Friday, July 31, 2015

Airbus Helicopter AS350B3e, Air Methods Corp., N390LG: Accident occurred July 03, 2015 in Frisco, Colorado


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA290
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, July 03, 2015 in Frisco, CO
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS INC AS350B3E, registration: N390LG
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 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 3, 2015, at 1339 mountain daylight time, an Airbus Helicopter Inc. (formerly American Eurocopter) AS350B3e helicopter, N390LG, impacted the upper west parking lot 360 feet southwest of the Summit Medical Center helipad (91CO), Frisco, Colorado. A post-impact fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Methods Corp and the flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on a company flight plan. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured and two flight nurses were seriously injured. The public relations flight was en route to Gypsum, Colorado.

According to Air Methods the helicopter was flying to the American Spirit of Adventure Boy Scout Camp near Gypsum, Colorado, for a public relations mission. Multiple witnesses observed the helicopter lift off from the ground-based helipad, rotate counterclockwise, and climb simultaneously. One witness estimated that the helicopter reached an altitude of 100 feet before it started to descend. The helicopter continued to spin counterclockwise several times before it impacted a parking lot and an RV to the southwest of the Flight for Life hangar and helipad. The helicopter came to rest on its right side, was damaged by impact forces, and was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

FAA  Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Denver FSDO-03

Two Colorado flight nurses critically injured in the fiery crash of a medical transport helicopter that killed the pilot earlier this month sued the aircraft's manufacturer and operator on Friday, court records showed.

David Repsher, 45, and Matthew Bowe, 32, were injured on July 3 when the Flight For Life helicopter they were aboard crashed on take-off from the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, a mountain town about 70 miles west of Denver.

The pilot, Patrick Mahany, was killed in the crash.

The men had been en route to a public relations event at a Boy Scout camp and there were no patients on board.

Repsher is in critical condition at a Denver-area hospital with burns over 90 percent of his body, while Bowe suffered severe internal injuries and is permanently disabled, the pair's lawyer, Peter Rietz, said in a statement.

Named as defendants are the helicopter's operator, Air Methods Corp. of Englewood, Colorado, and the aircraft's manufacturer and distributor, Airbus Helicopters S.A.S. of France and Airbus Helicopters, Inc. of Grand Prairie, Texas.

The lawsuit, filed in Summit County District Court in Colorado, alleges that mechanics employed by Air Methods "failed to properly repair, maintain and inspect" the AS350-B3e helicopter, the complaint said.

The suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, also alleges that the helicopter was designed and built by Airbus Helicopters, a unit of Airbus, with flaws to its tail rotor system which malfunctioned and made the aircraft "uncontrollable in the event of a failure, especially at low speeds, hover and/or liftoff."

Additionally, the aircraft was not "crashworthy" and its fuel tank ruptured and burst into flames when it struck the ground.

"David Repsher's body was on fire at the time he was extricating himself from the helicopter wreckage," the complaint said.

Air Methods did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for Airbus Helicopters said they had not seen the lawsuit and have no comment on it.

"Everyone at Airbus Helicopters Inc. is extremely saddened by this accident and our thoughts continue to be with the medical crew and their families and the pilot's family," the company said in a statement.

"We and our French affiliate, Airbus Helicopters, are actively cooperating with and assisting the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the accident." 


Pilot Patrick Mahany, a decorated Vietnam veteran who spent his last 27 years flying as a Life Flight pilot, was killed in the July 3, 2015 crash.

Patrick Edwin Mahany, Jr.

Matt Bowe (third from the right)

Dave Repsher

Dave Repsher


Former Federal Aviation Administration Consultant Claims Agency Failed to Act on SpaceShip Two Warnings • Virgin Galactic-backed rocket ship crashed in 2014

The Wall Street Journal
July 31, 2015 8:26 p.m. ET

Federal Aviation Administration officials repeatedly failed to act on safety warnings about an experimental rocket ship backed by billionaire British entrepreneur Richard Branson that crashed in 2014, according to a former agency consultant.

Terry Hardy, who was assigned to the project as a consultant for more than three years beginning in 2011, said in an interview Friday that he had told FAA managers that certain features of SpaceShip Two—along with risk analyses prepared by its designers—were inadequate because they made the proposed space tourism craft dangerously vulnerable to pilot error. “Based on the information I had,” Mr. Hardy recalled, the craft “didn’t comply with the agency’s hazard analysis regulations.”

Some of his concerns and proposed recommendations to resolve them were raised in meetings with Mr. Branson’s design partner, the Scaled Composites unit of Northrop Grumman Co., but most disappeared inside the FAA bureaucracy, according to Mr. Hardy.

The FAA has authority to issue experimental launch permits, with responsibility in these permits to protect public safety and prevent property damage, injuries or fatalities to people on the ground. But Congress also charged the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation with simultaneously promoting the burgeoning U.S. commercial space industry.

“When you promote the industry, it’s also difficult to do the safety part,” according to Mr. Hardy, who added “there are conflicts that come up.” Before working as a consultant, Mr. Hardy was an employee in the space transportation office and played a central role in drafting the hazard-assessment rules that specifically apply to experimental launches. Asked why he left his consulting role, Mr. Hardy said the accident “was a contributing cause.”

In email responses, an FAA spokesman said the agency is explicitly “prohibited from regulating crew safety” and is restricted “to only protecting the safety of the uninvolved public and property.” The agency, it added, “ensures commercial space transportation is as safe as possible for those Congress mandated the FAA to protect.”

The spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Hardy’s concerns or why he stopped consulting, adding that the agency was reviewing National Transportation Safety Board recommendations prompted by the accident. To determine risk to the public, the FAA assesses the safety and reliability of spacecraft systems since a crash could injure or kill people on the ground.

The NTSB released safety recommendations on Tuesday after determining that SpaceShip Two’s inadequate design—lacking fail-safe protections against a pilot mistakenly releasing a movable tail surface at the wrong time—led to the October 2014 event that broke the spaceplane apart roughly 10 miles high and killed the co-pilot.

The board also concluded that Scaled Composites made a fundamental mistake by assuming pilots would always release the locking mechanism at the correct instant. In their formal report, investigators criticized FAA managers for failing to provide adequate guidance to industry about human factors, and for implementing procedures that restricted the flow of data and sometimes kept employees from fully understanding engineering details of the vehicles they were licensing.

Scaled Composites said it “made changes in the wake of the accident to further enhance safety” and pledged to “continue to look for additional ways to do so.” Virgin Galactic LLC said it began implementing safety enhancements prior to the NTSB recommendations.

Other documents released by the board suggest that officials of Mr. Branson’s Virgin Galactic—which has tried since the accident to distance itself from Scaled Composites and the craft’s design—signed off on questionable features years before the accident.

A spokesman for Virgin Galactic, which has made technical and procedural enhancements since the accident, declined to comment on the design, noting the company “will be focused on executing the safest program we can.”

In a statement, Kevin Mickey, president of Scaled Composites, reiterated that representatives of his company and Virgin Galactic years ago “evaluated and discussed alternatives for making” the craft’s design more robust, ending up with the option subsequently criticized by the NTSB.

In a January interview with the safety board, Mr. Hardy, among other things, said SpaceShip Two’s design improperly “relied on the pilot making the right decision” instead of ensuring separate fail-safe features to prevent a potentially catastrophic mistake by the crew.

According to a summary of that interview released by the NTSB earlier this week, Mr. Hardy also said that “he had never seen an applicant [for an FAA launch permit] make the assumption that a pilot would not make a mistake” as part of a formal hazard analysis.

In the same interview summary, Mr. Hardy is quoted saying that after offering suggestions for changes to the FAA, he felt it was like “spinning my wheels” and concluded that neither his recommendations nor his work “was improving the safety process.”

The extensive collection of documents and other interview summaries released by the NTSB underscores that Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites and the FAA all recognized the potential for a catastrophic event caused by what is known as a single-point human failure. But over the years, the design remained unchanged and the FAA, without a request from Scaled, issued a waiver in 2013 from its own regulations.

In his interview with NTSB experts, according to the summary, Mr. Hardy said he was surprised by FAA’s unilateral action. “It seemed a little odd that the FAA was writing a waiver” without a request from Scaled Composites, he said in the interview, particularly because “he had never seen the FAA write a waiver for a public applicant.”

Story and photo:

Lawsuit claims poor plane maintenance, racial discrimination at FedEx

LOS ANGELES >> An aircraft technician and his boss who work at FedEx’s Los Angeles International Airport location are suing the courier giant for allegedly ignoring their complaints that the company put profits ahead ahead of safety by not maintaining its aircraft consistent with FAA safety requirements.

Stanley Langevin and Mark Collins filed the whistleblower complaint Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Collins, who is black and also is Langevin’s supervisor, additionally alleges racial discrimination. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

A FedEx representative said she may have a comment on the case later after it is reviewed internally.

Langevin, who has more than 40 years experience as an aircraft technician and also is an Air Force veteran, says he was retaliated against when he complained about the condition of many FedEx aircraft.

“Langevin uncovered a calculated, illegal scheme by FedEx whereby FedEx routinely and knowingly returned non-airworthy aircraft to service despite the need for further repair/maintenance in order to comply with federal aviation regulations,” the suit states. “FedEx was more concerned with returning the aircraft to flight quickly and cheaply in order to increase their profits than with ensuring compliance with the federal aviation regulations.

The suit cites as examples what it alleges are routine failures to repair corrosion extensive enough to crack the aircraft’s outer frame before allowing them to be flown.

“Langevin was and is very vocal in his complaints about these illegal practices, complaining to supervisors, managers, co-workers, quality control and engineers,” the suit alleges. “In response, rather than conduct a proper investigation into Langevin’s complaints of illegal conduct, FedEx began a course of severe retaliation against him.”

The suit states that supervisors routinely wrote Langevin negative memos, suspended him for “fabricated” reasons and coerced co-workers to come up with “dirt” against him so he could be disciplined and demoted.

Despite more than three decades of work at LAX, Langevin’s reputation was hurt when FedEx supervisors”bad-mouthed Langevin, stating knowingly false, negative comments about his performance unrelated to his work evaluation,” the suit states. The bosses did so in order to interfere with his work on a contractual basis with other airlines, the suit alleges.

Collins, a Navy veteran who fought in the Persian Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm, faced a backlash because he defended Langevin, the suit alleges.

“Collins fully supported Langevin’s complaints and voiced his own complaints regarding the same illegal practices,” the suit states. “Collins further objected to and refused to be a party to FedEx’s pattern of retaliation against the whistle-blowers.”

FedEx management responded by refusing to promote Collins, by “screaming at him” and by treating him in a “hostile and rude manner” as well as shunning him, the suit states.

The suit further alleges that Collins and other black employees were paid less than their non-black counterparts.

Collins filed an internal discrimination complaint, but FedEx “failed to conduct a proper investigation” and did not ask Collins or any witnesses about the alleged harassment, according to the lawsuit.

Collins also told management in 2014 that he had a disability, but was ordered to attend a manager’s meeting in Memphis anyway despite having a doctor’s note limiting his air travel, the suit alleges. Many other employees without medical excuses were not ordered to attend the non-mandatory meeting, the suit states. The suit does not elaborate on the nature of Collins’ disability.

FedEx supervisors also defamed Collins by falsely claiming he was part of a Ponzi scheme at work, according to the lawsuit.

Original article can be found here:

City must grant approval for new Meriden Life Star hangar, sound to be evaluated

Hartford Hospital and Midstate Medical Center staff members stand in front of Life Star and Midstate's new stretcher. The new stretcher is fully compatible with Life Star and would allow patients with ST-elevated myocardial infarctions to be transferred to Hartford Hospital quicker.

Meriden, Connecticut — Hartford Healthcare officials said Friday that noise wouldn’t be an issue for nearby neighborhoods with the addition of a Life Star helicopter base at MidState Medical Center.

The hospital does not need further approval for the base, which could be established as soon as late next week. Plans for a permanent hangar, however, would require local approval, City Planner Dominick Caruso said Friday.

“Noise will be one of the items to be evaluated during this procedure,” Caruso responded, when asked if increased helicopter noise will be discussed.

Though Life Star occasionally lands at MidState Medical Center, a base at the hospital could mean more frequent traffic. Life Star, administered by Hartford Healthcare, is working closely with the city, said Hartford Healthcare spokeswoman Rebecca Stewart. In a filing with the state, Hartford Healthcare estimated the new base will cost $1.5 million.

“We have had preliminary meetings with town officials and are submitting plans to the planning and zoning boards soon,” she said, noting that there have been no noise complaints at other Life Star hangars.

Life Star operates two helicopters stationed on the roof of Hartford Hospital and William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. Next Friday, a new base will be established at MidState Medical Center. Stewart said the move will provide Life Star a more central location and wider reach. Though the helicopter will be housed at MidState Medical Center, it will still fly patients to Hartford Hospital’s trauma center.

It will be at least a year before a hangar is built at MidState Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Pamela Cruz. In the interim, the helicopter will be stationed in a grassy area near the Pavilion D parking lot.

The helicopter model to be housed as MidState Medical Center is an American Eurocopter EC-145. Stewart said the noise level of this model is “6.5 decibels below the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.”

“We have not received complaints at our other hangars,” she said. “In fact, some neighbors have reached out to tell us how proud they are when they hear Life Star – knowing that someone somewhere needs our help.”

When flying conditions permit, Life Star crews make an effort to minimize flight time over residential neighbors, choosing a path over highways or other areas “already dominated by transportation such as buses, cars and trucks,” Stewart added.

MidState Medical Center is bordered by residential developments to the north. There are also residential developments to the east, as well as the state police forensics lab. Westfield Meriden mall borders the hospital to the west with Interstate 691 to the south. The hospital has a total footprint of seven acres, and is built on a 51-acre lot, according to city records. It’s unclear where the hangar will be built, but the area where Life Star will be stationed starting next Friday is set back from the road and partially surrounded by trees.

The city has a noise ordinance that limits decibel levels differently in residential, commercial and industrial zones. MidState Medical Center is in a regional development district, the purpose of which is “to further the economic base of the city by providing for development of regional scale along the interstate highway system, in an attractive, efficient, environmentally sensitive campus setting,” Caruso said. “I believe we have kept to the stated purpose and will continue to do so.”

There are exemptions to the noise ordinance, such as for emergency vehicles or any emergency, as well as noise created by flight preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Caruso did not say whether Life Star fell under any of these exemptions. But Life Star already lands at the hospital and under regulations for the regional development district heliports are allowed.

Hartford Healthcare’s Life Star service is licensed by the Office of Emergency Medical Services, which is part of the state Department of Public Health. The state conducts regular inspections of equipment and ensures that crew members are licensed or certified, said William Gerrish, spokesman for the state Department of Public Health.

In June, Hartford Healthcare submitted a certificate of need form to the department describing its proposal to add a new Life Star base. The department informed Hartford Healthcare on July 27 that a certificate of need isn’t required. If it was required, Hartford Healthcare would have to prove why a new base is necessary. For example, in 2007, Hartford Healthcare proposed to purchase a new helicopter in order to replace an aging helicopter. The state determined a certificate of need was necessary. Hartford Healthcare explained why a new helicopter was necessary, and in 2008, the state Department of Public Health approved the certificate of need.

Gerrish noted that federal law exempts states from regulating certain aspects of air medical operations, meaning the state “does not have jurisdiction over the proposed move of Life Star to a new base of operations.”

A Life Star crew consists of a nurse, flight respiratory therapist, pilot, mechanic and communication specialist. The critical care service is available to all patients within a 150-mile radius of bases. 

According to Hartford Healthcare, approximately 1,200 patients are transported by Life Star annually. Life Star began operating in the state in 1985, and has since transported more than 30,000 patients.. Each Life Star helicopter can carry two patients at once, and can travel at 155 miles per hour. In June, Life Star crews began carrying blood products in order to perform blood transfusions when necessary.


Cessna 337F Super Skymaster, N1732M, Wireless Systems Engineering Inc: Accident occurred May 27, 2015 at Melbourne International Airport (KMLB), Florida


NTSB Identification: ERA15LA224
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in Melbourne, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 337F, registration: N1732M
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 May 27, 2015, at 1625 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 337F, N1732M, was substantially damaged when it struck a building and a communications antenna while taxiing at Melbourne International Airport (MLB), Melbourne, Florida. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was destined for Dayton Ohio. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a police report, the pilot requested a taxi clearance from the north ramp area to runway 9L. The tower controller advised the pilot that his clearance to Dayton, Ohio had expired, and instructed him to return to the ramp. According to the controller the pilot's speech was "slurred" and he did not follow any of the tower's instructions. The pilot then taxied west on taxiway kilo toward the departure end of runway 9L. Photographs of tire marks show that the aircraft veered off the left edge of taxiway kilo about 250 feet before the taxiway end. The airplane then went off the end of the taxiway and immediately turned right toward a building that was located about 200 feet away and abeam the taxiway end. The airplane impacted the building and an adjacent communications antenna. At 1626 the controller contacted the airport police and urged them to respond quickly because he "felt that the pilot may be intoxicated and they heard the screams of a young child onboard". The police arrived on scene at 1640 and detected an odor of alcohol from the pilot. A search of the airplane revealed an unopened bottle of wine, one opened bottle of liquor about 2/3 full and an opened "water" bottle that contained a clear liquid with an odor of alcohol. After the pilot refused to take an alcohol breathalyzer and field sobriety test he was taken into custody and charged under Florida State Statute with "Operation of an aircraft while intoxicated or in a careless or reckless manner".

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane came to rest against a small building located along the airport perimeter fence. The leading edge of the left wing sustained substantial damage, and the front propeller tips were bent forward and gouged. The aircraft examination was completed by an airframe and powerplant mechanic and supervised by the airport operations director. Examination of the flight control systems, nosewheel steering, and brake system revealed no anomalies that could have precluded normal operation.

The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land (limited to centerline thrust) and instrument Airplane. He also held a third-class medical certificate, which was issued on November 13, 2014 with a limitation of "must wear corrective lenses". At that time he reported 1,238 total flight hours experience.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

New details are emerging in the case of a 57-year-old pilot from Satellite Beach who is charged with operating aircraft under the influence of alcohol and child neglect without great bodily harm in connection to an incident at Melbourne International Airport on May 27.

Police say Christopher John Hall was intoxicated when he attempted to taxi off a runway at the airport in his Cessna 337F Super Skymaster aircraft, skidded into a ditch and hit a communications shed near the runway. They also say his underage son was a passenger in the plane at the time of the incident.

In an offense incident report put together by the Melbourne Airport Police Department and released by the state attorney’s office, the air traffic controller on duty told police that the pilot did not respond to any instructions and that his speech was slurred as he communicated with them. They further asked that police arrive quickly due both to Hall’s believed intoxication and what sounded like screams from a child heard on the radio.

After the plane crashed, a certified flight instructor, Amon Modine, told police that Hall’s breath smelled of alcohol and that he appeared flushed, and was sweating and disoriented. Modine also arrived as fire-rescue did and had to shut down the plane’s engines and help take the pilot and boy out of the plane.

The plane, according to a preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, sustained damage to the leading edge of its left wing and the front propeller tips were “bent forward and gouged.” It also stated there was nothing wrong with the control systems, nosewheel steering or brake system “that could have precluded normal operation.”

The investigation also found the plane was set to travel to Dayton, Ohio.

When queried by police if he had consumed any alcohol or medication that would serve as an impediment to his ability to fly the plane, Hall refused to answer and also refused to take a blood-alcohol test or participate in a standard roadside sobriety exercise.

An evidence report shows that a nearly half-empty bottle of cognac and an unopened bottle of wine were found on board in addition to a water bottle that had the odor of an alcoholic beverage on it.

Hall was also released from the Brevard County Jail after he posted $2,000 bond on May 28. The next step in his trial proceedings is a docket sounding that will take place on Aug. 17.

Original article can be found here:

Christopher John Hall

FOX 35 News Orlando

The pilot of the Cessna 337F Super Skymaster was taken from the airport around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 27th and was headed to be booked at the Brevard County Jail.

It’s time for an Uber of the skies: Can competition and easy access do for air travel what it’s done for rides to the airport?

Airbnb changed the hotel industry. Uber changed ground transportation. So why can’t the same change happen for air travel?

Airlines are ready for disruption. With only four large airlines controlling more than 80 percent of domestic air travel, the industry is a classic oligopoly. Even the government, which is currently investigating airlines for collusion, seems to agree.

Air travelers, who complain of higher prices and fewer choices, say they’re ready for the next Uber to take flight. And now Congress is in a good position to actually encourage competition through smarter regulation. The latest Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, now being drafted by lawmakers, could pave the way for a more competitive airline industry.

“Competition is a great thing for consumers,” says ride-hailing-industry expert Harry Campbell. “American airline carriers have consistently been falling behind, compared to more robust international carriers, when it comes to price and experience.”

Campbell says applying the Uber model to aviation would improve the flying experience for everyone, even if you choose to fly on one of the four dominant carriers.

“It would further intensify the pressure on airline carriers to improve their product, lower their prices and become more efficient,” he says.

That’s already happened in the lodging sector, where Airbnb and vacation rental services such as HomeAway have kept rates competitive and forced large hotel chains to up their game by adding more services and amenities. It’s happened in ground transit, in which Uber and Lyft offer an often cheaper, more accessible alternative to taxis and limousines.

Chester Goad, a university administrator and Uber customer in Cookeville, Tenn., says he’s “excited” about having the same option for flying. What if, for example, an Uber for airlines could utilize smaller airports that are more conveniently located and offer direct flights to airports not traditionally served by large airlines?

“The bottom line for me, is if the fares were reasonable or offered conveniences not offered by other airlines, and if they were equally accessible, I’d definitely check it out,” he says. “Especially if I could avoid the hassles of a major airport.”

It’s easier said than done. Several travel start-ups have tried to follow the Uber model. Although they’re an option for business travelers, they’re still priced out of reach of most leisure travelers. For example, Rise, a private flight-sharing service in Dallas that launched this May, offers an “all-you-can-fly” option starting at $1,650 a month. It offers scheduled flights on King Air 350 eight-passenger twin-engine aircraft between Dallas, Houston, Austin and Midland, depending on demand, and has announced plans to expand domestically and fly London to Brussels in 2016.

Rise is interesting because it had to secure special approval from the Department of Transportation, which regulates air travel in the United States. More on that in a minute.

Industry experts say that in at least one sense, flight-sharing — or ride-sharing for planes — already exists. In private aviation, it’s referred to as the gray charter market. That’s where passengers pay for a flight with an aircraft operator that does not have the correct permissions to fly the trip commercially.

“This could be because the operator does not have an aircraft operator’s certificate, which is a license from the aviation authorities to operate commercially, or a gray charter could be more subtle, such as a European operator picking up an extra passenger within the States during an internal leg of an international schedule,” explains Adam Twidell, the chief executive of PrivateFly, an online marketplace for private aircraft charters.

So what would it take to make air travel as affordable, flexible and, of course, as controversial as Uber or Airbnb? How do you get from here — an industry in which only the elites can fly private and the rest of us have to contend with a consolidated industry where competition has been squeezed out — to a business in which you can fly as easily as you can drive, and for a reasonable price?

Timmy Wozniak, the chief executive of FreshJets, a site for booking discounted private jet travel, says the government can be an obstacle or an enabler.

“There has to be compromise on both sides,” he says. “Especially for concepts that involve smaller, recreational aircraft and pilots.” The smaller operators, he says, would need to step up and meet some safety requirements. But the government can also more clearly articulate what will and won’t be allowed, especially when it comes to charter operators being allowed to sell on a per-seat or per-aircraft basis.

A clearer statement “will have the biggest impact on our business and will determine truly whether the airline industry can be disrupted,” he adds.

All of which brings us to the FAA bill, which is now being drafted by the Republican-controlled Congress — Republicans who, time and again, have supported free markets and competition.

Yet the FAA, as a matter of policy, has made Uberization difficult, say industry observers. Operators say the certification process is cumbersome and favors large, well-established airlines with deep pockets — in other words, it ensures the same four carriers will continue to dominate the industry. An FAA official told me the agency is just upholding national and international laws that require commercial air transportation providers to hold a certificate and meet requirements for training and maintenance, among other things. The FAA is also working to “streamline” the certification process.

Maybe it can do more. A good start would be to rethink the current regulations on small aircraft — called “Part 135” aircraft, which are named after the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that gives them the authority to operate. Operators of these commuter aircraft should be able to fly “as frequently as they like between cities, as long as operational standards required to fly safely are met,” says Wade Eyerly, the chief executive of Beacon, a subscription-based all-you-can-fly private plane service that is launching in September with flights between Boston and New York.

Imagine being able to fly anywhere safely at a fraction of the cost of a private jet. It’s something the government can clear for takeoff now — if it wants to.

Original article can be found here:

Druine D.5 Turbi, C-FTSD: Incident occurred July 31, 2015 at Skyview Airport (CPM6), Reese's Corners, Ontario, Canada

Firefighters are seen helping a pilot who's plane flipped while landing at Skyview Airport in Reece's Corners Friday, a witness says. The pilot appeared OK, the witness said. 

A pilot is uninjured after his small plane flipped while landing at the Skyview Airport Friday morning, a fire official says.

Ron Vanderburgt, deputy fire chief with Wyoming Fire, said something went wrong with the left landing gear when it touched down at the Reece's Corners grass landing strip, causing it to flip.

Police, fire and EMS officials responded, and the pilot was taken to hospital, but is fine, he said.

“He was talking to us.”

The plane, meanwhile, needs repairs but will be able to fly again, he said.

Bill Yurchuk, CEO at nearby Lambton Elderly Outreach, said he was third on the scene, around 10 a.m., after responding to a tip.

The pilot “said he was only up for a few minutes, because he was just doing some loops, practicing landing,” Yurchuk said.

The pilot appeared shaken, but OK, he said.

It's the first time Yurchuk said he's heard of a plane flipping on the runway.


15-year-old plane crash survivor receives Coast Guard recognition • Cessna 207A, Wings of Alaska, N62AK, accident occurred July 17, 2015 in Juneau, Alaska

Jose Vasquez and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Dan Abel on Thursday in Juneau.

JUNEAU -- The 15-year-old survivor of a plane crash near Juneau was recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday for helping save the other three passengers despite his own injuries.

Jose Vasquez was on the Wings of Alaska Cessna that crashed into a mountain 18 miles west of Juneau, killing the pilot. Vasquez lives in Puerto Rico and was in Juneau visiting his godparents. All three and another passenger were traveling to Hoonah from Juneau.

Coast Guard spokesman Grant DeVuyst says Vasquez used survival skills he learned as a Boy Scout.

“He had multiple injuries but he still went through many steps to make sure the other passengers got the help they needed,” DeVuyst said.

Vasquez had broken ribs and a collapsed lung, according to his godfather.

Vasquez put layers of clothing around his godmother, Sandra Herrera Lopez, to preserve body heat. He lifted cargo boxes that had fallen on another passenger, Ernestine Hanlon-Abel of Hoonah.

DeVust says Vasquez then found three cell phones and called 911. He used a phone app to determine the latitude and longitude of the crash site and passed them on to emergency operators.

“When he heard one of the first helicopters from Temsco nearby, he started using smoke signals, and then later when the Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene, he started waving a silver thermal blanket to attract attention and that successfully vectored them in for what was the rescue of the passengers,” DeVuyst says.

He says Vasquez’s efforts accelerated the search-and-rescue.

“There was the emergency beacon aboard the aircraft, but without his precise location, because of how heavily wooded everything was, it would’ve taken longer for rescue crews to locate them,” DeVuyst says.

The Coast Guard honored Vasquez during a ceremony closed to media at Juneau’s Federal Building. DeVuyst says about 50 people were there, including family and friends and Coast Guard personnel. His godfather, Humberto Hernandez, another passenger on the flight, is a Coast Guard doctor.

Hernandez says he’s getting physical therapy. He has a swollen leg and back pain and will have to have some teeth removed. Herrera Lopez, his wife, was medevacked to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He says she had several fractures to her head, arm, ankle, collarbone and ribs. She’s since been transferred to another hospital in Seattle.

Hanlon-Abel is still at Harborview. Her husband, Tom Abel, says she’s undergone multiple operations and has both legs in casts. He hopes she’ll be able to leave the hospital soon but will likely stay in an assisted-living facility before returning to Hoonah.

Vasquez is awaiting clearance from his doctor before going home to Puerto Rico.


Fariah Peterson was piloting Wings of Alaska Fllight 202 from Juneau to Hoonah on July 17, 2015  the Cessna 207A crashed near Point Howard. Peterson died in the crash, and her four passengers survived.

NTSB Identification: ANC15FA049
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, July 17, 2015 in Juneau, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 207A, registration: N62AK
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 4 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 17, 2015, about 1318 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 207A airplane, N62AK, sustained substantial damage following an in-flight collision with tree-covered terrain about 18 miles west of Juneau, Alaska. The flight was being operated as Flight 202, by Sea Port Airlines, Inc., dba Wings of Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled commuter flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries, and four passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the Juneau International Airport at the time of departure. Flight 202 departed the Juneau Airport about 1308, for a scheduled 20 minute flight to Hoonah, Alaska. A company flight plan was on file and company flight following procedures were in effect.

According to Juneau Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) personnel, the pilot requested and received taxi clearance to depart for the 20 minute VFR flight to Hoonah at 1306. The flight was cleared for takeoff about 2 minutes later by the ATCT specialist on duty with no reported problems. About 15 minutes later, Juneau Police dispatchers received a 911 cell phone call from a passenger on board that the airplane had crashed.

About 1336, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Alaska received a 406 Mhz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal assigned to the accident airplane. At 1421, after being notified of an overdue airplane, and after learning about reports of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal along the accident pilot's anticipated flight route, search and rescue personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, began a search for the missing airplane. About 1650, the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard HH-60 helicopter located the airplane's wreckage in an area of mountainous, tree-covered terrain. A rescue swimmer was lowered to the accident site and discovered that one of the airplane's occupants, the pilot, died at the scene, and four others had survived the crash. The four survivors were hoisted aboard the HH-60 helicopter in two trips, and then transported to Juneau.

Assisted by the crew of a United States Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with three members from Juneau Mountain Rescue, reached the accident site on the afternoon of July 18.

The on-scene examination revealed that the airplane impacted at large spruce tree, at an elevation of about 1,250 feet mean sea level. After the initial impact, the airplane fuselage separated into two pieces. The forward section of the airplane, consisting of the cockpit and engine, separated just forward of the main landing gear assembly and came to rest inverted about 50 feet forward of the initial impact point. The remaining section consisting of the main cabin, wings, and empennage came to rest inverted just below the initial impact point. The wreckage path was on approximately a 215 degree heading, and uphill (All headings/ bearings noted in this report are magnetic). The average heights of the trees surrounding the accident site were in excess of 100 feet tall.

All of the airplanes major components were found at the main wreckage site.

The closest official weather observation station is Juneau, which is located about 18 miles east of the accident site. On July 17, at 1253, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: Wind, 110 degrees at 14 knots; visibility, 7 statute miles in light rain and mist; clouds and ceiling, 200 feet few, 3,500 feet overcast; temperature, 57 degrees F; dew point, 55 degrees F; altimeter, 30.24 inHg.

The accident airplane was equipped with an avionics package known as automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), which is also known as "Capstone." ADS-B technology provides pilots with situational awareness by displaying the airplane's position over terrain, while using GPS technology, coupled with an instrument panel mounted, moving map display. The ADS-B equipment installed in the accident airplane included two Chelton multifunction display (MFD) units. One MFD provides the pilot with a moving map with terrain awareness information, and the other provides primary flight display information. The two MFD units were removed from the wreckage and shipped, to the NTSB vehicle recorder laboratory, Washington, D.C.

The airplane was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-520-F reciprocating engine. A detailed engine examination is pending.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Juneau FSDO-05


This image was captured by an FAA webcam facing northeast from Sisters Island, near the crash site, moments before the crash was first reported in the area of the crash, the National Weather Service reported rain, fog and reduced visibility, with cloud ceilings down to 400 feet.

Seaplane service to New York City offered at Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

Forget the car and Metro-North to get to New York City.

Take a seaplane from Sikorsky Memorial Airport instead. Yes, a seaplane

Next Wednesday, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Stratford Mayor John Harkins and members of the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce will welcome Tailwind with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at Volo Aviation at Sikorsky Memorial Airport.

Tailwind, located at the Volo Aviation, recently announced a new seaplane service connecting Bridgeport with Manhattan, Boston, and Philadelphia. 

The amphibian seaplanes can land and take off both on water and airplane runways. 

In Manhattan, flights depart and land on the East River at 23rd St. That service began last summer.

Mike Ritzi, the company’s director of new business said in a release, “Everyone will enjoy the short 20-minute morning and afternoon flights that takes you in and out of the Heart of Manhattan.  Plus, you only need to arrive 20 minutes prior to departure. We can all appreciate saving 1 hour 30 minutes per day out of the commute to Manhattan.”

The Cessna seaplanes can carry nine passengers. Tailwind’s sister company, Fly the Whale, flys seaplanes between Manhattan and Nantucket Island and the Hamptons on Long Island.

On Twitter, Tailwind was offering on select dates a round-trip flight from Manhattan to Bedford, Mass (near Boston) for $350 roundtrip and a $250 roundtrip flight from Sikorsky to Boston.


Cessna 182Q Skylane, N812KR: Incident occurred July 31, 2015 at Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Maryland

A Cessna 182Q Skylane plane struck a guide wire on a power line while taxiing at Frederick Municipal Airport Friday morning, according to Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Steve Schultz.

Power at the Airways Inn restaurant and Landmark Aviation was out after the plane struck the wire. 

Schultz said emergency services received the 911 call at 10:51 a.m. 

The wire was attached to a pole at the edge of the paved taxiing area adjacent to the airport, along Aviation Way.

Potomac Edison crews were on the scene around 11 a.m. to repair the line.

Schultz was unsure how many people were in the plane, but there were no injuries.

According to Federal Aviation Administration, the owner of the plane is Richard A. Schneider of Ellicott City.



Samaritan Aviation stops at Willmar Municipal Airport (KBDH), Minnesota

Mark Palm, front, and Bryan Yaeger visit Willmar Tuesday after showing their plane at the Experimental Aircraft Association show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and in Minneapolis. The plane is destined for Papua New Guinea, where they fly medical emergency flights along the East Sepik River for the Christian organization Samaritan Aviation.

WILLMAR — Flying over the sea of corn that separates Minneapolis from Willmar might make this seem like a remote destination, unless you are Mark Palm, who really knows the definition of remote.

The Cessna plane equipped with amphibious landing pontoons he landed Tuesday at the Willmar Municipal Airport is destined by the end of the year for the East Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. Crocodiles lurk in its waters. Floating logs, subsistence fishermen in dugout canoes, even 100-foot-long trees are common obstacles found along the 700-mile long ribbon of water he uses as a runway.

Volatile weather from the South Pacific can stir those waters with sudden storms of thunder and lightning too.

“Every landing is different, which keeps it exciting,’’ said Palm after his mundane landing in Willmar.

Many of his landings in Papua New Guinea can be the difference between life and death for those waiting for the telltale sound of his floatplane.

Palm operates the only air ambulance serving this remote portion of Papua New Guinea. It is the only floatplane based on the entire island, the second largest island in the world.

The East Sepik province he serves is separated from the rest of Papua New Guinea by the river. No bridge crosses the river. Nor are there roads to reach through most of its length.

Palm is the founder and pilot for Samaritan Aviation. It is a Christian-based medical service for the area. One hospital in the community of Wewak serves more than 500,000 people scattered in villages along the tropical river. It can take a week or more to reach the hospital by canoe, the chief means of getting around for many of those living along the river.

It can be an hour and a half flight to reach a mother experiencing a breech birth, a victim poisoned by snake venom, or a man who has lost a hand to a machete or suffered a trauma wound from a spear fight with an enemy from another tribe, according to Palm.

The Cessna he flew to Willmar will be the second plane acquired by the organization he launched in Papua New Guinea in 2000. The first is the same model Cessna. It was acquired for $15,000, and originally used by Palm to transport doctors to help people in Mexico.

He made Willmar one of 10 stops in the United States this summer as part of the organization’s Every Life Matters tour.

His seemingly surprise stop in Willmar is nothing compared to the unexpected visit he received some years ago at the organization’s office in Montrose, Colorado. Jason Schwitters of Clara City had read about Samaritan Aviation’s service in Papua New Guinea. He was so impressed he stopped at the office unannounced to learn about it firsthand.

In 2011, Schwitters made a trip to Papua New Guinea. He is now a member of the board of directors for the nonprofit organization. He invited Palm and fellow Samaritan Aviation pilot Bryan Yaeger to visit Willmar and tell their story to a local audience.

Palm and Yaeger had showed the newly acquired 1981 Cessna floatplane at the Experimental Aircraft Association show in Oshkosh, Wis., last week to launch their fundraising tour. After stops in Minneapolis and Willmar, they are on their way to cities in Texas, Arizona and California before the plane is shipped to Papua New Guinea.

Palm grew up a minister’s son in Santa Cruz, California. He said God called him to do this work when he was a 16-year-old helping build houses in Mexico. He and a friend visited Papua New Guinea in 1994, when he was 19. He saw the need for the air ambulance service, and returned home to become a pilot and create what is now Samaritan Aviation.

It’s taken years to put it all together, but Samaritan Aviation is now proving to be a life saver in the remote corner of the world. The Papua New Guinea government helped pay one-half the cost of the newly acquired plane. Donations from individuals and Christian churches and organizations provided the other half.

Palm said his first medical flight in Papua New Guinea was made on Good Friday in 2011 when he flew up river to rescue a mother experiencing a difficult birth. Her husband reached her at the hospital by canoe a week later. They named their new son Mark in his honor.

Not all of the flights have the drama of an ambulance-style rescue, but all are important. One of the most important involved bringing medical staff and medicines to stomp out a cholera outbreak that had infected 90 people in three days. Three people died, but the timely intervention saved many others, he said.

Last year Palm and volunteers flew 117 emergency flights and made 50 medical deliveries along the river. Medicines must otherwise be transported by canoe.

Demand for the floatplane just keeps growing, he said. He had to turn down 18 emergency calls last year when the plane was down for maintenance.

Hence the need for this second plane now on its way, and the call for support from sponsors in the U.S. “We can’t do what we’re doing over there without the support of people here,’’ he said.

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