Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Drones spotted near Charleston airport part of growing national trend, Federal Aviation Administration says

Drones are a growing concern among pilots and regulators nationwide as more encounters with “unmanned aerial systems” around airports or as high as 11,000 feet are reported, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Nearly all of the hundreds of documented drone encounters listed in a new FAA report were sightings that did not require quick action to avoid a collision. However, some pilots said that a drone passed too quickly to react. One pilot described putting his plane into a 35-degree bank to create more distance between his aircraft and a nearby drone.

Charleston International Airport made the latest list of places where a drone encounter was reported. There were two such events, both described as minor.

Nonetheless, the airport takes the issue seriously.

Paul Campbell, the Charleston County Aviation Authority’s executive director, said a drone can pose a safety hazard around the airport.

“It’s an issue that’s going to continue to grow and become larger,” said Campbell, who also is a Republican state senator from Charleston. “Some of the drones, especially some of the larger drones, are metal and they can be sucked into a jet engine and cause an issue.”

In March, a helicopter pilot reported a drone about 2 miles east of the airport flying at about 100 feet. In July, the pilot of a six-passenger business jet traveling at 4,000 feet said there was an object that could have been a drone off his right wing about 16 miles southwest of the airport, the FAA report states.

In Greenville, a much closer brush with a drone was reported when a pilot told authorities that the remotely controlled aircraft was flying only 200 feet below his plane, which was traveling at an altitude of 7,500 feet.

Joe Bustos of Mount Pleasant, a pilot and flight instructor, said that if a drone were to hit the small Cessna that he flies, it would go right through the windshield. A drone sucked into a jet engine could prove catastrophic, he said.

“It’s something that I think is going to have to be regulated for the safety of airplanes and people on the ground,” he said.

Bustos said he has seen only one drone while flying, and that was in Florida.

Campbell said he favored restrictions on drone use to protect air safety but did not want to unduly limit them for recreation or business uses, such as aerial photography or surveying.

“I do think that the folks who want to use drones either commercially or privately need to be aware of air traffic control and keep them away from any area where you might encounter an aircraft,” he said.

On Friday night, the FAA released its list of pilot, air traffic controller and citizen reports of possible encounters with drones for the time period from November to August.

“Because pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, the FAA wants to send a clear message that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal,” the FAA said in a statement.

“Unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time,” the agency said.

In addition to air travel concerns, the news has been buzzing with drone stories, ranging from people who shoot them to towns that ban them. The U.S. Forest Service has tallied 13 wildfires in which suspected drones interfered with firefighting aircraft this year — 11 since late June — up from four fires last year and only scattered incidents before. A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection helicopter pilot told The Associated Press in a story earlier this month that he narrowly avoided a collision with a drone.

The FAA is evaluating more than 4,500 comments it has received on proposed rules for unmanned aircraft, or drones, weighing less than 55 pounds. The agency expects to complete its review and issue the new drone regulations early next year, said spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

In the meantime, more than 1,000 FAA Section 333 exemption requests have been approved for companies that want to use drones. Government and nonprofit organizations are not subject to the FAA rules for commercial drone use. Charleston County has a drone.

The FAA reported more than 500 drone encounters. Most involved pilots, but sometimes a concerned citizen contacted authorities about a drone hovering nearby. The pilot of an inbound airliner at New York’s LaGuardia Airport reported seeing a drone pass under the nose of the plane. The same thing happened to another commercial flight making its final runway approach in Boston, the FAA said.

One airline captain told authorities that a drone passed 100 feet above his aircraft, which was traveling at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Another said that a drone was 200 feet above during a 2-mile final approach at landing. A cargo plane reported a drone 60 feet away while the aircraft was in the midst of a climb to 11,000 feet.

The pilot of a small private plane reported a near-collision with a drone “orbiting” at 8,000 feet in altitude. In another instance, a pilot reported that a drone “passed across his windshield.” A medical helicopter service told authorities that a person flying a drone nearby kept it from taking off.

Source:  http://www.postandcourier.com

Chowchilla Airport (2O6) warehouse location causes angst

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t like the location of building
  • Warehouse was built near runway in a safety zone for airplane takeoffs
  • Madera County planning director said the building shouldn’t have been allowed

Chowchilla Municipal Airport is drawing some scrutiny by the Madera County Board of Supervisors as it works toward updating its plan for aviation facilities.

The Madera County Airport Land Use Commission is in the process of updating land use plans for Madera County airports. Madera County Planning Director Norm Allinder, who is also a commission member, informed the supervisors of the status of the proposed update earlier this month. During the presentation it was revealed that a warehouse building, apparently not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, was placed near the Chowchilla airport’s runway.

In a telephone interview, District 2 Supervisor David Rogers said he expressed concerns about the building more than a year ago.

“This was brought to my attention as the building was being built and the former city administrator (Mark Lewis) insisted that the FAA had approved it,” Rogers said. “The FAA doesn’t approve.”

The warehouse is in the safety zone for take-offs. Rogers said he has written a letter to the Chowchilla City Council informing them of his concern.

“The main thing is that public safety is a priority,” Rogers said.

Allinder said the building should not have been allowed.

“It wasn’t discussed with us,” Allinder said. “That should have come to us and we would have said, ‘no, that’s not an appropriate building on that site.’”

Allinder said Lewis also told him the FAA approved the building.

“When I approached the city (administrator) at that time, he was defensive and said, ‘oh no, the FAA said it was goood.’ My response to that was, ‘I don’t care what the FAA said. I have an Airport Land Use Plan I have to implement.’”

Allinder said he spoke with FAA officials who did not want the building there.

Rogers said Chowchilla’s leadership needs to rectify the issue.

“We had a city administrator pushing stuff through and I just don’t think that was appropriate. We need some kind of assurances as a community that somebody’s watching the store,” Rogers said.

Source: http://www.mercedsunstar.com

Prescott, Arizona: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student killed in vehicle crash

Khrystyna Gavryushenko in 2013 at the Youth Aviation Academy at the Camarillo Airport.



An Oxnard High School graduate from Crimea was killed Tuesday in a six-car accident in Prescott, Arizona, authorities said.


Khrystyna Gavryushenko, 19, was identified by Prescott police as the victim of Tuesday morning’s crash. Gavryushenko, a 2014 graduate of Oxnard High, was a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.


Embry-Riddle officials said she was entering her sophomore year and majoring in aviation business administration.


Investigators said the car driven by Gavryushenko collided with another vehicle traveling in the same direction in an adjacent lane. The two cars veered into oncoming traffic, with Gavryushenko’s vehicle colliding head-on with a sedan and then getting hit by a pickup.


Police said Gavryushenko was pronounced dead at the scene.


The drivers of two other vehicles were taken to different hospitals for treatment of serious injuries.


Police believe excessive speed may have played a role in the crash.


Gavryushenko was born in the Crimean city of Yalta, and she and her mother moved to the United States in 2009, according to a Web page she developed before college. She wrote that her goal was to become a commercial airline pilot, and she attended the Youth Aviation Academy at the Camarillo Airport in summer 2013.


Gavryushenko played junior varsity volleyball for Oxnard High in her freshman and sophomore years, but after realizing she wasn’t going to be a starter on the team, she decided to quit to focus on her studies, said Pat Casey, Oxnard’s volleyball team coach.


Casey said Gavryushenko was a “smart, nice young woman” and a “good athlete.”


He repeated those sentiments to students in his freshman English class last year when Gavryushenko visited her alma mater to say hello to some former teachers. During the visit, Casey joked that Gavryushenko was probably the most popular person at Embry-Riddle by then, he said


“She was very well-liked,” Casey said.


At Embry-Riddle, Gavryushenko was president of an archery club and a member of the Air Line Pilots Association’s collegiate club, the university said in a news release on its website.


“Khrystyna was a bright student and a very popular young lady on campus,” Dean of Students Larry Stephan said in the release. “Her tragic accident is a tremendous loss to our students and our faculty and staff who knew and respected Khrystyna. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends.”


Embry-Riddle is planning a campus memorial service, the release said.


Source:   http://www.vcstar.com 




On Tuesday August 25th, 2015 at approximately 0730 Prescott Police Officers and emergency medical personnel responded to the 2500 block of Willow Creek Road for a report of a collision involving several vehicles.

Officers learned that a total of six vehicles were involved in the accident. Based on witness statements and evidence on scene, investigators determined that a Mazda Sedan, driven by 19 year old Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Student Khrystyna Gavryushenko of California was traveling northbound on Willow Creek Road when it collided with a Volkswagen Jetta traveling in the same direction in the adjacent lane. As they collided, both vehicles entered into the oncoming (southbound) lanes of traffic. Gavryushenko’s vehicle collided head on with a white Honda Sedan driven by a 28-year-old Prescott man. He sustained serious injuries and was flown from the scene to a Flagstaff hospital for treatment. His current condition is unknown.

[Editor's note: According to verified information, the victim flown to the Flagstaff hospital is a Prescott High School teacher. He has a severely broken leg, but no life-threatening injuries. It was expected that he will need surgery today.]

Gavryushenko’s vehicle was then struck on the driver’s side by a Chevy pick-up truck. The driver of the pick-up truck was transported to Yavapai Regional Medical Center West in Prescott with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. His current condition is unknown.

Unfortunately, Gavryushenko sustained major injuries and was pronounced deceased on scene as a result of the collision. 

Related: Embry-Riddle Prescott Mourns Loss Of Student Following Accident

After the initial impact, the Jetta continued to travel northbound in opposing traffic, striking several other vehicles in the roadway. None of the drivers or occupants of the other vehicles sustained major injuries that were reported at the time.

Willow Creek Road was closed in both directions immediately following the crash while the incident is under investigation. At this time the roadway remains closed and will be closed for at least several more hours.

Members of the Prescott Police Department Traffic Safety Section are investigating the collision and will study the scene and the evidence to determine the cause and contributing factors of the collision. However at this time, it is believed that excessive speed may have played a role in the cause and severity of the crash.

Source:  http://www.prescottenews.com








United flight lands safely in Austin after fuel emergency

2:10 p.m. update: A United flight has landed safely after calling in a fuel emergency to the Austin airport.

The flight triggered an alert after the pilot notified the airport that the plane only had about 30 minutes of fuel remaining as it approached, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook said. The airplane was 30 miles from the airport when the pilot made the report, which was easily close enough for the plane to land safely.

The plane landed on runway 35 Right, approaching from the southeast. All other recent take offs and landings were using the airport’s other runway, Halbrook said.

Earlier: Austin firefighters are responding to an aircraft emergency near the airport, officials said Tuesday afternoon.

The incident was reported around 1:50 p.m. at 10185 Hotel Drive, a few blocks from the Hilton Austin Airport hotel, officials said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

State sells surplus planes

SPRINGFIELD - More than a year after former Gov. Pat Quinn floated the idea as a populist cost-cutting move, Illinois has sold the last of its surplus aircraft.

In an announcement Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced four planes and one helicopter were sold at a price reduced from last year's failed attempt to sell part of the fleet.

The total take of more than $2.5 million was lower what had been sought during Quinn's tenure, but Rauner said the state would save an estimated $1 million by avoiding the cost of inspections and repairs.

"The successful sale of the state's surplus aircraft is some much needed good news for taxpayers," Rauner said in a statement.

Under Quinn, nine of the state's aircraft were ordered to be sold. But, after three auctions, five of the aircraft remained unsold.

Although Rauner credited the latest sale to improved marketing of the aircraft, the lower price tag on some of them also may have helped.

For example, a 2000 Beechcraft King Air was sold for $1.7 million, down from the $2.49 million is was being offered for in 2014.

A 1991 Sikorsky helicopter sold for $515,161, down from last year's minimum bid of $933,000.

"The new sales plan helped maximize the return on investment for Illinois taxpayers, pushing total revenues from the sales of the aircraft to more than 90% of the estimated average value, for a total value of more than $2.5 million," a statement noted.

Other planes sold include: a 1979 Cessna C337H for $56,000.00; a 1986 Cessna C182R for $54,161.00; and, a 1985 Cessna C421C for $181,140.00.

Source:  http://herald-review.com

Plane Crash in Christiana was just a rumor

A rumor of an unfounded plane crash in Rutherford County was just that, a rumor. 

News Channel 5 reported that a call was made to 9-1-1 on Tuesday morning that led authorities to Christiana where someone reported seeing two small ultra-light aircraft's flying side by side. Channel 5 said the caller reported one of the two planes spiraled to the ground, but could not tell dispatch exactly where it crashed.

WGNS confirmed with Lisa Marchesoni at the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office that the incident was only a rumor. No plane crash actually occurred.

Source:  http://wgnsradio.com

CHRISTIANA, Tenn. – An investigation is underway in Rutherford County after a witness reported seeing a small plane crash over the weekend. So far, no wreckage has been found.

An eye witness told NewsChannel 5 that he was driving along Highway 231 near Christiana, when he spotted two small aircraft flying closely to one another.


He said it appeared they bumped into one another and then one spiraled down out of control in a plume of smoke. At that point, he called 911.


Deputies responded to the general area, but have not yet found any wreckage.


The official dispatch report indicated the aircraft could have originated in Shelbyville. However, air control has not reported any missing planes.


It's possible some pilots may have taken off without filing any flight plans. Investigators are working to piece together what may have happened.


Anyone with information was asked to contact the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office.


Story and video: http://www.scrippsmedia.com

Tullahoma Regional (KTHA), Tennessee: Airport Authority Well Prepared

(L to R): TAA Chairman Sam Crimm, Commissioner Randy Boyd, TAA Member Col. Jim Apple at the Clayton-American City Bank Terminal at the Tullahoma Municipal Airport



Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd made a brief site visit to the Tullahoma Municipal Airport last week to discuss with airport officials and economic and community development staff the impact of recent legislation affecting Tennessee’s airports and their capital improvement programs.

Airport Authority Chairman Sam Crimm and Authority member Jim Apple briefed the commissioner on the progress that had been made at the Tullahoma airport in the area of economic development and Apple stressed the importance of maintaining a strong facility improvement program for Tennessee’s general aviation airports. 

Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC), Executive Director Thom Robinson gave an overview of aviation and aerospace projects and facilities in Tullahoma.

“We have one of the top 5 general-aviation airports in the state,” said Airport Authority Chairman, Sam Crimm. “It’s a facility we are extremely proud of, and gives the city an edge in recruiting businesses.”

Commissioner Boyd noted the many improvements that had been made in Tullahoma and stated that the Tullahoma Airport Authority was very well prepared.

Source:  http://www.thunder1320.com

A New (Cheaper) Frontier Airlines, With More Fees and Less Legroom: Carrier’s money-saving tactics pay off, but customers aren’t happy



The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas
Updated Aug. 24, 2015 9:46 p.m. ET


DENVER—Executives behind the rise of ultradiscounter Spirit Airlines Inc. are now transforming this city’s hometown carrier—Frontier Airlines Inc.—into a Spirit copycat, part of the rapid expansion of a business model that is introducing millions of U.S. fliers to lower fares, more fees and less legroom.

Since the investment firm of Bill Franke, Spirit’s former owner and chairman, bought troubled Frontier in late 2013, the new owners have ousted Frontier’s chief executive, outsourced more than a quarter of its workforce, packed more seats onto planes, removed seat-back TVs, and started charging for carry-on bags, seat reservations and soft drinks. This month, Frontier jettisoned its toll-free number to save money.

The moves have paid off. Boosted in part by cheap fuel, the closely held carrier earned more last year—$129 million—than in the entire decade prior. Now Frontier is embarking on an expansion that aims to more than double its fleet to at least 114 jets by 2022. Mr. Franke is also weighing a public offering for the carrier next year.

But the airline’s customers aren’t happy. This year through June, nearly one-third of Frontier flights were at least 15 minutes late and almost 1% were canceled, its worst first-half rates in at least a decade. One of every 10,000 Frontier customers has complained to the Transportation Department this year for issues including customer service, baggage handling and refunds, 10 times Frontier’s rate in 2012. Only one U.S. carrier’s delays and complaint rates have been worse this year: Spirit.

In Denver, where the Frontier brand was founded in the 1950s, the backlash has been sharp. The hometown carrier had been known for friendly service, leather seats and animal mascots painted on its planes. Flight attendants sometimes handed out warm cookies in the coach cabin.

David Hubbard, a software consultant from Highlands Ranch, Colo., who has flown Frontier for decades, said the new management is ruining the carrier with unreliable operations, uncomfortable seats and a paltry loyalty program. “They’ve already lost the loyal business travelers like myself,” said Mr. Hubbard, who recently stopped flying the carrier. “They bring in people on their reputation and then they’re burning them so badly that they don’t ever want to hear the word Frontier again.”

Barry Biffle, the former No. 2 executive at Spirit whom Mr. Franke hired to ultimately run Frontier, said the carrier recently removed elite-flier perks like complimentary checked bags and free alcohol because “customers were receiving more than they were paying for.” Frontier was losing tens of millions of dollars and was nearing liquidation before Mr. Franke bought the airline, current and former executives said.

Customers are upset, but many are starting to understand, said Mr. Biffle about the changes. “It’s like the stages of grief: there’s shock, denial, and so forth. You eventually move to acceptance, and we’re pretty close,” he said.

Don Moore, a Frontier flight attendant since 2010, said he is still unsure about all the changes. Tighter seating and more outsourced workers are upsetting fliers, but he enjoyed the profit-sharing check he recently received as a veteran employee. “I want to take management’s side but I also want to understand customers,” he said. “As an employee, who am I to say don’t turn a profit?”

In two years, Frontier has pulled about two-fifths of its flights from Denver, which once accounted for half its network, because the market is highly competitive. Frontier is using those planes to expand in cities such as Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland.

The moves set up a face-off between Frontier and Spirit, pitting two friends against one another: Mr. Biffle and Spirit Chief Executive Ben Baldanza. They joined Spirit from US Airways in 2005 and became ultradiscount protégés of Mr. Franke after he bought Spirit a year later.

Messrs. Baldanza and Biffle cut costs and fares at Spirit, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing and most profitable airlines, by adding denser seating, flying more each day and selling tickets that include little more than a seat on the plane. In the process, Spirit gained notoriety for irreverent ads, garish yellow planes, seats that don’t recline and a $3 fee for water.

But now Messrs. Franke and Biffle say their thinking on the ultradiscount model has evolved. The men are trying to position Frontier as a mainstream alternative—with friendly service, free cups of water and slightly wider, more cushioned seats—in a bid to attract a broader set of customers who can spend more than the bare minimum.

“You can charge for bags, but you would like people to actually have bags,” said Mr. Biffle, a 43-year-old Texas native who drives a Ford F-150 truck to Frontier’s one-story headquarters.

Mr. Baldanza has long criticized Frontier’s aim to be an ultradiscounter, and he is skeptical of its attempts to adapt the model. In a June interview, he said that Spirit cuts costs ruthlessly to offer cheap fares and that spending more to please customers “is a slippery slope.”

In an interview earlier this month, Mr. Franke, his former boss, said, “I can accept the fact that Ben would disagree because I trained Ben to disagree with what I’m telling you. But that said, I now think there is a kinder, gentler way.”

Mr. Biffle, Frontier’s president, spends a lot of time making that pitch. In a recent meeting at Frontier headquarters, he strategized on how to explain to local reporters a new discounted bundle of extras, including two bags, extra legroom and no change fees.

He compares the extras to toppings on a pizza—the bundle is officially called “the works”—so he hand-delivered two dozen supreme pizzas to local news organizations. “If you only sell cheese pizzas, you can’t make as much money as if you sell a lot of toppings,” he said.

Corrections & Amplifications

One of every 10,000 Frontier Airlines Inc. customers has complained to the Transportation Department this year for issues including customer service, baggage handling and refunds. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said one of every 100 Frontier customers has complained.

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


Drone danger: Analysis reveals four near-misses in Las Vegas skies

In February, a Robinson R44 helicopter observed a drone flying 100 feet underneath it near the Bank of America building in Downtown Las Vegas. A few months later, in July, a Eurocopter EC35 traveling at 3,000 feet nearly collided with a drone flying 1,000 feet away about a mile north of the Rio.

These incidents represent two of the four reported incidents in the valley in which drone aircraft nearly crashed with manned aircraft, according to an analysis of FAA data since November.

The reports include sightings in which manned aircraft came into close proximity of a drone or were at risk of colliding with one.

Last Friday, the FAA released data about the time, place and location of sightings since November. The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College analyzed that information, finding that there were 295 incidents in which there was a risk of collision across the country.

In the Las Vegas Valley, there were four near misses, all with helicopters, and one sighting from a small plane. The one sighting in the valley occurred this May, when a light-sport Flight Design CTLS observed a small black drone operating at about 3,650 feet near the North Las Vegas Airport.

As the FAA has loosened its restrictions on drones in recent months, the agency has reported that the number of close calls with manned aircraft has soared across the country. In 2014, manned pilots reported 238 sightings to the FAA. By Aug. 9 of 2015, that number had nearly tripled to about 650.

Unmanned aircraft collisions, particularly if the drone collides with a helicopter rotor, could be fatal for pilots and their passengers.

Source:  http://lasvegassun.com

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pilots, air taxis nervous about restrictions for Obama's Alaska visit

Pilots, air carriers and other players in Alaska aviation are gathering Monday afternoon at Stevens Anchorage International Airport to learn more about expected flight restrictions when President Obama visits Alaska next week.

Stress levels are high for small flying services that don’t yet know when or for how long they will be grounded during one of their busiest times. "Seaplane" flights in particular have been signaled out as prohibited, although the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t specified where or for how long.

“The flight plane advisory specifically lists seaplanes on the same list of nuisances to aviation that are strictly forbidden,” said Mike Laughlin, owner of Regal Air, a flight service based at Lake Hood. “Which is just absurd in the state of Alaska.”

The Transportation Security Administration says logistics including the meeting are being overseen by the Secret Service, which isn’t saying much.

“We’re definitely trying to get ahead of this a little bit,” said Jane Dale, executive director of the Alaska Air Carriers Association. “The U.S. Secret Service is keeping many of the details very close.”

An FAA advisory released Friday warned that temporary flight restrictions may be significant during Obama’s visit. He will land in Air Force One at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Aug.31, travel to Seward on Sept. 1, then fly to both Dillingham and Kotzebue on Sept. 2 before leaving Alaska.

Pilots who violate the rules face deadly force, the FAA said.

Details on how long air space will be restricted in various locations have not yet been released.

Asked when the public would learn details of the temporary flight restrictions, FAA public affairs manager Ian Gregor answered “I don’t know. Have you reached out to the USSS?”

That’s the Secret Service. Robert Hoback, a Secret Service spokesman in Washington, D.C., said the agency expects to release some information in response to questions Tuesday or Wednesday. He said he didn't know when the FAA flight restrictions would be announced.

Air carriers have been told that the security restrictions may be similar to those that governed flight around Martha’s Vineyard, Dale said. President Obama and his family just wrapped up a 16-day vacation there. They left Sunday on Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

Flights related to the president, air ambulance traffic and scheduled commercial passenger and cargo flights were allowed under FAA flight restrictions.

But other aircraft within a 10-mile radius around Martha’s Vineyard had to be screened at nearby “gateway airports” or the Martha’s Vineyard airport, under the temporary flight restrictions. Screenings were available daily from 6 a.m. to 7:59 p.m.

“Gateway screening will include ID verification and vetting of all pilots, crew and passengers, screening of persons and baggage, and inspection of the aircraft,” the rules for Martha’s Vineyard said.

Seaplanes -- the term used by the FAA -- were grounded there. They also were on the advisory sent out last week for Alaska as an example of the kind of aircraft that could be prohibited in nearby airspace.

That is one of the biggest concerns for the air carriers organization, which includes 200 companies, Dale said.

Carriers hope to learn more today.

“It is probably related more to a Lower 48 standard,” Dale said.

Perhaps seaplanes were included on the advisory for Alaska by mistake, she said.

“I think we’re going to lose a lot of business over it, if it really is as restrictive as they say it’s going to be,” Laughlin of Regal Air said.

Some clients are already in the field and may not know what is happening if their pickup plane doesn’t come on schedule, he said.

“Maybe they are going to run out of food. Maybe they’ve got flights to catch,” he said.

It’s an especially busy time.

“It’s everything,” Laughlin said. “It’s moose hunting, duck hunting, sheep hunting. We’ve still got a lot of tourists in town that are going on flight seeing tours.”

A Holland America cruise ship, for instance, is scheduled to dock in Anchorage in Monday, he said.

None of the agencies -- not the Secret Service, nor TSA nor FAA -- were able to answer why seaplanes were in a different category than other small planes.

Source:  https://www.adn.com

FAA warns pilots of security restrictions during Obama's visit to Alaska

President Barack Obama’s trip to Alaska later this month will impact air traffic – right at the start of fall duck and moose hunting seasons – but just how much is not yet known.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory Friday related to a “VIP Visit” in Alaska. The agency warns it will be issuing “multiple Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in support of a VIP visit to Anchorage, Seward, Dillingham and Kotzebue” starting Aug. 31 and running through Sept. 2.

The VIP is unnamed, but that is how FAA security measures refer to the president. The dates match with when Alaska officials expect Obama to be in the state.

Some hunters are adjusting their schedules just in case, to make sure they are not grounded. In Southcentral, fall waterfowl season starts Sept. 1. Moose seasons generally start between Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, depending on the hunting area, according to Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Exact locations and times for flight restrictions have not been determined  but will be published soon in notices to airmen, or NOTAMs, according to the FAA.

Scheduled commercial passenger and cargo flights typically are allowed, the FAA said. But smaller planes face restrictions and floatplanes in particular may be grounded for at least some of that time, according to the advisory.

John Parrott, manager of Stevens Anchorage International Airport, said he expects some limits on Lake Hood – often described as the world’s busiest floatplane base -- as well as Merrill Field, Birchwood Airport and other airfields in the area.

“But I don’t have a good feel for what those constraints will be,” Parrott said. “I don’t know if there will be certain times they can’t fly or certain directions they can’t fly or if there will be someone monitoring the activity and checking who’s flying. I simply don’t have an answer for that yet.”

The FAA classifies the sensitive airspace around the president as “National Defense Airspace” and warns that violations will be dealt with seriously.

Pilots could face fines, criminal charges – or worse.

“The United States Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat,” the advisory said.

President Obama is coming to Alaska for a visit focused on climate change. If the trip goes as planned, he will land Aug. 31 on Air Force One at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The White House has said the president will give a speech that day to an Anchorage conference on the Arctic organized by the State Department but has not announced other details of his schedule. Advance teams have been scouting in Dillingham, Kotzebue and Seward.

While specifics for Alaska are not yet announced, typically there’s an inner 10-mile zone with the most restrictive measures, then an outer ring affecting aircraft 10 miles to 30 miles out, the FAA said.

Generally, within the inner core of 10 miles, the only flights allowed are by law enforcement, air ambulances, military aircraft supporting the Secret Service and regularly scheduled commercial passenger and cargo carriers, the FAA said.

In the outer ring, planes generally must be on active flight plans with an assigned, discrete code that they squawk while in the restricted area. They must be in constant radio communications with air traffic control, the FAA said.

But floatplanes, along with drones, ultralights and model rockets, among others, generally are grounded during restricted times, the FAA said.

Whether that will happen for minutes, hours or days isn’t yet specified.

Parrott said he hopes pilots, regulators and the president’s security detail figure out an acceptable resolution that doesn’t overly restrict flights by small planes.

“No general aviation within 30 miles of JBER for three days at the beginning of moose and duck season is not going to be a pleasant time,” Parrott said.

Just in case, Marsh, of Fish and Game, said he rescheduled his own fall bird hunt to avoid being grounded.

“The no-fly zones will definitely seem to affect hunters who have planned to fly from the Anchorage area between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2,” he said in an email. He had seen the FAA advisory.

He and a friend are flying out of Lake Hood Aug. 30, two days earlier than planned, for a hunt on the Susitna Flats across Cook Inlet.

“Luckily, we have a nice cabin to stay in, so the extra time should be pretty pleasurable,” he said.

Source:  https://www.adn.com

Authorities say they foiled plan to deliver porn, gun, drugs to Maryland prison



CUMBERLAND, Md. — Want to get a handgun, some synthetic marijuana and porn into a prison?

Two men in Maryland allegedly tried to do just that — by remote-controlled aircraft — though their plot never got off the ground, authorities said Monday.

The pair was found Saturday on a side road that runs alongside the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland with the aircraft — which officials called a drone — in their vehicle, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services announced in a press release.

But officials don’t think they were planning a joy ride.

Not after what else they found in the vehicle, which they suspect the two men planned to fly over onto the WCI’s grounds.

One tweet from the state agency apparently shows the bounty: packets of K2 (or synthetic marijuana), tobacco, suboxone, pornographic DVDs and a handgun laid out on a table next to the four-propeller miniature aircraft.

“This is the first case in Maryland where a drone is suspected in a contraband delivery plot,” state Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer told reporters.

The vehicle’s owner had been under surveillance for some time. An intelligence officer at the western Maryland prison and a state corrections department detective suspected the owner and his associate along with at least one inmate planned to use an unmanned drone to drop off contraband at the prison.

Corrections spokesman Mark Vernarelli told CNN on Monday that authorities are still looking at what connections, if any, both suspects have to specific inmates.

The discovery Saturday of not just the drone, but the contraband, led authorities to arrest both men.

Two days later, one of them was being held without bail, while the other was held on $250,000 bail.

While this is apparently the first time someone has allegedly tried to fly illicit material onto prison or jail property, in Maryland, it has happened elsewhere.

Late last month, for instance, a drone actually managed to drop 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana and 6.6 grams of heroin in the courtyard of Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio.

Source:   http://q13fox.com

After his plane's engine failed, Robert DeLaurentis had minutes to save his own life

Flying his plane named "Spirit of San Diego," pilot Robert DeLaurentis circumnavigated the globe, taking off from San Diego in May and returning in August. At a press availability at Landmark Aviation, DeLaurentis talked about his trip and was greeted by admirers.







SAN DIEGO — Robert DeLaurentis had ten minutes to figure out if he would live or die.

He was flying solo over Southeast Asia when he lost oil pressure and power in the only engine in his Piper Malibu Mirage. His small aircraft had essentially turned from a complex flying machine into a glider, and it seemed like his attempt to fly around the world was coming to a premature end.

He was somewhere over the Strait of Malacca, one of the busiest waterways in the world. If he ended up crashing into the strait he not only had to worry about being killed in the wreck, but if he survived the crash he would have to stay afloat until he could be found and rescued.

It left him with one option: figure out how to get to an airport as he slowly lost altitude.

“I realized that I had five or ten minutes that would determine the rest of my life,” he said at a San Diego news conference Monday.

The decisions he made would mean the difference between death, or possibly walking away from a wrecked aircraft, or just having a broken airplane stuck on a runway in need of a good mechanic and some repairs. Like many pilots, including ones with much more experience, DeLaurentis had never fought through an engine loss outside of a simulator.

“I did what I was trained to do by my instructors and I turned to the nearest airport,” said DeLaurentis, who before he launched this trip had logged 1,200 flight hours since getting his pilot’s license five years ago.

That meant he was headed to Kuala Lumpur International Airport nearly 20 nautical miles away. It was the closest runway to his plane, but air traffic control tried to redirect him to the airport he came from so that he wouldn’t interrupt commercial traffic, DeLaurentis said.

There wasn’t enough time, or distance between his plane and the ground to take that longer trip, he said.

“I felt like I was being tested,” he said.

After air traffic control tried to divert his path for the fourth time, he finally made it fully clear that he was in peril, that he couldn’t make it to another airport, and, yes, he was landing at Kuala Lumpur International. Fire trucks were waiting on the runway, as well as around 20 spectators who weren’t used to seeing a small airplane in the lineup of 737s that frequent the airport.

“I didn’t expect that outcome. I was hoping for it but the chances were slim,” he said.

His plane, which he dubbed the “Spirit of San Diego” sat on the tarmac for a few days for repairs, and he considered abandoning the rest of his trip. Shaken, but relieved, he got back into the cockpit, and flew out of Malaysia. With a few stops in between, he landed in Monterey on Wednesday, and in San Diego, his home, on Saturday. He flew over 27,000 miles over three months.

The trip was part spiritual journey, part fundraiser for programs at Lindbergh-Schweitzer Elementary and Aviation Owners and Pilots Association Flight Training Scholarship Program. Besides being an aviation enthusiast, DeLaurentis is a speaker and author.

“The feat that Robert DeLaurentis accomplished, not only ingrains the innovative fabric that we have here in San Diego, but the charitable spirit of the community and people,” Anthony George, a representative for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

DeLaurentis was also testing new aviation technology designed to make general aviation cheaper and safer. His Piper had a unique combination of a special coating that reduced drag, a propeller that helped him climb faster and more efficiently, a transmission that allowed him to fly faster with less fuel, and a Bluetooth system that allowed him to enter pre-programmed routes into his plane’s global positioning system rather than idling on the tarmac while entering coordinates. These features have various advantages over older technologies, including making the aircraft more fuel efficient, DeLaurentis said.

“Fuel is an enormous expense,” he said.

His plane also had new safety features, including air bags to protect him if he crashes.

While the near-death experience in Malaysia was harrowing, DeLaurentis, the so-called “Zen Pilot,” said there were moments of unbridled bliss throughout the journey. Some came when he was flying over the ocean or a vast landscape.

“It’s a very emotional time and I think there’s a very emotional connection with the planet,” he said. “You realize it’s really just one.”

And there were times that there was nobody within his radio’s 1,000-mile range. Still, he didn’t feel alone.

“I don’t think it was ever just me because I always felt like there were people supporting me along the way,” he said.

The times when he did hear from people, whether it was through emails or social media messages, were among the best parts of the adventure, he said.

“People were telling me things they were going to do because of my flight,” he said.

They told him that they were inspired to lose weight, or to learn a language, or hike a mountain, he said.

“I’ll never forget that,” he said.

Story, comments, photo:  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com

Cessna 182Q Skylane, N759TZ: Accident occurred August 24, 2015 at Pineville Municipal Airport (2L0), Louisiana

NTSB Identification: GAA15CA236 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 24, 2015 in Pineville, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/08/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N759TZ
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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.

In a statement provided to the Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector, the pilot reported that after the initial touch down, the airplane "became airborne again." He then retracted the flaps and the airplane touched down on the runway again. The pilot reported that he applied maximum brakes, but the airplane over ran the end of runway, impacted an embankment, and "clipped the top of a fence." The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. 

The pilot reported there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to land with sufficient runway remaining to safely stop the airplane, resulting in a runway over-run and collision with terrain.


ROBERT W.  STRANGE: http://registry.faa.gov/N759TZ


Date: 24-AUG-15
Time: 21:25:00Z
Regis#: N759TZ
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 182
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Substantial
Activity: Personal
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03
City: PINEVILLE
State: Louisiana

AIRCRAFT LANDED LONG AND WENT OFF THE END OF THE RUNWAY, PINEVILLE, LA.




Pineville, Louisiana - A small plane crash has been reported at the Pineville Municipal Airport.

According to other pilots at the airport who witnessed the crash, the pilot survived.

According to the plane's tail number, the plane is registered to Robert Strange of Forest Hill. 

We are awaiting details about the crash.

It has not been determined whether the pilot has been treated for any injuries.






Watchdog: Air-Traffic Towers Wasted More Than $850 Million

The federal government has wasted more than $850 million over six years by operating inefficient air-traffic control towers, according to a watchdog audit.

At a time of fewer flights, the efficiency of the Federal Aviation Administration’s facilities at airports ranging from large hubs to smaller private-plane strips varies widely, the Transportation Department’s Inspector General found Monday.

The extra labor for air-traffic controllers and equipment to handle similar volumes of flights cost the government more than $140 million a year from 2008 through 2013, according to the report.

The findings come as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plans to propose creating a nonprofit corporation to take over the management of the FAA’s air-traffic system, partly as a result of similar complaints. Representative Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said he would include the proposal in legislation this year.

FAA “towers function at considerably different levels of efficiency relative to each other,” the report by Mitchell Behm, an assistant inspector general, said. “The performance gap between the relatively efficient towers and the least efficient towers was substantial.”

While the audit found poor efficiency at a wide range of airports, the bulk of the extra costs were at larger facilities. Ten large hubs accounted for at least half of the agency’s wasted costs.

Federal Aviation Administration Objections

The FAA objected to the IG’s analysis, saying it didn’t take into account use of contractors. Efficiency comparisons can be misleading because of substantial differences in factors such as air traffic volume, airspace complexity and facility size, the FAA also said in the report.

Bloomberg News reported in 2012 that more than 100 full-time U.S. airports and radar rooms have so few flights late at night they should be shut under government guidelines.

FAA’s efforts to curb costs can run into Congressional interference. Lawmakers passed a measure increasing government aid to a tower at an airport used by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s fleet of corporate aircraft.

The most efficient airports included New York’s LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International, while poor-performing ones were in Orlando, Florida, and Salt Lake City.

Source:  http://www.bloomberg.com

Watchdog: Federal Aviation Administration 8 years away from pilot database

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Federal Aviation Administration has delayed creating a critical database, which Congress mandated, to help keep track and weed out poorly trained pilots.

The Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office released an audit last week saying until the agency addresses these shortcomings “significant gaps will persist in the extent and level of data reviewed by airlines prior to hiring pilots.”

“Ensuring air carriers have all available information on a pilot’s training performance remains a critical safety area for FAA,” said Matthew Hampton, assistant inspector general for aviation audits, wrote in the report. ‘Without these additional records, air carriers may be unaware of unsatisfactory evaluation events or other items that could indicate performance issues for a pilot.”

Between 1987 and 1994, the U.S. airline industry suffered seven major accidents that were attributed in part to errors made by pilots who had been hired without background safety checks. In all cases, the hiring airlines lacked access to, or failed to obtain, the pilots’ flight qualifications and other safety records from FAA and/or previous employers before completing the hiring process.

After the 2009 Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the captain of the commercial flight failed to disclose failed proficiency checks that occurred prior to his employment with the airline.

As a result, in 2010 Congress mandated better tracking of poor performing pilots. Congress called for the FAA to develop a database with information about the pilot and their performance from the FAA, airlines and other records (including the National Driver Register.) The records are to be maintained in the database for the life of a pilot to ensure comprehensive pilot records are available to air carriers during the hiring process.

But the audit found the FAA remains “years away” from creating such a database. The agency has made “limited progress” since the congressional mandate and will likely not have a fully operational database until another 8 years.

FAA officials said this is in part because Congress did not set a deadline for developing the database. As a result, FAA allocated resources to other congressional mandates such as raising standards in pilot training and performance, and improving rest requirements.

The database is under development, the FAA said, and will contain the records of approximately 866,000 pilots. But the agency said further work needs to be done in determining protocol for using the database and ensuring the information included remains secure. 

Source:  http://www.wbap.com

Chinese Airline Grounds Overweight Flight Attendant

Qingdao Airlines allegedly bars woman crew member from flying because she is too heavy for her height but the company denies the claim.


A domestic airline in China has barred a flight attendant from flying because she exceeded requirements for cabin crew, a news website quoted a company employee as saying.

A crew member from Qingdao Airlines said the airline stopped flight attendants from flying or sacked them if they did not meet height-to-weight ratio requirements, reported Shanghai-based news website Thepaper.cn.

The crew member, who was not named, said one flight attendant had been grounded, but refused to give further details.

A representative from the company admitted it had stringent weight requirements, but denied any employee had been barred from flying or sacked over the issue.

China’s civil aviation authority guidelines state that women flight attendants who are between 160cm and 172cm tall should weigh between 45kg and 73 kg.

To apply to be a flight attendant with Qingdao Airlines, women must be younger than 30, between 165cm and 172cm tall and weigh between 50kg and 68kg, according to recruitment requirements listed on its website.

“We are concerned that exceeding weight standards will compromise the ability of cabin crew members to respond in emergency situations, and we hope the crew can maintain good body shape,” the airline representative told Thepaper.cn.

According to an employee of the civil aviation authority, taking disciplinary action against staff members over their weight is a violation of human rights.

Most international airlines have done away with weight requirements for cabin crew members and only require they pass physical fitness examinations.

Airlines in India have previously come under fire for disciplining cabin crew members who are “too fat to fly”. According to India’s civil aviation authority, crew members who are found overweight based on their calculated body mass index will have three months to bring their weight down to “acceptable levels”. If they fail, they are declared “unfit” for cabin crew duties.

Source:  http://www.scmp.com

Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, N5946C: Fatal accident occurred August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, Nassau County, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA313 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/29/2017
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N5946C
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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.

The commercial pilot was conducting an on-demand air taxi flight. The passenger reported that, while they were in cruise flight (about 6,500 ft mean sea level, according to radar data), he heard a loud “pop” sound and saw a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an “oil smell.” The engine then began to “sputter” and lost power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success. The pilot reported the problem to air traffic control (ATC); however, he did not declare an emergency.

The New York terminal radar approach control (N90) LaGuardia Airport (LGA) departure controller subsequently provided the pilot with the relative locations of several nearby airports, and the pilot determined that he was closest to Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, but that he did not have sufficient altitude to reach it. The LGA controller then provided vectors to Bethpage Airport, an alternate airport depicted on his radar video map (RVM), and noted that, although the airport was closed, there was a runway there. The controller provided vectors to Bethpage for a forced landing, but the pilot reported that he did not see the runway. The next several transmissions between the controller and the pilot revealed that the pilot was unable to acquire the Bethpage runway (because it no longer existed) while the controller continued to provide heading and distance to it. The controller subsequently lost radar contact with the pilot, and the airplane eventually crashed into a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm before coming to rest on railroad tracks.

The investigation revealed that the runway the controller was directing the pilot to no longer existed; industrial buildings occupied the location of the former airport and had been there for several years. However, the runway was depicted on the controller’s RVM because it had not been removed following the closure of the airport. If the RVM had not shown Bethpage as an airport, the controller might have provided alternative diversion options, including nearby parkways, to the pilot, which would have prevented him from focusing on a runway that did not exist. Further investigation revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not require periodic review and validation of RVMs and had no procedures to ensure that nonoperational airports were removed from RVMs systemwide. Since this accident, the FAA has revised and corrected its internal procedures to ensure all nonoperational airports are removed from RVMs in the United States.

An examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft failed at the No. 2 main journal. The No. 2 main bearings were heat damaged and extruded into the crank cheek. The No. 2 main bearing supports had bearing shift and fretting signatures. The No. 2 main bearing had rotated in the bearing support. Contact with the crankshaft by the main bearing initiated the fracture of the crankshaft. The engine maintenance records did not reveal evidence of a recent engine repair in this area. Torque values obtained during the engine disassembly did not reveal evidence of an undertorqued condition. The engine had operated about 1,427 hours since its last major overhaul.

Toxicological testing detected amphetamine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, losartan, 7-amino-clonazepam, and acetaminophen in the pilot’s blood and/or urine. It is unlikely that the losartan and acetaminophen impaired the pilot’s judgment. The direct effects of clonazepam, which is used to treat panic disorder or seizures, did not contribute to the accident; however, it could not be determined whether the pilot’s underlying medical conditions contributed to the accident. The exact effects of oxycodone on the pilot at or around the time of the accident could not be determined. The level of amphetamine was significantly higher than the therapeutic range, indicating that the pilot was likely abusing the drug and that he was impaired by it at the time of the accident.

The combination of the pilot’s use of drugs and his medical conditions likely significantly impaired his psychomotor functioning and decision-making and led to his delay in responding appropriately to the in-flight loss of engine power and, therefore, contributed to the accident. Review of radar data revealed that 2 minutes 18 seconds had elapsed and that the airplane had lost about 2,000 ft of altitude while continuing on a westerly heading before the pilot turned the airplane toward FRG. If the pilot had turned immediately after he realized the engine had lost power, he would have had adequate altitude to glide to a suitable runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s improper decision to delay turning toward a suitable runway once he realized that an engine failure had occurred, which resulted in his having inadequate altitude to glide to a suitable runway, and the New York terminal radar approach control LaGuardia Airport area controller’s provision of erroneous emergency divert airport information to the pilot. 

Contributing to the accident were (1) the Federal Aviation Administration’s lack of a requirement to periodically review and validate radar video maps, (2) the failure of the engine crankshaft due to a bearing shift, and (3) the pilot’s impairment due to his abuse of amphetamine and underlying medical condition(s).

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:   https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N5946C

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA313
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, NY
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N5946C
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 16, 2015, at 0745 eastern daylight time, a Beech C35, N5946C, collided with a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm and terrain during a forced landing in Hicksville, New York. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Francis S. Gabreski Airport (FOK), Westhampton Beach, New York, and was destined for Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey.

The pilot departed FOK about 0720 under visual flight rules, and according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) transcript information, checked in with the New York terminal radar approach control (N90) Islip departure controller while passing through 1,300 ft mean sea level (msl) 2 miles east of FOK. (For the purposes of this report, all altitudes are in msl, unless otherwise noted.) The pilot requested to climb to 6,500 ft to transition to the New York class B airspace en route to MMU. The Islip controller identified the flight at 1,500 ft and directed the pilot to squawk a mode 3 transponder code of 4356. The Islip controller transferred the flight to the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Jamaica, New York, departure controller at 0730, at which time radar data depicted the airplane was traveling westbound at 140 knots ground speed at 6,500 ft.

The pilot checked in with the JFK departure controller and reiterated his request for a clearance through New York class B airspace. The JFK controller cleared the flight through the class B airspace and directed the pilot to maintain 6,500 ft. At 0738, the JFK controller transferred the flight to the LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Flushing, New York, departure controller.

The pilot checked in with the LGA controller at 6,500 ft and was issued the LGA altimeter setting. About 10 seconds later, at 0738:43, as the airplane was on an easterly heading, it began a slight ascent to 6,600 ft while its groundspeed started to suddenly decrease. The pilot did not report any difficulty to the LGA controller, and the controller did not ask the pilot about the change in the flight profile. About 0740, the LGA controller directed the pilot to turn right heading 360°. The airplane was traveling at 60 knots ground speed at 5,700 ft at the time. One second later, the pilot responded that he was "having a little bit of a problem" and was considering diverting to Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. The LGA controller acknowledged and asked the pilot to keep him informed of the situation and to let him know if he any needed assistance.

At 0740:31, the pilot advised that he was going to "have to take it down at…the closest spot." The LGA controller provided the pilot with the relative locations of LGA, JFK, FRG, and Westchester County Airport, White Plains, New York, and told the pilot that he could go anywhere he wanted to go. At 0740:55, the pilot responded that FRG was the closest airport but that he was not going to make it there. At 0741:16, the LGA controller asked the pilot to verify that he was going to FRG. The pilot responded, "yeah," and then asked the controller to verify that FRG was the closest airport. At this time, the pilot had started a left turn to the southeast, and the airplane was descending out of 4,400 ft at 70 knots groundspeed. At 0741:26, the LGA controller advised that there was also a landing strip at Bethpage, New York, at the pilot's 10-o'clock position at 5 miles and that the pilot might want to try that airport. The controller advised the pilot that he was about lined up for the runway's extended centerline. The pilot acknowledged, but part of the acknowledgement was unintelligible. At 0742:36, the pilot asked the controller to provide information on the location of the landing strip. The controller advised that the landing strip was at the pilot's 12-o'clock position at 4 miles and that the pilot was set up on the runway's extended centerline. At 0742:50, the LGA controller advised the pilot that FRG was 3 miles southeast of Bethpage in the event that the pilot wanted to go to FRG. The pilot responded that the airplane was losing altitude and that he was doing the best he could to maintain it.

At 0743:36, the pilot again asked for the location of the Bethpage airport and said he was not seeing it. The controller responded that there was a landing strip at Bethpage at the pilot's 12-o'clock position at 3 miles and that FRG was at the pilot's 10-o'clock position at 6 miles. The pilot responded that he was not going to make the 6 miles to FRG. At 0744:01, the LGA controller advised the pilot that Bethpage was a closed airport but that there was a runway there at the pilot's 11-o'clock position at 1.5 miles. At 0744:35, the pilot told the controller "you gotta give me a little better heading on that if you would." The controller advised that the runway was about 10° to the right and added that there was also a parkway nearby. The pilot then asked the controller, "and FRG I got 3 miles right?" The controller responded that FRG was at the pilot's 11-o'clock position at 5 miles. The pilot stated that there was no way he was going to make it to FRG and asked the controller to "show me this strip again if you would I'm sorry." The controller responded that the Bethpage runway was at the pilot's 1-o'clock position at less than 1 mile, that it was a closed airport, and that he had no additional information about the airport. There were no further communications with the pilot.

The passenger reported that they were in cruise flight when he heard a loud "pop" sound and saw a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an "oil smell." The engine then began to "sputter" and lost power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued a second-class FAA airman medical certificate on December 22, 2014, with the limitation that he must wear glasses for near vision. At that time, he reported 3,300 total flight hours.
Records provided by the FAA revealed that the pilot completed a 14 CFR Part 135.299 line check on June 18, 2015. He was listed as a single-pilot operator under the name Milo Air, Inc., conducting on-demand air taxi flights. The accident airplane was the only airplane used by Milo Air.

The pilot's family provided copies of two pilot logbooks; however, the latest logbook entries were dated May 13, 2008. No recent pilot logbooks were located.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, low wing, retractable-gear airplane, was manufactured in 1952. It was powered by a 260-horsepower Continental Motors IO-470-N engine, driving a three-bladed Hartzell model constant-speed propeller. The airplane was modified with two Beryl D'Shannon fiberglass 15-gallon auxiliary wing tip tanks in accordance with a supplemental type certificate.

According to copies of maintenance logbook pages provided by the pilot's family, the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on June 7, 2015. At that time, the airframe total time was 6,979 hours. The airplane's original engine, a Continental E-185-11, was removed and replaced with the Continental IO-470-N engine on December 15, 1998. The total time on the engine at the last inspection was about 2,913 hours, including 1,427 hours since the last major overhaul.

The engine was removed and disassembled on two occasions, on February 23, 2006, and on October 24, 2007, to facilitate inspections following propeller strikes. Engine maintenance records revealed no evidence of a recent disassembly of the engine or removal or replacement of cylinders.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

FRG, located about 4 nm east-southeast of the accident site, was the closest official weather station. The FRG weather at 0753 included calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 9,000 ft, temperature 25° C, dew point 19° C, and altimeter setting 30.12 inches of Mercury.

Velocity azimuth display wind profile data for JFK showed that at 4,000 and 3,000 ft above ground level (agl), the wind was from the northwest at 20 knots. At 2,000 ft agl, the wind was from the northwest at 15 knots, and at 1,000 ft agl, the wind was from the northwest at 10 knots. Data at 5,000 and 6,000 ft agl were not available.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

After the pilot determined that he wanted to land at FRG, the LGA departure controller advised that there was also a landing strip at Bethpage Airport, an alternate airport depicted on his radar video map (RVM) 3 miles northwest of FRG and closer to the airplane, and he subsequently provided distance and heading information to the airport. Although Bethpage was still shown on the RVM, the airport no longer existed; it had been closed for several years, and the former airport area was occupied by buildings. The accident site was about 0.25 nm northwest of the former location of the runway 15 approach end. (See the section in this report titled, "RVMs," for more information about the RVMs used by the controllers in the LGA, JFK, and Islip areas.)

Bethpage Airport was removed from FAA sectional charts in October 2012. Bethpage Airport data were removed from the N90 airport display automation database before 2001, but the exact date was unknown. There were no known or reported equipment discrepancies related to N90 RVMs. The Air Traffic Control Group Chairman's Factual Report, located in the public docket for this investigation, includes photographs of Bethpage Airport as early as the 1940s.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane initially impacted a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm. The main wreckage came to rest inverted on the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road. The wreckage debris field was about 100 ft long and about 20 ft wide, oriented on a heading of 150°. All of the airplane's major structural components were found within the confines of the debris field. The outboard section of the right wing was found under the grade crossing cantilever arm, which separated from its mount structure during the initial impact.

The cockpit instrument panel was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. Some of the flight and performance instruments were separated. No useful information was obtained from the instruments. The forward, center, and aft sections of the fuselage exhibited postimpact fire signatures. The nose landing gear was found in the retracted position. The fuel selector handle and valve were damaged from postaccident fire, and a preaccident position could not be determined.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. A 6-ft-long section of the leading edge was separated outboard of the fuel tank. The left aileron and the left wing flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron exhibited impact damage at its midspan area. The left flap was found in the retracted position and was crushed in the forward direction. The inboard section of the left wing was damaged by postimpact fire. The left main landing gear was found in the retracted position. The left wing fuel tank was breached and damaged by postimpact fire, and its fuel cap was installed and secure. During recovery, fuel was noted in the tank; however, the quantity was not determined. Control cable continuity was established to the aileron. The 15-gallon, tip-mounted fuel tank was breached from impact forces, and its fuel cap was installed and secure.

The right wing separated during the initial collision with the grade crossing cantilever arm at a point about 3.5 ft outboard of the wing root. The inboard half of the right wing was damaged by postimpact fire. The right aileron and the outboard half of the right wing flap remained attached to the wing. The separated section of the right wing exhibited no fire damage. The right main landing gear was found in the retracted position. The right wing fuel tank was breached and damaged by postimpact fire, and its fuel cap was installed and secure. No fuel was noted in the area of the right wing tank. Control cable continuity was established to the aileron. The 15-gallon, tip-mounted fuel tank was in place, and its fuel cap was installed and secure.

The left ruddervator remained attached to the aft fuselage. The balance weight and trim tab were in place. The elevator trim actuator measured 1.1 inches, which corresponded to a 5° tab-up trim position. The right ruddervator exhibited impact damage. About 1 ft of the outboard section was separated. Control cable continuity was established from the ruddervator to the cables in the aft fuselage that were cut by recovery personnel.

The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence and was located adjacent to the main wreckage. The propeller blades remained attached to the hub and exhibited no rotational damage signatures.

The engine was sent to the manufacturer's facility for examination. A large hole was observed in the bottom of the oil sump. The oil pickup tube was impact damaged. The oil pump gears were intact and coated with oil. The oil filter was opened, and metal particulates were observed in the filter element. All six cylinders were intact with rust in the barrel, and the valves and guides were in place and undamaged. The rocker arms and shafts were undamaged. The pistons were intact and undamaged and had normal combustion deposits, and all of the rings were in place and moved freely.

The crankcase halves were intact with some internal impact damage noted. The right case half had cracks in the forward bearing saddle. The No. 1 bearing was in place, and exhibited heat distress, but it was coated with oil. The No. 2 bearing was dry, exhibited heat distress, and was partially melted and extruded into the crank cheek. The No. 2 main bearing supports exhibited bearing shift and fretting signatures. The No. 2 main bearing had rotated in the bearing support. The No. 3 bearing was in place and exhibited some heat distress, but it was coated with oil. The No. 4 bearing was in place and exhibited heat distress and was impact damaged. The crankshaft was separated at the No. 2 main journal and the crank cheek. The forward area of the crankshaft was impact damaged near the thrust flange. The transfer collar was impact damaged and partly separated from the crankshaft. The connecting rods were not damaged. The rod cap bearings were dry and heat distressed. The camshaft was intact and had impact damage. Torque values obtained during the engine disassembly did not reveal evidence of an undertorqued condition.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Nassau County, New York, conducted an autopsy on the pilot, and the cause of death was determined to be "blunt and thermal injuries," and the manner of death was "accident." No significant natural disease was identified.

Toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot was performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory. Testing identified amphetamine (1.26 ug/ml), oxycodone (0.236 ug/ml), and losartan in the heart blood. In addition, 7-amino-clonazepam, acetaminophen, amphetamine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and losartan were identified in the urine.

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant prescribed as a Schedule II controlled substance for the treatment of narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Common trade names for amphetamine include Adderall and Dexedrine. Prescribers and users are cautioned about the high potential for abuse of this drug. The therapeutic range of blood levels is considered between 0.002 and 0.10 ug/ml; levels significantly higher than this suggest abuse. Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic prescribed as a Schedule II controlled substance. It is commonly available in combination with acetaminophen with the names Percocet and Roxicet. Losartan is a blood pressure lowering medication. 7-amino-clonazepam is a metabolite of clonazepam, a sedating benzodiazepine prescription medication used to treat panic disorder and petit mal seizures. It is commonly marketed with the name Klonopin. Acetaminophen is an analgesic and fever reducer available over the counter and is commonly marketed with the names Tylenol and Panadol. Oxymorphone is an active metabolite of oxycodone and is also available as an opioid analgesic with the name Opana.

Oxycodone, oxymorphone, and clonazepam all carry Federal Drug Administration warnings about their psychoactive effects and cautions against operating machinery.

Information on the pilot's medical history was requested from the pilot's widow through an attorney; no information was provided to investigators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Air Traffic Controller Actions

The N90 LGA area controller, who was working the Harp, Nobbie, Nyack, and LGA departure positions combined, was being supervised by the LGA area controller-in-charge (CIC) at the time of the accident. The CIC had relieved the LGA area front line manager, who was on a break during the accident sequence and out of the facility. The operations manager (OM) was providing overall supervision for the N90 operating floor.

The accident flight had been uneventful when the pilot checked in with the LGA departure controller at 0738 at 6,500 ft. Shortly thereafter, the radar track indicated a decrease of groundspeed from 140 to 100 knots and a slight ascent to 6,600 ft, followed by a slow descent. The LGA controller observed the descent and directed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 360° to prevent the airplane from descending into the LGA departure corridor. The controller did not solicit information from the pilot about the reason for the descent. Immediately following the instruction to turn right to a heading of 360°, the pilot stated that he was having a problem and needed to return to FRG, even though the flight did not originate at FRG. The LGA controller advised the CIC that he thought the pilot had a problem. At that time, the LGA controller and CIC considered the flight to be an emergency.

As the situation was developing, the airplane was in the N90 JFK sector airspace but was being worked by the LGA controller because control of the flight had already been transferred to the LGA area by the JFK departure controller. When providing ATC services to an aircraft in another controller's area of jurisdiction, any deviation from the expected flightpath must be coordinated with the controller responsible for the airspace in which the aircraft is operating. Accordingly, the CIC walked over to coordinate with the JFK controller to advise of a potential deviation from the anticipated flightpath of the airplane and then to the Islip departure controller to redirect other traffic away from the LGA controller.

The pilot did not declare an emergency, and the LGA controller did not request information regarding the nature of his problem or solicit information normally associated with emergency handling. Although the controller had the option to annotate the radar data block of the flight with the letter "E" to indicate an emergency, which would have alerted all of the controllers in the sectors that could see the airplane's data block that an emergency was in progress, he reported in postaccident interviews that it did not occur to him to do so.

The LGA controller was assisted by the CIC and the OM, who both stood behind the LGA controller as the situation progressed. The OM advised the LGA controller that Bethpage Airport was closed and suggested alternate landing areas such as the nearby parkways.

The LGA controller requested information on Bethpage Airport by slewing his cursor to the emergency airplane's radar target and entering the airplane's pertinent information. Bethpage did not show up in the query for the closest emergency airport; however, FRG did.

After the LGA controller lost radar contact with the flight, he was relieved from the position, and he assumed that the airplane had landed at Bethpage Airport. It was not immediately known that the airplane had crashed. A controller from the JFK area called FRG tower personnel and asked them to be on the lookout for the airplane. They reported seeing a smoke plume near Bethpage and called 911. The OM then called the Nassau County Police Department Aviation Unit, which happened to be based at Bethpage. They were able to respond immediately to the accident site but could not confirm the burning airplane's tail number. Once identification of the accident airplane was confirmed, the OM called the flight service station (FSS) to get information from the flight plan about how many people were on board the airplane and the departure airport. According to the FSS, no flight plan had been filed. The OM initially assumed the airplane had departed FRG but was able to determine the departure airport was FOK by talking to the controllers from the Islip and JFK areas.

RVMs

Although there was geographic overlap between the RVMs used by the controllers in the LGA, JFK, and Islip areas, the information on each area's RVMs was inconsistent. Bethpage Airport was depicted on the LGA RVM but not on the Islip RVM. FRG was depicted on the Islip, JFK, and LGA RVMs, but the symbology used was different. The N90 ATC standard operating procedures (SOP) manual depicted the RVMs for the Islip, JFK, and LGA areas individually. The LGA section of the SOP showed Bethpage as an airport, but the Islip and JFK sections did not. The data provided in the SOP did not correlate with the actual radar presentation the controllers were using. At the time of the accident, the LGA controller was using RVM number N90-3100C, which was included in an N90 system adaptation on December 20, 2013.

Research revealed that the FAA did not require periodic review and validation of RVMs such as the RVM that depicted Bethpage Airport on the N90 area controller's RVM. The only periodic review requirement for RVMs, as defined in FAA Order 7210.3, "Facility Operation and Administration," was a biennial review of emergency obstruction video maps. The FAA also did not have procedures to ensure that closed airports were removed from RVMs systemwide. Since this accident, the FAA has revised and corrected its internal procedures to ensure all nonoperational airports are removed from RVMs in the United States.

Beech C35 Glide Performance

The Beech C35 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), Chapter 3, "Emergency Procedures," includes the following maximum glide configuration procedures in the event of an engine failure:

MAXIMUM GLIDE CONFIGURATION

1. Landing Gear – UP
2. Flaps – UP
3. Cowl Flaps – CLOSED
4. Propeller – LO RPM
5. Airspeed – 105 KTS/121 MPH

Glide distance is about 1.7 nm (2 statute miles) per 1,000 ft of altitude above the terrain.

Recorded radar data revealed that the airplane experienced a sudden decrease in airspeed and a deviation in altitude at 0738:43 as it was on an easterly heading at 6,500 ft. At this point, the airplane was about 7 nm northwest of the approach end of runway 14 at FRG. At 6,500 ft, the lateral glide distance at the maximum glide configuration would have been about 10.8 nm, assuming calm wind conditions. The msl altitude at the accident site was about 125 ft.

The pilot continued on a westerly heading for 2 minutes 18 seconds after the sudden decrease in airspeed, and the airplane lost about 2,000 ft of altitude before he turned the airplane left toward the Bethpage area. At the farthest point from FRG, the airplane was about 8.8 nm at 4,000 ft. At this point, the maximum glide distance was about 6.6 nm, assuming calm wind conditions. Wind conditions at the time were from the northwest about 15 to 20 knots. Once the airplane was on a heading toward FRG, or a southeasterly direction, the prevailing tailwind would have improved glide performance. Several golf courses were located at the pilot's 10- to 12-o'clock positions if he had continued to descend on a westerly heading.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA313
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, NY
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N5946C
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 August 16, 2015, about 0747 eastern daylight time, a Beech C35, N5946C, collided with a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm and terrain during a forced landing at Hicksville, New York. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on demand air taxi flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Westhampton Beach, New York (FOK) and was destined for Morristown, New Jersey (MMU).

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) voice communication and radar position information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was flying at 6,500 feet above mean sea level on an easterly heading, about 8 nautical miles (nm) northwest of Republic Airport, Farmingdale, New York (FRG). The pilot reported to ATC that he was "having a little bit of a problem" and may need to return to FRG. The pilot then reported that he would have to "take it down…" The controller provided the relative locations of LaGuardia and JFK Airports, and stated that Westchester Airport was to the north and FRG was to the southeast. The pilot responded that FRG was the closest airport to his location. The pilot then indicated that he may not make FRG. The controller then provided information on "Bethpage strip" and informed the pilot that the airport was closed; however, there was a runway there. The airplane was then observed tracking toward the Bethpage area while descending. The next several transmissions between the controller and pilot revealed that the pilot was unable to see the runway while the controller continued to provide heading and distance to the Bethpage runway. Radar and radio contact were eventually lost and emergency responders were notified of the accident.

The passenger was interviewed after the accident. He reported that the flight was in cruise when he heard a loud "pop" sound, with a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an "oil smell." The engine then began to "sputter" and lose power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success.

The pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multi-engine, and instrument airplane ratings. He reported 3,300 hours total flight time on his most recent application for an FAA second-class medical certificate, dated December 22, 2014. Records provided by the FAA revealed that he completed a Part 135.299 line check (check ride) on June 18, 2015.

The main wreckage was found inverted and burned, on the railroad tracks for the Long Island Rail Road. The wreckage debris field was about 100 ft in length and about 20 ft wide, oriented on a heading of about 150 degrees. All major structural components of the aircraft were found within the confines of the debris field. The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence. The right wing was found under the grade crossing cantilever arm, which separated from its mount structure during the initial impact. The engine was retained for further examination.

An examination of the area of the former Bethpage Airport revealed that industrial buildings occupied the former runway surface area. The accident site was located about 0.25 nm northwest of the former runway's approach end.



Joseph Milo and his wife,  Nadine
~


After playing 18 holes at Tallgrass Golf Club in Shoreham earlier this month, Joseph Milo ran off the course, hopped on his motorcycle and headed for Francis S. Gabreski Airport.

There, he boarded his single-engine Beechcraft airplane, flew a customer to a destination in the tri-state area and then returned to the Westhampton airport. He then jumped back on his motorcycle and rode to his Montauk Highway restaurant to pick up groceries, before shooting up to Cutchogue to reconvene with his fellow golfers—and cook them dinner.

“That was a typical day for Joe,” Mr. Milo’s lifelong friend Jim McHugh said this week. “He was always doing something, and he never, ever complained about being overworked or having too much to do. He loved being busy.”

Active, hardworking and always eager to help—that is how friends and loved ones remembered Mr. Milo, 59, a well-known chef, restaurateur, golfer and pilot. The Westhampton Beach resident died after crash-landing his plane in Bethpage on August 16.

Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Milo spent most of his life on Long Island, moving to Westhampton Beach in 1981 after a brief stint in the Dallas, Texas area. He opened Milo’s East restaurant on Montauk Highway in Westhampton Beach, an homage to Milo’s, a restaurant that his family owned in Brooklyn.

Mr. Milo opened a second restaurant on the East End, Milo’s West in Hampton Bays, but that later closed and, about a decade ago, he renamed his original restaurant Joe’s American Bar and Grill. It still operates at the corner of Montauk Highway and Hampton Street.

In 2006, Mr. Milo began running a charter flight service, Milo Air Inc., out of Gabreski Airport. He was certified to fly both single- and multi-engine aircraft and had logged more than 3,300 flight hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Whether it was through his restaurants or flight business, Mr. Milo had a knack for not only making friends, but for building lasting relationships, his wife, Nadine Hampton Milo, said.

“He just had such a warm heart,” Ms. Hampton Milo said. “He really would hone in on whatever was important to you, whether it was family, whether it was business, or flying, or golf. He would find out what your interests were and try to learn more about them.

“He just had that sort of thirst for knowing people and knowing them well,” she continued. “His relationships were 35, 40, 45 years old.”

Mr. Milo was an avid golfer, playing or practicing on a near-daily basis at the Westhampton Country Club, where he had been a member for 20 years and served on the board of directors for several years.

A week before his death, Mr. Milo tied for first in a field of 80 club members who competed in the Raynor Cup, a tournament celebrating the Westhampton Country Club’s centennial. Mr. Milo shot a 71 and was the tournament’s runner-up after a tiebreaker, club pro Bobby Jenkins said.

Mr. Jenkins said Mr. Milo was among the most popular members of the club, as well as one of the better golfers, with a seven handicap. Bert McCooey, a friend and fellow Westhampton Country Club member, recalled Mr. Milo starting out as an average golfer when he joined the club in 1995. Mr. Milo’s dedication to the sport helped him excel, according to Mr. McCooey.

Mr. McCooey said Mr. Milo would even clear a path in the snow so he could make his way onto the driving range to practice in the dead of winter—that is, when he wasn’t in Florida playing at the Tequesta Country Club, where he also was a member.

“Joe didn’t approach anything half-assed,” he said. “If he wanted to do something, he wanted to do it well. It was apparent in the way he played golf and the way he went about everything.”

A funeral was held for Mr. Milo on Thursday, August 20, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Quiogue. It was followed by a reception at the Westhampton Country Club that was attended by more than 400 people.

Mr. Milo is survived by his wife, Nadine Hampton Milo, and three sons, Joey Milo, Nick Milo and Jack Clark, as well as Jack’s wife, Heather Clark. He also is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, Rusty and Maria Banks; a sister and brother-in-law, Elaine and Jim Wheeler; a brother and sister-in-law, John and Ellen Banks; his mother-in-law, Hunter Hampton; as well as various aunts, uncles and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that well-wishers donate to the animal rescue charity of their choice.






WESTHAMPTON BEACH (WABC) -- A preliminary accident report indicates a pilot killed when his plane crashed at a railroad crossing this month on Long Island had been directed by an air traffic controller to a landing strip that no longer exists at a closed airport.

Fifty-nine-year-old pilot Joseph Milo, of Westhampton Beach, was killed Aug. 16 when his single-engine aircraft hit the tracks in Hicksville. A passenger was injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report issued Monday said Milo had told air traffic controllers that his Beech C35 plane was "having a little bit of a problem."

The controller then told the pilot there was a "Bethpage strip" at an airport closed decades ago at the site of a former military defense contractor.

"Charlie, the strip is a closed airport," a log of the transmission reads "I jut know there is a runway there about 11 o' clock and a mile and a half now."

According to the report, the next transmissions revealed that Milo told the controller he was unable to see the runway. But the controller, according to investigators, continued to provide Milo directions to get there.

"The pilot in command is ultimately responsible, ultimately accountable for the safe completion of every flight," said Michael Canders, an associate professor at the Aviation Center at Farmingdale State College.

He says in an emergency landing, air traffic control is only a guide for the pilot. The final decision of where to bring down the plane rests with the pilot.

"You have no idea what was happening in that cockpit," he said. "No finger pointing, no blaming the pilot. The passenger will be able to tell the NTSB what he saw."

The surviving passenger has told investigators he heard a popping sound just before the engine failed. The plane then began to sputter before completely losing power.

Some said it is concerning that the air traffic controller apparently wasn't aware that the runway in Bethpage no longer existed.

"I think it is going to result in a reprimand, a letter down to all controllers to revisit all of the local areas that you are responsible for," aviation expert J.P. Tristani said. "What are the airports available? Don't go on your childhood memories of an airport that used to be there."

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment.

Story and video:  http://abc7ny.com


Joseph Milo, left, of Westhampton Beach was killed when the Beechcraft C35 Bonanza plane he was flying crashed on Long Island Rail Road tracks in Hicksville on August 16th, 2015. 



MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — An air traffic controller directed a pilot having trouble with his plane to a landing strip that no longer existed at a closed airport before the aircraft crashed at a nearby railroad crossing, killing him, according to a preliminary accident report released Monday. 

The pilot, Joseph Milo, 59, of Westhampton Beach, was killed Aug. 16 when his single-engine aircraft hit the tracks in Hicksville. A passenger was injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Beechcraft C35 Bonanza had departed from Westhampton Beach, on eastern Long Island, and was headed to Morristown, New Jersey.

The plane crashed at a railway crossing between the Hicksville and Bethpage stations of the Long Island Rail Road at around 7:45 a.m. The crash happened about 8 nautical miles northwest of Republic Airport in Farmingdale, which was the closest airport at the time, according to the report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report indicates the pilot told an air traffic controller he was "having a little bit of a problem" and would have to "take it down."

The controller gave the pilot information about the location of Republic, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, as well as Westchester Airport to the north. The pilot indicated he would attempt to get to Republic but was concerned he might not make it there.

The report says the controller then provided information about a "Bethpage strip," the site of a former airport associated with defense contractor Northrup Grumman. The controller told the pilot the airport was closed but said there was a runway there.

"The next several transmissions between the controller and pilot revealed that the pilot was unable to see the runway" while the controller continued to provide information about its location. "Radar and radio contact were eventually lost and emergency responders were notified of the accident," the NTSB said.

The investigation found that industrial buildings now occupy the former runway; Northrup-Grumman spokeswoman Jacqueline Farrell said the airfield closed in 1990.

Northrup acquired Grumman, which was founded on Long Island, in 1994. For decades, Grumman manufactured and tested various aircraft, including fighter jets, at its Bethpage facility. It also built the lunar module that first brought man to the moon in 1969.

The former runway is about a quarter-mile from the crash site, the NTSB said.

A spokeswoman for the FAA, which is responsible for air traffic controllers, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

A person answering the telephone at a restaurant owned by Milo in Westhampton Beach said no one was immediately available to comment.