Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Crop Duster Having the Busiest Summer in 25 Years

The farming industry relies on crop dusting planes each growing season to spray chemicals to keep their crops healthy. 
Crop dusting planes spray fungicide that could save a farmer's crops, and they are staying busy.

"This summer has been probably the busiest year up to this date that I've had in 24, 25 years," said Farrel Helm, owner of Helm Flying Services.

Disease can be crippling to a farmer's fields and the airplane is the easiest way to get the fungicide on them.

"A lot of farmers don't like to go out and drive down their grain anymore at this stage, because where they drive it's done, it's ruined. So the airplane comes into play there and then we can get across a lot of acres real quick," Helm said.

The plane hovers just 10 feet above the crops and it's a real science to get the right coverage on the crops.

"Years ago the old saying was if you didn't come back with some of the crop on your landing gear you weren't low enough, but we're finding now days that they want us up a little higher, we do a better job it gives the pattern a little time to spread out before it settles down. If we get too low we can start streaking," Helm said.

Helm is able to stay so busy because the way the business is structured is changing. Now he deals with one agronomist that is working with farmers all over the region.

"Which makes it possible for me to move off 100 miles and start spraying because I'm just dealing with the one agronomist and he's dealing with the farmers," Helm said.

Crop dusting is an expense more and more farmers are budgeting for because it keeps them from being discounted come harvest time.

Story and video:

Filipina pilots take to the skies

Philippine Airlines pilot Capt. Marie Geraldine Gamallo, 31, is one of the 25 Filipinas in the country who are certified for transcontinental jets, like the Airbus 330 and 340, although their number is quickly increasing. 

Female pilots are rapidly increasing and earning their seats in the cockpit in the male-dominated airline industry with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines records showing that there are now 25  certified woman pilots operating planes across the country in the first quarter of 2015.

The first to earn that distinction in the Philippines is Capt. Aimee Carandang, the country’s first female commercial pilot who became the first full-fledged captain of Philippine Airlines in 1993, CAAP said.

The demand for pilots around the world has continuously increasing through the years and the needs are felt even in the country.

 For those who inspire to become a pilot will face many risks and is therefore rewarded for its prestige for taking command in the cockpit and matched with a promise of a good compensation.

 But CAAP Assistant Director General-Flight Standard Inspectorate Service (FSIS) Capt. Beda Badiola noted that while the number of Filipina pilots is steadily growing, it is still small “percentage-wise” with only only less than 2% of total pilots in the country.

CAAP records show there are 2,605 commercial pilot license-holders, 91 helicopter pilots, 538 airline transport pilots, 66 multi-crew pilots, 46 private helicopter pilots, 2,769 private pilots, 4,074 student pilot license-holders and 68 student helicopter pilot license-grantees in the country.

“There are so many female aircraft captains as of now, such as Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB) and other airlines to mentioned,” Badiola said. “More women want to fly an aircraft because it is a very challenging job and is mostly dominated by male pilots.”

Badiola said even his daughter Ileen Badiola-Logos shifted careers and belatedly went on to become a pilot at 42.

“My daughter is 42, married and with two kids, I asked her to learn how to fly. I persuaded her to change careers. She’s an AB Masscom graduate of Ateneo and a middle manager. Good thing is she adapted quickly,” he beamed.

His daughter is now a licensed commercial pilot with instrument rating and on her final interview with a reputable airline operator.

Story and photo:

Chippewa County International Airport (KCIU) to receive new snow removal equipment

CHIPPEWA COUNTY — U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced this week that the EDC of Chippewa County will receive $71,250 for new snow removal equipment at Chippewa County International Airport at Kincheloe.

The equipment will assist in the airport’s ability to clear the airfield during the winter. The funding comes from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“When severe winter weather strikes, it is vital that Michigan airports are equipped with the tools needed to quickly clear runways and facilitate safe air travel,” said Senator Peters. “This funding will improve airport operations and help those traveling to and from the Upper Peninsula reach their destinations safely.”

“This investment will make travelling to and from the Upper Peninsula safer and more efficient,” said Senator Stabenow. “By supporting Chippewa Airport, we’re also encouraging businesses to invest in the region and create jobs.”

The equipment will be purchased from O’Connor’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Pickford.

Last summer $3.3 million dollars in federal funds were used to repave the 7,200 foot main runway, with Payne and Dolan the primary contractor.

This summer Roy Electric was the prime contractor for a 1.5 million dollar lighting project, which installed new runway lights and made major improvements to wiring and navigational systems.

In both major projects, other area contractors and vendors benefiting as well.

All FAA grants to Chippewa County International are supported by state matching funds and local matching funds provided by Chippewa County and the Chippewa County EDC.


Rep. Anna Eshoo to send airplane-noise survey to Federal Aviation Administration

Acting on numerous complaints by her constituents regarding an increase in aircraft noise, Rep. Anna Eshoo has assembled a survey for residents, which she plans to take to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for possible changes to flight altitudes.

Residents in Palo Alto and other nearby cities say the noise level and airplane frequency have increased since the FAA rolled out its new NextGen flight system, which requires aircraft to travel within a narrower corridor to free up airspace for commercial and military drones. The FAA was required by U.S. Congress to devise the plan.

But throughout the country wherever NextGen has been implemented, residents are complaining that the noise and frequency of flights is deafening. Pilots have to descend using a continuous decrease in altitude rather than following a stepped descent, as previously done -- but that increases noise as engines throttle for the decline, residents say.

NextGen completed its rollout at San Francisco International Airport this spring, and Palo Alto residents reside under three flight paths that extend like superhighways over their neighborhoods.

Eshoo said she met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in May regarding the troubling increase in noise across her district, including communities in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

"I raised the concerns of the many constituents I've met with in my Palo Alto office with the administrator, and he agreed to reexamine flight altitudes passing over our region," she wrote in a letter to constituents. "He also agreed to have the FAA regional administrator hold a meeting with select community representatives in the near future. If we can bring the testimony of the people of the 18th Congressional District affected by this problem to the FAA, it will help demonstrate how urgent it is for the agency to address them.

"I ask you to please respond to the survey and consider passing it along to others in your community. Your concerns must be heard by the FAA in order for them to make the necessary changes to bring relief to my constituents."

Eshoo also encouraged residents to report any excessive aircraft noise to the SFO Noise Abatement Office.

"This is very important. Your call will become part of the official record and official documentation," she added.

The Noise Abatement Office can be reached at 650-821-4736 or by email at

The survey can be taken here.

Original article can be found here:

Piper PA-22-160 Tri-Pacer, N9712D: Accident occurred July 11, 2015 in Twin Sisters Mountain, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 11, 2015 in Twin Sisters Mtn, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22-160, registration: N9712D
Injuries: 2 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 July 11, 2015, about 0745 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-22-160, N9712D, impacted the ridge of Twin Sisters Mountain, about 12 miles north of Hamilton, Washington. The airplane was registered to the private pilot who was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a visual flight rules flight. The pilot and single passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Stehekin, Washington, about 0700.

The airplane was subject of a ALNOT (alert notification) of a missing aircraft issued on July 14. Initial radar data depicts an airplane track starting at 8,300 feet mean sea level (msl) 16 miles northwest of Stehekin, at 0718 on July 11. The track continues in a northwesterly direction at an altitude about 10, 500 feet mean sea level (msl). At 0738, the airplane's track altitude starts to decrease; by 0744 the altitude was 7,500 feet, and continued in the northwesterly direction. The last radar return occurred at 0745, at a altitude of 6,000 feet msl.

The wreckage was located on the morning of July 15, at the 6,000-foot level of the Twin Sisters Mountain ridge line in the vicinity of the final radar return data point.

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Seattle FSDO-01



OLYMPIA, Wash. - Searchers have located wreckage believed to be a single-engine plane that flew from Minnesota but failed to arrive on Orcas Island on Saturday.

Officials say they have not made a positive identification of the plane or the occupants. It was located east of Bellingham.

Transportation officials say the search has been turned over to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office. The wreckage site was found using radar coordinates from the aircraft's last known location on Saturday.

Authorities say the plane left International Falls, Minn. with two people aboard and was supposed to land on Orcas Island. A search was initiated to focus on Whatcom County, Washington.

KBJR Television in Duluth reports that the plane, a 1959 Piper PA-22-160, a fixed wing single engine four-seater, is registered to Bob Nevalainen of Ray, Minnesota. He and his wife Gail were expected to make several stops on their trip to Alaska. Their last known stop was in Yakima, WA.

"It's weighing heavy on our minds," Phil Hart, who is the proprietor of the Gateway General Store, said on the phone. "We're praying they are alive and safe."

Family of the missing occupants notified officials of the missing plane Tuesday night.

This missing plane was not connected to the plane crash Sunday near Mazama. Autumn Veatch, 16, survived the crash and walked out of the woods on her own to find help. Her grandparents, Leland and Sharon Bowman, did not survive.


Bob Nevalainen

SEATTLE - Searchers on Wednesday found the wreckage of a second private plane that crashed in roughly the same area and within a few hours of the Lynden-bound plane that crashed Saturday in the North Cascades, killing the step-grandparents of a 16-year-old girl who survived.

The second plane was bound for Orcas Island, Wash., from International Falls., Minn., with a man and woman aboard when it vanished from radar Saturday in the same kind of weather conditions as the Lynden-bound plane.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said the family did not notify officials of the second overdue plane until Tuesday night. The family said the missing man and woman were headed to Orcas Island on vacation.

Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman Jessica Jerwa told KOMO News that crews determined that the Orcas Island-bound plane had vanished a few hours before the Lynden-bound plane. Using reliable radar data, they were able to pinpoint a five-square-mile area in the North Cascades where the plane was thought to have crashed.

A few hours later, search planes spotted the wreckage of the plane about 20 miles north of the site where the wreckage of the Lynden-bound plane was found.

Whatcom Sheriff Bill Elfo said the wreckage is scattered across a large debris field at Twin Sister Mountain, about 10 miles east of Acme. He said it appears the plane flew right into the side of the mountain. Ground crews have not yet reached the site.

The names of the couple aboard the Minnesota plane have not been released.

The Lynden-bound plane crashed Saturday afternoon on a rugged, heavily wooded mountainside in the North Cascades while enroute from Kalispell, Mont. Aboard that plane were Leland and Sharon Bowman of Marion, Montana, and their step-granddaughter, Autumn Veatch, 16, of Bellingham.

The Bowmans were killed in the crash, but Veatch survived and managed to hike through the rugged terrain out of the mountains to a remote highway, where she was spotted by a motorist and taken to the nearest town. She was treated at a local hospital and arrived back home Tuesday night.


WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — A plane flying to Orcas Island with a Minnesota couple on board was reported as missing in Whatcom County.

A plane has been found crashed 10 miles east of Acme, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

The plane crashed on a hillside, and crews are having difficulty accessing it in the rugged wildnerness.

Crews are assessing how to reach it.

It is suspected that the plane found crashed is the missing plane, but it has not been officially confirmed.

According to a friend who lives in Lake Kabetogama, the missing pilot is Bob Nevalainen. Nevalainen and his wife Gayle own a single-engine Piper plane.

He said Bob is retired and that Gayle works at the general store in the small town. Both are volunteer firefighters.

The friend told KIRO 7 the couple, in their late 50s or early 60s, left last week for a 6 to 8 week trip to Alaska.

The plane left from International Falls, MN.

Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said the plane was traveling to Orcas Island and was expected to land on Saturday. 

WSDOT said the small plane was not required to file a flight plan and it is not known what time it was expected to land.

LaBoe said WSDOT was notified by the family that the plane was missing late Tuesday.

WSDOT Aviation Emergency Services has launched a search. 

The Civil Air Patrol says the search area where the plane was last seen on radar is 5 miles by 5 miles and is within 20 miles of where another plane crashed on Saturday in which a teenage girl from Bellingham survived. 

Story, comments and photo:

Michael McIntyre police helicopter Twitter pic probed by watchdog

A picture tweeted by a police helicopter team showing comedian Michael McIntyre standing in a London street is being investigated by the Information Commissioner's Office for a possible breach of data protection laws.

Michael McIntyre was snapped using a surveillance camera outside the Global Radio offices in Leicester Square at around 8am this morning.

The photo, posted on the National Police Air Service's (NPAS) London twitter account (@NPASLondon), was captioned: "Whilst on tasking in central London this morning we spotted a certain energetic funny man ... Can you guess who?"

An Information Commissioner's Office spokesman said: "Police forces like all other organisations must comply with the Data Protection Act.

"The police especially must ensure that they have legitimate grounds for processing personal data and disclosing images of this nature without a justifiable policing purpose could potentially breach the Data Protection Act.

"We will follow this up with the force concerned."

Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter said he believed the post was a breach of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, the 12-point code established in June 2013 to ensure the surveillance system was used for legitimate purposes.

Mr Porter has contacted the Metropolitan Police, which has overall responsibility for NPAS in London, to discuss the matter.

He said: "Under the code, images should only be used for their stated purpose - which for the police is to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

"Access to data that is captured by surveillance should be restricted - disclosure should only take place when it is necessary for law enforcement purposes.

"Public disclosure of anyone's image for the purposes of fun is a clear breach of that."

Mr Porter added that he would be seeking assurances from police forces that officers were made aware of the code to ensure the incident was not repeated.

Rachel Robinson, policy officer of Human Rights organisation Liberty, criticised the tweet, saying: "NPAS is getting a reputation for irresponsible tweeting and, with public concern around the misuse of state surveillance growing, this latest example suggests a blase attitude to our privacy.

"This doesn't bode well for those of us concerned about police use of new surveillance technology such as drones. How confident can we really be that our privacy is being taken seriously?"

The image also provoked anger on social media.

Robin Wilton, using the Twitter handle @futureidentity, tweeted: "Did you seek the individual's consent? Or is this an abuse of your considerable surveillance powers?"

Another, Edward Davie (@EdDavie), said: "You do a great job but this is dodgy. Do you have permission to post pics of these people from a spy cam on Twitter?"

Helicopter surveillance is overseen by the National Police Air Service , with regional bases across the country.

Each aircraft carries a variety of hand-held digital cameras, capable of taking high-resolution images to be used for evidential purposes or to assist officers in planning and executing operations. They are also capable of streaming live footage to command bases.

Police also regularly fly planes, fitted with surveillance equipment capable of intercepting phone calls and listening in on conversations, over London, according to reports.

Earlier today, the ground operations director for the NPAS, Superintendent Richard Watson, said: "We are aware of the tweet and, as far as we are aware, it does not breach any data protection legislation. We feel however it was inappropriate and it has since been removed.

"We will be speaking to the person who posted the tweet."

A spokesman for McIntyre said there would be no comment from the star.

The comedian is due to perform a gig at the Ipswich Regent tonight as a warm-up to his Happy And Glorious UK and Ireland tour.

Story and photo:

Piper downsizing, laying off workers

VERO BEACH, Fla. - When Tom Lamkin looked for a spot three years ago to open his deli and convenience store in Vero Beach, he saw opportunity near the airport. 

There was Piper Aircraft; a mainstay in the county for decades.

But Wednesday the company announced layoffs were coming.

“We knew it was coming, we had heard things had been a bit slow over there,” Lamkin said.

Piper employees who stopped in the deli would not talk on the record but say they were notified yesterday of what was to come.

Piper Aircraft announced that  15 to 20% of the current workforce will need to be downsized.

The company has more than 750 employees. It means up to 150 people could get pink slips.

Jackie Carlon,  a Piper Aircraft spokesperson,  says global economic instability and a decline in demand for general aviation aircraft are forcing the layoffs.  “This impacts our employees and our customers so we want to make sure we rightsize the business.”

Carlon says the company was caught a bit off guard by the sluggish sales, after recent years of steady recovery.  She’s optimistic with a new plane awaiting certification, sales will take flight again.

Nearby businesses are hoping that optimism is realized.

“You know hopefully they can turn it around and get things going because Piper is a big part of the city here,” Lamkin said.

The factory production schedule will be adjusted for the remainder of this year as well as next year.

Piper is the fourth largest employer in Indian River County and the largest private employer of full time employees.

Story and video:

A mass layoff announced today by Piper Aircraft Inc. of Vero Beach will impact more than 100 workers and possibly as many as 150. The airplane manufacturer is reducing its workforce by at least 15 percent and may cut its staff by as much as 20 percent.

Piper currently employs roughly 750 people, and it sells single- and twin-engine aircraft to both American and international customers. The company's layoff announcement follows two consecutive quarters of declines in the company's revenue, sales, and deliveries.

Simon Caldecott, the company's president and CEO, issued a formal statement, saying, "Piper Aircraft has experienced steady recovery since 2009, however, we are facing challenges and economic instability in several key regions of the world, including Asia, parts of Europe, and Latin America. The team at Piper is committed to the business and as such must make the agonizing decision to adjust accordingly."

In Piper's press release about the layoffs, the company said it was preparing a staff reduction schedule and would inform laidoff employees of their status as soon as possible. The company also indicated that it would be working with the Florida state unemployment office and local job placement organizations to ensure that its displaced workers receive assistance.

Original article can be found here:

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N555PK: Fatal accident occurred July 14, 2015 in Brazoria, Texas

David M. Leining, Sr:

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA305
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Brazoria, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32-300, registration: N555PK
Injuries: 2 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 July 14, 2015, about 1004 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300 single-engine airplane, N555PK, impacted terrain near Brazoria, Texas. The flight instructor and the student pilot were killed, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The airplane departed Pearland Regional Airport (LVJ), Pearland, Texas, about 0910 and was destined to return to LVJ.

No witnesses to the accident have yet been found. A motorist driving on a remote unpaved road in the national wildlife refuge saw the wreckage and called 9-1-1 emergency about 1130. Postaccident radar forensics show the airplane first appeared on radar about 0915 near LVJ and radar contact was lost at 1004. Evidence at the scene showed the airplane was moving to the northwest when it impacted terrain. The wreckage was fragmented along the ground for about 110 feet and the outer portion of the left wing was completely separated near the initial impact scar. The engine compartment and forward cockpit area were impact damaged and partially separated from the main cabin area and the fuselage, which came to rest in a nose down attitude. There was a significant fuel spill at the scene, but there was no postimpact fire.

The remaining on-board fuel was examined and no evidence of fuel contamination was found. At the LVJ facility where the airplane had most recently been refueled, refueling unit records and a review of security camera video showed that the airplane had been refueled with aviation gasoline and postaccident fuel quality checks of that fuel facility were satisfactory.

The wreckage was moved to a different location and will be further examined. A handheld GPS device and several avionics components containing non-volatile memory (NVM), including engine performance data, were removed from the wreckage for examination and an extraction of useful data is possible.

The closest official weather reporting station was at Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport (KLBX), Angleton/Lake Jackson, Texas, located 14 miles north-northeast from the accident location. At 0953 the Automated Surface Observation System at KLBX reported wind from 190 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear of clouds, temperature 31 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of Mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

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

David Leining was standing in the path of the 2005 blast but survived. 

David Leining, shown in 2005, suffered two broken ankles in the BP explosion that killed 15 co-workers in Texas City. Leining and another man were killed in a plane crash on Tuesday. 

A man who survived a 2005 explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City that killed 15 of his co-workers was among two men who died Tuesday in a private plane crash in Brazoria County. 

 The single engine Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six went down shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday near County Road 306 and FM 2611 in the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

DPS troopers identified the pilot as David Leining, 63, of Santa Fe. According to records from the Federal Aviation Administration, Leining is the owner of the small plane.

Authorities confirmed that the passenger who died was Robert Mena, 57, of League City. He was a retired sergeant with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

FAA officials said a passerby spotted the wreckage and notified authorities.

"Once we arrived at the scene, we secured the bodies and recovered them," said DPS Trooper Stephen Woodard. "From there, we turned it over to the FAA."

Leining was 53 when a spark from a passing truck ignited flammable, highly toxic gases at the refinery on March 23, 2005. It triggered a series of explosions that obliterated the double-wide office trailer where he was working as a BP construction supervisor.

Most of the people inside the trailer were killed. Leining was trapped under the rubble but survived with two broken ankles.

"Really and truly, no one should have lived through that," Leining said during an interview after the explosion.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into Tuesday's fatal crash along with the FAA.

NTSB investigators typically take "several months" to complete their inquiry, FAA officials said.

Story, photo gallery and video:

David Leining, who was badly injured in the 2005 BP refinery explosion, recalls the accident and his difficult recovery - Video by Mayra Beltrán, Houston Chronicle:


Man who survived BP explosion dies in plane crash

BP explosion

Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport (KTIP), Rantoul, Illinois: Airport manager takes new position in D.C.

Rune Duke
RANTOUL — Rune Duke, Rantoul National Aviation Center manager for the past 15 months, has taken a new position in Washington, D.C.

Village Administrator Jeff Fiegenschuh said Duke has taken a lobbying position for the airline industry.

Duke said he opted to make the move “for reasons related to family.”

“I have learned many things related to aviation and non-aviation while being with the village, but it was my fellow village employees and their enthusiasm for making a positive difference that has had the biggest impact on me,” Duke said.

Fiegenschuh said Duke will not be replaced as manager. Instead, Carson Vericker, who has served in the No. 2 position under Duke, will assume oversight of the day-to-day operations of the airport. That includes overseeing the fixed-base operator, vendors and purchases.

Vericker will report to the public works department.

David Silver of the village inspections department will oversee property maintenance at the airport and the leasing of all airport facilities.

Fiegenschuh said not filling the airport manager post is expected to save $40,000-$50,000.

The personnel change will go forward on a six-month trial basis.

The village administrator lauded Duke’s work with the village.

“Rune was an extremely effective individual,” Fiegenschuh said. “He’s got so much potential in this industry. I’m happy and proud of him.”