Friday, December 26, 2014

Learning To Fly

The demand for airline pilots is about to "exponentially increase" over the next 20 years. That's according to one of the biggest names in the flight business: Boeing. In fact, Boeing officials predict they'll need more than 530,000 more airline pilots to meet the global need. Plus, the number of private pilots has declined 17% since 2003. So what does it take to start getting your pilot's license? To simply start learning!

Take it from Victor Gelking: you can fly at any age! In his 80's, Gelking is an area aviation legend with more than 30,000 hours in the skies and hundreds of student pilots who he's taught how to soar. But this humble instructor makes it clear: flying isn't as hard as it looks.

"Well it's kind of the fear of the unknown." He says, "People say, 'I could never do that!' Actually, flying is easier to do than driving. Just a little more skill involved."


"The most dangerous part of my job is driving from my home to the airport!" Gelking says with a hearty laugh. "Flying is a lot safer than driving."

And he proved that. What may surprise most people is the extensive work that has to be done on the ground before anything can happen in the sky. It's called the preflight check. You check everything on the aircraft to make sure it's running properly. Everything from the hinges, to flaps, the wings, rudder, gasoline, propeller and much more.

Gelking says, "This is why flying is safer than driving because we check everything before we fly."

As you start to get comfortable around the plane and inside of it, Vic is right - it's not nearly as foreign of a concept as it may seem. This is just the beginning for people like me, looking to fly the skies for recreation. And it's something that's more attainable than you think.

"When I solo someone, I enjoy the smile on their face! They're really proud of themselves when they solo. And it's not that hard, it really isn't. it's just the fear of the unknown," says Gelking.

To get your private pilot's license, you must have at least 40 hours, pass various solo flight tests, a written knowledge test and practical test. Through more hours in the sky, you work your way up getting different aircraft-type ratings. The bare minimum number of hours for a commercial license is 250, but major airline pilots have many more hours than that.

You can get your license through Vic's Aviation and Flight Instruction -- which is located at 1631 19th Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102 - it's the building to the west of the Fargo Air Museum. You can call Vic to schedule a lesson at (701) 293-8362.

Story and Video:

Yakima applying for grant to spruce up airport access roads

 YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima wants to spruce up some of the streets around the airport. It's applying for a $500,000 grant to pay for it.

Yakima wants to extend S. 21st Avenue into the airfield to improve the access of local hangars. It also wants to relocate and widen Airport Lane near the National Guard armory. The city hopes that will encourage more hangar business on the airport's south side.

The project would cost about $700,000.

Story and Video:

No Violation of Safety Norm or Unfair Seat Allotment, Says Air India

NEW DELHI:  Air India today said its fight safety wing is looking into the allegation of a daughter of a senior pilot resting in a bunk, meant only for use of flight crew members, during one of its flights to Newark from Mumbai recently.

However, it asserted that the incident "did not affect the flight safety of any crew". The airlines also rebutted allegations made by a former cabin crew that one of the airline's pre-booked first class passengers was denied a seat to accommodate a senior bureaucrat during one of its flights from Frankfurt.

KVJ Rao, a union leader and former Air India cabin crew, had alleged in his complaint, lodged with the civil aviation secretary, that a first class passenger was forced to sit in the executive class on one of the national carrier's flight to Delhi from Frankfurt to accommodate a senior bureaucrat last month.

Besides, Mr Rao had also alleged in the complaint that the daughter of a senior Air India pilot violated DGCA norms as she was first allowed to sit on the jump seat and then rest in the bunk during the 14-hour long flight to Newark in the US from Mumbai on December 13.

"The daughter of the captain travelling or resting in a crew seat did not affect the flight safety of any crew as she was resting in the cabin crew rest area where in six business class seats are allotted for cabin crew to rest during the flight," an Air India statement said.

The flight safety department has been asked to look into this issue and submit a report, the statement added.

On the issue of denial of seat, it said, "There was no first class on the said aircraft which was a Dreamliner 787 which operated from Frankfurt to Delhi. The upgrade was based on subject to availability and the said upgraded passenger did not deny any revenue paying passenger of a seat."

"After the closure of the check in, a business class passenger who arrived on a delayed Air Canada flight and missed her connection wanted to urgently travel to India and voluntary agreed to travel economy class since the flight was full," the statement added.

Therefore, the allegation that the officer was bumped up to first class at the expense of the legitimate passenger is totally incorrect, Air India said.


Cumberlink Year in Review: No. 9 - South Middleton plane crash; Cessna 172, N4214F, accident occurred March 24, 2014 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

The Sentinel counts down our staff picks for Cumberland County's top 10 stories of 2014. We will release, in reverse order, two stories a day, counting down to our top story to run on Dec. 31.

On March 24, residents along Forge Road in South Middleton Township got a late-night surprise when a light plane crashed in the middle of the road in a residential area.

The plane, a Cessna 172, managed to miss the utility wires, but collided with tree tops and impacted the ground a little after 11 p.m. March 24.

A National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot was Chuck McClure, of Washington state, who had just bought the plane from Edgar Spurlin of Canaan, New York. Spurlin told The Sentinel that McClure had left the airport with the plane after closing the transaction before Spurlin was aware he had gone.

In the report filed by McClure and released June 17, McClure said he took off from an airport near Canaan around 5:45 p.m. that day and expected to land at Carlisle or near there when the battery died and he lost electrical functions.

“(I) tried landing north of Carlisle, but could not see (the) runway,” McClure wrote in the report. “(I) returned to altitude and flew on. About three miles out from Carlisle, aircraft ran out of gas and I was forced to land. At the last moment, I saw an opening in the trees ahead of me and made a hard 90-degree turn to my right to land on (the) roadway and avoid houses. Caught on trees ... and landed on center line of roadway.”

McClure said in the report that emergency crews cut off the door and removed the pilot’s side seat to extricate him from the plane. He was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Local officials credited McClure with being able to avoid damaging any houses or nearby property.

A number of local residents were still awake at the time of the crash and reported hearing the crash or seeing it struggle to fly overhead before crash landing on the road.

Read more here:

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA171
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 24, 2014 in Carlisle, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N4214F
Injuries: 1 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.

According to the pilot he had purchased the airplane and planned to fly it across the country "via the southern route." The aircraft seller informed the pilot that the battery held a limited charge, but asserted that the airplane could be flown if the pilot charged the battery and disengaged the master after takeoff. Prior to departure, a mechanic charged the battery for about an hour. The pilot had planned to depart, fly for about 4 hours and then begin to look for an airport to land and obtain fuel. Once he reached his cruising altitude the pilot disengaged the "master." After about 4 hours of flight and in nighttime conditions the pilot found an airport beacon, reengaged the "master" and attempted to activate the runway lights. After several unsuccessful attempts and with the cockpit lights beginning to dim the pilot elected to conserve battery power and find a new airport. About thirty minutes later the pilot found another airport beacon. The airplane "ran out of gas" over a residential area three miles from the pilot's final destination. The pilot made a turn to line the airplane up with a street; however, during the descent to land the airplane collided with tree tops and subsequently impacted the ground resulting in substantial damage to the engine firewall and both wings. The pilot reported the "electrical system failed in the last few minutes of flight" as the only mechanical failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to depart with a known mechanical malfunction and his improper fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and subsequent impact with terrain during an off-airport landing.

Senators right to rescue service for public safety

A measure of gratitude is due Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, who rallied to keep a U.S. Coast Guard station in Charleston open and thereby preserve -- temporarily, at least -- helicopter search-and-rescue operations that serve Beaufort County.

This rescue function serves an important role in a county that could not easily or immediately replicate the service had it been halted as originally planned.

Now, the task is to make this restoration permanent. Graham and Scott, both Republicans, say they will work toward that end.

The senators announced Dec. 11 that Air Facility Charleston will remain open through Jan. 1, 2016, under a provision included in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. The provision puts a moratorium on closing any Coast Guard stations that were still open on or before Nov. 30, Graham explained in a video posted to his website.

Three days after the announcement came a reminder how important search-and-resuce capability is in a coastal area: A helicopter from Air Facility Charleston helped rescue four people from a burning boat off Murrells Inlet.

The closing of the Coast Guard facility on Johns Island and a facility in Newport, Ore., was announced in October but has been criticized by officials in Charleston and Beaufort who worry emergency-response times will increase and lives will be jeopardized. Had the Charleston facility been closed, the helicopter stationed there would be transferred to Savannah temporarily, then moved to a new area.

The Coast Guard Reauthorization Act approved an $8.7 billion budget for 2015. The "budget-driven" closures would have saved the Coast Guard $6 million, Graham said.

There's no telling how many lives the cut would have cost. Thanks to the efforts of Graham, Scott and others in Congress, upon whom better judgment prevailed, we won't have to find out.

At least, not for another year.


Douglas DC-3A-S1C3G, N43XX: Incident occurred December 26, 2014 at Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL), California

Event Type:  Incident 

Highest Injury:  None

Damage: Minor


Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Riverside FSDO-21


An engine caught fire as a plane landed at Riverside Municipal Airport on Friday afternoon, Dec. 26, but no one was reported injured, according to reports.

All occupants of the airplane appeared to evacuate safely, a Riverside Police Department helicopter officer said. He reported that the plane was a DC-3 and that about 10 people were standing on the east end of the runway.

The helicopter officer said that the plane did not crash and that the fire appeared to be out. Firefighters arriving on the scene said they did not see any flames.

A battalion chief said the engine caught fire as the plane was landing but that someone was able to put out the flames.

The incident was reported about 5:20 p.m.


Uncertainty about Export-Import Bank causing trouble for some firms

Air Tractor Inc., a Texas manufacturer of agricultural and firefighting airplanes, was excited about a multimillion-dollar order from Africa, but fresh questions about the future of the U.S. export-assistance agency now threaten the sale.

The company has started acquiring the parts needed to assemble the aircraft, including ordering Canadian-made turboprop engines that cost $350,000 to $700,000 apiece and take six months to deliver.

The deal requires insurance from the Export-Import Bank, the agency that makes or backs loans to foreign companies that buy U.S. products.

Many conservative Republicans have pushed to shut down the bank, calling its assistance corporate welfare. The White House and supporters in Congress wanted a five-year extension but settled in September for a last-minute, nine-month reauthorization of the bank.

The short-term extension, however, did little to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the bank.

And that's stirring up trouble for firms such as Air Tractor, which can't be sure if the agency's loans and other aid will be available after June 30.

"We've been waiting on a down payment for this contract for some time, and it's being delayed because of his concerns that the financing might not go through," Tyler Schroeder, Air Tractor's financial analyst, said of the unnamed buyer.

"If we are unable to perform on that contract, we then have to take those aircraft out of the production schedule," he said. "But we've already got the material, so we're stuck with that inventory. And it's large enough that we might have to cut back on employees."

Air Tractor, which had about $75 million in revenue last year, employs 260 people at its Olney, Texas, facility, Schroeder said. Exports account for about 50% of the company's revenue, and Ex-Im insures about half of those transactions, he said.

"When we realized we weren't getting a five-year deal, nervousness started to set in," Schroeder said about the reauthorization.

He wasn't alone.

"We are hearing from our smallest members to our largest members that the continued uncertainty over the long-term fate of the Ex-Im Bank is causing a lot of concern," said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Assn. of Manufacturers.

As the Sept. 30 reauthorization deadline approached, foreign competitors of U.S. exporters used the uncertainty over the bank's financing to try to lure away sales, she said. That's likely to happen again as June 30 approaches.

U.S. companies compete against firms in China, Brazil and many European nations that also offer assistance to their exporters.

"There are 60 other export credit agencies around the world and they would like nothing more than to have us out of the picture," Ex-Im President Fred Hochberg said. "Every time I travel overseas, I have to speak to potential customers of U.S. goods and services and have to assure them we're here."

But with strong Republican opposition to the bank, it's unclear how long it will continue to operate.

In January, Republicans will take control of the Senate to go with their House majority.

Heavy business lobbying, led by major bank financing recipient Boeing Co., persuaded House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to include a short-term reauthorization of the bank in a government funding bill in September.

But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) favors closing the agency. And the bank's leading opponent, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), hasn't let up on his criticism.

Hensarling blasted the bank in November after Reuters reported that it mischaracterized potentially hundreds of large companies and subsidiaries of major firms as small businesses.

"He believes Congress should allow Ex-Im to expire on schedule because it's fundamentally unfair to small businesses and taxpayers," said Jeff Emerson, Hensarling's spokesman.

Although the bank pays for its operations solely through interest and fees on its aid, critics note that taxpayers are on the hook for any losses on the bank's $140 billion in outstanding assistance.

But the bank, founded in 1934, has not had to seek a taxpayer bailout since the 1980s. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the agency provided $20.5 billion in export assistance and sent $675 million in profits to the Treasury. That followed a record $1.1 billion in profits last year on $27.7 billion in aid.

As the effects of the 2008 financial crisis have ebbed, the agency's assistance has decreased as stronger private banks have been able to provide more financing.

Still, Ex-Im supporters said, its aid is essential to many transactions, such as those in emerging markets that private banks will not back.

"I'm dead in the water if the insurance program goes out of business," said Payne Hughes, president of Thrush Aircraft in Albany, Ga. "There is no private insurance out there today."

His company, which has about $50 million annual revenue and 200 employees, makes planes for farmers to spray their fields. The aircraft cost $900,000 to $1 million each and there isn't enough profit in the deals for private insurers, Hughes said.

Exports make up about 80% of Thrush's sales. Buyers in South America and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere don't submit orders until June and July each year, after they harvest their crops in late spring, Hughes said.

With Ex-Im's status up in the air after June 30, he's pushing customers to try to commit earlier. If Congress doesn't reauthorize the agency, it would be prevented from making new deals but would stand behind ones already approved.

"I'm trying to get as many sales as I can before June in case it does go kerplunk," Hughes said.

One of his main competitors is a Brazilian company that has export assistance from that country to help sales, Hughes said.

Westinghouse Electric Co., which builds nuclear power plants, has the same concerns as it competes against state-owned firms or foreign companies with more stable export assistance, said Mark Murano, president of Westinghouse's Americas division.

"You need to minimize any doubt of anything to get these projects to move forward," he said. "The short-term reauthorization may have solved some of the political wrangling that's going on but it doesn't give us the long-term authorization we want."

Bank supporters are pushing for a long-term reauthorization. The manufacturers group has been meeting with newly elected members of Congress to press their case, Dempsey said.

Schroeder has contacted lawmakers as well. If the bank shuts down, it will not only hurt Air Tractor but the small Texas community two hours northwest of Dallas where it's located.

"The mere uncertainty that this is creating is something that a lot of business do not know how to handle," he said. "This is a tough industry … and to have your own government basically making it twice as difficult as it should be is very disheartening."

- Original article can be found at:

Socata TBM700, N944CA: Fatal accident occurred February 02, 2007 in Dartmouth, Massachusetts

NTSB Identification: NYC07FA065. 
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, February 02, 2007 in Dartmouth, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2007
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N944CA
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

During the flight, the private pilot/operator was most likely seated in the left seat. He obtained his instrument rating about 7 months prior to the accident, and had accumulated approximately 300 hours of flight experience; of which, about 80 hours were in the accident airplane. The commercial pilot/company pilot was most likely seated in the right seat. He had accumulated approximately 1,000 hours of flight experience; of which, about 125 hours were actual instrument experience, and 80 hours were in the accident airplane. The commercial pilot had filed a flight plan to the wrong airport, received a weather briefing for the wrong airport, and therefore was not aware of the NOTAM in effect for an out of service approach lighting system at the destination airport. When the commercial pilot realized his error, he changed the flight plan, but did not request another weather briefing. According to radar information, the airplane flew the instrument landing system runway 5 approach fast, performed a steep missed approach to 1,000 feet, and then disappeared from radar, consistent with a loss of control during the missed approach. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions were identified with the airplane during the investigation. The reported weather at the accident airport included an overcast ceiling at 200 feet, visibility 1 mile in light rain and mist, and wind from 160 degrees at 4 knots. The investigation could not determine which pilot was flying the airplane at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Both pilots' failure to maintain aircraft control during a missed approach.

This report was modified on December 11, 2007.


On February 2, 2007, about 1940 eastern standard time, a Socata TBM 700, N944CA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, during a missed approach to New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB), New Bedford, Massachusetts. The certificated commercial pilot, certificated private pilot, and a passenger were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts, about 1917. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the business flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was based at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania. The private pilot operated the airplane through his legal practice, and was visiting Massachusetts to meet colleagues. The commercial pilot was employed as a company pilot for the legal practice.

According to data from Lockheed Martin Corporation, the commercial pilot contacted the Williamsport Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) about 0925 on the day of the accident. He filed an IFR flight plan for a trip from ABE to BOS, with a proposed departure time of 1300. The flight service specialist accepted the flight plan, and provided a standard weather briefing for the flight, which included Notices to Airmen (NOTAM). The airplane subsequently flew uneventfully from ABE to BOS.

The commercial pilot contacted the Williamsport AFSS again about 1600. He filed two IFR flight plans. The first flight plan was from BOS to "Bedford B-E-D," (erroneously, not New Bedford) with a proposed departure time of 1700. The second IFR flight plan was from Lawrence G. Hanscom Airport (BED), Bedford, Massachusetts, to ABE, with a proposed departure time of 2000. The commercial pilot requested a weather briefing for the flight from BOS to BED, and was provided a standard weather briefing, which included NOTAMs for BOS and BED.

The commercial pilot contacted the Williamsport AFSS a third time, about 1710, and advised that he needed to make changes to two IFR flight plans. First, he asked that the destination of his first flight plan be changed from "Bedford" to "New Bedford." The commercial pilot then asked if the flight service specialist knew the three-letter-identifier for New Bedford as the commercial pilot was not near a map or computer at the time. The flight service specialist then provided the correct "EWB" identifier for New Bedford. The commercial pilot also changed the departure time from 1700 to 1730.

For the second flight plan, the commercial pilot changed the departure point from BED to EWB, for the return flight to ABE. The flight service specialist then stated that he would change the flight plans. The commercial pilot thanked the specialist and ended the telephone call. The commercial pilot did not request a weather briefing for the flight to EWB.

While at BOS, the airplane was fueled, and then departed for EWB. According to radar and voice data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight proceeded toward the instrument landing system (ILS) approach for runway 5 at EWB.

At 1935, the flight intercepted the localizer course, about 3 miles prior to the NEFOR intersection. At that time the airplane's radar target indicated an altitude of 1,900 feet and a groundspeed of 180 knots. The flight was handed off from Providence Approach Control to New Bedford Tower, and subsequently cleared to land.

At 1936, the flight crossed NEFOR. At that time, the airplane's radar target indicated an altitude of 1,400 feet and a groundspeed of 200 knots. The EWB tower controller advised the flight that two preceding aircraft landed about 10 to 15 minutes prior, and "broke out" about 300 feet, which was acknowledged.

At 1937, the flight was approximately 1 mile from the runway 5 threshold at EWB. At that time, the airplane's radar target indicated an altitude of 300 feet and a groundspeed of 160 knots.

About 15 seconds later, the airplane's radar target indicated a left climbing turn to 1,000 feet, at a ground speed of 140 knots. The radar target was subsequently lost. During that time, one of the pilots reported a missed approach to EWB tower. No further transmissions were received from the accident airplane after the radar target was lost. The investigation could not determine which pilot was flying the airplane at the time of the accident. 

The accident occurred during the hours of night; located about 41 degrees, 40.06 minutes north latitude, and 70 degrees, 58.57 minutes west longitude. 


The commercial pilot, age 23, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. The commercial pilot reported 1,700 hours of total flight experience on the application for his most recent FAA first class medical certificate, issued January 8, 2007.

The commercial pilot completed formal training for the make and model accident airplane in July 2006, at SIMCOM, Pan Am International Flight Academy.

The commercial pilot's logbook was recovered; however, the last entry was dated September 29, 2006. There was no record of all of his flight time between the last entry and the day of the accident. According to the logbook, as of the last entry, the commercial pilot had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 1,037 hours; of which, about 113 hours were in multiengine airplanes, and 924 hours in single engine airplanes. The commercial pilot also recorded about 125 hours in actual instrument meteorological conditions, 91 hours in night conditions, and 65 hours in the accident airplane.

The private pilot, age 53, held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single engine land. He obtained his private pilot certificate in November 2005. The private pilot also obtained an instrument rating on July 24, 2006, and reported 300 hours of total flight experience on his most recent FAA third class medical certificate, issued on December 14, 2006. The private pilot's logbook was not recovered. According to a witness who spoke to the private pilot about 1 week prior to the accident, the private pilot reported 80 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane. 

There was no record that the private pilot completed a formal training course for the make and model accident airplane.

According to a flight instructor that had flown with both pilots, during the month prior to the accident, the private pilot flew from the left seat, with the commercial pilot in the right seat. The flight instructor described the commercial pilot as a fantastic instrument pilot.

The flight instructor added that the private pilot flew during a 6-year period, about 10 years prior to the accident. He did not have a pilot license at the time, but flew about 600 to 700 hours as a student pilot receiving instruction, primarily in multiengine airplanes. The private pilot subsequently misplaced his logbook containing a record of that flight time. The private pilot did not count that time when applying for his private pilot or medical certificates. The flight instructor estimated that the private pilot had accumulated about 400 to 450 hours of flight experience since the lapse in flying. The flight instructor described the private pilot as a low experience instrument pilot, who occasionally became distracted or fixated on one instrument.


The airplane was manufactured in 2001. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on July 7, 2006. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 478.8 total hours of operation. 

The airplane was equipped with an engine monitoring system, which periodically recorded data during different phases of flight. According to the last record, captured during the cruise portion of the accident flight, the airplane had accumulated 647.38 hours of operation.

Review of a pilot's information manual for the same make and model as the accident airplane revealed that the published approach speed with the flap in the landing configuration was 80 knots. Further review of the manual revealed that the flap operating range was from 60 knots to 122 knots. The flaps could be selected to three positions: UP (0 degrees extension); TO (10 degrees extension), and LDG (34 degrees extension).


The reported weather at EWB, at 1939, was: wind from 160 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 1 mile in light rain and mist; overcast ceiling at 200 feet; temperature 33degrees Fahrenheit (F); dew point 34 degrees F; altimeter 29.58 inches Hg.


Runway 5 at EWB was 4,997 feet long, 150 feet wide, and consisted of asphalt. The runway was equipped with a medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR), which was out of service, and a NOTAM was in effect at the time of the accident. The runway was also equipped with high intensity runway lighting (HIRL), which was operating at the time of the accident. 

The instrument landing system approach for runway 5 at EWB had a decision altitude of 274 feet mean sea level (msl), 200 feet above ground level (agl), with a visibility requirement of 1/2 mile. The outer marker was NEFOR, which was 3.9 nautical miles from the runway threshold. The crossing height at NEFOR was 1,339 feet msl.

The missed approach procedure was a climb to 700 feet, then a climbing left turn to 1,700 feet, direct to NEFOR and hold.


The wreckage was located in a wooded area about 1 mile west of EWB, and was examined on February 3 and 4, 2007. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site. A debris path was observed, which originated with severed trees at descending heights, on an approximate 260-degree magnetic heading for about 30 feet to an impact crater. The main wreckage was located about 30 feet beyond the impact crater, and the debris path terminated at the right wing, located just beyond the main wreckage. The main wreckage was resting on its right side, and oriented about 100 degrees magnetic. The horizontal stabilizer had separated from the main wreckage, and was located to the right of it. The cockpit area had also separated from the main wreckage, and was resting to the left of it. The left wing, the left main landing gear, and the nose landing gear were located near the impact crater. The propeller was located near the left wing, and the engine was located near the cockpit.

The left wing separated near the wing root, outboard of its attachment point, and the left aileron remained attached to the wing. The left flap had separated from the left wing, and was resting near it. The left aileron control cables were fragmented and the cable ends were broomstrawed, consistent with overstress. The right wing also separated near the wing root, and outboard of its attachment point. The right main landing gear remained in the right wing. The right aileron and right flap separated from the wing, and were located nearby. The right aileron control cables were also fragmented and the cable ends were broomstrawed, consistent with overstress. Each wing contained three flap actuators. One flap actuator was recovered from the left wing, and two flap actuators were recovered from the right wing. Measurements of all recovered actuators corresponded to an approximate 20-degree flap extended position.

The horizontal stabilizer had sheared off its attach points. The left elevator remained attached, and the right elevator had separated, and came to rest near the horizontal stabilizer. The left elevator trim tab was deflected upward and locked, consistent with impact damage, and the right elevator trim tab was approximately neutral. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the rudder. Flight control continuity for the elevator was confirmed from the cockpit area to the point of horizontal stabilizer separation.

All four propeller blades exhibited s-bending, and one blade was sheared at the tip. The engine was disassembled for inspection. Rotational scoring was noted on the gas generator and turbine rotors. Examination of the cockpit revealed that the landing gear switch was in the down position; however, the switch lever had separated consistent with impact damage. Both altimeter setting windows displayed "29.58," and the radar altimeter bug was positioned to 280 feet. The flap indicator needle was mid-range between the takeoff and landing setting. The rudder trim needle indicated "center," and the elevator trim needle was missing.


Autopsies were performed on the pilots by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Boston, Massachusetts. 

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilots at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 


A handheld global positioning system (GPS) unit was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the Safety Board's Vehicle Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Due to damage sustained in the accident, no data could be extracted from the unit.

On February 3, 2007, the FAA conducted a flight inspection of the ILS runway 5 approach at EWB. Review of the Flight Inspection Report revealed that the facility operation was found to be satisfactory.

A lawyer said Friday he intends to dispute some of the charges against the estates of Peter Karoly and his wife, Lauren Angstadt. The couple died in a 2007 airplane crash.

After an epic seven-year legal battle that divided a prominent Lehigh Valley family and contributed to the downfall of its most well-known member, the estates of Allentown medical malpractice attorney Peter Karoly and his wife are worth more than $10.1 million, according to financial filings.

Even with staggering administrative and legal expenses, Karoly's legacy remains worth $5.22 million today, and his wife, Dr. Lauren Angstadt's, is worth $4.93 million, said accountings submitted this week in Northampton County Court on behalf of their estates' court-appointed administrators.

Though a lot of money, that's a far cry from the $40 million suggested by a financial document discovered after Karoly and Angstadt's unexpected deaths in 2007. And an attorney for the beneficiaries said they plan to contest the administrative costs, which reach several million dollars and which he called "astronomical."

"It's excessive and it's shocking and it's our intention to challenge and to object to this accounting," said the lawyer, Robert Goldman.

When Karoly and Angstadt were killed in their 50s in a private plane crash in Massachusetts, they left behind a tangled financial web that included a law practice, a dental practice, real estate holdings and several medical businesses in South Carolina.

Their deaths also sparked a bitter family feud over their wealth, with Karoly's sisters accusing one of their brothers — now disgraced and jailed attorney John Karoly Jr. — of forging the 2006 wills that he submitted after the couple's deaths.

Forgery also was the conclusion reached by a federal grand jury that indicted him, his older son J.P. Karoly, and Dr. John Shane, who witnessed the documents — though a plea bargain by John Karoly Jr. in a larger criminal probe led to charges in the wills being dismissed. And after a lengthy civil trial in 2011, a special master found the 2006 wills were genuine, a recommendation upheld in June by the Superior Court at appeal.

Under the wills, Peter Karoly's and Angstadt's estates will be split eight ways among his nieces and nephews — including John Karoly Jr.'s sons, J.P. and Joshua Karoly. That works out to roughly $1.25 million each before taxes, though those numbers don't include the bills the beneficiaries incurred hiring Goldman and another lawyer, Philip Lauer, for their courtroom fights.

"Phil and I have been working without payment to date," Goldman said Friday. "But I can assure everyone that our fees are much more modest than those of the administrators and estate lawyers."

The administrator of Peter Karoly's estate, retired Lehigh County judge Thomas Wallitsch, did not return a phone call seeking comment, nor did Harry Newman, a Hanover Township, Lehigh County, lawyer who administered Angstadt's estate.

Their final accountings still represent a larger inheritance than the heirs' attorneys had publicly suggested the estates would wind up being worth. Last year, Lauer complained that the administrative costs had depleted the legacy to the point that only roughly $3 million remained, under a preliminary accounting.

The final figures were filed in orphans court on Monday and Tuesday.

Peter Karoly's estate totaled $14.6 million, brought down by reductions that included $3.6 million in debts, $2.2 million in federal and state inheritance taxes, $2 million in administrative expenses and $1.4 million in legal and accounting fees.

Angstadt's estate totaled $8.1 million, tamped in part through $1.2 million in debts; $1 million in taxes; $594,000 in administrative expenses and $445,000 in legal and accounting fees.

The expenses the estates faced included everything from lawn care at properties the couple owned to utility and real-estate tax bills, country club fees, appraisals and locksmiths. The costs spanned several states, given Peter Karoly's and Angstadt's place of death and business interests outside of Pennsylvania.

Among the fees:

•Wallitsch and his former law firm, Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, billed $867,000 to Peter Karoly's estate.

•Angstadt's estate was billed $267,000 from Harry Newman & Associates and $111,000 from Steven Molder, an Easton attorney.

•ParenteBeard, an accounting company, charged $413,000 to the two estates.

Originally, John Karoly Jr. had an interest in the estates, but he renounced it in 2010 as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Now 64, he is serving 61/2 years in federal prison for failing to pay taxes on more than $5 million of income and other financial crimes. He is incarcerated at a medium-security facility in Butner, N.C., and isn't scheduled to be released until May 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Peter Karoly's and Lauren Angstadt's estates are valued at $10.1 million, according to financial filings. Here are some of the costs that pushed that number down:

Inheritance taxes: $3.21 million

Administrative expenses: $2.62 million

Legal, accounting fees: $1.85 million

Source: Northampton County Orphans Court filings

- Original article can be found at:

October 31, 2011: Trial begins in will dispute over Peter Karoly, Lauren Angstadt estate

A senior Northampton County judge is set to decide a will dispute over the multimillion-dollar estate left behind by attorney Peter Karoly and his wife, Lauren Angstadt, after they died in a 2007 plane crash.
Senior Judge Isaac Garb is presiding as a special master over a trial that aims to determine whether a 2006 will presented by Karoly's brother, John Karoly Jr., or a 1985 will supported by the Karolys' three sisters is the final, legal document.

Kim Karoly Luciano, of Kissimmee, Fla.; Joanne Karoly Billman, of Monks Corner, S.C.; and Candice Pamerleau claim John Karoly Jr. created a second will dated in 2006 to replace one Peter Karoly had drawn up in 1985.

The 2006 will leaves a significant portion of Peter Karoly’s estate to John Karoly Jr., while the 1985 document splits the estate among the couple’s surviving family members.

Testimony began today. John Karoly Jr. is not a party to this week's proceedings.

In May 2007, federal prosecutors began investigating John Karoly Jr. for allegedly forging his brother’s will. During that investigation, federal authorities found errors in Karoly’s tax filings and charged him with failing to pay $1.5 million on $4.1 million in income in 2002, 2005 and 2006. He also defrauded two charities out of $500,000 in a scheme to avoid taxes and keep the money for personal use.

In 2008, John Karoly Jr. was indicted along with J.P. Karoly, who is John Karoly Jr.'s son, and Dr. John J. Shane for allegedly faking the wills of Peter Karoly and Angstadt.

John Karoly Jr. pleaded guilty in July 2009 to tax evasion and fraud in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to dismiss the fake will charges against Karoly, his son and Shane. Prosecutors dismissed the fake will charges without prejudice, meaning the charges could be refiled in the future.

Under the plea agreement, Karoly was to withdraw from the civil will case, which he did, but he also directed that any of his interests in the estate should be transferred to his younger son, Joshua Karoly.

Supporting the 2006 will are Joshua Karoly and three other beneficiaries. Joshua Karoly and Gregory Azar Jr. are represented by attorney Robert Goldman, who represented John Karoly Jr. in his federal criminal case.

Today’s testimony began with Roy Miller, a friend of Peter Karoly and an employee and investor in eRAD inc., a medical and diagnostic imagining company that was founded and owned by Peter Karoly and Angstadt.

Miller said he knew Peter Karoly had a brother and sisters. Miller acknowledged he knew Karoly Billman because she operated two of eRAD’s centers in South Carolina.

Miller said the first time he met John Karoly Jr. was at Peter Karoly’s funeral, but that he had seen John Karoly Jr. one time before. Miller said that during a lunch meeting, Peter Karoly had pointed out his brother was at the restaurant, but didn’t call John Karoly Jr. over.

At a separate dinner meeting, Miller said, an eRAD board member asked what would happen to the business if something happened to Peter Karoly. Miller testified Angstadt didn’t say anything but pointed to Miller.

Also today, the executor of Angstadt’s estate and a trustee of Peter Karoly’s law firm discussed noted discrepancies in the 2006 will.

Notably, there was only one witness to the 2006 will when Peter Karoly would have wanted more, the witness testified. Also, Peter Karoly had a will policy of having clients sign each page of the will on the bottom right-hand side, but the 2006 will does not have those signatures, according to the testimony.


China Encourages Airlines to Use Domestically Produced Jets

Chinese airlines are being directed toward buying domestically-produced jets for their regional routes.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China is promising to help Chinese airlines develop their regional routes, and at the same time, is trying to nudge them toward using domestically-manufactured jets on their domestic runs.

The Administration is pointing specifically to the ARJ21.

ARJ21, short for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, is viewed by the CAAC as a suitable jet to move small numbers of passengers from city to city.

Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has received nearly 280 orders for the ARJ21.

- Original article can be found at:

AirLyft kicks off in Tampa February 1: New airplane ride share company wants to be the Uber of the skies

The idea behind new ride share company AirLyft was inspired by the more well-known Uber and Lyft car services. CEO Dan Balda said while commuting to work from Ormond Beach to Melbourne the idea dawned on him.

"Why not fill up the rest of the seats in my four seat aircraft, because most of the time it's just myself," Balda said.

And the idea of carpooling the skies was born. The company said standing in its way are loosely written FAA regulations that require commercial certification in order to fly and charge passengers.

His company, he says, wants to be thought of much like Uber in that non-commercial private pilots are matched with people looking for a ride.

Even more, Balda said, the company will allow you to take a private charter (interstate distances) for about the same price as driving. 

He said currently the FAA allows pilots to fly friends and family to share the cost when flying to a destination together. But it does not allow the passenger to pay the entire cost of the flight or even pay more than the pilot. Balda said he would like to see this rule more clearly defined and enable pilots to charge to carry passengers in the extra seats. 

Tampa pilots say the company, like Uber and Lyft, seems to be attempting to skirt FAA oversight, which is extensive, costly and constant. They say without paying the extra fees, of course flights are cheaper. 

Will Smith, a local commercial, private and instructing pilot, questions who will make sure planes are up to standard and who will conduct thorough medical checks of each pilot. His main concern is for the safety of passengers.

"How do you know who's flying you around? How do you know when the last maintenance check was done?" said Smith. "If you break down in a plane, you can't just pull to the side of the road." 

Balda said every pilot will be background checked and insured through the company, however pilots will not be charging passengers until cleared by the FAA. Until then he says pilots will accept donations for the flight, of which one third will fund maintenance at their home airport, another third will go to lobby the FAA for regulation changes and a third to AirLyft. 

The company plans to use the Tampa Bay area as its test region beginning Feb. 1.

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Southwest releases summer schedule for Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (KECP), Panama City, Florida

WEST BAY — Southwest Airlines recently released its 2015 summer flight schedule for Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), which includes five daily flights Sunday through Friday, along with 11 flights every Saturday.

“We are pleased with the summer schedule,” said Airport Director Parker McClellan. “We will be able to have daily service to Baltimore, Nashville, Houston, St. Louis and on Saturdays we will have 11 Southwest flights beginning on June 13, 2015.”

Southwest’s Saturday flights, which will likely continue through early August, also include two flights to a new destination at Dallas Love Field. Other Saturday flights in the summer include three to Houston, and two each to Baltimore, Nashville and St. Louis.

United Airlines also will begin offering twice-daily service from ECP to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) beginning March 8.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said the airline’s scheduling decisions are based on the demand created by local customers.

“Any flight addition indicates an investment by our company in providing low fares and great customer service with our people and planes to support travel that Northwest Floridians, and those headed to visit you, would want,” Hawkins said.

For Southwest, that demand varies month-to-month with the area’s seasonal tourist economy.

After providing three daily flights in November and December, Southwest will drop down to just two flights per day in January and February, one each to Nashville and Houston.

In March, the airline will offer six daily flights, including two each to Nashville and Houston, and one flight each to Baltimore and St. Louis.

Through the remainder of the spring and summer, Southwest will have five daily flights, dropping one flight to Houston.

The daily flights scheduled for spring and summer next year show a slight reduction from the six daily flights offered throughout summer 2014 and seven daily flights in March.


Airline’s Facebook page shows fake promo


MANILA, Philippines—The country’s biggest budget carrier got “pranked” on Friday by a fake promo apparently launched to appease passengers affected by flight cancellations on Christmas Day.

The promo, claiming that Cebu Pacific was allowing “1,000 lucky Juans to receive free flights for two to any destination,” was posted on the “CEB Pacific” Facebook page—which Cebu Pacific later said was not its official account.

“Cebu Pacific Air would like to apologize for the situation at Naia Terminal 3 on Dec. 25, 2014,” the fake page said.

The post included a photograph of Cebu Pacific’s packed passenger counters in what appeared to be Naia 3, where the Gokongwei-led carrier mainly operates.

CEB Pacific’s page was still a big hit among netizens, who either believed such a promo was true or were willing to amuse themselves online.

Within two hours after the promo was posted, it had drawn over 20,300 Facebook “likes” and more than 18,300 comments.

In their comments, people wrote down some of Cebu Pacific’s popular international destinations, like Japan and Singapore. Others posted more exotic locales the carrier has yet to reach, like Nepal and “the Vatican.”

In its official account, Cebu Pacific said: “We have already reported this page (CEB Pacific) to Facebook, and will continue reminding everyone to be vigilant.”

As of 4:20 p.m. Friday, the CEB Pacific page was still online and continued to lure likes and comments.

- Original article can be found at:

Jim Whinery: World War II vet views life through rear-view mirror

Jim Whinery will tell you he wasn’t much of a forward thinker as a younger man.

After all, as a rear turret gunner in a Dauntless dive bomber, he never got to see where he and his pilot were headed – only where they’d been and who was chasing them.

In fact, at 91, the Modesto resident now spends his days looking back, remembering his days in the Marines and in the Pacific during World War II. He surrounds himself with mementos and photos from what he considers the most adventurous time of his life. There is but one regret:

“I had three recommendations to go to Pensacola (Florida) to become a pilot,” Whinery said. “But I didn’t take it. I would have had to commit to eight more years. Woulda, shoulda, coulda ... .”

Because if he had become a pilot, yes, he probably would have flown during the Korean War and maybe even stuck around for Vietnam and made a career of it. Instead, he mustered out and became a welder and machinist by trade.

“I worked on a job just about everywhere in California,” Whinery said.

Many of those jobs involved working with or around asbestos, a material treasured because it didn’t burn – until it became a known cause of cancer and respiratory problems.

“I brought asbestos in the house with me every day,” he said. His wife, Glenna, who taught in the Sylvan School District, shook the dust off of his work pants and washed them.

“She died of mesothelioma (a diseased caused by asbestos exposure) eight years ago,” he said.

They both were born in Tabler, Okla., and settled in Modesto after the war.

“When I was born, the preacher’s wife and the neighbor’s wife delivered me,” Whinery said. “It would have taken the doc two weeks to a month to get to me, and my mother wasn’t going to wait.”

He was born in a home with no running water or indoor plumbing of any kind. The town, Tabler, is little more than a spot on the map these days.

“It’s just gone,” Whinery said. “It just disappeared.”

He joined the Marines and was sent in 1943 to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides island chain in the South Pacific, where he and his dive bomber pilot flew with Lt. Greg “Pappy” Boyington, later immortalized in the TV show “Baa, Baa Black Sheep.”

“We flew side by side,” Whinery said. “They flew Corsairs. He waved to me (from his plane). There were three battles where they kept (Japanese Zero fighters) off of us.”

Bombs from Whinery’s plane hammered a Japanese carrier that, he was told later, sank. “It’s still down there as far as I know,” he said.

In one battle, a Japanese plane came so near that Whinery could see the pilot’s face as he shot down the Zero. The threat of being killed, and seeing the loser up close, is a moment etched his memory.

Others aren’t so dramatic, including being in a plane his pilot chose to fly upside down. And when they buzzed villages inhabited by cannibals on the island of Efate, they were on their own.

“You’d look down and they had their shields and throwing their spears at us,” he said. “And I have a Thompson submachine gun buried on Efate. I want to go back and get it, but I don’t think the years will let me.”

In late 1944, he was on Admiralty Island in New Guinea awaiting to board a ship headed to Iwo Jima, where perhaps the most famous battle of the war in the Pacific took place in early 1945. But the ship filled up and he was ordered to stay ashore on Admiralty. Many of the men on that carrier perished during the fight for Iwo Jima.

By that time, Whinery had two years of air combat experience. “They’d send you back home (for R&R),” he said. “I went home and didn’t return.”

In August 1945, atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nakasaki and ended the war. That’s when they offered Whinery the opportunity to attend flight school and sit in the part of the plane facing forward. Instead, he mustered out in 1946.

“I’ve regretted 100 times not signing up, staying in the United States Marine Corps and being a pilot,” Whinery said.

Oh, he later flew ultralight planes here in the Valley, but it was nothing like the speed, thrill and, yes, danger of being in a warplane and in a war.

“Talking about it is one thing,” he said. “Being there and seeing it is a different thing entirely.”

Instead, he became a welder. He and Glenna were married in 1946, and eventually moved to Modesto to raise their family.

He worked on boilers in steam rooms, where there was lots of asbestos. He welded on jobs from Fresno to Santa Cruz to Contra Costa County, and virtually all of them involved asbestos. After Glenna’s death in 2006, the family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit and won a jury award, a major portion of which he donated to a mesothelioma research foundation.

Meanwhile, the asbestos still in his own lungs requires him to keep oxygen tanks handy.

The Marine memorabilia that decorates his room reminds him of the most exciting, threatening and glorious time of his life.

“It sure does,” Whinery said. “It was the greatest, for sure.”

From the rear turret of the Dauntless dive bomber, in battles over the Pacific Ocean, he looked back so that he could go forward.

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Alight before six-month notice period, Spicejet tells 50 pilots: Move to generate savings of R7 crore on wages over three months

Even as it awaits investors, troubled low-cost carrier SpiceJet is busy trimming costs. On Friday, the airline’s management asked around 50 captains of its Boeing 737 fleet to leave by the end of the month, despite the six-month notice period stipulated by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Most of these pilots had resigned around October-November this year and were expected to join rivals like IndiGo and Jet Airways around March.

The move will help SpiceJet cut the wage bill, resulting in savings of about Rs 7 crore over three months. This is significant given the carrier is finding it tough to meet daily working capital costs of Rs 8-9 crore. The airline is currently on a cash-and-carry mode with oil companies (it needs to make daily payments) while the Airports Authority of India, whom it owes over Rs 200 crore, has extended it credit till December 31. All in all, the airline has liabilities of over Rs 2,000 crore towards various vendors, lessors and even the taxman.

“Further to your resignation, the management has approved your release from SpiceJet wef 31 December 2014 … If you stand on your decision to resign we will be relieving you with your last working date with SpiceJet as December 31 2014,” a letter seen by FE said.

According to a DGCA rule put in place a few years back, pilots have to serve a six-month notice period if they resign, unless the airline reduces this by itself. In most cases, airlines want pilots to serve the full notice period because of the time and investment required for recruits.

A SpiceJet source added on the condition of anonymity, “This is a very wrong move. As per the rule pilots have a six-month notice period, so whichever new airline they are joining has booked training slots accordingly. Asking them to leave early will mean a salary loss for pilots because they cannot join the new airline early and will have to stay home.”

SpiceJet is keen to reduce its pilot strength because it has sharply cut its fleet in the past few months to cope with its precarious financial position. It currently has about 200 B737 commanders, though it needs only about half of that. Compared to 35 Boeing 737 aircraft in July, the airline today has just about 20. Of this, only 18 are operational, as confirmed by COO Sanjiv Kapoor on Friday. Additionally, the airline has 15 smaller Bombardier Q400 aircraft that fly regional routes. SpiceJet is currently operating 230 flights a day, down from about 340 in July 2014.

Incidentally, the airline’s white knight and ex-promoter Ajay Singh wants to restore SpiceJet to its lost glory by regaining the fleet and network strength after he takes charge of the airline. FE had reported in its December 22 edition that Singh was in talks with lessors to take back aircraft that have been returned over the past months.


Teen Pilot's Dreams Soaring High

When Robby Whalen was twelve, his mom gave him a present he would never forget: the chance to ride in a small airplane. Since that first flight, where he rode in the plane’s cockpit, soaring over land and water, Robby knew this was something he would love to do for the rest of his life.

"After that first flight… I mean there’s nothing like it, it’s the greatest experience in the world," he remembers.

After deciding that flying was for him, Robby began working with flight instructor Jeffrey Sherr of Brett Aviation. The end goal of their lessons: for Robby to earn his pilot’s license. Over the summer before his senior year, he worked endlessly in an attempt to earn it by the time he turned 17, the youngest age you can legally become a pilot.

As part of this training, Robby made his first solo flight, a feeling he will never forget.

"It was pure ecstasy; it’s one of the greatest feelings. It’s like driving a car for the first time for the first time by yourself – but even crazier,” he said.

And by the time he turned 17, an age when most of his friends were just getting behind the wheel of a car, Robby was ready to take to the skies. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are just 3000 pilots between the ages of 17 and 19 in the United States.

Jeffery Sherr, who worked—and flew-- with Robby throughout the process, knows how unique this makes Robby.

"It’s a very small community of pilots in America, maybe 600,000 pilots, and within them, he is one of the smallest percentage that there are, not that many achieve it at that young an age.”

As far as the future is concerned, Robby is hoping to use his talents in the sky to make a difference. He has already applied to the Air Force Academy, and will here back in January. If accepted, he hopes to become a fighter pilot, defending freedom in the air.

And for anyone interested in learning to fly, Robby is adamant that all it takes is passion, determination, and that first flight.

"If anyone has any pursuit or desire to fly, give it a try."

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