Saturday, May 30, 2015

Air Force Academy adjusts flight training to minimize noise, plans meeting with neighbors

As the Air Force Academy heads into its busiest flying season, cadets will wake up earlier and climb higher to keep peace with the school's neighbors.

The academy's Col. Steve Burgh said getting cadets in planes at 6 a.m. will solve some noise issues over northern Colorado Springs neighborhoods and fix a training problem. The academy's T-53 trainer planes don't come with air conditioning, so rising early means a more comfortable flight, he said.

To deal with noise, Burgh will have the cadets start their flights with a corkscrew ascent over the academy's airfield. By starting an hour early, the T-53 trainers won't have to compete with the school's gliders and parachutists for airspace, giving them time to circle their way to altitude before heading east across northern Colorado Springs to rural training areas.

That will put the planes higher when they pass over homes, and with the ascent completed they can fly at a more ear-friendly throttle setting.

"We'll be above 1,000 feet," Burgh said. "We can be at cruise throttle."

The quieter morning flights might not be enough to quiet complaints from neighbors. The school modified its flight patterns in 2013 to avoid conflicts with commercial flights headed to airports in Denver and Colorado Springs. That pushed more planes over neighborhoods from Gleneagle to Briargate.

Neighbor Martha Brewer said the higher morning flights will address some of the neighbor's safety concerns, but flights at lower altitudes during the rest of the day remain a worry.

"All that remains to be seen," she said.

Brewer last year complained to the Federal Aviation Administration about low-flying cadet flights. The agency determined the academy was flying within safety rules.

"As no violation was substantiated, the FAA considers this matter closed," the agency wrote to Brewer.

Burgh said the academy has emphasized safety in its flight programs.

Safety concerns drove the school to pick the T-53, a plane that's equipped with a parachute that can bring the entire craft safely to Earth in an emergency.

The school says it's taking another step to make flights safer by telling instructor pilots to more quickly grab the controls when a student is flying too low over homes.

"You don't want to fly for the student but we don't want them to mess up too much," explained the academy's Lt. Col. Christopher Hawn.

More than 1,900 cadets per year take part in the academy's parachuting, glider and powered flight programs. Hundreds get their first taste of flying in the single-engine T-53, an Air Force variant of the civilian Cirrus SR-20.

The training program isn't a replacement for later pilot training cadets will get after they graduate. Instead it's seen as something that develops leaders and gives all cadets, including those who won't fly for the Air Force, familiarity of what it takes to fly for the service.

Much of that flight training takes place in a narrow two-month window starting in June, when cadets are out of class.

"Summer is our go-to time because the cadets aren't restricted," Hawn said.

A lot of the summer powered flight training takes place in eastern El Paso County, where cadets use the school's Bullseye Auxiliary Airfield to learn how to land and take off and learn maneuvering over wide-open ranch lands.

But flights at the academy's airfield will continue. And just the first takeoffs of the day will use the corkscrew ascent for higher, quieter flights over neighborhoods.

The academy is studying noise from flight programs for a report that should be completed later this year. Also underway is a Pentagon study of land use and encroachment in the Pikes Peak region that will analyze flight program issues at all local bases as a step to improving flight patterns and local zoning laws. That study is in its early stages.

"We are always aware of noise and safety concerns of those who live in neighborhoods near the Academy," Burgh wrote in a message to neighbors sent last week. "We sincerely appreciate the continued cooperation and support of our good neighbors in Colorado Springs and surrounding communities."

The academy will hear from its neighbors at a meeting Thursday arranged by the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance to address flight programs.

"I plan to be there," Brewer said.


Removal cost $30,000-$35,000: Wayward drone tangles with Seattle high-voltage line

Seattle City Light workers prepare to remove the drone from a high-voltage transmission line.

SEATTLE -- Seattle City Light crews freed a drone Saturday that had been stuck in a high-voltage transmission line over Lake Union for nearly a week.

"This like the I-5 of the power industry," said Bernie Ziemianek, Seattle City Light.

The drone was spotted in the line on May 24th, Ziemianek said.

On Saturday, crews de-energized the line and raised a large basket into place as curious neighbors looked on. It took a few minutes for two workers to slide across the line and free the drone.

"We were hopeful that maybe the wind would help us and get it out, but as you can see… it stayed up there for about a week," said Ziemianek.

Ziemianek said the entire effort to remove the drone cost about $30,000-35,000. The amount includes the man-power to remove it and the hours spent over the past several days to come up with a plan to make sure no customers were impacted by the work, he said.

"An unfortunate expense for all of us, but other than that… for me… more amusing that somebody doesn't know how to fly their new toy," said Webb Stevens, who lives nearby.

The mishap is the latest in a string of potentially dangerous encounters involving drones as they continue to grow in popularity.

A pilot had to pull a plane up 200 feet Friday to avoid hitting a drone as it approached New York's LaGuardia Airport, officials said.

Drone use has also prompted many questions about privacy.

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently working on new rules. Right now, anyone operating a drone is advised to stay below 400 feet and away from airports, officials said.

Seattle City Light officials said drones should also be kept away from transmission lines.

"Whether you're flying a drone or a radio-controlled helicopter or plane or even a kite, pay attention to where the power lines are at. Consider this a no-fly zone," said Scott Thomsen, Seattle City Light.

Seattle police are now looking into how the drone got into the transmission line, officials said.

Story and photo:

Chino Valley teen finishes first leg of journey to private pilot license

Jaqueline Beltran, with Cheri Warner, adjunct instructor and advanced ground instructor at Yavapai College’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), and John Morgan, the college’s dean of career and technical education.

Chino Valley High School Student Jaqueline Beltran completed a "first-ever" milestone with Mountain Institute Joint Technical Education District (MIJTED) by passing the written exam required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the first step in earning a private pilot license.

Cheri Warner, adjunct instructor and advanced ground instructor at Yavapai College's Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), joined John Morgan, the college's dean of career and technical education, in awarding Beltran her certificate of completion. 

Beltran, a senior this fall, is the first of 44 area students in the aviation program's two-year history to "step up and do the work and get high scores (in her studies), so that she could take that written test," Warner said. Courses over several months led up to the test. 

The daughter of Eloy and Irene Beltran, the young aviator said her career goal is to become a commercial pilot or professional jet pilot. 

"I came to JTED one day and took an interest in it," Beltran said of MIJTED's aviation track. "Ever since that day I can't stop getting enough." 

In honor of Beltran's achievement, North-Aire Aviation Flight Training Center has awarded her a Discovery Flight with a pilot instructor so that she can learn aircraft controls, engage in flight planning, perform pre-flight checks, and try her hand at flying a plane. North-Aire Aviation is the fixed wing aircraft partner with Yavapai College in the MIJTED and CTEC offerings. 


Cessna 340A, N340A, Aviation Peter Corporation: Incident occurred May 30, 2015 at Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

The pilot of a twin-engine Cessna 340, his wife and their dog walked away from a very rough landing at Martha’s Vineyard Airport about 12:30 pm, Saturday afternoon.

The plane’s right main gear collapsed soon after landing, airport manager Sean Flynn told The Times, causing the plane to veer off the runway and come to a stop on the grassy safety area.

Airport fire and rescue crews responded. West Tisbury firefighters and Tri-Town ambulance crews also arrived to assist.

There were no injuries. West Tisbury firefighters assisted in hoisting the plane up and locking the gear back into place.

The pilot, who Mr. Flynn did not identify, is a seasonal Island homeowner. The plane is registered to a Delaware corporation.

State and federal aviation and transportation authorities will be responsible for any investigation.

“I am glad no one was injured,” Mr. Flynn said. “I’m also grateful for the quick response of our emergency crews and mutual aid provided by first responders.”



A six-passenger aircraft veered off the main runway at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport shortly before noon Saturday when the plane’s landing gear collapsed. The pilot, a passenger, and a dog, were unhurt, officials said.

“Upon landing, his right main gear collapsed,” said airport manager Sean Flynn. “That caused [the plane] to veer off the payment to the safety area, a grassy area just off the runway. We’re thankful nobody was hurt.”

The airport fire department responded to the incident, backed up by mutual aid from several Island departments.

The airport was closed to all aircraft for about 30 minutes, then resumed operations with only one runway. That caused some delays among commercial and private aircraft who were required to use the airport’s shorter runway.

The aircraft, a twin-engine Cessna 340A, was built in 1975, according to FAA records, and is owned by Aviation Peter Corporation, a company registered in Middletown, Del.

According to Mr. Flynn, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the FAA, and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division will look into the mishap, as part of a routine investigation.

By 4 p.m., the plane was repaired and moved off the runway area to the airport ramp.

- Story and photo:

Rag-Wing RW-6, N2305J: Accident occurred May 30, 2015 at Sugar Valley Airport (5NC2), Mocksville, Davie County, North Carolina


NTSB Identification: GAA15CA115 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 30, 2015 in Mocksville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/27/2015
Aircraft: SMILEY JAMES E RAG WING RW-6, registration: N2305J
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll, the tailwheel equipped airplane encountered a gust a wind from the left, and veered to the right side of the runway. The pilot attempted to abort the takeoff after the airplane exited the right side of the runway, but then added power to continue the takeoff. The airplane did not respond to control inputs while attempting to turn back towards the runway, and impacted a building. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of directional control during takeoff, which resulted in a runway excursion and impact with a building.

DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. —A small plane crashed into a building Saturday at the Sugar Valley Airport in Davie County.

Authorities said the pilot was the only person aboard the plane, and the building only sustained minimal damage.

The building houses the airport offices.

The pilot suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The crash happened during a pilots' meet, and activities resumed when the incident was cleared.

Story, photo and comments:

Pulsar III, N747N, Steven & Miles LLC: Accident occurred May 30, 2015 near General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8), Hurricane, Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA170 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 30, 2015 in Hurricane, UT
Aircraft: DUENAS PULSAR III, registration: N747N
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 30, 2015, about 1049 mountain daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Duenas Pulsar III, N747N, collided with a corral during an emergency forced landing at Hurricane, Utah. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to all airframe components. The local personal flight departed Hurricane about 1030. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector that the purpose of the flight was to conduct engine testing. While maneuvering, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot set up for an emergency landing, but landed short of the runway.


HURRICANE – The pilot injured in Saturday morning’s airplane crash in a field north of the Hurricane Municipal Airport has been identified.

Terri Draper, spokesperson for Intermountain Healthcare’s southwest region and Dixie Regional Medical Center, confirmed the pilot of the plane was Carlos Duenas, 62, of Hurricane.

As of 3:40 p.m. Saturday, Duenas remains in critical condition at Dixie Regional Medical Center, Draper said.

Mechanical failure was the apparent cause of the airplane crash.

Just before 11 a.m., the Hurricane City Police and Hurricane Valley Fire departments were dispatched on reports of an aircraft that had crashed into a corral.

The owner of the property where the plane crashed, Kimberly Nielson, said she didn’t see the crash but heard a loud “thud,” looked out her window and saw the plane in the corral with her horses and donkeys.

Duenas was taken by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, including a laceration to his head and a possible broken leg, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said.

The plane is listed as having been manufactured by Duenas and is a Pulsar III fixed wing single-engine, according to information from the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane is an amateur built, experimental aircraft and is listed as being registered to Stevens & Miles LLC.

Prior to the crash, Buell said, the plane took off, circled the field twice, then attempted to land from the north. It is believed engine problems caused the plane to stall, and it crashed in the corral just short of the runway.

The plane was extensively damaged, Buell said, and appears to be totaled.

The fencing around the corral was also damaged, but no one on the ground, human or animal, was reported injured as a result of the crash.

The cause of the crash is currently being investigated, according to a press release from the Hurricane City Police Department, and the FAA has been notified about the incident.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Story, photo gallery and video:

Cessna 421B Golden Eagle, N1592G, K.W. Brown Ministries Inc: Incident occurred May 29, 2015 at Chesapeake Regional Airport (KCPK), Norfolk, Virginia

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- A family is happy to be safe after the engine on their plane stopped working mid-air during a flight Friday. 

Bishop Kim Brown, from The Mount in Chesapeake, told 13News Now his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 3-year-old grandson were on board a Cessna 421B Golden Eagle that took off from Chesapeake Regional Airport headed to Charlotte, N.C. Friday around 4:45 p.m.

About 15 minutes into the flight, his family saw smoke coming from the left wing of the plane and the propeller stopped.

The pilots informed the family on board that one of two engines had blown and they were turning the plane around to go back to Chesapeake with the one working engine.

The plane landed safely at Chesapeake Regional Airport and no one was injured.

In a phone call with 13News Now's Regina Mobley, Bishop Brown said, "God showed himself strong."

The family plans to drive to Charlotte Saturday where Bishop Brown is opening a new church Sunday.



Beech A36 Bonanza, N221D, Moto Air Inc: Accident accident occurred May 29, 2015 at Hale County Airport (KPVW), Plainview, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA245
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 29, 2015 in Plainview, TX
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N221D
Injuries: 3 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 May 29, 2015 about 2115 central standard time (CST), a Beechcraft A-36, N221D, impacted terrain on the airfield at Hale County Airport (PVW), Plainview, Texas. The commercial certificated pilot and two passengers on board were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Moto Air Inc. and operated by a private individual on a visual rules flight plan under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident, with an intended destination of Boerne Stage Field Airport (5C1), Boerne, Texas.

According to a witness statement, the airplane was observed with the engine at "full throttle traveling very fast" headed toward the ground. The witness reported a storm was arriving over the airfield at the time of the accident.

The 2115 recorded weather observation at PVW, included calm winds, visibility 10 miles, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C; barometric altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station located just northwest of PVW recorded 5 minute observations with winds at 2115 from 006 degrees at 0 knots gusting to 2 knots. At 2120, winds were recorded from 301 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 45 knots.

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lubbock FSDO-13

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

Officials say the crash happened about 100 yards from the runway

Tammy Waller and daughter Michele. 

Paul Waller.

Paul and Michele Waller


Plainview Fire Chief Rusty Powers speaks during a news conference after midnight Friday in Plainview. Capt. Derrick McPherson, emergency management coordinator for the Plainview Police Department, also spoke about the fatal plane crash that killed three people Friday evening. 

A community shaken by the loss of a well known family after their plane crashed at Hale County airport. 

Just seconds after reading the news of a Hale County plane crash, Tawnya Tidwell's heart sank. 

"I just looked at my husband and said I know them, and he says who was it, and I said I don't know. The names are not released but I know who it was I know them," Tidwell said.

Friday night, Michele Waller, 18, celebrated her graduation from Plainview High School. 

"She's grown up into such a beautiful young adult, that just ended too quickly," Tidwell said.

The same evening she her mother and father were killed after their Beechcraft A-36 Bohnanza burst into flames.

"They would fly all the time, they would go places all the time. I know Paul was a very experienced and cautious pilot," Tidwell said.

Just before 9:30 Friday evening, Captain Derrick McPherson with the Plainview Police Department says Paul Waller, 46, his wife Tammy Waller, 44, and their daughter Michele took off from Hale County Airport en route to the San Antonio area.

"Almost immediately after take off the aircraft crashed on the south east portion of the aircraft property. We had three witnesses that stated that the aircraft did take off and almost immediately crashed back to the ground," Captain McPherson said.

Upon crashing, the aircraft burst into flames.

"I just cried all night, just having a feeling that it was them and then getting confirmation that it was them," Tidwell said.

Tidwell said the Waller's were well known throughout the Plainview area and were considered a second family to many.

Paul Waller had his own automotive shop.

"We would always take our cars to him, everybody in Plainview knows them," Tidwell said.

The Waller's leave behind their 13-year-old son.

"I'm just concerned for their son that's left behind, I can't imagine what he's going through right now."

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash to determine a probable cause.

"Winds were moving into this area very quickly and were very strong so we feel like that was probably a factor," Captain McPherson said.

For now residents are just trying to make sense of it all. 

"You don't expect things like that to happen, it just shows us how short life really is," a Plainview resident said.

Plainview ISD released this statement:

"Our hearts are heavy as we absorb the news of the tragedy that took the life of PHS graduate Michele Waller and her parents, Paul and Tammy Waller, following graduation on Friday evening.  We offer our deepest condolences to the Waller family. We ask that you remember them in your thoughts and prayers and provide them with comfort and support in the days ahead."


Plainview authorities have confirmed that the three occupants of a Beech A36 Bonanza who died in a local plane crash Friday night were Plainview automotive garage owner Paul Waller, 46; his wife Tammy, 44; and their 18-year-old daughter Michele. The Wallers’ young son was not aboard the ill-fated flight.

Less than an hour earlier, Michele Waller had received her diploma as a member of the Plainview High School Class of 2015.

The names of the victims were released by Plainview police at a news conference at Plainview-Hale County Airport about 10 a.m. Saturday.

The three died at 9:17 p.m. Friday when their private plane crashed while attempting to take off from Plainview-Hale County Airport.

The plane went down on the southeast portion of airport property and burned on impact.

The airplane was based in Plainview and piloted by a Paul Waller. According to a flight plan filed by the pilot, the aircraft was flying from Plainview to San Antonio with three people on board. According to social media, the family was traveling to San Antonio to attend a wedding. A press release issued Saturday morning said the plane was bound for Burney, Tex.

The crash may have occurred as a strong wind gust front was moving through the area and inclement weather could have had a factor in the crash. The airplane was inverted when it crashed. There was no debris found on the runway.

According to the Texas Tech Mesonet station that’s located a few hundred yards north of the airport, the peak wind gust in Plainview on Friday was 45 mph, recorded at 9:20 p.m. The crash occurred three minutes before that, and the leading edge of a strong storm system was moving through the area at the time. It was not raining when the crash occurred, but started shortly after. In all, 0.96 inch of precipitation was measured in downtown Plainview overnight.

FAA investigators, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board representatives, were on the site of the crash Saturday morning.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation, according to local police, as well as all updates on its progress.

Following the crash, the bodies were initially taken to a local funeral home before being transported to the medical examiner’s office in Lubbock.


UPDATE:   Authorities identified three Plainview residents who died late Friday in a plane crash at the Hale County airport.

After a preliminary investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, Paul Waller, 46, Tammy Waller, 44, and Michele Waller, 18, were identified as the victims of Friday's plane crash, according to a statement released Saturday morning.

No other people were on the plane.

Positive ID will not be determined until the final autopsy is complete.

Michele Waller graduated from high school Friday night. 

The family was en route to Boerne near San Antonio.

Paul Waller was an auto mechanic in Plainview.

The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive on scene Saturday afternoon.


Three people are dead after a plane crashed shortly after taking off Friday from Hale County Airport in Plainview.

A Beech A-36 Bonanza crashed while departing from the airport about 9:15 p.m., according to information from the Federation Aviation Administration.

“Local authorities reported that the aircraft was destroyed by fire after the crash,” according to the FAA statement. “According to a flight plan filed by the pilot, the aircraft was flying from Plainview to San Antonio.”

Plainview Fire Chief Rusty Powers said the names of the victims are being withheld pending identification and notification of next of kin. The deceased are two females and a male. Officials were able to retrieve their bodies from the scene of the crash Friday night and transported them to a local funeral home.

“At the time of departure we were having severe winds,” said Capt. Derrick McPherson, emergency management coordinator for the Plainview Police Department.  “I feel like that was possibly a factor.”

McPherson said he did not believe it was raining at the time of the crash.

Although officials experienced some difficulties getting close to the actual site of the crash due to weather, McPherson said units arrived at the scene within three to four minutes.

“Initial response units at the fire department had four-wheel drive capabilities so we were able to get our four-wheel drives out there very rapidly,” Powers said.

An Federal Aviation Administration investigator is expected to arrive at the scene Saturday to conduct an investigation, Powers said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also been notified and will arrive at the crash site as soon as possible.

The aircraft’s tail number will be released once it is verified by investigators.

Until investigators arrive, the Plainview Police Department is providing security for the site of the crash.

“At this time, our prayers go out to the families. We know it’s going to be devastating for the entire community,” McPherson said. “It’s just unfortunate.”