Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sea King makes emergency landing at Victoria airport

A Sea King helicopter from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron made an emergency landing at the Victoria International Airport Tuesday, Dec. 2 following an unscheduled water landing.

Major Dale Arndt, operations officer for the squadron, says they are hosting a Sea King operations unit from the east coast this week and next and the incident occurred during a training sortie south of Victoria.

“A student pilot in training inadvertently conducted a water landing in our operational area south of Victoria,” he explained.

While the aircraft are designed to land in and take off from water, Arndt said this landing was not part of the training plan at the time.

The helicopter took off from the water, Arndt continued and the instructor ended the training session and declared an emergency. The Sea King flew back to the Victoria airport and landed without further incident.

Arndt added no one was injured and the aircraft was not damaged.

Arndt said the squadron’s Sea Kings, while designed to land in water, are more than 50 years old. They do not regularly perform this type of landing, he continued, as sea water has an impact on the aircraft.

Flights are suspended for the rest of the day but training was expected to resume this week.

Arndt said there will be an investigation into what happened on that flight, looking into the causes — both from  aircraft and human angles.


Human Skull Found In Business Near Oakland International Airport (KOAK)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A human skull was found in a business near the Oakland International Airport, police said Wednesday, the second human skull found in less than a week in the Bay Area.

Officers who responded to a report of a human skull that was discovered at a business on 98th Avenue near Doolittle Drive at 10:42 a.m.  Tuesday secured the skull and notified the Alameda County coroner’s bureau, police said.

The coroner’s bureau took custody of the skull to initiate their portion of the investigation and homicide investigators have been called in, according to police.

A spokeswoman at Pacific Panels Inc. at 74 98th Ave. said company officials have been told by Oakland police not to comment on the discovery of the skull on their premises.

The company manufactures aluminum honeycomb panels for commercial applications.

Oakland police said their investigation into the matter is ongoing and anybody with information should call their homicide section at (510) 238-3821 or the tip line at (510) 238-7950.

A skull was found by a dog in rural Lake County Friday.

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Black Hawk down and safe in precautionary landing in field near Jim Hamilton - L.B. Owens Airport (KCUB), Columbia, South Carolina

A South Carolina Army National Guard helicopter on a routine training mission landed in an open field off I-77 around 4:18 p.m. Wednesday in what is being called a “precautionary landing.”

The UH-60 Black Hawk chopper is assigned to the 1-111th General Aviation Support Battalion, Maj. Cindi King of the S.C. National Guard said.

The three crew members on board at the time of the landing are safe, she said.

The field is just off Bluff Road, near Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.

Emergency crews from Cayce were dispatched to the scene, said Lt. Jeff Simmons of the Cayce Department of Public Safety. Cayce annexed that portion of Richland County south of downtown Columbia several years ago.

The cause of the emergency landing is under investigation, King said.

The field is not far from the Jim Hamilton - L.B. Owens Airport, Columbia’s municipal airport near the Rosewood neighborhood.


Glasair Aviation Glastar, N265EP: Accident occurred December 03, 2014 at Firstair Field Airport (W16), Monroe, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR15CA053  
4 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 03, 2014 in Monroe, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2015
Aircraft: STAFFORD WAYNE H GLASTAR, registration: N265EP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that the airplane landed on centerline, immediately pulled to the left, and quickly left the runway. It continued until encountering a swampy area at which time the nose wheel dug in, and the airplane nosed over. The left wing strut and wing sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion and encounter with terrain.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. —  A plane crashed Wednesday afternoon in Monroe, Washington.

The crash occurred near 13812 179th Avenue SE in Snohomish County.

There were no injuries as a result of the crash, according to officials. One person was in the plane.

An investigation into the cause of the plane crash is underway.

Allen Kenitzer, with the FAA, said the airplane, a Glasair, crashed at the Monroe Airport at around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon.

Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash, with the NTSB as lead agency, according to Kenitzer.

A pilot was uninjured after a small plane flipped at the end of a Monroe airfield runway Wednesday afternoon.

The plane crashed at Firstair Field, a privately owned airfield, according to Monroe Fire District 3.

Monroe police officers are at the scene.

Red-tailed hawk injured in collision at Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK) released (with video)

RINGWOOD – The red-tailed hawk swooped up from Beth Gunderson's arm but didn't go far.

It hopped from tree to tree, branch to branch, likely figuring out where it was and with a mouse for breakfast, in no great hurry to move on.

The hawk was on its own for the first time since colliding with an airplane at the Lake in the Hills Airport on Aug. 26, McHenry County Conservation District spokeswoman Wendy Kummerer said.

About 11,000 collisions involving animals were reported at 650 airports in 2013, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The vast majority of these involved birds.

The district's Wildlife Resource Center had cared for the bird while it healed from a fractured left wing and injured toes, and after a 14-week recovery period, the staff confirmed that it could hunt on its own and was ready to be released into Glacial Park.

The hawk — an immature male born this past spring but no longer reliant on its parents — isn't likely to stay in the park because other hawks live in there, Wildlife Resource Center Manager Sara Denham said.

"He's out where he should be so that's a good thing," she said.

"We're always happy when they can go back to the wild," said Beth Gunderson, Wildlife Resource Center specialist.

The Wildlife Resource Center, which is near Wonder Lake, runs a very small rehabilitation program, emphasizing species of conservation concern and sometimes birds since permits to work with birds aren't as common among rehabilitators, Gunderson said.
The staff also works a lot with turtles, in particular Blanding's turtle, an endangered species in Illinois.

The Wildlife Resource Center applied last month for a $2,500 grant that would cover the installation of a secure outdoor enclosure for its Blanding's turtle head-starting program.
The conservation district began the program in 1993, collecting and incubating eggs and then raising the hatchlings before releasing them in an effort to increase their numbers, according to district documents.

Aside from turtles and permanently injured birds, the staff is also caring for a bluebird with a broken wing.

"It would be ideal if we never saw an injured animal," Denham said. "We would much rather they be out where they belong."

To keep the number of injured animals down, Denham and Gunderson recommended property owners keep their cats indoors, make sure there aren't holes in their roofs and don't feed wild animals.

More tips are available on the McHenry County Conservation District's website,, and questions on what do about an animal that is suspected to be injured can be directed to the Wildlife Resource Center at 815-728-8307.

Story, photo gallery and video:

(Sarah Nader) 
A red-tailed hawk flies to a nearby tree after being released at Glacial Park in Ringwood Wednesday, December 3, 2014. The hawk was recovering from a fractured left wing and injured toes after colliding with an airplane at the Lake in the Hills Airport in August. The hawk was born in the spring and so hasn't grown its red feathers yet.

Carol's Airport Cafe to close at Floyd Bennett Memorial (KGFL), Glens Falls, New York

Sandi Bapp works as a waitress on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, at Carol's Airport Cafe in the Warren County airport in Queensbury. Bapp has worked at the Airport Cafe for five years and will continue to work at the cafe's new location in Hudson Falls.
-Megan Farmer

QUEENSBURY -- Warren County airport will be without a restaurant in the coming months because the proprietor of Carol’s Airport Cafe has chosen to close her eatery as the airport’s operator prepares to build a new one.

Carol Twiss will close the airport eatery on Sunday and re-open her restaurant on Wednesday in the former Fish Fry Cafe location on Main Street in Hudson Falls.

That will leave the airport without a restaurant until at least the middle of next year as the airport’s fixed base operator, Rich Air, run by developer Rich Schermerhorn, goes forward with construction of a new eatery on the Warren County-owned property.

Schermerhorn said he hopes the new, expanded restaurant would be open by mid-summer.

“We were really hoping she (Twiss) would be the one to take it over,” Schermerhorn said.

He said construction will start on the new restaurant in the coming weeks, and he hopes it will open mid-summer next year. Until then, the airport will have food service.

Twiss said a number of factors played into the decision to move.

She said Schermerhorn didn’t want the new eatery to serve breakfast, that he planned to put operations at the new restaurant “up for bid” and that he wanted the new restaurant to serve alcohol.

Carol’s Airport Cafe is renowned for its breakfasts and does not have a liquor license.

“I’m 70 years old. I didn’t need to apply for a liquor license,” she said.

Schermerhorn said he planned to have the new eatery run as a “full-service” restaurant, where patrons may want a drink with their meal, and that Twiss was given the right of first refusal to run it.

Twiss’ departure concerned some Warren County supervisors, who worried that the restaurant was a popular spot for breakfast and with recreational pilots who fly there specifically to eat at the cafe.

It could hurt the county’s revenue if fewer pilots are flying in, they said.

“She had really garnered a lot of loyal customers. Everyone at the airport is sad to see her go,” Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott said.

Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe said he hoped the new restaurant would serve breakfast.

Queensbury resident Travis Whitehead questioned the wisdom of selling alcohol at a county-owned airport. But airport manager Ross Dubarry pointed out it’s common for small airports like Warren County’s to have a restaurant that serves alcohol.

While the new eatery is being built, Schermerhorn said the old restaurant next to the terminal that Twiss is leaving will be converted to office space over the winter.

The county will have to rework its contact with Rich Air in light of the changes to restaurant use, county Attorney Martin Auffredou said.


A sign for Carol's Airport Cafe is shown on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, at the Warren County airport in Queensbury. The cafe will be relocating next week to Hudson Falls. -Megan Farmer

Prosecutors Waiting For Report: Macedonian Police Mi-17V, MAP-7712, accident occurred July 10, 2014 in Eastern Macedonia

After almost five months since the crash in Strumica, when four pilots lost their lives, the Inter-sector committee, formed to investigate the reasons for the fall of the helicopter, has not completed and submitted the report, reads

Inter-sector Committee formed to investigate the helicopter crash is still preparing the report that refers to all pre-investigation actions taken in relation to define the details of the death of four MOI pilots killed in the helicopter crash in Strumica. After almost five months of the accident the relevant authorities have no answer for the reasons why it happened.

Prosecution say they still have not received the report upon which the public prosecutor of Strumica will have to decide on the further course of the procedure.

“Competent prosecutor is undertaking investigation and collecting the necessary facts and evidence for the case. The Report from Commission for investigating aviation accidents is expected. Based on its analysis public prosecutor's decision on the ongoing process will be made”, reads the response of the prosecution.

The report should include an analysis of the executed expert evidence, that the investigating authorities have collected for about ten days at the location of the accident.

The Sector of Internal Affairs-Strumica informs that all documentation related to the experts’ work performed with respect to the investigation of the accident, is being sent to them, but they are immediately forwarding it to the competent prosecutor. They claim they are just the link between the investigating authorities and the prosecution.

Five months ago the Prosecutors announced that according to the sales contract for the aircraft black boxes will listened to in the Russian aviation administration in the Interstate Aviation Committee in Moscow.

The recorded conversation of controllers in the Air Traffic Control and the pilots, as well as the black box of the aircraft should reveal what pilots in the cockpit talked about before the accident, and whether there were any problems with the plane.

Pilots Dragi Micev Marjan Trajkovic, Tode Oreskov and Ilija Lopaticki were the top staff of the helicopter’s unit. They were experienced pilots with countless hours of realized flights in different conditions and in different actions.

The accident happened on July 10 around 10 p.m. near Strumica.

Pilots performed night flight simulator flight and the helicopter they operated hit an aerial pillar of the Macedonian Broadcasting Company, 120 meters tall.

Helicopter "MI 17-V5" was owned by the Macedonian Ministry of Interior. It was on a flight route Skopje - Kavadarci - Valandovo - Strumica Berovo - Delcevo and back. It was regularly serviced and during the flight during which night vision gadgets were used the pilots did not complain of any problems.

Immediately after the accident Commission for investigation of the crash of the police helicopter composed of experts from different fields was formed in order to ascertain the reasons for the same.

Eleven member Commission led by the Public Prosecutor, is composed of experts from the Ministry of Interior, MOI Branch of Strumica, criminal technique and the helicopter unit. According to the legislation, there is no specific deadline for submission of the report. Prosecution informed that pursuant to the Criminal Procedure they are not tied with deadlines to submit the report.

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Pilots sue Buffett's NetJets over labor, privacy

Dec 3 (Reuters) - A group representing more than 2,700 pilots in contentious contract talks with NetJets Inc has sued the luxury aviation unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc over alleged violations of federal labor and privacy laws.

The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots accused NetJets of impersonating a pilot on Twitter, baiting pilots to conduct work slowdowns, even as the company threatened to fire pilots who did. It also accused NetJets of publishing photos of pilots engaged in lawful picketing.

NetJets was also accused of illegally infiltrating a password-protected, confidential message board for pilots.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Columbus Ohio seeks a halt to the alleged improper conduct, which it said violated the federal Railway Labor Act and Stored Communications Act, plus compensatory and punitive damages.

NetJets did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company specializes in "fractional" aircraft ownership, which lets individuals and companies buy shares of private jets.

This allows executives like Buffett, the world's third-richest person, to travel on short notice, with greater privacy than on commercial aircraft.

Tuesday's lawsuit was filed roughly 1-1/2 years after talks began on a new labor agreement for the pilots.

While NetJets has returned to profitability after a $711 million loss in 2009, and is expanding in markets such as China, it has said it must be better prepared for economic slowdowns.

It has said it wants to reduce its budget by 5 percent, obtain benefits concessions, and have at least 200 crew members voluntarily give up their jobs. (

Pedro Leroux, president of the NetJets pilots group, said the alleged conduct underlying the lawsuit was a means to extract concessions from pilots. The group said both sides are "far apart" in negotiations.

"NetJets is trying to destroy the union and to force pilots to give in to their concessionary demands, two things that will never happen," Leroux said in a statement.

The company has operations in Columbus. Berkshire is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

The case is NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots v. NetJets Aviation Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, No. 14-02487. 

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Brazilian disabled woman crawls up to aircraft, airline fined

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 3 (IANS/EFE): Brazilian aviation authorities have questioned Gol Airlines and airport operator Infraero for allowing a disabled woman to crawl up the stairs to board a flight.

The inquiry began Tuesday into the case which occurred the day before at the airport in the border city of Foz do IguaƧu.

The airlines and the airport operator have been fined up to $116,000 for not paying attention to the needs of the passengers.

Katya Hemelrjik da Silva, who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, boarded the plane by crawling up the stairs as the airport did not have an elevator used by handicapped passengers to board aircraft.

The airport also lacks aero bridges to connect the terminal with the planes which forces passengers to use the steps.

According to Brazilian media, Gol Airlines offered the woman alternatives, but due to her medical condition she chose to crawl up the stairs on her own.

Hemelrjik da Silva wrote on her Facebook account that the company offered a team to carry her to the aircraft.

But she added that it was risky to be carried by other people, even her husband, on inclined stairs with a wet aluminum floor.

"Due to the lack of safer alternatives to board the aircraft, I had to use the stairs, because I was on the floor with no risk of falling, and the movements were under my control (and) I know my physical limits," she said.

The National Civil Aviation Agency has given two days to Gol and Infraero to explain how the incident was allowed to happen.

Hemelrijk da Silva said she had no intention of suing the airline and added that the crew was very helpful.


Air India pilot made to fly after 26-hour detention

NEW DELHI: An Air India pilot was recently forced to walk straight out of detention and operate a long international flight back home — and freedom! In the process, AI reportedly violated safety rules by sending an unrested pilot from detention to the cockpit.

This unprecedented situation arose when an AI 155 touched down in Moscow on November 7. According to sources, the immigration at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport detained the commander of that flight on charges that he had 'falsified' his passport. They confiscated his passport and detained the captain at the airport. The commander wanted to be sent back home on the plane he had flown into Russia but the aircraft had by then taxied out.

The Russian immigration doubts against the AI pilot were misplaced. The senior captain had got his Russian visa on October 29 and operated a Delhi-Moscow flight that very day and commandeered an incident-free return flight.

"I was contacted by the commander's relative and informed about his wrongful detention. I asked our operations to do the needful to immediately secure his release," said AI chief Rohit Nandan. After Nandan's intervention, some Indian officials went to Moscow airport but could not satisfy the authorities there about the veracity of his papers.

As a result, the pilot had to spend 26 hours in detention. AI then asked him to fly back to Delhi by operating flight number 156 on November 9. "AI should have sent an extra pilot to operate AI 156 on that day and have the commander fly to Delhi as a passenger as he was in detention and did not get any rest there apart from suffering tremendous mental agony," said a source.

The commander, on return in Delhi, told the airline that he barely had any sleep during the 26-hour detention and by asking him to operate the long Moscow-Delhi flight, AI reportedly made him violate flight safety norms that require only fully rested pilots to fly. The commander is learnt to have asked AI to inform the directorate general of civil aviation that he had violated "flight and duty time limitations" norms by operating that flight under instructions from the airline.

Despite this alleged violation, AI is learrnt to have issued an appreciation letter to the pilot. The airline did not respond to a query on this alleged violation.

AI pilots are upset at the fact that the commander had to spend such a long time in detention at Moscow airport and that the state could not come to his rescue despite his having all genuine papers. They are angry with the airline for making such a harassed man operate a long flight back to India.

Moscow, incidentally, has become a hotspot for AI crew. This September, the cabin crew of a Delhi-Moscow flight had to cool their heels in detention at Domodedovo Airport for close to 18 hours before being allowed to enter the city. The air hostesses had been granted Russian visas effective from the next day but the airline had sent them a day earlier. 

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Persian Gulf Airlines Groom New, Global Flight Crews: Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Attract International Employees, Criticism for Some Labor Practices

The Wall Street Journal
By Scott McCartney

Dec. 3, 2014 5:43 p.m. ET

Abu Dhabi

To drill the importance of innovation into its class of 30 flight attendants from five continents, an Etihad Airways employee flashed a picture of Steve Jobs on the screen in a conference room at the company’s training academy here.

The message was that the iPhone “won its market” and Etihad can do the same with innovation and service, the instructor said. “Yes, you are cabin crew. But at the end of the day, you are our sales executives onboard.”

But the method was just as important. “English is not their first language, but iPhone is. It’s common to everybody,” said Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad’s Irish-born vce president of guest services, who oversees training.

Persian Gulf airlines are shaking up the airline industry and its customers by offering high-quality service, often at lower prices than competitors. They are doing it in part by attracting employees from all corners of the globe, many of them from impoverished, low-wage areas. The workers live under close supervision in company housing in the United Arab Emirates or Qatar, work long hours and abide by contract terms that other parts of the world find objectionable. All three Gulf airlines—Etihad, Qatar and Emirates—may fire women if they become pregnant.

“We offer a tremendous opportunity, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to give notice if they want to leave us,” Ms. Tiedt says.

Training employees to react as a team in an emergency is one of the great challenges of the globalized airline industry. The Persian Gulf airlines operate in English, but it’s the second language for almost all their workers. New hires typically must live with someone from another country to avoid segregating into cliques or lapsing into native language instead of honing English skills.

Eleven-year-old Etihad revamped its training program two years ago to include far more visual learning for employees from 113 different countries. Interactive computer programs force students to set a business-class dinner table the way the airline prescribes, for example, by clicking and dragging pictures instead of reading instructions.

And to make sure workers are learning, Etihad and its larger rivals have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in full-motion simulators for flight attendants, not just cockpit simulators for pilots. All airlines train in cabin mock-ups. Most don’t spend the way these three carriers have on full-motion modules that can simulate airplane movements and create turbulence, pour smoke into a cabin and light fires in overhead storage bins or other airplane areas. The sensation of a bad landing with the collapse of a nose wheel or even a landing where the plane rolls onto its side can be created, and trainees have to open aircraft emergency doors from awkward positions.

“If there’s a fire, I need you to act.…On board, you might panic or freeze. But not if you’ve done it before,” says Ms. Tiedt.

Emirates, the largest of the Gulf carriers and now the fourth-largest airline in the world by passenger traffic, says it receives about 400,000 applications a year for jobs across the company. The airline’s employees span 143 nationalities. Most new hires are in their mid-20s. Many have had a prior job in hotels, restaurants or even other airlines and understand basic principles of customer service.

But just like any workplace, crew members can disagree and bicker among themselves. On a recent Emirates flight to the U.S., the crew came from 20 different countries and spoke 22 languages. Asked if they all got along, a flight attendant smiled. “Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Today it’s OK. There was no trouble,” he says.

Gulf airlines say they offer a rare chance for workers around the globe: pay that’s competitive with other airlines, enticing benefits and travel. Salaries are tax-free in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and housing, utilities, transportation to work, health care and uniforms are free or heavily subsidized. The housing is typically a two-bedroom apartment shared by two new hires in a secure compound—better than camps where construction workers typically live in Qatar and the U.A.E., but still criticized by U.S. and European airline labor unions as confinement. (The airlines say it isn’t confinement, but simply a way to keep employees safe.)

In general, workers are expected to put in longer hours than is typical of established rivals in Europe and North America. “We don’t have restrictive work limits,” says Terry Daly, Emirates’ senior vice president for service delivery.

All airlines have to follow minimum rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, but regulators in the U.S. and Europe impose greater limits on crews, especially pilots, and many airlines have union contracts with even stricter rules to combat fatigue. Airlines follow the rules of their home country, regardless of where they fly.

The differences often are small on paper, and the Gulf airlines have the advantage of long flights where employees are more likely to put in a full day in the air. Other airlines have employees waiting between shorter flights more often. Qatar says its flight attendants work 90 to 100 hours of flying time a month, with eight days off. United Airlines’ contract with its flight attendants allows for a maximum of 95 hours flying a month with 10 days off. But other contract terms on vacation, rest and rescheduling can give United flight attendants more time off.

Gulf airlines say they study fatigue closely, schedule crews carefully and operate within accepted safety limits. On a recent 16-hour flight from Dubai to Dallas-Fort Worth, pilots and flight attendants got about the same amount of rest U.S. crews would get. The Emirates A380 carried two captains (one Australian, the other Indian) and two co-pilots (one from Malta and the other Ireland), each flying for eight hours. Flight attendants, from Asia, Europe, Africa and other regions, changed into their own Emirates-issued pajamas for rest periods.

Unions in Europe and the U.S., fearing job losses to the fast-growing airline rivals, have criticized the rivals’ work rules and government support. The International Transport Federation, a major union, filed a complaint earlier this year over Qatar Airways with a United Nations group called the International Labour Organization, which has been pressuring the government in Qatar.

“These are discriminatory battles we fought and won decades ago, and it’s a concern they are still in place today,” says Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the largest U.S. flight attendants union.

At Emirates, an employee who becomes pregnant in her first three-year contract must resign and can return later to the company, Mr. Daly says. Etihad will let pregnant crew members fly for the first three months, but then they have to leave or move into a ground job, if available, Ms. Tiedt says. Qatar says a pregnant crew member must immediately notify the company of the pregnancy and resign because the company doesn’t consider working in the air while pregnant safe. The employee can move to a ground job if one is available.

All three Gulf airlines say women sign contracts to work for them knowing the pregnancy policy, and the companies expect them to work once the airline has invested in their training. Qatar’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, dismissed criticism of working conditions as gripes from disgruntled former employees and unions. “We give people very good work conditions,” he says.

Employees do need company permission to marry during their first five years on the job, though he says that’s a formality. The company does monitor entrances at housing with cameras and visitors are recorded. “Records are for the safety of my girls,” Mr. Al Baker says. He also notes he was the first in the region to hire female pilots and now has more than 100 female pilots at his airline.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration says it has no restrictions on pregnant flight attendants as long as they can physically perform their duties. AFA’s Ms. Nelson notes U.S. employers can’t legally discriminate against someone for being pregnant, and the union fought for accommodations such as maternity uniforms and pregnancy leave.

Qatar’s salaries for cabin crew start at $24,000 a year tax-free, fairly close to the norm in the U.S. and Europe. Captains start at a very competitive $200,000 a year and first officers at $130,000 a year.

Emirates defends its work rules by noting that 11,000 of its 53,000 employees have been with the company for 10 years or more. Even though many pilots laid off at U.S. and European airlines in the last recession found work with the fast-growing Gulf carriers, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of pilots when hiring resumed in the U.S. and Europe, Mr. Daly says.

Etihad tries to bridge the cultural divides by uniting workers around the airline itself as an identity. The seven weeks of new-hire training and recurrent training includes education about the airline industry, Etihad’s history and how the airline can capitalize on malaise at competitors with enthusiastic service. “If they don’t understand the business, it just becomes robotic,” Ms. Tiedt says.

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Aerial Mob: Carlsbad company becomes first licensed commercial drone operator

Co-founders Jonathan Montague, left, and Treggon Owens stand in their warehouse with one of their drones, which can cost upwards of $30,000. Photo by Ellen Wright 

CARLSBAD—A few weeks ago, Treggon Owens was juggling conference calls between the Federal Aviation Administration, the admiral of the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego and officials at Lindbergh Field.

He wasn’t planning some elaborate stunt. Instead, he was trying to get the “money shot” of downtown San Diego with the use of an unmanned aerial system, or drone.

The company he co-founded along with three others, Aerial Mob, is one of the seven Federal Aviation Administration-licensed businesses to operate drones for commercial filming.

In the end, Aerial Mob couldn’t take off in the bay because North Island is only closed six days a year, and the timing wasn’t right.

However, about two weeks ago the company operated the first ever FAA licensed drone shoot for a car commercial.

Combined, the founders including Owens, Steve Blizzard, Tony Carmean and Jonathan Montague have about 30 years of experience flying drones. They’ve only done two legal drone shoots though because the regulations have yet to catch up with the technology.

“Usually technology makes a leap and rules are lagging to follow it,” co-founder Montague said. “In this case it’s the (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drone.”

Aerial Mob is one of seven companies to receive an exemption from the FAA to operate drones for commercial purposes.

Now that they’re regulated by the FAA, they can work with more film companies who, in the past, stayed away from the unregulated drones because of liability reasons.

Owens said they can do the same amount of work of three film crews.

“If you pay for us to come out and do one aerial (shot) that’s grand you may not get your $10,000 to $15,000 worth, but if you’re using us for the whole day and getting 10 different scenes or 10 different shots, it’s very cost effective,” Owens said.

He said that the day use of a higher-end drone is half the cost of a traditional helicopter.

Drones are also smaller and more agile than helicopters, so they can film in tighter and harder to reach areas, “from toenails to skyscrapers,” Owens said.

“It gives the director new creative freedom in that they can do things continuously that they could never do before,” Owens said.

For every single shoot Aerial Mob does, they have to get approval from the FAA, which can be difficult at times because of time constraints.

“The FAA doesn’t move that fast,” Owens said.

However, officials have “bent over backwards” to get them approval, even working Thanksgiving to get them the certificate they needed for a particular shoot, according to Owens.

It takes a lot of work to get the paperwork done in time for shoots.

“80 percent of the work is not on the day of production, it’s happening here in the office and between here and Washington D.C., with the FAA and getting all the approvals,” Owens said.

Aerial Mob isn’t just a film production company. They build and design all of their own equipment and hope to use their drones for other purposes down the line.

One big industry drones are used for internationally is agriculture, said Owens. Farmers can use drones to disperse fertilizer and pesticides over large swaths of land.

They can also use it to inspect the health of their crops from a remote location.

Drones are useful for jobs that are dirty, dangerous or dull, Owens said, like inspecting the blades of wind turbines or looking for cracks in extensive piping systems.

Owens also sees drones as a way to get children excited about science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“It encapsulates everything that’s cool about steam,” Owens said.

For now the co-founders at Aerial Mob are focused on film shoots but hope to expand over the years, as regulations relax a bit.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hillsboro Aviation sells flight-training school, but day-to-day operations not likely to change

Max Lyons, the president and CEO of Hillsboro Aviation, said investment groups interested in buying the company's flight school have approached him "many times." And every time, he said "No," until last month.

Hillsboro Aviation has sold its flight-training division in a transaction that closed Nov. 21, Lyons said Tuesday in his office, though Lyons will remain CEO of the school, dubbed "Hillsboro Aero Academy," and retain a minority ownership.

The buyers are Renovus Capital, a Pennsylvania-based $180 million private equity fund focusing on education, and Graycliff Partners, an independent investment firm previously operating as HSBC Capital with offices in New York and Brazil, according to a news release.

Lyons declined to reveal the terms of the sale but described it as a "bittersweet" moment. A former helicopter student at the company, he was hired as a helicopter flight instructor in 1988 and played a large part in Hillsboro Aviation's growth. The business is the largest flight school on the West Coast, Lyons said, and students come from all over the world to learn to fly in Hillsboro.

"It just seems like the right time," said Lyons, who recently turned 60.

Lyons and Hillsboro Aviation General Manager Jon Hay said the day-to-day operations of the flight school aren't likely to change as a result of the sale. Hay will eventually take over as CEO and is also a minority owner of the Aero Academy, Lyons said.

"All of the management is really staying the same," Hay said.

Hillsboro Aviation will retain its flight charter business – the company provides helicopters for everything from television news stations to search-and-rescue operations – and continue to sell airplanes, helicopters and fuel. The Port of Portland, which operates Hillsboro Airport, approved a 35-year ground lease in October so the company can build a new hangar for aircraft maintenance, fueling and sales. It will be the first hangar on the north side of the airport.

Lyons said the company will continue to grow in its other locations in Prineville and Troutdale, but not any longer in Hillsboro.

"We're at a very comfortable level in Hillsboro," Lyons said.

Of the company's approximately 270 employees, about 200 will move over to the Aero Academy, Lyons said. Seventy-five of Hillsboro Aviation's approximately 90 aircraft will also move to the newly created company.

"I love the company, the flight-training side," Lyons said. "It's something that's very rewarding. People come here, and they smile."

- Source:

No Injuries After Military Cargo Planes Collide Over North Carolina: Army, Air Force Cargo Planes Remain Grounded Following Incident

Associated Press
Dec. 2, 2014 6:13 p.m. ET

FORT BRAGG, N.C.—The military says cargo planes from the Army and Air Force collided in the air over North Carolina, but no one was injured.

The Air Force’s 440th Airlift Wing based at Fort Bragg’s airfield said Tuesday the collision happened around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Lisa Ray says the Army C-27J and the Air Force C-130H were able to land without injuries.

Ray says neither plane can fly, but she didn’t know if that was because of damage or if they hadn’t been thoroughly inspected.

She said she didn’t know how air-traffic controllers failed to prevent the collision, the extent of the damage to the planes or the altitude over the Army post when they hit each other.

- Source:

Robinson R44 Raven II, Native Range, N3234U: Fatal accident occurred December 02, 2014 near Skypark Airport (KBTF), Bountiful, Davis County, Utah

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California 
Lycoming Engines; Denver, Colorado 

Aviation Accident Final Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Native Range Capture Services, Inc:

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA051
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 02, 2014 in Bountiful, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/04/2017
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44, registration: N3234U
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Before the accident flight, the commercial helicopter pilot, who was also a mechanic, had re-installed the main rotor blades, which had just been reworked, on the helicopter. The accident flight was a test flight to adjust the track and balance of the rotor blades. A mechanic, who spoke with the pilot a few weeks before the accident, stated that they had a discussion about an elongated pitch change link attachment hole on the accident helicopter and how to address it. On the night before the accident flight, they spoke again; the pilot was having trouble tracking the blades on the accident helicopter. The pilot stated that he could not get the blades to track any better, and that he was trying to change the track with the trim tabs.

Witnesses in the area of the accident site heard "popping" or "banging" sounds, then saw the main rotor and empennage separate from the helicopter. Several of the witnesses then saw the helicopter tumble in flight and impact the roof of a building. The main rotor and empennage came to rest on the ground a few hundred feet from the building. Witness statements and wreckage documentation were consistent with a main rotor blade striking the tail and subsequently, a mast bump, which resulted in the helicopter descending uncontrollably.

The damage observed on the components of the main rotor system was consistent with an in-flight separation of the pitch change link for the red blade, with separation occurring at the location where the pitch change link attached to the swashplate. The swashplate was free of contact marks corresponding to contact with the red pitch change link, which contrasted with the area around the blue blade pitch change link attachment, where multiple contact marks corresponding to contact with the blue pitch change link were observed. Also, the red pitch change link was intact and relatively straight, indicating that separation occurred under loads less than that required to buckle or fracture the pitch change link. The slight bending in the red pitch change links was likely secondary to the separation of the attachment at the lower end as evidenced by the location of the corresponding thread contact marks on the pitch horn. Finally, a series of impressions corresponding to contact with threads on the red blade pitch change link attachment bolt were observed on the attachment hole bore through the swashplate in an area that should have only contacted the grip portion of the bolt. Thus, it is likely that the intact bolt separated from the attachment due to loss of the lock nut and palnut.

Torque measurements were obtained on the locknuts installed on the three recovered pitch change link attachment bolts. All measured torque values were lower than that specified in the helicopter's maintenance manual, indicating that the fasteners were improperly torqued before the accident. While torque for the missing attachment bolt could not be measured, the torque measured on the remaining pitch change link attachment bolts and witness marks on the attachment hole bore in the swashplate suggest that the bolt likely separated due to insufficient torque applied at the time of installation, which led to the loss of the locknut and palnut due to vibrational loads under normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot/mechanic's failure to properly secure the pitch link hardware of one main rotor blade to the rotating swash plate, which resulted in the pitch link separating in flight and a subsequent loss of control.


On December 2, 2014, about 1400 mountain standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N3234U, impacted a two-story building while maneuvering near Skypark Airport (BTF), Bountiful, Utah. The commercial pilot/mechanic and passenger were fatally injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to Native Range Capture Services, Inc., Elko, Nevada, and operated by Native Range, Inc, Ventura, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the area, and no flight plan was filed for the local, post-maintenance test flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed from BTF shortly before the accident.

According to the owner of the helicopter, the pilot/mechanic was performing maintenance on the main rotor assembly and the purpose of the post-maintenance flight was part of the procedure to "track and balance" the main rotor blades. This maintenance spanned over several days.

Several witnesses in the area of the accident site heard "popping" or "banging" sounds then saw the main rotor and empennage separate from the helicopter. Some of the witnesses then saw the helicopter tumble in flight and impact the top of a building. The main rotor and empennage came to rest on the ground a few hundred feet from the impacted building. Security camera video footage from a nearby business captured the helicopter in the air shortly after the separation of the main rotor and empennage.


The pilot, age 65, held a commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft, airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate, which was issued on April 1, 2014, with no limitations. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 5,500 total hours of flight experience. The pilot was issued a mechanic certificate on August 17, 2012, with ratings for airframe and powerplant. He attended the Robinson Helicopter Company's maintenance course in December 2008.

The passenger, age 63, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued on October 26, 2006, with the limitations that he must have available glasses for near vision, and not valid for any class after. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 250 total hours of flight experience. He was issued a mechanic certificate on September 9, 2008, with ratings for airframe and powerplant. He had not attended the Robinson Helicopter Company's maintenance course.


The four-seat helicopter was manufactured in February 2007. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5 reciprocating engine rated at 205 horsepower.

The helicopter's owner stated that, during a flight in the accident helicopter the month before the accident, the helicopter "had a bit of a vertical [vertical vibrations]". The blades also had noticeable slop and movement in the pitch change link bolt attachment to the swashplate. During a 100-hour inspection, on November 2, 2014, at 582 hours of helicopter total time, the owner and pilot/mechanic recommended sending the blades out for rework. According to airframe records, the [red] main rotor blade pitch horn was replaced, and the pilot-rated mechanic declined repainting of the blades. When the blades returned, the owner hired the pilot-rated mechanic to install the blades and track them in a heavier configuration.

According to a mechanic who spoke with the pilot a few weeks before the accident, they discussed an elongated pitch change link attachment hole on the accident helicopter and how to address it. On the night before the accident flight, they spoke again, and the pilot said he was having trouble tracking the blades on the accident helicopter. He reported that the blades could not track any better than a 1/2-inch separation, and that he was using the trim tabs to change the track. The mechanic suggested that the pilot use the fine adjustments on the pitch change links, then fly through all flight regimes, and fine tune with the trim tabs. He recommended to the pilot to look at the entire rotor system and thought that something was amiss.

Review of the helicopter's maintenance records showed that on September 12, 2007, at 87.3 hours total time, the hub and blades were rebuilt by Robinson Helicopter Company. The spindles, which include the pitch horns, were reused during the rebuild.


The 1353 weather observation at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Salt Lake City, Utah, located 5 miles south of the accident site, reported wind from 320 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 15,000 feet above ground level, broken clouds at 19,000 above ground level, temperature 8 degrees C, dew point 2 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury.


Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed a wreckage debris field about 880 ft in length, about 400 ft in width, and oriented on a 277° magnetic heading. The main rotor and empennage separated from the main wreckage before impact and were found within the wreckage debris field. The main rotor assembly was found near a parking lot about 188 ft from the main wreckage. The empennage separated from the main wreckage and was found near a parking lot about 430 ft from the main wreckage. Several sections of the tail rotor drive shaft were found throughout the debris field. A large section of the tail rotor drive shaft pierced the roof about 90 ft from where the fuselage entered the roof. Both pitch change links and transmission housing material were found throughout the debris field. Plexiglas sections were found throughout the debris field. A 4-ft section of the main rotor blade tip was found in a retention pond and was furthest from the main wreckage.

The main wreckage impacted and penetrated the roof of a two-story building about 2,000 ft southwest of the approach end of runway 34 at BTF. A postimpact fire occurred; however, the building's sprinkler system was activated, and an overhead sprinkler pressure line was separated near the main wreckage, releasing water and limiting the postimpact fire to the main wreckage. The main wreckage displayed impact damage and was partially damaged by the fire.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for further examination. The main wreckage, consisting of the cabin area and a 5-ft section of the tailboom, exhibited impact and thermal damage. The left side of the cabin was crushed inward towards the center, and the right side near the firewall was crushed inward. The rear seat area had minor thermal damage.

The cabin area was crushed and distorted. Both forward seat structures were crushed inward and slightly forward. The front of the fuselage was crushed inward and the windshield was shattered. First responders cut the left forward seat belts. The right forward seat belts were unbuckled.

The top side of the airframe had several disconnects and separations, and was bent to the right side. The tail cone separated aft of the number seven bay, and bay numbers 4, 5 and 6 separated into several sections, consistent with a main rotor strike. The left side of the number 1, 2 and 3 tail cone bays were flattened inward.

The flight controls had several disconnects between the cyclic/collective and swashplate. All fractures exhibited signatures consistent with overload. The tail rotor flight controls had several disconnects from the pedals to the tail rotor, and all separations exhibited overload signatures.

The fuel tanks remained attached to the airframe. The crossover hose fitting at the main tank was separated. The fuel vent hoses pulled apart from vent line fittings. The hoses and lines were clear of debris. Both fuel tank skins sustained impact damage, and the bladders remained intact. Both fuel caps remained secured to the filler neck.

The empennage was fractured about 32 inches from the tail rotor gearbox mount. The tail rotor blades sustained minor impact damage. The tail rotor driveshaft exhibited an impact about 4 inches from the empennage separation. The curvature of the impact mark was consistent with the curvature of the main rotor blade leading edge. The tail rotor drive shaft separated in four places. The tail rotor blades exhibited signatures consistent with low rotor RPM at ground impact.

The v-belts remained attached to the upper sheave and were split between the vees. The belts had thermal damage. The intermediate flex plate was distorted.

The upper sheave forward and aft faces had rotational scoring around the entire circumference. The upper frame tubes adjacent to the forward face had scoring running in the direction of rotation of the upper sheave. The clutch centering strut had rotational scoring on its forward face adjacent to the aft face of the upper sheave running in the direction of rotation. The oil cooler had rotational scoring adjacent to the starter ring gear. The alternator cooling fan was distorted around its entire circumference.

The main rotor gearbox (MRGB) separated at the gearbox housing. The MRGB mast tube fractured near its midsection. The MRGB drive shaft was bent below the swashplate and bent and separated at the teeter stop.

The red blade remained attached to the main rotor hub. The separated sections of the outboard end were found in the debris field. The tip cap was broken, with the attachment bolts still integral to the main rotor blade. The blade tip and about 43 inches of the leading edge spar were found near the beginning of the debris field. Two afterbody sections measuring about 45 inches in length separated the tip. Gray paint transfer marks, about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long, were observed on the upper surface about 25 inches from the tip. The blade spar was bent forward about 15° beginning about 54 inches from the tip. The leading edge was damaged about 4 ft from the hub. Red transfer marks on the leading edge were found about 42 inches from the center of rotation of the blade. The pitch horn separated from the blade grip and the fractured surface was consistent with overload. Thread imprints were observed above the pitch change link upper rod end. The pitch change link remained attached to the pitch change horn and had multiple bends. The counterweights and hardware for the lower red blade pitch change link to swashplate attachment was not found. The blade droop stop was bent downward and remained attached to the grip.

The blue blade remained attached to the main rotor hub. The tip cap separated from the blade and was found in the main wreckage. The blade spar was continuous from the inboard to the outboard end. The blade afterbody was fractured from the spar to the tip end to about 72 inches inboard. The spar was bent opposite the direction of rotation about 72 inches from the tip end, bent about 15° aft. The blade afterbody wrinkled aft of the spar attachment area from the tip end to 96 inches inboard of the tip end. The blue blade had impact marks on the leading edge, about 20 inches from the center of rotation. The curvature of the impact marks was consistent with the curvature of damage on the blue blade's pitch horn. The pitch horn was fractured at the blade grip, and the fracture surface was consistent with overload. Thread imprints were observed on the pitch horn above the pitch change link upper rod end. The droop stop was bent downward but remained integral to the grip. The pitch change horn was recovered in the debris field. The upper rod end remained attached to the pitch change horn but was fractured at the threads beneath the upper rod end bearing. The midsection of the pitch change link was recovered loose but was fractured at the pitch change link barrel. The lower section of the pitch change link remained attached to the swashplate. The threads adjacent to the lower rod end were bent.

The main rotor hub hardware, including the bolts, shims, nuts, and safeties, remained intact. The hub exhibited impact marks of the blue blade grip contacting the hub, consistent with flapping exceedance. Similar impact marks of less severity were observed on the red blade grip side. A small upper section of the main rotor drive shaft remained attached to the hub via the teetering bolt. The small upper section separated a few inches below the hub, and was severely bent inward on the side of the red blade spindle. Coarse thread imprints were found on the lower edge of the hub immediately beneath the red blade coning bolt, consistent with a pitch change link. On the upper surface of the hub, adjacent to the teetering bolt on the red blade side, an impact mark was consistent with the impact from a pitch change rod link end bearing.

The swashplate red blade pitch change link bolt hole exhibited dark surface markings on the outboard edge and about midway down the bore. Thread impact marks were found on the swashplate adjacent to the lower rod end bearing of the blue blade pitch change link attachment location.

The landing skids were fractured in multiple locations. The aft crosstube separated from the main wreckage. The forward crosstube remained attached to the cabin. Both the forward left and aft left struts were bent aft.

The engine remained attached to the fuselage. Thermal damage was noted to the wiring harness and ignition leads. The engine was covered in a sooty residue. The firewall and fuel pump housing exhibited impact damage. The magneto ignition leads exhibited impact damage near the distributer cap, and thermal damage near the cylinders. The lower sparkplugs were removed and revealed normal wear conditions with light gray deposits. Two of the spark plugs were saturated in oil. The crankshaft was rotated by hand, and cylinder compression was obtained. The ignition leads were cut near the thermal damage, and spark was obtained from all leads during crankshaft rotation. The magnetos were not removed during the examination. Rotational scoring was evident on the fan wheel assembly. The starter ring gear separated from the flywheel. The oil pickup screen was removed and was clear of debris. The exhaust assembly was crushed upwards.

A detailed report of a follow-up examination is contained in the NTSB public docket.


Postmortem examinations were performed on the pilot and passenger by the Utah Department of Health, Medical Examiner's office. The cause of death for each was reported as total body blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles and tested-for drugs.


The main rotor blades (both inboard sections), hub, upper mast section, upper drive shaft section, droop stops (2), yoke, pitch change links (2), main rotor blade pitch change horns (2), and swashplate were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The examination revealed that all fractures were consisted with overstress failure, and no preexisting cracking was noted. The examination also revealed that the pitch change link attachment hole for the red blade appeared intact and free of damage. The red blade pitch link was intact and relatively straight. The counterweights and the lower red blade pitch change link attachment hardware were missing. Torque measurements were taken on nuts installed on the three recovered pitch change link attachment bolts. The torque values for all three nuts were lower than that required by the manufacturer's maintenance manual. A detailed report of the examination is contained in the NTSB public docket.


According to manufacturer's maintenance instructions, the attachment bolts used at the upper and lower ends of the pitch change links are NAS6605 series bolts. The locknuts for the NAS6605 series bolts should be fastened to a dry torque value of 240 lb-in ± 24 lb-in, and palnuts used on NAS6605 series bolts should be applied with a dry torque of 20 lb-in to 40 lb-in. During installation, the palnuts are installed over the top of the locking nut.

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA051
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 02, 2014 in North Salt Lake, UT
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44, registration: N3234U
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 December 2, 2014, about 1400 mountain standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N3234U, impacted a two-story building while maneuvering near Skypark Airport (BTF), Bountiful, Utah. The commercial pilot-rated mechanic and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to Native Range Capture Services, Inc., Elko, Nevada and operated by Native Range Inc, Ventura, California. The local flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a post maintenance flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from BTF shortly before the accident.

Witnesses, who were in the area of the accident site, reportedly heard popping sounds then saw the main rotor and empennage separate from the helicopter as the helicopter flew overhead. Several of the witnesses then saw the helicopter tumble in flight and impact the top of a building. The main rotor blade and empennage impacted the ground a few hundred feet from the impacted building.

The owner of the helicopter reported that mechanics performed maintenance to the main rotor assembly and the purpose of the post-maintenance flight was to check the "track and balance" of the main rotor blades.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge revealed that the helicopter impacted the top of a two-story building about 2,000 feet southwest of the approach end of runway 34 at BTF. A post-impact fire occurred that was concentrated at the main wreckage. The main wreckage had impact damage and was partially damaged by postimpact fire. The main rotor and empennage were found within the wreckage debris field. The wreckage debris field was about 880 feet in length and about 400 feet in width and on a 277 degree magnetic heading. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

FAA Flight Standards District Office : FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07

Bruce Gordon Orr
September 29, 1951 ~ December 2, 2014 

Bruce Gordon Orr, loving husband of Linda Marie Orr, beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, died Tuesday December 2, 2014 from injuries sustained in a helicopter accident in North Salt Lake, Utah. He was 63.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, 5 children, 19 grandchildren, and 1 soon-to-be great-grandchild. Bruce loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ and people. When the family needed him, he was there with help, advice and was the rock and cornerstone of his family.

Bruce was born September 29, 1951 in Brooks, Alberta, Canada to Gordon D. Orr and Jeannine Ockey. He was an experienced private pilot and very passionate about flying. He earned an Engineering Degree from Central Washington University and became a capable airplane mechanic. As part owner of Flight Ready Aviation he got to go play every day for work.

Bruce was in love with his wife, cared for his children and was proud of their accomplishments. He preached the Gospel in the Cumorah Mission, served as Bishop and currently served in the Salt Lake Temple with his devoted wife.

He blessed our lives. We draw strength from our faith in knowing we will see him again.

The funeral will be Saturday, December 6 at 1PM in the Tooele South Stake Center, 1025 Southwest Drive, Tooele. A viewing is scheduled the night before at Tate Mortuary, 110 S Main Street, Tooele.

A trust fund has been setup in his name at Key Bank in Tooele for those that are interested.

- Source:

Claus Hauer 
1949 ~ 2014

 Major Claus Hauer (Ret), 65, died December 2, 2014, in a tragic helicopter crash in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his friend and business partner, Bruce Orr. Claus was born in Berlin, Germany to Werner Hauer and Ruth Herrmann. Claus married his eternal companion, Donna Guzman, on May 5, 1973, in Agana, Guam.

His many varied interests and talents led to a fulfilling life in both work and play. After enlisting in the Navy and working as a surgical technician, he found his lifelong passion in Aviation. The US Army offered him the opportunity to fix and fly helicopters and sent him, Donna, and family to many theaters throughout the world. Claus had an infectious personality, was fearlessly sociable, and had a very giving soul that touched the lives of all who knew him. He loved Golf and sought out courses everywhere he went. He loved anything in the outdoors or high-adventure activities. He often fell asleep watching sports of any kind on TV. He took pride in his work and believed if a job was worth doing, it was worth doing right. 

Claus and Donna recently returned from a successful and rewarding mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in El Paso, Texas. Claus held many titles and accomplished much in this life: Respected Son, Loyal Husband, Admired Father, Grandpa, Eagle Scout, Elder, Bishop, Missionary, Master's Degree Recipient, Teacher, Decorated Soldier-Major (R), Accomplished Pilot, and Friend.

Claus was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Herrmann. Claus is survived by his father, Werner (Anna Marie), siblings Carola and Thomas (Theresa), wife, Donna, children, Jason (Jesyca), Christopher (Pamela), Katherine (Jerry), Matthew, and Jennifer (Michael), and 13 grandchildren.

A viewing will take place at the LDS church at 8060 S. 615 E., Sandy, Utah, on Saturday, December 6th, from 9:00 am - 10:45 am with a memorial service beginning at 11:00 am. Burial services will be held Monday, December 8th, at 12:00 pm, at the Veterans Memorial Park, Bluffdale, Utah.

Bruce Orr

NORTH SALT LAKE — Two men killed in a helicopter crash here were on a routine maintenance test flight, a colleague said Wednesday.

The men, identified as Claus Hauer, 65, of Sandy, and Bruce Orr, 63, of Tooele, worked for an aircraft repair business and were taking a client’s helicopter for a test flight when it crashed into a roof Tuesday, said Rick Swisher, owner of Quicksilver Air Inc.

“Obviously, it was a catastrophic failure of some sort,” said Swisher, who employed Hauer as director of maintenance for his company that specializes in helicopter support for wildlife capture.

The Robinson R-44 had just taken off from the Sky Park Airport in Bountiful when it crashed into a building in an industrial area of North Salt Lake about 2 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

Federal investigators are looking into what caused the crash in an investigation.

Orr and Hauer were co-owners of Flight Ready Aviation, an aviation repair business in Woods Cross. The two also co-owned Precision Air Power, also based in Woods Cross, according to family.

Orr’s son, Brian Orr, issued a statement on Wednesday about the legacy and impression his father left on all those who knew him.

“My father was an incredible, faithful, and loving man. He loved his family, church, and work,” Brian Orr wrote. “He was the rock and cornerstone of our family. He was there for us when we needed him, to help and give advice. ”

Brian Orr described his father as a great family man who made each of his seven children feel unique and special.

“Some of our fondest memories are of flying with him,“ he said adding that Orr taught and coached his four boys in baseball and always loved to hear his only daughter play the flute for him.

Bruce Orr is survived by a wife, five children, seven siblings, a mother and 18 grandchildren.

Hauer worked as a pilot for the Salt Lake City news station KUTV from about 2002 to 2005, photographer Mike Sadowski said.

“He was an army-trained pilot, straightforward. He was so well-versed,” Sadowski said. “He knew the aircraft inside and out.”

The pair covered traffic accidents, wildfires and air shows together, though he said Hauer scaled back on his flying time after he had a few hard landings in 2004 and 2005.

Swisher said both Hauer and Orr shared a strong religious faith and a zest for life.

“I’ve never met two more honest men in my life,” he said.

The two-story building was empty when the crash happened, but it left a large hole in the roof, Black said.

An investigator photographs the wreckage as he examines the remains of a helicopter that crashed onto an empty building yesterday afternoon, killing two men on board, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in North Salt Lake. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

NORTH SALT LAKE — Many questions remain unanswered after a helicopter crashed into a building in North Salt Lake on Tuesday, killing two men. 

But this much is clear: Claus Hauer and Bruce Orr died doing what they loved.

"They had a huge passion for aviation, a huge following of people here at the airport and other airports. A lot of people knew who they were," said Chris Volzer, who oversees incoming and departing aircraft at Skypark Airport in Woods Cross. "Probably some of the nicest people, good-hearted people."

But their love for flying and experience with aircraft makes it harder for those who know them to understand what went wrong.

"We're in a dazed state. Surreal. We're waiting for information," Orr's son Brian Orr said Wednesday. "Today is a day of walking around not knowing what to do."

The two men took off from Skypark Airport in a Robinson R-44 helicopter and crashed onto the roof of a building at 501 W. 900 North just before 2 p.m, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

Ben Tidswell, the pilot for KSL Chopper 5 and "close personal friend" of Hauer and Orr, was sitting in his helicopter at the airport when he saw the helicopter fly by, followed by sounds of mechanical failure.

"I watched the helicopter pass by in front of me then go out of sight behind some buildings, and I could still hear the helicopter flying," Tidswell said. "Then I heard 'wink, wink, wink,' and then nothing at all. The engine noise went away; the rotor blade noise went away. There was no noise at all. … Generally, if the sound goes away, that's a problem."

Seconds later, Tidswell's mechanic opened the helicopter door and told him he had seen the helicopter break apart midflight.

"So we jumped in cars and went over there and looked at all the wreckage sitting everywhere," Tidswell said.

Other witnesses also reported seeing the aircraft fall apart in the sky.

Volzer said the two men were well-known among local aviators, who mourn their deaths.

"It's a very tight community," he said. "If anything happens, good or bad, it spreads fast because it's a very, very close community."

The bodies of Hauer and Orr were pulled from the wreckage Tuesday night, according to North Salt Lake police. No one on the ground was injured, but the building sustained significant damage.

On Wednesday, the flight's purpose, the original condition of the aircraft and the cause of the crash were all unclear.

"I don't think it's worth speculating," Tidswell said. "I would say this: It is incredibly rare for any kind of aircraft, whether it be helicopter or fixed-wing, to break up in flight like that. There's going to be a lot of questions that need to be answered."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration and the helicopter's manufacturer. Investigators were taking GPS plots of the wreckage and gathering witness statements Wednesday, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Andrew Swick.

Swick said a preliminary report will be completed within a week with basic information and witness statements. But a final report with the official determination of what caused the crash could take as long as 18 months to complete, he said.

Investigators are considering elements such as weather, human factors, safety of flight, maintenance backgrounds and the pilot's experience, Swick said.

"Right now, we're just gathering those facts," he said. "Witness statements are coming in. Once we look at those, we'll assess what we have."

Hauer, of Sandy, was a pilot of more than 30 years and was licensed to fly both helicopters and planes. He was a chopper pilot for KUTV from 2002 to 2005.

In 1999, Hauer was piloting a single-engine Cessna Sparrowhawk 152 as a flight instructor with a student. During the flight, the plane began to sputter and Hauer noticed the fuel gauge drop rapidly. He then took over control of the plane and crash landed it in a tree in Murray, avoiding busy street traffic nearby.

The student credited Hauer with avoiding what could have been a disastrous crash, allowing both men to walk away uninjured.

Orr, 63, of Tooele, was a helicopter mechanic and former LDS bishop. Richard Orr spoke of his father's long-held passion for working with aircraft.

"He would take me into work, and I'd get to hang out with him," Richard Orr said. "Some of my earliest memories are being in airplanes."

Brian Orr highlighted his father's combined love for faith, family and flying.

"My father was an incredible, faithful, loving man. He loved his family, church and work. He is survived by his wonderful wife and five children, seven brothers and sisters, his mother, and 18 grandchildren," Brian Orr said.

"He was the rock in the cornerstone of our family," he said. "He was there for us when we needed him to give advice. He served in his church callings faithfully and with all his heart. He will be sorely missed, and we appreciate our faith in knowing we will see him again."

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Investigators look down on the remains of a helicopter that crashed onto an empty building Tuesday afternoon, killing two men on board, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in North Salt Lake. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

(KUTV) Two men are dead after the helicopter they were in crashed on the roof of a North Salt Lake building Tuesday afternoon. 

Paramedics were able to pull one man out of the burning chopper barely alive, but he died within minutes. The other man's body was still trapped in the charred helicopter hours later.

North Salt Lake police identified the men Tuesday evening as Claus Hauer and Bruce Orr.

Crews evacuated nearby buildings as firefighters doused the flames, thickened by leaking jet fuel on the roof of Wimpole Street Creations, a craft store at 501 West 900 North.

Officers taped off nearly the entire block, strewn with debris. The tail rotor of the helicopter lay in a nearby parking lot. Employees of nearby businesses saw the helicopter just before 2 p.m., when it crashed.

"It was 100, 200 feet up in the air. I noticed a lot of smoke, and next thing I know a big explosion," said Vartkes Megerdichian. It "lost the back part of the helicopter, turned toward its right, blaze going everywhere, parts flying around."

James Sedgwick said he heard the explosion while inside his work and immediately knew it was an aircraft.

"I just heard a big, 'Thump, thump, thump, boom!" Sedgwick said. "I opened up the door, and everything was falling."

No one was else was hurt, according to North Salt Lake police.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash with the assistance of multiple local agencies.

Police did not immediately identify the owner of the helicopter.

A building inspector was planning to go inside the building to assess any structural damage on Tuesday evening.
NORTH SALT LAKE — Two men were killed Tuesday when their helicopter crashed into a vacant two-story building.  

 The crash occurred just before 2 p.m. at 501 W. 900 North. The names of the men who died were not immediately released. North Salt Lake Police Chief Craig Black did not know Tuesday afternoon whether the helicopter was a commercial vehicle or was being used for training.

Sky Park Airport in Woods Cross is very close to the crash site and has a high number of daily helicopter flights.

The building that the helicopter crashed into was vacant, Black said. The Federal Aviation Administration was expected to arrive at the scene to investigate. A cause of the crash was not immediately known.

Several witnesses said they saw the tail rotor break off the helicopter.

"I hear this helicopter flying right over me and then I hear this engine thrust really loud and then something exploded and (a) piece of the rudder came out of the helicopter," said Vartkes Megerdichian. "It flipped sideways and another explosion happened and shot the helicopter forward.

"There were parts everywhere coming down."

Ben Tidswell, the pilot for KSL Chopper 5, was at Sky Park Airport when he heard a strange noise — "the sound of things coming to pieces big time" or "an in-flight breakup."

Moments later, Tidswell said his mechanic pounded on his door and told him he had just witnessed the helicopter fall apart in midair and crash.

"The entire tail rotor and assembly is sitting about 200 yards away from where the rest of the aircraft crashed down into the building. The aircraft itself was smoldering, seemingly on fire in the building, completely inside the building," he said.

Jordan Anderson was walking nearby when he also heard the chopper.

"I heard a loud, best way to describe it is a backfire, like an engine backfire," he said. "Right after I heard that loud bang. I just saw it tank right to the ground."

Bob Costagno was on the phone at a nearby business when he looked up and saw the crash.

"It made a sound like it was breaking apart, like backfiring, then the tail shaft broke right off," he said. "It just went straight down. It looked like the guy was trying to get out, but I didn't think he had a chance."

Debris from the crash was spread out over a 400- to 500-yard area, Tidswell said.

Costagno watched as rescue crews took one person out of the building.

"They brought someone out the front door and laid him on the ground and were doing CPR, and then covered him up," he said.

That man was pronounced dead at the scene. The second man died inside the helicopter. "(He) would have needed to be extricated to get out and that wasn't possible to do," said South Davis Metro Deputy Fire Chief Dave Powers.

A sign at the top of the building says "Wimpole Street Creations." There is a "For Lease" sign in front of the building. Costagno, who works nearby, said he believes the company recently moved out of that building.

There were unconfirmed reports that a mechanic had been working on the helicopter for the past several weeks.

Black said crews were working Tuesday afternoon on a plan to get the copter debris removed from the building.

"The helicopter right now is embedded into the top of that building," he said.

NORTH SALT LAKE — Authorities are trying to determine why a small helicopter crashed into a building and caused the death of two people Tuesday.

North Salt Lake Police Chief Craig Black said emergency crews received reports that a helicopter crashed into a building at 501 W. 900 North at 1:54 p.m.

Black said two men who were in the helicopter died due to the crash. No one was inside the building at the time of the crash.

Orange cones, highlighting aircraft debris, dotted 900 South for several blocks. The odor of burning plastic could still be smelled late in the afternoon. 

Black said he does not know if the helicopter was a training or commercial helicopter, but that it was a small helicopter.

South Davis Metro Fire Deputy Chief Dave Powers said crews were able to get one man’s body out of the helicopter. Medical personnel worked on the man for about 15 minutes before pronouncing him dead.  

The other man in the helicopter was already dead when crews arrived, Powers said.
Black said they do not have the names of the two men or know who owns the helicopter at this time. 

The helicopter was embedded in the roof of the building which houses Wimpole Street Creations, an import craft business. 

Powers said when crews arrived there were flames coming from the helicopter and the building. The helicopter sheared off pipes to the building’s sprinkler system.  Firefighters also had to deal with jet fuel coming out of the helicopter. 

Initially businesses surrounding the building were evacuated until emergency personnel determined it was safe for employees to return to work, Black said. 

Black said officials believe the helicopter came from Skypark Airport, just north of where the crash occurred. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and will also investigate the accident, Black said. 

James Keeler, who lives a mile from where the crash happened, saw the helicopter fly over his house just moments before it crashed. 

“It was flying way too low and way too slow,” Keeler said. “It made this weird grinding noise and then it headed northwest back toward the airport. I thought something was really wrong.” 

Several witnesses said they saw the rear rotor come off the helicopter while it was in the air, Black said.

Some of those witnesses included students at Foxboro Elementary School, which is just a few blocks away, said Scott Christensen, a physical education teacher. 

Christensen who was walking into the school heard one teacher tell the students to watch the helicopter. “when all of the sudden the propeller thing went off and it went down and boom,”  he said.

Christensen said when he heard the “boom” he turned around and saw  “a large cloud of smoke.” 

Black said the investigation into the crash could last until Wednesday because debris from the crash is scattered at least a half mile northeast from the scene. 

The rear rotor was several hundred yards from the crash in a parking lot. Police had several blocks roped off as they investigated. Agencies at the scene included police agencies from North Salt Lake, Bountiful, West Bountiful and Woods Cross, as well as Davis County Sheriff’s Office and South Davis Metro Fire Agency.

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