Thursday, July 16, 2015

Utah man oversaw secret WWII mission to reconstruct Japanese airplanes

Clyde D. Gessel

SALT LAKE CITY — The little-known story of a Utah man who oversaw a secret World War II mission to reconstruct and test Japanese aircraft has a prominent place in a new heritage site in Australia.

Clyde D. Gessel oversaw the rebuilding of Japanese Zeros at Eagle Farm airfield near Brisbane. The operation, authorized by Gen. Douglas McArthur, played an important role in history and possibly changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

Linda Grow and her husband, Robert, were in Brisbane on Thursday to share part of her father's remarkable military service at the dedication of an interpretive center at Eagle Farm.

Grow spent the past five years supporting creation of the heritage site, which includes an 1800s women's prison, a testing and maintenance area for Allied aircraft engines, and the hangar where Gessel worked.

"Hangar 7 is a tangible symbol of what men from our nations accomplished together in those dark days with courage, devotion and hard work to preserve the freedom we cherish," according to remarks Grow prepared for the event. "I hope Hangar 7 will stand forever in remembrance of our shared heritage and the enduring bonds of friendship between our two nations."

While Gessel's story is known Down Under — a street in Eagle Farm is named Clyde Gessel Place — it hasn't been told in his home state. Gessel died in 2007.

Gessel was a young first lieutenant and civil engineer in the Army Air Corps from the small northern Utah town of Providence when he received orders in early 1943 to salvage parts from downed Japanese Zeros and reconstruct them to be tested against Allied fighters.

In early combat, the plane gained legendary status as a dogfighter, with a kill ratio of 12 to 1. It became less effective as the war went on.

Gessel's crew of Americans and Australians recovered Japanese airplane parts and equipment in New Guinea and loaded them on a ship for Brisbane. In his history, Gessel described life in New Guinea as a "different type of existence."

"We ate and worked in large grass shack that the natives had built for us. We slept in tents, always under carefully arranged mosquito nets. The mosquitoes at night were numerous and bloodthirsty. We also had slit trenches for air raid protection," he wrote.

In Brisbane, the crew worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for six months to assemble the Japanese plane and test it on July 20, 1943. They called the hangar the Air Intelligence Technical Unit.

"I was not an aeronautical engineer so we just used good common sense in trying to make the airframes stronger than the original structure," Gessel wrote in his history. "After getting one Japanese Zero completely airworthy, we flew it against our own planes in all sorts of tactical manuevers."

On Aug. 10 1943, he wrote in his journal, "We have flown the (Japanese) airplane six flights. Quite a feat after putting together a mass of shot up junk."

As a result of the operation, Allied planes were told to avoid dogfighting with the lighter more agile Zeros and use tactics to improve their defenses against the Japanese fighters.

Gessel's crew also identified production rates, manufacturing sites and supply lines from the engine parts, allowing Allied bombers to hit specific targets in Japan.

Their work also led to improved designs for Allied fighter planes.

Grow said her father and his crew worked with a sense of urgency to provide information that would save Allied lives and possibly bring an earlier end to the war.

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Incident occurred July 16, 2015 in Hagaman, Montgomery County, New York

HAGAMAN - State Police say a pilot suffered some mechanical issue after losing the plane's propeller over Montgomery County.

Police tell CBS6 that at around 2:00 PM they received reports of a small airplane that was having engine trouble.

State Police also say that the pilot was in the process of reporting the incident after experiencing a mechanical issue and was able to glide back into the airport.

A woman on Green Acres Lane in the Village of Hagaman reported that some debris has struck her roof. 

It was discovered that a propeller went through the roof of her home and into her attic.

State Police say there were no injuries and that the Federal Aviation Administration was contacted for an investigation.


Piper PA-28-151 Warrior, C-GDYN: Accident occurred July 15, 2015 at Avey Field Airport (69S), Laurier, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR15CA214
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 15, 2015 in Laurier, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-151, registration: C-GDYN
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The pilot stated that while en route to his destination he became unsure about his position. He saw an airport and decided to land and reorient himself. During the landing the airplane touched down long and he could not stop the airplane, using full braking, before it departed the end of the runway and collided with trees. The wings were substantially damaged.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Date:     15-JUL-15
Time:     20:35:00Z
Regis#:     CGDYN
Aircraft Make:     PIPER
Aircraft Model:     PA28
Event Type:     Accident
Highest Injury:     Minor
Damage:     Substantial
Flight Phase:     LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Spokane FSDO-13
City:     LAURIER
State:     Washington


LAURIER — A Canadian man was injured yesterday afternoon after his plane crashed south of the international border in Ferry County.

The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a spokesman from the Ferry County Sherriff’s Office said.

According to officials, the pilot took off from Nelson, B.C., en route to Vancouver, B.C., when the he experienced engine problems and attempted to land, but overshot the runway.

The pilot’s name was not immediately available.

The crash victim was transported to a Canadian hospital. The Sheriff’s Office could not confirm the extent of his injuries.

The Sheriff's Office and Joint Fire Protection District Ferry County No. 3 and Stevens County No. 8 responded to the scene.

The plane crash is the fourth in nine days in the region.

On July 11, two planes went down in the North Cascades, in unrelated incidents, killing four people. Another plane went down July 7 in the Osoyoos, B.C., area, injuring the pilot.

Authorities on Wednesday were busy recovering the bodies from the first two crashes.

In the first crash, a plane flying from Kalispell, Mont., to Lynden, Wash., went down in the North Cascade Mountains, killing the pilot and his wife, Leland Bowman, 62, and Sharon, 63, both of Marion, Mont.

The couples' 16-year-old step-granddaughter Autumn Veatch of Bellingham, survived the crash and walked for two days, before being found about 3 p.m. Monday near the Easy Pass Trailhead, west of Mazama along state Highway 20. She has since been treated at Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster and released.

In the second Saturday crash, a Minnesota couple's plane went down in a remote area of Whatcom County about 10 miles east of Acme. The couple was flying to Orcas Island, aviation officials said.

The crash site was located yesterday and search crews were attempting to recover the bodies.

Information on the couple was not available.

In the July 7 crash, a 45-year-old pilot from Osoyoos was injured when his plane lost power and went down on Canadian Highway 97. His name was not released.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Jason Bayda said the pilot tried to land on the highway but hit a tractor-trailer and slammed into a power pole.

The plane burst into flames on the edge of the roadway and the pilot sustained second- and third-degree burns over most of his body.



Laser Hits on Planes Over New Jersey Push Day’s U.S. Tally to 35

A cluster of laser beam strikes on commercial airplanes over New Jersey Wednesday pushed the total number of attacks over the U.S. to more than twice the daily average.

Pilots of 35 flights -- including a U.S. Coast Guard plane over Ocean City -- reported incidents, according to a Federal Aviation Administration statement Thursday.

Eleven occurred on flights headed for Newark Liberty International Airport or LaGuardia, two of New York’s busiest, from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., according to an e-mail from the FAA. The attacks occurred in a range of locations suggesting more than one person was involved.

“It’s a big deal,” said John Cox, a former airline captain and president of Washington-based Safety Operating Systems, an aviation consultant. “I have a real problem understanding why anyone would shine a laser on an aircraft.”

Laser strikes on planes and helicopters have surged more than 10-fold in less than a decade, reaching 2,751 cases this year through July 3, according to FAA data. Last year, the FAA reported 3,894 cases. Incidents tend to occur as crews prepare to land, which is one of the busiest and most critical times during a flight, Cox said in an interview.

So far this year, airplanes are being struck by lasers about 15 times a day, less than half of Wednesday’s total.

The FBI’s Newark office has opened an investigation of the cases near Newark, Special Agent Celeste Danzi said. Intentionally shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal offense punishable by as much as five years in prison, Danzi said.

Other Attacks

Elsewhere in the U.S., cases occurred near cities in 10 states from Daytona Beach, Florida, to Oakland, California, the FAA said.

Lasers, from high-powered industrial models to devices used as toys, can temporarily blind pilots and damage the eye, according to government research.
Some powerful models are available for less than $100 online.

The FAA and FBI have been trying to ramp up enforcement efforts. The FBI last year began offering as much as $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of people involved.

American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Republic Airways Holdings Inc. were among carriers involved in the New Jersey incidents, according to the FAA.

Delta Flight 504 from Atlanta to Newark landed normally after the Boeing Co. 717-200’s cockpit was illuminated by a laser beam, spokesman Morgan Durrant said in an e-mail.

3,000 Feet

“Delta will do everything to assist with the investigation and including the apprehension of perpetrators by law enforcement,” Durrant said.

American Airlines Flight 966 from Miami to Newark, a Boeing 737-800, was struck while flying at 3,000 feet (914 meters) about 15 miles south of the airport, according to FAA.

American spokesman Ross Feinstein and United spokeswoman Mary Clark in e-mails referred inquiries to the FAA. Phone or e-mail messages seeking comment from the other U.S. airlines weren’t returned.

All but one of the New Jersey strikes were made with a green laser, according to the FAA’s statement. Crews from different flights reported lights from either the left or right sides of their aircraft.


Learjet 60, Servicios Aéreos Estrella - SAE, XA-UQP: Accident occurred November 16, 2015 at Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Internacional Airport (ZIH), Mexico

NTSB Identification: CEN16WA075
Accident occurred Monday, November 16, 2015 in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Aircraft: LEARJET 60, registration:
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The Direccion General de Aeronutica Civil (DGAC) of Mexico has notified the NTSB of an fatal accident involving a LearJet 60, XA-UQP, that occurred on November 16, 2015. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the DGAC under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Mexico. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Mexico. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT)
Direccion General de Aeronutica Civil (DGAC)
Col Narvarte, Del. Benito Juárez
Mexico, D.F, Mexico c.p. 15620
Tel: (55)57239300

16 de noviembre de 2015.- Un avión tipo Learjet procedente de Toluca, estado de México, se despistó esta tarde en el aeropuerto de Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.

De acuerdo con Eduardo Carsentes, jefe de aeropuerto, el despiste se originó alrededor de las cinco de la tarde cuando la aeronave aterrizaba, y debido al pavimento mojado por una lluvia inesperada suscitada minutos antes, la aeronave se salió de la pista y rodó con sus llantas sobre tierra firme cubierta por césped por más de cien metros, sin que se suscitaran daños.

Se precisó que en el avión LJ-60 de color blanco, matrícula XA-UQP, de la empresa aérea privada “Estrella”, solo viajaban el piloto y el copiloto del que no se dieron a conocer los nombres. Venían a recoger pasajeros al aeropuerto de Zihuatanejo.

El incidente que movilizó a las fuerzas armadas que acordonaron el área y cerraron el ingreso a las pistas de aterrizaje, no provocó daños físicos ni materiales, aunque si originó la demora de tres vuelos procedentes de la ciudad de México a Zihuatanejo.

Yeager Airport (KCRW) hillside moves again

Large chunks of earth and rock break away from the hillside of the Yeager Airport runway expansion, enlarging the scope of the hill’s previous slide back in March. 

The landslide at the end of Yeager Airport’s main runway slipped again Wednesday, following more than a half-month of daily rainfall.

Airport spokesman Mike Plante said a portion at the top of the slide fell about 20 feet — the first significant movement in months.

“At 10:45 a.m., we observed the top scarp fell 15 to 20 feet ... We want to stress this was not the runway. It’s the end of the runway safety area. The runway is much farther back,” Plante said.

Wednesday afternoon, airport officials blocked off the end of Keystone Drive to keep people from getting too close to the landslide. Plante said they would stay there until the movement had stabilized.

Airport and Kanawha County officials will continue monitoring the area for further movement.

The original collapse happened March 12 after cracks in the surface of the airport’s Engineered Material Arresting System, or EMAS, were discovered earlier that week. The EMAS is on a man-made extension of the hill on which the runway sits, and the airport’s operations have not been affected by the slide.

Plante said as of noon, no structures are threatened and there was no indication the slide would cause blockage of Elk Twomile Creek.

He said Rodney Loftis & Sons were staging equipment on the Barlow Drive side of the hill to monitor the slide, to make sure it doesn’t move into Twomile Creek. Monitoring to make sure the creek isn’t blocked will be officials’ biggest concern, he said.

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 Yeager Airport officials assess damage to the hillside area comprising the airport’s runway extension Wednesday. In March a significant portion of the extension was affected by a landslide of major proportions. Heavy rains throughout the area lately have caused the exposed area of the slide to become unstable, causing further erosion and an enlargement of the area affected by the original slide.

For Whole Journey, Air India Plane Didn't Retract Wheels

NEW DELHI:  Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, was among the passengers on board a Boeing Dreamliner that flew from Amritsar to Delhi without retracting its wheels.

On July 12, a technical snag on the plane on did not allow the pilot to retract the rear wheels after being airborne. Such a condition does not allow the commander of a flight to fly at an altitude higher than 20,000 feet, or else the cabin pressure gets affected, causing uneasiness and discomfort to passengers and cabin crew.

The commander of the Air India flight however continued with the flight and landed in Delhi safely.

"Ideally, when you experience a snag like this, you return to the home base. But always, the captain who is operating the flight is the best judge of the situation," said a former Air India senior commander, who now flies with a private airline.

Sources say the pilot decided to continue to Delhi since it was a short flight and there were no serious safety issues.

An Air India statement said the, "All actions were well with in approved parameters... and aircraft landed safely without any problem in Delhi."


Federal Aviation Administration Official Teixeira Resigns Following FOX Business Network Investigation

By Adam Shapiro, Pamela Browne
Published July 14, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration's Joseph Teixeira has resigned according to a letter obtained by FOX Business Network. As Vice President, Safety and Technical Training Air Traffic Organization, Teixeria has come under scrutiny following a FOX Business Investigation into the hiring practices of the FAA, Trouble in the Skies.

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to announce that I have applied to retire from Federal Government Service on August 30.

After 37 plus years of federal service and 25 years in the FAA this is certainly not a dispassionate decision, but I take some comfort in Peter Pan’s quote:  “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting”

How could I forget? I walked through the doors of 10A in early 1990 and in the past 25 years have been given opportunities I could not have imagined on that day.  I have served at home and abroad; worked in ASH, API, AVS and ATO; been the FAA ambassador in Southern and Northern Europe and on many occasions at ICAO; and been given leadership positions that helped improve our aviation safety and security systems.

The last 10 years in air traffic have, by far, been the most rewarding because I have had the opportunity to work with an amazingly talented and hard working group of professionals that operate the largest, most efficient, most diverse and safest airspace system in the world; and yes, I can confidently say that today - because we have the data to prove it.  In these last ten years, together, we transformed the way in which we value our front line employees and manage safety and technical training.

It is an honor and a privilege to have worked with so many of you who made that transformation possible.  Special thanks to the leadership in ATO and NATCA who never waivered in their support to Safety and Technical Training.

I plan to continue making contributions to aviation safety and to put to use the great lessons and skills I learned from all of you.  Thank you.

Best Regards, Joseph

Joseph Teixeira
Vice President, Safety and
Technical Training
Air Traffic Organization

UPDATE: One day following the resignation a spokesperson for Rep. Randy Hultgren issued the following statement to FOX Business.

"The resignation of the FAA's Vice President of Safety and Technical Training is only the latest in a line of FAA employees who have left the agency under a cloud of alleged cheating surrounding the tainted BQ test. Yet the FAA has remained disturbingly quiet on employee conduct, providing little detail on internal investigations. Only a congressional hearing will force the FAA to answer publicly for their actions-it's time to bring FAA officials before the American people."

Jameson Cunningham | Communications Director
U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14)

Adam Shapiro joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in September 2007 as a New York based reporter.

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TSA Sued Over Failure to Issue Set Rules for Use of Invasive Body Scanners

Brian Doherty
Jul. 15, 2015  11:58 pm

Free-market research and advocacy group the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) (disclosure: I held a one year fellowship with CEI in 1999-2000), along with the National Center for Transgender Equality, The Rutherford Institute and CEI's President Lawson Bader and Marc Scribner, a fellow in CEI's Center for Technology and Innovation as private individuals), this week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the Transportation Security Administration's use of "advanced imaging technology" full body scanners, on administrative grounds.

As an emailed press release from Scribner described the suit, it:

requests the court enforce its July 15, 2011, decision that found the TSA’s deployment of body scanners in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The 2011 court ordered the TSA to “promptly” open a rulemaking proceeding and produce a final rule. Today is the four-year anniversary of the court order and we still do not have a final rule to evaluate and potentially challenge. In fact, given that TSA has been rolling out body scanners since 2007, they have been violating the APA for eight years.

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