Friday, January 30, 2015

Community Wants More Restrictions at Montgomery County Airpark (KGAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland

The Maryland Aviation Administration inspected the Montgomery County Airpark Wednesday morning and the results of that inspection are due in a few days. 

 Keith Miller, executive director of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, told members of the Airpark Liaison Committee Wednesday night, that the inspection was requested by the authority in the wake of the tragic plane crash in December that killed six people. The MAA, the administration that issues the license to the Revenue Authority to operate the airpark, annually inspects the Gaithersburg airpark.

“We requested the MAA to do in interim inspection and that was conducted this morning. We anticipate the results of that inspection this week or the week after,” Miller told the group.

Miller said the authority also recently met with the Federal Aviation Administration who agreed to designate the north side of the airport as a “congested area” on flight charts starting Feb. 5 but that the designation won’t have any impact on airport operations. Miller also said the FAA was not in favor of limiting the hours the airport here is open. It is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Limiting the scope of the airport could impact federal funding, he said. That funding has ranged between zero dollars some years to $2 million other years, he told MyMCMedia. Last year, Miller said, 39 operations took place between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The authority also met with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association earlier this month to review airpark operations, according to Miller. A report from that group has not yet been submitted.

The meeting Wednesday night comes on the heels of an earlier meeting held between County Executive Isiah Leggett; Council member Craig Rice, who represents that area of the county and members of the Airpark Concerned Citizens Alliance. In that meeting, alliance spokesperson Robert Anderson expressed concerns about the number of take-off and landings completed at the airport and the lack of an updated airpark impact study that was last done about 25 years ago. The group made several requests including limiting hours at the airport and the types of aircraft that fly there.

Miller did not attend the Tuesday meeting, but said the authority is waiting on a National Transportation Safety Board review of the crash to determine if any operational changes need to be made at the airpark. That could take up to a year. He said the number of airpark operations – a take-off or landing- totaled about 50,000 last year, far less than the airpark at its busiest in 2001 when more than 160,000 operations were logged there. The drop can be attributed to post 9/11 regulations regarding restricted airspace and training requirements, Miller said.

Liaison Committee member Nancy Shenk said at the meeting she believed the community needed a public meeting to hear an update about the airpark and about the crash that killed the three aboard the jet on Dec. 8 and a mother and her two young sons who died when the plane crashed into their house.

“You have a community so distraught about what happened and to wait a year is not giving that community a change to really talk to they people they need to talk to. This is a community raw with emotion,” she said. “There has to be a meeting sponsored by the county  to talk with the people of that community that includes the FAA and MAA so these organizations are made aware of our needs and what’s been going on over our houses all these years.”

 Story and video: 

NTSB Identification: DCA15MA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 08, 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD
Aircraft: EMBRAER EMB-500, registration: N100EQ
Injuries: 6 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

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

Interview with an Alaska pilot: Mark Madden

By  Colleen Mondor
January 30, 2015

UAA Flight Technology Professor Mark Madden holds numerous certificates and ratings, including airline transport pilot multi-engine, commercial airplane single-engine land and sea, instructor certificates for CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI, is tailwheel-endorsed and has been designated a Master CFI by both the National Association of Flight Instructors and Master Instructors, LLC. He is a member of the Federal Aviation Administration's FAAST Team Safety Program and was named National FAA Safety Team Representative of the year in 2013 by the General Aviation Awards program.

Madden has been a part- and full-time pilot, instructor, and program developer for the FedEx Cessna Caravan contractors, is a freelance aviation technical writer, an officer of the board of directors of the Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation and board member of the Lake Hood Pilots' Association.

Mark Madden answered questions about Alaska flying via email late last year.

Q: What item (or items) in your flight bag do you consider to be the most indispensable?

• Headset. Prefer noise cancelling;
• Hand held standby VHF transceiver and spare batteries;
• Nomex gloves (yes, I really do wear them when I fly);
• Electronic scale to obtain accurate baggage/cargo weights for performance calculations. This scale is hand held and can also be attached to a wing strut tie-down ring;
• Current FAA approved navigation charts and Alaska Supplement. These are hard copy paper charts that do not require an electrical source to operate (see next item for night operations);
• Small flashlight with batteries stored separately i.e., batteries are never stored inside the “dead battery case”. Also spare batteries; and
• Small first aid kit. This one is in addition to a larger first aid kit in my survival vest.
Madden carries all of these items in his flight bag, and not in his survival vest, which is also carried on board.

Q: What is your favorite place to fly to (or over) in Alaska and why?

A: This is a difficult question to answer since there are so many. I always enjoy flying through Lake Clark Pass. I consider this mountain pass to be one of the most beautiful passes I’ve ever seen. Flying around Denali is at the top of the list as well.

Q: What is the best flying advice you ever received?

A: Never pass up an opportunity to take on more AvGas (load permitting of course) or use the men’s room!

Q: What type of aircraft do you most enjoy flying and why?

A: I enjoy flying my Maule M5-210C. It’s a great airplane and perfect for off-airport and STOL operations. It’s also owned free and clear.

Original article can be found at:

No pilot's license, no problem: Flying for beginners

Light-sport planes in front of the Richard B. Helgeson Airport in Two Harbors. The local Experimental Aircraft Association chapter is hosting a speaker on February 5 to talk about the more affordable side of flying. Photo courtesy of Seth McDonald.

Seth McDonald of Two Harbors still remembers the first time he rode in a small airplane. He was 8 or 9 years old, his stepdad had a friend that was a pilot, and he took McDonald for a ride.

 It took McDonald almost 30 years to rekindle that love for flying. He joined the Two Harbors chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association four years ago, and is working towards getting his pilot's license.

McDonald, now the local EAA club vice president, said if he had known how affordable hobby flying is, he would have jumped in much sooner. Their EAA chapter is bringing a speaker to Two Harbors Feb. 5 to talk about ultralight planes, one of the least expensive and easiest ways to get into aviation. Ultralights are one-seater planes intended for recreational flying that can cost as low as $4,000 and require no pilot's license to fly.

"It's a big myth ... that these people are doctors and lawyers," McDonald said. "Yes, there may be a couple that are. But a vast majority of the folks are middle-class, blue collar guys and gals that are flying on a budget that is pretty tight."

The myth has its roots in fact — a small Cessna plane can cost more than $100,000 and requires a pilot's license with around 40 hours of flight time to fly. But McDonald and local EAA chapter president Mike Busch are on a mission to let people know that's not the only way to fly. Busch invited Timm Bogenhagen from the national EAA headquarters to speak in Two Harbors, and his talk will focus on ultralights.

"What we're trying to do with Timm's visit is to engage that part of the public that is interested in aviation but they've not taken that step because they've just said, 'Well, it's expensive. It's not for me,'" McDonald said.

Busch said another motive for the outreach is to get more young people involved in flying. He's been flying since he started working towards his pilot's license when stationed in Puerto Rico in the Navy in the 1960s. Today, professional pilots that are Busch's age are retiring in droves.

"There are a shortage of pilots even now. We're trying to grow some new ones," he said.

They have a Young Eagles program that takes kids up into the air, just like McDonald got the chance to do when he was young.

Busch said the Two Harbors EAA chapter focuses heavily on "homebuilt" aircrafts. About a half-dozen planes are being constructed at the Richard B. Helgeson Airport in Two Harbors right now, including Busch's own in his hangar. He pointed to the gearhead process of building a plane as something to expose aviation to people that don't yet know how to fly a plane. High-tech model planes are another easy way to learn about flying, McDonald pointed out.

"There are many facets of aviation," Busch said. "You don't have to be a pilot to get involved."

The talk on Feb. 5 is at 6:30 p.m. at the Two Harbors Community Center, 407 South Ave., Two Harbors. It's open to the public. The local EAA chapter meets every first Thursday at the community room in Two Harbors High School throughout winter and at the Two Harbors airport in the summer. They have grown the club from just a handful of members five years ago to around 30 now, and are always accepting new members, McDonald said.

"I don't care what you fly ... flying is flying," Busch said. "You depart from mother Earth, and you're up there in the ocean of air. You may be going a little faster or slower, but the feelings and the actions required are all about the same. It's just such a different feeling."

Story and photo:

Steven Saint-Amour, Eclipse Group Inc: Annapolis firm helped find Socata TBM700N (TBM900), N900KN • Fatal accident occurred September 05, 2014 in Jamaica

Steven Saint-Amour is managing director Eclipse Group Inc. The marine operations service provider helps with the recovery of fallen aircraft. 
(By Joshua McKerrow, Staff / January 28, 2015) 

Whenever a plane crashes, Steven Saint-Amour tries to learn as much as he can. 
It's part of his work as managing director of the Annapolis-based Eclipse Group Inc. One of the marine operations service provider's functions is to help with the recovery of fallen aircraft.

Saint-Amour never knows when his firm will be called in, so he always does his research — just in case.

This fall, Saint-Amour was intrigued by CNN's round-the-clock coverage of the crash involving Larry and Jane Glazer, a prominent Rochester, New York, couple who were flying in their personal airplane when it went down in the Caribbean Sea.

Months later, representatives of the Glazers contracted the Eclipse Group to search for the downed plane near Jamaica. Saint-Amour and a team of 20 contractors spent six days there and recovered it. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate.

"I get a lot of raised eyebrows. (People say) 'What a terrible job you would have to perform,'" Saint-Amour said. "I counter that it's actually incredibly satisfying, because associated with the victims is a family. They want their loved ones back and they want to know what happened. If we can help them find some closure, that's an incredible feeling to walk away with."

Larry Glazer ran Buckingham Properties, a property management and development firm, and Jane was founder and chief executive of QCI Direct, which sells home and personal care products online and through catalogs.

On Sept. 5, they were flying to Florida when their turboprop lost cabin pressure and the depleted oxygen left them unconscious, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

U.S. Air Force fighter jets accompanied the plane as it continued south for hours, eventually running out of fuel and crashing about 12 miles north of Jamaica.

Last week, the Glazer family released a statement to the media that thanked Saint-Amour and Eclipse for their role in the search.

"The search was a success, and so it is with great relief that we will be bringing our parents home," said the statement, attributed to the Glazers' children, Mindy MacLaren and Rick and Ken Glazer.

"We also recovered significant portions of the aircraft itself and we are hopeful that, in time, this will provide us with answers as to exactly what happened that day … Knowing we did all that could be done to bring our parents home provides us with the possibility for closure and eventual healing."

The Eclipse Group was incorporated in 2009, but its business operations began in 2012. Saint-Amour operates out of an office on Annapolis Exchange Parkway, but uses 22 contractors stationed around the world who can be called in for projects at any time.

In 2013, the company received a nearly $23 million contract with the Naval Underwater Warfare Center Division in Newport, Rhode Island, to provide operational and logistical support for ocean testing and at-sea projects.

Saint-Amour and his crew were in Jamaica Jan. 15-20, conducting their investigation in the Caribbean Sea. As four months had passed since the crash, there was no fuel or debris to indicate the wreckage's location. But crash data from the plane gave them an approximate idea where it went down.

The investigators used Phoenix International's autonomous underwater vehicle — an unmanned submersible — to find components of the plane. After that, the investigation was turned over to federal investigators.

Saint-Amour also gives lectures around the world on aircraft technology.

"With air crashes, everybody doesn't really want to think about it," he said. "You always think it will happen to the other guy."

- Story and photo gallery:

Eclipse Group Inc:

Steven Saint Amour of Eclipse Group Inc. talks about remotely operated underwater vehicles used to assist in salvage. 
(By Joshua McKerrow,  Baltimore Sun Media Group / January 28, 2015)

Larry and Jane Glazer


NTSB Identification: ERA14LA424
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 05, 2014 in Open Water, Jamaica
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N900KN
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 5, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Socata TBM700 (marketed as TBM900), N900KN, impacted open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica. The commercial pilot/owner and his passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight that originated from Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York at 0826 and destined for Naples Municipal Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) data received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after departing ROC the pilot climbed to FL280 and leveled off. About 1000 the pilot contacted ATC to report an "indication that is not correct in the plane" and to request a descent to FL180. The controller issued instructions to the pilot to descend to FL250 and subsequently, due to traffic, instructed him to turn 30 degrees to the left and then descend to FL200. During this sequence the pilot became unresponsive. An Air National Guard intercept that consisted of two fighter jets was dispatched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina and intercepted the airplane at FL250 about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The fighters were relieved by two fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida that followed the airplane to Andros Island, Bahamas, and disengaged prior to entering Cuban airspace. The airplane flew through Cuban airspace, eventually began a descent from FL250 and impacted open water northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

According to a review of preliminary radar data received from the FAA, the airplane entered a high rate of descent from FL250 prior to impacting the water. The last radar target was recorded over open water about 10,000 feet at 18.3547N, -76.44049W.

The Jamaican Defense Authority and United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. Search aircraft observed an oil slick and small pieces of debris scattered over one-quarter mile that were located near the last radar target. Both entities concluded their search on September 7, 2014.

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19
 Larry Glazer