Monday, August 31, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration warns six Miami towers could be too tall

The FAA notified developers of six high-rise towers in Miami in August that their proposed projects could be too tall, including two condo buildings by the Related Group.

The “notice of presumed hazard” letters are interim warnings and not final rulings. They’re based on the FAA’s initial findings that the towers could obstruct or have an adverse physical or electromagnetic effect on aircraft landing at Miami International Airport, which is west of downtown Miami.

The developers have 60 days to request that the FAA conduct further study and open for public comment, which could take an additional 120 days.

Miami-based Related Group got FAA letters on its Auberge Residences and Spa at 1400 Biscayne Blvd. and its unnamed residential/hotel tower at 444 Brickell Ave. The developer wanted Auberge to reach 530 feet and 444 Brickell to soar 635 feet, but the FAA recommended 445 feet and 465 feet, respectively.

Carlos Rosso, head of condo development at the Related Group, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Florida East Coast Realty got an FAA warning for its 1201 Brickell Bay, proposed with 955 feet and 787 residences. Yet, the FAA said those plans should be cut to 489 feet. FECR VP Dean Warhaft said he's been in touch with the FAA reviewers and he's confident the high-end condo project will be approved at 995 feet tall.

"This is really not a big deal. It's part of the process," Warhaft said.

New York-based Chetrit Group’s CG Miami River wants its mixed-use project on the Miami River to rise 622 feet, but the FAA said it should be restricted to 421 feet. Located at Southwest 3rd Avenue between Southwest 5th Street and Southwest 6th Street, the project would have a mix of residential, hotel, retail and office space. Chetrit representatives could not be reached for comment.

Louis R. Montello’s Regalia Beach Developers, the same group that built the Regalia condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, plan to build a 969-foot-tall Regalia Biscayne at 340 Biscayne Blvd. The property, currently a hotel, is under contract to be sold to them. Yet, the FAA said the tower should be only 457 feet tall.

The Elysee Residences aims to be the tallest condo tower in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, but not if the FAA gets its way. Two Roads Development’s proposal for a 644-foot tower at 700 N.E. 23rd Street could be cut to 467 feet.

"We are aware, and were expecting, the FAA determination letter, which is a standard administrative notice and prerequisite to the commencement of the formal review process," Two Roads Development said in a statement. "Two Roads along with its counsel and consultants have been in continuous communication with the FAA administrator throughout the submission and are following the same protocols as we did with the Biscayne Beach application, which concluded with a determination of no hazard."

Executives for Regalia Beach Developers could not immediately be reached for comment.

It should be noted that the FAA’s findings are preliminary and further study could ease its height restrictions for these projects. Still, this is a reminder why Miami likely won’t have Dubai-style skyscrapers.

Original article can be found here:

Asian Pilot Demand Lifts Flight Schools: Boeing says region’s carriers will need over 200,000 new pilots in next two decades

The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 31, 2015 2:54 p.m. ET

SYDNEY—The outback Australian airstrips of Glenn Innes and Mangalore were built to repel potential Japanese invaders during World War II. Now, these runways and some near California’s wine country and in Arizona are looking to welcome droves of Asia’s student pilots.

These schools—some planned and some already operating—are aiming to tap the boom in commercial aviation in Asia, where a growing middle class with an itch to travel has made it the world’s largest market by annual passenger counts, according to the International Air Transport Association. But that surge has left carriers short of pilots, and safety concerns have underscored the need for good schools.

World-wide, the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization says as many as 8,000 new students a year are needed at commercial flight schools to keep up with demand, primarily from Asia. Recent training-academy acquisitions indicate that establishing schools to accommodate those needs could cost more than US$3 billion. Training a pilot takes about a year, depending on the student’s aptitude.

Asia has few flight schools or instructors, and the U.S. and Australia are popular places to train cadets because of their strong safety records. Fatality rates per one million departures for large commercial passenger aircraft from 2009 through 2013 were 29.9 for Asia, and 1.2 for North America, according to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.

The pilot training crisis is growing so acute that even manufacturers such as Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE have begun calling for global action to develop more schools. Without new pilots, some of the 14,330 new planes Boeing predicts Asian airlines will need across the next 20 years won’t be able to be put into service, costing manufacturers billions in lost orders. In total, Boeing forecasts Asian airlines need 226,000 new pilots in the next two decades, more than North America, Europe and Africa combined.

Among the student pilots at the Australian Wings Academy, a school near the Gold Coast, is Kelvin Hsu, a 38-year-old former office worker from Taipei, Taiwan. He says that last year, after he quit his job and left his family to chase his dream of being a pilot, he chose the Australian school over an Asian one because he felt the best airlines would hire only those pilots trained overseas.

“I decided to come here to get a higher-quality pilot training,” he says, adding that he expects his job prospects are good. “By the end of my training there will be a huge pilot shortage.”

Despite the boom, however, it is tough to make a profit training pilots.

New colleges require fleets of aircraft, runway refurbishments and boarding houses. After that, operators still face the difficulty of getting contracts with airlines—a task that can be fickle because the business is cyclical. Many schools are small, training 100 students or fewer, making profitability a challenge.

School operators also complain that some students have fabricated English credentials, which can make training more time-consuming, because the instruction must begin at a more rudimentary level, and more costly, because full-time English tutors might be needed.

Phil Sweeney, who runs a pilot training academy in California’s Napa Valley, plans to double its student numbers to 400 in the next few years. But he adds that this isn’t likely to solve Asia’s pilot shortage because many other schools are struggling to stay open.

“It is a very risky area to get into,” says Mike Drinkall, general manager at the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy in the suburbs of the Australian city of Melbourne.

New schools are banking on scale to help them succeed, and looking to take over remote airports in the U.S. and the Australian outback to cut the costs often associated with training pilots at busy city airports.

CAE this year announced a rare deal to train as many as 650 China Eastern Airlines Corp. cadets during the next five years. CAE, a Canadian training firm, sold a 50% stake in its Melbourne school to China Eastern for an undisclosed sum as part of the deal to ensure the two parties shared this risk.

In Glenn Innes, a town in Australia’s New South Wales state once famed for tin and sapphire mines, a consortium known as Australia Asia Flight Training, led by airline veterans including the former deputy general manager of defunct national carrier Ansett Australia, reached a deal with the local council to take over the airport there.

The consortium is trying to raise about 25 million Australian dollars, or roughly US$18 million, to build the first stage of what could be the world’s largest pilot training facility, with the potential through further investment to train 1,000 new pilots each year. The students would mostly come from Asia, according to Neil Hansford, one of the businessmen behind the project. The school plans to seal contracts with airlines after its facilities are built, Mr. Hansford said.

In Kempsey, an old sawmilling town less than 200 kilometers away from Glenn Innes, Hainan Airlines Co., China’s biggest privately owned carrier and its fourth-largest in terms of fleet size, recently announced a plan to build a 300-cadet-per-year pilot academy at the small local airport.

China Southern Airlines Co., which has grown to become Asia’s largest carrier, already trains 250 cadets a year at a college in the Western Australian wheat farming town of Merreden, and roughly 100 more in a remote former military base in Mangalore near Australia’s southeastern seaboard.

New pilot training schools are also popping up across the U.S. In California’s Napa Valley wine district, Mr. Sweeney in 2014 reopened a training academy that had failed when it was operated by Japan Airlines Co., which spent roughly two years in bankruptcy protection starting in 2010, mainly because of its high debt combined with a slump in travel after the global financial crisis. Mr. Sweeney plans to rapidly ramp up capacity to keep costs down.

TransPac Aviation Academy at Deer Valley Airport near Phoenix has also been strengthening its relationship with Hainan Airlines, and now aims to train about 400 Chinese pilots each year.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna TTx T240, N452CS, H2 Aviation LLC: Accident occurred August 31, 2015 near West Houston Airport (KIWS), Harris County, Texas

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA392
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 31, 2015 in Houston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA T240, registration: N452CS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor reported that, before the instructional flight with the private pilot began, the fuel tanks were filled to capacity and he visually checked the quantity of the fuel in the tanks during the preflight. The flight instructor reported that, after taking off and completing the instrument flight rules training procedures, they returned to the airport and performed three full-stop landings. During the final takeoff, as the airplane was about 300 ft above ground level, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and subsequently conducted a forced landing to a field. The airplane landed, continued moving into trees, and then came to rest upright with the right main landing gear collapsed. 

A postaccident examination and three engine test runs were conducted, and no anomies were noted that would have precluded normal operation. The left fuel tank was found empty, and the right fuel tank contained about 25 gallons. Although the fuel selector valve was found in the “left off” position, it is likely that the left tank was selected during the accident flight and that the engine was starved of the available fuel.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, which resulted from the pilot’s inadequate fuel management and the flight instructor’s failure to verify the fuel level and fuel selector position in flight.

On August 31, 2015, about 1230 central daylight time, a Cessna T240 airplane, N452CS, made a forced landing after departure from the West Houston Airport (IWS), Houston, Texas. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to H2 Aviation LLC and operated by the West Houston Airport under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident. 

According to the flight instructor, they were conducting an instructional flight which included IFR training procedures. After the IFR training was completed, they returned to IWS and performed three full stop landings. On the final takeoff from IWS, they were about 300 ft above ground level when the engine experienced a total loss of power. The flight instructor took control and conducted a forced landing to a field beyond the departure end of the runway. The airplane landed and continued into trees where it came to rest upright with the right main landing gear collapsed. The instructor secured the airplane and called for assistance using a handheld radio. He reported that before the flight began, the fuel tanks were filled to capacity, which was 102 usable gallons. During the preflight inspection, the fuel quantity was verified and there were no contaminants observed. During the flight, both pilots switched the fuel selector in order to maintain fuel balance in the left and right tanks. Before the final takeoff, the fuel quantity gauges reportedly indicated 20 gallons on the left and 21 gallons on the right. Prior to the loss of power there were no digital or aural warnings noted from the crew-alerting system (CAS). He reported that the flight only lasted 1.81 hours and the average fuel consumption was 30 gallons per hour (gph); the airplane would have consumed about 54 of the 102 available gallons, leaving 48 gallons remaining. 

Several law enforcement officers arrived shortly after the accident and secured the scene. It was reported that fuel was leaking from the right wing fuel vent at the accident site. A plug was placed in the vent and no other fuel leakage was reportedly observed. The amount of fuel that leaked from the right tank was unknown. 

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that after the accident, the fuel selector knob was on the left OFF position and the emergency fuel pump was ON. The investigation could not determine when the emergency fuel pump was switched to ON. 

According to the FAA air traffic control (ATC) report, the airplane departed about 0953, the IFR flight plan was canceled at 1151 and the accident occurred about 39 minutes later. The flight was about 2.5 hours total. Using the pilot's average fuel consumption number (30 gph), the airplane would have consumed about 75 of the 102 available gallons, leaving 27 gallons remaining. 

On September 10, 2015, three engine test runs were conducted under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The Continental Motors engine remained attached to the airframe with no significant damage noted. The accident propeller had been replaced with another propeller for the test runs. The engine oil level was noted at 5 quarts. The airplane master switch was turned ON and the left fuel quantity gauge indicated 0 gallons, the right fuel quantity gauge indicated 25 gallons. All three test runs were conducted with the remaining fuel in the right tank. During the first engine run, the engine was warmed up at idle and a magneto check was completed in accordance with the checklist. No anomalies were noted. The engine power was then increased to 25 inches of mercury (in.hg) manifold pressure (MAP) and the engine was allowed to stabilize. The throttle was then advanced to the full forward position. Due to the condition of the engine mounts, it had been predetermined that after full power was reached the throttle would be reduced back to 25 in.hg MAP. As the throttle was reduced, a propeller pitch oscillation was noted. The engine was subsequently allowed to stabilize and cool down at idle before it was shut down in accordance with the checklist. Due to the pitch oscillation, a second engine run was conducted. During this run, a magneto check was again completed and the propeller was cycled. The engine was again advanced to maximum power. No propeller oscillation was heard during the throttle reduction. The engine power was set to 25 in.hg MAP and the electric boost pump was actuated. The engine subsequently experienced a total loss of power. A third engine run was conducted. With the engine at 25 in.hg MAP, the fuel selector was moved to the LEFT tank position; within one minute the engine experienced a total loss of power. The digital instruments and CAS functioned normally during the engine runs. The engine examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 

As stated pilot's operating handbook, if the emergency fuel pump switch is switched to the ON position with the engine-driven fuel pump operating normally, total loss of engine power may occur. The engine manufacturer stated that when the engine is producing high power and the emergency fuel pump is ON, the engine can generally handle the extra fuel and the engine won't lose power. If the engine is at a lower power setting and the emergency fuel pump is ON, the engine is more likely to lose power.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA392
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 31, 2015 in Houston, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA T240, registration: N452CS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to chan
ge, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 31, 2015, about 1230 central daylight time, a Cessna T240 airplane, N452CS, made a forced landing after departure from the West Houston Airport (IWS), Houston, Texas. The flight instructor and private pilot under instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to H2 Aviation LLC and operated by the West Houston Airport as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the flight was operated an in instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident. 

According to the flight instructor they were performing the last touch-and go landing. They had just departed from IWS and were about 200-300 ft. above the ground when the engine experienced a loss of power. The flight instructor conducted a forced landing into a field beyond the departure end of the runway. The airplane landed and continued into trees where it came to rest upright. 

The airplane has been retained for further examination.

FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

WEST HOUSTON (Covering Katy) – A Cessna TTx T240 airplane force landed in a section of Cullen Park near the runway of the West Houston Airport early Monday afternoon. There were no injuries according to Houston Police.

The plane crashed in a field designated as an “airport safety area” across the street from the airport runway, inside Cullen Park.

Houston Police say there were two men flying in the aircraft when it went down. A Texas State Trooper who was also on the scene told Covering Katy the men said their engine failed shortly after takeoff.

There was a small amount of debris in the field where the plane crashed. It came to rest against a small tree where the field ends and the brush and trees begin.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been alerted and an investigator is expected to be at the scene later today.

The Westlake Fire Department also responded to the scene.

A small plane force landed Monday afternoon in a wooded area near West Houston Airport.

Harris County sheriff's deputies and Westlake Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responded to a location near the airport at 18000 Groschke Road in west Harris County.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said two men inside the plane were practicing a touch-and go landing when they experienced engine failure.

They were able to land the plane but it went off the runway.

Sky 2 aerials show the Cessna TTx T240 plane rested partially in some brush about 1/4 mile away from the airport runway.

DPS said no one was injured.

Lancair IVP, N864KM: Accident occurred August 30, 2015 Broward County, north of Coral Springs, Florida

Pilot Ken McKenzie 

WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

 MIAMI (WSVN) -- A pilot recovering in the hospital is thanking God after his plane crash-landed in the Everglades.

Pilot Ken McKenzie told 7News that he credits his faith and his military experience for getting himself and his wife out just in time. "I opened the door, jumped out. Everything was engulfed in flames. I turned around and Sonia was working to get out of her seatbelt, so I grabbed a hold of her," he said.

He is expected to recover after several days at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but as he looks over at his wife, who only received a cut and bruises from the crash, he is simply grateful he was able to lead her to safety. Officials released the 911 call that was made during the landing. "It appears he has gone down about 11 miles North, Northwest," the caller said. "We don't know if he's in the road, or if he's in the Everglades or anything. We've lost contact with him."

McKenzie said that he is astonished how his training from the military instantly resurfaced. "With the time I spent in the Air Force, we did a lot of training on jet aircraft and how to get out of an aircraft on the ground," he said. "It was funny how all those thoughts came back."

As an experienced pilot, he described how his decades of aviation and service in the Canadian Armed Forces served him well. "He's lucky to not have more severe burns given the nature of the accident," said Dr. Carl Schulman, of Jackson Memorial Hospital's University of Miami Burn Center.

Schulman described McKenzie's second degree burns that cover up eight percent of his body as painful.

Still, the McKenzie family's faith has not faltered. "It's in the book of Isaiah, and it's about God's angels who will take care of the distress and that fire that surrounds you," said the pilot's wife, Sonia McKenzie.

McKenzie's eldest daughter, Monika McKenzie, who they were flying to visit in Virginia calls him her hero. "Even while he's laying in his hospital bed, and he's doing this for me, he's thinking about others," she said.

"When I look at all of what could have gone much worse than it did, I think we have a great deal of faith that there's a plan for our lives," McKenzie said.

Doctors said that McKenzie may be a perfect candidate for a stem cell trial that speeds the recovery process in burn patients only offered at this hospital.


Date: 30-AUG-15
Time:  14:55:00Z
Regis#:  N864KM
Aircraft Make:  LANCAIR
Aircraft Model:  IV
Event Type:  Accident
Highest Injury:  Serious
Damage:  Destroyed
Flight Phase:  LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19
State:  Florida


MIAMI (WSVN) -- The pilot of a small plane is recovering in the hospital, hours after he and his wife crash-landed in the Everglades, off the Sawgrass Expressway, Sunday morning. 

Authorities said Ken McKenzie and his wife Sonia were heading to Lynchburg, Va. on board a Lancair IV-P when, shortly after takeoff from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, they ran into mechanical issues. "The pilot told his wife that they had engine problems with the oil pressure, and ultimately an engine failure," said Broward Sheriff's Office spokesperson Mike Jachles.

Faced with the certainty that the single engine aircraft was not going to stay airborne, McKenzie reportedly opted to head for an access road surrounded by mangroves and water near the Broward-Palm Beach County line, just before noon.

Witnesses fishing in the area said they were stunned by the commotion. "I see an ambulance coming down with lights on," said Julie Podmokly.

Officials released the 911 call made after the plane made its emergency landing. "He's in the Coral Springs vicinity. It appears he's gone down about 11 miles north-northwest," said the caller.

"How many souls on board?" asked the dispatcher.

"Two souls on board," responded the caller.

A thick black column of smoke helped rescue crews locate the couple. Dramatic photographs taken by the Coral Springs Fire Department captured the Lancair's charred remains. "The aircraft was completely destroyed by the flames. It's barely recognizable," said Coral Springs Fire Division Chief Mike Moser.

Jachles said McKenzie and his wife were injured, but they were able to exit the aircraft at the right time. "They were both really lucky to get out of the wreckage and sustain as minimal injuries as they did considering the impact," he said.

McKenzie was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is spending his birthday Monday, receiving treatment for severe burns he sustained after the crash.

Sonia was airlifted to Broward Health North, where she was listed in good condition. She was later released and spoke to the media about the frightening flight. "Really, really odd. It was almost surreal, as if I was watching it in a movie," she said. "We just spun around really quickly, and he had already unlatched the door like you're supposed to on approaching an emergency landing, and he said, 'Sonia, we have to get out.' He went to jump out, I undid our seat belts I noticed his wasn't, and he ran out onto the wing."

Sonia continued, "As soon as we touched down, there was orange and red flames everywhere. He jumped out, reached back to grab my hand," she said.

Investigators said the pilot's professional experience may have helped prevent a tragic outcome. McKenzie, a father of two, is a dedicated Calvary Chapel board member who works for Airbus Group. He spent 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. "I think our faith in God just ... I knew we were gonna be OK. If it was gonna be our time, it was gonna be our time, and apparently it's not, so we're here for a little longer, and I think God has a purpose for our life," said Sonia.

The crash remains under investigation.

Story and video:

Sonia and Ken McKenzie

A day after a pilot suffered burns during a fiery crash landing in the Everglades, he remained hospitalized in stable condition while his wife and passenger in the single-engine aircraft was treated and released. 

Kenneth McKenzie, former chief operating officer of Spirit Airlines and Canadian Armed Forces pilot, marked his 53rd birthday Monday at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

After Sonia McKenzie's release from Broward Health North, she told reporters she remained "surprisingly calm" during the dramatic landing into a levee in the Everglades near the Broward-Palm Beach county line.

"We just spun around super quickly," Sonia McKenzie, 50, said. "As soon as we touched down there were orange and red flames everywhere."

A 911 call from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport reporting that an airplane in the Coral Springs area had gone down came in at 10:44 a.m. Sunday.

"It appears he's gone down," the tower told the 911 dispatcher. "We don't know if he's in the road or if he's in the Everglades or anything, we've lost contact with him."

Shortly after the Fort Lauderdale couple departed the airport in a Lancair IV-P aircraft bound for Lynchburg, Va. they reported low oil pressure, authorities said.

The pilot told air traffic controllers he was unable to return to the airport and would attempt to land on a road near the Everglades, an FAA spokesman said.

Sonia McKenzie said that as they made their descent, her husband unlatched the door and told her: "'Sonia, we have to get out.'"

"It was almost surreal," she said, "like watching a movie."

After the plane went down, a thick column of black smoke rose into the air followed by gunshot-like explosions nearby anglers said.

Within minutes, a Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter landed a couple hundred feet from the burning aircraft. They were joined by Coral Springs firefighters who used foam and water to douse the flames.

The survivors were standing on the levee when firefighters arrived. The aircraft was completely destroyed.

Sonia McKenzie credited their survival to her husband's piloting experience and quick-thinking.

"I think God has a purpose for our life," she said.

Story and video:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Business magnet: Spruce Creek Fly-In home to several aviation service firms

Pahan Ranasingha stands Monday in the hangar of his building at Avionics Installations at the Spruce Creek fly-In in Port Orange, Florida.

PORT ORANGE —With more than 600 flying machines based at the Spruce Creek Fly-In, it's no wonder several aircraft businesses choose to call it home.

With a 4,000-foot runway as the community's centerpiece and about 13 miles of taxiways leading to homes — some where you can almost slide out of the cockpit into your dining room — the gated community is one-of-a-kind and a natural fit to aviation businesses that have discovered the benefits of a home-grown customer base.

The land under the Port Orange-area community was originally a U.S. Naval Air Force training facility during World War II, but after the war ended the property was left vacant and it attracted vagrants and teenagers looking for a party spot.

A group of five investors became interested in the property back in the late 1960s and decided to purchase it in the mid-'70s with the intent to create an airplane-friendly community. Another developer, Jay Thompson of Thompson Properties, bought the Spruce Creek Fly-In when it was for sale in the late '80s.

Now, the once-abandoned air park has become a haven for what residents call "toy enthusiasts," and that concentrated interest makes for a business niche like no other.


Pahan Ranasingha, owner of Avionics Installations Inc., opened up his firm in 1991 and works out of a Fly-In hangar on Cessna Boulevard.

Since that time, the firm's seven employees have had a constant stream of work at the two Fly-In commercial hangars he owns. So much so he was running out of space, but since the taxiways prevent a build-out, Ranasingha hired local contractor Mike Ceralosi to custom build an office inside the hangar that would still allow planes in.

Ceralosi came up with a design to make the office space at 212 Cessna Blvd. look like part of the fuselage of an old Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet and anchored it to the wall diagonally — 16 feet off the ground and out of the way of his employees.

Ranasingha, who incorporated his digital avionics, navigation and communication installation company in 1993, says being at the Fly-In has been the perfect location for him, in part because of his proximity to other aircraft machinists like Michael Collier, who operates an aircraft composite construction firm called Fibercraft in the Fly-In, across the taxiway from Avionics Installations.


Collier employs five workers who work with composite materials to build experimental aircraft, many of them one-of-a-kind. Case in point: one mock-up he and his crew designed included a fishing dock.

Collier started his business in Oregon in 1999. He relocated it to the Fly-In in 2012. The location just made sense, he said.

Most of my customers travel along the East Coast and the Fly-In is more convenient for them, he said.

In addition to building machines and kit planes from scratch and making body modifications, Collier has added inspections to the list of services offered. But before each of those inspections is made by Collier's company, Federal Aviation Administration rules state they have to be spick-and-span.

Enter Talon Rayne.


Rayne started a detailing business in the Fly-In two years ago when he realized all aircraft had to be cleaned before each annual inspection and every 100 hours of flight as part of the FAA's maintenance and safety regulations. While there is no rule against cleaning your own plane, it's a time-consuming process, which gave Rayne the idea to open up shop in the community.

Rayne's company, Aerodyne Detail LLC, cleans, polishes and restores aircraft and business has been booming. His firm takes care of more than 150 aircraft on a revolving basis, but it didn't start out easy.

Rayne went to school to get his license to become an aircraft mechanic a few years back. Since it takes at least three years to become certified to do inspections on aircraft and his mechanic work wasn't exactly taking off, Rayne said he was keeping his eye out for other avenues to keep the bills paid and he came across the FAA inspection regulation. He said that was the catalyst for deciding the Fly-In would be his niche.

At the time, since money was pretty tight, getting into the community to start his business was a leap of faith.

"When I got there I didn't know anybody," Rayne said. "It was kind of a roll of the dice to get in there and really see if I could make the business successful."

But now that he's spent time in the Fly-In, "Now it's happening," Rayne said. "We get new customers every month. It just keeps growing and growing."

Commercial space or hangar space can be rented at the Spruce Creek Airport or you can be mobile. But while you don't have to own property within the super high-security community to do business there it certainly helps. Rayne says having that network surrounding him where he lives is the main reason his firm is so busy.

"We know each other more than the average community does," said Rayne, who said that while 90 percent of his detailing work is done within the confines of the community, the other 10 percent is done at large air shows like the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, and the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he follows his clients.

"We're supporting people that are our neighbors," he said.

"Being inside Spruce Creek (Fly-In) really does lend a lot to your credibility," Rayne said.

On the other hand, "You've really got to bring your A-game if your going to be doing business in there," he said. "People will just basically ignore you if you're no good."

Rayne said he has customers bring him airplanes to detail from as far away as New Hampshire and considers that an honor and gauge of his success.

"If you're doing business and you're doing business well inside the Creek, then you're doing alright," he said.

Original article can be found here:

As an air traffic controller in the 1990s, I had to close down the airport due to bird activity --Tri Ratina Manandhar, former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority Nepal

An official at the Tribhuvan International Airport aiming at a bird.

August 30, 2015

On October 9, 1996, a Thai Airways Flight 312 bound for Bangkok narrowly escaped a major mishap when it slammed into a group of vultures during take-off from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The Thai pilot acted very calmly and continued with the predetermined take-off procedure. Once the Airbus 330-600 had stabilized in the air, he turned around and made an emergency landing at the TIA. The jet was carrying 228 persons including the crew. The passengers were unharmed. However, five dead vultures were recovered from the impact site, and one of the aircraft’s engines was severely damaged, requiring it to be grounded for several days.  The incident was front-page news in The Kathmandu Post. ‘Thai jet survives major mishap’, the headline screamed. One American passenger named Matt Carpenter even got the entire crew to sign autographs on a copy of the newspaper.  

Adamant birds

Bird hazards are a constant threat at the TIA, especially from September to November. During those months, earthworms come out of the grass seeking warmth and die on the runway. This attracts vultures that come to feed on the abundant supply of earthworms. There used to be landfill sites, garbage dumps and uncontrolled commercial activities close to the runway which attracted birds, creating a great nuisance for flight operations. I was one of the air traffic controllers (ATC) on duty that day and I vividly remember the intense bird activities around the TIA. All the available techniques and resources had been deployed to scare away the birds, and helicopters were even requested to hover over the runway. The airport’s fire hoses were also used to drive them away. But the vultures were very adamant. They would fly a short distance before returning to the runway.

An Indian Airlines (IA) flight from Delhi was inbound even as the airport was encountering intense bird activities. The pilots opted to land despite the warnings of the ATCs. Fortunately, the landing was safe. After landing, the upset IA pilots requested us to get rid of them before their next flight. It was very unfortunate that they did not know about the ground team’s enormous efforts to keep the runway clear.  

Timid authorities

About half an hour after the IA flight landed, Thai Flight 312 requested clearance for takeoff. The ATC informed the pilots about the severe bird activities around the airport. Since Thai Airways was very particular about maintaining their schedule, they decided to depart in spite of the precarious bird activities. It was evident that the ATC was not comfortable with issuing a clearance to Flight 312. During such difficult circumstances, junior ATCs usually seek their supervisor’s help to deal with the situation. The supervisor had to take over and started giving authoritative instructions to the pilot though the airport was not closed.

Recalling that incident from almost 20 years ago and trying to figure out why the supervisor did not stop the Thai flight and left everything to the pilot, I think there were several reasons behind his decision. The first reason was obviously the dominant nature of Thai Airways and their link with the higher authorities. Second, the IA flight had landed safely just half an hour earlier. Third, and may be most importantly, there was no history of the airport being closed as a result of bird activity. In addition, the ATCs were known for their humility when dealing with pilots. As the investigators of the crash of PIA Flight 268 in 1992 had also noted, “Nepalese ATCs were timid and reluctant to intervene in what they saw as piloting matters.”

Setting a precedent

A year after the Thai incident, I was working as the supervisor at the control tower. There was high level of bird activities around the TIA, and I was feeling a bit apprehensive as I recalled the Thai incident. As usual, all the efforts to scare away the birds failed. In the meantime, there was an Aeroflot flight inbound from Moscow. The Aeroflot aircraft was informed well in advance about the hazardous bird activities at the TIA. The ground team was struggling hard to shoo away the birds before the plane arrived, but all their efforts were in vain and bird activities became even more intense. They reached an alarmingly critical level as the Aeroflot flight was nearing Kathmandu.

I consulted my seniors about closing down the airport, but no one wanted to be involved in taking such a decision. Ultimately, I took the unprecedented action of closing down the airport. The Aeroflot jet circled over Kathmandu for a few minutes and then headed for Delhi as there was no sign of improvement. The next day, the Aeroflot flight landed in Kathmandu with its Delhi-based senior executive officer on board. As soon as the aircraft landed, he headed straight to the general manager of the TIA to submit a formal letter asking for compensation for the loss caused by the flight’s diversion. I was immediately summoned by the general manager and asked to explain my actions. I had a very tough time convincing them as nobody made an attempt to understand the real circumstances. I did feel very sorry for closing the airport. However, my decision had been right and it set a precedent.

Over the last several years, there have been significant improvements in the TIA’s Air Traffic Control system. The Licensing and Rating system has been introduced and the ATCs are paid a fair compensation in terms of Rating Allowance and Stress Allowance. All those positive changes have helped to improve the confidence and morale of ATCs. Most importantly, as far as safety is concerned, ATCs have high professional confidence and do not hesitate to intervene and use their authority when the situation warrants it. Bird strike problems at airports are universal in nature and not unique to the TIA. Even though every possible technique is employed to prevent bird strikes, a number of incidents are reported every year.

Manandhar is a former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority Nepal

Original article can be found here:

Cirrus SR22, N765CD: Fatal accident occurred August 30, 2015 near Kewanee Municipal Airport (KEZI), Illinois

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA W. Chicago-DuPage (NON Part 121) 

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA388 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 30, 2015 in Kewanee, IL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N765CD
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2015, about 0918 central standard time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N765CD, registered to private individuals, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from the Kewanee Municipal Airport (EZI), Kewanee, Illinois. Of the three occupants, the private pilot and 1 passenger sustained fatal injuries and 1 passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area of the accident and an IFR flight plan was placed on file with a 10 minute void time prior to takeoff. The flight was originating from EZI with an intended destination of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

There were no direct witnesses to the accident and no distress calls were received. According to Flight Service, the pilot called prior to takeoff to file an IFR flight plan. He was given clearance to takeoff with a void time of ten minutes to activate the flight plan. Local residents reported foggy conditions and low cloud ceilings about the time of the accident. The surviving passenger who was seated in the rear seat reported that the airplane took off, went quickly into the clouds. She stated that it did not feel as if the airplane was "going up." She looked up, saw the ground approaching, and the impact occurred. 

The accident occurred in a planted soybean field, approximately 1.5 miles west of the Kewanee airport. The wreckage was located at a position approximately 0.5 miles west of the intersection of North 400th Avenue and East 2250th Street and approximately 250 feet south of the North 400th Avenue.

An examination of the main impact site and energy debris path revealed that the airplane impacted terrain in an approximate 45 degree nose down, right wing low attitude, on a heading of approximately 130 to 140 degrees. The debris field extended to the east approximately 260 feet from the initial point-of-impact on a heading from 080 degrees to 110 degrees. The main wreckage came to rest on a heading of approximately 190 degrees.

An examination of the impact scars and wreckage debris revealed that the right wing tip struck the terrain at the western end of the debris field. The right wing tip scar was the initial point-of-impact. All subsequent debris measurements are approximate from this point. Propeller cuts, dirt clumps and an impact depression were noted in the soft soil from 38 feet to 45 feet. The separated propeller was located at 55 feet. The right cabin door was located at 65 feet. The right wing tip and aileron was at 67 feet. The upper engine cowling was at 72 feet. The CAPS enclosure cover was at 75 feet. The lower engine cowling was at 78 feet. The left cabin door was at 120 feet. The main wreckage was at 160 feet. The engine was at 185 feet. The parachute was stretched out on a heading of 110 degrees to approximately 240 feet. The CAPS D-Bag and rocket motor was at 260 feet.

The forward section of the roof and the windshield were separated from the fuselage. Impact damage was noted on the roof structure directly above and adjacent to the mounting location of the CAPS activation handle and holder. The CAPS activation handle was found out of the activation handle holder. The activation handle holder bracket was bent aft. Impact damage was noted on the activation handle and on the exposed activation cable. CAPS safety pin was located on the ground under the main wreckage. 

The CAPS was found deployed and the CAPS rocket motor propellant was expended. The CAPS rocket motor, rocket lanyards, incremental bridal, D-Bag, suspension lines, riser, rear harnesses and both front harnesses had been extracted from the aircraft. The rear harness remained snubbed. Both reefing line cutters remained in place and both had been activated. The parachute was separated from the D-Bag and was found stretched out from the main wreckage on a heading of approximately 110 degrees. The slider was at the base of the canopy. Packing folds were present on the canopy. 

The rocket motor, lanyards, incremental bridal and D-Bag were located approximately 20 feet beyond the end of stretched out parachute. The CAPS launch tube, rocket igniter, exhaust shield, and base, remained attached to FS 222 Bulkhead. The retention straps for the D-Bag remained in the enclosure compartment. The CAPS access panel (#CB7) exhibited Impact transfer marks from the left front harnesses 3-point link. The CAPS enclosure cover was located approximately 20 feet south of the debris path at a point approximately 75 feet from the right wing tip ground scar. An impact transfer mark, consistent in size and dimension to the top of the CAPS rocker motor, was noted on the inside surface of the cover, on the "strike plate." 

On site observations of the CAPS system showed that the system was not activated in flight. All of the on-site evidence correlated to a CAPS deployment due to impact forces. Additionally, the surviving passenger stated that she heard a discussion between the pilot and passenger seated in front. She stated that the front seated passenger had reached up for the CAPS handle, and the pilot said that "we were too low."

The aircraft was recovered and more detailed examinations of the airframe and engine were conducted in a secure hanger located at Kewanee Airport. The results of these examinations will be included in the final report.

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

TOULON — The victims of a plane crash west of Kewanee on Sunday had flown to the area to attend a family inurnment ceremony Saturday.

Local family members confirmed Monday that Steven Murray, 67, Houston, Texas, was the pilot of the small private aircraft that crashed after leaving the Kewanee Municipal Airport.

Murray, his son Mark Murray, 38, and daughter Samantha Murray, 40, had flown in last week to attend a family memorial service.

Steven and Mark Murray were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Sunday by Henry County Coroner David Johnson.

Samantha Murray was transported by ambulance to OSF St. Luke Medical Center in Kewanee before being transferred to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

She sustained a broken arm, cuts and bruises, and remains in stable condition.

Steven’s father, Dr. Haydn H. Murray of Bloomington, Ind., passed away in February. With local ties to the community, the family held the inurnment ceremony for Murray in Elmira Cemetery.

Murray was born in Kewanee and married his high school sweetheart, Juanita Appenheimer. He became a world-renowned geologist and was a longtime professor of geology at Indiana University.

Steven and his children attended the service Saturday and visited relatives in the Toulon area before leaving for home Sunday morning.

Steven is the nephew of Dorothy Schmidt and a second cousin to Doug Murray, both of Toulon.

The plane crashed around 9:35 a.m. in a soybean field 2 miles west of the airport on Galva Township Road 400N. A nearby farmer heard the crash and called authorities.

Responding were the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, District 7 Illinois State Police, Galva police, Bishop Hill and Galva fire departments, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Stark County Ambulance Service.

Rural roads in the vicinity were closed to traffic while the crash was being investigated Sunday.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. 


UPDATE: A woman is now listed in fair condition after a deadly plane crash. It happened Sunday morning in a field outside of the Kewanee Municipal Airport in Henry County. 

Steven Murray and Mark Murray, a father and son, were pronounced dead at the scene. Another family member Samantha Murray, 40, was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center with an arm injury, cuts and bruises. Samantha Murray’s 41st birthday is reportedly September 1st.

The National Transportation Safety Board is wrapping up its investigation Monday into why the small plane crashed. An autopsy on Steven and Mark Murray is scheduled for Tuesday in Peoria.

ORIGINAL:  Two men are dead and a woman is in the hospital Sunday after a plane crash.

Police say it happened just before 10 o'clock Sunday morning.

A small plane crashed in a field outside the Kewanee municipal airport in Kewanee, Illinois.

The Murrays were in town for a family gathering when something went terribly wrong.

"They were leaving this morning from the Kewanee airport and they were going to go back to Texas," said David A. Johnson, Henry County Coroner.

Johnson said when he arrived on scene 67-year-old Steven Murray and 38-year-old Mark Murray, a father and son, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Another family member, 30-year-old Samantha Murray was taken to an area hospital with an arm injury, cuts and bruises, but later airlifted to a hospital in Peoria. Her condition is unknown at this time.

Authorities on scene say that North 40th avenue, where the crash happened will remain closed, as the National Transportation Safety Board completes their investigation Monday morning.

Then the aircraft will be taken to a secure location, where they will look further into what caused the crash.

“It's really no different than a larger aircraft it's just on a smaller scale so they do the same procedures to figure out what the cause is and what caused the aircraft to go down,” Keenan Campbell, Director of Bureau County Emergency Management.

On Tuesday morning, an autopsy will be conducted for Mark and Steven Murray in Peoria.

A father and son from Houston, Texas, were killed Sunday in a plane crash west of the Kewanee Municipal Airport.

The crash of a Cirrus SR22 aircraft occurred at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Steven Murray, 67, and his 38-year-old son, Mark Murray, were pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. by Henry County Coroner David A. Johnson.

Another passenger, Samantha Murray, 40, who is believed to be Steven Murray's daughter, was taken to Kewanee Hospital for treatment, and then airlifted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Mr. Johnson said. The group was visiting the area for a family gathering and took off from the Kewanee airport Sunday morning to head back to Texas, he said.

The Bishop Hill Fire Department and Illinois State Police responded to the crash, as well as a representative from the Federal Aviation Administration from Chicago. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, Mr. Johnson said.

Original article can be found here:

Kewanee: Two Texas residents were killed when a small plane crashed in rural Kewanee Sunday morning.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene shortly after 9:30 a.m. when a local resident reported the accident.

Pronounced dead at the scene at 12:45 p.m. Sunday by Henry County Coroner David Johnson were Steven Murray, 67, and his son Mark Murray, 38, both of Houston, Texas.

A third victim, Samantha Murray, 40, was transported by ambulance to Kewanee’s OSF St. Luke Medical Center and then air-flighted to a Peoria hospital.

Johnson said Samantha Murray, also of Houston, sustained injuries to an arm.

The plane’s wreckage was in a soybean field two miles west of Kewanee Municipal Airport on 400N.  

Johnson said the three victims had been in this area for a family gathering over the weekend and were returning home.

The plane had left from the Kewanee airport prior to the accident.

Illinois State Police Officer Steve Icenogle said a nearby farmer heard the crash and saw a cloud of smoke. He found the downed plane and called authorities.

Responding were the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, District 7 Illinois State Police, Bishop Hill and Galva fire departments, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Stark County Ambulance Service.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials from Chicago were expect to arrive later in the afternoon to assist with the investigation, as were representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board in Colorado, who were due to arrive late Sunday night.

Emergency personnel remained at the scene throughout the day and closed the area off to local traffic.  


HENRY COUNTY, Ill. (KWQC) – Two men from Texas were killed and another woman, also from Texas, was injured when their small plane crashed this morning between Bishop Hill and the Kewanee Airport at North 400 Avenue and East 2350 Street. 

According to Henry County Coroner, David Johnson, the crash happened before 9:30 a.m., Sunday, August 30, 2015. Johnson arrived on scene around 12:30 p.m where he said 67-year-old, Steven Murray and 38-year-old, Mark Murray were pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. Johnson said he believed the two were a father-son pair from Houston, Texas.

The third passenger, 40-year-old Samantha Murray was also from Houston, Texas, Johnson said. She was taken to a hospital in Peoria and is being treated for an arm injury.

Johnson said they had been in the area for a family gathering, and just taken off from the Kewanee Airport to return home when the crash happened.

The Federal Aviation Administration from Chicago is on the scene along with the Bishop Hill Fire Department and the Illinois State Police. Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board is also expected to arrive from Colorado tomorrow to assist with the investigation.

Crews are asking for people to stay clear of the area as it is being investigated.

Original article can be found here:

Henrico County man jailed for lasering police plane

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Michael Pollock, 52, could face hard time for taking aim at a police plane over the weekend.

Officers were on routine patrol, flying near Parham and Interstate 64 when they say the Henrico County man lasered the plane.

“It was a laser pointer. One of those almost like a pen that you just point and aim,” explained Henrico County Police Lieutenant Chris Eley.

That bright beam of light can be dangerous. It can distract or even blind pilots as they fly overheard.

Nothing happened this time, but police reacted quickly to pick Pollock up.

“The pilot called up the ground units and they came and found him and took him into custody. Turned out he did the same thing the night before with a different pilot,” explained Ely.

Pollock’s charged with two misdemeanors for intentionally pointing a laser at an aircraft.

He denied our request for an interview from jail.

However, the suspect’s mother, who was at home with her son when this happened, told 8News Pollock made a poor choice.

She added he is devastated by the repercussions.

Unfortunately, this dangerous trend of is a growing problem across the country.

There have been more than 2,700 laser attacks already this year.

The judge denied bond for Pollock, but his cases in Henrico County are the least of his problems.

There’s a good chance the FAA could file felony charges against him which ultimately might mean up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Michael Pollock (Source: Henrico Police Dept.)