Friday, July 10, 2015

Top US air traffic controller Jeff Griffith aghast at Australia airports

When there are three or four or five (planes), it gets complicated’: Jeff Griffith at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport. 
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As a young air-traffic controller, Jeff Griffith learned to work fast.

The year was 1969 and he was in the US Air Force operating a mobile radar unit at a major combat airbase at Phu Cat, at the height of the Vietnam War, often under mortar and rocket fire.

“When the airplanes were coming in over there, they didn’t stop. They were usually low on fuel, or had battle damage,” Mr Griffith said.

He went on to a top career with the US’s Federal Aviation Administration, including serving as chief controller at what was then the world’s busiest airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, and later deputy director of air traffic control.

Since leaving the FAA in 2002, Mr Griffith has been executive vice-president of the Washington Consulting Group, which provides air traffic control services in the US and internationally. In 1996, and again in 2003 and 2004, the federal government brought him to Australia to advise on how to introduce the American air traffic control system, in which commercial aircraft are always dire­cted by air traffic controllers.

It never happened — to this day Australia has a hotchpotch system where some airports are designated to be under controlled airspace, and others are not.

This week The Weekend Australian brought Mr Griffith back to Australia and commissioned him to re-examine what had happened to airspace management after a gap of 11 years.

He flew in the cockpit of a Beech­craft Duchess light twin-engine­ aircraft flown by Sydney flying instructor Aminta Hennessy and in a Cessna Citation corporate jet flown by air charter operator Brad Edwards from Armidale, in northeast NSW.

As the aircraft flew around controlled airspace above 8500 feet and uncontrolled airspace below it at regional airports, Mr Griffith talked with the pilots and listened to their radio discussions with air traffic controllers and other pilots.

He is amazed that at an airport such as Ballina, in northern NSW, which has 435,000 passengers a year with big commercial airline traffic along with considerable general aviation, pilots on their landing approach must still talk to each other to work out where each one is and how to avoid crashing into each other.

In the US, they would be kept well separated by air traffic controllers almost right to the runway. “At these smaller airports with this uncontrolled airspace airplanes are flying in the clouds with no separation being provided by air traffic controllers, and that’s accordi­ng to regulation,” Mr Griffith said. “That works with two airplanes, but when there are three or four or five, it gets complicated.

“At those kinds of airports in the US, we have controlled airspace down to 700 feet above the ground and we provide separation to aircraft all the way through their approach and landing.”

Another thing that astounds Mr Griffith is that, unlike the US, where airport ground staff including firefighters, aircraft mechanics, flying school instructors, and check-in staff use the Unicom radio service to advise pilots of local air traffic and weather, ­regulations here prohibit all but ­serving and former air traffic controllers from providing such information.

Ahead of a flight from Sydney’s Bankstown Airport to Bathurst, 200km to the west, Ms Hennessy rang a friend who runs a flying school at Bathurst.

“She said there’s a bit of fog around but it looked like the sun would come out and it would burn off,” Ms Hennessy said. “We could both be put in jail for that,” she added, a slight embellishment in that the penalty is a fine, but still it would have broken the rules.

Story, comments and photo: http://www.theaustralian.com.au

Sonex Aircraft, 19-7093: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2015 at Lethbridge Airpark, Victoria, Australia

Australian Transport Safety Bureau won't investigate plane death




Transport authorities will not be looking into the death of a light plane pilot at Lethbridge.

The 85-year-old Altona North man died when the Sonex plane crashed after making several attempts to take off on Wednesday.

Witnesses say they saw the man slumped behind the controls not long before the accident.

He was the only person on board the light aircraft.

It is understood the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will not be investigating.

Source: http://www.bayfm.com.au

Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair, XB-MBC: Accident occurred July 09, 2015 east of Torreon, Coahuila , Mexico

 


Three people on a flight out of McAllen died when their plane crashed in the Mexican state of Coahuila around 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Mexican newspaper El Mañana

The pilot, Abraham Garcia, co-pilot Roger Fuentes and passenger Castro Aureliano Barajas were killed after the plane crashed near the side of a toll road. The crash’s cause was not in the initial El Mañana report.

The plane, belonging to a Mexican airline, was headed to Francisco Sarabia International Airport  Coahuila, according to El Mañana.

The flight departed from our airport last night to Torreon and we received a report that it crashed due to a mechanical failure in the municipality of Matamoros in Coahuila,” aviation director for McAllen-Miller International Airport Elizabeth Suarez said Friday.

Bob McCreery, president of McCreery Aviation, a McAllen-based private aviation group said he could not comment on the crash since he did not know the details and was not familiar with the pilots.

McCreery said the group landed at their terminal about mid-afternoon Thursday and left later that day.

The office of the attorney general of Coahuila released a statement late Friday afternoon confirming the crash.

"At 7:21 p.m. we received a report that a small place crashed on the side of an road near toll-road Torreon-Salitillo," the statement read. "The plane, a Cessna 206, registration XBMBZ, departed from McAllen and was en route to the city of Torreon."

No other information was immediately available from the attorney general's office.

Representatives for Francisco Sarabia International Airport were not available to comment Friday afternoon.

Source:  http://www.themonitor.com


Torreón, Coah, 

Tres personas murieron al desplomarse e incendiarse una avioneta procedente de la ciudad de McAllen, Texas, Estados Unidos, que tenía como destino el Aeropuerto de la Ciudad de Torreón.

El accidente se registró en el kilómetro 19 + 100 de la carretera de cuota Torreón-Saltillo, a la altura de La Cueva del Tabaco, en el municipio de Matamoros, informó la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado.

En el lugar fallecieron el piloto de la aeronave, Abraham García, el copiloto Rogelio Fuentes, así como Aureliano Barajas Castro.

La nave es una Cessna 206, matrícula XBMBZ. El reporte del percance se recibió en el Sistema de Emergencia “066” a las 19:21 horas de este jueves.

La avioneta cayó a un costado de la autopista de cuota y al impactarse quedó envuelta en llamas.

Elementos de los cuerpos de seguridad federales y estatales tomaron conocimiento del accidente y los bomberos controlaron las llamas.

Meet the two final candidates for Grand Junction Regional Airport (KGJT) Manager



GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Over sixty applicants for the manager of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority have been whittled down to just two. 

The two finalists, David Fiore and Bill Mckown had their final interview today in front of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board, employees, and the public.

The new airport manager will replace Rex Tippets, who was fired last year after an FBI fraud investigation.

"We are looking for fit, and for vision, and strategy development,” said GJRAAB’s David Murray who chairs the selection committee. “Not only in terms of how we need to continue to develop the airport short and long term, but also how we want it partnered with our community partners.”

Add an unfinished airport building, a new runway, and low passenger numbers, the new manager will have a lot on his shoulders.

"I am more than confident to step in and bring in some of the work experiences and education that ive obtained over the years,” said candidate David Fiore.

Fiore, who lives in Eagle, says he has been in aviation since he was fifteen years old.

He has a strong real estate, attorney, and pilot background and has served as property manager for the San Francisco International Airport.

His first priority, he says, is aligning the airport with the community's vision.

"Identifying ways to address items like the unfinished building and what are some of the alternatives for that,” said Fiore. “In contrast to the expansion of the runway to meet the future needs of the airport.”

Second candidate Bill Mckown is from Pensacola, Florida and spent 35 years in the Navy. He retired as a navy aviator and went into airport management. He has served as Executive Director of Terre Haute International airport in Indiana and Airport Manager in Pagosa Springs.

The issue he wants to tackle: sustaining our commercial airlines.

"We need to keep them in here,” said Mckown. “We don't want to pay for their service to come in here and just transport a few folks out. This is the gateway to Western Colorado, or to Colorado itself for the interior. If we get that message out there I think more folks will use this airport.”

And his future vision: bringing space operations to the airport.

"The possibility of launching a large aircraft and reaching space,” said Mckown. “How that's done its pretty darn technical, but the opportunity is there.”

Murray says the main thing he wants to see a new manager tackle is updating the strategic plan, and airport development – specifically, acquiring funding for the new airport runway which could cost up to 100 million dollars.

A new airport manager will be chosen on July 21st, in just under two weeks.

Source:  http://www.nbc11news.com


Mooney M-20G Statesman, N9152V: Accident occurred July 10, 2015 at Deer Valley Airport (KDVT), Phoenix, Arizona










AIRCRAFT: 1969 Mooney M20G, N9152V, Serial No. 690012

ENGINE– Lycoming O-360-A1D, Serial No. L-13800-36A   

PROPELLER – destroyed

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:   2933TT 1023 SMOH

PROPELLER:    N/A

AIRFRAME:        2933           

OTHER EQUIPMENT:   KX155, KMA24, GNS430, Aspen and JPI 
       
 DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  On landed hard causing gear to collapse.

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    Damages to gear, fuselage, prop .

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:     Air Transport, 3011 W Buckeye Rd,  Phoenix, AZ 85009 
                                                     
REMARKS:    The aircraft has been dismantled. Inspection of aircraft is highly recommended.

Read more here:   http://www.avclaims.com/N9152V.htm

http://registry.faa.gov/N9152V 

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 10, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ
Aircraft: MOONEY M 20G, registration: N9152V
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 July 10, 2015, about 0900 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20G, N9152V, experienced a partial loss of engine power while on short final to the Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT), Phoenix, Arizona, and subsequently landed short of the runway. The private pilot undergoing instruction and the certified flight instructor sustained no injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing. The airplane is registered to a private individual and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. 

The private pilot undergoing instruction reported that he was conducting a practice power off 180-degree landing. When the airplane was about 30 feet above the ground he realized that he was going to land short of the runway. He added power, but the airplane's engine sputtered and would not increase RPM. He kept the wings level and landed on the rocks just short of the runway. The airplane traversed onto the runway surface when the right landing gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest on the side of the runway.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Piper PA-28-140, N286P: Accident occurred July 28, 2013 in Lafayette, Indiana

http://registry.faa.gov/N286P

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA455
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 28, 2013 in Lafayette, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N286P
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the engine run-up and the initial takeoff were normal and that the airplane rotated at 50 mph and lifted off at 60 mph. The airplane then accelerated to its best angle of climb speed and cleared the front edge of a band of trees that bordered the end of the runway, after which it descended into the trees and subsequently impacted terrain. The pilot reported that he did not know exactly what happened but stated that it appeared the airplane got into a downdraft or experienced an engine power loss. He further surmised that the airplane “lost lift,” which resulted in the impact with trees. An examination of the airplane after the accident showed no preimpact anomalies; however, an examination of the engine was not accomplished due to the position of the airplane at the accident scene. The weather conditions at the time of the accident included a gusting wind. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge states that obstructions on the ground affect the wind flow and can be an unseen danger that can break up the wind flow and create wind gusts that change rapidly in direction and speed. It further cautions that it is especially important to be vigilant when flying in or out of airports that have large buildings or natural obstructions near the runway. Based on the available evidence, the pilot likely failed to maintain adequate airspeed in the climb, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. It is also likely that the airplane encountered a local disturbance due to the wind and trees that exacerbated the event; however, the pilot should have anticipated this possibility and taken appropriate measures to avoid the stall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed in gusting wind conditions during the initial climb after takeoff, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.

On July 28, 2013, about 1052 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N286P, impacted trees and terrain during initial climb after takeoff from runway 27 at the Timber House Airport (31IN), Lafayette, Indiana. The pilot and three passengers received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to an individual and operated by a private pilot as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he performed a pre-takeoff run-up and noted no deficiencies. He then proceeded to take off to the west noting that rotation occurred about 50 miles per hour, and liftoff occurred about 60 miles per hour. He stated that the airplane accelerated to 74 miles per hour (best angle of climb airspeed), and the airplane cleared the trees off of the departure end of the runway. The pilot stated that the airplane then descended into the trees. He noted that he was not sure what had happened but stated that it appeared to be a downdraft or an engine power loss. He further surmised that the airplane "lost lift" which resulted in the impact with the trees.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing impacted a tree followed by the left wing. Both wings separated from the airplane and both fuel tanks were breached. The fuselage remained predominately intact with the propeller buried in the dirt. The fuel selector was positioned on the right tank and both fuel tank caps were secure. Due to the position of the airplane at the accident site, an examination of the engine was not performed.

At 1054, the weather conditions at the Purdue University Airport, Lafayette, Indiana, about 9 nautical miles northwest of the accident site were: wind 260 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 18 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; broken ceiling at 9,000 feet above ground level; temperature 19 degrees C; dew point 9 degrees C, and altimeter 29.96 inches of mercury.

The airport where the accident occurred was a private airport that had a 3,000 foot long by 100 foot wide turf runway. The west end of the runway was bordered by band of trees about 650 feet wide in the direction of runway alignment.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publication FAA-H-8083-25A, "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge", states:

"Obstructions on the ground affect the flow of wind and can be an unseen danger. Ground topography and large buildings can break up the flow of the wind and create wind gusts that change rapidly in direction and speed. These obstructions range from manmade structures like hangars to large natural obstructions, such as mountains, bluffs, or canyons. It is especially important to be vigilant when flying in or out of airports that have large buildings or natural obstructions located near the runway.

The intensity of the turbulence associated with ground obstructions depends on the size of the obstacle and the primary velocity of the wind. This can affect the takeoff and landing performance of any aircraft and can present a very serious hazard."


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Michael Butram throttled up his Piper airplane about 10:35 a.m. July 28, 2013, and raced down the runway at Timberhouse Aero Estates in southern Tippecanoe County, but his plane didn’t clear the trees at the end of the runway, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The plane crashed, injuring Butram and his passengers, Shannon Gipson, and her two children, Rowan Gipson and Keegan Gipson.

Now James and Shannon Gipson, individually and on behalf of their children, are suing Butram. Also named as defendants are the other owners of the plane — David Gevers, Ronald Kovach and John Lumkes — as well as Timberhouse Aero Estates Homeowners Association.

Timberhouse Aero Estates is a residential development near Tippecanoe County Roads 950 South and 200 East. The concept of the neighborhood is that there’s a runway by every homeowner’s backyard.

The lawsuit alleges that “numerous service vehicles” were parked on the 3,000-foot runway, but Butram attempted to take off anyway. The lawsuit alleges this was negligent on Butram’s part.

Gevers, Kovach and Lumkes are accused of failing to ensure the co-owners had proper knowledge of that plane’s flight characteristics.

The homeowners association is accused of allowing the airplane to take off when it was unsafe because it allowed service vehicles on the runway. The association, the lawsuit alleges, failed to properly park the service vehicles away from the 3,000-foot grass runway, effectively shortening it.

The Journal & Courier contacted Gevers, who declined to comment.

The J&C has been unable to reach Butram, Kovach or Lumke for comment, and no one from the Timberhouse Aero Estates Homeowners Association responded to an email for comment.

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



ROMNEY — Four people were hospitalized Sunday morning, July 28th, after a plane crash in southern Tippecanoe County.


At 10:39 a.m., the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office responded to an aircraft accident near Timber House Airport in Romney. Members of the Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service, Randolph Township Fire Department and Tippecanoe County Emergency Management assisted with the investigation.


Investigators determined that a single engine Piper Cherokee had crashed shortly after takeoff. It was unclear what cause the crash.


All four of the occupants, Michael Butram, 53, of Lafayette; Shannon Gipson, 39, of Slidell, La.; Keegan Gipson, 7; and Rowan Gipson, 5; suffered minor injuries.


The victims were transported to St. Elizabeth East hospital. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. 

============ 

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA455
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 28, 2013 in Lafayette, IN
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N286P
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 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 July 28, 2013, about 1052 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N286P, impacted trees and terrain during initial climb after takeoff from runway 27 at the Timber House Airport (31IN), Lafayette, Indiana. The pilot and three passengers received minor injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Boeing Keeps Suits Over Asiana Crash in Federal

Courthouse News Service

(CN) - Lawsuits over the 2013 Asiana Airlines crash that killed three people and seriously injured 49 others belong in federal court, the Seventh Circuit ruled.

Reversing the judge who remanded the cases against Boeing to Illinois state court, a unanimous three-judge panel found Wednesday that admiralty jurisdiction applies to the accident, which began over navigable water.

Three teenagers from China died in the crash and more than 180 other passengers were injured when the Boeing 777 that had taken off in Seoul, Korea, hit the seawall that separates the ocean from the end of a runway at San Francisco International Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board attributed the accident to pilot error last year.

While many of the passengers filed federal complaints in California, some of the passengers filed negligence lawsuits in Illinois state court, alleging that Chicago-based Boeing was aware of several similar incidents but did not require the low-airspeed warning system on its 777 aircraft, such as on the Asiana plane that crashed.

Boeing removed the suits to federal court, asserting admiralty jurisdiction, as well as federal officials' right to have claims against them resolved by federal courts.

U.S. District Judge Judge Harry Leinenweber in Chicago remanded the suits, concluding that Boeing did not act as a federal officer and that the accident happened on land when the plane hit the seawall, rather than over navigable water.

The Seventh Circuit disagreed on the second point Wednesday, noting that the NTSB's June 2014 report, issued after the Leinenweber's ruling, determined that the crash began approximately 10 seconds before the plane hit the seawall.

The board concluded that a collision was certain while the plane was over San Francisco Bay because a 777 aircraft lacks the ability to accelerate and climb fast enough, no matter what the pilots did in the final 10 seconds.

"Given the NTSB's findings, it is possible for Boeing to show that this accident was caused by, or became inevitable because of, events that occurred over navigable water," Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the court.

The panel also found that the airplane functioned as an "ocean-going" vessel when flying over navigable water not within the continental United States.

"Asiana 214 was a trans-ocean flight, a substitute for an ocean-going vessel - as flights from the contiguous United States to and from Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas territories also would be," which allows for general admiralty jurisdiction, the panel said.

Because the passengers could have filed their suits directly in federal court under admiralty jurisdiction, Boeing was entitled to remove the complaints to federal court, the panel ruled.

Boeing was less successful, however, with its argument that it represented a federal officer because it was "acting under" the Federal Aviation Administration's authority to carry out some self-assessment to ensure compliance with aviation regulations.

Easterbrook called it "linguistically possible to call self-certification a form of 'acting under' the FAA," but said "all businesses must ensure that they comply with statutes and regulations."

Every regulated firm must use its own staff to learn whether it has satisfied federal regulations and the list of people who have to certify things is exceedingly long, the judge added.

Rulemaking rather than rule compliance seems to be the key ingredient to obtaining "acting under" status, and the FAA does not allow Boeing to change substantive rules, the panel found.

The passengers applauded this finding but wish the court did more than recognize that Boeing is not a federal officer for removal purposes, one of their attorneys, Colin Dunn, said.

"The opinion is unprecedented, and conflicts with clear Congressional intent that appellate review of remand orders is extremely limited," Dunn, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, said in an interview.

Dunn added that his team is weighing their next step.

Boeing has not returned a request for comment.

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

NTSB Identification: DCA13MA120

Scheduled 14 CFR Part 129: Foreign operation of Asiana Airlines
Accident occurred Saturday, July 06, 2013 in San Francisco, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2015
Aircraft: BOEING 777-200ER, registration: HL7742
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 50 Serious, 137 Minor, 117 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/aviation.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-14/01.

On July 6, 2013, about 1128 Pacific daylight time, a Boeing 777-200ER, Korean registration HL7742, operating as Asiana Airlines flight 214, was on approach to runway 28L when it struck a seawall at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California. Three of the 291 passengers were fatally injured; 40 passengers, 8 of the 12 flight attendants, and 1 of the 4 flight crewmembers received serious injuries. The other 248 passengers, 4 flight attendants, and 3 flight crewmembers received minor injuries or were not injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Flight 214 was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from Incheon International Airport (ICN), Seoul, Korea, operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 129. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight crew's mismanagement of the airplane's descent during the visual approach, the pilot flying's unintended deactivation of automatic airspeed control, the flight crew's inadequate monitoring of airspeed, and the flight crew's delayed execution of a go-around after they became aware that the airplane was below acceptable glidepath and airspeed tolerances.

Contributing to the accident were (1) the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems that were inadequately described in Boeing's documentation and Asiana's pilot training, which increased the likelihood of mode error; (2) the flight crew's nonstandard communication and coordination regarding the use of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems; (3) the pilot flying's inadequate training on the planning and executing of visual approaches; (4) the pilot monitoring/instructor pilot's inadequate supervision of the pilot flying; and (5) flight crew fatigue, which likely degraded their performance.

NTSB Report:  http://www.ntsb.gov