Thursday, June 25, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration complaint may cost Peter Prince Field Airport (2R4), Milton, Florida

The Federal Aviation Administration has determined Santa Rosa County practiced economic discrimination between the two fixed-base operators at the county-owned Peter Prince Field in Milton, requiring the county to develop a corrective action plan in order to maintain eligibility for federal grant funding.

The conclusion was the result of a formal complaint filed by Aircraft Management Services against the county in 2012 alleging "more favorable" lease terms were given to Peter Prince Aviation Center — formerly Milton Aviation Partners, — a violation of grant obligations at the airport, according to FAA.

After review of AMS's claims, the county's responses and its request to dismiss the complaint, FAA decided that the county agreed to "unjustly discriminatory terms and conditions" in PPAC's lease.

But officials at Peter Prince Aviation Center disagree with FAA's findings, claiming any economic discrimination has been against their company, not AMS, and they are making plans to file a formal complaint of their own with FAA if a fair agreement cannot be reached.

Among the differences in AMS and PPAC's leases is the cost per square foot for office space and maintenance/supply space, both of which are higher for the complainant. AMS pays the county $1 per square foot for office space, compared with 50 cents for PPAC — however, Peter Prince Aviation asserts that it pays for a bigger portion of its buildings than AMS.

Other discrepancies include flowage fees, which are paid by AMS to the county per gallon of fuel sold, and required hours of operation for the companies, which vary between the two leases.

Santa Rosa County is obligated to comply with grant assurances, including economic nondiscrimination, according to the FAA. Peter Prince Field has been funded in part by grants from FAA's Airport Improvement Program, receiving about $3.4 million in AIP grants since 1990, according to County Engineer Roger Blaylock.

If those grants were lost, the impact to the airfield would be "immeasurable," Blaylock said, but would include an estimated $2 million to $3 million for an upcoming runway rehabilitation project, of which FAA would pay about 90 percent. The county is also eligible for another $150,000 annually for qualified projects, including safety improvements.

"It's huge, huge money," Blaylock said. "And if we had to fund that out of the airport, that's going to be a financial burden."

The corrective action plan is due to the Orlando Airports District Office by June 26, but County Attorney Roy Andrews said a 60-day extension has been requested to resolve the issues.

"The direction from the FAA is to make sure both fixed-base operators out there are treated equally and there's no type of economic discrimination with either one of them," Andrews said. "We don't think we did, but we are looking at the terms of the leases to make sure we bring all the provisions in line so they are essentially equal."

Blaylock, who manages the airfield, said the plan will address FAA's findings from AMS's complaints.

"We are in discussion with both MAP and AMS as it relates to a possible modified lease," Blaylock said.

AMS was the first fixed-base operation at the field, approved by the county commission in 2001, joined in 2011 by MAP, later renamed PPAC.

In a response to the FAA, Santa Rosa County contested that the two FBOs are "differently situated," and therefore not subject to being treated in a uniform manner.

The FAA determined the argument to be "without merit," stating the services provided by the two FBOs are similar in type and level of service. Both operations run flight schools for military members and civilians, also offering fuel services and runway access to pilots.

"In this case, the two FBOs were, without adequate justification, not subject to the same lease rates, fees (flowage fee), rentals, and other requirements such as difference in the required leasehold square footage, and operating hours/schedule," FAA concluded.

But partners at PPAC claim FAA isn't getting the full picture by looking solely at what's shown on the leases. Although PPAC does not pay flowage fees to the county on fuel sold, AMS uses a county fuel farm, while PPAC constructed its own, according to the county.

"We have been made to look like we have gotten some kind of sweet deal from the county, when in fact, that's not true," said Bruce Young, a partner at PPAC.

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

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD) leads country in flights, also delays, new aviation commissioner admits

Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans talks with reporters about O'Hare Airport Wednesday, June 24, 2015.



O’Hare International Airport not only leads the country in total flights but also in delays, the city’s new aviation commissioner bluntly conceded to a gathering Thursday at the City Club of Chicago.

The “flip side” of O’Hare reclaiming the “busiest airport” title for total 2014 operations from Atlanta is that “Chicago also leads the way in delayed flights,’’ Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans said.

“This is where it’s important to remember we’re in a consumer business, and consumers have choices,” said Evans, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pick to replace Rosemarie Andolino as of June 1.

However, Evans noted at the beginning of her address, “I like to tackle big gnarly challenges.” And, she added toward the end, “I work every Sunday.”

Evans’ comments come after O’Hare repeatedly has sat near the bottom of the nation’s 29 major airports in on-time performance despite an $8.7 billion O’Hare modernization program that promised to reduce delays in all kinds of weather, based on a new east-to-west traffic flow.

Emanuel on Thursday introduced Evans to the City Club breakfast crowd by saying her task was to make O’Hare “the best airport in America.”

Evans suggested reviewing the entire basis of the 2001 modernization plan that Emanuel inherited from predecessor Richard M. Daley, especially in light of developments since then.

That includes the 2007 emergence of the Airbus 380, something Evans called “one of the most significant developments in aviation over the past decade.” The world’s largest commercial aircraft boasts a double-deck interior, high seat capacity and lower cost-per-mile seats, making it ideal for very long flights that let travelers avoid multiple stops, Evans said.

Yet, Evans said, O’Hare does not have any A380 gates, although it’s planning one. Other airports are on their “second or third round” of adding them, she said.

Evans called for more O’Hare gates and airfield improvements to reduce delays and maximize performance. She said she is looking at “eight different solutions” on reducing jet noise complaints and reading every previous study on bringing an express train to O’Hare.

Evans comes to her aviation post amid O’Hare’s ongoing shift from heavy use of diagonal runways that send traffic over the northern and southern suburbs, to large reliance on parallel runways that bring in flights from the east and send them out to the west.

The new flight paths first hit in October 2013, when most arrivals started flying over the city to enter O’Hare and departing the airport over Wood Dale and Bensenville. Jet noise complaints have skyrocketed to record levels ever since.

In her remarks to the City Club, Evans seemed to rule out keeping two diagonal runways that the Fair Allocation in Runways coalition and others contend should be used to spread out air traffic more evenly. She clearly backed adding a sixth parallel runway that has yet to be financed.

A diagonal runway originally due for decommissioning intersects with another diagonal runway and a parallel runway to form a triangle on the airfield.

“First and foremost, O’Hare’s triangular runway pattern — with runways in three directions — has to go,” Evans told the City Club. “It is inefficient, outdated and, frankly, not as safe a configuration. . . . These new parallel runways are essential for maximizing safety at our busy airports.”

However, asked after her address if she favored decommissioning two diagonal runways that a new bill would allow to stay open, Evans was measured.

“We’re evaluating some aspects of closing those runways through the summer,” Evans said. “We’ll take a position on that in late summer or early fall.”

Original article can be found here:  http://chicago.suntimes.com

City of Phoenix Releases Report From Investigation Regarding Federal Aviation Administration Flight Path Changes

Flight departures to the west of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport prior to September 18th. (Blue indicates new flight path.)
(Photo courtesy of City of Phoenix) 



Four aviation department employees have been disciplined after an investigation found they knew about the Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to change the flight paths at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The investigation was prompted by a rumor that a lower level employee was involved in the design and implementation of the flight paths, but didn’t tell his boss.

The report reads that statements made by an FAA official about aviation department employee, James Davies, generated the "instant" investigation.

The official alleged that Davies helped design the flight paths and, on behalf of Sky Harbor, approved them.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said the FAA deliberately reached out to a lower level employee within the organization, and did not contact any senior aviation employees.

"Our highest level directors talked regularly with the FAA officials," said Zuercher. "That was what was so puzzling about it. This was going on, and they never brought this up to our folks. That’s the problem here."

Zuercher also said four employees have been disciplined, including former acting aviation director Tamie Fischer, who was reassigned to her previous position of assistant aviation director.

"And she has a one week suspension without pay," he added. "Three other employees in the organization have a variety of things from a reprimand to suspension, and one has a demotion."

Zuercher said Deputy City Manager Paul Blue will serve as the aviation director starting Monday.

Earlier this month, Phoenix filed a lawsuit against the FAA over the changes.

Original article can be found here:  http://kjzz.org


Flight arrivals to the west of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport prior to September 18th. (Blue indicates new flight path.)
 (Photo courtesy of City of Phoenix)

Moline schools tell appellate judges Elliott Aviation tax break is unconstitutional

OTTAWA, Illinois -- A panel of Third District Illinois Appellate Court Justices will decide if a tax break granted by law to benefit Elliott Aviation is constitutional.

Attorneys for the Moline School District, Elliott Aviation and the state made oral arguments Wednesday before the panel in Ottawa. 

Justice Robert Carter said the court will take the matter under advisement and issue an opinion sometime in the future. The panel also included Justice Vicki Wright and Justice William Holdridge.

The case was filed by the school district in March 2012, about a month after former Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law exempting any fixed base operator (FBO) at the Quad City International Airport from paying property taxes.

Elliott Aviation -- the only FBO at the airport -- asked legislators to consider the exemption, saying the company could move an expansion it planned in Moline to its facility in Des Moines, where it would not have to pay property taxes.

The school district filed the lawsuit against the state, county and township officials. It contended the exemption violated provisions of the Illinois Constitution and would deprive it of $150,000 in annual in property taxes.

In May 2013, the Rock Island Circuit Court issued an injunction forbidding local and state taxing authorities from granting the tax break until the lawsuit was resolved.

In August, Elliott Aviation asked to intervene in the lawsuit. The company and the school district requested a summary judgment, and in December 2013, Circuit Court Judge Frank Fuhr ruled the tax break was constitutional and dissolved the injunction.

The school district asked the court to reconsider. In December 2014, Judge Fuhr ruled against reconsideration and the school district filed the appeal.

During the hearing Wednesday, school district attorney Floyd Perkins said the tax break violates the constitution because it is a special exemption, narrowly granted to FBOs at the Moline airport, instead of FBOs across the state.

He said there are plenty of FBOs in Illinois, as well as businesses in Moline and Rock Island County, that would like to pay less in property taxes and could say they would use that savings to expand their businesses and add jobs. However, the law signed by the former Gov. Quinn is too narrow and restrictive to allow any company to do that, he said.

State law also requires uniformity in taxation, and Mr. Perkins said the exemption is a blatant lack of uniformity. Tax code requires for-profit businesses to pay property taxes on any land they are leasing from a government body. Elliott Aviation is not required to pay property taxes, but all of the other businesses that are leasing land from the airport are required to do so.

Elliott Aviation attorney Jason O'Rourke said Judge Fuhr found the company is uniquely situated.

Mr. O'Rourke said the school district provided no evidence of another FBO in Illinois that was considering a large expansion and had a facility in a neighboring state where they could move the expansion and be exempt from paying property taxes. 

Justice Wright said it seemed a "little bullish" of Elliott Aviation to threaten to move its expansion, and the law includes no language requiring or obligating the company to follow through with its expansion.

Mr. O'Rourke said Elliott Aviation did not threaten, but rather there was a real threat facing the community that it could happen. Mr. O'Rourke said information about company's economic impact on the county was provided to the court. 

He said economic benefit meets the "rational basis" test on which special legislation can be created, and it was done to bring additional jobs to the county and state.  

Assistant Attorney General Evan Siegel said the school district did not meet the burden of proof for a constitutional challenge. The airport is a unit of government and Elliott Aviation should be viewed as an arm of that government, because the company is providing the same functions as the airport, but to general aviation customers instead of the public. 

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cessna T303 Crusader, HK-4677G: Accident occurred June 20, 2015 near Alto Baudó, Colombia

 Nelly Murillo is put on a trolley as she and her baby arrive in Quibdo, Choco department in Colombia on June 24, 2015, after the aircraft in which they were traveling crashed four days earlier in the forest



Bogota (AFP) - A mother and her infant son who disappeared in a plane crash in the dense jungles of northwestern Colombia several days ago were found alive and well in what authorities called a "miracle."

Nelly Murillo, 18, and her son Yudier Moreno, not yet one year old, were near the site where the Cessna 303 crashed on Saturday in thick brush.

"It's a miracle. It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident," Colonel Hector Carrascal, commander of the Colombian Air Force in Antioquia department, told AFP on Wednesday.

"His mother's spirit must have given him strength to survive."

Murillo and her baby were taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, said Carrascal, adding that he was stunned they were alive.  

"The lady has injuries and minor burns and apparently the child is unharmed," the Colombian Air Force said in a statement.

The plane's pilot, Captain Carlos Mario Ceballos, died in the crash and rescuers found his body in the aircraft.

They discovered the doors of the plane ajar and suspected that survivors may have clambered out.

A 14-person search-and-rescue team scoured the dense forest for several days before finding the mother and child.

The plane was traveling between Nuqui and Quibdo in northwest Colombia when it crashed.

Investigators were looking at the cause.

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

Work at Davenport Municipal Airport (KDVN) underway as expansion plans move forward



The Davenport Municipal Airport is making way for more customers. Along the way, roads will be relocated for a runway expansion. 

 “Right now what they’re doing is they’re taking the building right down to its skeleton,” said Davenport Airport Manager Thomas Vesalga.

A rebuilt hangar is just the first step along the way. Heart of America group is giving a hangar at the Davenport Municipal Airport a fresh face, and is spending $400,000 on the work. Airport officials say it’s that kind of investment that could attract more businesses.

“They’re going to see this new building, they’re going to see the improvements we’re making around the airport, and they’ll come to us and want to build their own hangars. And as they do, we’re hoping for a snowball effect that more and more corporations will come,” Vesalga added.

Those improvements include extending the runway by 1,600 feet. Right now there are 28,000 take offs and landings every year at the airport.

“With that, we’ll be able to bring in larger aircraft and we’re hoping to be able to attract bigger businesses. Aircraft for cargo capabilities, business jet refurbishing companies,” said Vesalga.

The expanded runway means rerouting will take place on Slopertown Road as well as Buttermilk Road north of the airport. The airport will have to use federal money to buy private land in order to expand the runway. Negotiations with those landowners have already started.

The entire project is expected to be finished by 2021.

Story and video:  http://wqad.com

Pilot landing in Des Moines reports laser strike on jet

DES MOINES, Iowa —A scare for a Delta pilot flying into the Des Moines International Airport on Tuesday night.

Authorities are investigating a laser strike on the aircraft.

The flight from Minneapolis was on approach to land when the pilot said a bright green laser light burst into the cockpit. It was the only flight to report the problem.

Delta pilot Donald Julius steered clear of the possible threat, coming from the ground possibly near the Iowa State Capitol building. It was fixed on the aircraft for about 25 seconds as the pilot ducted to prevent eye damage.

Des Moines Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley said that this is not the first time an aircraft was attacked here by a bright green laser.

He believes the aircraft was intentionally targeted, as the number of incidents reached a record last year with nearly 4,000 laser strikes on airplanes across the country.

The FAA said this is a very serious crime.

The FAA is asking for everyone's help with this case and urges you to call police if you see anyone beaming a laser to the sky.

The maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for pointing a laser beam at a jet.

Story and video:  http://www.kcci.com

Missing Dornier 228 exposes aviation safety loopholes

 By Capt Mohan Ranganathan

On March 8, 2014 the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean, and there has been no trace of it despite a massive search operation.

On June 9, the Coast Guard's Dornier aircraft also went missing off Tamil Nadu coast, raising serious concerns, not relating to just the defense forces but also for civil aviation. How are the two interlinked? The MH370 victims' families from Tamil Nadu were not even contacted or taken care of by the country's civil aviation authorities.

The recent appeal of Deepa Lakshmi, wife of flight deputy commander Subash Suresh who was on board the missing Dornier aircraft, to prime minister Narendra Modi exposes the lack of concern and compassion on the part of aviation officials. It is obvious that the system, both in civil and military aviation, lacks the human touch.

In the MH370 event, the aircraft reportedly flew close to 200km from Port Blair before flying south. It was not discovered because there was no working radar in the Andamans during night. Thus, government claims about secure borders and high vigilance levels lie exposed.

In this context, I would like to highlight a report submitted by a former member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council more than four years ago.

He reported that in case an aircraft crashes into the sea, there was an agreement with the Coast Guard at Trivandrum. Chennai airport does not have a facility to carry out search and rescue operation.Coast Guard also asked for 30 to 45 minutes advance notice during office hours and 60 to 90 minutes advance notice during non-working hours, he reported. This is unacceptable as the safety of passengers and their rescue in water depends on the speed of response.

Initial reports about the Dornier indicated that the ATC radar tracked it at 9,000ft, about 130km south of Chennai. There was a sudden drop of altitude of about 200ft before the aircraft disappeared from the radar screen.  A drop of 200ft is possible with a sudden loss of power on one engine, based on the levels of experience of the pilots. The question is: "Did they lose an engine or did the engine explode?" Reports of an explosion and fireball noticed by local fishermen add credibility to this theory . The Dornier aircraft must be carrying satellite communication equipment as they do fly at very low altitude over waters, to keep constant touch with the base station. The sudden stoppage of signals can be confirmed from Immersat and the Naval authorities must be aware of where the last signal came from. If the aircraft was destroyed by an explosion, there will be debris close to that position. Our inability to mount a successful search and rescue operation - in not-so-deep waters -stands exposed and it is for the government to address this on a war footing. Mere words won't help. Immediate proactive action is required to develop regional systems for search and rescue operations.

(The author is an aviation expert)

Original article can be found here:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Ride-sharing takes to the skies




Ride-sharing services are reaching cruising altitude — at least for high flyers.

Two firms with South Florida roots have created apps that allow celebrities, wealthy entrepreneurs and other high-net-worth travelers to fly private at a fraction of the price of buying or even chartering a private aircraft.

On some routes, the price is about the same as a last-minute refundable first-class seat on a commercial plane. On the popular Miami-to-New York run, for instance, a one-way seat costs around $1,000. Well, after the initiation fee.

And flying private means no winding check-in lines, unpredictable cancellations and other hassles that can go with commercial flight.

“Aviation wasn’t meant to be that way,” said Sergey Petrossov, the founder of Miami-based Jet Smarter, a service-oriented technology company seeking to make private jets accessible to more consumers. “It’s supposed to be a fun experience. We’re trying to bring aviation back to its roots.”

Both Jet Smarter and locally funded Wheels Up recently launched apps to facilitate filling empty seats on private charters. JetSmarter has a jet shuttle service from Fort Lauderdale to New York, while Wheels Up lets members who have chartered a jet offer empty seats up to other members. JetSmarter’s most popular route out of South Florida is to New York and includes free helicopter transfers to Manhattan, while Wheels Up flies frequently to New York; Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, and Augusta, Georgia.

In and out of South Florida, Jet Smarter charters 5 to 10 flights a day, while Wheels Up charters 10 to 20.

“People who have reached that level want to hang out with each other,” said Justin Firestone, one of Wheels Up’s founding partners and a Miami-native. “You don’t get Six-Pack Joe on the airplane.” The New York-based membership service is backed by South Floridians including Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez, catcher Mike Piazza (who played briefly for the Marlins), entrepreneur Melissa Krinzman, Chico’s former CEO Scott Edmonds and tycoon Thomas Oakley.

Wheels Up flies on a fleet of 35 new King Air 350i turboprops. Round, aqua-tinted windows dim the cabin. Pull-out drawers are filled with bottles of Fiji water, San Pellegrino, Hill Family wine and Aviano tequila. The nine passenger seats are nappa leather. A one-time family or corporate membership fee starting at $17,500 and annual fees from $8,500 plus the cost of flight time. The service also offers flights on its fleet of nine-passenger Citation/XLS jets. Both planes can pick up passengers from any airport in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

If members wants to lower their cost, they can post empty seats on a flight on the Wheels Up app. When all the seats are taken, a trip on the King Air 350i from Miami to New York — which typically costs about $11,850 — drops to about $1,320 per person. If available seats don’t fill up, a member can cancel the flight without penalty.

With JetSmarter, travelers pay $8,500 per year plus charter fees. That cost includes its new weekend JetShuttle from Fort Lauderdale to New York on Friday and back on Sunday. A charter costs about $10,000 from Miami to New York for members — about $1,250 per person — and $13,000 for non-members, or $1,625 per seat. Flights are on eight-seat leased jets.

Until the 1990s, the only way to fly privately was to buy a jet or charter one. NetJets, owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, popularized fractional jet ownership. That company does not have any plans to explore ride-sharing, according to a spokeswoman.

Miami-based Unity Jets, isn’t planning on expanding into jet-sharing either because, president Kevin Dieman said, turning a private jet into something like a bus “really takes away the private jet experience.” Unity Jets is a private jet brokerage firm that began as a trip-by-trip alternative to fractional ownership.

After years of flying on fractionally owned jets, Joseph Kubicek, co-founder of Envision Realty Group, became a Jet Smarter member about six months ago. Envision has offices in New York and in Miami Beach, so the jet shuttle service was “icing on the cake,” he said.

“It’s still private air travel, it’s just sharing a jet with a few people you may not know,” Kubicek said. “Along the way, it’s also social. If anything, it’s an added feature.”

The by-the-seat sharing concept is the latest twist on expanding the private aviation market, said Brian Foley, an aviation industry market analyst with Brian Foley Associates.

“I don’t think any company really has the secret sauce,” Foley said. “Rather, what you’re seeing is just companies that are finding little niches.”

The opening of the market will give those with the discretionary funds to fly private more choices and, Foley said, an opportunity to escape the “hell” he called flying commercially.

“The best salespeople for these types of programs aren’t the charters or the [new] companies, the best salespeople are the commercial airlines,” Foley said, “because they have made flying so miserable for the general public.”

FLYING PRIVATELY

Two companies with South Florida ties are offering empty seats on private charters for costs similar to flying in a first-class commercial seat. Here’s the breakdown flying from South Florida to New York City, one way:

▪ JetSmarter, jetsmarter.com: From $1,250 per seat, one way to New York for members paying $8,500 per year, $1,625 for non members. On scheduled weekend jet shuttle, the cost is $1,845 one way for nonmembers but free for members. Flying time: 140 minutes.

▪ WheelsUp, wheelsup.com: From $1,320 one way, after a one-time initiation fee ($17,500 per family) and $8,500 annual fee in subsequent years. Flying time: About 3 hours.

▪ Refundable first-class commercial ticket: About $850 one way. Flying time: about 3 hours.

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

Who will employ pilots trained in Kenya?

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – As the country marks IATA Aviation day, John Ng’ang’a a locally trained pilot, is less concerned.

“I trained in a local aviation school in the country. However, I cannot find the job that I trained for since graduation,” he says.

He is not alone.

Young people are graduating yearly from Kenyan aviation institutions, but the availability of jobs for them in the industry is a major challenge.

“I am not the only one who remains unemployed. I have friends who graduated a year ago and are still tarmacking,” he says.

This is regardless of the money that he and his colleagues parted with to study.

For instance, to get a private pilot’s license from the Kenya School of Flying, a student parts with a minimum amount of Sh1, 044,260 while getting a commercial pilot’s license costs over Sh2.7million for the one year course.

But even with the high fee structure, students from local schools are more probable to get jobs with smaller airlines in Kenya which pay less than what their colleagues working for the national carrier get. The stripping off of accreditation of aviation schools in the country does not help the case either.

Kenya Airways, on its part, widely recruits trainees from South African schools such as 43 Air School in Port Elizabeth.

The school, which is by far the largest on location training fleet in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest live on campus facility on the continent, trains for the private, general commercial, airline and military sectors. Hence Kenya Airways’ preference for the school.

And the carrier goes to great length to see its staff train there.

In 2011, the carrier sent 45 of its Ab Initio Recruits to the school which is equally expensive.

According to a 2011 Facebook post on the company’s wall, trainee pilots received a student loan worth Sh5.4 million each from Co-operative bank payable upon the program completion and a guaranteed permanent job upon return.

The industry
Regardless of employment challenges, the aviation industry is promising.

“Africa is set to be one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years, with annual expansion averaging nearly 5 percent,” said International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Tony Tyler when marking Aviation Day.

More so, IATA projects African Airlines to post a collective profit of US$100million for a net margin of USD 1.59 per passenger, the thinnest of all regions which, although profitable, is relatively poor performance.

The US$80billion industry supports over six million jobs on the continent.

The 2011 report by IATA states that in Kenya, the industry employs forty six thousand jobs in Kenya with thirteen thousands jobs being directly supported by the sector, seventeen thousand from indirect supply chain of the sector and sixteen thousand jobs supported through the spending by the employees of the aviation sector and its supply chain.

“The demographics and economics of Africa’s fast-growing nations will lead to tremendous demand for air travel. But Africa’s aviation system needs to be ready,” Tyler says.

Tyler calls onto African Governments to open their skies. This will see liberalization of international aviation markets which would minimize government intervention while also adjusting regime under which military and other state-based flights maybe permitted.

To illustrate, a study commissioned by IATA in 2014 shows that an extra five million passengers a year would be generated through liberalizing the air markets between just twelve key African countries.

Hence IATA’s push for more African countries to open their skies by implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision.

But the industry is facing its own challenges.

For starters, there are ill-conceived regulations, which according to Tyler are dragging the industry’s progress.

“Taxes and charges on infrastructure and fuel are much higher in Africa than the global average. Over taxing fuel and air fare in an attempt to make high revenues is dragging the sector backwards,” he said.

He further explained that these types of taxation mean fewer flights within, into and out of the continent compared to other continents.

“We as IATA therefore urge governments to remove these taxes and put regulations that are friendly to players in the sector.”

Other challenges faced in the sector include poor safety oversight, restrictive air-services agreements and inadequate and costly infrastructure.

The national carrier has at the same time faced its fair share of problems with continuous losses over the last couple of years. This is reflecting badly on the industry in Kenya seeing that the carrier employs thousands of people directly and indirectly.

Kenya Airways also has to beat international carriers especially those from oil-rich countries such as Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways which generally have better packages that include more journey times, smoother connectivity and are perceived safer.

Locally

Aviation is however taking a new course locally.

For instance, private investors have been buying charter planes and rendering them to small local airlines guaranteeing them constant revenues.

Property developers are also using airstrips to add value into their property.

“Having an airstrip adds value to our golf course and property in general,” said General Manager of Vipingo Ridge Mike Round-Turner during a press event earlier this year.

He is not alone. Developers are simply taking advantage of a good property and increasing its value by adding an airstrip alluding that the place is in deed of high value.

The aviation industry has also seen considerable investment locally from politicians who use them during political campaigns.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.capitalfm.co.ke

Monday, June 22, 2015

Czech Sport PiperSport, N35EP: Accident occurred June 21, 2015 near Topsail Airpark (01NC), Holly Ridge, North Carolina

Dillard Martin Powell of Cary was killed June 21, 2015 while flying his plane near Topsail Island. Powell, a World War II veteran and lawyer, was 89. COURTESY POWELL FAMILY 
~

Dillard Powell served in World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and serving in the division that crippled German forces by uniting with the Red Army on the Elbe River. Powell manned anti-tank guns and earned numerous accolades, including two Bronze Stars. 
COURTESY OF POWELL FAMILY





The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina
Air Accidents Investigation Institute
Czech Sport Aircraft

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


http://registry.faa.gov/N35EP


NTSB Identification: ERA15FA245

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 21, 2015 in Holly Ridge, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/12/2017
Aircraft: CZECH SPORT AIRCRAFT AS PIPER SPORT, registration: N35EP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.


Earlier on the day of the accident, a condition inspection of the light-sport airplane had been completed, and the purpose of the flight was to relocate the airplane to its home base airport. About 1500, the pilot’s wife dropped the pilot off at the airport. The temperature was in the “upper 90s,” and, since the airplane was equipped with a clear cockpit canopy, it would have been hot inside of the airplane. According to the pilot’s wife, it was the pilot’s habit to leave the canopy up when it was hot until he was ready to depart.


About 1530, the pilot called his wife from the airplane before he took off and advised her that it would take him 15 minutes to fly to the home base airport and that he would wait for her to pick him up in the air-conditioned office of the fixed-base operator (FBO) at the field. However, when she arrived at the FBO, he was not there. A search was initiated, and the airplane wreckage was found in a wooded area about 1.1 miles west of the departure airport. Recorded data downloaded from a portable GPS unit that was onboard the airplane revealed that the airplane was airborne about 1 minute before reaching a peak GPS altitude of 309 ft and a derived groundspeed of 104 knots. This was the final recorded position. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the airplane struck trees in a steep, nose-low attitude and that the pilot was ejected from the cockpit. Examination of the damage to the canopy, the cockpit sill, and the canopy locking mechanism indicated that the canopy was not closed and locked when the airplane impacted the trees. This most likely occurred due to the pilot delaying closing of the canopy due to the high temperature (as was his habit) and then forgetting to lock it. Although the airplane’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook advised that the canopy could not be closed in flight and that there would be no change of flight characteristics with the canopy open, it is likely that the pilot was attempting to close the canopy in flight and lost control of the airplane, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent into the trees.


The pilot’s four-point harness was intact and attached to its attachment fittings; however, the center buckle assembly was found unlatched. This may have been the result of the pilot forgetting to buckle the harness, or he may have unlatched it so he could reach the canopy sill and/or the latching mechanism in an attempt to close the canopy in flight. Other indicators that the pilot may have been in a hurry to get airborne due to the high temperature included his failure to arm the emergency locator transmitter, which was found in the “off” position, and to remove the ballistic recovery system activation handle safety pin with its “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT” flag, which was found in place. The pilot’s autopsy revealed that his heart was mildly enlarged, and his coronary arteries were significantly narrowed by atherosclerotic plaques. Microscopic evaluation of heart tissue also demonstrated mild interstitial fibrosis. Toxicological testing revealed medications that were consistent with the pilot’s heart disease. Although the pilot’s heart disease put him at risk for physical symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or a heart rhythm that could not produce enough blood pressure to stay awake, neither the heart disease nor his medications would have impaired his judgment or increased his risk of becoming distracted by the canopy issue. Thus, the pilot’s medical conditions and medications most likely did not contribute to the cause of this accident.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control after the cockpit canopy opened during initial climb. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to securely lock the canopy before takeoff.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On June 21, 2015, about 1532 eastern daylight time, a Czech Sport Aircraft Piper Sport, N35EP, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control during climb after departing from Topsail Airpark (01NC), Holly Ridge, North Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight, which was destined for the Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ), Jacksonville, North Carolina.


According to his wife, on the day of the accident, the pilot went to the airport to check on the airplane after they had lunch together. When he arrived at the airport, he met with the mechanic who was completing the condition inspection on the airplane, paid him for his services, and received a receipt. The pilot then went home but planned to return later and fly the airplane back to OAJ where it was based.


About 1500, the pilot's wife dropped him off at the airport. The temperature was in the "upper 90s;" the humidity was high, and there was little or no breeze. According to the pilot's wife, due to the airplane's "clear roof" (canopy), it would get hot inside of the airplane, and it was her husband's habit to leave the canopy up when it was hot until he was ready to depart.


The pilot's wife reported that he called her from the airplane before he took off at 1524 and advised her that it would take 45 minutes for her to reach OAJ, and he would be there in 15 minutes. He also advised her that he would meet her in the air-conditioned office of the fixed base operator (FBO) at OAJ. However, when she arrived at the FBO, he was not there.


At 1711, one of the two mechanics who had performed the condition inspection on the airplane received a call from the owner of 01NC who said that he had received a telephone call from the pilot's wife and that the pilot had not arrived at OAJ. The mechanic determined that the airplane was not at 01NC. After not finding the airplane around the area adjacent to the airport, the mechanic called 911. A search for the airplane by federal, state, and local authorities was initiated. About 2130, the wreckage of the airplane was discovered in a wooded area about 1.1 miles west of 01NC.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on July 24, 2013. He reported on that date that he had accrued 1,850 total hours of flight experience.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


The light-sport airplane was a single-engine, low-wing monoplane of conventional metal construction. It was equipped with a fixed-tricycle undercarriage with a castering nose wheel, and was powered by a 100-horsepower, Rotax 912 ULS engine, driving a three-bladed Woodcomp ground-adjustable propeller.


The fuselage consisted of a semi-monocoque structure. The cockpit frame and canopy frame were constructed of carbon fiber. The canopy was made of Plexiglass. It was hinged at the front and was equipped with a sliding window on each side.


The fuselage also contained a ballistic recovery system (BRS) with a parachute to be deployed in case of emergency. The BRS consisted of a rocket-deploying container that was located just forward of the cockpit in the nose section of the fuselage. A cable ran from this container to an activation handle just to the right of the pilot's seat on the instrument panel. Once the activation handle had been pulled, the rocket would exit the fuselage and accelerate away from the airplane. After the parachute was completely extracted and exposed to the relative wind, it would begin to inflate, generating drag forces to decelerate the airplane. When the parachute had fully deployed, the airplane would descend at a rate of about 1,000 to 1,500 ft per minute.


According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2010. Its most recent condition inspection was completed on the day of the accident. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 74.7 total hours of operation.


According to one of the two mechanics who performed the condition inspection, on June 19, 2015, the pilot flew the airplane to 01NC on a ferry permit. The ferry permit was required because the pilot had been sick and could not fly the airplane somewhere to have the condition inspection performed when it was due.


On June 20, 2015, the two mechanics began the condition inspection. On that date, the pilot advised the mechanics that he had accidently "put oil" into the coolant fill port on top of the engine because he thought the oil level was low. The mechanics flushed the cooling system and added new coolant. The mechanics also noticed that the bushings holding the radiator onto the engine were cracked and replaced them.


The pilot told the mechanics that the engine oil had been changed 23 hours earlier and that the oil should not be changed. The mechanics then discovered that the spark plugs needed cleaning, but, after advising the pilot of the cost of new spark plugs, the pilot had them install new plugs instead of cleaning the old ones.


According to the mechanic, on the day of the accident, as part of the inspection, to the mechanics opened all the inspection panels on the airplane, closed them, and the airplane was returned to service about 1400. The mechanics then locked up the hangar and went home.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION


At 1556, the recorded weather at the New River Marine Corps Air Station (NCA), Jacksonville, North Carolina, located 16 nautical miles northeast of the accident site, included: wind 230° at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 5,000 ft, temperature 34°C, dew point 22°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.


AIRPORT INFORMATION


01NC was an uncontrolled, privately-owned airport, located 2 miles southwest of Holly Ridge, North Carolina. 


The field elevation was 65 ft above mean sea level. The airport had two runways oriented in a 18/36 and 3/21 configuration. Runway 21 was turf covered, in good condition, and measured 3,200 ft long and 75 ft wide.


FLIGHT RECORDERS


The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GPSMAP 696 portable multifunction display that was mounted in a recess in the instrument panel. The unit consisted of a GPS receiver with a 7-inch diagonal high resolution liquid crystal display.


The unit could store data including, date, time, latitude, longitude, and altitude information for multiple flights in non-volatile memory (NVM).


Data recovered from the unit included track logs from June 5, 2011, through June 21, 2015. The last track log corresponded to the accident flight and contained data from 1525:57 to 1531:35.


According to the data, the airplane began its takeoff roll on runway 21 at 1530:19 and became airborne about 1530:38. The airplane continued to climb while turning to the west until about 1 minute after the takeoff, and, at 15:31:35, the airplane reached a GPS altitude of 309 ft and a derived groundspeed of 104 knots. This was the final recorded position.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane struck trees in a steep, nose-low attitude, and the pilot was ejected from the cockpit. The airplane then fell nose first to the forest floor below, impacted in a 90° nose-down attitude, nosed over, and came to rest inverted.


Numerous areas of crush and compression damage to the fuselage and wings were noted, and there was evidence of fuel staining on the leading edges of the wings. There was no evidence of any inflight structural failure, inflight fire, or inflight explosion.


Examination of the cockpit canopy revealed that it was detached from its mounting location and was lying underneath the aft portion of the inverted fuselage. The majority of its clear bubble was broken into multiple pieces; however, the pieces were not scattered around the accident site but were collocated with the canopy frame. One of the canopy lift struts was missing and was not recovered. The damage patterns observed on the canopy frame and cockpit sill did not match and could not be correlated with each other. The canopy latching mechanism hooks were found to be partially retracted, the canopy locking mechanism and activation handle were in the "OPEN" position, and the slots in the canopy frame that the hooks engaged when the canopy was closed and locked showed no evidence of tear-out.


Both wing fuel tank caps were closed, both wing locker doors were closed and secured, all the inspection panels were closed and secured, and the pitot tube was clear and free of debris. The wing flaps were in the up position, and flight control continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder to the control stick and rudder pedals in the cockpit. The aileron, elevator, and rudder trims, were about neutral.


The pilot's four-point harness was intact and attached to its attachment fittings; however, the center buckle assembly was unlatched. The emergency locator transmitter had not been armed, and the ballistic recovery system activation handle safety pin with its "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT" flag was still in place.


The master switch, strobes switch, landing light switch, and electric fuel pump switch were all in the on position. The magneto switch was in the both position; the throttle was in the full throttle position; and the choke lever was in the off position. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. The carburetor heat control was in the off position.


Examination of the propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) revealed that it was impact damaged, and the case had been breached. Examination of the propeller, the PSRU propeller gear assembly, and the PSRU overload clutch, revealed evidence of rotation. Smearing was evident on the metal faces of the overload clutch. The propeller drive shaft was also sheared, displayed a 45° conical break at the shear face, and showed evidence of torsional rotation.


Examination of the engine revealed that it was impact damaged; both carburetors had separated from their mounting locations, and the float bowls had separated from the carburetors. Portions of the air intake system, exhaust system, and the ignition harnesses had separated from their mounting positions.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION


The pilot was an 89-year-old male, who, as of his last FAA medical exam, was 68 inches tall and weighed 187 pounds. The pilot had first applied for a medical certificate in 2004 and reported to the FAA a medical history that included coronary artery disease treated with a stent in 2002 and coronary artery bypass grafting in 2004. In addition, he had hypertension and a history of a period of atrial fibrillation. After additional detailed information was reviewed, the pilot received a special issuance third-class medical certificate in 2005 with the limitation that it was valid for 1 year.


The pilot continued to renew his special issuance medical certificate annually, providing detailed information requested by the FAA. He developed recurrent atrial fibrillation in 2008 when an atrial clot was also diagnosed. He was treated with rate control medication and blood thinners. With a few periods of being deferred because he needed to get better control of his rate or degree of blood thinning, the pilot generally continued to receive special issuance third-class medical certificates. At the time of his last exam, he reported using warfarin (a blood thinner), diltiazem (a blood pressure medicine also used to control the heart rate in patients with atrial fibrillation), and febuxostat (a medication to prevent attacks of gout) and received a special issuance third-class medical certificate limited by a requirement for corrective lenses and marked, "not valid for any class after 07/31/2014." At the time of the accident, the pilot was flying an airplane that met the definition of a light sport aircraft; thus, he was required only to hold a valid driver's license.


According to the autopsy performed by the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Division of Forensic Pathology, the pilot's cause of death was multiple extreme injuries due to aircraft crash, and the manner of death was accident. The evaluation of natural disease was limited. The heart was described as "mildly enlarged" and weighed 430 grams (average for a 185-pound man is 358 grams with a range of 271-473 grams). The coronary arteries were significantly narrowed by atherosclerotic plaques including 80% stenosis of the left main and left anterior descending, 90% stenosis of the first diagonal, 70% stenosis of the circumflex, and 30% of the right coronary, which was fed by a patent coronary artery bypass graft. The septum was 1.5 centimeters thick (average is 1.3 centimeters). Microscopic evaluation of heart tissue demonstrated mild interstitial fibrosis.


The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing, but it and was limited by the absence of available blood. The evaluation for volatiles identified 79 mg/hg of ethanol in muscle and 19 mg/hg in liver as well as N-butanol and N-propanol in muscle. Ethanol may be ingested in beer, wine, and liquor but may also be produced by microbial action after death. The alcohols N-butanol and N-propanol are only produced by microbial action after death. In addition, atenolol, verapamil, its metabolite norverapamil, and warfarin were detected in liver, and verapamil and warfarin were detected in muscle. Atenolol and verapamil are prescription medications used to treat hypertension and control the heart rate in atrial fibrillation. Warfarin is a blood thinner used to prevent clot formation and resulting strokes in patients in atrial fibrillation. None of these medications are impairing.


TESTS AND RESEARCH


The airplane manufacturer's published Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) for the airplane stated that "Before engine starting," the canopy should be "clean, closed, and locked" and that the pilot should "tighten" the safety harness. The POH also stated that "Before takeoff," the cockpit canopy should be "closed and locked," recommended to "manually check by pushing the canopy upwards," and again stated to "tighten" the safety harness.


Review of Section 7 (Description of Airplane and Systems) in the POH revealed guidance regarding the canopy that stated, "make sure that the canopy is latched and mechanism is securely locked into position on both sides before operating the aircraft." Section 7 also provided guidance regarding the safety harness that stated, "adjust the buckle to a central position on the body."


Supplement 03 to the POH, issued September 2010, advised that, if a canopy inadvertently opened on an airplane, it would not be possible to close the canopy, but the airplane would be fully functional. The supplement indicated the following:


- During takeoff: the canopy would open about 2-inches.

- During climb and descent (with the airspeed at 60-75 knots): the canopy would stay open 2-3.2 inches.
- During horizontal flight (with airspeed at 60-80 knots): the canopy would stay open 2-3.2 inches.


The supplement advised that in all of the above-mentioned cases, there would be no flight problems, no vibrations, good aircraft control, and no change of flight characteristics. It recommended that, before takeoff, the pilot should "manually check the canopy is locked by pushing on the canopy upwards," and cautioned that, with the canopy open in flight, "do not perform any slipping."

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA245

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 21, 2015 in Holly Ridge, NC
Aircraft: CZECH SPORT AIRCRAFT AS PIPER SPORT, registration: N35EP
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 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 June 21, 2015, at approximately 1530 eastern daylight time, a Czech Sport Aircraft, Piper Sport; N35EP, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control during climb, after departing from Topsail Airpark (01NC), Holly Ridge, North Carolina, The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, destined for Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ), Jacksonville, North Carolina.


According to the pilot's wife, on the day of the accident, the pilot attended church with her and then they went out to lunch. The pilot then dropped his wife off at their condominium and then he went to 01NC to check on his airplane. When he arrived at the airport, the mechanic was there who had finished the conditional inspection on the airplane. The pilot then paid him for his services and received a receipt.


The pilot then then decided to pick up his wife at their condominium and fly the airplane back to OAJ where he based it.


When the pilot and his wife returned later to 01NC, they found that the gate was closed so they could not drive up to the airplane. The pilot then walked to the airplane from the access road. This was 100 to 200 feet from the road. It was now around 1500 and the temperature was in the "upper 90s." The humidity was high, and there was little or no breeze at all, and with the "clear roof" (canopy) it would get hot inside of the airplane. The pilot then called his wife from the airplane before he took off at 1524 and advised her that would take her 45 minutes for her to reach OAJ and he would be there in 15 minutes. He also advised her that he would meet her in the air conditioned fixed base operator (FBO) at OAJ. However when she arrived at the FBO, he was not there.


According to a mechanic, on June 19, 2015, the airplane had been ferried to 01NC on a ferry permit, as the pilot had previously been sick and could not fly the airplane somewhere to have the conditional inspection performed when it was due.


On June 20, 2015, the mechanic along with another mechanic began the conditional inspection. On that date, the pilot advised the mechanics that he had accidently "put oil" into the coolant fill port on top of the engine because it looked low. The mechanic advised that the pilot was pretty upset about it. The mechanics then flushed the cooling system and added new coolant. The mechanics also noticed that the bushings holding the radiator on to the engine were cracked and broken and replaced them.


The pilot advised them that the engine oil had been changed only 23 hours earlier and that the oil should not be changed. The mechanics then discovered that the spark plugs needed cleaning but after advising the pilot of the cost of new spark plugs, the pilot had them install new plugs instead of cleaning the old ones.


The next day (day of the accident), the pilot arrived at the airport about 1030 and went home to get some rest, advising the mechanics that he would return about 1600. One of the mechanics advised him that they would leave the gate unlocked for him. At this time, the only thing still required to be done as part of the inspection was to open up all of the inspection panels on the airplane. This was accomplished, the inspection panels were then closed, and the airplane was returned to service at approximately 1400. The mechanics then locked up the hangar and went home.


At 1711, one of the mechanics received a call from the airport owner who advised that he had received a telephone call from the pilot's wife and that the pilot had not arrived at OAJ and that he was probably was still at 01NC. The airplane however was not at 01NC. After looking around the area adjacent to the airport for the airplane without result, the mechanic called 911. Downed airplane procedures were then initiated, and then about 1900, a search for the airplane by federal, state, and local authorities was initiated.


At approximately 2130, the wreckage of the airplane was discovered in a wooded area approximately 1.1 miles west of 01NC.


Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane had struck trees in a steep nose low attitude and the pilot had been ejected from the cockpit. The airplane then fell nose first to the forest floor below, impacted in a 90 degree nose down attitude, nosed over, and then came to rest inverted.


Examination of the wreckage revealed that the majority of the airplane's wreckage was present on-scene. Numerous areas of crush and compression damage and evidence of fuel staining on the leading edges of the wings were also present. There was no evidence of any inflight structural failure, inflight fire, or inflight explosion.


Both wing fuel tank fuel caps were closed, both wing locker doors were closed and secured, all of the inspection panels were closed and secured, and the Pitot tube was clear and free of debris


The wing flaps were in the up position, and flight control continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder to the control stick and rudder pedals in the cockpit. The rudder trim was approximately neutral.


The magneto switch was in the both position, the throttle was in the full throttle position, and the choke lever was in the off position. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. The carburetor heat control was in the off position. The pilot's four point harness was intact and attached to its attachment fittings however; the center buckle assembly was unlatched. The emergency locator transmitter had not been armed, and the ballistic recovery system activation handle safety pin was still in place.


Examination of the propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) revealed that it was impact damaged and the case had been breached. Examination of the propeller, the PSRU propeller gear assembly, and the PSRU overload clutch revealed evidence of rotation. Smearing was evident on the metal faces of the overload clutch. The propeller drive shaft was also sheared, displayed a 45 degree conical break at the shear face, and evidence of torsional rotation.


Examination of the engine revealed that it was impact damaged, both carburetors had separated from their mounting locations and the float bowls had separated from the carburetors. Portions of the air intake system, exhaust system, and the ignition harnesses, had separated from their mounting positions.


Examination of the cockpit canopy revealed that it was detached from its mounting location and was lying underneath the aft portion of the inverted fuselage. The majority of its clear bubble was broken into multiple pieces however, they were not scattered around the accident site but were instead collocated with the canopy frame. One of the canopy lift struts was also missing, and the damage patterns observed on the canopy frame and cockpit sill did not match and could not be correlated with each other. The canopy latching mechanism hooks were also found to be partially retracted, the canopy latching mechanism and activation handle were in the "OPEN" position and the slots in the canopy frame that the hooks engaged when the canopy was closed showed no evidence of tear-outs.


The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.





Dillard Martin Powell 


Cary pilot killed in crash remembered for love of flying, service

As a boy in Ruffin, Dillard Martin Powell climbed atop a smokehouse on his family’s tobacco farm whenever he heard a plane approaching.

Powell loved planes. He loved them so much that he acquired his pilot’s license at 15. He tried on multiple occasions to join the Army Air Corps to fight in World War II. Too skinny to be a pilot, he was sent to the front lines in Europe. He even owned a flying service in his hometown.

His family members say they don’t think he ever let his pilot’s license lapse.

It was no surprise to them that Powell was in his single-engine plane above Topsail Island the afternoon of June 21, even at the age of 89.

That’s when Powell’s Czech Sport Aircraft SportCruiser crashed shortly after takeoff in Holly Ridge, killing him, and stunning many who admired the Cary lawyer for the way he lived an illustrious life as a WWII veteran and civic leader.

“He’s been a rich contributor all his life to his country and community,” said John Halada, a lawyer who got his start in the legal field years ago when Powell hired him straight out of law school. “He had a very full life and influenced a lot of people.”

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, his family says.

Powell, the youngest of eight children, was always a good kid, they said. His 18th birthday, the day he enlisted the Army, might have been the only time he ever disappointed his mother.

He quickly made her proud.

Powell arrived in Europe in 1944, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and serving in the division that crippled German forces by uniting with the Red Army on the Elbe River. Powell manned anti-tank guns and earned numerous accolades, including two Bronze Stars.

But his time liberating the concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany, might have been his longest-lasting memory.

“He said he saw things no 19-year-old should ever see,” said John Powell, Dillard’s 53-year-old son, a few days after his father had died.

Immersed in Cary

Dillard Powell enrolled at N.C. State University upon returning from war and married Anita Hall, who he stayed with for 62 years until she died in 2010.

He earned a degree in textile management before going to work at the Fieldcrest Mills plant near Ruffin. He worked there nearly 20 years before burning out.

“He said he didn’t want to be a corporate slave,” said Judy Wood, Powell’s 60-year-old daughter.

Powell moved his family back to the Triangle and got a job at N.C. State while he earned a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Upon passing the bar at age 46, Powell opened what his family believes to be Cary’s first law practice.

He soon became entrenched in the Cary community and its core group of movers and shakers, including Ralph Ashworth, Jerry Miller, Dick Ladd, Jim Adcock, former Cary Mayor Koka Booth and others.

Powell served as president of the Cary Chamber of Commerce and the Cary Rotary Club. He also was on the founding board of the Cary Library and helped launch the Heart of Cary Association, an advocate group for businesses and residents in downtown Cary.

“We’ve lost a true Caryite that helped build the foundation of the chamber,” said Howard Johnson, president of the Cary Chamber of Commerce. “He was a true business guy.”

Powell often claimed he was months away from retiring, but never did. He practiced law up until his death, often wearing three-piece suits to Ashworth Drugs for a hot dog – with chili, slaw and onions – before going to court.

“I would ask him, ‘Aren’t you overdressed for Ashworth’s?’” his son recalled. “He’d say, ‘No, I have to go to court.’”

Ashworth described Powell as a serious, “no fuss” kind of guy.

“He was old Cary,” Ashworth said. “And he was all business, but he got things done and was helpful.”

A life of faith

Powell’s faith played an important role in his life, family members said. He was active in White Plains Methodist Church and often performed legal work pro bono for local church groups.

John Powell remembers walking by his parents’ bedroom as a child and seeing his dad on his knees, praying next to their bed. At the time, he didn’t quite understand the depth of his dad’s faith. But John now reflects on it with reverence.

“He would say he felt called to use his talents to give back,” John Powell said.

As Powell’s three adult children swapped stories in his living room on Wednesday, they reflected on how their dad used his skills to give back to them.

They remembered how as kids in Ruffin, they’d go flying with him and sit in his lap.

“He would wave the wings at our mom as we passed over the house,” said his oldest daughter, Marcia Pitts, 63, of Cary.

They remembered how, one winter, Powell tied the strings of their sled around his waist and lead them through the snow on skis. He had learned to ski in the Alps while part of the U.S. Occupation Forces.

He was good at showing appreciation for those he loved, including Peggy Valentine, whom he married last year.

From his condo at Topsail Island, Powell liked to use his binoculars to watch military helicopters fly down the beach. Sometimes, if he made eye contact with someone on the chopper, he’d salute them.

“And sometimes they’d salute back,” Pitts said.

At his funeral service Saturday, his friends will, too.

“He was an American patriot,” said Ladd, his longtime friend. “He was a good man. There was no one like him.”

http://www.newsobserver.com


PENDER COUNTY -- A Cary attorney was killed Sunday when his single-engine plane crashed south of Topsail Airpark.

Dillard M. Powell, 89, was the sole occupant of his Czech Sport PiperSport. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Pender County Sheriff's Office deputies discovered Powell's plane in a heavily wooded area near Holly Shelter Game Land, said Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins.


Powell was expected to land Sunday at Albert Ellis Airport in Jacksonville after he took off sometime after 3 p.m. When he did not arrive, family members called the airport after 7 p.m. asking about his status, Collins said.


Peggy Powell, his wife, said she and her husband were going to meet at the airport in Jacksonville and it was a 45-minute drive for her, but 15 minutes for him by plane. The plane passed its annual inspection Saturday and Powell said they were taking the plane back to Jacksonville where they store it. When he did not show up, Powell said she knew something was wrong.


"I knew the plane must have crashed somewhere and so I called the Topsail (Airpark) immediately and they said they did not see the plane," she said, and added how thankful she was for the responding agencies that helped locate the crash site.


The sheriff's office, working with N.C. State Highway Patrol, was able to ping Dillard Powell's cellphone to the area near Holly Shelter, Collins said. SABLE, the Wilmington Police Department's helicopter, assisted in locating the crashed plane and sheriff's deputies traveling on ATVs got to the crash site at 1:30 a.m., he said. The crash site was not far from U.S. 17.


Collins said no one saw or heard the plane go down Sunday.


Powell was ejected from the plane during the crash, said Sgt. M. King of the highway patrol.


He was a World War II veteran who at the time of his enlistment wanted to be a pilot, but was told by the military he was too small.


Powell would often joke, "So they put a 90-pound backpack on me and marched me across Africa into Italy," said family friend Brian White.


According to friends and family Powell learned to fly as young as 15 or 16 years old. He worked as a crop duster to pay his way through college, said White.


He was a University of North Carolina School of Law graduate and practiced law in Cary for decades. He represented many families, some for four generations, White said.


"He was the most honest man there ever was," he said.


Peggy Powell said her husband was "one of the nicest, most caring people you have ever met." The two were married in October 2014, but have known one another since 1999, she said.


Todd Gunther, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, was conducting an initial investigation Monday and recording the details of the wreckage site, said NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss.


Federal Aviation Administration records show his pilot's license, registered to a North Topsail Beach address, was issued in June 1954. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Powell had no prior accidents or incidents and no FAA enforcement actions.


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