Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hawkins County Airport (KRVN) requesting funds for improvement


HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. - A small airport in our area needs funding for improvements but some think those tax-dollars could be better spent.

The Hawkins County Airport is in the middle of an improvement project that so far has used $105,880 of county funds, but that's just a fraction of the $1.4 million granted from the FAA. Airport officials said the airport has started paying for itself.  

The Hawkins County Airport is the reason Jeff Hesoun moved to the Tri-Cities. He has to fly his daughter to the hospital in Nashville several times a year, sometimes at a moment's notice.

"When she was 5-weeks-old she got a heart transplant," Hesoun said. "Now that's a life-long condition that requires a lot of medical follow-up and specialized treatment and nobody around the Tri-Cities area does that."

After 50 years in existence, the airport needs improvements to maintain FAA standards. Without being in compliance, the airport could lose any FAA funding. Airport Committee Chair Stacy Vaughan said staying up to code and building more hangars, and increasing the number of people renting hangar space and purchasing oil will generate enough revenue to help sustain the airport costs.

"Our ultimate goal with using federal and state dollars at the airport is to help offset the cost that the county is putting in the budget each year," Vaughan said.

Kerry Jackson with the Industrial Development Board said the size of the airport limits commercial use, but expansion could effectively attract business.

The improvements would cost $430,000. The county would pay $21,000, the rest is an FAA grant.

But several people we spoke to don't think tax-payer dollars should be spent. County Commissioner Mark Linkous said in a statement, " I think this would be a waste of taxpayers' money. If the majority of the people used the airport then it would be a different story. I have asked a few of the businesses if they used it an they said no or very little. I can't support his knowing that it wouldn't benefit the majority of the people of Hawkins County."

But for people living here like Hesoun, the airport is a necessity.

"If the airport didn't exist I would move elsewhere," Hesoun said.

 Vaughan said he'll request the extra funds at the next county commission meeting September 28.

Story and video:  http://www.wcyb.com

FBI ties flight attendant to hoax at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (KCHO)

BISMARCK, N.D. — A flight attendant accused of fabricating a story that prompted an emergency landing in North Dakota told an FBI agent he caused a similar incident in Albemarle County earlier this summer.

Justin Cox-Sever, 22, of Tempe, Arizona, is accused of stuffing a bag with towels and reporting it as a suspicious package making beeping noises on a SkyWest Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson, North Dakota, on Sept. 9. The Dickinson airport was temporarily shut down after the plane landed.

Cox-Sever is charged in federal court in North Dakota with interfering with the operation of an aircraft and communicating false information.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Genck, who handled the investigation, said in an affidavit that Cox-Sever admitted planting the bag and that he fabricated a bomb threat on a flight from Charlottesville Albemarle Airport to Chicago on July 7.

That SkyWest flight was diverted back to Charlottesville after Cox-Sever reported that someone had written a threat on a wall of the plane’s bathroom. Cox-Sever confessed that he wrote the threat himself, according to the affidavit.

“Cox-Sever stated he was extorted by a friend who told him that he needed to ‘bring down’ a plane or else they would harm him and his family,” Genck wrote. “Following further questioning, Cox-Sever recanted his claim of extortion and admitted he had written the threat willingly.”

Neil Fulton, head of the federal public defender’s office for the Dakotas, told The Associated Press that defense attorneys “have seen no documentation” to back up Genck’s allegation that Cox-Sever was responsible for the bomb threat.

“[Cox-Sever] is presumed innocent and all allegations are only that,” Fulton said.

All 53 passengers were questioned by authorities, and subsequently were accommodated by American Airlines in their transit to Chicago.

The threat was called in roughly 30 minutes into the flight. The passengers remained on the plane as state police conducted a sweep of the aircraft.

The FBI in Virginia is continuing to investigate the bomb threat on the flight out of CHO and “our office is aware of Special Agent Genck’s investigation,” spokeswoman Dee Rybiski said. She declined further comment.

SkyWest Airlines, which operated the North Dakota flight for Delta and the Virginia flight for American Airlines, initially placed Cox-Sever on administrative leave. SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow on Tuesday said Cox-Sever is no longer employed by the airline.

“The safety and security of our customers and people are our top priority,” she said.

Cox-Sever could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted on both counts in North Dakota.

Source:  http://www.dailyprogress.com

Justin Cox-Sever

Hagerstown Regional Airport (KHGR) director: Interest in Pittsburgh flights starting to take off

A twin-engine Piper Chieftain screamed down the 1.3-mile runway at Hagerstown Regional Airport, lifted off and climbed into the clear blue sky, starting a short 60-minute ride to western Pennsylvania.

The nine-seat plane, carrying three of four scheduled passengers, was the first flight out of Hagerstown to Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday morning as part of a daily Sun Air Express commuter service that got under way about a week ago.

Airport Director Phil Ridenour said that "momentum is building" for the new route, which offers local business and leisure travelers a new option in addition to Sun Air's current short hops to Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

"The phone is ringing off the hook," he said. "There's a lot of inquiries coming in. We can only anticipate as time goes on that the momentum will build and continue, and as long as they can maintain a reliable service, it's going to be a great thing."

Washington County and airport officials announced the new service on Sept. 8, advertising one-way fares as low as $39 for the federally subsidized service.

John F. Barr — a member of the Washington County Board of Commissioners who also serves on the county's Airport Advisory Commission — said the new flights are geared more toward business travelers.

He said that business clientele and various studies have pegged Pittsburgh as a "good market."

"We're excited because it kind of rolls back to the old Piedmont (Airlines) days, where there were daily flights from Hagerstown to Pittsburgh," he said. "That was used frequently.... I think Pittsburgh opens up another whole market for, particularly, business clients in the Hagerstown area."

Two passengers aboard Tuesday morning's flight were North Carolina businessmen Rich Ellman and J.V. Wrenn, both executives for Spirit Services, an environmental recycling firm with a facility in Williamsport.

The two men said they were headed to Pittsburgh before continuing on to eastern Ohio for business meetings.

The combined cost for the two of them to fly one way was less than $100 including fees, "which is cheaper than driving," Wrenn said.

"It's cheap and convenient," he said, noting that it was his first time flying out of the Hagerstown-area airport.

"We've got business in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia," Ellman said. "It's a pretty good point for us to work from."

The flights originate each day from Pittsburgh, fly into Hagerstown then continue on to Dulles, before flying back along the same route. Pilots make the round trip twice a day on weekdays and once on weekends.

Ridenour said ridership has been "fairly low" on the Dulles flights, and Sun Air and local officials hope the new destination gives the carrier a boost.

The service has to maintain at least nine passengers per day or risk losing Essential Air Service funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation, he said.

Currently, the service has been generating on average between six and seven passengers. With the addition of Pittsburgh, Ridenour said he expects to see those numbers jump above the required mark.

"We're also finding out there's folks that are in Dulles who want to go to Pittsburgh, so they're flying from Dulles to Hagerstown, then Hagerstown up to Pittsburgh," he said. "They say it's much more economical for them to be able to do that than to fly directly from Dulles up to Pittsburgh."

Source:  http://www.heraldmailmedia.com

Preventing fraud at 30,000 feet: Are they pilots or are they cashiers?

Texting and driving is a bad combination. Typing up passengers’ payment card information while flying a plane doesn’t sound like a great idea, either.

But, according to a report by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), that’s exactly what Korean Air Lines Co. ordered its pilots to do, in order to prevent fraudulent in-flight purchases.

According to the report, Korean Air was requiring its pilots to validate payment card information for all in-flight purchases over $500. The process required pilots to start up the validation program and enter the payment card information, often while preparing to land the aircraft. 

Considering that South Korea recently went through its largest payment card data theft in history, it makes sense that the nation’s largest airline was taking measures to prevent fraudulent charges. Last year, a massive breach of records maintained by the Korea Credit Bureau compromised more than 105.8 million accounts containing personal information, including names, credit card and bank information, passport numbers, addresses and phone numbers. 

Korean Air went through a public relations fiasco last year, caused by the company chairman’s daughter’s “nut rage incident.” Soon after the SBS report went public, Korean Air quickly went into PR-disaster-mitigation-mode and said that it would change its policies.  

Source:  http://www.bna.com

East Hampton Town To Spend $1 Million On Airport Legal Fight In 2015 Alone

The East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday increased to nearly $1 million the total amount of money it has dedicated this year to the legal fight over its management of East Hampton Airport.

With town officials heading to New York City on Wednesday to take part in a mediation session with an aviation industry group that has filed four separate legal challenges against the town, the board voted to increase the spending limit for its primary legal counsel in the fight over the airport by $450,000, bring the total amount allocated to $875,000 for the year. The firm, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, has already billed the town for $694,000 in legal work this year alone, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said on Tuesday.

The town has also alloted up to $100,000 for attorney Kathleen Sullivan, who is acting as the town’s legal counsel for the appeal of a federal injunction of a law adopted by the town that barred any single aircraft from making more than one takeoff and landing at the airport in a given week. Ms. Sullivan is also defending an appeal by the aviation group of two other laws setting curfews on the use of the airport.

The town spent approximately $226,000 on legal fees for airport issues in 2014.

“While we anticipated that there would be lawsuits,” Mr. Burke-Gonzalez said at the Town Board work session on Tuesday morning, “it’s unfortunate that these airport users are forcing the town to spend airport funds to defend these restrictions rather than working cooperatively to help us achieve the best balance between users and residents.”

The town faces a federal lawsuit brought by a group representing and funded by aviation industry interests, the Friends of East Hampton Airport, as well as three separate cases brought by aviation companies or representatives claiming the town violated the requirements of past Federal Aviation Administration grants, as well as a state court lawsuit brought by Sound Aircraft, the sole fuel supplier at East Hampton Airport, over increases in fuel and landing fees. Ms. Gonzalez said that the town has also petitioned to become a party to a lawsuit filed by the aviation industry group against the FAA.

Also on Tuesday, board members reviewed reports on usage of the airport this summer. According to airport manager Jemille Charlton, the number of flights into and out of the airport increased by 14 percent overall in July—including a 20-percent jump in the number of helicopter flights—and by 7 percent in August, compared to 2014 levels. Through the end of July, the total usage of the airport had swelled by 29 percent.

Complaints about airplane noise received by the town in July were up 21 percent from 2014, Mr. Charlton said, though he noted that the actual number of households from where complaints were received actually declined by 6 percent that same month. For the year, thus far, complaints about aircraft noise are up nearly 60 percent, despite the curfews imposed this summer.

Source:  http://www.27east.com

Cause of aircraft crash a mystery

A question mark remains following an air crash in which the 82-year-old Oldham pilot had a miracle escape.

Pilot Malcolm Hill was accompanied by his wife Margaret and another married couple when their private plane careered off the runway and crashed through a wall at Crosland Hill airfield near Huddersfield. The four-seater Piper Cherokee Arrow was wrecked but Mr. Hill, from Grasscroft, and his passengers walked away with only slight injuries.


A newly published air accident investigation report said the aircraft developed a swing to the left during take off that the pilot was unable to correct. The aircraft left the runway, ran down an embankment and crashed through a stone wall.


Though no firm cause could be identified for the crash, the report said photographs showed marks on the runway where the aircraft began its take-off roll. Mr Hill believed the nose landing gear retracted and compromised his ability to steer the plane - but investigators weren’t able to refute or confirm the pilot’s theory.


Source:  http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk 


AAIB investigation to Piper PA-28R-201 Cherokee Arrow III, G-RJMS
Date of occurrence:   19 June 2015
Location:   Crosland Moor Airfield, Yorkshire
Loss of directional control on takeoff from Crosland Moor Airfield on 19 June 2015.

Summary: During takeoff, the aircraft developed a swing to the left which the pilot was unable to correct with the use of rudder. The aircraft left the runway, ran down an embankment and through a stone wall before coming to rest. The cause of the loss of directional control has not been established.

https://www.gov.uk

NTSB: No clue what caused South St. Paul plane crash

The National Transportation Safety Board didn’t waste much time concluding its investigation into how this airplane ended up like this at South St. Paul’s Fleming Field a few weeks ago.

The bottom line? In releasing the investigation into the July 12th crash (investigations typically take up to a year), the NTSB said it has no idea why the plane didn’t climb after taking off.


Story and photos:  http://blogs.mprnews.org 

NTSB Identification: CEN15CA304
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 12, 2015 in South St. Paul, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/11/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 340, registration: N5139J
Injuries: 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.

According to the pilot, he was departing runway 16 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. After traveling down approximately two-thirds of the 4,002 foot runway, he elected to abort the takeoff after he felt the airplane was not able to climb and continue to accelerate. During the aborted takeoff, the airplane departed the runway surface and entered the grass overrun area which was covered with wet dew from the morning environmental conditions. The pilot attempted to stop the airplane; however, the airplane skidded and impacted a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right main wing spar and fuselage. The examination of the airplane revealed no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operations.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The airplane's inability to takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies. The aborted takeoff resulted in a runway overrun and impact with a fence.

Two arrested in "Mayday" hoax near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

Medicine Hat Police say two people were arrested Monday evening in Medicine Hat, Alberta after a  muffled "mayday" call heard Sunday prompted a crew working near Maple Creek to contact RCMP.

Mounties reported Monday there were three possible locations a potential distressed plane would attempt to land, including two near Maple Creek and one near Medicine Hat, AB.

But all logged commercial and smaller planes were accounted for but there still was a possibility an unlogged aircraft may have been in distress.

However, Tuesday morning investigation revealed two vehicles were stolen from the area of the Medicine Hat Airport on Sunday.

In a release mid-Tuesday morning, police advised the media and public two people were arrested.

Source:  http://www.620ckrm.com

Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspends Tata Group charter firm's chief pilot

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the chief pilot and co-pilot of Tata Group’s aircraft charter firm, Taj Air for alleged violation of safety procedures. The suspension is for three months.

The move follows a surprise check by DGCA during which it was reportedly found the chief pilot had forged signatures of the doctor overseeing pre-flight tests. According to DGCA norms, it is mandatory for pilots and cabin crew to undergo a series of pre-flight tests under the guidance of an empanelled doctor.

The incident was related to a Dassault Falcon 2000 jet aircraft, used by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons. “The safety of our passengers is of paramount importance. We are currently investigating the matter and will continue to cooperate with the DGCA. We take such matters very seriously and appropriate action will be taken in case of any non-compliance,” a Taj Air spokesperson said.

Apart from Taj Air, the DGCA also suspended the pilot of Mumbai-based charter company Kestrel Aviation for irregularities in pre-flight medical tests.

A surprise check was also conducted at Delhi, where two pilots of AeroTech Aviation were suspended for the irregularities in the same test.

All the five pilots and one cabin crew of aircraft charter firms have been suspended for three months by the DGCA.

Source:  http://www.business-standard.com