Sunday, April 26, 2015

Augusta Aviation First All-Female Charter Crew • Daniel Field Airport (KDNL), Augusta, Georgia

Photo credit: Facebook 
Augusta Aviation

 Augusta, GA -

Augusta Aviation is now the home of a very rare sight - the first all-female crew flying charters across state lines. Thrill, happiness and the adrenaline rush is what these two women feel when they hear those airplane engines roar.

"It was pretty exciting we haven't had another female here since I started around 5 years ago so it was nice just to fly with another female pilot for the first time in charter," said Heather Lund, Assistant Director of Operations and Charter Captain.

Captain Lund has been with Augusta Aviation for many years and Linsey Smith, First Officer and Flight Instructor, just recently joined the crew. But both of these women share a passion for their sky high careers.

"I grew up in aviation. I'm from a long line of aviation pilots. My grandfather was a captain for Piedmont Airlines. My father is a captain for US Airways and my brother is soon-to-be a commercial pilot. So I grew up in it and it was something I became passionate about a very young age," Smith said.

Both women hope to inspire young ladies of future generation to join the world of aviation. While, Lund likes her planes a little bigger and a little faster - Smith say this is all a dream come true and being Lund's co-pilot makes it even better.

"I think at that point it was finally starting to click the importance of what yesterday was in my life and in my career, but also for right here at Augusta Aviation," said Smith.

So next time you see a plane up in the sky, it could be Augusta's new ALL female crew.

Augusta Aviation offers flight training, aircraft charters across the nation, and flight packages. For more information go to their website,

Original article can be found here:

Brigham Young University ROTC cadet takes to the skies

ROTC cadet Jeremy Harmon and his flight instructor Nathan Stoddard prepare for take off in a Diamond Star Katana at the Spanish Fork airport on Friday, April 17, 2015. 

ROTC cadet Jeremy Harmon and his flight instructor Nathan Stoddard fly over Utah County in a Diamond Star Katana after flying out of the Spanish Fork airport on Friday, April 17, 2015.

PROVO — Cadet/Col. Jeremy Harmon addressed United States Air Force ROTC Detachment 855 at Brigham Young University, posing a question to a room full of new and returning cadets: "What drives you?"

Harmon now serves as cadet wing commander for the Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment since a change of command took place earlier this month. The 22-year-old set his sights on becoming a pilot and has been training at Spanish Fork-Springville Airport since January.

"When you're in a plane, it's just you and the sky. And when the sky is clear and the lighting is perfect you look around you, you see the mountains, you see the light and you just — you want time to stand still. You don't want it to end," Harmon said.

BYU offers two ROTC programs for Army and Air Force services. Harmon admits he had not considered the military as a career path until one of his brothers mentioned it while Harmon was working a summer job in Tennessee.

"When it came down to it I thought, 'Do I want to drive a hummer or fly a plane?' " Jeremy Harmon said.

The new Cadet/Colonel comes from a family of 13 children and grew up in a small town in southwest Wyoming. He's a first-generation military service member in his family, with the exception of his grandfather who served as a U.S. Army marksman for one year post-World War II.

Now as a leader to more than 120 AFROTC cadets from BYU and Utah Valley University, the cadet wing commander is assigned to craft a vision, or a mission statement, that will guide this year's students through the end of fall semester.

He summed it up using three words: Decisions determine destiny.

"Your daily decisions shape who you are and who you become — that's the vision. The importance of leadership and how to lead is to show them by the actions that you are taking daily," Harmon said. "That speaks more powerfully than any word ever could."

AFROTC cadets typically pursue flight hours on their own time, where they train with a certified Federal Aviation Administration instructor. Harmon achieved his first solo flight on March 6 through Diamond Flight Center in a DA20, a two-seat aircraft the U.S. Air Force also uses for training its newest recruits.

Harmon said a student averages approximately 80 landings before performing in a solo flight, which is a significant milestone for any aspiring pilot.

"I remember coming down for the first time, looking over and realizing I was alone in the plane, that I had done this myself and I was just ecstatic," he said. "Soloing is the goal for any Air Force cadet."

Harmon's track to pilot certification includes a number of factors. He said making the cut as a pilot for the armed forces is more competitive than many realize. Standardized test scores, physical fitness, how his commander ranks him relative to his fellow cadets, flight hours and earned GPA will all go into generating a number that represents Harmon as an applicant.

When he submits his application later this year, a pilot board will make its selections for cadets to enter field training. If Harmon is selected, he will travel to one of four bases where he will begin training to become a pilot for the U.S. Air Force.

Diamond Flight Center, a Spanish Fork aviation school involved with Detachment 855 for more than five years, provided much of Harmon's initial training with 19.3 hours of flight time and more than 30 hours of instructor time with the school.

Piloting a smaller aircraft such as a Katana or Cessna, both common models for novice pilots, poses several challenges that differ from operating a commercial aircraft.

"The air turbulence is a lot stronger, because your plane is so much smaller," Harmon said. "It blows you around a lot more. It's an aggressive movement; it's a shaking movement. And I've gotta say that's scary because you almost wonder if it's going to throw you out of the sky."

Other flying aircraft also pose potential hazards and pilots are told to keep their eyes outside the plane and inside the plane simultaneously. Harmon said multitasking is a key attribute to be a successful pilot.

"I've had birds flying by and several times that they've got close to the plane and every pilot worries about the birds," he said. "You have to keep an eye on where they are and you definitely don't want to hit one because you just don't know what could happen.

"There could be a splatter, but it may also cause a mechanical error in the plane. It's like I said about the multitasking: You always have to keep your eyes peeled and looking around."

Sometimes looking around, however, is the greatest part of learning how to fly. Harmon once flew to Heber City and back where he circled Mount Timpanogos during the trip, a mountain he's hiked to the top of before.

"It's so much cooler to be above a mountain than to be on the mountain because you can look down and you see it all. You see the snow, you see the trails ... it's inexplicable, it really is," the cadet said.

With the winter school semester over, Harmon continues to add flight hours to his portfolio with either Diamond Flight Center or with a new startup — Platinum Aviation, which is also based in Spanish Fork. Many AFROTC cadets leave for the summer but are encouraged to stay in touch with their detachment leaders.

Harmon plans to attend Marriott School of Management at BYU and welcomes the assignment to lead BYU/UVU ROTC Detachment 855 during the coming year. He initially got involved in the program because of the fitness element. He later came to realize being an officer in the U.S. Air Force allowed him to be a part of something larger than himself and the leadership opportunities he'd encounter would stretch his abilities.

"You can be whoever you want to be. If you want to be a pilot, be a pilot. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. Those decisions, they are up to you." Harmon said. "You are in control of your destiny. Obviously, there will be times when there's a fork in the road and when change is necessary ... [but] it's not about the destination, it's about the journey."

Original article can be found here:

ROTC cadet Jeremy Harmon checks the brakes during a preflight check on a Diamond Star Katana at the Spanish Fork airport on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Remote control track and airfield, archery range to open soon in Las Cruces

Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnston supervises construction of one of two new runways for remote-controlled aircraft on Thursday. Located near the Foothills Landfill, the two runways, one running east-west, the other north-south, are expected to be at least 600 feet long.

LAS CRUCES >> "Zoom" and "zip" are the verbs that best describe new recreational amenities the city of Las Cruces is building.

The city is spending $150,000 in park impact fees to build a remote control off-road race track, a remote control airfield and an archery range. It is anticipated the remote control race track could open in a few weeks. It will be adjacent to the city's skate park and bicycle motocross track, off of Walnut Street, near Hadley Avenue.

The initial reviews among those that are likely to use it have been favorable.

"It looks like it's going to be pretty nice," said Las Crucen Roberta Avery, 16, who has been racing remote control vehicles anywhere she can find a wide asphalt space. "My friends and I have been racing our cars and trucks in the parking lots at Maag (Park) and across the street (at the city warehouse on Hadley Avenue when there hasn't been a lot of cars and trucks parked there.) This new place isn't far away from there, and I like the way they've laid it out. It'll be nice to have our own dedicated place to race."

City Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnston said the remote control track will cost $25,000 to build.

 "It's about 80 percent complete now," Johnston said. "It's probably a couple of weeks away from opening. We're going to move bleachers there, and there will be a charging station there so people can charge their remote control vehicles. It will be an off-road track, and we believe it's going to be a nice one."

Johnson added there probably won't be formal ceremonies for the track's opening. Also, from time to time, a city-owned truck will be at the track to allow residents to borrow remote control vehicles to use at the facility.

Jon Newton, a remote control enthusiast, said the track will be a needed, and welcomed, facility.

"Remote control racing is pretty big, very popular, in some areas of the country," Newton said. "It can become expensive, with some people investing thousands of dollars into it."

At the Foothills Landfill, construction is underway on a $75,000 remote control airfield, where people will be able to fly small remote control airplanes, helicopters and similar aircraft. Johnston said two 800-foot runways, one going north to south and the other east to west, will be built.

"They will be paved, with millings from city streets that have been resurfaced," Johnston said. "There will be a solar charging station there so users can power their planes and aircraft, and there will be parking that will comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act."

Also at the old landfill, the city has plans to build a $50,000 archery range.

"It will be built at a lower elevation than the remote control airfield and will be far enough away that the activities there won't interfere with each other," Johnston said. "Those facilities are being built with the intent that safety for everyone is paramount."

City Manager Robert Garza said park impact fees are paid to the city by developers, but those fees are ultimately passed on to residents. The city park impact fee is currently $800 for a single family residence.

"Depending on the volume of construction in any year, the revenues can vary," Garza said. "In 2014 there were about 300 new homes (built), which equates to a revenue for that year of $240,000. The park impact fees are intended to be used exclusively for expansion of services to correlate to the growing city and residents' needs brought about by the growth."

With growing interest among city residents in recent years seeking quality-of-life improvements, Garza said city government is trying to be responsive to residents who want newer, different programs aimed at improving quality of life.

"For example, the only 'shooting range' provided by the city is on the far west mesa, near the Corralitos Ranch," Garza said. "It was established there for several reasons including availability of land and safe separation from residents and businesses. Archery can be provided closer to the city since the projectiles are more manageable, predictable, and can be more easily contained.

"...We are aware that city residents desire more recreational amenities and we are committed to working on multiple fronts to expand our services in a way to engage our youth as well as everyone else who enjoys spending time outdoors in our public spaces. These projects are a great example of how our Parks and Recreation staff and their advisory board listen to public input and make efforts to meet their needs."

Original article can be found here:

City of Las Cruces heavy equipment operator Hector Rodriguez works on welding metal pieces that will be used during the installation of the new remote control track.

South St. Paul bans remote-controlled aircraft activity from all parks • Hobbyists feel ‘blindsided’ by new city ordinance, granted delay for farewell flights

Oliver Moore and Jim Mckellepp get ready to fly a model airplane at South St. Paul’s Kaposia Landing. The city park will be closed for upgrades this summer and RC activity has recently been banned from the city’s entire parks system. 


Patrick Moore has been flying remote-controlled model planes at Kaposia Landing in South St. Paul with his 10-year-old son, Oliver, since the boy took an interest in the activity last spring.

Moore, the self-proclaimed “pit crew” of the duo, said they spent nearly five nights a week at the park located on the banks of the Mississippi River that summer as a core group of regulars — about a dozen of them — took the two under their wing and taught them not only the mechanics of flying, but about the history of the model war planes as well.

So when a fellow enthusiast alerted him to the fact that the City Council was preparing to enact an ordinance banning the use of RC aircraft and watercraft in the city’s parks system, this St. Paul resident showed up at the meeting on April 20 wearing a white T-shirt featuring a print of a Warhawk World War II plane and the text “Dog park flyers” — the name of the informal club, named after the proximity of their favorite flying spot to another prominent feature at Kaposia Landing.

“I just think we all feel like we were blindsided by this,” Moore told the council with eight other flyers standing behind him at the podium. “We were out there every night. Nobody’s ever notified us of any complaints or concerns and, quite frankly ... there’s a lot of interest from veterans to small children that come and look at the planes.”

The group conceded that they knew their opportunity to fly at Kaposia Landing was limited, since the park’s open spaces had long been slated for development, but they objected to the apparent lack of communication as the city compiled complaints against RC aircraft activity and set an expiration date so construction could begin this summer.

After listening to pleas to delay the new ordinance, which came recommended by the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, the council unanimously settled on a compromise. The new ordinance won’t go into effect until June 1 or when the construction at Kaposia Landing begins, whichever comes first.

“I know that it’s probably difficult for some of you to hear, but I hope you continue to look for other options, whether it’s here in Dakota County or nearby in Washington County,” councilman Todd Podgarski said before the motion passed. “I know change can be hard for some people, but it is time for a change.”

A temporary luxury

Podgarski’s father belonged to the initial group of RC aircraft hobbyists that began frequenting the south end of Kaposia Landing years ago.

“He enjoyed his time down there flying the model airplanes,” Podgarski said, noting his father no longer lives in South St. Paul. “He’s got friends that do it and I’m sure some of his friends that fly might not be too happy with me supporting that we need to stop having the airplanes fly down there. But with the new parks master plan, with the referendum passing, I think it is appropriate.”

Back when plans to develop Kaposia Landing lacked funding and approval, a number of RC pilots — including Podgarski’s father — approached Chris Esser, the city’s parks and recreation director, to see if they could temporarily take advantage of vacant airfield. Esser said they decided to give it a try.

“Fast forward to about two years ago, we started getting escalating concerns and comments from both the public and our police department,” he said at the first reading of the new ordinance at the April 6 council meeting. “All of a sudden, a few enthusiasts [had] turned into sometimes 20, plus, at a time.”

Esser explained that the confluence of two main factors — a growing list of complaints from other park users and neighboring residents, along with preparations to fully develop the park with baseball fields and a picnic structure — prompted the Parks and Recreation Commission to reevaluate the informal agreement.

In a follow up interview, Esser said the city has received notices that model planes have swooped down close to trail users and their dogs. Additionally, there’s concern that a mishandled RC aircraft could cause injuries or damage by colliding into people or vehicles nearby. Over the course of two years, the commission ultimately determined that an RC airfield was no longer an appropriate fit because it requires more real estate than the city’s urban parks system can offer.

“It’s kind of tough to take something away and not say, ‘You can go somewhere else,’ or ‘We’re going to find you a better option to do that.’ But with remote-controlled aircraft, it just doesn’t seem to be possible,” Esser said, adding the commission had decided to include RC watercraft activity in the ban as well.

A friendly amendment

Prior to the second reading of the new ordinance banning RC aircraft activity in the city’s parks system, residents listened to the council vote in favor of a conditional use permit for the construction of a new archery range at 405 Kaposia Boulevard.

Reluctant to tell his son to set down his remote control as others are allowed to pick up their bows and arrows inside city limits, Moore expressed further frustration in a follow up interview.

“All the pros I heard about an archery range ring similarly true,” he said of his preferred hobby.

Noting the cost of arrows was listed as added insurance that shooters would keep their aiming under control, Moore explained the same logic should apply to RC aircraft operators.

“These planes are very expensive. We’re not going to go fly them into cars, or fly them into birds,” he said, noting he and his son have purchased and maintained 22 different model planes all of which ranged in price from $100-$400, depending on the size, style and inclusion of special features like retractable landing gear.

Making a final plea before the council on April 20, he requested that a set of safety rules be established to allow RC flyers to continue flying, rather than banning the activity altogether.

“I understand the concerns with safety. We use the park quite a bit,” he told the council at the last meeting. “[But] there are all kinds of safety concerns with dogs and bike riders sharing pedestrian lances. There’s always safety concerns with any activities you do in a park.”

While none of the council members were willing to retract the ordinance, councilwoman Lori Hansen seemed to be the most willing to sympathize with their situation.

“I would agree with you that there really is a lot of interest and it’s fun to watch the planes fly,” she said. “However, the park is being developed in a manner that isn’t going to allow planes to be flown in that area.”

After some contentious back-and-forth commentary on the plausibility of revisiting or postponing the ban — primarily between another hobbyist and councilman Tom Seaberg — Hansen proposed a friendly amendment to the ordinance, granting RC pilots a few more weeks to pursue a new location and enjoy a few last outings with their model planes at Kaposia Landing.

Before the motion passed, Mayor Beth Baumann reassured the hobbyists who had come to the meeting that it likely wasn’t any of them who were causing issues at the makeshift airfield.

“Communication could have been better,” she added. “I guess we didn’t realize you guys didn’t know about it.”

Various councilmembers encouraged RC operators to seek out other airfields in Dakota County. Perhaps one of the nearest options — a model airfield at Spring Lake Park Reserve in Hastings — is currently being relocated as construction along the Mississippi River Regional Trail will occupy the space for quite some time.

According to Beth Landahl, spokeswoman for the Dakota County Parks Department, enthusiasts may have to expand their search.

“There’s no plan, at this point, to relocate the model airplane flying field in any of the Dakota County parks properties,” she said.

For hobbyists like Moore, the new commute poses new challenges. But the real tragedy, he said, is the threat of losing the camaraderie he and his son came to cherish at Kaposia Landing.

“It’s pretty fresh, still, to figure out where we’re gonna go,” he said. “My fear [is] that people will branch out and find different places.”

Original article can be found here:

Oliver Moore, 10, holds one of the 22 model airplanes in his collection that he enjoys flying at Kaposia Landing in South St. Paul.

Incident occurred April 26, 2015 at Des Moines International Airport (KDSM), Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa —A plane carrying 187 people made an emergency landing in Des Moines Sunday afternoon.

An Alert 2 was issued after United Airlines pilots reported smelling a strange odor in the Boeing 737 cockpit. 

An Alert 2 is issued anytime an in-flight emergency is reported.

The plane was traveling from Chicago to Denver when it was re-routed to make an emergency landing at the Des Moines International Airport. 

The Boeing safely landed at about 3:45 p.m.

Des Moines airport fire crews are currently inspecting the plane and investigating the situation.

Original article can be found here:

Air-Safety Experts Weigh Rules for Battery Cargo on Jets • Proposals include restricting lithium batteries carried as cargo by commercial jets

The Wall Street Journal
April 26, 2015 7:06 p.m. ET

International air-safety experts this week will consider proposals to restrict lithium batteries carried as cargo by commercial jets, a sign that momentum is building for a ban on some of the most common types of shipments.

Meeting in Montreal under the auspices of the United Nations, more than two dozen industry and government experts are set to debate options including temporarily keeping bulk shipments of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries off of all passenger aircraft until enhanced packaging requirements and other protections are in place.

Lithium batteries, packed tightly together, can overheat or catch fire if they are damaged or experience short circuits. They have been implicated in intense, quickly spreading fires that brought down two jumbo freighters—and ravaged another big cargo jet on the ground—during the past nine years.

Unlike earlier meetings of the same group of experts, this time Boeing Co., Airbus Group NV and other plane makers in principle support such a suspension, amounting to a major tightening of current global shipping standards developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency.

Other pending proposals are less restrictive, though they still could end up imposing procedural changes and enhanced safeguards on a fast-growing global battery industry that churns out billions of cells annually and generates an estimated $12 billion in revenue from rechargeable batteries alone.

The outcome of this week’s deliberations, though, is uncertain, according to participants and observers familiar with the details.

Industry representatives are split in their positions and it isn’t clear how far the advisory panel is willing to go to crack down on such airborne cargo.

But outside pressures have changed since last year, when ICAO took the unprecedented step of prohibiting lithium-metal batteries from being carried as cargo by any passenger jet. Such batteries carry a one-time charge and are often used in toys and cameras.

Now, plane makers are focused on possibly suspending passenger jets from accepting certain bulk shipments of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries—ubiquitous power sources found in cellphones, laptops and a myriad of other consumer electronics.

The manufacturers have joined pilot union leaders in arguing that existing jetliners weren’t designed or built to withstand the high temperatures or explosive gases that also can result from fires involving lithium-ion power cells.

Recent Federal Aviation Administration laboratory tests—which haven’t yet been publicly released—indicate that lithium battery blazes are more prone to end in hazardous explosions or to reignite than scientists previously believed, according to one person briefed on the details.

In their latest submission, an umbrella group representing aircraft makers told ICAO that current cargo fire-protection systems “are unable to suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries.” As a result, flying such batteries as cargo poses “an unacceptable risk to the air transport industry,” according to the paper submitted by the International Coordination Council for Aerospace Industry Association.

The association advocates “immediate action” to reduce risks, by temporarily halting all cargo shipments of “high-density packages of lithium-ion batteries and cells” on passenger jets until “safer methods of transport are established and followed.”

The “tide is definitely turning, since we have these recommendations from the manufacturers,” according to another participant in the upcoming session. But so far, this person emphasized, there is no consensus on many big-ticket items.

Still unresolved are sweeping recommendations from last fall including proposals to insert gels or other types of cooling agents between batteries or power packs, as a way to prevent rapid spread of heat and flames.

A recent position paper submitted to ICAO by the Rechargeable Battery Association, a leading industry trade group, opposes proposals to sharply reduce the level of electrical charge inside lithium-ion batteries slated for airborne shipments.That would be one more way to reduce flammability and seek to prevent explosions.

The battery group, among other things, objected to shipping batteries with as little as 30% of maximum charge, arguing that 55% or so was necessary to meet customer demands.

This week’s meeting comes as prominent airlines world-wide increasingly are embracing voluntary restrictions on lithium battery cargo shipments. United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd. and Air France-KLM are among the carriers that have stopped putting any lithium batteries in cargo holds of their passenger planes. Earlier this month, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a major transporter of lithium batteries coming from Chinese factories, decided to stop such shipments on all of its planes.

Other issues slated to be considered at the meeting include the maximum number of loose lithium batteries that can packaged together under today’s standards; and whether smaller, so-called button batteries, often used for medical and other specialty devices, should be exempt from general shipping restrictions.

The working group also plans to reassess ICAO’s guidance to help cabin crews react to smoldering or dangerously overheating batteries inside electronic devices passengers bring into the cabin. Up to now, experts have advised flight attendants to avoid moving such items until they are doused in water and completely cool down. But proponents of some recent studies and new fire-suppression technologies are urging international and national regulators to allow burning devices to be placed inside specially designed protective sleeves as soon as a problem is discovered.

Original article can be found here:

A frame grab from a video shows a test at the FAA’s technical center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, where a cargo container was packed with 5,000 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Lithium batteries, packed tightly together, can overheat or catch fire if they are damaged or experience short circuits. PHOTO: FAA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department poised to purchase new chopper to replace one that crashed

With one of the agency’s three patrol helicopters permanently out of commission after a crash on New Year’s Eve, Las Vegas police are poised to bring in a replacement. 

On Monday, Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee will vote on whether to approve the purchase of the new $3.1 million 530F model chopper from MD Helicopters, a company based in Mesa, Ariz.

Nearly the entire cost will be covered by the insurance payment received from the crashed helicopter, according to Metro Air Unit Lt. Jack Clements.

On Dec. 31, Metro’s Air #2 — a carbon copy of the one being purchased — was on it’s way to a police call when it lost engine power.

With limited time before the aircraft plummeted, the two pilots acted quickly and picked two-lane 23rd Street, a residential road near Bonanza Road, as their landing zone. Avoiding several power lines, they put the helicopter into an autorotation — a power-loss maneuver that allows a pilot to remain in control with the rotor blades still turning to slow the descent.

The helicopter landed hard onto the narrow street, avoiding a dumpster and a car on the side of the road. The impact broke the tail from the body.

The exact cause for the power loss is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. It typically takes about a year for a final report to be released.

Both pilots suffered minor injuries. Clements said both are recovering well, with one back on light duty and the other expected to return to light duty soon.

Since the crash, the Air Unit has been scraping by.

The other two helicopters in the patrol unit, a Bell 407 and another MD 530F, have been flying more frequently, which means the maintenance of each skyrockets, Clements said. The unit has also been forced to use the MD 530F that is in the Search and Rescue unit to further supplement for the loss.

“When you’re short a helicopter, it’s not easy,” Clements said. “Having three dedicated patrol helicopters really helps.”

Typically, buying a new helicopter from a manufacturer can take at least two years, Clements said. But Metro will only have to wait about six months after the purchase, which is expected to be approved Monday.

A private buyer was set to receive the helicopter but gave up his spot on the waiting list when he heard Metro was in need, Clements said.

“We got very very lucky,” Clements said.

If everything goes according to the purchasing contract, the new chopper will be flying above Las Vegas by October.

Original article can be found here:

NTSB Identification: WPR15TA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 31, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER INC 369FF, registration: N530KK
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 public aircraft accident report.

On December 31, 2014, about 1330 Pacific standard time, an MD Helicopter Inc. 369FF, N530KK, was substantially damaged during an emergency autorotation following a sudden loss of engine power in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two commercial pilots on board sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a public-use flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from North Las Vegas Airport, Las Vegas, at 1322.

The pilot reported that he was orbiting when he noticed a drop in engine and rotor revolutions per minute (rpm). The pilot then rolled the helicopter out of the orbit, and the engine and rotor rpm stabilized momentarily at 97%. The pilot attempted to increase the engine and rotor rpm while turning west towards the North Las Vegas Airport. During the maneuver, the engine and rotor rpm rapidly degraded. The pilot entered an autorotation, and executed an emergency landing. The helicopter touched down hard, the tail impacted the ground, and separated from the airframe. 

Metro police surround a Metro helicopter that came down hard on 23rd Street, about a block north of Bonanza Rd. on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014

Arlington Services Planned For Trump Pilot Killed In Long Valley Car Crash: Ray Ferrante spent last 30 years as a personal pilot for real estate mogul

Raymond Ferrante was nothing if not generous and selfless, a man always looking to help others and stand up for the common good.

The immensely accomplished military serviceman, father, and husband died recently in a car crash in Long Valley, and will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, according to his obituary.

Ferrante, 68, of Long Valley, was born in the Bronx. After two years at Manhattan College, he joined the Army’s 101st Airborne Division as a helicopter pilot. That taste of flying led to his lifelong passion and career, with Ferrante logging more than 25,000 flight hours.

During the Vietnam war, Ferrante completed more than 2,100 hours of combat flight time and received 48 Air Medals, three with Valor as well as a Bronze Star.

He returned to Vietnam with Air America for three years, where he met his wife Sherry in Saigon, then worked in Iran, Mexico, the Arctic, Morocco, the Bahamas, and Saudi Arabia.

Ferranted joined Trump Airlines in 1984 and later worked as the Donald Trump’s personal pilot. He retired from the New Jersey National Guard in 2006 as a CW5 Chief Warrant Officer, which is the highest rank achievable by an Army Warrant Officer, having spent more than 20 years serving.

In his down time, Ferrante was a skilled carpenter, builder, and loved all things mechanical, including classic cars. It was the meticulously restored 1961 Chevrolet Corvette that Ferrante died in.

He is survived by his wife, Sherry, daughter Nancy, and two sons, James and Warren.

A memorial celebration will be held at the Ferrante residence on May 2 from 1 to 4 p.m., and the veteran will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to the Army Aviation Association of America, the NJARNG Yellow Ribbon Program, or a national veterans charity of choice.

See related stories:

Cops: Long Valley Man Killed in Two-Car Crash in Washington Twp.
Trump Pays Tribute to Personal Pilot, Long Valley Man Killed in Car Crash

Original article can be found here:

Peru may resume shooting down suspected coke-smuggling planes

An  upsurge in illicit air shipments of cocaine to Bolivia has prompted neighboring Peru to consider resuming a policy of shooting down small aircraft suspected of ferrying the drug, authorities say.

That policy resulted in the mistaken 2001 shoot-down of a small aircraft, killing an American missionary and her daughter.

Peruvian National Police Gen. Vicente Romero said in an interview last week that his government could decide in the next month whether to reinstate the policy of allowing Peruvian warplanes to shoot down small aircraft thought to be carrying Peruvian cocaine or coca paste to Bolivia or other countries.

Another high-level government source said Sunday that Peru’s congress is considering a law that, if passed in the coming weeks, could give law enforcement greater power to intervene in suspected drug shipments by air, land or sea, including airplane shoot-downs. The source declined to be quoted because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

Bolivia’s status as an air hub for cocaine transport has risen sharply in the last five years. U.S. officials estimate that currently there are more than 500 illicit flights per year between the two countries. Lax law enforcement has also led to traffickers’ using Bolivia to deliver drugs to neighboring Brazil and Argentina, or on to Europe.

The policy shift would be in response to what Peruvian and international counter-narcotics officials describe as a more active cocaine “air bridge” between Peru and Bolivia. Flights can number dozens of planes per day, carrying either Peruvian coca paste or refined cocaine to Bolivia, officials say.

However, the U.S. government opposes a resumption of an aggressive shoot-down policy. The United States played a critical and embarrassing intelligence role in the 2001 tragedy, in which missionary Roni Bowers and her infant daughter died after Peruvian authorities mistook it for a drug flight. Her husband and son and the pilot survived the crash.

In its annual review of countries’ cooperation in the fight against global drug trafficking, the White House last fall said Bolivia “failed demonstrably” to make sufficient efforts to meet its obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements.

The report was not a total condemnation, noting that Bolivia eradicated 25,000 acres of coca crops in 2014 and seized 23 metric tons of cocaine and coca paste. Coca leaves have been used by indigenous communities for chewing since pre-colonial times and Bolivian law permits cultivation of up to 30,000 acres of coca for “cultural purposes.”

But Peruvian authorities describe the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales as unwilling or unable to stop the suspected drug flights. Drug planes typically take off from the eastern jungle region of Peru and land near Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a drug-trafficking hub where Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers openly operate, according to Peruvian and US officials.

Despite having destroyed 198 air strips last year, Peruvian authorities say they cannot exert control over the drug flights’ main departure zone, known as VRAEM, the Spanish-language acronym for the Apurimac-Ene-Mantaro River Valley. The area, an isolated jungle area controlled by the Sendero Luminoso leftist rebel group, may have up to 100 clandestine airstrips operating at a given time, officials say.

“It’s a very difficult geographic area and the Sendero Luminoso is protecting the drug traffickers there,” said one Peruvian law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue. “The airplanes come in from Bolivia bringing cash and fly back with cargoes averaging around [725 pounds].”

The cocaine is then shipped on to Brazil, Argentina or Europe via west Africa, officials say.

Piloting the illegal aircraft is lucrative, with pilots earning $20,000 per flight, officials here say. As a result, the number of flight schools in the Santa Cruz area has increased from a single one five years ago to seven today. Those schools charge an average $20,000 for a one-week piloting course, up from $5,000 several years ago, officials here said.

Officials in northern Chile also express exasperation with the Bolivian government for weak drug law enforcement, saying traffickers operating in Bolivia increasingly use the Chilean port of Arica to export drugs hidden in cargo containers. In so doing, they are taking advantage of a treaty between Bolivia and Chile by which Bolivian cargo exported via Arica is exempt from inspection unless Bolivian customs officials agree.

In an interview last week, a Chilean port official in Arica said his government inspected about 300 of more than 130,000 cargo containers that passed through Arica and found drugs hidden in two of them. Some of the cocaine seized bore the telltale trademarks of known Mexican and Colombian traffickers.

“We know that Mexican and Colombian traffickers are using the treaty to move drugs in containers through the Arica port,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. “What worries us is that at one moment or another the traffickers will enter Chile and force a complete change in the security scheme here.”

Original article can be found here:

Boiling Springs High School student pilots first solo flight at 17 • Carlisle Airport (N94), Pennsylvania

South Middleton resident Noah Reighard is a 17-year old solo pilot. Shown is his plane Friday, April 24, 2015 at the Carlisle Airport.

SOUTH MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP - Noah Reighard, 17, loves flying so much, “airplane” was one of his first spoken words, he said.

For anyone who knows him, it’s probably not much of a surprise that the Boiling Springs High School junior completed his first solo flight as pilot on March 29.

“I’ve loved aviation my whole life. This is what I was born to do,” said Noah, the son of Darren and Angie Reighard of South Middleton Township.

Barbara George is Noah’s instructor and mentor at the Cumberland Valley Aviation at the Business Airport of Carlisle. In her seven years there, she hasn’t seen many students Noah’s age fly solo, she said.

“Noah is a very enthusiastic kid. He’s a very good flight student,” said George, of Carlisle.

Noah said he’s studied aviation since he was a child. For his 13th birthday, he took his first flying lesson.

“Noah is a driven kid," Angie Reighard said. "He’s always wanted to learn new things. It’s been airplanes pretty much since he was a baby. He even had an airplane swing."

After he turned 16, Noah earned his student’s pilot license, which he said is “sort of like” a road driver’s permit. Before a pilot is allowed to fly solo, he or she must obtain a student pilot’s certificate.

For his solo flight, Noah did “extensive training,” he said. He studied pilot’s handbooks and did at least 40 co-piloted takeoffs and landings before tackling it himself on the 1968 single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee that he usually flies.

Noah now is working toward earning a standard pilot’s license, which he expects to have by July. George said that Noah has already taken the Federal Aviation Administration’s written exam for a pilot’s license and “did very well.”

To earn a pilot’s license, one must accumulate 40 hours of flight instruction, as well as pass written and oral exams. The FAA has set 17 as the minimal age for attaining a pilot’s license and 16 as the youngest that one can solo in an airplane.

What he likes best about flying, Noah said, is the freedom.

“You can go anywhere you want to go really fast. You’re not encumbered by roads. You can go anywhere you want to go,” he said.

The most difficult part about flying, he said, has been learning all of the FAA’s procedures and regulations.

“It’s not just flying an airplane. You have to learn all the instruments, how the engine works, and lots of other things about how the airplane works,” Noah explained, pointing to a thick FAA manual.

Noah’s life’s goals so far, he said, are to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and become a Naval aviator. After that, he would like to work as a pilot for a commercial airline.

This summer, Noah is attending the U.S. Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar for students who have completed their junior year. The seminar is designed to teach attendees about life at the Naval Academy, which is described online as a balance of academics, athletics and professional training.

When he’s not flying, Noah is a member of the Boiling Springs boys’ cross country team.

Original article can be found here:

South Middleton resident Noah Reighard is a 17-year old solo pilot. Shown pulling his plane from a hangar at the Carlisle Airport Friday, April 24, 2015.

South Middleton resident Noah Reighard is a 17-year old solo pilot. Shown in his plane Friday, April 24, 2015 at the Carlisle Airport.

South Middleton resident Noah Reighard is a 17-year old solo pilot. Shown leaving his hangar Friday, April 24, 2015 at the Carlisle Airport.

L-Birds: A silent asset of World War II

L-Birds, as they are called, became a vital part of reconnaissance during World War II as an artillery spotter, military errand runner, transporter of war administrators, and carrier of critically injured soldiers. The aircraft were the eyes of the military---communicating real time enemy locations by radio.

The Liaison plane doesn't look special. In fact, it's small and cheaply made. Yet, it was an aircraft that was a big military asset in World War II.

"This represents what I call the little guy," says Gene Jensen. "The common foot solider--if you were--who didn't gain a lot of glory and a lot of recognition. But he played a key part in the war and bringing it to a successful conclusion."

Jensen is with the Alamo Liaison Squadron. They are putting on a airshow about the wartime airplane on April 25 at Cannon Field in San Antonio.

"We want people to come and see them, learn about them, learn about their history," says Jensen.

L-Birds, as they are called, became a vital part of reconnaissance during World War II as an artillery spotter, military errand runner, transporter of war administrators, and carrier of critically injured soldiers. The aircraft were the eyes of the military--communicating real time enemy locations by radio.

Jensen says the enemy would honker down because they knew a military pounding was not far behind.

The planes don't carry sexy war stories. In fact, some of the inexpensive planes were made of paper and a metal machine. They run on gasoline. The airplanes don't require a landing strip. They can land in a field, on a beach, and nearly any strip of land.

L-Birds are know to bounce up and down on landings like grasshoppers. Some people even refer to the plane as such.

They were winged solutions that silently soared into history's pages.

"We see great stories and they are wonderful stories and they're good about the bombers, the fighters, and even the transports," says Jensen. "But nobody ever paid attention to these little guys because they were quietly going about their job."

Original article can be found here:

Longtime southeastern Michigan skydiving operation grounded during lawsuit with Al Meyers Airport (3TE), Tecumseh


The sky over Tecumseh will apparently remain quiet this skydiving season.

A judge ruled Friday she cannot order Al Meyers Airport to allow Skydive Tecumseh to operate from its runway while a lawsuit between the two businesses proceeds through court. A Dec. 14 initial hearing was scheduled for Skydive Tecumseh’s complaint, filed in March in Lenawee County Circuit Court.

The airport was purchased last year as the private property of Andrew Aalto, and he wishes to run the airport without skydiving, said Judge Anna Marie Anzalone. While Skydive Tecumseh has operated from the airport for many years and owns adjacent property, she said, “We do not have an easement that was placed in writing.”

Michigan law does not allow a legally binding easement to be created from an oral agreement, she said.

In January, Aalto informed Franz Gerschwiler, owner of the parachuting business, that he would no longer be allowed to operate from Al Meyers Airport. Aalto has stated he was concerned about the safety of the operation. Also, he is attempting to attract other businesses to the airport that would be in conflict with skydiving activity.

“We’re disappointed. The community is disappointed. It’s selfish behavior of a few,” said Tecumseh attorney David Stimpson, representing Gerschwiler. He will review a possible appeal with Gerschwiler, he said.

Attorneys for Aalto said they do not expect a change in the direction Aalto is taking the airport.

“We’re pleased by the judge’s decision. I think she made the right decision,” said attorney Charles Gross of Tecumseh. “I think there’s a silent majority out there who are happy that there is no longer skydiving.”

Stimpson and Gerschwiler claimed community support for continuing skydiving that has become a significant tourism business in the city.

Thousands have signed petitions and hundreds have written letters in support of Skydive Tecumseh, Stimpson said at Friday’s hearing.

Stimpson also dismissed safety concerns raised by Aalto in his opposition to a temporary order to open the airport to Skydive Tecumseh. Federal Aviation Administration officials have never found any violations in the 50-year history of the business, he said.

“He (Aalto) may not like it, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t safe,” Stimpson said.

The real issue is an implied easement given to Skydive Tecumseh when it purchased property from the airport to base its operations from, Stimpson argued. The former owner of the airport stated in a letter several years ago that the parachuting service would have “unfettered access” to the airport, he said.

“This case suddenly seems to be about the popularity of skydiving, but we know it’s about legal issues,” Gross told the court.

There are no court decisions to support the claim of an implied easement, he said.

“It’s got to be in writing,” Gross said.

“What this case is about is a piece of private property. My client can do anything with it he wants,” argued attorney Steven Chait of Waterford, also representing Aalto.

Skydive Tecumseh has grown into such a large operation, said Chait, “it is scaring away the other general aviation users from the airport.”

He said Skydive Tecumseh has not complied with terms Aalto set last year for operations, Chait said.

“Mr. Aalto doesn’t feel they can have a safe, trusting relationship here,” he said.

Stimpson told the court there are no alternative airstrips available in the area that can accommodate the parachuting operation.

Original article can be found here:

Chenoa , Illinois, once boasted commercial airport

Courtesy of the McLean County Museum of History 
Chenoa airport held its second annual air show on a Aug. 29, 1948. This unidentified group of sun-baked spectators sought shade under the wings of a Taylorcraft airplane.

Located roughly two-and-a-half miles southwest of Chenoa, a rural airfield with a “turf” landing strip stands as a reminder of the once high hopes for McLean County’s second commercial airport.

Although Chenoa airport never got off the ground (metaphorically speaking) as a viable commercial enterprise, the airfield emerged from the post-World War II era and its promise of heady days to come for aviation, spurred in part by a surplus of wartime pilots now stateside in civvies looking for opportunities to take to the skies.

In the first winter after the war, 1945-46, the tongue-twistingly named Flying Farmers of Prairie Farmer Land (sponsored, naturally, by Prairie Farmer magazine) captured the imagination of any number of McLean County farmers, including Alvin Dameron of Yates Township. And with military surplus training aircraft available to the public, veterans and others began organizing clubs to buy these hobbyist-friendly planes, though sometimes resources were pooled to acquire civilian aircraft as well.

Accordingly, the Chenoa Flying Club organized in February 1947, though almost immediately members found themselves without a “place to park their planes,” including their jointly owned Piper Super Cruiser. Elza Pick, the father of WWII veterans and aviation buffs Howard R. and Harry E. Pick, then offered a few acres of his farm for the club’s purpose. Soon thereafter, brothers Howard and Harry decided to expand their temporary quarters and establish an airfield on the family farm. It would prove to be McLean County’s second commercial airport after Bloomington’s.

The initial plans for what was called Chenoa airport did not lack for ambition, with flight training offered to both G.I.s and civilians. There was a six-plane, concrete-floored hanger, an operations shack, and two grass runways 1,800 feet long and 300 feet wide. There was also a large circle of limestone, visible from on high, which served as the airport’s identification marker.

The Aug. 17, 1947 grand opening included visiting aircraft competing in a spot landing contest and an air race, in addition to a crop dusting demonstration. The star attraction was Chicago radio personality Tommy Bartlett, still a few years away from discovering water skiing and the Wisconsin Dells. Bartlett was an aviation booster, having served as an Army Air Corps instructor during World War II. He flew into Chenoa on his own Cessna 140, and even gave free rides as prizes.

John Kearney, with two Cessna 120s at his disposal, served as Chenoa airport’s flight instructor. There were 10 students taking classes when the airfield officially opened, “with training facilities for all licenses through commercial grade.”

Chenoa’s was one of four commercial airports to open in The Pantagraph circulation area in 1947. Nine veterans opened the “Chief City” airport in Pontiac, while two airfields were inaugurated in DeWitt County — one in Wapella and another in Clinton.

Chenoa airport’s second annual air show, held Sunday, Aug. 29, 1948, attracted more than 2,500 spectators and 50 private planes. Sponsored by local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, the show included the return of Tommy Bartlett and a parachute jump by Fritz Rupert. “On the stage, the bulky, beaming emcee quizzed and wisecracked with a zest that helped sweltering patrons forget the heat for a while,” The Pantagraph’s Gene Smedley wrote of Bartlett.

A 50-mile air race was halved to 25 miles due to time constraints. Gerald Batterton of Colfax finished first, followed by Paul Wilson of Pontiac and Russel Teutsch of Bloomington.

In late January 1948 The Pantagraph paid a visit to what was now called Pick Flying Service, Inc. at the Chenoa airport. One of the flight school students was Chenoa farmer Delmar Stried, who was described by The Pantagraph as, “Typical of thousands of ex-servicemen learning to fly under the GI Bill.”

The golden age of the Chenoa airport and its school was a short one, as instruction apparently ended in the spring of 1949. “When the GI Bill petered out, it really slowed things down,” Harry Pick recalled in 1992. Even so, some 50 would-be pilots received instruction at the school, a none-too-shabby record given the limited resources available at such a small operation.

Chenoa’s days as a commercial, public-use airport came to an end in 1957, though it remained a private airstrip. Both Pick brothers continued farming in the Chenoa area, though Howard spent the last 13 years of his life in Lake Placid, Fla., before dying at the age of 77 in 2002.

Back in the fall of 1990, United Airlines pilot Bill Thacker purchased the Chenoa airport grounds, bringing the old airfield back to life. In the spirit of the Pick brothers, the renamed Thacker Field became a small, out-of-the-way corner of the world for aviation enthusiasts. Bill Thacker gave flight instruction to adults and children alike, and his field became home to several aircraft restoration projects.

Harry Pick passed away last year, Oct. 12, 2014, at his Chenoa home at the age of 87. He was the National Soybean Farmer of the Year in 1967, and for much of his adult life he raced sport and stock cars.

Despite a costly April 2007 fire that destroyed four antique airplanes and a hangar, Thacker Field remains an operational residential landing strip today, nearly 68 years after the Pick brothers opened their small airport amid the corn fields of northern McLean County.

Original article can be found here:

With revisions to proposals process, city hopes to avoid further confusion • Dillant-Hopkins Airport (KEEN), Keene, New Hampshire

It was supposed to be a straightforward process.

The city’s purchasing department would issue a request for proposals for a company to use a city-owned hangar at Dillant-Hopkins Airport. Companies would apply, and city staff would choose one.

That’s not how it went.

First, the deadline for replying to the request was pushed back by a week, because the city’s purchasing agent was out for a day during the week in November the proposals were originally due.

Purchasing agent Jeffrey W. Titus said his office had sent out electronic notices to more than 500 businesses on the list of vendors the city maintains and sends requests to. The department uses that list to issue announcements about upcoming projects to businesses listed under certain categories. It also uses the list to update applicants about changes.

Two aviation companies that already rent space at the airport – Green River Aviation and Monadnock Aviation — expressed interest.

Green River has rented and maintained the hangar for more than 10 years. A disagreement on lease rates in 2013 prompted city officials to put the hangar out for bid, and Green River has occupied the hangar as a holdover tenant since then.

But only Monadnock Aviation was officially registered with the purchasing department’s list of local contractors and companies. That meant it was the only company to receive information about the request for proposals online, and the only company to be notified of the new due date.

Green River Operations Manager Edward Appel said at City Council meetings in the following weeks that he does not subscribe to the online vendor list. He knew he had an extra week, but says he never received an email airport Director Edward Mattern sent specifying exactly which day the proposals were due. Thinking he had a full seven extra days, he delivered a hard copy of his proposal for the hangar to City Hall a day late.

Over the next weeks, councilors deliberated over the dilemma, ultimately deciding to restart the request for proposals process, despite Monadnock Aviation’s protests.

“I’m disappointed,” company President Beth Bendel said after the council’s Feb. 19 decision. “I followed the process while others did not. ... I don’t see how this is fair.”

But the incident has led city officials to realize the proposals process didn’t make it clear that to do work for the city, companies need to be online.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago there were business that might not have an email address, but that’s just not the case anymore, “ Titus said.

The online registry was supposed to make the bidding process easier, he said.

Since it was implemented, most local companies have signed on to the online registry. There hadn’t been any problems distributing information about a project until the hangar lease came up, he said.

“It was done to try to automate the system as much as possible... and get information to people as best as possible,” he said.

Just recommending to companies that they join the purchasing department online used to be enough, but now he said the city realizes it needs to be more clear.

The City Council has already voted to make online registration a requirement for applicants to use the airport hangar the second time around, and city officials are considering making more permanent changes to the process in general.

“It’s just to clarify everything very clearly, in terms of what’s required,” Titus said. “It’s always good to be looking at how you do things — sometimes technology impacts things in a good way, but you need to make sure that... people are part of the process.

Bendel said she wants to read the new request for proposals for the hangar before she decides if she’ll submit a bid again.

Appel said the mix-up occurred because he was used to relying on phone calls or face-to-face conversations with Mattern. He said because he has worked at the airport for more than 15 years, he didn’t expect the lease process to be such a big deal.

“I’m a maintenance guy,” he said. “I don’t have the marching bandwagon to come to the city and say, ‘I’m going to do this, this and this.’”

But he said, he plans to reapply. And, if the city says it’s necessary, he’ll sign up for the online registry.

Original article can be found here: