Sunday, November 23, 2014

Incident occurred November 22, 2014 at Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

JOHOR BAHRU:   A student pilot, who was flying solo, escaped with injuries after his aircraft crashed into a ditch during landing at the Senai International Airport.

It is believed that the student was doing training manoeuvres after his four-seater Piper PA28-161 aircraft was cleared to land together with another aircraft belonging to a flying club.

“The first plane landed safely. But when this aircraft touched down, somehow the pilot lost control and it veered into a ditch beside the runway,” an airport official said, adding that four aircraft were taking turns to land during that period.

He said the third and fourth aircraft landed safely, adding that the crash did not disrupt airport operations.

The student pilot, in his 20s, was sent to the Kulai Hospital for injuries to his face and body at 2pm on Saturday.

One of those who rushed over to help him said the pilot was already brought out of the plane by the time he got to the scene.

“I immediately sent him to the hospital for treatment,” he said, declining to reveal further.

It is learnt that the Department of Civil Aviation has been told about the crash.

The last incident involving this flying club happened five years ago when a bank officer spent six hours trapped in a wreckage of a two-seater Cessna before rescuers found him in the Gunung Pulai forest reserve.

- Source:

Drone Flights Face Federal Aviation Administration Hit: Looming Rule Proposal Would Restrict Commercial Uses, Require Pilot License

The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas and Andy Pasztor

Nov. 23, 2014 8:51 p.m. ET

Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, according to people familiar with the rule-making process.

The drone industry has awaited commercial rules for about six years, hoping the rules would pave the way for widespread drone use in industries such as farming, filmmaking and construction. Current FAA policy allows recreational drone flights in the U.S. but essentially bars drones from commercial use.

While the FAA wants to open the skies to unmanned commercial flights, the expected rules are more restrictive than drone supporters sought and wouldn’t address privacy concerns over the use of drones, people familiar with the matter said.

The agency also plans to group all drones weighing less than 55 pounds under one set of rules. That would dash hopes for looser rules on the smallest drones, such as the 2.8-pound Phantom line of camera-equipped, four-rotor helicopters made by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co. Similar-sized devices are seen as the most commercially viable drones and have surged in popularity in the last two years.

Small-drone supporters say such models are less risky to people and structures than heavier drones like Boeing Co. ’s ScanEagle, a gas-powered, 40-pound aircraft with a 10-foot wingspan that can stay aloft for more than 24 hours. ConocoPhillips Co. uses the ScanEagle to gather data on Arctic ice pack and whale migrations.

In addition, pilot certifications likely to be proposed by the FAA would typically require dozens of hours flying manned aircraft, according to people familiar with the rule-making discussions. Drone proponents have resisted requiring traditional pilot training for drone operators.

FAA officials expect to announce proposed rules by year-end. The proposal will kick off a public comment period that is likely to flood the agency with feedback. It could take one or two years to issue final rules.

In a statement, the FAA said it is working to “integrate unmanned aircraft into the busiest, most complex airspace system in the world—and to do so while we maintain our mission—protecting the safety of the American people in the air and on the ground. That is why we are taking a staged approach to the integration of these new airspace users.”

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the current FAA proposal and seeking comments from other parts of the government, including the Pentagon and law-enforcement agencies. Last-minute objections could change some specifics and delay release of the proposed rules.

The agency has said it is moving carefully on drone rules out of concern for potential collisions with other aircraft and injury to people and structures on the ground.

Airline pilots and aircraft owners have supported the cautious approach. But some drone-industry officials predict a loud backlash to the proposal.

“I feel like there’s a colossal mess coming,” said Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small UAV Coalition, an advocacy group for drone makers and innovators, including Google Inc. and Inc. The rule is going to be “so divorced from the technology and the aspirations of this industry…that we’re going to see a loud rejection.”

Unmanned aircraft have proliferated in U.S. skies as technology makes them smaller, cheaper, more powerful and easier to fly. While the FAA has helped build unparalleled safety into passenger air-travel with strict manufacturing and operating rules, the system didn’t foresee thousands of small aircraft buzzing around at low altitude.

The FAA’s current policy allows commercial drone flights only with case-by-case approval. Officials have authorized just a handful of companies so far.

Still, thousands of entrepreneurs are believed to be flying the devices without FAA clearance, making it hard for those operators to get insurance.

Some government and aviation-industry officials are worried about surging use without meaningful oversight. Pilots are increasingly reporting midair drone sightings, including three near John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York last week.

Drone proponents say the U.S.’s regulatory approach is less accommodating than in other countries. This month, Canada plans to issue blanket approval for all commercial operations that use drones weighing less than 4.4 pounds as long as they comply with certain safety standards, such as altitude limits and no-fly zones around airports.

The FAA must “properly balance regulatory restrictions and the safety risks posed by” various sizes of unmanned aircraft, said Ted Ellett, a former FAA chief counsel who now is a partner at law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP. Mr. Ellett said a “one-size-fits-all” approach “will create yet another unnecessary and costly impediment.”

Gretchen West, former executive vice president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the nation’s biggest drone-lobbying group, said large, powerful drones like those used by the military got more attention when the FAA began working on the rules.

Since then, much of the growth has shifted to smaller drones. The expected rules are “going to be very restrictive for small systems,” she added.

Jesse Kallman, head of regulatory affairs for drone-software firm Airware, said requiring commercial drone pilots to have cockpit training “will end up excluding someone who has hundreds of hours of experience on an unmanned aircraft in favor of a pilot who understands how to operate a Cessna but not an unmanned aircraft.”

In exemptions granted to six filmmaking companies to use drones on film sets earlier this year, the FAA required operators to have private-pilot licenses.

The FAA’s draft rule is expected to require lower-level pilot certifications requiring fewer flight hours, according to people familiar with the matter.

One former FAA official said the agency is concerned that statutes bar it from authorizing commercial aircraft operations that don’t have a certified pilot.

The agency is drafting language asking Congress for greater flexibility, this person said.

The planned 400-foot flying limit within the operator’s sight largely follows the FAA’s current rules for recreational uses of drones. Those rules are based partly on voluntary guidelines for model aircraft published by the agency in 1981.

Drone proponents say the FAA is relying on decades-old regulations that don’t account for advancements in technology. Many drone pilots use “first-person view” technology allowing them to rely on real-time footage from a drone’s camera broadcast to their controller or headwear that resembles virtual-reality visors. Users can add infrared and other sensors for night or low-visibility missions.

The FAA’s expected requirement for daylight flights within the operator’s sight would essentially prohibit many commercial applications, such as pipeline inspections and crop monitoring on large farms.

The FAA is awaiting data from a number of test sites before proposing regulations affecting drones that weigh more than 55 pounds. That process is expected to take at least several years. Until then, many states and local governments are likely to establish their own standards.

- Source:

Incident occurred November 23, 2014 at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Maldives

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) runway has been reopened after closing the runway temporarily due to emergency landing of a flight of Etihad Airways at INIA.

An official of airport said to Sun Online that airport runway has been closed temporarily after EY279 flight of Etihad Airways that departed at 7:10 pm on Sunday from INIA to Abu Dhabi made an emergency landing at INIA at around 8:30 pm due to leakage of hydraulic oil. He added that runway was reopened at 9:26 pm on Sunday.

According to the official, there were a total of 189 passengers and crews and no one was injured in the incident. Official added that some flights have been delayed and a flight has been diverted to Colombo due to emergency landing of EY279 flight at INIA.

It has been noticed that airport operations were disrupted recently due to increase in the number of cases of leakage of hydraulic fuel from flights.

While INIA runway has been closed due to fuel leakage from a flight of Etihad Airways on Sunday evening, airport was brought to emergency status and runway has been closed at 11:49 pm on Saturday after a Flyme flight which headed to Baa Dharanvandhoo landed in emergency at INIA following a bomb threat, however, airport runway was reopened at 1:45 am Sunday.

- Source:

Higher fuel sales paying off for Tullahoma Regional Airport (KTHA), Tennessee

The Tullahoma Regional Airport is continuing to sell a high volume of fuel and that’s paying off is several ways.

Airport manager Jon Glass told the Airport Authority at its meeting Tuesday night that fuel sales are up significantly over last year and that through the month of October the airport sold 15,123 gallons more than over the same period last year.

He noted that there are now more jet aircraft based at the airport than in years past and that overall traffic also has increased significantly.

“October was the second best month we have had in the history of the airport,” Glass said.

“We saw 8,876.21 gallons sold during the annual Beechcraft Party this year,” Glass said. “That is a good figure.” He noted that 144 planes took part in the event.

“That is not a record but it is a good number,” Glass said.

He said because of the good sales the airport has been able to pay off a loan on its Avgas truck about a year early.

“We have a UDAG (Urban Development Grant) and the payment is $100 a month,” he said..

Because the loan on the fuel truck could be paid off, the authority has decided to reduce the price charged for Avgas by a nickel per gallon.

“That will make us more competitive,” said new board member Jim George.

Glass also told the authority that he took part in a lengthy phone interview with representatives of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) about the chances of Tullahoma getting to host one of four annual events held by the organization.

He noted that he got a “good feeling” from the phone interview. “We were told that if we didn’t get it this year that they will save it for the next couple of years,” Glass said.

Locations chosen to host the AOPA events are expected to be announced after the first of the year.

- Source:

Aerodynamic Stall / Spin: Aero Commander 500-A/AC50, N14AV; fatal accident occurred November 23, 2014 in McDade, Texas

Daniel Eastman Disbrow

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: McDade, Texas 
Accident Number: CEN15FA056
Date & Time: November 23, 2014, 09:45 Local 
Registration: N14AV
Aircraft: Aero Commander 500A 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Positioning


The airline transport pilot was conducting a cross-country repositioning flight. While enroute to the destination airport, the pilot contacted air traffic control and stated that he was beginning to descend. No further radio transmissions were made by the pilot. Radar and GPS information showed, about the same time as the pilot's last transmission, the airplane's flightpath began descending in a westerly direction. The last recorded GPS point showed the airplane about 200 ft southwest of the initial impact point, 90 ft above ground level, and at a groundspeed of 66 knots.

The airplane wreckage was located in an open field and impact signatures were consistent with a stall/spin, which had resulted in a near-vertical impact at a slow airspeed. The right propeller blades were found in the feathered position. Examination of the right engine found that the oil gauge housing extension was improperly secured to the oil gauge housing, which resulted in a loss of engine oil. Additionally, the examination revealed a hole in the right engine's crankcase, metal material in the oil sump, and signatures consistent with the lack of lubrication. Cockpit switches were positioned in accordance with the in-flight shutdown of the right engine. No anomalies were found with the left engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation.

Another pilot who had flown with the accident pilot reported that the pilot typically used the autopilot, and the autopilot system was found with the roll, heading, and pitch modes active. During the descent, no significant changes of heading were recorded, and the direction of travel before the stall was not optimal for the airplane to land before a fence line. It is likely that the autopilot was controlling the airplane's flightpath before the stall.

Despite one operating engine, the pilot did not maintain adequate airspeed and exceeded the airplane's critical angle-of-attack (AOA), which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin. Correcting the last GPS recorded airspeed for prevailing wind, the airplane's indicated airspeed would have been about 72 knots, which is above the airplane's 0-bank stall speed, but an undetermined amount of bank would have been applied to maintain heading, which would have accelerated the stall speed. It could not be determined why the pilot did not maintain adequate airspeed or notify air traffic controller of an engine problem. 

Although a review of the pilot's medical records revealed that he had several historical medical conditions and the toxicology tests detected several sedating allergy medications in his system, it was inconclusive whether the medical conditions or medications impaired the pilot's ability to fly the airplane or if the pilot was incapacitated. It is also possible that the pilot was distracted by the loss of oil from the right engine and that this resulted in his failure to maintain adequate airspeed, his exceedance of the airplane's critical AOA, and a subsequent stall/spin; however, based on the available evidence, the investigation could not determine the reason for the pilot's lack of corrective actions.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane's critical angle-of-attack for reasons that could not be determined based on the available evidence, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was the improperly installed oil gauge housing extension, which resulted in a loss of oil quantity and right engine power.


Aircraft Airspeed - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Recip eng oil sys - Incorrect service/maintenance
Aircraft Angle of attack - Capability exceeded
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-descent Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail
Enroute-descent Engine shutdown
Enroute-descent Unknown or undetermined
Enroute-descent Aerodynamic stall/spin (Defining event)
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On November 23, 2014, about 0945 central standard time, an Aero Commander 500A airplane, N14AV, impacted terrain near McDade, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by Aerial Viewpoint Aerial Photography under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a
positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight departed the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH), Houston, Texas, at 0854 and was en route to the Austin Executive Airport (KEDC), Austin, Texas.

The pilot was in radio contact with air traffic control and was receiving flight following while enroute to his destination. The pilot radioed his intention to descend in altitude for landing at KEDC. There were no reported distress calls from the pilot.

A local landowner heard the airplane impact terrain and called 911.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Flight instructor 
Age: 63,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 8, 2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 7075 hours (Total, all aircraft), 168.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 131.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 63, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane ratings. He held a commercial pilot certificate with a single engine land rating. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane, and a mechanic certificate with airframe and power plant ratings.

On May 8, 2014, he was issued a second class medical certificate with the restrictions must wear corrective lenses. On that date he reported his total flight time at 7,075 hours, with 110 hours in the preceding 6 months.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aero Commander 
Registration: N14AV
Model/Series: 500A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1960 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 500A-914-22
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: October 1, 2014 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 12859.2 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-E8B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 300 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane, serial number 500A-914-22, was a high wing, two-engine airplane manufactured in 1960. It was powered by two 300-horsepower Continental Motors IO-520-E8B engines. Each engine drove a metal, three-bladed, variable pitch, Hartzell EHC-G3YF-2YF full-feathering propeller. The airplane's last annual inspection occurred on October 1, 2014. At this inspection, the airframe had accumulated 12,859.2 hours.

The airplane was acquired by the operator in 1998 and was configured for aerial surveying and photography operations.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGYB,485 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 09:55 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 132°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 14 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 240° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.7 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: HOUSTON, TX (DWH) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: AUSTIN, TX (EDC) 
Type of Clearance: VFR flight following
Departure Time: 08:54 Local 
Type of Airspace:

At 0955, an automated weather reporting facility located at the Giddings-Lee County Airport (KGYB), about 16 nautical miles southeast of the accident site reported a wind from 240 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 14 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 64° Fahrenheit (F), dew point 55° F, and a barometric pressure of 29.70 inches of mercury.


Although a flight plan had not been filed for the flight, the pilot communicated with Austin approach control. An Air Traffic Control group was formed to review the actions taken by the approach controller and the interaction with the accident airplane. A review of data found that at 0922:16, the pilot radioed that he was at an altitude of 6,500 feet. The controller acknowledged the pilot's radio transmission and issued the Austin altimeter of 29.66 inches. At 0927:59, the pilot radioed that he was descending, which was the last recorded transmission from the pilot. The controller did not acknowledge this transmission.

At 0944:23, the last radar return was recorded as the airplane was at an altitude of 800 ft mean sea level. The airplane's radar returns displayed CST or "coast" after the last valid radar return. At 0946:40, the controller told the pilot that radar service was terminated and approved a frequency change. There were no recorded distress calls from the accident airplane.

A review of these interactions found that one controller handled the accident airplane until the pilot had reported descending out of 6,500 ft. The controller thought he had acknowledged the pilot's transmission. He watched as the airplane descended and did not recall anything unusual. Shortly thereafter, the controller was relieved so he could go on a break. The relieving controller was briefed of
the active traffic to include N14AV. The relieving controller recalled scanning the southwest corner of his assigned airspace and became busy with visual flight rules aircraft, parachute activity, and other routine traffic.

After a few minutes of working traffic, the controller saw the data block of N14AV had not moved on the radar display, and did not see the data block in coast (CST) status on the radar display. He thought the pilot of N14AV may have switched from the Austin approach frequency to the advisory frequency, so he advised the pilot that radar services were terminated and did not receive an acknowledgement from the pilot. Later, the supervisor's telephone rang and the supervisor asked the original controller if he had lost contact with any airplane in the east sector. The relieving controller thought that the airplane he terminated radar services on could be the airplane in question.

Paragraph 10-2-5 of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order 7110.65 addresses emergency situations and states [in part] that when an unexpected loss of radar and communications occurs, air traffic controllers shall consider that an emergency situation exists and notify the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) or Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). "Consider that an aircraft emergency exists and inform the RCC and ARTCC when any of the following exists: … (b). There is an unexpected loss of radar contact and radio communications with any [instrument flight rules] IFR or [visual flight rules] VFR aircraft."

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.345832,-97.206665

The airplane wreckage was located in an open pasture with rolling terrain about 65 yards east of a fence line. Impact signatures were consistent with a slow speed, near vertical impact. All four corners of the airplane and flight controls surfaces were accounted for at the scene.

The initial impact point consisted of a circular crater. About 6 feet on either side of the crater were both propeller assemblies. The left propeller assembly was almost completely buried in the soil and the right assembly was partially buried. The right propeller blades appeared to be fully feathered. The left propeller blades were all curled with polishing of the leading edges and blade faces, along with chordwise scratches and gouges.

The remainder of the airplane wreckage was located about 15 feet northwest of the impact crater. It consisted of the fuselage, empennage, both wings, and the left engine. The right engine had separated and was located about 25 feet northwest of the right wing.

The fuselage was crushed and wrinkled along its entire length. The cockpit area was distorted and crushed rearward. A majority of the structure enclosing the top and right portions of the cabin area was torn and displaced. The left wing's leading edge had accordion crushing along its entire length. The right wing had crushing on the inboard one-third of its leading edge. The left aileron remained attached to both hinges; however, the outboard hinge was torn from the wing structure. The right aileron remained attached to the right wing. Both flaps appeared to be partially extended. Both main landing gear were fully retracted in their wheel wells.

The elevators and rudder remained attached to their respective attach points. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator had minor impact damage. The horizontal stabilizer's leading edge was soiled with oil. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and both surfaces were not damaged. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were crushed upward at mid-span. The outboard section was soiled with oil.

Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the ailerons, elevators, and rudder. The throttle quadrant was impact damaged and distorted. The left throttle was near the full forward position and the right throttle was fully aft. Both throttle control levers were twisted. Both propeller controls were found in the feather range and bent to the left. Both mixture controls were in the full rich position but had fractured just above the control shroud.

The cockpit instrumentation was heavily damaged; only a few instruments were readable. The altimeter's Kollsmans window indicator was between 29.72 and 29.73. The flap gauge showed ½ flaps. The battery switch was found in the off position, which had been set by first responders. The left hand generator switch was in the "on" position and the right hand generator switch was in the "off" position.
The left engine fuel cutoff switch was in the open position, the fuel aux pump switch was in the "off" position, and the ignition switch was in the "both" position. The right engine fuel cutoff switch was in the closed position, the fuel aux pump switch was in the "off" position, and the ignition switch was in the "off" position. The landing gear handle was in the up position. The Century III autopilot controls displayed roll, heading, and pitch in the on positions with the altitude hold turned off. The emergency locator transmitter was found in the armed position and had activated during the accident.

A Garmin GPSMap 296 was found in the wreckage and shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory for data download.

Both engines were partially examined on-scene. The right engine's crankcase had a hole above the #2 cylinder. Its oil gauge (gage) housing extension was found disconnected from its housing. Both engines were sent to a laboratory for further examination.

Additional Information

Garmin GPSMap 296

Data from the GPS unit was downloaded and found to contain the accident flight. The data field for the accident flight's date was recorded as April 9, 1995, but the time and route of flight remained consistent with the accident flight. The airplane departed the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport about 0854. It departed the airport to the south before turning west towards Austin, Texas. While en route the airplane cruised about 6,700 feet mean sea level (msl) and about 138 knots groundspeed. At 0927, the airplane began to descend and the groundspeed decreased. The ground track varied between 270-290° but averaged 281° close to the pre-descent heading of 282°. The average descent rate was 440 feet per minute. The last recorded point was recorded at 0944:35 with the airplane about 200 feet southwest of the initial impact point, at a GPS altitude of 610 feet msl, groundspeed of 66 knots, and descent rate of 290 feet per minute. Terrain elevation at that location was approximately 520 feet msl.

Aero Commander 500A Speeds

A review of the operator's manual for the Aero Commander 500A found that the minimum control speed, which is the minimum speed at which the airplane is controllable in flight, with sudden failure of one engine and takeoff power on the other engine is 61 knots. At its maximum gross weight, the stall speed with zero-degrees of bank is 63 knots with the flaps up and 57 knots with the flaps down.

Aero Commander 500A Engine Failure During Cruise

The published procedure for an engine failure during cruise flight is as follows:

1. Correctly determine inoperative engine by checking with throttles.
2. Feather engine as outlined in Propeller Section of the Normal Operating Procedures.
3. Maintain 70% power on the operative engine for best cruise.

The procedure to feather an engine as found in the Propeller Section of the Normal Operating Procedures is as follows:

1. Throttle – CLOSED (inoperative engine)
2. Mixture control – IDLE CUTOFF (inoperative engine)
3. Fuel valves – CLOSED (inoperative engine)
4. Ignition switch – OFF (inoperative engine)
5. Propeller control – FEATHER RANGE

NOTE: The above feather procedure is for normal operation. For emergency use, propeller may be feathered first.

Assessment of the Pilot's Abilities

An employee of the company, also a flight instructor, provided an assessment of the pilot's flying ability. This employee flew most recently from October 20 to November 7, 2014, with the accident pilot. During this time he was able to observe the pilot's flying ability since he was seated in the right cockpit seat. The employee recalled the pilot had a habit of engaging the autopilot for every ferry leg on flights to and from the survey lines. For long distances, the pilot flew between 6,000 – 9,000 feet msl. He reported that the pilot was very comfortable with the airplane and easily landed with strong winds. During instrument meteorological conditions, the pilot maintained good control of the airplane. On one of the flights, the right engine's oil temperature reading was "abnormal" so the flight returned back to the KDWH where the issue could be fixed. The pilot routinely preflighted the airplane daily and after every fuel servicing, and routinely inspected oil and fuel quantities. A notebook that was maintained by the accident pilot was found in the wreckage. Between the dates of October 20 and November 7, there were no notes about an oil malfunction. There were also no maintenance log book entries between those dates concerning corrective maintenance of either engine's oil system.

Medical and Pathological Information

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the Deputy Medical Examiner as authorized by the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4 for Lee County, Texas. The autopsy noted the cause of death as a result of blunt force injuries and the manner of death was an accident.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology tests on specimens from the pilot. Findings were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The following drugs were detected:

22 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Urine
Azacyclonol detected in Urine
Azacyclonol NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cetirizine detected in Urine
Cetirizine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Diphenhydramine detected in Urine
0.053 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Fexofenadine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Fexofenadine detected in Urine
Naproxen detected in Urine

Fexofenadine is a prescription and over-the counter antihistamine used to relieve the allergy symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis (''hay fever''). It is marketed as a non-sedating antihistamine.

Azacyclonol is a minor metabolite of fexofenadine.

Cetirizine is an over-the-counter antihistamine is used to temporarily relieve the symptoms of hay fever and allergy to other substances. This medication causes drowsiness and could impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). The FAA recommends waiting at least 48 hours after the last dose before performing safety related duties.

Diphenhydramine is an over-the-counter antihistamine used to treat allergic conditions and as a sleep aid. This medication causes drowsiness and could impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). The FAA recommends waiting at least 60 hours after the last dose before performing safety related duties.

Naproxen and acetaminophen are over the counter analgesics for the relief of pain; naproxen also has some anti-inflammatory properties.

A review of the pilot's medical history revealed that he had a history of allergies, cataracts treated with surgical removal, and primary angiitis of the central nervous system associated with significant neurologic deficits which had been treated with steroids and cyclophosphamide from 2002 to 2009.  However, his neurologic exam had returned to normal and he had been off medications for five years before the accident.

Tests and Research

Engine Examinations

Both engines were examined under the auspices of the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The left engine was impact damaged and a test run could not be performed. The engine was torn down and inspected. Of note, the oil gauge housing extension was secured. No anomalies were detected with the left engine which would have precluded normal operation.

In addition to the hole in the crankcase, the right engine was impact damaged and a test run could not be performed. The left magneto and ignition harness were both impact damaged and could not be tested. The oil sump was opened and found to contain metallic material consistent with connecting rods, bearings, and crankcase material.

The oil pickup screen contained a small amount of metallic material. The oil pump was disassembled and metallic material was present in the oil pump gears along with scoring on the pump housing consistent with passage of hard material. The oil screen contained a significant amount of metallic material on the screen. The oil gauge housing extension was been was found separated from its housing
at the accident site. No impact damage was noted to the housing extension. The hose and clamps were not positioned in a way to place the oil gauge housing extension joint in the middle of the hose. According to manufacturer specifications, the hose should be centered over the connection joint. The top hose clamp was placed below the oil gauge housing extension bead. The extension bead is designed to be securely fitted against the oil gauge housing. In addition, it was also noted that the hose material was not the material specified by the manufacturer. Examination of the engine bearings found signatures consistent with lubrication distress with scoring and thermal smearing of the surface babbit. Connecting rods 1 and 2 had separated from their respective journals. All connecting rods and rod bearings displayed signatures of thermal discoloration consistent with lubrication distress.

The engine log books did not contain any recent entries of work performed concerning on the oil gauge housing extension. Several entries documented oil changes to include a check for oil leaks. The last entry dated November 18, 2014, reported "[r]eplaced oil with Aero Shell 100W oil, cleaned engine from excess oil and checked for oil leaks, none found. Ops check good, returned to service." The entry was endorsed by the pilot, who was also one of the mechanics that maintained the airplane.

Daniel Eastman Disbrow, 63, 0f Magnolia, Texas, passed away November 23, 2014. He was born May 2, 1951 to Daniel and Patsy Disbrow in Baytown, Texas. Dan attended school in Texas City. He retired from the Galveston County Sheriff’s department as a Captain. Dan was preceded in death by his parents, and a son, William Paul Disbrow.

He is survived by his wife, Lisa L. Disbrow; daughter, Tina B. Disbrow; son, Stephen R. Disbrow; step-son, Alan Shu Disbrow; sister, Patricia Roianne Alston; brother, William P. Disbrow; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service in his honor will be held 6:00 pm, Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at Crowder funeral Home Chapel, Dickinson, Texas.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA056 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 23, 2014 in McDade, TX
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 500A, registration: N14AV
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 November 23, 2014, about 0950 central daylight time, an Aero Commander 500A airplane, N14AV, impacted terrain near McDade, Texas. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by Aerial Viewpoint Aerial Photography under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight departed the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH), Houston, Texas, and was en route to the Austin Executive Airport (KEDC), Austin, Texas.

A preliminary review of communications revealed that the pilot had contacted air traffic control and was receiving flight following while en route to his destination. Prior to reaching KEDC, the pilot radioed his intention to descend. There was no further communication with the pilot or any reported distress calls.

Several residents near the accident site reported hearing or seeing the accident airplane flying low, although none of them observed the accident sequence. A local landowner heard the airplane impact terrain and called 911.

The airplane was located in an open pasture with rolling terrain. Impact signatures were consistent with a near vertical impact. All major airplane components and flight controls surfaces were accounted for at the scene. The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 0955, the automated weather reporting facility located at the Giddings-Lee County Airport (KGYB), about 16 nautical miles southeast of the accident site reported wind from 240 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 14 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 64° Fahrenheit (F), dew point 55° F, and a barometric pressure of 29.70 inches of mercury.

LEE COUNTY, Texas - Investigators are looking into a plane crash near Austin that took the life of the pilot Sunday.

The pilot who was killed in the crash is a 63-year-old man from Magnolia named Daniel Disbrow. The Texas Department of Public Safety says he was a former law enforcement officer.

The plane he was flying was owned by an aerial photography company in Spring called Aerial Viewpoint.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it was headed to Austin Executive Airport from San Antonio when it crashed in Lee County, about 60 miles east of Austin.

The crash happened just before 10 a.m., but investigators don't yet know what caused it.

"It was sad," witness Ray Turnipseed said. "I didn't know if the people had made it out."

The FAA and DPS are on the scene investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive Monday.

LEE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – A man is dead following a plane crash near McDade Sunday.

Shortly before 10 a.m., authorities responded to reports of a plane down at 2143 County Road 305 near the Bastrop – Lee County line.  This is about 15 miles east of Elgin.

A DPS spokesperson tells KXAN a 63-year old man from Magnolia, Texas died in the crash, but did not release his name. However, the spokesperson says the victim previously worked in law enforcement. No one else was on-board.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Lynn Lunsford said the Aero Commander AC50 was on its way to Austin Executive Airport from San Antonio when the crash occurred. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive at the crash site Monday to investigate. Meanwhile, the FAA and DPS are on-scene.

The plane is registered to an aerial photography company in Spring, Texas.

At least one person is dead after a small plane crashed into a field east of Elgin on Sunday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

DPS officers were called about the crash on the 2100 block of County Road 305 at 9:51 a.m. They secured the scene and the Federal Aviation Administration will handle the investigation, a DPS spokesman said.

It’s unclear what led to the crash.

Robinson R-44, VH-YYS: Accident occurred November 23, 2014 in Cape York, Queensland, Australia

Forced landing and ground fire involving a Robinson R44, VH-YYS, 56 km E of Archer River, Qld, on 23 November 2014  

Investigation number: AO-2014-184
Investigation status: Active

Investigation in progress

Summary:  The ATSB has commenced an investigation into a Forced landing and ground fire involving a Robinson R44, VH-YYS, 56 km E of Archer River, Queensland on 23 November 2014

During cruise, the pilot detected abnormal engine indications and received a low rotor RPM warning. He conducted a forced landing into long grass which was then ignited by the helicopter’s exhaust. The helicopter was destroyed by fire and the pilot and passenger were uninjured.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the pilot and gather additional information.

A report will be released within several months.

Two men have been found alive after their helicopter crashed in remote far north Queensland.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) launched a search for the two men on board the Robinson R44 helicopter after it failed to land at the Mareeba airport, west of Cairns on Saturday night.

The 39-year-old pilot and 33-year-old passenger were found just before 5:00pm (AEST) yesterday at the crash site, about 56 kilometres from the Archer River Roadhouse, where they had taken off.

Brad Allan from the Archer River Roadhouse said the pilot had been fishing in the area and the pair had had lunch there before they took off.

AMSA combed a 765-square kilometre area between the Archer River in Cape York and Mareeba.

The men were located by a passing plane.

An AMSA spokesman said the men were "alive and well".

It was unknown if they suffered any injuries in the crash.

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Photo: The helicopter crashed about 56 kilometres from the Archer River Roadhouse on Sunday. 
(Emergency Management Qld)

Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, N351VA: Incident occurred October 31, 2016 in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio -and- Incident occurred November 23, 2014 in O'Fallon, St. Clair County, Illinois


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Cincinnati FSDO-05


Date: 31-OCT-16
Time: 19:30:00Z
Regis#: N351VA
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
State: Ohio

Date:  November 23, 2014 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA St. Louis FSDO-62 


Event Type: Incident 
Highest Injury: None 
Damage: Unknown 
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG) 

O'Fallon, Ill. – A small plane heading to Cincinnati, Ohio, made an emergency landing after experiencing a mechanical failure Sunday afternoon.  

The pilot landed the plane, a Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, in a corn field after experiencing an electrical failure about 15 minutes into the flight. The plane came to a complete stop just short of a family's driveway.

There were four people on board, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff.

The pilot, who did not want to be identified, said he is just happy it was a successful landing, and that that everyone on-board is okay.

According to witnesses, the pilot said he is an experienced pilot with military experience.

The plane belongs to a club and the pilot is working with an insurance company to remove the aircraft from the field.


O’FALLON, Ill. (KMOX) - A light plane made an emergency landing in the Metro-East, Sunday afternoon.

Officials say the plane ran out of fuel and had to land in a field near Pausch Road and Frederick Lane in O’Fallon.

No injuries were reported.


Beijing to streamline approval time for private jets

Beijing aims to give aviation a lift by streamlining the time it takes to approve low-altitude flights for private and commercial jets.

The air traffic control commission of the State Council and the Central Military Commission agreed to simplify flight approvals for general aviation next year, the PLA Daily reported yesterday.

The changes, which apply to all civilian flights except those by scheduled passenger airlines, will be covered in national aviation legislation due to be drafted next year. The mainland has 226 general aviation companies and 1,786 general aircraft, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The number of aircraft is expected to surpass 5,000 in six years, with an annual growth of 19 per cent, the CAAC's deputy director Wang Zhiqing told Xinhua.

General aircraft, which range from helicopters to private jets, are designed to operate mainly in low-altitude airspace - 1,000 metres or below - but getting off the ground is not easy because the airspace is tightly controlled by the military.

Any application for such flights, including ones for emergency search and rescue efforts, usually needs to be approved by various authorities, including the military, the CAAC and even local governments.

The report said the changes would be modeled on a trial program launched in 12 cities, including Guangzhou and Shenyang , which takes the military out of the approval process.

Military and aviation experts said the country was opening up its low-altitude airspace but the process would take at least another decade because it needed a more sophisticated air surveillance and control system.

"China is trying to catch up with the global trend [to open low-altitude airspace], but its defenses lag behind," Ministry of Transport search-and-rescue pilot Li Jia said.

Yue Gang, a Beijing-based commentator on military affairs, agreed the authorities needed to install a more advanced radar system to keep track of all the jets flying at low altitude.

"Military radars have limits in detecting objects flying at low altitude. Our existing radar system would have so many blind spots once we opened up the low-altitude airspace," Yue said.

He also said that PLA interceptors - which respond to aviation dangers - were not designed to track smaller and slower general aircraft. "It's like asking a racing car to follow a three-wheeled truck," Yue said.

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India hopes to reverse flight safety rating

India’s hope to reverse its downgrade of safety ranking by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) soon after the US agency’s inspection in December may come a cropper.

The FAA is non-committal on upgrading India to Category 1 soon, saying its reassessment may take several months.

A team from the FAA will examine the progress made by India between December 8 and 12, ten months after it downgraded India to Category 2, which has ten other countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Curacao.

The downgrade came as India could not achieve satisfactory on two counts – insufficient number of flight operations inspectors and airworthiness officers do not have required training to handle all types of aircraft.

India now says that it has recruited more Safety Inspectors and imparted proper training and expects a positive outcome of the inspection by January.  However, the Federal Aviation Administration is non-committal.

“The FAA will begin a reassessment of India’s Civil Aviation Authority in December, which may take several months,” an FAA spokesperson told Deccan Herald in an email from the United States.

Experience of other countries, which faced downgrade, is also not a solace for India, as it took long for countries to get back into Category 1.

The Philippines is waiting for about six years to re-enter Category 1 while the wait of Indonesia is around seven years.

Israel took four years to reverse the downgrade and re-enter Category 1.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials believe that a positive sign from the FAA would help India deal with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Officials claim they have impressed the EASA on the initiatives taken by the DGCA to improve the situation.

“The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency share the common goal of ensuring the highest aviation standards,” the FAA spokesperson said.

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Police Chase, Arrest Man Who Commandeered A Work Truck At Mineta San Jose International Airport (KSJC), California

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Police have arrested a man who commandeered an airport work truck at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes told KCBS that, at approximately 10:15 a.m. Sunday, an unidentified man was spotted on a ramp on the west side of the airport where the corporate aviation facility is located. Airport staff immediately made contact with the man, took him into the corporate building and called police, Barnes said.

Moments later, the man got up and fled out the front door of the building where he encountered a staff member and asked for a ride to one of the commercial terminals. The employee refused and the suspect then jumped into an airport vehicle and drove off in it toward Terminal B.

San Jose police found the man inside a public area of a terminal, and arrested him there.

Barnes says it’s unclear just how the man made it past security and onto the tarmac, or how he was able to commandeer the airport vehicle.

She said that at no point was passenger or employee safety compromised and that a full investigation is now underway.

Security at the airport has been called into question in recent months.

In April, a 15-year-old boy managed to climb a security fence, climb into the wheel well of a passenger jet, and survive a flight to Hawaii. Then, last August, a woman was able to board a flight to Los Angeles without a ticket.

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American Pilots, Management Agree to Keep Talking on a New Labor Deal: American to Shrink its Envoy Air Commuter Unit by Transferring Small Jets to Other Vendors

The Wall Street Journal
By Susan Carey

Nov. 23, 2014 2:59 p.m. ET

American Airlines Group Inc. and the union that represents its 15,000 pilots said they would continue to negotiate terms of a combined labor agreement, putting off for now a plan to reach a deal through binding arbitration. The new goal is to resolve the impasse by mid-December, the two sides said.

Separately, American said it plans to transfer at least 50 of its small regional jets to other vendors from its wholly-owned Envoy Air unit, due to a pilot shortage at Envoy. Some of the planes will go to wholly-owned Piedmont Airlines and outside contractor Trans States Airlines, the parent company said.

American raised the stakes in the talks with its main pilots union late last week, when it told the Allied Pilots Association that it needed to agree by Nov. 21 to accept the framework of the carrier’s Nov. 11 offer to APA as the basis for talks, not the union’s later counterproposal. Otherwise, American suggested it would move to arbitration, an outcome the union would be forced to go along with.

American’s proposal includes bigger raises than what the aviators are guaranteed to receive in the arbitration procedure. APA countered by asking for larger pay increase to make up for the fact that American pilots aren’t being offered profit-sharing.

The union’s 22-member board of directors met for three days last week to discuss the situation and adjourned Thursday night after directing negotiators to have further talk with management. It seems the union agreed to work off American’s earlier offer, according to a person familiar with the matter. But to sweeten the deal, American withdrew a proposal unpopular with the pilots that would have enabled the company to raise the number of seats in some of the regional aircraft.

This isn’t a normal airline-labor negotiation. The American pilots already have a six-year labor accord they agreed to when American’s former parent, AMR Corp. was in bankruptcy proceedings. US Airways management, which orchestrated AMR’s emergence from Chapter 11 through a merger of the two carriers, agreed to improve the terms in response to the pilots’ backing of the combination. US Airways aviators signed onto it as well, and both pilot groups received substantial raises a year ago when the merger closed.

But to create a true joint agreement, all the work rules must be aligned. In the absence of a negotiated agreement, the parties agreed to let an arbitration panel come up with those co-mingled rules, ensuring that they don’t raise the airline’s labor costs more than $87 million a year.

American agreed to give the pilots, even in an arbitrated outcome, a 3% raise on January 1, and two 3.5% increases, the first in early 2017 and the final one in early 2018. In addition, in 2016, the pilots would be brought up to the average of what pilots earn at United Continental Airlines Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. That could represent an increase of about 13% increase.

What American proposed to the pilots, as an amendment to the existing contract and a reflection of its financial performance, is an 18% raise on Dec. 2, plus 3 % a year for four years, starting this January, extending the pact by a year. The idea was to bring the group to Delta Air Lines Inc. pilot wages plus 3%. But the pilots, mindful that Delta pilots are in line to receive 15% of their annual earnings this year in profit-sharing, wanted 10% over Delta, rather than 3%.

The APA said its leaders and negotiators concur “that a negotiated agreement is preferable to an arbitrated outcome.” American, in a statement, said both sides have made progress and will continue to work toward a deal outside of arbitration.

American’s 24,000 flight attendants faced a similar choice, and early in November defeated a tentative new contract by a scant 16 votes out of more than 16,000 cast. The next step is arbitration, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 3. The attendants will be leaving money on the table because the outcome in arbitration is proscribed and is less than what American was offering.

Envoy, American’s largest wholly-owned commuter carrier, has been gradually hollowed out since the pilots there rejected a tentative labor agreement early this year. American has awarded desirable flying of large regional jets to other airlines and now is working on transferring some of Envoy’s remaining small regional jets to other airlines. As a result of the latest moves, Envoy is going to lose almost 100 planes to other airlines that have lower costs.

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New 50-seat jets coming to Pocatello Regional Airport (KPIH), Idaho

POCATELLO — Starting Jan. 1, Skywest Airlines will introduce new jets to its Delta Connection flights flying from Pocatello Regional Airport to Salt Lake City International Airport.

The new jet service will utilize the 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet 200 (CRJ200), which will be replacing the existing 30-seat Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprop.

“They are quieter, more comfortable and people tend to prefer them,” David Allen, manager of Pocatello Regional Airport, said.

The new jets will depart at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Allen says business demand might deem an additional flight be added on Sundays in the near-future.

“The times have been analyzed, and we find they provide the best connections with Delta flights and the lowest layover times,” he said.     

Allen said the 30-seat flights are usually at full- or near-capacity, a reflection of the 8 percent growth the airport has experienced annually since September 2012, compared to the national average of about 1.8 percent.

He said the airport’s biggest niche of customers flying to Salt Lake City are business travelers.

Customers may book their flights at or by calling 800-221-1212.

Story and comments:

Commentary: Washington feels like a second-class airport city

By Marina Ein  

Washington is home to majestic monuments, museums and the federal government. But as a transportation center, Washingtonians have second-class status, a situation made worse by growing airline consolidation. Sadly, prospects for improvement seem dim at best.

Many Washingtonians might be surprised to learn that only one carrier — United Airlines — formally considers Washington Dulles International Airport a “hub.” And, we are only sixth on the list of important hubs that United serves. As for Reagan National Airport, only one airline, US Airways, considers it hub-worthy. And that status is largely because of the ubiquitous shuttle service that connects Washington to New York and Boston.

For Washingtonians seeking to travel to the west coast of Florida, a miserable fate awaits. Earlier this year, Air Tran, the sole airline offering direct flights to Fort Meyers and other Gulf Coast cities year-round, was absorbed by Southwest, which dominates Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. Washington passengers have no choice now (if they want a direct flight) but to embrace the Southwest spirit — cattle-call boarding procedures, no assigned seating and one of the worst on-time departure records in the airline industry. Indeed, the December issue of Travel & Leisure rated Southwest low compared to other major airlines for on-time departures. My personal experience with Southwest — six flights all of which were late — certainly supports that assessment.

As bad as our options are, there is no indication that improvement awaits. Airlines are competing in a challenging economic climate that promotes lessening service and restricted equipment expenditures. And with Washington considered a secondary focus, fewer and fewer scheduled direct flights are available to business travelers much less to resort and vacation destinations. What can we do?

We can ask our local leaders to make Washington’s access to first-class travel opportunities an important priority. They have the means to work with the many airlines that currently make us a change-over city to make us a true hub city. D.C.’s Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and other congressional leaders can raise this issue in Congress with the committees that regulate and oversee national transportation affairs. And, we as consumers, can voice our concerns to the airlines who serve us so badly.

In the meantime, Washingtonians must resign themselves to travel schedules that are more in line with what residents of Tulsa or Chattanooga expect. We will see increasing numbers of multi-leg flights that add hours to planned trips — and the uncertainty that comes with multiple takeoffs and landings. With enough delays, cancellations and generally horrific flying experiences in our future, perhaps we will truly come together as a capital region and demand more and better from the airlines that serve us so poorly.

Marina Ein is the president of Ein Communications, a District-based crisis communications and public relations firm.

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Plane prepped for final landing spot

BLOOMINGTON — After removing the left wing of the 1932 Tilbury Flash, a tiny but fast airplane popular with children visiting the McLean County Museum of History, Don O'Neall took a good, long look at it.

"Sad, isn't it?" said the president of the Bloomington Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 129. He and chapter member Tom Swearingen were charged with removing the wings and preparing the plane for storage.

While the historic single-seat monoplane on the museum's ground floor was a sad sight, it's story is far from over.

While that part of the former county courthouse is being turned into a new Route 66-theme visitor center, the plane is being packed away until it can be displayed after the first of the year at Central Illinois Regional Airport.

"Kids love this plane," O'Neall said. " But the great thing is that a lot of people are still going to be able to see this at its new location and our goal is to promote aviation and a whole new generation of children will be able to look at a great piece of our local history."

The plane was built by Owen Tilbury and Cecil Fundy and flown by Art Carnahan, who was the pilot for The (Bloomington) Pantagraph.

"Art was wild," said museum curator Susan Hartzold. "He would do just about anything."

Once recorded at 115 mph in flight, the plane set a world speed record for the smallest class of plane. It flew in and won aircraft racing competitions, often sponsored by governments interested in the military potential for small, highly maneuverable aircraft.

It is 11 feet 10 inches long, has a wingspan of 14 feet 8 inches and is powered by a Church-Henderson four-cylinder, 45-horsepower motor.

It's principal drawback was the small landing wheels, which could be used only on the smoothest of runways. It's pilot also had to be relatively small to fit into the tiny cockpit.

"We're going to miss it," Hartzold said. "It is one of the more popular exhibits, especially for the kids. We are sad to see it go. But we also understand that it is going to be seen by a lot more people and so we can live with that."

The plane was stored in a barn in 1935 and sat there for 40 years. It was recovered in 1975 and restored by members of the Bloomington EAA chapter, including Swearingen's grandfather, Tom Swearingen, who died about three years ago.

"He loved doing things like restoring a plane like this," Swearingen said. "That is why I feel a special connection to this plane. Knowing he worked on this plane and how important it was to him, makes it a special honor for me to be helping with this move."

Officials with CIRA have not yet decided where the plane will be displayed, but they are expected to make a final decision in the next few weeks.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the airport on this and know that whatever they decide to do with it — whether hang it or let it sit on the ground — it will be a great display and very popular," said Beth Whisman, museum director of development. "It's a special plane and if it can't be here, the perfect spot for it is at the airport."

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Volaris Airbus A320-200, XA-VLD, Flight Y4-970: Incident occurred November 22, 2014 at Sacramento International Airport (KSMF), California

Event Type: Incident 
Damage: Unknown 


Activity: Commercial

Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR) 

Aircraft Operator: VOLARIS 

Flight Number: VOI970

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Sacramento  FSDO-25

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Passengers on a flight arriving at Sacramento International Airport experienced a slight delay Saturday night after the plane hit a bird during its descent.

The plane was scheduled to land just before 10:30 p.m. in Sacramento and was a Volaris flight coming from Guadalajara.

Three firetrucks met the plane on the runway to inspect the aircraft.

A few passengers said they felt a bump and smelled something burning in the cabin.

Some passengers told KCRA 3 they were not scared and said the pilots told them what was happening.

No information about the extent of damage to the plane was released.

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United and Orbitz sue to halt 'hidden city' booking

A 45-minute flight from San Diego to Los Angeles can get pretty pricey—about $350 for one-way economy seats on American Airlines.

But an unusual travel site can get you there for about $200 less. The catch is you must book a flight from San Diego to Las Vegas, with a stopover in Los Angeles. Instead of continuing on to Vegas, you simply step off the plane in Los Angeles.

It’s a troubling concept for United Airlines and Orbitz Worldwide, which have sued to stop the travel website from letting passengers use the money-saving tactic of booking “hidden city” destinations.

United and Orbitz accuse the site’s founder, Aktarer Zaman of New York, of “intentionally and maliciously” interfering with their operations and promoting “prohibited forms of travel,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago last week, said passengers who exit the plane before it reaches its final destination “adversely affect United’s ability to estimate head counts, which can not only cause disruptions at the airport gate, but can also require mechanical tweaks, such as variations in the amount of jet fuel needed for each flight.”

Orbitz sued because finds the fares and then directs travelers to book them on Orbitz, which has agreed not to book “hidden city” fares.

A representative for Skiplagged declined to comment.

Travel experts say there are drawbacks to booking through “hidden city” destinations. For example, the airline may not let you get your luggage until the plane reaches its final destination.

“If your airline prohibits this practice and you do it too blatantly, they may delete your frequent flier account,” said George Hobica, founder of the travel site “Some airlines really don't like being scammed.”

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