Monday, February 23, 2015

Rinker Buck: ‘Fly away’ at next winter lecture at Boothbay Railway Village

Rinker Buck will be speaking on Tuesday, March 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. the Boothbay Railway Village. 
Courtesy of Rinker Buck



The Boothbay Railway Village will host author and adventurer Rinker Buck for its next Winter Lecture, from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3. Buck is the author of the critically-acclaimed “Flight of Passage,” a memoir about his record-breaking coast-to-coast crossing in a primitive Piper Cub.

In 1966, when Buck was 15 and his older brother Kernahan was 17, they rebuilt an old 90-horsepower Piper Cub in their New Jersey barn over the winter and that July flew it California, learning only after they arrived on the Pacific coast that they were the youngest aviators in history to make the coast-to-coast flight.

The Buck brothers’ “stock” Cub had only four basic instruments, no radio, and they were frequently passed by cars underneath them as they navigated in stiff headwinds along the highways of the west. The first leg of their trip (Basking Ridge, New Jersey to Carlisle, Pennsylvania) was the longest cross-country flight either one of them had made.

Buck’s lyrical account of crossing the country is a celebration of 1960s-era American innocence and the can-do naiveté of two teenage pilots who didn’t know any better about the perils they faced.

Dodging thunderstorms and flying west through stiff turbulence, they camped at night on dusty grass airports, got red-necked by swarthy crop duster pilots in Arkansas, and fixed their plane on the run as parts broke or fell off.

“Flight of Passage” is also a timeless story of fathers and sons, as the Bucks had to separate from their difficult, quirky father, who was vicariously returning to his own barnstorming youth through his sons’ flight.

Since its publication in 1997, “Flight of Passage” has become a cult book among aviation enthusiasts and is considered a classic within the narrative non-fiction genre. The New Yorker called it “a funny, cocky gem of a book” and the Chicago Sun-Times described Buck’s narrative as “Huckleberry Finn meets the Spirit of St. Louis.”

Buck will read selected sections from the humorous parts of the book, including his youthful encounters with the national media and a confrontation with the U.S. Border Patrol just before he and his brother reached California.

Buck is a Bowdoin graduate and a former reporter and staff writer for Life, New York Magazine and The Hartford Courant. He has written four more books, including his “The Oregon Trail: An American Journey,” his account of an authentic crossing of the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon with another brother, Nicholas Buck of Newcastle, which will be published by Simon & Schuster this summer.

He is presently living in Maine to help his family care for his mother.

Buck’s reading is part of the museum’s Winter Lecture Series. The talk will take place inside the historic 1847 Boothbay Town Hall at the Boothbay Railway Village. A donation of $5 is suggested for admission. The Boothbay Railway Village is located at 586 Wiscasset Road, Route 27 in Boothbay.

Story, comments and photos: http://www.boothbayregister.com


In 1966, when Rinker Buck was 15 and his older brother Kernahan was 17, they rebuilt an old 90-horsepower Piper Cub in their New Jersey barn over the winter and that July flew it to California.

Socata TBM 700, N11YD: Incident occurred February 23, 2015 at Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL), North Carolina

Regis#: N11YD
Aircraft Make: SOCATA
Aircraft Model: TBM700
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
City: FLETCHER
State: North Carolina
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Charlotte FSDO-68

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING GEAR COLLAPSED, ASHEVILLE REGIONAL AIRPORT, FLETCHER, NC 

ARBUTINA AIRLINES LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N11YD




 An aircraft that had an issue with landing gear temporarily blocked the runway at Asheville Regional Airport Monday evening, spokeswoman Tina Kinsey said.

The landing gear of the Socata TBM-700 was not functioning around 3:45 p.m. as it was landing, resulting in blockage for all departures or arrivals until about 5:15 p.m., Kinsey said.

"It was a little more than an hour the runway was closed while airport crew worked to clear the aircraft and reopen the runway," she said.

No injuries were reported.


BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. -- Flights are back on at Asheville Regional Airport after a plane's landing gear collapsed, blocking the runway.

The plane was sitting on the runway for nearly two hours delaying all incoming and outgoing flights until crews moved it.

There were no injuries reported.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation to revamp accident inquiry board ahead of International Civil Aviation Organization audit

New Delhi: India’s civil aviation regulator has decided to restructure its safety board and hire airline safety professionals ahead of an audit by the UN’s aviation watchdog ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced its intent, and advertised the positions on its website. 

ICAO told the Indian regulator recently that it would come down to India to conduct an audit, its third in just over a decade, Mint reported on 12 February. 

Previous ICAO audits had highlighted the paucity of safety inspectors in DGCA. 

After its 2006 and 2012 audits, ICAO had placed the country in its list of 13 worst-performing nations. 

US regulator Federal Aviation Administration followed ICAO’s 2012 audit with its own and downgraded India, effectively barring new flights to the US by Indian airlines. 

The FAA is expected to visit India in the summer to review its downgrade.

The result of the ICAO and FAA audits will have a bearing on the ability of existing Indian airlines to operate more flights to the US and some international destinations and on new airlines’ ability to start flights to these destinations. 

The regulator plans to hire three directors of safety on short-term contracts to be part of the accident investigation board, according to the information on DGCA’s website. 

This is first time the DGCA is hiring external staff for this board, which is critical to ascertain the reasoning for any crashes, misses or other safety related events in the country.

These officers, the DGCA said on its website, must have at least 12 years of experience in aviation, specifically on the technical aspects, and have a degree in aeronautical engineering. 

DGCA has been asked by international regulators to hire at least 75 flight inspectors.  It has only 51.

India’s private airlines offer better pay and perks to inspectors compared with DGCA. 

The aviation ministry told DGCA in January to speed up the recruitment and do whatever was necessary to get more inspectors on board, a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

DGCA has also announced it will hire flight operations inspectors as consultants on a short-term basis for a period of one year with a fixed remuneration of Rs.1.25 lakh per month.

“There will be a review after six months and subsequent continuation will be decided on the basis of outcome of the review,” DGCA said in its advertisement. 

The remuneration of Rs.1.25 lakh is higher than the salary of many existing DGCA officers. 

In its 2006 audit, ICAO said it found that “a number of final reports of accident and serious incident investigations carried out by the DGCA were not sent to the (member) states concerned or to ICAO when it was applicable”. 

DGCA had also “not established a voluntary incident reporting system to facilitate the collection of safety information that may not otherwise be captured by the state’s mandatory incident reporting system”. 

In response, DGCA “submitted a corrective action plan which was never implemented”, said Mohan Ranganthan, an aviation safety analyst and former member of government appointed safety council, said of DGCA. He added that the regulator will be caught out this time. Restructuring DGCA is the key to better air safety, said former director general of civil aviation M.R. Sivaraman.

Source: http://www.livemint.com

European Union: Washington state’s Boeing tax breaks are illegal

BY JOHN ZAROCOSTAS
McClatchy Foreign Staff
February 23, 2015 

GENEVA — The World Trade Organization on Monday agreed to set up a panel to examine European Union allegations that Washington state’s $8.7 billion in tax breaks to the Boeing Co. to manufacture its new 777X model there are prohibited subsidies under global trade rules.

The EU’s legal adviser, Mikko Huttunen, told WTO delegates that the Washington state incentives create “a massive disadvantage” to the European aircraft industry, diplomats who attended the session said.

The U.S. delegation did not block the establishment of the dispute panel but countered that the state tax incentives are “fully consistent” with U.S. obligations under the WTO accords, sources familiar with the closed-door proceedings said.

Charlie Miller, a Boeing spokesman, defended the tax breaks, saying they were not offered uniquely to Boeing.

“The tax measures the EU challenges today are not market-distorting subsidies,” he said. “They are available to all aerospace companies, including Airbus and its suppliers.”

He called the EU’s complaint an attempt to divert attention from Europe’s own massive subsidy for aircraft development for Airbus, which is based in France, and was founded by France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. At issue is so-called “launch aid,” low-interest or no-interest loans for the development of an aircraft that don’t have to be repaid if the aircraft is not a commercial success.

“European governments have provided, and continue to provide, massive amounts of launch aid to Airbus for every airplane development program,” Miller said. “It is an effort to further delay EU compliance with the WTO’s 2011 ruling that launch aid is an illegal, market-distorting subsidy.”

The new dispute is the latest in a decade-long, multibillion-dollar fight between the world’s two biggest manufacturers of large civilian aircraft. The WTO ruled in 2010 and 2011 that both the United States and the EU had violated international trade agreements by providing their manufacturers billions of dollars in subsidies, and those rulings were upheld on appeal in 2011 and 2012.

But both sides are still engaged in the battle, awaiting a ruling expected this year by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body on whether the U.S. and the EU have complied with the early findings.

Diplomats said that the EU’s Huttunen argued said that a 2013 decision by Washington state to extend until the end of 2040 “very significant” tax breaks for Boeing violated a 2012 WTO ruling that those incentives were illegal.

In its Feb. 13 complaint to the WTO, the EU claimed that Washington state violated the ruling by making the tax incentives contingent upon placing production of the wings and final assembly for any new commercial aircraft or variant in Washington state and maintaining all wing assembly and final assembly of such commercial aircraft exclusively in the state.

While Boeing assembles aircraft in Washington state, Airbus’ finally assembly location is outside Toulouse, France.

Boeing’s 777X is the latest variant of the aircraft company’s so-called “Triple 7” wide-body aircraft, which are described as the world’s largest twin-engine commercial airliner, capable of carrying as many as 400 passengers and traveling more than 9,000 miles. It is designed to compete with Airbus’ A350 aircraft, which can carry as many as 360 passengers.

The two aircraft manufacturers closely watch each others’ sales in an annual competition that Boeing won last year, when it sold nearly twice as many wide-body aircraft to airlines as Airbus.

Zarocostas is a McClatchy special correspondent.

Story and photo: http://www.sanluisobispo.com

Coast Guard steps up search for missing sailor

Richard Byhre, 76, is overdue returning to Shelter Island on his sailboat, Princess.
 — Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard



SAN DIEGO — A large, military transport plane will join the search Monday for a 76-year-old sailor who went missing after taking his boat out from Shelter Island about a week ago, a Coast Guard official said.

Richard Byhre left Palm Desert for his 28-foot boat, Princess, which is docked at the Southwestern Yacht Club on Feb. 10, his wife, Bonnie Byhre said. He planned to depart from the Shelter Island dock on Feb. 14 or 15, but he didn't detail where he'd be going or for how long. That fact alone didn't worry his wife, who said they have spent decades sailing together, including a trip around the world.

"He's very competent," the 69-year-old said. "When we sailed to Hawaii he said, 'If Columbus can do it then I can do it with a Timex watch.' I've never been concerned at all, but its been longer than usual."

She told her husband before he left that she'd be at the yacht club for a get together on Feb. 20. When she arrived, he hadn't returned. That's when she reported him missing to the Coast Guard and San Diego Harbor Police.

The Coast Guard searched local harbors and marinas that night. Since then, a 110-foot ship, helicopters and a C-130 have been asked to join the search, said Petty Officer Connie Terrell. A message is being broadcast to boats on the ocean "to keep a sharp lookout" for the missing vessel, Terrell said.

Byhre is worried her husband's health might have something to do with his absence — he is hard of hearing. She said if he used his high frequency radio to call for help at some point, he likely wouldn't be able to hear what was said.

"I'm trying to stay as positive as I can," she said. "The Coast Guard is doing everything they can, and I have faith that they will find the boat or him or something."

Richard Byhre is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 210 pounds. The Princess has a deep blue hull. Anyone with information can contact the Coast Guard Joint Harbor Operations Center at (619) 278-7057 or Harbor Police at (619) 686-6272.


Story and photos: http://www.utsandiego.com

Richard Byhre's 28-foot sailboat, Princess.
— Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Lawmaker with lavish office decor spent thousands on donors' private planes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, a rising Republican star already facing an ethics inquiry, has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, The Associated Press has found. There also have been other expensive travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.

The expenses highlight the relationships that lawmakers sometimes have with donors who fund their political ambitions, an unwelcome message for a congressman billed as a fresh face of the GOP. The AP identified at least one dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on donors' planes since mid-2011.

The AP tracked Schock's reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman's penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock's office and campaign records.

Asked for comment, Schock responded in an email on Monday that he travels frequently throughout his Peoria-area district "to stay connected with my constituents" and also travels to raise money for his campaign committee and congressional colleagues.

He said he takes compliance with congressional funding rules seriously and has begun a review of his office's procedures "concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved."

Donors who owned planes on which travel was paid for by Schock's House and political accounts did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment Monday.

Schock's high-flying lifestyle, combined with questions about expenses decorating his office after the TV show "Downton Abbey," add to awkward perceptions on top of allegations he illegally solicited donations in 2012.

The Office of Congressional Ethics said in a 2013 report that there was reason to believe Schock violated House rules by soliciting campaign contributions for a committee that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a 2012 primary. The House Ethics Committee has said that query remains open.

"Haters are gonna hate," Schock, 33, told ABC News after the "Downton Abbey" story broke in The Washington Post, brushing off the controversy by invoking a line from one of pop singer Taylor Swift's songs.

Lawmakers can use office funds for private flights as long as payments cover their share of the costs. But most of the flights Schock covered with office funds occurred before the House changed its rules in January 2013. The earlier rules prohibited lawmakers from using those accounts to pay for flights on private aircraft, allowing payments only for federally licensed charter and commercial flights.

Schock's House account paid more than $24,000 directly to a Peoria aviation firm for eight flights provided by one of Schock's donor's planes in 2011 and 2012. While the aircraft flies as part of an Illinois charter service, the owner of the service told the AP on Monday that any payments made directly to the donor's aviation company would not have been for charter flights.

Beyond air travel, Schock spent thousands more on tickets for concerts, car mileage reimbursements — among the highest in Congress — and took his interns to a sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June.

The donor planes include an Italian-made Piaggio twin-engine turboprop owned by Todd Green of Springfield, Illinois, who runs car dealerships in Schock's district with his brother, Jeff. Todd Green told a Springfield newspaper that Jeff — a pilot and campaign contributor — and Schock have been friends for a long time.

Story and photo:  http://www.usnews.com

Drone training offered at National Air Security Operations Center

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- One afternoon in early January, Max Raterman took a call for assistance as local law enforcement agencies were beginning to investigate a tragic, fatal train-school bus crash near Larimore, N.D.

"We happened to have a Predator up doing a training exercise," said Raterman, director of air  operations at the National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks, part of the U.S.Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine.

So, Raterman directed the crew to fly the unmanned aircraft to the scene to photograph the crash site from an altitude of 19,000 feet, the Federal Aviation Administration's designated airspace for that aircraft.

"I didn't hesitate," he said. "I thought we could leverage that to help the families, maybe help law enforcement investigate the accident, and maybe help the families bring some closure."

While equipment aboard the Predator flying at that height cannot provide vivid detail -- neither facial recognition nor vehicle license plate identification -- it provides aerial perspective for investigators.

Training and operations

The National Air Security Operations Center, located at Grand Forks Air Force Base, is the national training center for Customs and Border Protection.

It provides hands-on UAS experience for some 40 pilots annually, rotating through in smaller groups for eight-week classes.

"If you fly unmanned aircraft for CBP, you come here for training," Raterman said.

Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine has nine Predator drones, including two at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Besides Grand Forks, the drones are flown from: the U.S. Army's Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz; Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas; and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Jacksonville, Fla.

Because the Predator is a satellite-controlled aircraft, it can be flown from any location in the country, as long as it has a ground control station with a satellite link to the system.

Besides being the main training site, Grand Forks is also an operational site, said Robert "Tex" Alles, Office of Air and Marine assistant commissioner, who visited Grand Forks this past week.

"So, they could be flying a mission on the southwest border this afternoon. They could be flying one in Texas tonight. They could be flying on the northern border tomorrow," he said.

"We have aircraft down in El Salvador. They could be flying an El Salvador mission right here out of Grand Forks and then go out into the minus-10-degree weather when it's 90 degrees in El Salvador."

Eyes in the sky


Customs and Border Protection, created after 9/11 as part of the new Department of Homeland Security, is a law enforcement agency with three main components: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with about 21,000 employees; Border Patrol, with about 20,000 employees; and the Office of Air and Marine, with about 1,750, although the number now is down to about 1,600, including about 1,200 gun-carrying federal agents, according to Raterman.

Office of Air and Marine maintains operational control of Customs and Border Protection's aircraft and boats, although Border Patrol agents usually operate the boats on border waters, such as Lake of the Woods. The agency has FAA authority to fly within 100 miles of the nation's border.

"It's a CBP law enforcement organization, separate from the Border Patrol, separate from field operations. But because we're in the air and on the water, you're not really going to encounter us very much," Raterman said of the Office of Air and Marine.

"If I'm a pilot and I'm flying and you're looking to cross the border illegally, you're never going to see me, because I'm going to call the Border Patrol, and they're going to apprehend you. So, to a certain extent, we're kind of transparent to the average public."

Grand Forks center

When the Grand Forks operation center was established in 2009, it was divided into two sections, part of it stationed at the air base, the other at Grand Forks International Airport.

Besides the two unmanned Predator drones, the Grand Forks center also operates two Cessna 206 fixed-wing airplanes, and one AS-350 helicopter.

Although the fixed-wing aircraft are still housed at the airport, the operations were combined last fall under one command at the air base.

Today, Raterman oversees a crew of about 17, including 14 pilots -- all of them gun-carrying law enforcement officers or air interdiction agents, as they are technically called -- for the fixed-wing aircraft.

All unmanned aircraft pilots are fixed-wing pilots with at least 2,000 hours of flight time, plus the requisite UAS training.

The unmanned Predator, on the other hand, takes a team of a dozen to 15 people for each flight, including two pilots who operate the ground control station -- like an airplane cockpit with about a half dozen video screens, a computer keyboard and various controls.

"It's only unmanned in the sense that nobody's sitting in it," Raterman said.

Cooperation and outreach

The Larimore school bus crash is one of dozens of local law enforcement incidents in which the Customs and Border Protection has assisted in recent years.

The Predator has been used to help in flooding, perhaps to detect whether a bridge is in danger of being washed out, or a dam is being threatened. Sensors also can detect soil saturation levels, to give officials a sense of flood danger before flooding occurs.

Among the agency tools are hand-held devices that law enforcement officers on the ground can use to see the same images as the Predator sees from the air. They can help officers determine, for example, whether a meth lab is occupied as they make an approach.

"If the sheriff calls and requests our help, we'll say, what do you need. Then, we'll assess the situation, and what we might have available to assist," he said. "Maybe we'll send a fixed-wing aircraft to transport gear and a SWAT team six counties away."

Still, Raterman said, most people do not know about the agency's Office of Air and Marine.

So, he has started a public outreach program.

For example, he now attends weekly training sessions for new law enforcement officers conducted at the Grand Forks Public Safety Training Center, to explain the Customs and Border Protection's mission and to offer the Office of Air and Marine's assistance.

He also is clear about what its limitations are.

"We'll offer whatever we can," he said, adding that if the unmanned Predator had not been in the sky when the school bus crash call came in, he could not have justified the cost of placing it into service.

"We have to be accountable to the public," Raterman said. "The public owns all these assets and we really do believe that. It's not a flying club. We're a border security agency and we have to be responsible for what we do."


Story and photo:  http://www.jamestownsun.com

Max Raterman, Director of Air Operations, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, oversees operations for unmanned and manned aircraft for Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine at GFAFB. Here he inspects one of two MQ9 Predator B UAS that the agency uses to patrol U.S. borders and to assist local law enforcement agencies.
Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Announces Investments in Six Airports to Upgrade Facilities, Improve Safety

Harrisburg – Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards today announced that a $9.7 million state investment will improve safety and operations at six Pennsylvania airports.

“With aviation supporting thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, it’s vital that we ensure airports in Pennsylvania can make safety and operational upgrades,” Secretary Richards said. “These projects are also investments in the communities these airports serve.”

The grants are distributed through the Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, which is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds. The grants leverage more than $8.3 million in local matching funds. Authorized by the General Assembly, the grants are administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Aviation.

Allegheny County:

Allegheny County Airport -- $2.9 million to rehabilitate the severely deteriorated terminal public parking lot and sidewalks.

Bucks County:

Doylestown Airport -- $487,500 to acquire property within the airport’s runway protection to remove approach obstructions.

Quakertown Airport -- $180,000 to acquire property adjacent to the airport that is needed to remove obstructions to maintain a clear approach to the runway.

Lawrence County: 

New Castle Municipal Airport -- $100,000 to construct a hangar addition that will support growth at the airport.

Luzerne County: 

Hazleton Municipal Airport -- $300,000 to acquire two existing, privately owned hangars for new aircraft and equipment.

Lycoming County: 

Williamsport Regional Airport -- $5 million to construct a new airport terminal designed to improve access, airport security and safety, as well as $750,000 to relocate the airport fuel farm to allow for construction of the new airport terminal.

Original article can be found at: http://www.pahomepage.com

New Mexico deserts offer realistic military training

Maintenance crews work on helicopters in a hangar at Kirtland Air Force Base. After missions in which landings generate clouds of dust, the engines have to be washed down.



Zipping through canyons at 200-plus mph and landing on mesa tops in a blinding blast of red dust somewhere near Socorro reminds the uninitiated just how insanely dedicated Air Force pilots must be.

But to those pilots and crew, it’s just another training day across a landscape that looks, feels – even smells – like the mountains in Afghanistan, where most of them flew in combat not long ago.

“We can’t afford to lose this training environment,” said Col. Dagvin “Dag” Anderson, commander of Kirtland Air Force Base’s 58th Special Operations Wing at the conclusion of a bone-chilling, stomach-churning day of training.

Sandwiched between days of sunshine and clear skies, the low clouds, cold temperatures and spotty rain on Feb. 11 barely fazed the pilots flying the two HH-60G Pave Hawks, the CV-22 Osprey and MC-130J Commando II involved in that day’s search-and-rescue exercises.

The Pave Hawks and Osprey were landing and taking off at LZ (Landing Zone) 19, situated about 45 miles northwest of Socorro, at an elevation of about 6,000 feet – the same elevation as Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul.

Capt. Nick D’Andrea, an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter instructor pilot, said training in New Mexico is invaluable for air crews because of the state’s many similarities to Afghanistan and other potential battlefields.

Training at high altitude is critical for pilots, he said.

“At higher altitudes, especially in hotter temperatures, there is less air for the rotor blades to catch, so they produce less lift. At the same time, there is less oxygen in the air, so the helicopter engines produce less power,” he said.

Another “attribute” of training in New Mexico, D’Andrea said, is dust – though it’s a two-edged sword.

Dust was in ample supply on training day. Each time a helicopter took off or landed, a swirling circle of dust enveloped the aircraft. When an Osprey did the same, the blast was exponentially greater, pushing up blinding walls of dust that enveloped the aircraft.

“We like to train in dust,” D’Andrea said, because it’s a fact of life for helicopter and Osprey crews, particularly in desert environments. But it’s also hard on the Osprey’s twin, 6,200 horsepower engines, he said, which adds to the costs of operating the aircraft.

The Osprey tilts its two 38-foot-diameter rotors from horizontal to vertical to combine the vertical flight capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a turboprop airplane. It can carry up to 32 troops or 10,000 pounds of cargo.

To those onboard, the in-flight transition of the rotors is far from subtle. As the blades shift from vertical to horizontal for hovering or landing, it feels like someone slammed on the brakes. When the rotors move back to vertical, it feels like flooring a supercharged Corvette. That explains why everyone on board is tethered to a steel cable or floor hook.

About the only time an Osprey flies straight and level is during aerial refueling, which was demonstrated that day as the CV-22, piloted by Maj. Matt Shrull, took on 2,000 pounds of fuel from an MC-130J Commando II, flown by Maj. Timothy Paschke.

The day’s training involved the 58th’s 415th Special Operations Squadron, which trains special ops crews on the HC/MC-130s; the 512th Rescue Squadron, which does search and rescue with HH-60 Pave Hawks; and the 71st Special Operations Squadron, which trains CV-22 Osprey crews.

“High altitude, altitude density and the dust make this place more beneficial for (realistic) training than any other location” in the United States, D’Andrea said.

Anderson, the 58th’s commander, said when you combine those attributes with sunny skies conducive to flying about 300 days per year and close proximity to live-fire ranges at White Sands Missile Range and Melrose Range, it would be a daunting task to find a more ideal place to train.

“We train in realistic environments, so when we go out there to fight, we’re prepared,” he said.

The 58th Special Operations Wing

The 58th Special Operation Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base trains air crews on MC/HC-130 transport aircraft; HH-60G Pave Hawk and UH-1N Iroquois helicopters; and the tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey, an airplane/helicopter hybrid. Its primary mission is training special operations and combat search-and-rescue crews.

The wing employs more than 1,800 personnel and trains about 2,000 students yearly who are enrolled in 113 training courses for 32 different crew positions. The wing is one of the largest units at Kirtland Air Force Base.

The 58th and its associated units have 12 HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, seven CV-22 Ospreys, six UH-1N helicopters and 13 MC/HC-130 transports.

The UH-1N Iroquois is a light-lift utility helicopter used for a variety of missions. It’s the modern version of the venerable UH-1 Huey helicopters first used widely in the Vietnam war. The Iroquois can carry up to 13 troops, has a maximum gross weight of 10,500 pounds and a top speed of about 149 mph.

The HH-60G Pave Hawk is a medium-lift helicopter primarily used in search-and-rescue missions. The Pave Hawk, a highly modified version of the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk, can carry up to 13 troops and has a maximum gross weight of 22,000 pounds and a top speed of 184 mph. Pave Hawks were first deployed in 1982.

Story and photos:  http://www.abqjournal.com

Flashback: Bert Zimmerly reported missing; pilots poised for search at dawn

This story was published in the February 18, 1949, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.




An intense aerial search was organized early this morning for a Clarkston pilot believed forced down on the rolling Palouse prairie somewhere between Spokane and Clarkston.

Bert Zimmerly, veteran northwest flier and manager of Zimmerly Air Transport at Clarkston, was missing on a flight from Felts field at Spokane to the Asotin County airport in a yellow, single-engine Cessna Airmaster.

Zimmerly flying alone, left Felts field at 5:50 p.m. on a flight which would normally take about an hour. At 3 a.m. he was still unreported. His plane carried fuel for about five hours' flying time when he left Clarkston for Spokane at 1:30 p.m. and he reportedly did not refuel at Felts field for the return trip.

He was last heard from six minutes after take off from Spokane, when he radioed routine clearance from the field, asked for a Lewiston valley weather report and announced he was some 15 miles of Felts field.

Personnel at the Clarkston field spread a wide information net between the two cities last night. They alerted all sheriff's offices and state police, issued a radio appeal for information regarding the yellow airplane and asked telephone operators to call farmers throughout the Palouse area where Zimmerly may have been forced down.

Tom Cronson, of Lewiston, veteran air search coordinator in charge of the hunt, said 14 planes from Lewiston and Clarkston and three from McChord field, Wash., will criss-cross the Palouse hills in search of the downed aircraft.

Weather last night during the time Zimmerly should have been in the air was reported good from Spokane to Pullman but bad from Pullman to the top of the Lewiston hill. Harland Stewart, Empire Air Lines pilot and a former Zimmerly flyer, piloted an Empire DC-3 from Spokane to Lewiston about half and hour behind Zimmerly.

Stewart reported that a storm was blowing up from the southwest near Pullman at about 35 miles per hour with light icing conditions, but said there were holes in the clouds over Lewiston.

One individual called the Clarkston airport last night, reporting that he had heard a plane flying low near Pullman at about 6:30, evidently following the highway south. This was about the time Zimmerly should normally have arrived over that area.

Although he did not file a flight plan at Felts field, Zimmerly was presumed to have headed directly for Clarkston. He had dinner engagements with his wife early in the evening, and two men who saw yesterday afternoon at Spokane reported last night that he has planned to return home.

He had flown to Spokane on business.

Flight personnel at the Clarkston field doubted that the experienced pilot had been forced down by bad weather, and expressed the opinion that his plane had suffered mechanical trouble.

Flyers familiar with that airplane however, said it was apparently in perfect condition when it left Clarkston.

Story and photo:    http://lmtribune.com

Thomas Cook ready to sell its airline business

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel group, is considering selling its airline business as it continues to recover from its near-collapse in 2011.

The company, which can trace its roots back to 1841 when Thomas Cook arranged for 500 people to travel between Leicester and Loughborough for a shilling, has reportedly sounded out potential buyers. These are believed to include rival carriers and private equity investors, although no talks are currently taking place.

The plans were first explored by the former chief executive Harriet Green, who left Thomas Cook last November. Her successor, Peter Fankhauser, is thought to be open to making the same move.

Thomas Cook found itself under a mountain of debt in 2011 but has since axed jobs and shut high-street shops. Its shares closed at 123p on Friday, compared to a low of 13p.  

“We are always open for opportunities, which might include partnering with other partners/airlines,” it said in a statement.

However, it added: “We are very pleased with the development of our airlines. We have refurbished the cabins of our long-haul fleet and added long-haul aircraft to our Condor fleet in Germany and the UK. We see our airlines as an important part of our business.”

Thomas Cook has 88 planes, making it the 11th largest airline operator in Europe, and has ordered 25 new Airbus A321s to replace older planes.

Earlier this month, the company said bookings from UK customers were ahead of last year, particularly on premium packages and holidays to the US. However, it admitted that  trading conditions in Europe remained tough.

Original article can be found at: http://www.independent.co.uk

Air France flight diverts to UK so pilot can 'rest'

Passengers on a delayed Air France flight from New York to Paris were left stranded for 12 hours on Sunday when the pilot landed the plane in the UK - just an hour from the French capital - because he was obliged to take a rest.

When the A380 plane from to Paris finally took off from a freezing New York, passengers would have probably been thinking the worst of their problems were over.

The flight had already been delayed six hours due to heavy snow in the US.

However with the French capital just an hour or so away, the pilot announced that he was diverting the plane to Manchester because he had been at the controls for too long and was obliged, by the company's strict rules, to take a rest.

If he had carried on flying he would surpassed the allowed "quota of hours", which is strictly forbidden due to the risks.

The problem for passengers was that Air France had not organised for alternative planes or pilots to come and pick them and take them on to Paris. They were forced to wait in 12 hours in Manchester Airport before they were flown on to Paris.

"People are going crazy. We've been here since noon and we have three children with us. There are also unaccompanied minors who have been left by themselves without any supervision. These children are crying," one irate passenger told BFM TV.

For Air France the fact the pilot decided to divert the plane just an hour short of Paris was entirely normal as the legal rest periods must be respected "to within a few minutes," a spokesperson told BFM TV.

The company said the crew had initially hoped to make it to Paris but were unable to make up enough time crossing the Atlantic.

The company's spokesperson said not respecting the rest times would be the equivalent of "someone driving at 180km/h with two grams of alcohol in the blood."

Air France pilots normally work a maximum of 75 hours a month, but the rest times they are forced to respect depends on the flight time and the time difference between destinations.

Story and photos:  http://www.thelocal.fr

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Accident occurred February 22, 2015 near Statenville, Echols County, Georgia

Two members of Beaufort-based Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 were treated for minor injuries after ejecting from a fighter jet that crashed Sunday in Georgia, according to a news release from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

An investigation is underway into what caused the F/A-18 Hornet to crash during low-altitude tactics training.

The pilot, Maj. Roy Nicka, and the weapons systems officer, 1st. Lt. Robert Reynolds, ejected and parachuted to the ground. They were treated for minor injuries at the South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta.

The plane flew out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and crashed near Statenville, Ga., in the Moody MOA, a military operations area, which is air space designated for military flight operations, according to the release.

The aircraft went down in wooded, swampy terrain about 30 miles east of Valdosta.

Requests for information from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on Sunday night and Monday were not responded to.

The crash site has been cordoned off by military officials. Personnel from Moody Air Force Base's 23rd Wing are providing site security, while members of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing are assembled for recovery operations, according to the release.

Efforts are underway to recover as much of the plane as possible, and the investigation into the cause may take several months.

"Information will be gathered from many sources, including all sources known to have any link to the mishap flight, in effort to determine the cause of the mishap and to help our aviators avoid similar mishaps in the future," according to the release.

Any witnesses are asked to contact the 2nd MAW public affairs office at 252-466-4241 or chpt.jpao.omb@usmc.mil to provide information.



STATENVILLE, Ga. – A military plane flying from a South Carolina base has crashed near this Echols County town.

The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18D Hornet crashed at 2:53 p.m. Sunday; it was flying from Beauford Marine Corps Station, Beauford, S.C., according to military authorities at the scene.

The plane crashed about 4.5 miles east of Statenville near Ga. 94.

Two pilots parachuted from the plane; both were taken to South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, said 2nd Lt. Brianca Williams from Moody Air Force Base. There were no fatalities connected with the crash

Moody responded as the nearest military base; the downed plane was not from Moody AFB as initially reported by civilian authorities.

Responders at the scene included the Echols County Sheriff's Office, EMTs from South Georgia Medical Center, the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Echols County Volunteer Fire Department, Moody AFB Fire Services and security personnel from Moody.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Story, photos and video:   http://www.valdostadailytimes.com










  WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

STATENVILLE, GA (WALB) -

Two pilots have been injured after their plane crashed east of Statenville off Highway 94 in a wooded area Echols County.

Both pilots ejected from the plane. They had minor injuries and were taken to the South Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

It happened around 3 p.m. The plane is a McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18D Hornet.

The Echols County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the crash.

Personnel from the 23rd Wing also responded to the scene, according to a release from Moody Air Force Base.

The aircraft took off from Beaufort Marine Corp. Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Story and video:  http://www.walb.com

India: No takers for state government planes

LUCKNOW: The UP government's plan to sell off one old aircraft and two choppers has crash landed, thanks to recession in the civil aviation sector. Dumped in the hangars of Amausi airport, the Premier 1A aircraft, Chetak and Bell 230 choppers will now be put up for sale again, sources in the civil aviation department said.

The Premier 1A aircraft, that crash-landed with cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav and one other senior minister in 2012, has been put up for sale at least three times. So is the case with Chetak and Bell helicopters which have been found wanting for a buyer.

"However, no companies came up with a respectable amount. The recession in the industry is to be blamed for this," said a government official. The department has again sought a bid for the three till February 25.

The sale coincides with the state government's plans to buy new aircraft and choppers to fly its VIPs.

Purchased during the tenure of former chief minister Mayawati in 2008 at an estimated cost of over Rs 40 crore, the six-seat aircraft, Premier-1A (VT-UPN), has not been used since it skidded off the runway at IGI airport in Delhi in 2012, leaving the top brass of the civil aviation department red-faced.

The department has since been inviting bids from private consultants to evaluate the aircraft. It has been keenly seeking 'valuers' who are registered as surveyors with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority for providing 'market realizable value' for four aircraft and a chopper along with their spare parts, rotables, etc.

The six-seater Chetak helicopter, manufactured by HAL, has been waiting for a suitable buyer since 2009 when it was last flown. Likewise, the Bell helicopter, which was last flown in March 2014, has been put up for sale on two occasions.

Original article can be found at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Open house planned to review Iowa City Municipal Airport (KIOW) master plan

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The first two chapters of a major plan involving the Iowa City Municipal Airport will be reviewed by the public.

The Iowa City Municipal Airport is developing an update to its master plan that will help guide airport operations, including facilities, services, and activities, for the next 20 years.

Parts of the plan could be implemented as early as 2016, and will be used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to guide FAA projects and development in Iowa City.

The open house is to discuss the first two chapters of the master plan has been scheduled for Thursday, March 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the airport, located at 1801 S. Riverside Drive in Iowa City.

The open house will offer an overview of the master plan as well as opportunities to view displays and learn more about existing airport inventory, forecast data for facility upgrades or changes that are needed, and goals for long-term growth.

The session will be led by airport staff and project consultants who will be able to answer questions and receive feedback from the public.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, which will be held in the second floor conference room of the administration building.

For more information, visit the project website at www.bolton-menk.com/clients/IowaCity/airport/index.html 

Source: http://www.kwwl.com

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, C-GVZW: Fatal accident occurred February 22, 2015 near Felts Field Airport (KSFF), Spokane, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The pilot was conducting a cross-country flight from Canada to California and had landed to clear customs into the United States and to refuel his airplane. The pilot then departed to continue the flight. During the initial climb after takeoff, the engine experienced a total loss of power, and the pilot attempted to make an off-airport forced landing. The right wing struck railroad tracks at the top of a hill, and the airplane continued down an embankment, where it came to rest adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge. 

Postaccident interviews revealed that, when requesting fuel from the fixed-base operator (FBO), the pilot did not specify a grade of fuel to be used to service the airplane. The refueler mistakenly identified the airplane as requiring Jet A fuel, even though the fuel filler ports were placarded “AVGAS (aviation gasoline) ONLY.” The fueler subsequently fueled the airplane with Jet A instead of aviation gasoline. Additionally, the fueling nozzle installed on the fuel truck at the time of the refueling was not the proper type of nozzle. Jet A and AvGas fueling nozzles are different designs in order to prevent fueling an airplane with the wrong type of fuel. 

Following the fueling, the pilot returned to the FBO and signed a receipt, which indicated that the airplane had been serviced with Jet A. There were no witnesses to the pilot’s preflight activities, and it is unknown if the pilot visually inspected or obtained a fuel sample before takeoff; however, had the pilot done this, it would have been apparent that the airplane had been improperly fueled. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power due to the refueler’s incorrect refueling of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the fixed-base operator’s improper fueling nozzle, which facilitated the use of an incorrect fuel, and the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA-46-350P airplane, Canadian registration C-GVZW, was destroyed during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The pilot, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK), Stockton, California.

According to family members, the pilot was traveling to SCK from Canada to participate in recurrent flight training. He had called his wife prior to departure from SFF; he said that his flight to SFF was great, and that he was in good spirits. She could hear the engine in the background as she spoke to her husband, and nothing sounded abnormal.

Air traffic control voice communication information proved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 22R, and the pilot was instructed to turn to a heading of 190° after takeoff. When the controller observed on radar that the airplane had not turned to the 190° heading, he queried the pilot. The pilot responded that he was having engine trouble. The controller cleared the pilot to return to the airport and land on any runway. The pilot stated that he was not going to make it back to the runway, and asked if the controller had any suggestions for an alternate landing site. No further radio transmissions were received from the pilot.

One set of witnesses heard the airplane engine sputtering. They saw the left-wing drop, and the nose pitch up, the right wing dropped, and they lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge.

WITNESS INFORMATION

The fixed-base operator (FBO) employee who serviced the airplane with fuel stated that the pilot contacted him on the day of the accident and requested to have his airplane fueled. The pilot did not specify what type of fuel was required, but only that he had cleared customs; he also told the fueler where his airplane was located. The fueler stated that the pilot was not present when he arrived to fuel the airplane. He stated that the majority of the Piper Malibu airplanes that he had serviced required Jet A fuel, so he fueled the accident airplane with Jet A. Once the fueling was complete, he returned to the FBO, and waited for the pilot to return to pay for the fuel. Both the written receipt and credit card receipt provided to the pilot specified that the airplane had been serviced with Jet A. The pilot paid for the fuel and left.

There were no witnesses to the pilot's preflight activities, and it is unknown if the pilot visually inspected or sumped the fuel before departing. Following the accident, an FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from the FBO; the log indicated that the accident airplane had been fueled with 52 gallons of Jet A.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a Transport Canada single-engine and multiengine land certificate with night ratings. He held a third-class medical with the limitation that glasses must be worn. The pilot had received training in the accident make/model airplane, and was endorsed for proficiency in its operation in March 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350-horsepower, turbocharged, reciprocating engine. According to the journey record (aircraft logbook), the last annual inspection was performed on July 23, 2014, at an airframe total time of 2,324.0 hours. The last maintenance performed included an oil and filter change on January 15, 2015, at a total airframe time of 2,388.9 hours. There were no recorded flights between January 15, and February 22, 2015.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in a commercial area near a railroad yard.

The majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The fuel tanks had been ruptured during the accident sequence; however, a strong smell of Jet A fuel was present at the accident site. As a result of the ruptured fuel tanks, a fuel sample was not obtained.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed by the Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner. The cause of death was determined to be blunt impact to the head, and the manner of death was an accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for volatiles. The pilot initially survived the accident; as a result, there was positive test results for drugs that were administered to the pilot while he was in the hospital, including ephedrine detected in urine, but not detected in blood, and etomidate, lidocaine, pseudoephedrine, and salicylate detected in blood.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The airplane was equipped with its original fuel equipment, and was appropriately marked with an "AVGAS (aviation gasoline) ONLY" placard at each wings fuel port, which indicated that the airplane operated on aviation gasoline. Both fuel ports were checked by an FAA inspector, and identified as having the appropriately-sized fuel collar for AVGAS.

There were no other malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
Inspection of the fuel truck after the accident revealed that the fuel hose nozzle was the round type, typically used to service helicopters with smaller fuel filler ports. When the FAA returned the next day to inspect the truck, the smaller rounder fuel nozzle that had been on the fuel truck the night before had been replaced with a flat duck-bill fuel nozzle. When the owner of the FBO was questioned about the switch, he stated that it was for safety reasons, and that he was making sure the appropriate nozzle was attached.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the airplane's pilot operating handbook, while performing the preflight checklist, one of the items called out is for the pilot to do a visual check of the fuel supply for both wings, and assure that the fuel cap is secured.

Located at the airport is an FBO that performs turbine conversions on the accident make and model airplane.


 


The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
Piper Aircraft, Inc.; Vero Beach, Florida
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Edmonton, AB

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA-46-350P airplane, Canadian registration C-GVZW, was destroyed during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The pilot, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK), Stockton, California.

According to family members, the pilot was traveling to SCK from Canada to participate in recurrent flight training. He had called his wife prior to departure from SFF; he said that his flight to SFF was great, and that he was in good spirits. She could hear the engine in the background as she spoke to her husband, and nothing sounded abnormal.

Air traffic control voice communication information proved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 22R, and the pilot was instructed to turn to a heading of 190° after takeoff. When the controller observed on radar that the airplane had not turned to the 190° heading, he queried the pilot. The pilot responded that he was having engine trouble. The controller cleared the pilot to return to the airport and land on any runway. The pilot stated that he was not going to make it back to the runway, and asked if the controller had any suggestions for an alternate landing site. No further radio transmissions were received from the pilot.

One set of witnesses heard the airplane engine sputtering. They saw the left-wing drop, and the nose pitch up, the right wing dropped, and they lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge.

WITNESS INFORMATION

The fixed-base operator (FBO) employee who serviced the airplane with fuel stated that the pilot contacted him on the day of the accident and requested to have his airplane fueled. The pilot did not specify what type of fuel was required, but only that he had cleared customs; he also told the fueler where his airplane was located. The fueler stated that the pilot was not present when he arrived to fuel the airplane. He stated that the majority of the Piper Malibu airplanes that he had serviced required Jet A fuel, so he fueled the accident airplane with Jet A. Once the fueling was complete, he returned to the FBO, and waited for the pilot to return to pay for the fuel. Both the written receipt and credit card receipt provided to the pilot specified that the airplane had been serviced with Jet A. The pilot paid for the fuel and left.

There were no witnesses to the pilot's preflight activities, and it is unknown if the pilot visually inspected or sumped the fuel before departing. Following the accident, an FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from the FBO; the log indicated that the accident airplane had been fueled with 52 gallons of Jet A.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a Transport Canada single-engine and multiengine land certificate with night ratings. He held a third-class medical with the limitation that glasses must be worn. The pilot had received training in the accident make/model airplane, and was endorsed for proficiency in its operation in March 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350-horsepower, turbocharged, reciprocating engine. According to the journey record (aircraft logbook), the last annual inspection was performed on July 23, 2014, at an airframe total time of 2,324.0 hours. The last maintenance performed included an oil and filter change on January 15, 2015, at a total airframe time of 2,388.9 hours. There were no recorded flights between January 15, and February 22, 2015.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in a commercial area near a railroad yard.

The majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The fuel tanks had been ruptured during the accident sequence; however, a strong smell of Jet A fuel was present at the accident site. As a result of the ruptured fuel tanks, a fuel sample was not obtained.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed by the Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner. The cause of death was determined to be blunt impact to the head, and the manner of death was an accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for volatiles. The pilot initially survived the accident; as a result, there was positive test results for drugs that were administered to the pilot while he was in the hospital, including ephedrine detected in urine, but not detected in blood, and etomidate, lidocaine, pseudoephedrine, and salicylate detected in blood.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The airplane was equipped with its original fuel equipment, and was appropriately marked with an "AVGAS (aviation gasoline) ONLY" placard at each wings fuel port, which indicated that the airplane operated on aviation gasoline. Both fuel ports were checked by an FAA inspector, and identified as having the appropriately-sized fuel collar for AVGAS.

There were no other malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
Inspection of the fuel truck after the accident revealed that the fuel hose nozzle was the round type, typically used to service helicopters with smaller fuel filler ports. When the FAA returned the next day to inspect the truck, the smaller rounder fuel nozzle that had been on the fuel truck the night before had been replaced with a flat duck-bill fuel nozzle. When the owner of the FBO was questioned about the switch, he stated that it was for safety reasons, and that he was making sure the appropriate nozzle was attached.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the airplane's pilot operating handbook, while performing the preflight checklist, one of the items called out is for the pilot to do a visual check of the fuel supply for both wings, and assure that the fuel cap is secured.

Located at the airport is an FBO that performs turbine conversions on the accident make and model airplane.























NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA46-350P airplane, Canadian registry CGVZW, experienced a loss of engine power during climb out from runway 22R at Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The Canadian certificated pilot, the sole occupant, succumbed to his injuries on February 24, 2015. The airplane was destroyed during the attempted emergency landing after it struck a railroad track. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight that originated shortly before the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) Stockton, California. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site and identified two different groups of witnesses. The first set of witnesses observed the airplane with the engine sputtering. They observed the left wing drop and the nose pitch up. The right wing then dropped, and the witnesses lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The witnesses reported that the airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge. 

Responding investigators stated that the majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both of the wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The investigators stated that the fuel tanks ruptured during the accident sequence, and there was a strong smell of Jet fuel present. 

The FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from Western Aviation at SFF; the fuel log indicated that the accident airplane had been refueled with 52 gallons of Jet fuel prior to takeoff. SPOKANE, Wash. – The family of a pilot who died from his injuries in a Spokane plane crash after the wrong fuel was filled into his plane has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the refueling company.

Monday marked one year since the crash at Spokane's Hamilton Street overpass.

Michael Clements, 61, from Alberta was on his way to California and stopped at Felts Field to refuel.

His plane crashed shortly after takeoff.  He died at the hospital two days later from severe injuries.

The NTSB investigation later confirmed his Piper Malibu was filled with Jet A fuel, instead of the AV gas the aircraft required.

The lawsuit claimed it was a Western Aviation employee who filled the plane full of the wrong fuel, pumping 52 gallons of Jet A into the two tanks over the wings.

The lawsuit also claimed that employee ignored and disregarded numerous safety measures designed to avoid that type of error.

Aviation experts said pump nozzles for the two types of fuel are supposed to be different, but in this case, the lawsuit stated the fuel attendant used a "rogue nozzle," allowing the plane to be filled with the wrong fuel.

The lawsuit also stated the employee ignored labels on the aircraft itself that warned to only fill the plane with AV gas.

The attorney handling the case for Clements family said the family is deeply saddened on the one year anniversary of his death.

The attorney added the family’s experts continue to independently and thoroughly investigate the accident and identify the responsible parties.

Western Aviation did not return calls seeking comment on whether the company had changed its refueling regulations.

The FAA and NTSB said the investigation into what happened is still in the preliminary stage.  Neither agency said when it expected to complete the investigation.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.krem.com

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA46-350P airplane, Canadian registry CGVZW, experienced a loss of engine power during climb out from runway 22R at Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The Canadian certificated pilot, the sole occupant, succumbed to his injuries on February 24, 2015. The airplane was destroyed during the attempted emergency landing after it struck a railroad track. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight that originated shortly before the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) Stockton, California. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site and identified two different groups of witnesses. The first set of witnesses observed the airplane with the engine sputtering. They observed the left wing drop and the nose pitch up. The right wing then dropped, and the witnesses lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The witnesses reported that the airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge. 

Responding investigators stated that the majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both of the wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The investigators stated that the fuel tanks ruptured during the accident sequence, and there was a strong smell of Jet fuel present. 

The FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from Western Aviation at SFF; the fuel log indicated that the accident airplane had been refueled with 52 gallons of Jet fuel prior to takeoff.











































































The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
Piper Aircraft, Inc.; Vero Beach, Florida
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Edmonton, AB

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA-46-350P airplane, Canadian registration C-GVZW, was destroyed during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The pilot, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK), Stockton, California.

According to family members, the pilot was traveling to SCK from Canada to participate in recurrent flight training. He had called his wife prior to departure from SFF; he said that his flight to SFF was great, and that he was in good spirits. She could hear the engine in the background as she spoke to her husband, and nothing sounded abnormal.

Air traffic control voice communication information proved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 22R, and the pilot was instructed to turn to a heading of 190° after takeoff. When the controller observed on radar that the airplane had not turned to the 190° heading, he queried the pilot. The pilot responded that he was having engine trouble. The controller cleared the pilot to return to the airport and land on any runway. The pilot stated that he was not going to make it back to the runway, and asked if the controller had any suggestions for an alternate landing site. No further radio transmissions were received from the pilot.

One set of witnesses heard the airplane engine sputtering. They saw the left-wing drop, and the nose pitch up, the right wing dropped, and they lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge.

WITNESS INFORMATION

The fixed-base operator (FBO) employee who serviced the airplane with fuel stated that the pilot contacted him on the day of the accident and requested to have his airplane fueled. The pilot did not specify what type of fuel was required, but only that he had cleared customs; he also told the fueler where his airplane was located. The fueler stated that the pilot was not present when he arrived to fuel the airplane. He stated that the majority of the Piper Malibu airplanes that he had serviced required Jet A fuel, so he fueled the accident airplane with Jet A. Once the fueling was complete, he returned to the FBO, and waited for the pilot to return to pay for the fuel. Both the written receipt and credit card receipt provided to the pilot specified that the airplane had been serviced with Jet A. The pilot paid for the fuel and left.

There were no witnesses to the pilot's preflight activities, and it is unknown if the pilot visually inspected or sumped the fuel before departing. Following the accident, an FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from the FBO; the log indicated that the accident airplane had been fueled with 52 gallons of Jet A.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a Transport Canada single-engine and multiengine land certificate with night ratings. He held a third-class medical with the limitation that glasses must be worn. The pilot had received training in the accident make/model airplane, and was endorsed for proficiency in its operation in March 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350-horsepower, turbocharged, reciprocating engine. According to the journey record (aircraft logbook), the last annual inspection was performed on July 23, 2014, at an airframe total time of 2,324.0 hours. The last maintenance performed included an oil and filter change on January 15, 2015, at a total airframe time of 2,388.9 hours. There were no recorded flights between January 15, and February 22, 2015.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in a commercial area near a railroad yard.

The majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The fuel tanks had been ruptured during the accident sequence; however, a strong smell of Jet A fuel was present at the accident site. As a result of the ruptured fuel tanks, a fuel sample was not obtained.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed by the Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner. The cause of death was determined to be blunt impact to the head, and the manner of death was an accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for volatiles. The pilot initially survived the accident; as a result, there was positive test results for drugs that were administered to the pilot while he was in the hospital, including ephedrine detected in urine, but not detected in blood, and etomidate, lidocaine, pseudoephedrine, and salicylate detected in blood.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The airplane was equipped with its original fuel equipment, and was appropriately marked with an "AVGAS (aviation gasoline) ONLY" placard at each wings fuel port, which indicated that the airplane operated on aviation gasoline. Both fuel ports were checked by an FAA inspector, and identified as having the appropriately-sized fuel collar for AVGAS.

There were no other malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
Inspection of the fuel truck after the accident revealed that the fuel hose nozzle was the round type, typically used to service helicopters with smaller fuel filler ports. When the FAA returned the next day to inspect the truck, the smaller rounder fuel nozzle that had been on the fuel truck the night before had been replaced with a flat duck-bill fuel nozzle. When the owner of the FBO was questioned about the switch, he stated that it was for safety reasons, and that he was making sure the appropriate nozzle was attached.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the airplane's pilot operating handbook, while performing the preflight checklist, one of the items called out is for the pilot to do a visual check of the fuel supply for both wings, and assure that the fuel cap is secured.

Located at the airport is an FBO that performs turbine conversions on the accident make and model airplane.

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA111 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration: CGVZW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On February 22, 2015, at 1405 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aircraft, Inc., PA46-350P airplane, Canadian registry CGVZW, experienced a loss of engine power during climb out from runway 22R at Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington. The Canadian certificated pilot, the sole occupant, succumbed to his injuries on February 24, 2015. The airplane was destroyed during the attempted emergency landing after it struck a railroad track. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight that originated shortly before the accident. The flight was destined for the Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) Stockton, California. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site and identified two different groups of witnesses. The first set of witnesses observed the airplane with the engine sputtering. They observed the left wing drop and the nose pitch up. The right wing then dropped, and the witnesses lost sight of the airplane as it passed behind a building. The second set of witnesses reported that the right wing struck a railroad track at the top of a hill and subsequently traveled down an embankment. The witnesses reported that the airplane slid across a road and came to rest inverted adjacent to the bottom of a railroad bridge. 

Responding investigators stated that the majority of the airplane came to rest at the accident site, with additional wreckage strewn throughout the debris path. Both of the wings had separated from the airplane fuselage; however, they remained near the main wreckage. The investigators stated that the fuel tanks ruptured during the accident sequence, and there was a strong smell of Jet fuel present. 

The FAA inspector obtained the fueling log from Western Aviation at SFF; the fuel log indicated that the accident airplane had been refueled with 52 gallons of Jet fuel prior to takeoff.
===========


SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Department of Ecology is investigating a deadly E. Spokane plane crash and what type of fuel the plane may have used.

The investigation began after the officials cited concerns that the small plane that crashed in Spokane on Sunday was running on the wrong type of fuel.

It remains unclear if the pilot, who died Tuesday, used self serve fuel at Felts Field, or a truck/attendant. The Federal Aviation Administration is also concerned that the plane had used the wrong fuel.

Western Aviation, manages fuel at Felts Field, and told KREM 2 News that it would not be appropriate to comment until the investigation is complete.

Western Aviation at Felts Field released a statement Wednesday regarding the deadly plane crash. It reads:

"Western Aviation would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the pilot's family and everyone involved in this tragedy. We are currently cooperating with the NTSB and FAA in providing any information that may help determine the cause of the accident."

http://www.krem.com




SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -  A plane piloted by a Canadian man may have been doomed before he attempted to takeoff last weekend as it may have been fueled up with the wrong type of gas at Felts Field, causing the plane to lose power and crash.

The Piper Malibu, piloted by Michael Clements, went down near the Hamilton Street overpass Sunday afternoon within moments of takeoff from Felts Field.

Numerous pilots and mechanics have confirmed the Piper Malibu that crashed runs on aviation gas, which is essentially a high octane version of automotive gasoline. At Felts Field you can purchase either AV gas or jet fuel; in fact the fuel pumps are side-by-side on the tarmac.

The sign on the gas pumps at Felts Field clearly say 'Self Serve' but it's not known if he filled his own tank with fuel.

While the Piper Malibu should have been filled with AV gas at Felts Field, a report from the Washington Department of Ecology, which responded to the crash scene because of the fuel leaking from the wreckage, said that one of the first FAA inspectors at the scene was concerned "about maybe having Jet 'A' when the plane runs on aviation fuel."

According to instructors at Spokane Community College's aviation maintenance school, if you put jet fuel in a piston-powered plane, like the one that crashed, it won't run very long because it doesn't have any octane and will actually start tearing up the engine.

Last summer in Las Cruces, N,M. four people were killed when the twin engine Cessna 421C air ambulance they were flying crashed shortly after takeoff. The NTSB's preliminary report into that crash said the aircraft took on 40 gallons of the wrong type of fuel and crashed shortly after takeoff.

Multiple attempts have been made to contact Western Aviation, the fixed base operator at Felts Field, both on the phone and in person, for comment on this story. So far they have not responded to any of our requests.

Clements, who had been in critical condition since the crash Sunday, succumbed to his injuries Tuesday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the crash is ongoing. Typically it can take up to a year for their final report on a mishap to be published.

http://www.kxly.com





















FELTS FIELD, Wash. - The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation in a plane crash over the weekend near Felts Field that left the pilot in critical condition. 

Michael Clements, the pilot, had flown into Felts Field from Canada and had to check in with US immigration officials before heading any further south. After meeting with customs officials he had lunch at the Skyway Cafe and several KXLY sources say he fueled up his plane for the next leg of his trip to Stockton, California.

However, just seconds after taking off to the west, the tower heard Clements radio out a mayday and his single-engine Piper Malibu went down. Went down between Sprague and Trent on North Erie Street.

Spokane police and civilian eyewitnesses braved leaking fuel from the aircraft to pull Clements from the wreckage.

“Apparently, he possibly clipped his wing on the railroad tracks over there and flipped and was actually upside down against the ground here,” Spokane Police Sergeant Chris Crane said.

That made freeing Clements so difficult as his head was pinned against the roof of the crumpled cockpit.

“I didn't know but Sergeant Vigessa was already inside the aircraft, behind the pilot's seat, which was upside down and the pilot was hanging from his seat belt upside down with his head crunched against the ceiling,” Crane said.

Curtis Neal, a civilian who witnessed the crash, tried to knock out a window to give police an escape route, and at that point officers realized they could remove the pilot's head rest and give themselves a little more room to work.

“At that time Sergeant Vigessa reached up with his knife and cut the seat belt, which released the pilot and we were able to get him down and into a flat position and then as best as we could, we carried him from the downed aircraft's position to the grass over here,” Crane said.

Crane spoke with Clements' adult son, who is a paramedic. He said his father picked the railroad tracks for an emergency landing because he didn't want to hurt innocent people on Sprague or Trent Avenue.

The wreckage of Clements airplane was removed from the crash site Monday morning. Meanwhile, the NTSB is checking to see if contaminated or the wrong type of fuel put in Clements' aircraft contributed to this crash. Calls to Western Aviation, the fixed base operator that manages Felts Field, for comment on this story have not been returned.

http://www.kxly.com


SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane police pride themselves on being prepared for anything, but officers say there's no training for the plane crash they responded to Sunday.

"I've been doing this 24 years and I've never had a rescue like this," Sgt. Chris Crane said. Crane arrived on-scene to find fellow Spokane Police Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa already inside the plane helping the pilot.

Meanwhile, the plane was crushed up against an overpass and leaking fluid.

"I just wanted to get [the pilot] out," Sgt. Vigesaa said. But it wasn't as simple as pulling the man from the aircraft. He was pinned upside down, and Sgt. Vigesaa risked hurting him further if he prematurely tried to remove him.

"It wasn't until he stopped breathing, then the choice was clear," Sgt. Vigesaa said. "We need to remove him immediately and open up his airway."

Both sergeants explained they're not really trained for a scenario like this. For each, it was the first plane crash they've responded to, so the answers weren't obvious upon arrival.

"It's almost 100 percent improvisation," Sgt. Crane said.

The pilot, Michael Clements of Alberta, Canada, was taken to Sacred Heart and remained in critical condition as of Monday afternoon. Spokane Police says without the quick work of their officers Clements likely wouldn't have survived. But the officers didn't walking away praising themselves as heroes.

"You just sit back and think, what could you have done better?" Sgt. Vigesaa said. "Did you do everything right?"

"I dreamt about it all night and thought about it all day," Sgt. Crane said.



































The pilot of a small airplane was critically injured today when the single-engine Piper Malibu crashed east of downtown Spokane.

The plane had taken off from Felts Field and went down about 1:30 p.m. just north of East Sprague Avenue at North Erie Street, near the Hamilton Street bridge over the Spokane River.

It hit the top of a BNSF railroad viaduct over Erie and fell to the ground there, Spokane Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Sabo said.

Curtis Neal, who witnessed the crash, said the plane banked left, appeared headed toward a building, banked right, then crashed. Neal was first on the scene.

“I ran over there and tapped on the window,” he said. “He didn’t respond.”

Neal broke out a window to try to free the pilot, who was suspended upside down.

“It looked bad,” Neal said.

Two Spokane Police officers then arrived, and one of the officers cut the seat belt holding the pilot. They pulled the pilot out through a narrow opening.

“They were concerned about a fire hazard,” Sabo said.

Although some fuel spilled from the plane, there was no fire, he said.

The pilot was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and was listed in critical condition.

The plane, registered in Canada, lost power a short time after it took off, Sabo said.

The BNSF tracks were closed to rail traffic to preserve the scene, he said.

Story and photos:  http://www.spokesman.com

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police and Fire Department are on the scene of a small plane crash near Erie and Sprague.

One man was pulled from the wreckage and taken to the hospital. He is in critical condition at Sacred Heart.

Spokane Fire Chief Sabo says the single engine plane registered in Canada took off from Felts Field and lost power shortly after. The plane hit train tracks. BNSF has shut down the tracks while evidence is collected, but they don't believe tracks are damaged.

Fuel was spilled at the scene, but no fire broke out.

"We're extremely fortunate no people on the ground were injured," Sabo said.

Bystander Curtis Neal pulled the man from the plane. He told KHQ reporter Cynthia Johnson the pilot's breathing was shallow and that he was upside down in his seat. He said he used a piece of landing gear to break the window of the plane and get to the man inside.

Story, comments and photo gallery:  http://www.khq.com

SPOKANE, Wash. - A small plane crashed near Trent and Erie on Sunday.

Authorities said the pilot has been transported to the hospital. He is currently in critical condition.

Curtis Neal rushed in and helped pull the pilot from the plane. He told KREM 2 News that the pilot was in "bad shape."

KREM 2 News has learned the plane, a Piper PA-46-350P, is registered in Alberta, Canada. The pilot had just cleared Customs at Felts Field and then was headed to Stockton, California.

The plane went down shortly after takeoff.

Spokane Police and fire crews are securing the scene until the FAA investigators arrive.

BNSF tracks are shut down until further notice.

Story and photo:  http://www.krem.com






























Curtis Neal
Man who helped save the pilot in the crash 
(Photo: Lingenfelter, Tesia)


Curtis Neal