Sunday, February 08, 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.