Saturday, March 21, 2015

Incident occurred March 20, 2015 on North Lake, Welch Township, Goodhue County, Minnesota

WELCH, Minn. (KTTC) -- Recovery teams were at North Lake near Welch all Saturday morning trying to pull a single-engine airplane out of the water after it went through the ice late Friday afternoon. 

The pilot had dropped off an ice fisherman in the remote backwaters of the Mississippi River when the accident happened.

The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office said no one was hurt.  

The pilot, whose name has not been released, was able to scramble to safety and get help after the nose of his plane went underwater. 

Both the sheriff's office and the Federal Aviation Administation are now investigating the incident.

KTTC's Mike Sullivan reports from the scene that recovery teams and the pilot's family all gathered at the scene by mid-morning.

"They brought a sandwich platter for all the workers who were there to help," said Sullivan.  "There were at least 20 people here helping to get it out of the water."

Sullivan said they used airbags to prop up the front of the plane to get it partially out of the water, then used a four-wheel ATV to get it close to shore, where a tow truck could get a cable on it and pull it off the lake.

Sgt. Scott Powers of the Goodhue Co. Sheriff's Office said the pilot had just dropped off his passenger and gear for ice fishing and was next going to head to Hastings to pick up his next passenger when it happened.

"Basically when he was getting ready to taxi off the ice and take off, it fell through the ice," said Sgt. Powers.  He said the pilot and family are from the Hastings area.

The sheriff's office said the water of North Lake was about six feet deep where the plane went through the ice.

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Incident occurred March 21, 2015 at Lincoln Airport (KLNK) , Nebraska

A Nebraska Air National Guard plane with 42 people was forced to land at Lincoln Airport Saturday afternoon.

According to Lincoln Fire and Rescue battalion chief Brad Thavenet, a possible problem with the plane’s hydraulic system occurred. 

As a precaution and per protocol, the plane was ordered to land.

The plane touched down shortly after 2:30 p.m. 

Within five minutes of landing, officials determined there had not been an emergency.

The plane and guard members, based in Lincoln, had taken off from the airport earlier in the day. 

Lincoln Fire and Rescue were on hand to assist the National Guard fire and rescue team.

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Dauphin County women steal thousands from airline

Two women from Dauphin County have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from an airline.

Lower Swatara Township Police say China Scott, of Middletown, stole several business checks totaling over $7,000 from Piedmont Airlines in November and December.

Scott told officers that she gave the checks to her niece, Charda Warren, of Harrisburg, who cashed the checks.

Both women have been charged with access device fraud.

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Incident occurred on the River Derwent

A sea plane has made a forced landing on the River Derwent just south of Hobart.

The plane had six passengers on board when it experienced problems during a scenic flight, and had to land at Blackmans Bay.

The pilot noticed a latch on an engine cover had come loose.

A passenger said the emergency landing was handled smoothly.

The passengers and crew were brought to shore by boat to get into waiting taxis.

The plane is being towed back to Hobart where it will be examined.

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Redlands Air Support Unit, volunteers aid police from above

Senior Tactical Officer Wayne Reid, left, chats with pilot Carl Rossi next to the Redlands Police Department’s Air Support Unit — a 1967 Cessna 172.

REDLANDS >> The view of the city from 1,000 feet up can be very revealing.

Whether it’s a burglary, a pursuit or drug-related activity — the Redlands Air Support Unit serves as the Police Department’s eyes from above.

“The times that we can be available and we are on scene for a call that can help the community, I think it’s a lot easier than trying to get a hold of the (sheriff’s) helicopter that might be in the High Desert or out in Ontario,” said Redlands police Officer Wayne Reid, senior tactical flight officer.

Since the city purchased the 1967 Cessna 172, known as Redhawk1, in 2007, it has logged more than 4,320 hours of flight time.

Drug asset seizure money funded the purchase of the plane and continues to keep the program running.

The unit’s shift is Tuesday through Saturday. The plane is housed at the Redlands Municipal Airport.

The plane can be on scene anywhere in the city within six minutes and if the plane is already in the air, it can be on scene in less than one minute, Reid said.

The plane is used to help patrol the city and canyon areas, assisting ground units and providing surveillance.

The plane is equipped with a camera, laptop, Lojack locator and a 180-horse powered engine. It also has technology aboard that offers aid in stabilization at slower speeds.

“A normal 172 wouldn’t come with these things,” Ward said. “At slower speeds the airplane is more susceptible to stalling and not performing as well as it should at slow speeds. We can get super slow and things will float like a bee. It’s awesome for us. That’s all we do is fly slow.”

The plane, which undergoes annual maintenance, must comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

There are 23 pilots and 6 co-pilots who volunteer for the unit.

Reid, a lifelong Redlands resident who has been flying since he was a kid, is the only paid employee in the unit.

Reid, whose father is a pilot in the program, has been involved since the program’s inception, but was assigned full time to the unit two years ago.

By the end of 2013, volunteers logged 17,177 hours, which city officials estimate has saved the city about $1 million.

Carl Rossi, a physician from Redlands who works in San Diego, volunteered for the program in 2007. He has been flying since 1987.

“Even though I fly a couple hundred hours a year just doing other things, I thought this is a nice way to do something different,” he said.

Volunteers are required to attend quarterly safety meetings, volunteer at least five hours per month and maintain a current pilot’s license and medical certificate. They also must adhere to the unit’s rules and regulations, as well as written or verbal orders, standard operating procedures and the Redlands Police Department policy manual.

“There are a lot of cities that could benefit from this type of program,” Rossi said. “There’s a lot you can do with an airplane. It’s like having several police cars. Helicopters, they’re expensive and there are not nearly as many pilots qualified to fly as a fixed-wing aircraft.”


2014 statistics for the Redlands Air Support Unit

• 1351 calls for service

• 233 first on scene for non-air support unit generated

• 27 misdemeanor arrests

• 27 Lojack hits with 16 recoveries. Total value: About $134,000

• Assisted 72 felony arrests

• Assisted 21 narcotics cases, leading to $1.7 million in narcotic seizures and $1.2 million in seized money

• 6 vehicle pursuits, 15 foot pursuits

• 500 hours flown — 400 patrol, 100 surveillance

• Assisted surrounding agencies more than 50 times, totaling more than 70 hours of flight time

Source: City of Redlands

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Police denied access to black box crash data over concerns that pilots will be less co-operative

Investigators say pilots might be tempted to cover up vital flight information which could help make flying safer, fearing their mistakes might be made public

MP Louise Ellman said the refusal was ‘disturbing’

Air accident investigators have refused police access to the flight recorder data from a helicopter crash that killed four oil workers, arguing that it could undermine aviation safety. They fear pilots might be tempted to cover up vital flight technical information which could help make flying safer, worried that their mistakes might be made public.

Police Scotland is seeking cockpit voice and flight data recorders held by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), part of the Department for Transport, from an offshore helicopter crash in 2013 that occurred just two miles from Sumburgh Airport. Rescue services saved 14 people, who were returning to Aberdeen from an oil platform.

In an unusual legal move, Scotland’s leading law officer, the Lord Advocate, wants the black box as part of an investigation into the deaths of the workers (Duncan Munro, 46; Sarah Darnley, 45; Gary McCrossan, 59; and George Allison, 57). Mandatory fatal accident inquiries are likely to be held as a result of the Crown Office’s investigations, assuming there are no criminal prosecutions.

The AAIB typically keeps black box data as privileged information to ensure investigators have the full co-operation of pilots. However, aviation legal experts say the regulations do allow for data from the black box to be disclosed where a court considers it to be in the public interest to do so.

An AAIB interim report hinted at possible pilot error.

The accident prompted a safety investigation by the House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee last year. Louise Ellman, its chair, said last night that investigators’ refusal to hand over evidence was “deeply disturbing”. She added: “The suggestion that pilots might erase data is shocking and should be investigated in its own right.”

The AAIB also argues that European regulations do not allow it to hand over such data, but the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service  have applied to the courts for the release of the data. A hearing in Edinburgh is due in May.

The Civil Aviation Authority is providing “limited assistance” with this application. The regulator’s most recent board minutes state: “The AAIB had refused to release this [data], citing concerns that such release would materially prejudice its ability to investigate accidents in future and might lead pilots to erase such data.”

Alistair Carmichael, the Shetland MP and Scotland Secretary, said: “I hold the AAIB in high regard, but once an investigation is completed then the release of this sort of evidence should be almost inevitable.”

Peter Lawton, the chief executive of the British Helicopter Association, said it was “most unlikely” a pilot would have time to wipe such vital information but admitted it was “a risk”. He said the AAIB was trying to ensure that “the ring of trust” between pilots and investigators was not broken.

An AAIB spokesman said: “Erasing any voice recording relating to an accident is against the law, but it is important pilots understand their conversations will only be used to assist accident investigations, otherwise confidence in the system will be eroded.”

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Longmont's new Vance Brand Airport (KLMO) manager takes the helm

David Slayter, the new Vance Brand Airport manager, poses by an airplane at the airport on Thursday.

Longmont's newest airport manager finished up his first five days on the job Friday.

David Slayter, 44, spend most of his first week either in Longmont new-hire orientation or meeting and greeting city staff and Airport Advisory Board members.

Slayter, 44, took the position over from Tim Barth, who was the manager of Vance Brand Municipal Airport for almost 19 years. Barth resigned in December and took a position as the director of aviation at Cheyenne Regional Airport Board.

Monday, Slayter opened his city email to find a backlog of five missives from a resident complaining about Longmont-based noise from planes flying overhead. The new airport manager checked with Assistant City Manager Shawn Lewis on how to proceed and responded to the resident's most recent email.

"I am writing to acknowledge the receipt of your recent complaints," he wrote. "I have not previously done so as today, March 16, 2015, is my first day on the job. The emails to my current (this) email address shows you have filed a noise complaint on the following dates...I appreciate your interest and concern regarding this issue. Respectfully, David Slayter, C.M."

On airport noise, which has sparked a furious debate in Longmont after noise complaints about Mile-Hi Skydiving planes began rolling in in recent years, Slayter said he had experience in Louisiana with similar issues.

"It's interesting there because you have a different fleet mix in Louisiana," he said. "You have a lot of different-sized offshore helicopters — helicopters that are going to offshore platforms — and they made a different type of noise and, in my opinion, a very loud and vibratory noise if I can describe it that way.

"And we had people that were near the flight path ... so I have had experience dealing with tenants and the general public and trying to deal with those issues, and I think we've had (in Louisiana) a lot of good success and good luck in working things out."

Dealing with the general public, Slayter said, involves efforts "to just make sure they know they're being acknowledged and being heard."

Slayter, who served as the executive director at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport in Huoma, La., before taking the Longmont job, said he and his wife were looking for a community to "set roots" and chose Longmont for its impressive views of the Front Range.

"My wife and I had gotten to a point where we started thinking about where do we want to retire, because we felt like we wanted to have about 20 years in a place consecutively prior to retirement," Slayter said. "We honeymooned in the (Georgia) mountains and we liked the Rockies better than the Smokies, so we started looking at the Colorado area for opportunities."

Before working at the Houma Terrebonne Airport, Slayter was a jack-of-all-trades of aviation jobs, including responding to aircraft emergencies as a firefighter, working in flight operations for Frontier Airlines in Los Angeles and spending six years as an aviation program manager and aviation legislation liaison for the state of Louisiana.

When asked about issues surrounding the airport, such as the runway extension proposed in the 2010 Airport Master Plan, Slayter said he sees the airport as an economic engine and plans to follow the city's direction on such issues.

"My goals are the goals of the city," he said. "The city has a direction and I think a vision through the master plan that was approved or adopted. I think there's a lot to be determined yet on that, and it's just getting started."

Slayter said he and his wife are hoping to become a force for good in Longmont.

"One of the things I made a statement or comment on is I want to make a positive difference, I want to make a positive impact and if I can do that, that's what makes me happy," he said.

Story and photos:

David Slayter, the new Vance Brand Airport manager, poses by an airplane mural at the airport on Thursday.

Low fuel prices buoy hopes at discount start-up Canada Jetlines

David Solloway has seen airlines come and go in his 42 years in the industry.

With jet-fuel prices tumbling since last summer, the Canada Jetlines Ltd. president believes the start-up company will be in the right place at the right time to launch a new airline this September.

The idea is to create an ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), borrowing the no-frills concept from companies such as Ryanair in Europe and Spirit Airlines in the United States.

Canada’s aviation history is littered with carriers that went out of business for a variety reasons, notably the challenges of operating in a sprawling country. Despite the checkered past, there is an opening for a new Canadian entrant, industry observers say.

“We’re building a route network for 16 planes,” Mr. Solloway said in an interview in a spartan office near Vancouver International Airport. “Our business model will have cost savings in how we operate. The vast majority of our reservations will be done over the Internet.”

Western Canada plays a prominent role in the Jetlines vision, with Vancouver and Winnipeg serving as hubs. Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Ottawa and Montreal are among the proposed destinations. Within 18 months of the first departure, the goal is to expand to Hamilton as the hub in Central Canada.

Jetlines plans to start out small with two jets in operation and one backup. Mr. Solloway, 63, said consumers shouldn’t be fooled by the humble beginnings. Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. launched with only three planes in 1996.

The start-up’s business model is to lure consumers with low fares and to charge for anything extra. Plans call for a $25 fee for each carry-on bag and $20 for each checked bag.

Getting off the ground will be much easier said than done. A Globe and Mail investigation into Jetlines’ fundraising drive shows an array of relatively small investments, including money from some of the company’s executives, friends, family and a wide assortment of contributors. Some of the investments have been token amounts of less than $5,000.

Jetlines hopes to attract $3-million in funding this spring, but that would still be far short of the goal to raise $50-million to finance the launch.

The Vancouver-based company, which is applying to trademark the motto Flying Your Way, has raised almost $2.5-million in total since the fall of 2013. Jetlines chief executive officer Jim Scott and his wife, Holly, have invested $192,000 for 1.3 million shares, or a 16-per-cent stake.

On March 9, Jetlines received a promising inquiry from a Canadian private-equity company, which could become a lead and strategic investor. Whether this latest potential saviour of the Jetlines business model will bear fruit remains to be seen. There is also a potential strategic partner holding talks with Jetlines.

The list of possible major investors has been shrinking, however. Halifax-based charter carrier CanJet, which got stung during a previous foray into scheduled service and closed those operations in 2006, won’t be doing any deal with Jetlines, two industry sources said. And potential foreign investors such as Irelandia Aviation and Indigo Partners don’t have any interest in pouring money into Jetlines.

Since July 30, 2014, Jetlines has raised $1-million from 85 purchasers spread over three issues of securities, regulatory filings show.

Since 2013, there have been nearly 185 investors in the fledgling carrier. Almost $5,000 has been invested by Vancouver lawyer Kevin Sorochan, through Soro Law Corp. Mr. Sorochan does legal work for Jetlines. His father Donald, a lawyer who serves on the board of directors at Jetlines, invested $30,000 while Jetlines interim chairman John Sutherland invested $10,000.

To make it attractive for contributors, Jetlines issued shares at low prices to recognize the high risk involved with the aviation venture. It’s a case of high risk, high reward, Mr. Scott said.

Efforts to raise big money have been disappointing. As Jetlines embarked on a road show in December to test the interest of major investors in Central Canada, declining oil markets hammered the share prices of energy companies. That made the prospective investors, who saw the value of their oil and gas shares plunge, nervous about plowing money into Jetlines, Mr. Scott said.

An attempt by Jetlines to merge with Inovent Capital Inc. flopped last month, leaving Inovent chief executive officer David Brett fuming. The two sides are now embroiled in a messy legal dispute. “We were going down the aisle to the altar and I found out that somebody else was in the picture. It’s disappointing and hard to fathom,” Mr. Brett said.

Jetlines denies any wrongdoing, saying it has acted ethically and honestly, portraying the fight with Inovent as an unnecessary distraction.

The big customer draw at Jetlines will be deeply discounted ticket prices – low enough to persuade them to forget about collecting loyalty points from frequent flier programs at the country’s two largest carriers, Air Canada and WestJet. Domestically, the cheap airfares will be also targeted at people who would otherwise drive long hours to their destination. For cross-border flights, Jetlines reckons that ticket prices reasonably close to the low rates offered by U.S. carriers at airports near the Canada-U.S. border will entice Canadians to fly from Vancouver, Winnipeg or Hamilton.

Jetlines officials have been working long hours to prepare reports required to seek regulatory approval to launch from the Canadian Transportation Agency and Transport Canada. Jetlines released its route map in February, generating buzz among consumers. “People are asking us, ‘When can we buy tickets for here or there?’ It’s tremendous,” said Mr. Scott, a former pilot with Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways.

Through e-mails and social media, Jetlines heard from passengers who are frustrated by high ticket prices charged by Air Canada and WestJet.

Industry analysts caution that if Jetlines manages to launch and expand to have 16 jets in its fleet within three years as planned, the start-up will be in for a rough ride, with WestJet’s regional Encore unit positioned to do battle. Air Canada and its regional partners are also at the ready. Other competitors include Sunwing Travel Group, which has grown over the years to become a large charter operator to leisure destinations. CanJet has a new vacations division.

Learning lessons from discounter Jetsgo Corp.’s collapse in 2005, Jetlines has decided to stay away from Calgary and Toronto – those two cities have airports where WestJet and Air Canada are strong.

Industry experts note that WestJet strayed from its discount roots long ago.

“Canada is one of the largest remaining markets in the world that lacks an ultra low-cost carrier. A principal attraction to prospective investors is that ULCCs are delivering among the strongest financial results in the global airline sector,” said Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc.

Two Canadian entrants are possible, though industry experts say there isn’t room for two discounters in Canada.

Jet Naked, the temporary name of a no-frills airline proposed by WestJet co-founder Tim Morgan, is contemplating opening for business, though no date has been set. Mr. Morgan, who is the CEO at Calgary-based charter operator Enerjet, pointed out that Jetlines placed an order for five Boeing 737 Max jets to be delivered starting in 2021, even though the start-up has yet to fly one passenger. “What does Jetlines bring to the picture? They have no earnings,” he said. “They certainly have an uphill battle.”

Mr. Solloway insists that Jetlines will make inroads in North America. Jetlines has its sights set on operating with seven Boeing 737-300 jets and nine Boeing 737s in the 700 or 800 series, which have a longer range than the 737-300s. Air Canada and WestJet have access to Bombardier Q400 turboprops for regional service.

Jetlines says it expects to have roughly 1,000 employees and contractors in three years. Costs will be kept low through website bookings and expenses controlled by operating a fleet with a single aircraft type, the Boeing 737, instead of multiple models of planes that would cost more money to maintain, said Mr. Solloway, whose grandfather and father worked in the airline business.

Mr. Solloway once worked at Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Ltd., which flew between Vancouver and Hong Kong for less than 10 months, before stopping flights in 2008. His previous jobs include serving as a general manager at Canadian Airlines, which he left in 1992, eight years before that financial troubled carrier was taken over by Air Canada, which itself went through painful restructuring in 2003-04.

The aviation veteran, who started his career in 1973 at CP Air, has enjoyed the perks of travelling around the world. He worked as a general manager in the 1990s for United Airlines in Bangkok, Hong Kong and New Delhi. Instead of preparing for retirement, he is settling in at Jetlines for his next aviation adventure.

“We’ll start with Vancouver and move to Alberta and eastward as soon as we can,” Mr. Solloway said. “We’re in the middle of talking to numerous aircraft leasing companies to get the best possible terms. Where and when we fly will be our secret sauce.”


Tesco knocks £3.5m off the price of one of its corporate jets as it still owns two

Tesco is slashing prices again, but this time it’s not on baked beans or washing powder. The supermarket has knocked £3.5million off the price of one of its corporate jets.

The company came in for attack last autumn when it emerged that it owned five corporate jets at a time when profits had slumped and it was battling a black hole in its accounts.

The company’s new chief Dave Lewis announced the jets would be sold, but the retailer has now had to cut the asking price on one of the planes from $35million (£23.5million) to $30million.

Tesco’s Gulfstream G550 was put on the global aircraft market in October last year, but has yet to find a buyer.

It is one of two jets that remain from the fleet of five that the supermarket amassed under previous management. It also has an unsold Hawker 800XP.

Tesco has disposed of the other three jets, which include a new Gulfstream, bought to replace the G550.

Former chief executive Phil Clarke had ordered the new plane to ferry board members and senior managers around the world. Priced at £30million, it was sold in November to Nottinghamshire-based engineering tycoon Tony Langley. The supermarket has also disposed of two shorter range Cessna Citation light aircraft.

A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We said that we were going to dispose of all five aircraft and the process is ongoing.’

Some Tesco shareholders originally appeared to support the supermarket’s use of the fleet at a time when the company’s global empire stretched from California to South Korea.

But the company has set about dismantling some of its underperforming overseas divisions while Lewis is also keen to sweep away some of the culture and privileges afforded to the previous management.


Spill tested their character • Viking Air, Sidney, BC Canada

If there’s any silver lining out of the recent spill of heavy metal-contaminated rinse water at Viking Air, it’s that no one tried to cover it up.

Once the spill was discovered, James Bogusz of the Victoria Airport Authority says he was notified immediately. From him, the word was relayed on to the Town of Sidney, responsible for the downstream and residential portion of Reay Creek — the body of water into which the spill occurred.

More precisely, the spill went into a drain on the site of the aircraft manufacturer and into a man-made containment area, controlled by entrance and egress valves. Timely communication meant those valves could be closed to prevent the spill from having a large impact downstream.

Ian Bruce of Peninsula Streams, and an environmental watchdog, agrees that once the incident was discovered, the company didn’t hide but took responsibility and took action. Bruce says Viking Air representatives even attended a recent community meeting held with residents who live along the banks of Reay Creek to explain what happened.

No one wants something like this to occur. It’s a test of character after it does and depending on one’s reaction, that character will be revealed.

From the responses the News Review has received in this case, it seems Viking Air’s character has passed that test.

Yes, it would be preferable that steps are taken to prevent any such spills into a water course that has been hit hard over the years since the airport was built. And there are, says Bruce, learning points to take away from any such incident.

While he might be frustrated over the condition of the creek and the pond downstream, Bruce is at least glad people stepped up early and the spill was cleaned up.

This reaction is a lesson in responsibility and how to take it. Owning up to mistakes can be hard and many people avoid it like the plague.

Taking responsibility, even though it could mean taking a hit in return, is admirable and should not be forgotten by anyone facing a similar situation.

Original article can be found here:

'Honor-system' parking to depart from Helena Regional Airport (KHLN), Montana

Helena Regional Airport has accepted a bid for the installation of automated equipment that will replace its parking lot’s “honor system."

The low bid was from Ace Electric of Billings for $221,710, which includes the cost for the equipment, said Jeff Wadekamper, the airport director.

Other bidders were Yellowstone Electric of Billings, whose bid was $330,304, and Protection Tech of Bellevue, Washington, that had bid $447,390.

The low bid was examined carefully before being accepted, Wadekamper added.

Airport officials were able to talk to the Helena Parking Commission about Ace Electric, as the company installed the automated equipment at the commission’s garages.

The next phase of the project will be to reconfigure the parking lot and separate it from the area used by rental vehicle companies. Fencing, landscaping and consolidating the two entrances and exits are also part of the work that will come.

Moving the two entrances to a single location and the two exits to another location will allow for greater convenience for those arriving and departing should any of the automated equipment malfunction, Wadekamper said.

When the airport authority has a total figure for the project, it plans to advertise its intent to borrow the money to see what lenders are willing to offer, Wadekamper said.

“That’s typical when we do a big project like this,” he explained and noted that the airport doesn’t rely on tax funds or mill levies for its operations.

Construction is tentatively planned for early summer, and the airport authority hopes to have the system operational by summer’s end.

The airport currently charges $3 a day and $15 a week to park, far less than what others charge. Gallatin Field in Belgrade, which serves Bozeman, charges $11 a day and $77 a week for its premium, short-term, parking and $8 a day and $48 a week for its economy parking, according to its website.

The low rate, Wadekamper said, is a way to help market the airport.

While a new rate has not yet been established, the airport authority is committed to keeping the cost affordable, Wadekamper said and explained, “We’ve always prided ourselves on being one of the lowest-cost airports in the country.”

But even with its low rates, not everybody pays before leaving the lot and some don’t pay at all. 

“Now we’ll get 100 percent collection,” Wadekamper said.

The additional revenue is projected to pay off the cost of the equipment in three to five years. The automated equipment will accept credit and debit cards and cash and work with the permits that are sold to frequent flyers.

Last year the airport collected about $300,000 in parking fees and saw 98,000 people board flights.


Watch World War 2 aircraft ‘strafing’ St Barths airport during Barths Bucket superyacht regatta - by Yachting World

What’s even cooler than owning a superyacht?

Try a private collection of World War 2 fighter aircraft, in pristine working condition and still up for overseas strafing missions.

A daily air show is a feature of the St Barths Bucket superyacht regatta, courtesy of the owner of the Andre Hoek-designed 180ft ketch Marie. This is his collection of war birds, and this year he again brought them from the US, piloted by the Texas Flying Legends, a group of US pilots.

Every day they fly in formation over the island of St Barths and make a strafing-style fly-past of the airport, which is in any case one of the most dangerous in the world with a steep descent though the notch between two hills. The warbirds come in at speed, swoop to propeller altitude before climbing steeply back out round the back.

And marine photographer Tim Wright got great photos of the aircraft that really capture how low they fly.

To get here, the planes have to fly 2,200 miles from their US base to St Maarten. They join forces with four additional Warbirds from Lewis Air Legends of San Antonio, Texas and their journey is be one of the largest fleets of warbirds to travel overseas since World War II ended.

The bureaucracy that had to be overcome to get them here is a story in itself: permission from four different countries and reputedly an Act of Congress, not to allow them to leave the US, but to permit these ‘instruments of war’ to re-enter the country again afterwards.

The planes include:

A B-25J Mitchell Bomber, made famous by the Doolittle Raiders attack on mainland Japan four months after the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbour

A TBM Avenger 3E torpedo bomber, once flown by Houston native and former US President George Bush

An FG-1D Corsair, the powerful carrier-based fighter that greatly reduced enemy airpower during World War 2, a P-40K Warhawk

An A6-M2 Model 21 Japanese Zero, one of only a few Japanese Zeros left flying in the world that was the symbol of Japanese airpower in World War 2

Story, photo gallery and video:

Drone carrying drugs and weapons crashes into Bedford Prison in botched smuggling attempt

Smugglers tried to fly drugs, weapons and a mobile into a prison using a drone.

The plot, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain, failed when the remote-controlled aircraft crashed into netting around Bedford jail. A parcel attached to it contained the drugs, the phone, a knife blade and screwdrivers.

Prison governors around the country are now on alert for similar attempts.

A source said: “We believe this is the first case of a drone being used to try to get drugs inside a prison in the United Kingdom. This was successfully detected. However others may slip through.

“Using a drone is a lot easier than someone physically throwing a parcel over a wall or perimeter fence.”

The DJI Phantom 2 drone, available for less than £500, and the package have been handed to police.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “We were called to reports that a small drone had been discovered alongside a package in netting above a perimeter wall at HMP Bedford at 11.30pm on March 6.

“Both the device and the contents of the package are currently being ­examined, and investigations are on-going to identify the offender. We are working closely with the prison to ­investigate this incident.”

According to an inspection report, medium security Bedford jail, which holds 500 inmates, has a good system in place to keep out drugs.

In February 2014, former Bedford prisoner Lee Hocking, 28, from Watford, Hertfordshire, was jailed for four years after throwing a package containing cannabis, alcohol, tobacco and a mobile over the wall.

In June, a drone carrying drugs crashed into netting at ­Wheatfield prison in Dublin. The method has also been used in the US. Drone use is strictly regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Original article can be found here:

Team Rocket F-1 Rocket, N747MC: Accident occurred March 21, 2015 in Sedona, Arizona

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: 

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Docket And Docket Items:

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:


NTSB Identification: WPR15LA131 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Sedona, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/05/2015
Aircraft: MCCURRY CHARLES P F 1 ROCKET, registration: N747MC
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 reported that, on final approach to landing, he added power to maintain the desired glidepath, but the engine did not respond. Despite adjusting the throttle and additional troubleshooting efforts, the pilot noted no response from the engine. He reported that the engine remained running between 1,200 and 1,300 rpm. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a road about 1 mile southwest of the airport, and, during the landing roll, the airplane struck desert vegetation and then came to rest upright. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The partial loss of engine power during final approach for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination of the engine.

On March 21, 2015, about 1115 mountain standard time, a McCurry F-1 Rocket, N747MC, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while on final approach to the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Sedona, Arizona. The airplane was registered to Steelesky Ltd., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, who was seated in the front seat, and the airline transport rated pilot, who was seated in the rear seat, were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Prescott, Arizona, about 20 minutes prior to the accident.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the front seat pilot reported that following an uneventful flight, they announced their intentions for an entry to the airport traffic pattern on a wide left base for runway 03. Upon turning final and establishing an approach angle utilizing the Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI), he added power to maintain the glide slope with no response noted. The pilot adjusted the mixture to rich and back to lean, increased the throttle, and advanced the propeller control full forward with no response noted. The pilot stated that they were below the glideslope for the runway, and were unable to make it to the airport. Following a turn away from the airport, the pilot continued to troubleshoot by switching fuel tanks, verifying the ignition system, mixture, and fuel quantity levels, and noted that the engine remained running, however, at a power setting of about 1,200 to 1,300 revolutions per minute (RPM). The pilot initiated a forced landing to a nearby road, and during the landing roll, struck desert vegetation and came to rest upright about 1 mile southwest of the airport.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by local law enforcement revealed that the right wing and fuselage were structurally damaged. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Examination of the recovered airframe by the NTSB IIC and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Lycoming Engines revealed that the fuselage aft of the rear seat was separated to facilitate wreckage transport. The engine was separated from the engine mount. The left and right wings remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing fuel tank was breeched, consistent with impact damage. The right fuel tank was intact and undamaged. Residual fuel was observed in the right wing fuel tank, and was blue in color. The left wing outlet fuel line was displaced from an inline fuel filter. Compressed air was applied to the engine fuel supply line from the firewall, and continuity of the fuel system was obtained for both the left and right fuel tanks. Throttle, mixture, and propeller control continuity was established from the cockpit controls forward to the firewall where the cables were cut by wreckage recovery personnel. External power was applied to the airframe fuel boost pump, and the pump appeared to be functioning.

The engine was separated and intact. The left magneto, propeller governor, alternator, starter, fuel pump, and propeller remained attached to the engine. The throttle body fuel control unit was separated, and exhibited impact damage. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase. The top spark plugs and cylinder rocker box covers were removed. The crankshaft was rotated by hand using the propeller. Rotational continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train. Thumb compression and suction was obtained on all six cylinders. Equal movement was observed on all of the intake and exhaust valve rocker arms.

Magneto to engine timing was verified for the left magneto. The magneto had impulse coupling engagement when the propeller was rotated by hand. All of the left magneto leads were attached to the bottom spark plugs on all six cylinders. The magneto was removed and the drive shaft was rotated by hand. Spark was observed on all six posts. The airplane was equipped with an electronic ignition system (in place of the right magneto).

The throttle body fuel control exhibited impact damage. The throttle plate was in the closed position. The throttle plate interconnect was impact damaged and separated. The internal diaphragm was intact and undamaged. The fuel screen was free of debris. The throttle control arm exhibited impact damage, and the shaft appeared bent, and spacing was observed between the throttle arm engagement teeth. The throttle arm secure nut was intact and not loose. When the throttle arm was rotated by hand, the throttle plate shaft initially did not rotate. Further rotation of the throttle arm resulted in the throttle plate shaft partially rotating. The throttle arm was removed, and both sides of the throttle arm teeth appeared to be intact. It could not be determined if impact damage resulted in the disengagement of the throttle arm.

The fuel flow divider was intact and undamaged. The internal diaphragm and spring were intact and undamaged. The screen was free of debris. All of the fuel lines to the fuel injectors were intact and undamaged. The fuel injectors were removed, and found free of debris.

The engine driven fuel pump was intact. All internal components were intact and undamaged.

The propeller governor was removed, and found intact. The drive shaft rotated freely by hand. The control lever moved stop to stop by hand.

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA131
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Sedona, AZ
Aircraft: MCCURRY CHARLES P F 1 ROCKET, registration: N747MC
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 March 21, 2015, about 1115 mountain standard time, a McCurry F-1 Rocket, N747MC, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while on final approach to the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Sedona, Arizona. The airplane was registered to Steelesky Ltd., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, who was seated in the front seat, and the airline transport rated pilot, who was seated in the rear seat, were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Prescott, Arizona, about 20 minutes prior to the accident.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the front seat pilot reported that while the flight was inbound to SEZ, the engine began running rough, and through adjusting the mixture, it returned to running normal. The pilot stated that after switching to the right fuel tank, he proceeded to enter the airport traffic pattern on a right base for runway 3. As he turned onto about a 3-mile final for the runway, the airplane descended below his intended flight path and he added power, however, noticed that the engine was not responding. The rear seat pilot took control of the airplane while the front seat pilot continued to troubleshoot the loss of engine power by leaning and enrichening the mixture along with switching fuel tanks. The front seat pilot stated that despite all of his attempts, no changes in engine power were noted. The rear seat pilot initiated a forced landing to a nearby road, and during the landing roll, struck desert vegetation and came to rest upright about 1 mile southwest of the airport.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by local law enforcement revealed that the right wing and fuselage were structurally damaged. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

SEDONA, AZ - Authorities have identified two peopl e injured in a plane crash in Sedona on Saturday.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, 65-year-old Robert Coester of Gilbert is in stable condition with head injuries and a broken left ankle.

Seventy-one-year-old Charles McCurry from Pennsylvania is in stable condition with multiple facial fractures, facial lacerations and contusions to his lungs, authorities said.

YCSO said the initial investigation shows the F-1 Rocket brand single-engine plane, owned and built by McCurry, lost power on its final approach to the Sedona Airport.


  SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say two people were hurt after a single-engine airplane crashed during an emergency landing in Sedona. 

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the single-engine home-built F-1 Rocket crashed around 11:15 a.m. on a U.S. Forest Service road about 3 miles southeast of Sedona.

Sedona fire spokesman Gary Johnson says it appears the aircraft possibly lost its landing gear when it tried to land on the dirt and gravel road.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Department says the plane's two occupants were immediately taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. One was airlifted to Flagstaff Medical Center and the other taken by ground to Verde Valley Medical Center.

Their conditions remain unknown.

Gregor says the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.


According to Sedona Fire District Chief Kris Kazian, a small plane went down before noon on Saturday, March 21, off Chavez Ranch Road near Upper Red Rock Loop Road. He reported two injuries with one passenger being airlifted from the scene. There were no fatalities reported.

The two-seat, fixed wing single engine aircraft is a 2001 McCurry Charles P.  F-1 Rocket, owned by Steelesky LTD out of Maineville, Ohio.

More details will be pending as we receive them from reporters at the scene.

Incident occurred March 21, 2015 at Indianapolis International Airport (KIND), Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An American Airlines regional jet has landed safely at Indianapolis International Airport after the pilots reported a possible problem with the aircraft’s landing gear.

Airport spokeswoman Kendall Bybee says the pilots had thought the landing gear of the twin-engine jet might not be locked as the plane that was headed from Chicago to Indianapolis was approaching Indianapolis’ main airport for landing Saturday.

But Bybee says the landing gear was in fact locked and the plane carrying 30 passengers landed without incident just after noon Saturday and there were no injuries.

Bybee says a fire response crew was summoned to the scene as a precaution as the plane approached for landing, but that crew wasn’t needed because the jet landed without any problems.

Original article can be found here:

Jury selection set to start in marijuana plane case

Jury selection is set Monday in the 354th District Court for Randall Thomas May of Palm Bay Fla., who has pleaded not guilty to one count of  possession of between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

Almost five years ago, residents in several locations across Hunt County awoke to find bags of marijuana had fallen from the sky overnight.

A trial is scheduled to begin soon for a Florida man, the second suspect indicted in connection with the 2010 incident.

Jury selection is set Monday in the 354th District Court for Randall Thomas May of Palm Bay Fla., who has pleaded not guilty to one count of  possession of between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

The jury panel seated in the case will return March 30 for the opening arguments and the start of testimony in the trial.

May was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in December 2013.

Darin William Fayne was found not guilty by a jury of the same charge in September 2013.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said he sent investigators from his office to Florida in August 2013 to obtain a DNA sample from May.

Six duffel bags believed connected to a plane abandoned early the morning of July 19, 2010, at the Caddo Mills Municipal Airport were recovered.

The street value of the more than 200 pounds of hydroponic marijuana has been estimated at up to $1.5 million.

The possession charge is a second degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

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Spicejet scraps extended flying hours of pilots after Directorate General of Civil Aviation rap

Spicejet on Wednesday put an end to the practice of split-duty, where pilots take rest between flights that are separated by a time lesser than the minimum rest period prescribed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The step comes after a DGCA inquiry into two instances of pilots flying beyond duty hours last week revealed that the pilots were fatigued due to extended flying hours and inadequate resting facilities.

In one of the cases, an aircraft with 78 passengers skidded along the runway at the Hubli airport in Karnataka.

According to the aviation regulator, split duty means a 'flight duty period' (FDP), which consists of two or more flight routes separated by less than the prescribed minimum rest period. The rest provided permits extension of flight duty period. The conditions however, state that the interim period of rest must be provided in facilities like hotels, which Spicejet had been violating, according to the DGCA.

DGCA officials said that in case of Spicejet, at least two pilots would be forced to sit in the airport for four hours every day between flying. The DGCA allows pilots to fly up to nine hours a day, starting from one hour before the flight till 30 minutes after the flight lands. The aviation regulator found that Spicejet pilots would operate on the Delhi-Mumbai flight for more than nine hours in all, without being provided the resting facilities required for the extension of the nine hour duty time.

Mohan Ranganathan, former civil aviation safety advisory committee member, said, "If the crew followed the pattern of operation in the Delhi-Mumbai early morning flight and the Mumbai-Delhi late evening flight, they should have been provided with hotel accommodation. Otherwise, it is a violation."

A SpiceJet spokesperson said: "The schedule was shown to the DGCA, and they verified that the schedules were as per DGCA requirements. There was no violation." 

Original article can be found here:

Resumes Ready? Federal Aviation Administration Says "We're Hiring!"

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced a new round of hiring in a variety of aviation positions with the agency.  To learn more and get yourself ready to apply, the FAA is holding a Virtual Career Fair this Wednesday, March 25 from noon to 4 pm Eastern Time.  According to the FAA you will be able to view the types of jobs available and live chat with aviation career specialists.  The link to sign up for the web fair is here.

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Model planes are big business: Executives are infatuated with little jets

NEW YORK — In America, businessmen shake hands. In Japan, they bow. But all over the world, airline executives engage in a greeting that is all their own: the exchange of model airplanes.

When airlines start flying to new cities, make deals with other carriers or finance new jets, these high-quality models – typically 1 to 2 feet long – provide the perfect photo backdrop, can help break the ice or serve as a cherished “thank you.”

While a business card might be quickly stuffed away in a desk drawer, models remain prominently displayed on the desk of politicians and industry power brokers. Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has models from JetBlue, Lufthansa, Avianca and local airline Seaborne in his office. Each has established or expanded service to the island since his 2013 inauguration.

“It’s one of these gifts that people get and don’t put in the closet,” says Jeff Knittel, who oversees aircraft leasing for financier CIT Group Inc.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus took in 1,456 passenger plane orders from 67 airlines around the world last year. It also placed 30,000 of its own orders – for model Airbus jets.

Multimillion-dollar plane purchases are decided on the fuel efficiency of a jet, its maintenance costs, how much cargo it holds and how far it can fly. However, desktop models help start the conversation, says Chris Jones, the vice president of North American sales for Airbus.

“Putting a model on the table won’t sway a deal but it might get their attention,” Jones says. After the sales pitch, the model is left behind for the most-senior person. “It’s a little bit of a teaser.”

The tradition of exchanging model planes has been around for decades. Walk through the headquarters of any airline and rows of models – including those of competitors – can be spotted.

Gerry Laderman, the senior vice president of finance and procurement at United Airlines, has collected his fair share after 30 years in the business. There’s no room left in his Chicago office, so new acquisitions are displayed on the hallway windowsill.

“I stopped counting after 100,” Laderman says. “My wife doesn’t let me bring home models anymore.”

Model planes have their roots with aerospace engineers, who used them in an age before computers to design planes and then test them in wind tunnels.

Then in 1946, two workers from the Douglas Aircraft Co. started Pacific Miniatures with the encouragement of the aircraft manufacturer. It was right after World War II and Douglas faced a major challenge in getting nervous travelers to fly.

“They were tasked with promoting the romance and luxury of air travel,” says Fred Ouweleen, Jr., the current owner of the company affectionately known as PacMin.

The company, based in Fullerton, Calif., created large cutaway models that showed aircraft interiors to a public that had – for the most part – never stepped foot on a plane.

Those models would become a mainstay of travel agencies for decades.

Soon there was demand for smaller models that could fit on people’s desks and bookshelves. Today it is those models, scaled to one hundredth of the size of a jet, that PacMin is best known for.

“In the case of a fire, I think those would be the first things grabbed and taken out of the building,” Ouweleen says.

PacMin produces the planes for more than 4,000 customers around the world, with the typical order just being a handful of planes.

“A large order for us is 100,” Ouweleen says.

Still, more than 15,000 models are sold a year ranging in price from $130 to $1,500 each, depending on the size, speed and difficulty of the order. PacMin employs 165 people and sees $10 million in annual sales.

Members of the public generally can’t buy PacMin models, although plenty end up on eBay, with sellers generally asking $200 to $400.

Mark Jung estimates he has spent $45,000 buying model planes over the past 45 years. He now has more than 1,000. A few are PacMins but many are more-affordable models made by competitor Gemini.

Jung, a former airline worker, now processes badges at Milwaukee’s main airport. Every employee – those who work in stores, restaurants or for the airlines – must pass through his office to get their credentials.

During his 10 years there, many airlines have thanked him with a model. There are now more than 100 in the office; others are displayed at the airport’s museum. (As a public employee, Jung can’t accept gifts; he just holds on to the models for the airport.)

Airline executives sit in his office, see the row of planes and ask: “Where’s ours?” A model arrives shortly after.

“It’s a really great icebreaker,” Jung says, adding that he tries to avoid making the badging process feel like a trip to the department of motor vehicles.

Even those in charge of a fleet of real jets like to collect the models.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes has 15 models in his office and dozens more on nearby shelves. They include an Airbus A330 that a sales representative for the aircraft maker once gave him.

“Some people like going to a museum and looking at art. Some people like a nice bottle of wine,” Hayes says. “I like nice model airplanes.”

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