Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A biplane is buzzing overhead. Can — and should — the Seaside Airport Advisory Committee intervene?

The Seaside Airport Advisory Committee wants to talk with Jim Grant about his summer biplane tours. But the group’s “hands are tied” when it comes to restricting activity by licensed pilots like Grant who observe Federal Aviation Administration rules, members said.

On Sept. 22, the committee considered action after reports of noise, low-altitude flying and environmental impacts to the Necanicum Estuary, a wildlife reserve designated an important bird area.

Gearhart’s Mayor Dianne Widdop, a committee member, said she has received “a lot of complaints” from residents about the biplane.

“When you start to hear those undercurrents, you start to worry a little,” she said.

Gearhart resident John Dudley said the unvarying tour route is “a repetitive issue,” and would like the route changed “to minimize the impact on any one corridor.”

Grant, who did not attend the meeting, has a clean, 3,700 flight hours, many of those hours on tours over Seaside, the Necanicum River and up to the Columbia River and Astoria. His Seaside business, Jim’s Biplane Rides, continues to operate after 20 years at the airport. This year he flew an average of three flights per day, with most tours taking place on weekends, according to his log. His season ended in mid-September.

Federal rules

FAA rules guide local patterns, Committee Chairman Randall Henderson of Warrenton said.

Arriving airplanes must be at the proper traffic pattern altitude 1,000 feet above the airport elevation before entering the landing pattern. Pilots should begin descent between one-half or 1 mile from the runway and the plane’s base turn should take place at 45 degrees from the end of the runway.

Committee member and pilot Teri Carpenter said those standards are important so a pilot knows “where to look to see what people are doing,” especially at airports without control towers.

As for wildlife protection, Henderson said FAA altitude restrictions apply at specific areas along the Oregon Coast, but only near federally protected lands. State or local wildlife habitats, such as those within the Seaside airport pattern, are outside restricted areas.

The last reported bird strike in the vicinity of the Seaside airport was 13 years ago and there was minor damage to the plane.

A change of path?

Grant tried experimenting with alternating patterns in response to complaints before reverting to his original flight plan for safety reasons, Henderson said.

Nonpilots may not understand “the very intricate ways in which we train and learn how to fly and what the safest thing to do is,” Henderson said. “It is the traffic pattern. Within that pattern, the safest path may be going over some people’s houses.”

If a pilot is flying in the legal pattern and is not comfortable with variations, “I would defer to another guy’s judgment,” he added.

Henderson said he is concerned a flight path complaint about one pilot could lead to complaints about other pilots or their routes.

Committee member and airport manager Neal Wallace said the committee could send a letter to Grant, expressing the issues presented. That would spark a conversation and produce a written record of the discussion.

A letter would give Grant the opportunity to respond and give his safety concerns over proposed take-off, landing or route changes.

Since Grant’s business is licensed by the city, not the airport, if citizens want to speak on the issue they would need to address the Seaside City Council. “Let him tell us why he can, will or won’t, and let him give us his reasons,” Wallace said.

“I have no inclination to shut his business down,” Dudley said, adding Grant’s biplane is a worthwhile enterprise. “My desire is for some degree of conciliation.”

Story and photo gallery:

Rutgers alum fighting airline fire hazards

Gus Sarkos
Air travelers around the world are alive today because of the fire-safety innovations of Rutgers alumnus Constantine (Gus) Sarkos.

People like the 100 passengers and five crew members who had time to escape when a Continental 737 veered off the runway in Denver into a ravine and erupted into flames in 2008.

Or the passengers traveling in 2013 from Seoul, South Korea, on Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crash-landed at San Francisco, smashed into pieces and caught fire. Three people died from injuries unrelated to the fire, while 304 survived.

Sarkos, manager of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Fire Safety Branch, heads up a research and development team of engineers, chemists, technical experts and computer scientists at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, 10 miles west of Atlantic City in Egg Harbor Township — the most extensive aviation fire safety research facility in the world.

“Gus does the science that becomes the fire-safety standards adopted by the whole world,” says Dennis Filler, director of the FAA's Hughes Technical Center. “His efforts have provided added time for passengers to evacuate. In the old days, materials would have burned faster or caused passengers to inhale toxic fumes, and they would have died in the aircraft.”

The seat cushion you sit on while flying is 30 percent more fire resistant than earlier models because of Sarkos and his team.  But the changes also involve cargo and cabin safety improvements that travelers cannot see — or feel — during a flight. His team’s painstaking work at the FAA Technical Center testing materials and evaluating fire detection and suppression systems has prompted more than a dozen significant changes to U.S. and foreign aircraft.

The William J. Hughes Technical Center, which shares space with the Atlantic City Airport,  encompasses seven fire-safety test labs and houses six full-scale aircraft or fuselages, including two wide body airplanes, a 130-foot long DC-10  fuselage and a fully operational but non-flyable 747. The vast complex allows researchers to replicate accidents and environmental conditions that occur during in-flight or post-crash fires.

In other words, says Sarkos, “We start fires on jetliners, examine how fire spreads and come up with ways to resist or extinguish it, or prevent the fire from occurring in the first place.”

Sarkos has participated in or overseen the development of such safety innovations as heat-resistant evacuation slides, burn-resistant fuselage insulation and interior panels that release less heat and smoke. He is proudest of the fire-blocking seat layers that led to the retrofit of 650,000 seats in the U.S. commercial aircraft fleet over a three-year period. The regulations were subsequently adopted worldwide as were the majority of research products produced by his team.

“Most jetliner evacuations occur within one to five minutes, depending on many factors, and our cushion gives passengers an extra 40-to-60 seconds to escape a burning aircraft,” Sarkos says. His team's most complex innovation: an inert gas generation system designed to protect against fuel tank explosions, a suspected cause of the 1996 midair explosion of TWA Flight 800, which killed all 230 aboard. Most recently, Sarkos's group has been working on reducing fire threats from lithium batteries shipped in cargo, which are used in electronic devices.

Sarkos, who holds bachelor’s (1963) and master’s (1965) degrees in mechanical engineering from Rutgers, was hired by the FAA at age 28 after working at General Electric, where he helped design the re-entry vehicles in intercontinental ballistic missile weapon systems.

“I studied fluid dynamics in graduate school at Rutgers, which gave me a strong foundation for thermodynamics and heat transfer as well,” Sarkos says. He spent two years during his master’s program developing and installing a variable speed supersonic wind tunnel that operated at four times the speed of sound.

Early in his FAA tenure, Sarkos forged a unique relationship with Rutgers’ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering that continues today. Each year the FAA awards a grant to a promising master’s candidate for a two-year fellowship with the FAA Technical Center’s Fire Safety Branch.

Students work at the FAA Technical Center their first year during summers and breaks — doing flammability studies and testing – and in their second year conduct research at the facility full time. About a dozen Rutgers students have gained experience with the FAA in this way.

The program is also a plus for the FAA. “It’s one of the most effective ways to get talented people,” Sarkos says “In the past decade, I’ve brought on four engineers from Rutgers full time.”

Rutgers professor F. Javier Diez-Garias, who runs the grant program for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, says the experience is invaluable. “The students love what they’re doing. Most end up working for the FAA or become contractors with firms that work with the FAA, and getting any experience with the FAA opens doors,” he says.

Sarkos, 74, was recently named one of 30 finalists the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, which honors exceptional federal employees who have made significant contributions. The winners will be announced in October.

“I see this award nomination as recognition of the entire Fire Safety Branch — and of the FAA and industry in achieving a safe and efficient air transportation system,” Sarkos says.

“Flying is safer than it ever has been. The probability of dying from fire in a survivable airline accident when I started 46 years ago was 12 percent and now it’s about 4 percent — and because of the fire safety improvements we have made, the chances of an accident caused by an in-flight fire or fuel tank explosion also has been reduced significantly.”

But, he says, it is still important for travelers to be aware of safety and emergency procedures briefed pre-flight by the flight attendants. “Passengers need to make a mental note of the location of the nearest exits. Too often, people want to grab belongings, but that uses up precious time,” Sarkos says. “In an aircraft accident, seconds matter, and can be the difference between life and death.”


Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR) looks to future with ongoing projects

Sugar Land Regional Airport traces its origins to the early 1950s and while much has changed in Sugar Land and the area surrounding the facility, one thing has remained constant: change. Thanks to a bevy of ongoing improvement projects, the airport continues to evolve.

According to city of Sugar Land Aviation Director Phil Savko, the airport, which caters primarily to private, business-owned aircraft, is in the midst of carrying out over $20 million in improvements, including the construction of new hangars, a parallel taxiway and a brand new approach lighting system.

‘We’re a little bit behind on our construction projects, but right now, we’re building a hangar that has to be built because we have to knock down a hangar in order to build the parallel taxiway,” Savko said. “We’re doing phase one of the taxiway project this year and, hopefully, phase two and three next year.”

Savko said the parallel taxiway is needed because the airport has fallen out of what he termed “design standards” mandated by the Federal Aviation and Administration (FAA) regarding the distance between the taxiway and runways. He said the agency wants the facility to increase the distance between the taxiway and runway from the existing 200 feet to 400 feet to add an extra level of safety.

“The taxiway has become a priority project in terms of safety because of the size of jets we’re landing. We’re landing jets now with wingspans of over 100 feet,” Savko said.

Officials plan to bid out the taxiway project in about a month, with the work to be divided into four sections (center, mid, south and north). Savko said work on the north section will not be able to proceed until a 40,000 square-foot hangar is rebuilt.

The approach lighting system, Savko said, represents a substantial upgrade for the facility and will greatly improve the ability of pilots to see the runway at night by providing an alignment indicator that he says is essentially a big pointer to the center of the runway. The airport recently acquired 11 acres of nearby land in order to accommodate the system that comes with a price tag of around $1 million.

“The parallel taxiway project has to be completed before the approach lighting system because all of the electrical circuits have to tie in the right way and the pavement design has to tie in the right way,” Savko explains. “You don’t want to cut pavement two or three times; you only want to do it once and then put conduit underneath.”

The lighting system will consist of a total of five “stands” of varying heights containing lights that will be installed in the pavement of the runway and also includes one stand that will be installed in the middle of US 90A, which requires the cooperation of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot). Savko says full installation of the lighting system could take about a year to complete.

According to the airport web page on the city of Sugar Land website, Sugar Land Regional Airport’s history dates back to around 1952 when Dr. Donald “Doc” Hull purchased a pasture so he could land his biplane near the Sugar Land area. Initially called Hull Field, the airport has grown steadily over the ensuing decades and was purchased by the city of Sugar Land from Fort Bend County in 1990. Formerly called Sugar Land Municipal Airport, the name was changed to Sugar Land Regional Airport in 2002. It focuses on landing planes ranging in size from single engine aircraft all the way up to Boeing 737 business class jets that can seat 60 to 70 passengers.


New look marks Ohio Bird Sanctuary entrance, honors Fonseca: Beech 55 Baron, N5816S, fatal accident occurred May 18, 2015 in Saltville, Virginia

George and Pam Ihrig Fonseca 

George Fonseca

MANSFIELD, Ohio -- The Ohio Bird Sanctuary has an improved entrance thanks to the family of the late George and Pam Fonseca and the efforts of the Friends and Flowers Garden Club. 

The garden club has helped us for 10 years,” said Gail Laux, executive director of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. “They’ve been real troopers because as the sanctuary grows, we put in new gardens, and one thing the garden club wanted to stay involved with was the entrance.”

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary has been the garden club’s project for the last 10 years. Even before that, they planted at the former Boy Scout camp. But the entrance to the site was a consistent problem. Club Secretary Cheryl Callis explained there was a deep ditch; and dandelions, crabgrass, and poison ivy were a problem. Deer ate some of the club’s plants.

The site was also blocked by large trees and didn’t receive much rain. The sign at the entrance was easily lost in the vegetation. After a tornado destroyed the large trees, succession growth posed a problem.

But club member Pam Fonseca said she knew someone who could help.

“And then she went to Florida for the winter,” Callis said.

In the spring, club members began making plans for the project for when Fonseca returned. Tragically, George and Pam Fonseca didn’t make it back to Mansfield. Their twin-engine plane crashed in Smyth County, Virginia, during their return flight in May.

“It just hit us like a ton of bricks,” Callis said.

After coping with the loss of a friend, they needed to decide how to proceed with the project.

“She was the one who was really the instigator and the contact with Joel (Darling) and Isaac (Freeman). As it turned out, her children were willing to go ahead and fulfill her financial support,” Callis explained, noting that the Fonescas had planned to finance the project.

The Fonesca family paid for the labor and materials.

“We just wanted to highlight, in her memory, and their labor and donation and generosity, what was done,” Callis said.

Isaac Freeman of Liberty Lawn Care, Bellville, designed the landscaping.

“We reused some of the plants that were already here to fill in different areas," Freeman said. "Most of them are deer resistant and don’t take a lot of care. Once they’re established, they won’t have to worry about watering.”

The plants were watered this summer by Mary Collet and her husband after they devised a way to use a 50-gallon garbage can to water the new plantings. Joel Darling of JD Darling Masonry constructed the stone retaining wall.

“People couldn’t see our sign coming down the hill,” Laux said. “People would come in and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know how nice this place was.’ It was because the entrance didn’t look like much.

"That was when Pam came forward and said, ‘I think what we need to do is tack on and create boundaries on this upper part. It was Pam’s brainchild to bring in the experts and create this retaining wall.

“It’s made all the difference. I’ve had a lot of complements on it and people can now see the sign.”

What’s next for the entrance?

The next goal for the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is to get a new sign. The current sign was erected in 1995.

“We now have a permanent logo and Wordsmith has designed us a new sign and it has our logo on it. And it’s blue; you’ll see it when you come over the hill," Laux said. "So our plan is, when we have some funding, to put in a new sign to go with our new landscaping."

Story and photos:

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 18, 2015 in Saltville, VA
Aircraft: BEECH 95 B55 (T42A), registration: N5816S
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On May 18, 2015, at 1238 eastern daylight time, a Beech 95-B55 (T42A), N5816S, was destroyed during collision with terrain near Saltville, Virginia. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane departed Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Florida, about 0920, and was destined for Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport (MFD), Mansfield, Ohio. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

Preliminary radar and air traffic control information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that at 1214:05, the airplane was in cruise flight at an altitude about 9,000 feet when the pilot contacted Tri-Cities Approach Control. The air traffic controller acknowledged the pilot and issued the altimeter setting. At 1220:02, the controller asked the pilot his on-course heading; the pilot responded 356 degrees. The controller advised the pilot of scattered areas of unspecified weather of unknown intensity about 40 miles directly ahead of the airplane. The pilot stated he would like to deviate east if possible. The TRI air traffic controller approved deviations left and right as necessary, and instructed the pilot to maintain 9,000 feet. At 1232:16, the air traffic controller switched the pilot to the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZID) and the pilot acknowledged the communications transfer. There were no further communications between the accident airplane and air traffic control.

Radar data depicted an easterly deviation off course, along with a gradual descent, before radar contact was lost.

A search was initiated, and the airplane wreckage was discovered in heavily wooded, mountainous terrain on May 19, 2015.

At 1235, the weather recorded at Tazewell County Airport, 8 miles north of the site, included scattered layers at 2,900 feet, 3,600 feet, and a broken ceiling at 8,000 feet with 10 miles visibility. The wind was from 210 degrees at 5 knots. The temperature was 24 degrees C, and the dewpoint was 18 degrees C. The altimeter setting was 30.26 inches of mercury. A Center Weather Advisory issued at 1204, valid west of the airplane's flight track, forecasted areas of heavy to extreme precipitation in isolated thunderstorms.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued July 2, 2013. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed he had accumulated 2,852.3 total hours of flight experience, 167 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1965, and was equipped with two Continental Motors Inc IO-470, 260 hp reciprocating engines. The airplane's maintenance records were not recovered; however, a maintenance invoice revealed that its most recent annual inspection was completed August 15, 2014, at 4094.9 total aircraft hours.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The initial impact points were an approximate 50-foot-tall tree and a deep ground scar collocated near the peak of a mountain, at an elevation of about 4,400 feet. . The airplane fragmented outside the crater, and was contained in an arc that reached about 50 feet beyond the crater on an approximate 192 degree magnetic heading, and widened to about 60 feet at its widest point.

Control continuity could not be established due to extensive impact damage, however; parts associated with both wings, left and right wing flaps, and left and right ailerons were identified. Sheet metal and cabling associated with the horizontal and vertical stablizers, as well as the elevators, were also identified.

The propellers were separated from their respective engines, and all propeller blades exhibited similar twisting, bending, leading edge gouging, and chordwise scratching. One tree trunk displayed deep, angular cuts with paint transfers consistent with propeller contact.

The wreckage and some personal electronic devices were recovered for examination at a later date.

Cessna 150F Commuter, N6922F: Accident occurred September 26, 2015 in Fort Wayne, Indiana

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA433
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 26, 2015 in Fort Wayne, IN
Aircraft: CESSNA 150F, registration: N6922F
Injuries: 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 26, 2015, about 0345 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150F, N6922F, impacted terrain during climb after takeoff from Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), Fort Wayne, Indiana. The airplane received substantial damage. The private pilot and a passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.     

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA South Bend FSDO-17

A small plane that plowed into a north-side neighborhood Saturday had departed Smith Field with an unknown destination, a federal spokesman said Tuesday.  

But why it crashed, who was at the controls and what agency, if any, is looking for a person on the plane who left the scene remained a mystery.

Fort Wayne police said they were not involved in the investigation, which is being handled by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Indiana State Police, according to a spokesman.

A state police spokesman said the FAA had taken over the investigation and that the ISP was no longer involved. An FAA spokesman said the agency’s probe will take a few weeks.

Meanwhile, the plane’s owner remained elusive.

According to FAA records, the registered owner is Jeffrey R. Mills. A person by that name owns a house north of Smith Field, according to Allen County property records. No one answered the door Tuesday afternoon, and The Journal Gazette could not find a phone number for Mills.

A Facebook page for a Jeff Mills of Fort Wayne shows the plane, a single-engine Cessna 150F, identified by its tail number. The page displays Mills’ apparent love of planes and flying. The last entry by Mills was Sept. 24, two days before the crash.

The airplane’s registration, which had expired at the end of July, lists Mills’ address as 500 E. Oak St. in Butler. The building is now owned by a man named Charles Decker, who said he bought the building from the man who owned the plane in 2013 and that that was the only dealing he had with him.

Officials say the plane approached Smith Field at a low altitude about 3:45 a.m. Saturday, hit a tall maple tree, then tumbled into trees across the street and hit a power line and the corner of the roof of a home on Ludwig Park Drive.

The plane came to rest upside down in the home’s backyard.

One person in the airplane was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but a second person believed to be in the plane was nowhere to be found.

The plane had no flight plan and wasn’t required to file one.

Most general aviation planes do not file a plan, said Tony Molinaro, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Flight plans are filed by pilots with paying passengers, pilots in busier airspace and sometimes by general aviation pilots, he said.

“It would be like if you and me told the police when we were going to go grocery shopping,” Molinaro said. “They’re not in areas where there are big airports or anything. There are usually no flight plans.”

Molinaro could say only that the plane departed from Smith Field.

Smith Field’s airspace is monitored by controllers at Fort Wayne International Airport. Smith Field is not staffed overnight, said Joe Marana, director of operations and facilities for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.

Had the plane crashed on airport authority property, the agency would be involved in the investigation, he said

“Since it’s off-airport, we’re a lot more removed from it,” Marana said.


Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N21ND: Fatal accident occurred September 30, 2015 at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (KPIE), Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA378
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in St. Petersburg, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA 30, registration: N21ND
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On September 30, 2015 at 1154 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-30, N21ND, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an attempted takeoff from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), Clearwater, Florida. The certificated fight instructor commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Sowards Aircraft Leasing, LLC and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

The owner of the airplane, who had purchased it three days prior to the accident, stated that he dispatched the accident pilot to PIE to pick up the airplane and fly it back to southern California. On the day of the accident, the pilot planned to conduct practice touch-and-go landings in order to become familiar with the airplane, prior to his return to California the following day.

Witnesses reported that after the second touch-and-go, during the initial climb, the airplane seemed to "struggle" as it climbed to between 100 and 200 feet above the ground. A pilot holding short of the runway stated that the airplane had an unusually shallow climb profile, and started drifting to the right of the runway centerline. Upon reaching estimated altitude of 100 feet, the airplane rolled sharply to the right, and pitched downward into a nearly vertical descent, before colliding with the ground.

Review of security video showed an accident sequence consistent with that described by the witnesses.

The airplane impacted a service road then came to rest upright in a grassy area about 180 feet right of, and approximately 1,300 feet from the departure end of runway 36R. There was no post-impact fire and all major components of the airplane accounted for at the scene. The wreckage was recovered and retained for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

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

Clearwater, Florida -- Wednesday was a deadly day at a local airport as a plane crash claims the life of a pilot.

The pilot has been identified as Marshall Casey Barath, 24, of Nampa, Idaho.

It all happened around noon at the St. Pete-Clearwater International airport and incoming and outgoing flights were diverted to an alternative runway after the crash.

The crash did take place on the main runway at the airport.

There was one person on board, the pilot, and unfortunately he did not survive.

Air traffic controller: "Right clear to touch and go."

Pilot: "Inaudible"

In this air traffic control audio 10 news obtained from, you can hear the pilot asking if he was cleared for a touch and go.

"Basically, it's a practice of takeoffs and landings. He had just landed and was accelerating to take off again," says Tom Jewsbury, airport director.

Minutes later, the pilot's practice turned tragic.

Pilot: "Negative. A plane just crashed at the end of the runway."

ATC: "Oh my god. Yes sir. I got it. Thank you."

"At approximately 11:45 a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche veered off runway 36," says Jewsbury.

Somehow the plane veered off the runway and crashed onto the grass killing the pilot.

ATC: "Everything's closed for right now due to an emergency."

"Pilot was only sole on board. He did not declare an emergency at time of the accident," says Jewsbury.

Crews quickly closed the main runway and diverted all incoming and outgoing flights to an alternative runway.

"There was no communication relayed that was wrong with the aircraft," says Jewsbury.

The aircraft came from Jet aircraft management in Sarasota.

The airport fire department were the first ones on scene.

Air traffic control advised them of the crash but it was too late.

The NTSB and FAA are on scene and they will complete the investigation.

The airport director says it's been more than a decade since a crash has happened here at the airport.


CLEARWATER — It's supposed to a be routine maneuver to practice landing an aircraft. 

But something went wrong Wednesday when a pilot doing "touch-and-go" exercises at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport veered off the edge of the main runway and crashed into a nearby grassy area about 11:45 a.m.

The pilot, 24-year-old Marshall Casey Barath of Nampa, Idaho, was the only person aboard the Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche at the time and was dead when emergency crews arrived, said airport director Tom Jewsbury.

In aviation, "touch-and-go" training involves landing on a runway and taking off again without coming to a full stop. The pilot typically circles the airport and repeats the maneuver.

"He had come in, he had landed and was immediately accelerating getting ready to take off and it was at that time that the accident occurred," Jewsbury said.

Barath did not declare an emergency with the air traffic control tower. The crash was visible from the tower, however and controllers called 911 and the airport's emergency personnel.

The Comanche did not catch fire, Jewsbury said. Investigators with the National Safety Transportation Board were on scene about an hour later investigating the crumpled fuselage to determine the cause of the crash. The skies were partly cloudy at the time of the crash.

The plane came to rest far enough off the runway that airport officials were able to reopen it after rescue vehicles were cleared, Jewsbury said. No other flights were delayed or diverted by the crash because air traffic was able use an alternate runway.

The plane is registered with Jet Aircraft Management in Sarasota, but airport officials said the plane was sold to someone about six months ago. No one with the company could immediately be reached Wednesday.

It's the first time a plane has crashed at the airport in at least 10 years, Jewsbury said.


Denver International Airport (KDEN) announces new group to tackle drone issue

DENVER - Denver International Airport announced Wednesday the formation of a regional group to identify solutions to hazards drones can cause when they're flown near airports.

DIA says the purpose of the group is for representatives of various outlets, including the Federal Aviation Administration, regional airports and law enforcement to share experiences with drone issues and help develop future policy recommendations as new regulations are made into federal law.

The group will work to find the best ways to document and respond to drone incidents. They will also develop procedures that work towards safe commercial drone uses at airports in addition to public outreach and education on safe drone usage.

DIA will air public service announcements featuring drone safety information in the Jeppesen Terminal for two weeks in December during the holiday season. See the short video here:

"Pilot reports about unmanned aircraft flying in their vicinity have increased dramatically in the last year, and this is a trend that the FAA is very concerned about," Joe Morra, operations manager for the FAA's Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, wrote. "We're addressing this growing problem through a combination of increased educational outreach efforts and, in cases where unmanned aircraft operators endanger the safety of the National Airspace System, enforcement action."

The agencies involved in the new group include DIA, the FAA, The Colorado Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division, Centennial Airport, Front Range Airport, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, The Denver Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the FAA, recreational drone users must stay below 400 feet and must contact air traffic controllers if they are within five miles of an airport. They say over the last three months, drones have been seen on or near DIA property seven times at altitudes up to 3,660 feet and as close as 500 feet to approaching aircraft.

DIA is asking the public to report drone operations on or near the airports to law enforcement to discourage it.

Anyone who spots a drone on or near airport property can call Denver Police dispatchers at 303-342-4211.

To learn more about operating a drone, visit:


Govt weighing options to airlift aviation fuel

Sep 30, 2015- The government on Wednesday formed a committee to recommend options to fly in aviation fuel for domestic airlines amid mounting fears that the country's airlines could be grounded for lack of fuel.

Surface transportation has been largely crippled due to gasoline shortages and a long-running agitation in the southern Tarai belt that has cut off major highways. 

The seven-member panel under the coordination of Tourism Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane has been told to submit its recommendations by 11am on Thursday.

International airlines serving Nepal have already been told to carry return fuel as they will not be able to refuel at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu which is fresh out of stock.

As the store of aviation fuel kept for domestic airlines has started to go down at a faster rate with a sudden rise in the number of air travelers, the government is worried that domestic carriers could be immobilized on the eve of the festival season in Nepal. The daily fuel requirement of domestic airlines stands at 50,000 litres.

Suresh Acharya, joint secretary of the Tourism Ministry, said that a meeting held between the Home and Supplies ministries, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) discussed three options to forestall an expected aviation turbine fuel (ATF) crisis by bringing fuel by air.

The first option discussed was to use Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, a heavy transport jet, that can transport up to 50 kilolitres of fuel. Using Mi-17 helicopters to transport fuel from cross-border points to oil depots in the Tarai where domestic aircraft can refuel. An Mi-17 can ferry up to 4 tonnes of fuel.

The third option proposed at the meeting was to request China and the US Air Force to airlift jet fuel. The meeting has also decided to request Nepali private helicopter companies to transport fuel. Likewise, the option to use NAC's jets to airlift fuel has been kept open.

“The committee has been directed to conduct a study of the technical and financial aspects of airlifting fuel,” said Acharya, adding that the plan submitted by the committee would be tabled at higher levels of the government. After the government approves the scheme, formal talks will be held with the parties concerned.

Most international airlines serving Nepal have changed aircraft and their refueling points after being informed by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) that it would be halting refueling services at TIA from Tuesday.


Purple Pumpkin house party grew from tragic events: Socata TBM-700, N425KJ, fatal accident occurred July 29, 2015 at Timmerman Airport (KMWC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A.J. Trustey died due to complications from epilepsy.

Joseph and Anna Trustey, together on the day of her school prom in April, were killed in a plane crash on July 29, 2015. 

From left to right: A. J. Trustey, his sister Anna and their father attended the Kevin O'Boyle Memorial 5K Road Race in Salem, Massachusetts in August 2014 to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

ANDOVER — In July, Jeannie Sullivan lost her brother, Joseph Trustey, and her niece, Trustey's daughter Anna, in a plane crash. Nine months earlier, Trustey's son, A.J., died due to complications from epilepsy.

In the wake of tragedy, Sullivan, of Andover, and her family wanted to honor their loved ones with an event filled with love, laughter and a little bit of color.

On Friday, Sullivan will host a party in support of the Purple Pumpkin Project, a national campaign by the Epilepsy Foundation to raise awareness about the neurological disorder. The party will be held at Sullivan's home, 5 Blueberry Hill Road, from 4 to 7 p.m.

What started as a small gathering for family and friends has transformed into a large-scale event with more than 350 people, according to Sullivan, who called the community response "truly moving."

"We really had no idea (the event) would get to be this big," Sullivan said. "We got hundreds of comments and likes on our Facebook event page, and I've had people reach out to me who I haven't heard from in a long time. It's really overwhelming."

Sullivan said the idea for the party arose just several days after Joseph and Anna's deaths. On July 29, Joseph Trustey, 53, of Wenham, was traveling with Anna, an 18-year-old student at Brooks School in North Andover, when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed at Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee, Wis. The two were traveling to Marquette University for a college visit.

A.J. Trustey was a student at the University of Utah when he died on Oct. 13, 2014 at age 22. Prior to his death, A.J. had begun planning an epilepsy awareness event centered around the Purple Pumpkin Project, which began in 2012.

During the Halloween season, project participants are asked to paint their pumpkins purple and place them on their doorsteps. The pumpkins, according to Sullivan, prompt friends and neighbors to ask why the pumpkin is purple, giving the participant the opportunity to tell them about epilepsy.

While A.J. was unable to carry out his plan, Sullivan said hundreds of friends across the country painted their pumpkins in her nephew's memory. The action had a big impact on Sullivan's three children, who approached their mom with an idea after Joseph and Anna's funeral.

"They said, 'We want to host a party for A.J., Anna and Uncle Joe,'" Sullivan said. "They wanted to paint the pumpkins again, but they wanted to invite all their friends."

Invitations were sent out and word spread quickly. Soon, Sullivan had hundreds of people wanting to attend and offering their help with the planning. Sullivan's sister, Anne Marie Guggenberger,  of North Andover, also reached out to friends in her town and received positive response.

Downer Brothers Landscaping in North Andover will donate all the pumpkins for the party, and Cakes For Occasion in Danvers, where A.J. worked while in high school, will be provide cupcakes, according to Sullivan.

Sullivan said the party has helped teach her own children the importance of helping others, something her brother did in many ways during his life. Joseph Trustey served on the board of trustees for both Brooks and Shore Country Day School in Beverly, and he constantly made donations to his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to provide opportunities for students.

Friday's party will serve as a fitting tribute to three loved ones who touched so many people during their lifetimes, Sullivan said.

"I think when everything slowed down and we got back into our regular routine, the impression we took away from it all was their reach and scope to so many people," Sullivan said. "They shined so bright; they were almost bigger than life. The story is so incredibly tragic. The only thing you can really do is make something good out of it, and this event is a great example of that."

Story and photos:


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA328
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in Milwaukee, WI
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N425KJ
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On July 29, 2015, about 1810 central daylight time, a Socata model TBM 700 single-engine turboprop airplane, N425KJ, was destroyed during a postimpact fire after it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an aborted landing at Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (MWC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Trustey Management Corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Beverly Municipal Airport (BVY), Beverly, Massachusetts, at 1552 eastern daylight time.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, the flight had been cleared for a visual approach to runway 33R (4,103 feet by 75 feet, asphalt). At 1808:12 (hhmm:ss), while on a 2.5 mile final approach, the pilot asked the tower controller for the current wind conditions. At 1808:18, the tower controller told the pilot that the prevailing wind was from 230 degrees at 10 knots. At 1808:21, the pilot replied "Three zero one zero, thanks, or two three zero?" At 1808:24, the tower controller stated "Two three, two thirty."

In a postaccident interview, the tower controller reported that he established visual contact with the accident airplane when it was on a 3 mile final approach to runway 33R. The tower controller stated that the airplane's landing gear appeared to be extended during final approach and that the airplane landed within the runway's marked touchdown zone. The tower controller stated that the airplane did not appear to bounce upon landing; however, he heard a squealing noise that was longer in duration than typical. Shortly after the landing the pilot transmitted "Go-Around." (According to an ATC audio recording, the pilot transmitted "Go-Around" at 1809:56) The tower controller stated that he acknowledged the aborted landing and cleared the pilot to enter a left traffic pattern. The tower controller stated that he heard the engine speed accelerate and observed the airplane maintain a level attitude over the runway until it passed the taxiway charley intersection. He then observed the airplane pitch-up and enter a climbing left turn. The tower controller stated that the airplane appeared to "stall" during the climbing left turn and subsequently descended into terrain while in a left wing low attitude.

A postaccident examination of the runway revealed numerous slash marks that were consistent with propeller blades striking the asphalt surface. The first propeller strike was identified about 1,384 feet from the runway 33R threshold. There were 22 propeller strike marks identified over a distance of about 25 feet 7 inches. The propeller strike marks were located slightly to the right of the runway centerline. There were numerous small asphalt pieces found adjacent to the slash markings.

The main wreckage was located in an open field located on the west side of the airport property. The initial impact was identified by a small ground depression that contained pieces of red lens material that were consistent with the left wing navigational light. A large area of burnt ground and vegetation preceded the main wreckage. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a 180-degree heading and measured about 141 feet long. The propeller, nose landing gear, right flap, and left aileron were located along the wreckage debris path. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, both wings, and the engine. The main wreckage was oriented on a north heading. A majority of the fuselage, including the cockpit and cabin, and the left wing were consumed by the postimpact fire. The cockpit Garmin G1000 avionic components, including the nonvolatile memory cards, were destroyed by the postimpact fire. Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact and fire damage; however, all observed separations were consistent with overstress or were consumed during the postimpact fire. The landing gear selector switch was found in the GEAR DOWN position. Measurements of the landing gear actuators were consistent with all three landing gear being fully extended at the time of impact. Examination of the nose wheel tire and right main tire did not reveal any flat spots. The right main and nose wheel assemblies rotated freely and no anomalies were noted with the right brake components. A majority of the left main tire had been consumed during the postimpact fire. The four fuselage skid plates, installed on the lower wing spar carry-through structure, did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The lower VHF antenna had separated from the fuselage and was located along the wreckage debris path. The lower VHF antenna did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The trailing edge of the right flap and the corresponding flap track fairings did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The left flap was partially consumed during the postimpact fire. Measurements of the flap actuator jack screws were consistent with the flaps in the landing configuration (34-degrees).

The propeller assembly and the forward section of the reduction gearbox had separated from the engine and were found along the wreckage debris path. All four propeller blades remained attached to the hub assembly and exhibited S-shape bends, tip curls, chordwise scratching, and leading edge damage. The fractured propeller shaft exhibited features consistent with torsional overload. The engine exhaust exhibited evidence of torsional bending associated with impact. The downstream face of the compressor turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the adjacent static components. The upstream face of the compressor turbine disc and blades were unremarkable. The first-stage power turbine vane and baffle exhibited rub marks on both sides from contact with the power turbine and compressor turbine discs and blades. The first-stage power turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring on the upstream face. Examination of the engine oil filter and magnetic chip detectors did not reveal any significant particulate contamination. The observed damage to the propeller and engine components were consistent with the engine operating at a medium-to-high power output at the time of impact.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

Anna Trustey

Joseph Trustey 

Joseph Trustey and his daughter Anna

Anna Trustey

Joe Trustey


Joe Trustey