Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pilot, now Tulane University student, who wore uniform to cut security line sues airline

 In this Jan. 26, 2013 file image from video of FBI undercover footage provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Honolulu, Joshu Osmanski, center, wears his former employer's uniform and badge to attempt to pass through a flight crew security line at the Honolulu International Airport in Honolulu. Osmanski, who on April 2, 2015 was sentenced to three years' probation for wearing his Cathay Pacific Airways uniform to bypass security at Honolulu International Airport, is now suing his former employer. 
(AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office, file)

HONOLULU -- A pilot sentenced to probation for wearing his Cathay Pacific Airways uniform to bypass security at Honolulu International Airport is suing his former employer.

Joshu Osmanski, who now lives in New Orleans, said he wore the uniform and badge months after he was fired so that he could cut the security line. He was sentenced to three years' probation last week in federal court in Honolulu.

He filed a civil suit in federal court in San Francisco, saying the airline discriminated against him and fired him because of his obligations as a Navy Reserve fighter pilot. The Hong Kong-based airline which conducts its U.S. business in San Francisco, is subject to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, said the lawsuit filed last month.

The federal law protects service members' reemployment rights when returning from military service, including the reserves or National Guard. It prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation.

The lawsuit says the airline criticized him for participating in reserve training, forced him to take unpaid leave and then fired him without explanation.

A manager told Osmanski that the airline has a "business to run and no government or any other entity is part of any agreement that will provide an impediment to our business," the lawsuit said.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said Tuesday the airline can't comment on an active legal case.

During reserve training while on unpaid leave from work in 2011, Osmanski ejected from a malfunctioning jet moments before it crashed and exploded, the lawsuit said.

Birney Bervar, his Honolulu defense attorney in the criminal case, attributed a possible head injury from that crash as a reason for his actions at the airport. Osmanski, now a student at Tulane University, said in court he can't explain what he did.

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

Citing 'obstacles,' Federal Aviation Administration declines to allow Thunderbirds to send six jets to Thunder Over Louisville

WDRB 41 Louisville News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Disappointing news for this year's Thunder Over Louisville Air show.

The Kentucky Derby Festival says the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will only be able to have two jets in the show. They will not be performing an hour-long aerobatic demonstration with six jets as scheduled.

That's because the FAA re-evaluated approval due to "obstacles" in the area.

KDF CEO Mike Berry says it's a disappointment, but added: "We appreciate the commitment that they made because I guess if they wanted to they could have said, 'hey we're not coming at all ... but that's not the case. 

The Thunderbirds 15-person crew will still make public appearances.

The Golden Knights Parachuters, the Kentucky Air National Guard's C-130, and the U.S. Marines Harrier demonstration will still be a part of the show.

The FAA released this statement:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that an aerobatic box that is 4,000 feet long by 1,800 feet wide, up to an altitude of 16,000 feet will provide a safe environment for Thunder Over Louisville spectators and airshow performers.   Aerobatic pilots will remain in the airbox, and avoid the new bridge construction that is about ½ nautical mile east of the eastern end of the aerobatic box, the K&I Railroad bridge,  which is west of the box,  and the 2nd Street/Clark Memorial Bridge, which is east of the box. Also, aerobatic aircraft maneuvers will directed away from spectators, who will be a minimum of 1,000 feet from the edges of the aerobatic box.   
Category I aerobatic aircraft, which includes high performance jets, require aerobatic boxes that generally are 3,000 feet wide. The Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Canadian Snowbirds require a length of 12,000 feet (2 nautical miles.)

The FAA closely reviews all airshow applications to ensure that the proposed operation can be conducted safely. 

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

Cessna 414A Chancellor, N789UP: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, Illinois

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Springfield FSDO-19

MAKE IT HAPPEN AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N789UP

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA190
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, IL
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N789UP
Injuries: 7 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 7, 2015, about 0006 central daylight time (all referenced times will reflect central daylight time), a Cessna model 414A twin-engine airplane, N789UP, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an instrument approach to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI), Bloomington, Illinois. The airline transport pilot and six passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by and registered to Make It Happen Aviation, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Indianapolis, Indiana, at 2307 central daylight time.

According to preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, after departure the flight proceeded direct to BMI and climbed to a final cruise altitude of 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). According to radar data, at 2344:38 (hhmm:ss), about 42 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of BMI, the flight began a cruise descent to 4,000 feet msl. At 2352:06, the pilot established contact with Peoria Terminal Radar Approach Control, reported being level at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl), and requested the Instrument Landing System (ILS) Runway 20 instrument approach into BMI. According to radar data, the flight was located about 21 nm south-southeast of BMI and was established on a direct course to BMI at 4,000 feet msl. The approach controller told the pilot to expect radar vectors for the ILS Runway 20 approach. At 2354:18, the approach controller told the pilot to make a right turn to a 330 degree heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 2359:16, the approach controller cleared the flight to descend to maintain 2,500 feet msl. At 2359:20, the pilot acknowledged the descent clearance.

At 0000:01, the approach controller told the pilot to turn left to a 290 heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 0000:39, the approach controller told the pilot that the flight was 5 nm from EGROW intersection, cleared the flight for the ILS Runway 20 instrument approach, issued a heading change to 230 degrees to intercept the final approach course, and told the pilot to maintain 2,500 feet until established on the inbound course. The pilot correctly read-back the instrument approach clearance, the heading to intercept the localizer, and the altitude restriction.

According to radar data, at 0001:26, the flight crossed through the final approach course while on the assigned 230 degree heading before it turned to a southerly heading. The plotted radar data showed the flight made course corrections on both sides of the localizer centerline as it proceeded inbound toward EGROW. At 0001:47, the approach controller told the pilot to cancel his IFR flight plan on the approach control radio frequency, that radar services were terminated, and authorized a change to the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). According to radar data, the flight was 3.4 nm outside of EGROW, established inbound on the localizer, at 2,400 feet msl. At 0002:00, the pilot transmitted over the unmonitored CTAF, "twin Cessna seven eight nine uniform pop is coming up on EGROW, ILS Runway 20, full stop." No additional transmissions from the pilot were recorded on the CTAF or by Peoria Approach Control.

According to radar data, at 0003:12, the flight crossed over the locator outer marker (EGROW) at 2,100 feet msl. The flight continued to descend while tracking the localizer toward the runway. At 0003:46, the airplane descended below available radar coverage at 1,500 feet msl. The flight was about 3.5 nm from the end of the runway when it descended below radar coverage. Subsequently, at 0004:34, radar coverage was reestablished with the flight about 1.7 nm north of the runway threshold at 1,400 feet msl. The plotted radar data showed that, between 0004:34 and 0005:08, the flight climbed from 1,400 feet msl to 2,000 feet msl while maintaining a southerly course. At 0005:08, the flight began a descending left turn to an easterly course. The airplane continued to descend on the easterly course until reaching 1,500 feet msl at 0005:27. The airplane then began a climb while maintaining an easterly course. At 0005:42, the airplane had flown 0.75 nm east of the localizer centerline and had climbed to 2,000 feet. At 0005:47, the flight descended below available radar coverage at 1,800 feet msl. Subsequently, at 0006:11, radar coverage was reestablished at 1,600 feet msl about 0.7 nm southeast of the previous radar return. The next two radar returns, recorded at 0006:16 and 0006:20, were at 1,900 feet msl and were consistent with the airplane continuing on an easterly course. The final radar return was recorded at 0006:25 at 1,600 feet msl about 2 nm east-northeast of the runway 20 threshold.

At 0005, the BMI automated surface observing system reported: wind 060 degrees at 6 knots, an overcast ceiling at 200 feet above ground level (agl), 1/2 mile surface visibility with light rain and fog, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Memorial services have been scheduled for two of the Bloomington plane crash victims.

A memorial service for pilot Thomas Weldon Hileman will be held at Saturday, April 11 at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, beginning at 10 a.m.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church.

Hileman served in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, and later attended Southern Illinois University. He is survived by his wife, Ami, their five children and his four siblings. Hileman was 51 years old.

Condolences for Hileman may be made at www.carmodyflynn.com.

Services for Terry Stralow will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 11 at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington. The burial will be in East Lawn Memorial Gardens, also in Bloomington.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal. Memorials may be directed to ISU Athletics or OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation.

Stralow graduated from Illinois State University in 1974 and later co-owned and operated Pub II in Normal. He is survived by his wive of 38 years, Joan, his two children and brothers and sisters-in-law. He was 64 years old. Condolences for Stralow may be left at www.calvertmemorial.com

Visitation for Andy Butler will be held Sunday, April 12, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Carmody Flynn Funeral Home in Bloomington.

The funeral service will be Monday, April 13, 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church of Merna. Memorials can be sent to the Illinois State Athletics Weisbecker Scholarship Fund, or by showing your support for Redbird Athletics by attending an event.

Visitation for Jason Jones will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at Carmody Flynn Funeral Home.

The funeral service is scheduled for Sunday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington.

Visitation for Aaron Leetch will be held Friday, April 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Redbird Arena. The funeral will be Saturday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at Eastview Christian Church.

Services for Torrey Ward and Scott Bittner are pending.

Sometimes, words are not enough

By  Randy Kindred

As journalists, we’re supposed to have the right words. It’s easy when a shot goes in at the buzzer or a ball leaves the park in the bottom of the ninth. Words become apples in an orchard … plentiful, everywhere.

Just take your pick.

It was not as simple Tuesday.

Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons said in an afternoon statement: “There is no play in the playbook for times like these.”

No apples either.

Words get lost amid shock and sorrow, pain and more pain. Losing seven of our own to an early-morning plane crash was crippling emotionally, collectively. It is difficult to convey how much.

These were successful people who built businesses, teams, programs. They were building legacies. We knew them or knew of them, knew they made a difference.

You cross paths with a lot of people as a sportswriter … players, coaches, administrators, fans. You don’t always meet their parents, spouses, children. The heart aches for all of them today.

Sports mean little in light of what they face. Yet, sports are part of this. To a man, they meant a lot to the people on board.

Andy Butler was a former high school golfer, an Illinois State grad and an avid fan of ISU athletics. A devastated Rick Percy Jr. said Tuesday, “He might have been the only person I knew who loved ISU more than me.”

Scott Bittner was a former football and basketball player at Chenoa High School. Pilot Tom Hileman played football at Bloomington High School, earning all-Big 12 Conference honors.

Terry Stralow owned a restaurant/bar, Pub II, in the heart of Illinois State country. A passionate supporter of ISU’s teams, his smile always seemed a little wider at a Redbird game.

It stretched from ear to ear on a Saturday afternoon in December at Pub II. A large crowd was gathering for a “watch party” for ISU’s national semifinal football game at New Hampshire.

Business was booming. The bottom line would get a boost. Still, Stralow’s grin was not motivated by dollars and cents, rather ISU red and white.

He told me shortly before kickoff he’d already looked into flights to Dallas for the national title game, with plans to rent a car and drive to Springfield, Mo., for a Redbird basketball game the following day. His eyes danced just talking about it.

Jason Jones was of special interest for a sportswriter from Atlanta. He grew up 10 miles down the road in Lincoln, our Logan County seat.

His father, Woody, was a former Illinois State baseball player. We knew such things in Atlanta. Jason carved his own niche as a fine baseball and basketball player, first at Lincoln High School and later Illinois Wesleyan.

He was a joy to watch, an all-out type of guy who relished every game. Afterward, he was cordial, respectful, even to a reporter from little old Atlanta.

Aaron Leetch was a warm handshake and a pat on the back. ISU’s Deputy Director of Athletics/External Operations, he cared deeply about Redbird sports. When ISU’s basketball team lost to Northern Iowa in last month’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game, Leetch’s eyes were red and moist as he slumped against a wall outside the locker room.

He was destined to be a Division I athletic director one day.

Torrey Ward was an up and coming coach who could connect with players without chastising them. He was a positive, upbeat guy who knew the game and would have been an outstanding head coach. It was not if, but when.

There is no play in the playbook for this.

Words don’t seem enough, either.

Source:  http://www.pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — Federal authorities could eliminate some possible causes of Tuesday's plane crash as early as Wednesday, but the full report could take up to 18 months.

Five businessmen and two members of the Illinois State University athletics department died from blunt force trauma when their small plane crashed in a farm field east of Bloomington. They were on their way home from the NCAA basketball championship game in Indianapolis.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis identified the victims as pilot Thomas Hileman, 51, of Bloomington; Normal residents Aaron Leetch, 37, Andy Butler, 40, and Torrey Ward, 36; Jason Jones, 45, and Terry Stralow, 64, both of Bloomington; and Scott Bittner, 42, of Towanda.

"The wreckage had all aircraft components in a limited debris field," said Todd Fox, an air safety investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board's Chicago office. "We found it within one wingspan of the plane."

News of the crash rippled through Bloomington-Normal because the victims had close ties to ISU and the business community. The men included Leetch and Ward, both of the Illinois State University athletics department; Butler, a regional manager for Sprint; Jones, a financial manager; Stralow, co-owner of Pub II; and Bittner, owner of Eureka Locker Co.

The Cessna 414A belonged to Bittner's father, who was not aboard.

Hileman owned Hileman Aviation LLC, based at Central Illinois Regional Airport, and had 12,000 hours of flight time. Fox said Hileman had an airline transport pilot's license and had undergone a medical exam in February.

Davis said Hileman, Leetch, Stralow and Jones had to be identified by dental records. All seven victims were found fastened in their seats.

The wreckage has been moved to a secure hangar at CIRA, where it will be evaluated. The Cessna model does not contain a "black box," or instrument data recorder.

Fox said there was a post-impact fire near the engines, which is common.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said the plane was located in a soybean field near Illinois 9 and McLean County Road 2100 East.

The aircraft was last in contact with air traffic controllers in Peoria and had left Indianapolis around midnight. The flight usually takes about an hour.

Fox said Peoria controllers cleared the Cessna for an instrument approach at CIRA, which does not have controllers after 10 p.m.

For an unknown reason, "they made a turn from the course to the runway," Fox said. Peoria contacted CIRA after the pilot did not acknowledge the end of the flight, as required.

CIRA workers searched the airport for the plane before calling local authorities to help look for it. A Bloomington police officer found the wreckage around 3 a.m.

CIRA Executive Director Carl Olsen said all CIRA operations were functioning at the time of crash.

Fox said there were low clouds, fog and maybe some light rain at the time.

The NTSB investigative team includes members of the air-frame and engine manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration. The multi-engine Cessna typically carries six to eight passengers. 

The twin-engine Cessna 414 was first manufactured in 1968; the modified 414A, with a longer wingspan and simpler fuel system, began production 10 years later, according to the Aircraft Owners And Pilots website.

The Cessna 414A has a maximum speed of about 270 mph and was manufactured until 1985, when Cessna ceased production, according to the website Cessna.us.

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

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage joined by Coroner Kathleen Davis as he reads a statement to reporters Tuesday.

Attorney General Madigan: Edgar County Board violated Open Meetings Law • Edgar County Airport (KPRG), Paris, Illinois


On February 26, 2015, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor made the determination that the Edgar County Board violated the Open Meetings Act when it held a county board meeting on December 6, 2013 without providing advanced notice to the public as required by law. Another example of why we sue (read this article) – because waiting 14 months for this decision is unreasonable for any person, and we understand the workload in the AG’s office is such that it cannot keep up with these requests for review.

This meeting came to fruition when a majority of a quorum of the county board “actively participated” in open and closed sessions of the Edgar County Airport Committee meeting, effectively turning it in to a county board meeting instead. No advanced notice and no agenda  was posted for this now county board meeting.

The board tried claiming that the additional board members were present “for historical purposes” since they had previously served on the airport committee – but did acknowledge they all participated in the open and closed meeting.

The AG determined that since the meeting did not confine itself to committee business, but instead wandered into county board business, the additional board members who actively participated counted as a quorum for a county board meeting.

Read more here:  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com