is custom-fitted with an office and a cabin with game consoles, music systems, satellite television and wireless communication. It also has a master bedroom, a bathroom with a range of showers and a bar with mood lighting.

EMERGENCY FREQUENCY 121.5 MHZ


The aircraft emergency frequency (also known as guard) is a frequency used on the aircraft band reserved for emergency communications for aircraft in distress. The frequencies are 121.5 MHz for civilian, also known as International Air Distress (IAD) or VHF Guard. Although the Ambani aircraft used 121.9, the ATC can assign any frequency as emergency or distress.

THE TRANSCRIPT

8.32 PM

♦ "MAY DAY MAY DAY MAY DAY! DELHI/LAHORE/MUSCAT, VT-IAH

♦ Engine fire, descending to FL 100 (flight level 10000) on heading 360

8.38 PM

♦ MAYDAY, MUSCAT, VT-IAH

♦ We have engine fire, turning left,heading 100

♦ Descending to FL 100 (flight level 10000)

♦ A case of possible ditching in the sea


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

Google Signs 60-Year, $1.16 Billion NASA Lease: Google to Renovate 3 Hangars and Use Them for Projects Involving Aviation, Space Exploration and Robotics

The Wall Street Journal

By Associated Press

Nov. 10, 2014 7:57 p.m. ET


SAN FRANCISCO— Google Inc. has signed a long-term lease for part of a historic Navy air base, where it plans to renovate three large hangars and use them for projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics.

The Internet company will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property, which also includes a working airfield, golf course and other buildings. The 1,000-acre site is part of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Google plans to invest more than $200 million to refurbish the hangars and add other improvements, including a museum or educational facility that will showcase the history of Moffett and Silicon Valley, according to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration statement. The agency said a Google subsidiary called Planetary Ventures LLC will use the hangars for “research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies.”

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have a well-known interest in aviation and space. The company recently acquired several smaller firms that are working on satellite technology and robotics. But a Google representative declined Monday to discuss specific plans for the property, which is located a few miles from the company’s main campus in Mountain View.

NASA plans to continue operating its Ames Research Center on the former Navy site. Google will take over operations at the runways and hangars, including a large structure that was built to house dirigible-style Navy airships in the 1930s. NASA said the deal will save it $6.3 million in annual maintenance and operation costs.

Local officials praised Google’s promise to restore the historic structure known as Hangar One, which is a San Francisco Bay Area landmark. U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) called the lease agreement “a major win for our region.”

Google already has a separate lease for another portion of the former air base, where it wants to build a second campus. Messrs. Page and Brin also have used the Moffett runways for their collection of private jets, under another lease arrangement that has been criticized by some watchdog groups who say NASA gave the executives a sweetheart deal.


- Source:  http://online.wsj.com

American Airlines Drops Plan to Add Seats to Small Jets

American Airlines Group Inc. won’t try to add seats to the largest jets flown by its regional carriers, saying it’s more important for new management to build trust with pilots than to increase revenue.

The move means American will stick with planes carrying no more than 76 people, instead of increasing to the 81 seats the airline preferred, American President Scott Kirby said today in a letter to pilots. Planes with more seats must be flown by American’s mainline pilots, not its commuter partners.

“It seems the reason it is difficult to convince our pilots that this change is in their best interest -- and not some nefarious scheme to harm them in some way -- is because the pilots of American do not fully trust management,” Kirby said. Dropping that plan will cost American “tens of millions of dollars” annually, he said.

American made the offer to pilots two days after flight attendants rejected a tentative contract that would have been the first to include workers from merger partner US Airways. A 76-seat limit for jets at regional airlines is an industry standard. Any increase threatens the jobs of mainline pilots who fly bigger planes, unions have said.

The Allied Pilots Association declined to comment on the regional jet proposal until its board can be briefed on American’s offer at a meeting tomorrow, said Dennis Tajer, a union spokesman.

Contract Talks

Kirby is part of the former US Airways management team that took over American when the two airlines merged in December. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company is negotiating a single contract to cover pilots from both carriers.


The APA and previous American management failed to negotiate a contract in more than five years of talks, finally agreeing on terms in bankruptcy. A legal battle kept US Airways from merging two pilot groups for years after it combined with America West.

“Given the history of labor relations at American and US Airways, we can appreciate why that feeling exists,” Kirby said of the distrust. “But we want to change that perception and the entire leadership team at AA is working very hard to do so.”

American’s offer would give its pilots the highest pay rates among its major network peers, Kirby said, without providing other details.

The tentative agreement with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants was rejected Nov. 9 by a margin of 16 votes out of more than 16,000 cast. American and the union will begin arbitration hearings for a new contract on Dec. 3, the APFA said.


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

Could daily air service be coming to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG)?

VIENNA, Ohio -    The Western Reserve Port Authority is waiting to hear whether daily air service will be approved between the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Chicago, according to Dan Dickten, Director of Aviation.

Final approval would need to come from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and that could happen in the next week or so.

Dickten has predicted that more than 125,000 passengers will fly in-and-out of the airport this year.

The service would allow air travelers from Youngstown to reach destinations worldwide by way of Chicago.


- Source:  http://www.wfmj.com

Sullivan plans to spend Fridays at Yampa Valley Regional Airport (KHDN) until new manager is hired

Steamboat Springs — Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said Monday that he has firmed up plans to fill the role of interim manager at Yampa Valley Regional Airport early this ski season himself.

Sullivan has begun the search for a replacement for former YVRA manager Dave Ruppel, who resigned effective Nov. 5 after nine years here to accept a similar role at Front Range Airport east of Denver.

Sullivan previously told the Steamboat Today that he does not expect to have a replacement for Ruppel in place before Christmas, meaning the airport will be without a full-time chief administrator during one of the busiest periods of the ski season for YVRA.

Ruppel’s resignation, which was driven by the need to be closer to his wife and son living on the Front Range, came about two months after the retirement of Assistant Airport Manager Dean Smith in August.

The county already had decided not to replace Smith for austerity reasons.

“I’ll plan to spend part of every Friday at the airport, and I really feel confident that with the working relationships our employees have there, we’ll be fine,” Sullivan said. “They know what needs to be done.”

Sullivan added that he met with officials of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. last week to let them know about the county’s plans.

Commissioner Doug Monger said he has faith in the abilities of Maintenance Superintendent Todd Dubois, who is the lead manager taking care of air side snow removal, and of Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting/Public Safety Director Tyler Whitmore, a veteran in that role. The same is true, he said, of Business Manager Doris Mayhan, who will oversee airport contracts until a new airport manager is in place.

“I think we’re going to be fine,” Monger said.

Dubois appeared before the commissioners Monday to gain approval for a replacement part on a backup motorized sweeper that is used to clear light snow from the runway at the airport.

Monger pointed out that most of the airport functions that relate directly to passenger experience are handled by the airlines and rental car companies, for example. When flights into Steamboat don’t operate and ground transportation to Denver International Airport or Walker Field in Grand Junction must be arranged for passengers, the airlines handle those details.

However, Sullivan said he does have a backup plan. He told the county commissioners that former longtime Pitkin County manager Hilary Fletcher works in community planning for Jviation, the engineering firm that consults on long-range planning and FAA construction projects at YVRA. She is available to fill in temporarily at YVRA, with Jviation billing a daily rate, if the need arises, Sullivan said.

“That’s who I’ll call if I have a problem,” he said.

Hayden does not typically experience the full brunt of the harshest winter storms that impact Steamboat Springs, but should a major storm impact the airport, Sullivan said he anticipates the entire community would respond to the needs of stranded travelers.


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

The ‘drone’ near miss that wasn’t

By Kathryn A. Wolfe 

11/11/14 5:55 PM EST 

 Last spring’s headlines were ominous, hinting at a dangerous new era for air travel: A drone had nearly collided with a US Airways jet over Florida, with results that could have been “catastrophic.”
 
The reality, according to a FAA document obtained by POLITICO: The pilot said his close encounter was with a remote-controlled model plane — apparently of the type hobbyists have been flying for decades. 

 The FAA is still investigating the incident, which might indeed have posed a risk to the passenger jet. But the newly released record offers a reminder that not everyone agrees on what is meant by the word “drone,” a term that can encompass anything from a toy quadcopter to a military weapon — complicating the debate about whether, and how, federal authorities should regulate their use in the civilian skies.

The March 22 incident near Tallahassee, Fla., came to light in May when Jim Williams, head of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems office, presented it as a cautionary tale during a speech at a drone business expo in San Francisco. He used that incident, and anecdotes about wayward drones injuring people on the ground, as reasons for the need for his agency to write regulations on standards for the unmanned craft.

Though drones can be small, the consequences of ingesting even something the size of a goose into an aircraft engine can be disastrous, especially during takeoff or landing. “Imagine a metal and plastic object, especially with [a] big lithium battery, going into a high-speed engine. The results could be catastrophic,” Williams said in his address, which The Associated Press quickly picked up on. Soon, the incident was leading CNN’s website for hours.

The episode was among the first well-publicized accounts of a drone almost colliding with a passenger airplane.

But according to the FAA’s preliminary near-midair collision report, which POLITICO obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the offending object may not have been a drone at all, but rather a remote-control hobbyist aircraft.

Read more: http://www.politico.com

Rockwell International 112A, N1148J: Accident occurred October 16, 2014 in Gainesville, Georgia

Docket And Docket Items: http://dms.ntsb.gov

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA016
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 16, 2014 in Gainesville, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2016
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL 112, registration: N1148J
Injuries: 2 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 flight instructor and private pilot were conducting an instructional flight. A witness reported that, when the airplane about 400 ft above the ground, he heard a “surging” sound coming from the engine and observed pitch and roll oscillations occurring; he then lost sight of the airplane. A video provided by the fixed-based operator showed the airplane take off and begin to climb. Shortly after, it recorded a radio call on the common traffic advisory frequency indicating that an emergency existed and that the airplane was returning to the airport. Another witness reported seeing the airplane’s landing gear barely clear a building as it flew toward the airport. He added that, as the airplane neared power lines, the airplane pitched up, likely in an attempt to avoid them. The airplane then collided with a telephone pole and unmarked transmission lines, which ruptured the fuel tank, and then struck the ground. A postcrash fire ensued that nearly consumed the cockpit, cabin, and both wings. Examination of the flight controls and heat-damaged engine revealed no evidence of preimpact failures or malfunctions. Examination of the manifold valve revealed that the inlet and outlet ports were blocked to varying degrees. Analysis of the blockage material determined that it was an organic polymer material consistent with polyester; however, the source of the contamination could not be determined. Although the blockages of the inlet and outlet ports precluded postaccident flow testing of the manifold valve, it is likely that the blockages resulted in the surging reported by the witness and the subsequent loss of engine power. The blockages likely would not have created a condition that would have been detectable to the pilots during the pretakeoff engine run-up. 

Although the fuel vent lines of both wings were found blocked with organic material consistent with insect nest material, the accident flight was very short and, therefore, it is unlikely that these blockages affected the engine operation. The blockages of the fuel vents were located in an area that would not have been visible to the pilots during the preflight inspection of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The partial loss of engine power due to the undetected blockage of the inlet and outlet ports of the manifold valve by an organic compound of an unknown source.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 16, 2014, about 1129 eastern daylight time, a Rockwell International 112A, N1148J, registered to and operated by a private individual, collided with a powerline pole, unmarked transmission lines, then the ground during a forced landing in Gainesville, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional, local flight from Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (GVL), Gainesville, Georgia. The airplane was destroyed by a postcrash fire and the flight instructor and private pilot were fatally injured during the flight that originated about 1 minute earlier.

According to the airplane owner's next door neighbor, about 1 week before the accident the owner told him he would be flying from the right seat with a flight instructor on-board.

A witness who was outside his hangar which is located south of runway 29 near the departure end of runway 29, reported that he observed the airplane flying at an estimated altitude of 400 feet, He heard a surging sound from the engine, and noticed oscillations of pitch and roll. The witness saw the airplane for about 3 to 4 seconds and then lost sight due to obstructions. He then heard a loud sound from the powerlines and heard the sound of impact followed by seeing smoke. He then ran to the sight, called 911 to report the accident, and when he arrived there were already 8 to 9 people on-scene. When he arrived the flight instructor was out of the airplane and on grass located north of the location of the wreckage.

Another witness who was in a building located immediately west of the accident site reported to FAA seeing the airplane's landing gear barely clear the building as it flew in an easterly direction towards the airport. The witness heard a sputtering or popping sound from the engine but did not see any smoke trailing the airplane. The witness reported that as the airplane flew towards powerlines that were located east of the building, he observed the airplane pitch up, as if in an attempt to avoid them. A portion of a wing contacted a powerline pole, and then the airplane rolled and impacted the ground coming to rest inverted. The witness ran to the accident site and assisted the flight instructor from the airplane, and also attempted to rescue the other occupant but was unable. He then rendered assistance to the flight instructor until first responders arrived.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The left seat occupant, age 50, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane ratings. A review of his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman file revealed that on August 5, 2006, he received a FAA Form 8060-5, titled Notice of Disapproval of Application for the private pilot certificate. He subsequently passed on August 18, 2006. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single engine, and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a second class medical certificate with no limitations on September 10, 2014. On the application for the medical certificate he listed a total time of 4,100 hours, and 500 hours in the previous 6 months. His last flight review in accordance with 61.56 occurred on January 14, 2014.

According to personnel of a fixed base operator, the left seat occupant began flying with them as a student pilot in 2005, and has been a flight instructor with them since 2008 or 2009. He was reported to be in good health, and the accident flight was his 3rd flight with the airplane owner flying from the right seat.

A review of copies of the left seat occupant's pilot logbook that contained entries from June 28, 2014, to the last entry dated October 15, 2014, revealed that he logged flying with the owner in the accident airplane on October 1st and 6th, 2014. Both flight durations were recorded to be 1.2 hours and the remarks section of the first flight indicated, "Larry right seat", while the remarks section of the second flight indicated, "Larry Right Seat Landing." Excluding the accident flight, he logged a total time of 4,171 hours.

The right seat occupant, age 74, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating, issued December 13, 2005. A review of his FAA airman file revealed that 3 days earlier, or on December 10, 2005, he received a FAA Form 8060-5, titled Notice of Disapproval of Application for the private pilot certificate. The areas on the disapproval notice included takeoff's, landings, go-arounds, and ground reference maneuvers. On August 22, 2014, he was issued a third class medical certificate with a limitation that he, "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." On the application for the medical certificate he listed a total time of 711 hours, and 37 hours in the previous 6 months. A review of his 2nd pilot logbook that was found in the wreckage revealed his last flight review in accordance with 61.56 occurred on February 15, 2014; the flight review consisted of 2 hours of ground instruction and 1.1 hours of flight instruction.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1975, by Rockwell International as model 112, and was designated serial number 428. It was powered by a 200 horsepower Lycoming IO-360-C1D6 engine and equipped with a Hartzell constant speed HC-E2YR-1BF propeller with F766A blades propeller.

Review of the maintenance records revealed the airplane was last inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on September 1, 2014. The airplane total time at the time of the inspection was 3,656.6 hours. Further review of the maintenance records revealed the fuel tanks were sealed last on March 17, 2006; at airplane total time of about 3,196.7 hours.


The airplane's fuel system consists of an integral 25.0 gallon fuel tank in each wing, which routes fuel to the five-position fuel selector valve, fuel strainer or gascolator, electric (auxiliary) fuel pump, mechanical fuel pump, servo fuel injector, flow divider, to each fuel injector nozzle installed in each cylinder. Each wing contains a fuel vent scoop assembly part number (P/N) 48550-1) installed on the lower wing skin outboard of the integral fuel tank. The fuel vent scoop contains two openings; the first faces forward, while the second is parallel to the lower wing skin. Both openings at the fuel vent scoop have fittings that protrude inside the wing, and those fittings are connected to the fuel tank via flexible rubber hoses, aluminum lines, and fittings. Each fuel tank is also vented from a fitting on the fuselage that is connected by aluminum lines and fittings.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A surface observation weather report taken at GVL at 1153, or approximately 24 minutes after the accident indicates the wind was from 280 degrees at 9 knots, the visibility was 10 statute miles, scattered clouds existed at 2,200 and 3,300 feet, and overcast clouds existed at 4,200 feet. The temperature and dew point were 14 and 09 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 29.92 inches of Mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The GVL Airport is equipped in part with runway 29, which is 4,001 feet in length and 100 feet wide. While the airport common traffic advisory frequency is not officially recorded, a fixed base operator on the field has security cameras that contain a portion of runway 29, and also record audio transmission from radio calls on the CTAF.

A review of the provided video recording revealed that a portion of the takeoff was recorded, as well as a radio call from an occupant of the airplane. The video depicted the airplane when it was about 1/2 way down the runway in a normal climb attitude. The airplane went out of view of the camera, and a short time later, a radio call on the CTAF frequency was recorded by the FBO security system. The radio call indicated an emergency existed and advised the flight was returning runway 05. Approximately 2 seconds later, power to the video camera was shut off, which was attributed to impact to the power lines.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed off airport; the main wreckage was located at 34 degrees 16.201 minutes North latitude and 083 degrees 50.226 minutes West longitude, or 0.28 nautical mile and 211 degrees from the departure end of runway 29.

Examination of the accident site revealed the crash site was southwest of the intersection of Scott Street and Palmour Drive. Two powerline poles were broken; 1 pole immediately adjacent to the accident site and 1 pole near the intersection of Scott Street and Palmour Drive. The powerline pole immediately adjacent to the accident site was broken in three pieces (including a piece that was underground). Additionally, damage to unmarked 7200KV three phase electrical wires oriented on a magnetic heading of 035 degrees was noted; the pole and wires were repaired before NTSB arrival, but the damaged components were retained at the accident site. Examination of the broken powerline that was immediately adjacent to the accident site revealed it was approximately 40 feet long, and was set approximately 6 feet below the ground. The pole was fractured at ground level and also about 25 feet above ground level. Pieces of white paint with green color on the opposite side and gouges were noted on the upper 40 inches of the pole, consistent with contact by a portion of the airplane. Wiring from the left Aeroflash Signal Box was found hanging on a telephone wire to the northeast of the broken powerline pole immediately adjacent to the accident site.

Nearby businesses were contacted to determine if either contained security video that captured the accident sequence; no video depicting the accident sequence was recorded.

Further examination of the accident site revealed ground scars on the road 53 feet 6 inches from the pole contact location. With an estimated pole contact located 31 feet 8 inches above ground level, the descent path to the ground was calculated to be approximately 59 degrees. The ground scar was oriented on a magnetic heading of 068 degrees.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the engine, cockpit, and wing carry-thru were inverted. A postcrash fire nearly consumed the cockpit, cabin, and both wings. The outer 4 feet of the left wing was initially found on the sidewalk in the area of the powerline pole, but subsequently moved closer to the main wreckage before NTSB arrival.

Examination of the left wing revealed the outer 4 feet was separated; the upper and lower wing skins exhibited sawtooth type fractured oriented in a spanwise direction. The separated section contained the outer portion of the integral fuel tank, and fuel vent lines. The full span of the aileron remained connected, and the aileron counterweight was in-place. The main landing gear was fractured, and the wheel assembly was damaged. The aileron control cables were connected the aileron bellcrank adjacent to the control surface and the pushrod was connected to the bellcrank and the remaining portion of the aileron. Examination of the separated outer section of left wing revealed the fuel tank vent lines were detached at both fittings of the fuel vent scoop assembly; both openings of the fuel vent scoop assembly were free of obstructions. Examination of the ends of the flexible hoses attached to each of the vent lines revealed both were free of obstructions at the opening. When air was blown into the separated forward oriented vent tube, a solid particle of debris exited the tube at the tank connection with force; the debris was collected. Additional air was applied and small particles of dust/dirt exited. Further examination of the forward oriented fuel vent line revealed tan colored debris adhering to the wall approximately 1.25 inches from the end, which obstructed part of the tube opening. Evidence of tan colored material adhering to the entire inner circumference was noted; the material was consistent with insect nest material. The lines were removed from the "T" fitting, and the 90 degree portion was inspected and found to be completely blocked by tan colored material.

Examination of the right wing which was upright revealed it was fractured at the wing root, and bent up at about a 45 degree angle about 7 feet outboard of the wing root. The main landing gear was extended. The flap was attached at the inboard and outboard hinges, and the aileron was connected at the inboard hinge. A portion of aileron counterweight was found adjacent to the right wing. The aileron control cable was connected at the aileron bellcrank near the control surface. The fuel vent lines were found loose among the wreckage. The line that attaches to the tank fitting was fractured, but the fractured portion of line was recovered. The line and wing section exhibited extensive fire damage. Examination of the fuel vent lines associated with the right fuel vent scoop assembly revealed evidence of soot adhering to the exterior surfaces. The end openings of all three lines were free of obstructions. The aluminum line that connects to the forward fitting of the scoop assembly was disconnected from the "T" fitting, and black colored loose material including a round shaped object measuring 11/32 inch in diameter came from the line. The other fuel vent line at the "B-nut" at the "T" reduction fitting well downstream of the end of the hose was completed blocked by debris. The remaining identified portions of fuel vent lines were free of obstructions.

Examination of the empennage revealed it was heat damaged. The right horizontal was bent up about 90 degrees approximately 2 feet outboard of the root, and also bent inboard 90 degrees. The left elevator remained connected at the inboard 2 hinges, and also the spar was attached at the outboard hinge, while the right elevator with trim tab connected remained attached at the inboard 2 hinges; the full span was accounted for. Both the left and right elevator trim tab actuators were connected by chains, and were symmetrically extended 2.125 inches, which equates to trim tab deflection of 6 degrees nose-up.

Examination of the aileron, elevator, and rudder flight controls revealed control cable continuity was confirmed from each control surface to the respective cockpit control. The flap torque tube assembly with attached right arm assembly and portion of actuator screw was found loose in the wreckage. Examination of the actuator screw revealed it was extended 12 threads, which equates to flap extension of 8 degrees.

One fuel vent check valve with attached fitting and section of hard aluminum line was found in the wreckage debris by the FAA-IIC. The check valve was inspected and photographed. No determination was made as to what tank the check valve was for. Disassembly examination of the fuel selector valve revealed it was positioned to both; no obstructions were noted internally of the ports.

Examination of the engine was performed by a representative of the engine manufacturer with NTSB oversight. The engine, which sustained heat damaged associated with the postcrash fire remained partially attached to the aircraft firewall via the tubular engine mount, was removed for examination. Following removal of the cylinders, continuity of the crankshaft to the accessory case and valve train was confirmed. The engine-driven fuel pump, which remained attached to the engine was heavily fire damaged. It was removed and disassembled which revealed the diaphragms were destroyed. Both magnetos and ignition harness sustained fire damage that precluded operational testing. Examination of the lubrication system revealed the oil suction screen was absent of ferrous debris, and the oil filer paper media was charred, but was absent ferrous debris between the media pleats. Examination of the fuel injector nozzles revealed no blockage. Following examination of the engine, the servo fuel injector and manifold valve were retained for further examination.

Examination of the propeller revealed the propeller spinner exhibited minimal damage. One propeller blade was loose in the hub, and 1 blade was bent aft with very course chordwise scratches on the blade face.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The flight instructor seated in the left seat was transported to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, but died while hospitalized on November 10, 2014. Because of the length of hospital stay, a postmortem examination and toxicology testing by FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory was not performed.

A postmortem examination of the right seat occupant was performed by Forensic Medicine Associates, Inc., at the DeKalb County Forensic Science Center. The cause of death was listed as "Blunt Force Head Trauma."

Forensic toxicology testing on specimens of the right seat occupant was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated the results were negative for carbon monoxide, volatiles, and tested drugs, while testing for cyanide was not performed.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Examination of the servo fuel injector revealed extensive heat damage which precluded operational testing. The fuel regulator plug which was safety wired was removed and the fuel diaphragm stem nut was observed to be in-place. Disassembly examination revealed the air diaphragm was heat damaged and the fuel diaphragm was destroyed. The plastic portion of the seat was destroyed, while the metal portion of the seat was in-place. Removal of the mixture control and fuel control section revealed ghost mark indicating the mixture was just off the full rich position. The clevis was broken to facilitate removal of the idle valve. Based on internal components of the servo, the throttle was in the wide open position. A detailed report concerning the servo fuel injector examination is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Examination of the manifold valve revealed that the inlet fitting, inlet port and the ports of the valve body for each cylinder were obstructed to varying degrees by an unknown substance. Because of the obstructions, flow testing was not performed. Following removal of the cover from the bottom of the manifold valve, brown colored material was noted. The top cover of the manifold was removed and the fuel side of the diaphragm and housing were clean. The manifold valve was sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for analysis of the obstruction material. A detailed report concerning the manifold valve examination is contained in the NTSB public docket.

According to the NTSB Materials Laboratory Report concerning the examination of the manifold valve, most of the portals had substance build-up that limited the openings to approximately half of the portal diameter or more. The blockages of each portal were estimated as follows: 45 percent and 75 percent for the inlet fitting and valve body opening, respectively; 60 percent for both the portal 'A' fitting and valve body opening; 70 percent for the portal 'B' valve body opening; 45 percent for the portal 'C' valve body opening; and 60 percent for the portal 'D' valve body opening. Samples of substances were taken from each port, along with the larger central opening of the back cover for testing by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with a diamond attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory. Multiple FTIR analyses were performed on each portal sample, including the hard and soft areas of each sample, as well as areas of different colors for each sample. A spectral library search found the unknown material spectrum to be a very strong spectral match to several types of polyester-a type of organic polymer. Because the sample was degraded and the spectra for polyesters are so similar, it was difficult to differentiate between different types of polyesters. A copy of the NTSB Materials Laboratory Factual Report is contained in the public docket.

http://registry.faa.gov/N1148J 

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA016

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 16, 2014 in Gainesville, GA
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL 112A, registration: N1148J
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 October 16, 2014, about 1129 eastern daylight time, a Rockwell International 112A, N1148J, registered to and operated by a private individual, collided with a powerline pole, unmarked transmission lines, then the ground during a forced landing in Gainesville, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional, local flight from Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (GVL), Gainesville, Georgia. The airplane was destroyed by a postcrash fire. The certified flight instructor (CFI) sustained serious injuries, while the private-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated about 1 minute earlier from GVL.

A witness who was outside his hangar which is located south of runway 29 near the departure end of runway 29, reported that he observed the airplane flying at an estimated altitude of 400 feet, He heard a surging sound from the engine, and noticed oscillations of pitch and roll. The witness saw the airplane for about 3 to 4 seconds and then lost sight due to obstructions. He then heard a loud sound from the powerlines and heard the sound of impact followed by seeing smoke. He then ran to the sight, called 911 to report the accident, and when he arrived there were already 8 to 9 people on-scene. When he arrived the CFI was out of the airplane and on grass located north of the location of the wreckage.

Another witness who was in a building located immediately west of the accident site reported seeing the airplane's landing gear barely clear the building as it flew in an easterly direction towards the airport. The witness heard a sputtering or popping sound from the engine but did not see any smoke trailing the airplane. The witness reported that as the airplane flew towards powerlines that were located east of the building, he observed the airplane pitch up, as if in an attempt to avoid them. A portion of a wing contacted a powerline pole, and then the airplane rolled and impacted the ground coming to rest inverted. The witness ran to the accident site and assisted the CFI from the airplane, and also attempted to rescue the other occupant but was unable. He then rendered assistance to the CFI until first responders arrived.

Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane crashed off airport property west of runway 5/23, near the approach end of runway 5. The engine assembly, cockpit, cabin, and empennage came to rest inverted; the cockpit, cabin, and both wings were nearly consumed by the postcrash fire.



 
Kelly Chandler


GAINESVILLE - A Gainesville man critically injured in a plane crash in mid-October has passed away. 

According to a post on the Lanier Flight Center Facebook page, Kelly Chandler died this week. The post featured a eulogy of Chandler.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced at this time, the post said.

Chandler was the passenger in a plane that crashed on Palmour Drive October 16. The 50-year-old was pulled from the wreckage by a passerby and suffered serious burns. The pilot, 74-year-old Lawrence Youhanian, died at the scene.

Police are still investigating the crash, but Gainesville Police last reported that an initial report indicated a mechanical malfunction caused the pair to attempt to return to Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport when the plane crashed.

This story will be updated as details develop.


A memorial for flight instructor Kelly Chandler sits on the tarmac at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport. Chandler died Monday following an Oct. 16 plane crash that also killed pilot Lawrence Youhanaian. 




The passenger in an Oct. 16 plane crash just outside of Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport died Monday night, according to multiple sources.

Lanier Flight Center instructor Kelly Chandler, 50, was traveling with Lawrence Youhanaian, 74, when the 1976 Rockwell Commander 112, piloted by Youhanaian, crashed on Palmour Drive, which circles the Gainesville airport.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene, with Chandler pulled from the wreckage by a nearby mechanic.

“Kelly touched each one of us in a way that only he could, and he made us all better,” reads a statement on Lanier Flight Center’s Facebook page. “His enthusiasm and encouragement was never based on how he felt or what we deserved, it was his intentional mission in life; he had made a decision for encouragement, for empowerment, for ‘yes.’”

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

Sound Off!

Plane crash >> Will the name of the technician who misfilled the twin-engine prop plane that went down after takeoff from Las Cruces International, killing all four on board, ever be publicly identified?

- Source:   http://www.lcsun-news.com/Sound-off

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle, N51RX, Elite Medical Air Transport LLC, accident occurred August 27, 2014 near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico 

http://registry.faa.gov/N51RX
 
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.

Ex-manager's birthday evokes Meadowlark Airport's high-flying legacy


By Chris Epting 

November 11, 2014 | 1:34 p.m.

After thanking everybody, he said, with a smile and in his small voice, "This is the last plane to leave Meadowlark Airport." Then his forefinger pulled the trigger on a handheld launcher, sending the small, green plastic airplane across the room.

Everybody laughed and applauded. Then we had cake.

I wish all of you could have attended Art Nerio's 90th birthday party last weekend at Meadowlark Golf Club in Huntington Beach. The party, thrown by his family and friends, also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the closing of Meadowlark Airport. I felt privileged to have been asked to emcee the event.

The Nerio family and the airport are Huntington Beach legends.

Art is the eldest son of Japanese immigrants Koichi and Toyo Nerio. During World War II, the Nerio family was interned at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas, but Art was able to attend Brigham Young University during part of the relocation period (BYU was one of the few colleges that accepted Japanese-Americans during World War II).

After the war, the family farm was fortunately still intact. Art worked in the early morning to send produce such as chives and red leaf lettuce to supermarket buyers.

In 1952, the family bought Meadowlark Airport, and Art managed it from 1969 to 1989.

Many old pilots were at the party to reminisce. Dave Hanst Jr., son of the WWI I hero I wrote about several weeks ago, started flying at the airport in the 1970s. Today he is a pilot for American Airlines.

"Whenever we fly back from South America," he said, "our route takes us right over where Meadowlark used to be just as the sun is coming up at about 6 a.m. I can't tell you how many times I've pointed down and told the other pilots I'm with about this amazingly special little place.

"When I grew up there and learned how to fly, I thought every airport had horses and dogs running around. But as I learned soon after, there was no place else like Meadowlark."

Other pilots talked about those horses and dogs, explaining that often they would have to do a low flyover to scare the animals off the runway before circling back to land safely.

A former Goodyear blimp pilot described how he once phoned the Meadowlark Cafe and asked for coffee to be brought out to him and his crew as he lowered the dirigible to within grabbing distance. This while being met by his son and dozens of his schoolmates who were thrilled to see the famous craft at such a low altitude.

A 30-minute documentary about Meadowlark played on a screen as guests arrived. Shot in the early 1980s, the film captured one of the most iconic sites at the airport: Nerio himself peddling on his bicycle, chasing down airplanes to make sure their $3 landing fee was paid.

"Hey," he chuckled to me, "it was a business too."

Nerio's daughters, his sister Betty and other family members were on hand. They had all spent substantial time at Meadowlark.

But for all the pilots' funny anecdotes, I think some of the best tales were overheard in conversations afterward. That's when you realized how big a part of people's lives that airport was. It was not just an airport. It was a community meeting space where pilots, their families and people who just liked the company could hang out. That communal spirit touched people unlike any other landmark that I can recall in Huntington Beach.

When the airport was threatened in the 1960s after a Federal Aviation Administration official found that two new homes at one end of a runway were too close for comfort, Nerio purchased the homes and had them razed.

Nothing was going to take away his airport.

But, of course, times change and eras sadly see their curtains come down. Several pilots spoke about being some of the last ones to fly out of Meadowlark in 1989 before the property was developed into a shopping center. One told me he wiped away tears and later grabbed a chunk of runway as a souvenir.

In the next few weeks, a plaque will be unveiled at the site of the Golden Bear, a popular nightclub in downtown Huntington Beach until its closure in 1986. I think this might be a good time to start thinking about a marker to honor Meadowlark Airport, near Warner Avenue and Bolsa Chica Street.

A small, easy-to-miss plaque is already embedded in the ground near Heil Avenue and Plaza Lane, where one of the runways ended. But I think we need something more substantial there to remind future generations of a place where people flew planes for fun, when you could fly to Catalina for lunch or up and down the coast for no other reason than you felt like it. Where Bob Canon's beach banners were dragged up into the blue sky, letting everyone know it was summer.

There used to be an airport there. And I think it's time we remember it properly.

Happy birthday again to Mr. Nerio and all of his family and friends who turned out Saturday to wish this delightful man a happy birthday and to remember a special gathering place known as Meadowlark Airport.


- Source:  http://www.hbindependent.com/opinion

http://bannerbob.net/Meadowlark.htm

 

Private space race needs innovation, not excess regulation

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

The following editorial appears on Bloomberg View:

Xcor Aerospace is offering a chauffeured ride into space for $95,000. SpaceX has an all- inclusive Mars package (round-trip, of course) for $500,000. And for half that price, Virgin Galactic will ferry people 68 miles above the Earth, beyond the reach of gravity.

None of these trips is available yet, however, and that last venture suffered a terrible setback when Virgin’s experimental SpaceShipTwo crashed in California’s Mojave Desert last week, killing its co-pilot. But responding to it with elaborate new safety regulations could imperil an immensely promising new industry.

The Federal Aviation Administration issues licenses for space launches and permits for experimental flights. Since 2004, however, the agency has been prevented by law from regulating the design and operation of private spacecraft. The idea was to keep the FAA from obstructing the industry with well-meaning red tape while freeing companies to experiment with inventive new spacecraft.

That grace period might soon end. The provision preventing regulation is set to expire next year, and the FAA can write new rules in response to accidents, so the Virgin crash might lead to enhanced oversight. In September, the agency released a report that looked a lot like a blueprint for future safety mandates — and after last week’s calamities, Congress might prod it to do more to protect brave pilots like those on SpaceShipTwo.

That would be a mistake. The FAA should continue to ensure that the private space business doesn’t imperil the public. But ambitious experimentation remains vital to a young industry. Finding a sustainable business model would be harder if spacefarers were subject to anything like the rules that apply to the airline industry. And no amount of regulation can change the fact that space is a dangerous place.

Which suggests a more fundamental point. The history of human flight is one of risks taken, tragedies endured and ambitions realized despite the odds.

The next phase of flight might be the most ambitious yet. Several billionaires are pursuing different approaches to reaching the cosmos, and they should be free to innovate, make mistakes and try again. The dividends, for both science and commerce, might extend far beyond the business of ferrying rich tourists.

If they don’t want this promising era to end prematurely, Galactic and its peers will do everything possible to ensure the safety of their expensive spaceships and the humans inside them. The FAA, for its part, should continue to ensure public safety and offer advice — but otherwise should mostly just wish the spacefarers well.

Like their predecessors, this new generation of pioneers needs the freedom to experiment, even if it means taking serious risks. Let them go.


- Source:   http://www.columbiatribune.com/opinion

Kaitaia flights to be axed

Air New Zealand will axe all Kaitaia flights from April next year as part of a shake-up of its regional air services, but the news has shocked Far North leaders.

The announcement late yesterday may spell the end of Kaitaia airport, though it could survive as an airfield for small private aircraft or the odd charter flight.

It will leave Kerikeri, 70 minutes away over roads regularly closed by floods, the nearest airport for residents of the very Far North.

Also facing the axe are direct flights from Whangarei to Wellington, though Whangarei-Auckland flights will be boosted by a switch to bigger aircraft.

In Northland the biggest winner will be Bay of Islands Airport where all 19-seater Beechcraft planes will be replaced with 50-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q300s early next year. Improvements to Kerikeri's runway are already underway with the terminal building due to be expanded next winter.

The news has shocked Kaitaia and comes, ironically, as Chinese investors plan a major hotel expansion on Karikari Peninsula which could greatly increase tourist arrivals.

Air New Zealand says the changes are necessary because its subsidiary Eagle Air, which operates the 19-seater planes, has lost $1 million a month for the past two years. The 19-seaters will be phased out altogether by August 2016 but the last flight which can be booked from Kaitaia is on April 28.

Te Hiku Community Board chairman Lawrie Atkinson was "gobsmacked" by the decision to axe Kaitaia's twice-daily flights, especially given the company's record profits last year. It showed no consideration for the social and economic effects on the people of Te Hiku ward, he said.

Labor's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford described the news as a "hammer blow" to Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport, which were being cut adrift from the national economy.

"The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this Government at a time when falling dairy prices mean they need help the most. Now Air New Zealand is twisting the knife. Regional air routes are economic lifelines to these places," he said.

Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline had been looking at the poor economics of its 19-seater aircraft, which had the highest per seat operating costs of its fleet, since the start of the year.

The Te Hiku Treaty Settlements Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, awards the land under Kaitaia Airport to Ngai Takoto with half earmarked for Ngati Kahu if it signs up at a later date.

- Source:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz

Wireless devices, apps used by private pilots susceptible to security attacks: Study

Scientists say that wireless devices and apps used by private pilots during flights are susceptible to a range of security attacks.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and John Hopkins University presented their findings Nov. 5 at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The findings revealed that a combination of three most commonly used devices- the Appareo Stratus 2 receiver with the ForeFlight app; the Garmin GDL 39 receiver with the Garmin Pilot app; and the SageTech Clarity CL01 with the WingX Pro7 app- are used by casual pilots to access information, which is same as the information provided to the pilots of private jets, for much lesser cost.

Researchers found that the systems they examined were available for just 1,000 dollars as compared to more than 20,000 dollars worth instruments in a high-end cockpit.

In order to display information, the devices need to be paired with tablet computers or most of the time with iPad apps that reportedly have flaws.

Kirill Levchenko, a computer scientist at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, who led the study, said that on attacking these devices, one could not only gain control over the aircraft, but also have control over the information the pilot sees.

- Source:  http://www.aninews.in

Man Objects to No-Gun Airport Signs: Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (KJAN) Jackson, Mississippi

Adam Brock doesn't want the city telling him he can't take his pistol to the airport. 

On Oct. 6, Brock filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Circuit Court alleging that signs posted in Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport violate state law. Brock's attorneys argue in their complaint that a state law that took effect July 1, 2014, gives people with concealed-carry licenses the right to sue cities that post no-guns-allowed signage.

"The issue is the location of the signage and the language of the signage," Reed Martz, an attorney for Brock, told the Jackson Free Press this morning.

Martz added that it is perfectly legal for a person to carry a firearm into the public areas of an airport, including check-in areas and parking lots.

"The signage at the airport needs to be moved from the entrance doors to the sterile areas and needs to use the language required by Mississippi and/or federal statutes," Reed added, acknowledging that his client is not challenging the prohibition against carrying guns into secure areas of the airport.

Brock believes an attorney general's opinion bolsters his claims. In that opinion, Deputy Attorney General Onetta Whitley states that she is of the opinion that the signs on the entrance to the airport do violate the portion of state law that governs signs that cities and counties can post related to firearms prohibition.

Under the statute, cities' ability to restrict firearms is mostly restricted to public parks, public meetings, political rallies, parades and non-firearm-related school, college or professional athletic events.

Attorneys for the City of Jackson filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, arguing that the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, not the city, solely owns and operates the airport.

No hearings have been scheduled in the matter.


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


Private jet needed to fly turtle washed up in Co Clare to Canary Islands

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is hoping to find an owner of a  private jet that is willing to transport a loggerhead turtle from Ireland to the Canary Islands.

The turtle was washed ashore during last winter's storms on the west coast of Clare.

She had suffered severe injuries but has been recovering at the Galway Atlantaquaria, where she has increased in weight from 11kg to over 20kg.

The IWDG says the turtle is now ready to be released but it hasn't been able to find a commercial airline to transport her.

It is hoping a private jet might be the answer.

"We have all the import and export licenses in place," said Simon Berrow from the IWDG.

He said: "But time is ticking on us and the experience has gone from a very positive one with the knowledge that this turtle has been saved into a more negative one as we struggle to release her into the wild for a second chance."


- Source:  http://www.rte.ie


Damaged fuel tank could delay flights

Aurigny has said a decaying fuel tank in Alderney may mean delays to flights and a reduced passenger capacity.

It is because the airport's current tank is too damaged to be used safely.

Supplies could be used up within weeks and once gone, they won't be replaced.

Alderney Electricity Ltd (AEL) currently supplies the AvGas needed on the island. They are meeting with States members tomorrow to discuss alternative options.

Both private aviators and Aurigny have expressed concerns about the impact of losing the AvGas supply, even if it is temporary.

Story and Video:   http://www.itv.com

China shows off its new stealth fighter

China’s new stealth fighter roared out of the smog hanging over the country’s premier air show on Tuesday, as its makers sought to impress a gallery of overseas military officers whom Chinese defense contractors hope will one day buy the aircraft.

Pictures of the J-31, which is still under development, have been posted on various Chinese websites and blogs by amateur enthusiasts in recent years but yesterday’s performance at the biennial Zhuhai display marked its official coming-out party.

“It is our dream to break the monopoly that foreign countries have on new-generation jet fighters,” Li Yuhai, deputy general manager at Aviation Industry Corporation of China, told reporters at the show. “The J-31 will also be a flagship product for us in the international arms market.”

Most of the foreign military VIPs in attendance represented Middle Eastern, African and Latin American air forces, although senior representatives from the US Air Force and many of Washington’s allies were also present.

“This is the first time that we have been formally invited to the show,” said one Spanish air force officer. “Previously we have been able to come by ourselves but that’s not the same.”

Analysts say that the J-31 will ultimately be marketed to militaries that are not able to buy the Pentagon’s F-35 fighter.

“Before we could only see the backs of our foreign competitors,” Avic’s Mr Li said. “But now we can compete on the same field.”

“It will strengthen our ability to compete for air supremacy with Japan and the US,” said Ni Lexiong, a Chinese military expert. “Sometimes militaries need to reveal their fists.”

The People’s Liberation Army wants to project power further out over the East and South China seas, where it is embroiled in a number of territorial disputes with Japan and other neighbours. On Monday Beijing and Tokyo ended a two-year freeze in high-level diplomatic relations when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, held a brief meeting on the sidelines of this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

A solitary J-31 appeared on the horizon shortly after an ear-shattering performance by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s aerobatic team, which flies J-10 fighters, and a more lumbering turn by a PLAAF Y-20 transport plane.

On the air show’s official program, the J-31’s slot was listed as a performance by an “undisclosed fighter”, although word of its debut had leaked out weeks ago. The fighter is not included among the PLAAF aircraft parked on Zhuhai’s tarmac for more leisurely inspection.

“It looked good but the performance wasn’t very impressive,” said one German military official. “There weren’t a lot of high-G manoeuvres. But then I don’t think that was the point.”

He highlighted design similarities between the J-31 and F-35 – and also the J-10 and Eurofighter. On a recent military exchange, he added, German Eurofighter and Chinese J-10 pilots took turns flying each other's airplanes.

Tuesday’s J-31 performance was not a purely Chinese performance. The aircraft is powered by Russian engines, which Avic has said it hopes one day to replace with indigenous ones.


- Source:  http://www.ft.com

PBYs and Spam — Pocatello WWII veteran flew missions over Pacific for two years

 
Michael O’Donnell/Idaho State Journal 
World War II U.S. Navy veteran Bill Moore, who spent 26 months patrolling over the South Pacific in PBY Catalina airplanes, looks through a scrapbook of old photos from the war at his home in Pocatello.




POCATELLO — The only casualty of U.S. Navy veteran Bill Moore's 26 months in the South Pacific Ocean during World War II was an ability to look at a can of Spam. 

 “They used to send us up on patrol with two loaves of bread and nine pounds of Spam,” Moore said with a chuckle.

As the crew chief of a PBY Catalina reconnaissance plane, Moore would spend up to 12 hours straight scouring the “Big Blue” for signs of Japanese shipping with his crew.

“We patrolled up and down the slot,” Moore said about the stretch of ocean in the middle of the Solomon Islands that was bordered by Bougainville on the west and Guadalcanal on the east.

The actual name for the body of water was the New Georgia Sound and it was used heavily by the Japanese to ship supplies to different islands during the war.

“You had to be on the lookout for Japanese all the time,” Moore said.

Flying high over the Pacific Ocean was something completely different for a young man who grew up in the cornfields of Minnesota. A native of Fairmont, Minn., Moore enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after graduation from high school. He was just 17, but lied about his age.

The war with Japan had not begun yet — it was May 1941. Moore said he joined up because of family tradition and the fact that times were tough for his father, who was raising eight  children on his own. Moore's mother had died young.

“Dad was working two jobs,” Moore said.

His father had also been a captain in the U.S. Army during World War I and had always regretted that he didn't get to serve overseas. He was a member of the local draft board in Minnesota.

“Dad was very insistent that we get into the service,” Moore recalled.

Moore and four of his brothers all signed up for military service, as did his sister, who became a Navy nurse.

During World War II, five of the Moore boys were in the military at the same time — one in the Marines, one in the U.S. Army and three in the Navy.

“We were very fortunate,” Moore said. “All of us came home. Dad was so proud of us.”

As soon as he graduated from high school, 17-year-old Moore finished his basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, and then entered trade school, where he learned to repair airplane fuselages and engines. After graduation, he was assigned to San Diego, California, where he ended up loading torpedoes on old submarines.

Then on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that crippled the Pacific Fleet, and led to a U.S. declaration of war against Japan.

“We were the first convoy into Pearl Harbor after the war started,” Moore said. “The Arizona was still burning and that was a sickening sight.”

In Hawaii, Moore joined the Navy Air Corps and became part of the VP 21 Patrol Squadron. At first he was part of the ground crews who kept the PBYs ready for action. Moore remembers how he had to swim out to the floating planes and attach wheels to the plane so it could come up on dry land.

Before long, Moore became a crewman; then a gunner; and then crew chief.

The PBYs had great cruising range because with full fuel tanks they could remain in the air for 14 to 16 hours. But they were slow compared to Japanese fighters. And the PBYs were armed only with a .50-caliber machine gun on each side and .30-caliber machine guns in the nose and tail.

Whenever the crew spotted enemy fighters in the distance, they generally took evasive action and left the area. But sometimes they were pursued and fired upon. Bullet holes in his PBY's wing tanks forced them to replace the rubber bladder inside of them on one occasion.

“Some of those bullets came awful close,” Moore said. “The funny thing is we were calm as could be.”

During all of their missions, including those when they rescued downed pilots in the ocean or recovered the bodies of dead pilots from friendly islands, Moore said that the dreaded Spam is what kept them going.

“We had a hot plate so we could fry it,” he said. “But I never got so sick of Spam in my life.”

During one of his missions to the island of Munda, Moore linked up with his brother Tom who was serving with the Marines. Tom had suffered a minor wound from shrapnel when the Japanese launched an air attack on the landing field on the island.

“I walked into the supply area and there was my brother,” Moore said.

Tom’s platoon leader let the young Marine spend the night on Bill’s PBY.

“That night we watched the Japs bomb the island on the wing of my plane,” Bill recalled.

After serving two years in the Pacific, Moore had a chance to become a Navy pilot and seized the opportunity. He attended Navy flight school in Illinois and then Pocatello, where he met his future wife, Betty Jensen, and they married.

His final stage of flight training before earning his wings took place in Memphis, Tenn., while Betty was expecting their first child. They eventually had one daughter and three sons.

“Just as we were about to graduate from Memphis the war ended,” Moore said.

Moore had the opportunity to receive an honorable discharge.

He jumped at it and returned to Pocatello. He became an electrician and worked for decades at C.L. Electric, the Idaho National Energy Laboratory, Monsanto, Simplot, FMC and other jobs, before purchasing Electrical Distributors, Inc., a business he ran for 18 years.

After selling that company, Moore started Moore Control Systems, which he managed until he was in his 80s. He was also a member of the Pocatello Airport Commission and Bannock Memorial Hospital Board.

 Now at age 91, Moore is taking it easy.

“I didn't retire,” he said. “I just ran out of juice.”


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