Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Boeing Plans Further Boost to 767 Output • Increase planned to accommodate previously announced 50-plane order from FedEx

The Wall Street Journal
By Jon Ostrower
September  9, 2015 4:14 p.m. ET

Boeing Co. said Wednesday that it is planning to raise monthly production of its 767 widebody jet to 2.5 in late 2017 to accommodate a previously announced 50-plane order from FedEx Corp.

The plane maker currently builds around 1.5 of the jets each month and had already outlined plans to boost this to two early next year. It will now raise output further to 2.5 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Boeing’s Everett, Wash., assembly line has built passenger and freighter versions of the 767 since 1981, and is gearing up to begin regular production of a heavily modified version to serve as a refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force, which plans to buy as many as 179 aircraft.

“The 767 has a very healthy backlog through the mid part of the next decade,“ Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 767 program said. ”We are confident the market will support a long-term future for the 767."

Despite troubling signs for regional economic growth and receding air cargo traffic, FedEx in July announced a deal for 50 of the freighter variants and holds options to purchase 50 more.

Mr. Zaback said in an internal company memo that he expects the 767, the company’s longest-running large twin-jet program, to add employees as its production tempo increases.

“Increasing the production rate in 2017 provides the flexibility needed to address additional commercial orders while meeting all of our customer requirements,” said a Boeing spokesman.

Original article can be found here:

Des Moines International Airport (KDSM) considers privatizing new terminal

Privatization — or at least some kind of public-private partnership — is being discussed as a possible way for the Des Moines International Airport to pay for a new terminal.

Pitchmen from the consulting firm LPMG Corporate Finance visited the Des Moines Airport Authority Board on Tuesday to explain options for forming a public-private partnership.

Airport officials are open to the idea.

“I think there are enough potential benefits to keep researching it,” said Kevin Foley, executive director of the Des Moines International Airport.

Such an agreement could take several shapes, said Tim Wilschetz, a principal with KPMG. Options range from full privatization, in which a private company owns and operates the terminal and airfield, to a partnership in which a private company builds the terminal and sells it to the airport.

In Des Moines, one option is for a private company to build and own the new terminal and lease it back to the airport, Foley said.

That could save about 20 percent on construction, according to KPMG. A private company could finance the project quicker and start construction sooner, which would save money by limiting the impact of rising construction costs, the consultants said.

“If there is that kind of savings, then we need to take a look at it,” Foley said.

David Fisher, a retired corporate executive hired by the airport to find funding for the terminal, agreed.

“I think it is worth exploring and I think there could be tremendous savings,” he said.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and City Council member Christine Hensley, whose ward includes the airport, said the airport should research options to find savings.

Airport officials say the 67-year-old terminal is too small, becoming costly to maintain and isn’t configured for modern security and passenger needs. Airport traffic hit a record 2.3 million passengers in 2014 and it is projected to continue growing.

Plans call for building a larger, 14-gate terminal on the south side of the airfield and reconfiguring other facilities. The project is estimated to cost $420 million, with more than $300 million going into the terminal. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2022.

The airport is still about $200 million short for the project.

Foley is skeptical of privatizing the operation of the terminal — “We already run a pretty lean operation” — and said he would recommend against privatizing the construction or operation of facilities outside the terminal such as parking garages, which generate a profit for the airport, and runway systems, which are largely funded by federal dollars.

“I would struggle to surrender any part of the airfield,” he said.

A number of airports in Europe and South America have been turned over to private operators, but the trend has been slow to catch on in the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an airport privatization program in 1997. Ten airports have started the process, but only the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has become privately operated.

Union groups protested the privatization of that airport, saying it would result in job cuts and lower wages.

In Des Moines, union leaders say they’re leery of privatizing part of the airport.

“It’s a pretty large concern,” said Tom Hayes, business manager of Laborers Local Union 353, which represents about 25 workers at the Des Moines International Airport. “If you start privatizing, then you start taking away the public” control.

Foley said the airport has about a year before it will need to decide whether to pursue a public-private partnership or continue with the publicly funded terminal project as planned.


Kent State trustees OK a master plan for the university airport • Plan calls for the facility to operate as a flight-training school pending Federal Aviation Administration approval

The Kent State University trustees has approved keeping the university’s airport operating as a pilot-training facility with no changes to runway lengths or other assets.

In 2004, the trustees voted to close Kent State’s airport. But the Federal Aviation Administration rejected that decision because the airport had accepted grants requiring it to remain in operation. Since then, the airport has become a highly respected flight-training facility.

Aileen Maguire-Meyer of C and S Companies helped develop the new airport master plan. She says it is built around a growing need for new pilots and more flight training.

“There’s a change in the aircraft being used as well as schedules. The majority of the pilots who are there today are reaching retirement age. There’s also changes to the FAA’s requirements for pilot training -- so in general, an increased need for pilots."

There are more than 200 students in Kent State’s flight training program. The FAA must still approve the new master plan.

Story and audio:

Tallahassee International Airport (KTLH) sends support letters to JetBlue

Courting season continues for Tallahassee International Airport and JetBlue Airways.

As of Tuesday, 40 support letters for direct service to South Florida were mailed to the New York-based airline, and by Wednesday, nearly 10 more were sent to the airport. Business leaders representing a cross section of industries drafted letters indicating their number of employees and how often they travel for work, along with personal horror travel stories.

It’s clear leaders, not to mention residents, are indicating they want more service and the “Jet Blue effect,” which often occurs when the airline expands to a new market — causing a dramatic dip in fares, said TLH Aviation Director Chris Curry.

“We believe if we can bring a low-cost carrier like JetBlue into our region, we can generate traffic well outside of our catchment area (90-mile radius around the airport),” he said. “Letters of support continue to stream in every day.”

Last year, cities like Jacksonville and Savannah, Georgia, got additional JetBlue flights. Campaigns are common, but how each city approaches its courtship of JetBlue can differ dramatically. Some flood the airline with correspondence and pleas for service.

In addition to the letter writing campaign, the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Visit Tallahassee are committing funds for an incentive package, the details of which have not been disclosed. Whatever the offer, the decision is solely the airline’s.

“We have a finite amount of planes, and we want to position them in locations where they can do the most good,” said Morgan Johnston, spokesman for JetBlue Airways.

“We certainly pay attention to customer demand in any new potential city and we‘re always examining new routes,” he added. “Our decision on a new route is based a number of factors around market demand, and not just that city but in any city.”

The Jet Blue effect won’t come easy or quickly. The process, including analysis, planning and execution, could take between eight months to three years, according to a JetBlue blog explaining its approach to expanding service.

“We often say that we “earn our right to grow,” which means that we deliberately limit our growth and select only the most attractive opportunities that are most fitting with our current strategy, resulting in a solid network that we can defend and build up, little by little, even in the face of economic challenges like high fuel prices.”

JetBlue carries more than 32 million passenger a year to 90 cities in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. There is an average of 875 daily flights, the airline reports. The airline increased its Florida presence by adding more flights from Fort Lauderdale to Albany, N.Y., and Orlando. By January, service to Daytona Beach will be added.

Tallahasee Mayor Andrew Gillum said the airline would be a “game changer” in Tallahassee.

“This strong showing of community support should demonstrate to JetBlue that they can find a successful and profitable home here,” Gillum said of the letters.

“The (nearly) 50 letters from across our business community makes a very strong statement about the need to improve air service and lower fares in Tallahassee. Chris Curry is a dynamic leader at Tallahassee International Airport, but he can’t do it alone. We must use every tool at our disposal to win the fight to improve air service — so please keep those letters coming.”

Here's what some local leaders said in their support letters:

“As president of Florida State University, I am pleased to enthusiastically support the proposed service expansion of JetBlue Airways to Tallahassee International Airport (TLH), which would greatly facilitate the movement of students and faculty as they travel to and from the school.” — John Thrasher, former state representative and FSU president.

“As president of one of the two major research universities located in the Tallahassee area, I strongly believe that the regional community would greatly benefit from, and support, JetBlue service... Our university’s travel related business needs would vastly improve with JetBlue Airways non-stop service through the Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.” Elmira Mangum, president of Florida A&M University.

“My company spends on average 60 to 70 percent of our time traveling out of the Tallahassee International Airport. However, with the merger of U.S. Airways and American Airlines, the service out of TLH has been reduced while the cost of flying has skyrocketed. As a result, I am now traveling to Jacksonville, FL (2.5 hours away), Tampa (4 hours away), and Orlando (3.5 hours away) for flights.” — Jenny Harris Frasure, senior partner of Innovation Costing Solutions LLC, a governmental financial consulting firm.

“Business needs your services. But there is also a hunger among those of us in this region who like to travel. I am convinced JetBlue would be welcomed with open arms.” — Marjorie Turnbull, president of Turnbull Consulting and former county commissioner and state representative.

“Read the article in the Democrat today! Tallahassee NEEDS more options for flights to South Florida. $400 is a ridiculous fee to fly. Our students would be off the road, and not to mention the seven-hour drive. Southwest Airlines would be a great addition, too.” Dorothy Fulcher Meigs, resident.


Congressman Sam Farr announces second grant for Hollister Municipal Airport (KCVH) runway

Congressman Sam Farr today announced a $5.8 million grant had been awarded as a second grant allocation toward fixing the Hollister Municipal Airport's runway.

Farr's office made the announcement about the grant and noted how the work is expected to start after next February's Super Bowl in Santa Clara. It came after an announcement on a separate $3.1 million grant earlier this year to get the project off the ground.

According to the full announcement:

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., announced today that Hollister Municipal Airport was awarded a $5.8 million FAA grant to continue repairs of the main runway. The airport began a major runway renovation project earlier this year and this grant will provide the funds necessary to finish the project.

“San Benito County offers a first-class travel experience and now we will have a brand new runway to smoothly welcome visitors,” said Rep. Farr. “The Hollister Airport is an important part of our local economy. Any investments we make modernizing the airport will benefit the entire region.” 

Last October, Rep. Farr joined with local officials to present the airport with a $3.1 million grant to begin the runway renovation project. Those funds were used to repave 2,400 feet of the runway. The new grant will be used to completely repave the remaining 6,250 foot main runway. Sections of the current runway date back to World War II.

“We are grateful of Congressman Farr and the FAA for the continued support of the City of Hollister and the Hollister Municipal Airport runway project,” said Mike Chambless, “Hollister Airport Director. “Congressman Farr has been instrumental in assisting the Hollister Municipal Airport in the realization of its development potential.”

Due to the airport’s proximity to Pinnacles National Park, air traffic is expected to increase in the coming years as more visitors travel to the region. The airport also expects to see more flights this February during the Super Bowl held in nearby Santa Clara.

The City of Hollister owns and operates the Hollister Municipal Airport and hosts a number of airport-related businesses. The airport is also the location of the CalFire Air Attack Base, which plays an important role in suppressing wildfire in six counties.

Construction is expected to begin after the Super Bowl in February and should be completed in the summer. The grant will cover 90% of the construction cost for the new runway and the airport will provide the remaining amount.


Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N8075P, Air Ads Inc: Accident occurred July 04, 2015 in Carlsbad, California

The crash-landing of a small plane on Carlsbad State Beach that injured a 12-year-old boy was most likely due to pilot error and an empty fuel tank, according to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Piper PA18, registered to Air Ads Inc., out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon, lost engine power while towing an advertising banner on the Fourth of July. It crashed on the crowded beach near Cannon Road, then flipped over by the waterline.

According to the report, which includes factual findings and a probable cause determined by NTSB officials, the pilot of the single-engine plane, Luke William Kanagy, most likely failed to “manage the fuel system properly,” and the lack of fuel resulted in engine failure.

Previous reports suggested that the engine malfunctioned during flight.

Kanagy was not injured in the accident, but the plane struck Nicholas Baer, 12, who was on the beach at the time. Baer suffered a concussion, a sizable gash to his head and a damaged skull. He underwent emergency brain surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Doctors later reported that the surgery was successful.

The report, which was released last week, comes in the midst of a lawsuit, filed by Nicholas’ family in San Diego Superior Court, against Kanagy, the banner advertising company Air Ads, and its owner James Oakley.

Attorney David S. Casey Jr., who is representing Nicholas’ family in the suit, said the final report helps prove that the boy’s injuries are directly due to Kanagy’s negligence.

“He just ran out of gas. It’s something that should never have occurred,” Casey said. “It’s a clear error on behalf of the pilot.”

NTSB investigator Howard Plagens, whose analysis of the plane and crash site was used to compile the report, said the aircraft had two fuel tanks, one on the left and right. The plane was also equipped with a fuel selector valve, which allows the pilot to switch fuel tanks when one is running low during flight.

Plagens said there was fuel in the right tank, but the plane’s selector valve was pointing to the left tank, which was empty.

The Carlsbad crash is one of more than 25 accidents involving banner planes in California over the past two decades, based on a San Diego Union-Tribune review of Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB records in August.

The cause of the California accidents vary. About a quarter were due to engine failure. More than half occurred while cruising or maneuvering the aircraft, records show, and 62 percent resulted in injury or death.

Aviation experts say banner flying isn’t necessarily dangerous, but planes do fly at low altitudes — usually above crowded areas.

Casey said Nicholas is still recovering from the accident, but he’s able to participate in sports again, which is “a step in a positive direction.”

Oakley, owner of Air Ads, said he could not comment on the accident or the report because of the pending lawsuit, but confirmed that Kanagy is no longer an employee with the company.

According to the most recent FAA Airmen Certification Database, Kanagy is licensed to fly commercially and is a certified flight instructor of single-engine planes.

Messages to Kanagy seeking comment went unanswered.



NTSB Identification: WPR15CA207 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 04, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/17/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-150, registration: N8075P
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 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.

The pilot stated that he was towing a banner along a beach when the engine gradually lost power, and applying carburetor heat had no effect. A forced landing was initiated on the beach, and during the landing roll the airplane struck a person before it nosed over into the surf. The engine mount, right wing, and right rear lift strut were substantially damaged. 

Postaccident examination on site revealed that the fuel selector valve was in the left tank position. A follow up examination determined that no fuel was visible in the left fuel tank site gauge inside the cockpit area. The right wing filler cap was removed, and fuel was observed in the right tank. Fuel drained from the sump at the rear of the right tank, but nothing drained from the sump at the rear of the left tank. No fuel drained from the gascolator on the firewall. The operator reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures of 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 manage the fuel system properly during a banner tow operation resulting in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

FAA  Flight Standards District Office:  FAA San Diego FSDO-09

SAN DIEGO – The family of a 12-year-old boy who suffered a serious head injury when he was struck by a small plane on a Carlsbad Beach filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the plane’s owner and its pilot.

The lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court was filed against El Cajon-based Air Ads Inc., company owner James Oakley and the 23-year-old pilot, James William Kanagy, according to a news release. 

Nicholas Baer was struck by the small plane as it made an emergency landing on Carlsbad State Beach on the Fourth of July. Baer was bodyboarding with some friends when the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub dove towards the crowded beach and crashed. The single-engine plane, towing an advertising banner, landed upside down in shallow water. The plane grazed Baer on the way down. 

"I was kind of transitioning to skim boarding, and then... I don't know, I guess the plane just came down," Baer said in an interview with ABC News last month. 

Baer was taken to Rady Children's Hospital for treatment of a gash to his head, a concussion and skull damage. He underwent surgery and was admitted to an intensive care unit. He spent only four days in the hospital. Physicians have said they expect Nicholas to make a full recovery. 

Kanagy was uninjured in the crash. He told investigators the aircraft lost power for unknown reasons while towing an advertising banner over the coastline.

The family’s attorney, David S. Casey Jr., alleges that the crash was caused by negligence on behalf of the pilot and owner. 

“It is simply reckless to land a plane on a crowded beach, even in the event of engine failure,” Casey said in the news release. 

Casey states that the pilot violated a federal code that requires the plane to keep a 500-foot distance from people on the ground. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Story and comments:

CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Nicholas Baer, 12, of Carlsbad.

Nicholas Baer, 12, planned to spend his Fourth of July body boarding with friends at Carlsbad State Beach, but plans changed about an hour into the visit. There’s been a plane crash, a family friend told the boy’s mother on the phone. 

“I think he got hit in the head by the propeller,” the friend said.

The aircraft was a Piper PA18 towing an advertising banner, and a federal report about the crash is expected this week. Meanwhile, U-T Watchdog decided to check and see how common such crashes are.

Accidents involving “banner towing” are tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Records show that there have been 25 aircraft accidents involving such planes in California over the past two decades, and more than 62 percent resulted in injury or death. Four accidents occurred in San Diego, and eight in Los Angeles County.

Aviation experts say banner flying isn't necessarily dangerous, but planes do fly at low elevations — usually above crowded areas — and the drag from towing a banner can put strain on the single-engine planes, which are typically used to fly advertisements.

In May 2012, a Cessna 150 towing a banner crash landed in San Diego Bay because of a mechanical malfunction. No one was injured.

According to reports from the NTSB that conducted an investigation of the incident, “both occupants reported that they did not have time to troubleshoot, due to low altitude.”

Incident records show that advertisements in the air can also distract surrounding pilots. Following a 2003 incident near Pearland, Texas, a pilot admitted to NTSB investigators that he was distracted while landing by banner towing activity adjacent to the runway. The pilot landed at the edge of the grass runway and struck a ditch, causing substantial damage to the plane.

Cities including Huntington Beach and San Francisco have attempted to ban aerial ads in recent years for safety reasons or aesthetic purposes, but dropped the efforts in fear of lawsuits or pressure from the FAA, which regulates all flight activity.

The cause of other California accidents vary. About a quarter were due to engine failure, records show, and more than half occurred while cruising or maneuvering the aircraft.

“Cars quit on a freeway. Cars sometimes fail to start,” said Barry Bardack, chief flight instructor for the Golden State Flying Club at Gillespie Field in El Cajon. “Airplane engines have an amazing ability to revive mid-air, but they also occasionally fail.”

Air Ads owner Jim Oakley declined to comment on the crash or identify the man flying the aircraft, but said the pilot was licensed to fly commercially and had the required qualifications to tow banners.

Oakley said his staff tends to be young, about 26 years old, since banner towing is a way for aspiring pilots to rack up flight time and advance to a career flying commercially.

Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the FAA Pacific division, said in an email that the agency requires all pilots or companies to meet certain standards before banner-towing flights can take place. An inspector will examine banner attaching devices or hitches to ensure that release cable mechanisms are functioning.

All pilots must have successfully completed a banner towing training program, have a reliable record of past flight experience and be able to demonstrate a sample banner pickup to FAA inspector, Gregor said.

“The most challenging part is picking up the message. Not towing it,” Oakley said. “It’s the part that creates the most excitement for a pilot.”

Planes usually take off without the banner, loop back around to the airport, and align the plane in between two poles, where the banner tow rope is suspended. If done correctly, Oakley said, a hook behind the plane will latch on to the rope and begin pulling the banner into the air.

On December 31, 2006, a pilot at Gillespie Field missed the banner tow line, pitched upward and then went into a nose-down spiral. According to incident reports, witnesses said the plane spun more than one and a half times before colliding with the runway. The pilot was killed.

In July 2013, a pilot was conducting a low fly-by for ground crew to inspect the banner. After the pass the plane began to climb and airspeed deteriorated. The airplane stalled, hit wires and crash-landed on a hillside in Long Beach. The pilot suffered minor injuries.

Lee Anne Lardy, projects manager for San Diego County airports, said pilots or companies must be approved by the FAA and have proper insurance to receive a 10-year license with the county. Information pertaining to the license must also be updated each year.

Two companies, Air Ads and Aerial Sign North Inc., are the only companies licensed with the county, Lardy said.

The Watchdog used data collected from the NTSB and FAA and reviewed accidents categorized as banner tows under the purpose of flight. The review found 191 banner-related accidents between April 1995 and July of this year. Florida reported the most accidents at 51. California had the second most with 25, followed by New Jersey and South Carolina.

In the Carlsbad crash, officials at the scene reported that the single-engine plane lost power while towing a banner advertisement over the holiday crowd on the beach near Cannon Road. It was registered to Air Ads Inc. out of Gillespie Field.

The pilot wasn’t hurt, but the boy suffered a concussion, a sizable gash to his head and a damaged skull. He underwent emergency brain surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Doctors later reported that the surgery was successful and the boy is recovering well.

Original article can be found here:

CARLSBAD (CBS 8) -   Bob Griscom, an aviation expert and lifelong pilot who served 25 years as an aircraft accident investigator with the FAA, says if the pilot had decided to land in the water instead of the beach, he may not have survived.

Bob says that unlike larger planes, the landing gears on smaller planes are not retractable.

"When you hit the water, it’s as if the landing gear hit a brick wall, then the airplane will pitch forward," says Griscom. "The windshield will immediately get a face full of ocean and the pilot will very likely become unconscious very quickly and the airplane sinks and he drowns."

Bob Griscom says the FAA and NTSB will now be investigating why the engine quit and they will be taking a closer look at the pilot, including his conduct the day before the flight.

"They will also find out how much sleep the pilot had the day before and whether he was out partying, whatever it might be," says Griscom. "They will look into all of those factors."

Story and video:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54) celebrates opening of new T-hangars

A ribbon cutting was held for the 17 new T-hangars at the Lebanon Airport on Thursday.

City leaders and aviation enthusiasts gathered at the Lebanon Municipal Airport on Thursday afternoon to celebrate their newest T-Hangars.

Construction on the 17 new T-Hangars began in February 2015, with aircraft starting to move in August 2015. The city will have 52 T-Hangars, 9 Box Hangars, 11 Private Corporate Hangars and a terminal with a community hangar.

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead welcomed folks to the ribbon cutting, held outside of the new T-Hangars. He said it had been a long project, started at the wrong time of the year.

"We started in the winter and everything caught us - but we got it done. It is just the start of where we are going for the future of the Lebanon Airport," he said. "We appreciate everybody who made this happen to make our community grow."

Direct Flight Solutions LLC Owner Heather Bay, who serves as Fixed Base Operator of the Lebanon Airport, managing the daily operations of the field, next took the opportunity to share a few words.

"The new T-Hangars are state of the art and meets the demands of the airfield for pilots to house their investment," she said.

The new hangars have 48-foot-wide bifold electric doors with 13-foot clear height. These hangars will house larger single engine aircraft according to a release from the City of Lebanon.

T.O. Cragwall, chairman of the Lebanon Airport Commission, wrapped by saying, "It's a great day for us. We are excited about what is going on at the airport."


Incident occurred September 07, 2015 at Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

STRATFORD - Witnesses reported seeing a plane go off of the runway into the grass at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford.

It happened after 1 p.m. on Monday, according to reports.

Witnesses at the scene told News 12 they watched the small plane attempt to land, but its right landing gear did not deploy properly. They say the plane spun out amid a cloud of dust, ending up in the grass off the landing strip.

Witnesses say a man was seen exiting the plane onto the grass, where he waited for first responders to arrive.

The airport was shut down following the incident. Other planes attempting to land were turned away.

Story and video:

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A pilot was able to walk away without injuries after his plane went off the runway Monday at Sikorsky Airport in Bridgeport.

At about 1:20 p.m. Monday, September 7, Bridgeport firefighters received a call about an aircraft running off the runway at Sikorsky, the city said in a statement. 

The single engine aircraft, a Piper PA-24, was attempting to land when the incident occurred. 

The pilot veered off the runway while landing and went into the grass, the statement said.

The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft.

The pilot did not suffer any injuries. 

No fire and no fuel leaks were reported from the accident.

The airport was closed for about two hours while airport personnel removed the aircraft from the runway area, the statement said.


Incident occurred September 08, 2015 near Albertus Airport (KFEP), Freeport, Illinois

FREEPORT — A pilot involved in a plane crash near Freeport's Albertus Airport was not seriously injured, according to Stephenson County sheriff's representatives.

A press release stated that the individual crashed in a field near the airport along Baileyville Road about 8:26 a.m. this morning. 

According to provided information, authorities believe the plane suffered a mechanical issue during takeoff, necessitating the emergency landing, during which the plane was damaged. 

The pilot, who was conscious and out of the plane when authorities arrived, was transported to Freeport Memorial Hospital for treatment, and the investigation is ongoing at this time, according to the press release. 


Federal Aviation Administration airport evacuation study guides airport protocol based on priority of incident

KANSAS CITY, Mo - With safety always a top priority for airport administrators, certain events will trigger evacuations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commissioned a study just last year to look at this issue.

Investigators looked at 36 commercial airports of all sizes.

They found the highest priority incident type calling for an evacuation was most frequently a natural disaster.

This included snowstorms, earthquakes and tornadoes.

Further down on the list are structure fires, power failures and security breaches -- like Tuesday's incident at KCI.

The priority list for evacuations included bomb threats and active shooter situations.

The study said airports need to have a terminal incident response plan in place for evacuations -- which includes a plan to get operations back to normal.

Tuesday's partial evacuation comes as KCI has become an increasingly busy airport.

More than a million passengers passed through the terminals in July alone.

It was the first month the airport eclipsed that mark since 2008.

Story and video:  http://www.kshb.comt

United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek Departs Amid Continuing Investigation • CSX veteran Oscar Munoz named president and CEO

The Wall Street Journal 
By Nathan Becker,Ted Mann and Doug Cameron
Updated Sept. 8, 2015 6:47 p.m. ET

United Continental Holdings Inc. said Chief Executive Jeff Smisek has left the company amid a continuing federal investigation, and the airline named CSX Chief Operating Officer Oscar Munoz as its next president and CEO.

United Continental said Mr. Smisek’s departure is related to federal and internal investigations associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

United executives declined detailed comment on the continuing internal investigation and federal probe. A Port Authority spokesman declined to comment.

The relationship between United and former Port Authority Chairman David Samson has been under investigation by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s office for more than a year. At issue, according to people familiar with the investigators’ inquiries, is whether Mr. Samson used his position as head of the Port Authority’s board to demand favorable treatment or personal benefit from United. The airline is the largest carrier by passenger volume at Newark Liberty International Airport and was seeking to renegotiate its lease agreement at the airport, among other matters, during Mr. Samson’s tenure.

Prosecutors have repeatedly subpoenaed records from the Port Authority, as recently as last month, that would date back to the early days of Mr. Samson’s tenure at the authority and that include correspondence and meeting records related to United’s attempts to negotiate an extension of its lease at Newark, according to people who have seen the subpoenas.

Among the areas of inquiry: a direct flight launched by United to Columbia, S.C., near where Mr. Samson keeps a vacation home. Published reports said the flight was referred to within the Port Authority as “the chairman’s flight.” It was canceled soon after Mr. Samson retired from the Port Authority in 2014.

Mr. Samson has previously declined to comment on the federal inquiry through a spokeswoman. He has defended his tenure and his career in public service, including a stint as Attorney General of New Jersey.

In a February filing, United Continental said some of its executives and employees had received federal grand-jury subpoenas related to people formerly associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and that it was cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Mr. Smisek will receive an array of compensation following his departure, including a lump sum severance payment of $4.875 million in cash, according to a regulatory filing. He will also receive outstanding salary and vested benefits such as share awards, alongside continued benefits such as lifetime flight and parking benefits, and the title to his company car.

The former Continental Airlines CEO, who outgunned American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker to take control of United through a merger agreement in 2010, is subject to a two-year noncompete agreement.

United Continental also said its executive vice president of communications and government affairs and its senior vice president of corporate and government affairs have stepped down, moves related to the investigation.

Mr. Munoz leaves CSX after several years as operating chief. He had held the post since 2012 and was chief financial officer for nearly a decade before that.

Mr. Munoz has served on United Continental’s board since 2010 and on Continental Airlines’ board from 2004 until the merger with United in 2010. He said he expected to spend his first 90 days as chief visiting United locations and employees, and hoped to expedite efforts to secure outstanding labor deals, while continuing to expand capacity below the rate of GDP growth.

After 11 years on the board of United and its predecessor, he pledged to employ lessons learned from his rail-industry experience to continue the airline’s efforts to boost operational and financial performance following a period when it’s been weighed down by technical hitches and unstable labor relations.

He said U.S. airlines had been closely watching what analysts have called the “rail renaissance,” with a greater emphasis on service levels and pricing and cost discipline, and returning profits to shareholders.

“We’re not that unstable,” Mr. Munoz said of recent management changes and continuing problems with its ticketing system, describing the combination of United and Continental as “a rough integration.”

Mr. Munoz had been viewed by analysts as a potential successor to veteran CSX CEO Michael Ward. Mr. Munoz said it was a tough decision to leave the railroad, but United was a bigger company, and his background was in business-to-consumer channels.

Henry Meyer, who was also named the company’s nonexecutive chairman, said: “Oscar’s track record demonstrates that he has the right blend of strategic vision and strong leadership to continue United’s upward trajectory.”

United has seen a turnaround in its financials recently after a bumpy integration of United and Continental. It posted a record $1.1 billion profit last year. In July, the company announced a new $3 billion stock-buyback program and a sharply increased profit of $1.2 billion for its latest quarter.

Still, the company isn’t without glitches. In July, a computer problem temporarily grounded the company’s world-wide fleet. United Continental has also recently wrestled with unhappy unions, poor punctuality and a recent increase in maintenance-related delays and cancellations.

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Two twisted Shoreham cops face sack after they took sick 'human barbecue' selfie: Hawker Hunter T.Mk 7, Canfield Hunter Ltd., G-BXFI, fatal accident occurred August 22, 2015

Two rookie police officers are facing the sack after describing the Shoreham air disaster as a “human barbecue”.

They took a video selfie on a mobile phone while guarding the crash site in West Sussex, where 11 people died when a vintage jet crashed on the A27.

The pair sent the film to a colleague using social media network Snapchat, attaching the offensive words as a caption with a hashtag.

The shocked recipient reported them and they are now being investigated for gross misconduct.

Sussex Police said the incident had caused “unnecessary distress” to relatives before the first funerals.

Local councilor Barry Mear said: “I’m sure the police are disgusted two of their own have done this.”

Videos and pictures sent through Snapchat automatically delete.

Sussex Police Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said she had thought of suspending the officers but decided to “keep their shoulder to the wheel.”

She added: “Nothing in that video showed any detail of the scene.”

Chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, will be laid to rest in Rottingdean. The funeral of Jacob Schilt, 23, is in Hove.

The Hawker Hunter crashed doing a loop-the-loop at the Shoreham Airshow on August 22.

Pilot Andy Hill, 51, is in serious condition in hospital.


Kitfox II, N52414: Incident occurred September 08, 2015 in Great South Bay, Bayport, New York

BAYPORT, N.Y. (WABC) -- An experimental Kitfox II plane flipped into the Great South Bay off Long Island Tuesday morning.

Suffolk County police said the pilot, Joseph Cannizzaro, was trying to fly the plane when the pontoon and left wing caught the water, causing the aircraft to crash into the water at about 6:45 a.m.

Peter Williams took cell phone video as he helped rescue pilot Joseph Cannizzaro.

"Are you tied or not?" Williams said in the video.

Williams says he was lying in his bed in the morning looking out at the Great South Bay watching the small plane.

"And then he crashed right in right down," Williams said.

Williams flew out of bed and got into his boat.

"I jumped right in the boat and that's when I called 911 at the same time that I'm trying to get out and get out to him," Williams said.

About 1,000 feet off shore he reached Cannizzaro who was calmly waiting on his flipped over plane.

A witness showed Eyewitness News a picture of Cannizzaro backing his plane into the water using a pickup truck around 6:30 a.m.

Jack Stevens says he was fishing around that time and also saw Cannizzaro struggling to maintain altitude.

"He was floating along there for a little bit and then he turned like he was going to take off again, and as he took off again I think the wind caught his upper wing and tipped him and the other wing hit the water and he flipped over," Stevens said.

Suffolk Marine Bureau officers were finally able to pull the plane to shore.

Williams says it was a good team effort.

"You're happy you could help?" Eyewitness News said.

"Oh definitely, definitely that's all you can do is try to help somebody," Williams said.

Eyewitness News tried to reach Cannizzaro, but he didn't return our calls or messages.

The Coast Guard says he refused medical attention at the scene.

The plane was towed to a nearby beach. The FAA is investigating the incident.

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Carilion Clinic: Keep drones away from medical helicopters

Carilion Clinic warned Tuesday against flying drones near medical helicopters, saying there have been two minor encounters so far this year.

Where medical helicopters land and take off, whether at hospitals or in the field, is no place for a drone, the Carilion personnel said.

Gathered at their Roanoke hangar, air ambulance pilots offered a public safety announcement: “When in doubt, land the drone.”

While admitting they don’t control the actions of drone operators, the Carilion medical helicopter team called on drone owners to voluntarily avoid medevac operations. There’s too much potential for conflict between the serious business of emergency medicine and hobbyists shooting video to put on the web or have as a keepsake, officials said.

When conventional aircraft share airspace, they stay in communication with each other and with people on the ground. The presence of a drone, whose operator isn’t linked into communications and may not be an aviator, raises the risk of a mishap or collision. “We don’t know what their intentions are and they don’t know what our intentions are,” said Susan Smith, who directs the air and specialty care divisions at Carilion patient transportation.

The bottom line: Medical chopper pilots, who cruise at 138 mph and pick up 1,500 patients yearly, have more than enough to think about without having to jockey around a drone.

Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems in Arlington, said he appreciated Carilion for urging drone owners to put the safety and privacy of medical pilots and their patients first.
Carilion’s advisory “sounds exactly right,” Wynne said.

Wynne said the website offers comprehensive guidance for safe drone operation for recreational, government or business purposes.

The FAA directs operators of small recreational drones, which it calls model aircraft, to avoid manned aircraft, fly no higher than 400 feet and stay in control of their devices. But twice this year drones flew near medical operations involving Carilion aircraft, Smith said. Neither pilot needed to evade the drone and neither was delayed or reported a near miss, Smith said. But with drone popularity climbing, and prices falling, more people will fly drones in the future, creating more possible conflicts, she said.

Smith belongs to groups at the Association of Air Medical Services and the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services that will recommend means to curb the risks raised by drones. Under the latest thinking, an on-the-ground coordinator at each site who is assigned to assist with takeoff and landing scans the area for drones, notifies helicopter pilots of any drones present, identifies the drone’s owner if possible and asks him or her to land it, Smith said.

"When in doubt, land the drone,” Smith said.

In one of the two incidents, a drone hovered near a helicopter pickup of a patient at a Bluefield, West Virginia, hospital, Smith said.

In the other, pilot Tyson Le Roy landed his Life Guard helicopter near a Henry County traffic wreck, but the injured person was still being freed. A drone flew over the scene. Le Roy said that while the extraction continued, he wanted to reduce the weight of the aircraft before boarding the patient by taking a short flight to burn fuel. But he judged the drone was too close and stayed on the ground, missing the opportunity to shave a few minutes off the pickup.

Firefighters found the owner of the drone and the owner landed it, Le Roy said. It turned out that the person injured in the wreck didn’t need to go to the hospital. The lost time didn't matter, but under other circumstances could have.

“Ignorant and irresponsible use of these drones can create a hazardous situation for the patients that we serve in this business,” he said.


Allegiant Flight to Las Vegas Diverts to Airport in Utah

An Allegiant Air flight from Bismarck, North Dakota, made an unscheduled stop about 120 miles short of its Las Vegas destination, diverting to an airport in southern Utah for what the airline described on Tuesday as a possible maintenance issue.

Crew members reported a faulty fuel gauge, an airport official at St. George Regional Airport said.

No emergency was declared, but the interrupted flight became the latest incident involving the low-cost carrier that caters to vacation travelers.

An Allegiant flight aborted takeoff three weeks ago when the nose lifted prematurely while the aircraft hurtled down a Las Vegas runway, and another Allegiant flight made an emergency landing July 23 at a closed airport in Fargo, North Dakota, after company executives piloting the aircraft reported they were nearly out of fuel.

Flight 487 landed safely in Monday at 7:12 p.m. MDT in St. George, a statement from the Las Vegas-based airline said. The MD-83 jet had 141 passengers and six crew members aboard.

Brad Kitchen, airport operations supervisor in St. George, said he arranged for about 35 passengers to take a shuttle bus to Las Vegas. Other passengers waited in the terminal for another aircraft to arrive to fly them the short 30-minute flight to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Kitchen said.

Allegiant said the flight arrived at 12:03 a.m., and baggage was being brought Tuesday to Las Vegas. Passengers were offered $100 vouchers for future travel, the airline said.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said he had no information about Monday's landing.

The FAA is investigating the aborted Aug. 17 takeoff at McCarran of an MD-83 bound for Peoria, Illinois. The aircraft returned safely to the gate, and no injuries were reported.

An initial probe found that a nut fell off a crucial component, causing a control surface to jam in the up position, the FAA said. That raised the nose as the aircraft accelerated down the runway.

In July, two Allegiant executives with pilot licenses were flying the Allegiant MD-80 jet that made the emergency landing at Hector International Airport in Fargo. The air field had been closed for an air show.

The airline said 144 passengers departed late from Las Vegas because a passenger had a medical emergency and had to be taken to a hospital.

The Las Vegas-based airline, a unit of Allegiant Travel Co., said it was cooperating with FAA investigators.


Air India says its aircraft are safe


Despite an Air India Airbus A320 aircraft making an emergency landing at Delhi airport late on Monday night, the airline maintains that the aircraft in its fleet are safe and operating with full airworthiness certification of not only the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus but also the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Air India has a fleet of 64 Airbus aircraft in its fleet out of a total fleet strength of 130 aircraft. The Airbus A320 fleet is considered the workhorse of the airline even as officials maintain that the basic issue is with 15 of the 64 Airbus A320 which are called classic aircraft and are around 20 years old.

"All Aircraft Maintenance Programs recommended by Airbus Industry or any other aircraft manufacturer as also the Directorate General of Civil Aviation are strictly adhered to by Air India. All safety parameters are maintained to ensure safety of flight and people,” a senior AI official said adding that just like any other machine, an aircraft also faces technical issues with age.

Late on Monday night an Air India spokesperson told news reporters that the flight operating on the Varanasi- Delhi had an emergency landing due to a hydraulic leak. "This resulted in few sparks at the nose wheel. There was no fire. All 146 passengers were evacuated safely and taken to the terminal building. No passenger was injured,” the spokesperson said.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), a body representing pilots’ interests, had written to the DGCA in March this year that the classic A320 aircraft which are 26 years old were being operated with repetitive snags endangering flight safety.

Countering the charge, a senior airline official told BusinessLine that there were several checks and balances built into the system to ensure that one or the other systems on the aircraft take over to ensure that it takes over from the system that has failed.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Renn Farm: National pilots group opposes development project near Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Maryland

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is taking a stand against the first major development project planned for the city’s airport overlay zone.

Mark Baker, AOPA president, submitted a letter to the mayor and Board of Aldermen in mid-August outlining his objections to changing the zoning of the Renn Farm.

The AOPA supports keeping the area zoned light industrial, but the proposed development requires mixed-use zoning to accommodate its residential component.

The correspondence suggested that a zoning change may threaten federal grant funding at the airport because the FAA requires grant applicants to “zone and use other measures to restrict the use of land in the vicinity of the airport to activities and purposes compatible with normal aircraft operations.”

“The property is developed in such proximity to the airport that if you put residential property there it is a precursor to noise complaints at the airport,” said Adam Williams, AOPA manager for airport policy. “The place to put a stop to that slippery slope is at this stage.”

The airport relies heavily on federal funding for eligible projects. For example, the FAA provides 90 percent of the funding for runway extension.

An FAA spokeswoman said she was aware of the Renn Farm project but could not comment specifically about how it might affect the agency’s ability to provide grant funding to the airport.

“The FAA also requires an airport sponsor to control land use adjacent to the airport when possible,” spokeswoman Arlene Salac wrote in an email. “The FAA also evaluates ... airports’ compliance with grant assurances associated with land use issues.”

Push for progress

The Renn Farm development, as proposed by developer Matan Cos., calls for 1,050 multifamily buildings, town houses, cottages and houses, along with 105,000 square feet of nonresidential use and 24.1 acres of dedicated parkland.

Because the development is in the airport overlay zone, anything built over 100 feet tall would be subject to FAA evaluation.

Concerns raised by Airport Commission members and the AOPA target the residential portion of the development specifically. But several market studies and analyses of the future opportunities for residential and nonresidential development of the land indicated that development of the 200-acre site could include more than the exclusively industrial business permitted under its current zoning, according to Karl Morris, director of development for Matan Cos.

“The studies on the property indicated that mixed-use was the best use for the property versus industrial uses, and therefore creates an opportunity to produce a mixed-use traditional neighborhood design,” Morris wrote in an email.

Project plans — residential use included — also fit with the development plans outlined by East Frederick Rising in its 2011 vision plan, Morris wrote.

Matan’s proposal includes less dense residential development of the property than the vision plan outlined, according to state Sen. Ron Young, an East Frederick Rising board member. In the five years since the plan was published, Young said he hadn’t heard any objections to residential development on the farm.

“This is kind of coming out of left field,” he said of the recent concerns voiced by airport groups.

As the volunteer group begins anew its efforts to bring development to the east side of the city, Young said setbacks to the Renn Farm project could paralyze efforts across the region.

“It would devastate it,” Young said of the possibility that the mayor and aldermen vote against the rezoning request and site plans. “It would have a lot of impacts on the whole area that I don’t think would be good.”

Competing interests

The final vote on the requested rezoning and site plans is scheduled for a city meeting on Sept. 17. The meeting will include opportunity for residents to give feedback and discussion among city officials before they vote.

Several aldermen expressed concern at an August workshop meeting about the potentially negative consequences of building houses and town houses so close to the airport.

Alderman Michael O’Connor said last week that he was still weighing the advantages and possible downsides to the project.

O’Connor said the best solution would be to craft rezoning requirements that would allow the project to move forward while establishing protections for the airport and future residents.

“If I’m going to vote to rezone, I have to believe those protections are adequate,” he said.

Alderman Phil Dacey, though, said he didn’t want to do anything that would derail the project from moving forward.

“I think the project Matan has put together will be a really positive thing for the city,” he said. “I’m still hopeful we can work out a solution that will satisfy everybody.”

Just the Facts

Location: 200 acres in east Frederick

Developer: Matan Cos.

Zoning: Currently zoned for light industrial use with request to rezone to the mixed-use floating district, also part of airport overlay zone

Mixed-use development details: 1,050 multifamily buildings, town houses, cottages and houses; 105,000 square feet of nonresidential space and 24.1 acres of dedicated city parkland

Infrastructure: Developer has agreed to enter an agreement with the city for infrastructure improvements along Monocacy Boulevard from Hughes Ford Road to East Patrick Street, along with contributions to several capital improvement program and escrow-funded projects on these roads and intersections.

Parks and recreation: A 73-acre flood plain dedicated as city parkland, well above the requirement under the city's land management code for mixed-use development and an agreement to construct a trail connecting shared-use paths along Carroll Creek and Monocacy Boulevard.

Next steps: Either continued discussion second city workshop or part of an upcoming public hearing and vote by city aldermen.

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