Friday, August 21, 2015

Le Roy Airport (5G0) improvements planned

Le Roy Airport owner Ray Detor plans to improve and upgrade the facility by early next year.

LE ROY — The owner of Le Roy Airport plans to improve and upgrade the facility either later this year or early in 2016.

Ray Detor said the main 9,800-square-foot building on the 83-acre site will be either rehabilitated or replaced as part of the $670,000 project.

“Because the building as it stands right now is not very useful,” Detor said.

Detor said he wants the design finalized as soon as possible.

“We’re moving toward the end of the construction season,” he said.

The airport’s original hangars and offices were built in the 1950s. The new structure will house hangars, offices and a flight school.

A state grant will cover 89 percent of the project cost, the airport the remaining $73,700. State funds will come from New York’s capital grant program for the transportation industry.

The Genesee County Legislature has endorsed the project. County approval was a requirement for Detor to receive the state grant.

Le Roy Airport is a private, general aviation facility that is open to the public. Its 3,855-foot runway handles aircraft such as corporate jets, and single-, twin- and four-seater planes.

It has hangar space for 25 aircraft. The upgrade will create room for another 10 planes.  

The facility also functions as an overflow location and emergency landing site for general aviation aircraft at Rochester International Airport.

Detor has owned the airport for 21 years. Past projects he’s completed at the facility include extension of the runway, construction of a taxiway and 15 new T-hangars, addition of security cameras and drainage work.

Incident occurred August 21, 2015 at Spirit of St. Louis Airport (KSUS), Missouri

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOX) -Two people escaped injury late Friday morning, when the landing gear on their single-engine plane collapsed while landing at Spirit of St. Louis Airport.

Monarch Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Roger Herrin tells KMOX the pilot reported that he did not get the light indicating the gear was locked in landing position, so he flew past the tower for a visual check.

He says it appeared to be down, but collapsed when the plane landed.

The two on board were outside the plane when firefighters arrived. Herrin praised the pilot for the safe landing, “They did a great job bringing it in on the runway and they centered it on the runway. Luckily it didn’t slide off.”

He says there was no fire, or other hazard, when the plane came to a stop.

There’s no information on where the plane was from or the identities of those on board.

Our earlier story:

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (KMOX) – Fire officials tell KMOX a plane has made an emergency landing at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, and the two people on board are fine.

According to initial reports, the plane landed without its gear extended.

The two passengers were standing outside the aircraft moments after the landing.

Emergency crews were called to the airport at 11:45 a.m.


Italy Yanks License of Helicopter Pilot at Mafia Funeral

Italy's civil aviation authority on Friday suspended the license of the helicopter pilot who flew low over Rome to drop flower petals during the over-the-top funeral of a purported local crime boss, the first head to roll in a scandal that has outraged city residents.

In addition to the flower petals, the funeral Thursday of Vittorio Casamonica featured a gilded, horse-drawn carriage carrying his casket and a band playing "The Godfather" theme outside the church.

The level of ostentation prompted Italy's interior minister to demand an explanation from city officials — especially after reports that police and Carabinieri patrols accompanied the funeral procession.

Police identified Casamonica as a leader of the eponymous clan active in the southwest part of the capital but said he was "on the margins" of organized crime and hadn't emerged as a suspect in recent mafia investigations.

A chastened Rome prefect Franco Gabrielli said Friday that such a scene of adulation for a purported mobster "never should have taken place."

In an interview with the Catholic publication Famiglia Cristiana, Gabrielli blamed a breakdown in communications caused partly by August holiday absences, saying neither he nor the police chief learned about the police escort in time to do anything about it.

The civil aviation authority ENAC said it was suspending the license of the pilot as a precaution, given that single-engine helicopters are prohibited from flying over the capital. ENAC said the helicopter also flew below the 1,000-foot (330-meter) limit and violated regulations by tossing out objects without authorization.

The priest who celebrated the Mass, meanwhile, defended himself. The Rev. Giancarlo Manieri said he had no idea what was going on outside the church, that he did his job by celebrating a sober funeral of a practicing Catholic, and that he received no prohibition from doing so from his superiors.

Asked by Sky TG24 if he would do it all over again, Manieri said: "Probably, yes. I do my job."

"It's not up to me to block a funeral," he said.

Manieri added that as soon as church officials saw the posters praising Casamonica affixed to the church they took them down.

One read: "You conquered Rome, now you'll conquer Paradise." Another featured an outsized image of Casamonica, looking very papal in white with a cross around his neck, superimposed over an image St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum with the words "King of Rome" underneath.

The funeral was the latest scandal to rock Rome following a summer of revelations of mafia-linked corruption among politicians and a breakdown in public transport and other services.

"It seemed like being inside a movie set. Ostentatious luxury, horses decorated in black, a carriage with golden decoration that probably not even Queen Elizabeth could afford," resident Walter Grubissa said Friday.

Others said the service itself was sober.

"People inside the church followed the ceremony with care," said Giovanni Segatori of the San Giovanni Bosco parish.


Why A Helicopter Will Be Flying Low in Ledyard, New London County, Connecticut

Police released a public service announcement updating residents on why a helicopter will be hovering and flying low around town.

Eversource will be conducting aerial, infrared inspections of power lines in Ledyard using a helicopter.

The inspections will begin the week of August 24th, toward the end of the week.

“Weather-permitting, the inspections will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. using a blue Bell 206A JetRanger helicopter with a silver stripe and registration number N1431W,” according to the Ledyard Police Department. “The helicopter will be flying low and hovering at times. Don’t be alarmed!”


North Adams Airport Commission sets rules for drone flights: Harriman-and-West (KAQW), Massachusetts

NORTH ADAMS — The North Adams Airport Commission has revised its rules for flying drones within a five-mile radius of the Harriman-West Airport to comply with federal regulations and require a 24-hour notice before flight.

The rules adopted by the Airport Commission not only align with FAA's interim regulations — the federal agency is currently reviewing a more permanent set of rules — but they require that any drone operator also be aware of those regulations.

"We wanted them to first show that they were knowledgeable of and were going to follow what the current FAA regulations are, and they're very basic," Gilmore said.

The rules include not flying the drone higher than 400 feet within the five-mile radius of the airport, not flying an aircraft heavier than 55 pounds, following a local organization's set of standards, and receiving permission.

Under the commission's standards, a person planning to operate an unmanned aircraft to notify and receive permission from the airport manager 24 hours in advance of the flight.

"Some people in the area are very familiar, they've already created a relationship with the airport and they're trying to follow the local rules," Gilman said. "They'll text me and say 'Hey I'm going up over Joe Wolfe Field in 15 minutes' — that makes it very difficult for us."

The 24-hour notice period would allow airport staff the time to determine whether or not it is necessary to issue a Notice to Airman, commonly referred to as a NOTAM, to inform pilots of the potential presence of a drone near the airport.

Drone operators also must follow the set of standards issued by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which is a model aviation organization with more than 150,000 members worldwide.

Those standards include not flying over public gatherings and people.

Airport Manager William Greenwald said he wants to see the rules enforced. The commission agreed that enforcement of the rules would be up to the police department and noncompliance could be reported to the FAA.

The commission adopted the new rules with the understanding that the FAA could institute new regulations in the coming months.

Although he expressed concern about adding more work for the airport manager, Gilman noted that requests for drone flight permission have been generally few and far between since the commission first stipulated drone pilots request permission earlier this year.

"Up until this point, there's only really been two people saying 'Hey I'm going to be flying here, hey I'm going to be flying there,' " Gliman said. "The rest have been sort of doing their own thing."

Story and comments:

Bombardier Bondholders Suffer as Jet Delays Burn Through Cash

Bombardier Inc. bondholders are feeling the pain from the company’s accelerating cash consumption.

The cost to protect Bombardier bonds from default more than doubled since June 30, soaring the most among members of Canada’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index. Investor unease also is showing up in prices for the 7.5 percent notes due in 2025: Five months after being issued, they’re yielding 13.4 percent.

Blame Bombardier’s history of unwelcome surprises with tardy planes. The company burned through almost twice as much cash in the second quarter as it did in the same period a year earlier, signaling that it’s still struggling with delays on its new CSeries, its largest-ever jetliner. It also postponed its Global 7000 long-range business jet for two years, triggering a trio of credit-rating cuts.

“They’re burning cash and it’s a problem,” said Jack Flaherty, a fund manager in New York at GAM USA Inc., which manages about $17 billion. “The market has been correct in treating it the way they have, widening the spread and showing concern. The fundamentals weren’t there.”

Flaherty said his firm sold its Bombardier bonds about five months ago, following “a further delay in the CSeries,” after holding them for around three years.

Stock Tumbles

The developments add to the strain on Montreal-based Bombardier, whose stock has tumbled to an almost 25-year low amid more than two years of cost overruns and sales struggles for the CSeries, the suspension of the Learjet 85 program and the cutback in output of the Global 5000 and 6000 corporate aircraft. They also heighten the need for the company to proceed with a planned initial public offering of its train unit by the end of 2015.

Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare, who took over in February with a mandate to restore profitability, isn’t wasting time. After hiring new executives and raising about $3 billion in debt and equity, the new CEO introduced a “transformation plan” aimed at reducing costs and increasing cash generation through such means as improved coordination with suppliers and better control of working capital.

Bellemare didn’t provide financial details of the plan when he discussed quarterly results on a July 30 call with analysts.

Bombardier had $3.1 billion of cash and cash equivalents and about $9 billion of long-term debt as of June 30. The company doesn’t have material maturities before 2018, when $1.4 billion of debt will mature.

Credit Cuts

Fitch Ratings on Aug. 13 became the third U.S. bond-grading company this month to cut Bombardier’s junk credit, citing its expectation that cash flow will remain “significantly negative” through 2017.

Bombardier used $808 million of free cash flow in the second quarter, almost double the $424 million used in the same period a year ago, it said July 30. At $1.6 billion, Bombardier’s first-half cash usage exceeds the five-year average of $1.2 billion, Bloomberg data show. S&P expects Bombardier to generate negative free cash flow through 2017, analyst Jamie Koutsoukis wrote in a report published Aug. 12.

That trend may put the company’s goal of holding at least $2 billion in cash at risk, according to Joel Levington, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst in New York. Moody’s estimates the cash balance may fall to $2 billion by September 2016, according to an Aug. 6 report.

‘Perfect Storm’

The cost to protect Bombardier’s debt from default within five years jumped to an equivalent of 1,309 basis points on Wednesday, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by McGraw Hill Financial and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market. That’s the highest on record.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Evan Mann, a credit analyst at Gimme Credit Publications Inc., said by telephone from Livingston, New Jersey. “They have liquidity to 2016 but if cash burn doesn’t improve nicely, it’s possible they’ll need to raise debt in 2017. Now that they have the downgrade the cost of borrowing goes up so it all feeds on itself.”

When factoring in expected cash flows and various initiatives such as the planned rail IPO, Bombardier will be able to develop new products and meet financial requirements “for the foreseeable future,” the company wrote July 30 in a quarterly filing.

Bombardier isn’t commenting beyond what executives said on the July 30 conference call, said Isabelle Rondeau, a spokeswoman.

The planned rail IPO may take place in the fourth quarter, Bellemare said on the call. The listing will probably be in Germany, where the Bombardier Transportation unit is based.

‘High Risk’

Following through with the train unit IPO may generate proceeds of $1 billion or more, Fitch analyst Eric Ause said in an Aug. 13 report. The transaction “would help liquidity but would not address free cash-flow concerns,” he said.

That gloom probably would lessen if Bombardier can get the CSeries into service by its latest target, 2016, amid development costs ballooning more than $2 billion to $5.4 billion. While Bellemare said July 30 he sees “renewed interest” as flight tests progress, the 243 firm purchases still trail the goal of 300 by the CSeries’ scheduled commercial debut.

Gimme Credit’s Mann said this week the time line has a “high risk” of slipping, which would add to doubts about an aircraft with an 11-month firm order drought.

“People need to see more new orders for the CSeries,” Jens Houe Thomsen, a credit analyst at Jyske Bank A/S, who advises investors to sell Bombardier bonds, said by telephone from Silkeborg, Denmark. “There’s a big chunk of development costs on that program. Getting new customers will be key.”


North American T-28A Trojan, N14124: Fatal accident occurred August 14, 2015 near Las Cruces International Airport (KLRU), New Mexico

Docket and docket items:


FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA360 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Las Cruces, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T 28A, registration: N14124
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

About 5 minutes after takeoff, the engine lost power and the pilot turned back toward the departure airport to make a forced landing. The airplane touched down about ½ mile short of the runway on uneven terrain, seriously injuring the pilot. The pilot was transported to a hospital via helicopter, but died four days later.   
Examination of the engine revealed failure of the No. 6 cylinder connecting rod. The connecting rod was most likely initially damaged during ground operations when the propeller was improperly rotated when a cylinder was hydraulically locked. The investigation was not able to determine when the initial damage occurred.      

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Failure of the No. 6 cylinder connecting rod, due to improper rotation of the propeller during a previous hydraulic lock.


On August 14, 2015, about 1050 mountain daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N14124, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, with no flight plan filed. The flight departed from LRU about 1040 and was destined for El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas. 

After refueling at LRU, the pilot had difficulty starting the radial engine and requested a ground power unit (GPU) from line personnel. The engine started on two occasions with the GPU connected, but stopped after the GPU was disconnected. On the third start with the GPU, the engine continued to run and the pilot taxied out and departed from runway 8. 

The passenger stated that about 5 minutes after departure, the engine lost power and the pilot initiated a turn back to LRU. The pilot subsequently executed a forced landing into uneven terrain, touching down about one-half mile prior to the threshold of runway 30, which damaged both wings and the fuselage. The pilot was airlifted to a regional hospital, but died on August 18, 2015.


The pilot, age 64, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. He reported 6,185 total flight hours and 60 hours in the preceding six months on his application for a medical certificate dated February 26, 2015. On his most recent insurance application dated October 8, 2014, the pilot reported 322 flight hours in the T-28A. His last biennial flight review was accomplished on January 31, 2014. Pilot logbooks were not available for the investigation.

The pilot had a medical history of hypertension, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease, with a myocardial infarction (heart attack) in 2000. Since 2000, the pilot had been issued special issuance medical certificates, with regular stress testing and cardiology evaluations required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was issued a special issuance first class medical certificate limited by a requirement for corrective lenses for near and distant vision and marked "Not valid for any class after August 31, 2015."


The airplane was manufactured in 1951 by North American as model T-28A, and was designated serial number 51-3693. At the time of the accident, it was powered by a Wright R1820-F56 9-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,200 horsepower and equipped with a Hamilton Standard 3-bladed constant speed propeller. Review of the maintenance records revealed the engine was installed onto the airplane January 17, 1998, at a total airframe time of 5,507 hours. The last recorded annual inspection was reported on July 1, 2015, at a total airframe time of 5,772 hours. 


At 1055, the weather observation station at LRU reported wind from 080 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.26 inches of mercury.


The airplane touched down on uneven terrain and came to rest upright, with no post impact fire. The flaps and gear were in the up position. All three propeller blades had minimal bending, twisting, and abrasions. 

The engine and airframe were examined at a recovery facility. The engine oil screen and forward engine oil sump were significantly contaminated with metallic debris, both ferrous and non-ferrous. The carburetor fuel inlet screen contained no contaminants, residue, or corrosion. The oil reservoir was nearly empty, with oil residue in the vicinity of the nose case. The oil shutoff valve was in the open position. No anomalies were noted with the spark plugs. 

The No. 9 cylinder was removed to assess damage inside the engine and was pried off, due to damage to the cylinder skirt and piston. Viewing inside the engine revealed that metal fragments had damaged the other cylinder skirts, connecting rods, and piston bottoms. The No. 6 cylinder connecting rod was fractured in half, with a section of the rod located in the metal fragments. 

All flight control cables from the cockpit (pitch, roll, and yaw) remained attached to their respective cockpit controls. The flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective airframe surfaces. No anomalies were noted with the flight control system. 


On August 19, 2015, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by the County of El Paso Office of the Medical Examiner and Forensic Laboratory in El Paso, Texas. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed toxicology tests on the pilot's specimens obtained during the pilot's hospitalization. Trace amounts of diphenhydramine, as well as lidocaine and lorazepam, were identified. Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine found in many over the counter products intended to treat cold or allergy symptoms and insomnia. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and is also used to prevent serious heart rhythm problems. Lorazepam is a sedating benzodiazepine. Hospital records indicated the administration of lidocaine and lorazepam during medical treatment. 


During the forced landing, the pilot sustained serious head injuries when he impacted the instrument panel of his cockpit. The airplane's restraint system did not have an inertial reel to lock the shoulder harness. Instead, the restraint system utilized a manual lever to lock the shoulder harness in place. During airframe examination, no anomalies were noted with the restraint system.


According to the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook (FAA-H-8083-30), Chapter 11: Safety, Ground Operations and Servicing:

Before starting a radial engine that has been shut down for more than 30 minutes, check the ignition switch for off; turn the propeller three or four complete revolutions by hand to detect a hydraulic lock, if one is present. Any liquid present in a cylinder is indicated by the abnormal effort required to rotate the propeller, or by the propeller stopping abruptly during rotation. Never use force to turn the propeller when a hydraulic lock is detected. Sufficient force can be exerted on the crankshaft to bend or break a connecting rod if a lock is present.

AVweb, an aviation news resource, published an article on October 9, 2000 describing the potential hazard of a hydraulic lock: 

Hydraulic lock affects radial engines because the cylinders stick out around the central crankshaft in a star-like arrangement. When the engine is mounted so that the crankshaft is more or less horizontal, there are cylinders that point downwards. Radial engines use a great deal of oil for lubrication; you measure the amount in gallons, not quarts as we do in opposed engines. After shutdown, there is significant oil in the engine. By various routes some of this oil can and does find its way to the combustion chambers of the cylinders that are pointed downward.

A hydraulic lock is simply too much liquid in the combustion chamber. It leads to a bent connecting rod. Once the connecting rod is bent the engine is going to fail. That's a basic fact. It may run for a few months, or it may quit within minutes. It depends on the nature and degree of the damage to the rod.

If you detect a hydraulic lock on a radial engine the only certain way to cure it is to remove the lower cylinder spark plugs and let the oil drain out. Pulling the prop through forward WILL result in a bent connecting rod and/or expensive damage to the engine if it does not cause a catastrophic failure. Pulling the propeller through backwards only reduces the chance of a bent connecting rod; it does not eliminate the risk.

The full AVweb article is located in the docket for this investigation.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA360
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Las Cruces, NM
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T 28A, registration: N14124
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 14, 2015, about 1050 mountain daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N14124, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, with no flight plan filed. The flight departed from LRU about 1040 and was destined for El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas. 

About 5 minutes after departing from LRU, the passenger stated the engine lost partial power and the pilot initiated a return back to LRU. The pilot subsequently executed a forced landing into uneven terrain about one-half mile prior to the Runway 30 threshold at LRU, which damaged both wings and fuselage. The pilot was airlifted to a regional hospital, but passed away on August 17, 2015. 

At 1055, the weather observation station at LRU reported the following conditions: wind 080 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.26 inches of mercury.

LAS CRUCES >> A plane crash last Friday near Las Cruces International Airport is now the city's third fatal plane crash in a year. 

David Tokoph, the pilot of the North American T-28A Trojan which crashed shortly after takeoff just south of the airport, died Tuesday night at an El Paso hospital, according to Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo of the New Mexico State Police. Tokoph was 64.

Tokoph's passenger, who was transported by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, has been identified as Angelo Edgard Cossi Sedjiro of France, but his condition is unknown.

Tokoph, a resident of El Paso, was the registered owner of the vintage Navy plane, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Tokoph was also the registered owner of 15 other planes, including a Gulfstream G-IV and several Boeing 737s, and was well-known in the world of aviation. In 2009, Tokoph and a crew set a record for "speed over a recognized course" when they flew a Gulfstream GIIB from Anadyr, Russia, to El Paso, nonstop, in 8 hours and 15 minutes.

The flight speed record was sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association and was certified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, according to the pilot's personal website.

A web search indicates Tokoph at one time owned and operated several African airlines — including Aero Africa, Aero Zambia and Interair South Africa — however, his current position or affiliation with those airlines could not be verified. A 1990 Associated Press story identified him as managing director of GrecoAir.

On March 10, 2009, then El Paso Mayor John Cook proclaimed it to be "Captain David Tokoph Day" in El Paso.

Friday's crash is the third flight in less than year to go down after taking off from the Las Cruces International Airport. On Aug. 24, 2014, four people died when a twin-engine Cessna 421C air ambulance crashed a half-mile west of the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. That crash took the lives of pilot Juan A. "Freddy" Martinez of Santa Teresa, along with Frederick Green, a Las Cruces man being transported for cancer treatment; flight paramedic Taurean Summers, 28, of El Paso; and flight nurse Monica Chavez, 38, of Las Cruces.

On Nov. 24, 2014, 29-year-old pilot Tyler Francis was killed when his experimental aircraft's wings wobbled, eventually spinning it toward asphalt at the Las Cruces International Airport. Francis, the owner of Francis Aviation, had departed Las Cruces in the home-built Ross Vans Aircraft RV-3 he had purchased two days before the crash. He was headed toward the Doña Ana County International Jetport at Santa Teresa, where his company had opened before recently expanding to Las Cruces airport.

The National Traffic Safety Board is investigating the crash, and is expected to release a preliminary report in the coming week. 


LAS CRUCES, N.M. -  The pilot of North American T-28A Trojan plane that crashed last week near the Las Cruces International Airport has died.

New Mexico State Police say 64-year-old David Tokoph of El Paso, Texas died Tuesday night of injuries suffered in last Friday morning's crash.

Tokoph had been hospitalized at University Medical Center in El Paso.

Police say the passenger has been identified as Angelo Edgard Cossi Sedjiro, from France.

They say he was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces for treatment after the crash and his condition wasn't immediately available Wednesday.

The plane went down near Interstate 10 about one quarter mile east of the Las Cruces airport.

Police say the cause of the crash remains unknown and is being investigated by Federal Aviation Administration.

ABC-7 interviewed Tokoph back in 2009 when he broke a flying record.

He was part of a group of El Pasoans who traveled non-stop between Russia and El Paso - a journey of more than 5,400 miles.

"It is good for El Paso because as El Pasoans we naturally want to come to our hometown and we brought the only airplane to come non-stop from Russia - to our knowledge - in the history of aviation," Tokoph told ABC-7 in 2009 after landing in El Paso.


Beechcraft A100 King Air, Maritime Air Charter, C-FDOR: Incident occurred August 16, 2015 at Margaree Airport, Nova Scotia, Canada

Margaree Airport plane accident caused by plane coming in too fast

Transportation Safety Board releases findings of investigation into Sunday crash at airstrip

A Transportation Safety Board investigation has determined that a partial collapse of the landing gear that sent a small plane off a runway in Cape Breton on Sunday happened because the aircraft came in too fast and landed hard.

The chartered Beechcraft A100 King Air was carrying two crew members and two passengers when it tried to land at the Margaree Airport around 4 p.m. on Sunday. It veered off the runway and came to a stop in some trees.

No one was hurt, but the airplane was heavily damaged.

The landing gear collapsed after touch-down and the board was looking into why.

The Transportation Safety Board says, after further investigation, the plane came down too fast and made a hard landing.

The right main gear collapsed and the right propeller first contacted the runway surface 25 metres beyond the initial runway contact point, the board found.


SeaPort Airlines will grant Shoals' request to withdraw air service

MUSCLE SHOALS — SeaPort Airlines will grant requests from airport authorities in the Shoals and in Tupelo, Mississippi, to withdraw its federally subsidized commercial air service from those markets.

The airline operates in the two communities under the Essential Air Service Program.

SeaPort, which began service in the Shoals on Jan. 12, provided four daily flights to Nashville International Airport until earlier this summer when the Portland, Oregan-based airline cut flights to one per day.

A nationwide shortage of qualified airline pilots has been blamed for the reduction.

On Aug. 11, the Tupelo Airport Authority voted to ask SeaPort to withdraw its service, and on Tuesday, the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport Authority did the same thing.

Tim Sieber, SeaPort’s vice president for strategy and corporate development, said the airline will honor those requests.

“Absolutely,” Sieber said. “The reality is, we go in trying to be a partner with the community. We’re going to respect their wishes. It’s really an unfortunate situation. We really had high hopes for both Tupelo and Muscle Shoals.”

Sieber said SeaPort has trained about 60 pilots in the past four months, but as soon as new ones are trained, more leave the regional airline for the larger carriers. He said SeaPort is working on partnerships with universities to help provide a stream of new pilots, but those programs are six to nine months from showing results.

In a letter to Sieber, Northwest Alabama Regional Airport Director Barry Griffith wrote the situation is not good for the airport, or the Shoals, or the airline.

“Consequently, we feel the best course of action is for SeaPort to file an immediate 90-day notice of service termination,” Griffith said. “That will trigger a rebid process with the (U.S.) Department of Transportation.”
Sieber said the airline will be required to remain in the Shoals until the Transportation Department releases it, or a new carrier can begin service.

“We’re looking at probably a 90- to 100-day process,” Sieber said. “We’ll request the department move as quickly as they can.”

He said that will give airlines interested in the Shoals time to research the market and craft proposals to present to the Transportation Department.

Griffith and Airport board of director Chairman Rick Elliott said there are airlines interested in the Shoals.

“There are several carriers out there that are very interested in the Muscle Shoals market,” Elliott said. “I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Griffith said the community will have to show the Department of Transportation why it could not meet the requirements of its Essential Air Service contract.

“They will scrutinize our performance,” Griffith said. “We’ll find ourselves out of compliance.”

SeaPort was awarded a $1.7 million contract to provide air service to the Shoals, but it does not receive money if it’s not completing flights. The contract required at least 10 passengers fly out of the airport daily. Only 37 passengers flew out of Muscle Shoals the entire month of July.

The contract also required per passenger subsidies not exceed $200. Griffith said the Shoals is out of compliance in that area as well, but could not say by how much.

Griffith said he’s confident there is sufficient evidence to convince the Transportation Department to allow the Shoals to remain in the EAS program. Sieber said he will help the Shoals plead its case.

“We are going to voice an opinion on that as well, and we think you guys deserve a waiver,” Sieber said.


2 airports adopting one radio frequency: Pilot safety cited in North Little Rock panel’s OK

The North Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission on Thursday approved a proposal to share a radio frequency with nearby Camp Robinson airfield in the interest of safety for pilots at both airports.

"The safety of our pilots is paramount, and it's imperative we take this step," said commission member Jim Julian, who made the motion to approve the proposal.

The 6-1 vote clears the way for Clay Rogers, the North Little Rock Municipal Airport manager, to work with Camp Robinson airfield personnel on a new "discreet" radio frequency that only the two airports will share and that will allow pilots at both airports to hear one another's radio traffic.

Julian's motion gave the airports until June 2016 to make the transition to the new frequency, which will have to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and timed to coincide with the publication of Federal Aviation Administration aeronautical charts and airport/facility directories.

No accidents have occurred as a result of the airports' proximity to each other -- they are just 2.5 miles apart -- but Arkansas Army National Guard personnel say their training has been interrupted on occasion by close calls with planes flying to or from the North Little Rock airport. The close calls generally occur when aircraft take off from the civilian airport heading west.

Neither airport has a control tower. Pilots at both airports rely other pilots announcing their positions and intentions over the airports' respective radio frequencies.

Assigned to Camp Robinson airfield are Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters -- twin-engine, medium-lift choppers -- that are operated by the Arkansas Army National Guard. When not on deployments, Guard personnel train using the helicopters.

Small private and business aircraft use the North Little Rock airport.

Chief Warrant Officer Dustin Beene, a Guard helicopter instructor pilot and Camp Robinson's airspace officer, told the commission that, since July 11, a total of 21 aircraft from the North Little Rock airport have flown over the military airfield at "pattern altitude," which is generally about 1,000 feet and the altitude at which much of the training takes place.

The Guard helicopters currently use a military-only frequency at Camp Robinson. North Little Rock Municipal Airport uses a frequency commonly assigned to small general aviation airports.

Ten airports within about 40 miles of North Little Rock use the same frequency, which means that once a pilot is aloft he can hear pilots' radio transmissions at nearby airports.

The new proposed frequency, 123.075, will be available only to aircraft equipped with newer generation radios, which critics of the frequency change cited. A small percentage of aircraft that use the airport lack the newer radios, which can cost thousands of dollars to install.

Don Blakey was the only commission member who voted against the proposal. He and other critics said it is unsafe to change a frequency that the airport has used for years and that allows pilots to transition from one general aviation airport to another without having to change channels. 


Controversial runway is gone at O'Hare International Airport (KORD), Chicago, Illinois

One of O'Hare International Airport's original runways at the center of a fight over jet noise quietly closed Wednesday night.

The Chicago Department of Aviation had announced its intentions of closing Runway 14-Left/32-Right but some state lawmakers and resident groups opposed the move.

As of Thursday morning, the runway was stripped of its identification numbers.

The city is in the midst of building a parallel system of six runways using east/west flight patterns but that shift is causing consternation in neighborhoods buffeted by jet din.

Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has said that 14L/32R and another diagonal runway 14-Right/32-Left are unsafe, calling them "fatally flawed" because they intersect others and reduce efficiency at O'Hare. The 14R/32L runway should be decommissioned in 2020.

This spring, state legislators passed a law raising the number of runways allowed to operate at O'Hare from eight to 10, as a sign of support for the diagonals.

"I'm naturally disappointed," said State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat. "I think it's taking a page out of the former mayor's book in closing it at nighttime."

Mayor Richard M. Daley had crews bulldoze the runway at the former Meigs Field overnight in 2003.

The Fair Allocation in Runways group lobbied to save the diagonals to distribute jet noise over a wider area, an effort that gained it three sit-down meetings with Evans. The city committed to closing the 14/32 runways at those sessions and offered a plan to rotate use of the parallel runways at night to distribute noise more equitably but FAIR officials were dubious.

Meanwhile, officials with the Suburban O'Hare Commission, another airport watchdog that includes Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, have said they think noise relief will come with the full build-out of the six parallel runways.

Despite the absent runway "we're not looking at this as the end of the story," FAIR member Colleen Mulcrone said.

"FAIR continues to maintain real relief for all communities is not going to happen even at full build out unless all four diagonal runways original to O'Hare ... remain as options to fairly distribute air traffic around the region."

Moylan called the rotation idea "progress. We'll continue to work and try and get some relief for residents," he said.

Although supported by many, the diagonal runways raised a ruckus in suburban neighborhoods to the northwest for years until the city switched to the east/west pattern in 2013.

Richard and Cheryl Delporte told the Daily Herald in July that "we have lived in Rolling Meadows for 49 years and up until a few years ago we experienced constant airplanes flying over our home. We joked that there must be an arrow painted on our roof pointing to O'Hare."

Chicago has been phasing out the diagonals; five flights used 14L/32R in May compared to 115 in May 2013, city data shows.

There are four diagonal runways in total at the airfield. and Evans has indicated it's likely the city will eventually close a third (4-Left/22-Right).

The 14L/32R runway was one of O'Hare's originals when it was known as Orchard Field.

It played a role in one of the nation's worst air tragedies when an American Airlines DC-10 took off from 32-Right on May 25, 1979, rolled to the left, then crashed into a field near Des Plaines, killing 271 aboard. The left engine fell onto the runway during the takeoff climb.

For commercial pilot Dennis Tajer of Arlington Heights, 14-Left's exit recalled foggy days in the 1990s and early 2000s. The 14/32s were the go-to runways because they had high-tech approach equipment to guide pilots, said Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association representing American Airlines pilots. That equipment is now standard on all O'Hare runways.

"The thing that made them unique were the low-visibility approaches," he said. "My fond memories of landing on 14-Left were the challenges of likely low (cloud) ceiling and visibility."

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Compensation of Grootfontein plane crash victims in limbo

The Namibian Air Force, which lost four of its members out of the nine people on board, in a plane crash last year is busy scrutinizing the policy on military plane crashes to see how best it can compensate such victims.

Since April 2014, when the plane crashed, the families of the deceased have not yet received any compensation.

In an interview with New Era yesterday, Air Force Commander Air Vice-Marshall Martin Pinehas said that last year they forwarded their request that the Ministry of Defence compensate the families of the crash victims.

But he said “up to now” they are still waiting for feedback from the ministry.

Out of the nine people, three perished at the scene immediately after the aircraft took off, while four others including the pilot died in the hospital.

“They were not compensated. The ministry is still seized with the issue. This was the first such fatal accident since the inception of the air force. But I think the process is on to try and see how they can be compensated if there is any compensation,” he said.

The policy currently in place for members of the defence force, especially pilots, is that they are not insured by civilian companies.

He explained that civilian companies are reluctant to insure pilots, because of the risks involved. However, he stressed that individual people can take out their own policies.

“But as far as compensation on the part of government is concerned that is what we are trying to establish now. We have not suffered an accident of this nature before. Now we are trying to scrutinize matters to see whether there is such a policy with such a provision of compensation. Up to now we have not received any feedback. They were very positive that if the policy makes, or does not make provision, special arrangements were going to be made to see how these people are going to be compensated,” he said.

Furthermore, he said, should there be compensation for the military personnel that perished in the plane crash, then civilians who were on board would also want reimbursement.

He was however hopeful the Ministry of Defence would respond positively. Pinehas also revealed the two survivors – Werner Nashilundo, 35, and Nabot Kamati, 35 – have received some compensation from the Social Security Commission.

The air force will honor and remember the victims today at the Grootfontein Air Base, where the crash occurred in April last year.

The helicopter was being flown by senior pilot Elifas Simon Angala, 36, who later died in the Katutura state hospital, and co-flight officer Evangeline Naufiku Nghimwenavali, who died at the crash site.

The Ministry of Defence head of public relations, Colonel Monica Sheya, yesterday said she could not comment on the compensation issues, referring New Era to the air commander in Grootfontein.

New Era was reliably informed that the only two survivors will attend the painful event.

Sheya confirmed that the air force would host a memorial ceremony today to honour the lives of those who perished in the crash.

“They are making a memorial site which will be availed. They have put up a monument,” she said.

The Minister of Defence, Penda ya Ndakolo, is expected to attend the ceremony at the Grootfontein Air Base.

The Chinese-manufactured H425Z9 helicopter crashed just after take-off for Windhoek. It was to pick up the former defence minister Nahas Angula, who was scheduled to officiate at a NDF technicians’ graduation ceremony at Grootfontein.

It was reported that the aircraft took off, but suddenly came down and crashed, bursting into flames at about 05h05.

Wilka Ndanyengwa Sheya, 27, and Toini Nekulilo Martin, 52, also died on the spot.

At the time, Pinehas said Martin was a member of the Namibian Police Force and a mother of Martin Shoopala – the NDF air traffic controller at Grootfontein.

A three-year-old boy, Mcvince Mwiya, who died in hospital in Grootfontein, was the son of one of the general workers at the military base.

Hendrick Amalwa, 6, and Johanna Hailaula, 31, also died later in a hospital in Windhoek.

Amalwa was a nephew of Martin, Pinehas said.

An NDF quarterly journal dated January to March 2012 says that the H425Z9 helicopter that crashed was one of two that were supplied by the Chinese company Polytechnology Inc.


Boeing, Supplier Wrestle to Produce Key Component: Challenge comes amid concerns that shortage could derail planned boost in production of updated version of 737 jet

The Wall Street Journal
By Jon Ostrower
Aug. 20, 2015 5:14 p.m. ET

Boeing Co. and a key supplier are wrestling to produce a crucial component for the new version of its workhorse 737, amid concerns that a shortage will derail what is supposed to be the fastest-ever increase in production of a jetliner.

Difficulty consistently manufacturing part of the engine thrust reverser that slows jets on landing have been flagged by Boeing as the biggest development challenge at the plane maker’s commercial unit, according to senior industry officials.

While Boeing executives have recently played down the potential impact, there remain significant concerns among industry executives and engineers familiar with the issues that supplier GKN PLC won’t be able to produce enough of the component to support the rapid production transition to Boeing’s 737 Max jetliner.

“It is by far the gorilla in the room,” said one person familiar with Boeing’s concerns.

Boeing plans to boost monthly output of the single-aisle Max from less than one to 52 before the end of the decade, an unprecedented ramp-up. Investors are monitoring any problems that could weigh down its expansion plan and weaken Boeing’s closely watched cash-flow projections.

Boeing executives acknowledged the challenges, but the company said it has “every confidence that our production processes” will hit output targets, and is working to demonstrate the component can be produced as quickly as it is needed.

The problems stem from the inner wall of the thrust reverser, which is made from an exotic titanium honeycomb to save weight, fit the available space and withstand the high temperatures of the engine, which is made by CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co. and Safran SA.

“We are really having to muscle through that one…but as with a lot of new technology we’re finding that we’re having to really stabilize the process,” Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 Max program, said in a recent interview.

“Nothing’s happening as fast as I would like in general,” he said, adding that GKN is “applying all the necessary expertise from across their enterprise” to make it work.

One senior supplier executive said the availability of enough inner walls is at the top of Boeing’s development concerns. “It’s a [production] rate question,” the person said. Boeing is asking “I’m having this issue today, what does it tell you about my rate readiness?”

Job listings seeking engineers to work on the inner wall project said GKN will need to produce enough to supply 50 aircraft a month by 2018.

Signs of trouble with the inner wall structure have been brewing for some time. According to a September 2014 regulatory filing, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., which makes the 737 engine thrust reverser, transferred responsibility for working with GKN on the inner wall back to Boeing.

“We’ve got a lot of attention on it,” said Scott Fancher, Boeing’s vice president of airplane development, adding that increased oversight is needed for new technology. “Titanium is famous for being challenging from a producibility standpoint.”

Boeing said the component doesn’t threaten its ability to fly in early 2016 and certify the jet with regulators in 2017. Mr. Leverkuhn said the company has done a “done tremendous amount of work” to be ready for its production ramp-up.

The senior supplier executive noted the first walls produced for testing the new CFM International engines were “able to make it to the specification, but it was very time-consuming.”

Both Boeing and rival Airbus Group SE are pursuing record production increases to quickly deliver leaps in efficiency to cost-conscious airlines. The jet makers have invested heavily to monitor their global supply chains to introduce new engine technology on their cash cow single-aisle jets.

“The ramifications are massive when you’re talking about something that is providing such a large portion of Boeing’s profits,” said Kevin Michaels, vice president with ICF International’s aerospace consulting practice. He estimated the existing 737 model contributes 40% to 45% of the earnings from operations at Boeing’s commercial arm, which totaled $6.4 billion in 2014.

A GKN spokeswoman declined to comment, referring question to Boeing.

To be sure, Boeing and GKN have as much as two years to resolve the engine wall issues before its first deliveries, starting with Southwest Airlines Co. in the third quarter of 2017.

However, the ramping up production of 737 Max parts is already well under way. Boeing in late May began preparing the first wings in its Washington state factories, and Spirit plans to to deliver the first fuselage to Boeing ahead of the September start of final assembly on a new dedicated line.

Boeing has orders for 2,839 of the 125- to 200-seat Max jets, and plans to raise overall production of all 737 models to 47 each month in 2017 and again to 52 in 2018, from 42 today.

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Private Jet Services named one of Inc. 5000's fastest-growing firms

SEABROOK - Private Jet Services (PJS), a worldwide aviation consulting firm, has been named one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 5000 list.

PJS, now in its 12th year, has achieved 136% growth, as determined by the company’s overall revenue growth in a three-year period. Total revenue in 2014 was $51.5 million. This is PJS’ second appearance on the prestigious list.

“It is an honor to be recognized among the fastest-growing companies in the country. This type of recognition really validates our success in meeting the evolving aviation needs of our expanding client base,” said PJS Founder and CEO Greg Raiff. “To have appeared two years in a row speaks volumes about our exceptional repeat client rate.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000 can be found at

Private Jet Services Group clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, collegiate sports teams, the world’s biggest bands, private fliers and government workers.

PJS offers fully tailored, on-demand aviation solutions to its clients.

Founded in 2003 by Greg Raiff, PJS procures on behalf of those clients both VIP and standard configured airliners, regional aircraft, as well as light, midsize, and large cabin executive jets.

More than just a charter company, PJS operates like a concierge service, going to great lengths to make sure every minute of the trip is perfect and personalized to the client.

PJS has decorated a plane for an in-flight Pirates of the Caribbean-themed party.

An employee has traveled out of state to find a special half-moon cookie the client had mentioned they liked.

Sometimes clients will ask PJS to meet them on the runway with gifts or flowers for their spouses.

PJS will make special accommodations for pets and arrange to have planes deep cleaned if someone on board has a peanut allergy.

The list goes on and on.

There is no request that is too great, which is why PJS stands apart in its field.

Visit for more information.


Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspends two Jet Airways pilots for not following procedure: Aircraft was carrying only 270 kgs of fuel when it was supposed to carry 1,500 kgs

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended two Jet Airways pilots for carring insufficient fuel and not following standard practices while flying on the Doha-Kochi sector on August 18.

The DGCA called it a “serious” incident and referred the case to the investigation body of the civil aviation ministry.

According to sources, due to bad weather, the pilot couldn't sight the runway and had to take three rounds over the Kochi airport and then three over the Thiruvananthapuram airport instead of going to its scheduled alternate Bangalore airport. The aircraft finally landed in its seventh attempt.

The incident took place on Jet Airway's Boeing 737 aircraft on August 18 when it was carrying 150 people including six crew members and two pilots, sources added.

The aircraft fuel was on reserve with only 270 kgs of air fuel left at the time of landing when it was supposed to carry 1,500 kgs of fuel along with the alternative fuel.

The DGCA is reviewing the fuel uplift policy of Jet Airways to examine whether the airline was carrying less fuel to save costs.

“The pilots first alternative should have been Bangalore airport. When it landed on the seventh attempt, the aircraft was left with only 270 kgs of fuel. We need to find whether they were trying to save cost by taking less fuel,” said a senior DGCA official.

The DGCA source added a Boeing 737 aircraft takes 150-200 kgs only while parking the plane.