Saturday, June 6, 2015

St. Clair Regional Airport (K39) May Get Another Tenant

It appears the city of St. Clair soon will have an additional tenant at its airport.

Mark Saunders, who lives just outside the city limits, appeared before the St. Clair Board of Aldermen on Monday for the third time requesting he be allowed to rent hangar space at the facility.

That third time may, indeed, be the charm.

Saunders presented the board, Mayor Ron Blum and City Administrator Travis Dierker with information from the Federal Aviation Administration indicating it has proof that Saunders is “the lawful owner of a Challenger aircraft.”

The city has been waiting for proof that Saunders actually owns an airplane before renting hangar space to him. During previous meetings, he had not been able to establish that proof.

“I’m only asking for one hangar at this time,” Saunders told the board and administration on Monday.

He said he may ask for more space later as he intends to purchase additional planes.

However, before the lease agreement is signed by the city, Saunders must receive an “N” number for his aircraft.

According to online information, the “N” number is the official registration number for a plane that identifies a civil aircraft in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile. In accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, all aircraft must be registered with a national aviation authority and they must carry proof of this registration in the form of a legal document called a Certificate of Registration at all times when in operation.

In the United States, the registration number is commonly referred to as an “N” number because all aircraft registered have a number starting with the letter N.

An alphanumeric system is used because of the large number of aircraft registered in the country. An “N” number may only consist of one to five characters, must start with a digit other than zero, and cannot end in a run of more than two letters. In addition, “N” numbers may not contain the letters “I” or “O” because of their similarities with the numerals 1 and 0.

“It’s our prerogative to verify an ‘N’ number with the FAA,” Blum told Saunders at the meeting. “Once we get that number, we’ll get you a hangar.”

Dierker said he has spoken with Raymond J. Monier, who works for the regional FAA office in Kansas City.

“Once the paperwork is complete you will get assigned a temporary ‘N’ number,” Dierker told Saunders. “Then, we can proceed.”

The information Saunders gave the city on Monday included a memo from Monier indicating the FAA had its proof that Saunders does now own an aircraft.

It stated that the craft previously had no “N” number because it never was registered with the FAA.

“It may take several weeks to complete this (‘N’ number) process,” Monier wrote. “However, I can assure you the process has been put in place for this to occur. When the ‘N’ number is received, the aircraft will undergo a thorough inspection from an FAA maintenance inspector or an FAA designated maintenance inspector.”

The memo goes on to say that, “As a result of this inspection process it would be in the best interest of all parties involved if the aircraft could be in a hangar to expedite this process.”

According to information Saunders presented at the meeting, he purchased a Challenger ultralight aircraft in late May. It was built from a kit in 1995.

“I show us sending this without an engine,” information concerning the transaction states. “I assume he bought one at another source.”

Information also states that the purchaser’s name is Ivan Yoder from Villa Ridge.

A bill of sale from May 29 indicates Saunders bought the aircraft from Yoder.

In April, Saunders had told the board of aldermen, “I have two planes.”

He added at the time that he is in a “desperate situation” to put them somewhere.

He requested renting two hangars.

Blum told him in April that if he fills out the application and provides proof of ownership of the aircraft, the city would rent him hangar space at the airport.

Rent is $175 per month per space.

Saunders said during that April meeting that he understood there has been a law signed by President Barack Obama that allows the facility to close. On Monday, he again said he knew about the closure law.

There currently are five hangar tenants. Pilots will be given 30 days’ notice that they have to vacate the property.


Flight Design CTSW, N535CT, KT5 Aviation LLC: Accident occurred June 06, 2015 near Haskell Airport (2K9), Oklahoma


NTSB Identification: CEN15LA258
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 06, 2015 in Haskell, OK
Aircraft: FLIGHT DESIGN GMBH CTSW, registration: N535CT
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 aircraft accident report.

On June 6, 2015, about 1258 central daylight time, a Flight Design CTSW, light-sport airplane, N535CT, impacted terrain and was substantially damaged during an off-airport forced landing at Haskell Airport (2K9), Haskell, Oklahoma. The pilot and a passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to KT Aviation LLC, of Wagoner, Oklahoma, and was operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing from 2K9, and was destined for Hefner-Easley Airport (H68), Wagoner, Oklahoma.

The pilot reported that during initial climb, while about 500 to 600 feet above ground level (agl), there was a sudden partial loss of engine power. The pilot was on left downwind leg when he executed a forced landing to a muddy field. The airplane came to rest inverted and the impact resulted in the almost complete separation of the empennage. There was a postimpact fuel spill, but there was no postimpact fire. Both occupants exited without assistance.

An on-scene wreckage examination showed adequate fuel was on-board. Fuel quality checks of the on-board fuel and of the fuel facility were satisfactory. The wreckage was moved to a different location and a postaccident test run of the engine was satisfactory. Several avionics components containing non-volatile memory (NVM), including engine performance data, were removed from the wreckage for examination and an extraction of useful data is expected.

The closest official NWS reporting location was about 17 miles southwest from the accident site at Okmulgee Regional Airport (OKM) Okmulgee, Oklahoma. At 1255 the Automated Surface Observation System at OKM reported wind from 150 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,700 feet agl, temperature 31 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 21 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches of mercury.

HASKELL, Okla. —  A small plane has crashed in a field east of the Haskell Airport.

Two people were on board, and both made it out of the aircraft without sustaining major injuries.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that a plane went down in a field east of the Haskell Airport. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aircraft crashed off the field, and it is believed that engine problems caused the crash.

There were two people onboard, and both sustained only minor injuries.

The amount of damage is unknown at this time, and someone from the FAA will be sure to investigate.


Kimberly Gibbs: Curious change of Mile-Hi Skydiving plane routes on day of judge's visit

By Kimberly Gibbs

Ten years ago, if you had asked my opinion about skydiving or airplane noise I would have replied with complete indifference. All that changed about five years ago when I began to notice planes flying constantly over my neighborhood, about 8 miles from the airport. I later learned that they were skydiving jump planes — climbing steeply and noisily, circling constantly yet never going anywhere. After joining with other concerned citizens throughout Boulder County, our efforts to reduce the community noise impact eventually led to a lawsuit against the skydiving company. That lawsuit, Citizens For Quiet Skies et al. vs Mile-Hi Skydiving concluded on May 21, with Judge LaBuda ruling in favor of Mile-Hi.

A critical juncture in the trial involved the judge's site visit to observe Mile-Hi's flights, which are conducted within an established "flight box." The flight box encompasses an 85-square-mile area south of the Longmont airport and includes Hygiene, Niwot and Gunbarrel. In the days leading up to the site visit, Mile-Hi was observed dramatically changing its flight patterns and flying far outside the box, even though the owner testified that they must remain inside it at all times. As we suspected, during the site visit the plane flew several miles outside the box, all the way to Hall Ranch near Lyons, completely bypassing the Gunbarrel observation site. The flight tracks can be viewed on WebTrak ( beacon code 0331) at 3:35 p.m. May 2, 2015. If Mile-Hi was not concerned about the level of noise from their operation, then why would they make such an effort to avoid flying anywhere near the judge?

Confident in their victory following the whisper-quiet site visit flights, Mile-Hi embarked on a curious journey that same evening at about 7:25 pm, circling repeatedly around a plaintiff's home near Prairie Fire Circle (also on webtrak). This abusive conduct was completely in line with the credible testimony presented by a Mile-Hi pilot who claimed that the owner, Frank Casares, had personally directed him to buzz the home of a plaintiff and purposely create excessive noise.

Contrary to statements made by Mile-Hi's public relations firm, Mile-Hi has shown no interest in being a good neighbor — in fact, just the opposite. Since the trial's conclusion, Mile-Hi has significantly increased their activities, flying as many as 3 noisy turboprop jump planes concurrently. They are starting earlier in the morning and continuing later into the evening. The community noise impact will only increase unless their operation is regulated. And finally, in an effort to silence me, they have threatened a libel action for sharing this completely accurate information via social media (details on Facebook).

There is a solution to this important quality of life issue — we must regain local control over skydiving operations and noise regulation. If this is an important issue for you, we invite you to learn more at

Original article can be found here:

Incident occurred June 05, 2015 in Laredo, Texas

U.S. and Mexican authorities are seeking suspects after a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter was fired upon and forced to make an emergency landing in Laredo.  

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter was shot at Friday evening near La Bota Ranch, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said.

Cuellar said that out of the five shots, two were confirmed to have hit the helicopter.

Border Patrol spokesperson Sara Melendez said the helicopter landed safely and no injuries were reported.

It has not been confirmed if the shots were fired on the U.S. or Mexico side.


Incident occurred June 06, 2015 on the Ottawa River

A small float plane made an emergency landing on the Ottawa River early Saturday afternoon and its two occupants escaped with minor injuries, Gatineau firefighters say.

The emergency landing happened at about 12:30 p.m. on the Ottawa River.

The two people inside the plane were helped to shore by boaters who were nearby at the time.

The people in the plane suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital, Gatineau police said.

On the Ontario side of the river, the scene was just east of Cumberland, Ont., near Canaan Road. On the Quebec side of the river, where the occupants of the plane were taken to, the scene was off du Fer à Cheval Road.


Zenith 601XLB, N274AJ: Accident occurred June 06, 2015 near Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport (E38), Alpine, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA263
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 06, 2015 in Alpine, TX
Aircraft: BELCHER JIM B ZENITH 601XLB, registration: N274AJ
Injuries: 1 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 aircraft accident report.

On June 6, 2015, at 0820 central daylight time, an amateur-built Zenith 601XLB, N274AJ, collided with a residential carport in Alpine, Texas, following a loss of engine power during cruise flight. The sport pilot was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to the pilot and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a post maintenance test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from Alpine Casparis Municipal Airport (E38), Alpine, Texas, about 0810.

The pilot, who is also an airframe and powerplant mechanic and the aircraft builder, stated the engine was experiencing low oil pressure. He stated he worked on the oil system the day prior to the accident and taxied the airplane for about 20 minutes. The engine operated normally during the taxi tests. The following day he took off on the post maintenance test flight and everything operated normally. About 10 minutes after takeoff, the engine started to sputter then lost all power. 

The pilot selected a small open area in which to land. During the forced landing approach, the pilot saw wires across the flight path, so he elected to fly under them. The airplane contacted the lowest wire and the airplane nosed down into the carport alongside a residence.

Alpine emergency crews responded to a plane crash around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

According to the Alpine Fire Department, the single engine experimental airplane nose dived into a carport attached to a residence. The home was not damaged in the crash. 

The pilot of the plane, Jim Bob Belcher of Alpine, suffered non life threatening injuries and was treated at the scene. 

Belcher stated that the plane engine lost power on its way back to the Alpine Casparis Municipal Airport. 

Alpine Police and the FAA are investigating. 

Incident occurred June 06, 2015 at Bob Hope Airport (KBUR), Burbank, California

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a minor accident involving two Southwest Airlines planes at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank Saturday.

Flight 4721 was pushing back from the gate when it bumped wings with Flight 2183 on the tarmac.

None of the passengers onboard the Southwest Airlines flights to Sacramento and Phoenix were injured. 

Passengers deplaned the Boeing 737 aircraft and were loaded onto buses. They are currently being rebooked onto other flights.

Both planes were taken out of service for repairs and inspection. 

The accident did not affect other operations at the airport.

"Our employees are working as quickly as possible to re-accommodate all customers. Safety is our number one focus and we will conduct an internal review to identify the details surrounding today's event," a Southwest Airlines spokesman said.

Story and video:

Cessna 182 Skylane, V3-HHT, Tropic Air: Accident occurred June 02, 2015 in the Caribbean Sea near Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Lindsay Garbutt, Director of Civil Aviation

The Department of Civil Aviation is proceeding with an official probe into a plane crash earlier this week involving a Tropic Air flight en route to the Bay Islands of Honduras. 

The investigation is set to continue as soon as the submerged aircraft is removed from the crash site. 

To do so requires a joint effort with the Department of the Environment, as well as a salvage company. 

On Tuesday evening, a Cessna 182 Skylane aircraft, piloted by Denfield Borland, flew out of the Phillip Goldson International Airport en route to Roatan when it began experiencing mechanical problems mid-flight.  

While Borland was able to relay that information to air traffic control at the P.G.I.A., he was unable to avoid an emergency landing.  

The aircraft, along with its pilot and two passengers, Honduran national Eddie Bodden and American national Arthur Rogers, dove into the Caribbean Sea near Lighthouse Reef.  

All three survivors escaped unharmed and were later rescued by a search party comprised of coast guard assets and Audubon Society park rangers sitting atop the aircraft. 

This afternoon, News Five sat down with Director of Civil Aviation, Lindsay Garbutt, who gave us more information on the inquiry.

Lindsay Garbutt, Director of Civil Aviation:   “We are going through an extremely thorough investigation.  This accident took place, as you know, at Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Caye, several, many, many miles from Belize.  The airplane is in the water so there is a process that we are looking at now how we salvage this airplane so we can begin that part of our investigation.”

Isani Cayetano:  “What does that entail in terms of either deploying your resources into the area to retrieve the aircraft from the water?  What all does that take logistically or in terms of manpower or what have you?”

Lindsay Garbutt:  “Well first of all we’re working with the Department of the Environment to make sure and with a salvage company to make sure that the removal causes as little or no damage as possible to the environment.  Once that is done the plane is brought to Belize City and the department then goes through a careful investigation.  We are in contact with the manufacturers and whatever it is that we need to do in terms of the engine so we can get a thorough knowledge of exactly what occurred.”

Isani Cayetano:  “Would this be one of those cases where black box data is required to fully understand what transpired with the actual mechanical failure or what have you?”

Lindsay Garbutt:   “One of the reasons I said we are working with the manufacturers is that we are going to go through a very thorough process, whatever it is that they advise that is necessary that we can get an understanding of what the causes were we are going to do.”

Story and photos:

Ayres S2R-T34 Thrush, Morris Ag Air, N4018Q: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2015 near Blythe Airport (KBLH), California

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA176
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 02, 2015 in Blythe, CA
Aircraft: AYRES CORPORATION S2R T34, registration: N4018Q
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 June 2, 2015, about 1045 Pacific daylight time, an Ayres Corporation S2R-T34, N4018Q, departed controlled flight and collided with terrain during a low pass in a field near Blythe, California. Morris Ag Air & Sons, Inc., was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The local aerial application flight departed about 1015. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed.

The pilot was in radio contact with a spotter, who witnessed the accident and was also employed by the operator. He stated that the pilot departed about 0730 and had already sprayed one load of chemical. He reloaded and sprayed two fields with the accident location intended to be the last spray of that trip. The spotter had driven ahead to the accident field and was waiting for the airplane to come from the southerly adjacent field. The pilot made a transmission to the spotter asking what the wind conditions were at the field. The spotter replied by telling him that there was a light wind from the southwest.

The spotter further stated that he witnessed the airplane coming from the north and clear the powerlines on the south perimeter of the field. The airplane then pitched in a nose-high attitude consistent with the pilot's normal operation of pushing the chemical toward the spread doors. The airplane continued to climb in a near vertical ascent until reaching about 500 feet above ground level (agl), at which point it transitioned into a nose-low vertical decent and collided into the field.


Traver Ryan Buckelew

The pilot of a crop duster who died Tuesday when his plane crashed into an alfalfa field near Blythe has been identified as Yuma native Traver Ryan Buckelew.

A witness told deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department-Colorado River Station that the plane was spraying an alfalfa field with herbicide about 10:49 a.m. when it crashed in the field located along Seeley Avenue, west of Neighbours Boulevard, in an unincorporated area near Blythe.

Upon arrival, deputies and emergency personnel located the plane down with the pilot still inside, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The area was cleared of all personnel until members of the Riverside County Hazardous Materials Team could decontaminate the location. Once decontaminated, the scene was turned over to investigators.

Personnel from Cal Fire, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department-Colorado River Station, BLM, the coroner’s office, hazardous materials team, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to investigate the crash.

The crash’s cause will be determined by the NTSB and FAA.

Buckelew, 47, grew up working in agriculture in the Yuma Valley and combined his love of flying with crop dusting, according to an obituary with Desert Valley Mortuary.

A funeral service will be held on June 14 at 11 a.m. at Desert Valley Mortuary, 138 N. Avenue B, Somerton.

Traver Ryan Buckelew of Yuma, Arizona
Born: October 28, 1967
Died: June 02, 2015


Yuma native, Traver Ryan Buckelew tragically died in an ag plane accident on June 2nd in Blythe, California. Traver was born on October 28, 1967 to Roberta and Gary Buckelew. 

He grew up working in agriculture in the Yuma Valley and combined his love of flying with crop dusting. Traver’s passion was his Cessna 172, and his Scottie dogs, especially Baron. Traver was an avid runner and loved hiking Telegraph Pass. Traver had a great many friends and will be remembered as a kind, generous and loyal man. 

Traver was preceded in death by his father Gary Buckelew. He is survived by his wife Brandi, his mother Roberta Buckelew, sister Dana Hewitt (Brian), brother Brent Buckelew (Mario), nephew Erik Hewitt (Danielle), great-nephew Merrik Hewitt, and many cousins. 

A funeral service will be held on Sunday, June 14th at 11:00 AM at Desert Valley Mortuary 138 N. Avenue B, Somerton, Arizona 85350 with minister Tamara Wagner officiating. Interment will follow at Yuma Pioneer Cemetery. 

Pallbearers will be Brent Buckelew, Justin Buckelew, Erik Hewitt, Rick Smith, Tom Bastien, Marcos Moore, Miles Morris, Phil Ekdahl, Ed Whitehead, Ryan McGuire, Cesar Dominguez, Les Briggs, Erik Lohman, Ronnie Van Why, Carvin Bryant,and Johnny Massey.