Saturday, December 06, 2014

WWII training plane with long Montana history headed for flying museum

Eighty-year-old pilot Chuck Burruss stands near his 1941 Piper J-3 Cub that once belonged to Johnson Flying Service in Missoula, where it was used to train would-be pilots in the Army Air Force College Training Detachment. The flight training was done at the old Hale Field, near where Sentinel High School is now.
KURT WILSON, Missoulian

CORVALLIS – They came from Houston, Texas, and Iron Mountain, Michigan, Jessup, Pennsylvania, and Hollywood, California.

“Forget it,” they’d say, and “Aw, shucks, fellas,” and “He’s a swell egg.””

They arrived in Missoula in the middle of World War II, young men who would be pilots in the little-known Army Air Force College Training Detachment.

From March 1943 until a few weeks after D-Day in 1944 they bunked in Corbin Hall and other dorms on what was then the Montana State University campus in Missoula.

They studied math, physics, geography and physical education. They staged hops and musical extravaganzas, played intramural sports and, over at Hale Field, learned the rudiments of flying from Johnson Flying Service pilots.

Hundreds if not thousands cut their teeth in two-seat “cub yellow” Piper J-3’s, the primary aircraft of the Civilian Pilot Training Program and, later, Army Air Force programs that came to campuses and airfields in Montana and across the country.

For 57 years, Chuck Burruss has owned one of those J-3s – “N” number 41300.

“It’s as easy a plane to fly as you could ever learn in. They’re very good trainers, real forgiving, and they recover from a stall easy,” Burruss said the other day as he pushed open the doors to the hangar at his home northeast of Corvallis.

It won’t be here much longer.

As early as this week, the Piper Cub will join its brethren from the Johnson Flying fleet in the Museum of Mountain Flying at Missoula International Airport. Some of the others are on loan, but the museum, of which Burruss is a member, has long sought the J-3 for its own.

Thanks to generous donations and a grant, the board recently met the asking price of $15,000.

“The whole thing about buying this airplane is it was a Johnson plane. It came from Missoula. It’s historic, sort of an original J-3,” said museum board president Stan Cohen, who doggedly led efforts to obtain the plane.

It fits with the 20-year-old museum’s mission of collecting and displaying historic planes used by Johnson Flying Service since it was launched in 1926.

For now, the J-3 will fit under the wings of the hulking DC-3, the plane that transported smokejumpers to tragic deaths in the 1949 Mann Gulch fire north of Helena.

Cohen said a similar yellow Piper Cub that wasn’t a Johnson training plane will be returned to nearby Minuteman Aviation to make room.

Along with Burruss’ J-3 comes a scattering of log books and records, including the original forms completed when the plane came off the assembly line at the Piper Aircraft Corp. in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.

It’s dated Dec. 4, 1941 – three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into war.

Burruss had just turned 7 on that day and would soon become infatuated with the doings at the airport in his hometown of Hamilton.

Bernie Wryn was 5, and in only a couple of years would share a similar fascination with what was going on at Hale Field in Missoula, on the eastern edge of the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

“I’d pedal out there with my bicycle and you could see all these J-3s standing on their noses, one stacked right after another in a hangar,” said Wryn.

Also a member of the flying museum, Wryn has long assumed Burruss’ J-3 was one of the planes he saw at Hale Field during and after the war years. He can’t remember how many Piper J-3 Cubs the military used for pilot training there and sold to Bob Johnson for $1 apiece plus “other valuable considerations.”

“I’m going to say I saw certainly a half-dozen and maybe a dozen,” Wryn said.

Where N41300 flew between the time it came out of the factory in late 1941 and when it joined the Army Air Force’s fleet at Hale Field remains a riddle that Dick Komberec aims to solve.

A historian for the flying museum, Komberec said there’s a decent chance it arrived in the wake of tragedy.

In the early Friday morning of Sept. 10, 1943, two J-3s on training runs south of Missoula collided above Buckhouse Bridge. Four men died – instructor pilots Clyde Reynolds and Stanley Hillman of Missoula, and students Robert Schwenter of Detroit and William Richards of Tarrytown, New York.

The students were members of the Army Air Force’s 317th college training detachment. A news account said the accident was the first in the training of students by the Johnson school and the first in the history of Johnson Flying Service.

“They would have needed two replacement airplanes, or at least one,” Komberec pointed out. “They lost two that day and still had the program. I’m just guessing that’s maybe where this one came in.”

He plans on making a request for Federal Aviation Administration records that will detail the history of Burruss’ plane.

The 317th was apparently the first of two college training detachments in Missoula, activated in March of 1943 under the Army Air Force’s Western Training Center. Cohen's collection at Pictorial Histories Publishing includes an invitation to the 317th's Farewell Hop on Feb. 18, 1944.

The detachment was replaced by the 3074th Base Unit, which trained and schooled at the university and at Hale Field until the nationwide program was discontinued at the end of June 1944.

Burruss can trace his plane’s history after the war. Bob Schellinger, a legendary helicopter pilot for Johnson Flying Service and a charter inductee into the Museum of Mountain Flying’s hall of fame in 1995, bought it from Johnson. Then it belonged to Don Dowling, of the Dowling funeral home family in Hamilton.

Burruss figures he was 22 when he bought the plane from Dowling in 1956 or '57.

“It needed fixing, so I bought it, re-covered the wings, and learned to fly in it,” he said. “I didn’t know how to fly when I bought it.”

He courted his future wife, Jeanne Clark of Corvallis, in the Piper Cub.

How do you do something like that? Burruss was asked.

“You meet her up behind C Butte (east of Corvallis) up in the grainfields. She leaves her horse in the corral and she jumps in the plane and goes flying with you,” he said with a grin.

Aside from the initial re-covering of the wings and some chrome work when American Dental was in business in Missoula, Burruss hasn’t altered anything since he got N41300, he said.

He’s added a Cessna 180 to his stable, but until recently he flew the Piper Cub several times a year, taxiing it out of the barn and taking off and landing on his 1,000-foot grass runway that slopes down from the house, at one point at a 9-percent grade.

With all those takeoffs and landings, and all those hours in the air – into the Selway, up to the Flathead, over to Butte and Dillon – he never had an accident or even a close call, Burruss said.

“It’s fun to fly,” he said. “Just the thrill of getting up, the thrill of leaving the ground and climbing into the air, and then the thrill of landing when you get back.”

But now it’s time to get rid of the old plane. Burruss turned 80 in November.

“I’ve been playing around with it for years, but the fabric is old,” he said. “It needs re-covering. It shouldn’t be flown any more because of that, and I’m getting too old to re-cover an airplane again.”

Story and Photos:

Idaho State Police used drone during standoff

COEUR d'ALENE - A drone was used by Idaho State Police officers during their investigation into a multi-agency standoff in Coeur d'Alene that ended with a fugitive dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The warrant obtained by ISP detectives allowed photographic documentation of the home on Quincy Court where John David Crispin, a 37-year-old fugitive armed with a gun, barricaded himself Saturday night. According to ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker, the drone was used to gather aerial photography of the complex.

Baker added that the drone is owned by an ISP detective, who made the aircraft available for use during the investigation.

The standoff was not the first time the state agency has made use of a drone. Baker said an unmanned aircraft was most recently deployed by ISP to document the scene of the August shooting that occurred on Interstate 90 at Post Falls.

Aerial views of a crime scene can serve as an important piece of evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases, she said.

Unlike Kootenai County law enforcement agencies, which have a mutual-aid agreement with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office allowing them to request the use of its helicopter, most police departments in the state don't have access to one. This, according to Baker, makes the use of a drone advantageous because use of the small, unmanned aircraft saves taxpayer money.

"Additionally, the use of an unmanned aircraft is also less intrusive for the neighbors as they are generally small and quiet as opposed to the noise of a helicopter," Baker said. "Their use is also probably safer than a helicopter hovering over a neighborhood."

Baker added that it is unknown whether or not ISP will continue to use the unmanned aircraft in the future.

"But (there) will be a consideration if this type of instrument can help in a particular case to document the evidence on a scene or even for tactical or surveillance purposes," Baker said.

Story and comments:

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, N7422W: Accident occurred November 30, 2014 in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama

NTSB Identification: ERA15CA064
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 30, 2014 in Athens, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N7422W
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 airplane was on final approach to land on runway 18, a 2,500-foot-long, turf runway, at a private airstrip. A witness stated that winds were gusting from the south and when the airplane was on short final it began to sink. The airplane's right main landing gear tire struck the top wire of power lines that were located across a road from the airstrip and were perpendicular to the runway. The airplane pitched down and impacted on the runway, about 120 feet to the south, which resulted in substantial damage to the forward portion of the fuselage. The pilot reported he added engine power when he realized that the airplane was descending and that the engine hesitated. He further stated that he did not experience any malfunctions or failures of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. Winds reported at an airport that was located about 11 miles south-southeast of the accident site, around the time of the accident, were from 190 degrees at 21 knots, gusting 26 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude while landing in gusty wind conditions, which resulted in a collision with power lines while on final approach.

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Birmingham FSDO-09

Chris Boone, wife of Athens physician Max Boone, was released Friday afternoon from Huntsville Hospital where she and her husband have been following a Nov. 30 plane crash.

The Boones were flown to Huntsville Hospital after their Piper Cherokee 180 crashed just short of a private grass airstrip off New Cut Road.

Earlier in the week, Chris had been listed in good condition in the hospital’s surgical intensive care unit before being moved to a regular room later in the week.

Dr. Max Boone remained at the hospital, but was still listed in good condition in a regular room on Friday, the spokeswoman said.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration have filed an initial report, ruling the crash an accident. According to witnesses, Boone was coming in from the north to land on the strip when he hit at least one power line and crashed nose-first near the strip. The owner of the airstrip, who declined to be identified, told investigators he believed gusty winds played a factor in the crash. He told The News Courier that Boone kept the plane at the hangar on his property.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a statement saying it will not be sending its own investigators to the scene, but will use information complied by the FAA.


Daily Missoulian story on 1943 fatal air collision above Missoula

The Daily Missoulian

Saturday, September 10, 1943


Four persons – two instructor pilots and two aviation student pilots – were killed Friday morning in a mid-air crash of planes of the Johnson Flying school while on routine flying maneuvers.

The dead:





Both of the instructors have lived here for years. The student pilots were members of the 317th college training detachment of the Army air forces stationed at Montana State University. The accident was the first in the training of students by the Johnson school, and the first in the history of the Johnson Flying service.

Wreckage of the two planes was spotted from the air by Instructor Pilot Warren Ellison, who was making a routine flight, and fixed the time of the collision at about 7:30 o’clock. He had been over the flight course a few moments earlier and had detected no sign of the accident then.

The crash occurred over the old Buckhouse ranch, north of the old Bitter Root road. One plane hitting the ground in a weed patch on the Buckhouse ranch and the other crashing across the road into a wheat field on the Dan Maloney ranch. Both planes were badly smashed but no fire resulted.

The bodies of the victims were removed from the ships and those of the students were taken to the Lucy mortuary, that of Mrs. Reynolds to Powell & Johnson and that of Mr. Hillman to Stucky’s.

CAA officials would make no official statement as to the cause of the crash, or give details in regard to the flight, stating merely that an investigation would be made and a report given when it was completed.

Major George E. Heikes, commanding officer of the Army air force college training detachment at the State University, had little comment to make, stating that it was a military matter and that information would be released as soon as possible.

Stanley Hillman’s father, W.P. Hillman, of the office of operation of the Forest Service at Missoula, was in Kalispell on an inspection trip when notified of his son’s death. He left immediately for home, in company with J.E. Ryan, assistant regional forester, and arrived here shortly after noon.

Stanley Hillman

Stanley Hillman was born in Spokane September 29, 1921, and would have been 22 years old had he lived three weeks more. He resided with his parents at Sandpoint, Missoula, St. Maries, Idaho, and again at Missoula, his father being an official of the Forest Service. He attended grade schools here for a part of his elementary education and also attended Missoula county high school, from which he was graduated in June, 1939.

After receiving his high school diploma, he entered the Anderson Trade school at Los Angeles, and from there went to work in the Douglas Aircraft plant at Los Angeles. Then he went into the glider service of the United States army air corps and continued in that work at various fields, including Albuquerque, until this branch was curtailed, when he was given an honorable discharge. He became an instructor at the Missoula airfield last April. He remained in the Air Corps Reserves, after being discharged as a sergeant.

He is survived by his parents, a brother, Robert, who is in California, and a sister, Mary, at the family home, 230 Brooks street.

Clyde Reynolds

Clyde Reynolds, a veteran of the First World war, had been a flying instructor since early spring, when he gave up his duties at The New Mint, where he had been employed by Orin Dishman for almost twenty years, the latter said. Reynolds had worked the night shift at that business establishment while perfecting himself in flying during the daytime.

Born in 1900 in Oklahoma, Reynolds came to the Bitter Root with his parents, who still maintain the family home at Darby. He served in both the Navy and the Army, and was severely wounded in an explosion during the First World war. Afterward he was a patient at a veterans’ hospital for an extended period while his injuries were healing. For a long time he was required to wear knee braces. After recovering, he came to Missoula to work for the Hart Refinery for a while, then went to The New Mint.

He was married, residing with his wife on Sussex avenue. Besides his parents there are two brothers, Raymond of Missoula and Claude of Enumclaw, Wash., and three sisters, Mrs. Chris Boding and Mrs. John Barthlu of Missoula and Mrs. Campbell of Bremerton.

Student Records

Student Pilot Richards was born in 1923 at Tarrytown, N.Y., where his mother, Mrs. Margaret Richards now resides. He has two brothers in military service, one in the Army and one in the Navy. Officers at the training center state that he was an excellent soldier and had but one desire, that of becoming a top pursuit pilot.

Student Pilot Schwenter was born in 1916 at Detroit, Mich., and is married to SPAR Leora Jane Schwenter, who is stationed at New London, Conn. Like Richards, Schwenter was considered a top soldier and his great desire was to become a bomber pilot. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Schwenter, reside in Detroit.

- Source:

Aero-Flite: Forest fire-fighting aerospace company sets up headquarters in Spokane

Workers at Aero-Flite Inc., one of the nation's largest operators of forest fire-fighting aircraft, are setting up their new facility in Spokane, after moving from Arizona.

The expansion reflects a the rapid growth of aerospace companies in the Spokane area, which now collectively employ about 8,000 people.

Aero-Flite has moved its corporate offices and maintenance base into a 55,000-square-foot facility at Spokane International Airport, and is moving in aircraft, said Todd Woodard, spokesman for the airport. It had been located in Kingman, Ariz.

By February the company will employ 65 people in Spokane.

"It means job opportunities for local residents," he said of the move. "They have a high need for mechanics and technicians, and that's a strength of our region."

The company operates three land-based air tankers, an amphibious plane, and a passenger aircraft that flies people and equipment to forest fires.

The company generally operates between April and December, and will be doing offseason maintenance of its aircraft now, he said.

Another Spokane aerospace company, Associated Painters Inc., has been expanding its aircraft painting facilities there.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Aero-Flite to Spokane," said Spokane Mayor David Condon in a statement. "We have made significant investments over the years in aerospace business development, and this hangar in particular, to make Spokane's already-thriving aerospace industry stronger."


Runway closed due to an oil spill from an aircraft

The runway of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) has been closed.

According to the information received by Vnews, the runway was closed due to an oil spill from an A330 Airbus of Etihad Airways during landing at around 3:45 P.M. Saturday evening.

Following a similar accident, the runway was closed even before, but services resumed soon after the spill was cleaned.

- Source:

Biplane over Canberra

This morning we sighted a red biplane progressing across the Canberra sky and even managed to get a photograph which considering the distance we’re pretty happy with. 

 Any plane nerds want to hazard an identification?

Photo and Comments:

Inside the arms-laden, Chad-bound aircraft detained in Nigeria

The Russian airplane intercepted by Nigerian authorities Saturday on its way to neighboring Chad, was transporting a large cache of AK47s and bullet proof vests, and even a helicopter, images of the contents of the aircraft obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, have shown.

The Russian jet, labelled AH-124-100, is a heavy military transport aircraft. Air cargo experts describe it as one of the biggest serial and strategic heavy lifters in the world. It is intended for the transportation of heavy and oversize cargo and various special-purpose vehicles.

There is a helicopter inside the aircraft grounded in Kano. It also contains various military hardware Nigerian officials suspect to be arms, ammunition and special equipment.

Story, comments and photo gallery:


Khamraj Lall’s arrest is only the tip of the iceberg

Dear Editor,

After being banished into exile since a tape recording revealed that he was soliciting sex from a 14 year old boy, Kwame McKoy has finally resurfaced but once again for all the wrong reasons. Following the seizure of US$620,000 from Pilot Khamaraj Lall’s Lear Jet in Puerto Rico last week, information has surfaced that both Jagdeo and Ramotar have used the jet on many occasions and that Lall was given special permission to build a private hangar at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Timehri so that he and his passengers could leave the country without security checks on their baggage.

In defense of his bosses’ use of the Lear Jet, Kwame McKoy has stated that “anybody can use a plane, it should not be taken to mean anything.” This is the most unsound, irrational and unwise statement, but coming from a someone who was caught on a tape soliciting sex from a fourteen year old boy but denied it was his voice, one should not be surprised. Although there was overwhelming evidence that the voice was his, yet he was not fired by the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime, which goes to show how corrupt and deceitful the PPP regime is. But no one should expect anything better from this regime and this individual.

Maybe not for him but for the public, this story does have much meaning and we shall explain the facts to the people.

Fact 1 – This Lear Jet facility has been used not once, not twice but several times by the Leadership of the PPP at the taxpayer’s expense, to ferry their executives out of Guyana by totally bypassing the local Customs and Border control checks. No bags are checked and inspected by Customs and therefore this opens the door for all kinds of illegal shipment of items– be it stolen taxpayer’s money, drugs and even katahar out of Guyana with no checks in place. The relevant questions are how long was this secretive arrangement in operation? And why was Pilot Khemraj Lall given special permission to build a private hangar? Why the Minister Works and Hydraulics and the CEO of the Airport who acknowledged that they knew about this secret deal did not make it public? Are they not culpable and just as deceitful as the rest in the PPP cabal?

Fact 2 – The US Government has been watching a number of senior PPP functionaries since Roger Khan was convicted in the US for activities involving money laundering and narco-trafficking. The US has a certain KING KONG who lives in the $600 million beach front property in Pradoville under surveillance.  The arrest of Pilot Khemraj Lall was just a shot across the bow to remind him that he is being watched constantly and it is only a matter of time before he is arrested. We were reliably informed that the US$620,000 that was seized from Lall’s Lear Jet was stolen from the Treasury and placed into an overseas bank account by a corrupt PPP official and was now being repatriated to Guyana for the PPP elections campaign.

Fact 3 – Like Roger Khan, Edul Ahmad, and Sonny Ramdeo, former owner of E-Z Jet who were pressured by the US government for information on the crooks at Freedom House, they will also apply pressure on the incarcerated Khemraj Lall for more information about the US$620.000 as they set up for the final move against the narco-traffickers and money launderers.  Once the PPP lose the upcoming elections, it will be open season for them.  The only advantage the PPP leadership currently has is that they have diplomatic passports, which are sheltering them from prosecution. But with a new Government, the unrighteous and evil Pradoville crew of drug traffickers and money launderers will fall like a pack of cards as they banished from civilized society and into new homes in Otisville Federal Correctional Facilities. The game plan is set; it is not what will happen but when it will happen. Khamraj Lall’s arrest is only the tip of the iceberg.

These bandits who think that they are invincible should listen to Gandhi who said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”

Asquith Rose and Harish Singh

Cash jet pilot confined to home as condition for bail

As part of the surety for the US$100,000 bail he was granted on Monday, Chief Executive Officer of the Exec Jet Club Khamraj Lall has had to submit his pilot’s licenses and has been confined to his New Jersey home with the only travel allowed being to Puerto Rico for his court hearing.

This may be the reason why one day after the court hearing it was announced that Lall—who was two weeks ago caught with US$620,000 stashed aboard his private jet at a Puerto Rican airport...

Cub Crafters CC11-160 Carbon Cub SS, N471LS: Accident occurred December 06, 2014 in Middleton, Wisconsin


NTSB Identification: CEN15CA072
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 06, 2014 in Middleton, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/10/2015
Aircraft: CUBCRAFTERS INC CC11-160, registration: N471LS
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 tail wheel equipped airplane nosed over during landing rollout on the grass runway. He informed a Federal Aviation Administration inspector that the runway surface varied with both wet and dry areas, which caused a variable braking action. The pilot noted that the accident might have been prevented with more careful brake application. He stated that there were no failures or malfunctions with the airplane before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while braking during landing rollout.

Two people were injured in a plane crash Saturday on the grass landing field at Morey Airport in Middleton, police said.  

Middleton police said a preliminary investigation shows that a Cub Crafters Carbon Cub SS piloted by a 70-year-old Monona man flipped onto its top as it attempted to land on the grass landing field at the airport at 8300 Airport Road just before 3:15 p.m.

It was apparently the pilot's second attempt to land after having had to abort his first attempt for unknown reasons, police said.

The pilot suffered a head injury and was walking when emergency workers arrived. His 66-year-old wife suffered more severe injuries.

Both were taken to a local hospital.

The FAA and NTSB were notified and will investigate the cause of the crash.

Morey Airport was closed for a period of time due to the crash.


 MIDDLETON, Wis. -  A Monona couple was injured after a small aircraft flipped Saturday afternoon at the Middleton Municipal Airport.

Middleton police Sgt. Don Mueller said the department responded to a report of an airplane crash at the airport, 8300 Airport Road, at 3:14 p.m.

Mueller said the 70-year-old pilot, a Monona man, told police he was practicing landings on the airport's grass field. 

The man made a pass to land but the propeller hit the ground, dug in and caused the aircraft to flip. 

The man and a passenger, his 67-year-old wife, were injured.

The man suffered a head injury and the woman suffered a possible neck injury and broken ribs, Mueller said. 

The injuries were serious but non-life-threatening.

The pilot and passenger were taken to the hospital by ambulance, police said.

Mueller said Middleton PD doesn’t issue citations for airplanes but that the department is in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, which are investigating the incident.

- Source:

IN PICTURES: Crop Duster Wins At Church Road

See photo gallery by Bob Pelkey:

New Yale-New Haven Hospital helicopter equipped for critical care in the air

Yale New Haven Hospital's SkyHealth crew, Shawn Bowe, a flight paramedic, pilot Mike Kelley, and Ivonne Recupero, a flight nurse on the helicopter pad at Yale New Haven Hospital Thursday, December 4, 2014.

NEW HAVEN >> Yale-New Haven Hospital can now treat patients on the fly, as it transports them from another hospital.

Its new SkyHealth helicopter, an EC-135 chopper, allows a critical care nurse and paramedic to perform procedures in the air, rather than having to wait until the patient arrives at the hospital.

“When you’re talking about using the helicopter for critical-care patients, people think it’s all about speed,” said Dr. Evie Marcolini, medical director of SkyHealth. But it’s not about getting to the hospital faster. It’s really about being able to provide care during transport from one hospital to another.

“If you take that patient in a ground-transport service … that’s over an hour’s worth of time where a patient doesn’t get that level of critical care,” Marcolini said.

With the copter, “You don’t have out-of-hospital time because the crew in the helicopter can do the same things as the [intensive-care unit] there or the ICU here,” Marcolini said. “When they’re not flying they work in ICU in emergency departments … It’s a higher level of care than our ground transport.”

Ambulance crews are unable to perform many procedures, such as managing ventilations, giving certain high blood pressure medications and transfusions that can be done inside the small but well-equipped helicopter’s cabin.

“We are flying about every other day, give or take,” said Don MacMillan, the coordinator of flight operations since SkyHealth took off in November. “Our main motivation was to provide that critical care that they would get here in the hospital [while] en route to our facilities.”

SkyHealth as an entity is less than two months old. It’s a partnership between the Yale New Haven Health System and North Shore-LIJ Health System on Long Island and transports patients to both Yale-New Haven and Bridgeport hospitals (Bridgeport is in the Yale New Haven Health System). Med-Trans of Lewisville, Texas, maintains the helicopter, provides the pilots and does the billing.

Med-Trans did not respond to a request for costs. A 2013 Stanford University study found that, for a hospital emergency helicopter to be cost-effective, it would have to have a 1.6 percent higher patient-survival rate than ground transport. Stanford’s report said the average cost of transport was about $6,500 in 2010.

“Last Friday, we had a patient with an aortic rupture that we transported,” said paramedic Shawn Bowe, although there was little need for in-flight care on that trip, he said.

Pilot Michael Kelley, an Army veteran, has more than 25 years of flight experience. During a short tour over the city from the top of the 13-story Yale-New Haven Hospital, the ride is smooth and quiet. It’s hard to tell when the helicopter has left the pad or when it’s touched down.

While it’s a tight fit, five people can fly along with a patient, who is brought onto and off the chopper through doors that open in the tail. “It’s built very nicely,” Kelley said. “It’s got redundant systems throughout everything.” It’s also got high-end GPS that “shows us where traffic is, where terrain is, where the weather is. It gives us full 360-degree awareness,” Kelley said.

So far, the helicopter has been used only to transport patients from one hospital, such as Lawrence and Memorial in New London, to Yale-New Haven or Bridgeport hospitals. Flights to the site of an accident or other medical crisis won’t be made for a while, Marcolini and MacMillan said.

“You could put a chest tube in if you went to a scene call,” said Marcolini, but the crew wants to get comfortable at “facility transfers” first.

The copter crew also can use the Y Access Line, so “any physician anywhere can call this hospital or any physician within the system and find a physician who will accept their patient,” MacMillan said.

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Pinkerton's Shawn Grinnell flies solo for the first time

Col. Kevin Grady, U.S. Air Force (ret.), of the Daedalians presented Pinkerton Academy junior Shawn Grinnell with the traditional solo flight jacket on Tuesday in recognition of her flying alone. (Courtesy)

DERRY — Already the first female commander of Pinkerton Academy’s Junior ROTC program, junior Shawn Grinnell achieved another personal milestone recently when she flew solo in a single-engine plane.

On Tuesday, the Daedalians flying club presented Grinnell with a solo jacket for her accomplishment.

Grinnell said the solo flight from Boire field in Nashua was definitely an exhilarating experience.

“I’m only 16, so to be able to actually go up and fly that thing myself was pretty amazing I’d say,” she said of the flight in the Cessna 172.

She credited her father, Allen Grinnell, who is a private pilot, with influencing her to pursue flying.

“My dad is a pilot so it’s kind of like carrying on the family legacy per se,” she said.

Lt. Col Howie Steadman, JROTC adviser, said a Pinkerton student might solo every two or three years, so it’s a major achievement

“It’s a great accomplishment for anybody to take a plane up and just go flying around all by yourself,” Steadman said. “So it’s a super accomplishment on her part; we are really proud of her.”

Grinnell grew up in Derry and knew at an early age that she wanted to become a pilot. The family is related to Derry native, astronaut Alan Shepard Jr., the first American in space.

She became the first female commander of JROTC in Pinkerton’s 14 year history of the program. Grinnell had an active summer and spent a week at the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy. She also went on a mission trip to Ecuador during the summer break.

She tried to work on her flying over the summer but understandably fell behind because of all of her other activities. But after classes resumed in the fall, she was able to find some time to concentrate more on flying and complete her solo flight, she said.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Grinnell plans to pursue her private pilot’s license.

She recently submitted her application and is waiting to hear back from the Air Force Academy.

Aiming even higher, she hopes to one day become an astronaut.

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Tourists fly in straight from Thailand for Hornbill festival

From left to Right: Ababe Ezung, Tom PotTist (Thailand) and Mike Wilson (US), Eduardo Angelo Loigorri (UK), Harleet Wilson (US) and Mhonchan Humtsoe

Kohima, December 6 (MExN): A group of pilot friends made it to Nagaland as the first tourist (non-VIP) to fly in straight from Thailand for the hornbill festival. They flew in with their Piper PA46-350P aircraft.

According to a press release, Eduadro Loi Gorri (UK) and Mike Wilson (US) Tom PotTist (Thailand) all are license pilots from their respective countries.

A few years back Ababe Ezung and late Neil Nawaporn (Thailand) made plans for the first hornbill fly in where 8 small aircraft had register but could not happen as Neil died in a plane crash in Thailand that year but we are happy that one could make it this year , we hope more plane will join next year.

Asked how they came to know the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, Eduardro quipped “when this year in February there was an air show in Singapore, I met Ababe Ezung, who told me that there use to be Hornbill festival in December every year in Nagaland. Therefore, I got in touch with Ababe over the phone and internet. Now I am here for the festival”. He also thanked Ababe Ezung for all the necessary logistic help to reach Kohima, Nagaland.

Tom Pottist is a professionally photographer and was one of the judge in the Hipfest Photo competition, 2104.

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Marines seek realistic training in downtown Los Angeles

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Marines are bringing their training to the downtown Los Angeles area. Officials say residents shouldn't be alarmed if they see or hear military aircraft overhead. 

Eyewitness News viewer Haily Shae saw an Osprey over the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks Nov. 14.

Days later on Nov. 18, two V-22 Ospreys were seen flying over the 134 Freeway in Burbank.

The Osprey can fly as both an airplane and a helicopter. The U.S. Marine Corps says we'll be seeing more of them over Los Angeles next week.

A Marine Corps spokesman told Eyewitness News that the Marines are taking a break from their regular training at Camp Pendleton.

"We do a lot of training on Camp Pendleton. It's very easy for us to sort of become familiar with all the training locations. So, mixing it up and going to some place like L.A., it's brand new terrain, it's unfamiliar, it forces you to think a little more," said Capt. Brian Block.

This does not mean you'll see Camp Pendleton-style tanks roaming through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. But you will see helicopters and other aircraft flying to remote, secret training locations here in Southern California.

"We are going to do everything we can to minimize the noise impact on the local communities. We understand people have lives, but it's also important for us to get that realistic training," Block said.

Many Southlanders say they're looking forward to it.

"They should probably put signs up so we don't think we're under attack or something like that, but I think it'd be cool. I'd be down to see it," said David Noble of La Mirada.

Most of the training exercises are slated to happen in the late afternoon and early evening hours. The training will run through Dec. 16.

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Malaysia ready for air crash lawsuits

The Malaysian government says it is preparing to face lawsuits arising from the twin tragedies that struck its national carrier Malaysia Airlines this year.

'Malaysia is ready to face any charges in court,' Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Saturday, amid reports some relatives of Australian passengers of flight MH17, which crashed in Ukraine in July, were planning legal action against Malaysia, Ukraine and Russia.

Liow said he had not yet received any information about the planned action.

MH17 is suspected to have been shot down by Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels.

The flight, with 298 people aboard, was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when struck by a missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17.

On October 31, two Malaysians filed a negligence case against Malaysia Airlines and the government over the disappearance of another commercial aircraft, MH370, which disappeared in March.

The Beijing-bound flight, with 239 people aboard, disappeared without trace an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in March.

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Market value sought: Good deal for feds at Coeur d'Alene Airport (KCOE) not so good for county

COEUR d'ALENE - The Kootenai County commissioners want to see the Coeur d'Alene Airport be as financially self-sustaining as possible.

So when the airport is in a position to make some money, the commissioners would like to see it happen.

Now that the U.S. Department of Defense is leaving an Army Reserve training facility on the Coeur d'Alene Airport grounds - leased for years for just a $1 a year - the U.S. Forest Service wants both the facility and the lease.

The facility is located just west and south of the Wyoming Avenue and Ramsey Road intersection. The land is owned by the county, and the building, which has been vacant for two or three years, is owned by the federal government.

On Friday, the commissioners ordered staff to inform the Forest Service in writing that the federal agency has to get a new lease and pay the market value, which would be more like $27,000 per year.

"Every new lease needs to be at market rate," said Commissioner Todd Tondee.

"I'd hate to walk away from $27,000 a year," Phil Cummings, interim airport manager, told the commissioners.

While the Forest Service says it's entitled to the old lease and its attractive terms, another federal agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, says the county is right and a new lease is needed.

Tondee said the negotiations will continue.


Whidbey Island: Class-action lawsuit taking aim at real estate companies

A class-action suit filed against two Whidbey Island real estate companies claims they did not disclose to buyers the dangers of jet noise.

The lawsuit was filed against Windermere Real Estate and RE/MAX Acorn Properties.

Filed Nov. 18 in Island County Superior Court, the lawsuit alleges that the real estate agents’ “deceptive acts or practices have occurred in their trade or businesses and were and are capable of deceiving a substantial portion of the public.”

Only two plaintiffs are identified by name, but the class action suit asks for injunctive relief for anyone who purchased real estate located in the county’s Airport Environs Mapped Impacted Areas on or after May 11, 1992.

The plaintiffs named in the suit are Jonathan Deegan, who said in court documents he purchased his Coupeville home through RE/MAX in 2006, and Alice O’Grady, who said she purchased her Coupeville home through Windermere in 2011.

Neither could be reached for comment by press time.

“I have not seen the complaint yet, so I cannot comment on the specifics of this case, but I am aware that some off-island and out-of-state attorneys have been urging homeowners to sue Realtors, claiming they were not told about aircraft noise when they bought their homes,” said Eric Mitten, spokesman for Windermere in Oak Harbor and Coupeville, in an emailed statement Friday.

“In our company, we make sure prospective buyers are aware of the airplane noise. We talk about the airplane noise. We also use standard written disclosure forms printed by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which provides us with the forms most Realtors use in residential real estate transactions in the state.

“I’m astonished that anyone who has spent any time on Whidbey Island would say they were not aware of the noise,” Mitten said.

Terri Neilon, owner of RE/MAX Acorn Properties, said she is afraid “the litigation could be divisive and help fuel efforts by those who want NAS Whidbey severely cut back or closed.”

“We care about our clients and certainly make sure they are aware of the noise,” Neilon said. “We also tell clients to do their own due diligence — check it out, talk to others and go to the property and listen to the planes flying overhead. Planes from NAS Whidbey are very effective at making people aware of their presence.”

Island County Realtors updated their version of Form 22W in January through the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

A long-used, one-paragraph noise disclosure was deemed incomplete by Island County Planning Director David Wechner, who issued a memo that spurred the change.

In their lawsuit, both Deegan and Grady said they received only the “inadequate Form 22W” at the time they purchased their homes.

The lawsuit was filed by the Seattle firm of Terrell, Marshall, Daudt & Willie, which sent a letter in May seeking possible plaintiffs.

While only two people are named, the suit states that the class will be “in the hundreds or thousands.”

A contention of the litigation is that, even though the noise disclosure was updated to mirror Island County code, Realtors are allegedly still not providing buyers with the county’s map of the impacted areas.

The county’s Airport and Aircraft Operations Noise Disclosure Ordinance, which contains the required language, also states that the impacted areas are identified on the “attached map.”

In a rough drawing, the county’s map shows all of Whidbey Island north of Lake Hancock as the “impacted areas.” It also includes areas surrounding the Camano and South Whidbey air parks.

Failure to include both the map and the language “about the magnitude and timing of military flight operations as part of pre-sale notices” in real estate transactions is “unfair” and “offends public policy,” the attorneys said in their lawsuit.

The lawyers are asking a judge to approve their class action status, damages, a modification of the disclosure forms, attorneys fees and any other relief deemed proper.

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13 people fall ill on US Airways flight from Tel Aviv, make emergency landing in Rome

Eleven crew members and two passengers fell ill on a US Airways flight from Tel Aviv to Philadelphia on Saturday, causing it to make an emergency landing in Rome, AFP reported, quoting Italian media.

According to the report, the crew members and passengers were suffering from red eyes and vomiting.

A malfunction in the ventilation system of the plane could be to blame but no further information was available. 

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F-22: You're too fast, you're under arrest

By Marlene Gantt

(Editor’s note: Ms. Gantt’s son, Brad Gantt, airfield maintenance supervisor for the Quad City International Airport, contributed significantly to this column)


A stealthy fighter with an ominous presence flew over the airshow crowds at the Davenport Municipal airport last summer.  With a price tag more than $150 million, its aerial abilities are mind boggling.

The demonstration amazed those of us who didn’t know that a vectored thrust jet could do what we thought was impossible.

The F-22 was the main feature of the show and the topic of last week’s column. This week, however, is about one piece of equipment deployed by a team behind the scenes to provide safety measures for this incredible aircraft -- the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System or “MAAS.”

On Jan. 18, 1911, Eugene Ely, flying his Curtiss Model D biplane performed the first aircraft landing aboard a ship. The ship was the USS Pennsylvania, an armored cruiser.

Early aircraft were not usually designed with brakes and the Curtiss was no exception  Ely attached hooks to his biplane. He then used the first known version of an aircraft arresting system and landed on a 119 foot wooden platform with 22 ropes across it and secured by sandbags, according to the book, “Chronicle of Aviation,” published by Jacques Legrand.

This was just eight years after the Wright Brother’s historic first powered flight. Today’s aircraft arresting systems are a little more advanced.

Weeks before the anticipated arrival of a pair of Raptors coming to our air show, a team of engineers was onsite to determine a suitable location for a MAAS. It would be used by the F-22 pilot in the event of an emergency or problems with the aircraft.

Of course the F-22 is fast and sleek but is equipped with brakes unlike early aircraft designs. Early aircraft were slow and usually had large fields to land in. They also often had spoke wheels reminiscent of bicycles. I wonder how much that was influenced by Orville and Wilbur Wright’s background as bicycle makers?

This didn’t create much need early on for brakes or systems to stop quickly.

Today, safety is always a top priority and in-flight system failures can result in emergency landings.  Stopping quickly with an arresting system protects the pilot and aircraft.

All of us have seen footage of planes landing on aircraft carriers where a cable or net is raised above the ship deck. Aircraft drop a tail hook down to catch it and stop quickly, often in just a few hundred feet. Many people may not realize that land airports throughout the world have permanently installed systems that do the same thing as those on these massive aircraft carriers. These permanent installations are called BAK 12/14 systems. Even Eugene Ely’s feat of landing with ropes and sandbags on a ship was first tested on shore.

The BAK 12/14 is comprised of a pair of arresting engines, one on each side of the runway in below ground vaults, and a “pendant” (thick braided steel cable) stretched across the runway. Slotted rubber arms are used to raise and lower the cable into a track installed in the pavement. The slots allow the cable to be pulled free by the landing aircraft.

The arresting engines then allow an approximately 10 wide “tape” to spool out while providing braking force capable of stopping a fighter jet traveling at 150 mph in under 1,200 feet. Obviously this is no ordinary tape, and yes it is even stronger than duct tape.

No airports in our area have need for a permanently installed arresting system. Enter the MAAS or Mobile Aircraft Arresting System. Like the permanent system, a MAAS uses a cable and tapes attached to arresting engines on each side of the runway. Unlike the BAK 12/14, it is temporarily installed above ground wherever and whenever the mission requires it.  For our airshow, the mission required one nearby.  Since the Davenport airport runways are too short for normal fighter jet operations, each year Air Force fighter teams use the Quad City International Airport in Moline as their operating base for our air show.

The two MAAS arresting engines weigh over 20,000 pounds. each. Each engine is secured along the runway edges with a minimum of 19 anchors similar to tent stakes in shape. But these are no ordinary stakes. These are 4-inch diameter aluminum and over four feet long. Each takes as much as 10,000 pounds of force to drive into the ground and are interlinked with a series of brackets to form a matrix of stakes on one side. If the cable is to be used bi-directionally then 31 stakes are used, each precisely driven at an angle to safely stop a 40,000-pound aircraft traveling at 150 mph. How many sandbags would it take to do that?

Installing a MAAS is no small task. The FAA must approve any MAAS installation at commercial service airports. The Air Force 201st Red Horse Squadron team arrived a week before the show and spent several days installing the unit on the only runway available at the time.

Unfortunately, after reviewing the installation the Air Force rejected this location and advised they needed a longer runway for the MAAS or the aircraft could not perform at the show. The preferred runway was still occupied by construction workers completing an airport project.

Marlene Gantt of Port Byron is a retired Rock Island school teacher.

Oh, deer!

A new National Transportation Safety Board report on an airplane crash in Hazlehurst points out the dangers of deer, which can be worse when encountered in groups in a small airplane. 

The report said as a Beech A36 touched down at the Hazlehurst airport in April, a pilot saw a “flash of brown” and felt three different bumps. The airplane’s front landing gear collapsed not long after.

None of the three people in the plane was injured, but “several fatally injured deer were subsequently found on the runway.”

As a result of the investigation, the Georgia Department of Transportation accelerated the planning as well as the funding of a wildlife mitigation fence around the airport, the report said.


NTSB Identification: ERA14CA214
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Hazlehurst, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2014
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N6330K
Injuries: 3 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 approached his home airport on a long, straight-in, visual approach to land on a clear night with no wind. As the airplane touched down on the main landing gear, the pilot detected a "flash of brown" from his left and felt 3 rapid and distinct impacts before lowering the nose landing gear to the runway, which subsequently collapsed. The three occupants of the airplane egressed uninjured, and noted that the airplane had been substantially damaged. Several fatally injured deer were subsequently found on the runway. As a result of this investigation, the state department of transportation accelerated the planning and funding of a wildlife mitigation fence around the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
An inadvertent collision with wildlife while landing.