Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homes shouldn’t be built in an airplane’s landing path

Letters To The Editor

I learned to fly an airplane at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg in the summer of 1967. Back then, the airport was surrounded by farmland containing only a few homes. If an aircraft went down, it went down in a field.

Over the years, I’ve watched the area develop around the airport. As aerial images accompanying the Dec. 9 front-page article “Plane crash in Md. leaves 6 dead” clearly showed, the standard “straight-in approach” to Runway 14 took the doomed jet above a neighborhood.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is responsible for allowing residential development below the landing/departure corridors at the airpark. In these flight corridors, arriving and departing airplanes are operating close to the ground, which provides little leeway for pilot error or aircraft mechanical failure.

It is inexcusable that the commission allowed residential construction in these critical zones.

The inevitable finally happened. A crash took the lives of six people: three in their home, a pilot and two passengers. If the commission had appropriately zoned the approach/departure corridors, a mother and her two young children might still be alive.

Ronald A. Stup, Highland, Md.


NTSB Identification: DCA15MA029

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 08, 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD
Aircraft: EMBRAER EMB-500, registration: N100EQ
Injuries: 6 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 8, 2014, about 1041 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ, impacted terrain and houses about 0.75 miles short of runway 14 while on approach to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured as well as three persons on the ground. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ensuing fire. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and the flight was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sage Aviation LLC., of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight originated from Horace Williams Airport (IGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with GAI as its intended destination.

Aircraft hangar stolen from North Weald airfield

Half an aircraft hangar has been stolen from an Essex airfield, leaving police baffled a month on from the haul.

More than 12 tonnes of dismantled building components, which were 156ft (44m) long and 45ft (14m) wide, were in storage at North Weald Airfield museum.

Essex Police said the stolen hangar parts have the name "Frisomat" stamped on each component.

Airfield chief John Havers said: "I thought I was going to faint on the road when I found out it was gone."

"I thought, this can't be true, this can't be happening. I never thought anyone would steal something so large."

Mr Havers and his fellow directors had paid £30,000 for the hangar, which would have been worth £100,000 when built, he told BBC Essex.

It is believed the hangar was stolen on 4 or 5 November and was reported to the police at the time, but they have been unable to find any of the stolen parts.

- Source:

Half of the hangar's components were stolen before it could be built at North Weald airfield

The galvanized metal components are each printed with the name "Frisomat"

Hillsboro Airport expansion: Port of Portland approves $9.9 million purchase of SolarWorld land

The Hillsboro Airport is about to get bigger, and SolarWorld's adjacent property a little smaller.

The Port of Portland Commission on Wednesday morning authorized a purchase of more than 46 acres of vacant land for nearly $9.9 million from SolarWorld, said Port of Portland Media Relations Manager Steve Johnson. SolarWorld's United States headquarters are directly north of the airport on Northwest Evergreen Road.

The Port, which owns and operates the airport, described the property as having "attractive features for development of both aviation operations area and industrial use development" in a staff report.

"The property is the largest parcel of undeveloped land contiguous with HIO [Hillsboro Airport] and is located on Evergreen Road close to Brookwood Parkway. ... The entire property is zoned general industrial with very good utilities at the property or within close proximity," the Port wrote. "Successful tech companies in the local area include SolarWorld, Intel, Adobe and Genentech."

SolarWorld recently announced a $10 million expansion of its plant, and the company said it would add 200 jobs in Hillsboro as it tries to meet increasing demand for solar panels in America. But the expansion will not require the use of the vacant land on the west end of the property, the Port wrote, and so SolarWorld put it up for sale.

"This property was not expected to be available during previous airport planning efforts, but is considered a strategic opportunity," the Port wrote.

There has been a flurry of activity at the airport of late, especially on the north side, which until now has been quiet. In October, the Port of Portland Commission approved a 35-year ground lease with Hillsboro Aviation, which will allow the company to build a new hangar near the Northwest 264th Avenue entrance off of Evergreen Road.
The hangar will be the first on the airport's north side. Hillsboro Aviation will invest more than $3 million in the new facility, and the Port will pay as much as $2.3 million for road improvements and utility extensions to open up the north side of the airport.

Hillsboro Aviation will pay somewhere between $78,000 and $96,000 per year in rent, according to a Port estimate. The hangar will be located near a new runway the Port is building to decrease congestion at the airport.

Lyons Properties LLC, a sister company to Hillsboro Aviation, is the signee on the lease. The company will use the new hangar, which will be on approximately 5 acres of land, for aircraft maintenance, fueling and sales, among other things, according to the Port.

Hillsboro Aviation announced the sale of its flight training school last week. And Nike co-founder Phil Knight recently completed a $7.6 million hangar of his own to house his private jet.

Read more here:

Oelwein Municipal Airport (KOLZ) cropland going up for rent

OELWEIN — The Oelwein Municipal Airport was at the center of discussion when the city council met Monday night.

The council set airport hangar monthly rental fees, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. 

The fees range from $45 to $90 per month depending on which building and the location inside the hangar, i.e., end or center.

It had been announced at a previous council meeting that the current renter of the airport cropland will end his lease.

Therefore, the city is accepting bids on the 125 tillable acres for the 2015 crop year. 

The bids will be accepted until 11:59 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19; bids will then be opened at noon. 

The current renter paid $456 per acre for the 2014 crop year.

Read more of this story in the Daily Register.

A tribute to Gary Ticehurst: AĆ©rospatiale AS 355F-2 Ecureuil II, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), VH-NTV, accident occurred August 18, 2011 near Marree, Australia

Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Published on December 10, 2014 
by Andrea Francolini, photographer

As the start of the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Race approaches on December 26, I find it fitting to take a moment away from all the hype to remember Gary Ticehurst, a true professional and gentleman in the industry. Gary, along with journalist Paul Lockyer and cameraman John Bean, died when their helicopter crashed on a dark night in 2011.

- See more at:

What happened
On 18 August 2011, an AĆ©rospatiale  AS355F2 (Twin Squirrel) helicopter, registered VH-NTV, was being operated under the visual flight rules (VFR) in an area east of Lake Eyre, South Australia. At about 1900 Central Standard Time, the pilot departed an island in the Cooper Creek inlet with two film crew on board for a 30-minute flight to a station for a planned overnight stay. It was after last light and, although there was no low cloud or rain, it was a dark night.

The helicopter levelled at 1,500 ft above mean sea level, and shortly after entered a gentle right turn and then began descending. The turn tightened and the descent rate increased until, 38 seconds after the descent began, the helicopter impacted terrain at high speed with a bank angle of about 90°. The pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed.

Investigation number: AO-2011-102
Investigation status: Completed

ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst, pictured covering the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the 25th time. 
Picture: James Elsby 
Source: The Australian 

Pilot Gary Ticehurst

 The scene of the helicopter crash that killed (insets) ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean
Source: AdelaideNow

Airport antics affecting applicants: Coeur d'Alene Airport (KCOE), Idaho; Potential manager candidate lays into commissioners

COEUR d'ALENE - Jeff Jensen, of Federal Way, Wash., has been searching for a job managing a small airport.

So when he saw an advertisement for a manager position at the Coeur d'Alene Airport he thought he had found the perfect fit for himself. He pictured all the rich outdoors activities North Idaho would offer.

Then he did a little Googling.

"Prior to sending in my application packet, I thought I would see if I could find any information in the press regarding the airport manager position," Jensen wrote in an email to Kootenai County's human resources manager on Friday afternoon. He sent copies to a couple reporters at The Press, too.

"I was shocked to find out what is really going on there and what will more than likely happen to the new manager when he or she shows up for work in January," Jensen continued.

Two commissioners - Dan Green and Todd Tondee - recently fired the longtime airport manager, Greg Delavan. Commissioner Jai Nelson opposed that move.

"I believe our applications and candidate pool is being severely impacted by the recent situation with the former airport director Greg Delavan and the subsequent media publications," Nelson said Monday. "It's easy to do a quick search on the Internet and discover some of the issues involving the airport. I'm certain this is keeping well-qualified leaders in aviation from applying."

Two of the three commissioners will be new in January, and both have expressed at least some interest in having Delavan reinstated or seriously considering it.

Green, whose term doesn't end next year and will stay on with commissioners-elect David Stewart and Marc Eberlein, said Monday that Jensen's comments are based only on newspaper reports. That's only part of the story, he said.

"I wonder if there are other candidates that have not submitted applications based on only press reports?" Green said. "If that were true, it's disappointing."

Green said Jensen never contacted him.

Nelson intends to take part in the upcoming interview process.

"However, if a candidate is to be offered a position, I'm going to vote 'abstain' due to my firm opposition to this process," Nelson told The Press. "By voting to abstain, this will place any hiring decision fully in the hands of Todd Tondee and Dan Green."

During a meeting of the commissioners on Monday, Nelson asked Tondee and Green to postpone the hiring process for a few more weeks to allow the new commissioners and Green to make the final selection. Green and Tondee said the process should continue.

Green has said there is no timeline for hiring somebody, but if an excellent candidate applies he wouldn't hesitate to fill the position.

Jensen might have been a good candidate for the job.

He most recently was aviation business manager for the Weyerhaeuser Co. aviation department at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to his resume. He has a decade of managerial experience in corporate aviation and possesses a private pilot license.

He has a master's degree in business, an aviation technology degree, and has a professional certification from the American Association of Airport Executives.

The commissioners will be taking applications until this Friday.

Jensen said he has no ties to Delavan or anyone in the county.

"There are very qualified people who would be interested" in the job, Jensen said in an interview. "But certainly not under the circumstances."

He said he won't be submitting an application now.

"They're asking professional people to waste a lot of their time," Jensen said.

Any new hire will be "walking into a rather interesting position," he said.

"Kootenai County government clearly does not deserve my services," he wrote to the county's human resources manager, Skye Reynolds. "I hope your community is better served by your new commissioners and I hope that you will treat future job applicants with the respect they deserve."

Reynolds responded in an email: "I wish you well in your future endeavors."

Story and Comments:

Great Lakes 2T-1A Sport Trainer, N642RT: Incident occurred December 10, 2014 near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

NEAR COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A small plane made a hard landing ten miles south of Coeur d'Alene near Highway 95 around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. 

A caller witnessed the crash on the east side of the highway near Whitlaw Road.

The pilot, 80-year-old Ronald Tacheny, walked away unhurt from the landing.

He told deputies he had a "rough landing".

Tacheny said he was landing his experimental bi-plane on his private landing strip near the highway when he misjudged the ground.

The plane's left wheel struck soft dirt, breaking the wheel assembly. The plane kept going a short distance when the left wing hit a bush and spun the plane to a stop, according to Tacheny's account to deputies.

Tacheny told deputies he built the plane about 14 years ago and that he has 40 years of flying experience.



At about 2:15 p.m. today, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an airplane crash off US 95, near Whitla Road, about 10 miles south of Coeur d’Alene. 

The caller said she was traveling on US 95 when she witnessed an airplane crash land on the east side of the highway. 

Deputies found the pilot, Ronald Tacheny 80, of Coeur d’Alene, walking near the airplane. Tacheny said he was not injured and described the crash as a “rough landing.” 

Deputies found that as Tacheny was landing his experimental bi-plane on his private landing strip, he misjudged the terrain and the left wheel struck the soft dirt, breaking the wheel assembly.

The plane then traveled a short distance where the left wing struck a bush and spun the plane to a stop. 

Full KCSD news release here.

Story and Comments:

Chol “Simon” Ajoksis: From Sudan to Southern Illinois University, student pursues his vision

Pursuing his dreams -- Chol “Simon” Ajoksis, who spent 13 years in refugee camps as one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” will realize one of his dreams when he graduates with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale during commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 13.
 (Photo by Russell Bailey)

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For Chol “Simon” Ajoksis, there is no looking back -- only working hard to realize his future.

From the 13 years he spent in refugee camps as one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan”; to working several jobs in Texas after arriving in the United States just days after Sept. 11; to moving with his wife and three children to Southern Illinois in 2012 to continue his education, the 36-year-old Ajoksis remains focused on the horizon. 

Ajoksis will earn his bachelor’s degree in aviation management during commencement exercises at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Saturday, Dec. 13. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. in the SIU Arena. Ajoksis hopes to enroll in the university’s Master of Public Administration program with a concentration on aviation and then earn a doctorate. 

Read more here:

Middle River Aviation: Private pilots must undergo rigorous training - Owner talks on pilot requirements (with video)

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. —Private pilots have to undergo rigorous training and that training gets tougher depending on the aircraft the pilot flies.

"A good pilot's never going to let his plane get that slow. You're putting yourself into a bad situation," Kevin Walsh said.

Walsh owns Middle River Aviation, a flight training school. He said the pilot of Monday's plane crash in Montgomery County would have had to have tons of experience.

In order to get a commercial pilot's license and to be able to fly the Phenom 100, he would have needed hundreds of hours of flight time, to have passed written, oral and flight exams. Plus, he would have needed instrument flight training and have a multi-engine rating. Even with all of that though, pilot error still happens.

"I've read the plane was about 100 knots and it was going too slow to let another small aircraft land in front of him. Those planes don't like to fly 100 knots," Walsh said.

Walsh said he believes that because the plane was flying way too slow, it stalled and went into a spin and was unrecoverable. The NTSB has said that it does not look like there was any mechanical failure with the aircraft.

"A lot of the accidents are pilot error. Even with mechanical failure, it doesn't mean the plane's going to crash. What leads to crashes a lot of the times are mechanical failure compounded by pilot error. Some where in the end, it ends up pilot error of some kind," Walsh said.

Walsh said that pilots need to be current as well as proficient. That means pilots need to fly on a regular basis at least once a week. If they don't, they lose their proficiency.

Story and video:

NTSB Identification: DCA15MA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 08, 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD
Aircraft: EMBRAER EMB-500, registration: N100EQ
Injuries: 6 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 8, 2014, about 1041 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ, impacted terrain and houses about 0.75 miles short of runway 14 while on approach to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured as well as three persons on the ground. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ensuing fire. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and the flight was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sage Aviation LLC., of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight originated from Horace Williams Airport (IGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with GAI as its intended destination.

How to move a Black Hawk (w/ photos)

COLUMBIA, SC — So how do you move a big 'copter?

With a bigger one.

A main rotor blade malfunction forced the emergency landing of an S.C. Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter Dec. 3 in a field off I-77 south of downtown Columbia, according to Army reports.

The chopper, assigned to the 1-111th General Aviation Support Battalion, landed just off Bluff Road, near Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, amid rush-hour traffic. No one was hurt.

But because its main rotor was damaged, the helicopter couldn't take off again.

The solution?

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the S.C. Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility in Greenville sling-loaded the smaller helicopter to move it for repairs. The Army released photos Wednesday of the big 'copter being moved.

The cause of the main rotor malfunction remains under investigation.


It's a twin-engine utility helicopter used for transport and evacuation with medium-lift capacity.

Manufacturer: Sikorsky

Crew: 4

Passengers: 11

Lift capacity: 9,000 pounds

Top speed: 183 mph

Length: 65 feet

Wingspan: 54 feet

Cost: $18 million

Engine type: General Electric T700

Weapons: machine guns, chain gun cannon, rockets

SOURCES: Aeroweb Report, U.S. Army, Boeing, Sikorsky

Story and photo gallery:

U.S. Soldiers from the S.C. Army National Guard work to prepare a UH-60 Black Hawk from Detachment 2, Company F, 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion, South Carolina Army National Guard, for sling-load movement to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, S.C., Dec. 7, 2014. The Black Hawk made an emergency landing in an open field Dec. 3, 2014, due to a main rotor blade malfunction in Columbia, S.C. The Black Hawk was released by the Accident Review Board for recovery and was being transported via sling-load under a S.C. Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Detachment 1, B-Company, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, S.C. Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility in Greenville, S.C. The cause of the main rotor malfunction remains under investigation. 
(Photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun/Released)
 SGT. BRIAN CALHOUN — South Carolina National Guard

Airplane had interesting side stories

Last week this column talked about an airplane that was constructed in Fremont.

It wasn't the only one. Paula Slager-Schreyer, the former wife of Joseph Slager, told me years ago her husband, who operated an airfield on Oak Harbor Road and then off East State Street until he was killed in a landing accident, used to take the pieces from wrecked airplanes to build a new one.

And, I imagine there were others.

But the airplane constructed in 1930-31 by E.H. Van Valkenburg had some interesting side stories.

First, there was the trip from Valkenburg's shop on Garrison Street down Front Street and out State Street to Oak Harbor Road. That must have been a sight to see.

Then there was the announced planned test of the air ship at Overmyer Field — the predecessor to Slager Field on Oak Harbor Road.

That test didn't come off as planned. The Fremont Daily News reported the planned March 1 flying test turned into only a ground test as Van Valkenburg determined the motor was too new and too stiff to attempt flight.

But, not long after, the test apparently was completed because the craft produced more interesting side stories, both in Fremont and Columbus.

The Fremont Daily News of May 2, 1931, provides this tale:

"Story of the visit of a noted German World War ace to Fremont was exploded Saturday with the announcement that E.H. Van Valkenburg, builder of the Fremont Monovan plane, made a flight to Columbus on Thursday in the Fremont-made plane.

"Shortly after the ship left Columbus, word was received in Fremont that a noted German war ace had left Columbus bound for Fremont. Investigation here failed to reveal the presence of any German ace and the story came out Saturday when Van stated he had left Columbus on Thursday afternoon. In landing at the Overmyer field, some clever handling of the ship by (Tiffin Pilot Mark) Abbott prevented a bad smashup as the plane struck a soft spot in the field resulting from a back fill of the gas pipe line extending through one corner of the field. The ship darted 15 feet in the air upon striking the soft spot and Abbott by quickly flattening out the ship prevented a crash."

So, the plane built in Fremont by a well-known aircraft builder, who also had laid claim to having built and flown the first planes manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Spokane, Washington, was a successful flying machine, but despite the confusion, Van Valkenburg was not a German World War ace.

Roy Wilhelm started a 40-year career at The News-Messenger in 1965, as a reporter. Now retired, he is writing about the history of some Sandusky County businesses.


Fancy a quick getaway? JetSmarter app will hail a private jet

(Reuters) - Wannabe jetsetters can now hail a private plane anywhere in the world from their smartphones thanks to an app that makes luxury air travel more accessible, at least to those who can afford the $7,000 membership.

JetSmarter, the brain child of Sergey Petrossov, 26, allows users to hire a jet in a matter of seconds. "Our goal as a company is to democratize private aviation," he told Reuters in Zurich, where the company will open a European office in 2015.

Launched in March last year, the app has been downloaded over 300,000 times and facilitated more than 1,000 flights so far in 2014.

While the average ticket costs around $20,000, those who become members for $7,000 a year can get free or discounted "empty legs" flights, which travel empty when a plane returns to its home base after dropping off passengers,

The average JetSmarter member is tech-savvy, aged between 25 and 50 and earns at least $1 million a year, according to Petrossov. A-list celebrities, royalty and sheiks are among its users.

Some of the most popular routes include the "Golden Triangle" between Miami, New York and Los Angeles. But almost anything is possible. JetSmarter once received a request to transport a ton of gold between South America and Europe.


Ferguson man charged with shooting at police helicopter, threatening witness at gunpoint

ST. LOUS ( – A Ferguson man has been charged with multiple felonies after authorities say he fired a gun at a police helicopter.

According to a release, 28-year-old Terrell Doss was seen by a witness shooting a handgun at the helicopter on August 10.

Two officers were inside the helicopter at the time, though neither were injured as the gunfire missed the aircraft.

According to the witness, Doss threatened violence if he was identified.

The following day, Doss reportedly approached the witness and pointed the gun at his stomach, pulling the trigger. The gun was unloaded at the time and the witness was not injured.

On November 17, the witness identified Doss as the man who fired at the helicopter as well as reported the incident in which he was threatened. 

Police arrested Doss on December 1, and charged him with two counts of second degree assault on law enforcement, one count of first degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

He is being held on $100,000 cash only bond. 

Story and video:

Gaithersburg, Maryland: Group warned Montgomery County Airpark (KGAI) was a danger

Anderson points to highlighted sections on the map, identifying neighborhoods that have been built since the study
(WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- Years before the deadly plane crash that a fire chief called "a tragedy for the county," a neighborhood group around Montgomery County Airpark warned that approaching aircraft threatened homes below.

On Monday, a small jet crashed into three homes less than a mile from the runway.

The crash killed all three people on board and three more on the ground, as one of the homes exploded in fire.

"We have a couple pilots in our group, and all of us have said it's not a question of 'if,' it's a question of 'when,'" says Bob Anderson, co-founder of the Airpark Concerned Citizens Association.

"It's been no secret," he says. "It was going to happen."

The group, which has about 50 members, has regularly raised its concerns with the Montgomery County Council.

Chief among them: Too many flights are passing over congested areas at altitudes that are below regulation.

"You have planes under full throttle on crosswinds flying over communities," says Anderson, a former pilot himself. "One stall-out, and you're going into a house."

"We've tried to get them to declare these neighborhoods congested residential communities," he says.

Also, the community group claims pilots regularly fail to follow approved flight patterns.

Anderson raises doubts about the flight patterns themselves, which were established after noise and pattern studies done in 1990 and 1993.

But 30 percent of the East Village's homes had not been built in 1990s, the group estimates. As a result, aircraft takeoffs and landings take them over neighborhoods that were undeveloped when the flight paths were approved.

Some have said, "If you don't like it, move," according to Anderson.

The group has no intention of doing that, and after Monday's crash, leaders quickly called a meeting on Tuesday.

Story, comments and photos:

NTSB Identification: DCA15MA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 08, 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD
Aircraft: EMBRAER EMB-500, registration: N100EQ
Injuries: 6 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 8, 2014, about 1041 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ, impacted terrain and houses about 0.75 miles short of runway 14 while on approach to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured as well as three persons on the ground. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ensuing fire. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and the flight was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sage Aviation LLC., of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight originated from Horace Williams Airport (IGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with GAI as its intended destination.

Report recommends flight tracking, airlines balk at deadline

An aviation industry task force has recommended that airlines should install available flight-tracking systems within 12 months following the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner with 239 people on board.

But in a sign of the difficulties of agreeing a prompt response to the disappearance of Flight 370, the group representing global airlines, which chairs the industry task force, said it did not believe the deadline was practical.

"Airlines are taking the tracking issue very seriously," IATA Director General Tony Tyler told journalists. 

"Some already exceed the report's suggested performance criteria. For others, closing the gap may take more than a 12-month timeline for every aircraft," he added.

IATA said the working group -- comprising representatives of airlines, pilots, air traffic control and airplane manufacturers -- had agreed that it should be possible to track each aircraft to the nearest nautical mile throughout any potential journey.

As a first step, airlines, air traffic control authorities and telecommunications companies are being urged to check what they have and upgrade their equipment if needed within a year.

IATA said it had not been able to establish how many of its 250 airline members already met the recommendations, because not all of them had shared the information.

Its top safety official stressed however that all its airlines, which have to pass a safety audit to be part of the Geneva-based organization, complied with tough regulations. 

Many airlines subscribe to ancillary services that provide automated maintenance updates during long flights, but these are not compulsory. Malaysian Airlines had not subscribed to the service for the jet that went missing nine months ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

IATA said the industry would monitor new satellite-based systems likely to become available over the next few years. 

It is also exploring with manufacturers whether to make tracking and other systems tamper-proof but said this could not be achieved any time soon, because of the complexity of adopting and certifying changes to any aircraft system. 

Some airlines already track aircraft but procedures vary widely. Airline industry leaders have said keeping track of aircraft in real time by adding new systems could push up ticket prices. Some say governments should pay part of the cost.

Some regulators say better tracking would help rescuers reach crash sites more quickly and allow investigators to recover black boxes, which would help prevent future accidents.


Stafford Regional Airport (KRMN), Virginia: Set to take off? First of a two-part series

Recently, an anonymous letter was sent to Stafford Regional Airport Authority chairman Henry Scharpenberg regarding development of the airport. That letter was reproduced in the Nov. 21 edition of the Stafford County Sun.

Cord Sterling, R-Rock Hill, of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a telephone interview that he wrote the letter and emailed it to School Board members.

The letter detailed the supervisor’s concerns over expansion of the airport, safety issues, a new traffic route, donations made to board members and the long-term impact on home values. He also criticized the management of the Airport Authority

“If this were a private trade company and the CEO were given all these assets they would have been fired for poor performance,” Sterling said.

“We are still subsidizing them [the airport] heavily. I do think they need to put up and start economically developing or quit coming to us for money,” Sterling said, adding that he hasn’t seen much economic development activity from the airport over the past 10 years. “It appears to have become a private flying club.”


Regarding safety issues, Sterling speaks of a “northern standard traffic pattern that will take it [the flight path] over the Colonial Forge High School and existing neighborhoods.”

According to airport manager Ed Wallis and Scharpenberg, the northern route is already in place and has been since the airport opened.

At present, the route is not in use due to “bird impact” issues. Two cells at the nearby county landfill attract flocks of birds, Scharpenberg said. As a plane approaches the airport the birds may interfere with the craft, becoming safety issues for pilot, passengers and those below.

Some airports employ companies that specialize in keeping birds away from airport operations, Scharpenberg said. Once the cells are filled and covered, the birds will go elsewhere.

Before that route can be used again, the airport must get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The northern route will take planes over the Colonial Forge subdivision, but only “nick” the edge of the high school property, Scharpenberg has said.

Sterling said he does not feel the route is foolproof, however. “Pilots are on one side or the other most of the time,” he said.

Airport manager Ed Wallis has said that pilots will follow the path as delineated in the accompanying image. Deviation from that path is minimal.

Sterling disagrees and feels that sooner or later, a pilot will fly over the school.

“It’s not like a railroad track,” he said, speaking of the route. The southern route, he says, goes over neither schools nor subdivisions.

Runway extension

Sterling said he would like to see the runway extension stopped until the airport can prove it can produce the business it was designed for and it needs to be accountable for the funds the county has given it to operate.

The runway extension is for the benefit of jets, Scharpenberg and Wallis said. A jet may land at the airport but will not take off with a full load of fuel due to gross weight issues. By extending the runway, the fully fueled jets will be able to take off.

Having the capacity to handle these craft increases the airport’s ability to attract clients, Scharpenberg said.

“Stafford airport continues to develop the infrastructure necessary to attract the corporate clientele we need in Stafford County, at comparatively minimal cost to the taxpayer,” wrote county Supervisor Paul Milde, R-Aquia. “Completion of the runway extension will finally allow this asset to realize its true economic potential for our economy.”

Present economic returns

“What are we going to see for the cost of it? What does the county get? Where are the businesses the airport has brought in? We’re not getting industry,” Sterling said.

According to a report prepared by several consulting firms at the behest of the Virginia Department of Aviation in 2011, every $1 spent at a Virginia airport contributes an additional $3.48 in economic activity for Virginia.

According to the same report, 107 jobs have been generated by the airport’s presence, seven being full time positions at the airport. Other potential growth listed in the report includes agricultural spraying, emergency medical aviation, flight training, traffic news and reporting, staging area for community events, gateway for VIPs, public charters, freight/cargo and recreational flying and parachuting.

Sterling questions the reliability of that report, he said. Many of those jobs, he said, would be in the county whether the Stafford Regional Airport existed or not. The results of that report are speculative at best, he said. Those jobs are created, he said, in the general area of the airport.

“Show me names of the people in those jobs and I’ll believe it,” he said.

If the Stafford Airport were to close, medical aviation would just move to nearby Shannon Airport and the jobs it afforded wouldn’t just disappear, he said.

Fuel is the primary commodity that the airport can sell, Wallis said. Jet fuel is sold primarily to corporate and military/government entities and AVgas is for piston aircraft.

The airport sold 208,216 gallons of jet fuel and 53,553 gallons of AVgas in FY 2014, Wallis said. Of the AVgas, he estimates that 25 percent was for corporate use.

Aviation Adventures, Apex Motorcycles and aircraft owners are another source of revenue since they rent space at the facility.

The county’s investment

Other money from the county was an interest free $133,000 moral obligation loan in 2008, Wallis said. The loan is paid through the 55 percent of fees obtained from the leasing of the second corporate hangar. The loan was to keep the airport from defaulting, Scharpenberg and Wallis said.

In April 2009 personal property tax was reduced on aircraft, and hangars filled up, creating more revenue by the airport, Wallis said.

The county loaned $1.4 million, interest and term free, in summer of 2012 to help build the new terminal. The remainder of the cost was covered by a grant from the Virginia Department of Aviation. The airport repays that loan with 55 percent of their corporate rents. Being term free, the airport may take as long as it needs to repay it.

Of the $1,100 monthly rent paid by Aviation Adventures, $605 goes to paying the loan off, Wallis said.

An annual subsidy of $150,000 is paid to the airport, with 57 percent coming from Stafford, the remainder from Prince William County and Fredericksburg. Since the airport’s opening the subsidy was lowered from $200,000 as the airport increased its revenues, Scharpenberg said.


Recently, the Engineering Groupe of Woodbridge was turned down in their request to build Oakenwold, a planned traditional neighborhood development, on 232 acres in the airport corridor.
The developer met with opposition from the Authority and was turned down by a 5-1 vote of the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 16.

George Washington Village is a proposed residential development in that area and the Authority is concerned about the proximity of the development to the airport.

“Are we saying they can’t build anywhere? No. We are saying wait for the land use guidelines [to be] accepted before any plan is put into place,” Scharpenberg said.

A proposal by the Airport Authority and the county Planning Commission delineating use of land in the Centreport Parkway corridor was presented to the public Nov. 6 at the airport. Mike Zuraf, a principal planner for the county, stated the need for such guidelines was created when the land became of interest to developers. The land was included as one of several urban development areas created by an updated comprehensive plan in 2010.

“Even with those guidelines, the present comp plan does not call for residential housing in that area,” Scharpenberg said.

In a draft titled “Compatible Land Use Study,” developed by Talbert and Bright Inc. in May 2014, the following developments were deemed incompatible in an airport overlay district:

• Urban residential-high density

• Life Care/retirement community

• Urban development

• Planned traditional neighborhood development

The following were described as potentially compatible zoning classifications:

• Suburban residential

• Urban residential-medium density

• Manufactured homes

• Urban commercial

• Office

• Heritage interpretation

• Suburban commercial

• Recreational business campus

• Recreational business campus

• Planned development 1 and 2

Compatible zoning classifications were:

• Agricultural

• Rural residential

• Convenience commercial

• Light industrial

• Heavy industrial

• Rural industrial

Sterling cast one of the votes for the denial of the Oakenwold development.

“It was in the path of the southern route,” he said. The northern route takes planes over the Colonial Forge subdivision. So what’s the difference regarding safety issues, he said.
“I’m bewildered by that,” Sterling said. “I don’t think the two are compatible.”


Harbour Air: Seaplane Airline Has Served Region For 30 Years

There are few things more distinctly West Coast than the sight and sound of a floatplane racing across a stretch of water for take-off, an event familiar to every resident of Nanaimo. “When the Olympics were on we were kept very busy flying media crews from around the world on sightseeing tours and the one thing they couldn’t get over were our aircraft,” explained Randy Wright, Executive Vice President of Harbour Air.

Described as the largest seaplane airline in the world, Harbour Air operates more than 50 aircraft of various sizes, primarily de Havilland Beavers and Otters. “Canada pretty much invented the concept of Bush Pilots, and these Canadian designed aircraft have proven to be the best ever designed,” he said. “Nothing anywhere has even come close to the quality, usability and functionality of these classic machines.”

Nanaimo’s seaplane base, which is owned by the Nanaimo Port Authority and is leased to Harbour Air, is home to four of the company’s air fleet. Founded in 1982, Harbour Air has grown over the decades, in part by acquiring smaller floatplane equipped air carriers. Today the company’s workhorse aircraft is the venerable single engine Otter, but with its original piston power plant replaced by a state of the art gas turbine engine. The Nanaimo operation employs 27 people, from pilots and receptionists to dock crews who load and fuel the machines as they come and go.

“Nanaimo is a busy base,” Wright said. “There are more than 16,000 flights in and out of Nanaimo each year – 8,200 between Nanaimo and Vancouver, 5,000 between Nanaimo and Richmond (where the Harbour Air corporate offices are located) and about 3,000 linking Nanaimo to Sechelt. That traffic involves more than 117,000 passengers each year.”

The existence of other modes of transport between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, such as the new Helijet helicopter service or the planned fast ferry service don’t cause Wright much concern.

“There’s a lot of traffic occurring, there’s plenty of business for everyone. The helicopter might be faster, but there aren’t going to be many of them, so the actual passenger numbers will be fairly low. They have been talking fast ferry for a long time and we’ve yet to see it. Even when it does, people are still going to want the speed and convenience of downtown to downtown access,” he speculated.

“There are a lot of people who commute by air every day to Vancouver. With the low housing prices and other benefits of living on Vancouver Island there are many people who would much rather live on the Island and work in Vancouver. There may be a few, A very few days in the year when we can’t fly, but on the whole it’s a very reliable service. Safety is always one of our top priorities, so if we feel it’s not wise to fly we won’t. But it’s not the sort of thing that happens very often.”

With a proven track record of success, a fleet of updated classic aircraft and plans for enhancing the travel experience for its passengers (including offering pre-recorded commentaries to be heard over passenger headphones) Harbour Air is intending to be a key component of the Vancouver Island transportation mix for decades to come. “Our founders took the ‘Bush Plane’ mentality and turned it into an airline,” Wright said. “Now we’re going to expand on what we do, bringing the floatplane experience to a wider audience, that’s something we’re really going to push in the months ahead.”

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Boeing laying off another 360 workers in El Segundo, Long Beach and Huntington Beach

Boeing plans to lay off 360 employees at three of its Southern California locations by Jan. 1, bringing total job losses for 2014 to more than 1,600.

Ninety-eight jobs will be lost in El Segundo, home to Boeing’s satellite division, 137 in Long Beach and 125 in Huntington Beach.

By Jan. 23, another 53 jobs in El Segundo, 95 in Long Beach and 29 in Huntington Beach will be cut.

The layoffs were posted to the California Employment Development Department’s website, as required under the WARN Act, which forces companies to warn communities in advance of significant layoffs.

By January 2015, Boeing will have cut 1,629 jobs in the region, 300 of which were based in the South Bay.

Almost half of the layoffs are coming out of Long Beach, where Boeing will end production of its C-17 Globemaster cargo plane by next fall. The factory closure is affecting about 2,200 employees.

“We’re losing about 100 employees a month,” said Randy Sossaman, president of the United Aerospace Workers Local 148, which represents the hourly employees working on the C-17.

The last C-17 is making its way through the factory and teams of employees are being laid off as they finish their work.

Boeing announced in April that it plans to relocate about 1,000 engineering jobs to facilities in Seal Beach and Long Beach over a two-year period.

The company opened a customer support call center in Seal Beach in September. The center will provide technical support for airlines that operate 13,000 commercial Boeing planes around the world.

Boeing employs about 19,000 workers in California.

In a statement, a Boeing spokesman said the company “carefully links its employment levels to business requirements.”

“These employee layoffs are being driven by the difficult business and economic conditions that all companies have been experiencing,” spokesman Stephen M. Davis said. “Employment reductions, where they occur, are in response to specific requirements in specific segments of our business.”

The company, he said, has “followed all contractually required provisions when reducing employment levels in our union-represented workforce” and provided career transition assistance to employees.

Sossaman, who conducts final inspections on the C-17 aircraft, will be about a year and a half shy of 55 when the plant closes next fall, which means he’ll lose out of medical benefits and full retirement pay.

He said he’s been applying for other jobs, inside Boeing and elsewhere, but hasn’t had much luck.

“It’s hard. People don’t want to hire people in their 50s,” Sossaman said. “I feel like I got penalized because I was born too late.”


Plane crash leads aviation museum to open

On Oct. 13, 1984, a tragic airplane accident claimed the lives of seven people and became the impetus for creating a memorial in their name — the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum.

The symbol for the museum is a 1945 PBY Catalina, the “flying boat,” a World War II Navy patrol bomber that was restored by the Tyler Lone Star Wing of the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) in the early 1980s.

The plane crashed into the shallow water of Laguna Madre with 10 passengers aboard.

Co-pilot Doug Hall, of Longview, Dan Shieldes, of Hideaway, and Gerald Gardner, of Tyler, survived.

Tylerites Joe Cromer, 66, president of Cromer Insurance Co., a colonel in the U.S. Air Force during World War II; Kenneth Allmond, 60, a retired American Airlines pilot and Bob Ennis died in the crash. Joe Dacus, 58, of Jacksonville, president of Astro-Air Corp.; Bobbie Schultz, 55, of Kilgore, the wing’s historian and Oliver Patterson, 66, a doctor from Oklahoma, also died in the crash. Homer Schultz, 60, of Kilgore, the wing’s deputy safety officer, died eight days later in a Tyler hospital.

The PBY was in Harlingen for the annual Confederate Air Force air show, where hundreds of World War II aircraft were on display and flown.

The plane was about 95 percent restored and had just received a new authentic World War II paintjob before the 1984 airshow, HAMM member Tim Spence said.

Spence, 59, worked on the plane restoration, in which he said many of the victims played a vital role. Some donated money. Some donated time, skill and money.

The PBY and more than 50 Lone Star Wing members made a trip to Harlingen in 1983 after most of the restoration was complete, Spence said. The trip was a “great time,” he said.

But it wasn’t without its own suspense.

The front landing gear would not lower during the approach in Harlingen, he said. Passengers were moved to the rear of the plane and going over procedures for landing without the nose gear as people with technical knowledge of the plane searched for possible problems, he said.

In the end, it turned out a switch had come loose and a quick fix allowed the plane to land normally.

In 1984, the PBY returned with another group representing the Lone Star Wing.

It was on a photo mission when it crashed. A photographer was on board an AT-6 to take photos for the Confederate Air Force’s 1985 calendar and was looking for an action shot befitting the amphibious plane.

The pilot was asked to get close to the water to create a wake to look like the plane was landing or taking off.

Mike Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Confederate Air Force at Harlingen, told a Tyler Morning Telegraph reporter that the plane was flying low in an attempt to “create a wake, to simulate a landing. It came to an abrupt halt and then it flipped over.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the crash was due to pilot and co-pilot error.

The plane inadvertently touched the water at 105 miles per hour and decelerated violently and broke apart.

Gardner was the flight engineer on the flight and in the conning tower between the wing and the fuselage.

He said he remembered looking out the small window and seeing the water passing by in a blur and then the sound of crumpling metal, “like a tin can,” he said. His next memory was being partially submerged in the ocean covered in gasoline and sure he was about to die.

It was dark, but Gardner said he saw a light and decided to swim for it. He doesn’t know how but he reached the surface and climbed onto the floating wing.

“I remember thinking, “God, I’m the only one alive,” he said.

Hall and Shieldes joined him shortly on the wing. Fishermen were the first to respond to the crash and took the survivors on a 45-minute ride through the bay to waiting ambulances.

Spence had flown back to Tyler because of a death in his family. He said he was shocked when he turned on the 10 o’clock news and saw the victims’ bodies lying on the plane’s wing covered in blankets.

Spence said not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of the crash. He said those who died were patriots, aviation enthusiasts and great people. Gardner said the victims were “great, great people,” who loved flying and sharing their passion.

“It was a traumatic experience, and I know it’ll bring back bad memories for some,” he said.

The memorial museum emerged out of the tragedy.

Both men credited Bob Layton as the driving force behind making the memorial museum a reality.

The Historic Aviation Memorial Museum became the entity to preserve the memory of the crash and its victims and survivors. The museum was called the Historic Aviation Foundation prior.

The HAMM’s genesis was the PBY and a hangar proposed to store the newly renovated plane on the east side of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.

The museum opened to the public in 2002. The library and archives includes hundreds of books, videos and technical manuals related to aircraft and aviation history.

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NTSB Identification: FTW85FA012.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 26726.
Accident occurred Saturday, October 13, 1984 in PORT ISABEL, TX
Aircraft: Consolidated-Vultee PBY-6A, registration: N16KL
Injuries: 7 Fatal,3 Serious.

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


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

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

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

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

Contributing Factors