Sunday, September 6, 2015

Government probes further into incident at Ha’apai airport

An incident that almost claimed the lives of passengers on board a Real Tonga Airline flight at Ha'apai airport was told that pilot and assistant pilot had differences in interpretation of the aircraft airspeed indicator last Monday.

The Hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism ‘Etuate Lavulavu reported the latest report from the airline in Parliament on Thursday.

He said the airspeed indicator instrument in front of the pilot indicated it’s time for the plane to take off yet the co-pilot’s same instrument indicated otherwise. Their differences caused the plane to swerve to the side before it came to an abrupt halt and almost hit the fence at the airport.

The airspeed indicator is an instrument used to display the craft's airspeed in order to maintain airspeed specific to the aircraft type and operating conditions.

It was reported in Parliament after much concern raised by Ha’apai 13 MP Veivosa Taka that the incident almost claimed the lives of passengers on board the Real Tonga Airline’s flight last week.

Taka claimed one of the passengers on board that flight Dr. Mohenoa Puloka said it was a terrifying moment to see the plane landed only 20 feet away of Koulo’s cliff.

Lavulavu informed Parliament on Thursday that investigation is underway to ensure it’s not happening again. He said that Cabinet has also requested assistance from Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) in probing further into the matter.

He also denied Taka’s curiosity the pilots were intoxicated for mishandling errors of the airspeed indicator reading.

Earlier, when the incident was raised in Parliament, it prompted an uproar from Vava’u number 2 Noble Representative Lord Tu’ilakepa who called for immediate suspension of all Real Tonga Airlines' flights.

He claimed it was a serious matter that Government must act promptly to avoid further aviation accident from happening. Tu’ilakepa said Government should use their conscience in dealing with the issue. He also gave reference to an incident where an Israel’s plane urgently requested landing rights in Tonga yet it was a Sunday.

Tu’ilakepa said God gifted man with sound mind to make the right decision and that was exactly what the previous Government did.

“Government at the time put aside the laws and use their conscience and sound mind to do what was right back then,” explained Lord Tu’ilakepa.

‘Eua Noble Representative Lord Nuku was also concerned with confirmation the same aircraft that almost had an accident in Ha’apai is still flying.

In response Government said it has no authority to immediately suspend flights of Real Tonga Airlines since there are due process it must adhere to before making and decision. First a report must be submitted from the airline and further investigation will be carried out before the Government makes the final decision.

Cabinet was also concerned with whoever responsible for issuing the direction for the aircraft to fly, especially it was a really bad weather last Monday (August 24).

Lavulavu said the Government was taking the matter seriously for the safety of people and also because it is an ongoing problem.

“One incident involved a Real Tonga’s flight crashed landing at ‘Eua airport and punctured one of its tire. Another incident involved a brake failure of Real Tonga’s 12-Harbin Y12 aircraft that caused the aircraft to veer on the runway. And the latest report from Ha’apai is a concern,” said Lavulavu.

He added the reported incident at Ha’apai also questioned the potential management of local domestic operator to provide continuous air service domestically.

Lavulavu said that’s always Government’s initiative when seeking assistance from overseas to ensure reliable and people safety air services.

Vava’u Number 2 Noble Representative Lord Tu’ilakepa also argued it is the Government’s responsibility to check the airworthiness of Real Tonga’s aircraft, check the actions of pilots and suspend all its flights. He also asserted MPs that the Government should use their conscience in dealing with the matter and not wait for death to come and then further action.

Vava’u 15 constituency MP, Samiu Vaipulu moved the Government’s decision and called on Cabinet to get an independent audit check of the aircraft for air safety procedures.

Meanwhile Ha’apai 13 MP said Dr. Puloka maintained their safety is not because of the pilot’s expertise but it’s God’s love.

“He hears our cries and prayers during our ordeal,” explained Dr. Puloka.

Puloka called for immediate Government action in addressing the problem to avoid further mishap from happening.

When Real Tonga Airlines was issued with the required certification to operate domestically in Tonga they pledged a reliability and people safety as their top priority.

Original article can be found here: http://parliament.gov.to

Lynchburg City Council to consider long-term lease for aeronautic services at Lynchburg Regional Airport (KLYH), Virginia

After a protracted negotiation process, Lynchburg City Council is set to consider and potentially authorize a long-term lease agreement with Aviation Resources Inc., a fixed-base operator at Lynchburg Regional Airport.

Fixed-base operators provide fueling and other aeronautic services. Those services at Lynchburg Regional Airport previously were provided by two FBOs, Freedom Aviation and Virginia Aviation.

In 2014, Freedom Aviation LLC purchased Virginia Aviation. Virginia Aviation’s agreement with the city did not allow the lease to be sold or transferred to another party, and a provision stated the lease would be terminated if Virginia Aviation was sold.

The Lynchburg Regional Airport Commission recommended the city operate its own limited FBO, but City Council voted in February to allow the negotiation for a long-term lease with Freedom Aviation.

All three entities are related; Aviation Resources is doing business as Virginia Aviation, and Virginia Aviation is owned by Freedom Aviation, Airport Director Mark Courtney explained in an interview. Freedom Aviation is a subsidiary of Liberty University.

The final draft lease agreement to be presented to City Council on Tuesday will be for a term of three years with the option to renew for terms of five years. Aviation Resources will pay the city nearly $17,000 a month to rent facilities at the airport, but the agreement states rent may be lowered if Aviation Resources’ financial statements show no net profit. Rent may not be lowered below $11,361 per month, the draft lease agreement states.

Aviation Resources may not be able to “assign, sell or transfer,” the lease without the city’s approval, although there is the possibility of subleases under specified conditions.

At the Tuesday meeting, City Council also will consider an amendment to a franchise agreement with Freedom Aviation LLC, which formerly went by the name Falwell Aviation Inc., that would remove a restriction prohibiting the company from performing fueling of commercial and military aircraft.

City Council will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Source:  http://www.newsadvance.com

Aer Lingus chairman leases aircraft to potential rival • Fly Leasing supplies jet to Norwegian airline trying to set up long-haul service in Republic

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington’s Fly Leasing recently supplied a Boeing aircraft to Norwegian Air, the Scandinavian operator that is attempting to set up a budget long-haul airline in the Republic.

Mr Barrington is chief executive of DĂșn Laoghaire-based Fly Leasing, one of a number of Irish companies that finance and supply aircraft to airlines around the world.

Documents recently filed with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) by Norwegian Air International, an Irish-registered subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, show Fly leased a Boeing 737-800 to the company earlier this year.

The deal with Fly is one of a number agreed by Norwegian Air International with suppliers this year, all of them for Boeing 737-800s, a short- to medium-range craft used by a large number of carriers, including Ryanair.

The Scandinavian airline is leasing the craft. The lessors use the aircraft as security for the rent, which is why the agreement is registered with the CRO.

Most airlines lease some or all of their craft. Leasing companies buy the aircraft using a combination of their own and borrowed cash and rent them to the carriers. Alternatively they buy the craft from the airlines and lease them back.

The Republic is a recognised hub for aircraft leasing, with most of the big players based here.

The Boeing 737-800 has a list price of €70 million but manufacturers generally give buyers discounts, particularly if they are buying large numbers or if they have an existing relationship.

Mr Barrington said this month Fly is on track to spend $750 million (€672 million) on new aircraft this year. His company recently sold a large number of mid-aged craft and is gearing up to replace these. It also completed a sale-and- leaseback deal for a 737-800 with an unnamed airline.

Norwegian Air International plans to establish a low-cost, long-haul business from the Republic that will offer flights between Europe and the United States and Far East for as little as €315 return.

The Irish Aviation Authority and Commission for Aviation last year granted the company the licences it needs to operate an airline from the State. However, its plans have met opposition in the US.

Its parent group’s chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, said last year Norwegian Air Shuttle intended to do much of its financing and leasing from the Republic. At that point, Irish entities owned half its 90 aircraft.

Accounts lodged by Norwegian Air International – the Irish-registered company – show it turned over $100 million in 2014, $49 million coming from supplying craft and crew to operate its parent’s Scandinavia-Bangkok routes, $40 million from ticket sale and the balance came from “other revenues”.

The figures show it lost almost $100 million. Much of this was down to an $88 million write-off stemming from its purchase of the business run by a subsidiary, Norwegian Assets Ltd, which was subsequently liquidated.

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

Despite smaller plane, passenger numbers rise at Columbia Regional Airport (KCOU), Missouri

COLUMBIA - Officials shared new statistics Saturday showing passenger numbers on the rise at Columbia Regional Airport (COU).

Greg Cecil with the airport advisory board said the number of passengers getting on a flight at COU is up 20 percent from 2014, while the number of people getting off a flight at the airport is up 22 percent.

Cecil said the increase is largely due to a larger plane being used on the flight from Columbia to Chicago.

"There's huge demand here," Cecil said.

The larger aircraft, the CRJ-700, seats roughly 15 more passengers than the smaller ERJ-145, which was previously used on the route. The CRJ was also used to fly to Dallas, but the regional carrier that operates flights out of COU for American Airlines, quickly brought back the smaller jet, Cecil said.

"Airlines are constantly changing how they do business," he said. "Also, there could be a shift from time to time in the regional airline that is the code share partner for American Airlines."

American, like most major U.S. airlines, subcontracts its shorter-haul regional flights to smaller regional carriers, which operate smaller jets on behalf of American.

The change back to the 50-passenger ERJ was partly due to a lack of service facilities for the larger plane in Dallas.

"It's my understanding that there was not a service hanger for the -700s in Dallas and so there were for the 50 passengers that they're using now" Cecil said. "A lot of those things we have no control over because the airlines are shifting aircraft around to where it makes more sense for them to make a profit."

While the numbers discussed Saturday were a good sign of growth, Cecil said any further expansion of the airport is a slow process.

"Right now we're bursting at the seams on our terminal, and so while, you know, we'd love to have a plane that would accommodate 150 people, if we had two planes that were capable of doing that and we could fill them, we'd have some real issues in the current terminal" He said.

Cecil said he hopes the airport can continue moving forward with expansion plans, and said a flight to Charlotte has been the topic of heavy conversation.

"It's in our demand analysis that that would make sense to go there. But a lot of it's just a matter of time and us being able to accommodate," He said.

Cecil said crews could have a plan for a new or renovated terminal within the year.

Story, video and comments:   http://www1.komu.com

Cessna 310H, N1099Q: Fatal accident occurred September 06, 2015 in Silverton, Colorado

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N1099Q 

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA400
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 05, 2015 in Silverton, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 310H, registration: N1099Q
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On September 5, 2015, about 1408 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 310H, N1099Q, impacted mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 11,500 feet mean sea level near Silverton, Colorado, based upon preliminary radar information consistent with the flight. Two non-instrument, single-engine land rated private pilots and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was registered to and operated by the registered pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on a flight plan and was not utilizing flight following services by air traffic control. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight last departed from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Flagstaff, Arizona. and was destined to Amarillo, Texas.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov


Members of the San Juan County and La Plata County search and rescue teams at the scene of the plane crash on Monday, Sept. 7. The Colorado Air National Guard helicopter that airlifted them to the remote location is in the background.


The plane that crashed in San Juan County on Saturday, Sept. 5, encountered “instrument meteorological conditions” over western Colorado, but neither of the two pilots aboard was qualified to fly in such bad weather.

That’s one of the conclusions in a preliminary report released Thursday, Sept. 17, by the National Traffic Safety Board, which is investigating the plane crash that killed four California residents.

The NTSB report indicates the crash occurred at about 2:08 p.m. on Sept. 5, when the twin-engine Cessna 310H “impacted mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 11,500 feet.”


Weather was partly cloudy in Silverton that day, but there were some rain squalls and a thunderstorm was reported in the area.

The wreckage was located the following day near the head of Cascade Creek at Grizzly Peak, about nine miles west of Silverton.
 The preliminary NTSB report also points out that the two pilots aboard were not rated to fly a twin-engine plane and were not operating on a flight plan.

Additionally, the pilot was not utilizing ”flight-following services by air traffic control,” the NTSB reported.

San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad identified the victims as pilot Harold Joseph Raggio, 72, of Big Bear, Calif., Steven Dale Wilkinson, 59, of Newberry Springs, Calif., Rosalinda Leslie, 57, of Hesperia, Calif., and Michael Lyle Riley, 59, of Barstow, Calif.


The location where Harold Raggio keeps his Cessna 310H was vacant Tuesday morning. Raggio's Cessna 310H crashed Sunday in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.



DAGGETT — Newberry resident Reany Raggio said she will forever remember the last time she flew with her father.

Harold Raggio took his daughter up in his Cessina 310H last month during an airshow at Big Bear Airport. On Sunday, Reany Raggio received a phone call from Colorado authorities that her father died in a crash in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colorado.

Reany Raggio said Tuesday that three others died in the crash. Harold Raggio's son-in-law, Steve Wilkinson, a friend, Mike Riley, and Riley's girlfriend,  Rosalinda Leslie were the passengers in the plane.
"We knew something was wrong Saturday night," Reany Raggio said. "We did find out Sunday. The flight rescue notified us."

Raggio was piloting the Cessna 310 that took off from Barstow-Daggett Airport at about 7 a.m. Saturday, according to Alan Hamm, operator of Daggett Aviation. Harold Raggio, according to the Associated Press, was heading for Amarillo, Texas. Raggio took off from Big Bear and flew into Barstow-Daggett Airport to pick up his passengers. According to his flight plan, Harold Raggio also stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona to refuel.

Harold Raggio moved to Big Bear recently, but was well known in Newberry Springs.

"He lived for flying," Newberry resident Paula Deel said Tuesday. She said it was common for Harold Raggio to give friends and Newberry Springs residents rides in his plane. She recalls Raggio landing his Cessna 310 on Route 66 for the the community's Fourth of July celebration.

"He was a great guy," Paul Deel said. "Anybody that wanted to fly, he would take them up and show them a good time."

Paul Deel said he took his grandchildren flying.

Reany Raggio said that was not unusual for her father.

"He would take anybody up," she said. "Underprivileged kids too. He did a lot of that. The plane was his life to him. He loved to fly."

She said she grew up in air shows with her father, who just turned 71 last month. The retired Marine pilot leaves behind his wife, Rose, three children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He would have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in January. Tanya Raggio and Harold Dewayne Raggio are the other children.

Harold Raggio survived being shot down in a helicopter in Vietnam, his daughter said.

According to the San Juan County Sheriff's Department, a ground crew reached the site near Silverton, Colorado at an elevation of about 11,600 feet, Sunday night and confirmed a crash. The Civil Air Patrol had been searching for a Texas-bound small plane that went missing Sunday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Source: http://www.desertdispatch.com


The identities of four people who died in a plane crash Sunday north of Purgatory Resort were released Tuesday, two of which were pilots not rated to fly the type of aircraft they were operating.

Initial reports indicated five people died in the crash. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office listed those who perished as pilot Harold Joseph Raggio of Newberry Springs, California; Steven Dale Wilkinson, also of Newberry Springs; Rosalinda Leslie of Hesperia, California; and Michael Lyle Riley of Barstow, California, who also happens to be a pilot.

The plane crashed around 2 p.m. Sunday, and was found at 11,500-feet in the upper limits of the Cascade Creek on the east side of the canyon, inaccessible from road or trails. A sheriff’s office post to Facebook said four rescuers were flown in by helicopter to look for signs of life. The next morning, additional emergency crews arrived on scene, knowing none of the passengers had survived.

“Through great effort, the rescuers were able to confirm the identities, and bring home the remains of all four victims,” the Facebook post says.

Peter Knudson, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the two pilots on board were rated to fly single-engine aircraft – not the multi-engine plane they were flying, a Cessna 310H.

Multi-engine aircraft are more complex to operate, and can be more difficult to handle in cases of emergencies, Knudson said.

The plan is to bring down the remaining wreckage on Thursday to an accessible location for a federal investigator to detail. Knudson said the debris field reached 300 yards in length. A preliminary report will be available within two weeks, but a final report could take up to a year.

Officials confirmed the aircraft left Barstow on Sunday morning en route to San Antonio – not Amarillo as previously reported. The plane was last seen refueling in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Knudson said the pilots were not on a flight plan or communicating with flight traffic control. Instead, he said the pilots were navigating with reference to looking outside as opposed to following a path.

A variety of factors – including weather, proper training, and equipment failure – will be taken into account during the investigation.

In addition to the sheriff’s office, Civil Air Patrol, the Air National Guard and La Plata County Search and Rescue all took part in the emergency response. The NTSB and FAA are now handling the investigation.

In 2013, Raggio and Riley were included on the FAA’s Airmen Certification Database, a list of pilots who have “met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards,” set by the federal agency. It was not immediately known whether they had any training for multi-engine aircraft, and had not reached a “rated” status.

Source: http://www.durangoherald.com


Five people died in a Cessna 310H that was found crashed in mountainous terrain in remote San Juan County, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed. 

The plane is thought to have gone down at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

A Cessna 310H was reported overdue by a family member, the Federal Aviation Administration said. That plane was headed from Barstow, Calif., for Amarillo, Texas, via Tucumcari, N.M., and was last seen departing Flagstaff, Ariz.

Neither agency could confirm whether the missing Cessna 310H is the same one whose wreckage was found. The nearest town to the crash site is Telluride, San Miguel County.

"There are still a lot of unanswered questions," Knudson said. "Early on, there's a lot we don't know."

The N-Number for the craft missing from Barstow shows a Cessna 310H registered to a Harold Raggio of Newberry Springs, Calif. Daggett Aviation, a fixed-base operator for the Barstow-Daggett airport, said Raggio had a hangar there, as well as in Big Bear, Calif., about 54 miles southwest.

Raggio's Cessna took off from Big Bear on Saturday, landed at Daggett to pick up passengers and took off for Flagstaff, according to Dagett Aviation.

An NTSB investigator was on the way to the crash site Monday; Knudson said he would likely have to be choppered in to access the wreckage.

Attempts to reach the San Juan County coroner Monday have so far been unsuccessful. The San Juan County Sheriff's dispatch referred calls to the NTSB.

Previous story:

Five people died in a Cessna 310H that was found crashed in mountainous terrain in remote San Juan County, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed.

The plane is thought to have gone down at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

A Cessna 310 was reported overdue by a family member, the Federal Aviation Administration said. That plane was headed for Amarillo, Texas, via Tucumcari, N.M., and was last seen departing Flagstaff, Ariz.

Neither agency could confirm whether the missing 310 is the same one whose wreckage was found. The nearest town to the crash site is Telluride, San Miguel County.

"There are still a lot of unanswered questions," Knudson said. "Early on, there's a lot we don't know."

Knudson did not expect to have additional information before late Monday night or Tuesday morning.

An NTSB investigator was on the way to the crash site as of 11:30 a.m. Monday; Knudson said he would likely have to be choppered in to access the wreckage.

He could not immediately provide the Cessna's N-number.

The Durango Herald reports that the search is taking place in the Grizzly Peak area and that a Civil Air Patrol crew, since recalled, launched from the Grand Junction Regional Airport on Sunday, shortly after receiving word of the missing plane.

The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is assisting the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in the crash response, as well.

Original story:

Plane wreckage found near Telluride may be that of an overdue Cessna 310, that was en route from Flagstaff, Ariz. to Amarillo, Texas, via Tucumcari, N.M.

Federal Aviation Administration officials have not confirmed whether the wreckage is that of the missing plane, which a relative of one of the passengers had reported as overdue.

Search and rescue teams are on scene, the FAA said. Investigators from that agency and from the National Transportation Safety Board are also expected to arrive on scene Monday.

There was no immediate word of the fate of those who may have been on board the aircraft.


The Durango Herald reports that the search is taking place in the Grizzly Peak area and that a Civil Air Patrol crew, since recalled, launched from the Grand Junction Regional Airport on Sunday, shortly after receiving word of the missing plane.


The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is assisting the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in the crash response, as well.


Source:  http://www.montrosepress.com


KUSA - Up to five people were killed in a plane crash that happened Sunday in a remote part of San Juan County.

The plane, a Cessna 310H, lost radio contact south of Telluride near Grizzly Peak and crashed at around 4:15 p.m., the National Transportation Security Board says.

Lt. Col. Mike Daniels with the Civil Air Patrol couldn't confirm that it was the same plane reported overdue that was traveling from Barstow, California to Amarillo, Texas.

The identities of the people on board have not yet been released. The San Juan County Sheriff's Office says all of their rescuers are safely out of the field, and are bringing home the remains of the passengers

Investigators from the FAA and NTSB are headed to the area to conduct an investigation -- and 9NEWS aviation expert and former NTSB investigator Greg Feith says the remoteness of the location could make getting answers a challenge.

"They don't have the ability to law the wreckage out, to utilize the tools they may need, so [investigators] will document as much of the wreckage they can, looking for certain characteristics, and once they've done everything they can on scene, the aircraft will probably be recovered and taken to a salvage yard where they can re-examine things that may have been more interesting on the scene," Feith said.

Source: http://www.9news.com

Restrictions on Airborne Shipments of Lithium Batteries Gain Support • Even battery trade group acknowledges risks, as recent tests reveal

A frame grab from a video provided by the Federal Aviation Administration shows a test at the FAA’s technical center in Atlantic City, N.J. Boeing Co. has warned carriers that flying bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries can cause fires capable of destroying the planes.



The Wall Street Journal
By ANDY PASZTOR
September 6, 2015 5:45 p.m. ET


Transporting lithium batteries in the bellies of commercial jets is more hazardous than previously recognized, with federal tests revealing that just a handful of burning power cells can overwhelm typical onboard cargo safety and fire-suppression systems.

Results from recent Federal Aviation Administration laboratory testing, combined with the latest risk-reduction proposals from battery makers, highlight a shift in the debate over bulk shipments of highly flammable lithium batteries. International regulators and aviation industry officials increasingly worry about the dangers, and they are developing far-reaching packaging restrictions for airborne carriage of the ubiquitous power sources.

The deliberations aren’t focused on lithium batteries carried by passengers into airline cabins to power cellphones, tablets and other portable consumer electronics.

Reports released by the aviation arm of the United Nations, which is slated to consider tighter standards later this fall, document those escalating concerns. An FAA paper presented to the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization in late July, for example, concluded that less than two dozen rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can emit explosive gases powerful enough to breach cargo panels and overwhelm typical firefighting systems in the belly of a Boeing 737 jetliner.

Depending on cargo hold pressures, accumulation of gases and internal battery power levels, FAA experts determined that such compartments can even be compromised by the uncontrolled ignition of eight or even fewer batteries.

In an email Friday, an FAA spokeswoman said the tests demonstrated that the usual concentration of firefighting halon gas—typically used to fight cargo fires and the gases they produce—“is too low to prevent the ignition of these flammable gases” once heat transfers quickly from one lithium battery package to another in what engineers refer to as a “thermal runaway.”

According to an ICAO staff report presented at the same July meeting of industry, government and pilot-union experts convened by the U.N. organization, such a potentially catastrophic chain reaction can begin to occur at temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius. The staff report also said the current normal concentration of halon discharged in the event of a fire needs to be doubled “to prevent an explosion from these gases.”

In some FAA tests, lithium battery fires have been shown to produce temperatures exceeding the melting point of aluminum.

Over the past nine years, lithium batteries have been implicated in intense, quickly spreading airborne fires that brought down two jumbo freighters and killed their crew, as well as an earlier fire that destroyed a large cargo aircraft after it landed. In the case of a United Parcel Service Boeing 747 that crashed in Dubai in 2010, flight controls were severely damaged less than three minutes after the crew received an initial fire warning. The cockpit rapidly filled with so much smoke that the pilots couldn’t monitor their instruments, change radio frequencies or see anything through the windshield.

The rechargeable battery industry’s main trade group, known by the acronym PRBA, submitted a separate report in July broaching something it has balked at for years: significantly reducing the level of internal charge of batteries shipped by air. One of the association’s charts suggested exempting batteries with less than 30% of maximum charge from new packaging rules, because the volume of explosive gases decreases with a reduced level of charge.

Some battery officials and electronics industry representatives, however, have asserted such a reduced charge can result in battery damage and other negative consequences. Some bulk shipments can include many thousands of lithium batteries.

According to a March report prepared by the battery association, more than 5 billion individual lithium ion cells are projected to be produced globally in 2016, nearly doubling from 2008 totals. Multiple cells often are assembled to create a single battery. More-flammable lithium metal batteries, as well as larger and more powerful types of batteries designed for electric cars, sometimes also are shipped on planes.

Given such growth, FAA officials and other hazardous materials experts at the Transportation Department have scheduled a public meeting in Washington later this month to consider the U.S. position on further safety enhancements. According to the formal notice for the session, lithium batteries are “capable of self-ignition” due to a “short circuit, overcharge, exposure to extreme temperatures, mishandling, or a defect.”

In October 2014, an ICAO advisory group recommended sweeping changes in fire-retardant packaging and other safeguards, but put off specific standards. At the end of the July meeting, the same experts agreed on general guidelines for longer-term packaging changes but still left many details open for additional discussions.

There wasn’t any consensus on short-term safety enhancements, prompting leaders of pilot unions to decide to push for a binding global ban on shipping any lithium batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.

Meanwhile, Boeing and European plane maker Airbus Group SE have said current jetliner designs weren’t intended to withstand the extensive fires and explosive gases lithium batteries can produce. Even before those warnings, a number of airlines around the globe voluntarily banned bulk shipments of such batteries on passenger aircraft, and some also extended the ban to freighters.

In July, the union representing most British airline pilots urged airlines and passengers to take extra precautions to ensure that lithium ion batteries, as well as the personal devices they power, are carried only in aircraft cabins “where a buildup of gases or fire can be tracked more easily” than in cargo holds.

A position paper submitted to ICAO by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations in July argued that “any new performance packaging standards must be applied to both passenger and all-cargo operations.” Pilot representatives also said in the document that internal power levels for rechargeable batteries shipped by air should be set at “a level significantly below that” shown to be safe in tests.

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

Smoke rises from the scene of a plane crash in Dubai Sept. 3, 2010 in which a United Parcel Service 747 cargo plane went down shortly after takeoff, killing two crew members. The fire appeared to have started in lithium batteries aboard the plane. 


NTSB Identification: DCA10RA092
Accident occurred Friday, September 03, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Aircraft: BOEING 747-44AF, registration: N571UP
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

At about 7:45 pm local time (1545 UTC), United Parcel Service (UPS) Flight 6, a Boeing 747-400F (N571UP), crashed while attempting to land at Dubai International Airport (DXB), Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Approximately 45 minutes after takeoff, the crew declared an emergency due to smoke in the cockpit and requested a return to DXB. The two flight crew members were fatally injured. The airplane was being operated as a scheduled cargo flight from Dubai, UAE to Cologne, Germany.

The investigation is being led by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of the operator and state of design and manufacture of the airplane and engines. 

All inquiries should be directed to:

General Civil Aviation Authority
Regulations and Investigation Section
P.O. Box 6558
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
E-mail: accid@gcaa.ae

Airlines fined Rs 55,000 for losing baggage 7 years ago



CHENNAI: The state consumer commission has slapped Emirates Airlines with a fine of 55,000 for losing the baggage of a passenger about seven years ago, and said, payment of damages could not be restricted to the terms of any act, as "there is no bar to grant justifiable compensation for causing mental agony." 

Ashok Balasubramanian said he was doing a commercial pilot license course in South Africa. 

After completing his course, he took a connecting flight from Johannesburg to Chennai via Dubai on August 3, 2008. He booked three baggages at the time of boarding the flight. 

The next day, he took the connecting flight from Dubai, and reached Chennai. On reaching Chennai, he found his bag -- containing his private pilot license, pilot log books and other original educational certificates -- missing. He then contacted the customer affairs manager of Emirates Airlines in the city, which on August 15, 2008, informed Balasubramanian that his complaint had been referred to the tracing office at Dubai. 

The airlines, however, was unable to trace the baggage, and issued a letter on August 28, 2015, saying it was ready to provide $200 as settlement for the lost baggage. 

Balasubramanian then moved the state consumer disputes redressal commission saying in the absence of the pilot log book and other documents; he could not rejoin the course at South Africa. As the airline was responsible for bringing his career to an abrupt halt, it was liable to pay 50 lakh as damages, he said. 

In its counter, Emirates Airlines said the terms of travel were printed on the ticket. According to it, passengers were advised to carry their valuable articles in their hand baggage. The compensation claimed by Balasubramanian was "excessive" and it could pay only $200 to Balasubramanian according to the provisions of the Carriage by Air Act. 

A bench of presiding judicial member A K Annamalai and member P Bakiyavathi said the pilot log books and the license were not irreplaceable as Balasubramanian could get them duplicated. 

Though he had claimed that he had lost original educational certificates, Balasubramanian had not mentioned this in the list of missing items submitted before the commission. At one place, Balasubramanian said he had completed the course, and at another he said he had to rejoin the course. This meant he had exaggerated the claim, the bench said. 

Source:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Tension on the tarmac: O'Hare's jet taxi times worst among Big 5 airports

O’Hare International Airport has been racking up the worst airplane taxi times among the nation’s five busiest airports just as it prepares to launch a new runway that will feature the airfield’s longest ride to the gates.

On average, it should take 20 minutes to maneuver the winding route to the terminals from O’Hare’s $516 million southernmost runway, set to debut Oct. 15, experts estimate.

Passengers beware: Bathroom breaks normally aren’t allowed during taxiing or landing.

The typical trip will be about 4 minutes longer than from O’Hare’s northernmost runway, which currently carries the longest taxi route on the airfield, Federal Aviation Administration consultants estimated in a recent re-evaluation of O’Hare’s ongoing overhaul.

“For those of us who land on the north runway and groan now, the south runway will become the one that makes us all roll our eyes and go, ‘Swell,’” said United Airlines pilot Dan Swanson.

“[Passengers] will be looking at their watches, worried about their connections and wondering about the people picking them up.”

The prospect of such a long taxi emerges amid other tarmac tensions: O’Hare posted the worst taxi times, taxi delays and gate delays among the nation’s five busiest airports in the most recent 12 months of data available — through May 2015, an analysis by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association indicates.

Expand that to the nation’s 10 busiest airports, and O’Hare is worst in taxi-in times, taxi-in delays, and gate delays; second-worst in taxi-out delays; and third-worst in taxi-out times.

Meanwhile, O’Hare has struggled with overall flight delays even among the 29 largest U.S. airports. There, U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics indicate, O’Hare’s year-to-date on-time departure rate of 70.07 percent is dead last and its on-time arrival rate of 72.42 percent is second to last.

Overall performance in 2014 dipped below the last full year before overhaul construction started, when officials said O’Hare delays were clogging the national air traffic system. However, 2014 packed a brutal “Chiberia” winter, bringing numerous weather-related flight problems.

Some wonder when O’Hare’s $8.7 billion switch to a mostly east-west parallel runway system will deliver on promises to reduce delays in all kinds of weather. The prospect of a new, unusually long taxi — up to 5.25 miles of pathways would have to be cleared in snowy weather — does little to assuage those concerns, although the FAA anticipates taxi times will improve with the new runway.

“We’ve spent billions and we haven’t improved any measure of efficiency,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). His district includes parts of Chicago and suburbs hit especially hard by jet noise from O’Hare’s new east-west parallel runways.

Designers “were thinking about one aspect of O’Hare’s efficiency — more runways — and didn’t include other things. It is an integrated system,” Quigley said.

Yet another east-west parallel runway as well as a runway extension are planned, although airlines have yet to agree to help bankroll that $2.32 billion in work. Before funding is discussed, Quigley said, the city should reassess the O’Hare Modernization Program.

New Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans is willing to do that, said her spokesman, Owen Kilmer. Evans “will be examining every option to make O’Hare’s airfield more efficient,” Kilmer said.

A consultant for the Suburban O’Hare Commission, which has fought O’Hare noise, notes that O’Hare’s 2014 operations fell far short of overhaul projections. JDA Aviation Technology Solutions contends O’Hare needs more gates to reduce delays — not more runways. Evans says O’Hare needs both, particularly in peak hours.

The new runway initially is expected to be used almost exclusively in “east flow,” and only for arrivals. In that function, runway 10R should provide a needed boost to east flow arrival rates in good and bad weather, Kilmer said.

That improvement will allow “east flow” to be used more than the 30 percent of the year consultants estimated, officials say. East flow departure rates should improve too, Kilmer said.

Over the most recent 12 months, Kilmer cautioned, O’Hare has been hampered by a large number of bad-weather operations; disruptions caused by a Sept. 26 fire in an Aurora FAA facility; airline systemwide outages; and a new FAA “converging runway” safety rule that has impeded performance.

“Taxi time is only one component of the total traveler experience,” Kilmer added in an emailed statement. “Runway 10R will significantly enhance the airfield capacity and improve on-time performance overall. Passengers would much rather spend a few extra minutes taxiing on the airfield than holding in the air, waiting for clearance.”

Across the airfield, FAA consultants predict, the south runway and other changes should cut average taxi-in times by 1 minute and taxi-out times by almost 3 minutes.

Taxiing should be “free-flowing” because most taxiing planes will not have to wait for other aircraft to land or depart runways, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

American Airlines gates are among the farthest from the runway’s touchdown point. American officials have calculated 10R will add 3 to 5 minutes in taxi time to some arrivals, spokeswoman Leslie Scott said, so “we have made accommodations for that in our schedule.”

United Airlines wants to see the new runway in action to measure its taxi times, “but that won’t be too pertinent to our schedules, as they are based on airport averages,” said United spokesman Charles Hobart.

Swanson, the United pilot, cautioned that “free-flowing” is a matter of “semantics.” After landing on 10R, he said he would stop before crossing one active and another inactive runway unless he heard a long list of route clearances in advance.

If the next runway, 9C-27C, is ever built, FAA consultants predict it will shave 40 seconds off the airfield’s average taxi-out, but add almost a minute and a half to the average taxi-in.

With each new east-west parallel runway, said Darrin Thomas, a leader of the Fair Allocation in Runways citizen coalition, “all they are doing is putting more obstructions in play. When you have those parallel runways, you can’t just jog across them.”

Shorter taxis from diagonal runways are another reason to spare two such runways from demolition, said Thomas. FAIR favors using diagonals to spread jet noise across neighborhoods more evenly; Evans has ruled out that idea, citing new FAA safety rules and other reasons.

“By having more parallel runways, you gain more efficiency in being able to land planes, but they still have to be able to arrive at the terminal,” Thomas said. “And that’s where they are cutting O’Hare off at the knees.”

With diagonal runways, “when planes landed, they were right by the terminal,” said one retired O’Hare air traffic controller who asked to remain anonymous.

“Now, they are miles from the terminal. … They created a mess on the ground.”

A common midsize jetliner, the MD-80, will burn about $312 in fuel taxiing from runway 10R, estimates Megan Ryerson, assistant professor of transportation planning and aviation system researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s about $60 more — and nearly 200 more pounds of fuel — than needed for the current longest taxi-in from the north runway, Ryerson said.

However, Ryerson cautioned, leaving planes circling in the air uses three times more fuel per minute than taxiing-in.

Christopher Grant, an associate dean at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus, said the new runway’s taxi route is long and circuitous, but that’s typical when an airport locked into a specific footprint adds runways.

“You’re not starting with a blank slate,” Grant said.

Original article can be found here:   http://chicago.suntimes.com

de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 200, N181CS, Rampart Aviation: Accident occurred September 06, 2015 at North Raleigh Airport (00NC), Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina

The  National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Greensboro FSDO-39




NTSB Identification: ERA15LA343
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 06, 2015 in Louisburg, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-6, registration: N181CS
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

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

The airline transport pilot was conducting a cross-country aerial observation flight in the multiengine airplane. The pilot reported that the airplane was on the final leg of the traffic pattern when he reduced the power levers for landing and noticed that the right engine sounded like the propeller was moving toward the beta position. The pilot increased the engine power, and the sound stopped. As the airplane got closer to the runway, he decreased the engine power, and the sound returned. In addition, the airplane began to yaw right. The pilot applied left aileron and rudder inputs to remain above the runway centerline without success. While over the runway, the pilot reduced the engine power to idle, and the airplane continued to yaw right. The pilot applied full power in an attempt to perform a go-around; however, the airplane yawed about 30 degrees off the runway centerline, touched down in the grass, and impacted trees before coming to rest. The right wing, right engine, and right propeller assembly were impact-separated. The right engine propeller came to rest about 50 ft forward of the main wreckage, and it was found in the feathered position. A review of maintenance records revealed that the right propeller had been overhauled and reinstalled on the airplane 2 days before the accident and had operated 9 hours since that time. Subsequent testing of the right propeller governor revealed that it functioned without anomaly; however, the speed settings were improperly configured. Further, the testing revealed that the beta valve travel from the neutral position was out of tolerance. Although this could have let oil pressure port to one side of the spool or the other and, thus, changed the propeller blade angle, it could not be determined whether this occurred during the accident landing. Impact damage precluded examination of the right propeller governor control linkage; therefore, it could not be determined if it was inadequately installed or rigged, which could have resulted in the propeller moving into the beta position. The investigation could not determine why the right propeller moved toward the beta position as engine power was reduced, as reported the pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The propeller’s movement to the beta position during landing for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination and testing, which resulted in an attempted go-around and subsequent loss of airplane control.

On September 6, 2015, about 1540 eastern daylight time, a DeHavilland DHC-6-200, N181CS, operated by Rampart Aviation, LLC, sustained substantial damage during landing at North Raleigh Airport (00NC), Louisburg, North Carolina. The certificated airline transport pilot flying received minor injuries, the airline transport pilot not flying was seriously injured, and the passenger was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the aerial observation flight that departed Washington County Airport (AFJ), Washington, Pennsylvania around 0915. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the airplane was on the final leg of the traffic pattern when he reduced the power levers for landing, and noticed that the right engine sounded like "the [propeller] was heading towards beta." The pilot increased the engine power and the sound "went away." Closer to the runway, he decreased engine power and the noise returned, the airplane yawed to the right, and he applied left aileron and rudder inputs in order to remain aligned with the runway centerline. While over the runway, the pilot reduced the engine power to idle and the airplane "pushed hard to the right." Then, the pilot applied full power in an attempt to perform a go-around maneuver; however, the airplane yawed about 30 degrees off the runway centerline, touched down in the grass, and impacted trees prior to coming to rest.

The airplane came to rest about 80 feet from the right side of the runway. The right wing, right engine, and right propeller assembly were impact separated. In addition, the right side of the cockpit exhibited crush damage. The right engine propeller came to rest approximately 50 feet forward of the main wreckage and was observed in the feather position. Examination of the bolt holes where the bolts secured the propeller to the right engine exhibited elongation and smearing.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane was manufactured in 1968. It was equipped with two Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-27, 620 horsepower engines that utilized 4-bladed McCauley controllable pitch propeller assemblies, which were installed per Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA1385GL.

Postaccident examination of maintenance records indicated that the most recent continuous airworthiness inspection was performed on September 3, 2015. In addition, an overhauled propeller was installed on the right engine and a test flight was performed on September 4, 2015, which was 8.7 flight hours prior to the accident. The maintenance logbook entry for the right propeller stated: "Reinstalled propeller [in accordance with] McCauley Owner Operators Manual…[torqued] nuts to 57 ft lbs with [torque] wrench. No defects noted." At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated 6,915.4 total hours.

According to the McCauley Propeller Owner/Operator Manual, the propeller was designed to operate in two modes of operation, the beta mode and the governor mode. The beta mode could be selected "for ground reversing or taxi operation by means of the aircraft engine mechanical linkage. The linkage repositions the propeller reversing lever and beta valve to provide access for high pressure oil to reach the propeller piston and move the blades toward reverse pitch." In addition, "Propellers are a single acting unit in which hydraulic pressure opposes the forces of springs and counterweights to obtain the correct pitch for engine load. Hydraulic pressure urges blades toward low pitch (increasing RPM), while springs and counterweights urge blades toward high pitch (decreasing RPM)."

According to STC SA1385GL, the McCauley propeller installation on the accident airplane required the propeller retaining nuts to be torqued to 68 to 72 foot pounds.

The right propeller governor was sent to the manufacturer for examination and testing. During the examination, the governor functioned without anomaly. Nicks and "chatter marks" were observed around the mounting hole of the base closest to the drain port. The speed setting lever was bent outward, the max stop screw had been adjusted out an "excess number" of threads, and the control lever return spring was not engaged to the speed setting lever. The maximum speed was set about 170 rpm below the factory specification, and the pneumatic control valve settings for overspeed and underspeed were reset to compensate for the incorrect maximum speed setting. In addition, the beta valve travel from null, or the neutral position, was out of tolerance; however, during testing, the governor operated without anomaly. [Additional information about the governor examination can be found in the public docket for this case.]

The right propeller governor control rigging was unable to be examined and tested due to the damage to the right wing that incurred during the accident sequence. However, according to manufacturer installation guidelines "make sure of proper rigging of engine controls. Refer to aircraft maintenance manual or STC maintenance manual supplement." In addition, it stated that "feather, reverse, and low blade angles are set during assembly or overhaul. These angles are NOT adjustable in the field."


Also, the propeller manufacturer preflight checklist indicated, "the control system (governor) should be checked to determine whether the system is operating properly and is not leaking."

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA343 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 06, 2015 in Louisburg, NC
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC 6 200, registration: N181CS
Injuries: 3 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 September 6, 2015, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a de Havilland DHC 6, N181CS, sustained substantial damage during landing at North Raleigh Airport (00NC), Louisburg, North Carolina. The certificated airline transport pilot and two passengers sustained serious injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local business flight. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the airplane was on the final leg of the traffic pattern when he reduced the power levers in order to descend further for landing, and he noticed that the right engine sounded like "the [propeller] was heading towards beta." The pilot increased the engine power and the sound "went away." Closer to the runway, he decreased engine power and the noise was heard again, the airplane yawed to the right, and he applied left aileron and rudder inputs in order to remain on the runway centerline. Over the runway, the pilot reduced the engine power to idle and the airplane "pushed hard to the right." Then, the pilot applied full power in an attempt to perform a go-around maneuver; however, the airplane yawed about 30 degrees off the runway centerline, the airplane touched down in the grass, and impacted trees prior to coming to rest.

During the accident sequence, the wings and fuselage were substantially damaged.

A postaccident examination of the maintenance logs indicated that an overhauled propeller was installed on the right engine and a test flight was performed on September 4, 2015, which was 8.7 flight hours prior to the accident.

The right propeller was retained for further examination.


FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Highway Patrol said a small, twin-engine plane crashed Sunday afternoon in Franklin County. 

A spokesperson with the FAA said it was a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 200 aircraft with three people on board. It crashed around 3:30 p.m. at the North Raleigh Airport near Louisburg.

Two of the three people on board were hurt, but authorities said their injuries are not serious.

A Highway Patrol sergeant named the pilot as 37-year old Michael Vargo. The two passengers with him were Tim Baldwin and John Schroeder.

It was not released which of the three passengers were hurt.

"It was pretty intense," said Lisa Weaver, who was on her way back from the store when she saw the wreckage.

"There were probably about 10 Highway Patrol, three ambulances...there was like three or four fire trucks," said Weaver.

The FAA is investigating.

Story, video and photo:  http://abc11.com























FRANKLINTON, NC (WNCN) — Injuries were reported when a plane crashed at the North Raleigh Airport in Franklin County on Sunday afternoon. 

The crash happened just before 2:45 p.m. at Rampart Aviation at 6966 NC 56 in Franklinton.

Two people were injured in the incident, which happened at the business which has a private runway. The airport is the North Raleigh Airport, which is 3 miles southwest of Louisburg, according to FAA data.

A witness told WNCN that a plane crashed at the end of the runway just after take off.

Christopher Hatley, who saw the crash happen, said that the plane went “up into trees at the far end of the runway.”

In a photo from the scene, a plane’s tail could be seen sticking out from a tree line.

Franklin County Sheriff’s officials said that the NC Highway Patrol would be investigating the incident.

Officials stressed that the incident did not happen at Triangle North Executive Airport, which is also known as the Franklin County Airport.

Story and photo gallery http://wncn.com