Saturday, April 11, 2015

Proposed change targets airport improvement fund: Murfreesboro Municipal (KMBT), Tennessee

MURFREESBORO –   Construction began last week on Murfreesboro Municipal Airport's runway extension, but projects like this may be in jeopardy if a proposed change in the amount businesses are required to pay for improvements becomes state law, airport officials say.

The nearly $5.1 million project is most funded through the state's aviation tax fund, but a proposed change to the fund could cut it in half, explained Chad Gerke, director of the Murfreesboro airport.

The Haslam administration wants to cap the amount a single person or business will pay into the Tennessee Equity Fund, which is funded by aviation fuel taxes. The Equity Fund is distributed in the form of grants for improvements at large and small airports across the state, like those at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport.

"It will basically take money airports use for maintenance and improvements and cut it in half," Gerke said.

The city's total grant includes more than $4.4 million from the Tennessee Equity Fund, $328,000 from the federal government and $295,090 from airport debt and interest payments covered by airport revenues from fuel sales and leases.

The legislation would reduce the size of the funding pool that general aviation airports can pull from for maintenance projects and upgrades. It is currently making its way through the committee process in Nashville with nods from the Transportation and Ways & Means committees in both the state House and Senate.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, said the state was stuck between a rock and a hard place with how the fund is funded.

On one side, he sees the value of local airports to economic development, but, on the other hand, one of the state's largest employers was threatening to fill up its plane's gas tanks in other states.

"It put us in a tough spot," Tracy said.

According to an Associated Press report, the cap will benefit Memphis-based FedEx that on average pays annually up to three-quarters of the $48 million fund.

According to testimony in committees this week, no other taxpayer exceeds the proposed cap. Southwest Airlines comes closest at $6 million per year.

Cash in the fund results from a 4.5-cent-per-gallon tax on aviation fuel collected by the state each year.

Of the surrounding states, North Carolina's fund comes closest at $20 million with a $0.053 effective tax rate and $2.5 million cap. Indiana has the smallest fund with a $1.2 million estimated annual revenue with a $0.10 a gallon rate and exemptions for airlines and FedEx, according to data from Tracy's office.

Under Haslam's proposal, FedEx's aviation fuel tax liability would be capped at $10.5 million — down from the $32 million the company paid last year. The cap would begin July 1 and be phased in over four years.

Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority Executive Director John Black said he thinks the cap will have a detrimental effects on the state's network of airports.

"While we value our existing business, we also must balance the maintenance and growth of all of our airports through the mechanism (Tennessee Equity Fund) that has worked so well since 1988," Black said.

"Airports are much more than runways and taxiways, they are the front door and economic engines of our communities," he continued.

Tracy said he spent time talking to airports from across the state and was pleased when his committee amended the bill to create a task force to oversee the changes to the fund.

While airport administrators say there's no plan to replace the money, Tracy said he has hope the task force will find a way to keep fuel tax money flowing to general aviation airports.

"The Equity Fund has worked very well for us and the taskforce needs to develop a long-term plan to continue it," Tracy said, adding general aviation airports are important to economic development.

Both Black and Gerke said they fear that economic development opportunities may be damaged if airports have less funding for upkeep.

Gerke said getting the runway project is important, but the Murfreesboro airport terminal, which dates back to the 1950s, needs an overhaul. But that may not happen anytime soon if the Equity Fund is reduced.

"We may never have a jet based here, but we do have corporate executive who come here," he said.

He said now the airport will have to reassess its future plans.


Nonprofit group pushes for growth, welfare of Taunton Municipal Airport (KTAN), Massachusetts

Mike Dupont flies his restored 1946 Piper Cub at Taunton Municipal Airport.

TAUNTON — Taunton Municipal Airport is getting a boost in interest with the recent formation of a nonprofit group of pilots and other supporters of the city-owned, airplane facility.

The Taunton Pilots Association will promote the use and growth of the city-owned TMA, also known as King Field, which got its start in 1919 when Henry King established his own airport in East Taunton.

“We’ve been talking about it for a close to a year,” said TPA president and pilot Melinda Paine-Dupont.

“We wanted to provide a unified voice,” she added. “There are a lot of pilots and a lot of interest in the airport.”

Paine-Dupont said a somewhat-contentious public meeting in December at Taunton City Council chambers that focused on developing a new master plan was not the sole catalyst to establish the TPA — which she said has been around for about a month and has both a dedicated website and Facebook page.

But she said that night’s central issue of finding a way to bring into compliance the airport’s turf-and-gravel runway — the shorter of TMA’s two runways — was an important factor to get the TPA up and running.
“It got us motivated,” she said.

Paine-Dupont said the TPA now has 71 members, including eight pilots from Brockton who share a single plane at the Taunton airport and belong to the Brockton Flying Club, which got its start at King Field in the 1930s.

She said the association is open to pilots and nonpilots alike. Paine-Dupont also said the group is currently in the process of gaining 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status with the state.

More than 100 owners of planes lease hangar space and close to another 20 pilots pay to have their planes tied down outside, according to airport manager Daniel Raposa.

Paine-Dupont also said the TPA in no way will compete or oppose the interest of the TMA’s seven-member commission — which will hold a public meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, to provide residents with an update on what will be the first new master plan in more than a dozen years.

A viable master plan is vital in terms of a small, municipal airport qualifying for capital-improvement grants from both the Federal Aviation Administration and the state’s MassDOT Aeronautics Division.

Wednesday’s meeting will include a presentation by James Miklas, director of aviation planning for Woburn-based Airport Solutions Group LLC, which has been retained by the airport commission to form a new Master Plan.

Paine-Dupont said she foresees more involvement in the TPA and is optimistic for the advocacy it will provide to enable the airport to keep up with the times and become more of an aeronautic player in the southeast region.

 “You can’t complain if you don’t voice your opinions,” she said.

Original article can be found here:

Taunton Pilots Association president and pilot Melinda Paine-Dupont is seated in the 1946 Piper Cub.

Kansas Department of Transportation unveils aviation information site • Tells people if their building plans require Federal Aviation Administration approval

People looking to build near an airport in Kansas have a new tool to tell them if they need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tiffany Brown, acting director of aviation for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said KDOT unveiled a new aviation information “portal” on Friday. It mostly will be useful to consultants and aviation planners, though the general public also can use it, she said.

The site uses mapping software so people can locate their property and put in the type of structure they want to build and how high it will be, Brown said. If the structure is more than 200 feet tall or located within five miles of an airport, the person building it will have to file with the FAA to make sure it won’t interfere with air traffic, she said.

A message will come up almost instantly in red if the proposed structure requires a filing and in green if it doesn’t, Brown said.

The portal also allows people to look up the pavement conditions of Kansas airports and their economic impacts on the city and county level, Brown said. It also has other three-dimensional mapping features useful for people who work with airports and need to know about specific space regulations, she said.

To try out the portal, visit


Suit over noise level in Longmont, Boulder County skies goes to trial • Some say those with complaints overly sensitive

A year and a half-long legal dispute between a Longmont skydiving company and anti-skydiving noise advocates will go to trial Monday in Boulder County District Court.

Kimberly Gibbs of Gunbarrel, Gibbs's organization Citizens for Quiet Skies and six other individual plaintiffs sued Mile Hi Skydiving over the noise Mile Hi's planes make when flying over Boulder County homes.

Mile Hi flies its planes out of Longmont's Vance Brand Municipal Airport, particularly a purple DeHavilland Twin Otter. The planes leave the airport, reach altitude in a flight box that reaches out over unincorporated Boulder County, drop the skydivers and return the airport.

Gibbs and others with the Citizens for Quiet Skies group have been speaking for years at meetings of the Longmont City Council meetings and the Airport Advisory Board, saying that the Twin Otter is particularly noisy as it ascends and descends. In the lawsuit, they argue that even though Mile Hi is ultimately governed by the Federal Aviation Administration, the court should still be able to stop its operation from being a nuisance.

"In short, the choices that Mile-Hi makes when conducting its skydiving operations. . .are choices within the discretion of Mile Hi and within the discretion of this Court to limit," the attorney for the plaintiffs wrote in the trial brief filed March 31.

"In these discretionary matters, Mile Hi must operate in a reasonable manner and may not interfere with Plaintiffs' quiet enjoyment of their properties."

Others in the city say that the people who complain about the noise are being overly sensitive about the planes and the skydivers.

Lawyers for Mile Hi, meanwhile, argue in the suit that the skydiving company is following all FAA regulations and the plaintiffs' requests would impose on the federal government's ability to regulate air traffic.

"If the Plaintiffs wish to change the noise emissions, flight patterns, and/or curfews of the (sic) Mile Hi, their sole remedy is to convince the Airport or the City of Longmont to conduct a (noise study) and make recommendations to the FAA," wrote Mile Hi's attorney in the their brief, also filed March 31.

Former Airport Manager Tim Barth commissioned a preliminary noise study by local firm Terracon before he resigned his position in January. The study found that average plane noise in several areas subject to complaints was not significantly higher than background noise. The Terracon study cost the city $2,797 while City Attorney Eugene Mei wrote in an email to the City Council that a more extensive study the FAA requires would cost roughly $300,000. The more expensive study has not yet been commissioned.

While the plaintiffs in the case originally claimed that Mile Hi was negligent, trespassing and a nuisance, those claims were winnowed down by three summary judgements issued by the court. Citizens for Quiet Skies originally asked the court to award them money for alleged reduction in home values, money for loss of enjoyment of their homes, damages for emotional stress and money for court fees.

The plaintiffs additionally asked the court to grant an injunction against Mile Hi so that the company would have to limit its hours of operation in the future and changing flight patterns.

In summary judgements, the court dismissed most of Citizens for Quiet Skies' claims, leaving the organization only able to pursue the injunction asking Mile Hi to change its ways. The individual plaintiffs in the case are still seeking compensation for what they say has been a devaluation in their homes' value due to the noise from Mile Hi.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna T337G Super Skymaster, N7CY: Incident occurred April 11, 2015 at Brookneal/Campbell County Airport (0V4), Brookneal, Virginia


The pilot of a Cessna airplane was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital for minor injuries after an emergency landing in southern Campbell County Saturday afternoon, officials said.

Virginia State Trooper T.W. Fridley responded to the incident just before 2:30 p.m. at the Brookneal/Campbell County Airport. 

The airplane was flying from Florida to New York when its passenger-side door became ajar, according to a news release.

The pilot was unable to close it while in flight and had to attempt a landing at the airport.

The news release said brisk winds forced a rough landing; the right tire broke off and caused the aircraft to land in the grass about five feet off the runway.

Ray O. Kenyon, 71, of Sherburne, New York, who piloted the aircraft, was taken to the hospital, the release said. His wife and dog also were on board but had no injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the incident.

CAMPBELL CO., Va. -   The pilot, Ray O. Kenyon, 71, of Sherburne, New York, was able to walk away with only a busted lip after crashing his small plane near the Brookneal-Campbell County Airport Saturday afternoon.

Investigators say the door of the plane came open at 9,000 feet, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing. He was taken to the hospital with a busted lip.

The pilot’s wife and dog were in the plane at the time of the incident. They did not sustain any injuries.

Hanna stumps for new, long-term federal aviation bill to aid Griffiss

Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-22, Barneveld, spoke at Griffiss International Airport Thursday about the need for Congress to pass a new, long-term federal aviation bill that would aid upstate and, more specifically, build on successes at the Oneida County airfield.

Current funding and authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration expires in September.

Hanna, who is a pilot and member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, wants Congress to quickly approve a new bill extending the FAA and updating the nation’s aviation policies.

The last FAA reauthorization was enacted after more than four years of stop-gap measures.

The congressman called for policies to better account for new technologies like unmanned aircraft systems, better known as drones, and satellite-based GPS systems.  

This bill could also provide avenues for local airports like Griffiss to receive federal funding for upgrades and repairs through the Airport Improvement Program. In 2014, Griffiss received $6.3 million from the program.

“Aviation is critical to America’s economy, but it’s also a real bright spot here in upstate New York, if we take the right steps now,” Hanna said. “That means providing long-term, stable funding for Griffiss and other airports, allowing NUAIR to do more and better work in Rome, and ensuring that the United States has the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world.”

NUAIR is using Griffiss as test site for drones as the FAA develops guidelines for the introduction of commercial drones in the U.S. airspace.

State, county and local officials joined with Hanna at the new terminal building.

Hanna added, “This is a bipartisan issue and I look forward to getting a new FAA bill signed into law in the coming months.”

Millions of federal dollars have paid for improvements at Griffiss since the county airport was moved to the former Air Force base in 2007 from Whitestown. The airport is in the midst of a federally funded multiyear program to rehabilitate and reconfigure taxiways. Griffiss has no scheduled passenger service.

Original article can be found here:

Quad City Challenger II, N30796: Fatal accident occurred April 11, 2015 near Rosenbaum Field Airport (3WI9), Chippewa County, Wisconsin

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Chippewa Falls, WI
Aircraft: QUAD CITY CHALLENGER - II, registration: N30796
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.


On April 11, 2015, at 1132 central daylight time, an experimental Quad City Challenger II airplane, formerly registered as N30796, impacted terrain while on visual pattern downwind at the Rosenbaum Field Airport (3WI9), near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The airplane was substantially damaged and the pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane, with an expired registry, was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan at an unknown time.

Several witnesses observed the airplane making a turn near the mid-field downwind position at 3WI9. The airplane subsequently began a steep dive, which continued until ground impact. The airplane caught fire following ground impact.


The pilot, age 77, held a recreational pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating and a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate. The pilot's logbook indicated he had flown 416 total hours as of May 5, 2006, with nearly all of his flight time accomplished in the accident airplane. Recent logbooks were not available for the investigation. According to his wife, the pilot had flown a few times over the past 12 months.

The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certification exam, dated May 10, 2004, did not identify any abnormal findings and the examiner issued a third-class medical certificate with the following limitation: must wear lenses for distant - possess glasses for near vision. This medical certificate expired for all classes on May 31, 2006.


The airplane was a two-seat tandem, high-wing, pusher configuration. FAA records indicated the pilot manufactured the airplane and received a special airworthiness certificate on May 17, 2002. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 503 engine and a Tennessee, Inc. wooden propeller. Maintenance logbooks were not available to the investigation.


At 1156, the weather observation station at Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU), Eau Claire, Wisconsin, located about 9 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the following conditions: wind 250 degrees at 11 knots, with gusts to 17 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 1 degree C, altimeter setting 30.14 inches of mercury.


The accident site was located in a level, open farm field located about ½ mile to the east of the runway. The airplane impacted the field with a nose low attitude, which created a 2 ft deep crater, and came to rest about 40 ft from the initial impact point. A post-crash fire consumed much of the fuselage and tail.

FAA examination of the airplane confirmed flight control continuity to all flight controls and engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed via rotation of the propeller. The wooden propeller was fragmented down to its hub. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


A review of primary care and cardiology records from January 2012 until April 2015 revealed the pilot had a history of coronary artery disease treated with multi-vessel bypass surgery, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and hypothyroidism. He also had diet controlled type 2 diabetes with peripheral neuropathy resulting in difficulty with balance and walking, as well as major depressive disorder with mild symptoms controlled with fluoxetine.

The pilot's latest cardiologist evaluation on October 6, 2014 documented that the pilot was stable from a cardiac standpoint and remained asymptomatic. The cardiologist documented that the pilot was not following a proper cardiac diet. The records did not document a recent exercise stress test or electrocardiogram.

During his last primary care appointment, which occurred two days prior to the accident, the pilot's height and weight measured 70 inches and 251 pounds. The primary care physician documented that the pilot had no chest pain or discomfort and no shortness of breath and his high blood pressure was "well controlled".

The pilot's medications included atenolol and lisinopril (medications to control blood pressure), levothyroxine (a thyroid replacement medication), fluoxetine (an antidepressant medication), atorvastatin (a cholesterol lowering medicine), tamsulosin (a medication to treat enlarged prostate), naproxen (medication to control pain and swelling), and aspirin (medication used to control pain, inflammation and fever also used to decrease the risk of recurrent heart attacks).

According to his wife, the pilot underwent heart bypass surgery in September 2008. Two months prior to the accident, the pilot had been sick with upper respiratory issues and a sinus infection and he had taken a while to recover. She stated the pilot was just starting to feel well and energetic the week of the accident.

On April 14, 2015, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The cause of death was blunt force injuries. The autopsy identified an enlarged heart, severe multi-vessel coronary artery disease (greater than 80 percent occlusion of all vessels) with coronary artery bypass grafts and complete occlusion of two bypass vessels, evidence of an old heart attack with scarring of the ventricular septum and active inflammation of heart muscle of the anterolateral wall of the left ventricle.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed toxicology tests on the pilot. Toxicology did not identify carbon monoxide or ethanol in cavity blood. Testing detected atenolol in liver and cavity blood, atorvastatin in liver, fluoxetine in cavity blood and liver, and its metabolite norfluoxetine in cavity blood and liver.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA195

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation 
Accident occurred Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Chippewa Falls, WI
Aircraft: QUAD CITY CHALLENGER - II, registration: N30796
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 April 11, 2015, at 1132 central standard time, an experimental Quad City Challenger II airplane, formerly registered as N30796, impacted terrain while on visual pattern downwind at the Rosenbaum Field Airport (3WI9), near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane, with an expired registry, was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan at an unknown time.

Several witnesses observed the airplane making a turn near the mid-field downwind position at 3WI9. The airplane subsequently began a steep dive, which continued until ground impact. The airplane caught fire following ground impact.

At 1156, the weather observation station at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU), Eau Claire, Wisconsin, located about 9 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the following conditions: wind 250 degrees at 11 knots, with gusts to 17 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 1 degree C, altimeter setting 30.14 inches of mercury.

TOWN OF EAGLE POINT, Wis. (WEAU) -- Richard J. Felix, age 77 of rural Cornell, is dead after his small plane crashed in Chippewa County. It happened Saturday morning in a field south of the 14000 block of 105th avenue in the Town of Eagle Point.

The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office says the pilot took off, made a turn, and the nose went down. Deputies say the plane wasn't more than 1,000 feet from the runway.

Around 11:32 Saturday morning, deputies responded to a report of a small plane that had crashed, and burst into flames, in the field just south of the airport

By the time we arrived on scene, crews had everything picked up.

Their investigation revealed that it was a ultralight aircraft.

They say the Chippewa County Coroner did pronounce the only passenger deceased at the scene, and the name of the deceased will be released at a later date.

We did talk with some pilots who were there Saturday afternoon. They said it was a perfect day to fly, and don't think weather conditions could have caused the crash.

The FAA is assisting the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department in this investigation.

TOWN OF EAGLE POINT, Wis. (CHIPPEWA CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE) -- On Saturday April 11th, 2015, at approximately 11:32am the Chippewa County 911 center received a report of a plane that had crashed, and burst into flames, in a field south of the 14000 block of 105th Avenue in the Town of Eagle Point.

Eagle Point Fire did respond and extinguish the fire. The investigation revealed that it was a single passenger ultralight aircraft.

Chippewa County Coroner did pronounce the only passenger deceased at the scene. No photographs are available at this time. The name of the deceased will be released at a later date.

TOWN OF EAGLE POINT, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office has confirmed to WEAU that one person was killed in a plane crash in the Town of Eagle Point.

The crash happened around 11:30am Saturday, in a field south of

14000 block of 105th Avenue.

Deputies say the single passenger ultralight aircraft crashed and burst into flames. The Eagle Point Fire Department responded and put out the fire.

The Chippewa County Coroner pronounced the only passenger on the plane dead at the scene.

EAGLE POINT -- Irene Przybylski stepped outside just as a small airplane crashed into an empty field in the Town of Eagle Point late Saturday morning.

It was around 11:30 a.m. when she left the building where she and her husband are selling their huge collection of toys.

"All I saw was a great big ball of fire," Przybylski said of the incident.

She didn't immediately know what had happened. Soon other witnesses informed her that a small plane had been making a loop in the sky before diving toward the earth.

The crash took the life of the pilot, whose name is being withheld by authorities pending notification of relatives.

Other witnesses who rushed to the scene, only a few hundred yards south of the Przybylski's building on 105th Avenue, claimed to have found a body in the mud close to the wreckage.

According to the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office:

The county joint dispatch center received a call at 11:32 a.m. reporting that a plane had crashed in a field south of the 14000 block of 105th Avenue in Eagle Point.

The Eagle Point Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire.

The aircraft was determined to be a single-passenger ultralight aircraft.

The Chippewa County coroner pronounced the only occupant of the plane dead at the scene.

Cessna 172: Incident occurred April 11, 2015 on Lake Champlain

MILTON — Two men who were practicing landing and taking off from the ice on Lake Champlain escaped injury Saturday afternoon when their small aircraft began to sink through the surface between Milton and South Hero, a Vermont aeronautics official said. 

 Milton Fire Chief Don Turner, who responded to the scene, said he was amazed and thankful the men walked away from the precarious and crumbling sheet of ice without injuries.

The plane, a four-seat Cessna 172 based at Burlington International Airport, landed about three-quarters of a mile offshore from the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Van Everest fishing access in Milton.

"Apparently, they were unable to depart the ice after they landed," said Guy Rouelle, aeronautics administrator with Vermont Aviation, a division of the Agency of Transportation.

The pilot and passenger had to traverse melting ice, at times trudging through 3 to 4 feet of water, to reach solid ground, where rescue crews met them, Turner said. A strong wind was whipping off the frozen lake from west to east, cooling the air considerably even in the warm spring sun.

"They're very wet, very cold, but they appear to be fine," Turner said.

"They are very, very lucky guys today," Turner added. "That ice is very, very dangerous. It is something I dread as a fire chief to put people on to go rescue somebody, so I was very gratified when I got here that they were already nearing shore."

Turner said he has seen nothing like Saturday's incident during his 32 years with the Milton Fire Department.

The incident at first was reported to emergency authorities as a plane crash at about 2:45 p.m., initially in the vicinity of Sand Bar State Park off U.S. 2 between Milton and South Hero. Subsequent dispatches redirected rescue crews to the Van Everest access along Everest Road in Milton.

Respnding police, fire and rescue units, their lights flashing, filled the access's parking lot several minutes after the incident. The pilot and passenger were inside an ambulance, which later departed for the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

The men were unavailable for comment.

The plane was barely visible through heat waves off shore but could be seen clearly through long camera lenses and binoculars. And the plane, with 30 gallons of fuel aboard, was sinking, Fire Chief Turner said.

Vermont Emergency Management, the plane's owner and the insurance company were making plans Saturday afternoon how to remove the aircraft from the weakening ice. Turner said that the plane clearly was sinking.

Lake Champlain's ice thins considerably this time of year, and the state warned all anglers last month to remove fishing shanties before the ice breaks up.

It's unclear whether the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

"If there are significant injuries or substantial damage to the aircraft, we would consider that an accident and would investigate," said Peter Knudson, a spokesman with the transportation safety board. "It could be that the aircraft is just wet. It may take time to determine that."


Cessna T210M, N732YQ: Fatal accident occurred April 10, 2015 in Challis, Idaho

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA143
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 10, 2015 in Challis, ID
Aircraft: CESSNA T210M, registration: N732YQ
Injuries: 4 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 10, 2015 about 1315 mountain daylight time, a Cessna Centurion T210M, N732YQ, collided with trees shortly after departing from Upper Loon Creek USFS Airport located in the Salmon-Challis National Forest near Challis, Idaho. The pilot, who was the registered owner, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight was originating from Upper Loon Creek with a planned destination of Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport, Driggs, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot had a solar energy system installed on his residence in the Driggs area and wanted the same solar company, Creative Energies, to assess if it was possible to do a similar installation at his private residence at Diamond D Ranch, where he was a partial owner. The pilot had been staying in Driggs for several days and had planned to take a few of the Creative Energies employees to the ranch to perform an evaluation of the solar installation possibilities. Earlier in the week, he notified the ranch manager that he intended on flying into Upper Loon Creek, located about two miles downstream from the ranch on a northeasterly heading. During the winter, the ranch is only practically accessible by flying into the airport.

The pilot and three passengers departed from Driggs with the airplane loaded with full fuel in the wing tanks. After completing the approximate 170 nautical mile (nm) cross-country flight, the airplane landed at Upper Loon Creek. The solar employees performed their assessment and they all left the ranch about 1300 at which time the pilot told the ranch personnel that he wanted to depart before the wind picked up (the wind at the ranch was about 5 mph). There were no witnesses to the accident, nor did anyone at the ranch hear the airplane depart.

The accident site was located partially submerged in the shallow creek; the fuselage along with a majority of the wing skin was consumed by fire. Situated on the relatively level terrain, the airplane came to rest inverted and the debris path was oriented on a 080-degree magnetic heading. The main wreckage, which consisted of a majority of the airframe and engine, was located about 600 feet from the fence located at the end of runway 040 on a heading of 060 degrees. The runway and first identified impact marks were located on a raised plateau about 40 feet higher than the river.

The first identified impact point consisted of broken tree limbs located about 170 feet northeast from the center of the fence and about 430 feet south west of the main wreckage. The first tree impacted was identified by it having a junction where two separate branches forked upward, both of which had fresh cuts around the 50 foot level. The tree was located in line with the far right side of the fence, which was about 100 feet east of an extended runway centerline. There were numerous broken branches along the debris field to the main wreckage. The nose wheel was located about 100 feet from the first tree and remained on the plateau. The outboard half of the left horizontal stabilizer was found in the river around the same length down the debris field as the nose landing gear. The leading edge was deformed aft about 1 foot creating an accordion appearance, with the aluminum skin folded over on itself. This u-shaped divot was about 10 inches in diameter and similar in shape and size to that of a landing gear wheel.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Andy Tyson

AJ Linnell

Rusty Cheney

CHALLIS, Idaho — A Park City resident, prominent member in the health care industry and owner of an Idaho bed and breakfast was killed in a plane crash in a wilderness area of central Idaho Saturday.

John H. Short, 70, of Park City, was killed along with three others when his Cessna T210M crashed and caught fire in the Loon Creek drainage above the Diamond-D ranch, about 30 minutes outside of Challis.

Also killed in the crash were Andrew D. Tyson, 46, Russell "Rusty" T. Cheney, 34, and Aaron "A.J." Linnell, 39, all from Teton County, Idaho.

Short, the owner of the Diamond-D Ranch, was flying the three Idaho engineers from Creative Energies — solar power providers out of Victor, Idaho — to the ranch to assess a possible job installation, according to a statement from the Custer County Sheriff’s Department.

The plane landed at the Loon Creek Airstrip on Friday morning and the men spent about two hours assessing the job site, according to the sheriff's office. They took off again about 1 p.m. A short time later, the Federal Aviation Administration received an emergency locator transmitter activation from the aircraft.

Employees from the Double-D Ranch went out to investigate.

"They discovered a crashed single-engine aircraft at the north end of the Loon Creek Airstrip. The plane crashed then had caught fire, and the fuselage of the plane was burned away. All that remained was the tail section and wings," according to the sheriff's office.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the accident at 4:25 p.m. Because of nightfall, a 12-member search team, including aircraft, was assembled to start first thing Saturday morning to recover the bodies, according to the sheriff's office.

Short was a board member of several health care providers. At the time of his death, he was on the board of directors for Anthem Inc.

Employees at the Diamond-D Ranch declined comment to the Deseret News on Sunday, saying it was too early.

“John served our board with great commitment. He leaves a legacy of incredible business acumen, strategy formulation skills, and passion for business excellence recognized by all of us, as fellow colleagues who came to know him for his inquisitive nature and creative thinking,” Joseph Swedish, president and chief executive officer of Anthem, said in a prepared statement. “To me, John was an excellent adviser who brought his deep knowledge of operational performance to a variety of issues that have been critical to the transformation of our company. He was both a colleague and a friend, and he will be sorely missed.”

Short was the former CEO of RehabCare Group, acquired by Kindred Health Care. He had been an Anthem board member since September 2013.

According to one online bio, Short "previously served as executive chairman of the board of directors of Vericare Management Inc., a provider of mental health services to patients in long-term care facilities," and "from March 2012 to October 2012, as president and chief executive officer of RehabCare and as a director from 1991 to June 2011. 

Update:     There will be a community gathering and candlelight vigil in remembrance of Linnell, Tyson and Cheney tomorrow evening 6 p.m., Sunday, April 12 at the Wildwood Room in Victor.

To offer or to request a room or space for out of town guests, please contact Erica Rice, 208.680.8944, Include name, phone/email and # of guests.

Family and friends of Andy Tyson and AJ Linnell are encouraged to contact Jaime Musnicki for help in arranging transportation to Teton Valley from nearby airports and for lodging in the area. She can be reached at 307-699-2049 or at Family and friends of Russell Cheney can contact Linsey Hayes at 208-709-7964 or at

Three Teton Valley residents are dead after a plane crash near Challis, Idaho. 

The three have been identified by family friends as A.J. Linnell, Andy Tyson and Russell “Rusty” Cheney. 

A fourth person, the pilot, also died. His name has not been released. 

According to the Custer County Sheriff's office, the men had flown to the Diamond D Ranch about 30 minutes away from Challis to asses the site for a possible solar or wind power installation. 

Tyson was the founder of Creative Energies, which Linnell and Cheney were employees of.

They landed successfully the morning of Friday, April 10 and spent a couple of hours evaluating the site. The plane took off around 1 p.m. and the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter activated shortly after.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the accident at 4:25 p.m. Sheriff Stuart Lumpkin then activated Custer County Search and Rescue.

With light fading, SAR decided to wait until the next morning to deploy to the crash site. They had received a report from caretakers at the ranch that everyone on board was deceased and held off the recovery effort as not to endanger SAR personnel.

The sheriff’s office identified the aircraft as a Cessna T210M owned by John H. Short of Park City, Utah.

The cause of the crash has not been released. 

An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Seattle office was en route to the crash site as of 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Original article can be found here:

Volunteer pilots help doomed dogs land new chance at life

Yehuda Netanel carries two rescue dogs prior to a flight out of the Van Nuys Airport, in Van Nuys, Calif. on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Netanel, founder and president of Wings of Rescue, says business has doubled each of the past 4 1/2 years. He started as the lone pilot who rescued 300 dogs, and now the group expects to fly 7,000 pets in 2015. 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For some dogs, a chance at the good life takes off when the pilots do.

Thousands of pooches facing euthanasia — some just hours from death — get loaded on planes each year and flown to new homes in places with shortages of adoptable pets. Groups such as California-based Wings of Rescue or South Carolina-based Pilots N Paws lead the charge, recruiting pilots to volunteer their planes, fuel and time in a trend that’s growing as more dogs end up in shelters and more people seek out canine love.

More than 4 million U.S. pets are euthanized every year. Both pilot groups encourage spaying and neutering as a solution but know that airlifts will increase every year as they become more visible and the number of needy dogs grows.

States such as California, Georgia and South Carolina typically have too many dogs in shelters, while places such as Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Florida need more pets to satisfy demand. To solve the location conundrum, pilots fire up their engines.

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, retirees want smaller dogs, which are easier to take care of but a tough find in the area with the high demand.

So, the Kootenai Humane Society orders a planeload of dogs under 16 pounds every month, or more than 1,000 animals in the last 16 months, Executive Director Debbie Jeffrey said.

“It’s just been a real success. As fast as they come in, they are adopted,” she said.

The successes increase as more pilots sign up to help.

“We have seen the number of animals rescued go up every year since we started in 2008,” said Kate Quinn, executive director of Pilots N Paws.

The group’s 5,000-plus pilots have flown more than 15,000 dogs to new homes each of the past two years, relocating more than 75,000 animals over the last seven years, she said. And the numbers keep rising.

“Pilots love a reason to fly. They love making these flights,” Quinn said, adding that all dogs have to be spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before they take off.

Yehuda Netanel, founder and president of Wings of Rescue, says business has doubled each of the past 4½ years. He started as the lone pilot who rescued 300 dogs, and now the group expects to fly 7,000 pets in 2015, he said.

The pilot of 27 years will charter planes to move dogs if there aren’t enough private planes, meaning flights cost about $80 per dog.

Netanel and his 28 pilots are preparing to take flight this weekend with 250 dogs from San Bernardino, 150 from Bakersfield and smaller numbers from other locations.

Pilots Kale and Anj Garcia of Seattle will be in San Bernardino to bring as many as 50 dogs back to Washington state in their seven-passenger Cessna 414. The couple have flown 16 missions for Wings of Rescue.

Most dogs sleep during the flight, and only a few have had air sickness, said Anj Garcia, who will take each one out of its crate and cuddle it during the journey.

The flights allowed Cathy Parker of Coeur d’Alene to find her dogs: Bella, a poodle-Chihuahua mix, and Sidney, a poodle-Pomeranian mix, who Wings of Rescue delivered from different shelters about nine months apart.

“They’ve been a real good match for each other and me,” she said.

Original article can be found here:

Incident occurred April 11, 2015 at Cambridge Municipal Airport (KCDI), Ohio

No injuries were reported in a airplane crash at the Cambridge Municipal Airport late Saturday morning.

According to Byesville Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Scott Wilson, a gust of wind jostled the single-engine plane as it landed around 10:30 a.m., causing the pilot to lose control. 

The plane left the runway and came to rest on its top in a ditch.

The pilot, Dan Johnston of Cambridge, was the sole occupant. He was not injured in the crash.

Firefighters from Byesville and Cambridge responded, as well as members of the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office and Cambridge post of the State Highway Patrol.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted.

Original article can be found here:

Firms push high-tech solutions to fortify airport perimeters, but not all work all the time

Technology firms increasingly pitch new sensors and software to U.S. airports as a way to bolster exterior security and keep intruders out, but such digital barriers come with a hefty price tag and don't always work.

An Associated Press investigation this week documented 268 instances in which people hopped over, crawled under, drove cars through or otherwise breached the fences and gates protecting the perimeters of 31 of the nation's busiest airports from January 2004 through January 2015.

How to address the problem is up for debate.

"There's a lot of things that can be done," said John Pistole, retired director of the Transportation Security Administration, who, like airport officials, argues the perimeters are secure and that breaches are rare. "The question is whether there's an appetite for paying for it."

Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said the number of airport breaches over the past decade is cause for action and that new technologies should be installed on perimeters.

"Bringing down an airliner and killing innocent Americans remains our enemies' highest-value target. Porous airport perimeters are major vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit," he said. "I'm continuing to call for airports to use technologies that would alert officials the moment a perimeter is breached."

While the TSA is responsible for screening passengers and baggage, airports are responsible for securing perimeters, typically with a mix of private security guards and airport police. Airports won't disclose specifics, but some measures are known: Fencing — typically a minimum of 6-feet high — surrounds U.S. airports, and it often is topped with barbed or razor wire. Additionally, security gates help restrict access to airfields.

Most major airports also use video cameras, and guards are supposed to patrol regularly — but staffing varies. At Los Angeles International, through which more than 32 million passengers travel each year, the police agency employs some 1,100 law enforcement and civilian personnel. Florida's Tampa airport, with about 8 million passengers a year, lists 173 employees in its police agency, 66 of them sworn officers.

Differences in the facilities themselves present other security challenges: Some are edged by water, others busy business districts. In Las Vegas, the rowdy Strip is nearby, and Philadelphia's main airport is adjacent to a road that's the scene of illegal drag racing.

Some facilities do go beyond the basics. Located near the Texas-Mexico border, McAllen-Miller International Airport installed optic fibers in its fences in 2009 over concerns about violence spilling across the Rio Grande. The technology, which also is used at U.S. nuclear facilities, can immediately detect an intrusion and send an alert, said Samuel Kassey, vice president of one supplier, LaseOptics Corp.

McAllen airport director Elizabeth Suarez said that despite some false alarms, the technology has worked well. She could not provide information about cost.

"I'd prefer to handle a false alarm with staff verifying that nothing has breached the perimeter than not having an alarm at all," said Suarez.

Thermal imaging firms claim several major U.S. airports as clients, though they won't name which. By detecting heat, thermal cameras can serve as a virtual trip wire and also improve nighttime visibility.

In 2006, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which oversees John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports, awarded Raytheon a $100-million contract for a much-touted "perimeter intrusion detection system."

The system includes motion-detection cameras, "smart-fence" sensors, night-vision cameras, perimeter alarms — even a power subsystem to bypass outages, according to Raytheon's promotional materials. The company promised a 95 percent detection rate of people, vehicles or watercraft.

The system has failed at least once, drawing fire from the police union that represents Port Authority police officers. In that 2012 incident, a man whose watercraft ran out of fuel swam to shore, climbed an 8-foot fence at Kennedy and crossed two runways undetected before asking an airline employee for help.

"We believe it's just not a proven technology," said Port Authority police union spokesman Bobby Egbert.

The Port Authority eliminated perimeter patrols by airport police cars when the technology came online, but then reinstated them in response to the criticism, said Egbert, adding that a lack of manpower remains a concern because there are gaps in the hours that police boats patrol around Kennedy and LaGuardia, both with waterfront runways.

Raytheon declined comment and referred queries to the Port Authority, which said the intrusion system is part of a layered security approach.

"The agency has invested significant resources in protecting its airport perimeters, exceeding TSA requirements," the authority said in an email to AP, adding that efforts include devices at entry points designed to stop vehicles and crash-resistant fencing.

The Port Authority declined to release a full accounting of perimeter breaches at the airports it oversees to the AP.

Patrick Gannon, chief of police at Los Angeles International Airport, which had 24 perimeter breaches since 2004, said that in addition to regular patrols, his agency has upgraded fencing to make it harder to scale.

The department also will test an electronic intrusion system within the next year, at a cost of about $1.5 million. But Gannon is not yet sold. Other chiefs report false alarms, such as a plastic bag blown against a fence, and Gannon said such systems may "create more work than they actually solve."

"I just want to make sure that we do it right, and I'm just not doing it to check a box," he said.

While airport security analysts predict that spending on physical perimeter barriers will decline in coming years, they said the market for high-tech solutions is on the rise. New breakthrough technologies are still being developed, as engineers in the Silicon Valley and beyond find new ways to sense and transmit data.

The biggest stumbling block may be money. An overhaul linking fences and video feeds to software systems would cost between "a few million to less than $10 million," said Chris Wooten, vice president of security at surveillance software provider NICE Systems.

Expensive technology is used at several airports outside of the U.S., including two that say they've never seen a perimeter breach.  

Narita International Airport near Tokyo is considered one of the world's most secure. Its perimeter is protected by vibration sensors, which immediately alert security if tripped. That's in addition double-fencing, video surveillance and patrols. The prison-like security was built in the late 1960s and early '70s amid clashes between police and militants supporting farmers who refused to yield their land for runway construction.

The other secure airport is Israel's Ben Gurion, which had a string of Palestinian attacks on planes in the 1970s. It runs a ground radar system between two electronic fences, with hundreds of sophisticated observation systems and hundreds of highly trained armed police and soldiers assigned strictly to the perimeter, said Shmuel Zakay, the airport's managing director, who said the cost totals more than $200 million annually.

"Of course, the terrorist organizations are always trying to do whatever they can to hit aircraft. For them it doesn't matter if it is with explosive material in a passenger's suitcase or by firing a machine gun or anti-tank missile at a plane," Zakay said. "This is why we pay such close attention to perimeter security."

Original article can be found here: