Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pilot Stays Behind Bars Ahead Of Appeal

A pilot  recently convicted in connection with a $1m drug seizure will remain behind bars until the conclusion of his appeal, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Darryl Bartlett and his lawyer, Murrio Ducille, appeared before Justices Abdulai Conteh, Neville Adderley and Jon Isaacs seeking bail ahead of Bartlett’s hearing against conviction and sentence for 12 crimes he was found guilty of committing on April 7, 2014.

And while the judges denied bail as there were no exceptional circumstances, the court expedited the hearing of Bartlett’s appeal against conviction to April 29.

Bartlett, with Murrillo Sullivan, was convicted of three counts of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to import dangerous drugs and importation of dangerous drugs.

At trial, Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Eric Durante testified that the accused were in contact with him before the flight left Canada en route to Treasure Cay, Abaco.

Agent Durante said he instructed the men to bring the bags to Nassau after they contacted him during the flight, questioning why there was “heat” at the airport in Abaco.

The pilots and Michael Webster, however, were arrested on their arrival at Executive Flight Support in New Providence.

Webster reportedly told Inspector Weymond Demeritte, in the presence of Bartlett and Sullivan, that his girlfriend’s father asked him to deliver the bags and two cell phones to an unnamed person in Treasure Cay.

At the trial, the two said they knew Durante and had been in communication with him from time to time, but denied being DEA informants.

They further denied knowledge and possession of $1m worth of drugs found on the plane, in which they brought a passenger from Canada to Nassau.

However, the magistrate said he found the evidence of Durante to be credible and that the prosecution had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bartlett was sentenced to two years and six months in prison while Sullivan received two years and three months.

They had respectively served three and ten months on remand awaiting the outcome of the trial, which the magistrate took into account when imposing his sentence.

Original article can be found at:

Darryl Bartlett, pictured at a previous court appearance

Congress considering pilot regulation reforms

Wichita, Kan. --- A question coming before Congress this session is whether medical certificates are necessary for private pilots? 

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is co-sponsoring legislation he believes will help reverse the trend of a declining number of airplane pilots.

There are two senate bills. 'The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act' and 'The Pilots Bill of Rights 2.'

Aviation supporters including the National Business Aviation Association welcoming the legislation which the NBAA says would allow private pilots, in certain instances, to use a driver's license instead of a FAA medical certificate.

This is not about commercial or corporate pilots.

It would be for those flying noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in planes weighing 6,000 pounds or less with a maximum of six seats.. planes such as small Cessna 172's and 182's up through Beechcraft Bonanzas.

Co-owner of Lakepoint Aviation at Jabara Airport, Matt Bell says the bill would keep more people flying longer who still want to fly.

Bell says those pilots would still be renting or purchasing planes which benefits general aviation here in Wichita, the Air Capital.

Below is the news release from Sen. Moran's office.

March 04, 2015

Sen. Moran Sponsors Legislation to Support Pilots and General Aviation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, recently sponsored bipartisan legislation to support pilots and general aviation. Over the past 10 years, 60,000 pilots have left the general aviation industry. Sen. Moran joined several of his Senate colleagues in introducing two bipartisan bills to help reverse this troubling trend – the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2.

“These common-sense bills will allow general aviation to grow and prosper while providing vital protections to pilots and aircraft operators,” Sen. Moran said. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2, two important steps toward ensuring a brighter future for general aviation.”

For many pilots, the current process of obtaining a third-class medical certificate has become burdensome and expensive, while providing very little benefit to the industry. The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2015 (S. 573), introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), extends the 2004 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sport pilot rule to include slightly larger aircraft, provided certain safety requirements.

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (S. 571), introduced by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), would expand the third-class medical exemption for recreational pilots and broaden the protections provided in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which was signed into law in 2012. In addition, S. 571 represents a significant improvement in the due process rights and liability protections for volunteer pilots by ensuring certificate holders have the right to appeal FAA decisions through a new, merit-based trial in Federal Court.

General aviation is the largest industry in Kansas, generating nearly $3 billion in annual exports and manufacturing 40 percent of all general aviation planes.

Story and video:

Acadiana Regional Airport (KARA) seeks noise rule waiver to become import-export hub

NEW IBERIA — Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia might one day be a gateway for international trade if federal authorities can be persuaded to waive a rule that prohibits loud, older planes used in South and Central America from flying in the U.S.

Acadiana airport Director Jason Devillier said waiving the rule would make New Iberia an exclusive import-export hub, where merchants could take advantage of trade pacts the U.S. has with Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

And vibrant trade also could open up with other, non-free trade pact countries if planes laden with cargo are allowed to land in New Iberia to unload, or load up American goods and take off for sale in foreign markets.

“This is all about opening up trade, piggy backing on the CAFTA and NAFTA trade agreements,” Devillier said.

He said the areas near the airport and south of New Iberia over which the planes would fly are sparsely populated so few people would be affected by the noise.

The only U.S. runways that regularly let out-of-compliance older planes land are at Miami Dade Airport, where officials use a system of almost daily waivers granted by the FAA that allow the planes to land and take off in south Florida, Devillier said.

“They’ve (Miami officials) have gotten that down to a science,” he said.

Devillier and others have enlisted help from Louisiana’s congressional delegation in asking the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to waive rules set down in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, which forced airlines to phase out louder, older models by 1999. Many of those jets are still flying in other parts of the world.

Devillier said a group of Iberia Parish officials have scheduled a trip to Washington D.C. in June to speak to federal officials. Sen. David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany have been brought in on the efforts.

“We’re working with the airport on options right now as Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization legislation is due to come up on the House floor this September,” Jack Pandol, communications director for Boustany, said in an email Wednesday.

Pandol said that when the group meets again later this year, they’ll put their “heads together to flesh out a legislative strategy for this.”

Currently trade flows to and from all countries in the Caribbean — except for Cuba — and the U.S. Most of that is done via ships and planes loading and unloading in areas called free trade zones. As far as air freight, FedEx and UPS comprise the bulk of the shipments.

What New Iberia seeks, Devillier said, is a niche with smaller shipments coming on older planes from foreign businesses that can’t afford the quieter planes but are still looking to break into the U.S. markets.

“We’re looking for the not-so-massive volume, the smaller guys who are moving stuff from point to point,” he said.

“The key … is a noise exception,” he said. “As we get closer to that reality, that will open the door for us to get with South American and Central American and Caribbean companies to get them here.”

Philippe Gustin, an international trade expert who works at Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Le Centre International de Lafayette, said the effort is promising.

It also has a number of hurdles, Gustin said, such as setting up the trade zone infrastructure at the airport that will entice international companies to use New Iberia.

International air freight trade hubs, such as one in Huntsville, Alabama, have loading and unloading down to a science, and shippers have access to intermodal transportation: rail carriers, big trucks and reliable roads, nearby water ports for shipping, and big cargo jets.

And they’re set up in Free Trade Zones, where import duties that range from 5 percent to 25 percent or more of the value of the shipment, are delayed until the goods are sold. Gustin said establishing such a zone is not easy.

But Gustin sees a niche New Iberia could develop, and says that getting business from small to mid-sized companies in Central and South America is a viable way to start.

“Noise abatement (waiver) is the first step because the smaller companies that use older aircraft will not come here until or unless they have that (FAA) authorization,” he said.

Original article can be found at: