Friday, November 21, 2014

Future of helicopter tourism over Hudson River uncertain as group, pols push for ban

Helicopter tourism along the Hudson River isn't going away, at least not yet.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sat down with members of a New York and New Jersey delegation advocating for residents who want to ban helicopter tours in New York and on the Hudson River.

In attendance were U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, both of New York, as well as representatives from the offices of Sen. Robert Menendez and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires.

Robert Gottheim, the district director for Nadler, said that de Blasio heard their argument and understands that they want a ban on helicopter tours. However, there is no timetable for a resolution and the anti-helicopter group is in "wait and see" mode, Gottheim added.

For Stop the Chop co-founder and Hoboken resident Brian Wagner, that isn't good enough.

"de Blasio keeps digging himself in a deeper hole. It's that kind of lackadaisical attitude that is bringing this thing to a head," said Wagner, whose group contends the helicopters raise quality of life and safety concerns. "He's apparently been dubbed the chronically tardy mayor because he is afraid of making a decision, just like with the horseless carriage industry. His main concern is loss of jobs."

Wagner says de Blasio has the authority to terminate the city's contract with Saker Aviation -- the owner of the helicopter tour companies that operate out of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport -- at any time because the property is owned by the city.

Ian Fried, a spokesman for the New York City Economic Development Corporation released a statement on behalf of de Blasio's office in which he said the city is evaluating the issue and working with elected officials and community groups to find the right solution.

Fried pointed to statistics that contend there has been an 80 percent drop in complaints within the city's purview regarding helicopters since it implemented the Helicopter Sightseeing Plan in 2010. He said 86 percent of noise complaints received across New York City were regarding helicopters outside of the city's purview, including emergency services, news, charter and other kinds of flights.

Wagner says the number of complaints filed is diminished due to the fact that New Jersey residents cannot file complaints on the New York help line. Meanwhile, Wagner says on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, choppers fly at a lowered height of 900 feet due to FAA regulations.

"People will say when you move along the waterfront you know it's urban," said Wagner. "But while most sounds go away, those mechanical buzzards go all day, all the time."

Delia von Neuschtaz, who co-founded Stop the Chop with Wagner, lives in Battery Park City, roughly five minutes from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and claims that on a clear day a helicopter passes by every two minutes.

"It's like living in the opening sequence of M.A.S.H. day in and day out."

According to von Neuschatz, the helicopter tour industry has little to no impact on the New York City economy. She added that the roughly 300 jobs the industry creates are in New Jersey, as the helicopter companies store all their choppers in a Kearny facility.

Helicopters Matter, a coalition comprised of helicopter industry players advocating against helicopter air traffic regulation, find the claims of Stop the Chop to be unfounded. The group states that only 13 complaints were filed against New York City helicopter traffic this summer, which they perceive to be a low number.

"As a military veteran and pilot for over two decades, this job allows
me -- and hundreds of others like me -- to provide for our families," said Patrick Day, Helicopters Matter spokesman and pilot. "Beyond our own jobs, air tours generate tens of millions of dollars for the Tri-state area, monies that go towards myriad public services that benefit millions of residents, including those along the Hudson River."

This summer, a number of Hudson County mayors joined Menendez on the Hoboken waterfront in support of a ban on helicopter tourism. Sires too has long championed a ban on tourist helicopters.

Story and Comments:

Government questions fraud judgment against CEO seeking daily Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG) flights


The U.S. Department of Transportation wants answers to some questions before deciding if it will give a stamp of approval to an airline that has applied to provide daily flights between Youngstown Warren Regional Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

A letter from Lauralyn Remo, Chief of the DOT'S Air Carrier Fitness Division, asks the legal counsel for Aerodynamics Incorporated for information and an update on the status of a civil lawsuit filed last year in federal court against ADI CEO Scott Beale.

A jury found in favor of one of Beale's former business partners who claimed he was defrauded by Beale. The jury awarded compensatory damages in the amount of $500,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $100,000.

In October, the judge hearing the case threw out a request by Beale to throw out the judgment as excessive.

DOT is asking ADI for a copy of the original complaint filed in the case, as well as the judgment and the status of the case.

Chief Remo points out in her letter that this is a second attempt by the DOT to obtain information on Beale's legal case.

The letter from DOT notes that the documents requested pertain directly to the compliance disposition of one of ADI's key personnel.

The government has an obligation to determine if the company has access to resources sufficient to begin operations without posing a risk to consumers.

The letter from DOT also asks for citizenship information for ADI's Chief Inspector Robert Anderson, Chief Pilot R.K. Smithley, and Director of Maintenance Matthew Moreau.

The DOT also asks for the status of an FAA investigation simply identified with the number 2015SO65002.

ADI has fifteen days to respond to the request from DOT.

The public is permitted to file comments on ADI's application for service. According to the online federal database, two comments have been filed, but only one can be accessed by the public.

The anonymous posting claims it was submitted on behalf of “various interested entities,” and questions the financial stability of Aerodynamics Incorporated. The unknown author claims that the agreement between ADI and the airport will place consumers at risk.

The air carrier pointed out in a previous filing that it is assured a 5% profit margin on the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport service under a $1.2 million revenue guarantee provided by the airport, the Western Reserve Port Authority, Mahoning County, Trumbull County, various private sector corporations and YNGAir Partners, a nonprofit organization providing community based support for the airport.

ADI summed up the guarantee by asserting, “Such assurance is unheard of in the context of certificate applications, which ordinarily involve a significant commercial risk on the part of the applicant. By virtue of the revenue guarantee, ADI's initial pattern of scheduled service will be essentially risk-free.”

Local airport officials have expressed confidence that ADI will pass DOT inspection, and predict that flights could begin in March.

- Source:

Drone Nearly Collides With Medical Helicopter: Schuylkill County Joe Zerbey Airport (KZER), Pottsville, Pennsylvania

Foster Township, Schuylkill County -- A Life Flight helicopter pilot avoided a catastrophe, when a drone nearly collided with the chopper as it flew above the Schuylkill County Joe Zerbey Airport.

A spokesperson for Geisinger Health System said no patients were on board when it happened, but the incident is drawing attention to the safety of drones.

Lee DeAngelis is a drone enthusiast from Lackawanna County. The pilot involved in this close encounter reached out to him about proper drone protocol.

DeAngelis said as the price drops, the number of drones will only go up, and one disaster could ruin the hobby for those who fly the aircraft responsibly.

He said he self-regulates his flights, staying away from airports and getting permission from authorities.

DeAngelis has three quick tips for anyone thinking about investing in the new technology: read the manuals, know the rules, and use common sense.


American Airlines unit to transfer 50 regional aircraft, cut jobs

(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc  subsidiary Envoy Air plans to transfer at least 50 Embraer 145  aircraft to other regional carriers beginning in early 2015 in a move that will lead to job cuts, according to an internal letter reviewed by Reuters.

American said it decided to transfer the aircraft because the number of pilots at Envoy has dwindled in recent months. The move is the latest setback for the regional carrier since it announced about 50 other job cuts last month.

"Given the number of Envoy pilots flowing through to American each month or leaving due to normal attrition, Envoy will not have the pilots we need to fly our 2015 schedule," Kenji Hashimoto, American's senior vice president of regional carriers, said in the letter.

"Without a cost-effective pilot agreement in place, Envoy will not secure new jets and faces challenges in recruiting new pilots without the promise of a renewed fleet," he added.

Envoy pilots rejected a labor contract in March.

While baggage handlers, ticket and gate agents will keep their jobs, Envoy will likely fire some maintenance workers, according to a spokesperson at American who asked not to be named. It was not immediately clear how the news would impact flight attendants.

One of American's other regional subsidiaries, Piedmont Airlines, will receive at least 20 of the transferred aircraft. Trans States Airlines and a second contractor yet to be announced will receive the remaining jets, the letter said.

- Source:

Turboprop planes at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP) to be replaced with jets

SkyWest Airlines, which operates daily flights out of San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, is removing all of its turboprop aircraft from service and replacing them with regional jets.

Skywest Inc. aims to "improve SkyWest's overall efficiency and long-term profitability," according to a statement released by the Utah-based company. As well, the company noted that retirement of the 30-seat Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia fleet is due in part to "increased costs and challenges associated with new (FAA) FAR117 flight and duty rules." The rules, implemented in January 2014, were established to give commercial pilots more rest between flights in an effort to combat fatigue.

"The way the aircraft and the crews are scheduled, the costs have increased," said Marissa Snow, spokeswoman for SkyWest. "And there are maintenance costs as these aircraft age. There is definitely an evolution toward larger aircraft."

The transition to 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 jets is expected to be complete by May 2015.

It's not yet known how Skywest's decision will impact service at the San Luis Obispo airport. However, SkyWest plans to work closely with airport administration "on fleet availability and what that may mean for San Luis Obispo specifically in terms of jet service potential," Snow said.

SkyWest, which currently operates 44 turboprop aircraft, has six flights daily to Los Angeles and five to San Francisco out of the San Luis Obispo airport. SkyWest Airlines operates as United Express, Delta Connection, American Eagle and US Airways Express under contractual agreements with their respective airlines. It also operates flights for Alaska Airlines.

SkyWest serves markets in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and has a fleet of about 751 regional aircraft.

"We've been in SLO since 1986, and we have a strong partnership with the community," Snow said. "We're just evaluating fleet availability right now."

Kevin Bumen, general manager of the San Luis Obispo airport, said more information should be available from SkyWest in the next few weeks. But he sees the larger planes as a passenger enhancement.

"It's a big event for the airport," he said. "It's the first time we'll have all-jet air service here. … It’s a significant step for the airport and the airlines.”

Story and Comments:

Hot air balloon wraps itself around light pole at Aranda oval

A hot air balloon wrapped itself around a light pole at Aranda Playing Fields while landing, causing minor damage to the balloon but left 16 passengers and its pilot uninjured.

ACT firefighters had to come and cut down the balloon which had been finishing its journey when an unexpected gust of wind blew it into the pole.

Pilot Richard Gillespie said the journey had originally taken off from Kings Park, near the National Carillon, and had enjoyed a beautiful day before coming into land at Aranda.

"Unfortunately just as we touched down on the ground, the balloon slightly turned right and gift wrapped the light pole, so it just snagged the side of the balloon as we were coming into land," he said.

"We were on the ground as it snagged, so there were no injuries, no passengers were hurt or anything, but unfortunately it has damaged the balloon a little bit."

Mr Gillespie said ACT firefighters had used a nine-metre ladder to climb up the light pole and cut one the balloon's straps which had become tangled around the pole.

"I've seen it happen before," he said.

"It's pretty rare but I have seen balloons snag things. It doesn't happen regularly at all but it's something that can happen."

Mr Gillespie said he had been flying balloons for about 20 years, seven of those in Canberra, and nothing like this had ever happened before.

"I've probably flown over Canberra probably 2000 times I guess, something like that," he said.

Mr Gillespie said, despite the odd landing, all the passengers left happy and satisfied.

"It sort of made for an exciting ending to their flight," he said.

- Source:

Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N584JS, operated by Superior Air Charter LLC dba JetSuite Air: Accident occurred November 21, 2014 at Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR), Fort Bend County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


The pilots of the very light jet were conducting a positioning flight in instrument meteorological conditions. The flight was cleared by air traffic control for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach; upon being cleared for landing, the tower controller reported to the crew that there was no standing water on the runway. Review of the airplane's flight data recorder (FDR) data revealed that the airplane reached 50 ft above touchdown zone elevation (TDZE) at an indicated airspeed of 118 knots (KIAS). The airplane crossed the runway displaced threshold about 112 KIAS, and it touched down on the runway at 104 KIAS with about a 7-knot tailwind.

FDR data revealed that, about 1.6 seconds after touchdown of the main landing gear, the nose landing gear touched down and the pilot's brake pedal input increased, with intermediate oscillations, over a period of 7.5 seconds before reaching full pedal deflection. During this time, the airplane achieved its maximum wheel braking friction coefficient and deceleration. The cockpit voice recorder recorded both pilots express concern the that the airplane was not slowing. About 4 seconds after the airplane reached maximum deceleration, the pilot applied the emergency parking brake (EPB). Upon application of the EPB, the wheel speed dropped to zero and the airplane began to skid, which resulted in reverted-rubber hydroplaning, further decreasing the airplane's stopping performance. The airplane continued past the end of the runway, crossed a service road, and came to rest in a drainage ditch. Postaccident examination of the brake system and data downloaded from the brake control unit indicated that it functioned as commanded during the landing. The airplane was not equipped with thrust reversers or spoilers to aid in deceleration.

The operator's standard operating procedures required pilots to conduct a go-around if the airspeed at 50 ft above TDZE exceeded 111 kts. Further, the landing distances published in the airplane flight manual (AFM) are based on the airplane slowing to its reference speed (Vref) of 101 KIAS at 50 ft over the runway threshold. The airplane's speed at that time exceeded Vref, which resulted in an increased runway distance required to stop; however, landing distance calculations performed in accordance with the AFM showed that the airplane should still have been able to stop on the available runway. An airplane performance study also showed that the airplane had adequate distance available on which to stop had the pilot continued to apply maximum braking rather than engage the EPB. The application of the EPB resulted in skidding, which increased the stopping distance.

Although the runway was not contaminated with standing water at the time of the accident, the performance study revealed that the maximum wheel braking friction coefficient was significantly less than the values derived from the unfactored wet runway landing distances published in the AFM, and was more consistent with the AFM-provided landing distances for runways contaminated with standing water.

Federal Aviation Administration Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 15009 warns operators that, "the advisory data for wet runway landings may not provide a safe stopping margin under all conditions" and advised them to assume "a braking action of medium or fair when computing time-of-arrival landing performance or [increase] the factor applied to the wet runway time-of-arrival landing performance data."

It is likely that, based on the landing data in the AFM, the crew expected a faster rate of deceleration upon application of maximum braking; when that rate of deceleration was not achieved, the pilot chose to engage the EPB, which only further degraded the airplane's braking performance.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
 The pilot's engagement of the emergency parking brake during the landing roll, which decreased the airplane's braking performance and prevented it from stopping on the available runway. Contributing to the pilot's decision to engage the emergency parking brake was the expectation of a faster rate of deceleration and considerably shorter wet runway landing distance provided by the airplane flight manual than that experienced by the crew upon touchdown and an actual wet runway friction level lower than the assumed runway fiction level used in the calculation of the stopping distances published in the airplane flight manual.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Embraer; Miami, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Operator: Superior Air Charter, LLC
Operator Does Business As: JetSuite Air

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA057
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 21, 2014 in Sugarland, TX
Aircraft: EMBRAER S.A. EMB-500, registration: N584JS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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


On November 21, 2014, about 1010 central standard time, an Embraer EMB-500 (Phenom 100) airplane, N584JS, overran the runway after landing at Sugar Land Regional Airport (SGR), Sugar Land, Texas. The airline transport-rated pilots were not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was being operated by Superior Air Charter, LLC, Irvine, California (doing business as JetSuite Air), as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 positioning flight. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident, and the flight operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas.

According to the pilots, the purpose of the flight was to reposition the airplane from HOU to SGR. During the approach to SGR, the tower controller provided the pilots vectors to the airport and then told them to expect the instrument landing system (ILS) 35 approach at SGR. After the accident, the copilot reported that the tower controller cleared the flight to land and that there was no standing water on the runway. The copilot added that, during the approach, there was a tailwind of 15 kts that decreased to 9 kts on touchdown. 

After landing, the pilot, who was flying the airplane, applied the brakes and noted no appreciable deceleration. She then pulled the emergency brakes twice, but the airplane continued past the end of the runway and onto a grassy area. The airplane then crossed a service road and came to rest in a drainage ditch facing opposite the direction of travel with the empennage section partially submerged in water.

A review of flight data recorder (FDR) data revealed that, while on the ILS approach to runway 35, the airplane slowed to 120 knots (kts) and that it maintained that airspeed until about 155 ft mean sea level (msl), at which point it slowed to about 118 kts. The airplane remained on the glideslope until about 380 ft msl, when the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded an electronic voice stating "autopilot," consistent with autopilot disconnection. Shortly after, the airplane descended below the glideslope. The airplane crossed the displaced threshold about 100 ft msl and at 112 kts indicated airspeed (KIAS), and touched down at 1010:37, about 1,040 ft from the threshold, at an airspeed of 104 KIAS. During the landing roll, the CVR recorded the pilots concern about the airplane's lack of deceleration.

About 1.6 seconds after touchdown, the nose landing gear touched down, and the pilot's brake pedal increased, with intermediate oscillations, over a period of 7.5 seconds and reached full pedal deflection. About 4 seconds later, the emergency/parking brake (EPB) was applied, at which point the wheel speed dropped from 70 to 0 kts, consistent with a locked-wheel skid. Concurrently, the FDR recorded an engine indication and crew alerting system ANTI-SKID FAIL message, consistent with the application of the EPB and locking of the wheels. The airplane departed the runway at 1011:15 at a groundspeed of about 30 KIAS. Shortly after, the FDR recorded accelerations consistent with the impact and airplane coming to a stop.



The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. Additionally, she held an instructor's certificate with airplane single-engine and instrument ratings. She reported that she had 6,311 total flight hours and 1,110 hours in the accident airplane make and model. The captain was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate on July 29, 2014.


The copilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. He reported that he had 4,232 total flight hours and 814 hours in the accident airplane make and model. The copilot was issued an FAA first-class medical certificate on July 26, 2014, with the restriction, "must wear corrective lenses."


The Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 is included in the very light jet (VLJ) class of airplane. The Phenom 100 can seat four passengers in its normal configuration, but it can be configured to carry up to seven passengers. The airplane is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617-F turbofan engines each rated at a takeoff thrust of 1,695 lbs. The accident airplane's serial number was (S/N) 50000140 and was certified as a 14 CFR 23 normal category airplane. The EMB-500 is not equipped with thrust reversers, and prior to serial # 50000325 not equipped with spoilers. All EMB-500s from serial # 50000325 onwards are equipped with spoilers when delivered from the factory. The accident airplane was not equipped with spoilers.

Brake System

The Phenom 100's hydraulic brake system delivers hydraulic pressure to the brakes via input on the brake pedals. The hydraulic pressure to the brake system is supplied at a maximum of 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi). The copilot's (right seat) brake pedals are mechanically linked to the pilot's (left seat) brake pedals. Each pilot brake pedal is connected to a pedal position transducer (PPT), each of which produces two independent electrical outputs to the brake control unit (BCU) that were proportional to the respective pedal displacement. The BCU controls the main brake system. The brake system is a brake-by-wire system with an antiskid function. There are no hydraulic components on the brake control; therefore, the only pedal force feedback to the pilots is from a force spring installed on the pedals. This provides a consistent pedal resistance regardless of the runway condition and the pressure applied.

Wheel speed information is sent to the BCU via two axle-mounted speed transducers. The BCU uses the output from the wheel speed transducers, the PPTs, and two brake line pressure transducers to generate an electrical command to the associated brake control valve (BCV). 

Anti-skid protection is provided when the BCU detect a skid by monitoring the two-wheel speed transducer signals. If a skid is detected, the BCU sends a signal to the BCV to reduce pressure to the brakes. The antiskid protection cannot be turned off in the cockpit. 

The Phenom 100 is equipped with an EPB to stop the airplane if the main brake system fails and to provide means to keep the aircraft parked even when the hydraulic power system is turned off. The EPB is operated by a T-handle on the control pedestal. The handle is mechanically linked to the emergency brake valve. 

Upon using the EPB, the pressure applied is proportional to the handle displacement. No anti-skid protection is available.


In general, 14 CFR Part 23 certification regulations require that dry-runway landing distances be published in airplane flight manuals (AFM) and that they be based on performance demonstrated during flight tests on smooth, dry, hard-surfaced runways. Certification regulations do not require the publication of landing distances on other-than-dry runways, although certification applicants may choose to present this information to the regulator. If the applicant provided this information, it would not necessarily be based on flight tests (largely because of the difficulty of achieving a consistent "wet" or "contaminated" runway surface) but rather derived by calculations based on assumptions agreed to by the regulator.

The EMB-500 was first certified by the Brazilian regulator (the Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil), which, like the FAA, does not require the publication of landing distances on other-than-dry runways. However, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) does require the publication of landing distances on other-than-dry runways if the airplane is to be operated on such runways. The unfactored landing distance is the actual distance from the runway threshold required to land the airplane and stop it without any safety factors applied. The factored landing distance is the actual distance from the runway threshold required to land the airplane and stop increased by a safety factor.

Therefore, to certify the airplane in Europe, Embraer proposed to EASA that the unfactored wet runway landing distances presented in the EMB-500 AFM would be computed as 125% of the demonstrated, unfactored dry-landing distance, and EASA accepted this proposal. 

The factored wet-runway landing distances in the EMB-500 AFM are 115% of the factored dry distances or 192% of the unfactored dry distances. The EMB-500 is certified in the "normal" category, not the "commuter" category; therefore, 135.385(c) did not apply to the accident airplane. However, in practice, JetSuite operates the EMB-500 in compliance with 135.385(c). 

The EMB-500 AFM also provides a table of landing distances for landings on runways covered with standing water, slush, or wet snow at depths of 0.125, 0.250, and 0.375 inches.


At 1012, the SGR automated weather observation system (AWOS) reported wind from 130° at 8 kts, 6 miles visibility, light rain and mist, broken clouds at 3,300 ft and an overcast ceiling at 4,200 ft, temperature 66°F, dew point 64°F, and a barometric pressure of 30.15 inches of mercury.

At 1025, the SGR AWOS reported wind from 130° at 8 kts, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 600 ft, and broken clouds at 1,800 ft and an overcast ceiling at 4,400 ft.


SGR is a public-use, towered airport, located 17 miles southwest of Houston, Texas. SGR has a single concrete runway, 35/17, which is 8,000 ft long and 100 ft wide. Runway 17 has a 380 ft displaced threshold; runway 35 has a 1,984 ft displaced threshold. Runway 35 touchdown zone elevation is 78 ft.


The CVR were removed from the airplane and examined at the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorder Lab in Washington, DC. The FDR data file was downloaded by the operator and sent to the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Lab. 


The airplane came to rest about 100 ft beyond the end of runway 35 down a small embankment in a drainage creek filled with water. The airplane had spun around about 148° opposite the direction of travel with the front of the airplane on the embankment The aft section of the airplane was submerged in water, and the tail cone was partly broken and separated from the empennage. The right main landing gear had collapsed, and the right-wing tip and aileron were damaged. 



The BCU was removed from the airplane and sent to the unit's manufacturer's facility in Ohio. No visual defects were noted, and the BCU was functionally tested, and it functioned normally. Data were downloaded from the BCU, and no abnormities were noted with the braking system.

Airplane Performance Study

The NTSB conducted an Airplane Performance Study for the accident flight to determine the airplane's position and orientation during the relevant portion of the flight and its responses to control inputs, external disturbances, ground forces, and other factors that could affect its trajectory. The study used various data sources, including FDR and airplane thrust and aerodynamic performance information. 

According to the performance study, the airplane's approach to runway 35 complied with the operator's stabilized approach criteria, with the airplane tracking the RNAV final approach course and glideslope at an airspeed of about 130 knots.

The CVR recorded the copilot, who was the pilot monitoring (PM), call "1000 … stable" at 1009:10.3 when the airplane was at an indicated altitude of 1,103 ft (1,021 ft above the field elevation (AFE) of 82 ft) and about 147 KIAS, or 27 kts above the approach speed (Vap of 120 kts. Per JetSuite's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs, the PM would have been required to call "1000 continue, speed" because the speed exceeded Vap + 5 kts.

As the airplane descended below an indicated altitude of 800 ft msl (about 722 ft above the touchdown zone elevation [TDZE] of 78.4 ft) while on the ILS approach to runway 35, it slowed to 120 kts, which is the flaps 3 Vap (approach speed) specified in JetSuite's SOPs. During the final approach, the airplane remained on the glideslope until about 380 ftmsl (302 ft above TDZE), when the CVR recorded an electronic voice stating "autopilot," indicating that the autopilot had been disconnected. Shortly after, the airplane descended below the glideslope. The airplane maintained 120 kts until about 155 ft msl (about 77 ft above TDZE), then slowed to about 118 kts at 50 ft above TDZE, and then slowed to 104 KIAS at touchdown.

The airplane crossed the runway 35 displaced threshold at an indicated altitude of about 100 ft msl (22 f above TDZE) and about 112 KIAS, and it touched down at 1010:37.4, 1,040 ft from the threshold at a groundspeed of 111 kts with about a 7 tailwind.

The CVR did not record the pilots making any speed callouts between 500 ft above field elevation (AFE and 50 ft above TDZE, even though at least one speed callout in this band is required by the SOPs. In addition, the EMB-500 AFM specified that at the landing weight of about 8950 lbs, the flaps 3 Vref is 101 kts. The SOPs required pilots to go-around if the airspeed at 50 ft above TDZE exceeded about 111 kts. As noted above, at an indicated altitude of 50 ft above TDZE (128 ftmsl), the indicated airspeed was about 118 kts, 7 kts, above the approximate 111-kts limit.

The landing distances published in the EMB-500 AFM are predicated on the airplane slowing to reference speed (Vref at 50 ft over the threshold. During the accident landing, the speed at 50 ft exceeded Vref by about 17 kts and resulted in an increased runway distance required to stop. Runway 35, even with the higher threshold crossing speed and assuming that the airplane braking performance implied in the AFM landing distances could be achieved, had an available landing distance of 6,016 ft, which met JetSuite's General Operations Manual (GOM) wet-runway dispatch ("planning") requirement of 1.92 times the unfactored dry landing distance, which for this landing would have been 2,695 ft times 1.92 or 5,174 ft. 

About 1.6 seconds after touchdown, the nose landing gear touched down, and the pilot's brake pedal increased, with intermediate oscillations, over a period of 7.5 seconds and reached full pedal deflection at about 1010:46.6. During this time, the airplane maintained a deceleration (longitudinal load factor, nx) that oscillated between -0.05 and -0.10 G's; and averaged about -0.07 G's. At 1010:49.7, 3.1 seconds after the brake pedals reached maximum deflection, the nx suddenly decreased to a minimum (i.e., a maximum deceleration) of -0.162 G's. Between 10:10:50 and 10:10:58, the nx oscillated between about -0.11 and -0.14 G's. At 10:10:50.7, the Emergency / Parking Brake (EPB) was applied, and the right and left wheel speeds decreased to 0 at 1010:55.2 and 10:10:58.2, respectively. After both wheel speeds reached zero, the nx increased (indicating decreased deceleration) to between about -0.08 and -0.11 G's until about 1011:11, when the airplane started to yaw to the left and drift to the right. The airplane departed the runway at 1011:15, at a groundspeed of about 30 knots, and came to rest in a drainage ditch about 500 feet past the end of the runway.

For about the first 12 seconds after touchdown, the computed braking coefficient oscillated about a value of 0.03 (the assumed unbraked, rolling braking coefficient) with peaks between 0 and about 0.1. The braking coefficient remained at this low value even as the brake pedals were depressed and then jumped to an average of between 0.13 and 0.14 at 1010:50, coincident with the decrease in nx (that is, increased deceleration).

As part of the performance study, in May 2015, the NTSB and the parties to the investigation conducted tests on runway 35 at SGR to measure the runway macrotexture depth, cross-slope, and friction characteristics. The tests did not indicate any discontinuity or sudden change in the runway friction that could explain the computed braking coefficient jump. Further, the rainfall rate at the time of the accident and the runway's measured macrotexture and cross-slope characteristics precluded the possibility that dynamic hydroplaning caused the braking coefficient jump. The investigation was unable to determine the reason why the airplane's antiskid system, which normally controls the slip ratio, maintained a low slip ratio even as the braking command from the pedals was increasing.

The airplane manufacturer provided a possible explanation noting that the EMB-500 antiskid system is a wheel deceleration control algorithm (MABS proprietary), not a slip ratio control algorithm; therefore, slip control is indirect and may be affected by wheel dynamics other than the ratio between wheel speed and aircraft ground speed.

Embraer also notes that the EMB-500 antiskid system is sensitive to pedal input variations, as the input variation will immediately cause a pressure variation, so its effectivity is directly affected by the pilot inputs. At pedal deflections greater than 90% and above, the brake system considers full brake application. Pedal variations above the 90% threshold have no effect on the system.

Brake pedals variations below 90% were observed throughout landing until actuation of the emergency brakes, therefore not allowing the antiskid system to reach maximum efficiency. The Embraer landing technique recommended in AFM is to apply and maintain full brake pedal application upon touchdown.

The decrease in braking coefficient after the EPB was applied and the wheel speed dropped to zero is consistent with research indicating that the braking friction achieved in a full locked-wheel skid is significantly lower than the maximum braking coefficient that can be achieved at lower slip ratios. Examination of the airplane's tires revealed evidence of reverted-rubber hydroplaning, which is also consistent with a locked-wheel skid and reduction in braking coefficient. 

The findings in this accident and similar accidents investigated by the NTSB confirm that the actual braking coefficient that can be achieved on a wet runway may be significantly lower than the braking coefficient predicted by industry-standard models or the braking coefficient required to match the manufacturer's published unfactored, wet-runway landing distances. The results are also consistent with an Embraer Flight Operations Letter that states that the AFM landing distances corresponding to "standing water" contaminated runways may be more indicative of the airplane performance than the AFM "wet runway" landing distances, even for runways that would not normally be considered flooded (for example, even in the case of "light rain over a non-grooved runway or a concrete polished surface.") In this case, the AFM braking performance was not achieved because the actual braking coefficient generated between the tires and the runway was far less than the braking coefficient implied by the wet runway landing distances published in the AFM.

In the comments on the draft Aircraft Performance Study for this case, Embraer disagreed with the NTSB's interpretation of Flight Operations Letter (PHE500-002/15) regarding the AFM landing distances on wet and flooded runways, as outlined above. Instead Embraer stated that "the "FOL highlights the difficulty in assessing the runway conditions (especially between "wet" and "standing water contaminated") and recommends operators to take a conservative approach to calculate the required landing distance.

If the EPB had not been set and the braking friction had continued at levels attained early in the landing roll, then the airplane should have been able to stop on the remaining runway (about 795 ft from the runway threshold). Before landing, the pilots received a report from an air traffic controller that there was "no visible standing water on the runway." Given such a report, it would have been reasonable for the pilots to assume that the AFM wet runway landing distances, rather than the standing water distances, were more appropriate, when in fact the opposite was true. This scenario seems to indicate that, in the absence of prior experience on a given wet runway, if the runway is known or reported to be anything but dry, then the most conservative assumptions about the required landing distance should be used.

See the Airplane Performance Study in the public docket for this accident for additional details.


JetSuite's P100 STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOP) and General Operations Manual (GOM) excerpts: 


1.5 Briefings

1.5.2 Descent & Approach

In addition to the elements of the approach procedure required for safe operations the following items must also be covered prior to any arrival:

•Configuration - Planned Landing FLAPS, ICE PROTECTION, and approach type (NPA or Precision-like).

•Runway - sufficient for the planned settings.

•ATIS - Allows for the planned operation and settings.

•Fuel – Amount remaining allows for the planned operation with sufficient reserves.

•Terrain/Threats - Dominating terrain and any other considerations that may affect decision-making.

2.9 Before Landing

For all approaches, there are a minimum of three occasions when the PM is required to verbalize his/her assessment of the stability of the approach. All three occasions are required to ensure the approach does not become destabilized. The first is at 1,000' AFE, at which point any combination of the 4 parameters may be out of limits. The second is at 500' AFE, at which point SPEED is the only parameter that is allowed to be outside limits. This allows a decelerating approach to be flown. The third is at not less than 50' Above TDZE, at which point SPEED must be no greater than Vref +10. This ensures that SPEED is within limits prior to touchdown.

At 1000' AFE: If any of the following criteria are outside the stated limits, the PM will use the callout "1000 Continue" and add the quoted descriptor to make the PF aware of the items requiring correction:

"FLAPS": Not indicating the briefed Landing Configuration.

"GEAR": Not indicating 3 Green DN indications.

"PROFILE": Outside 1 dot laterally/vertically if IMC, or visual equivalent.

"SPEED": Mean speed above Vap + 5 knots.

At 500' AFE: If any of the following criteria are outside the stated limits, the PM will use the callout "500 Go-Around":

"FLAPS": Not indicating the briefed Landing Configuration.

"Gear": Not indicating 3 Green DN indications.

"Profile": Outside 1 dot laterally/vertically if IMC, or visual equivalent.

If the speed is outside the following stated limits, the PM will use the callout "500 Continue, SPEED" to make sure the PF is aware that a speed correction is required:

"SPEED": Means speed above Vap + 5 Knots.

Between 500' AFE and 50' Above TDZE:

The callout "REF +/-____" will be made at least once prior to reaching 50" Above TDZE. This call may be made as often as necessary to aid the PF ensuring that SPEED is not excessive, and will be within limits prior to touchdown.

At 50' Above TDZE: If the mean speed is greater than Vref + 10 Knots, the PM will make the callout "Go-Around".

NOTE: Speeds in excess of Vref + 10 at 50' Above TDZE require a mandatory Go-Around.

4.8 CW [Cold Weather] Before Landing

Conduct a positive landing to ensure initial wheel spin-up and initiate firm ground contact upon touchdown, achieving wheel load as quickly as possible. Such technique avoids hydroplaning on wet runways and reduces the strength of any ice bond that might have been formed on brake and wheel assemblies during flight. The factors that influence the occurrence of hydroplaning are high speed, standing water and poor runway macro texture. When hydroplaning occurs, it causes a substantial loss of tire friction and wheel spin-up may not occur. Icy runways can be very slippery at all speeds depending on temperature. Stopping the airplane with the least landing run must be emphasized when landing on wet or slippery runways.

•Anticipate the approach procedures and speeds: A well-planned and executed approach, flare and touchdown minimize the landing distance.

•Lower nose wheel immediately to the runway. It will decrease lift and will increase main gear loading.

•Apply brakes with moderate-to-firm pressure, smoothly and symmetrically, and let the anti-skid do its job.

•If no braking action is felt, hydroplaning is probably occurring. Do not apply PARKING BRAKE, as it will remove anti-skid protection.

•Maintain runway centerline and keep braking until airplane is decelerated.


ALL OPERATIONS - WET OR SLIPPERY RUNWAY CRITERIA: A runway is considered wet (or slippery) when conditions indicate:

•Showers or occasional showers.

•Heavy drizzle.

•Continuous light rain, moderate or heavy rain, freezing rain of any intensity.

•Snow of any intensity other than "light" with surface temperature below 28° F.

•A runway is considered contaminated if it cannot be defined as dry or wet.


ALL OPERATIONS - "WET RUNWAY" EFFECTIVE LENGTH REQUIREMENT: If required by the type of operation, the additional 15% for wet or slippery runways and 15% for visibility conditions below 3/4 mile or RVR 4000 is not cumulative. Adding 15% to the dry runway length requirement satisfies either or both requirements. Although alternate airports are not always subject to the "wet runway" rule, to avoid inadvertent errors, JetSuite Air has chosen to enforce the "wet runway" rule at all alternate airports.

EXECUTION - ALL OPERATIONS: All JetSuite Air P100 flight operations will use an additional 1000 feet operating margin to account for minor variations in aimpoint, Vref, negative slope, flare technique and delayed or insufficient braking. No pilot will land a JetSuite Air P100 aircraft if that weight exceeds:

•Maximum landing weight in JS Logbook, OPERA, or the AFM.

•A weight that will allow a full stop landing within the effective length of the most suitable runway for the following conditions:

•Dry runways = dry performance +1000 feet.

•Wet non-RFSC/AFSC = dry performance +25%+1000 feet.

•Wet RFSC/AFSC runways = 6500 feet minimum.

•Contaminated runways = applicable contaminated value + 1000 feet.

For contaminated runways of any kind, the landing distance available must be the greater of dry distance * 1.67 * 1.15 or, the applicable contaminated value + 1000 feet.

JetSuite pilots in the P100 will:

•Use Flaps 3 for planning and execution on all wet runways.

•Apply the brakes in one continuous application for approximately five seconds or until an appropriate level of deceleration is felt.

•If no deceleration is felt after 5 seconds, pilots will initiate a go-around.

14 CFR Part 23 Certification Regulations

In accordance with 14 CFR Part 23 Section 23.75, "Landing distance," 

The horizontal distance necessary to land and come to a complete stop from a point 50 feet above the landing surface must be determined, for standard temperatures at each weight and altitude within the operational limits established for landing, as follows:

(a) A steady approach at not less than VREF, determined in accordance with §23.73 (a), (b), or (c), as appropriate, must be maintained down to the 50 foot height and—

(1) The steady approach must be at a gradient of descent not greater than 5.2 percent (3 degrees) down to the 50-foot height.

(2) In addition, an applicant may demonstrate by tests that a maximum steady approach gradient steeper than 5.2 percent, down to the 50-foot height, is safe. The gradient must be established as an operating limitation and the information necessary to display the gradient must be available to the pilot by an appropriate instrument.

(b) A constant configuration must be maintained throughout the maneuver.

(c) The landing must be made without excessive vertical acceleration or tendency to bounce, nose over, ground loop, porpoise, or water loop.

(d) It must be shown that a safe transition to the balked landing conditions of §23.77 can be made from the conditions that exist at the 50 foot height, at maximum landing weight, or at the maximum landing weight for altitude and temperature of §23.63 (c)(2) or (d)(2), as appropriate.

(e) The brakes must be used so as to not cause excessive wear of brakes or tires.

(f) Retardation means other than wheel brakes may be used if that means—

(1) Is safe and reliable; and

(2) Is used so that consistent results can be expected in service.

(g) If any device is used that depends on the operation of any engine, and the landing distance would be increased when a landing is made with that engine inoperative, the landing distance must be determined with that engine inoperative unless the use of other compensating means will result in a landing distance not more than that with each engine operating.

Section 23.1587, "Performance Information," stated the following:

(a) For all airplanes, the following information must be furnished…

(3) The landing distance, determined under §23.75 for each airport altitude and standard temperature, and the type of surface for which it is valid;

(4) The effect on landing distances of operation on other than smooth hard surfaces, when dry, determined under §23.45(g); and

(5) The effect on landing distances of runway slope and 50 percent of the headwind component and 150 percent of the tailwind component.

FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO)

The FAA has previously issued two SAFOs relevant to the circumstances of this accident. 

SAFO 06012, "Landing Performance Assessments at Time of Arrival (Turbojets)," dated August 31, 2006, stated the following:

This SAFO urgently recommends that operators of turbojet airplanes develop procedures for flightcrews to assess landing performance based on conditions actually existing at time of arrival, as distinct from conditions presumed at time of dispatch. … Once the actual landing distance is determined an additional safety margin of at least 15% should be added to that distance.

SAFO 06012 noted that the dry-runway landing distances established during flight tests and that are the basis for the factored landing distances used by dispatch are shorter than the landing distances achieved in practice. In addition, AFM landing distances for wet and contaminated runways may also be based on the minimum dry distances obtained during flight tests. Consequently, landing distances on wet or contaminated runways computed from AFM data with little or no additional safety margin may be too short for normal operations. The SAFO recommended a conservative approach to assessing the landing distance requirements, including using the most adverse reliable braking action report or expected conditions for the runway and using values for air distances and approach speeds that are representative of actual operations. The SAFO recommended that a 15% safety margin then be added to the computed (unfactored) landing distance because "the FAA considers a 15% margin between the expected actual airplane landing distance and the landing distance available at the time of arrival as the minimum acceptable safety margin for normal operations."

SAFO 15009, "Turbojet Braking Performance on Wet Runways," dated August 11, 2015, warned that "the advisory data for wet runway landings may not provide a safe stopping margin under all conditions" and stated the following:

Several recent runway landing incidents/accidents have raised concerns with wet runway stopping performance assumptions. Analysis of the stopping data from these incidents/accidents indicates the braking coefficient of friction in each case was significantly lower than expected for a wet runway as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Federal Air Regulation (FAR) 25.109 and Advisory Circular (AC) 25-7C methods. These incidents/accidents occurred on both grooved and un-grooved or non-Porous Friction Course overlay (PFC) runways. The data indicates that applying a 15% safety margin to wet runway time-of-arrival advisory data as recommended by SAFO 06012, may be inadequate in certain wet runway conditions.

The root cause of the wet runway stopping performance shortfall is not fully understood at this time; however, issues that appear to be contributors are runway conditions such as texture (polished or rubber contaminated surfaces), drainage, puddling in wheel tracks and active precipitation. Analysis of this data indicates that 30 to 40 percent of additional stopping distance may be required in certain cases where the runway is very wet, but not flooded. Possible methods of applying additional conservatism when operating on a runway which experience has shown degraded when very wet are assuming a braking action of medium or fair when computing time-of-arrival landing performance or increasing the factor applied to the wet runway time-of-arrival landing performance data.

Advisory Circular 91-79A

The FAA issued AC 91-79A, "Mitigating the Risks of a Runway Overrun Upon Landing," on September 17, 2014. The AC stated the following: 


j. A Wet or Contaminated Runway. Landing distances in the manufacturer-supplied AFM provide performance in a flight test environment that is not necessarily representative of normal flight operations. For those operators conducting operations in accordance with specific FAA performance regulations, the operating regulations require the AFM landing distances to be factored to ensure compliance with the pre-departure landing distance regulations. These factors should account for pilot technique, wind and runway conditions, and other items stated above. Pilots and operators should also account for runway conditions at the time of arrival (TOA) to ensure the safety of the landing. Though the intended audience of SAFO 06012 is turbojet airplanes, it is highly recommended that pilots of non-turbojet airplanes also follow the recommendations in SAFO 06012.

(4) Know you can stop within the landing distance available. The cumulative effect of the conditions that extend the airplane's landing distance, plus the 15 percent safety margin, can be a substantial increase to the AFM/POH data, unless the pilot is aware of the items presented, and possesses the knowledge and flying discipline to mitigate the risk of a runway overrun.

Embraer Actions

On June 6, 2016, Embraer issued Revision 2, Flight Operations Letter PHE505-018/14 Landing Procedure Best Practices and Recommendations," which highlight some information contained in FAA AC91-79A in and add information specific to the Phenom fleet. 

The letter state that due to the antiskid function, the BCU will automatically calculate the maximum pressure delivered to the brakes based on the pavement condition. As a result, pilots will notice lower deceleration on a contaminated runway compared to a dry runway. 

The FOL contained the following:

CAUTION: The emergency parking brake will always deliver worse performance when compared to the normal brakes with anti-skid protection. Its use is only recommended on abnormal conditions, when the BRK FAIL CAS message is annunciated. In these conditions, applying the landing correction factors, determinate by the QRH [Quick Reference Handbook], are mandatory.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA057
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 21, 2014 in Sugarland, TX
Aircraft: EMBRAER-EMPRESA BRASILEIRA DE EMB-500, registration: N584JS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 21, 2014, about 1010 Central Standard Time, an Embraer Phenom EMB-500 airplane, N584JS, over ran the runway after landing at the Sugar Land Regional Airport (SGR), Houston, Texas. The airline transport rated pilots were not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operated by Superior Air Charter, LLC, Irvine, California, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the William P Hobby airport (HOU), Houston, Texas.

According to the crewmembers, the purpose of the flight was to reposition the airplane from HOU to SGR. After departing HOU the flight received vectors from air traffic control, who also told the pilots to expect the ILS 35 approach at SGR. The first officer reported that the SGR tower controller cleared the flight to land and that there was no standing water on the runway. During the approach, the first officer noted that there was a tailwind of 15 knots that decreased to 9 knots on touch down.

After landing, the captain, who was flying the airplane, applied the brakes which were unresponsive. She then pulled the emergency brakes twice, but the airplane continued past the end of the runway and onto a grassy area. The airplane then crossed a service road and came to rest in a drainage ditch. The airplane's empennage section was partially submerged by water and the airplane faced the opposite direction of travel.  

The airplane was recovered for further examination.

Two pilots of a small corporate jet walked away after their plane skidded off the runway and ended up in a creek.

The aircraft, an Embrarer Phenom, landed at Sugar Land Regional Airport at 10:13 a.m, but then had trouble stopping, according to spokesperson Patricia Pollicoff.

As the runway was ending, Pollicoff said the pilot attempted to make a U-turn to keep the plane on the pavement. But it slid tail-end first off the runway and into nearby Oyster Creek.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.

Local pilots immediately had their own questions about what happened, like why the plane landed with a tailwind given the wet runway conditions.

"We always try to land into the wind," said pilot Mark Lasch.

"The fact that he landed with the wind, you need much more braking distance because you're coming in much hotter, much faster, so I'm sure that had something to do with it," Lasch said.

It isn't the first Embraer corporate jet to skid off a rain-soaked runway. Another aircraft slid into the grass at the end of a Conroe Regional Airport runway in September.

Sources close to the investigation told KHOU 11 News that investigators will be looking into the braking ability of these types of aircraft in light of the two incidents.

Pilot instructor Eric Newman said wet runways are always a concern for aircraft with wheel-braking systems, rather than reverse-engine thrusters.

"Usually on a wet runway we like to multiply the distance by two to make sure we have enough runway to land," Newman said.

"If the book says it's going to take 2500 feet to stop we'll say we're going to need 5,000 feet to stop on a wet runway," Newman said.

Pollicoff said the pilot and co-pilot walked away after the landing with no injuries. According to FlightAware, the aircraft was coming from Hobby Airport and landed in Sugarland reportedly to pick up a passenger.

As of press time, the Embraer Phenom jet was still stuck in the creek, with no word on how long it would take to pull out and haul away.

The owner, a firm out of Utah, will have to pay for the removal according to an FAA spokesperson.

- Story and Video:

SUGAR LAND, Texas - A small plane skidded off the runway while trying to land at Sugar Land Municipal Airport, police said. 

 Sugar Land police said the plane slid off the end of the runway and spun around backwards, landing tail end-first into a creek.

The plane had taken off from Hobby airport in Houston.   Police say the woman flying the plane and her passenger who is also a pilot were not hurt in the accident.

Firefighters from the Sugar Land fire department responded along with Sugar Land police. Spokesperson Doug Adolph says there were no hazardous spills, but booms were placed in the creek as a precautionary measure.

At around 1:50 p.m. the runway was reopened and the plane was removed.

The FAA and NTSB will conduct an investigation to see what caused the accident.

Story and Comments:

People Express fees still unpaid; Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF) officials mull next step

People Express has not yet paid the roughly $100,000 in passenger facility charges it owes Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport.

The Peninsula Airport Commission has not yet decided what action to take regarding the unpaid fees, but airport executive director Ken Spirito hopes to have a decision by the end of the year, he said.

"We have gotten no communication from (People Express officials) and they have not paid anything," Spirito said Friday.

The commission met in closed session for more than an hour Friday, mostly to seek legal advice. It has not yet come to a decision on legal action, nor whether to cancel its subsidy agreement with People Express, Spirito said.

The commission agreed to subsidize People Express flights to Newark, N.J. and Boston by covering some of the operating costs of Vision Airlines, which operated the service for People Express. The airline suspended service Sept. 26 when the second of its two planes went out of service.

The money the airline owes the airport has already been collected from passengers and is supposed to be given to the airport to help finance construction and improvements, Spirito told the Daily Press earlier this month.

The commission gave People Express notice to leave the airport terminal Nov. 10.

- Source:

Man drives onto runway, leaving passenger plane circling and running out of fuel

A KLM passenger flight that was due to land was left with just seven minutes to find a different airfield or risk running out of fuel  

A car thief who ploughed through a fence and on to an airport runway, forcing a passenger plane to circle above as its fuel levels ran low, has been jailed.

Matthew Dobson was sentenced to three years and eight months at Grimsby Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to burglary, driving offenses and a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft.

The court heard how his "bizarre" crime spree began in August, when he stole the keys to a Renault Clio from a house in Grimsby and drove off, leaving the car's owner locked in her property.

He then led police on a high-speed chase through peak-hour traffic towards Humberside Airport, where he crashed through mesh fencing and on to the runway.

A KLM passenger flight that was due to land was forced to circle 20 miles from the airport.

It was eventually allowed to land at Humberside with just seven minutes left before it would have had to divert to another airport.

The airport was put on high alert, implementing the same protocol as a terrorist attack, and was forced to stop all aircraft taking off and landing there on August 5 this year.

Back on the ground, Dobson, 40, from Grimsby, drove down the main runway at speeds of about 80mph before coming to rest in a field.

There he abandoned the car and lay in the grass in a bid to hide himself, prosecutors said. When challenged, Dobson claimed to be a farmer.

Dobson was high on amphetamine when he stole the car from Marilyn Todd, 62, of Grimsby, in the early hours of the morning, the court heard

Police spotted Dobson and chased him through the town, but lost him.

He was next spotted by security officer Amanda Downing at a checkpoint near where aircraft are boarded, loaded and refuelled.

He was repeatedly sounding the car's horn and shouting to be let through.

Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, said: “He was described as agitated and at first the security officer believed he could have been the owner of a dog that had been observed on the airfield earlier that morning.

“The defendant was told he was not allowed access but before he could be engaged in further conversation he began reversing the vehicle.

“Amanda Downing believed the defendant was about to turn his vehicle around, however, she heard the revving of the engine and saw that he was driving towards the gatehouse.

“The defendant had proceeded to drive through the metal mesh fencing at the side of the gatehouse and onto the apron before accessing the runway.”

He was then seen hurtling towards the runway and the alarm was raised by air traffic control.

Dobson drove the car at 60mph, with his hazard lights flashing, across the apron and towards an offshore helicopter that was taking off.

The helicopter, which was carrying 11 passengers, was 30 feet from the ground, with its nose pointing downwards, preparing to accelerate forwards.

Dobson drove the car underneath the helicopter, which was traveling in the same direction.

He then sped down the full length of the runway, before driving off the end, crashing through a fence, hitting a bank and flying through the air. The car came to a rest in a field.

Mr Evans said: “The defendant drove the vehicle at approximately 80mph along the main runway.

“He continued to drive off the runway and the vehicle left the ground before coming to a rest in a field.

“The defendant ran from the vehicle and was later found lying down in the grass in a futile attempt to conceal himself.

"(He) initially denied any knowledge of the presence of a car and stated he was a farmer.

“He appeared agitated and under the influence of intoxicant.”

Katya Saudek, defending, described it as an "unusual and bizarre" case which happened after his life "spiraled out of control".

Sentencing Dobson, Recorder Andrew Dallas said: "In short, you caused a highly dangerous situation which could have been catastrophic in a number of different ways."

- Source:

 Matthew Dobson was jailed for three years and eight months at Grimsby Crown Court today after pleading guilty to burglary, driving offenses and a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft.

Vans RV-4, N639JH: Accident occurred November 21, 2014 at Mid Valley Airpark (E98), Los Lunas, Valencia County, New Mexico

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Los Lunas, NM
Accident Number: CEN15CA058
Date & Time: 11/21/2014, 1130 MST
Registration: N639JH
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported the approach and landing were normal, and he used right rudder to compensate for a left crosswind. During the landing roll the pilot's left foot slid off the rudder pedal and the airplane began to veer to the right. When he moved his foot back on the rudder pedal, he inadvertently applied the left brake. The pilot added right rudder to compensate; however, the airplane traveled off the left side of the runway. The pilot added power in an attempt to avoid a ditch alongside the runway, but the airplane contacted the ditch and nosed over resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures/malfunctions of the airplane.

Probable Cause and Findings

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

The pilot inadvertently applied the left brake during the landing roll which resulted in a loss of directional control and subsequent impact with terrain.



Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Runway excursion 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 37
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Center
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/11/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2014
Flight Time:  195 hours (Total, all aircraft), 62 hours (Total, this make and model), 143 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: MCCRARY BOBBY C JR
Registration: N639JH
Model/Series: RV 4 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2533
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/29/2014, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 481 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 0-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 0 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ABQ, 5355 ft msl
Observation Time: 1152 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 21°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 15000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / -10°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 19000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 40°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Roosevelt, UT (74)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Los Lunas, NM (E98)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0845 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Mid Valley Airpark (E98)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4836 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4340 ft / 37 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.761667, -106.744722 (est)

LOS LUNAS — Authorities say one person was injured after a small plane flipped over while landing at the Mid Valley Airpark in Los Lunas. 

New Mexico State Police say the right tire of the fixed wing plane gave way while the pilot was landing the single-engine aircraft Friday morning.

They say that caused the plane to leave the runway and it ran into an irrigation ditch before flipping onto its roof.

Police say the woman passenger was taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries, but man piloting the plane wasn’t injured.

The names of the pilot and passenger weren’t immediately released.

LOS LUNAS -- A single-engine plane crashed while landing at the Mid Valley Airpark in Los Lunas Friday morning, injuring one passenger, New Mexico State Police confirmed.

According to Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez, the right tire of the fixed-wing aircraft gave way while the pilot was landing, causing the plane to leave the runway, collide with an irrigation ditch and flip over onto its roof.

State police said the plane was occupied by a male pilot and a female passenger. The passenger was injured and taken to the hospital, according to Gutierrez.