Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Airport authority’s 
inaction is puzzling • Grand Junction Regional (KGJT), Colorado

Eager to remove the specter of criminal prosecution from a federal fraud investigation of Grand Junction Regional Airport, the airport board last year instituted several changes to tighten internal controls and improve oversight and accountability.

Those measures were noted in a non-prosecution agreement extended by the U.S. Department of Justice. But the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority has been far less punctilious about shielding itself from civil liability. On Monday, Shaw Construction sued the board — as it had threatened to do for more than a year — over unpaid work on a controversial and unfinished administration building at the airport.

How has it come to this? In April, the Grand Junction City Council — half-owners of the airport — offered to spend up to $1.5 million to complete the exterior of the building. The offer was contingent upon paying contractors for work already done. Is that why the airport board never responded to the offer? What in the name of Walter Walker is going on here?

The city’s “offer” was actually more like a directive. City Councilman Bennett Boeschenstein was very blunt: “Finish the damn building,” he told Airport Authority member Paul Nelson during a council workshop in March. “There’s no excuses anymore. Do it, and if you don’t have the money to do it, come to us and ask us.”

When the board failed to ask, the city put together the offer. Interim City Manager Tim Moore confirmed the city never heard from the airport board, despite the mayor’s request for a “yes” or “no” so the council would know where it stands.

Inaction seems to be the buzzword for all things associated with the airport these days. The feds show no signs of issuing any sort of conclusion over the fraud investigation. No arrests have been made. No indictments have been handed down. The airport board met Tuesday evening and barely broached the subject of Shaw’s lawsuit to collect nearly $330,000 in unpaid bills.

Rick Taggart, a city councilor who represents the city on the airport board, didn’t seem overly concerned about the building situation. He said the city attorney is “in the loop” regarding “progress” on the building.

Progress? All we see is the board dragging its feet to the point of getting sued after the city laid out a specific course of action that would have thwarted such a development.

Obviously the airport authority and the city attorney know something the rest of us don’t. Taggart and the city attorney are presumably keeping the council abreast of developments regarding the exposed building, so maybe our concern is misplaced. But the bottom line is that the airport authority has failed to do anything — even take a vote on the city’s offer, which at least would have given the public some hint of how the individual members line up on the issue.

The city — the only owner of the airport in a financial position to save the building — has indicated it doesn’t want the building razed. The airport authority’s reluctance to take action means the building may degrade beyond the point of saving.

Source:  http://www.gjsentinel.com/opinion

Fenton, Michigan: Plane crash results in arrest • Aircraft crashes near Golden Pond on Saturday evening




Fenton Twp. — During the Fenton Township Board of Trustee meeting on Monday, Supervisor Bonnie Mathis commented on the ultralight plane that crashed in a wooded area just off Golden Pond Saturday, just after 7:30 p.m.

"This plane, from what the witnesses said, came right down out of the sky, parachute and everything and dropped right down,” Mathis said.

Mathis had met with the pilot before the crash with the zoning administrator, and she was under the impression he docked the plane. Although, she learned that he kept it on the front lawn of his sister’s house. 

Mathis showed a picture of the plane on the lawn.

Neighbors were upset and complained about the noise. 

The code enforcement officer brought the man in and they had scheduled a meeting for July 21.

After the crash, “He was taken to the hospital. But when police did come they found he had a warrant for his arrest,” Mathis said. “I don’t think we will see this man around the township.”

“I didn’t realize he was taxiing down onto the channel that runs parallel to Grove Park. That’s dangerous,” Mathis said.

Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson the pilot crashed his single-engine plane as he was practicing landing. He said the pilot from Flint walked away, uninjured. A computer check revealed that the pilot had valid felony arrest warrants out of Flint for uttering and publishing (writing bad checks), which led to his arrest. After a trip the hospital, the pilot was then transported to the courthouse for arraignment on his outstanding warrant.

As with any plane crash, Swanson said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) responded to the crash site to investigate and determine if there were any violations.

Source:  http://www.tctimes.com

Cirrus SR20, Aerosim Flight Academy: Accidents occurred July 22, 2015, April 21, 2014 and November 22, 2011

BOSTON AVIATION LEASING II LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N610DA

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA277
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 22, 2015 in Lake Wales, FL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N610DA
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 22, 2015, about 1044 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR20, N610DA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while performing a go-around at Lake Wales Municipal Airport (X07), Lake Wales, Florida. The certified flight instructor (CFI) was seriously injured, and the student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight from the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), Sanford, Florida to Page Field Airport (FMY), Fort Myers, Florida. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) information, the CFI reported to ATC that the airplane was displaying a low oil pressure indication and he was experiencing smoke in the cockpit. The CFI then declared an emergency with ATC and was provided radar vectors to and cleared for landing at X07. 

According to witnesses at X07, they watched as the airplane approached runway 17. They stated that as the airplane reached the runway threshold, it appeared to abort the landing, "throttle up," and continued to fly down the runway. The airplane then made a left turn towards the departure end of runway 6. As the airplane reached the end of the runway, witnesses reported that it seemed "slow and wobbly," then began a descending left turn. Witnesses stated that the airframe parachute was deployed prior to impact. 

Examination of the airplane was conducted at the accident site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented on a heading about 320 degrees magnetic, and was 46 feet in length. Examination of the right wing revealed that it was splintered and the fuel tank was breached. The cockpit was broken away from the fuselage and crushed, and the fuselage displayed crush damage throughout the hull. The empennage was intact and revealed impact damage. The left wing was intact and approximately 12 gallons of fuel was defueled from the main tank. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to all flight control surfaces. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that it was impact damaged and crushed aft towards the firewall. The propeller was fractured off of the engine crankshaft and located in the debris path approximately 20 feet from the main wreckage.

Cirrus SR20, N610DA, Aerosim Flight Academy: Accident occurred July 22, 2015 near Lake Wales Municipal Airport (X07), Lake Wales, Florida 

Date: 22-JUL-15
Time:  14:44:00Z
Regis#:  N610DA
Aircraft Make:  CIRRUS
Aircraft Model:  SR20
Event Type:  Accident
Highest Injury:  Serious
Damage:  Destroyed
Activity:  Instruction
Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15
City:  LAKE WALES
State:  Florida

AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO THE TREES OFF THE RUNWAY, LAKE WALES, FL





LAKE WALES -- A student pilot injured in a plane crash last week has died. 

Flight instructor Anthony Arzave, 32, of Lake Mary, and student pilot Sheng-yen Chen, 26, of China, were in a Cirrus SR20 plane when it crashed near a runway at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport last Wednesday.

Chen succumbed to his injuries over the weekend.

Arzave remains at a local hospital and in stable condition.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. 





The plane was operated by Aerosim Flight Academy Inc., based out of Sanford was being flown by Flight Instructor Anthony Arzave, 32, and student pilot Sheng-yen Chen, 26, who were both hospitalized after the accident. Chen later succumbed to his injuries. Cirrus SR20, N610DA, accident occurred July 22, 2015 near Lake Wales Municipal Airport (X07), Lake Wales, Florida.



Heroic effort at plane crash site

Every weekday, Jared O’Conner makes the 90-mile trek from his Osceola County home to join a small work crew working on safety upgrades at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport.

For the first few hours of his shift last Thursday, it was a non-eventful day, his large front-loader doing its routine business of moving dirt.

But in the blink of an eye, O’Conner and his co-workers saw their day switched from ho-hum to heroic when a small single-engine plane went down about a quarter-mile from the Lake Wales Municipal Airport.

“We got on scene, but we weren’t aware of exactly where the plane was located,” Lake Wales Fire Chief Joe Jenkins said. “We could first see the parachute, and that’s when we noticed it.”

The first responders jumped into a “gator” four-wheel drive vehicle provided by the airport to initially get to the site, a swampy area that was clearly not going to be accessed by conventional fire and rescue equipment.

“They had all their medical equipment, but we didn’t have all of the extrication tools,” Jenkins said.

That’s when O’Conner and members of the Dickerson Florida work crew swung into action. They loaded rescue equipment into the bucket of a front end loader that lumbered through the marsh, cutting a path to the downed plane.

“It was definitely a team effort. It was a great example of public-private relationship. They were more than willing to do anything we asked them to do, above and beyond,” Jenkins said. Extrication tools were needed to cut the plane’s dashboard away from student pilot Sheng-yen Chen, a 26-year-old from China.

Chen passed away over the weekend from his injuries, but his instructor, Anthony Arzave, while still hospitalized as of Monday, is in stable condition.

Sources on scene said Chen was unconscious during the rescue effort, while Arzave was able to communicate some with medical personnel.

Chen was transported from the crash site in the front-loader bucket along with a couple of first responders. They were taken to a nearby pickup truck which then transported the victim to a waiting ambulance.

“Had it happened on a runway, it would have been a lot more simple, but you just have to kind of improvise. It was an usual vehicle to move a patient to be sure, but when you looked around, the helicopters couldn’t even land in that area because it was too wet,” Jenkins said.

The plane sustained heavy damage, and Jenkins said he was surprised anyone survived the crash.

“I am, to be honest with you, really surprised,” he said.

O’Conner said he didn’t hesitate for a second to offer the company’s equipment and aid, estimating that the crash was probably 2,000 feet from a spot where rescue vehicles could reasonably be staged.

“It wasn’t exactly a normal day,” O’Conner said. “I didn’t even think. We knew people needed help, so that’s what we did.”

Kathy McBride, onsite representing the engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner who is overseeing the airport construction project, was outside near the railroad track crossing on Airport Road when she saw the doomed plane overhead.

“We noticed him coming in and then he seemed to accelerate and pull back up, and we thought ‘that’s odd’ and then he curved to the left,” she said. “I never heard anything.”

The plane was equipped with an emergency parachute, which investigators are trying to determine whether or not it was actually deployed or may have opened upon impact.

There was at least one worker who heard an ominous sound.

“We heard a pop,” said Austin Berg, who also works for Dickerson. “I think it was the parachute opening.”

From afar, however, there was no other obvious signs of an impact, the workers said.

“There was gas leaking there, but there was no explosion like you see in the movies,” O’Conner noted.

Despite the challenging conditions, both Jenkins and the workers estimated it only took about 10 minutes to get the victims out of the wreckage.

“It really went smooth, extremely smooth. The guys did a wonderful job,” Jenkins said, noting that the department hasn’t done any specific airport training. “It would have been easy to become overwhelmed by the situation, but they didn’t miss a beat.”

According to a report in the Taipei Times, Chen was one of about 50 pilot trainees for China Airlines — that nation’s largest carrier — that are being schooled at the Aeorism Flight Academy in Sanford, which according to the airlines, was formed in 1989.

The report said the injured pilot came to the academy last year, and was scheduled to finish his flight training by the end of this year. He would still have needed an additional year of training once he returned to Taiwan, the report added.

O’Conner and workers from the Dickerson crew are to be honored for their efforts at next Tuesday’s meeting of the Lake Wales City Commission which starts at 6 p.m. in city hall.

“Their sole objective was to do anything and everything we needed them to do,” Jenkins added. “They made it a lot easier and a lot faster. We’re fighting the clock at that point. We need to get them transported and get them to a hospital.”

Source:  http://yoursun.com

>






Taipei, July 24 (CNA) One of Taiwan's major international airlines on Friday confirmed that one of its student pilots has been injured in a plane crash in central Florida. 

China Airlines said its representatives will accompany relatives of the student pilot to the United States and the company will do its best to help provide medical care for the young man.

News reports in Florida identified the man as Chen Sheng-yen, 26, a would-be pilot receiving a year-long training at Aerosim Flight Academy based in Sanford near Orlando.

He was flying with instructor pilot Anthony Arzave, 32, when their Cirrus SR20 crashed Wednesday morning (local time) near a runway at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport to the south of Orlando, Bay News 9 reported on its website.

An emergency parachute on the Cirrus SR20 was activated although investigators said they don't know if the parachute had been deployed by the pilots or deployed on impact, the report said.

The two were taken to a local hospital, the report said, adding Chen was in critical condition while Arzave's condition was listed as stable.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Bureau.

According to Aerosim Flight Academy Inc., the company that runs the flight school, Arzave, a certified flight instructor, and the student experienced difficulty at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport during a routine training flight before the crash.

China Airlines said Chen is one of around 50 student pilots being trained at Aerosim Flight Academy, which was founded in 1989. Chen began his training late in 2014 and was scheduled to receive more training after returning to Taiwan late this year. 

Source:  http://focustaiwan.tw

Statement from Aerosim Flight Academy Inc: 

"At approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, July 22, 2015, an Aerosim Flight Academy Cirrus SR-20 aircraft crewed by a Certified Flight Instructor and student experienced difficulty at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport during a routine training flight. The instructor and student were transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and care. 

"At the present time, Aerosim is gathering all available information on the condition of the crew, status of the aircraft and potential causes of this incident.  Aerosim is working closely and cooperating with all local, state and federal entities to ensure that a proper and complete investigation is conducted.

"The safety of our students and instructors is our top priority.  We remain in close communications will all authorities as the incident remains an active investigation."

Read more here: http://www.baynews9.com

LAKE WALES | The two men injured in Wednesday's plane crash at the Lake Wales Municipal Airport have been identified. 

Flight instructor Anthony Arzave, 32, of Lake Mary, and student pilot Sheng-yen Chen, 26, of China were injured when a plane belonging to Aerosim Academy Inc. out of Sanford crashed into a swampy area near the runway at the airport before 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Lake Wales Police Department.

The men were airlifted to a local hospital, where they remain. Arzave is currently listed in serious condition, while Chen's injuries are considered critical, police said.

Police said the plane came equipped with a parachute, which deployed during the crash, but it is unclear whether it was deployed by the men or upon impact. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been working with police, but have not yet determined the cause of the crash.
======

A small plane carrying two adults crashed Wednesday morning in a marshy area next to Lake Wales Municipal Airport, according to Polk County Fire Rescue.

Both adult males, an instructor and a student, were flown to a local hospitals.

According to Lake Wales police, both victims are alive. Their names will be released once family is notified.

Both suffered serious injuries, and as of late Wednesday, one of the men was still in surgery.

Emergency responders received a call about the crashed Cirrus SR20 aircraft about 10:45 a.m. The flight departed from Orlando-Sanford International Airport and was headed for Page Field in Ft. Myers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lake Wales was not on the flight plan, so it's possible the men were attempting an emergency landing while en route to Ft. Myers.

The plane crashed just short of the runway.

Investigators said during a news conference the parachute which can be seen in photos and video from Action Air 1 is actually part of the plane.

The operators of this particular plane can deploy the chute in an emergency. It's unclear how high the plane was when the chute was deployed.

Source:  http://www.abcactionnews.com

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) -Two men are in the hospital with serious injuries after their plane crashed near the Lake Wales Municipal Airport Wednesday morning. Investigators tell us the men were airlifted to a nearby hospital after they were pulled from the wreckage. The plane hit the ground in a swampy area next to the airport, which shook many nearby homes. 

“I heard like a loud sound I heard the plane going and I heard a loud boom,” said Mireya Cardona who lives just behind the airport. She and her family watched as helicopters landed and airlifted the men to the airport. We understand the victims were a pilot and a passenger.

An Orlando based Federal Aviation Administration team made it to the scene Wednesday afternoon. Investigators are still waiting on the NTSB team from Atlanta to arrive. Meantime, they are not releasing the names of the men on the plane until they can reach their families. Lake Wales Police could not tell us if the plane was leaving the airport or landing. Skydiving schools located at the airport shut their doors for the day after the crash.

Lake Wales police tell News Channel 8 that someone called 911 to notify them of the crash around 10:45 Wednesday morning. They found the men still in the aircraft once they arrived. They were using a four wheeler Wednesday to access the crash site which was in a wet swampy area.

Source:  http://wfla.com
Lake Wales, Florida -- Two people have been airlifted to the hospital after their small plane crashed at Lake Wales Municipal Airport late Wednesday morning. 

An FAA spokesperson says the pilot and passenger were on a Cirrus SR20 that departed from Orlando Sanford International Airport and was headed to Page Field in Ft. Myers when it appears it tried to land at Lake Wales Municipal Airport.

Based on aerial footage from the scene, it appears the pilot had deployed the plane's parachute to help land the plane safely.

The FAA is continuing to investigate the crash.

Source:  http://www.wtsp.com































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http://registry.faa.gov/N497DA

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA082 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in Brooksville, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2012
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N497DA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

According to the pilot, while in the vicinity of an unfamiliar airport, he used his global positioning system (GPS) to align the airplane with the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted mailboxes and fences, and the pilot realized that he had landed on a residential street. The runway was about 1.5 miles to the west. According to a representative of the flight school that operated the airplane, there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane. Examination of the airplane revealed that the wings sustained substantial damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's incorrect identification of the runway, which resulted in an off-airport landing and subsequent collision with objects. 

=========

According to deputies, the 22-year-old student pilot said his GPS indicated that Citation Road in the Pasco Trails subdivision was a Pilot Country Airport landing strip. The airport is less than three miles from where he actually landed.

His Cirrus SR20 plane hit some mailboxes, small trees and a fence. No one was injured in the landing. 

Dave Torro saw the plane land in his neighborhood and tells 10 News he spoke with the pilot afterwards.  According to Torro, the pilot was from China and did not speak English well.

"He said, 'We land here all the time ... this is Pilot Country.' And I'm like, 'No. It's not.  This is a horse community and you got them mixed up,'" Torro recalls.
The plane had taken off from Sanford. The FAA will be investigating the incident.



Spring Hill, Florida -- It appears the pilot of a single-engine plane mistook a Pasco County neighborhood for a nearby airport landing strip.

Photo Gallery: Plane hard landing in Pasco






JAY CONNER
The 23-year-old student pilot said his GPS indicated Citation Road in the Pasco Trails subdivision was a landing strip.

The 23-year-old student pilot said his GPS indicated Citation Road in the Pasco Trails subdivision was a landing strip




NTSB Identification: ERA14CA2
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 21, 2014 in Sanford, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/05/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N497DA
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.

During the supervised solo flight, the student pilot had completed three previous circuits in the traffic pattern, with two of the three landing attempts aborted. On the fourth landing attempt, a 70-degree right crosswind "blew" the airplane off the left side of the runway. The student pilot then applied full engine power to conduct a go-around, and the airplane "veered left and banked 45 degrees to the left." The student pilot stated that the airplane continued left "no matter how hard I pushed the control stick to the right." The student pilot also reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane that would have prevented normal operation. According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-61-23C, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

"The effect of torque increases in direct proportion to engine power, airspeed, and airplane attitude. If the power setting is high, the airspeed slow, and the angle of attack high, the effect of torque is greater. During takeoffs and climbs, when the effect of torque is most pronounced, the pilot must apply sufficient right rudder pressure to counteract the left-turning tendency and maintain a straight takeoff path."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the aborted landing. Contributing to the accident was his failure to compensate for torque, P-factor, and the reported crosswind conditions.

During the supervised solo flight, the student pilot had completed three previous circuits in the traffic pattern, with two of the three landing attempts aborted. On the fourth landing attempt, a 70-degree right crosswind "blew" the airplane off the left side of the runway. The student pilot then applied full engine power to conduct a go-around, and the airplane "veered left and banked 45 degrees to the left." The student pilot stated that the airplane continued left "no matter how hard I pushed the control stick to the right." The student pilot also reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane that would have prevented normal operation. According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-61-23C, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

"The effect of torque increases in direct proportion to engine power, airspeed, and airplane attitude. If the power setting is high, the airspeed slow, and the angle of attack high, the effect of torque is greater. During takeoffs and climbs, when the effect of torque is most pronounced, the pilot must apply sufficient right rudder pressure to counteract the left-turning tendency and maintain a straight takeoff path."


AIRCRAFT WENT OFF THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY AND THROUGH A DITCH, SANFORD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ORLANDO, FL 

http://registry.faa.gov/N497DA



 


 


































Texas Man Arrested After Laser Pointed At 7 Separate Aircraft

Austin Lawrence Siferd 
(Jail photo)


CLEBURNE (July 22, 2015) Austin Lawrence Siferd, 23, was arrested early Wednesday in rural Johnson County after Dallas-Fort Worth air traffic controllers reported seven instances in which a green laser light was pointed at aircraft, authorities said. 

Aircraft were diverted from the area as a result of the incidents, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release Wednesday.

Six of the incidents, which started Tuesday night, involved planes from American Airlines, former American Eagle carrier Envoy, Southwest Airlines or cargo carrier FedEx, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

Siferd was charged with misdemeanor illumination of aircraft by intense light, but federal investigators planned to interview him and federal charges could be filed, the sheriff’s office said.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter that joined the search for the source of the laser was also targeted and the pilot was able to pinpoint the origin as a home in the 9000 block of CR 604.

Deputies found three people at the home, all of whom said they had been sleeping and weren’t aware of any incident involving a laser, but one of them, after learning that the DPS pilot had recorded video of the laser and had pinpointed the residence asked to speak to a sheriff’s corporal privately, the sheriff’s office said.

“At this point the suspect turned over the green laser to deputies and admitted that he had been using it to point at aircraft, not realizing that it was actually strong enough to reach the aircraft,” the press release said.

Source:  http://www.kwtx.com

Incident occurred July 21, 2015 in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida



FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A small aircraft that reportedly landed on the taxiway at the Treasure Coast International Airport in St. Lucie County, was diverted for an unknown reason and nose-dived into a ditch.

Fire Rescue crews are treating the incident as a fuel spill.

There are no reports of injuries at this time.

This is a developing story and it will be update as more information becomes available.

Idaho Land Board opts for helicopter logging in salvage sale

BOISE, IDAHO — State officials have given their OK to modify a northern Idaho timber-sale contract to include helicopter logging that will cost the state up to $1.5 million in lost revenue.

The Idaho Land Board's 4-0 vote on Tuesday followed a federal court ruling earlier this month that put the Selway Fire Salvage timber sale on hold by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road. The road crosses private property in a Wild and Scenic River corridor.

State officials initially estimated the sale on about 167 acres about 25 miles east of Kooskia would produce nearly 7 million board feet of timber and bring in about $2 million to the endowment fund that supports Idaho's public schools. With the added cost of using helicopters, revenue drops to $500,000 to $750,000.

"It's disappointing," Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said after the meeting. "A million and a half bucks in a classroom — you can do an awful lot with it."

But state officials told Otter and other Land Board members that the timber will lose value the longer logging is delayed, and that insect infestation will take hold and could spread to surrounding forests.

Idaho Rivers United and property owners Morgan and Olga Wright filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year seeking to reverse a Forest Service decision that Forest Road 652 is public. If it's not public, that means the Idaho Department of Lands would have to obtain a special-use permit from the Forest Service to use the road for the logging project, a process that takes several years.

Despite the lawsuit, Idaho went ahead with the timber salvage sale and logging was planned. But on July 10, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill granted a temporary restraining order requested by the Wrights and Idaho Rivers United.

State Forester David Groeschl on Tuesday also noted that Winmill, in granting the injunction, wrote that the Wrights and Idaho Rivers United met the criteria that the initial lawsuit had a likelihood of success on its merits. Groeschl said the state still had a fiduciary responsibility to produce what money it could and a stewardship responsibility to remove the dead trees because of insect infestation and the need for restoration.

Laird Lucas, an attorney at Advocates for the West, is representing Idaho Rivers United. "We have said all along that helicopter logging would be more prudent than using the Forest Service road," he said.

State officials say none of the state land to be logged is in the Wild and Scenic River corridor, and Groeschl told the Land Board that the state would continue to try to gain permanent access to the parcel. He said if the state lost in federal court, the state would go through the environmental analysis needed to obtain a special-use permit from the Forest Service to use the road.

However, it's not clear how successful that effort will be. The Wrights' property, including the portion of the road that the Wrights maintain, is entirely within the Wild and Scenic River protected corridor.

Complicating matters is that the property also contains two easements. One easement is from 1937 that the Forest Service says makes public 765 feet of the Forest Road 652 crossing the Wright's property. Another easement from 1977 bans using the property for mining and industrial activities. Lucas has said that the second easement precludes using the road for logging activities, eliminating the possibility of the Forest Service ever issuing a special-use permit to the state.

Source: http://www.idahostatesman.com