Monday, February 9, 2015

Parts of tourist plane found in fishing net

TEHRAN – The landing gear and some other parts of a small tourist airplane that went missing in northern Iran a few days ago were found inside a fishing net in Shiroud on the Caspian Sea coast on Monday.

The two-seat tourist aircraft went missing around Ramsar, Mazandaran Province, on February 2 shortly after takeoff. It was carrying Saudi tourist Mohammad Khobaith. The pilot, Alireza Mahdi Qoli, was Iranian.

On Sunday, reports said that the pilot’s jacket and credit cards had been found by the seaside. On the same day, Ramsar Governor General Hossein Sarvari and officials from the county’s Red Crescent Society visited the families of the victims.

Khobaith’s wife said that she and her husband were spending their honeymoon in Iran and were visiting Ramsar to enjoy the beautiful area.

Small Wyoming airports on funding chopping block

Three Wyoming airports are likely to see major funding cuts in 2015 as they fell below a federal threshold for passengers boarded in 2014.

Cheyenne Regional Airport, Sheridan County Airport and Riverton Regional Airport all boarded fewer than 10,000 passengers in 2014, which is supposed to cut federal funding from $1 million to $150,000 for the airports. The funding could be restored if Congress passes certain measures like a Sen. Enzi-sponsored bill that would look at 2012 flight numbers instead of 2014.

“It hurts,” said Tim Barth, Cheyenne Regional’s new director of aviation who is one week into his job. “It hurts bad.”

Barth said without the extra $850,000 in federal entitlements, the planned terminal enhancement will be delayed, phased or changed in scope; the airport will have to potentially roll together several years of funding to do routine maintenance on pavement; and more. And those are struggles Barth said he hopes the airport doesn’t have to face.

Cheyenne Regional had the most precipitous drop in passengers in the state in 2014, boarding or unloading 59 percent fewer people than in 2013. In boardings, the key federal metric, the airport dropped from nearly 11,000 to just over 4,000. The dramatic shortfall signals some major problems for small airports and air carriers.

Cheyenne Regional is serviced solely by Cheyenne-based Great Lakes Aviation, which has had a remarkably similar drop in overall passenger load during the same time period. The airline has dropped its passenger load by around 60 percent over the past year. January figures showed a 60.3 percent drop from January 2014, which itself was a 40 percent drop from the year prior.

The airline has pinned its deterioration on federal regulation changes that require entry-level co-pilots to have 1,500 hours of airtime compared to 250 hours previously. Great Lakes officials have said the rule cut their workforce and caused problems keeping to schedules as qualified pilots became hard to find. The airline has taken emergency actions like stripping out seats from planes to requalify some pilots, hooking wingtips with a flight school and more, but the passenger-bleeding continues.

At Cheyenne Regional, Barth said he hopes Congress will reevaluate the 1,500-hour rule, which a Great Lakes official said was passed after an emotionally charged session.

“A senator from New York implemented this legislation and it was really difficult to argue against when families of accident victims were circulating the halls of Congress,” said Douglas Voss, the president and co-founder of Cheyenne-based Great Lakes Airlines in 2013.

Barth said the plane reconfiguration has had a two-fold effect on the airport. First, the change takes time, thus taking planes out of the fleet while they are reconfigured. Second, they come back with fewer seats, making it even harder to maintain passenger numbers.

“Realistically we need to find a way to work with the home-base airline and in the region to work with ridership and provide reliable service,” Barth said.

He wants to find a way to connect with local travelers to extol the virtues of skipping Denver to fly directly out of Cheyenne. He also wants to expand the airport’s hub system out beyond Denver to include places like Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Kansas City, which could also open Cheyenne travelers to more airlines.

“We can’t rely on [Denver] as our ultimate hub,” Barth said. “If we continue forward with that model, it won’t be beneficial to our operations.”

Barth said that currently the airport’s search for a supplementary airline to complement Great Lakes is on hold while he evaluates how the airport operates in his new post. The search is likely to continue come summer as details like what Congress does or doesn’t act on fall into place. 

Original article can be found at:

Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority members in a dogfight

An internal power struggle on the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has caused one member to resign, while others jockey for position just days before the board is slated to pick new officers.

At the heart of the turbulence was a palace coup of sorts in which longtime member David Haines had quietly decided to challenge Chairman Marc Troutman's bid for another year in the chairman's seat.

As Haines worked behind the scenes in recent weeks to gather enough votes on the 15-member board to overthrow Troutman, some board members brought in an outside attorney to investigate whether Haines and others have conflicts of interest.

Haines, a former two-year board chairman, abruptly resigned in disgust. Troutman, who did not return phone messages Monday, again appears to be unopposed for Wednesday's vote, and a board that's spent the past three years trying to stabilize its finances now has division within its ranks.

"I resigned because there is a lack of integrity shown by some members of [the board]," said Haines, of Forks Township, a board member since 2009. "I have the utmost respect for most of the board members, but there are some who I simply choose not to be near any longer."

Lehigh Valley International Airport is a $22 million-a-year operation that handles nearly 60,000 passengers per month, in addition to the nearly 200 small-plane pilots who fly out of LVIA and its smaller siblings, Queen City and Braden airports.

It's all run by the part-time board, whose decisions dictate everything from airport parking rates to how much pilots pay to keep their planes there to how much major airlines spend for fuel and landing fees.

Despite being an unpaid position that can require members to attend several meetings per month, airport authority seats are sought-after political plums given by Lehigh and Northampton county executives to some of the Valley's most-connected figures.

Most recently, the authority has been trying to deal with a difficult aviation market that has decreased annual passengers to roughly 700,000, while struggling to pay off a $26 million court judgment against the authority for taking a developer's land in the 1990s.

A rift that had been building for months came to a head last week as Haines was preparing to challenge Troutman's bid for a second year as chairman. That's when Jane Baker, a longtime board member and member of the authority's nominating committee, revealed that an outside attorney had been brought in to investigate several board members' potential conflicts of interest, according to board member Dean Browning.

Browning identified those members as Haines, because he is a major-airline commercial pilot who flies out of LVIA; Ed Pawlowski, because he's mayor of Allentown where Queen City Airport is located; Robert Berger, because he's a small-plane pilot who flies from Queen City; and Browning himself, because he's chief financial officer for LVIA's largest private tenant, New World Aviation.

Authority Executive Director Charles Everett confirmed that Haines had resigned but declined to discuss the outside attorney or an 11-page report delivered by an attorney with Hiscock & Barclay of Albany, N.Y. Everett declined to say how much the outside attorneys was paid, or even if a report exists.

"It's a legal and personnel matter that I am not at liberty to discuss," Everett said.

Baker also declined to comment on who hired the outside attorneys or how, or even if, they were paid.

"I think it's important that this board progress properly," said Baker, a former state legislator and Lehigh County executive. "That's as much as I'll say right now."

Browning would not produce the outside attorney's report, but said it essentially opined that he was the only one of the four with a conflict of interest — an opinion he said is not supported by authority board solicitor Robert Donchez Jr.

"I'm absolutely not going to resign," Browning said. "I'm here to focus on stabilizing our finances, reinvesting in the airport and marketing it so that it can be much more successful than it is now."

Donchez declined to comment.

Haines said he resigned before knowing the report's decision that he did not have a conflict of interest, largely because it didn't matter. What mattered, he said, was that other board members brought in attorneys to investigate whether his involvement on the board was a conflict with his job, without ever discussing it with him.

"I'm disgusted by this behavior and cannot, in good conscience, continue to serve on this board of governors," he said.

Pawlowski has no intention of giving up his seat, but he has some advice for some of his colleagues.

"We need to stop all this bickering and focus on attracting more airlines to this airport," Pawlowski said. "This constant fight for control is getting us nowhere. All of our efforts should be on the fiscal stability of this airport."

It sets up a potentially explosive special meeting Wednesday in which the authority board will choose new officers, discuss its debt and update news on its land sale.

"Quite frankly, all this is just silly," Pawlowski said of the power struggle. "I would hope we can find more constructive things to do than bicker with each other."

Austin Police Department gives a look at the damage to Air One after deadly weekend standoff

MyFoxAustin | KTBC | Fox 7 Austin | News Weather Sports

 Flight officers counted two dozen damage marks to Air One.

Flight officers say the markings look like bullet fragmentation as well as debris from trees as the gunman was shooting up from the trees.

There is damage on the rotor blades and on the side of the aircraft where the co-pilot sits.

Two flight officers were onboard. Police Chief Art Acevedo says those officers made the tactical decision to stay in the air to distract the gunman from shooting at officers on the ground despite the fact that cloud cover prevented them from getting higher than shooting range. Acevedo says the pilots went as far to identify an emergency landing site.

Chief says there is flight video showing the suspect firing multiple shots at the aircraft as well as the moment the swat officer fired the fatal shot at the suspect who Acevedo says was armed with a rifle and a scope.

The aircraft is out of service, but not because of the damage. It is still fly-able. Each marking has been measured and reported to the manufacturer. Repairs should take a full day.

Story, video and photo:


AUSTIN -- Police on Monday gave an up close look at the Austin Police Department helicopter damaged after a man reportedly shot at it late Saturday night.

Police said AirOne appears to be flyable, however, they're choosing not to fly it until engineers get a better look.

Scratches and dings mark the cowling and the rotor blades also have marks from bullets or debris. Video from the chopper won't be released until the investigation is over, but Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said it shows 27-year-old Sawyer Flache on the ground firing multiple rounds at AirOne.

Acevedo said video from the sniper who killed Flache will also show what happened that night.

"It is very dramatic, and I can tell you that the video shows the suspect come out at the same time of his garage, with a long rifle and a scope. The SWAT officer being a sniper himself understands the capabilities offered with a long rifle and a scope, makes the targeting of our aircraft a lot greater threat," Acevedo said.

Neighbors said they knew Flache as a nice guy and good father to his two girls. The chief said he's also been learning more about Flache after speaking with his father Sunday night.

"I actually talked to his father last night and extended my condolences, and he wanted to extend his apologies to our men and women for what they had to endure," Acevedo said. "But speaking to that father says a lot about the man that was raised, that sadly, was killed over the weekend."

On Monday, investigators went door to door on Pax Drive interviewing neighbors where the fatal SWAT shooting happened over the weekend. Friends of Flache also stopped by his home to pay their respects.

Austin Energy crews also visited to fix street lights. Police said Flache shot them out around 10:30 p.m. Saturday before neighbors called 911 and the SWAT team came on scene.

Austin police have three helicopters in their fleet. One is undergoing engine repairs and can't fly. While the helicopter damaged in the shooting is still flyable, police want to get the damage repaired before it returns to the air.

Story, photo and video:

Smugglers suspected of flying marijuana into U.S. via Ultralight aircraft • Agents seized 230 lbs. of pot believed to be dropped from sky

U.S. Border Patrol

CALEXICO, Calif. - Border Patrol agents at the Calexico station seized more than 230 lbs. of marijuana over the weekend that they suspect was dropped off by a small aircraft.

The drugs were found near Bowker Road and Interstate 8, according to the Border Patrol's release.

Agents said the incident took place Sunday around 7:40 a.m. when they found an abandoned metal basket loaded with ten large bundles of marijuana. Agents believe the bundles were dropped from an Ultralight aircraft and were intended to be picked up and transported by drug smugglers on the ground.

Border Patrol agents determined the marijuana weighed 233.7 lbs. and it was estimated to be worth $140,220. The drugs were turned over to the D.E.A. for further investigation.

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents seized 5,713 lbs. of marijuana last fiscal year, according to the release.

Agents ask the public to report suspicious activity to help keep the country safe by calling the Border Community Threat Hotline at 1-800-901-2003.

Story and photos:

U.S. Border Patrol

Incident occurred February 09, 2015 off off Galiano Island - BC, Canada

VANCOUVER – Two men are OK after the float plane they were in crashed off Galiano Island Monday afternoon. 

A spokesperson for the Ganges Coast Guard on Saltspring Island says the owner and co-pilot of Ocean Air Floatplanes were in the plane performing a procedure when they had trouble during takeoff.

The float plane crashed near Montague Harbour on Galiano Island.

Both men in the plane were ejected. They were able to keep afloat by clinging to the plane in the water and were not injured in the incident.

They have both been rescued.


Two people escaped with their lives after a Cessna 180 float plane crashed into the chilly waters off Montague Harbour between Galiano and Salt Spring Island around 2pm.

The Transportation Safety Board’s Bill Yearwood says it’s hoping the pilot will be able to explain what happened.

“We are not dispatching any investigators; we think the pilot will be able to help us understand what caused the accident.”

The pilot and passenger did not suffer serious injuries.

Yearwood adds the aircraft is classified as an air taxi operation, so it could be part of the TSB’s industry safety review. 

Original article can be found at:

Idaho Company Using Drones To Help Local Ag Community

Treasure Valley, Idaho ( KBOI ) - An Idaho company is one of the first in the nation allowed to fly drones... For-profit. Many companies are making money on the unmanned aircraft... But very few are legal. KBOI Eric Gonzales explains why a Treasure Valley man was given an exemption to let his company soar.

It's an industry waiting to take off. Drones aren't just a hobby anymore. Many companies are waiting for clearance to make money using unmanned aircraft systems. One company, whose owner lives in star was given the go ahead.

Steve Edgar, Advanced Aviation Solutions Owner, "We can actually conduct flights over your farm from the soil preparation phase to the harvest phase, and during the course of that growth crop cycle we can help find the stress points in the crop."

Advanced Aviation Solutions is the only agricultural business in the U.S. allowed by the FAA to fly drones commercially. The owner believes the drone Ag industry, combined with cutting-edge technology, will be a multi-billion dollar business over the next fifteen years.

Steve Edgar, Advanced Aviation Solutions Owner, "There is a lot of science behind this too. This is not just, put a camera on an airplane and go out and fly around."

Brandon Moore, Farmer, "Cotton's been growing around here since before the Civil War."

Brandon Moore is a farmer in Toney, Alabama. He hires dozens of workers to survey his crops. They're checking for water, bug, weed and soil problems.

Brandon Moore, Farmer, "Using some of the unmanned aircraft would allow us to almost have real time information. We would be able to cover large acreage's in just a fraction of the time. with the fraction of the people that it takes."

But Moore isn't legally allowed to use drones for his business. The government's only allowing 24 companies to fly them - and nearly all of them are movie production businesses.

Advanced Aviation Solutions is the only company allowed to fly over Ag land. Advanced aviation solutions got the gig, in part because of the owner's expertise in the cock pit.

Steve Edgar, Advanced Aviation Solutions Owner, "All of our guys are former military pilots, former commercial pilots, air traffic controllers. We've been in aviation all of our lives."

Edgar flew the F-117 stealth fighter in combat. He also manned drones for the air force sitting at a command center in California while his aircraft was zoning in on targets in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a six to nine month application process with the FAA, he's now in business. Snagging one of those exemptions, is nearly impossible.

So far the FAA has been giving exemptions but with strict rules to qualify for an exemptions. For example, a business that has a drone pilot has to have at least a private pilot's license; two, a third class medical certificate And three. a separate observer to watch where the drone is going at all times.

Brandon Moore, Farmer, "To have some hoops to go through is a good thing but on the other hand to go through that is total unnecessary, when any 18 year old can go down to the local hobby shop and purchase one and be up and flying in the next hour or so."

Moore says while his farm could save a lot of money on drones, a pilot's license would be a costly investment. For the FAA it's not just whether you can fly a drone, but more about safe operations in national airspace.

Steve Edgar, Advanced Aviation Solutions Owner, "But we are out there to do it the right way. We also know, as manned pilots the last thing I could ever say to somebody is, I am sorry if somebody was hurt or killed because an unmanned vehicle hit a manned vehicle."

Story and video:

Location of US anti-poaching pilot remains a mystery after presumed West African crash in 2014

African Parks'pilot Bill Fitzpatrick (right) with an aviation official before departing from Dakar in Senegal on June 19, 2014 en route to the Republic of Congo. Fitzpatrick has gone missing en route between Nigeria and Cameroon. 
Contributed Photo, Courtesy African Parks

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Last year, an American disappeared while traveling alone in a small plane in West Africa, heading to a new job as an anti-poaching pilot in a national park. Investigators think he hit a mountain but the location of his Cessna 172 remains a mystery after a search stymied by limited resources, patchy help from local authorities and forested, mountainous terrain.

Bill Fitzpatrick's last contact with aviation authorities was on the night of June 22 when he calmly gave his position and altitude to a control tower during a nighttime approach to coastal Cameroon. Then, nothing. Both man and plane vanished.

"Jungle will swallow up a small airplane," said Ray Kapteyn, aviation program manager in Cameroon for SIL, an organization based in Dallas, Texas that translates the Bible and took part in aerial searches for Fitzpatrick's plane. SIL also searched for a Cessna 182 originating in Germany that disappeared in roughly the same area in August, possibly after crashing at night into the Gulf of Guinea.

Kapteyn noted that radar coverage in the area is poor, but he said: "It is a little bit unusual that there were two of them in such a short time."

The fate of vanished aircraft, rare in an increasingly mapped and technologically connected world, is the stuff of intrigue, fueling theories about the cause and speculation about the last moments of those aboard. American aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, and the hunt is still on for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean after it went missing with 239 people aboard in 2014.

This weekend, media quoted Chilean mountaineers as saying they found the wreckage of a plane in the Andes that went missing 54 years ago. It had crashed, killing 24 people, including eight members of a professional soccer team.

Fitzpatrick, 59, was flying from Kano, Nigeria to Douala, Cameroon and his final destination was to be Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo, which is managed by African Parks, a nonprofit group based in Johannesburg. The Central African park, which consists mostly of rainforest, hosts gorilla researchers and tourists who join expeditions tracking the great apes.

The job of the former Peace Corps volunteer would have been to scan the park's many clearings for elephant carcasses from his cockpit and alert rangers who could intercept poachers escaping with ivory tusks.

"Everything is in limbo," Fitzpatrick's brother, Ken, said in a telephone interview from his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The missing pilot's wife, Paula, and their three children live in Chelan, Washington.

Bill Fitzpatrick learned to fly when he was 17, and once took primatologist Jane Goodall for a spin over San Francisco Bay, his brother said. Bill Fitzpatrick previously worked as a ranger and pilot at North Cascades National Park in Washington state, Arctic National Park in Alaska and elsewhere.

There was no mayday signal on the night of his disappearance, suggesting he crashed into a mountain without time to react, and that weather or a fuel shortage was not the cause. No signal was detected from the plane's emergency transmitter, which can be activated on impact or by the pilot.

African Parks has discounted the possibility that the aircraft may have been shot down by any military forces in the area.

Cameroonian troops canceled a ground search, citing a lack of fuel, said David Zeller, manager of Odzala park at the time.

Zeller said Cameroonian authorities let him listen to recordings of the radio transmission between Fitzpatrick and air traffic controllers, but he was not allowed to record or transcribe them. He believes the plane crashed in an area of the Bakossi mountain range with heavy cloud cover.

On behalf of African Parks, anti-poaching consultant Gauthier Selva also visited Cameroon. Some villagers tried to cash in, offering to rent him a truck with a driver for two or three days for $1,000, Selva said. He also talked by telephone with a man who asked for money to reveal the crash site, but did not send a photo to prove his information was correct.

The American's takeoff from Nigeria was delayed because he had to make cash withdrawals to pay for fuel, according to a witness. Despite the increased risk of flying at night in an unfamiliar area, he apparently decided to leave around 6 p.m. because his Nigerian flying permit was expiring that day, African Parks said.

The U.S. State Department says it is monitoring the case and providing consular assistance to Fitzpatrick's family, which wants Washington to deploy surveillance equipment and other resources to search for the plane.

Fitzpatrick's brother said he informed the FBI of purchases of items including a laptop and a camera made on Bill Fitzpatrick's PayPal account after his disappearance. Zeller said those transactions could indicate the pilot was either scammed on his journey through West Africa, or somebody found the plane wreckage in Cameroon and stole financial details from his laptop.

Fitzpatrick built an aircraft hangar in Odzala before going to pick up the Cessna. Torsten Bohm, a German who was researching hyenas in the park, smoked cigars and chatted with Fitzpatrick.

"Bill is such a wonderful person," Bohm said in a July email to colleagues. "I especially liked his 'everything is possible' attitude and he showed me that sometimes some things should not be taken so serious."


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Palo Alto Airport (KPAO) supplier to warn of lead emissions • Settlement: Nearby residents should receive notification of lead exposure from aircraft fuel

Residents and businesses near the Palo Alto Municipal Airport should be getting notifications about the use of leaded aviation gas at the airport, according to a legal settlement between an environmental-advocacy group and 30 suppliers of lead-containing aviation gas, including the local airport.

Aviation-fuel retailers must post signage regarding the danger of lead and warn residents within 1 kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) of the airport by letter or hand-delivered door hanger as part of the settlement. That includes a portion of East Palo Alto, businesses along the east end of Embarcadero Road and part of the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Palo Alto Airport fixed-base operator Rossi Aircraft Inc. is a signatory to the settlement, but the company's owner did not return requests for comment about plans to notify the public.

The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit against the aviation-gas ("avgas") suppliers in October 2011 for allegedly failing to comply with California's Proposition 65.

Lead, which is added to aviation fuel to boost octane and improve performance in piston-engine aircraft, is linked to miscarriage, low birth weight and premature birth. It can cause increased heart and respiratory diseases, neurological disturbances, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Environmental Program.

But airport officials are quick to point out that lead particles are heavy and tend to drop near the site of takeoff or where planes are gearing up for flight. A 2011 Duke University study supports that assertion, noting that there was little increase in air lead from background levels beyond 1,500 meters.

The Duke study did find "a significant association between potential exposure to lead emissions from avgas and blood levels in children," however. Children living within 1 kilometer of airports had a 4.4 percent higher blood lead level compared to other children, with children living within 500 meters most greatly affected. The study was adjusted for other sources of lead in the children's environments, such as peeling lead-based paint.

But lead from avgas is minor compared to other sources such as lead-based paint from older buildings, leached lead from water pipes, and consumer products and toys manufactured in countries with less-stringent regulations, the researchers said.

In wildlife, and particularly in birds, lead shot ingestion and consuming contaminated fish are the prevailing sources of lead poisoning.

A June 2013 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preliminary report on airport lead emissions found that Palo Alto's three-month, average lead concentration in the air was 0.12 micrograms per cubic meter -- just below the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter. (The San Carlos Airport exceeded the federal standard with a value of 0.33 micrograms, according to the report.)

The EPA study could play a role in policy changes related to leaded avgas. The agency is currently studying whether lead emissions from avgas endangers the public. A final determination is expected in mid-2015.

Local studies of leaded avgas pollution appear to be nonexistent. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which monitors pollutants, hasn't monitored for atmospheric lead for years. Monitoring pretty much stopped when lead ceased being added to automobile gasoline, which was considered the greatest source of lead in air, a spokesperson said.

Wildlife studies around San Francisco Bay have focused mainly on lead sources from ammunition.

Ralph Britton, president of the Palo Alto Airport Association, said he recognizes the risks of leaded fuel and talked about the economic challenges of developing alternative fuel.

"No one thinks using leaded fuel indefinitely is a good idea, but there is no viable alternative at the moment," he said. "That does not mean that it is unimportant to solve this problem, however. Because of the small demand, oil companies have little or no economic incentive to develop an alternative to processes already in place. In time, however, unleaded aviation gasoline will be available, but given the lack of economic incentive it will take some years," he said.

Original article can be found at:

American Grumman AA-1 Yankee, N6116L: Accident occurred February 08, 2015 at Tipton Airport (KFME), Odenton, Anne Arundel County, Maryland

One of the men seriously injured in a plane crash Sunday near Fort George G. Meade is a transportation chief for the Charles County government. 

The other is a retired scientist

On Monday, Jeffry P. Barnett, 57, of Glen Burnie, and Thomas L. Cline, 82, of Silver Spring, were being treated for their injuries at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Cline, who previously worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Barnett, chief of transportation and community programs for the Charles County government, was in fair condition.

"Jeff is a valuable and dedicated employee with the county and we wish him a speedy recovery," Charles County Commisioner President Peter Murphy said in a statement.

Barnett was piloting a 1970 Grumman American AA-1 when it crashed shortly after taking off at about 2 p.m. Sunday from Tipton Airport. Cline was his passenger.

Federal investigators have yet to determine what caused the plane to crash about a half mile from the end of the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board expects to release a preliminary report within the next seven to 10 days, spokesman Eric Weiss said.

Investigators will spend the coming days documenting the wreckage, gathering witness accounts, listening to air traffic control tapes and looking at weather conditions as they try to determine what caused the crash, Weiss said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is assisting with the investigation.

The NTSB then will work on a factual report, Weiss said, which allows the agency to gather all of the facts and determine a probable cause. That could take up to a year, he said.
The planned destination of the plane was still unknown Monday afternoon, Weiss said.

The crash site is about a quarter mile from Bald Eagle Drive and the Patuxent Research Refuge.

The plane, registered to Barnett, Cline and a third party, was upside-down when it was found in the woods. Nobody on the ground was injured.

Barnett and Cline were extricated from the wreckage within 50 minutes and flown by helicopter to Shock Trauma. Both were conscious and speaking with emergency personnel, said Anne Arundel County fire department spokesman Capt. Michael Pfaltzgraff.

 Regis#: N6116L
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: AA1
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Serious
Damage: Unknown
State: Maryland
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baltimore FSDO-07


A small plane flies over the area of woods at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge where another small plane crashed after takeoff from Tipton Airport in Laurel. 
(By Joshua McKerrow / Baltimore Sun Media Group /February 8, 2015) 

Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Michael Pfaltzgraff briefs the media Sunday after a plane crashed near Fort George G. Meade. 
(Tim Pratt/ Baltimore Sun Media Group /February 8, 2015)


Anne Arundel County fire officials say a small plane has crashed into the woods near Tipton Airport south of Fort Meade.

Officials say the plane crashed into the trees off of Bald Eagle Drive at around 2 p.m.

Two people were on board.  A fire department spokesman says both victims are conscious, but one of them was trapped in the wreckage.

That victim has now been freed.

Both victims have been flown by helicopter to Shock Trauma.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen tells WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and WBAL-TV that the single-engine 1970 Grumman American AA-1 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Runway 28 at Tipton Airport.

She says the aircraft went down about one-half-of-a-mile from the end of the runway.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate.. 

Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Michael Pfaltzgraff told reporters that  crews arriving in the area found two men, one 57-years-old and the other 82-years old, trapped in the wreckage, according to Pfaltzgraff. 

Pfaltzgraff said it took the crews about 50 minutes to free the men from the plane. Authorities earlier said the plane had ended up on its side. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, they added. 

This evening, Maryland State Police identified the two men aboard the plane as the pilot, 57-year-old Jeffrey Barnett of Glen Burnie, and the passenger, 82-year-old Thomas Cline of Silver Spring.  Barnett, Cline and a third party own the plane.

Two men were injured, but no one on the ground was hurt Sunday afternoon when a small plane crashed soon after take-off from Tipton Airport in Fort Meade MD .

One of the men injured is believed to be in his fifties and the other in his eighties.  Both men were flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Maryland State Police responded to Bald Eagle Drive and Combat Drive, in Ft. Meade, for the report of a plane crash.  On location they found a single-engine plane on its top in a wooded area.  The two men injured were the only people on-board the plane. 

Preliminary information indicates the plane had just taken off from Tipton Airport. The crash is said to have occurred a few hundred yards from the airstrip.

State Police investigators are on the scene gathering additional information.  

Federal aviation officials have been notified of the crash. 


Two men who were injured in the crash were flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, said a spokesmen for the Anne Arundel County fire department. 

One man is approximately 55 years old and the other is possibly 80, said Capt. Michael Pfaltzgraff. He said both men had serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Pfaltzgraff said it took 50 minutes to free the pair from the aircraft, which went down at 1:55 p.m. in the 7500 block of General Aviation Drive, a wooded area in Laurel.

Original post at 3:12 p.m.

A small plane crashed at the Tipton Airport on Sunday afternoon injuring two people, authorities said.

A Grumman American AA-1 aircraft crashed as it took off from the airport, said a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane went down about a half mile from the end of the runway around 2 p.m. Two people were on board, she said.

A spokesman for Anne Arundel County police tweeted that two people were conscious and alert.

The crash is near Bald Eagle Drive and Combat Road, Maryland State Police said.

Anne Arundel County Fire Department said the two people were trapped inside the plane, however authorities said further details were not available.

Bergen said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash. She said the agency will release the plane’s registration after local authorities release the names and conditions of two people on board.

FORT MEADE, Md. —A small plane crashed Sunday afternoon at Tipton Airport.

Authorities said the crash happened about 2 p.m.

Officials said a Grumman AA-1 aircraft went down shortly after taking off from Runway 28 and crashed about a half mile from the end of the runway.

Two people were aboard the plane. Both of them were conscious and alert.

Stay with WBAL-TV and for further details.

Photo Credit/Photo Courtesy: AACoFD/Deputy Chief Hoglander

Controlled flight into terrain -By A W K Senaratne

By A W K Senaratne

Aviation is the safest mode of transport at present, when compared with others port such as road, rail and sea. Safety in transport is measured by comparing the number of casualties (deaths) with the number of passengers multiplied by the number of kilometers they travelled. Consequently, in aviation, the number of casualties is the lowest when considered in terms of passenger- kilometers. However, when an aircraft accident occur the probability of survival is least in air transport mainly because of the speed they travel.

Any flight can be divided in to five phases namely takeoff, climb, cruise, descend and landing. Out of these five phases landing phase is the most critical and sixty percent of aircraft accidents occur during this part of the flight. The aircraft accident that occurred last month at Athurugiriya close to Ratmalana airport involving a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft AN 32 is one of those accidents that took place during the landing phase of the flight.

When analyzing aircraft accidents during the landing phase, eighty percent of these accidents can be grouped into a category called "Controlled Flight In-to Terrain" (CFIT). It simply means that there is nothing wrong with the aircraft and the pilot is in control of it, yet the aircraft hit high ground or land short of the runway. The accident at Athurugiriya falls into this category.

In early nineteen seventies, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) accepted an avionics (aviation electronic) system designed to prevent these so called CFIT accidents suitable to be installed on aircraft. This new avionics system was called Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS). It gives oral and visual warnings in seven modes to the pilots, if the aircraft gets too close to the ground in an unusual or unintended manner during landing or take off phases of the flight. For example during the landing phase, if the aircraft is descending at the rate of five feet per second but the aircraft radio/ radar altitude decreases by ten feet per second, then the GPWS will shout to the pilot "PULL UP - PULL UP TERRAIN - TERRAIN", indicating that the aircraft is getting closer to ground in an unusual manner (ground is rising or aircraft is heading towards a hill). A similar warning will come up if soon after takeoff the radio/ radar altitude of the aircraft decreases rather than increasing at the rate of climb of the aircraft, indicating that the ground is getting closer unusually. ICAO made it compulsory to have this system fitted on all commercial aircraft carrying more than nineteen passengers.

This very useful and important avionics system has paid dividend by reducing the percentage of CFIT accidents which was at eighty percent of all landing phase accidents to that below forty percent at present. With the advancement of the present day modern computer systems with large memory capacities, a more improved version of GPWS was introduced, and is called Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). Aircraft equipped with EGPWS and having "Glass Cockpits" (aircraft with modern TV type instrument display) can give a graphic three dimensional display of the terrain in front of the aircraft on its way to land at the runway. This display will show all tall buildings, high tension electricity lines raised ground contour etc. To provide this view the EGPWS computer memory has to be loaded with the terrain data of each airport where the aircraft is intended to be used. This data is obtained from GPS(Global Positioning System) terrain data. Also the computer terrain data has to be updated regularly as required by the ICAO. This type of display will enhance the confidence of the pilots and safety of the flight to a greater extent during the landing phase of the flight. Since the introduction of EGPWS only a few aircraft installed with this system has met with CFIT accidents.

The ill fated aircraft AN 32 operated by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) under Helitours commercial operation was doing a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) landing at Ratmalana airport. There is no radio landing aids available at Ratmalana airport other than a basic NDB (Non Directional Beacon) which is a navigational aid rather than a landing aid. It is highly dangerous and unwise to do a visual landing without any radio landing aid with the level of visibility that was prevailing due to mist around 6 am at Ratmalana airport on that fateful day. This type of weather occurs only on few days per year at Ratmalana or Katunayake airports. To do a safe landing in poor visibility there should be ground based radio aids.In such situations IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) landing has to be carried out.To do an IFR precision landing the airport should have the main radio aid used for landing in bad or normal weather, called Instrument Landing System (ILS). This system consists of two radio beams radiated from the runway towards the aircraft. One beam guides the pilot/ autopilot in the vertical plane to approach and land at a three degree angle with the runway surface. The other beam guides the pilot/ autopilot in the lateral plane (horizontal plane) to come along the extended centre line of the runway with the magnetic heading of the runway. With this radio aid the pilot/ autopilot can carry out a safe landing looking at the instrument panel alone, and without seeing the runway at all. This type of landing is called auto-landing.

In Sri Lanka only Katunayake and Mattala airports are equipped with this ILS radio landing aid. Even these two installations fall in to the category one and no auto landing is allowed. To carry out auto landing the ground based ILS system should be in category three. Since we have over ninety five percent of clear visibility throughout the year auto landing facility will not be essential. However, a less expensive non precision landing aid that guides the pilot only in lateral plane would be useful for Ratmalana airport which could have prevented this type of accidents. Most common less expensive non precision radio landing aid is the VOR/DME (Very high frequency Omni Range/ Distance Measuring Equipment). These two units are co-located and the first one gives magnetic heading to fly along the extended centre line of the runway to carry out a safe landing. The second unit gives the distance to reach the runway threshold (landing end of runway). If the NDB that is available at Ratmalana airport is located along the extended centre line of the runway, it could be used as a navigational aid as well as a non-precision landing aid even though its accuracy is much less than that of VOR/DME and it does not provide the distance to touch down point. At present the NDB at Ratmalana airport is installed not in line with the extended centre line of the runway (for reasons unknown) thus preventing its use as a radio landing aid (non precision) in addition to a navigational aid.

Factors that could cause CFIT accidents can be identified as wind shear, micro burst, poor visibility, miss-orientation, pilot error, etc. Wind shear/ micro burst is caused by turbulent weather conditions where thick columns of air moves vertically up or down at places. If this happens across the path of the aircraft on its way to land it can create a disastrous situation for the aircraft. Detection of wind shear condition is not easy and needs expensive radar equipment. Under poor visibility condition, even though there were no landing aids at Ratmalana airport, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar could have been used to vector (direct) the aircraft on to the runway by the air traffic controller on duty had the pilot made such a request. With poor visibility in a visual landing condition the pilot tend to look out to locate the runway, and in the process, they lose concentration on aircraft altitude and ends up in disaster, when suddenly a build up or hill appears in front of the flight path. This could be a likely cause of the accident at Ratmalana involving SLAF AN – 32 aircraft. However, the real cause/ causes can be identified only after a detailed investigation including the analysis of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder (black boxes).

(The writer is a Commonwealth Expert on Aviation and was in charge of Airworthiness and Accident investigation Division at the Department of Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka. He has investigated over twenty aircraft accidents including four Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft accidents. He can be reached at

Story and photos:

TransAsia Plane Grounding Extended as Pilot Testing Continues After Taiwan Crash • Most of TransAsia’s ATR Planes Will Remain Grounded Through Tuesday as 71 Pilots Undergo Testing

The Wall Street Journal

By Jenny W. Hsu, Aries Poon and Andy Pasztor

Feb. 8, 2015 5:22 a.m. ET

TAIPEI—Most of TransAsia Airways Corp. ’s ATR planes will remain grounded through Tuesday as pilot testing continues, the carrier said Sunday.

The majority of the airline’s turboprops were grounded Saturday as all 71 pilots of the planes began retraining and qualification tests required by local authorities days after the deadly crash in Taipei that killed at least 40 people.

The decision, which led to the cancellation of at least 122 domestic flights, follows the release of flight data indicating that fuel to the left engine of Flight 235 was manually cut off after the right engine of the twin turboprop plane appeared to have malfunctioned almost immediately after takeoff.

Both engines stopped producing thrust just before the ATR72-600 crashed into the Taipei’s Keelung River on Wednesday, four minutes after takeoff, according to flight data reviewed by Taiwan officials investigating the deadly crash.

The data raise the possibility that the pilot may have mistakenly cut fuel to the only engine keeping the plane in flight. Taiwan aviation safety authorities have declined to provide any interpretation or speculate on the cause of the crash.

Over the years, there have been cases in which military and commercial pilots have mistakenly shut down the wrong engine in an emergency, including a 1989 accident involving a British Midland Boeing 737 jetliner that crashed while trying to make an emergency landing in the U.K. In the wake of that and other accidents, plane manufacturers changed the design of some instruments and throttle systems to help pilots avoid such mistakes. Airlines and regulators also changed pilot-training programs, urging crews to be more deliberate in analyzing situations before shutting off any engine during flight.

Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council presented its preliminary findings after analyzing the data retrieved from the plane’s cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders, commonly known as the ’black boxes.’ A final report on the cause of the crash will be released in about 12 months.

Wednesday’s crash was TransAsia’s second fatal air accident in seven months. The plane carried 53 passengers and five crew members; the accident left 40 people dead, 15 injured and three—all Chinese nationals—unaccounted for.

On Friday, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said the carrier would be banned from adding new international routes for a year. TransAsia had already been excluded from new international routes after the crash in July that killed 49 people. The second plane crash extends the ban to Feb. 4, 2016, the CAA said.

Following media speculation, TransAsia reiterated Sunday that the pilot didn’t work overtime on the day before the crash, and added that it doesn’t know how many hours the pilots slept the night before. The carrier declined to disclose what time the pilot signed off the night before, citing the continuing investigation.

The initial report of TransAsia’s July crash in Penghu, released late last year, suggested that pilot fatigue wasn't a causal factor, although the local pilot association has in the past complained about the amount of overtime pilots work.

Separately, the CAA said Sunday that the lengthening of TransAsia’s transit time from 20 minutes to 30 minutes—effective from March 1—was agreed to before Wednesday’s crash and was designed to accommodate occasional flight delays. The “preventive measure” wasn't a response to the carrier’s July crash and the current 20-minute transit time was still considered sufficient for safety checks before flying, the CAA said.

Air-safety concerns in Asia have been growing as the region’s traffic continues to boom, and following a number of tragedies last year, including the Dec. 28 crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, which went down in the Java Sea on its way from Indonesia to Singapore, and the mystery disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March.

Last week, international air-safety officials said they would press some Asian nations to beef up regulation of their airlines.

Story, comments and photo:

A ground mechanic works on a TransAsia Airways ATR airplane in Taipei, Taiwan, on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. Photo: Associated Press

Woodbine, New Jersey, seeks grants for site remediation projects

WOODBINE – Mayor William Pikolycky has announced that the borough has applied to the state for grants to address two site remediation projects.

One grant request for $152,000 would address old ammunition bunkers at the Woodbine Municipal Airport (KOBI).

The other, for $223,000, is aimed at groundwater monitoring and on-going site investigation at the former foundations and structures landfill on Fidler Hill Road.

“If funding is approved, this will give us a final closure action plan for these two locations,” said Pikolycky.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Logan-Cache Airport (KLGU) Logan, Utah: Long wish list • May host 5K fundraiser

The Logan-Cache Airport is expanding and there will be some changes in the coming years, including reconstruction on a taxiway. 

Lee Ivie, the airport’s manager, gave an update on the airport to the Logan-Cache Airport Authority Board last week after giving an update to the Cache County Council.

“One thing that has made the budget very easy this year is we will have no FAA or state grant projects,” he said. “This is a very rare year that that’s going to happen.”

The reason for that, he said, is the airport needs to bank funds because there are very large projects ahead in the next several years. These projects require a money match to receive funds.

Though the airport is saving money for bigger projects, there are still projects in the works. There are many projects the airport is planning on over the next five years, he said.

Last year they completed the construction of a new taxiway, he said.

There are two landing strips, which makes four runways. The main runway is in great condition, he said, but the second is greatly in need of repair.

In 2016, the airport will do the design work for reconstructing Taxiway C, with the reconstruction to begin in 2017, he said.

“It has been recommended that we either close that runway down or we reconstruct it,” he said. “It’s not eligible for federal funding, so this will have to be funded through the state and locally.”

There are many problems with this runway, he said, and this is something the airport plans to fix in 2016. The Utah Department of Transportation has put this project on their priority list, he said, so that it doesn’t have to be closed.

Another project for 2016, he said, is going to be pavement preservation on the current runway. It will be state funded, he said.

In 2017, he said there will be rehabilitation of the northwest apron.

“It needs repair and that will be a joint venture from both the FAA, the state, and local funding,” he said.

In 2018, the airport will purchase snow removal equipment and a high-speed sweeper.

“It’s something we greatly need at the airport,” he said. “When we get frost and the inversion sets in, we have to have the ability to sweep the runway.”

Another project for 2018 will be pavement preservation of ramps, he said.

In 2021, the airport is looking to purchase property to create a runway protection zone, he said.

“A lot of this is a wish list,” he said. “These projects have been approved, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to get all the funding.”


Logan-Cache Airport may host 5K fundraiser 

The Logan-Cache Airport is holding a community day in July and Utah State University’s aviation team is looking to have a 5K fundraiser run to help the students pay for competitions in the fall.

Desiree Malan, a senior in the aviation program at USU, said the open house at the airport is a good opportunity for the fundraiser run.

“We try to go compete every year,” she said. “But we have to have the money to actually fund ourselves.”

The goal is to raise $5,000, she said, which would fund 250 people at $20 per person.

John Kerr, the chair of the airport authority board, said other fundraiser runs have been proposed at the airport before, but there have always been issues. Using federally funded assets for what might be argued to be a non-aviation related event, he said, could cause problems.

David Hartmann, the vice president of engineering for Armstrong Consultants, said the airport would probably be OK getting the FAA’s approval for this event.

“It makes it a lot easier that it’s not for profit,” he said. “I can’t speak for the FAA. I would just say you would need their approval.”

When a facility that has a lot of federal dollars is shut down, he said, the FAA wants to see where the money is going.

Being not for profit, he said, makes the fundraiser an easier sell for the FAA.

The route for the run should not close the main runway, however, the official route hasn’t been approved.

Kerr told the aviation team to come back with a route that wouldn’t close the main runway and the board would discuss the fundraiser.

“The sense seems to be a guarded willingness to pursue this,” he said.

Aaron Dyches, the chief flight instructor for the aviation team, said the goal of the airport open house is to bring the community to the airport, and the 5K would be a good way to do that. 

Original article can be found at: